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.

Planted by God

John 12:23-26 WEB

Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24] Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. [26] If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.


Jesus taught a mentality that modern science may have called suicidal. He calls for us to abhor our own lives in preference for a life in God. The Lord goes so far as to say, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:25). Everything we know about having a successful life is nothing in the light of the gospel. According to this passage we are to die. But if we are faithful to serve Jesus, the Father will honor us.

How does the Father honor a person he has told to lay down their life? Once we lay our lives down, he often gives us our lives back. Jesus is the only one who needed to die for the salvation of the world. However, working out our salvation some will be called to martyrdom. Most will not. Most people who commit their whole life to Jesus will prosper. It is impossible to stop wanting goodness and the fullness of life. But with God it is possible.

There are so many ways to lay down our lives. A stable, committed prayer life is a small death to self. Reading the Bible daily is another way to lay our lives down. The same can be said for tithing. It can also be said for going to church every week. Laying down our life could be following the Spirit to a new job. It may be when we humble ourselves to the ungodly for the sake of their salvation. We show others the way to salvation through our righteous behavior and our holy mindset. If we lay our lives down for the sake of obedience, it proves we serve and love Jesus.


Lord, teach me how to lay my life down for you. Teach me how to humble myself to you in obedience and righteousness. And teach me to lead others to you through love and holiness. I want to love you and others more than I love myself. All things are possible in you, Jesus. I trust you to teach me how to lay my life down. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Obedient Jesus and Frustrated Believers

John 11:5-7 WEB

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. [6] When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. [7] Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”


Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus so much that he decided to let Lazarus die. It was tough love. He knew the outcome was good, for the Father had shown him. So, for the sake of the blessing that was coming, he waited two days before going to Bethany. For two sisters saved from prostitution and dependent on their male relative to care for them, this was a scary situation. They were on the verge of losing their beloved brother and the life they knew. They lived in a time when women were treated as less valuable than men. There were approximately 100 rules in Judaism that constrained woman’s behavior. Losing Lazarus was going to destroy their lives.

But Jesus knew what he was going to do. Jesus always listened to his Father and did what he saw the Father doing. Thus, when he either heard or had a vision of Lazarus rising from the dead, he knew he needed to wait. The waiting was probably uncomfortable for Jesus. His love for this family is highlighted in Scripture. However, Jesus was so convinced of the Father’s good intentions that despite his great love for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, Jesus waited. And in the waiting, the problem became more difficult to remedy.

Mary was upset with the Lord’s choice. When he finally arrives in Bethany, she does not go to meet him. Martha must coax Mary to come to see the Lord. It is then that Mary goes to Jesus. She wails her frustration in her small voice, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died (John 11:32).” That was Jesus’ limit. He asked where Lazarus had been laid to rest because Jesus was about to call Lazarus out of the grave.


Lord, increase my trust in you. I do not want to become afraid when trouble arises. Help me, Lord, to have real faith that inspires Godly patience and complete trust. Lead me into a full conviction of your goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

True Victory

John 10:36-38 WEB

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?’ [37] If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. [38] But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”


The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Jesus told the Pharisees he and the Father were one, but the Pharisees did not believe him. So, he offered the miracles for proof. God validated Jesus through the works he did. Jesus opened blind eyes, healed leapers (Mat 8:3), and healed the sick. He miraculously increased food and fed multitudes (Mark 6:44). He offered these works up as proof of what he was saying about himself. He offered up scripture as proof (John 10:34-35). But no matter how much evidence he produced, the Pharisees could not get past him being a Nazarene from Galilee. They were looking for a Judite from Bethlehem (John 7:42).

Why didn’t Jesus just explain his situation to the leaders? He could have told them his mother and father were both from the tribe of Judah and due to the census, he was born in Bethlehem. So why didn’t he do that? Since Jesus only said what he saw and heard from the father (John 8:38), it must be the Father did not want Jesus to explain himself. The Father was not taking Jesus to the palace. His goal was not for the Pharisees to understand. The Pharisees claimed to understand and the Father held them accountable for that.

But he also held Jesus accountable for his destiny. If Jesus had disobeyed the Father by justifying himself to the Jews, he would have missed the cross. He would have missed the true victory. Jesus’ cross led to the greatest victory of all time, victory over death. We also have a cross we are called to. If the Father leads either to the left or the right, at junctures we are going to have to lay our will down for the Father’s will. Those small deaths of the self, lead to true victories in our everyday lives.


Lord Jesus, please give me the grace to lay my life down when you ask me to. Help me not engage in dead works but save me with your grace. Increase my spiritual hearing so I do not miss instruction from 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.

Jesus’ Message

John 10:25-28 WEB

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. [26] But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. [27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.


Do you ever have trouble believing Jesus? Do you ever have questions about God’s word? The Bible says Jesus is the word. No, he is not the ink or the pages of the Bible, but he is found in the message of the Bible. To trust the Bible is to trust Jesus. Likewise, to not believe the Bible is to not believe Jesus. Those who believe Jesus are his sheep.

You can tell if you are a sheep. Do you love the Bible? Again, not the pages or the ink, but the message it contains. In the Bible is Jesus’ message and thereby Jesus. When we follow the Bible, we are behaving like the Lord’s sheep. However, if we do not read the Bible, we are rejecting Jesus. How can you ever obey someone you won’t listen to? When you read the Bible, you are listening to Jesus.

It’s not enough to read the Bible. Even demons do that. It is obedience to the Bible’s entire message that reveals a true sheep. We are not saved by reading the Bible, we are saved by grace through Jesus. However, a symptom of salvation is a hunger for God’s whole message. If you are a sheep and you are not hungry for God’s word, then your conscience may be seared. To remedy a seared conscience, you must repent and ask God, persistently, to give you a hunger and thirst for His Word.


Lord, please forgive my disbelief and help me trust you more. Give me a thirst and hunger for your Word and give me an understanding of what I read. Help me activate the Word of God in my life and become obedient to its full message. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Seek Ye First

John 10:16-18 WEB

I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. [17] Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. [18] No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”


Did you know, like Jesus, we have the power to lay our lives down and the power to pick our lives back up? On the cross, Jesus paid the full penalty for humanity’s sin. When the payment was complete, he gave up life and died. Ironically, Jesus had control over his journey to the cross. Jesus went to the cross fully capable of avoiding the horrific experience.

But he did not avoid the shame and suffering. He embraced it as God’s will. He gave his life up willingly (Heb 12:2). After his death, he took his life back up by the power of resurrection that dwelt in Him (John 11:25). The word says the spirit of resurrection that was in Christ raised him from the dead. Jesus laid his life down and he took his life back up. It was good for us that Jesus was able to take his life back, it meant victory for the whole world (John 19:30).

When we choose to lay our lives down, we are emulating Christ. We do not lay our lives down in vain, we lay our lives down for the good of those being saved (1 John 3:16). Likewise, after we have been humbled by the Lord, we can take our lives back up. The word says that if we seek after righteousness, we will have abundant blessings (Mat 6:33). We lay our lives down for and allow the Father to purify us. After this process has done its work, the Father lets us pick our lives back up. We are meant to love others more than ourselves and we are also meant to walk in victory (1 Cor 15:54-57).


Lord, I want to walk in holiness and righteousness so that I can be used by you. And after a season of being humbled, I know I will have the desires of my heart. Please do your work and take away my worldly appetites. Then, when the time is right, lead me into victory. 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.

The Great Love of God

John 9:4-7 WEB

I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. [5] While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” [6] When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man’s eyes with the mud, [7] and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.


When Jesus walked the earth in his human form, he was a great light. He did great signs and wonders. For those who were exposed to Jesus, he testified with his life and his choices of God. He did not attract attention to himself. God took care of the attention and acclaim. Jesus could not be the light of the world and remain hidden.

So, why would the light of the world make a spit paste, put it on the man’s eyes, and tell him to wash in the pool at Siloam? He did it to take away his darkness. He did it because he cares more about the man’s soul than the man liking him. Jesus did what he saw in his mind’s eye. He did what he believed the Father showed him to do. He was humble in his obedience.

Because of that humility he was able to minister humility to the blind beggar. The Father cares more about the man who was blind than he cares about his own incredible plan. Not only will God bless us, but he will also correct us and heal us. When God is in something, the good seems to expand. Everywhere you turn, when God is doing something, it turns good. Everywhere you look there is more healing, more binding from brokenness, more restoration.


Lord, thank you for loving me and refusing to take advantage of my love for you. Please help me love people the way you love me, with endless integrity, compassion, and kindness. In Jesus’ name, amen.