Abide Together

Journal Entry // April 28, 2021

Abide in me, and I in you.

John 15:4 ESV

“Abide in me” and “Abide in my love” is clearly the primary theme of this chapter in John where Jesus gives us the great picture of our relationship as a vine and branches. I am interested in his teaching about the indwelling of God with the believer. I tend to really only think about this as a one-way abiding. That the Spirit comes to dwell in my heart and my life is changed as a result. But Jesus clearly teaches that not only does God come and dwell within me, but I too am to come and dwell or abide in him.

Continue reading “Abide Together”

Allegience to Caesar

Journal Entry // May 8, 2022

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

John 19:15 ESV

I have read and heard this passage so many times over the years that it loses a lot of its force because of familiarity. This is probably true of a lot of passages, but this one today really struck me hard. I find it so simple to sit back in my 21st century modernity and look upon these chief priests with judgement and contempt. I want to measure their response with a harsh line of judgement. To be fair, their response was terrible. Yet, how is my response any different sometimes? Sure, I have not publicly decried Jesus as king and declared my allegiance solely to the earthly leadership over me. But in my heart? That is quite a different matter.

Continue reading “Allegience to Caesar”

Not of This World

Journal Entry // May 7, 2022

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

John 18:36 ESV

“My kingdom is not of this world.” This is the truth that should be shaping my understanding of this present world and my place in it. The kingdom of God is not of this world. To be sure, the Lord is bringing his kingdom into this world but his kingdom is not of this world. Then why do I continually try to build my own kingdom in this world? Why do I set my every thought and emotion upon the things of this world without even a moment of pondering the vastness of God’s kingdom above. This world seduces me into the continual lie that everything I see has been and always will be. The lie that there is nothing else. The lie that I should enjoy the offerings of the world, because when I die there is nothing else. And I continually believe this lie. I too easily forget that the Kingdom of God is not of this world.

Continue reading “Not of This World”

Home in My Heart

Journal Entry // April 27, 2021

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:23 ESV

Obedience is the natural outward inclination of a renewed and loving heart turned toward the Lord. If I truly love the Lord, then I will readily find obedience expressing itself in humble reliance upon the one I love. And the one I love, he will come and make their home with me. The Father, Son, and Spirit will make my heart his home and dwelling place.

Continue reading “Home in My Heart”

Nurturing Sin

Journal Entry // April 26, 2021

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,

John 13:2 ESV

Even after the heart of Judas had been deceived and he was committed to betraying Jesus, Judas spent intimate moments with Jesus. Many close fellowship times with the Lord and his fellow disciples. Known active sin being nurtured in his heart all the while spending time outwardly playing the part of follower. So much so, that the other disciples could not even conceive of the betrayal to come.

Continue reading “Nurturing Sin”

Full Joy

Journal Entry // April 30, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11 ESV

What are these things that Jesus has spoken of to me? It is the importance of abiding in his love by obeying his commandments just as he abides in the love of the Father an obeys his commandments. The key to abiding in Christ is simply obedience. I want to overcomplicate this and focus on other good things that are also important, but if I am to abide in the love of Christ there is only obedience. How important is this principle? Abiding in the love of Christ through obedience is the source of joy in my life. Abiding in the love of Christ is the pathway of His joy being in me and consequently my joy then being full. Not just a measure of joy, but the fullness of joy. Not just the fullness of any joy, but the fullness of joy in Christ!

Continue reading “Full Joy”

Feet Washing

Journal Entry // April 27, 2022

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

John 13:8 ESV

Peter in the Gospels is so often a mirror that reflects the inner thoughts and determination of my heart. He is generally the one that is not afraid to put into words the thoughts that are bouncing around in his head. This passage is no different. Jesus is demonstrating humility and the necessity of servant leadership. None of us are above the necessary role of serving others in our leading capacity, but this washing of the feet was a picture of our necessity to have a heart of repentance. Our bodies are clean if we are in Christ and have been cleansed of our sin through the washing of his blood in our life, but our feet get dirty as we continually walk in this world. We need a daily washing of our feet. We need a daily, humble repentance that keeps bringing us back to the grace and mercy of Jesus.

Continue reading “Feet Washing”

Knowing and Known

Journal Entry // April 22, 2021

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

John 10:14 ESV

There are a lot of interesting phrases and insight that Jesus gives in this section of the Gospel, but the one that stood out to me this morning was his knowing of his sheep. This is not a general knowing like he states elsewhere about knowing what’s in the heart of man. This is a deep intimate knowledge of a person. And it’s reciprocal. We know Jesus deeply as we follow him and obey our good shepherd.

Continue reading “Knowing and Known”

Displaying Glory

Journal Entry// April 21, 2021

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

John 9:3 ESV

We always want to know and understand the deeper meaning to our present situation, especially when God has placed us in difficult situations lined with trials, adversity, pain, suffering, lowliness, and weakness. It goes against our desires to be placed in a state of humility. When these situations arise, we naturally assume that something is wrong. This must be a punishment or a response from the Lord to sin in our heart or lack of faith and understanding within us.

Continue reading “Displaying Glory”

Steeping in the Word

Journal Entry // April 20, 2022

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 ESV

We are always looking for the steps to success in this life. Rules or ideas that will bring happiness and joy or success and wealth if we just follow them. There are a thousand books written every year claiming to know the secret to success and the pathway to riches and happiness. We all want this life to be easy and we all want this life to be simple. Here Jesus tells me that the Christian life is a simple formula: abide in his word –> true disciple –> know the truth –> set free. It also seems so simple and easy doesn’t it? It’s the most simple message that is seemingly so very difficult to follow. My heart is a lot like the people who Jesus is speaking to. His words are difficult to hear as they cut through all the clutter of my mind and penetrate straight to my heart and pierce my pride.

Continue reading “Steeping in the Word”