When He comes

Re:Verse reading–Matthew 25:31-46 (day one). 

It is a day that Jesus talked about often.  We, His followers, are well served to think about that day with similar frequency.  No official name.  Jesus just described it as the moment, “When the Son of Man comes in glory, and all the angels with Him.”–v 1.

At His first coming, He was clothed with humility.  At His next coming, He will shine with undeniable glory.  At His first coming, angels sang.  At His next coming, angels will stand with Him in military strength.

Is your life calibrated against this great coming event?  Does the promise of this coming day give urgency to your service?  Do you think of it when you pray, ‘For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the GLORY?”

“”Behold, He is coming in the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn.”–Revelation 1:7

 

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Just as

Re:Verse Passage – John 15:9-17 (day seven)

It is a familiar idea.  Unique “Jesus-way-to-think”.  A revolutionary pattern for moral choice.  Humans are to do “just as” God does.

Like playing “follow the leader”.  Like dancing with a partner (letting Him lead).  An earlier generation called it being “godly”.  We are to imitate God in thought and action.  Intentionally.  Carefully.  We do what we see Him doing.

“Just as” the Father loved Christ, Christ loved the disciples.   v 9.  “Just as” Jesus kept the Father’s commands and thus lived in His love, so the disciples were to mimic this toward the commands of Christ.  v 10.  “Just as” Jesus loved us, we are to love each other. v 12.

Seeing a pattern?  Moral choice is not made in a vacuum. We are not lost in a elastic universe vainly searching for certainty, satisfaction or safety.  The pattern for life is already established.  God is the model.  We are to be “just as” He is.

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Friends, Pt. 2

Re:Verse Passage – John 15:9-17 (day six)

This is an important question: what is the basis of our friendship with Jesus? Are we friends because we obey His commands? Do we earn Jesus’ friendship because of our meritorious behavior? Sometimes we can behave as if this is true. We lapse in our worship attendance, so we think, “If I return to worship I will find favor with God again”, or “If I get a few quiet times under my belt then Jesus will like me.”

That is not the Gospel; it’s heresy. We are friends because Christ first loved us (vs. 12) by laying down his life; we are friends because of His work, not ours. Obedience then is not the condition of friendship but the affirmation or confirmation of our friendship with Jesus.

Listen, you don’t have to earn Jesus’ love or His friendship; He has already loved you, He died on the cross for you. The cure for disobedience is not trying harder, but repentance and returning to your first love or remaining in His love; believing in the work of Jesus through which he calls you friend. We always obey whom (or what) we believe; believe in Jesus!

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Joy Source

Re:Verse Passage – John 15:9-17 (day five)

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full”. In Isaiah Jesus is described as a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”.  In these last moments with the disciples, Jesus wants to talk about joy.  His joy.  Our joy.  Where does it come from?  It comes from the Word of God (I have spoken to you).  We find joy as we study, learn, and apply the Word of God.  It comes from a close walk with Christ. Christ’s joy is placed within us as we abide with Him (My joy may be in you).  His joy/our joy remains in the midst of trials, grief, hardships, and pain.  Joy marked the life of Christ and should be a distinguishing characteristic in the heart and life of a believer.

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Back to What We Know

Re:Verse Passage – John 15:9-17 (day four)

Have you ever said, “I just don’t know what God wants me to do?”  Maybe you have felt that you have not heard from God in a while.  I have good news for you.  We have a direct command from Jesus!  This passage should answer that need.  We are to love…we are to serve…we are to bear fruit.  To love, to serve, to share Christ…they are all the same.  If we love God, we will serve others as a fruit of our relationship with Him.  The first and foremost service to another is to share the love of God with them.  There is a wonderful benefit to being obedient to this command also…”whatever you ask of the Father in Jesus’ name, He will give you.”  Love, joy, answered prayer…what more could a person want?  If we start with the commands that Jesus has already given us in Scripture, He may open more to us.  He looks for our faithfulness to the basics first before giving the big assignments!

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Sustain

Re:Verse reading–John 15:9-17 (day three)

“Love one another.”  Love is the only divine reality that will preserve our lives.  God’s justice, his anger, even his very holiness would destroy us.  But from love comes God’s grace, God’s mercy, the Incarnation, Christ’s substitutionary suffering and death, and our access to God.  Everything else destroys, only love sustains.  This is true in God’s regard of human beings, and it is therefore true in men’s regard of each other.  Of all the ways we can treat each other, only love gives us a future.  Love for one another won’t just make the world more pleasant.  Love for one another will keep each other alive.

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Who Chose Whom

Re:Verse reading–John 15:9-17 (day two)

“You did not choose Me but I chose you…” vs. 16a

We often get caught up in the idea that we made a decision to follow Jesus, and that it was at our initiation that prompted our journey to faith. In reality, we would never made this choice had the spirit not been at work in our hearts. Jesus knew us before we knew ourselves. It is as his behest that we have a place at the table of salvation. This makes his sacrificial act of love more beautiful that while we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore as we grow in our walk we would be wise to remember that his calling us to him for salvation is not the end of his call on our lives. Does he have other desires and plans for you? Should we lay more things at his feet? Most definitely.

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Friends

Re:Verse reading–John 15:9-17 (day one)

“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what the Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”–v 15.

If you have one friend over the course of your years, you are blessed.  Jesus knew.  After three years, and before He died, He used a new description  for the disciples.  Slaves/servants?  OK, but not exactly.  Friends?  Much better!

The basis for friendship is shared life.  Lovers look at each other.  Friends look out on the world with each other.  Eros is face to face.  Philos (friendship) is shoulder to shoulder (C.S. Lewis).

So, Jesus called the disciples His friends because they (now) knew what the Father had told him.  No secrets.  Full disclosure.  They stood together in the same truth.  United. Loyal.

Isn’t this what we all want with the Lord?

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Unchanging

Re: Verse reading–John 13:1-17 (day seven)

I almost missed what John was telling us  about Jesus.  Something important.  Something encouraging.  Crisis doesn’t change Christ.

“Having loved His own (in the past), He (now) loved them (in the present)” says v 1.  Hmm. . . not sharks circling, or friends betraying, or death coming changed the Lord.  In stress He stayed constant.

I am not that way.  (Not without His help, at least.)  Left to my self and my flesh,  I can be fickle and self-loyal.  I break promises and change my mind.  Not Jesus!

I wonder what the world would be if He put that same rock-solid loyalty in me?  When people disappointed me, I would still love them.  When they were foolish and proud, when they weren’t fair, my response would rise from His loving heart rather than from selfishness and pride.

Having loved, He still does.  Unchanging.  Loyal.  John remembered this about Jesus.  I want to as well.

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Benefactor

Re: Verse reading–John 13:1-17 (day six)

Peter meant to honor Jesus by saying, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus knew that of course; he knew Peter’s intent, it’s just that he had everything backwards. Unless Jesus serves us, we are nothing, and we have nothing. He would tell them this much just two chapters later, “…apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Peter would even write many years later, “whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies.” 1 Peter 4:11 So, even when we do serve others we are able to not by any merit or strength of our own but by God’s. Jesus is always the benefactor; he is always the giver.

What this means, is that our acts of service towards others are not repayment, as if we are trying to repay Jesus for what He has done, but they are an expression of our identity in Jesus, our new DNA. The outcome is clear, people declare “look, he must be Jesus’ disciple.” Paul said it like this, “I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live, but Christ Jesus lives in me.”

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