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Feed My Lambs, Tend My Sheep

A guest post today from my awesome husband, Gregg.

I had prepared a post presenting more scientific evidence refuting the Darwinists spontaneous generation foolishness. I will postpone that until next Sunday. This week, I am very much led to write a more personal message tailored to my fellow believers. I pray that this message touches you, my brothers and sisters, today.

For more than a week, the same message kept coming to me. It arrived by four very different avenues and has echoed in my prayer life and in my heart. It is the familiar passage in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John, verses 15 through 18, in which the resurrected Savior asks Simon Peter three times, paraphrasing, “Do you love Me?” Each time, Peter answers, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

This week, I heard Jesus asking me over and over, “Gregg, do you love me?”

How do I make an answer for that? “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” Does that answer satisfy Him?

I love my wife, my children, my family members by both birth and by marriage. I love them, and they love me in tangible ways; ways that are both quantifiable and qualifiable. How do I express my love for my Creator?

“Gregg, do you love me?” asks my beloved Savior.

Jesus, you know I love you.

And He tells me to feed His lambs.

I love my children by putting their needs above my wants. I bring them bread by the sweat of my brow. I ensure that they have sturdy clothes, a safe home, and eat good food by exercising God’s will as steward and provider for my family. I pray for them every day. I listen to them when they need my ear. I offer them what wisdom I can and bless them. With wisdom and blessings comes a heart for my children; to provide them with opportunities I never had; to ensure they are physically, mentally, and spiritually fed; to raise them in the way that they should go by being, knowing, and doing — by setting standards that I also meet and model. I hug them and kiss them and tell them how much I love them.

“Gregg, do you love me?” asks my beloved Savior.

Jesus, you know that I love you. And He tells me to tend His sheep.

I love my family and my extended family. I raise them up in prayer and try to encourage them in many small ways. We trade children’s clothes, bunk beds, expertise, advise, and other needful things. I send my mother-in-law gifts celebrating my wife’s birthday each year. I am grateful for them. I offer them the hospitality of my home and hearth and graciously and gratefully accept it when it is offered.

“Gregg, do you love me?” asks my beloved Savior.

Jesus, you know I love you.

And He tells me to feed His sheep.

Our 9-Year Anniversary, June 2011

I love my wife with a deep passion that is nearly all consuming. I abide in her. (There is a lot to say about how we abide in each other.) I long for her. Like Job, I have made a covenant with my eyes to her. I pray for her and with her. I cover her with words of praise, admiration, affirmation, and adoration. I try to always put her needs first, before any of my own needs. I am her bold protector and vigilant defender. I am her biggest fan and most earnest advocate. To me, she is the most important person on this planet.

“Gregg, do you love me?” asks my Savior.

How do we, as believers express our love for our Creator? How do I?

Too Cool for the School in the Pool

We are commanded to be in the world but not of the world. Does a fish living in the ocean know it’s wet? Does it even know what water is? Can it see water? How immersed in the waters of the world are we? When we spot a big rock of TRUTH, do we swim blindly past it or do we climb up into the light and dry off? Are you so dry that all the other wet fish make fun of you? Or are you soaked enough to stay cool with the school in that pool?

When people ask if you love your kids, do you show them pictures and relate a story of how your children have recently touched your heart? When people ask about your spouse, do you relate loving stories and express something that your spouse did recently to make you proud or bring joy into your life?

When people ask about your God, what kind of answer do you make? “Oh yeah, I believe in God.” “Oh yeah, I go to church.” “Oh yeah, I’m a Christian.” Or worse, “Oh yeah, I’m a Baptist-Catholic-Mormon-Pentacostal-Bible-Holiness…[fill in the sect].” What does “doing” church, or following a specific dogma, have to do with loving our Creator?

Why do we hesitate to express how much we LOVE God? Why do we almost never relate to unbelievers how God has moved in our lives and affected our hearts? What do we think might bring unbelievers to find the very hope that lives in our heart if we constantly treat God like that kind of weird cousin we’d prefer no one knew about?

How Does God Love His Sheep?

I’m not following a “god” that’s imagined. I can’t invent God’s deity. God has been speaking to me this week. Do I love God? You know I love God. Do I realize how much God loves me?

God loves me so much, that He created time, the entire universe, and everything for my benefit. He loves me so much that He inserted Himself into His own creation to guide the nations for my good. God loves me so much that He blessed me with a loving spouse and amazing children, and a wonderful extended family. He gave me His perfect and truthful word.  God loves me so much that no matter how many times I reject Him, no matter how many times I disappoint Him, no matter how many times I act ashamed of Him, He always accepts my prodigal heart back into his open arms and offers me unconditional love and hospitality. He loves me so much that He sacrificed His Son’s blood to pay for my crimes.

God’s love is a universe while my love is a tiny grain of sand.

Do You Love God?

If your wedding band were at the jewelers, would strangers you meet still realize that you are married? I am convicted to make my love for God more tangible so that others realize that my covenant with God exists. So that they realize that before I partake of a meal, I am not feeling tired or just rubbing my eyes, but rather that I am folding my hands in grateful prayer for God’s bounty and grace before I partake.

Do you abide in your loved ones daily? Do you hold those cherished persons dearly in your heart every waking hour? I am convicted to make God a personal and integral part of my daily life.

Do you share stories of joy that your loved one’s have brought to your life? Do you shower loved ones with words of affirmation and praise? I am convicted to speak of my loved ones, including my beloved Savior, in glowing and loving terms. I am convicted to cover Him with words of praise, admiration, affirmation, adoration, and worship.

The Truth

What does all this have to do with God’s creation?

Let me ask you a question. Would you compromise the love you have for your spouse or your children?  Yet when the world asks us to compromise our love for God, our trust in Him, our belief in Him — how many times do we give in and deny Him utterly, just as Peter did before Christ’s death?

Is it okay to leave God at the church every weekend? Is it perfectly understandable not to let Him cross the threshold into your house? Is that how you love Him? Do you love Him just a little less than that nearly pornographic popular television drama? Do you love Him just a little less than that all important ball game?

Jesus is asking, “Do you love me?”

Are you answering, “Yes, Lord. You know I love you, just not as much as I love all of these other things in my life that I have allowed to have a higher priority than You. So, I feel safe compromising the expressions of my love for you.”

Are we defenders and protectors of the faith? When someone speaks ill of our child, it seems we are the first to jump in and defend and protect. Why is it that when someone speaks ill of creation or our Creator, we just seem to shake our heads and click our tongues and maybe — maybe — quietly mention what a shame it is, but we somehow don’t feel it is “our place” to defend God’s holy word.

Just how wet is that fish?

What does the Biblical account of Creation mean to you? Do you feel it is safe to compromise your beliefs? Does the deceiver whisper questions and doubts into your ear? What questions is he asking you?

“Are you SURE God said He created everything in seven days? Couldn’t Darwinists be right about evolution and Big Bang and that silly Bible is just wrong? Do you REALLY believe in an Ark with two of every animal that survived a global flood? Won’t everyone mock you for your silly beliefs?”

Has the deceiver mislead you to the point that you trust in your own wisdom? Has he pointed to the fallible wisdom of selfish and unsaved men, raised their words in your mind to hold greater authority than the very word of God? Do you offer respect to men who shake their fists at God knowing that God is no respecter of persons? Has the deceiver done this to further bring you to doubt the TRUTH documented in holy scripture? Does the deceiver comfort you and assure you that you are safe in abandoning God’s truth? Are you well and fully deceived?

If any of this applies to you, I encourage you to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). The only thing at stake is eternity. I exhort you to recommit yourself to your covenant with your Creator.

If you decide to recommit yourself to loving your Creator, I encourage you to pray and offer him thanks for loving you even when you don’t deserve it. I encourage you to repent of your unbelief and faithlessness. If the doubts persist, seek counsel from a fellow believer — email me or leave a comment — and read God’s word. God has gifted the entire world with His revealed knowledge. The sword of truth will rebuke the doubts of the deceiver as easily as a scythe cuts down wheat. The unequivocal and verifiable word of God is good for all instruction and correction.

Was Christ truthful in all things? Didn’t Jesus say; “… he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4) Why would He say something so outlandish? Is it because it is absolutely true? Would you make a liar of the risen Christ by following the foolish beliefs of man and lending authority to the lies of the deceiver?

I respect that unbelievers hold their foolish and misguided beliefs very dearly, but I also recognize that they are only dearly held foolish and misguided beliefs. In demonstrating my love for God, I commit that I will never again compromise my beliefs with pagans. Instead, it is my calling to study truth, abide in truth, understand truth, and offer exclusively truth to unbelievers so that the truth can set them free from the chains of sin.

Because, beloved, that is the only way that I can fulfill His thrice given instruction. Whenever I proclaim that, yes Lord, You know that I love You, His guidance is only ever to feed His sheep.

God Bless you and yours,
Gregg


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