Thursday, June 18, 2009


When my daughter was growing up and increasing in vocabulary she came across a very interesting word- infinity. I tried to explain infinity meant a number that was so large no one could even count that high. We talked about an infinite number of stars, blades of grass, sand on the seashore etc. I told her that I loved her "infinity" and she echoed the same back to me. Thus began our parting words at bedtime, the words we shouted as she left for school, and later our last words in a letter. Even on the days of her worst behavior I knew I still loved her infinity.
In John 21:15 Jesus appears after His resurrection and finds Peter and some other disciples out fishing. From the shore Jesus shouts out a fishing tip to cast to the other side. Up to that point the men had caught nothing. So maybe just maybe this wise guy might be right. They did what He said and, voila, a fisherman's dream! Peter instantly knew the man was Jesus and raced to the shore. After sharing breakfast with the men Jesus asks Peter a somewhat familiar question. "Do you love me more than these?" Who or what are the "these" is Jesus referring to? Some scholars say "these" refers to the other disciples and some say the fish. Not the edible fish they had just caught but the catching of the fish that was in Peter's blood. For some the hobby or work of fishing is addictive. A true fisherman thinks of little else other than the next cast, the next catch. When fishing becomes "life" to a man instead of a way of making a living or a fun hobby, that man is headed for trouble.
I don't mean to pick on just fishing here. I don't think Jesus did either. I believe the underlying question Jesus was asking Peter was, "Is there anything you love more than serving me, obeying me, being identified with me?" Before Jesus' death He commanded His disciples to go and make disciples (Matt. 28). Was that what Peter was doing now? Had Peter and the others gotten so disillusioned after Jesus' death that they returned to what they loved - fishing? So Jesus is asking what do you love more? What do you love infinity? What are you so sold out to that you would die to do it? What would you give up to follow Christ?
Often God asks us to give up certain things, die to them so we can live for Christ. We are then faced with the same question Peter was asked, "Do you love me more than this thing, this person, this lifestyle, this hobby, this job, this bank account...?"
Jesus told Peter he must be willing to give up what he loved dearly for what loved "infinity."
I hear the Savior asking me the same. What about you?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knock Offs

Several years ago my daughter went to New york and bought me a great Christmas gift - a fake Kate Spade bag. I loved it! About the same time I had quit my job to go into full time ministry. At a Bible study I was attending I gave a prayer request - my husband and I were financially strapped. We were having to live minus my income. We needed God to supply our needs. One evening at a Wednesday night church supper I saw my prayer buddies. As I sat down with them to eat (having set my Kate Spade bag beside me) I kept noticing their glances to the bag and then one another. At last one lady spoke up and asked if my husband and I were so strapped financially why was I buying designer purses. I chuckled and explained. First it was a gift and second it was a knock off. Shock covered the faces of the women who were fooled by the knock off.
People are fooled by knock offs every day. Knock off purses seem innocent enough but generally the makers are dealing in illegal activity. Knock off drugs can end up harming people and some are even deadly. So it is with knock off religions.
"In the beginning was the Word...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life..." This is the Gospel of John in a nutshell. This is the real deal. Any knock off is deadly to the soul of man. The peddler of any knock off is guilty of a spiritual crime - perverting the Truth. People are easily fooled by knock off teachers and knock off teachings. Many are led astray. Why? People are not familiar enough with the Truth. They can't spot the fake, the twisted, the perverted brand that is harmful to their living and even their eternal destiny. To recognize a fake, a phony, a counterfeit, you must first know what is real, authentic, and true.
Live and abide in the words from John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."