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.

Day 8: Joyful – Proverbs 8

day 8 picture - daisy

“Listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.  Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home.” Proverbs 8:32-34 (NLT)

To me, joy is more than just a feeling. The Joy of the Lord is more than just being happy or experiencing good times. The kind of joy that I am talking about is possible even during the lows of life, in the difficulties in the uncertainties and it can be present in the chaos. This kind of joy is rooted in wisdom and faith.  It’s rooted in the understanding and in the revelation that He is who He says He is.

I long for this kind of joy to be evident in my life, not just so I can feel it. But so, it can go where I go. It can be so easy for me to think bringing my thoughts and corrections to those around me or into situations I encounter is what I should do. After all, I study God’s Word daily and don’t they need to hear and be set straight? Well, I’ve been there done that, and it gets you about as far as the door. Others around me don’t need to hear, or rather they don’t want to hear what I think they need to do different or better. They need to experience the presence of Jesus. They need me to love them. They need for the JOY inside of me to overflow onto them.

 And here’s the thing about this kind of joy, it doesn’t’ leave when I leave. It’s not just the laughter experienced because of a good joke. It’s not the “feel goods” during a friendly conversation. It’s a kind of joy that leaves residue on those it encounters and leaves them longing for more. It leads them to the Savior.

Here in verses 32-34, I read that joy comes when I seek out wisdom and follow it’s instruction. I can experience joy when I seek out wisdom, when I wait for wisdom. I can experience joy when I respond to wisdoms voice. Wisdom is so much more than just knowing what decision to make. Verse 35 says, “For whoever finds me (wisdom), finds LIFE AND receives FAVOR from the Lord.”

 To sum all this up, when I seek out wisdom, I will find it because it’s waiting for me to find it. Then, when I obey it’s instruction, I will be full of JOY, have LIFE and will receive FAVOR FROM THE LORD. If that doesn’t make me want to pursue and obey wisdom, I’m not sure what will.

 Thank you, Lord, for wisdom. Thank you for this revelation that wisdom is not hidden but is readily available to me. Lord, continue to give me understanding and insight. Let your joy fill me and overflow around me. Lord my prayer is that your wisdom will get in me so I can lead others to You. Amen.

 What is God speaking to you today in Proverbs 8? Share in the comments below or on the Journaling Through Proverbs Facebook Group.