John 11: Stay Focused

John 11

Earlier today I made a quick pass through my FB news feed.  I read a post from someone who was just disgusted by closed minded people. Those who only quote others and stand firm in their biases and opinions.  He then went on to say that the characteristic all of these people have, and he did say ALL, was they also professed to be Christians. Ugggghhhh!! That kind of comment can just fry me.  I want to just say something to counter his comment, something that leaves him speechless.  I’m a Christian and I know lots of Christians who are working very hard to build bridges, have the hard conversations, listen to others life stories, lead in repentance and reconciliation.

As I thought about it, I’m just more fried by those who profess to be Christians and speak such harsh thoughts and opinions.  And instead of posting, responding or dwelling on my feelings, I went to my Bible and began to read.

In John 11 we read about a miracle.  Lazarus had been dead and in the grave for 4 days! 4 days!  Jesus comes and calls him out.  Lazarus rises from death and walks out of the tomb! This was a miracle that “the Son of God would receive glory” verse 4.   In verse 45 we read that “many of the people believed in Jesus who saw this happen.”  But you know what, even after witnessing this miracle, some went to the Pharisees to tell what they saw (verse 46).  It was there that they decided that they could not allow Him, Jesus, to continue, people might believe Him.  In verse 53 we read that it ‘was from that time on the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.”

Jesus response to all this, “He stopped His public ministry in among the people and left Religious and non-religious people did not believe Him.  He knew what His purpose was, and He continued forward and began to prepare.  He didn’t have to set anyone straight.  He didn’t allow comments and opinions to affect Him in a way that would be misunderstood or reek of criticism, judgment and pride. He moved on and continued doing what He was called to.

fall shortWhat have I learned today from this chapter in John and how can I apply it to my life today?

  1. There has been and there will always be those who don’t believe and won’t hear.
  2. As Christians, we will often fall short and misrepresent Christ. None of us are perfect and we must DAILY look to His Word for guidance and correction.
  3. And finally, God has called me with a purpose. I just need to move forward and continue doing the things He has called me.  I can’t be distracted by what others say..

My response to the FB post I mentioned in the first paragraph shouldn’t be one to leave Him speechless.  I shouldn’t even allow it to fry me to be frustrated and angry.  My response should be one that leads me to prayer and repentance.  My response should be from a place of love and not of setting someone straight.  This kind of talk against Christians has been around since Jesus walked the earth and you know what, He still gave His life for all!

I pray today for a greater love for all mankind.  I pray to see each person as Jesus sees them and to love them unconditionally right where they are.  I repent for inconsistencies in my life, for those biases I fail to see and for misrepresenting Christ with my emotional opinions.  Lord, continue working on my heart creating a pure and clean heart.  Give me clear understanding of my purpose and plan for my life.  Give me courage to walk it out and to love my neighbor.  Amen.

What is God saying to you today?  Share your thoughts and insights from John 11 in the comment section below.


John 10: He Knows My Name

“I am the Good Shepherd ; I know my own sheep and they know me.” John 10:14 (NLT)

Jesus, the Good Shepard.  He knows each one by name.  He leads them to pastures.  He is the gate and through Him all are saved. They come and go freely finding good pastures. Jesus purpose is to give life, rich and satisfying. He willingly sacrificed His life. He protects and cares for each one.

A parable of Jesus care, protection and provision for those who trust and follow Him.  He knows my name!  He cares about when I come and when I go.  He not only provides for me, but His provision is life giving and eternal.  I can and do trust Him.  I know His voice and I follow His leading.

I think for some it may be difficult to understand the goodness of Christ because of what we see happening around us.  But, that is the very reason He came.  There is a real and evil enemy who works to destroy lives, to cause division, to turn us to hate, to bring despair and hopelessness.  Verse 10 says “the thief’ purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.”   Sometimes I want to ask God “Why?”  But today I am reminded why, the power of evil is at work destroying lives, leading us to hopelessness, causing brother to turn against brother and wanting us to believe it’s all Gods fault.

There is no promise that life with Christ here on this earth will be easy.  But, He does promise He will never leave us and He will walk with us.  When I put my hope in His eternal promise, all the difficulties of this life become insignificant.  I look to His Word and listen for His voice.  He comforts me, he provides for me and He protects me.

I pray today for a fresh perspective. I want to see His presence and work happening in my life and all around me.  Lord, help me to see where you are moving, where you bring provision and offer hope.  Lead me and use me to bring life, hope, and love to those in my family, my church and in my community. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 10 of John?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

John 9: Now I See

“I know this, I was blind, but now I can see.”  John 9:225 NLT

This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible.  A man who is born blind is healed by Jesus.  I wonder what that moment was like? Being born blind means you’ve never seen color, depth, shape or even your own reflection.  Then, in a moment you can see it all.   Seriously, think about that moment, going from no sight to seeing clearly for the first time!  It had to be crazy awesome! Although I was not born blind, I have lost most of my vision and wonder what this moment will be like? The moment I can say, “I was blind, but now I can see!”

And then, isn’t it just like the religious to question and try to disqualify the power and presence of Jesus!  And that is what happens here in this chapter.  Verse 16 says, “there was a deep division among them.”  The division was among the Pharisees, the religious leaders.  Some felt that there was no way Jesus was from God because He performed a miracle on the Sabbath. And others said an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs? And so there self-righteous attitude kept them divided and they missed the miracle.

I can’t help but think about the division we are experiencing today in our nation.  And most heartbreaking is the division we are experiencing within the Church.  Have we, have I become so confident in my own beliefs and opinions that I fail to see the greater work of Jesus here all around me?  Am I so strongly stuck to my own idea of what is wrong with everyone, that I miss the opportunity to expand the Kingdom of God?

In verse 39 Jesus says, “I entered this world to render judgement, to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they can see that they are blind.”  I’m asking myself today, what do I think I can see, but is really a mirage I’ve made up, because really, I am blind?  In the medical field this is called the Charles Bonnet Syndrome.  This is when someone with little or no sight sees, or rather, thinks they see something that isn’t there.  For example, like looking through a doorway and seeing a person because you heard someone talking and assume somewhere in your subconscious that he or she is standing there. So, today I’m wondering, where in the Spirit do I think I see, but really am blind?  When have I allowed my own thoughts and opinions to taint my witness?  Where am I so confidently prideful in my own accomplishments, that I’m missing the miraculous move of Christ? And where have I allowed my judgement of others to become more prevalent than Christ love for them to flow through me?

Lord, open my eyes to see what you see.  Give me supernatural sight to see beyond the physical.  Lord, I want to see where I’ve missed it.  Reveal those blind spots to me and change me.  Help me to love like you love. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below!

John 8: Stone Drop

“As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her, what do you say?”  They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, “all right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.”  John 8:4-8 (NLT)

Jesus shows up early in the morning and begins to teach the crowd that gathers.  The religious leaders and Pharisees want to trap Jesus and get Him to do or say something that they can use against Him.  They bring in a woman who has been caught in a sin that according to the law, is punishable by death.

Jesus seems kind of chill.  He just stoops down and begins doodling in the dust.  Although, I do wonder if He was just doodling, or did He write or draw something specific, something that preceded His response.  We don’ know, but He does respond and tells them that the one with no sin can throw the first stone.  They drop their stones and leave Jesus and the woman.  Jesus tells her to go and sin no more.

This story always reminds me of how quickly I can judge others, especially other believers, and overlook the sin in my own life.  It can be so easy to want to point out others failures, especially those we see as “real sin.”  It seems that in the church we want to judge and disqualify those we see as immoral or whose life looks different than what we think it should look like.  All the while missing our own self-righteous pride and judgmental attitude.  And for whatever reason, these sins get a pass.  We, I allow myself to think higher of myself than I ought.  I sin and need a Savior.

Jesus didn’t overlook the woman’s sin.  He acknowledges it and tells her to go and sin no more.  I don’t want to be like the religious leaders and jump quickly to “stoning” someone for their sin.  I want to be like Jesus, extending grace and mercy and pointing them to the Cross.  My role as a believer isn’t to judge others sin with a self-righteous attitude, it’s to point them to the Word, to Jesus, to redemption, forgiveness and healing.

How much more satisfying is it to love someone, pointing them to Jesus and watching them receive forgiveness and healing, than just condemning them.    We all sin.  We all need His saving grace.  I need His forgiveness.

Lord, reveal to me the sin in my life today.  Convict me of the things that are harmful to me and to others.  Take me to my knees so that I can repent and be forgiven.  Lord, help me to see others like you see them.  I want to be your hands and feet, loving people and leading them to You.  Amen.

What is God speaking to you today through John 8?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.

John 7: Not Always As It Appears / Thirsty

Fall photo Journaling Through John

As I was preparing for this session of journaling, I somehow ended up with 2 post for chapter 7.  I could not decide which to post, so I put them both here!  Enjoy!

John 7: Not Always As It Appears
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” John 7:24 (NLT)

People are gathering and talking. They are questioning Jesus. Even His brothers don’t believe Him.  There is a lot of talking and division. Those who do believe won’t speak up, they are afraid of the Jewish leaders. They are looking for Him and wondering why He isn’t there at the festival.  Then Jesus shows up at the temple and begins teaching.

Earlier in the chapter, in verse 7, Jesus says the world hates Him because He accuses it of doing evil.  And then in the temple He begins to speak directly to the pharisees, those who accuse Him of not obeying the law.  He calls them out for doing the same thing they accuse Him of doing.  then He says in verse 24, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

It can be so easy to judge other’s actions simply by what I can see.  And how quickly I can jump to conclusions based on such little information.  And oh, how rampant is it today to call out others simply because of something we see or a comment that is made.  The reality is there is so much more beneath the surface.  My thoughts, beliefs, actions, convictions, opinions, responses are all based on my processes, journey and circumstances.  I must also recognize that about others.  I can’t let myself assume I know or understand why someone says or does something.

I must look beneath the surface.  This means I have to go deeper in my relationships to know their heart.  It’s in intentional, real relationship that I can get to the core of any issue.  There are definitely times where I need correction and to be called out on my actions, but I won’t always respond to those who haven’t taken the time to really know me, to go deeper.  So, why would I expect that others would hear my heart when I just spout off my thoughts and opinions.  If I want to make a difference in n people’s lives I must be willing to put in the work of relationship. AND, I must also look deeper into my own heart and motives, allowing the Holy Spirit to purify and cleanse my heart of malice, un-forgiveness, offense, selfish ambitions, critical judgement and whatever other junk is hardening my heart to Jesus and toward people.

Lord, I pray today for a heart like yours.  A heart that loves people right where they are.  I desire for real, authentic relationships where I allow others to speak into my life.  Teach me to respect others journey not always jumping to judgments.  I want to see people like you see them.  Teach me to love like you love. Amen.

John 7:  Thirsty

“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me.  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!  For the Scriptures declare, rivers of living water will flow from His heart.”  John 7:37-38 (NLT)

Jesus is speaking at the temple during a Jewish festival.  The religious leaders have and continue to question who he is.  He shows up and begins speaking to them of His work and their doubt of who He is..

Jesus says, “anyone who is thirsty may come to me.” (V37). And my heart responds, yes, I am thirsty!  The weight of everything leaves me feeling parched and desperate for a fresh drink.  What I see in the news, the things I hear in politics, the conversations on social media and the brokenness of it all can leave me depleted, heavy and longing for refreshing.

Jesus, I am thirsty.  Fill me with a fresh outpouring of your Holy Spirit.  Refresh and fill my soul.  Allow your living water to cleanse and refresh every part of my soul.  I pray for more and more of your Spirit, let it flow through me and out of me.

In verse 38 Jesus says that for anyone who believes and drinks, rivers of living water will flow from their heart.  The thirst is for His Spirit and it is for me, but it will flow out of me.  I know that the world needs Jesus.  Those in my life need His presence and the hope He offers.  I pray today that the filling and refreshing I experience would flow over and reach those in my life.

Today I pray for a deeper understanding of my responsibility.  Where can I offer hope?  My desire is that wherever I go, His peace will be present.  Lord, teach me to just lead those around me to you. I pray my life would reflect your heart for all people.  Amen.

What is God speaking to you today through John 7?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

John 6: Eternal Focus

“But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.” John 6:27 (NLT)

It’s the day after Jesus fed the crowd of 5000 with just 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. A miracle of provision with 12 baskets of leftovers! The crowd is searching for Jesus and when they find Him on the other side of the lake, they question when did he get there? Jesus tells them they are not looking for Him because they understand who He is, they are there because He fed them. And in verse 27 Jesus begins to change the conversation from one of physical bread, to a conversation of eternal Bread.

He tells them to not be so concerned about “perishable things,” but to put their energy on eternal things. Their focus is getting more bread to fill their stomachs. But Jesus goes on to tell them of the “true Bread from heaven.” (V. 32). He is speaking of Himself, the One who came from Heaven and gives light to the world. (V. 33)

So much of my time and energy can be used up on caring about perishable things. I can easily focus on things, schedules, programs, circumstances and tasks, all the while, miss out on what I really need. Taking care of what God has entrusted to me is important. I need to be a wise steward and be faithful to the things God has called me to. However, if my schedule gets over run with ‘stuff” that wears me out and have no eternal value, then I am missing Jesus.

During these past several months my life has looked a lot different. Just like much of the rest of the world, my schedule came to an abrupt hault. So many things were cancelled and completely removed from my calendar. I found myself with some extra time. And it was in that time that I was able to see where I had become busy with no boundaries. I have decided and I am determined that my life will not go back to what it was. I have loved the time with my family and I’m not willing to give that Up again. I missed time with people and I want to be with people more.

My prayer today is for a clearer understanding of perishable and eternal value. I desire to have a focus on those things that will last for eternity. I was recently introduced to the “Lazy Genius,” a blogger, podcaster and Author. She talks about becoming lazy with those things that really don’t matter and becoming a genius in those things that do matter. I want to become lazy about things that won’t last and focus on those things with eternal value. It’s there that I will find Life.

What is God speaking to you today in John 6? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.

John 5: He’s Always Working

“My Father is always working, and so am I.” John 5:17

Jesus just healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. Jesus told him to “stand up, pick up your mat and walk” (V. 8). It was the Sabbath and of course the Jewish leaders objected. The man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath, and when he was confronted, he told them that the man who healed him told him to pick up his mat and walk. I want to say, ummmmmm, hello Jewish leaders, this man had been sick for 38 years and was instantly healed! That’s something pretty big. So why not focus on the miracle?

The Jewish leaders found out it was Jesus that healed this man and told him to pick up his mat and walk on the Sabbath. They began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. And I love Jesus’ response, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (V. 17)

Oh Lord, am I so thankful today that you are always working! You don’t need to rest or take time off. There is never to much for you to handle. My situation and circumstances may not be ideal, but I can be assured that you are always working. I won’t always see it and often won’t even understand it, but you are always working! Amen.

I won’t always see it and often won’t understand it, but you are always working!And as I go about my day, I’m pretty sure “Way Maker” will be on repeat!

What is God speaking to you today through John 5? Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.

John 4: Living Water

“Those who drink the water that I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring with in them giving them eternal life.” John 4:14 (NLT)

Jesus sat resting at Jacob’s well. In the middle of the day a Samaritan woman approached the well. Jesus spoke to her and asked her for a drink. She was taken back by this, because in this culture a man would not speak to a woman and definitely not a Samaritan woman. Jesus and she begin talking of the water in the well and He then speaks of the “water” He is offering.

This woman has had several husbands and was currently with a man who was not her husband. I used to think she was a woman who made bad choices or was difficult to get along with. But when you look deeper into the culture of this time, a woman could not pick her own husband, nor did she have the choice to divorce. A woman could not support herself, she needed a husband to provide for her. If at any time, for any reason a man decided he didn’t want his wife He could divorce her with a simple declaration, “I divorce her.” This would leave her abandoned on the street with nothing.

This woman had not been enough for 5 husbands and was now with a man who didn’t care enough for her to make her his wife. Could you imagine, never being enough? Being discarded over and over? Then, Jesus offers her the living water. A provision that is never ending. Something that she could not earn or receive from her own hand or from a man. This water is quenching, lasting, cleansing and filling.

His presence gives me hope and peace.I’m thinking about my own life and how often I look to other people or things to provide and satisfy me. My own insecurities lead me to want to be accepted, loved and cared for by others. I can easily look to entertainment, food, shopping, or even my own abilities to satisfy a need that only Jesus can fill.

With Jesus I have purpose. I am accepted. With Jesus I am able. He provides for my every need. His presence gives me hope and peace. He strengthens me. He comforts me. He heals me. He cleanses me. He protects and defends me. He goes with me.

Thank you Lord, for the never ending, filling and always satisfying living water that flows through my life. I pray today that your presence would be with me and in me and that it would flow out of me to bring life to others. I pray today that my words and actions would bring life and hope to those around me. And let me never take the living water you give lightly. Thank you for the life it gives. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in John 4? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

John 3: Eternal Life

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17 (NLT)

God sent His only Son to save me from the judgement that I deserve.  His sacrifice was perfect and complete.  My response is to believe He is who He says He is.  By faith, I believe His love was so great that He made a way for me to have eternal life separate from sin.

My hope is in this eternal promise.  I recognize that today, this life here on earth is not all there is.  When troubles come, difficulties rise up, despair and hopelessness call out to me, uncertainty shakes me, it’s this gift of Jesus that makes hope alive in me.

I have hope today because of this great gift of love!  It is by faith and not by sight, that I believe Jesus is real.  It is His presence that holds me and stills my soul.  I am so thankful for knowing the Truth today.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Son, Jesus.  I know I am a sinner who is in need of a Savior.  I welcome you into my life and my heart.  Thank you for forgiveness and for eternal life with You. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in chapter 3 of John?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

John 2: Perspective

“Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up.”  “What!” They exclaimed. “It has taken 46 years to build this temple and you can build in in 3 days?”  But when Jesus said “this temple” he meant His own body.”  John 2:19-21. (NLT)

Jesus had just cleared the temple of merchants selling and dealers making exchanges of money.   He used a whip and scattered all their merchandise, livestock and their coins.  He told them to stop turning His Father’s house into a marketplace.

The Jewish leaders were not happy.  They demanded that if God gave Him authority then He needed to show them a miraculous sign.  Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up” (V. 19).. There was just no way He could rebuild them temple that took 46 years to build in only 3 days.  But what they didn’t yet understand was that Jesus was referring to His own body.  Later, after Jesus resurrection, the disciples would remember this and believe  what He had said (v. 22).

This story has lead me to think about perspective.  Jesus said ‘tear down this temple,” and the Jewish leaders believed He was referring to the physical building.  Jesus was speaking of His own body that would be broken, killed and resurrected.  What a profound difference, not just in the reality, but in the significance and impact.

As 2020 continues and changes and uncertainties abound.  I’m stepping back and asking the Lord to give me a new perspective.  I want to step back and take a wider view of what is happening.  Much of what I am spending my time on may not have an eternal value, so what can I surrender?  There are inconveniences that I am facing that have no eternal value, so why allow myself to get so worked up about them?   Some of the things I think need to happen or not happen, have no eternal value, so why not just let those things go.  I must pause and wait to see where the Lord is moving and leading.

I pray today for a shift in my perspective from worry and focusing on things that will pass away, to a focus on eternal and lasting things.   I’m looking to the Holy Spirit and the Word for my peace, provision, hope and for my future.   Amen.

What is God speaking to you today through chapter 2 of John?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.