Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Again, things have been super busy! The last week of July I showed at the county fair. Our friends the Kanes came up that weekend and got to come to the fair too. It was really good to see them.
    Then the second week of August we went to summer camp. Which was totally awesome. It was good to see everybody again.
    And there's always work. They've moved me from milking to night calf chores. I still milk sometimes, but not as much. I still love to do it. There hasn't been much time to do anything out of the ordinary. Hopefully things will slow down as we get into the school year.
    There will be camp pictures soon.

In Christ,

Em xoxoxo

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Do You Love Me?

My favorite scripture passage is John 21:15-19:

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." 16A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." 17He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, 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 everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. 18Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." 19(This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me." (RSV)
    Do you know what was going on in that passage? I never really understood this passage for a long time. When I finally did get it, I fell in love with it because I am sometimes (okay, most of the time) like Simon Peter. Not the great Peter, the Apostle, but the bumbling idiot who always seems to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, Simon Peter. You know, the one who you look up from your bible after reading about and say, "What were you thinking?"
    Don't you think sometimes that he would be the perfect person for a V8 commercial? I can just see it now: Jesus is standing there, teaching them, and he says something, and Jesus looks at him and gently bops him on the forehead. "Should've had a V8!"
    ANYWAY! We're all like that. Me included. So basically what happens is this:
Jesus and the disciples were just finishing breakfast. Bacon, eggs, french toast, orange juice, the works. No, not really. French toast wasn't even invented yet. (I know. I'm so glad it was invented before I was born, too.)
    Anyway, so they're sitting around right after they finished breakfast, talking and laughing, you know the bit. And all of a sudden, Jesus looks at Peter, and says, "Simon! The one whose dad's name is John! Do you love me more than all of these other guys love me?" And now nobody's laughing and talking; they've all got their eyes glued on Jesus.
    Peter looks at Jesus and says, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you."
    So Jesus says to him, "Feed my lambs."
    Things slowly slip back to the way they were, all of the disciples talking and laughing, like before. Again, Jesus all of a sudden says, "Simon! Whose dad's name is John! Do you love me?" And everybody hushes again, all attention fixed on Jesus and Peter.
    Annoyed and puzzled, Peter says, "Yes, Lord! You know that I love you."
    And Jesus says to him, "Tend my sheep." The conversation doesn't really start up again between the other disciples this time. They're all wondering why Jesus keeps asking Peter a question that he already knows the answer to, and if he's going to ask again.
    Jesus looks at Peter again and says, "Simon, whose dad's name is John, do you love me?"
    Peter, sad, but realizing now, says, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you."
    Jesus says to him, "Feed my sheep."

    Do you know what he did that for? It doesn't make much sense until you think back to something that happens before Jesus is crucified. (This is after his resurrection.)
    What did Jesus tell Peter he (Peter) would do? He told Peter that he would deny him, the Messiah, three times before the cock would crow. And he did.
    How many times did he ask Peter if Peter loved him? This is where I start to weep. He asked him three times. Christ was, in his special way, telling Peter, "I forgive you. You have made it up to me. I know you love me, and you will never deny me again. I love YOU." Jesus didn't do it for himself; he never did anything for himself, it wouldn't benefit him. Guess who he did it for. He did it for Peter. Because he knew what he felt about it; how ashamed he was. He did it so that he wouldn't have to hold that in his heart, on his shoulders, for the rest of his life. He knew Peter would have plenty of other things that he would have to carry. But most of all, Jesus did it because he loved Peter, because he didn't want him to have the anguish that one feels when one knows one has betrayed the single most magnificent, good man who ever walked this earth. Isn't that wonderful?
    Peter betrayed Jesus. We all have. Jesus forgave Peter. Can you imagine what that felt like when he realized what Jesus was doing? I can only acutely know. I doubt I will ever have to face the trials and dangers and anguish that Peter the apostle faced. But there is one thing that I hope I will be able to relate to him about: My relationship with Christ. To know the wonderful, loving, dangerous, bold, beautiful Son of God like Peter did (and no doubt still does) is my most important life goal. Do you want to know the same Christ that Peter knew? Let's press on toward the mark together. I wish you all the luck in the world, and I hope you know that my prayers are forever with you.

    P.S. Verse 18, where Jesus says, "When you were young you did what you wanted to do, but when you're old, someone else will make you do what you don't want to do," refers to Peter's death. Do you know how he died? He was crucified upside-down, upon his request. He didn't think he was worthy to die the same way Christ did. His murderer? The Roman Emperor Nero is rumored to have killed both Peter and Paul, after he blamed the mysterious burning of the city of Rome on Christians; even though almost everyone in the kingdom knew Nero wanted to rebuild Rome. And what better way to do it than burn what was already existing? It turned out Nero went mad anyway. Roman Emperors are infamous for that.
    Which brings up another point: Doubtless a few of you have heard the old adage "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." The Roman Emperors all had absolute power, and most of them went crazy. What if God went crazy? He has absolute power. If God went crazy, no doubt it would be a nightmare. Yet another thing to be thankful for, God's steadfastness.

In Christ,

Em xoxoxo 
Spiritual sorrow will sink the heart if the pulley of faith does not raise it. As our sin is ever before us, so God’s promise must be ever before us. As we much feel our sting, so we must look up to Christ. …If there are not some dawnings of faith in the soul, it is not the sorrow of humiliation but of despair. 
Thomas Watson