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

Encountering Jesus brings….

One of my favorite post-resurrection appearances is in John 21.  This passage will bring a smile to your face and assurance of the Savior’s love,  as you picture the scene beside the Sea of Galilee.

Several of the disciples had gathered by the Sea of Galilee, Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John and 2 other disciples (John 21:1-2) and Jesus appeared to them.

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with. you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was john 21 4Jesus.  He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” they answered.  He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”  When they did they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”  As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him(for the had taken it off) and jumped into the water.  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about 100 yards.  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore.  It was full of large fish, 153, but even with some say the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came , took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.   John 21:3-14    (The prior appearances were in the upper room, see blogs from April 26, May 10 and May 14)

I love this tender story of Jesus’ compassion for the tired discouraged fishermen who were his friends.  Here are a few Lessons and Truths we can know from this passage as what Jesus did for them that morning, He can do for us too:                                                    1.  Jesus knows how things are going in my life, my disappointments and my joys.              2.  Jesus considers me His friend.                                                                                                        3.  Jesus can guide and provide for my needs.                                                                                  4.  If I look, Jesus will reveal himself to me; He is always near.                                                    5.  Jesus makes himself known to me.                                                                                                6.  Jesus desires to commune with me.

John 20 10Which of these lessons and truths speak to you today?   James 4:8 tell us,  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”   Meet Him today where ever you are, He will be there waiting for you just like He was for the disciples that morning by the sea.

Linda

Here is my picture of sunrise over the Sea of Galilee and the typical fishing boat used with tourist in Israel today.

Is Jesus personal to you?

Several of the post-resurrection appearances were to specific individuals instead of groups.  Jesus met Mary as I wrote about in the blog of May 3, 2019,  but today I want to look at Jesus’ appearance to Peter and James.  The appearance to Peter is mentioned in Peter appearancepassing in Luke 24:34 “saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  and in 1 Corinthians 15:5 by Paul “and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve”.   The Luke message was delivered to the disciples by the two men who Jesus met on the Road to Emmaus (blog of 4/23/2019).  Here the men referred to Peter as Simon using his old name.   Jesus also referred to Peter by his old name when He told him he would deny Him three time before the rooster crowed. The prediction of the denial is recorded in both Matthew 26 and Mark 14.  The actual denial event is recorded in all 4 gospels, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18.   Peter was not acting with his new believing nature, clinging to the rock of faith which is Jesus, but with the old, impetuous, doubting nature of unbelieving Simon.  It shows great compassion from our Lord to singularly appear to Peter to forgive and restore him.  Jesus would have known the anguish and guilt Peter was feeling after his denial of Jesus the night before the Crucifixion.  The forgiven Peter went onward, never doubting nor denying his Lord and Savior again.  Jesus personally knows what we need and seeks to be there for each one of us.   What a wonderful, compassionate and loving Savior we serve.

The other post-resurrection appearance that was mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:7 was to James.  Scholars believe this was James the half-brother of Jesus and not one of the other followers named James.  His brother did not believe in Christ before the resurrection, but afterward became a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem, wrote james appearancethe book of James and died a martyr’s death in 62 A.D.  “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”  This appearance speaks to me of Jesus’ compassion and love for his earthly family and for those who are lost.  2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.   He knew James needed to see Him personally to be confronted with his unbelief.  Jesus does that for each one of us as we seek to come to faith and trust in Him.  He is a personal God that loves and cares for each of us.

Jesus personal GodIs Jesus personal to you today?  Do you claim Him as your God and Savior?  Mary did in Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”  Thomas did in John 20:28 “ Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” and Paul in Philippians 4:19 “ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”    Let Him hear your words of declaration today as you thank Him for being your God and Savior.

Linda

Look who’s here! Jesus is alive!

For 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples and others to show them living proof that He was alive.  On Resurrection Sunday He met the women in the garden, and the two men walking on the Road to Emmaus.  In today’s passage, Jesus appeared to those disciples gathered in the Upper Room.

“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’  They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.  He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’  When he had said them he showed them his hands and feet.  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.”   Luke 24:36-43

What was their immediate concern?  Is Jesus real or are we experiencing hallucinations?  What is your reaction when confronted by Jesus?   Do you doubt who Jesus is and question His reaching out to you?  Do you think your feelings are not real?Jesus reassured the disciples that He was a real living being just as He promised.  He proved it to them by showing them His hands and feet- pierced at the cross, and eating.   Matt 7 7How does Jesus make himself known to you?  Does He come to you in prayer, in the helping hands of others or through His Word?   Jesus can and does reveal himself to us if we are open and willing.  In Matthew 7:7 Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”   Be a seeker today and know the joy of His presence.  Be amazed as you encounter the living Lord Jesus, just as the disciples did in the upper room.  Each encounter with Jesus brings new revelation and understanding of who He is!

Linda

upper-room
The disciples encountered Jesus in the upper room, where will you meet Him today?

Words of life, do you have them?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a complete manual for living in God’s Word.  God’s Word has stood firm and resolute since the beginning of time.  His Word, Jesus, came in human form bringing salvation to all who believe.  His Words in the Bible bring life, depth, understanding and guidance to us so that we can live the lives that God intends by following His ways and bringing Him glory.   Here are a few verses affirming the guidance and hope we receive in God’s Word:

Psalm 119:9 “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.”  Obedience to God’s Word leads one towards purity in all areas of life.

God's WordPsalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  God’s Word internalized helps us not to sin.

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet  and a light for my path.”  God’s Word provides guidance to my life.

Matthew 4:4 “But Jesus told him (Satan), “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  God’s Word rebukes Satan and gives spiritual sustenance for living.

Luke 11:28 “Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”  Applying God’s Word to our lives brings blessing.

John 6:63 and 68  “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”  and “Simon hebrews 4 12Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”  God’s Words are words of life and spirit and they lead to eternal life in Him.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  God’s Word is alive and works on our hearts, minds, souls and desires to align them with His ways.

Jesus plainly said that His Words lead to life.  Thank you Jesus.

words of lifeLinda

Suggestion:  Open His Word today and reread some of the above passages.  Let Him speak to you from His Word and be blessed.

Looking for your keys? See Jesus, He found them.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have an eternal home.  Jesus’ work on the cross reconciled us, as sinners,  and brought us into relationship with Holy God.  Jesus knew that future believers would then dwell with Him in heaven.  He reassured the disciples of this joyful fact even though they did not understand it at the time.  It was only later they would grasp more fully the greatness of the price He paid to mansionsredeem all mankind.  John 14:1-2 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;  believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?     Jesus wanted his disciples, and us too, to understand that He was leaving them,  but He was going ahead to prepare a place, a home for them.  He assured them there would be room enough for all.  This scripture is often used at funerals to comfort the grieving.  The idea that we have a prepared place to go, a home in heaven is of great comfort and gives us great hope.

There are other scriptures that would imply that this eternal home is not only a place,  but a new body form.  In our heavenly home, we will have a heavenly body that is eternal, immortal and imperishable.  2 Corinthians 5:1-2 in the Amplified version makes it very clear. “For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our imperishablehouse is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling,”    and   1 Corinthians 15:42 “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The [human] body that is sown is perishable and mortal, it is raised imperishable and immortal.”   

Be encouraged today as the suffering of this life will end and we will someday be with Jesus in a new body in a new home.  Praise God!

christ alone hopeLinda

Suggestion:  Find someone to share your eternal hope and destination with and tell them how that gives you hope for today.  You live with assurance as you know you have a home in heaven and Jesus is waiting for you there.

Equipped, God’s methods bring the greatest results!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been equipped to do 2 Timothy 3-17His work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God  may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  God has given us the whole of scripture, His divine Word, so that in it and through it we can be equipped for anything He calls us to do for Him.    The author of Hebrews was also aware of this equipping that comes through Jesus.  He closed his letter assuring the readers that God equips so that His will will be accomplished.  Hebrews 13 21Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Knowing that God equips when He calls you to do something for Him gives me great comfort.  We do not need to feel we are capable in ourselves but our reliance needs to be  upon Him, His Word, His powerful indwelling Holy Spirit and His great resources.  God will see that His work and will is accomplished.  Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things,  and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”   We can rest in the promise given in Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  We can be certain that God’s work will be done and nothing in heaven or earth can stop it.  We can also be certain that when He calls us to do His work we can do it because He will equip, empower and provide all we need to see it through.

Linda

job 42 2Suggestion:  are you struggling with something you think God is calling you to do, are you doubting if you have the time, energy, knowledge, etc. to do this?   Pray, look into God’s Word and ask Him if this calling is from Him.  If  you feel His answer is yes, then let go and let God equip and transform you so that His will is accomplished. It is a matter of trust and faith.  You will be surprised by the growth and results when God is in charge of the equipping.

When God calls you, how do you answer?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a holy calling from God.  The idea that we are called is an intriguing thought. Called is defined as being summoned or drawn by divine command by God .  2 Timothy 1:9 says this is a high calling, 2 timothy 1 9“who saved us and called us to  a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,”  Our calling is to come to faith and walk each day with Jesus, Paul calls this a holy calling.  This implies that God initiated the call and has reasons for calling us to do His work.  The verse goes on to say we did nothing to deserve this calling,  but God has a plan and a purpose for us.  He knows how He will use us in His kingdom for His glory producing in us growth and well being. Our response to His call, by faith in Jesus,  is our part and allows us to enter His kingdom and do His work.  He calls us because of His grace, giving us what we do not deserve because He loves us and desires to be in relationship with us.  God is relational in all aspects of His being.

In various others places in scripture this idea of a holy or special call is used that confirm the idea that God calls and we respond.  Paul addresses the letter to the Romans and Corinthians with similar words.   Romans 1:7 “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saintsGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”   To what and by whom are you feeling called today?  If God is calling,  you can be assured that He will lead, provide and guide you into His will for His glory.  He has great plans for you and He stated so in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”   Step out if faith today trusting God with your future and His plans for your good and His glory.  There is great hope with Him.

worthy-or-willingLinda

Suggestion:  Spend some time today asking God how you can answer His call and bring Him glory.  Then be open to the opportunities that He will surely bring!

Free to be me in Christ!

romans 6 22Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made free from sin.  By nature of birth, I am a sinner and will always be a sinner until I go to heaven.  Knowing Jesus as my Savior allows me to be free from the power of sin over my life.  When I go to heaven, I will be freed from the power and presence of sin, but until then I need to walk humbly with God and keep short accounts, meaning repent of my sins and not allow Satan a foot hold into my life.

There are many verses that assure us that we are freed from sin’s power through faith in Christ.  Here are a few:

Romans 6:6-7 “We know that our old self  was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free  from sin.”  Through faith our old nature, the person within that desires to do sinful things, is dead and made powerless so that we are free in Jesus.

Romans 6: 17-18 “Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” (NLT)   Since we are free in Christ, we can live for Him doing and thinking right things.

Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”   Freedom in Christ allows the Holy Spirit to grow us up in Christ making us more and more like Jesus.

romans 6 17Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  We are free in Jesus no longer condemned to eternal death by sin!

Revelation 1:5b “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”   John opens his revelation about end times with this prayer.  He knew that Jesus was the one responsible for our freedom from sin and our status in God’s eyes.  Thank you Jesus.

freedom in christEnjoy your freedom in Christ today!

Linda

Suggestion: reflect on your life-  How are you thinking, talking or doing things differently since having Jesus in your life?  Thank Jesus for that change.  What are you still doing, thinking or saying that you want to stop so you can be more like Jesus?  Ask Jesus to change that within you and free you from that sin.  He will!

Are you sure God is listening?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God in prayer.  The Bible is filled with believers’ prayers to God.  David, Job, Solomon, Daniel and the list goes on and on as they called upon God and were assured that He heard their prayers.  Jesus prayed and was heard by the Father and, he often sought a solitary place to spend time with His Father to gain strength and commune with Him.  Since Jesus died on the cross, believers have an internal connection through the Holy Spirit with Him.  Here are a few scripture for you to meditate upon today as you consider your prayer life and connection to Him.

Ephesians 2:13, 17-18 ”  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”   His Holy Spirit brings us near to Him, thank you Jesus!

ephesains 3 12Ephesian 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”  We can seek Him boldly with confidence because of Jesus, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  We can come before Him knowing He will treat us with grace and mercy, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews-7-25Hebrews 7:25 “ Therefore he is able to save completely, those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  I can know that I am whole in Him and I am humbled by the truth that Jesus prays for me, thank you Jesus!

James 4:8a “Come near to God and he will come near to you. ”  Access to God is made possible by Jesus as His Holy Spirit helps draw us closer to Him, thank you Jesus!

Come-near-to-God-James-4-8-free-printable-thumb-I pray these verses assure you that as a believer you have access to God in prayer, can approach Him with confidence, know that Jesus will intercede for you before the Father and that He desires that we come and draw near to Him.  Pray boldly with confidence, Jesus is with you.

Linda

Suggestion:  pray today with confidence, assurance and hope that God will hear your prayers and draw near to you!  Then, live like you believe it!