John 21:15-19 Amplified Bible
The Love Motivation
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [a]love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] [b]love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
Our Times Are in His Hand
18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the [c]kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
(Psalm 144:4) Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a shadow that passes away.
Perhaps there exists something so natural to us we take it too much for granted.
Perhaps that something which so very natural to us is our time alive, our time allotted to us by God to simply breathing and moving and living on this earth.
Do we take the time to ponder exactly how Time is so precious — time with our families, children, parents, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ – With God?
How do we invest our time?
When do we invest our time?
Where do we invest our time?
With whom do we invest our time?
Why do we invest our time with whomever we invest our times?
You know, when it comes right down to it, getting back to the basics of life, our time with God and each other is really more valuable than the money we invest.
Once the present time and its opportunities are gone, they can’t be reclaimed.
So as we begin each day, as we look at the sunshine through the rain, perhaps contemplate “time management” “thought management,” ask God we will be able to “know His time,” to see it for what it is, to use it for its greatest good.
Irretrievably so, time – God’s Time” passes quickly, like the shadows of early evening, it’s not long before it is absorbed into the gathering darkness of night.
When We Feel “Forever Stuck” In The Moment?
From time to time, while in the process of drafting a new devotional, I find myself in a deep mental conundrum – my mind and my spirit seem to go blank.
The kind of blankness I so desperately want to escape, but as every cliched movie villain always says, “escape is futile, resistance to change is futile”
Sometimes the same conundrum affects me on an emotional level, even spiritually – what difference is anything I write about a particular subject I believe the Holy Spirit provides, going to make in anyone I truly care about?
I feel a certain way and don’t want to, but the villain tells me yet again, escape is futile – In other words, I’m feeling stuck in my moment- or so I tell myself.
The first kind of hindrance is writer’s block, something every author eventually faces during his or her artistic pursuits.
Then there’s the kind of barrier we can all relate to, where we’re looking for a change on an emotional or spiritual level, but find ourselves confused, maybe even miserable – we are longing for answers but find none – That’s a life block.
We encounter them in our relationship with God, with each other.
We find them on the job and at home and on vacations.
We find them in ourselves and of ourselves.
In other words, we contend with a seemingly insurmountable problem; but only to us, the problem is not seemingly, but definitely perceived as insurmountable.
We’re stuck in a moment of time, or in a memory, or so we will take great pains to try to sell it that way to ourselves.
Escape is futile, we keep talking to ourselves and therefore we come to believe.
Yet, the reality is, deep down, we know the movie villain is 100% exaggerating.
For the dramatic effect and for their audiences, they will always exaggerate.
There is a way through the barrier, a way to get unstuck, a way back to writing those stories, transforming perspectives, having the right perspective of God.
Though the frustration and confusion may be too deep, ceaseless, unrelenting, too aggravating, too anger provoking, the solution is simple and two-fold.
First, take a break; not in the sense of giving up, but in the sense of ending your striving.
There’s only so much we can control in our lives.
The sooner we realize this, the more peace we will find.
After you take a break, either wait or look for inspiration.
Sometimes finishing a devotional requires that I stop writing for ten minutes so that I can go for a walk or have a quick moment to wander around my home.
Sometimes finishing a devotional requires me to temporarily set it aside, to pray to God and then as God will’s it, come back after a day or longer.
That time off from the writing effort is useful for conjuring up, discerning new ideas, letting the Holy Spirit work and gaining insight from God or other people.
Creating distance from the problem at hand often helps with developing a more objective perspective.
The same applies when we’re navigating relational conflict, battling addiction, battling mental health issues, family issues or just trying to discern God’s will.
After we take a break from all the struggles of doing things our own way, we can find “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” inspiration for tackling our circumstances.
Proverbs 16:1-4 Amplified Bible
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions],
But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].
[a]Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him],
And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].
The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.
Inspiration comes only through our connection to God, sometimes through people, sometimes through nature, and sometimes through so much more.
Inspiration also finds us through God’s Word, the wisdom of the Cross, and a visit from Jesus helping us see with a perspective that doesn’t come naturally.
Stuck in His Guilt, Peter is Restored to Discipleship
John 21:18-19 Amplified Bible
Our Times Are in His Hand
18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the [a]kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”
On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter had instantly revoked his discipleship.
Under threat of arrest and exposure and potential death sentence, by those in the courtyard he had denied three times that he was a follower of Jesus – each time he publicly proclaimed his denials more desperate than the previous one.
Luke 22:54-62 Amplified Bible
54 Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] [a]high priest. And Peter was following at a [safe] distance. 55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 57 But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him!” 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, “This man was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].
Again, to emphasis, the power of the moment, its deep significance, when he realized what he had done, he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75).
In that moment frozen forever in time, He was indescribably overwhelmed by incalculable shame and immeasurable guilt.
Luke 24:36-43 Amplified Bible
36 While they were talking about this, Jesus Himself [suddenly] stood among them and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said, “Why are you troubled, and why are doubts rising in your hearts? 39 Look at [the marks in] My hands and My feet, [and see] that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” 40 After saying this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still did not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate it in front of them.
Even as Peter with the other disciples in the Upper Room, heard the words from the resurrected Jesus – “Peace be To You,” the question – “why are you troubled and why are doubts rising in your hearts,” having been offered the opportunity to look at the marks in His hands and feet, to even touch them for his own self,
We can say that Peter’s heart, despite all of the irrefutable evidence offered by the resurrected Jesus to the contrary, Peter kept significant doubts of himself.
He looked directly into his Messiah’s eyes when he betrayed Him and wept bitterly and inconsolably – only an exchange of words with eye to eye contact would make any significant and lasting difference which did not happen here.
Such a moment required utmost discretion couples with the utmost presence of God in Christ and the utmost intimacy and the utmost compassion, forgiveness.
Jesus comes to the lakeshore.
After breakfast, Jesus and Peter together, go much further down the beach.
Jesus quietly looked into Peter’s eyes and quietly asked Peter a few questions.
But the questions were not “What were you thinking?” “Why did you abandon me when I needed you?” or “Why didn’t you have the guts to stick up for me?”
It was simply “Do you love me?”
Jesus had died on the cross for Peter’s sins.
What Jesus wanted to know now was only whether or not Peter still loved him.
Peter’s sins were in the past; Peter’s expression of love would shape his future.
When Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,”
Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death and the Lord of life, graciously invited him to take up his discipleship again and forgiven, follow him into the future.
Doing the same with us, Jesus is astonishingly gracious.
He doesn’t bring up our past sins, betrayals, or infidelities.
He simply wants to know if we love him.
He simply wants to know, to hear He can still make a difference in Peter’s life.
He simply wants to hear Peter acknowledge he still believed in himself, in his ability to move through and beyond his transgressions, to make a difference in the lives he will come to engage with until his own death at some future point.
Did Peter believe, though still being stuck in the brutality of his mistakes, he could still make a significant difference, significant impact in God’s kingdom?
Forward through the Ages for Christ’s sake – for that makes all the difference.
Whatever horrendous mess you might be stuck in now, are you seeking Jesus?
Forward in His Forgiveness, Forward through the Ages,
Do you Still love Him as He still loves you?
Will you still serve Him as He first Served you (Mark 10:35-45, Luke 19:9-10)?
Micah 6:6-8 Amplified Bible
What God Requires of Man
With what shall I come before the Lord [to honor Him]
And bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
Will the Lord be delighted with thousands of rams,
Or with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),
And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?
He invites us to go out and serve him today!
Steadfast and Immovable Gracious and Compassionate In Him.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Eternal God, please give me the wisdom to use the time given me today to do what is best, right, good, and profitable for Your Kingdom. I want to better invest my time in what is truly enduring and redemptive and transformative, living in and loving out from the depths of resurrection, from the depths of your mercy and forgiveness for all my sins. Please help me use my time to influence and bless all those with whom I may interact with so that they too are brought closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.