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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Oh the temptation . . . .

Good Morning.  That I am here this morning writing this post is a testament to God's grace in giving me the will to overcome temptations I would (and have) normally succumbed to - specifically, the TASKS of the day that are even now niggling at the back of my mind, trying to draw me away.  "More important" - that is the lie Satan endeavors to sell me.  Today, I am endeavoring to ignore that little lie screaming in my head.  So far, so good :-) though I am admittedly a bit distracted by it.

I had a couple of thoughts from John 21 that I wanted to share yesterday, so let's get to that, shall we?

I have a note on the side of my Bible next to v 5 & 6 where Jesus asks if the disciples have any food and they respond that they do not.  It says, "Remember who God is and who, in our inadequacy, we depend upon. John 15:5"  The last part of the verse referenced says simply, "without Me you can do nothing."  Ponder on that a bit.  Each breath (whether you are a believer or not) is a gift from God; each step - whether aided or unaided - is a gift from God; each rational thought is a gift from God; each creative thought is a gift from God."  

In the past I have taught on the verse that tells us we can do ALL things **through Christ** (an essential part of the equation) who strengthens us - and I always emphasize - "What does "ALL" mean?  ALL means ALL.  Not some, not most, not nearly all - ALL.  There is NOTHING we cannot do IF we are abiding in Christ and relying on HIM to strengthen us to do it.  This reminder from John 15:5 now leads me to a new powerful thought.  "What does "NOTHING" mean?"  Ponder that a bit more . . .  NOTHING means NOTHING - we do not exist without God.  Truly, it is HIS thoughts of us that cause us to be here at all.  Every movement, every skill, every heart we touch.

I've heard this taught that basically it means we can do nothing "of value" - but I think it's more than that.  This is just a thought I had this morning as I was putting this together and there are a hundred questions that come up with it meaning this could turn into a full blown novel if I pursue it too far  . . . what about those who commit evil deeds, for instance . . ..  Questions worthy of consideration and pondering, but for today, I'm going to settle with simply - Nothing means Nothing - which should lead us to much gratitude for so many things we take for granted on a daily basis.

The other thing I wanted to touch base on in John 21 was the "Peter, Do you love Me?" section in verses 15-19.  Just because the "fine print" is often missed in Sunday Sermons and, personally, I feel it is the most relevant and essential part of the passage.

It is important to note that the first two times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, he uses the greek word "agape" for "love".  This is an unconditional love - the highest form of love and is the word used to describe God's love for us "in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Agape love is a choice made by one regardless of the other.  It is the love humans can only have IF they have a relationship with Christ - it is exclusive to believers (and, unfortunately, often elusive to believers).  Both times Peter responds with the greek word "phileo" - Peter cannot (having denied Christ at the crucifixion) honestly say he loves Jesus unconditionally - so he uses the next strongest term he can - phileo - a "brotherly affection".  A strong love, but NOT unconditional.  Peter is acknowledging his weakness - his humanity.   The third time Christ poses the question, he uses "phileo" - which is why Peter is grieved that Christ asked him a third time.  Jesus came down to his level and accepted what Peter could honestly offer.  

Also important to note is that, despite the change in the question, the command NEVER changes - Peter is commanded to preach. Period.  Essentially, Jesus has said, I accept that your love is imperfect and I want to use you anyway.  Now, I fully believe that, over time and with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (which came fully later on), Peter was able to say, "Yes Lord, I 'agape' you!" and this is proven out in the way he lived and died for the gospel, BUT God did not require him to get to that level before using him.  SO IMPORTANT - God can/will use you RIGHT NOW - AS YOU ARE - if you will just give him 100% of what you can.  He will take that and grow it and develop you into what He has called you to be if you just surrender who you are to Him.

I will endeavor to complete notes on chapters 18 & 19 tomorrow.  May the Lord use these thoughts to encourage and challenge your heart today.

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