Antioch Devotionals- April 20-25

MONDAY, APRIL 20TH John 21:15-17, 19
Lessons from a Failure  by Shawn Hammontree

“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.”  He said to him a second time, “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.”  He 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.  “Follow me.” John 21:15-17, 19

Do you love the Lord?  Do you know that He has saved you and you will one day be with Him forever in heaven?  Do you desire to live for Him?  Do you desire to walk closely with Him?

Have you failed the Lord?  Have you done something so bad that you feel He can’t forgive you?  Do you live under a cloud of guilt and shame?  Do you think you can never walk closely with Him again?  Would you give anything for things to be the way they once were between you and your Savior?

Peter knows how you feel!  Think about it, THE famous Peter of the Bible can relate with you and your emotional turmoil.  SAINT PETER KNOWS!  Take a moment and let that sink in- the one who physically walked and talked with Jesus knows the pain you’re going through right now.  And here’s the even more blessed part, he was forgiven and restored.  In fact, his failure ultimately led to a life of tremendous blessing and success from the One whom he had failed so miserably.

If Peter had hope, so do you and me.  Take heart!  Where your sin(s) have abounded, God’s grace has abounded all the more.  Yes, you failed.  However, it is time to receive God’s forgiveness, choose to forgive yourself, and move on in the Savior’s unending love!  TODAY is the day to take that step back to His loving embrace.  In fact, RIGHT NOW is the time to accept His love and forgiveness.

TUESDAY, APRIL 21ST Matthew 14:25 (NIV)
Lessons from the Lake by Kerry Stitch
“During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”  Matthew 14:25                   
Growing up a few casts from the lake in Clinton made for many lake lessons.  From home to the water was about the length of time it took to eat a Moon Pie.  (For you youngsters, that’s akin to a protein bar only loaded with sugar.)
My Dad’s mastery of boating, no doubt, was due in part to his naval training as a Coxswain delivering Marines to the beach for battle.  I’m sure he felt that his family certainly didn’t “fall in line” around water like his accomplished fellow sailors. One thing for sure, whether it was fishing, water skiing, or swimming; laughter and togetherness were always the outcome along with a few too many sunburns!                                                                                                                         It makes perfect sense that our Heavenly Father utilized the lake setting for one of his many classrooms.  After all, master teachers connect learning to shared interests and rich environments.
So…what’s the takeaway?
1. You gotta get out of the boat (wearing a lifejacket for sure) to get a different perspective. (God’s!)
2.  You make a decision on the front end (bow or stern, I forget) to contribute to making the experience profitable, even if the fish aren’t biting and the weather doesn’t cooperate.  (perseverance)
3.  Expect detours in your plan.  After all, adjustments to what unfolds at the lake become THE plan. (faith)
4.  Learning from the lake is always an adventure and enjoyed more deeply with others. (grace in community)
Deep down we’ve all imagined the water-walking experience.  But, sadly, we tend to merely dangle our toes in the shallows.  God invites us all to grow spiritually and not through “boats” of our own making.  Note to self – Don’t resemble one of the eleven remaining in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.  Instead, move past the stagnant shallows and follow Jesus into the deep.  You might just set in motion a divine directive or “calling” that lessons from the lake have prompted.  Once His purposes are clear and your heart is surrendered, your path might just lead to some deeper faith walks beyond the boat.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22ND Jeremiah 17:7-8
By Nita Kay Freeman
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

In Jason’s sermon, he talked about the disciples that were fishing with Jesus and how they hadn’t caught anything all night.  When Jesus told them to cast their nets on the opposite side of the boat, they made a huge catch -- 153 fish!  They almost missed a BLESSING.  How many times has this happened in your life?  I know that it has happened to me more times than I can count!  How can we not miss Christ’s blessings:
B -- Bible.  Read your Bible.  Have confidence in Christ.
L -- Lord.   Make Jesus LORD of your life.  Put Him First.
E -- Eyes and Ears.  Turn your EYES upon Jesus and LISTEN with your EARS that His will for your life.
S -- Salvation.  Cherish your salvation.  It is your #1 blessing.
S -- Stronghold.  Is God your stronghold?  Do you take refuge in Him?
I -- Identity.  Where do you find your identity?  In Heaven or Earth?
N -- Notwithstanding.  In 2 Timothy 4:17, “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known”.
G -- Gift. James 1:17 tells us that “Every good and perfect GIFT is from above!”  Are you accepting God’s amazing gifts?
By Toya Aultman
“He 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." John 21:17

Have you ever blown it? I mean, really blown it? I tend to relate to Peter, he often spoke before he really thought about it much. He had told Jesus, he would never fall away from Him. (Mark 14:29) Then during the course of 24 hours, Peter had denied even knowing Jesus three times! When the human side of me thinks about this, I think how upset I'd be if I had been Jesus. I mean, Peter was suppose to be one of his "tribe", one of those closest to Him and yet Peter said that he didn't even know Him?! One of His friends! Think about it, wouldn't you be hurt, even mad, if one of your friends declared they had never even met you? Well thankfully, Jesus is MUCH more understanding and forgiving than we are. He knew Peter better than Peter knew Peter and I'm certain Jesus could see the fear in his face, sense the struggle in his heart, and see Peter's tomorrows. Jesus saw the multitudes Peter would reach for the Kingdom of God. He saw the struggles and hardships and even the death Peter would endure and Jesus loved him. He forgave him. He then challenged him to "Feed my sheep".
We, much like Peter, have had days we tend to deny knowing Jesus, whether it be in our speech, what we watch or listen to, or what we put out on social media. It all speaks of our relationship (or lack of) with Jesus. And the best part? Jesus isn't comparing us to anyone else! You just be faithful to who He created you to be and watch God get the glory!

Father, thank You for forgiving me when I blow it. Thank You for loving me through it all, help me to be faithful to give you glory in everything I say and do. Amen.
FRIDAY, APRIL 24TH Numbers 6:26
By Terri Smith
“The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:26

He can't give us peace if we don't allow Him to.  What do I mean? In reminiscing, I could have saved myself lots of heartache and disappointments had I only not worried about what others thought of me.
I remember in my growing up years, always wanting to be like others, I wanted to look like her, have hair like her, be popular like her. The list could go on and on…but Praise The Living Lord as I grew older and accepted the Lord as my Savior, I continued learning and growing in Jesus’ ways and His love. It has helped me accept myself as being special just who I am.  Does this sound familiar??  If so, just know to keep trusting Jesus, and know we don't need to be anyone else except who God made us to be.
Bro. Jason mentioned that small changes make a difference. Maybe just focus on one small thing you need to improve on or change and work on that...all the while believing it will make a difference.  I'm sure that the little boy with the loaves and fish felt like it was nothing too, but God was there to intervene for him just like He is for us.
Once we accept ourselves then we can say, here I am Lord, use me.
When I'm not consumed by being "like" someone else or wondering what someone thinks of me, it gives us the peace that is mentioned in Numbers 6:26.
Father, thank you for loving me even when I don't love myself.  Help me to never forget that you created me for a time such as this. In your Name I Pray Amen.