Tag Archives: John 21

Feed My Sheep

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1, KJV)

Have you ever wondered why David chose to see God as his shepherd?  He could have chosen any word, any description.

 

But David chose to see God as his shepherd.

 

Why?  It was what David understood.  David was a shepherd.  As the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, he was relegated with the awful task of watching his father’s sheep (1 Samuel 16:11).  No one wanted to do it – smelly sheep, isolation, long days and nights.  That is what David knew growing up.  That is where David spent his time growing up.  That is where David returned after being anointed the next king of Israel by Samuel until he was called to King Saul’s palace.

 

So David understood the daunting task of taking care of a herd.  He knew how difficult sheep could be.

  • Sheep are highly emotional animals, being quick to panic.
  • Sheep are unable to shed their thick fur.
  • Sheep need plenty of grass and water to sustain themselves.
  • Sheep are susceptible to illness from poisonous plants.
  • Sheep are an easy prey species.
  • Sheep have little to no sense of danger.

 

So they need a shepherd to care for their safety and welfare.

  • To lead them to good, fresh grass.
  • To lead them away from poisonous plants.
  • To protect them from predators, who will chase them to exhaustion.
  • To protect their health and provide medical treatment.
  • To shear their fur.
  • To keep them from straying away into danger.
  • To find and return the lost to the flock.
  • To guide them to water.

 

David knew God was so much more compassion and connected to him than his natural father.  God was fully invested in David’s present well-being and future destiny.  Just as David was invested in his father’s sheep.  David probably cared more for the sheep than he did for his own well-being.

 

So God was his Shepherd.  His provider.  His protector.  His leader.

 

Many years later, there was a man named Peter, a simple fisherman who was called away from his nets to walk with Jesus.  Three years later, Jesus gives Peter a charge.  Peter is still reeling from denying his best friend three times just before His crucifixion.  And now is his chance for redemption.  Jesus asks him to lay down his fishing nets … and pick up a shepherd’s staff.  Because Jesus needs a strong leader to fish for hearts and to help lead people to life change.

 

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, Feed my lambs.”  16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, Take care of my sheep.”  17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the   third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, Feed my sheep.”

 

Feed My Sheep

 

Peter, as an important leader in My new movement, I am giving you the charge to take care of everyone.

–          Feed my lambs.  Make sure to watch out for the new converts, those who have just put their faith in Me.  Those who are young in their faith, inexperienced in holding fast to their faith, and those who are unaware of the challenges they will face.  Teach them how to be bold in the face of adversity.  Pour the truth of who God is and how much God loves them into them.

–          Take care of my sheep.  Everyone following Me will need care – for their hearts, their emotions, and their thinking.  They will be tempted to turn away to a life of ease and convenience.  Help them to see that though My narrow way is hard, it is more than worth it for the eternal value.  Help them to focus on the goodness and grace I offer them for all situations, which will get them through any trial they will face.  Help them to remember that I am helping them shed their old ways and will provide them with a new, fresh, revitalizing way that will sustain them day after day.

–          Feed my sheep.  They are going to need the same care that sheep need.  They will need someone to comfort them in their doubts, assure them in their fears, and guide them in their confusion.  They will need someone to remind them of the empowering truth of My words and the sustaining power of My love – especially as they face the wrath of Rome and those outside of the faith.  They will be tempted to eat from the gods of the world and drink from the cups of self-empowerment – they will need someone to remind them that only I, the one true God, can provide them with the bread of life and living water.

 

Help them remember Peter that life is so much bigger than this day.

Help them remember Peter that I am always with them.

Help them remember Peter that only I can give things that last beyond the moment.

Help them remember Peter that I can heal all their broken and bruised places.

Help them remember Peter that I can heal and redeem their hurts.

Help them remember Peter that I am always with them.

Help them remember Peter that I feel every pain and see every tear.

Help them remember Peter that I have unconditional love for them.

Help them remember Peter that My Son died for them.

 

You are the right man for this job, Peter.  Because you, more than anyone, understand the power of My forgiveness and the extent of My grace.

 

Watch out for everyone who calls Me Father.

Make sure those who are new understand.

Make sure those who are not new remember why.

And keep an open hand and an open heart to anyone who is searching.

 

Be like My son David.

Be a shepherd.

Make sure My sheep are well cared for.

 

And I will be with you, just as I was with David.  And if you lean into Me as David did, there will be no limits on your love for those I send your way.

 

Today, you also have the opportunity to lean in to His grace and be a shepherd to those He brings into your life.  Will you choose to love greatly?

 

Marie Fremin.  2/17/19, 3/1/19, 3/2/19.

Known

Known.

 

We are all created with a desire to be known by people.  To be appreciated.  To be seen.  To have our lives matter.

 

But how often, in our quest to be known, do we forget that God wants to be known by us?  That God wants us to know His unconditional love.  That God wants us to experience His abounding forgiveness.  That God wants us to embrace His unending grace.

 

God wants to have a meaningful relationship with us, to be connected with us on every level.  To help us.  To encourage us.  To direct us.

 

And He does not care if where we have been or what we have done.  He still wants to be connected with us and help us live our lives to the full.  He wants to draw us toward His best.

 

Just look at Peter.  The outspoken and erratic disciple who one minute confessed Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16) and then a few breaths later chastised Jesus for talking about His upcoming death (Matthew 16:22).  He swore that he would never deny Jesus, even if things got to a breaking point (Matthew 26:33).  Yet that same night he was confronted three times by three people about his relationship with Jesus – and each time, he quickly denied any connection to the Man on trial inside.  “I do not know the Man!” (Matthew 26:70,72,74) is the only thing he could say in the middle of extreme confusion and chaos.

 

And Jesus could have left him to wallow in the self-pity, despair, and regret of his fear driven denials – making the rest of his days spiritually void.  But Jesus still knew Peter and wanted to be known by Peter.  He wanted to show Peter that yes, Peter could still know Him, love Him, and serve Him.  Peter could still fulfill his purpose God had planned for him (Matthew 16:18).

 

So as Jesus stepped back into the disciples’ lives for the third time after His resurrection, Peter is overjoyed to see Him and be with Him (John 21:7).  Peter deeply regrets his actions in the high priest’s courtyard, and Jesus knows this.  And because He is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), He wants to reset Peter’s thoughts, reassure Peter’s depressed heart, and rewrite Peter’s story.  Because Peter needed to know that Jesus still loved him, despite all he had done – so Peter could go out and help others know that Jesus loved them in the same way.

 

So Jesus draws Peter out of his discouragement and into repentance, releasing him from the burdens of his denials.  And as many times as Peter publicly denied Him, He has Peter publicly declare his love and commitment – “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” (John 21:15-17).  Then choose to know Me, which means “Follow Me” (John 21:19) wherever I take you.

 

Known

 

And thus Jesus, who knew Peter all along, helped Peter know the true heart of his Savior.  The One who knows us and still loves us.  The One who redeems our bad choices with another opportunity.  The One who applies grace as often as we need it.  The One who forgives fully and finally.

 

And oh, how being known – and forgiven – changed Peter.  That day, as Jesus rewrote his story, I think he embraced the full power of God’s love.  Because he became emboldened to go out and start making an impact in the world around him.  It was Peter who stood up at Pentecost and preached “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) to the people gathered there.  It was Peter who healed the lame man at the temple gate (Acts 3:6-7) and then preached to the astonished people who quickly gathered (Acts 3:19).  It was Peter who boldly confronted the religious leaders about their role in crucifying an innocent Man (Acts 4:10) and refused to stop preaching about his Savior (Acts 4:20).  And it was Peter who was eventually proudly crucified for his outrageous faith.

 

All because Jesus knew him – and loved him through all the mistakes, the messes, and the missteps.

 

And the great news today is that God knows you.  Yes, you.  Sitting there reading this.  No matter what you have done, where you have been, or how often you have chosen not to know Him, He still knows you.  And He loves you, completely.  He is waiting for you to be like Peter and turn to know Him.  It will be the beginning of a whole new life – and purpose – for you.

 

Marie Fremin.  10/1/18 and 10/7/18

Decisions and Grace

We are in the Easter season, and it is easy for us to say “don’t do that” as we read the reactions and bad decisions of the disciples after Jesus is arrested.  It is easy because we know how the story ends.

 

But, standing in the middle of everything, the eleven didn’t.  They thought their beloved Teacher was the answer to everything.  He had walked on water (Matthew 14:25) and then called Peter out with Him (Matthew 14:28-29).  He had cured numerous people.  He had brought several dead back to life, including His good friend Lazarus (John 11:43-44).  They had watched Him perform miracles and change the world around Him.  Then, He does something completely unbelievable – He allows Himself to be arrested by a large group of temple guards.  He does not protest.  He does not resist.  He quietly goes with them, proclaiming God’s purposes are being fulfilled (Matthew 26:56a).  And the disciples are stunned.  They can only react one way – panic and run (Matthew 26:56b).

 

When Peter is asked three times that same night if he knew Jesus, he repeatedly denied any relationship (Matthew 26:59-74).  Because if they took Jesus, whom Peter and his fellow disciples thought was untouchable, what hope was there for common fisherman and former tax collectors?  Their lives were in danger, and they each responded out of fear and desperation.

 

But if any of them had realized what would happen over the next week, how would their reactions have been different?

 

What would Peter’s denials have become in light of the possibility of His resurrection?  How would Peter have answered if he ever believed the truth of the resurrection Jesus told them about?

 

But Peter is much more relatable – and so are his fellow disciples – because he didn’t know what was coming.  And they all reacted exactly as we would when they had a difficult decision to make in the middle of a crisis.

Decisions and Grace

Decisions are so much easier to make when you have all the facts and a perspective beyond the moment.  But we often have little information and limited perspective.  Yet God trusts us to make decisions.  Even though we see very few things clearly.  Even though we don’t realize or even care about how much we will hurt people.  Even though we cannot understand all the possible outcomes and consequences.

 

Yet God loves us enough to let us choose.  We get to decide if we will help or harm.  We get to decide if we will lead or follow.  We get to decide if we will trust or turn away.  We get to decide if our words will be good or bad, life giving or life destroying.

 

Because if we didn’t get to decide, how would we understand the power of grace to completely change a life?

 

Peter decided to deny Jesus three times when confronted.  And Jesus decided to redeem these decisions at the Sea of Galilee by giving him the same opportunity to declare his love (John 21:15-19).  And Peter was able to redeem his decision and undo his previous denials by saying three times “You know that I love You” (John 21:15-17).  In that moment, Peter understood finally and fully the power of grace and the freedom of forgiveness for bad decisions.  Because after Peter was able to express his love and loyalty, Jesus commissioned him to take that love and go share it by helping people know God.

 

How do I know Peter got it?  Because Pentecost comes, and Peter stands up and preaches to the over 3000 people there about his beloved risen Savior.  He calls the crowd to repentance and baptized “about three thousand” (Acts 2:41) to celebrate their life-changing decision.

 

Yes, Peter made a tragic decision.  But Jesus didn’t leave him to wallow in regret and pity.  Jesus picked him up and gave him a great purpose.  And because Peter knew regret, he could better preach Christ and the power of His love.

 

So too will he do for us.  He doesn’t want us to waste our time wallowing in regret over the wrong things we’ve done.  He wants us to come to His waiting open arms and accept grace.  Because every decision can be rewritten to showcase His goodness, glory, and grace.  Just like Peter.

 

What decisions will you give Him today?

 

Marie Fremin, 3/25/18

Just Like Peter

I believe God when He says He knew me before I born.  Because He gave me Peter to read about.

 

I have always identified myself with Peter.  Impetuous, quick to speak, a little reckless, daring.  But always at his core loyal, loving, and lively.

 

I know, I know.  How can I call him loyal?  This is the guy who denied Jesus three times in the courtyard (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 18).  But in his defense, he was loyal up until that point.  He left his business, his home, and his family to follow a Teacher to who loved and cared for all people.  He was the first disciple to proclaim Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:16).  He was the disciple quick to defend his friend Jesus in the garden at Judas’ kiss (John 18:10).  He was the first disciple to race toward the risen Savior on the beach (John 21:7).  He was the voice of the new church on Pentecost (Acts 2).

 

And in his defense, when he denied Jesus, he didn’t know the miracle that was coming.  Sure, he had been told.  Repeatedly.  But it was impossible.  His Teacher was being tried and convicted as a common criminal – and He was going to be put to death.  It was all over, and he had a family to think about.

 

And I personally am not naïve enough to think I would have reacted any differently.  Yes, I can pridefully say I would.  But I would be a liar.  Because in Peter’s shoes I don’t have the advantage we have now – the real end of the story.

 

Once Peter realized the end of the story was different than he thought, his posture changed.  His attitude changed.  His thinking changed.

 

Almost.

 

And here you can hear me chuckle as I think how like Peter I truly am.

 

Last year we hired two shop managers at work.  The first was young and driven by disappointment in having to do administrative work.  When given the choice to be reassigned, he quit.  The second one came with experience and a work ethic.  In preparing to hire him, my only comment was this – “if he starts making more money than me, who has been here 4 years and helped built this business, I will be super pissed.”

 

Really mature, right?  Just like Peter.  When the resurrected Jesus shows up on the beach in John 21, Peter is so thrilled at recognizing Him that he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore.  They dine, and then Jesus has great compassion on Peter by redeeming his three denials before the cross.  He gives Peter three opportunities to say “You know that I love You” (John 21:15-17) and undo his previous three denials.

 

So how does Peter react to all this?  By turning to John and asking “But Lord, what about this man?” (John 21:21).  Instead of glorying in Jesus’ complete forgiveness and love, he turns and wants to know John’s fate.

 

And that was me last year.  “”What are you going to pay him?” was my focus.  Because money is how your value is displayed.  I wanted my value to be denoted.  I wanted my value to be drawn out.  I was Peter, wanting to know how I ranked against someone else.

 

Maybe not the most healthy attitude.  Maybe a little immature.  But four years and the creation of the inventory system started talking for me.

 

And it still talks today.  Not as often, but a little more loudly recently.  Because I see value being assigned, and I see my value tipping away.  I have been somewhat consumed lately watching it.  Just as Peter watched the waves.

 

Peter had it.  He was in the middle of a miracle.  He saw Jesus walk on water.  And it started him thinking.  So he asked Jesus to call him, and then he takes that first (tenuous) step out of the boat.  He has one foot and then two on the water.  And he was still above it!  He gets even bolder and “he walked on the water to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:29).  But suddenly his focus shifted.  Suddenly the miracle was impossible in the reality of the raging storm.  And in the blink of an eye, he finds himself “beginning to sink” (Matthew 14:30).

Just Like Peter

He let himself be distracted by circumstances instead of focusing on God’s purpose for him.  He destroyed the miracle by looking somewhere other than Jesus.

 

And I laughed at myself this week as I realized I am Peter in that moment of seeing the wind and waves.  I stopped appreciating where God has me and how God is blessing me.  And I saw myself beginning to sink into discontentment, discouragement, and disappointment.  So far from where God wants me to be.

 

And just as He was compassionate to Peter, so too is He compassionate toward me.  He didn’t turn to Peter and condemn him.  He didn’t leave Peter to drown.  “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him” (Matthew 14:31), saving Peter from himself and redeeming his fear for faith.  And as I realize I have been sinking into my emotions, He reaches the same hand to me to pull me up and out.  He doesn’t condemn me, instead offering me the same chance as Peter to redeem myself.

 

And how can I do that?  Start at Philippians 4:6-11 and focus only on God.

  1. Stop worrying about everyone else. It doesn’t matter what they have.
  2. Be thankful for what God has allowed you to have – and do good with it.
  3. You will never have peace comparing and contrasting your life to others.
  4. Change your thinking and appreciate your “lovely” aspects of life.
  5. Be content where God has you and the blessings He pours into your life. It doesn’t matter what you don’t have.

 

And get up every day remembering the Bible is full of far from perfect people.  Peter included.  Yet God still loved each one of them truly, working through them in amazing ways.  Because imperfection is the open door for God to begin doing miracles for us and through us.

 

Thank You, Father, for examples like Peter who remind us we can mess up and still be part of Your miracles.  Thank You for redeeming grace that picks us up and allows us to declare our love and fidelity no matter what we have done.  Help us each to find the Peter of Pentecost within ourselves.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  9/3/17

What are you Casting?

When you think of the word “care”, what comes to your mind?

 

Because we can be real with each other.  We all have cares – those worries, those issues, those annoyances, those problems.  That are trying to distract us from God’s goodness.  That are trying to suffocate our hope.  That are trying to convince us that God’s love isn’t big enough or His power not strong enough to help us.

 

As I drove home from a concert last night, I realized I have cares.  I can pretend I don’t.  I can pretend I am fine.  I can pretend my mind isn’t heavy.  But I have cares.  And by pretending I don’t, they are weighing me down.

 

So I need to deal with them.  I need to own the feelings that aren’t of God.  I need to separate the unreal emotions from the truth of God’s love.

 

And He gives me the perfect starting place.

what-are-you-casting

Humble yourself.  Accept your human limitations and bow down your heart onto Him and His wisdom.  Admit you cannot manage your life.  Allow grace to overwhelm you – to fill you and surround you.

 

And in doing so, begin to throw all your distractions, worries, and stress to Him.  For help.  For healing.  For hope.

 

He wants you to take ease and refresh yourself completely – body, emotions, and mind.  “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).  Come to Me, your loving Creator, and cast your cares into My loving arms.  Toss your worries, throw your fears, and thrust your problems – without exception and with great expectation.

 

And not just for 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there.  He is asking us to unburden ourselves at ANY point of the day or night.  He is asking us to come to Him with ANYTHING weighing us down WHENEVER we realize it is there.  He is asking us to stop allowing ourselves to be distracted from all the goodness and grace available to us.

 

Because focusing on our cares doesn’t get us anything good.  Anything with blessing.  Anything with mercy.  Anything with hope.  Just like the disciples after Jesus’ death.  Devastated at their loss, they did the only thing they knew – they went back to fishing.  But there was no joy – and no fish.  “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’  They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing” (John 21:3).

 

See that?  Despite casting their nets all night, they caught nothing.  Which gave them a lot of time to think about what their lives would look like now that their beloved Teacher was gone.  And they probably sat all night and wallowed in their cares about returning to ordinary life as they recasted their empty nets over and over again.

 

And as morning dawned and their hope was gone, Jesus shows up.  Knowing they are unaware of who He is, He advises them to cast their nets in a new direction – And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some…’” (John 21:6a).

 

Because they were fixated on one side of the boat – and on one train of thought about His death – that He needed to shake up their care-full reality to see the possibilities all around them.  So He asks them to thrown down, pour out, send away, and thrust away all their cares – both with fishing and with their grief.

 

And He’s asking us to do the same thing today.  It’s the brutal truth that nailed me between the eyes as I drove home tonight.  I think I am not brooding, but I am.  And I need to turn my brooding into praying and praising.  I think I am not holding onto worry, but I am.   And I need to let go of the possibilities of tomorrow that may never become a reality and live in the moment.  I think I am walking in faith, but I am not.  And I need to unclench my fists and let go of the string of control I think is mine so He can move freely and wildly in my life.

 

And is it worth it?  Let’s ask the disciples.  When they did as they were advised by this stranger (they did not yet know it was their beloved Teacher), “ … they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish” (John 21:6b).  They were blessed with an abundance of fish.  And then they were blessed even more when they finally realized who He is and got to talk to Him again.

 

So today I am getting honest.  Very honest.  I am looking my care directly in the face and naming it, so darkness cannot deceive or overtake me.  I will talk about the struggle to give space for His light.  I am taking EVERY care and nailing it to the Cross.  Because I need to let go of my cares and pick up His grace.  It’s the only way to have peace.

 

Will you join me today?

 

Bonus Scriptures on casting:

  • Romans 13:12 – The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 – casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
  • Hebrews 10:35 – Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
  • Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

Marie Fremin.  10/21/16 and 3/2/17