(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: John Ch. 21 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-14) The Gospel of John was known by its account of seven miracles that were performed by Jesus prior to his death on the cross. In this chapter, the Gospel of John records the eighth miracle of Jesus, which happened after his resurrection and during the time when Jesus and his disciples were by the Lake Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee. Does this miracle seem familiar to you? In Luke 5 verses 1 through 11, in the early days of Jesus’ ministry, the fishermen Peter, James, and John toiled all night and took nothing. They followed the Lord’s command and let down the nets for a catch and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break and their boat was so full that they began to sink. Peter said at that time: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” ” Jesus said instead, “Do not be afraid from now on you will be catching men.” Then they left everything and followed Jesus.
As written in the Gospel of John, Peter, James, John, plus Thomas, Nathaniel, and two other disciples were toiling fishing all night and caught nothing. After hearing what Jesus said “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”, they let down the nets for a catch and they caught such a large number of fish that they were unable to haul the net into the boat. Peter later counted a total of 153 fish, but even with so many fish, the net was not torn.
When they were fishing, John recognized Jesus and said, “It’s the Lord!” Hearing what John had said, “It’s the Lord!”, Peter immediately jumped into the water, presumably swimming toward Jesus on the shore. The disciples came ashore and saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid on it, and bread. The Lord had already prepared the food they needed. To these disciples, this fishing experience not only reminded them of the original calling from the Lord Jesus for them to be “…catching men”, but also prepared them for their next mission and strengthened their faith!
Dear brothers and sisters, as we grow older and our faith is increased, each of us will continue to experience God’s work in our lives. Such experiences could happen to every little thing in our lives and sometimes they would lead to a big leap in our faith. May we all grasp these true experiences, walk with the Lord, and abide in the Lord always. Above all, don’t forget the Lord’s calling for us and the mission that has been given to us.
(vv. 15-19) At the end of John’s Gospel, the Lord asked Peter three times: “…do you love me?” Peter also answered him three times, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” In this passage, we also see that the Lord has placed the duty of feeding the Lord’s lambs in Peter’s hands. Jesus knew everything and knew Peter’s heart and love for Him. But then Jesus asked Peter three times repeatedly: “…do you love me?” Why?
It did not mean that Jesus had no trust in Peter nor was Jesus being sarcastic about Peter’s past history of having disowned the Lord three times. It was because Jesus knew Peter’s weakness resulting from his past of having disowned the Lord three times. Jesus used these questions to encourage Peter to love the Lord alone and serve the Lord. Jesus wanted Peter to remember “to love the Lord” first as the starting point in preparation for his duty of feeding the Lord’s lambs in the future.
Jesus’ inquiries can also be used to ask ourselves. Today, try to respond to Jesus’ question, “ XXX (your name), do you love me?” How would you respond? Does this remind you of your weaknesses? Have you ever proclaimed that you would love the Lord, but felt in debt of your services for the Lord? Or do you feel like you’ve been busy doing things for a long time such that you have been ignoring your relationship with the Lord and forgotten your original compassion for the Lord? As we answer the Lord “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you” every time, may we feel more appreciative for the Lord’s love for us and then truly love the Lord!
(vv. 20-25) I wonder if you’ll have a question like Peter’s. Peter saw the disciple whom Jesus loved and asked Jesus “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus previously said to Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (v.18) and after that he said to him, “Follow me.”
Apparently, the Lord’s request was for Peter to respond to God’s calling for him only and not to mind other’s business! God gives everyone a different talent and His plan and arrangement for everyone is different. We also need such a reminder from time to time and focus on our own relationships with the Lord! For other people, the Lord will take care of them and so don’t worry!
There are many other things that Jesus did, and these were written in the Bible “…so that you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) Thank you Jesus for your salvation and giving me a new life! Thank you, my dear Savior Jesus!
The Bible Reading Devotionals Plan “Abiding in the Lord”, starting from the Gospel of Matthew to the Gospel of John, is now completed. Thanks to the faithful service of the Church’s coworkers who were involved in proofreading, art design and text editing, English translation, hymnal selection, audio recording and processing, publication to internet webpages, emails, and social media platforms (e.g., WeChat). There are a total of over 30 people who have been involved in this ministry, plus our church choir members and brothers and sisters who have assisted in distributing and sharing the devotionals. Thank God for His enabling us to work together and experience God’s work among us. May the Lord remember everyone’s service and once again, we thank all the coworkers and brothers and sisters!
Beginning from February 8th of this year until today June 10th, for brothers and sisters who have gradually developed the habit of daily devotions, my hope is that you all have tasted the sweetness of God’s Word and been strengthened by God’s Word. May God continue to lead us and bless us so that we can come before the Lord every day and abide in the Lord always. Jesus is the true God, the living God. Glory be unto God!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)