Enduring Grace: Introduction
My friend Stephen Morefield and I recently published a devotional book, which we titled Enduring Grace: 21 Days with The Apostle Peter. It’s a self-published book mostly for local distribution at our churches. Stephen pastors in Kansas, and I’m in Pennsylvania. But we tried to write the devotional in such a way that it could bless a wider audience. We’ve been praying it does.
Here’s the introduction to the book. We’d love for you to consider picking up a copy.
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There were only a handful of people who got a front row view of Jesus’ entire earthly ministry. Of these, perhaps none heard, saw, or experienced more than the fisherman Peter. We speak of disciples as those who follow Jesus, and Peter did that literally—for three years. As Peter followed Jesus, he saw miracles performed, heard truth spoken, and even read what Jesus wrote in the dirt. He studied the Scriptures under Jesus and saw the brilliant white glory of heaven surround Jesus. Peter walked on water after him, shared meals with him, and spoke with men he had raised from the dead. Who wouldn’t want to hear of Peter’s experiences with the Savior?
Not only did Peter share in a wide variety of moments with Jesus, but he also responded to Jesus in a wide variety of ways. With cowardice and cursing, he denied Jesus before the resurrection. Bold and confident, Peter preached Jesus after the resurrection. Up and down, down and up, Peter went. Two steps forward, one step—or sometimes three steps—back, Peter was not a detached observer. He was an intimately growing, struggling, and broken yet redeemed man who learned that the depth of his sin was very deep but that the Savior’s love was deeper still. And through it all, the grace of Jesus toward Peter endured, which means that in the end, by the very same grace, Peter endured. Indeed, no matter where you stand before Jesus at this moment, you should be able to relate to Peter’s story. In our faith and doubt, courage and fear, obedience and failure, growth and stagnation (or even backtracking), Peter’s witness gives us hope that Jesus really is a friend of sinners and mighty to save.
What you’ll find in the rest of these pages is a back and forth journey following the Savior through the eyes of Peter. We’ve grouped themes together as best as we could, but that means the chapters will not strictly follow Peter’s life chronologically. Instead we’ll jump between Peter’s life, which is presented to us in the Gospels and the book of Acts, and his teachings, which we have in the two letters he wrote (1 & 2 Peter). In each chapter you’ll find the Scripture we’ll study for the assigned day, our teaching on that passage, and then relevant application questions to knead the Savior’s grace into all parts of our lives.
Here are a few more things to consider before you start the journey. In an effort to combine style and personality, we, Stephen and Benjamin, have not indicated which chapters we’ve each written. When a particular story necessitates it, we indicate the writer, but otherwise we will allow the prose to blend without distinction.
Now, how to read this book? The structure sets itself up to be read as a 21-day devotional. That being said, you can also slow down and tackle the book at whatever pace suits you. There’s no need to hurry. Likewise, chapters can be grouped together, should you use the book in a Bible study or small group. Whatever method you choose, we do encourage you to slow down enough to read the Scripture before our teaching. It’s difficult to rest in the Savior’s grace while racing from page to page. And resting daily in his grace is a large part of what helps us endure in his grace.