healed

32 As Peter toured the whole region, he went to visit God’s holy people in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and had been confined to his bed for eight years. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and make your bed.” At once he got up. 35 Everyone who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:32-35, CEB)

Do we follow God because of the miracles we see?

We may see something miraculous but that will not sustain us. It can turn our heads and get our attention, but faith comes through following when the miracles are not seen.

Peter healed people as God told him and we should too. We may not make a paralyzed man walk, but we will do wonders through God’s love.

Share love every day and help people know they are healed.

Loving People. Loving God.

end of anger

Then I saw another great and awe-inspiring sign in heaven. There were seven angels with seven plagues—and these are the last, for with them God’s anger is brought to an end. Then I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire. Those who gained victory over the beast, its image, and the number of its name were standing by the glass sea, holding harps from God. They sing the song of Moses, God’s servant, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, king of the nations. Who won’t fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? You alone are holy. All nations will come and fall down in worship before you, for your acts of justice have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:1-4, CEB)

With the seven plagues, God’s anger is brought to an end!

After the victory, we will stand around the sea of glass and have harps and sing praises to God forever and ever.

Peace will come. We have faith and know the promises are true.

Share love and stand strong.

Loving People. Loving God.

Fooled

22 The time came for the Festival of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple, walking in the covered porch named for Solomon. 24 The Jewish opposition circled around him and asked, “How long will you test our patience? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, but you don’t believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you don’t believe because you don’t belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:22-30, CEB)

I was scrolling through social media today and I found this image.

I think that goes with the reading here. The Jewish Religious Leaders who opposed Jesus wanted Jesus to plainly say who he was, and according to Jesus he had told them plainly, but they didn’t want to hear it.

They knew the truth, but refused to accept it, does that make them double fools?

Accept the truth and follow Jesus.

Loving People. Loving God.

worry

29 Don’t chase after what you will eat and what you will drink. Stop worrying. 30 All the nations of the world long for these things. Your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, desire his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights in giving you the kingdom. (Luke 12:29-32, CEB)

I worry about everything.

And I can come up with some interesting outcomes that will never happen. But I worry so it is what I do.

But does worry help at all? No. We shouldn’t focus on the bad that could happen, we should focus on the good that could happen and know that no matter what happens that God is with us through it all.

Don’t worry. Love.

Loving People. Loving God.

six seals

Then I looked on as the Lamb opened one of the seven seals. I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” So I looked, and there was a white horse. Its rider held a bow and was given a crown. And he went forth from victory to victory. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Out came another horse, fiery red. Its rider was allowed to take peace from the earth so that people would kill each other. He was given a large sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” So I looked, and there was a black horse. Its rider held a balance for weighing in his hand. I heard what sounded like a voice from among the four living creatures. It said, “A quart of wheat for a denarion, and three quarts of barley for a denarion, but don’t damage the olive oil and the wine.” When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” So I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and the Grave was following right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, famine, disease, and the wild animals of the earth. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar those who had been slaughtered on account of the word of God and the witness they had given. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “Holy and true Master, how long will you wait before you pass judgment? How long before you require justice for our blood, which was shed by those who live on earth?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little longer, until their fellow servants and brothers and sisters—who were about to be killed as they were—were finished. 12 I looked on as he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as funeral clothing, and the entire moon turned red as blood. 13 The stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its fruit when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky disappeared like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the officials and the generals, the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in caves and in the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the Lamb’s wrath! 17 The great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. They held back the earth’s four winds so that no wind would blow against the earth, the sea, or any tree. I saw another angel coming up from the east, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given the power to damage the earth and sea. He said, “Don’t damage the earth, the sea, or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of those who serve our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed from every tribe of the Israelites: (Revelation 6:1—7:4, CEB)

six of the seven seals are opened.

The second seal with the fiery red horse whose rider took peace from the earth so that everyone was killing everyone else. Sounds like now. Of course, it also sounds like all time on earth.

This passage while we read it and wonder if now is the time was meant for comfort of the people it was given to, and we should see comfort in it also.

The angels on the four corners protect the earth and the people until they are marked. And when we are marked we will not be harmed.

Share love in a world that seems to always hate.

Show people there is a loving God that wants to be in a relationship with them.

Loving People. Loving God

worthy

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one seated on the throne. It had writing on the front and the back, and it was sealed with seven seals. I saw a powerful angel, who proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside it. So I began to weep and weep, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look inside it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep. Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has emerged victorious so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then, in between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb, standing as if it had been slain. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are God’s seven spirits, sent out into the whole earth. He came forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one seated on the throne. When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each held a harp and gold bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They took up a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain, and by your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. 10 You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule on earth.” (Revelation 5:1-10, CEB)

Who is worthy to open the seals on the scroll?

The Lamb is. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.

The Son of God, the one who has opened the way for all of us to be with God.

Know that the Lamb will open the scroll and has made a way for all of us to be with God.

We are all worthy because of the lamb.

Loving People. Loving God.

Fishing

One day Jesus was standing beside Lake Gennesaret when the crowd pressed in around him to hear God’s word. Jesus saw two boats sitting by the lake. The fishermen had gone ashore and were washing their nets. Jesus boarded one of the boats, the one that belonged to Simon, then asked him to row out a little distance from the shore. Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.” So they dropped the nets and their catch was so huge that their nets were splitting. They signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so full that they were about to sink. When Simon Peter saw the catch, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Leave me, Lord, for I’m a sinner!” Peter and those with him were overcome with amazement because of the number of fish they caught. 10 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, were Simon’s partners and they were amazed too. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.” 11 As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11, CEB)

Jesus got in a boat near the shore because the crowd was pressing in on him, and after he taught the crowd he told Peter to row out further to catch some fish. Peter whined and said they had been out all night and caught nothing. But because he liked Jesus he did it.

And the catch was unbelievable.

When we follow Jesus and fish where we are told to, the catch will be unbelievable.

Don’t doubt it, just fish.

Loving People. Loving God.

hysterical

Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak for yourself.” So Paul gestured with his hand and began his defense. “King Agrippa, I consider myself especially fortunate that I stand before you today as I offer my defense concerning all the accusations the Jews have brought against me. This is because you understand well all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I ask you to listen to me patiently. Every Jew knows the way of life I have followed since my youth because, from the beginning, I was among my people and in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time. If they wanted to, they could testify that I followed the way of life set out by the most exacting group of our religion. I am a Pharisee. Today I am standing trial because of the hope in the promise God gave our ancestors. This is the promise our twelve tribes hope to receive as they earnestly worship night and day. The Jews are accusing me, King Agrippa, because of this hope! Why is it inconceivable to you that God raises the dead? “I really thought that I ought to oppose the name of Jesus the Nazarene in every way possible. 10 And that’s exactly what I did in Jerusalem. I locked up many of God’s holy people in prison under the authority of the chief priests. When they were condemned to death, I voted against them. 11 In one synagogue after another—indeed, in all the synagogues—I would often torture them, compelling them to slander God. My rage bordered on the hysterical as I pursued them, even to foreign cities. 12 “On one such journey, I was going to Damascus with the full authority of the chief priests. 13 While on the road at midday, King Agrippa, I saw a light from heaven shining around me and my traveling companions. That light was brighter than the sun. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice that said to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you harassing me? It’s hard for you to kick against a spear.’ 15 Then I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are harassing. 16 Get up! Stand on your feet! I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as my servant and witness of what you have seen and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you 18 to open their eyes. Then they can turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, and receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are made holy by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:1-18, CEB)

Paul said his rage bordered on hysterical. His rage of pursuing followers of the Way. He voted against people so they would die for what they believed.

When we are stuck in a tunnel vision we can be full of hysterical rage against those who we see as wrong. But one light from God can set us on the right path and correct our tunnel vision.

Help others see love, not hate.

Let them see the love you are for, not experience the rage of what you are against.

Loving People. Loving God.

show us

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves. 12 I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. 14 When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:8-14, CEB)

What do you need to see to believe?

Or what have you seen that you haven’t seen?

Jesus tells Philip that whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. Well, have they really?

Jesus is the Father, and the Father is Jesus, meaning they are both God, but seeing one, have you seen them both?

Yes. We have. Even when we can’t explain it.

We have seen Jesus and the Father and the Spirit. So what else do you need to believe the promises are true?

Trust and love as you are loved.

Loving People. Loving God.

Love…

Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.” They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus. Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. 15 When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” (John 21:1-19, CEB)

This is a text if we have been in worship for while we have probably heard, the restoration of Peter. Peter denied Jesus three times, so Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Jesus.

Jesus said Peter do you ἀγαπάω me?

Peter said Yes Jesus I φιλέω you.

Again Jesus said Peter do you ἀγαπάω me?

Peter said Yes Jesus I φιλέω you.

Then Jesus said Peter do you φιλέω me.

Peter was sad but said Jesus you know I φιλέω you.

φιλέω is Philo. Brotherly Love. ἀγαπάω is agape, unconditional love.

Jesus asked Peter if he unconditionally loved him, and Peter said I love you like a brother. Well, look at what Joseph’s brothers did to him. What did Cain do to Abel? Brotherly love sometimes doesn’t look like love. And did Peter have conditions to how he loved Jesus?

Do you have conditions to how you love Jesus?

Do we only love to the point of us being comfortable?

Jesus says to you, Do you ἀγαπάω me?

What will you say?

Loving (ἀγαπάω) People. Loving (ἀγαπάω) God.