Come and Have Breakfast

S (Scripture) – John 21:3-12 “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’  They said to him, ‘We will also come with you.’  They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.  But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  So Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’  They answered Him, ‘No.’  And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’  So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.  Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’  So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his out garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.  But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.  So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.  Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.’  Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.‘”

O (Observation) – Lord Jesus, this is what it is like to live a life richly blessed by You, with Your supernatural intervention in our everyday affairs.  When we seek first Your kingdom and your righteousness (Matthew 6:33), You promise to provide all that we need.  We can work in our own strength for days, weeks, and even years, without success.  But when You intervene and speak into our situation, we see heaven overrule our circumstances.  The disciples had been fishing all night without success.  You give them one command to cast the net again, into the very same water that they had just unsuccessfully attempted, and lo and behold they had more than they could even handle.  My personal favorite part of this story is the last part when Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”  After all of their efforts to bring in the fish that they had just caught, Jesus didn’t even expect them to prepare it – He had already done so, and simply invited them to partake.

A (Application) – Our Heavenly Father already has breakfast waiting for us, and we are out there trying to catch fish on our own.  Living a supernatural life in Christ is anything but ordinary.  He provides in ways that we cannot comprehend, and make no earthly sense.  That is what it is like to be walking in step with His Spirit and watching Him move in our lives.  When we can look at a situation we’re going through, and undeniably attribute the victory to our God, it strengthens our faith as well as the faith of others.  If we are not seeing God’s fingerprints in our lives, we need to re-evaluate our priorities – are we putting Him first in all we do?  Are we seeking His face and not just asking Him to bless our plans?  God’s promise to us is true – if we seek first His kingdom, He will take care of all we need.

P (Prayer) – Lord Jesus, thank You for provision, for peace, and for Your promises.  May we not continue to depend on our own strength knowing full well that You are able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all that we ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20).  Increase our faith, Lord.  Draw us closer to You, and continue to captivate our hearts for what is worthy and pure and true.  Thank You for always being one step ahead of what we think we need, and for faithfully intervening in all the details of our lives.  “The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives (Psalm 37:23 NLT).”

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Neatly Folded = Completed Work

S (Scripture) – John 20:6-8  “Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.”

O (Observation) – Lord, You take the time to say that the linen cloth that covered Your face was folded neatly and lying in a place by itself.  The way a carpenter would leave a project when it was finished was to leave a linen cloth folded neatly on top of it.  That way, anyone who came upon it would know that the work was completed.  That is why when the two disciples saw your neatly folded linen in a place by itself, they “saw and believed.”  They understood that the work You had started was now finished because You had just conquered sin and death by Your resurrection!

A (Application) – The grand plan of God’s redemption of mankind is not an afterthought, an accident, nor is it a victory of the Enemy.  Throughout the entire Old Testament, Jesus’s birth, life, death, and resurrection are prophesied.  We must simply receive this truth, and place our trust in the One who created us and has a plan for our lives.  His work is perfect, complete, and finished.  The rest of our lives should be spent living audaciously for Him, overflowing with thankfulness, filled to the brim with grace and love having been forgiven and set free.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, Everlasting God, despite saving us for eternity, we are here for You to use us in history.  Let us not miss out on what You have for us to do, that our work might be complete also.  Your pursuit of our hearts is overwhelming.  Thank You for the completed work of the cross that is still transforming hearts and lives each and every day.

It Is Finished

S (Scripture) – John 19:28-30 “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty.’  A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.  Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

O (Observation) – Lord Jesus, how surreal to think that the transcendent, infinite King of the Universe crashed into time by becoming a man and walking among us; then, You walked in perfect obedience to the Father while here, completing absolutely everything You were sent here to do.  What it must have been like to look around at all of the broken men and women who were persecuting You, and to utter those life changing, transformational words…”It is finished.”

John Gill shares some beautiful insights in his exposition of the Bible about what exactly was “finished” that day:

“…that is, the whole will of God; as that he should be incarnate, be exposed to shame and reproach, and suffer much, and die; the whole work his Father gave him to do, which was to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and obtain eternal salvation for his people, all which were now done, or as good as done; the whole righteousness of the law was fulfilled, an holy nature assumed, perfect obedience yielded to it, and the penalty of death endured; hence a perfect righteousness was finished agreeably to the law, which was magnified and made honourable by it, and redemption from its curse and condemnation secured; sin was made an end of, full atonement and satisfaction for it were given; complete pardon procured, peace made, and redemption from all iniquity obtained; all enemies were conquered; all types, promises, and prophecies were fulfilled, and his own course of life ended: the reason of his saying so was, because all this was near being done, just upon finishing, and was as good as done; and was sure and certain, and so complete, that nothing need, or could be added to it; and it was done entirely without the help of man, and cannot be undone; all which since has more clearly appeared by Christ’s resurrection from the dead, his entrance into heaven, his session at God’s right hand, the declaration of the Gospel, and the application of salvation to particular persons…[gave up His spirit] his spirit or soul into the hands of his Father; freely laying down that precious life of his which no man could take away from him.”

A (Application) – How complete and perfect was the sacrifice You made for us, Lord.  There is nothing that we can do to add to the completed work You have already done.  Knowing this, we can trust and rely on Your efforts rather than our own.  You beckon us to come and follow You, because You have already made the way for us.  We don’t have to try and earn our way into close fellowship with You – You invite us into that loving, abiding relationship based on what You have done for us, not what we have done for You.  We are then empowered by You to accomplish all that You have for us by serving others and moving Your kingdom forward on earth with love and truth.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, thank You, Most High God, that You loved us so much that You gave Your only Son to die in our place.  He is the Mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 9:15), and “by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).”  May we rest in the assurance that You love us, finished the work of redemption for us, and now have called and equipped us to walk with You each day until You call us home.

The Kingdom Agenda

S (Scripture) – John 18:36-37 “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.  If my kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.‘  Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’  Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king.  For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.‘”

O (Observation) – Just yesterday, Lord, I was listening to Pastor Tony Evans speak about the need for the “Kingdom Agenda.”  Pastor Evans has written a book titled The Kingdom Agenda, and has follow up titled such as Kingdom ManKingdom WomanRaising Kingdom Children, and Kingdom Family.  He said, “The unifying central theme of the Bible is the glory of God through the advancement of His kingdom…His kingdom is the visual manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life.”  He went on to say, “God did not merely save you for heaven.  Before you ever get to eternity, you have a job description in history.  The biggest challenge to our Christian experience is worldliness – the system around us that leaves God out.  We mix a little God with a lot of world, and then wonder why we don’t see a lot of God.  His kingdom is not of this world.  When you bring the world into your world and then say a little prayer over it, you are asking the King to bless something that His kingdom is not a part of.”

A (Application) – Lord, each one of us needs to expand our understanding of just how great You are.  You are not asking for a piece of our hearts, or a place on the bookshelf of our life.  You are wanting our entire being – mind, soul, spirit, body, heart, thoughts, actions, habits, plans, and desires – to be used for the advancement of Your kingdom.  Pastor Evans said, “Getting into God’s kingdom is conversion; getting God’s kingdom into you is commitment.  Getting into God’s kingdom is salvation; getting God’s kingdom into you is dedication.”  Truly understanding all You have for us is something that unfolds over a lifelong relationship with You.  We cannot hop in and out of advancing Your kingdom agenda – we are either advancing it, or hindering it.  You are Sovereign, and ultimately Your agenda will be completed – with or without us.  Let us not miss out on our opportunity to be a part of Your magnificent agenda.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Help us to realign our priorities, and always have an openness to changing whatever it is we are doing if You want us to.  Lord, I don’t want to miss out on anything You have for me.  Take my mind out of the world’s system, and help me to continuously “take captive every thought for Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).”  Thank You for Your commitment to me; give me grace to always remain faithful to my commitment to You.

In the World, But Not of the World

S (Scripture) – John 17:14-18 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

O (Observation) – Heavenly Father, this world is our classroom, each day bringing new lessons to prepare us for eternity; training ground, where our hearts must be prepared for You.  We are not of this world.  Our entire existence in this earthly life is to learn what it means to follow Your heart, walking in step with Your Spirit, abiding in You, and doing the work You have called us to do – sharing Your love to the rest of the world.  Our “real life” starts when we die – both figuratively (to self) and literally.

A (Application) – We are not of the world, yet we are sent into the world.  This means that we should look and act like followers of Jesus in a broken generation.  If there is not much different about us from the rest of the world, we should ask the Lord to reveal to us anything that is not of Him.  As we grow closer to Him, our lives slowly start to become “sanctified by the truth.”  In other words, God starts to peel away our old attitudes, habits, and hangups that keep us from becoming all that He designed us to be.  They are replaced with promises, truth, blessings, and intimacy that we have never known before.

Jesus says that we are to be “salt and light” to the world:

Matthew 5:13-16 says, “You are the salt of the earth.  But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?  Can you make it salty again?  It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.  You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” NLT

I absolutely love The Message version of this same verse…

“Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that bring out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?  You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.  Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I’m putting you on a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

P (Prayer) – My Lord, and my God!  How faithful You are to us.  Your promises are true. You are not of this world, and neither are we.  Help us to become more aware of Your presence that is always with us, and teach us Your ways, that we might become even more faithful followers of Your heart.  May we not allow our worldly environment to mold us and tell us what is right.  Rather, may we stand against anything that stands against You.  Give us strength to overcome when we are faced with opposition to Your truth.

Jesus Has Overcome the World

S (Scripture) – John 16:1-3, 20, 33 “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.  They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.  These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me…Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy…These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

O (Observation) – The world is constantly, and in all things, opposed to You, Lord.  If you say something is holy (i.e. marriage, life), the world says it is disposable (i.e. divorce, abortion).  If You say something is right (i.e. there is absolute truth which is Your inerrant word), the world says that’s impossible and there is no such thing as absolute truth (i.e. post modernism).  If You say something is wrong (i.e. adultery, fornication, homosexuality), the world says we can have sex with anyone we wish, whenever we wish, no matter the consequences…do what feels good!  You are telling us in this last conversation before You were arrested and taken away to be tried and crucified that it is only going to get worse for us.  You are preparing us to be rejected so wholeheartedly by the world that we can expect to be outcasts, and even be killed for our faith by those that think they are doing You a favor.  Every day Christians are being martyred for their faith, and it is only going to get worse as the day of the Lord draws near.

Revelation 6:9-11 “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’  And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”

A (Application) – Despite the potential fear that this may bring, You promise us peace in the midst of tribulation.  Peace that only You can give.  You have overcome the world, and everything in it.  We have no reason to be afraid.  Even if our very lives are taken from us at the hands of someone who thinks they are doing a favor for You by killing us, we will have stood faithful until the end, and will be with You for eternity.  Ultimately, You are the victor over sin and death.  There is no question how this story ends.  Those that oppose You will ultimately lose this battle.  We have a joy in You that cannot be taken away, stolen, or broken by any amount of suffering or persecution this world can put us through.

P (Prayer) – Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, You reign in my heart.  When You are our King, we can have hope and trust that our eternal future is secure.  This world is fleeting – the adage, “Life is short!” is so true.  When we know that we stand with the One who ultimately wins without anything other than speaking a word, there is such confidence and peace that we possess.  We can live boldly for You, by Your grace, and rest in You.  Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I might walk in truth and have peace all the days of my life.  May I not be clouded or distracted by the world’s way of living, but focused on You and Your ways.  Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Draw me in, Lord, and take me to the place where I can be with You, and know You more fully until the day comes when You call me home.

The True Vine

S (Scripture) – John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  MyFather is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

O (Observation) – Lord, You are our source of love, joy, peace, and true life.  If we are plugged in to anything other than You, we are not able to accomplish Your kingdom purposes that You have for our life.  The same power that conquered death lives in me, but only when we abide in You.  The thought of a dead branch sitting on the ground next to a mature oak tree is an interesting illustration.  The dead branch couldn’t possibly wonder why it wasn’t growing and producing leaves.  When it is not connected to the life-giving tree that provides it with water and nutrients, it becomes lifeless and breaks off, falling to the ground.  The tree has no use for dead branches.

A (Application) – Sometimes we see dead branches that have broken off from the tree that are still hanging on other branches because it has not yet fallen to the ground.  It’s only a matter of time.  Whenever the next storm comes through, the rain and wind will beat against the tree, and the branch will fall.  Likewise, for those “in the church” that are not abiding in You, they may appear to be a part of the Christian body of believers, but it is only a matter of time before the next storm of life comes and the person experiences a great fall.  We must continually abide in You, depending on Your power to accomplish Your purposes.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, thank You for Your power to walk in victory and accomplish all things You ask us to do.  We do not want to be dead branches trying to bear fruit – it is impossible.  We realize that You are the source of power and strength to undertake anything in this life.  You say in Your word that You prune those who bear fruit so that we might bear even more fruit.  Thank You, Lord, that You are not finished with me yet; that You care so much about me that You want me to continue to grow in my understanding of Your love for me.