MARCH 31

Today's Bible Readings
     Leviticus 2 & 3
     Proverbs 18
     John 21
     Colossians 1
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love me? 'And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed My sheep'." (John 21: 17)
 
THE PAINFUL QUESTION
            This encounter of Jesus with Simon Peter is intensely dramatic and profoundly inspiring. When you understand the use of Greek terminology in this conversation it becomes even more interesting and intense. In verse 15 Jesus asked Simon, ''Do you love Me more than these?'' This did not mean do you love me more than these other apostles do. Jesus was asking, ''do you love me more than these things around you.' Jesus used the word agape, which means a Christlike kind of love. When Peter answered he said, ''You know that I love you." But Peter used the word phileo. Peter had recently said, ''even if I have to die with you I will not deny you." Of course he did deny his Lord and now Peter is not quite so bold in his response. He is finally being honest.
This must have broken the heart of our Lord so He asked him again, ''Simon do you love me." Again the word is agape and again Peter's response is phileo.
            Now we come to the final and most painful of the questions. Jesus said, ''Simon do you love me?'' This time Jesus used the word phileo.  How that must have broken the heart of Simon Peter. Jesus was actually saying – “I realize now that you don't love me like I love you, but I am willing to come to your point of love and watch it grow." This must have been painful for Simon Peter, but the moment that pain is felt is the very moment in which God reveals His truth to us.
             Oh the wonder of the patience of Jesus toward Peter. Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time. Rarely, but probably once in our lives He will back us into a comer where He will hurt us with His piercing questions. Then we realize that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say.
            Now notice our Lord's message to Peter. ''Don't testify how much you love Me, and don't talk about the wonderful relation you have had –just “feed my sheep.”
            It is not always easy to love and feed the sheep of our Lord. Jesus has some very peculiar sheep. Some are unkempt and dirty, some that are pushy and some that have gone astray. It is impossible to exhaust God's love. It is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me.  Whatever else is going on around me I must feed His sheep. What is your answer today to this painful question?
            Do you love Him? If so, will you love, tend and feed His lambs?
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Today we will pray for the Island of Grenada. The name of this country has become familiar to us because of the U.S. Invasion and to establish a democratic government. A stable constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democratic form of government has prevailed since then. This is a very small country with only 345 square kilometers, which provide homes for about 100,000 people. So this country has known a lot of turmoil. Much of the population is nominally Catholic because of the earlier French legacy, but evangelicals have steadily grown in numbers and influence since independence.
            Pray today for unity between denominations and among spiritual leaders. Pray also for the commitment level of believers to grow. There is widespread nominalism even in evangelical congregations. Pray that Grenadian churches might learn to assume greater responsibility in evangelism and church planting. Missionary vision is lacking. The missionary organization, YWAM, which is ''Youth With A Mission'', is seeking to train and send out West Indian missionaries to reach peoples elsewhere in the world. They need our prayers. Please focus your attention today to pray for Grenada.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''To make my weak heart strong and brave, send the fire. To live, a dying world to save, send the fire. Oh, see me on thy altar lay, my life, my all, this very day. To crown the offering now, I pray. Send the fire."
F. de L. Booth-Tucker