Men’s Praise

John 12:42-43 WEB

Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue, [43] for they loved men’s praise more than God’s praise.


Self-protection. We often care more about people’s opinions than we care for God’s opinion. It’s a matter of self-protection. It’s easy to tell if we care more about men’s opinions than God’s. We know it because we do not open our mouths when we should be telling others about Jesus. When people at church have a group opinion, we say nothing if we see a problem with the opinion. We are more concerned with being liked and included so we say nothing.

Those who do open their mouths are subject to derision and rejection. It is not easy to open our mouths for Jesus. But it is important. It is with our mouths that we confess Jesus (Rom 10:9), it is with our mouths that we rebuke sin in other believers, and it is with our mouths that we give God praise. We should also open our mouths to testify of God’s goodness to unbelievers. However, we often keep our mouths closed because we are protecting ourselves.

We can trust God to protect us. In Psalms, there are many verses that talk about the justice of God. The Lord justifies his children. When we trust the Lord fully, we can be assured that his justice for us will prevail. If we open our mouths in love to confront sin in the church, we must be bold. If we open our mouths to witness to the lost, we must be bold. We can’t be like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time on earth. They quietly followed leaders full of sin and disbelief for the sake of inclusion and destroyed the faith of many.


Lord, please help me speak up when I have opportunities to share your love with the lost. Teach me to lovingly rebuke sin in other believers. I pray I will not be ashamed to open my mouth for you. I trust you to keep me safe and justify me when I speak for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Miracles and Belief

John 7:31-32 WEB

But of the multitude, many believed in him. They said, “When the Christ comes, he won’t do more signs than those which this man has done, will he?” [32] The Pharisees heard the multitude murmuring these things concerning him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him.


Have you experienced a miracle? If you have, you know the moment fades quickly. The mind expects reality to work a certain way. So, the mind works to rationalize the miraculous. The strange thing about the miraculous is it can make believing even harder. Once we experience the miraculous, we become anxious for unusual interventions by God. They reassure us of what we have already experienced.

However, we are meant to remember the signs without needing more and more to confirm our beliefs. In verse 31 above, the multitude remembers Jesus’ past miracles and believe. On the other hand, the Pharisees demand another sign. It seems the “multitude” is demonstrating child-like faith. The Pharisees remain rigid no matter what amazing work was done by the Lord. They have unbelieving hearts.


Lord, please help me remember your many wonderful works and help me remain in faith. I want to believe without needing a sign. But Lord if I witness a miracle help me believe. In Jesus’ name, I pray, 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.

Sign of the Times

John 1:29-34 WEB

The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! [30] This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’ [31] I didn’t know him, but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel.” [32] John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. [33] I didn’t recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water, he said to me, ‘On whomever you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ [34] I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”


How odd is it that the herald of the Lord did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah? John the Baptist grew up knowing Jesus. They probably played “Rabbi” together when they were children. Can you just see 7-year-old Jesus having everyone sit down to listen to Him teach them about God? It’s only speculation, but Jesus was a real person who lived and had to grow through developmental stages.

John the Baptist was a witness to this. Yet he did not recognize Jesus. He finally realized who He was because the Father told him to look for the one that the Spirit descended upon. John recognized Jesus as the Messiah after receiving a sign. It is important that you and I do not wait for a sign to believe. John the Baptist was referred to as the least in the Kingdom by Jesus. I suspect that had to do with John’s inability to see Jesus through faith eyes. Instead, he had to have a sign.

Do you look for signs as you endeavor to follow and serve the Lord? This is dangerous. In our society, we are inundated with as many as 25000 signs and symbols a day through various media. 25000. Do you think you can find 4 or 5 things that function as a sign to you in that many messages? Absolutely. You can find all the signs you want. Follow them at your own peril!

The best way to recognize Jesus in our modern age is to know His Word, the Holy Bible. It is the sign of the times.


Lord Jesus, forgive me for looking for signs. I accept that you give the Holy Spirit on deposit occasionally, I thank you for those occasional, genuine, signs. For all the rest of the time please help me to know your Word. I want to recognize what is you Jesus and what is not. In Jesus’ name, amen.