Monday, August 24, 2009

remember to love

15After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Master, you know I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16He then asked a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Master, you know I love you." Jesus said, "Shepherd my sheep." 17 -19Then he said it a third time: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I'm telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you'll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don't want to go." He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, "Follow me." 20 -21Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, "Master, what's going to happen to him?" 22 -23Jesus said, "If I want him to live until I come again, what's that to you? You—follow me." That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn't die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, "If I want him to live until I come again, what's that to you?"24This is the same disciple who was eyewitness to all these things and wrote them down. And we all know that his eyewitness account is reliable and accurate. 25There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can't imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books.

John 21

i was supposed to read this passage this morning but i ended up talking about it with bob yesterday morning haha. so i've heard this verse and listened to a message concerning it about two months ago during a conference. the speaker talked about how some people thought Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him to redeem himself of the three times he denied Jesus. our speaker then gave his point of view and suggested that Jesus had to be sure that Peter loved Hm and was ready for the task laid out for him. if we remember, Jesus calls Peter the "rock." after Jesus ascends into heaven, the disciples get together and pray. peter stands up and preaches and 3000 people accept Christ and are baptized that day. Jesus said that He was going to build the church on this "rock." so our speaker thought that Jesus was asking Peter this to make sure that he was ready to be the first leader of the first church of Jesus Christ.

as i talked to bob yesterday, God revealed to us one more interpretation, and it's something that spoke directly to me. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times. peter says yes three times. we know that when someone repeats themselves, there might be something there that that person wants to get across. when Jesus repeats Himself, we know for certain that He wants us to pay attention! how do we stop serving? how do we stop being friends? how do end up getting divorces? why do we end up arguing and fighting with one another? why do we get frustrated when things don't go our way or people don't act how we expect them to act? we forget what Jesus is asking peter to do. to love Him. we forget to simply love each other. we forget to love Jesus. i forget to love Jesus. and that's why i get so burnt out. i forget why i do these things. a while back, i learned that i should remember that i'm doing everything for God and that gave me strength. but months later, God is teaching me something new to add onto that! i've been serving God but i forgot why i was serving God in the first place! i've been getting stressed and frustrated because i'm been doing things for God but without my heart! you can be serving God all your life and still be frustrated. we have churches and churches that do things for God. but then we forget why we serve! we forget our first love! we forget that we do these things for God because we love Him!! we stop serving, we stop being friends, we end up getting divorces, we argue and fight, and get frustrated because we forget that all of our actions should stem from love for God and love for the people around us! i think we we have to remember the greatest command! Matthew 22:35-40 "'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.' All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments." everything hangs on it. we have to remember that we do everything because of our love for God and when we do that, joy and love overflows into everything that we do! remember to love.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


1 -3After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed "Twin"), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, "I'm going fishing." 3 -4The rest of them replied, "We're going with you." They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn't recognize him. 5Jesus spoke to them: "Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?" They answered, "No." 6He said, "Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens." They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren't strong enough to pull it in. 7 -9Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Master!" When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren't far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it. 10 -11Jesus said, "Bring some of the fish you've just caught." Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn't rip. 12Jesus said, "Breakfast is ready." Not one of the disciples dared ask, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Master. 13 -14Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.

John 21

what caught my eye this morning is when the disciples have been trying to fish all night but caught nothing, but when Jesus comes along and tells them to cast the net off the right side of the boat and to see what happens. they end up catching a bunch of fish, and not only that, but big fish! i think for a lot of us, and i know at least for myself, i try saving people or "fishing" all night with no luck. i think i know what i'm doing, but Jesus comes along and tells us to do something different and we end up catching a huge number of big fish! for me, i think what God is trying to reveal to me today is that i really have to wait on God to show me where and when to fish, i can't just go and fish with no direction! if i go and fish without any instruction, i end up catching nothing because i'm not waiting on God anymore! i'm not depending on God to change people's hearts and i start depending on myself once again. i end up going off without Jesus and what happens? He'll let me go and find out for myself that i can't do it without Him! let's wait on God. let's wait on Jesus. let's let Him work in us to let us know when to fish and where to fish, when and where to really ask people to consider Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. i truly believe that He lets us know when to do so and when we wait on God's instruction and His moving in our hearts, people are saved. =]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

living proof

19 -20Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." Then he showed them his hands and side. 20 -21The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: "Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you." 22 -23Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?" 24 -25But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, "We saw the Master." But he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't believe it." 26Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." 27Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe." 28Thomas said, "My Master! My God!" 29Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing." 30 -31Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

John 20

i think we all wish we could see the nail holes in his hands, put our finger in the nail holes, and stick our hand in his side. to be sure. to be positive. to really believe. i think there's so many times in our lives where we want Jesus to be here physically, so that we can touch Him and wrap our arms around Him. it's so hard sometimes, when the world wants nothing to do with Him. when they demand proof and make Him out to be a joke. we cry out sometimes that He would reveal Himself to everyone so they can see the holes and touch them. Jesus says in the passage, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing." if we thought that thomas was blessed to see Jesus and get to touch Him after being resurrected, we realize from this verse that we are far more blessed than thomas because we believe in Jesus without being able to see Him. it requires even more faith and trust in the Lord and He knows and acknowledges that! then it comes back to us, if we live life believing without seeing, we live a life of faith and trust in the Lord, and we are blessed because of that. this stands out in a world that only believes through seeing. this sticks out as a sore thumb in a world that demands for logic and proof and tangible things for it to touch. the world demands ideas that they can comprehend and fit inside their minds. there is a line from a song from as cities burn that goes, "is your love really love? is my love really love? i think our love isn't love unless it's love to the end. is your god really god? is my god really god? i think our god isn't god if he fits inside our heads." in other words, if we can reduce God to what we can comprehend, we overlook how amazing and over our heads he is and the world hates that. but then how can we show the world Jesus's holes and scars? our proof. it's through our own healed holes and scars. healed by Jesus Christ. through His real love. through His real life. through His real salvation. through His real death, resurrection, and ascension. and because of our healed holes and scars, we're living witnesses to the world of how Jesus saves and heals and redeems. we're His proof that He exists. i want to encourage every Christ follower to remember that we are His proof and we should try our best to live honoring that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 -3 So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they greeted him with slaps in the face. 4 -5Pilate went back out again and said to them, "I present him to you, but I want you to know that I do not find him guilty of any crime." Just then Jesus came out wearing the thorn crown and purple robe. Pilate announced, "Here he is: the Man." 6When the high priests and police saw him, they shouted in a frenzy, "Crucify! Crucify!" Pilate told them, "You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him." 7The Jews answered, "We have a law, and by that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God." 8 -9When Pilate heard this, he became even more scared. He went back into the palace and said to Jesus, "Where did you come from?" Jesus gave no answer. 10Pilate said, "You won't talk? Don't you know that I have the authority to pardon you, and the authority to—crucify you?" 11Jesus said, "You haven't a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven. That's why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault." 12At this, Pilate tried his best to pardon him, but the Jews shouted him down: "If you pardon this man, you're no friend of Caesar's. Anyone setting himself up as 'king' defies Caesar." 13 -14When Pilate heard those words, he led Jesus outside. He sat down at the judgment seat in the area designated Stone Court (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was the preparation day for Passover. The hour was noon. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your king." 15They shouted back, "Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!" Pilate said, "I am to crucify your king?" The high priests answered, "We have no king except Caesar." 16 -19Pilate caved in to their demand. He turned him over to be crucified.

John 19

i've spent a couple of days mulling over this passage. something stood out to me this morning. before, i was thinking about how Jesus said, "You haven't a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven. That's why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault." i looked this part up on commentaries and found that what Jesus meant was that pilate was not as guilty as the caiaphas, the chief priest who turned Jesus over to him. caiaphas was granted power and authority from heaven in the temple because he was supposedly working for God, while pilate was just working for the government. because caiaphas knew who God was and still handed over God's Son to be crucified, caiaphas had committed a greater fault than pilate. this means that those who turn their backs on Jesus after hearing His story are at greater fault than those who have never heard His name and God recognizes and acknowledges that. but, the main thing i got this morning was actually about pilate. pilate tells Jesus that he has the power and authority to free Him or crucify Him and Jesus replies that pilate has no power. now, when you're the roman governor and you have this badly beaten jewish man standing in front of you with hundreds of jewish priests screaming to have him crucified and you ask him a question that could potentially free him, you'd think he'd answer something humbling and pleading mercy! but this bruised and bleeding man answers with saying that you have absolutely no power over him! now i don't know about you, but if i was in a position of power and someone talked to me like that, i would have just let the people have their way with this person! but what does pilate do? we read, "At this, Pilate tried his best to pardon him..." pilate still tries to set Jesus free! and not only after Jesus tells him that pilate has no authority over him, but Jesus tells him that if he were to crucify Him, caiaphas was still more guilty than pilate. and if we heard this, knowing that we still wouldn't be considered worse than the person who turned Jesus over, we would turn Jesus over knowing that Jesus acknowledged that we weren't as guilty. pilate looked past these two things and still tried to pardon Jesus! to me, that's just crazy! either pilate was a truly righteous man, or there was something about Jesus that compelled pilate to keep on trying to free Him. i'd like to believe in the latter, that Jesus was so compelling, so fierce, so passionate that pilate knew this from spending those few brief moments with Jesus and he couldn't help but try to defend this man.

Monday, August 3, 2009

the truth

28 -29They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor's palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn't enter the palace because they didn't want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. "What charge do you bring against this man?" 30They said, "If he hadn't been doing something evil, do you think we'd be here bothering you?" 31 -32Pilate said, "You take him. Judge him by your law." The Jews said, "We're not allowed to kill anyone." (This would confirm Jesus' word indicating the way he would die.) 33Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, "Are you the 'King of the Jews'?" 34Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?" 35Pilate said, "Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?" 36"My kingdom," said Jesus, "doesn't consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. But I'm not that kind of king, not the world's kind of king." 37Then Pilate said, "So, are you a king or not?" Jesus answered, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice." 38 -39Pilate said, "What is truth?" Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, "I find nothing wrong in this man. It's your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the 'King of the Jews'?" 40They shouted back, "Not this one, but Barabbas!" Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

John 18

two things stood out to me when i was reading this earlier. first, when pilate asks Jesus, "are you the king of the jews?" and Jesus replies, "Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?" pilate didn't know who Jesus was. pilate was just trying to figure out who this man was so he could try to set him free. but for us, when we ask Jesus, "are you my savior?" are we saying it on our own, because we are desperate and in need of a savior? or are we just saying it because others have told us this about Jesus and we think we're obliged to do so because of others? i think Jesus wants us to call on Him through our own will and our own desperation for Him, not because others have put us up to it! Jesus wants the broken and beat up, ashamed, and sinful us to come to Him and ask Him who He is! He doesn't want someone who is asking Him who He is because others make him or her do so, there's no heart in it!

second, when pilate asks Jesus again if He's a king or not, Jesus replies, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice." Jesus knows who He is and what He came to do, but if people aren't open to what He has to say, they won't recognize His voice when He speaks and their hearts will never be changed! some may act like they want "truth" but the truth can get pretty scary for them, to know that they're accountable for their actions and that they have to sacrifice their own lives to really live. some might just want to stay away from the truth. but as christians, we know that yes, we're accountable for our actions, but Jesus forgives us of our sins and washes white as snow and when we sacrifice our lives, we're sacrificing what was freely given to us from God so that we would gain everything! so in the end, we actually give up nothing to gain everything! this is the truth that we hold in our hearts. to be first is to be last and to be last is to be first.

two questions: 1) are we seeking Jesus because we're desperate for Him and really want to know who He is? or are we just seeking Him because someone else tells us to? 2) are we open to the truth that Jesus Christ brings? that we sacrifice our lives to follow Him but gain everything in the end?