Living with Stars
We have examined our priorities, and even seen how our Father is still working with our physical families — our Dust. Now let’s see if we can gain a greater understanding of the The Church we have chosen to join — the Stars. I say that because if we can catch the vision of how we are to function as God’s ultimate family, the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Day by day, as opportunities arise he will fit us into our roles and fulfill his desires.
When Jesus promised Peter a hundred times as many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, as he had given up, he was looking toward a rich new family that would satisfy Peter‟s needs better than his household family ever could.
Think about it. Because of the support and input of his physical family, Peter had grown to be a mature professional fisherman with undoubtedly a sense of responsibility and many other fine qualities. Praise God for his provision of physical families, with all that nurturing and support and stimulus they provide! They can be a springboard for great attainment in this world.
However, what about all the other influences that came into Peter’s life after he came to Jesus. For three years Peter received input from Jesus and the other disciples; had the honor of representing the Twelve in preaching on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14); through his experience with Cornelius Peter learned that the whole Gentile world was waiting to be opened up for the Gospel (Acts 10). Then, he learn about Peter being thrown into prison, and what do all the brothers and sisters do? They spend the night praying for him! (Acts 12); How about the time when he was being a hypocrite, and was confronted by Paul — in front of everyone? (Galatians 2:11-14); or when he was later considered one of the three pillars of the mother church in Jerusalem? (Galatians 2:9).
What I am trying to say is that Peter was so intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally stimulated and motivated by spiritual brothers and sisters that he wrote two of our greatest pieces of literature. Imagine a common fisherman from up-country Galilee writing like this about silver, seeds, and stars:
“You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” —I Pet. 1:18-19
“You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God” —I Pet.1:23
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts” —II Pet. 1:19
Peter’s wife must have been amazed to hear her ex-fisherman husband preach like that, and to read his writings! I am sure she was behind him, supporting him, encouraging him.
I saw the evidence of this in the life of a dear friend. When I first met him, he had come from England to lead the worship in our church. Our first introduction to him was through the wonder and skill of his guitar playing, but those around him became aware that there was much more to him. Years later, I had the opportunity (and pleasure) of readings his writings and discovered a great deal of wisdom, insight and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. What brought that out? It was obviously the work of the Holy Spirit, but it was also the support, input and encouragement of brothers and sisters — and also from his wife!
Every one of us needs someone close to nudge us (sometimes even push us) forward. It was through my wife’s enthusiasm and encouragement back in the early 80’s that I finally put these thoughts together. But Peter’s wife knew she did not provide all the influence to stimulate all that in him, nor had his parents back in Galilee.
It would be amazing to discover how many problems in the physical family would be resolved or at least alleviated if the spiritual family was functioning. For instance, a deep prayer life with (and accountability to), some close members of the spiritual family can help make your relationship with your physical family what it should be. That means our personal accountability can keep us from all sorts of personal traumas, sins, habits, etc.
Let me show you how this could happen:
Here is Eddy, and he is meeting with a few brothers and says, “Guys, my father-in-law died recently, and he had a big dog that he loved. We had to bring my mother-in-law to live with us, and of course, she had to bring the dog along with her since it reminds her of her husband.
“The trouble is our apartment is too small for a dog. So we argue about it. I say the dog has to go. My wife says, ‘Poor mom; she is old. The dog reminds her of daddy. Please let him stay.’ We are getting nowhere—I don’t even know if I want to keep living there anymore.”
One of the brothers say, “Listen Eddy, I can help you. I live on the outskirts of town, and I have a big piece of land. Let me take care of the dog for you. You can bring your family out sometimes to see the dog.”
But then someone else jumps in and says, “No Eddy, maybe the Lord sent the dog to your home to teach you something. Listen, you are certainly the head of your home, but the head isn’t just someone who gives orders to everybody. The head is someone who brings solutions, who thinks out what it will take to resolve a situation. How can a dog be worth all that trouble? He is tearing the whole family apart, and he‟s not even a person.”
Then someone else says, “Listen, maybe the dog shouldn’t be in the apartment—maybe you’re right. But maybe the Lord wants you to learn to love that dog anyway. Come on, Eddy, you’re losing your wife, you’re making your mother-in-law unhappy. The problem isn’t a dog—it’s you.”
Eddy says, “Oh, no. I can’t!”
“Don‟t worry,” they all say, “We’re going to pray for you that God will give you the Grace to accept the dog. Come here and sit in the middle of the room.” They all gather around and lay hands on him to pray. “Father give him victory over the dog. Make him love his wife and his mother-in-law. Please help him . . . “
After a time of prayer Eddy starts to weep. Finally he says, “Okay, I think I can do it now.”
“All right,” they say, “Now on your way home, stop in the store and buy the dog a new toy. If you don’t have the money, we’ll give you some. You have to learn to love the dog. You’re working out a solution to the problem in your home.”
However, what Eddy doesn’t know is that his wife was with a group of women. She was also telling the story of the dog.
They were saying, “Listen, he is the head of your house, and you have to submit to him. Even your mother must submit to him now.
“If he says the dog goes, the dog goes. Why don‟t you see if you can find another place for the dog to stay, and you and your mother can still go see him once or twice a week?”
“I never thought of that,” she says. “He is the head, and we have to obey him. I’ll talk with mom.”
She goes home and convinces her mother to give the dog away. About that time, Eddy walks in with a new toy for the dog!
My friends, there is no way you can accomplish that in a Sunday service where everyone smiles at each other, but never relate.
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.