Category Archives: John

What’s the purpose of the Bible?

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  John 20:30-31.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 19-21.

The purpose of the Bible is to acquaint the reader with Jesus and to encourage the reader to believe that Jesus took care of his/her sin problem.

Paul described the core of his messages as; explanations of who Jesus is and of what Jesus has done.

Yet so many misunderstand.  Why?  Jesus is too complex.  He is the One with children nearby as well as the One overturning tables in the Temple.

Many respect Him as a teacher but are offended by some of His teachings.  He doesn’t have a good word for everyone.  He calls people names.

Misunderstanding who Jesus is would be one thing but missing the importance of His death and resurrection has after-life relevance.   We are sinners destined, as a result, for an after-life apart from God.  However, God offered a solution: He would end our sin problem.  And He did, as Jesus died in our places for our sins.

Our “believing” part is to believe that Jesus did die for our heaven-separating sins.  Sounds simple but so many stumble over the simplicity and opt to believe that some other way will work instead.

They make me think of Naaman.  The leper leader was offered a simple cure for his leprosy by Elisha.  Naaman was insulted by such a simple cure.  And many in our day would rather try to “heavy lift” their way to an after-life with God.

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for “moving into the neighborhood.” Thank You for solving my sin problem.  I am in the clear on Judgment Day thanks to You.  I love You, Father.”

The Bible is a wonderful guide.

 

 

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Follow the Leader

“I pray for them.”  John 17:9.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 17-18.

John 17 is a prayer that Jesus offered to God for us.

Let that sink in: Jesus praying for us.

The Scriptures are full of role model material.  Today’s verse is yet another example of it.

I must be in constant contact with God.  It must be an “unceasing” relationship.

How often I separate myself from Him and drift away from Him!  I know better.  I need Him every second.

There are frequent references in the Bible to Jesus taking time to talk to His Father.  Jesus wanted to do what His Father wanted.  I also want to do what God wants, therefore, I must be in constant contact with Him.

This requires discipline.  I like the word “mindful.”  My mind must be “full” of Him.

I have family members who are in frequent social media connection with each other.  The result is that they know almost everything about each other.  I need a similar, ongoing, relationship to God.  I need to tell Him what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, and invite His feedback.

My relationship with God is often of the “snail mail” type: It takes days for the other party to know what is going on in my life.  Often there is no time for input.

“Lord, I rejoice that You pray for me.  You intercede for me before the Father.  Thank You.  I need that desperately.  Help me to follow Your lead and have a direct connection to You that is ongoing.  I need You every second!  I love You, Lord.”

We must follow the Leader.

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A one-verse guide to the Christian life

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 15-16.

I love Scripture that is obviously right.

Who could argue with the truth of today’s verse?

It tells me that I can be apart from God or I can be attached to God.  The choices are clear……..and likewise are the consequences of both options.

I cannot conclude that I’m uninformed.

I WANT to bear much fruit.  What to do?  Get attached to Him and NEVER let go!

My relationship to Him must be ongoing.  It can’t lapse into distancing myself from a deliberate connection to Him.

There is great joy in being a productive believer.  The joy emerges in ways that are unexpected.  I err when I preconceive what the results will be.  I must do whatever God wants me to do and let HIM fill in the resulting details.  He never disappoints.

“Lord, apart from You I will make messes of all sizes.  I do not want that to happen.  I cling now to You.  I seek You with all my heart.  Help me, Lord.  Help me to get my life right with You.  Expose the sin that I may confess it and repent of it.  Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”

Today’s verse tells me all I need to know about how to life a Godly life.  Will I follow His instructions?

 

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I want to be like Lazarus

“So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”  John 12:10-11.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 12-14.

The resurrection of Lazarus was a problem for the Pharisees.

With him around, people were flocking to Jesus.

I like to apply Scripture to myself.  I ask myself this question: Are people being drawn to God on account of me?

I write this blog hoping to reach folks in the blogosphere with the Gospel.  I look at it as planting seeds.  I pray that they are good seeds and I pray that they will turned into full-blown beliefs in the Good News.

I am concerned, as usual, for the impact I am having in my midst.  I want to generate the “on account of me” positives that will influence those I am among in a Godly way.

How will I do this?  I am driven to get the days away from home (we’re visiting relatives for ten days) off to Godly starts.  I know the foolishness of trying to be Godly without lock-stepping with Him from the outset of each day.  I must be reminding myself throughout the days away that I am His and that I must act accordingly.

God loves me.  I am in His family.  How happy I must be as I live in this reality.  Now to live that out!

“Lord, thank You for bringing me into Your family.  Thank You for giving us time with our earthly family.  Help me to rightly represent You here and now.  Prick my conscience when I’m messing up so that I can get things done Your Way.  I am excited to have You with me.  All glory and honor to You, Lord God Almighty.”

I need His strength from the get-go to rightly represent Him consistently.

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I mess up because…..

“It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” John 11:10.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 9-11.

When I leave God, I mess up.

It’s that simple.

Does it happen immediately? Nope.  But in time it happens.  I realize it and regret it.

What is keeping me from figuring this out?  I read a few days ago about the frustration with people who are locked into a start-up relationship with God.  Why do I continue to be in their number!

I am so easily sidetracked into godlessness.

The answer above is amusing.  Jesus wants to return to an area where people want to kill him.  Traveling at night would be the safest time to do it.  Jesus grabbed a teaching point in his “best-time-to-travel” explanation.

Traveling in the dark, turns into avoiding darkness (separation from God) in our lives.  What a teacher!

How many times do I write this in this blog: My relationship with God must be in full bloom the minute I wake up in the morning.  I can’t wait for the first “hurdle” to come along, and then after falling over it, activate a connection to God.

I do forty sit-ups before I get out of bed.  Can I do them and connect to Him at the same time?  About time I found out!

“Lord, forgive me for walking in darkness.  I love You.  I never want separation from You.  Yet I separate.  I cannot lose my attachment to You ever.  Flood me with You, I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

Are you frustrated by your frequent mess-ups?  I am by mine.

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Lighting up a room

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 7-8.

What kind of “light” am I?

I have owned a few flashlights.  The way to know replacement batteries are required is when the light from the flashlight is dim or has gone out entirely.

So here I am, considering myself a Godly person.  Yet how is that evidenced in my midst?  Sticking with the light analogy, I should be shining brightly.

That doesn’t mean that I shine my light into someone’s eyes.  It means that, in and of itself, the light that is me is bright.

Many of us will be traveling to other places during the holiday season ahead.  We will be in places where the things of God are secondary.

We must enter those places intending to maintain a Godly brightness.  We can’t acquire a “bright” Godliness once we’ve arrived.  That brightness MUST be in place before we set out to travel.

I am talking to myself on this one: I must be filled with Him.  If I am “dim” where I live, I can’t even dream of rightly representing Him elsewhere.

“God, help me.  I am weak.  You are strong.  I am a flickering light because of my waywardness.  I cannot represent You in my present condition.  Retake me over.  I surrender to You.  Cleanse me.  Toss out the garbage that permeates me.  I do not want anything to be lessening my ability to be Your Light in other places.  I ask for Your Words and Your Thoughts right now.  I love You, Father.”

Do we have enough battery power to light up a room this holiday season?

 

 

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I am at a turning point

“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”  John 6:66.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; John 5-6.

Why do we turn our backs on Jesus?

The ones turning their backs in today’s verse were not just casual acquaintances, they were disciples.  They were into Him.  They had heard Him and watched Him.  They knew Him pretty well.  BUT now they are leaving.

It is easy to assume that the better I know Him, the more I will follow Him.  That is not necessarily true.

In fact, the more I know Him the more I realize what He wants from me.  He’s looking for things from me that are costly.  I’m not sure that I can do it and then I’m sure that I can’t do it, so I split.

I cannot do what He wants endlessly in my own strength.  I must factor Him into things.  When the five thousand needed food, the disciples agonized over how THEY would provide food.  They omitted the One in their midst capable of supplying food to that many.

When I become discouraged during my walk with God it is because I have lost track of Him.  I have Him with me, but I don’t have Him in charge of me.  There is a huge difference!

In the verses following today’s verse, Peter gets it right.  When asked by Jesus if he will also be leaving Him, Peter declares that there is no one else worthy of being followed.  He’s hanging with Jesus!

I must recognize that the Almighty God is with me right now and I must put Him in charge of my life.  With that done, I set out knowing that I will have what it takes to face the easy/difficult things ahead in my day.

“Lord, Your Word is a light!  Forgive me for minimizing Your bearing on my life.  You deserve magnification always by me.  I crave Your guidance.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Why am I likely to turn away from Him the more I know of Him?

 

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