Updated: Jun 13
Welcome, friends, to another week. It is funny how God changes plans. Today, I awoke thinking about listening to God; then, the plan changed to thinking of school vocabulary, mainly an Individual Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a legal, federal document that gathers teachers, psychologists, service providers and parents to develop the child's yearly educational plan.
While thinking about this, I realized God has an individual plan for us as well. It is not in the same context as an educational IEP, but similar. For instance, he knows each person's needs- our weaknesses, strengths, limitations, and salvation status. His plan also includes actions for those needing physical fitness, behavior modification and listening skills.
Peter was a great example of a man who could have been placed on a behavior plan. Simon Peter and his older brother Andrew fished for a living. (Matthew 4:18) His language was not of a gentleman but a roughneck (fishermen). He was uneducated (as most were in the day) but educated in survival and hard work. Most likely, he could not read or write but had rudimentary math skills. His demeanor was not afraid of challenges but rising to them. Peter's uneducated past meant he did not have many choices in providing for his wife. Therefore, he worked the job he knew, which was fishing. (Matthew 8:13).
Jesus, like a good teacher, realized Peter needed a show-and-tell example to prove a point. Jesus called Peter first, then his brother Andrew (Matthew 4:19), telling them he would make them "fishers of men"- to bring people to Christ. Twice Jesus showed Peter his power- He healed his mother-in-law Matthew 8:14-15. Afterward, Jesus multiplied the fish from five loaves and two fish to more than enough to feed five thousand men plus women and children. Finally, Peter walked on water Matthew 14:29.
In Luke, Peter realizes he is a sinner, falls on his knees, and gives God glory. Luke 5:8. Peter's plan became more specialized- he believed on Christ, then Jesus told him he would fish for people rather than fishing for food. Luke 5:10. Jesus said what he meant, which was bringing people to the Kingdom. Peter did not need fancy words to do what Jesus was asking of him. He only needed faith. God supplied his teaching points. Peter boldly told everyone Jesus was the Messiah. Luke 9:20
Like so many of us, Peter needed an individual specialized plan from God. Peter's plan included bringing people to Christ as Jesus told him he would fish for souls. His plan also included listening to God's voice rather than his own. Christ also schooled him in grace and mercy. Like many of us, Peter messed up several times. However, Christ never counted those mistakes against him.
Our plans are Individual Salvation Plans or ISPs, which do not require extensive testing to qualify. We automatically qualify due to our fallen state- we are sinners. We do not need math or writing skills. However, students do need reading, comprehension and listening skills. Comprehension skills are needed to understand the depth of love Christ gives us and his sacrifice on the cross. Reading skills help us read and understand his word. Listening skills help us hear his voice.
Therefore, our plan contains short-range goals- First, believe Christ died for our sins; he was buried and rose again. Next, accept his mercy and grace because of his death on the cross. Finally, commit our whole hearts to him by listening and obeying. Some may need behavior intervention goals to ensure we have fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22 ) Physical fitness is an endurance test to see is a person will faithfully run the race and not give up, but continue pressing on towards the goal. Hebrews 12:1-3
Jesus is our teacher; he demonstrates his love for us daily. He calls us one by one to the smartboard of his grace. He accepts our mistakes, allows many do-overs when we mess up, and allows us to continue practicing skills to become like him. As stated in our plan, our teacher then shows mercy and listens. He showed Peter mercy even when he disowned him three times (Matthew 26:69-75). He does not count negative scores or non-passing scores against us.
Peter was like many of us today. Only times have changed; the inner person's sins and personalities do not change until God changes us. Like Peter, many students go on to serve the Lord. If he allows, we may serve many years. We become bolder while sharing the message, which is a condition of our plan. We do not give up, nor do we stop.
There are three points I'd like to mention: First, Jesus loves us because he died for our sins, and point two, he saves all who call on his name (Romans 10:13). Next, each person has individual Salvation Plans, which never expire. Jesus wants us to listen to him rather than ourselves. Finally, he wants us to spread the word as the final condition of his plan. Tell all those who will listen about what Christ has done in our lives.
Like so many of us, Peter needed an individual specialized plan from God. Peter's plan included bringing people to Christ as Jesus told him he would fish for souls. Though Peter messed up, Jesus loved him without reservations, just as he loves us. Jesus' plan began when he died and does not expire like education plans, which expire yearly. 2 Cor 5:17, 1 Peter 1:18-19, John 3:16, Romans 8:38-39, John 10:28-2, Titus 1:2, Romans 8:30; Romans 5:1, Acts 16:31, Ephesian 2:8-9, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 11:29, 1 John 2:19, 1 John 3:6, Matthew 7:16, Romans 7:4, Luke 15:5-6
Our salvation experience differs from person to person; however, the language remains the same- trust God, lean not on our understanding, acknowledge him (Proverbs 3:5-6), believe he died on the cross, was buried, and rose again according to the scriptures. (1 Cor 15:1-4)
I hope this blog is a blessing to all who search for Christ. His love is unmatched and will always continue. May the Lord bless and keep you. I'd love to hear from you. Please email me at mailto:email@example.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org I hope you have a great week. Please do not forget to visit YouTube for the shortened companion video to this blog. Thanks for stopping by.