John 21: Follow Me

Journaling Through John Fall Picture leaves falling

“As for you, follow Me.” John 21:20. (NLT)

Jesus appears to some of His disciples for a third time. They are out in their boats and are not catching any fish. Jesus calls to them from the shore and tells them to throw their nets to the right side. They do what He says and their nets are filled. Peter swims to shore to be with Jesus.

Jesus asks Peter 3 times if He loves Him. Peter replies, yes each time. The third time, Peter is a little frustrated that He keeps asking Him, because He does love Him and has said yes. Jesus reply is to tell Peter, then “feed my sheep.” He is calling Peter to go and continue His ministry to people.

Another disciple is there and Peter asks Jesus, “What about him?” And Jesus replies in verse 22, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.” Jesus is letting Peter know He needs to mind his own business and do what he is called to do. What the other does or does not do is none of his concern.

What a great reminder for me today. There are things god has called me to do. His plans and purposes for my life don’t match anyone elses. What others do is not my concern. I must follow Him and obey the call and commands He has placed in my life. My life won’t look the same as anyone else’s. I can’t compare what I have done or have not done to others accomplishments.

Thank you Lord today for the plans and purpose you have for my life. I pray for a continued desire and determination to go after those things you are calling me to. May I not fall into the temptation to compare myself to others. I pray that I would keep my eyes fixed on you and follow where you go. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 21 of John? Share your insights in the comment section below.

John 20: Not By Sight

“You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me.” John 20:29. (NLT.)

“But these are written that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. And that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.” John 20:31 (NLT)

This chapter starts at the empty tomb. The stone was rolled away and Jesus has risen from the grave! He is alive! The disciples see Him and realize what they thought they knew, Jesus is the Messiah! Thomas, one of the disciples, was not there when Jesus first appeared to them. When they told him they had seen Jesus alive, Thomas said He would not believe until He saw Jesus.

It was 8 days later when the disciples were together again and Jesus came to them. Thomas was with them and Jesus told Thomas to “Look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. believe!” John 20:27 (NLT) Then Thomas believed that Jesus was Alive!

In verse 29 Jesus tells Thomas “You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me.” And this is where faith comes into play. I’ve never seen Jesus, seen the holes in His hands or touched the wound in His side, but I believe what the Word says. He came as a baby, fully God and fully man. He willingly went to the Cross and died for the payment of my sin. And He overcame death, hell and the grave. He rose from the dead and Lives!

Verse 31 tells me that these things are written so that I will continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah! And, that because I believe I will continue to have life by the power of His name! It’s His Word that brings me hope, that strengthens my faith and reveals Jesus to me.

My prayer today is for a greater desire and love for His Word. I pray for the hunger for the Word would be continuous. I pray for a greater depth in my understanding. Thank you Lord for your Word and for the life it gives me. Amen.

What is God revealing to you today in chapter 20? Share your insights in the comment section below.

John 19: It Is Finished

“It is finished!  Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”  John 19:30  (NLT)

Jesus was arrested and taken to Pilate.  They flogged Him with a lead tip whip.  They put a crown of thorns on His head and they mocked Him.  They cried, “Crucify Him!”  He carried His cross and they led him to Golgotha where they hung Him to the cross.  It was there that He made the final sacrifice for my sin.  He said “it is finished.”

It was in that moment that the payment was made for my sin.  It was in that moment that Jesus made a way for me.  It’s because of this moment I have access to the Father.  He gave His life so I could have life.  His life for mine.   It’s because of this moment that I have hope that surpasses anything here on this earth.

May I never forget this moment. May I never loose sight of the price He paid for my life.  May I always take sin seriously and surrender all to Him.  I will never be able to say thank you enough for the forgiveness He freely gives me.  Lord, I stand amazed at all you have done.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 19 of John?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

John 18: Willingly He Surrendered

“Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward to meet them.”  John 18:4 (NLT)

Jesus and His disciples have gone off into the garden, a place they had gone   often.  There the Roman soldiers and temple guards came to find and arrest Jesus.  And without any fan fair, Jesus stepped forward.  Verse 4 says that Jesus  “fully realized ALL that was going to happen.”

Jesus asked, “Who are you looking for?”  They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” (v. 5)  When Jesus told them, I am He,” “they all drew back and fell to the ground.” (v. 6) Did you catch that?  when Jesus spoke, there was such power that they “all fell to the ground!”

First, Jesus stepped forward because He knew the time had come for Him to fulfill His purpose.  He was aware of the suffering that was to come, yet He stepped forward without any resistance.

Then, in verse 6, He demonstrates His power.  He could have wiped them all out and continued on.  He chose to go forward and become the sacrifice we all need. He knew God’s plan.  He knew the difficulty ahead. And even though He could have stopped them all, He willingly let them arrest Him.  He surrendered Himself.

I’m not sure I can find the right words to adequately express what I am understanding here in these couple of verses.  I’ve always known that Jesus went willingly to the cross.  But, really, He went WILLINGLY!  He had the power to stop it all, but He chose Me.  He chose suffering and death for my benefit.  He said yes to Me and took the punishment I deserve.

This is a truth I’ve always known.  But this morning I am gaining a new a deeper revelation of His love for me and for all mankind. I’m in awe of Him.  I’m amazed and overwhelmed.

Jesus, thank you for your great love for me.  I can’t fully comprehend it all and I don’t feel thank you is enough.  I pray that I would live my life walking in your presence and reflecting the grace you have given me.  I pray today for a continued awareness of your love for me.  Amen.

What is God revealing to you today in chapter 18 of John?  Share your insights in the comment section below.

John 17: His Prayer for Me

“I am in them 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 17:23. (NLT)

This chapter is a prayer from Jesus. He knows the time has come for Him to fulfill His purpose. He prays for His disciples and in verse 20 He says,, “I am praying not only for these disciples, but also for all who will ever believe in Me.” Which means He is praying for me in this chapter. His words to His Father are for me! For my life! Today! Right now! In this moment! His words are for me!

In verse 23 He says He is in Me. His presence and power fills me today. It’s His presence that strengthens me and holds me. I am so very grateful for the assurance I have that He is in me.

He prays that we, those who believe He is who He says He is, will experience “such perfect unity”. SO THAT, “the world will know that You sent Me and that you love them as much as You love Me.” Our unity as believers will show the world Jesus and the greatness of His love!

There is and has been, such a need for the peace, hope and joy that Jesus brings. i believe He truly is the answer to all we need. Jesus prays for perfect unity and when I look around me I see a lot of disunity. I see the division among believers, those who believe and know the presence and power of Jesus. How different would our world look if we could be in “perfect unity?”

I pray today for the presence of Jesus to be greater in my life. I pray that I will be slow to speak and quick to listen. I pray for His peace to be in me, with Me and that it will be evident where I go. I pray that as much as possible, that I live peaceably with everyone (romans 12:18). And I pray for His presence to strengthen me. I want to be a woman who is lead by the Spirit, who speaks and responds by the leading of the Spirit. I pray He is greater and I am less. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 17 of John? Share in the comment section below.

John 16: Take Heart

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on Earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

Jesus is with His disciples and He is telling Him He will be leaving them soon. He is going to be with the Father, but He will send an Advocate to be with them. He tells them He is going but will return. This chapter ends with Jesus letting them know there will be difficulties in this world, but He has overcome the world and we can find our peace in Him.

I love this verse! First, it lets me know that any difficulties or sorrows I may face in this life are not a surprise to the Lord. He knows about sin and about the enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy. He is aware of every difficulty I will face. He knows about the hardships and brokenness I will have to overcome. He knows about the hurt and the heartbreak.

Secondly, He has already made provision for me. I can find peace in the midst of any storm. He is with me and makes provision for me along the way. It’s in the midst of the difficulties and sorrows that I can see most and sense His presence.

And this verse ends with Him saying I can take heart, He has overcome the world! It’s in my mortal human body that I can get caught up in the moment. I can only feel what I am feeling today and can’t comprehend the eternal truth, He is victorious! It’s in His presence that I can overcome!

I am thankful today for His peace in my life. Today I lean into His presence and the reassurance that He has overcome! My hope is in Him. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 16 of John? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.

John 15: Surrender to the Pruning

“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” John 15:2 (NLT)

This verse can easily be a verse I want to pass by. Sometimes the process of pruning can be difficult. The parts of me that are not fruit bearing may be difficult to let go because I like the control I have or it’s because it caters to my insecurities. I can find a sense of comfort in control and in my self. Then, there are those branches that are producing fruit that He comes to prune. I don’t like this process, because what is happening is working, so don’t take it away.

And now I read what I just wrote and I’m like, duh Stasia, pruning brings health. So why do you want to avoid a process that brings health and fruitfulness to your life? I think it’s the action of fully surrendering ALL to Him. Giving Him complete access to all my heart and releasing my hold. Yep, it’s all about control. I want to decide and hold on to those things He is wanting to prune.

Now as I write, I’m thinking of health that comes from pruning. And I desire health in my life. I want to be a woman who serves, loves and leads from a place of health. I know giving Him full control in this process won’t always be easy, but the results will be more than I can hope or imagine. I want to surrender it all!

I pray today for the process of pruning. I pray for an awareness of the pruning. I pray for a whole surrender to His process. And as I sit here I feel an excitement rise up, and great anticipation of the work He is doing in my life. Lord, I release my hold and surrender all to you. Amen

 

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 15 of the Gospel of John? Share your insights in the comment section below.

John 14: The Gift of Peace

“I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (NLT)

Jesus is speaking with His disciples preparing them for when He leaves. He says He must go be with the Father and there He will prepare a place for them. He says the only way is through Him, He is “the way, the truth and the life.” (V. 6) He then goes on to tell them that the Father will send the Holy Spirit, an advocate who will not leave and will lead into all truth.

Jesus goes on to tell them that He will leave them with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And oh, how I find hope in this verse today. That in Christ I can have peace of mind and heart. I can and do find myself feeling troubled by all that is happening in the World. I’m allowing myself only small doses of news and media. It only takes a few minutes of scrolling through social media or reading today’s headlines and I can begin to feel overwhelmed, heavy and helpless. If I stay in that place, relying on my own thoughts, the weight only gets heavier. But I have the presence of the Holy Spirit to comfort me, to bring perspective and empower me to pray and intercede.

Jesus says, “Don’t be troubled or afraid!” I don’t think this means that I cannot be aware of what is happening. I can’t separate myself and deny the reality of life happening around me. But, it’s in the midst of all the chaos that I can lean in and find peace of mind and peace in my heart. This peace can only come from Him, from His Holy Spirit. And it’s out of this place of peace that I can find direction and purpose. It’s in His presence that I am empowered to pray. It’s in that peace that I find hope. It’s His peace that strengthens me and leads me. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, I need His Word and His presence in my life. Without it I would be greatly afraid.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the advocate that brings comfort to me daily! I pray for a greater awareness of your presence in my life that comforts me and empowers me. I pray for continued peace in my mind and heart. Amen.

 

Let’s talk about what you received from today’s chapter.  Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below!

 

 

John 13: Will I serve?

“And since I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. ,  I have given you an example to follow, do as I have done to you.”  John 13:14-15 (NLT) 

This is Johns writing on what we know as “The Last Supper.”  Jesus is breaking bread with His disciples for the last time before He is crucified.  There are several things happening here in this chapter, but we first read that Jesus begins by washing the disciples feet. An act of humility and it appalls Peter.  The washing of feet is something that should be done by one of their servants,  at the least it should be done by one of the disciples.Even after Peter tries to stop Jesus, He continues and washes their feet.  He even washes the feet of the one disciple who He knows will betray Him.

Jesus, their leader, the one they know as the Messiah, takes on the role of a servant and washes their feet.   And then He tells them to do what He has done, they should wash one another’s feet.  Jesus is teaching them about humility and serving one another.  He takes it farther than they realize in this moment, when he washes the feet of Judas, the one He knows will betray Him.  He tells them He has given them an example and they should do the same. 

I’ve been in the church for my whole life.  I attended Bible college and have been in pastoral ministry for over 22 years.  There has always ben this teaching about being a “servant,” or a “servant leader.”  It’s relevant and has true Biblical backing, it’s what Jesus is teaching here in John 13.  But I am wondering this morning if I have ever really grasped the whole idea of what true ‘servant leadership” is all about. Have I come to a place where I am willing to lay down my rights and personal comfort to serve someone who will betray me?  Truthfully, if I know someone is not for me, or for the same things I am for, am I willing to serve them?  Or, is my motivation to serve only based on those who are with me and for me? 

Jesus was aware of Judas betrayal.  Yet, He took on the role of the servant and washed His feet.  If I know someone will betray me, talk harshly against me, question my heart or motives, am I still willing to humble myself and serve them?  

I am challenged today to become more like Jesus, willing to humble myself and take on the role of servant.  Caring for those around me simply because He calls me to love.  I pray today for pride to be broken in my life. I pray for the Lord to enlarge my heart to be a servant.  I am praying today that I will be motivated to serve, not for my personal gain, not even for others gain, but simply because He commands me to do as He has done.  I am thankful for His Holy Spirit that changes and transforms me to be more Like Christ.  I am thankful today that He is patient with me and that He will continue working in my life.  I’m not there yet, I’m still learning to love and to serve.  Thank you Lord for revealing your heart to me and for expanding my understanding. Amen.

 

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 13 of John?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.

John 12: Hail to the King

 “The news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city.  A large crowd of Passover visitors took Palm branches and went down the road to meet Him.  They shouted, “Praise God!  Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hail to the King of Israel!”  John 12:12-13. (NLT)

We know this as the Triumphal Entry!   Jesus fulfills prophecy by entering  the city riding on a young donkey!  The news of Lazarus was spreading and many people came out to see Him.  Jesus knows this is all part of His purpose and He will soon be arrested and crucified.

I’m moved today by the words “Hail to the King!”  A reminder to me today that Jesus IS the King!  He is King of Kings!  His Kingdom will not end, it is eternal.  And more for me today, He is MY King!

Hail to the King! Praise His Holy name!  Glory and honor be to Him.  Hallelujah!  Worthy is the King!  I exalt Him and glorify His Majesty!   He was and is and is to come!  There is no one greater!

I pray today that my faith would be strengthened.  I pray today for a renewed hope and a greater awareness of His presence in and around me.  I pray that His praise will ever be on my lips.  Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 12 of John?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.