Loyalty like His

RE Verse reading–John 15:1-17 (day one)  “Abide in me as I abide in you”–v 4.  It is a two-sided loyalty.  He abides in us.  Never leaves.  Never abandons out of frustration from our doubts and resistance.  He stays.  He abides.  And He commands a similar loyalty from us.  We are to abide, remain, stay in Him.  In season and out.  When it is fun and when it isn’t. The result will be fruit and glory (see v 8).  When the people of God stay with step with God, in union with Him the “Vine and Branch team” proves unbeatable.  Is it possible for fickle hearts such as ours to do so?  Apparently Jesus thought so.  Everything else is just a sinful excuse or a stubborn refusal to answer love with love, loyalty with loyalty. “Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent. . .the sons of Israel would then set out”–Numbers 9:17.  If he promises to stay with you, what do you promise?

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Heaven help us

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day seven)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me”–v 1.  Truth is practical.  Knowing it, holding it in your mind has a positive, powerful effect.  In the midst of a crisis, Jesus is encouraging his disciples.  His approach is to move their minds from anxiety to certainty.  He asks them to think about Heaven, to count on it, to depend on His power to bring it about.  What happens when we do what the Lord was asking them?  Courage comes!  Stress subsides!  Fear flees!  Are you willing to take instruction from the greatest leader that the world has ever known?  Think Heaven!  Say to yourself, “This world is not my home.  Heaven is.”  Remind yourself to not be disappointed when this world does not reward or recognize faith.  Your reward will come later.  Those who “think heaven” find that it has a powerful and positive effect on their lives now.

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I am.

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day six)
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life”–v 6.  There is no “I” in team.  It is, therefore, a heads-up to the uniqueness of Christ that He so often makes “I am” statements.  Christ is not on anyone else’s “team” (Except the Father’s).  He, without the aid of others, claims to be full and comprehensive sufficiency for those who come to Him.  He denies that they need anything/anyone else!  Consider a human analogy.  What if I said something similar to Holly?  “Sweetheart, I love you.  From this day forward, you do not need anyone else.  Not your sons. Not your family or friends. Not at any level.   You need never listen to another sermon.  I am it!  I am what you need.”  Would you think me crazy, arrogant or in danger?  Yes!  Yet, Christ makes this claim without pause or pride.  Why?  Because He truly is the all-sufficient Son of god.  Praise Him!

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New Chapters

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day five)
I see it every year as Youth Minister- parents and students processing and adjusting to new coming chapters (graduation, middle school, high school).  I also see people entering new chapters at weddings, funerals, retirements, and hospitals. Some chapters are welcomed and needed while other are intruding and life altering.  Our reaction and struggle with change more often than not, is one of stress and angst.  Aversion to change is not just unique to Baptists; it is a common human response, regardless of age.

Jesus’ words in John 14 address His disciple’s anxiety about the news of His departure.  “Do not let your heart be troubled”.  Present faith in the living God (believe in God/believe in Me) and certainty for the future (that where I am, there you may be also) are the key components of His instruction.  Listen to His reminder for their trust and confidence, “If it were not so, I would have told you”.

We navigate new chapters and changes by faith and trust in the “Unchanging One”.

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Relationships

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day four)  For several chapters, Jesus has been talking about relationships…relationships between man and man, between man and God, between Jesus and God.  Relationships that are characterized by love, service, and unity.  In chapter 14, He says that He is the only way to a relationship with God.  To know Christ is to know God, to know God is to know Christ.  The focus of His teaching has been these relationships.  Move forward to chapter 17…Jesus is praying His high priestly prayer.  What is He praying about?  The disciples relationship to the Father…hold them in Your name, that they may be as You and I are…One.  The understanding and living in these relationships was important to the Savior.  It is important to you and me!  Search these scriptures and evaluate your relationships…do they match up with the teaching of the Savior?  The rewards are unprecedented…look at verses 13-14.

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Responding

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day three)
“…Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” vs 3

Moses made that request before Philip did.  God replied to Moses that no one would be able to endure the sight of God’s face; he would see all of God he needed to see by beholding God at a distance, with his face turned away.  Jesus replied to Philip that he would see all of God he needed to see by beholding the God the Son.  We will not see God on our terms, but on his.  But the view that God allows on his terms is enough to build our entire lives on.  The question, then, is not, “How much of God have you seen?” but, “How are you responding to however much of himself God has revealed to you?”

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Focus

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day two)
“That where I am, there you may be also.” vs 3

This Upper Room Discourse is filled with revelation, insight, and profound love. The disciples’ minds must have been reeling with taking it all in. This small section brings into focus who Jesus was/is and what he came to do. He must leave, but leave to prepare for us. This logically implies that we will see him again. The question of where he is going flows legitimately from Thomas, and Jesus is again able to bring our blurred concept of the Father into a clearer picture of their relationship. Re-read these few verses and examine how masterfully Jesus paints a picture of hope and assurance while at the same time establishing his perfect communion with God the father. Jesus is both the path and the destination.

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Untroubled Life

Re: Verse reading–John 14:1-14 (day one)
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me”–v 1.  It is a power I never knew I had!  The power to prevent anxiety, the responsibility to stop fear before it washes over my heart and hope.  John uses a word (tarasso) which meant, “to stir up, to agitate, to trouble”.  He reports the command Christ gave His disciples (and us) to refuse fear, to replace and defeat it by belief.  “Believe!” says the Lord.  Believe in God!  Believe in Christ!  Place your full confidence in His sufficiency and wisdom and love.  Even when days grow dark or disappointing, don’t wander off from this declaration of trust.  “Do not be afraid any longer”, the Lord said to the grieving and anxious synagogue official in Mark 5.  “Only believe!”  ONLY believe! Allow nothing else into your heart.  It is always His message to those who love Him.   The result is always peace.

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All you need

Re: Verse reading–John 13:1-17; 31-38 (day seven)
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands. . .poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet”–v 3, 5.  It is a confidence that will change your life.  It will do for you what it did for Jesus, make you courageous and humble.  It will bring great blessing to you. (see v 17)  The Father will give you what you need to do His will!  Knowing this truth changes everything!  He will “give all things into your hands”.  Make them available to you.  The world cannot do so.  Neither can your own efforts.  Only the Father can make this promise, and He makes it only to those who seek Him.  “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”Philippians 4:19.  Do you know this truth, dear friend?  Do you hold it daily before your heart?  Do so and your anxieties will flee away.

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The problem is pride

Re: Verse reading–John 13:1-17; 31-38 (day six)
“If I, then, have washed your feet, you also ought to was one another’s feet”–v 14.  “Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another”–v 34.  It is not about feet.  It is about pride, about the things that I am willing to do (or avoid or purchase or say) in order to protect my ego.  About, the things that I am unwilling to do because they are difficult or unfulfilling.  The problem is not that I don’t love people.  I do.  I just don’t love them more than I love me and therefore NOT like Jesus loved.  After a while, I don’t even see the opportunities anymore.  I walk right past them so that my tender ego doesn’t feel obligated or guilty.   Ego-protected life is not a privilege Jesus gives His followers.  Obedience to God comes first, even at the price of my pride.  Washing feet illustrates it.  The cross proves it.

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