Tag Archives: John

Personal Encounter

As I was reading John 20 this morning, I was reminded of the personal relationship I have with Jesus. I was reminded that each of us have a different relationship (or absence thereof) when it comes to Jesus. It all comes down to how we engage with God’s Word and with our Savior. Remember in John 20:20, we find Jesus appears to His disciples and He shows them His hands and side. He shows them His hands and His side. Later Thomas, or Doubting Thomas as many call him, returned. He missed the grand arrival of Jesus, and though the others noted that He came, Thomas would not believe. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe” (v. 25 NIV). Thomas desired a personal encounter.

Jesus appears later, this time Thomas was with the others. The Bible says that even though the doors were locked, Jesus came in. He said, “Peace be with you!” Then He directs Himself to Thomas. He says, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe” (v. 27 NIV). Immediately Thomas responds – “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had a personal encounter with Jesus.

We are often hard on Thomas. Yes, he demanded to have this personal moment with Jesus. He demanded to see Him, to touch the nail marks. He desired to look upon the One Who once bled for Him. He desired to reach his hands out and put his finger where the nails once were. He needed to have this personal encounter. Yes, he doubted. Yes, he needed some evidence. Most of all, He needed to encounter the risen Jesus Christ. He needed it to be personal. Remember, once this happened he immediately exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Today, seek out that personal encounter with Jesus. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way. As you reach out and grasp a hold of Jesus, may you exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”

 

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Live for Today

Today is today. Live for today. The Bible tells us that we are given all we need to handle today, and today alone. We should not be worrying about tomorrow, for we have today to live (Matthew 6:34, Luke 12:34).

At the same time, when we start a new day, we are reminded that it is a fresh day—a day that should not carry over the dust of yesterday. Shake off your shoes. Don’t carry over the anger, the hurt, the pain, the burden, the stress of yesterday. Start the day fresh. Forgive those who have hurt you, as you too have been forgiven by your heavenly Father (Colossians 3:13). Holding onto unforgiveness is bringing bitterness into this new day. Just the same, clinging to past hurt, living in the past today, destroys the promises of today. The Lord has set you free from your past, so live free (John 8:36)! If you have sinned yesterday, repent and be forgiven. Receive His forgiveness that He pours out in abundance and move onward and upward (1 John 1:9)!

Today is a new day my friends. His mercies are new each morning! Live for today! God has a great plan for your life. He has awesome things to reveal to you today, and much work is still to be done! Today is a day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24)!

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.” – Lamentation 3:22-25 [NLT]

One Mind and Purpose

The Bible talks a lot about unity. This is something that is so important; in John 17, we read that Jesus prays for it! In Paul’s letter, we read of this desire for us to agree with each other, love each other, and work together with one mind and one purpose. Do you see that happening?

This is very difficult. Why do you think Jesus prayed for it?!? You must agree with each other. That doesn’t mean that you share the same opinions—it means that you agree on something together that will glorify God, serving His purpose and following His will. This also means you will love each other. This doesn’t mean you will like each other, but that you will love each other with the love of Christ. It is a love not based on what someone does or who someone is—but who Christ is. You love others because Christ loves them. As time passes, that love will grow deeper within as the Spirit moves in your life. Lastly, this verse talks about working together. Everyone has a part. Everyone is doing something. Everyone is active and working toward the same purpose with one mind. United purpose. United mind. We put aside everything that hinders and work together for God.

Today, remember this unity that God desires. Consider the church you attend. Each member is one part of the body of Christ. Each person has been gifted. Each person has different experience, background, interests, etc. Together, united, so much can be done and God is glorified. Let us agree, love, and work together with one mind and one purpose. JESUS.

“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” – Philippians 2:2 [NLT]

Overflowing Love

When the word overflowing comes to mind, I always think of the disasters that occurred over the years. The pots on the stove that overflowed while cooking, creating a huge mess. The clog toilet that overflowed. One of the biggest things that comes to mind is the time the creeks, lakes, and rivers overflowed during the flood and we saw people paddling down the streets, and houses and roads devastated by flood waters. Something that overflows is excessive and unable to be contained.

Now think of overflowing love. This is a love that pours out of us in excess. It is outrageous. It is uncontained. It is something that comes from God. Remember, God the Father loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34). The Holy Spirit poured out to all believers produces fruit, and love is the first mentioned (Galatians 5:22).

God’s love is described as unfailing, unconditional, and eternal. God’s love is overwhelming, immeasurable, and relentless. The Spirit of God can help you to love deeper and wider. Pray for the compassion, love, for a heart for people. Ask the Spirit to help you to love like God loves. Pray that your love with overflow. May this love be excessive. May this love be outrageous. May this love pour out everywhere you go and point everyone you encounter to the One Who is Love.

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9 [NLT]

United

Some days I work from home. Today happened to be one of those days. I sat here typing away, but I started to hear crying. It was not a human cry, but a dog. I recognized that sound. I looked around to see where the sound was coming as both of my dogs were silently sleeping at my feet. Outside, in the middle of the highway, was a large retriever.

I am not sure what happened, but it was certainly a blessing to see what followed. The large retriever, wearing a bandana around its neck, sat still as cars drove around. Traffic was building up, but that didn’t stop some passerbys to pull over and assist the dog in need. The people all from different paths, all going in a different direction, united together. Their differences did not matter. Their opinions didn’t matter. At this moment, they united together to serve. Someone volunteered a blanket. Someone volunteered their cell phone. Many volunteered to help carry the dog to safety. Later, a police officer transported the dog a few blocks away to the veterinarian.

Unity was something Jesus prayed for and it was something discussed so often in the Bible. Unity is necessary for the Church. We all may come together from different paths, different opinions, etc., but we are united by the Spirit of God. If we each, led by the Holy Spirit, unite together for Christ Jesus, we can shine a light better than if we try to shine alone. If we unite together, we can serve more and reach more. We each complement each other well. If you have a problem uniting with others, talk to God about your prideful heart or your fears. Remind yourself of your purpose. We are to glorify God. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask that He help you to be more focused on the unity that He desires for His people. We can do more together.

“I have given them the glory You gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent me and that You love them as much as You love me.” – John 17:22-23 [NLT]

Share My Heart

The English Standard Version translates today’s verse as, “If you turn at My reproof, behold, I will pour out My Spirit to you; I will make My words known to you.” God beckons us to “come and listen.” He has wisdom to share, and His name is Jesus. God promises to share His heart, to pour out His very own Spirit. He wants to make His words known to you. He desires an intimate relationship with YOU!

In John 16, Jesus explains the importance of His departure. He said “it is best for you that I go away” (v. 7). This was because He was sending the Spirit to be our Advocate. This Spirit of truth would guide us into all truth. The Spirit would convict the world of sin. The Spirit would allow righteousness to be available (see verses 8-10).

Today, pray to share His heart. Ask for God’s Spirit to move within you in mighty ways. Open His Word and “come and listen.” You will be blessed!

“Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.” – Proverbs 1:23 [NLT]

 

Watched Over

When my kids were little, I remember watching over them like crazy. I keep a watchful eye on them still today; however, things have certainly changed over the years. I remember when they were babies. I would stare at them as they slept. When they started to climb on things, I was worried they would hurt themselves so I would stand ready to catch them. I removed the coffee table from our living space to keep their heads safe due to a mishap. I had the oh so lovely outlet protectors everywhere. Most parents understand what it means to watch over their little ones.

Now consider how the Lord watches over you. He does! And unlike human parents who are limited by place and time (eventually we leave the room or fall asleep) God is always watching. He is always standing beside you as “your protective shade.” And unlike human parents who are limited  in ways to help, we can trust that God is always in control.

Not only does He watch over you, but “the LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life” (Psalm 121:7 NLT). He not only stands beside you as your protective shade but He keeps you from harm. This verse says that He “watches over your life.” This doesn’t mean that you won’t go through pain or be harmed in some way. This means He keeps your soul. Remember, nothing can snatch you from His hand (John 10:28). Today, may you stand firm and live courageous, trusting that you are watched over, you are loved, and nothing will snatch you from your Father. You are never out of His reach. You are never out of His sight. You are watched over.

“The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” – Psalm 121:5 [NLT]

The Choice

We live in a world full of choices. Sometimes I stand before a menu or I look to make a purchase of coffee or gum, and I wonder what to decide. We have so many choices, so many options. But when we look at life, there is no gray area. We have life and death. We have a blessing and a curse. God’s Word is very clear. You have the choice. He paved the way.

Don’t complicate God’s Word. The options are clear. You can choose life or death, heaven or hell, a blessing or curse. The world tells you that God sends people to hell; that is a lie. People choose hell. God’s Word is very clear. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:13). Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned.

Today, look at the big choice you have made. Have you made the choice of life or death, prosperity or disaster? Have you made the choice between a blessing and a curse? Do not think because you are good, that you are going to heaven. Only those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will find everlasting life. Know this truth. Share this truth. Don’t love your family and friends to hell. Tell them that there is only one way to the Father, and His Name is JESUS (John 14:6).

“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!” – Deuteronomy 11:26 [NLT]

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19 [NLT]

Hold Tightly

To hold tightly means you hold firmly. You cling to something or grip something, usually in attempt to not let go. I think back to when my children were small and I would hold their hands tightly as we crossed the streets. I remember walking up a high staircase and holding the handrail tightly in hopes that I could safely navigate the heights. When the wind is blowing hard, we hold tightly to our personal items as we try to get from the car to the house without losing anything. We use all the strength we have so we can keep a hold of these things.

In Deuteronomy 11, we read about “holding tightly to Him.” Do you hold as tightly to God, with the tight grip, in an attempt to not let go when the winds get high? Do you hold as tightly to God as you climb the high heights? Do you cling as tightly to God’s hand as you cross the streets of life?

The Bible tells us we are to walk in God’s ways and hold tightly to Him. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. To walk in His ways, you must hold tightly to Him. Abide in Him and He will abide in you (see John 15). His power working through you will give you all you need to walk in faithful obedience. Today, realign yourself to Him.

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the LORD your God by walking in His ways and holding tightly to Him.” – Deuteronomy 11:22 [NLT]

Truth for a Lie

Imagine if you had this precious gem that was worth more than anything else in the entire world. Imagine if you found something that’s more amazing than anything you have ever encountered. Imagine if you discovered something more powerful than anything you have seen before. Now consider the Truth. Consider the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is the precious gem. This is the “something that’s more amazing.” This is the “more powerful than anything you have seen” and so much more!

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We understand that all truth is God’s truth. As believers in Jesus Christ, we believe that the Gospel is true. Because we believe in Jesus, we are called children of God. We are sons and daughters of the King. Sadly, it is easy to trade the truth about God for a lie. It has happened in the past and it will continue to happen. Paul wrote about people who did just that, and they “served the things God created” instead of serving God.

Be careful not to do the same. Keep your eyes focused on the truth. To be able to detect the lies of the world, it is crucial that you know the Word of God. To know His Word, you must spend time chewing on it. Read it. Remember it. Keep it with you. Study it. Meditate upon it. The more you embrace His Word, the less likely you will trade the truth for a lie.

“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, Who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” – Romans 1:25 [NLT]