Is he really my lord?

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Acts 20:24

Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfilment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it — consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Saviour. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16 — “I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake”.

“Do you love Me?” Then, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call — the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him. This does not imply that there is a whole series of differing ministries marked out for you. It does mean that you must be sensitive to what God has called you to do, and this may sometimes require ignoring demands for service in other areas.

O Lord, I beseech You for sustaining strength and simple joy. Keep me humble-minded in motive and design that nothing of the superior person may be mine.

Is this true of Me?

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Acts 20:24

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself?” If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decided to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself”. But Paul said he considered his life clear so that he might fulfil the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work”. That attitude chooses our own judgement, instead of Jesus christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use — but always consider that”you are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19). You are His.

O Lord, by Your grace open my vision to You and Your infinite horizons, and take me into Your counsels regarding Your work in this place.

His Commission to Us

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”

John 21:17

This is love in the making. The love of God is not created — it is His nature. When we receive the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He unites us with God so that His love is demonstrated in us. The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was. And what kind of oneness did Jesus Christ have with the Father? He had such a oneness with the Father that He was obedient when His Father sent Him down here to be poured out for us. And he says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

Peter now realises that he does love Him, due to the revelation that came with the Lord’s piercing question. The Lord’s next point is — “Pour yourself out. Don’t testify about how much you love Me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed My sheep.’” Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: some that are unkempt and dirty, some that are awkward or pushy, and some that have gone astray! But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions — I have to feed His sheep. We will not be delivered or released from His commission to us. Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by following your own natural human emotions, sympathies, or understandings. That will only serve to revile and abuse the true love of God.

I would, O Lord, have all my thoughts and emotions and words redolent with love, perfect love to You, and through that to others.

Have you felt the pain inflicted by the lord?

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep…”

John 21:17

Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very centre of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life? The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions.

Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God. “Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’” Yet he was awakened to the fact that at the centre of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus. And then he began to see what Jesus’ patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest bit of doubt left in Peter’s mind; he could never be deceived again. And there was no need for an impassioned response; no need for immediate action or an emotional display. It was a revelation to him to realise how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he simply said, “Lord, You know all things…” Peter began to see how very much he did love Jesus, and there was no need to say, “Look at this or that as proof of my love.” Peter was beginning to discover within himself just how much he really did love the Lord. He discovered that his eyes were so fixed on Jesus Christ that he saw no one else in heaven above or on the earth below. But he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord were asked. The Lord’s questions always revealed the true me to myself.

Oh, the wonder of the patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time. Rarely, but probably once in each of our lives, He will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions. Then we will realise that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say.

O Lord, You have enlarged me when I was in distress. Oh, that the thoughts of my heart were more and more a well-spring of gracious treasure without ceasing!

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Music Series of 3

So, it may seem that I forgot to post for T&T Tunes on Thursday because I did. But here you go, an exception to the trend, a series of tunes for your Saturday.

1. We will first take a listen to Quiet Hounds, a group from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me so I’ll just give you my top 3 songs of theirs. And yes… they are usually wearing those masks. For an additional song, click here.

2. Kyle Andrews, another American musician, is the next person to listen to in our series of artists. He was born in Chicago but is based in Nashville.

3. Last on our series is Sheppard, a band from Brisbane, Queensland. They’ve been around since 2009 but since they are from Australia, their music is extremely hard to get your hands on in the States.

Peer Kusiv

Peer Kusiv

Peer is a young music producer from Kiel, Germany. He started as a piano player that was heavily influenced by the German hip-hop scene. As time passed, he began to gear his music toward the electronic side. His music is a variation of dark, synth-pop EDM.

You can download his album, Natur & Techno, free on his website.

My favourite song of his at the moment is Locked Out, which is not featured on the free album.

The Piercing Question

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep…”

John 21:17

Peter’s response to this piercing question is considerably different from the bold defiance he exhibited only a few days before he declared, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matt. 26:35, also see verses 33-34). Our natural individuality, or natural self, boldly speaks out and declares its feelings. But the true love within our inner spiritual self can be discovered only by experiencing the hurt of this question of Jesus Christ. Peter loved Jesus in the way any natural man loves a good person. Yet that is nothing but emotional love. It may reach deeply into our national self, but it never penetrates to the spirit of a person. True love never simply declares itself. Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men [that is, confesses his love by everything he does, not merely by his words], him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8).
Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives. The word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses. But this question of the Lord intensifies our sensitivities to the point that this hurt produced by Jesus is the most exquisite pain conceivable. It hurts not only on the natural level, but also on the deeper spiritual level. “For the Word of God is living and powerful…, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit…” — to the point that no deception can remain (Heb. 4:12). When the Lord asks us this question, it is impossible to think and respond properly, because when the Lord speaks directly to us, the pain is too intense. It causes such a tremendous hurt that any part of our life which may be out of line with His will can feel the pain. There is never any mistaking the pain of the Lord’s Word by His children, but the moment that pain is felt is the very moment at which God reveals His truth to us.

O Lord, this morning disperse every mist. Shine forth clear and strong and invigoratingly.

“Do You Now Believe?”

“… Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.”

Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe?”

John 16:30-31

Now we believe. But Jesus asks, “Do you…? Indeed the hour is coming… that you… will leave Me alone” (16:31-32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our should has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Prov. 3:5-6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realises how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own common sense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7). When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation — just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.

O Lord, when I awake, I am still with You. Quicken my mortal body with Your mighty resurrection life; rouse me this hour with a gracious influx of power.

The Bank’s a Bust

I had my interview on Wednesday after a mess of a misunderstanding. I called on Friday to find out when would be the best time for me to come in to talk to the lady. Instead, she was on a conference call so the assistant wrote my name and number down for her to get back to me later. I guess she REALLY misspelled my name because I ended up receiving a call from some man that was in charge of hiring. He explained to me that there were no job openings and that was that. After that call, I quickly gave my dad a ring and he insisted that I send my resume to Ms. Patty, the lady I referenced in the the second sentence, along with a summary of what happened.

I did just that the next day. Why didn’t you do it immediately? I was helping Jasmine move into her new house and didn’t get home until late. Anyway, I emailed her and she finally got back to me on Monday. She asked me to come in on Wednesday to talk to her.

So Wednesday rolled up and I went to the interview. I didn’t actually get to meet Ms. Patty but I did meet with another lady, Ms. Kathy, who was extremely interested in my missions work and my degree. She also said that there were no job openings at the moment but went ahead and filed away my paperwork for when I return to the US next year. Aww, how sweet! I know! She was great and we ended up talking for a little over an hour. She also reassured me that she would spread the word that I am available to other banking friends.

And that leaves me here. Still without much money for study abroad. Be praying that something changes soon!

A blog comprised of adventures and thoughts from a university student from Oklahoma.

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