He Still Wants to Use Me? (John 21:17)

Peter cannot bring himself to say that he loves (agapao) Jesus.  The best type of love that he believes he has is phileo or brotherly love.  Jesus continues to prompt him to feed his sheep and lambs.  Peter cannot get past his failure of denying Christ.  How can he feed God’s lambs and sheep with such limited love?

Jesus knows his inner turmoil and condition of love.  He then–with that understanding confirmed–gives the charge again to Peter.  God’s calling upon Peter’s life was prior to his failure and in recognition of it.  He wanted Peter to know that regardless of what had happened, he still wanted him to be an Apostle.

Like Peter, we sometimes limit ourselves from what God has planned for us.  We get so focused on our failures and cannot see God’s plan or believe his calling is upon our lives.  

Instead of trying to figure it out, we should just listen to the voice of God’s leading.  He will lead us to exactly where he wants us to be.

How Can I Approach God?

As a kid, one of the greatest difficulties I faced was approaching my father and trying to get him to do something for me.  It seemed like I always faced some type of resistance and a troubling discussion.  Those childhood experiences affected my perspective of my Heavenly Father.  It wouldn’t take a counselor to recognize that as a believer in Christ, I would be convinced that my father in heaven would react the same way to my requests.

It took some time to overcome, but God eventually was able to get through to me and teach me about our relationship and how to approach him.  I finally recognized that he wants me to approach him and that there is a way to enter into his presence.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalms 100:4)

In this Psalm, the writer uses the analogy of entering a king’s castle to teach us how to approach God.  The first step in approaching God should be to express thanks for whatever he is doing in your lives.  This can be very difficult for some of us, because there are many things that God allows into our lives, which are part of his sovereign plan that we may see as very unpleasant.  In order for us to be thankful, we will need to submit our will to him.  That is part of the great commandment loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  When you express thanks to God, you enter through the gates and approach his presence.  You will not be as close as you could be, but you will be in his presence.  

After expressing thanks, you should praise God.  Praising God is done by declaring how wonderful God is and saying it to him in your own words and from your heart.  When you do this, you have entered into the court of his presence.  Once you enter this place, stay there, fellowship with him, make your petitions known to him and enjoy the splendor that you were created to experience.

Your Christian life was meant to be enjoyed.  It does not mean that all of life will be enjoyable, but regardless of what circumstances we face, we can enjoy God in the midst of them.

What Is Stopping You? (Matthew 21:32)

What does it take?  In order to be or do something, it usually requires some preliminary steps or skills.  To run, you first need to walk.  To read, you must memorize and recognize letters, their sounds and words.  But what about something like believing.  What does that take?

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.  (Matthew 21:32)

It appears that repentance affects a person’s ability to believe.  It seems that when the publicans and harlots had their lives changed as a result of John’s message, those who witnessed it should have then recognized John as a man from God.  Yielding to that truth would then have caused the listeners to accept and believe John’s message and how it pertained to their lives.  By repenting, they would have enabled themselves to believe.

Repentance continues to be a major aspect of the believer’s life both before and after salvation.  In salvation, man must repent and believe what God had said about him and his sinful condition.  Once man recognizes and yields to this, his entire attitude about himself, his condition and his ability to save himself will be changed.  He then can believe the gospel.  Again, repenting enables a person to believe.

Repentance continues to affect us after salvation.  As we face trials and difficulties, our hearts have a tendency to have fear and sometimes even doubt about the goodness of God.  It is only when we allow God’s word to turn our hearts around and accept the truth of passages such as Romans 8:28, that we then again can believe and trust the Lord.

What action of repentance do you need to do in order to help you believe and trust God?

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