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Recently, while on a missions trip to China, I experienced the presence of the Lord in a unique way.

In the still of the night, the Lord began to speak to my heart about my devotion to Him and the depth of my consecration. He asked me very directly, "Would you be as devoted to me if you lost everything that is important to you in life—your family, your friends, your ministry?"

My immediate response was, "Of course, I would give up everything!" Then in a still, small voice, He spoke to my heart and said, "Peter denied me three times!"

Instantly, the message behind those five small words hit my heart and mind. Of all the disciples, Peter seemed to be the most "tight" with Jesus. He traveled everywhere with Him, ate meals together with Him, and witnessed Him performing innumerable miracles. By all appearances, Peter was the most zealous and devoted to the Lord.

Peter expressed this devotion when Jesus and the disciples ate their last Passover together before His crucifixion. Jesus warned them saying, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad."

Out of love and devotion, Peter fervently declared, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." Jesus told him before the cock crow, you will deny me three times. Again, Peter adamantly declared, "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." (Matt. 26:31-35 KJV)

Though Peter's declarations of devotion were both fervent and heartfelt at the time, he did, indeed, deny the Lord three times when his situation became precarious.

That's when I realized that in spite of the love and devotion that I genuinely have for the Lord, I too could deny Him under similar circumstances. This was not the time for spiritual pride, but a gut wrenching inward search of the heart.

I was so surprised, shocked, convicted by this revelation that it brought me to tears. At just the thought of finding myself in Peter's same situation, I found myself weeping and shaking, feeling vulnerable and insecure.

But He didn't leave me in that insecure place for long. Suddenly, I felt His loving embrace fill me with His security and assurance. I was drawn close to Him, so close it was as if there was a transference of His heart into my heart. I was given a fresh perspective of the urgency to surrender more and more of my life to Him. In this place of surrender, He deposited in my heart a deeper understanding of His love for mankind.

I knew this experience had changed my heart, but how would it impact His plan and purpose for my life? The answer to this question was revealed while ministering in Burkina Faso, West Africa, a small, predominantly Muslim country desperately in need of God's intervention.

As I was ministering to the people, I realized I was ministering to them from a deposit of love and not just out of obedience to His Word! I was seeing the Muslim people through God's eyes; not just looking at their hopelessness but seeing their hopelessness, and responding out of love and compassion!

Since that experience, it's no longer satisfying and fulfilling to me to simply "go into the world and preach the Gospel" simply because a church program has been developed to do so! I understand the urgency to be an agent of change, to carry the presence and power of God to the people. This can only take place from the "overflow" of my times of communion with Him.

The apostle Paul challenges each of us in his writings to the Philippians:
For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in the same way come to know the power out flowing from His resurrection…
(Phil. 3:10 AMP)
The apostle Paul is referring to an experiential knowledge of Him, not simply knowledge that comes by reading the Bible! He is writing this so we may understand there is a "power" or "anointing" available to believers that comes by way of experiencing Him and is not available any other way. This empowerment comes from spending time in His presence and it will transform us to be the agents of change in the earth that He desires us to be!

I challenge you to surrender your life to Him as never before:
  • Devote more time to praying in tongues, worshipping Him, and waiting on Him.
  • Simplify your busy schedule and make yourself available to respond when He prompts you.
  • Be quick to forgive and quick to obey when He speaks to your heart.
  • Yield your heart to Him; He will teach you to walk in love, which is to walk in the Spirit!
It's time to rise up and step out on the water! Allow Him to change you in ways that far exceed your wildest expectations!

Author Biography

Kent Otey
Web site: Living Word Christian Center
Since Living Word's earliest years, Kent Otey served Living Word in many capacities. In 1983, he joined the staff of Living Word full-time and served in various capacities which included evangelism, singles, counseling, and pastoral care. Kent was licensed and then ordained by Living Word in 1985. In 1996, he became director of Living Word's Missions Outreach.

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