“I Could Have Been” are thoughts of the past comparing things in the present. A looking back at what you could be still doing today and the same thinking from your past locked in a rut. I heard a “rut” is like a grave with both ends knocked out. You could be locked into a circle, a routine, or a tradition and not realize it until something comes along to point it out. Time should bring us wisdom, changes for the better, and enlightenments of truth.
THE JEEP – DEATH
Late one night, I was riding home with some friends in a Jeep sitting in the back passenger side. The driver ran a four way stop sign at a high rate of speed and was clipped on the back bumper by another vehicle. The Jeep went into a spin circling around several times going down the city street. The world was spinning the black cloth roof and the red interior into a circling blur before my eyes inside the Jeep. The Jeep finally hit something abruptly to make it stop spinning going to a rocking motion back and forth not knowing if it was going to turn over and it should have.
As we, all four of us, sat in total silence the realization began to sink in and the thoughts of “I Could Have Been” was appearing upon everyone’s faces. One girl started crying in disbelief of what just happened. “I Could Have Been” killed was not an acceptable thought for I thought I was young and invincible. The driver and the other person said nothing while the driver slowly and silently started driving again.
“I Could Have Been” dead from a Jeep rolling out of control, but I am alive today. How many of us can say looking back towards events that could have taken our lives saying, “I Could Have Been“…? This was a great time to look at life with a new perspective examining what you value the most in this life. The “I Could Have Been” you not here today reading these words nor myself expressing these words. You and I are blessed.
OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS – JAIL
On a Friday night heading home from running around with four guys cruising, yelling, and playing loud music we were suddenly surrounded by four city police vehicles boxed against the curb. Officers started surrounding the car ordering everyone out. I was in the front passenger side exiting to the sidewalk with everyone else. The officers briefly questioned us, but stayed primarily focused on the driver of the vehicle. The officers had a suspicion of drugs and alcohol in the vehicle due to his driving.
I had no clue as to whom had some illegal drugs in the car and if no one claims the illegal drugs everyone in the vehicle goes to jail. After hearing about the drugs and the officers wanting to know more about them. I was in a state of shock thinking “What?!” I was oblivious of the drugs presence and was watching in slow motion the demands of the police about them.
The stress and the pressure of the owner to the drugs was pushing the “I can’t believe this is happening“. The fun and good times of the night disappeared into the horror of being taken to jail mixed in with other drug users, felons, and other types of offenders. The sudden impact of “what will I tell my parents” comes crashing down. In the midst of the turmoil one confessed to the drugs and to our great relief that is all the officers wanted to know. The officer warned us that next time we would be taken to jail and he will let us off with a warning.
The “we” and “us” was a piercing sobering thought of “I had nothing to do with it” and “I was just along for the ride“. Also, I was trying to fit in with these guys. My thoughts were reeling with “I Could Have Been” jailed. The others were relieved and the one who had the drugs was happy he got away with it. If I kept trying to fit into this group “I Could Have Been” jailed and started a drug addicting life with a criminal record following me wherever I go.
RESTAURANT BAR – ALCOHOLIC
I was invited to go out with a school staff member and another student. We went to a restaurant in a city close by. All the way down there the conversation was complaining about things and being upset about how things are run. A “sick and tired” of other people’s attitudes and opinions rant. We sat down at the table with the mad and upset faces.
We all ordered some alcohol. The conversation was continuing with the negative rants while drinking at the table. The buzz of the alcohol affected the staff member quicker than me and I noticed a calm and a sigh of relief with each gulp of the alcohol. I slowed down to watch the affects. I had never paid attention to what alcohol did. I just enjoyed the moment. The evening went on as the changes continued from the alcohol bringing them comfort, relief from stress, and an escape from life.
Drinking had never occurred to me as a savoir to life, but I was seeing it temporarily do its job on the staff member and student. The realization of the staff member and the student were running away inside their bottles from troubles and stress wishing to stay in this buzz state for the answer to life. I was hearing no real solutions to their complaining and bitterness. It was like I was an observer in slow motion seeing all the facts happening before my eyes. Looking into my glass I was seeing a liquid with no knowledge to be given and no cures to be achieved, but only a band aid to wear fall off later with a possibility of feeling worse.
Seeing the controlled addiction gripping the staff member and the student from the mindless liquid of alcohol made me realize I was being deceived by a false sense of relief and not a true solution to life. Watching them and at other times the thoughts “I Could Have Been” so dependent on the liquid I could have become an alcoholic like others I have witnessed.
The list is long on the “I Could Have Been” thoughts. What are some of the things you could have been if it were not a moment of mercy, grace, or an epiphany thought, an awakening if you will? When you are exposed to different lives the “I Could Have Been” turns into a possible jail time, becoming a criminal, a dope head, alcoholic, a seductive player, habitual liar, a thief to everyone you know, and many other potential things. The list of negative things will be long for some and short for others, but the “I Could Have Been” remains.
What would be on your list of “I Could Have Been” on the positive side? In school were you gifted to become an artist, a musician, a poet, an athlete, a carpenter, an inventor, a teacher, a coach, a missionary, well off financially, own a business, a singer, and many other probable things. The “I Could Have Been” can go either way in making you feel glad of your present day or sad to what you have become.
I COULD HAVE BEEN – MISSED OUT
I can look back to the days my brother and I were in the boat grabbing ahold of the fishing net and tossing it into the deep dark water as we balanced ourselves with the rocking waves against the boat anticipating the unseen catch of fish for the day. We had been doing it so long we were a natural team when it came to fishing. This was our daily job to make a living and to feed those in our care. Just another day in the sea of Galilee with bright blue skies, soft white clouds, and the lapping sound of the water against our boat. It was hard work, but Andrew and I were good at it.
I can remember watching people pass by on the shores that were highly educated or well dressed looking at us like ignorant and unlearned fishermen, but I did not care and kept on working. They lived in their world and we lived in ours. They did not talk to us and we did not talk to them. We were beneath their status quo as ignorant and unlearned fishermen. Andrew and I would head gesture one to another when we saw someone in their fancy robes with their nose in the air laughing at them.
“I Could Have Been” an old fisherman still today in that boat on the sea of Galilee fishing with my brother Andrew, but here I am looking back to what I was and now what I have become. One man, just one man changed the whole course of my life. This one man walking on the shore of our sea in Galilee calls out to Andrew and myself. We both looked up to the voice listening and he said, “…Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Andrew and I were curious and wanted to see what he was talking about and started to following him and listening to what he had to say.
Looking back I stood on a boat over the sea throwing a net into the deep with the unseen catch of fish. I, Peter, had the knowledge of the boat, sea, and fish. Walking with this man, Jesus, I realized I was being filled with the knowledge of eternal life. When he asked me if I would leave him I knew there was no where else to go to hear these words of eternal life. He changed my life’s course and gave me the keys, the words, to the kingdom of heaven – “I Could Have Been“.
I am standing on land looking over the sea of people speaking the words of salvation into the whomsoever will hear to the unseen catch of men. I, Peter, have been given the knowledge of eternal words of the born again of the water and of the spirit. I am telling people the key to unlock heaven’s door by repenting of their sins, being baptized in Jesus name for the purpose of washing away their sins (born again of water), and then receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (born of the Spirit) speaking in a language God gives them as a sign.
“I Could Have Been” a retired fisherman, today. I am now casting the net of words of truth to pull all those away from sin and death hoping for those who will listen to the calling of the voice of God. I am preaching a message that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. I am guiding a boat for all those lost and drowning souls to climb into this gospel ship for heaven. I am now speaking to Kings, High Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes concerning the eternal words of life, me a humble fisherman – “I Could Have Been“.
I COULD HAVE BEEN – WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE
We are all born into different types of environments of which we have no control over. Our environment can try to dictate and brainwash us into their patterns of life. We can repeat the cycle of our environment with the same endings we have seen happen to them. We can check out our environment with asking questions, seeking answers from all around, and knocking on doors for more opportunities breaking out some scales of reality and truth. We can take control of our lives to help the “I Could Have Been” for the better.
Andrew and Peter were born into the Old Testament Jewish faith working as fishermen. James and John were also of the Old Testament Jewish faith working in the fishing industry. Matthew was of the Old Testament Jewish faith working as a tax collector with an educational mind set for the job. The apostles of Jesus were men of the Old Testament Jewish faith. Some of you were born into a Catholic atmosphere, a Baptist, a Methodist, a Lutheran, a Presbyterian, a Protestant, a Pentecostal, Episcopalian, a Mormon, a Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witness, Assemblies of God, Orthodox, and for some no religion at all, but still an influencing environment.
“Why“, you may ask did I mention all the different religious groups? The Bible is the central joining factor to all these groups and there is something hidden from them just like the Jewish people of Peter’s day. The disciples of Jesus were all born into the the Old Testament Jewish faith. They were apart of a very old traditional religious requirements concerning attending church, sacrificing a lamb to push their sins forward for another year, and strict guidelines of daily behaviors for being a Jew. We today have churches with similar guidelines and order.
The “I Could Have Been” for the disciples was living and dying an Old Testament Jewish faith fishermen or tax collector, but they were privileged to encounter Jesus, the Lamb of God, inside their religious walls. The “I Could Have Been” to them was the blessing to see the hidden treasure of God fulfilling their Bible teachings.
Jesus was the ‘hidden in plain sight‘ fulfillment of the Old Testament Jewish faith. The disciples walked with Jesus inside the Jewish faith everyday. The disciples heard and saw the miracles of God that no book could contain it all. Inside the walls of the Jewish faith was God manifested in the flesh of Jesus, died for our sins, and resurrected unto eternal life for our sake. A parallel of a lamb going to the temple to be sacrificed to move sins forward a year, but for Jesus to remove sins completely and forever forgotten.
Peter could say, “I Could Have Been” an Old Testament Jewish faith believer to this day if it were not hearing the words of eternal life from Jesus and now I am a Christian, which is a fulfillment of the Old Testament Jewish faith. Peter and all the disciples could have been left in their Jewish religion without accepting the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies in Jesus, but they chose to follow Jesus. There is a hidden truth in plain sight today with the Jews and in the Christian churches. Inside the Christian walls is a truth that is overlooked just like some of the Jewish people overlooked Jesus walking among them being the Messiah and the fulfiller of the law.
INSIDE THE CHRISTIAN WALLS
There is a truth in the middle of the New Testament among the walls of the gospels and the epistles that has a rare calling like Peter and Andrew had on that day fishing from Jesus. It is a ‘hidden in plain sight‘ truth, but only seen by a few. The “I Could Have Been” happens from either overlooking something, just doing what is traditionally done, or a refusal to change. Jesus was life and death to those he walked among. If they followed him it would be life and if they reject him it would be a continuance onto eternal death. It scares me to think of people ignoring inside their New Testament walls like the Jewish people did inside their Old Testament walls about Jesus and this unchanging truth.
I feel like Peter being privileged to truly see inside my four walled New Testament knowledge to follow Jesus directly inside all the religious walls today. “I Could Have Been” a Baptist all my life inside the Bible walls of the Baptist teachings and never knew this truth. Apollos was like a Baptist. He was “man instructed in the way of the Lord…taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.” Acts 18:25. Apollos was inside the Old Testament walls and the New Testament walls knowing only what John the Baptist preached.
The “I Could Have Been” for Apollos would be still knowing only the teachings of John the Baptist inside the walls of the New Testament with something much greater and more perfect all around him. You can read about Apollos in more detail in Acts 18:24-28; 19:1-12. This will reveal what is in the middle of our Christian walls of teachings that is totally missed today by the majority. This is a life and death truth the devil does not want anyone to leave their boats, tax collecting tables, or traditions to follow Jesus in a more perfect way.
Here comes the shocking facts: Did you know none of these Christian faiths: Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Protestant, Episcopalian, Mormon, Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witness, Assemblies of God, Orthodox, and many others do NOT preach and live by what the disciples preached inside their church walls? They, myself, and you are like Apollos this is all we know and have not heard until now about these things. The shocking fact is this truth is inside our New Testament walls and we have not seen it nor have we obeyed it and it has the power of life and death in it. It is that serious.
You can be all these Christian type religions all your life inside these walls just like the Jews and never know this truth. You can be whatever you are inside the walls of New Testament Bible teachings and NEVER know this truth. It is a scary thing to realize a forgotten truth inside God’s word that has never changed, but mankind has changed it to fit their own religious beliefs. This is not a question of interpretation, but a greater question of whose authority.
Who in this world has the authority to say in God’s living word what is alive or dead in the New Testament? It is not a matter of interpretation, but a matter of authority. There is an entire New Testament book that presents factual evidence the other books only support. The gospels are the biographies about Jesus and the epistles are letters to already born again people. One side is the life of Jesus and the other side of this particular book is the life of the churches.
Did you know NONE of these Christian faiths: Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Protestant, Episcopalian, Mormon, Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witness, Assemblies of God, Orthodox, and many others follow the original plan of salvation the disciples preached in the Bible? They have formed their own man made paths for people to be saved. They all have the Bible, but inside their walls of Bible teachings they do not see or possibly ignore the one book that set the unchangeable plan of salvation in motion. Just like the Jews missing who Jesus was inside their walls of the Old Testament Jewish faith.
Does it not blow your mind that this scripture is a comparison to Jesus being among us in this world that was made by him and not knowing him with even going to the point of not receiving him (Jn. 1:10, 11)? This one scripture on which all of the plan of salvation hangs and is not received today as much just like Jesus. This one scripture, if it is obeyed it is EQUAL to receiving Jesus with him giving us power fulfilling the right to become the sons of God born of the water and of the Spirit by the will of God and flesh.
Rejecting this book and this scripture is rejecting Jesus himself. Deeming this book as a dead history book inside the New Testament is not up to interpretation, but on whose authority makes it dead? Would you want to be that person who stands in front of God telling Him all the people of the earth the book of Acts only a history book of the Apostles and nothing else? To mentally take a pair of scissors to cut out this book is to cut out your faith in God leaving a division inside your soul. The “I Could Have Been” absolutely one with God’s word in a more perfect way like Apollos or I will live inside the New Testament walls of man’s traditions.
The plan of salvation first started in Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” None of the churches above follow this plan of salvation. In this one scripture is all the God required Bible steps to the plan of salvation. It fulfills the “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:5. Did this plan of salvation stop? “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:38. Does this scripture say it has stopped? Did the disciples continue with this plan throughout the entire book of Acts?
The evidence throughout the book of Acts about Repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and receiving the Holy Ghost speaking in a language God gives you the utterance as a sign as the plan of salvation out weighs the ‘matter of interpretation‘ and moves it over into the question of whose authority denies this plan of salvation. Jesus inside the walls of the Jewish faith and this scripture inside the walls of the Christian faith has in question for you and I the “I Could Have Been” born again according to the book of Acts or the put together of other scriptures from other areas of the New Testament forming a plan.
Salvation is not in the gospels for they are the biographies and stories of Jesus. Salvation is not in the letters to the churches and individuals after the book of Acts for they are already saved Christians who need teachings, instructions, and corrections. Yet, inside the walls of the above churches the book of Acts is a dead history book inside God’s living word. We can be left inside our religion and missing this truth exactly like the Jews missed who Jesus was when he walked this earth or we can be like Apollos and many others with simply obeying the scriptures removing the “I Could Have Been” to be only a look back at being a sinner and now saved by the grace of God through repentance, baptism in Jesus name applying his blood washing away our sins, and receiving the power of the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us.
I fell in love with God’s word directly and His Spirit directly. “I Could Have Been” a Baptist all my life and never knew this truth. Absolutely, nothing against any religion, but more about a golden the truth ‘hidden in plain sight‘ inside our walls of the New Testament. The book of Acts is God’s living word and who has the authority to write it off as dead? I thank God for sending someone my way to read through the book Acts as God’s living word to this day with the original plan of salvation that has never changed.
All of us can be left inside the walls of our religion or we can read our Bibles directly and fellowship with God’s Spirit directly. Several Jews were privileged to be exposed to this truth and they finished their life without accepting this truth. We Christians can be privileged to be exposed to this truth and finish our lives without obeying this truth. How much truth do you want in your life?
“I Could Have Been” many things, but the best thing is to be a pure seeker of the Lord Jesus and His word to salvage and balance your life before leaving this world. Are you ready to leave your fishing nets to follow Jesus?