Holy and Righteous Pursuits

If in our pursuit of righteousness, we separate ourselves from the lost or prevent another from seeing the Father through the Free Gift of Jesus’ love, then we have lost our holiness and thereby our purpose (Psalm 29:2, Psalm 48:1). Holiness is the attribute that allows the lost to access Christ (Psalm 51:11). Righteousness is the attribute that allows God to move favorably in the believer’s life. (Rom 4:3-8). Holiness attracts the lost (1 Thes 3:12-13). Righteousness attracts God (Job 33:26). Holiness gives us the grace to bring souls to God (Rom 1:4). Righteousness gives us the grace to have influence with God (Gen 7:1). It is important that in our pursuit of righteousness we do not also decrease the lost’s ability to access God (Mark 9:42). We cannot be in obedience to Jesus if we are not bringing him the lost so they may be saved.

Faithful Works

John 14:21-23 KJV

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. [22] Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? [23] Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.


How do we test ourselves so we can know if we are right with God? These verses make it clear that it is those that keep the sayings of Jesus that will be with him in the presence of the Father. The question arises, “which sayings do I need to keep?” This is an important question to answer because some of what Jesus taught seems to be cultural. If what he taught is cultural then it would not apply to us today.

Satan wants us to think of the Bible as a culture-bound document that is outdated and a relic. But we in Christ know that the Bible is the key to living a godly life. This belief marks us as different from the unbelieving world. However, we must pay attention to what we are believing. If what we believe is contrary to the Word, we are destroying God’s kingdom. However, if we keep the Word, Jesus promises to bring us to the Father.

So what? Now I am saying we are saved by works? No, of course not. There is no true salvation except that which is given to us freely by believing in Jesus. However, the writer of James tells us that, “Faith without works is dead.” (Jas 2:20) Dead things do not bring life. Reading the Word and failing to live the word causes many Christians to be disappointed with God. They assume they are saved by grace so then there is no responsibility on the believers’ side of the equation. Yet Jesus clearly says we obey him if we love him.


Lord, I thank you for your grace that leads to the saving of my soul. Help me show my love for you by leading me to keep your word. Forgive me for marginalizing your commandments. Teach me to fully obey. I hope to be in your presence one day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Cares

John 14:16-18 KJV

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.


Jesus cares for the disciples. It is almost time for Jesus to depart and his care is for those who will be left behind. Jesus promises to pray for another comforter. He is addressing their abandonment issues when he says this comforter will stay forever. In everything Jesus says, he is tending to the hearts of his men.

Jesus was not only Lord to these men, but he was also a friend and a brother. He loved them as we love our family. The world would soon seem to be on their shoulders and Jesus promises to help. He promises this comforter will be the Spirit of Truth. He assures them this is not available to people outside of Christ. This is a special endowment for the church.

And like the early church fathers, there is an endowment for us today as well. The Spirit of Truth lives inside us. Jesus wanted to reassure his disciples he would be with them again. He identifies himself as the Spirit of Truth that brings comfort in the last line of the text, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”


Lord, please bring your truth and your comfort to my life. Thank you for dwelling in me and giving me an inheritance with the saints. I receive your comfort and rejoice that you are so near. In Jesus’ name, amen.

A Loving Relationship with Jesus

John 14:13-15 KJV

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [14] If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. [15] If ye love me, keep my commandments.


Jesus believed. He believed that he was going to the Father and that he would continue to help the disciples. This statement makes it plain that Jesus believed he was going to heaven, and he believed he would have the authority to answer prayers. These verses testify to the fact that Jesus knew he was divine. He assumes he will have divine authority in heaven and that he will be able to use that authority to assist the disciples.

Jesus loved his disciples. He wanted them to be safe after he ascended to the Father. More, Jesus wanted them to be obedient based on their love for him. He shared with his disciples that he was going to help them. He revealed his love and concern for the disciples in this promise. More, he goes on to ask the disciples to return his love. The way they could do this was to keep his commandments.

These verses reveal intimate details about Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. To begin, he was modeling the right behavior to the disciples. He was teaching them the meaning of the gospels which is to love all people. Here, Jesus asks them to reciprocate the love they receive from him. As he cared for the disciples, he wanted them to care for him. So, while his statements reveal he knew he was divine, they also reveal that he was human. Jesus wanted his love reciprocated.


Lord, please help me reciprocate your love. Teach me to honor and love you in a way that is proper. Reveal yourself to me from your Holy Word so that I might love you better. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Where are the miracles?

John 14:12 KJV

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.


Jesus did mighty works. He healed people, restored people, and saved people from an eternity without God. This verse is easy to understand. If we believe in Jesus, we will do greater works than he did. Yet, most of us never see miracles and we watch as people struggle for decades sometimes to get relieved and restored. There are a lot of people that believe in Jesus but there are not many mighty works.

There are works of people being cleansed of their sins. There are also works of people testifying of God. But where are the miracles? Is this verse true? If this verse is untrue then can we really rely on the Bible as the authoritative Word of God? The good news is that this verse is true. But that still leaves the question of where are the miracles? Where are the truly mighty works?

The mighty works are done by those who believe in Jesus. So, it appears that either a lot of people are being dishonest about being Christians, or there is a problem with our definition of belief. Matthew 7:21 KJV says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” How can we tell who truly believes? The true believer does the Father’s will. We see the Father’s will demonstrated in Jesus’ life. And like Jesus, they that do the Father’s will, will also do mighty works.


Lord, purify my life until I am in full agreement with your Word. Purify my walk until I look like you, Jesus. Help me believe you and keep your commandments. Lord, I want to do the mighty works that you did. Help my unbelief. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Seeing and Believing

John 14:8-11 KJV

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. [9] Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? [10] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [11] Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.


Phillip did not believe all that Jesus taught. After many months of walking with Jesus, Phillip was not sure. He was present during all the miracles and wisdom Jesus shared. He saw food multiplied miraculously and he saw dead children raised back to life. Yet, in the stillness, away from the people, Phillip admits, he isn’t sure Jesus and the Father are one. He may have believed when the miracles were happening, but away from the supernatural wonders, he regressed to doubt.

Doubt is a poison that steals our victory. The Lord said no man who is double-minded will receive anything from Him (James 1:7). In modern times we see few miracles and our precious Jesus is in the presence of the Father. We do not have the Lord with us like Phillip did. However, like Phillip, we may say to the Lord, “show us and we will believe.” But the Lord responds to that by saying you must first believe and then you will see (Heb 11:6). He doesn’t offer proof to boost our confidence. Instead, he gives us the Word of God as our proof.

Phillip had physical proof, he saw the miracles, and still, he doubted Jesus. We do not see any miracles and we also doubt Jesus. So, it seems like doubt is a long-standing destroyer of the works of God. Whether there are signs and wonders or not, doubt remains (John 4:48). As modern believers we must stop using the excuse that we do not see miracles and therefore it is impossible not to doubt. This is a lie. Phillip saw the miracles and he doubted. We don’t see the miracles and we doubt. Clearly, demanding proof will never accomplish the will of God. Rather, an innocent and childlike trust in God combined with a decision to believe will result in confidence in the Lord.


Lord, please help me always have confidence in You. When you are moving and when you are silent, let me be confident. Help me keep my confidence when things are not going as I expect. Help me never blame you or demand an explanation from you. Instead, please give me the gift of faith that stands. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Through Jesus

John 14:5-7 KJV

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? [6] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. [7] If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.


What does it mean to go through Jesus? It means, that to get to heaven you must believe in Jesus. That is simple. What is complicated is trying to figure out what believing in Jesus means. In the above passage, Thomas isn’t even sure where Jesus is going, and still, Jesus says he knows the way. Jesus goes on to say he is “the way, the truth, and the life.” He teaches the disciples that to get to the Father they must go through Him.

So, what does it mean to go through Jesus? Simply, it means we must believe and confess that he is real and that he died to save us. That is all it takes to get to heaven. However, that is not all going through Jesus means. To go through Jesus we must also obey his teachings and example. Going through Jesus means practicing Jesus’ way of life. That does not mean we need to become Jewish. It means we must love and care for people in the way that Jesus did. How did Jesus love people? He loved people to the point of his own death.

Going through Jesus to get to the Father means loving other people more than you love yourself. Jesus gave the perfect example when he willingly died the horrific death of crucifixion. He did that because it was necessary to save humanity from an eternity without God. Jesus also believed in a literal hell. Thus, he gave himself up so we would not burn eternally. The way through Jesus is to believe in him and practice his love with obedience to his teachings.


Lord Jesus, teach me to believe so I may come to heaven. Please teach me to love others and to walk in obedience to you. I want to receive rewards to enjoy eternally, so please, teach me to obey. I welcome your correction, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus is the Way

John 14:1-4 WEB

“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. [2] In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. [3] If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. [4] Where I go, you know, and you know the way.”


Jesus was about to return to the Father. Jesus understood and believed that if anyone trusted him, that person would also trust God. In this passage, Jesus makes himself equal to God. He challenges his disciples to believe in God and believe in him. In this way, he makes himself equal to the Father. His disciples have been with him for 3 years learning all he taught. Now the disciples’ job is to believe Jesus.

Jesus was going to the Father, and he was going to prepare a place for the disciples and all believers. He said that the disciples knew the way to where he was going. At this point in the journey, the disciples do not know where Jesus is going. Still, he tells them they know the way. He is referring to himself. Jesus is the way. All he taught, all the love he showed, and all the wisdom he demonstrated were to be duplicated in the life of the disciples. By keeping Jesus’ teachings, the disciples would be on the way to Jesus.

But knowing the way to Jesus is not our guarantee of a home in heaven. Believing Jesus is the way to heaven. And still, Jesus is leaving nothing to chance. He says he will come back and get us. All we must do to be ready is to believe in Jesus. Believing in Jesus guarantees he will come and take us to where he is. Once in heaven, we will be judged. Some will come through the judgment and have entry into heaven as their reward. Others, who obeyed with love will receive greater rewards. They will enter heaven and have an eternity to enjoy the rewards of their loving obedience.


Lord Jesus, please help me learn all that you taught. Help me remember your teachings and to walk in them. Help me to trust you more so that I will not fall to sin. Regardless of what is going on in my life, I want to be faithful to you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Rebuked and Restored

John 13:36-38 WEB

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you can’t follow now, but you will follow afterwards.” [37] Peter said to him, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” [38] Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for me? Most certainly I tell you, the rooster won’t crow until you have denied me three times.


Peter was deluded. He thought he had the faith to die for Jesus, but instead, he denied Jesus at his most difficult time. Jesus understood Peter. Jesus knew by revelation that Peter was going to betray him. But Jesus also knew Peter. He understood that Peter was impulsive and emotional. So, he reassures Peter that he will follow him later. Even in the face of his imminent trial, Jesus begins to restore Peter. Previously Jesus said Peter was a rock and the gates of hell would not prevail against him (Mt 18:15). But right now, Jesus tells Peter he is going to deny him.

Jesus also tells Peter he will follow him later. At that moment Peter did not understand that Jesus was going to the cross. Peter did not realize the severity of the moment. He is being his impulsive self and bragging that he will never leave Jesus. But as always, pride goes before a fall (Pr 16:18). So, with Peter, his arrogant boasting is prideful and leads to his downfall. When the critical moment comes, Peter denies the Lord.

Yet he was not kicked out of the Kingdom of God. He was lovingly rebuked and later he is lovingly restored.  After the resurrection, the Lord revealed himself to his disciples. He came several times and told them about himself from the Word (John 21). On one of those occasions, Peter and some of the disciples were fishing. The Lord called from shore about their catch and Peter immediately realized it was the Lord. When they got to shore Jesus was roasting fish over a fire. Jesus fed the disciples and then asked Peter 3 very difficult questions. He asks Peter if he loved him (John 21:15-17). In fact, he asked 3 times, the same number of times Peter denied the Lord. Jesus goes on to tell Peter to feed his sheep. Jesus not only restores him, but he also gives Peter purpose.


Lord, please forgive me for sin in my life. When my personality and character yield to the temptation to be ungodly, forgive me and restore me. Help me walk with you and honor you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How Jesus loved

John 13:34-35 WEB

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. [35] By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Jesus loved the disciples. He walked with the disciples and cared for them. How did Jesus love his disciples? He loved them by caring for their many needs. First, he fed them and gave them rest. Next, he taught his disciples the truth. Finally, Jesus prayed for the disciples and answered their questions. To begin, Jesus cared for the disciples’ physical needs. He both fed them and gave them rest. In Mark 6 and Matthew 15 Jesus feeds thousands of seekers. He literally broke up fish and bread and miraculously multiplied it to feed the large crowds. In addition to feeding the disciples he gave them rest (Mk 6:31). When they grew weary from ministry, Jesus pulls them aside and lets them rest.

Jesus loved the disciples. Not only did he feed them and give them rest, but Jesus also taught the disciples. He taught them to walk in faith turning away from sin. Jesus taught the disciples everything the Father was releasing (Mt 7:28-29). Additionally, Jesus rebuked sin and praised faith. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus blatantly rebukes Peter and calls him a stumbling block. This happened because Peter was trying to protect Jesus. However, Jesus did not appreciate the gesture but instead calls Peter Satan. In Luke 17:3 Jesus teaches the disciples to rebuke those in sin. Jesus also taught the disciples to behave and think faithfully. In Matthew 16:17 Jesus praises Peter for his insight into the things of God.

Jesus fed the disciples and taught them the difference between faith and sin. He also prayed for them and maintained an intimate relationship with the disciples. Jesus prayed for his disciples and those they brought to him. In John 11 Jesus prayed for Lazarus to come back from the dead. In this same passage, both Martha and Mary have intimate conversations with Jesus. Also, at the Last Supper Jesus let the disciples lean against his breast and ask him questions (John 13:25-26). Jesus loved his disciples and was intimate with them.


Lord, help me love like you love. Not as the world loves with flattery and half-truths, but real love that comes from you. Help me care about other people’s physical and spiritual needs so that I can discern how to love each one. Put truth in my mouth along with kindness and gentleness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Mystery of Glory

John 13:26-27,31-32 WEB

Jesus therefore answered, “It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. [27] After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” [31] When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. [32] If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately.


Jesus knew he was destined to die. He understood that to bear much fruit a seed must fall to the ground and be buried. Jesus was not deluded. In his mind, Jesus did not think of everything from the perspective of his own good. Rather he thought about the Father’s will and the Father’s good. He read the truth in scripture and faithfully applied it to himself. He was a great seed, and the Father was about to plant him.

Jesus called this planting glorious. He knew he was going to die, and he considered it a matter of glory. What is this glory of which Jesus spoke? It is the glory of many lives coming to salvation. That glory was achieved on the cross, and it has been producing believers ever since. Through his obedience to the cross, we are saved if we believe. The mystery of glory is that what seems like dying produces life in Christ.

How do we achieve glory? Do we have to die in our flesh? Do we have to go to the grave? No. But we do need to be willing to persevere through trials. We must persevere in loving others more than we love ourselves. These are glorious behaviors. Giving of ourselves, even when it hurts, releases God’s glory. It is a mystery but one we must embrace. God wants us to be joyful. However, while we seek God for our good, we also seek God for the good of others. At times we must bear with another, even to our own hurt. These choices will lead to salvations and will bring God glory.


Lord, please give me the grace to love others even when it is hard. Help me lay down selfish ambition and turn to serve you willingly. Teach me to give you glory with my choices and actions. And let my life bring you glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.