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 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 25: Indulging Without Self Control – Proverbs 25

day 25 pic of beach

“Do you like honey? Don’t eat to much or it will make you sick.” Proverbs 25:16 (NLT)

“It’s not good to eat to much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself. A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls.: Proverbs 25:27-28 (NLT)

I didn’t really think much about these 2 verses. I like honey, but it’s never been something I indulge on. But then, I checked out this Proverb in The Message, and well, it got my attention.

“When your given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down. Eat to much chocolate and you’ll make your self sick.” Proverbs 25:16 (The Message)

“It’s not smart to stuff yourself with sweets, nor is glory piled on glory good for you. A person without self-control is like a house with it’s doors and windows knocked out.” Proverbs 25:27-28 (The Message)

I’m like, wait! What! Too much chocolate? Really? It can make me sick? I mean, we are talking about chocolate! I really love chocolate, especially dark chocolate… mmmmmmmmm!

Ok, so here’s the thing, these verses are not saying honey, sweets and chocolate are bad. They are telling us the indulgence, with no self-control is the problem. I’ve been there and indulged on warm chocolate chip cookies, Sun Drop Pound Cake, gourmet chocolates and well, I could go on and on. I know that when I eat these things with no self-control, I will feel bad later. And isn’t it just like my sinful nature to say, “It’s worth feeling bad because those cookies were so good!” Really? What am I thinking?

I need to heed this wisdom for my life. I know there are foods that are not good for me. They may taste good in the moment, but they bring harm to my physical health. It may not be evident right away, but the effects of indulging will catch up to me.

This speaks to me today on a couple different levels. First, there is a definite warning here to not indulge on sweets. And I know scientifically and because of experience that to much sugar is harmful to my physical health. And secondly, this thought that the later pain is worth the immediate pleasure. That is sin.

I know that I’ve allowed this lack of self-control effect what I eat. Where else have I allowed the pleasure in the moment justify the effects of the sin?

Forgive me Lord for indulging and for a lack of self-control. Forgive me for justifying sin in my life. I pray today for more revelation in my life about where I’m lacking self-control. And I pray today for an increase in self-control. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in Proverbs 25? Comment below or join the conversation in our Journaling Through Proverbs Facebook Group.

Day 14: Sift and Weigh Every Word – Proverbs 14

Day 14 Picture of white flowers

“There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again, it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak. Sift and weigh every word.” Proverbs 14:12-13 (The Message)

Sin can look harmless. It can be accepted and even enjoyed by those around me. It can be very tempting to just do what everyone else is doing. If everyone else seems to be doing it and they seem to be ok, then maybe? “Look again,” the verse says, this way of life will lead to heartbreak. Most definitely my heart break and God’s heartbreak. The New Living Translation says this path will lead to death!

I chose The Message paraphrase because I like what it says at the end of verse 13, “Sift and weigh every word.” The Word of God MUST be my plumb line. Everything I do, each action I take must line up with what it says. I can’t pick and choose what I like and leave out what I don’t like. Those around me, society and culture don’t determine what is sin.

My only defense against the trap of sin is to know God’s Word. I must be in it continually, keeping it close to me. Following its instruction won’t always be the popular choice. It may mean that I have to go against the grain. My life will look different. His Word will always lead me and direct me in the right way. I must trust what it says.

Thank you, Lord, that you are for me and not against me. Thank you that your Word will always provide the answers I am looking for. Today I pray you will increase my understanding of your Word and strengthen my faith to always follow its commands. Amen.

What is God speaking to you today in Proverbs 14? ? Share in the comments below or join the conversation on our Journaling Through Proverbs Facebook Group.