Loving Jesus Requires Faith in Action

Today’s post-resurrection appearance is a continuation of the fishing scene I wrote about in Encountering Jesus brings on May 17, 2019.  When they (Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, John and James and  two other disciples) had followed Jesus’ instructions and cast their nets as He directed, they hauled in a great catch.  Jesus had a welcoming fire waiting on the beach and beckoned them to bring some fish for roasting.   They ate together and then Jesus spoke to Peter.

john 21 15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. ”  John 21:15-17

Jesus had previously had an encounter with Peter where I’m sure they dealt with Peter’s great guilt over his denial.  (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)  Scholars put this first appearance to Peter on Resurrection Sunday where this encounter in Galilee is later.  Here it would seem Jesus is making a point of asking Peter about his proclaimed love for Him.  He asks 3 times, like his denials.  Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and if he does, then Peter is to show his love for His sheep.  He is to feed or tend to His sheep.  Throughout the gospels sheep have been synonymous with followers and my sheep specifically believers in Jesus.   John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Jesus is the good shepherd who died for all believers.  John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”  and John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”   Jesus is asking Peter to demonstrate his love for Him by leading, tending, loving, caring for, guiding, protecting…. those who are believers in Jesus.  He is saying ‘be a good shepherd’ to the flock of believers that come into your life.

Isn’t that what Jesus wants for us too?  As believers, like Peter, we are to look out for others, lead them towards Jesus, care for them, show them kindness and give that ‘cup of cold water’ in His name.  Knowing Jesus, requires us to take up this ‘job’ and love others.  We do it not because we have to but because we love Jesus.  James tells us faith without works is dead (James 2:26 ) and loving and showing Jesus to others is our compelling love Jesuswork for Him.  We do it not out of obligation or for future reward but out of love for our Savior.  Who will you show love to today?  Who will you ‘feed or tend’ in Jesus’ name?

Linda

It was given in a word, her name.

One of the most touching post-resurrection appearances of Jesus was when He appeared to Mary in the garden.  It is recounted in John 20:14-18.  She was at the tomb, had seen the angels and heard them say that Jesus was not there but risen.  However, she was so overcome with grief it had yet to truly register with her brain.    They (the angels) said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to john-20-16be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 

This scene touches me as it only took Jesus saying her name for her to recognize Him.  In John 10:27 Jesus told the disciples that the ones who know Him will recognize His voice and follow Him  ” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”   Mary knew immediately that it was her Lord saying her name.  She was instantly comforted and wanted to touch Him.  He cautioned her not to touch him, but to go and tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord!  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to john 20 18my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Mary needed to have the Savior’s touch.  He touched her with His voice and He gave her the reassurance that all would be well.  He confirmed he was risen, was the Messiah and that  He was alive.  He showed her that there was eternal Hope in Him!  She got all of that from Jesus saying her name.  What do you need Jesus to say to you today?  Do you need Him to call you by name, give you a word of encouragement, a word of guidance, or simply a word of Hope?  He can say and do it all- if you just ask Him.   Seek Him and He will be found, today!    

  Linda 

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Today the garden tomb is a very peaceful spot in Jerusalem.

What’s your fragrance like?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the aroma of Christ about me. Paul wanted the Ephesians, and us too, to think about the effect we have on others when we are around them. You can tell if someone bathes regularly, uses special soap or shampoo or is wearing a fragrance, but you can also smell one who does not bathe regularly, who ate garlic or onions recently or who is wearing an offensive fragrance. Paul says we have the ‘smell’ of Christ. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a This is a sobering thought that to other believers or those who are open to Christ we the aroma of Christ. This aroma is pleasing to God and reminds them of life and brings knowledge of Christ to them. However, to the unbeliever the aroma of Christ and His presence in our life through His indwelling Holy Spirit smells of death, condemnation and judgement.

Today as we consider our presence in the lives of others, let us ask ourselves, Do I have the aroma of Christ about me? Can others smell His presence in my life? How strong or weak is my fragrance? If you think you are only fragrant enough for God to smell you, spend some time in His Word or in prayer or with other Christians or in worship or listening to Christian music. All of those will strengthen your fragrance towards God and others.

Linda

Suggestion: spend some time today in a fragrance a building activity- in the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship or listening to Christian music. Remember your presence speaks to others.

Love, where does it come from?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have love for others. Jesus was very emphatic that as Christians we are to show love for one another. First we are to love God then others. Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Jesus also spoke of loving others in John 15:12, 15 “My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” “This is my command:Love each other.”

Why is loving others so important? It shows we strive to be like Jesus. His character and love are perfect and He desires that we grow to reflect Him. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” What is this love supposed to look like? Romans 12:10 gives us direction. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Hebrews 10:24 tells us it is to be a continual thought in our minds, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Where does this loving and honoring attitude come from? Since Jesus commands it, when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior His spirit indwells us and empowers us for right living! Paul eloquently wrote to the Ephesians in 3:17b-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Being filled with the love of Christ leads us into a life filled with love and good deeds towards others.

Linda

Suggestion: Ask God to send you someone special to love with His love today.

Established, Anointed and Sealed- Thank you Jesus!

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been established, anointed and sealed by God the Holy Spirit.   I put these all together as they are all stated in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”   First, Paul says we are established by God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1-21  Other words used for established are stand firm in or to be confirmed in Christ.  The Holy Spirit within us enables us to join with Christ and stand with Him in faith.   Second Paul says,  we are anointed by God’s Holy Spirit.  This anointing empowers us with His Spirit and gives us gifts to work for Him. (Gal 5:22-23, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit of God would come upon people to do certain tasks for a certain amount of time.  But since Jesus died and rose from the dead, believers now have His indwelling Spirit with us 24/7.  This indwelling starts the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior!  Believers are  anointed by God to live for Him and do His good work.   Lastly, Paul reminds us we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and His Spirit living 
2 Corinthians 1-22within us is a guarantee to our hearts that we are saved by Him and have an eternal future with Him.  When I do canning, I use heat to seal my jars to keep out polluting air and germs.  It keeps the contents fresh and usable for future time.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit is our protection from the sin-filled world around us and keeps us usable for His work now and into the future.  

Feel the joy today of being establish, anointed and sealed by God the Holy Spirit.

Linda

Thank-You-JesusSuggestion:  Remember a time when God helped you to stand firm for Him.  Remember your own coming to faith in Jesus and share it with someone if you can.  Thank Jesus that His Holy Spirit confirms you each and every day as belonging to Him!

Christ has it – No need to worry or fret!

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have untold resources and possibleriches available to me in Christ.  Once we grasp this concept of riches in Christ, a whole new world is opened to us.  As Jesus said, in Matthew 17:20, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Here are some key verses about God’s riches given to us in ChristPhilippians 4:19 philippians 4 19is a wonderful promise from God. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  God knows what we need and promises to supply all our needs.  When I am stressing over money, relationships or personal suffering, I take great comfort in knowing Jesus has my back and will provide all that I need whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual.  He is there with me and knows my needs before even I do.  In Colossians 2:2-3,  Paul expands the idea as he speaks to the Colossains. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so col 2 2 3that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.   Jesus has resources that can bring me complete understanding and encourage me to work together for Him in love.

The riches available to us in Christ are for:  the strengthening of our faith, the release from worry about material provisions, the increase in understanding of His Word and the understanding of the mystery of salvation, atonement, sanctification, forgiveness, justification, Christlike living, fruits of the Holy Spirit, ……    With this increased knowledge and focus we are rich and have all we need for godly living in Christ! Like the Colossians we will  be united in purpose and love as we serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

Linda

Suggestion:  Make a list of the things you understand about Christ today that were hard or unknown to you before becoming a follower of Jesus.  You will be thankful and amazed.  Make a list ways God has provided for you in just the last few months.  You will be thankful and amazed!  Thank you Jesus.

Promises, do you know any to claim?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have very great and precious promises I can claim for my life.  The verse I chose as the theme verse for my book Promises for Dynamic Living shows us exactly how blessed with promises we are.   2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 

Jesus promises He has given us everything, absolutely everything we need for a godly life because we know Him through faith.  The promises He has included in His Word should be extremely precious to us as the promises help us to be one in the Spirit with Him and live a life that is above the corruption of this world.   I find this simple truth encouraging.  Satan wants us to believe there are things missing from our lives that only the world can provide.  Christ says, “NO!!”,  I have given you everything you need.  Satan wants us to believe that the world is fulfilling and will lead to a good life.  Christ says, “NO!!”, the way of the world leads to destruction and away from godly living.

So what exactly has Jesus provided for us in His promises?  As you study the scriptures, you find that we are promised many things- comfort, love, salvation, hope, peace, joy, understanding of godly things, fellowship with God the Father and Son, infilling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life…..  the list goes on.  Each of these are promised by our faithful loving God.    Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  unchanging GodGod and His truth is unchanging from the creation of everything until now-God does not change and will not change.  We can count on this.  So all the things God promises in His Word from the beginning are still true and unchanging.    Hebrew 6:17-19a further confirms God’s mind for us.  17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 

130907-Let-God-s-PromisesHow can the truths of 2 Peter 1:3-4 effect our lives?  If we take Jesus at His Word and believe in His great and precious promises, we will live abundant lives that are filled by His Holy Spirit.  He wants us to lead godly lives that are anchored in His hope.

Linda

Suggestion:  Take the challenge today and look into His Word- seek His precious promises and then claim them in your life.  Need help finding promises? Here are a few to get you started:  Nahum 1:7, Philippians 4:19, Lamentations 3:21-23, James 4:7-8a, Deuteronomy 31:6.   Or for a longer list you could get a copy of my book Promises for Dynamic Living.   In it you will  find 70 different promises from God’s Word explained in a devotional format.  Each promise is meant for you as God desires to enrich and lead you towards greater godliness in Christ.

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Get a copy in paperback or eBook form-available on my website from my publisher or Amazon.  My new edition now has questions for group Bible Study included.  Order it today.

My entrance ticket is valid and being used daily, is yours?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have entrance into His kingdom.  The gospels refer to the kingdom of God frequently.  Jesus said that one needs child like faith in God to gain entrance.  Mark 10:15  “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Jesus said that entrance would be harder for the wealthy as laying aside their wealth to pursue God’s kingdom is tough.  Mark 10:25 “ It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  Jesus was sent to proclaim the good news of His kingdom and He sent the disciples out to proclaim it too.  Luke 9:2 “and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”  Jesus used parables to describe His kingdom with the mustard seed and leaven in Luke 13:18-19,21 “He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” 21 “It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three God's kingdommeasures of flour, until it was all leavened.”  All of these examples tell us that to see the kingdom of God we must have faith, as a child, set aside our worldly goals in pursuit of His kingdom,  be dedicated to telling others about Jesus and growing continually in our love for Jesus.

John tells us straight out how we can gain entrance into God’s kingdom.  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3    Paul explains in Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Entrance into God’s kingdom comes through faith in Jesus and the power of the romans 14 17indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to live in and for His kingdom day by day.   Because of Jesus and His work on the cross, I can gain entrance into God’s kingdom now and forever through faith in Him.  Christ alone is the answer!

Linda

Suggestion:  Take inventory of your kingdom benefits- do you feel you have right standing with God because of Christ?  Do you have peace and joy from the inside out provided by the Holy Spirit?  Look to Jesus and ask Him with a repentant heart to clean your heart and mind and give you indwelling joy and peace.  He is faithful and will provide what you need to be whole.

Double promises today- access and belonging! BE Encouraged!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God and belong to His household.  There are 2 powerful verses in Ephesians that define our place with God and our access to Him.  Ephesians 2:18-19  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”  Because of him (Jesus) we have access to God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Because of His death and resurrection we are no longer isolated by our sin but belong to God through our faith in Jesus.  God sees us as His sons and daughters and citizens of heaven awaiting a time when we will live eternally with Him.  

We have access to God through Jesus’ work on the cross and indwelling Holy Spirit.   Ephesians 3:12 “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”    Hebrews 7:25  “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost  those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”    1 John 4:13 “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit.”  What a privileged position we hold.  Christ sent His Holy Spirit to live within us and give us access to Him 24/7.  We can come before Him anytime be it day or night.  We know that He will listen and encourage us as we belong to Him.  

passportWe are fellow citizens in heaven and members of His household.  If we are members of His household, then He is our Father.   “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.”  Galatians 4:6                                                   “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”  Philippians 3:20    Jesus went to prepare our heavenly home.  It is where we belong as citizens of heaven, saints and members of His household!

Since we live in the hear and now, I often forget that I already am a citizen of heaven and that in the future my home will be there with God.  As for now, I can revel in the fact that I can stay in constant communication with Jesus through His indwelling Holy Spirit and that He is interceding for me there in heaven.   Romans 8:26-27 confirms this, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”    

What dynamic promises- access to our Lord and Savior and belonging to Him.  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time interceding with God on behalf of someone else.  Exercise you privilege of prayer and thank Him that you belong to Him forever!

 

 

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What are you thinking?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the mind of Christ.  In 1 Corinthians Paul is talking to the Corinthian believers about wisdom, and how we can know and discern the things of God.  The natural person does not accept the WE-have-the-mind-of-Christ-300x225things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:14-16  With our natural mind we can’t know the things of God but with the indwelling Holy Spirit we can understand God and know Him.  The spiritual person is not to be judged by the opinions of unbelievers who consider the things of God to be foolish.  We are only held accountable to God.  His standard of conduct is the only one we need consider.  We are assured that the indwelt believer has the mind of Christ.

So what does that mean to you?  As I pondered what having Christ’s mind might mean, James 3:17 came to mind, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere”.   Having the mind of Christ would mean we have access to godly wisdom as described by James.   We can have pure thoughts, a spirit of peace in our words, gentle presentation of our thoughts to others, reasonable thoughts not prone to wander or be self-serving,  thoughts filled with mercy,  thoughts that produce good things for ourselves and others, thoughts without bias and thoughts that are always sincere not being fake in any way.  I know that having the mind of Christ is a growing process and does not happen overnight.  As we draw near to God we are promised in James 4:8 that God will draw near to us. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,”  The closer we walk with Jesus the more we can think and act as He would.  A mind that is governed by Jesus would be glorifying to God and produce a vibrant and whole life for us.  Consider the words of James today as you go about your daily routine.  What part of the mind of Christ, the wisdom that comes from above, are you seeing in your life?

Linda

guidanceSuggestion:  Pray and ask God to give you thoughts from Christ’s mind today-pure, gentle, loving, filled with hope and mercy, without bias, and totally sincere.  See the difference it will make in how you feel and view others.