I realized that I need to have my QT first thing in the morning. I have realized that for a while. Sometimes though, in the midst of busy times - it is tempting to get on with life and do my QT later. Doesn't happen. Same with my journalling which lately has been a little neglected.
Such it was that I poured a big cup of fresh bold black coffee and sat down with my NIV and New Living Bibles (I sometimes like to compare wording among translations) and began to read John 21. What a story. I have read it before many times. I am sure many of you will know the story... the one where 7 disciples are fishing all night - in the Sea of Galilee and they get absolutely nothing. At dawn they are returning to land and someone calls from the shore - asking them if they caught anything. Then he tells them to put their nets on the other side of their boat and WOW - they catch so many fish they can hardly pull their nets! I think it says they caught 153 LARGE fish and others. (hmm, why did they count them? was this just so unbelievable for them!)
Now - it is obvious that they did not recognize who the person on shore was. Then it says "then the disciple Jesus loved" told Peter that it was Jesus!! I love how John always describes himself as the disciple that Jesus loved!!
So Peter knowing this, jumps into the water and rushes to Jesus. I can just imagine the man-hugging that took place on the beach! This was the third time that Jesus met with them since his resurrection. What delight!! They come to the beach and there is a charcoal fire!
Now I love campfires! I can just imagine the smell of the smoke... the crackle of the fire...the warmth... the glow. This one of our families' favorite things ~ sitting around a campfire. So many good conversations and meals have happened around the fire! Here this morning, cooked by none other than the Master himself - on the menu: freshly fried fish and fresh baked bread!
Then the conversation happens.
Now remember Peter - he was the one who Jesus had warned would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed! Peter denied this would ever happen and then it did. I always feel his pain when I read this. I can't imagine how Peter's heart must have broken when he heard the rooster crow and realized what Jesus had warned him about had come true. So no wonder Peter is so glad to see his Lord - his friend - his Saviour.
Peter is the one who when Jesus asked in Matthew - "who do the people say that the Son of Man is?" And then Jesus says "who do you say I am?" Peter is the one that KNOWS Jesus is CHRIST - the Son of the LIVING GOD! And Jesus says to him (Matthew 16: 13-20 I think it is) "Blessed are you Simon.... for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter (which means rock) and on this rock I will build my church and the powers of hell will not conquer it!"
Jesus had told Peter that before his denial in regards to knowing Jesus. So now - here are Peter and Jesus, by the lake's edge - in intimate discussion. And Jesus asks Peter... "Do you love me?" Peter responds yes, you know I do. Jesus asks Peter the same question 3 times! By the third time Peter is hurt. I had to think of how I would feel. I guess I would feel down too! After all Jesus knows our hearts!
Jesus knows. Sometimes that is something I think we forget. Other times I think we perhaps, or should I speak for myself - I take that for granted. Some people think, why bother praying if he knows our thoughts. Other times I think, oh my, HE KNOWS WHAT I AM THINKING... how could I be thinking that!
When I read this scripture, it is as if the words Jesus speaks to Peter are just dripping with love! He really wants to know if Peter has the affection for him that he says he does. And Peter - dear Peter, the "ROCK" - out of his hurt he lovingly answers YES. I LOVE YOU.
This was a time of restoration for Peter. Before He was asked 3 times about knowing Jesus... and he denied it 3 times. This time, around the charcoals glowing, Jesus asks him 3 times... Peter confesses his love for the Lord 3 times... and Jesus gives him 3 commissions. Feed my Lambs. Care for my Sheep. Feed my Sheep. What joy Peter must have experienced.
I know that if we read it over we also see that Jesus was really preparing Peter for hard times. After all - Peter would die for the sake of Christ. There was nothing easy about Peter's life.
But the bottom line - it was all about LOVING JESUS!
I realize today, as I sit here (preparing to pack another day) that it is all about loving the Lord. My life - as it is - would be absolutely nothing if Jesus was not the Lord of my life. I really really believe that. I will admit - I think our lives have been full of hard things. It would be easy for me to say, sort of like Peter did when he asked Jesus - well what about John over there. Sometimes it is so easy to compare and say "WHAT ABOUT HIM? WHAT ABOUT HER?" But I realize again and again - that my faith - my life with Jesus is not ME DOING THINGS = GOD GIVING ME THINGS (it is not A+B=C) It is ALL about loving him with my whole heart and soul and mind and strength! It is all about loving my neighbor as myself. It is all about LOVE!!
Jesus calls me to a life of loving Him and others. He calls me to walking in obedience regardless of what comes my way. Sure, HE knows my heart and knows that sometimes I ask alot of QUESTIONS... (why God? why us God? God what are you thinking? God - where are you?) BUT the bottom line, He just wants me to love him and FOLLOW HIM!
One night after Awana Girls Club, I came home and told my mom that I wanted to give my life to Jesus. She explained how all I needed to do was to confess my sin to the Lord, and tell him I believed he died for me on the cross, and that he rose again and forgives me! I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was January, 1966. That was the night, at almost 8 years of age I knelt by my bed and asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. I responded to the Lord's call to "Follow Me!"
At 52 - I know he has led me through all these years. Through the good, the bad, the ugly times. He has been my strength. I will continue to Follow Him.