Thursday, May 31, 2012

light of the world

John 8:12-59

Jn 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

Mt 5:14 "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

As we are in Christ and He is in us, we radiate His light.  It seems to me that shining His light is a function of our attitude and actions.  I think belief and obedience is deeper than what we do; I think it incorporates what we desire. 

Jn 8:31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Jn 8:51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!"

I don't know how to want to obey.

Heavenly Father, please incorporate me into the life of Christ.  I want to want to obey.  I want to have the attitude of Christ - desiring to please you.  I want to obey Christ and follow His teaching.  Please shine your light through me as I submit myself to you and obey your Spirit.  I love you, Lord.  Please lead me and shine through me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

living water

John 7:37-53

As a teacher and researcher in drinking water treatment, this is one of my favorite passages: 

37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'" 39 (When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

Believe, drink, flow.  It sounds pretty simple.  Why is it so difficult? 

Contrast the promises of grace and blessings from Jesus with the hard religion and curses of the Pharisees:

47 "Have you been led astray, too?" the Pharisees mocked. 48 "Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God's curse is on them!"

I think, in the short term, it is less difficult to be a follower of religion than a follower of Christ because you don't have to think or act; you simply show up and mindlessly fall in line.  But religion is a destructive machine of evil. 

Being a follower of Christ takes work, but the essence is enjoying the movement of the Spirit in our lives.  I think we should be enjoying drinking Christ.  So, the practical question is, how do I enjoy Christ on a daily basis?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises of grace and blessings in Christ.  Thank you for the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for the opportunity to drink.  Lord, I am thirsty, and I need you to refresh my soul.  Lord, please fill me and flow through me with your Spirit.  I love you, Lord.  Thank you for your kindness to me and my family.  Please help me lead my family to enjoy you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

listen and believe

John 5:1-30

24 "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

25 "And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it's here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26 The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son.

I used to see "eternal life" as something that happens after your body dies.  But I think eternal life begins and continues as we listen and obey to the leading of Christ.  It seems like there is an objective aspect of hearing the Gospel and believing, and there is also a subjective/experiential aspect that involves daily listening and obedience.

Heavenly Father, please help me focus on Christ.  Lord Jesus, please speak to me, and please turn my heart to obey you.  Lord, what have you been speaking to me that I have not been hearing?  Lord, please be patient with me and help me listen and obey.  I love you, and I want to follow you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

spirit and truth

John 4:1-30

21 Jesus replied, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it's here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

25 The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

26 Then Jesus told her, "I Am the Messiah!"

I noticed a few things from this passage this morning.  First, Jesus repeated the "worship" and "spirit and truth" concepts several times.  I not exactly sure what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth, but I know that it is important.

Second, it seems important that the woman made the connection to the Messiah from Jesus's worship/spirit/truth statements.  And Jesus acknowledged his identity as the Messiah.

Third, this situation/interaction took place between Jesus and a broken, sinful woman who took the time to talk to Jesus.  I am a broken, sinful man, but I want to know Jesus.  I need to spend time and effort talking with Him, and I believe He will reveal Himself to me.

Heavenly Father, I know that you are spirit, and I want to worship you in spirit and in truth.  I want to walk with your Holy Spirit, and I want to know the Way, Truth, and Life.  Lord Jesus, please speak to me, and help me converse with you.  I want to know you, Lord.  I love you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

hot hearts

Luke 24

32 They said to each other, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?"

I don't know if is appropriate, but I want to feel like I love Jesus.  Over the past few years, several people have told me that they think we go through "seasons" in our walk with Christ.  Some seasons, we feel like we are close to Him, and others, we feel like we aren't close to Him.  I realize that every day probably won't be "warm and fuzzy", but we are supposed to live "victoriously", right?

I realize that part of my feeling of distance is that I have been working too hard recently.  I know that I need to slow down to a more sustainable pace, but I'm not exactly sure how.

Heavenly Father, please turn my heart to Christ.  Holy Spirit, please lead me to follow Jesus.  Lord Jesus, I want to know you and walk with you.  Please help me see you, hear you, and obey you.  I want to cooperate with you in advancing your Kingdom.  Lord, please shine your light and love through me today.  I love you, and I want to feel closer to you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Temporary confusion is not falling away.

Luke 22

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." 
(Luke 22:31, 32 NASB)

It seems to me that if Jesus prayed that Peter's faith would not fail, then Jesus did not consider Peter's denial and abandonment "failure of faith". I get the sense that Jesus is especially concerned with our long term pursuit of Him.  It is OK to be frustrated sometimes. As long as we keep turning back to Him. 

Heavenly Father, please help me seek you and your Kingdom. I want to know you and be close to you. Lord Jesus, I want to follow you and obey you. Holy Spirit, I want to listen to you and keep in step with you. Please encourage my faith and help me keep turning to you. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

worries of this life

Luke 21

"Watch out! Don't let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware,  like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.  Keep alert at all times. ..." (Luke 21:34-36 NLT)

Recently, I have allowed my heart to focus on the worries of this life. Especially the pressures of work. I am definitely not in balance right now.  I need to learn how to say, "no" to some "good" opportunities.

Heavenly Father, please help me talk to you.  Lord, I want to hear you and obey.  Holy Spirit, please help me be attentive to your instruction and direction.  I love you, and I want to know you and walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

genuine heart expression

Luke 18:1-17
  • Parable of the Persistent Widow: pray and never give up; God recognizes persistent prayers
  • Parable of the Prayers of the Pharisee and Tax Collector:  honesty/sincerity/humility is essential to justification and fellowship with God
  • Jesus and Little Children:  "childlike faith" is essential to fellowship with God and Kingdom participation

Heavenly Father, please help me be honest and transparent with you.  Please help me be consistent and persistent in my pursuit of you. Please help me see humble prayer as fellowship with you, not a duty or religious exercise.  Lord, I want to know you and fellowship with you.  Help me walk with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

transcendent presence

Luke 17:20-37

20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst."

22 Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.

The Kingdom of God is not a place or a physical kingdom with a castle and a king and his knights.  But it sort of is.  You can't point at it because it is everywhere we Christ-followers are.  It is transcends space and time.  Because we are of Christ, and He is transcendental.  It is His spirit that is among us.

But you could point at Jesus, because He has a physical body.  Only, He is in Heaven now.  But when He returns, there will be no question about where He is.  No one will need to point.

Heavenly Father, please help me be aware of Christ and His presence.  I want to study and follow Jesus.  Please help me participate in the Kingdom.  I don't want to be a bystander.  I love you, Lord.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.