Scripture reading for November 3rd: John 18-21
When you are in a covenant relationship with someone, it is always good to affirm our love for that person. We go through seasons when the relationship may be strained or drifting rather than passionately connected. We go through personal trials and attacks of Satan that seek to knock us off our vows of commitment. Today we will consider Peter, one of Jesus’ most trusted disciples who denied Jesus three times. (John 18:22-27)
We don’t know exactly how long after the resurrection that the account in John 21 takes place. Peter and a number of the disciples had decided to go fishing in the Sea of Tiberius (Galilee). They fished all night and by morning had nothing to show for. As they were approaching shore, Jesus stood there and called out to them. They told Him that they had no fish but didn’t recognize Him. He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat. When they did, they were unable to haul their net into the boat because of the great number of fish! At that point, John recognized Jesus and told Peter. Peter immediately jumped into the water and came to Jesus, who had built a fire with fish already cooking and some bread for the tired fishermen. John’s account states that this was the third time Jesus appeared to them.
After Jesus served them the meal, Jesus turned to Simon Peter and asked him a question. “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15) This was repeated three times in similar fashion. Peter’s feelings were hurt because Jesus asked him this three times. (John 21:17)
Jesus wants us all to affirm our love for Him on a daily basis. We can tell Him we love Him, but obedience demonstrates the reality of our love. In Peter’s case, he was called to feed the lambs and sheep. For us, we must spend time listening, praying and reading His word. Then obey what He shows us!
A final thought concerned Peter’s death. Tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome. He chose that because he felt unworthy to die as his Lord had! “To live is Christ, to die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21)
Scripture reading for November 18th: Romans 1-3
God doesn’t want any man or woman to end up in hell. Ge has done everything necessary to bring salvation to each person. His amazing plan of salvation was to send of Jesus Christ to become sin for us and bear its penalty in His own body on the cross. This gospel message was the power of God unto salvation for all who would believe, Jew or Gentile! (Romans 1:16-17)
Paul recounts the path that many take in rejecting the gospel and bringing God’s wrath upon themselves. The first step is to suppress the truth about God and who He is. (Romans 1:18-20) God makes His eternal power and divine nature evident through creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; . .There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1, 3,4) God is evident through nature and in the conscience of man. This truth must be suppressed to be avoided.
After the truth about God is suppressed, the next consequence is an internal darkening of their understanding. Only the light of Jesus Christ can drive out this type of darkness. They refuse to honor God as creator or give thanks to Him as the source of all things. Instead of worshiping God Almighty, the creator, they begin to worship images or idols made to look like created things.
The next step is the worship of self. God gives people who reject truth about His person over to lust and belief of lies. Darkness overtakes the soul and gross immorality fills their lives with more darkness and misery. Consequences of sexual immorality include broken human relationships, aids and venereal disease, and even demon possession. The final state of these people is a depraved mind and a character filled with all kinds of evil. (Romans 1:26-31) They not only do these wicked things, but encourage others to do them too in spite of God’s wrath on these sins.
It is not hard to see that America is on this path to destruction. Many have suppressed the knowledge of God and have fallen for lies and idolatry. They know God’s decree against these sins, but commit them anyway and encourage others to accept them as normal. The wrath of God is being revealed–get right or suffer!