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.

Conservative Jesus

John 10:34-36 WEB

Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ [35] If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken), [36] do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’


That phrase, “and scripture can’t be broken,” is intriguing. Why did Jesus include this? He is talking to Pharisees, men who are experts in Scripture. But Pharisees were also experts in the Talmud. The Talmud was a book of approximately 400 rules which, at times, contradicted the Scripture. This is the error Jesus is addressing in these verses.

Including “and scripture can’t be broken” Is also interesting because Jesus does not appear concerned about modernizing the Scripture. He is Conservative. He takes the Scripture as fully divine and to be obeyed in heart first. This was a radical idea but with a very conservative approach on Jesus’ part. Jesus is speaking to the conservatives of the times, and yet, he had many rebukes for their wrong heart issues.

And there is a heart issue here. The Pharisees have grown cold towards God. They have become orthodox instead of conservative. They have come up with a book to explain the scripture. That book, the Talmud, was given greater authority by the Pharisees than they gave the Scripture. The Talmud was a cruel taskmaster. Worse, any Jewish person caught breaking the Talmud would be kicked out of the sanctuary. So, a scripture obeying Jew could be barred from the temple because of a contradiction in the Talmud.


Lord, help me discern false teachings. Help me always place the authority of the Bible above and help me live its message of love and obedience. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I and the Father are One

John 10:30-33 WEB

I and the Father are one.” [31] Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. [32] Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?” [33] The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”


This is one of Jesus’ most bold statements. He claimed to be equal to God. The Jews were outraged by Jesus’ statement that he was one with God. They became so upset they took up stones to kill Jesus. Jesus asked them, “for which work do you stone me?” Regardless of the miracles and wisdom Jesus demonstrated to the Jews, they would not believe he was from God. Instead, they were determined to destroy the works of God wrought through Jesus.

Why did the Jews want Jesus dead? In our day and age, many mentally ill people say they are God. We don’t persecute them, instead, we pity and dismiss them. It was likely the same in Jesus’ time. There were probably many people who thought they were from God or had a revelation from God. So, why did the Jewish leaders reject Jesus instead of just ignoring him? They rejected him because people were listening to him.

Not only were people listening to Jesus, but people were believing in his message. This was perceived to be a threat to the positions and status of the Jewish leaders. The leaders had their positions at the will of the Romans. They feared the Romans more than they feared God. More, Jesus was perceived to be a threat to their positions. In short, they were jealous. In their jealousy and self-preservation, they despised the goodness of God and rejected Jesus.  


Lord, please forgive me for harming others because of jealousy. Reveal to me any jealousy that I do not recognize and lead me into repentance. Please give me a genuine love for all people so that I celebrate their successes instead of feeling threatened. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Good Shepherds

John 10:11-15 WEB

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [12] He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn’t own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. [13] The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn’t care for the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I’m known by my own; [15] even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.


What makes Jesus a good shepherd? Is it because he is fast and strong and can defeat all our foes? Is it what he does for us that makes him a good shepherd? Or is it because of what he is doing inside of us that makes him the Good Shepherd? Do our victories prove to us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd? No, neither of these things make Jesus the Good Shepherd. We do not love him because he protects us and blesses us. Those are benefits of being in Christ, but they are not the fullness of Christ (John 1:16).

We love the blessings, but we must look further to see why Jesus is the Good Shepherd. In the text, it says Jesus lays his life down for the sheep. More, the hired hand does not care for the sheep. In other words, the hired hand does not love the sheep. Jesus loves the sheep. Jesus knows the Father and understands what being a shepherd entails. It is not always easy to be a good shepherd.

Being a good steward of God’s sheep means loving the sheep more than we love our own lives. Those preachers that only dwell on the promises but never teach the warnings and general exhortations do not love the sheep. They love attention and popularity. They love having a big ministry. But unless they will give up all that makes them beautiful in the world, they will never be good shepherds (Mat 6:24). They are the ones that preach to the lustful (2 Tim 4:2-5). Jesus calls those believers goats (Mat 25:46). The goats will not follow the Good Shepherd.


Lord, help me listen to those who teach me the entire Bible including the promises, the warnings, and the exhortations. I know you laid down your life for me because you love me. Help me love those around me by emulating you, Lord. Teach me to carry my cross and lay my life down for others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Guilt that Remains

John 9:39-41 WEB

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” [40] Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” [41] Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.


The Pharisees were a religious group intent on obedience to God. In their intense desire to obey God, they wrote approximately 400 rules every Jewish person was meant to obey. The book of rules was called the Talmud. During Jesus’ day, the Talmud was the authoritative text of the Jewish religion, Judaism. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were about the only people that could properly obey the Talmud. This was because they studied the Scripture and Talmud daily. They did not have other employment. Instead, they spent all their time focused on obedience to God.

Because they knew the scriptures Jesus said their eyes were open. That meant they understood the scripture had authority over the Talmud. The Pharisees considered anyone a lawbreaker if they disobeyed the Talmud to obey scripture.  In fact, the Pharisees were professionals at policing and enforcing the Talmud. Anyone caught breaking the rules of the Talmud were put out of the synagogue, an extremely traumatic life outcome.

The Pharisees had just thrown the man who had once been blind out of the synagogue. He went to them to have his healing confirmed. However, instead of rejoicing that the Father had healed him, they were more concerned that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Doing anything on the Sabbath, even healing someone, was outlawed in the Talmud. This upset Jesus. The scriptures testified of the Father’s kindness and goodness. Therefore, to outlaw kindness and love on the Sabbath was disobedient. Because they knew this Jesus hurls the truth at them and declares them fit to be judged.


Father, forgive me for caring more about rules than about people. I long to be righteous in my obedience to the Bible and I long to be holy in my love towards others. Help me repent, Lord. This is inner work and I need you to come and show me the best way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Demonstrates the Gospel

John 9:32-38 WEB

[32] Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. [33] If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” [34] They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out. [35] Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” [36] He answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” [37] Jesus said to him, “You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you.” [38] He said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped him.


Jesus showed the blind man, great love, as he healed him and his life. When Jesus first encountered the man who was blind, he was begging to support himself. Also, he was considered a sinner. So, when the blind man asked Jesus to heal him, even though it was the Sabbath, Jesus healed him. When Jesus healed the blind man, he made spit paste, rubbed it on his eyes, and told him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. At first glance, it looks like Jesus is humiliating the man.

But Jesus does not humiliate people, that is Satan’s method. Jesus sent the man to the pool of Siloam because it would lead to a greater healing, inner healing. Jesus did not rub spit on him to shame him. Jesus doesn’t hurt people, but Satan is intent on our destruction. So, it was with the man who was blind. It’s clear from the text scripture the man born blind had spent time at the synagogue because he has a doctrine; if you worship and obey God, you will be blessed.

Why did the beggar who was blind his entire life develop a doctrine? Because he loved God. Though he had fallen into an unhealthy lifestyle, Jesus knew what was in the man’s heart. Jesus knew this was a backslidden believer. So, he was careful to heal the man just the way the Father showed him. Then, when the priest threw the man out of the Synagogue, Jesus found him and led him to salvation. I do not think it felt great for Jesus to be told to wipe spit paste on the man. But Jesus was so convinced about the Father, he obeyed, perfectly. Jesus’ love and obedience worked salvation in the once blind man’s life.


Lord, please help me learn to hear from you so that I can lead the lost and backslidden to you. Show me how to love people as you love people. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Saved by Love

John 9:23-25,33-34 WEB

Therefore his parents said, “He is of age. Ask him.” [24] So they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” [25] He therefore answered, “I don’t know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see.” [33] If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” [34] They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out.


Chapter 9 of John is the story of the blind beggar. Throughout the chapter, there are 12 references to the blind man, and 1 reference to the beggar. This really moves me. All my life I have heard this story called “The Blind Beggar.” Yet in the chapter about him, there is only one small reference to his lifestyle. Jesus did not humiliate this man by bringing up his shame. Instead, he comes alongside the man to heal his vision and to heal his heart.

Religion will humiliate a person for their sins. Love does not. Love covers a multitude of sins. In this story of the blind man, Jesus demonstrates his love. For example, Jesus never called him a beggar; Jesus never rebuked him for his sin. In the end, Jesus leads the blind man to repentance and to the safety of a right relationship with God.  John chapter 9 reveals Jesus was intent on healing and restoring the once blind man.

It’s clear Jesus healed the once blind man. It’s also clear Jesus was intent on healing this man on the inside. First, he healed his eyes so that he could see. Next, he gives the man a command which allows him to take a step of faith. Finally, he finds the man who was blind and leads him to salvation. Jesus demonstrates the gospel in this chapter. He leads a sinner to repentance through love.


Lord, help me grasp what true love looks like in a relationship. Help me love all people and help me lead sinners to repentance. Anoint me with the grace to love, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Compromise with the World

John 8:42-47 WEB

Therefore Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven’t come of myself, but he sent me. [43] Why don’t you understand my speech? Because you can’t hear my word. [44] You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father. [45] But because I tell the truth, you don’t believe me. [46] Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? [47] He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”


Do you like to drink, smoke, live selfishly and in general always think about yourself? Do other godly people irritate you? Do you love the Father, or do you love the world? These are important questions for each of us to use to evaluate our heart condition. The one we serve is our father. Is God in heaven our Father, or is Satan of the earth our father?

We need to look out of ourselves to make these types of evaluations. Why? Jesus says when we hear Satan we become deaf to God. So, worldliness may not be easy to detect. For most of us, when we do not want to face sin we make an excuse to deal with it later. But it takes discipline and perseverance to self-check for worldliness and godliness.

However, most people change their doctrine to accommodate sin. Most of us cannot bear for our stated beliefs to be proven false. It’s called psychological dissonance. We all try to keep a balance so we do not experience dissonance. The easiest way to solve dissonance is to change our minds. We must resist this urge. When Holy Spirit starts to bring conviction, making excuses will cause your love for God to wax cold. In this place, strange perverted ideas can masquerade as godliness. For this reason, decision-makers in the Body of Christ need to be thoroughly tested and tried before they are given power over other believers. It is also why believers need to read the Bible with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.


Lord, open my ears so that I can hear you. Forgive me for partnering with the world. Please help me change to true godliness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Reprobate Jesus

John 8:39-41 WEB

They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. [40] But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham didn’t do this. [41] You do the works of your father.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God.”


Jesus grew up being a boy that came from sexual immorality. Everyone knew it. And here, where Jesus is telling the crowd Satan is their father, they demonstrate their cruelty. Jesus says they are going to kill him, and the crowd does not deny it. When Jesus logically fences them in, they grab for something to change the subject. They throw Jesus’ shame of being born too early for a marital pregnancy. These are whitewashed sepulchers using religion for power but having no love in them (Mat 23:27).

If they had love in them and God was their Father, they would have the faith of Abraham. Abraham talked with God. He heard from God (Gen 17:22). Abraham loved God and loved the things of God. He wasn’t perfect in his behavior (Gen 12:10-11). Where Abraham was so amazing was his faith walk. For Abraham, if God said, Abraham was going to act on it (Gen 12:4). When strangers came Abraham fixed them the fatted calf and he believed these men were angels of the Lord (Gen 18:1-5).

If the crowd believed Abraham, they would have listened to Jesus because Jesus came to them as an angel of truth. For this, he was accused of being a reprobate by virtue of his birth. Praise God we are judged for our own merits because of the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus did not have this luxury. Not in the eyes of the crowd nor in the eyes of Jewish leaders. He was viewed as the product of sexual immorality and was considered unfit for ministry.


Lord Jesus, please give me discernment to correctly view others in ministry. Help me love and honor those you have promoted. Alert me to wolves. Protect me as I stop trying so hard to protect myself. Help me, love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Righteous Judgments

John 7:21-24 WEB

Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel because of it. [22] Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy. [23] If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me, because I made a man completely healthy on the Sabbath? [24] Don’t judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”


I have always wondered how to define “righteous judgment.” Then, when I read the above verses, I realized, the Bible is full of Christ’s judgments. If there is anyone who gives righteous judgments it’s Jesus. Most people are familiar with the Lord’s judgments against religious leaders. However, the Lord made all sorts of righteous judgments. Three that caught my attention include the demoniac of Gadarenes, the woman who receives scraps under the table, and the believing centurion.

Luke 8:27-39 is the story of the demoniac of Gadarenes. The main judgment in this cautionary tale is against the people of Gadarenes. After silencing the demons in the man and finding out their name, Jesus sends the spirits into a herd of pigs and the pigs die. When the people of Gadarenes learn of the financial loss, they ask Jesus to leave.

There is a bit of misdirection at play here by the author of the book of Luke. While the reader is focused on the demoniac, Jesus judges the townspeople. The people of Gadarenes do not express a word of praise that a man’s life was saved. Nor do they express a word of remorse for raising pigs, something no believing Jewish person would do. Instead, they focus on the financial loss. Moreover, the townspeople do not seem to recognize they are being judged. The righteous judgment is, one single human being has more value than money. Even when that money is the lively hood of an entire town of God’s people.

Next, I have always liked the story of the woman who received scraps under the table. In Mark 7:24-30 we learn the woman is Greek and has a daughter who is demonized. The woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and he deflects her request calling her a dog. However, instead of getting upset or discouraged, the woman presses into the hope of God’s goodness and humbles herself before the Lord. He says she has great faith and heals her daughter.

This is another interesting use of distraction. While everyone is focused on Jesus calling the woman a dog, he judges his disciples for their prejudice. The Lord reveals the prejudice of the disciples when he grants the woman’s request. At the same time, he judges their arrogance for believing Jewish people are better than all others. The righteous judgment of the Lord in this story is all believing people can receive from God, even those others call unworthy.

Finally, Matthew 8:5-16 is the story of the Centurion’s faith. As Jesus enters Capernaum, he is approached by a Roman Centurion. The man asks Jesus to heal his paralyzed and tormented servant. When Jesus agrees to come, the Centurion says if he will only say a word, it will be enough. He goes on to explain his understanding of authority and expresses great faith at the same time.

Interestingly, this judgment explores the faith of the disciples compared to the faith of a Roman Soldier. The soldier is judged faithful, and his servant is healed. Meanwhile, Peter’s mother is sick. Instead of asking the Lord to say a word of authority for her healing, the disciples wait until Jesus can touch her. Peter’s mother does not get healed until Christ arrives. Finally, Jesus goes on to deliver and heal all who are sick or demonized.

The judgments in this tale compare the faith of the disciples to that of a believing Roman. They also compare the compassion of Christ against the compassion of the disciples. The judgment here is that the disciples are found less faithful than one they consider to be an enemy and God responds with goodness to all who come in faith.  

What ties all these judgments together? God’s love. Jesus loves all people, and he calls judgments righteous that recognize the worth and acceptance of all believers. Rebuking prejudice, faithlessness, and hardness of heart, Jesus uses righteous judgments to adjust the disciples’ thinking. More, Jesus does not call out the shame of his disciples directly. Instead, he protects them while he heals their hearts and corrects their thinking. Lastly, these judgments are all indirect which probably means those with unbelieving hearts would miss the true meaning.


Lord Jesus, please teach me to judge righteously. Forgive me for past unrighteous judgments and reveal to me how you would judge the circumstances and situations of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.