Oh my wonderful Jesus, he knows exactly what to say to make a point and to clarify and solidify what he’s saying to us. While reading the gospel of John the other day the very end of the book Jesus is talking to Peter. In John 21:15 Jesus begins to speak specifically to Peter and he asks him if he loves him, Peter would answer Jesus and then Jesus would ask the same question again. I can almost hear the frustration in Peters voice as he answers the question three times. Jesus was testing Peter’s heart before giving him the calling God had placed on his life. Jesus even went so far as to tell Peter what the end of his life would be like. I’m thinking that was part of the test also. To see if Peter would turn away, but Peter didn’t seem the least bit phased by what Jesus was telling him. There’s a song that comes to mind as I read the last part of what Jesus was telling Peter. The song is titled “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” one of the phrases goes ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his glorious face.” In verse 19 Jesus said to Peter “follow me”. Then in verse 21 Peter was watching another disciple and said to Jesus “ Lord what about this man?” Jesus, full of grace and mercy and at this point I’m thinking much patience said to Peter, If I want him to remain until I come, “ What is that to you?” “ You follow me!” Oh what a wealth of descriptive knowledge we get in these scriptures. How many times do we hear “ keep your eyes on Jesus?” Peter was looking right into the eyes of our Savior and still he pointed to the guy next to him, basically saying to Jesus, “ well what about him, what’s he gonna do?” now that’s my own paraphrase but it fits. I’m sure Jesus gently but firmly made Peter look at him when he said, “ You! follow me!” Jesus points out that what he tells another to do has nothing to do with you, that person is my business not yours. These scriptures reveal how our sin nature is and how easy it is for us to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at someone else or even ourselves. We must turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in his glorious face to follow him, with all our heart and strength. Jesus had that conversation with Peter and I’m sure he’s had that same conversation with each of us, I know he has me, as we fulfill our calling on our lives to “Follow Him.”
Today is a beautiful day. The neighborhood is quiet this morning even with the kids being out of school. The breeze is just right and the sun is bright and warm with no clouds to block her rays. I purposely leave the TV off in the mornings so I have that quiet time with just Jesus and me. All seems quite well in my little world today. All is well with my soul. Although, all is not well in the world around. The spirit of lawlessness has been released in our world and with it has birthed many children. The open hate and violence, the open demonstration of rejecting the values of family as well as the values of this nation that is was formed on. The blatant disrespect of elders, teachers, and those who have been put in authority on all levels in the home and in the country. The freedom that has been fought for and that has shed much blood, with it has given a freedom to individuals and this nation that has love, respect, independence, choice, safety, peace and yes a sense of well being. But the bloodshed that is happening now is giving individuals and this nation all the opposite. There is no love, respect, independence, choice, safety, and sense of well being in this state of lawlessness. I am watching lawlessness being addressed and apprehended and it is getting angrier and more full of hate. Its fight for no borders and territory is more aggressive and violent now more than ever before. I’m so very thankful for that what is raging on the outside is not raging on the inside of me. Galatians 1:3,4 says that “ The Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver is out of this present evil age.” And Galatians 5:1 says “ It was for freedom that Christ set us free”. Lawlessness knows no freedom; although it fights for a freedom it is actually bondage. A bondage in this life and in the next. Stand firm on the sure foundation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all will be well with your soul no matter what is going on in your world.
While reading John chapter 4 I was struck by what happened to the woman at the well. I know much has been said about the woman at the well, but when scripture comes alive in you its worth talking about. It was while she was talking to Jesus a couple of things stood out. One that was when Jesus told her “ that whoever drinks from the water that I give them shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.Then, she asked for that living water. But then the second thing is, He brings her to the place of confessing her sin. Oh how I love Jesus, he is truly the way, the truth and the life. He presents life eternal, brings us to repentance and we confess our sin accept Jesus as savior and lord and are saved. Then the third thing that really struck me is that he filled her with that living water she asked for. Jesus said that the well of living water would spring up to eternal life. That eternal life welled up in her and then she went back to the men in her city and told them all that Jesus had said to her. The interesting thing about that to me is that her words were living water springing up to eternal life to those men and then they went to find Jesus. They said they believed because of the words of the woman, “ He told me all things that I have done.” Oh but then after they found Jesus they said to the woman. “ It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the savior of the world.” That living water, full of life and revelation that leads to eternal life. That’s what our lives say to those we speak to about our Savior, out Lord, our Jesus. For our living lives, filled with living water that flows out of us to cause others to seek after the savior on their own until they find him is glorious and beyond human words to explain. Its eternal! And that’s living life.
The scripture in 2 Timothy 2:15 gives us great instruction if not a command. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. There are many levels and directions of studying that we may choose from. And as a believer we have added unto us another that seems to be more important and eternal than any others, but bring all the other parts together. From the moment we are born we are constantly learning. Not necessarily studying, but learning. We study all through school until we graduate and then if we choose to go on to college for a degree in a certain specialty we study much more. But there is one form of study that is divine. When I became a believer I couldn’t stay out of the bible. I would read and be involved in bible studies and talk to other believers continually. But then 1 Corinthians 2:13 tells us “ Which things also we speak, not in the words of man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches: comparing spiritual things with spiritual”. Life itself is a continual learning process. From the moment we are born we are learning to become an adult we learn to speak and walk and show respect, and the list goes on and on. But then at the moment of choice to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we begin a new chapter of learning and that’s the things of God in the Spirit. We are a three part being. Body, soul, which is our mind, will, emotion and Spirit. As believers we spent the rest of our lives bringing our bodies and our souls into subjection to the Spirit of God and the very likeness of Christ. By allowing the Spirit of God to lead us in truth by his power and submitting ourselves to Him, we are allowing Jesus to become Lord of our lives. It’s a life time of submitting our will to God and allowing Jesus that place in us to become like him and not us. Growing up I didn’t have a great learning curve, not in the natural here on earth as a human being and definitely not in the spiritual. So when I became born again I was like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough of my Jesus; fortunately I still can’t get enough. I consider myself home grown both in the earthly sense and in the spirit. I am a new creation in Christ and still strive to allow him to change me into his image and take mine out. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I am a child of the most high God. His daughter, his princess, his servant, his chosen generation, his royal priesthood, his holy nation, his peculiar people, who praises him for he has called me out of darkness into his marvelous light. Full of his mercy, grace and love. Home grown by allowing myself to be taught the things that matter here on earth and in the spirit for eternity. Oh his glory and majesty are yea and amen and worthy of all praise and honor.
There’s a verse in Genesis that has always fascinated me. It’s Genesis 2:11 and God said, “ Who told you that you were naked”? The reason I love this is first that God was asking a question that he knew the answer too. He knew He did not tell them that they were naked. But he knew who did. This question is accountability first to God then to ourselves. I have had several conversations with believers whether they were friend or acquaintance, as they tell me about situations in their lives and what they are thinking concerning a situation. I would hear from them things that were hindering them or stopping them from doing something. For instance, I went to a banquet with a friend the other night and afterwards we stopped to just talk. She was telling me that she had such a strong desire to go to this certain church. As she talked and explained what she was feeling about going to this church, she said, “ I have to wait”! I looked at her and “said,” “ who told you that you have to wait”? Did God tell you? Did your husband tell you? As she turned to look at me with wide eyes she “said,” “ what do you mean? I again asked her “ who told you that you have to wait? She “said,” “ no one told me. My response was “ why do you have to wait? You see there are two main voices that we hear, Gods and satans. But we also have a voice and often listen to our own reason as we are deciding what to do in our lives. Isaiah, 55:8 says “for my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” “saith” the Lord. You see, I asked that question to my friend so she could discern whose voice told her to wait. She was quite surprised as she thought about my question and realized that it was her own voice that was she was listening too. I have learned so much from Gods question to Adam and Eve. You see God, was asking you and me that question. That question alone makes us have to be honest with God and ourselves “who told you”? Hopefully that question will show us if we are truly listening to God and being obedient. So if you are in a conversation with me and struggling with something I will ask you “who told you that” so you can know who’s voice you are listening too. I also will ask myself this question as I’m sorting through life’s choices. Going back to the beginning in Genesis keeps me going forward in my walk with the Lord. I love this question because it brings me face to face with my Father and makes me accountable for me.
Often times in the morning as I’m waking up I find myself in far away places and almost always talking to a group of people. Call it dreaming or vast imagination or even imagining your worst fear. For me speaking in front of people has quite a fear connected. So anyway as I was in this place which happened to be my class reunion. I was telling my fellow classmates my life story from the point of graduation to the present. To the high achievers in my class I’m sure I was quite boring and to those who lived similar lives it was hum drum. But I was telling them the highlights the lowlights the tragedies and the triumphs of my life through the years. I do know that in reality I have the most children and grandchildren of those in my class so I highlighted that quite well in my talk. Besides the fact I shared that early in my adult life I became a believer in Christ.
I even shared some struggles when I made that choice. As I was ending my talk a scripture came to mind and its in Revelation 12:11 “ And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony;” I began to have a revelation of the power of this scripture. I was sharing the tragedies, triumphs and struggles and realizing that at the moment of accepting Jesus in my heart I had the power of the blood of Christ to overcome the adverse things. The “ him” is the one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy us in anyway he can. John 10:10. And the word of their testimony is Jesus Christ who is the word and our testimony is our life in the word, Christ in us. That our lives are a testimony of Jesus in us as Savior and as Lord. As I fully woke up that morning I had a revelation in me that will never leave me or forsake me. For I am that living testimony of the life of Christ in me and the power of the blood of Christ that covers me. And that’s living life!
As I was reading the last chapter of Luke this morning and before I got past the first paragraph I was marveling at how everything in the scripture has meaning and how at that moment I realized I understood so little and so much seemed to be hidden. I was thinking about a scratch off ticket, not necessarily a lottery ticket. I was thinking about the hidden treasure or message that was under the scratch off substance and how until it’s removed you have no clue. I then thought about the scriptures that all the mysteries and hidden treasures in them and how it would take the Lord to open my eyes and reveal to me the mysteries and meaning in his word. As I kept reading the very thoughts I had just been thinking came to life. After the resurrection two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:15 when Jesus came right up beside them and began to walk with them. Their eyes weren’t opened at that moment to recognize him and it wasn’t until they were breaking bread with Jesus later that day when their eyes were open to see that it was Jesus with them. As soon as their eyes were opened Jesus left them. After eating they traveled back to Jerusalem and told their story to the others. Luke 24:35 says “ He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.” We know that Jesus is our bread of life and his word is Jesus. Today we know that it’s the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see Jesus and leads us into all truth. He also teaches us along the way and reveals the hidden treasures of God as we read the scriptures and seek him. So that we can see Jesus no matter where we are and what is going on in our lives. Ah I love it when a good mystery is revealed. And that’s living life!