He’s All In

“Tow Line,” © Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© Lynn Abbott Studios

Two sightseeing nuns on a warm Sicilian day, eyed the massive ruins of a Greek temple.

I know because I stood behind them. Armed with my Konica camera, I attempted to frame a prize-winning shot of the archeological wonder.

I smiled as, with Polaroids poised, they leaned as far as they could over the small wrought-iron rail that separated visitors from the temple. They evidently wanted a close-up.

Suddenly, to my great surprise and amusement, they lifted the skirts of their long black habits, and scrambled over the railing.

I had to stifle an irreverent laugh. The situation was comical at very least.

One thing, however, perplexed me:  a small black and white sign graced the fence.  I couldn’t read Sicilian, and so I pulled out my pocket dictionary in an attempt to decipher it.

When I broke the code, I laughed until tears streamed.  Translated, the sign warned, “Do NOT Enter!”

To this day, I don’t know whether those nuns climbed the fence in ignorance or in defiance.  But I must say that it is comforting to know that even those who commit their lives entirely to godliness sometimes jump the fence.

And having translated the sign, I was relieved that I didn’t blindly follow those two on that particular day.

Even so, I have fouled up on other occasions.

Most of us stumble at some point or other… and often, after our greatest victories.

You betcha.

We may live through many down and difficult circumstances.

We obey God when it is hard.

We see Abba work amazing miracles, and still…

We climb that fence.

It happens to the best of us.

Most of us stumble at some point or other… and often, after our greatest victories.

Maybe, that’s why I especially thank God for grace.  And why I love Scripture’s account of Simon Peter.

At first glance, Peter certainly qualifies as a committed Christ follower.  Most would say he was “all in.”  The book of Matthew notes that Peter and his brother Andrew were the first called disciples.

In fact, Peter and Andrew immediately dropped their nets and joined Jesus.

Of course, we all remember Peter’s bold request to walk on water:  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter called, “tell me to come to you on the water,” (Matthew 14:22-33).

And Peter climbed out of the boat.

Peter was literally “all in.”

He was the first to respond to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?”

Peter blurted, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Matthew 16:16).

He volunteered to build a tabernacle on the Mount of Transfiguration.

He reverenced his Savior to such a degree that he initially refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet.  But when told that the foot-washing was necessary in order to identify with Christ, Peter again jumped in …feet first, of course.

“‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!'” (John 13:9).

Loyal Peter. Committed disciple.

Who can forget the Peter who drew the sword in Gethsemane? In wild fervor, Peter cut off the ear of one of those who came to arrest Christ!

Peter was literally “all in.”

Truly. No one could doubt Peter’s love and loyalty.  Peter followed Christ with all his heart and soul.

But, in fact, we know the story well.  Peter, although ready to fight in the garden, succumbed to fear in the temple courtyard.

Peter denied Christ.  His courage crumbled. When the wind blows,  sometimes the reed snaps.

Luke tells us that when the rooster crowed,  Jesus simply looked at Peter.  In that moment, Peter recognized his faith’s failure.

It isn’t surprising, then, that Peter–the disciple who loved the Savior with all his heart–went outside and “wept bitterly,” (Luke 22:62).

Such was Peter’s heartbreak and remorse.  I certainly relate to that.  While I have not denied Christ in the temple courtyard, but I have deeply disappointed my Savior in other ways.

For three years, Peter sat under Jesus’ teaching.  For three years, Peter watched Christ perform incredible miracles.  For three years, with all that he had, Peter followed Jesus.

Then,  Peter fell apart.

Yes, Peter ran from the temple court and wept bitterly.

I get that.

When I was a young Christian, I thought that promises of forgiveness and future service after failure were primarily reserved for those who messed up before they knew Christ.

After all, many of those who testified to grace spoke of failings that occurred prior to conversion.  For this reason, I mistakenly believed that if I failed after receiving Christ I would no longer be useful in God’s kingdom.

Peter denied Christ.  His courage crumbled.

Thus, when I found myself in a scrape, the enemy condemned me.  “God will never use your life for Him now…” came the fiery accusation.  “You are done for,” Satan snickered.

“Had you messed up before you knew Christ, this might have served as a testimony for God’s redemption of your life,” the liar suggested. “But as it is, God won’t bless you now.  You’re saved, but shelved.”

And I sobbed.  I wished to follow Abba, and when I let my Savior down, I felt I destroyed any opportunity of serving Him.

Fortunately for you and me, Peter’s early morning failure on Good Friday isn’t the end of the story.

Some days after the resurrection, Peter, John and a few others spent the night fishing on the Sea of Galilee.  The night passed and still nothing to show for their efforts.

In the early morning, a man on the shore suggested they cast their nets on the other side of the boat.

Of course, their nets filled with so many fish that they could not haul in the catch.  They knew only one who worked such miracles.

John was the first to recognize Jesus.  But Peter was first out of the boat.  Predictably, he jumped into the water and swam to shore.

Peter’s courage had failed, but his love for Jesus remained.

Peter took the plunge.  Quite literally.

After breakfast, Jesus turned to Peter with a question:  “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

Jesus, of course, knew Peter’s heart.  He didn’t ask because He needed information.  No, it wasn’t about Jesus’ need.  It was all about grace.

Fortunately for you and me, Peter’s early morning failure on Good Friday isn’t the end of the story.

Jesus lovingly restored Peter.  Grace encouraged rather than discouraged.

Peter simply needed a reminder of his first love for his Savior.   Jesus asked “Do you love me?” three times.  And just as Peter had thrice denied his Savior, Peter also reaffirmed his love…three times.

Greek scholars tell us that the word for love used by Jesus was agape.  In the Jewish faith, agape represented the highest form of love.

In other words, Jesus significantly asked whether Peter loved with all his heart and soul.

Peter answered hesitantly. His heart broke under the weight of his recent failure.   His confidence shattered.  He was no longer certain.

As a result, Peter answered Christ’s question substituting phileo for agape.  He doubted the depth of his love for the Savior.

His honest repentance is evident in his words, “‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love (phileo) you.'”

Phileo actually refers to brotherly love or affection.  Peter felt he could no longer boast agape for Jesus; Peter knew he had failed and thus, he claimed only phileo.

The Peter who once boasted that he would never deny Jesus now doubted himself.

Yet, with each question and with Peter’s every affirmation of love, Christ repeated, “Feed my sheep.”

Peter’s midstream mire did not ultimately disqualify him from the race.

Grace accepted Peter just where he was.  In fact, when Jesus inquired the third and final time, He adopted Peter’s word, phileo.

He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) me?”

In this way, Jesus seemingly said, “You don’t feel worthy?  Never mind.  You love me.  You don’t feel your love is enough?   I’ll meet you where you are.”

Peter’s midstream mire did not ultimately disqualify him from the race.

Jesus looked into Peter’s heart and saw a broken and repentant child who deeply loved his Savior. And apparently, that loving, repentant heart– not perfection– is the primary prerequisite for serving Abba.

Yes, through Christ, by faith, we receive daily grace (Lamentations 3:22-23).

And Peter became the leader of the early church.

Indeed, this same Peter, who once denied Jesus,  wrote, “And the God of all grace…will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast,” (1 Peter 5:10).

Grace forgives and restores, (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1).  For this reason, when we willfully or unwittingly topple over fences, Abba picks us up and celebrates His prodigals’ return.

He never gives up on you and me.

We may falter, but Abba is absolutely all in.

“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy,” ~Romans 9:16

“…if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself,” ~2 Timothy 2:13

82 Replies to “He’s All In”

  1. gotta love the nuns!!!!!—I’ll email you my tail about wanting to, at one young point in life, to have entered the cloistered life…if I ever come up missing—check out the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi and I’ll be tending the olive trees 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Natalie… you have absolutely made my week! That is exactly the feeling that I try to elicit with my paintbrush–the feeling that you can step into them! You just cannot fathom how much your encouragement means to me! Love you much, my wonderful friend!! xo ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am very thankful for God’s grace to us, both in saving us from our sins, and in growing us in our faith daily as we walk with him. T.R. had a wonderful post on this subject today, “Spiritual Walk is Like Our Desire for a Healthy Life Change.” For, our Lord does not save us from our sins merely to forgive us and so that we can go to heaven one day, but he saves us in order to transform us and to make us into his likeness, but this is a process, and it is daily, and yes, sometimes we will trip and fall along the way, but if we are willing, and if we are repentant with a godly sorrow, he will pick up back up and put us back on the road, and yes, he will use us again, and maybe in even greater ways in which he has before, because we have now been humbled before God in ways in which he can now use us which he could not before. Sometimes we have to be broken first before God can use us in all the ways in which he intends.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Lynn! I had never known the Greek in this passage had the two separate words for love! It has so much more power reading it as it was spoken. My heart breaks for Peter so much, yet swells with joy as Jesus met him where he was and restored Peter. Thanks for this great word Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We can indeed be Thankful Lynn for Pentecost as were the Disciples, they were than set free from the Slavery of Sin (John 8:34-36) and they also had Power to Witness as Jesus knew they would when He told them to wait

    Sorry Lynn I did mean to get back to you about God’s Plan of Salvation, I have now Posted it below for you, it is fully confirmed with Scripture as it was in the early Church.

    God’s Plan of Salvation……..

    There is always a battle going on between the Spirit and the Carnal flesh” This is why God tells us as we Aim to be Perfected in Love, not meaning Worldly perfection.

    We are to put our Carnal flesh to death by The Spirit as we see confirmed below in His Plan of Salvation confirmed by His Inspired Words in Scripture and when we have been Perfected we don’t Sin because we have God’s Seed or Nature and the Mind of Christ who does not choose to Sin so we don’t either.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9 ) No one who is Born of God will continue to Sin because God’s seed remains in him he cannot go on Sinning because he has been Born of God.(KJV)

    Salvation is a free gift which we will show we have, this is our obedience not works, although we are told to work out our Salvation it does not mean we work for it. God knows those who are His before we are even conceived, He knows our Hearts and that we will Repent showing we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and so He chooses us to be conformed into the image of Jesus who does not Sin and He tells us that not One of us will be lost Eternally, He protects our Soul.

    But we remember that our Sins are not about our Weaknesses and Shortcomings, we all have these and we are not to judge them in others or in ourselves critically.

    We put our Carnal Flesh to Death…

    Having been set free from the Slavery of Sin we put our Carnal flesh to death by the Spirit so we will no longer Sin but if we do Sin before we are Perfected in Love, Jesus is our Advocate and He will Intercede for us when we Repent turning away from our Sin and seeking to do good by The Empowering of The Holy Spirit as we choose to walk in His Fruit which puts the Carnal Flesh to death we will be Blameless when Jesus returns. (2Thessalonians 5:23-24 KJV)

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore Brothers we have an obligation but it is not to the Sinful Nature to live according to it or if you live according to the Sinful Nature you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God. KJV

    2 Corinthians 7: 1 Having therefore these promises dearly Beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit Perfecting Holiness in the fear of God. KJV

    Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ who is your life appears then you also will appear with Him in Glory. Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming. KJV

    Galatians 24 -25 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts if we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. KJV

    We Aim to be Perfected in Love…

    Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore Perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect. KJV

    Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on unto Perfection not laying again the foundation of Repentance from dead works and of Faith toward God. KJV

    Philippians 3:14-16 I press toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore as many as be Perfect be thus minded and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, where to we have already attained let us walk by the same rule let us Mind the same thing. KJV

    2Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be Perfect, throughly furnished unto all Good works. KJV

    1John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God and God in him. Herein is our Love made Perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as He is so are we in this World. There is no fear in Love but Perfect Love casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made Perfect in Love. We Love Him because He first Loved us. KJV

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments is a liar and the Truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word in him verily is the Love of God Perfected hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith hebideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked. KJV

    2Corinthians 13:11 Finally Brethren, farewell be Perfect, be of good Comfort, be of one Mind, live in Peace and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you. KJV

    We will No Longer Sin…

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth everyone who Sins is a slave to Sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.(KJV)

    Romans 6:6- 7 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of Sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to Sin because anyone who has died has been freed from Sin. (KJV)

    Romans 6:18-20 Being then made free from Sin ye became the Servants of Righteousness. (KJV)

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 6-7 ) Whosoever abideth in Him Sinneth not whosoever Sinneth hath not seen Him neither known Him. Little Children let no man deceive you he that doeth Righteousness is Righteous even as He is Righteous.(KJV)

    Romans 8: 8 There is therefore now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.(KJV)

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9 ) No one who is Born of God will continue to Sin because God’s seed remains in him he cannot go on Sinning because he has been Born of God.(KJV)

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God Sins but He who was Born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. (KJV)

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His Commandments is a liar and the Truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word in him verily is the Love of God Perfected hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he bideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.(KJV)

    Luke 6:45-46 A good man out of the good treasure of his Heart bringeth forth that which is good and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his Heart bringeth forth that which is evil for of the abundance of the Heart his mouth speaketh.(KJV)

    2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises dearly beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit Perfecting Holiness in the fear of God. (KJV)

    1 Peter 1:21-23 Being Born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.(KJV)

    Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.(KJV)

    Romans 6 : 1 – 2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in Sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to Sin live any longer therein? (KJV)

    Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is Crucified with Him that the body of Sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve Sin. For he that is dead is freed from Sin.(KJV)

    Romans 6:22-23 But now being made free from Sin and become Servants to God, ye have your Fruit unto Holiness and the end Everlasting Life. For the wages of Sin is death but the gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(KJV)

    1 Peter 2:24 Who His own self bare our Sins in His own body on the tree that we being dead to Sins should live unto Righteousness by whose stripes ye were healed.(KJV)

    Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind And that ye put on the new Man which after God is created in Righteousness and True Holiness. (KJV)

    Colossians 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you the Hope of glory Whom we Preach warning every Man and teaching every Man in all Wisdom that we may present every Man Perfect in Christ Jesus Where unto I also labour, striving according to His working which worketh in me mightily(KJV)

    Titus 2:13-15 Looking for that Blessed Hope and the glorious appearing of The Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might Redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of Good Works. These things Speak and Exhort and Rebuke with all Authority. Let no Man despise thee.(KJV)

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be Purified, and made White and tried but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand but the Wise shall understand. (KJV)

    To God be The Glory Always.

    God bless you greatly Lynn in all you do for Him and others through His empowering.
    Anne ( Grannie Annie)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they are Powerful Words Lynn and God’s Truth and there are other Scriptures that confirm His Plan of Salvation but so many don’t know them or reject them for their own understanding or for what they have been taught in error and yes I was the same until after being very confused (I will leave the link below for you Lynn) I asked for God’s Wisdom, although I’m still learning Jesus our only Spiritual Teacher is Leading me into all Truth as promised.

        Confusion- http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-battle-with-confusion/

        Christian Love Always – Annie.

        Like

  5. Those nuns! Haha! How can I not love them? I love Simon Peter! When we mess up, no matter how many times, God is always there to take us into His comforting arms. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you! The Bible has two major figures besides Jesus. Jesus, who the Bible is about, shows us God. Paul appeals to our intellect; he tells us how to worship God. Peter appeals to our heart; he shows us how we must struggle to humble ourselves and worship God.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh how I was with you that day Lynn❣️Thank you for sharing the Painting as well as beautifully painting the images of this piece with your words and intertwining His Word. It’s my favorite. Please continue to share your gift of writing. May God continue to richly bless you my sister 🤗💙

    Like

  8. I would literally cry every time I read the verses and Peter denied Jesus. I mean He had just told Peter He would deny Him, and Peter protested that surely he would never deny Jesus, and then he did. The tears would flow. It’s a wonderful lesson, of faith and hope. It shows us that even Peter, who loved Jesus the most, denied Him. That we will fall, stumble but that God sees our heart, and repentance. That He is merciful, and understanding if we are truly humble, and sorry. I thank God for continuing to bless you Lynn :):)

    Like

    1. Yes, I feel just the same about Peter, dear Margaret! I’m so grateful God recorded Peter’s story for us. It brings me so much encouragement! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement as well, dear Margaret! You are such a wonderful friend, and I’m truly thankful that God has allowed me to meet you here on the internet and to forge a friendship with you. He has given you such wisdom and a truly huge heart of faith! God bless you greatly! ❤ ❤ and hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Amen-Amein Sister Lynn in Christ Jesus-Yeshua!! I Love this Video!! God Bless You Sister in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Family members and Friends!!! ❤ Praise Christ Jesus-Yeshua!!

    May our ONE TRUE GOD THE FATHER who art in Heaven Above Bless all my Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Families and Friends!! ❤

    Our ONE True GOD’S LOVE 💕💜 is ETERNAL THROUGH HIS SON Jesus-Yeshua Christ for Today and Everyday Forevermore!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED 💜💕 EVERYONE FIRST!!

    Love ❤ Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Just thought I’d follow some links off IB’s site after her instructional blog this morning, and ended up reading this, well done, and I needed to hear it in the way you wrote it.
    Thank you

    Like

    1. Thank you with all my heart, R! I’m so glad you stopped by! Do you write a blog as well? I’d love to visit your blog if you do. Again, thank you so much for stopping by, and for your kind words of encouragement! God bless you big time! 🙂

      Like

      1. Las, I’m not a blogger, just know IB ,,, Looking up! R

        On Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 11:59 PM Through Ink & Image wrote:

        > lynnabbottstudios commented: “Thank you with all my heart, R! I’m so glad > you stopped by! Do you write a blog as well? I’d love to visit your blog if > you do. Again, thank you so much for stopping by, and for your kind words > of encouragement! God bless you big time! :-)” >

        Like

      2. Ahh, I see. Well, that is fine. Regardless, I’m truly glad to have “met” you through IB! 😀 She is wonderful, and any friend of hers is a friend of mine! 🙂 God bless you big time, R!

        Like

  11. Gotta love the fence jumping nuns 😂 😂 rightly stated, we do jump the fence, many times actually yet our ever forgiving Father accepts our repentance and wipes away all smear and residue of sin. Lynn, you just “preached” a wonder sermon on sin, repentance, mercy, grace and forgiveness. 😃 👏 I love it! 💗 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww… thank you so much, dear Eunice… but I simply preached to myself! The Holy Spirit does the rest, as you know as you post the keen insights that He directs you to! Thank you for being the best of sisters and friends… always encouraging and thoughtful! I’m so grateful for you and your friendship! I’ve been saving you posts so that I can respond thoughtfully in a quiet moment. Life has been a bit crazy this week. But I’ll be stopping by again soon to say “hello” to you, one of my favorite, favorite people! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries Lynn….I’m dragging on replying and reading. My transition has kept me very busy. Your blog is like that book you can’t put down. You inspire me…. Love you and lotsa hugs! 💖 💓

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s