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Day 8 – 7-27-2016 (Wednesday)

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (NKJV)

Jesus asked Peter the second time, “Do you love Me?”  Peter had just answered the question but here Jesus was pushing him to understand what total commitment involves.  Again, He says to take that love to another step, deliver it to the people you meet.  I see shepherding, leading, guiding, teaching in the word “tend.”  

I have heard an interpretation of this second command to tend His sheep by illustrating the wider circle of sharing Christ’s love.  The first question could have pointed to the men present on the shore, the close friends.  The first question could also have pointed to loving our identity, our career, our things more than Christ.  Now, Jesus seems to point to a larger group of people, possibly those who followed Him and believed in Him as He taught in various places in the region.  

I can understand the perplexity that Peter may have felt when the same question came back to me.  I thought I had answered it well the first time and then Jesus asks the same question again.  What is He driving at?  Did I miss something?  Yet, Jesus probes and pushes Peter to come to grips with the real meaning of love for Him.  He was helping Peter to fully understand the call to be the leader of the disciples and to carry the torch in building the church.  He was helping Peter to understand total commitment.  

John MacArthur in his book, One Perfect Life, The Complete Story of Lord Jesus, stated in his commentary on this interaction between Jesus and Peter that Jesus was talking about total commitment in His use of the word, love.  Peter, however, responded with a slightly different word for love, a word that does not necessarily mean total commitment.  MacArthur states that Peter was probably having difficulty stating total commitment because he had denied Christ not too long before this.  The pain of that denial of his Lord was likely very fresh in his mind and it probably kept him from total and complete devotion to Christ.

Jesus had encouraged Peter and designated him to be the leader of the disciples and on his shoulders Jesus would build His church.  He saw the potential in Peter and called him to be an effective leader for the building of His church.  To follow Jesus requires total commitment to Him, total commitment.  Think about that.  Are you, am I, at a point where we could say without any hesitation and doubt that we are totally committed to Christ?  What would our lives look like if we were?  Would we look any different?  Would our value system change?  Would we truly be able to say that we value our relationship with Christ more than anything else, “…more than these”?

I am gaining some understanding in the depth of this question to Peter.  Jesus had invested a lot in him and He was now digging into Peter’s definition of commitment.  Plus, I think Jesus was probing Peter to come to Him in full and complete repentance asking for forgiveness and the peace that comes with that.  Jesus was ready to give that but needed Peter to address the concept of total commitment.  

Can you, can I, stand in Peter’s sandals, right now?  Tough question.  What keeps me from being totally committed to Jesus.  What keeps me from loving Him “more than these”?  Do I have my loyalties split in various ways that keep me from being totally committed to Christ?  If I want to walk with Christ everyday, I must have that commitment.  “Lord, I do love You.  Help me to really love You at the level that You love me, a level of total and complete commitment.”

Jesus then answered Peter with, “Feed My lambs.”  To me He is saying, “If you love Me the way you say you do, then carry that love out to one another, to your neighbor as yourself.”  Being totally committed to Jesus involves obedience and carrying His message of love to those we encounter daily.  That is one of the opportunities and responsibilities of being here in San Lorenzo serving the people we meet each day.  What we try to do is to share the love of Christ.  What a privilege!  What a responsibility!

I see in Jane the demonstration of a deeper commitment to Christ in that she has chosen to follow Jesus’ lead to go to a very poor area of Ecuador and serve Him there caring for the medical and surgical needs of the people there.  She has given up her opportunity to have a very successful career in surgery.  She has given up potential of a good income and whatever security comes with that.  She has given up the long term career living in the same community as her family to follow Christ to Ecuador.  I realize not everyone can make the sacrifices that Jane has but we all can have the same commitment to Jesus, being willing to love Him more than these, the other priorities and responsibilities of our daily lives.

5:45 am.  I slept fairly well through the night and awakened ready to get up for the day.  Before breakfast I went to the clinic to see if I could get online.  Yesterday the internet was down all day.  This morning, fortunately, it was on and I was able to get online and write some email and post yesterday’s blog entry.  Then I returned to the house where we had breakfast.  After breakfast I was able to return to the clinic before we gathered for devotions and check on email from Phyllis.

Our devotions today was from Habakkuk 2:2-14.  Habakkuk talked about the perspective of what was going on at that point in his life and the life of the people of Israel.  The earthly perspective was one void of hope.  From God’s perspective all was in line with His plan.  Verse 4 in this passage is Habakkuk’s conclusion that has become the cornerstone of our faith in Christ – the just shall live by faith.  When things seem to be going sour and life doesn’t make sense anymore, we need to lean on God through faith in Him believing with all our soul that everything is under His watchful eye and control.  Nothing happens that will cause God to gasp.  When we are in distress it is good to pause and remember what God has done in the past.  History reveals the hand of God and makes today’s chaos and confusion more tolerable, because we can look at it through the eyes of faith.  It’s all perspective.  We should view our life and circumstances through God’s eyes, not ours.  Only then can we walk with Him in complete peace.

Father, thank You for the words You speak to us through Habakkuk.  The principle is clear, You want me, us, to live totally dependent on You, by faith, not by sight.  Thank You for what You teach in Your Word.  Thank You for reminding us of the importance of perspective for only through Your eyes do things make sense.  Lord, I worship You.  Guide us today and give us the strength and endurance to accomplish the tasks before us.  Lord, we are here to serve You and it is an absolute joy to do that in this place at this time.  Thank You, Father.  Amen.

After devotions Katie and I began to paint the room where Angelita meets the patients and takes their vital signs and history.  The walls in this room were dirty and marked up.  Jane talked with us about the color of paint to apply to the walls.  Since the waiting area was more orange, we felt a light tan would be good.  Jane got a gallon of “Beige Breeze” which was supposedly a light tan color.  We started painting and outlined the walls and the paint looked okay.  However, when it dried it became almost pea soup green.  It dried much darker than what it was wet and the color changed from light tan to a definite green cast much like pea soup.  We had Jane come and look at the color and she said it was awful.  Angelita and Leila both felt it was too dark.  So, Jane went back to the paint store and obtained the light tan that we painted on the window sills of the house and the lower part of the wall in the waiting room.  She also got a gallon of white and then we mixed the colors half and half giving us a nice light tan color.  Katie and I then painted all the walls with two coats and then used a bone color paint for the door frames.  The room is done and the furniture is back in place.  Katie had the idea of getting flowers for Angelita and placing them on her desk for her to view in the morning.  Katie and Jane went out into town and found a beautiful bouquet of roses and other flowers for $10.00.  We all said this same bouquet would be $50 or more in the States.  

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Katie and I worked all day on the room.  Ted and Howard painted the steel beams that support the roof.  Also, some painters came today and cleaned, sanded and spray painted the doors to the house.  The house is looking really good with fresh paint all around.

The sun set around 6:20 pm.  As I was sitting in the house I could see a beautiful orange glow to the west.  I went to the clinic building and went to a window in the stairway and was able to capture a beautiful sunset.  God makes Himself visible in so many ways!  This sunset is just one example of His creativity.  

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Carmen fed us a delicious meal of mashed potatoes, fried chicken, salad made of shredded cabbage, carrots and cucumbers and steamed broccoli.  The broccoli were huge and almost sweet.  The only dressing used is some lemon juice and sprinkle of salt.  The lemon or lime juice adds a totally different flavor to the salad.  Jane then treated us to an ice cream treat so my belly is nice and full.  Ted, Jane, Katie and I settled in for a game of euchre and the ladies beat us soundly.  Soon it will be time to turn in for the night.  Tomorrow, we have some more painting to do as well as hang wall fans.  A lot of work is being accomplished this week and Jane is very happy.

Father, this has been a good day.  And You topped it off with a gorgeous sunset.  Thank You for that.  Your creativity just astounds me as all around me I see evidence of Your work.  I don’t see how anyone could deny You with all the evidence around us.  Their denial is truly a hardness of heart.  Lord, I pray for Ted, Howard, Katie, Barb, Jane, Leila, Carmen.  Thank You for these wonderful people.  Thank You that we can be here to serve You through helping Jane.  Lord, I pray for a good night’s sleep and for us to be filled with energy to meet the day tomorrow.  Keep us safe, Lord.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

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