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Day 7 – 7-26-2016 (Tuesday)

Jesus Restores Peter

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon,son of Jonah, 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.” (NKJV)

Jesus confronts Peter with the question, “Do you love Me?”, not once, but three times as they stood there on the shore.  Peter was excited to be back with Jesus, to touch Him, to talk with Him.  He had a burden of guilt and shame to unload and the only way to do that is to be back in relationship with Jesus.  Just being back with Christ would be enough, it would seem.  But then Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?”  

And Jesus adds, “…more than these?” to His question.  What is He referring to with that statement?  Is He pointing to the other disciples standing nearby?  Possibly.  Is He pointing to the fish in the net?  Possibly.  From a fisherman’s perspective, having the biggest catch of your life laying right there would be very hard to ignore.  How would you answer that question?  Would you quickly say as Peter said, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.”  The words, “Of course!” comes to my mind as well.  That would have been in my quick response to Jesus.  I might even ask, “Why do you even ask me that question?  Isn’t my love for you obvious?  I walked away from my livelihood just to be with You, Lord.  Of course, I love you!”

I find it interesting that Jesus used the word “feed” in His first do you love Me question to Peter.  Laying on the shore was a huge catch of food, and in the same scene were fish baking on the hot coals.  Jesus had prepared breakfast and it was a welcome sight to the tired and hungry fishermen.  All it takes is a great day of fishing and the previous thousands of casts that came up empty are quickly forgotten.  Instead of being disgusted at striking out each and every time with the thoughts of tossing all the fishing gear and starting a new life or hobby, the huge catch is enough to keep me casting and reeling for some time to come.  This becomes me, my desire, my time.  But Jesus looks at the great catch and asks if Peter loves his fishing career, his source of income, his stability, his home more than Him.  To me, it seems Jesus was confronting Peter’s love and loyalty at various levels of his life.  He started with Peter’s devotion to his own skills – fishing.  He had to bring Peter to a clear understanding that even if he brings in the catch of a lifetime each time he casts the net into the water, the love for this work does not even compare to what Christ offers.  He pushed Peter to clearly state that he loves Jesus more than his work, more than his world that is part of his comfort zone.

How difficult would it be for you to walk away from your current life situation?  If Jesus came to you today and tapped you on the shoulder and said, “Follow Me,” would you drop everything and follow Him?  It is easy to say but then looking at your world and what it means to you makes that step toward Jesus harder.  This first question from Jesus is a difficult one for me to answer for I loved my career in medicine and continue using that in my retirement to serve others.  I love the mission work as I feel I am serving Jesus in the midst of delivering healthcare to very needy people.  If Jesus came to me and said, “Let’s change directions.  Let’s leave this path you have been on and go a completely different way,” what would I say?  He is asking me to step into something that is unfamiliar to me.  He is asking me to step completely out of my comfort zone.  Would I just blindly follow Him?  Difficult questions!  But that is exactly what Jesus is asking.  “Do you love Me more than these?”  Am I willing and ready to give away all I have to follow Jesus?  Jesus is driving at total commitment.  Am I willing to truthfully say and practice total commitment to Jesus?  Think and pray about that.  If we can’t answer the first question of Jesus, how will we deal with the next two?

5:45 am.  I slept soundly through the night and awoke feeling more rested.  My right leg is sore and swollen some but some of the edema that developed yesterday had gone down.  I’m not sure how much I should be on it today.  

Before breakfast I went to the clinic building to see if we had internet as it was off completely yesterday.  I had an email I needed to write to the chairman of a committee I sit on at our church in Florida.  In the middle of writing it the screen flashed a strange pattern and then went blank.  The computer crashed again and there was no response even with a hard reset.  I wonder if something failed or shorted in the motherboard.  This makes blogging very difficult.  

After breakfast we had devotions.  The Scripture was Isaiah 17:7-14.  Here Isaiah was contrasting between fruit and trash described as a heap of rusting metal.  What we produce without God is like the useless heap of trash.  John 15:5 was also cited where Jesus describes Himself as the vine and we are the branches.  Growth and life depends on being connected to the vine.  

Lord, thank You for the reminder that without You any work I do is in vain.  I want to do what You want me to do to help build Your kingdom.  I want to walk with You and not try to do life alone.  Lord, I want to honor You with my life and not produce piles of rusting trash.  Lord, today the work we do is to honor You.  May You be glorified.  Amen.

After devotions  we all went to work on our projects.  Katie and I finished painting the room and put it back together.  Katie then joined Howard and Ted painting the building that houses the emergency generator.  My leg was hurting so I decided to take the rest of the day off to keep the leg elevated and ice it.  The Baker’s Cyst behind the right knee was bigger and I wonder if it had leaked some as it had before because I have much more tenderness along the muscles below the cyst.  The symptoms are much like what I experienced a few weeks ago when the cyst leaked into the muscle tissue in the lower leg.  All I can do is rest and ice the leg.  The persistence of this cyst is frustrating.  I don’t like to be sidelined when I am here to serve and I don’t want to be a burden for the rest of the team.  

After resting my leg for a while I went to the clinic building to go online.  I have to go to the second floor waiting area for this.  Sitting there was a man listening to God’s Word from one of the Galcom players that we brought to Jane.  He was waiting for an eye exam.  A family member came and took his hand and lead him into the eye exam room.  It was obvious that the man was blind.  What a joy to see him reaping the benefit of hearing God’s Word made possible through the generosity of the Adult Bible Fellowship I attend at my church in Fort Wayne.  What a great tool to share God’s Word with someone who can’t see to read.

I spent the afternoon sitting with my leg elevated and iced it some.  The swelling has decreased as has the discomfort.  Hopefully I’ll be able to help with the work tomorrow.  Dinner was another home run by Carmen.  We had mangrove snapper as the meat dish.  It was fried whole, including head and tail, and eating it involved fingers and picking out lots of bones.  The flavor of the fish was delicious.  She also had lentils and rice and fried plantain.  

Here close to the equator the amounts of daylight and darkness are about the same.  Sunset comes quickly.  It seems that the transition from day to night is fairly abrupt with minimal dusk.  It will soon be bedtime.

Lord, another day with a lot accomplished by everyone.  Thank You for enabling us to serve You in this way.  Thank You for Your incredible grace, something I don’t deserve at all but You liberally shower me with it just because You love me.  Lord, I pray for all of us here.  Please protect us from harm and illness.  Please grant us the strength to do the work that needs to be done.  Thank You for Your forgiveness when we fail You.  Thank You Father.  Amen.

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