See Me, See God

John 12:44-45 WEB

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. [45] He who sees me sees him who sent me.


When we reflect God, we obey the Bible. We care about the 10 commandments and the commandments of the New Testament. It is natural to bind the Word to our hearts, it reflects the Father. Additionally, we put away anger. Instead, we respond to people gently, even when they are rude. We do not try to get even or to justify ourselves. Instead, we are patient, caring more about the things of God than our egos. Finally, when we reflect God, we walk in love. We put away jealousy and bitterness in exchange for mercy, kindness, and grace. In our daily walk, we testify of God through our words and actions.

When we practice these basic principles, God is reflected to the people around us. We must separate ourselves from sin and come into obedience to the Bible. More, we must submit our goals to God. Are our goals truly Biblical reflecting the whole counsel of the Bible? Or do all our choices hang on one or two scriptures that speak of blessings? When we are purposed to reflect God to the world, we bring all these areas of “flesh” into obedience to the Scripture.

When we separate ourselves from fleshly indulgences we begin to look like Jesus. We both reflect God, and we reflect Jesus’ motivations. Like Jesus, we love to the point of laying down our lives. We are powerful to confront sin in other believers. We are passionate about getting people into a relationship with God. We also believe the Bible when we reflect God. We believe in heaven and hell and an eternal destiny so we realize the worthiest thing we can do to reflect God and imitate Jesus is to share the gospel with the lost.


Lord, please help me have the same motivations as Jesus. I long for those around me to see your love and goodness. Please help me witness to the lost. Help me focus on your priorities. Teach me to love others more than myself. Please help me bring my flesh into subjection to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Blinded Eyes and Hardened Hearts

John 12:37-40 WEB

But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him, [38] that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” [39] For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again, [40] “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.”


How can we be responsible for God blinding our eyes and hardening our hearts? This is the very thing Paul addressed in chapter 7 of Romans. It brings new meaning to the idea of being saved by grace. We are saved by grace but are rewarded for our choices. Those who seek the Lord with humility will find him. The Word says that the one who has some will be given more and the one who has little will lose even what they have (Mat 25:15-28). This gives us insight into how to respond to this passage.

If we seek God, he will soften our hearts and open our eyes to be able to see him. Seeking God is easy. It is reading the Bible, praying, and attending public worship. We can also seek God with our behavior. On the other hand, we can also push God away with our behaviors. If we deliberately sin God will harden our hearts so that we continue to sin. Of course, if we deliberately walk in righteousness the Lord will soften our hearts so we walk in more righteousness.

The Lord is righteous. He does not cast anyone away from himself who walks in righteousness and holiness. The Word says those he foreknew he predestined to be sons of God (Rom 8:29). It is not that God is fickle. It is that God knows the future. God knows who will choose him and who will not. Of those that choose him, he creates opportunities for success. For those who are never going to choose him, he gives over to sin and unrighteousness. The primary thing we can do to ensure that God continues to open our eyes is to seek God and walk in righteousness.


Lord, please open my eyes so I can see you and understand your will. Soften my heart so I recognize sin in myself and give me the chance to repent. I long to be both saved and to have a vibrant relationship with you, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Abundant Life

John 10:7-10 WEB

Jesus therefore said to them again, “Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep’s door. [8] All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. [9] I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. [10] The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.


The Lord did not die with the hope we would be born, live, and die, then go to the grave after a life of misery. He died to impart abundant life. He did not die to give us abundant wealth (Luke 12:15). Nor did he die to leave us suffering always (Ps 27:13). He died to give us life, and so much overflow of life that it is described as abundant (John 7:38).

Abundant life does not mean riches, glory, or honor (Mt 13:22). An abundant life is one submitted to Jesus (James 4:7). In submission, we have godliness with contentment (1 Tim 6:6). Furthermore, we have an abundance of salvation which destroys the works of Satan (Acts 26:18). We also have abundant grace which leads to a victorious life (Rom 5:17).

In a victorious life the schemes of Satan are destroyed (Luke 10:19). The victorious life is one in which sin has been mastered (Rom 6:14). Life after death is assured because you have taken ahold of Christ (Philippians 3:12). He is the victory, and he is the giver of abundant life (1 Cor 15:57). Eat of the Lord and drink of the Lord; make him your King and be rich in the knowledge of his word. In eating and drinking of the Lord, we partake of his abundance (John 6:56).


Lord, thank you for giving me an abundant life. Thank you for saving me. Teach me the knowledge of your word so that I am rich in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Pleased the Father

John 8:27-29 WEB

They didn’t understand that he spoke to them about the Father. [28] Jesus therefore said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. [29] He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn’t left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”


There is a stunning implication in this verse. Jesus says the Father is with him because Jesus pleases him. So, if a person does not please God, then God is not with them. That sounds too harsh to be a post-cross idea. However, we must remember that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). He is the same, he does not change. Yet, the things we are judged by have changed.

For example, in the Old Testament people were judged for keeping the Law of the Pentateuch (Ps 119:5-6). In the New Testament, Jesus says his life judges people (Rom 3:26). We see Jesus pleased the Father intentionally (John 8:29). As we endeavor to bring together the whole counsel of God, we recognize it is by grace we are made right with the Father. Even so, Jesus says if we love him, we will obey him (John 10:9, Mat 7:13-14).

Obedience to Christ is the standard that proves we are covered by grace (1 Pet 1:2). Without grace, we could not keep the commands of Christ. If we are not keeping the commands of Christ, the Father is not pleased with us. There comes a point in all believers’ journey they must pick up their cross and follow Jesus (Mat 10:38). Just as Jesus was obedient to the Father, we must be obedient to Christ. By this, we can be sure we are in the Lord’s good favor.


Lord, lead me into obedience through your mercy and grace. Teach me to become more obedient and help me mature in my faith. I want to do those things which please you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

On Throwing Stones

John 8:7-11 WEB

But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” [8] Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. [9] They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. [10] Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” [11] She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.”


Jesus explained the Old Testament and the New Testament in one act. He found a way of escape for this woman who was about to be stoned. He said those with no sin should throw their stones. Yet, in the entire crowd, not one stood up and claimed to be qualified to throw stones.

Jesus could have thrown a stone. He did not. In fact, he didn’t even look at her for most of the exchange. Instead, he was stooped down with his head to the ground drawing in the sand. He deliberately took a posture of humility when he stooped to the ground. Likewise, when he stood, he made the woman equal to himself. She was not abased further by Jesus. She was given mercy and grace and then told not to sin.

Jesus gives this ravished soul what it needs, validation. Jesus stood up and made himself equal to the woman. Now, she could hold her head up, for Jesus was talking to her.  He was not talking about her or down to her. No, he was talking to her with respect and courtesy. He validated her worth by treating her decently.

And at the very end. Not the beginning, not the middle, the end, Jesus tells her to stop sinning. I feel quite certain that is what she did. Jesus develops a relationship with her and then boldly tells her to stop sinning.


Lord Jesus, please help me grow in courtesy and kindness so that I may win some for you. Help me grow in courtesy so that my relationships will be blessed. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Love First

John 6:17-21 WEB

and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. [18] The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing. [19] When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid. [20] But he said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” [21] They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.


Jesus is generous-hearted giving grace to the lost and the disobedient. In our passage, the disciples are in a boat and crossing the sea instead of waiting for the Lord. Jesus went to the mountains to pray and was a long time. The disciples, tired of waiting for Jesus, headed across the sea. In their disobedience, they find themselves near destruction as the chaotic sea begins to rise and crash.

As the storm raged something unbelievable happened. The disciples saw an apparition on the water and became terrified. However, in his kindness, Jesus gave comfort to the disciples by telling them who he was. Next, he got into the boat and supernaturally took them to their destination. Jesus did not wag his finger or rebuke the disciples. Instead, he goes to the disciples, gives them comfort, joins them, and then takes them instantly to the shore.

Notice he didn’t comfort them while they toiled to the shore. Nor did he correct them and then leave them to strain against the rising sea. The disciples made some bad choices. But Jesus’ first concern is their wellbeing. In his care for the disciples, Jesus walks on the water. Jesus does the impossible to save and deliver his disciples.


Lord Jesus, thank you for the love you show me every day. Help me to trust you fully and obey your instruction. Help me live by the example you have shown and cause me to love people as you love people. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Willing to be Healed

John 5:4-6 WEB

for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. [5] A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. [6] When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?”


What a great question, “Do you want to be made well?” Sin is described in the word as something of which to be healed. There are also healings from diseases and mental disorders. There is healing from demonization and trauma effects. Yet, a major issue to entering healing in all these areas is a desire to be made well.

Not everyone who seeks healing wants to be healed. Many want the hardships of their need removed while keeping the advantages of sin or disease. Of course, healing is a lifelong journey. We are not going to magically arrive at a state of God-like perfection. We are going to suffer the trials and tribulations of life, in some measure, as long as we live.

As long as we are on this earth, we will need help from God. We need so much more help than the few things listed here. One thing that comes to mind is relationships. Most would agree that if we are alive, we will need God’s grace to help us with relationships. So, there is a sort of healing that is needed there.

Relational healing because we are always going to need to be less self-focused and more altruistic in our relationships. Our patience will probably be challenged all our lives.  We all need to grow in our stature, another lifelong pursuit. Stature comprises character, relational acumen, and integrity. It is one’s ability to stand under pressure while maintaining favor with others. And it will continue becoming more pronounced throughout our lives.

But the question still remains, do you want to be made whole? Or do you want to remain in sin? Do you prefer the wages of sin over the wages of righteousness? Do you like all the attention and care a physical need may bring? Or what about taking shortcuts in relationships?

Our sin issues are not the thing that matters. Our willingness to be healed and delivered from everything does matter. We are all going to encounter sin and disease, but if we want to be healed, we can be. What matters is that we can be healed if we are willing.


Lord Jesus, please heal me of sin and disease, in all their many forms. I trust you and believe your grace is sufficient for me. I trust you and say yes to you Jesus, I do want to be healed. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Encouragement and Discipline

John 4:15-18 WEB

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” [16] Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” [17] The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ [18] for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.”


The Lord had just told the woman at the well he could give her living water so she would never thirst again (John 4:14). Now, as soon as she asks for this living water, Jesus changes the subject. Jesus knows before she can receive living water, she needs to repent of her sin (1 Corinthians 4:14). The Lord will not ask the Father to give her what she cannot contain (John 14:10). Now, at this point in her exchange with the Lord, her life is filthy with blatant sin. Yet she loves God and has declared her beliefs boldly to the Lord. I can imagine that Jesus felt a great love for this sinner. So, he goes directly to the problem as it was revealed to him by the Father. He asks her about her sin (Matthew 11:27).

Jesus opens the door for her to repent and be healed (Mark 2:17). He does not bless the woman at the well in her sin, neither does he bless modern-day seekers if they stubbornly refuse to repent. Even so, the Lord will help you grow. He will reward your good choices and ignore your wrong choices for a little while. The covering of grace is enormous in the beginning. However, in time, he begins to both reward good behavior and bring discipline for wrong behavior (Hebrews 12:7).

At some point, the grace to remain in sin evaporates and each of us must make a mature decision to be obedient to the Lord. Jesus’ desire for us is to repent and be blessed. If we do not repent, he will let our hearts grow cold and indifferent (John 12:40, Acts 28:7).  Just like the Samaritan woman at the well, we all have sinned (Romans 3:23). The question is when Christ reveals to us our wrong behaviors and attitudes, will we stubbornly continue sinning or will we repent?


Lord Jesus, thank you for both encouragement and discipline. Please forgive me for stubbornly refusing to repent of sin. I trust you Jesus and I believe your grace is sufficient to see me through to obedience. I choose to repent now. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Willing to be Deceived

John 2:16 WEB

To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!”

There is grievous error in churches that allow speakers to sell material in the house of the Lord. It is easy to be deceived into thinking it is acceptable to turn the Lord’s house into a marketplace. The moment leaders ask God to allow them to market in the church, the deception starts. This is because there is no reason to go to God and ask for permission to market items in the church. We have in the word of God clear direction on this matter. Therefore, attempting to dialogue with God about deviating from what scripture teaches is sin and opens leaders to deception. It is evil. And evil almost always masquerades as light. The scriptures say that Satan comes as an angel of light. The scriptures also say if believers call light darkness that the darkness is exceedingly great. One of the greatest tools believers need to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy is to know and practice the word of God. Before we talk to God about a matter, we should equip ourselves with the word. Then, once we know what the Bible says, we are ready to go to God and ask for our desire or to ask for willingness to obey. But we should never go to God and ask Him to make exceptions for us so that we can disobey the His word.

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for desiring that which is in opposition to the Holy Bible. Please release to me greater grace to be obedient to You. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Silently

John 1:19-21 WEB

This is John’s testimony, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” [20] He declared, and didn’t deny, but he declared, “I am not the Christ.” [21] They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”


Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist was in the habit of telling people what their spiritual inheritance and names were. It seems from the gospels that John the Baptist was Elijah who was to come before Christ. Also, John the Baptist seemed to know what his purpose was and what he was doing. He knew he was there to announce Christ. Still, if John the Baptist was Elijah, why didn’t he say so? Because he was not Elijah.

He was John. And John did not feel the need to justify himself. More, he had the wisdom not to expose himself. Jesus behaved in a similar manner. When asked if he was the Messiah Jesus would remain silent. At some point in his life, Jesus realized who he was and began to grow in the grace to carry his destiny. And that Grace gave him the humility to know who he was without having to tell anyone.


Lord Jesus, please give me the understanding I need to be as wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove, just like you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.