Sunday, March 10, 2013

Peter and Jesus

In John 21 Christ appears to seven of his disciples.  These men have gone to Galilee, probably in obedience to Christ who told them that He would meet with them there.  (Matt 28:10).

They go fishing, possibly to earn some money while they wait, but they catch nothing all night.  When the morning comes, a man on the shore asks them if they have any food.  They answer, “No.”  He suggests they should cast their net on the right side of the boat where they will find some.  They give it a try and their net becomes so full, they can’t haul it into the boat. Obviously, this is a miracle.

John recognizes that only the Lord could have done this and cries, “It is the Lord!”  When Peter figures it out, he grabs his garment and jumps out of the boat. He can’t wait to see Christ!  The other guys bring the boat up and begin dragging in the net. Peter runs back to help drag in the net and when they arrive on the beach, they see Christ has a fire on which breakfast is cooking.  He invites them to bring over some of the fish they’ve caught.

This is the 3rd time Jesus reveals himself to the disciples after His death.

Christ then begins a dialogue with Peter. He asks, “Simon, of Jonah, do you agape love me (a love of total commitment)?” Peter responds, “You know I phileo (friend love) you, Lord.” Christ instructs, “Feed my lambs.” Christ asks again in the same way and Peter answers again with the same answer. Christ asks a third time, “Simon, of Jonah, do you phileo me? (My interpretation, “Ok, Peter, do you only love me like a friend?”)

“The third time Jesus asks Peter, He uses Peter’s word for love that signified something less than total devotion, questioning even that level of love Peter thought he was safe in claiming. “ (MacArthur Study Bible)

This grieves Peter.

Peter “was reluctant to express the greater love because he had been disobedient and denied the Lord in the past. He was, perhaps, now reluctant to make a claim of supreme devotion when, in the past, his life did not support such a claim.” (MacArthur Study Bible)

How many times do we allow our past sin to get in the way of today’s obedience? We think to ourselves, “Well, I didn’t really live up to my own expectations. Christ must be as disappointed in my performance as I am.” We come back tentatively and “hope” we can muster up some kind of devotion to Him, but we sting from not following Him fully.

Christ KNEW Peter’s heart. He knew Peter was a devoted follower, but that sin had previously overcome him. He KNEW that great things would be accomplished in Peter’s life, but that Peter needed to be reminded that Christ wanted his FULL devotion. With Christ, Peter would end up doing the impossible!

Do you see the gentleness in Christ in this questioning? He’s encouraging Peter to believe that He can be restored and please the Lord with his life.  There were no lectures about past sin. They’ve been forgiven. This is about his restoration and future.

In Matt 26:35 Peter expresses his emotional love when he says, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”  It was his natural self talking; he truly felt this way. However, agape love, true love, is a deep spiritual love that declares itself not merely by words, but by everything we do, as well.  Peter truly and deeply loved the Lord, but He would have to prove that love by “feeding the Lord’s sheep.”

Peter’s actions in building the early church prove what resided in Peter’s heart – a deep abiding love for Christ.

What kind of love do we have for Christ? Do we enthusiastically SAY we love Him and then deny Him to others? Do we say we want to follow Him and then deny His power to live a well-pleasing life? Are we willing to only go so far (friend love) or are we willing to give up everything to prove our love to Him and those around us?

It takes faith to believe that stepping out in full devotion to Christ will be worth it, but Matt 16:25b reminds us that “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” He promises it will be an abundant life.

Side note – did you notice that the 3rd time Christ reveals Himself, He calls Peter “son of Jonah”, a picture of the resurrected Christ. Peter had denied him 3 times, but it took Peter 3 times to realize that He was forgiven and that he was being called to share the love of Christ with the Lord’s sheep - all pointing back to our Risen Savior!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Drunkard's Path

A Drunkard's Path, the second book in the A Someday Quilts Mystery series, was fantastic! I couldn't put it down! It got read in hours, not days.

In book # 1, The Lover's Knot, the author, Clare O'Donohue, sets up the characters. That took about half of the book, but in book # 2, the story is action-packed from the beginning to end.

This book introduces some new characters who are quite entertaining.  As you read you're not sure whether to like or dislike the new additions and you hope that in the end it will be ok. :)  The circle of quilters were too cute and I'm beginning to really enjoy their contributions to the story. The author is not adept at writing angst between characters or she just can't add romance. The romantic elements in both books are quite irritating.  She puts the main character, Nell Fitzgerald, in on-again-off-again relationships and they do not add to the story, except to get her some information to aid in solving the mystery. It would be great if Nell didn't have a love life in book # 3. Ha!

The author paints vivid scenes and I would love to visit the new coffee shop in town and see the mural on the wall. It sounds really cool. She has folks traipsing around in the cold and snow and I got a real sense of the weather. You visit an art class and you can just smell the paint in the room. Ms. O'Donohue is a talented descriptive author.

The quilt named in the title was more prevalent in the story, but you do not have to be a fan of quilting to enjoy these mysteries.

I did my best to try to weed out the red herrings and solve the mystery, but when I finished the book I had only figured out about 1/3 of the scenario. However, it was easy to look back and clearly see the trail of clues, they were so unexpected, however, that I missed them.  That's a good mystery to me!

I'm looking forward to reading books # 3 & # 4 sometime soon!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Lover's Knot

I've read through the Elm Creek novel series and was looking for something new. A friend suggested a quilting mystery series so I thought I'd give A Someday Quilts Mystery series a try.

The first novel, The Lover's Knot, was ok. The author does not compare to Jennifer Chiaverini; she did not create endearing characters. In fact, her main character is so conflicted and all over the place, I wanted to "smack her" at times. Guess that made good angst. :)  The dog was the best character.

Clare O'Donohue, the author, took too long leading up to the murder and spent an inordinate amount of time not telling you things, I guess to build suspense, but it got irritating.  For example, someone would give someone else a dirty look and another character would say, "Wonder what that was about." We live that way, but she did it too often and I just felt like saying, "Ok, already, you're not going to tell us. Quit telling us you're not going to tell us!"

Once the murder occurred the story got moving. She gave good clues to help us see the truth and threw in some red herrings, as well. I enjoyed trying to figure it out.

Her writing style is easy to read and her chapter size is perfect. You can finish off a few chapter with ease right before bed.

I had checked out the first two books in the series from the library and I opened up the second book to see if she used the same characters from the first book.  She does. She has a great opening and I was drawn to read the first few pages immediately.  I look forward to finding out more about the main characters so I guess she told a good story in the first book. I've more than willing to give book # 2 a try.

Quilting doesn't play a dominant role in this book, as much as in Jennifer Chiaverini's, but it does add a nice touch and helps you understand this circle of friends.

I recommend A Someday Quilts Mystery series and will let you know how book # 2 turns out when I'm done.