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Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16

In our house we have a little game we play from time to time. One of us will say, “I love you.” The response back will be, “I love you more”. Depending on time and circumstance the game may go on for a few minutes.

“No, I love YOU more!”

“Oh no you don’t. I love YOU more!”

One day the youngest thought she’d settle it once and for all and proclaimed, “I love you the MOSTEST!”

I often wonder about the scene on the beach when Peter and Jesus were reunited. Peter, my favorite disciple, quick to speak, slow to think; a man of action and reaction; a man who saw a problem and a solution (which of course, in his eyes was the ‘right thing to do’) and acted on it.

When you wrong someone that you love very much and you want more than anything else to be reconciled, you go to that person and (in your own words or action) ask “Do you love me?” However you phrase it, what you really want to know is, are we all right? Is the thing I’ve done to you going to end this relationship? Is there any hope?

That scene on the beach must have been incredibly emotional and it’s interesting because Peter isn’t the one asking the question, it’s Jesus. It’s not the offender that seeks the words “I love you” it’s the offended.

There’s a reason for that. Jesus love for Peter wasn’t in question. He knew that regardless of Peter’s answer his answer would be the same. In a sense Jesus was saying, “I love you Peter. I love you more. I love you mostest. There is nothing you have done in your past that will change that. There is nothing you do in the future that will jeopardize that. Do you love me?”

To often we measure love on our terms. We love based on the response of the other person. If I say I love you, and you respond in a like manner, our relationship is good. If I say I love you and it’s not returned a huge red flag goes up.

Every day of our existence Jesus says “Do you love me?” His love for us is never in question. He always supports us, is always loyal to us, is never jealous or rude or selfish. When the Apostle Paul describes love, he describes the love Jesus has for us, “Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (CEV)”

Today, regardless of your past. In spite of the circumstances you are in right now. Whether what you are going through is self-inflicted or the result of someone else. Imagine yourself on the beach. Jesus is standing before you with love pouring from his eyes and asking you, “Do you love me?”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for being so patient with my selfishness, my rebellion, my demands for my own way. Forgive me for the path I’ve chosen. Yes Lord Jesus. I love you…mostest. Amen.

You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8 (NCV)

S.A.D.-Seasonal Affective Disorder-by definition it’s a type of depression that comes on people generally at a certain time of the year, usually fall. For those of us in the northern climates it’s usually caused by long nights and short days in which there may be no sunshine at all.

There’s another kind of S.A.D. that attacks us as well. Call it Spiritual Affective Disorder. If you are a Christ-follower and you’ve been walking the journey for a while you are all too familiar with this type of S.A.D. Those times when you feel emotionally and spiritually spent. You try to pray but can’t. You force yourself to read the Bible but the letters and words are just a pattern on the page with no meaning and no ‘inspiration’.

Sometimes this type of S.A.D. can be so severe it causes you to lose faith. At least for awhile. Is this all really worth it? Maybe banging your head on a wall would be more helpful! Maybe going out and getting drunk or finding a new partner or making some drastic changes in lifestyle will help.

Then you stop short. “What am I thinking?” you ask yourself. Those things won’t make the problems go away. In fact they make it worse.

So what is the answer to avoiding or curing Spiritual Affective Disorder? The cure for the physical version of S.A.D. is prolonged periods of sunshine. The cure for Spiritual Affective Disorder is walking in the SONshine.

The Apostle Peter is writing to a bunch of new believers in Christ. They were living in dangerous political times. Their lives were threatened on a daily basis and many had even lost their lives due to their faith.

Peter says “You haven’t seen Christ, but your very belief in him should bring you great joy”. In a sense Peter is saying; don’t look at the struggles around you. Don’t focus on how bad things are. Focus on Jesus. Keep him in view and the troubles of life will be less threatening.

Who but Peter would know what it was like to see Jesus? He was writing to people who hadn’t had the opportunity to see Jesus on a daily basis. He was writing to a people who hadn’t had the benefit of seeing Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. He was writing to a people who had never felt the water under their feet as they walked across a lake to meet Jesus.

Peter knew something each of us should remember. Keep your focus on Jesus. Only he will give you a joy that no one can understand. Step into the SONshine and stop being S.A.D.!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I remember you saying you would walk with me through the storms and gloom of life. At times it’s hard to see the SONshine due to heavy clouds of concern and worry. Empower me with your spirit to see through the fog so that I can have the joy only you can give. Amen.

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June 2023
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