Encouraging Jesus

John 12:27-30 WEB

“Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But for this cause I came to this time. [28] Father, glorify your name!” Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” [29] The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” [30] Jesus answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes.


Jesus had just finished telling the crowd that a grain of wheat must die to be fruitful (John 12:24). Afterward, he was troubled in his Spirit. It seems clear at this point Jesus realized he was going to die. He was stressed because of this coming trouble. Yet, he did not turn away from the purposes of God. And as his growing understanding came to full fruit, the Father reached out and said that glory is coming. And Jesus believed.

He always believed. From the time he was a child Jesus believed in God and believed in his destiny in God. He did not always know how hard it was going to be. He didn’t pick the Apostles and joyfully declare they were on a death march. No, he gave the disciples hope that they would see God if they followed him. And in fact, the Apostles and the disciples all saw the miracles. They all ate the bread that Jesus multiplied (Mat 14:18). They saw the blind eyes open (Mat 12:22), and they saw men white with leprosy healed before their eyes (Mat 8:1-3). They had experienced God’s glory.

Now it was time for God to glorify his name. In fact, the voice from heaven said that God’s name had already been glorified. Moreover, the Jewish people refrained from speaking the name of God. Instead of calling him Yahweh, they called him Lord. So, God’s name was glorified in the Jewish people. But now he was going to glorify it again. This time the glory was going to be in the name of Jesus. When God said he would glorify his name again it was a promise to Jesus. It was a promise made after Jesus realized he was going to die and decided to continue with God.


Lord, when difficult things are expected of me, please help me say yes to you with full confidence. Help me recognize when you are asking me to do something for your glory and not for my glory. Let me be joyful in the offering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Take Away the Stone

John 11:39-43 WEB

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” [40] Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?” [41] So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. [42] I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” [43] When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”


Jesus had high expectations. Martha’s brother had been in the tomb for four days. There was nothing left to hope for in this life, Lazarus was gone. Still, Jesus reproves Martha for her lack of belief. He expected her to believe in a hopeless situation. Not only that, but she was also in pain. With Lazarus dead, Martha had many things to worry about. Regardless, the Lord does not shield Martha from the truth but instead reproves her.

It’s stunning. Martha was arguing with the Lord. She had just confessed that Jesus was the Messiah (John 11:27). Martha exulted in the revelation that Jesus was divine. But at the first small test, she fell. Instead of focusing on Jesus, she had her eyes on the situation. This resulted in Martha openly contradicting the Lord. If her mind had been set on belief and trust, Martha would have kept her first awareness of Jesus. But she clearly doubted. And because she doubted, she questioned. Because of doubt she openly demonstrated disbelief.

But Jesus believed. And all those that rolled the stone away believed. In the face of Martha’s instability in her walk with Jesus, he remained stable. He was faithful to Martha, Mary, and all those who trusted him for leadership. Martha slipped in and out of faith but Jesus remained faithful (Rom 3:3-4). Jesus believed to the point of confidence, so he called out boldly, “Lazarus, come out!”


Lord, please help me trust you and believe your Word. When difficulties arise lend me your grace that I may stand stable in my faith. Help me keep my eyes on you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Groans

John 11:33-40 WEB

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, [34] and said, “Where have you laid him?” They told him, “Lord, come and see.” [35] Jesus wept. [36] The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” [37] Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?” [38] Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. [39] Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” [40] Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”


God hates disbelief. In this story, Jesus groans twice. The first time he groans he is with Mary crying in despair. The second time he groans the Jews were murmuring doubtful comments. In the first instance, Mary is at his feet and has just lamented Jesus could have saved Lazarus (John 11:32). In the second instance, the Jews were questioning why Lazarus died. Thus, Jesus had much to groan about. However, it is the disbelief that makes this situation so troubling. In other places in the scripture, it says that Jesus was limited in the miracles he could perform because of disbelief (Mat 13:58). When Jesus followed the Father’s direction and waited to come to Bethany to heal Lazarus, he took a risk.

It was a risk for Jesus to tell his disciples that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. It was a risk to the lives of the disciples to be in Bethany of Judea. There were many seeking to arrest the Lord and his companions (John 11:8, 16). So, to see the disbelief, and to have so much pressure on him, Jesus groans. We know from the scripture Jesus had times when the miracles would not flow. This created pressure on Jesus. This forced Jesus to walk in faith. He had to take a risk with every miracle. Now, he is going to do something he has never done.

Jesus is about to raise Lazarus from the dead. But he has a problem, there is a real lack of faith from everyone. The sisters are in despair, the Jews are murmuring, and the disciples are unhappy. Jesus needed to raise their faith. So, he gives them a task. Remove the stone. It took faith to move the stone. Lazarus had been in the grave for four days and his body should have been in a state of decay. To move the stone was an unclean act. Being unclean disqualifies one from going into the temple. Therefore, this was truly an act of faith. And that mustard seed of faith was enough. Lazarus was about to be called out of the grave.  


Lord give me a discerning ear to hear from the Holy Spirit. Lead me into obedience that can move mountains. Give me wisdom and cause me to mature in my faith. I trust you, Lord, with this process. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Promises

John 8:56-59 WEB

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.” [57] The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” [58] Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM. ” [59] Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through the middle of them, and so passed by.


Jesus is talking to a crowd who has been calling him a demon. Now, taking it a step further, the crowd attempted to stone Jesus. But Jesus knew he could trust God. And so, Jesus just walked right out of that situation. He took one step at a time. Step by step, with stones in their hands, he walked through the middle of the crowd.

How did Jesus walk out of a raging mob intent on stoning him to death? He believed God. He believed the things he heard and saw from the Lord. Based on that belief he knew he was safe. Based on that belief he knew to pivot and walk away.

What we believe about God’s Word matters. Jesus had the Word of God in his heart and he had the scriptures. We have those same things. The Holy Spirit gently speaks to us and leads us. The Bible also leads us. If it is in the Bible, you can trust it completely. If you encounter a promise in the Word, let it guide your decision-making process.


Lord Jesus, please help me know your Word, trust your Word, and act based on your Word. Help me receive the promises and walk in them. Give me the grace to trust You more. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What we have Seen

John 3:32-33 WEB

What he [Jesus] has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. [33] He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.

When Jesus testified to the things of heaven which he had seen and heard, he was rejected. According to the above verse, no one believed him. Not his apostles, not his disciples, not the people he taught. However, many believed that Jesus was sent by God. The miracles assured at least that much belief. This verse is written by the apostle John, who at the time before the resurrection, did not believe. If the apostles, disciples, and the people did not believe Jesus, they will also not believe modern believers. However, there is hope. We still have the miracles. We have victories in our lives that looked impossible. We have the health breakthroughs, the family relationship breakthroughs, and the financial breakthroughs. We can testify to the power of Jesus in our lives. We can lift the banner of his name and his victory over death. We can lift the testimony of what we have seen and heard. Because we are like the apostle John when he wrote this scripture, we are on the winning side of Jesus’ victory over death. We live and testify after the resurrection. They did not believe Jesus before he defeated death, but they did believe in him after he rose from the dead. If you look at the above verses, you may see something unusual. First John says no one believed Jesus. Next, he says, “he who has received his witness,” that is, they who did believe. So, what happened between verses 32 and 33? Why does John say no one believed, and in the next verse talk about those who did believe? One verse tells the story before the cross and resurrection. The next verse tells the story after Jesus’ victory over death and the grave. On one hand, we are in the same situation that Jesus was in. Namely, that the works of the Father, that is the miracles, testify of the truth of our witness. On the other hand, we are in a different situation than Jesus. The Lord did his work before the cross, we do our work after the cross. Our miracles and victories are backed up with Jesus’ victory at the cross. Therefore, when we testify of unusual victories, that testimony should be brief. This is because all the details are not significant. In fact, too many details ruin the witness because no one will ever have our exact circumstances. When we witness the things we have seen and heard in our own lives, we should sketch out the major points and leave the nuance to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will do the work in the hearer’s heart. In Romans 8:16 WEB it says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;” This is why after we testify to the miracles, we must shift the focus from ourselves and onto Jesus. Then, anyone who receives our witness will believe that God is true. (John 3:33 WEB)

Lord Jesus, thank you for the wonderful things you have done in my life. Please help me testify of you and help me keep the focus on you rather than myself. I ask Lord that I may be a holy vessel who opens their mouth to bear witness of the things I have seen and heard. I pray Lord that those who hear my testimony will believe that you are true. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

God Loves the World

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 WEB

Often we hear preaching that speaks of the world derisively. Yet, in this passage, it clearly says that God loves the world. So, while it’s popular to condemn the world from the pulpit, it is not what God does. God does not currently condemn the world, rather, God wants to save the world. This is why Jesus was sent so that anyone who believes in Him will be saved. But here is the problem, when preachers condemn the world in one message and teach the great commission in another message they are defiling the word of God. The great commission is the command from the New Testament for the church to bring the lost into a saving relationship with Christ. However, Christians are often taught to hate ungodly people from the pulpit. What other outcome can there be from a message of condemnation? God does not condemn the world. Rather, he endured the cross so that the world could be saved. If anyone is going to be a soul winner for Christ, they have to love the lost. So, rather than defile the hearts of believers with an unbiblical message of present condemnation, preachers need to teach a message of love for the world.

Lord, help me to love the world without being defiled by the world. Help me to love people without letting their sin infect my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Eternal Glory

John 3:13-15 WEB

No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. [14] As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, [15] that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Do you think there is a difference between eternal life and salvation? The word of God clearly says that one must both believe and confess to be saved. But in the text scripture it says plainly that to receive eternal life one must believe. The word of God says,

“that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 WEB)

So I ask again, is there a difference between salvation and eternal life? Yes, I am sure there is. Salvation goes along with sanctification and redemption. In Ephesians it says,

“in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7 WEB)

It is a process of God repairing our lives and delivering us from unrighteousness that keep us in sin. In the book of Acts, the Bible teaches,

“having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15 WEB)

Eternal life is simply that, resurrection to a life in God. So, how can we understand what is at stake and what is expected of us by God? We turn again to the word. The Bible teaches a difference between those who will be admitted to heaven, and those that will be both admitted and granted entrance into God’s presence. What is at stake is an eternity qualified to be near God. The word refers to this as the elect and in other places as the bride. The bride is those people who endured the pain and humiliation of public confession. They are the people who allowed God to heal their most difficult wounds and sin. The Bible says,

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; [26] that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, [27] that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect.” (Ephesians 5:25-27 WEB)

“Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10 WEB)

Yes, believing gets you into heaven, but confession is required if you want eternal glory in the presence of God.

Lord Jesus, I want to spend eternity in your presence. Please lend me the grace to confess you; to humble myself to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Rewarded by Jesus

John 3:8-12 WEB

The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [9] Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?” [10] Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things? [11] Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness. [12] If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

Jesus used earthly examples to testify to Nicodemus. And yet, Nicodemus, a highly educated man, could not understand what Jesus was talking about. Jesus rebuked him because he would not believe. How often do we hear missionaries talk? When they come to itinerate they usually start with a video of the growth and successes they are having on the mission field. Some of the claims are hard to believe. Then, when they talk about signs and wonders of healings and faith, we have doubts about their claims. We won’t believe their testimony of earthly things and so our hearts are darkened to believe the spiritual things they share. The Bible says,

“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matthew 10:41 WEB)

Nicodemus saw miracles and realized something was going on with Jesus in the Kingdom. Yet, he would not honor him and because of that, he missed the blessing that Jesus wanted him to have. And now, in this modern age, Jesus is still giving testimony. The Holy Bible is God’s testimony. However, if we do not believe the Bible, we will miss the reward of Jesus.

“Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 WEB)

“But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 WEB)

We honor God when we believe the Bible. That belief is demonstrated by our activities and those activities are called faith. Faith, Hope, and Love are all actions. They are not things. So, when by faith we act on what we read in the Bible we are honoring God and aligning ourselves with a certain reward.

Lord Jesus, please help me believe your word and take faithful actions based on that belief. I want you as my reward Lord. Please bless me with the grace to qualify for so great a reward. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Faith vs. Belief

John 3:4-7 WEB

Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” [5] Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom! [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [7] Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’

It takes a leap of faith to believe before being born again of the Spirit. All advances in the Kingdom of God are like this. You will always need to act before you see. That action is called faith and it is based on what you believe.

“Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 WEB)

When, by faith, you acknowledge and respond to the God question you are facing, then you will see. Nicodemus was struggling with a need to understand or “see” before a thing was made clear by the Spirit. Jesus’ remedy for Nicodemus was to help him understand the nature of the kingdom. Namely,

“Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew” (John 3:7 WEB)

Lord Jesus, please help me give evidence of my faith by acting based on what I believe. Lord, please help me believe your truth before I can see. Protect me from deception and lend me the grace to trust and believe. Please give me spiritual life. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Evidence of Belief

John 2:18-22 WEB

The Jews therefore answered him, “What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?” [19] Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [20] The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?” [21] But he spoke of the temple of his body. [22] When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Do you believe the scriptures? It is amazing that the disciples walked with Jesus and witnessed the miracles and still did not truly believe the scriptures. To what evidence can a believer turn to measure their level of belief in the Bible? There are many. How much do you read the Bible? Do you obey what you find in the scriptures? Do you pray in opposition to the Word? Do you know the Word, even committing it to memory? It is not hard to check in with ourselves to measure our belief in the Bible. Beliefs are revealed by actions. If we believe in the Bible and what it teaches, we will demonstrate that through our actions. Our faith-filled actions of reading, memorizing, and obeying God’s Word are the evidence of what we hope for, to truly believe the Bible.

Lord Jesus, please give me a greater belief in your Word. Let my actions reveal a strong belief in the Holy Bible. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.