Tag Archive for John

I am protected by God’s life

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 NIV

God

  1. The persons of the Trinity know each other fully. What is interesting is that Jesus said the Father knows some things that he doesn’t – like when the end comes. Isn’t that interesting? One can know someone fully without knowing everything that they know.
  2. God, manifested as Jesus, is a good leader and protector. He is the good shepherd. He protects, provides, leads.
  3. God is sacrificial. Jesus dies for people. It’s an amazing picture to think of a person that is willing to die for an animal. It is even more amazing to consider a God who is willing to die for a person.

Me

  1. I am fully known by Jesus. He knows me and loves me.
  2. I am protected by the life of God. God died that I might live. Jesus protected me from Satan with his own life. Isn’t that incredible?
  3. I am very well led and provided for. The one who knows everything, who gives everything life, is the one who brings me my provision. I love that God’s provision for me is so complete and easy. Hurray!

God overflows with joy and love

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9-10 NIV

God…

  1. is filled with love.
  2. has commands that reflect his love. All of God’s commands reflect his perfect love. That is why we keep his commands when we love. Perfect love only requests others to love.
  3. is filled with joy.
  4. shares his love and joy with us!

Therefore I am…

  1. loved completely. I am more thoroughly loved by the most powerful Force in the entire universe than any terrific human lovers could love each other. I am well-loved.
  2. a doer of God’s commands.
  3. filled with an inexpressible and overflowing joy!

God opens new doors, is generous, is the Source

Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:23-24 NIV

God…

  1. is generous.
  2. is the Source.
  3. opens new doors. God reveals himself over time even if he is not bound by time.

Therefore I…

  1. partake in the unity of God. What amazes me more than anything else about being able to ask anything in Jesus’ name is the completeness of our union with God. We are so united with the heart of God, with each of the Beings of the divine Trinity, that when we abide in Christ, we can ask anything and receive it. We are so connected to who God is that our will becomes one with God’s. This is mind-blowingly incredible to me. This is the dream I live for. This is God’s powerful grace at work in the world.
  2. am a receiver of God’s love. All I ever need to be is the best receiver of God’s love that it is possible for me to be. Love so complete, so divine!
  3. have access to the throne room of God. I can ask anything of the Father in prayer. I can also ask for anything from his storerooms. I don’t just have access to his ears as he sits on his throne. No, he throws open the floodgates of heaven for me. Love so amazing, so divine!

God is inextricably linked with me

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:7-8 NIV

God is….

  1. Interested in being inextricably linked with me. God wants to be “in” me not just “beside” me. I am incredibly grateful for that! Union is amazing!
  2. honored by the good fruit I bear. It is incredible that God allows himself to be affected by me. Glory is brought to God through me. That is really amazing!
  3. an answerer of prayer. When I am in union with God, I can ask for anything I wish; and it will be done for me. That is the amazing good fruit and power that comes from union with the most powerful force in the universe!

Therefore I…

  1. am unified with God. I get to be in direct relationship with the Trinity. They in me, and I in them.
  2. matter to God. God allows himself to be impacted by me. That is incredibly amazing. Glory comes to God through me!! Hurray!!!
  3. am able to pray with confidence. God is connected to me and the answer to my prayer. He can draw the answer to me. God can materialize that answer for me. He can create it. I am unified with God in purpose.

God is generous, welcoming, and a promise keeper

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7:37-39 NIV

God is…

  1. generous. I love that rivers flow. The Holy Spirit doesn’t come in drops and trickles unless He/She is being quenched. (The Hebrew uses mostly feminine nouns, pronouns, and verb forms for the Spirit; and now that I know that, it is hard for me to always refer to the Spirit with the male pronoun. It is always important to remember that God is not human; and is therefore neither male nor female or is both.) But to return to my main point, the Spirit comes in generous abundance wherever people have not kinked the hose. When I was on the farm, we would sometimes put a hose in a sharp ‘V’ shape, so that water could not get through. I reckon that is what quenching the Spirit is like.
  2. a promise-keeper. God doesn’t break promises. What God has said will happen will happen. I was destined to have rivers of the Holy Spirit flow through me. Rivers. I was destined to be bold.
  3. welcoming. Whoever is thirsty can come to Jesus and drink living water. We can come and drink in the Holy Spirit. We do not ever need to be parched and lacking. We can have life in abundance, produced by the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore I am….

  1. plentifully supplied. As I have already said, I lack nothing. Rivers, rivers, rivers! Rivers will flow from within me!
  2. confident. I can confidently act on God’s promises. I can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He will keep every word that He has spoken.
  3. welcomed. I know I can come and drink of the river of life. I can see me now at the river’s edge, bathing in its goodness, relishing its purity, glorying in its sufficiency.

God searches, knows, reveals

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. I Corinthians 2:12 NIV

God…

  1. Searches. Isn’t it fascinating that God is all-knowing and yet the Spirit searches all things. It is fascinating to me that the Spirit is somehow curious while yet knowing all things. It is, after all, the Spirit that leads us into all truth (John 16:13).
  2. Knows. “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” No one knows my thoughts and motives, except myself and the Spirit of God. I am deeply known, for which I am deeply grateful. I am also grateful that I am only known in such a way to God. Everyone else will only know what I reveal to them through my words and actions.
  3. Reveals. Isn’t it cool that we have been given the Spirit of God, so that we can understand what God has freely given us? It is impossible to understand God’s wisdom without the Holy Spirit. It takes God’s explanation and Spirit facilitating our thoughts in order for us to understand how death might end through death. Crucifixion, whether Christ’s or our own, is hardly obviously life-giving. We are much better at avoiding pain than embracing it as possibly life-giving. And yet, it is Jesus’ crucifixion that gives us that abundant life that He promised His disciples (John 10:10).

Therefore I am…

  1. Known. God knows me. For the sake of God, I do not have to try to hide what is inside of me from who is outside of me. God knows me in my secret places. Nothing within me scares Holy Spirit. And why should it? Holy Spirit is most of what is within me!
  2. Knowing. I love that Paul goes straight to the thought of Holy Spirit being within us in order that we might know what God has freely given us. It seems to me that a life lived in the Spirit would be a life lived celebrating as we continually receive revelation of how good what God has given to us really is. I love that this statement isn’t just about knowing who or what God is. Rather it is about knowing what God has given to us. Every truly thankful person celebrates what has been given to them! There is such a difference between being disappointed about a gift and being excited about it. I want to know what I have and be excited about it!

God is the source, the gift, wisdom

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 1 Corinthians 1:30-2:1 NIV

God is…

  1. The Source. It is because of God that I am in Christ Jesus. It strikes me that I often think about this the other way around. That is, that I am a friend of God because of Christ Jesus. I love this other side of the equation. It shines such light on the equality and reciprocal relationships within the Trinity of God. Both statements are true. Jesus comes from God, yet Jesus is also both the beginning and the end.
  2. The Gift. God sent Jesus Christ, who is also equally God and is one with God. God is both giver and gift. God gave us Himself. It does seem to me that the best gift I can give God is also myself.
  3. Wisdom. I love that God’s wisdom is righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Isn’t that the most hopeful thing ever! It’s like Paul was saying earlier. Wisdom from God looks foolish to people – because forgiving someone who ruined our lives does most definitely seem foolish some days. But wisdom is redemption. Redemption doesn’t happen without forgiveness – without someone paying the price that wasn’t at fault for the crime. Can an offender ever truly make up for what they have done without some forgiveness being involved? It seems to me that the breach of trust in the relationship needs forgiveness even in a case like robbery where technically the item stolen can be returned unharmed. Still, the victim must forgive the breach of trust. Wisdom from God is redemption not retribution. I am so grateful for that!

Therefore I am…

  1. Righteous. God gave me Christ, who has made me righteous. He is righteousness. I have the mind of Christ, so I can think like Him (1 Corinthians 2:16). I have the gift of grace, so I can speak like God (1 Peter 4:10-11). I have the same power source as Christ, so I can do the same actions that He does (John 14:12-14). Yup! I am righteous; and because of all these things, I don’t have to be righteous in name only. I can bear the image of God well.
  2. Holy. I am set apart by God. I love that the choosing that God does isn’t about who is in and who is out so much as it is about what is in store for me. As Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” I am set apart to become like Christ. That is pretty amazing stuff!
  3. Redeemed. I am certainly glad that I am redeemed! That is the theme of this blog. When it was started so many years ago, it was so that when someone read it that over time they would see the transformation. It seems to me that the sweetest thing in the whole wide world is redemption. I don’t seek sweet revenge – not on anyone, no matter how badly they have hurt me. No! I seek sweet redemption. There is no better ending; there is no ending that evil hates worse than seeing victim and offender redeemed. Darkness hates to see even evil turned to good through redemption.

Peacemakers

Today I am going to celebrate all the people I love in my life. Right now some of them don’t like each other, but I am going to rejoice that God has called and ENABLED me to love them all – Democrat and Republican, gay-affirming and homophobic, rich and poor, self-employed and day laborer, corporate executive and street cleaner, mansion dweller and gutter sleeper.

It’s Marin Luther King Jr. Day, so I think it is only appropriate that I am spending the day reading (hopefully) 150 pages of a book in my biblical and practical peacemaking class.

Here is a quote that got my juices flowing this morning, “To be a Christian means that loyalty to the ‘Christ’ paradigm is the final standard by which to evaluate Christian action. To declare oneself a Christian means to confess that ultimate reality is fundamentally revealed in the biblical paradigm of redemptive history, a norm that reaches its culmination in the Christ event. It is neither possible nor proper, then, for Christians to attempt to develop the norms for politics on independent rational or philosophical grounds apart from revelation. That would, in effect, mean that revelation is not really the absolute presupposition from which Christians operate, that something alongside faith is of equal value.”*

While I disagree with this author on many other points, I think I can agree with him on that one!

Praise be to Jesus Christ for His great love for me!

For while I was still a sinner He died for me. (Romans 5:8)

While I didn’t want anything to do with Him, He gently persuaded me to reconsider my rejection of Him.

Yes! “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

Today let us all be peacemakers!

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Today, be reconciled! Be blessed!

* Friesen DK. Christian Peacemaking & International Conflict : A Realist Pacifist Perspective. Scottdale, Pa: Herald Press; 1986. 

A happy letter

“I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” I love the musical quality of this part of first John. He writes to children because they have been forgiven and know the Father. He writes to fathers because they know Him who is from the beginning. He writes to young men because they are strong, have the word of God in them and have overcome the evil one.

It’s always encouraging to know that the Bible was not written to beat us over the head with all kinds of harsh sayings and impossible demands! It was written because it is possible for us to know God. Praise be to His glorious name!

Later John says that he is writing to them because they know the truth already. They need no one to teach them for the Holy Spirit is in them and teaches them about all things. As that Spirit (anointing) has taught them, they are to remain in Him!

What great news! The writer isn’t talking down to his readers because he fully realizes that they don’t need him at all! They have the Spirit of truth. It is an echo of what Jesus had told the Apostle John the night before He was crucified.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15

Today may you be encouraged, remain in Him and know all truth!!!

A look at destiny

Much of what God has destined me for, I am really excited about. I am excited about becoming like God (Romans 8:29), being holy and blameless in His presence (Ephesians 1:4), being adopted as His son (Ephesians 1:5) and being for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:12).

I am a little less excited about 1 Thessalonians 3, which says I was destined for trials and persecution. Indeed Jesus Himself warns us constantly in the gospels that the life of a disciple will be one fraught with pain. We will have to lay down our entire lives (Luke 14:33); we may lose our entire families (Luke 12:51, Matthew 10:34); we may be called the devil (Matthew 10:24-25). The list could go on and on.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul reminds his readers that he warned them frequently in person that they would under go persecution and “it turned out that way as you well know.” He had sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage them in their faith, “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.”

It’s not a fun fact, but it is a fact. You and I will have many trials in this life. Jesus has a good way of cheering us up! “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

It’s true that we will face trials and persecution here, but it is just as true that we are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6) We don’t submit to our trials. We don’t worship them. No, they are under our feet. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!

Today as we face each trial and every unkind word, let us remember Romans 8:35-39

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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