VIDEO Feed My Sheep, Love and Forgiveness

In a lecture in 1911, Oswald Chambers reflected on being a young shepherd in the highlands of Scotland: “When you have to carry across your shoulders a dirty old [goat] and bring it down the mountain-side, you will soon know whether shepherding is poetry or not.” He didn’t want to romanticize this form of labor as “poetry” but rather called it “the most taxing, the most exhausting, and the most exasperating work.” The hard work of shepherding people is what Jesus entrusted to Peter, for Peter would face criticism, misunderstanding, and other challenges in caring for His flock.

Chambers reflected, “To whom did He say, ‘Feed My lambs’? To Peter. Who was Peter? A very wayward sheep.” Even though Peter had denied knowing Jesus (SEE JOHN 18:15–27), Jesus met him on the beach and lovingly restored him in front of the other disciples (21:15–19). Peter’s bitter experience taught him how to be tender and watchful over the Lord’s sheep. Having received the Holy Spirit, he was ready for the toil and joys of being a shepherd to people.
Like Peter, we may have failed Jesus through denials, wrongdoing, selfishness, or pride. But He seeks us out and forgives us, just as He did Peter.

He restores us and gives us a new commission— helping us care for others. As we follow Jesus, we share our love for Him with those we meet.

AMY BOUCHER PYE

How do you think Peter felt while eating the bread and fish Jesus prepared for him? How do you react when you’re extended love and forgiveness? 

Jesus, give us strength to keep trusting You in the hard times.


When Forgiveness is enough

Click to access when-forgiveness-is-enough1.pdf


Because Jesus loves us in a profound way, sharing that love with others is something we carry forward. It’s not always easy, especially in a culture that’s hostile to the gospel message. In a peaceful setting in Jerusalem, watch as Meno Kalisher, Daniel Kalisher, and Debby Nalbandian describe how God gives them the strength they need each day to share the message that has the power to change the world.

The One Who Sees

Today's Devotional

You may be sure that your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

 

“Oh no!” My wife’s voice rang out when she stepped into the kitchen. The moment she did, our ninety-pound Labrador retriever “Max” bolted from the room.

Gone was the leg of lamb that had been sitting too close to the edge of the counter. Max had consumed it, leaving only an empty pan. He tried to hide under a bed. But only his head and shoulders fit. His uncovered rump and tail betrayed his whereabouts when I went to track him down.

“Oh, Max,” I murmured, “Your ‘sin’ will find you out.” The phrase was borrowed from Moses, when he admonished two tribes of Israel to be obedient to God and keep their promises. He told them: “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Sin may feel good for a moment, but it causes the ultimate pain of separation from God. Moses was reminding his people that God misses nothing. As one biblical writer put it, “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Though seeing all, our holy God lovingly draws us to confess our sin, repent of it (turn from it), and walk rightly with Him (1 John 1:9). May we follow Him in love today.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How does the truth that God sees everything we do and still loves us encourage you to turn from sin? In what practical ways can you respond to His love today?

Thank You for being “the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). I praise You that though You see both good and bad, You sent Your Son to save and set me free. Help me to walk in loving obedience.

Sunday Reflection: The Pursuit of Righteousness

Jesus speaks about righteousness many times in the Sermon on the Mount—from pursuing it to being persecuted because of it (Matt. 5:6; Matt. 5:10; Matt. 5:20).  We can easily think of pursuing righteousness in terms of following rules or abiding by the law. But it’s much more than that. To pursue righteousness is to live with an unrelenting desire for justice and holiness. It’s like selling all our possessions in order to buy the field where we know treasure is buried (Matt. 13:44-46).

But we don’t engage in this pursuit out of obligation or anxiety. Jesus taught that the man who sold everything to buy the field did it out of joy (v. 44). You would be joyful, too, if you believed you were gaining something worth more than all your possessions combined. And this is how we should understand God’s love for us: Nothing on earth can compare to the riches we have in Him.

Think about it
• Is there a difference between those who seek righteousness and those who are righteous?

• What does a hunger and thirst for holiness and justice look like in today’s world?  How would you describe what it means to be satisfied in that pursuit?

Our Preciousness In His Eyes

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The verses leading up to our text explain why we are so special in God’s eyes. We find the key in verse 7, which literally reads, “For you, therefore that believe is the preciousness,” since the Greek word is a noun and not an adjective. But what is this preciousness? The word means honor or honorableness, and in slightly different forms is so translated in 1 Peter 1:7 and 3:7. But whose honor or worthiness is being discussed in this passage?

Peter answers both of these questions in the immediate context. Speaking of the Lord, he calls Him “precious…a chief corner stone, elect, precious” (1 Peter 2:4, 6). Christ, in God’s eyes, is precious. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Why is He precious? For His purity, love, desire for God’s will, etc.—all the ways (and more) in which we are not precious.

If we choose to remain in disobedient unbelief (1 Peter 2:7), the stone is made “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word” (v. 8). Christ, God’s beloved Son, and His atoning blood are so precious to God that there is a limit to His patience toward those who reject them. God will not allow His Son to be “disallowed” or disobeyed without penalty. Worthlessness is the state of those who reject, and judgment awaits them.

If we disbelieve, we have no hope, but “he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [literally, ‘shall positively not be disappointed’]” (v. 6). Our faith is well-founded. If we place our trust in Him, His preciousness is transferred to us. When God the Father looks at one who truly believes, He sees not only Christ’s sinlessness, He sees His preciousness. JDM

Is It Near or Far Away

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

—Psalm 73:28

 

To speak of being near to or far from God is to use language in a sense always understood when applied to our ordinary human relationships. A man may say, “I feel that my son is coming nearer to me as he gets older,” and yet that son has lived by his father’s side since he was born and has never been away from home more than a day or so in his entire life. What then can the father mean? Obviously he is speaking of experience. He means that the boy is coming to know him more intimately and with deeper understanding, that the barriers of thought and feeling between the two are disappearing, that father and son are becoming more closely united in mind and heart.

So when we sing, “Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,” we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts. POG061-062

Lord, I long to be near to You in experience, in intimate awareness of our Father/child relationship. Draw me close, I pray. Amen.

 

A Sense of the Presence

When he came down from the mount…Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

—Exodus 34:29

 

I have met a few of God’s saints who appeared to have this holy brightness upon them, but they did not know it because of their humility and gentleness of spirit. I do not hesitate to confess that my fellowship with them has meant more to me than all of the teaching I have ever received.

I do stand deeply indebted to every Bible teacher I have had through the years, but they did little but instruct my head. The brethren I have known who had this strange and mysterious quality and awareness of God’s Person and Presence instructed my heart.

Do we understand what a gracious thing it is to be able to say of a man, a brother in the Lord, “He is truly a man of God”? He doesn’t have to tell us that, but he lives quietly and confidently day by day with the sense of this mysterious, awe-inspiring Presence that…means more than all the glib tongues in the world! ICH072-073

Nothing is necessary for you in maintaining a triumphant Christian life but just to…put yourself in where the power is. Come unto God, unite yourself to God, and the doing power you have is infinite!and none the less yours because it is

His. JAS275

 

Footprints in the Morning

Mark 1:32-37

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and

demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. (Mark 1:32-34).

Early morning in Capernaum the earth around Peter’s house was marked by many sandals. Last night’s events could be read in the footprints. The trail of a single shoe dragged along. The distinct imprint of a stick accompanying each footstep. The uneven markings of a blind person, indicating a groping movement toward one spot. Hundreds of sandal marks, some in patterns of four where men had carried a stretcher. Some bare footprints. All were the footprints of those searching hard for a miracle, for deliverance. Last night in this very spot around Peter the fisherman’s cottage, they found what they were looking for.

That morning Peter gazed at one distinctive pair of footprints cutting across the patterned terrain. A long time before daybreak Jesus had made these footprints as He moved toward some chosen spot of quiet rendezvous with His Father. Perhaps He was now in the crevice of a rock on the seashore, the constant rhythm of the sea on the beach accentuating His communal words.

It was this morning as it would be throughout the next three crowded years. People would follow Him with such anxious yearning, such intense needs, that He would have few undisturbed hours for meditation or reflection. The footprints of Jesus were those of a man who had much to do, and not much time in which to do it as He constantly crossed and crisscrossed the crowded ways of life.

He also walks across our crowded ways. If only people knew of His availability. The lonely soul in some spiritual Sahara would discover a relationship that would transform loneliness into shared companionship. Out of the crowded corridors of life would emerge one who would be there, not always to silence the turmoil of our despair, but to breathe tranquility into our sound-soaked settings.

When Peter found Him that morning, he said, “Everyone is looking for You”

(Mark 1:37) Jesus knew then, and knows now, that the strength He had already gathered before sunrise would be shared with that waiting world, available to all who need and call upon Him.

Arthur R. Pitcher, The War Cry