John 1 Life changing decisions

It is now two days since the Jerusalem contingent came to investigate John’s baptizing services in the Jordan. It is two days since John declared to all that Jesus was the Anointed One, which in Jewish history meant a new king. It is just the day after that young John and his friend Andrew followed Jesus to hang with Him for the day and also introduce Andrews’s brother, Simon, who got a new name when He met Jesus. (Peter)

Long, long awaited changes dsc_0330can happen fast -once the door is opened. On this day, it was Jesus who did the seeking. Philip, who was from the same town as Peter and Andrew, was found by Jesus. Perhaps his friends had mentioned him to Jesus. But Jesus knew his heart, and simply approached him, and said two words. “Follow me”. Those words of powerful command, that still held a choice, captured, perhaps entranced Philips heart. Without hesitation, Philip not only follows, but he goes and collect another friend. He seeks out Nathaniel, who is not so easily convinced. Jesus’s hometown does not have a good reputation. Perhaps it is the butt of many jokes. Yet at Philips invitation to come see for himself, Nathaniel comes. Something about Philips response to this man, Jesus, grips Nathaniel’s curiosity enough to check it out. That’s all that is needed when there is respect and trust among friends. Philip was changing his entire life, and Nate was going to find out why.

Jesus saw them approaching and commented to the others,(Young John, Andrew, and Peter) that here comes an Israelite with no “guile” in other words, here is a man who speaks his mind. I love the variety of characters Jesus is gathering around Him. (On further study, I expect all mankind will find one character to identify with.). Nathaniel hears what Jesus says about him and naturally asks how He could possibly know such a thing which rings very deeply true to Nate. Nate is shocked to the core when Jesus next explains that before Philip even showed up, Jesus had seen Nate sitting under the fig tree. Philips response makes it clear that no one could have seen him there and with all his heart, Nathaniel also, like his friend Philip, commits to follow this Jesus. He declare his full state of belief, Jesus is rabbi, Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is the King of Israel! Wow. Think deeply on that one. Nate is a blunt man, and speaks truth, and every bit of him declares truth. He has yet to walk life with Jesus, but he has spoken his words of faith and he will follow. He will journey.   Jesus speaks about the journey ahead, it must encourage him to know what will come. We don’t know what Jesus said to the others when they first came, but John wants us all to hear this. With Jesus we shall see “the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man”.img_2958-e1496783944999

 

How is my walk today? Am I alert and watching for what God is doing? The very God of heaven and earth, is attended by His angels as He walks these next years with His followers, His friends. Self, pay attention as I journey with Christ. There are great things to see and learn when following Jesus. Jesus has a purpose, and part of it is that we go with Him. Where is He taking me today? Am I excited for His plan for today. Are my eyes open to behold His glory? Am I inviting my friends along?

John 1 Eye contact with Jesus

Simon. Always he was Simon. His brother comes to him, he wasn’t far away, he is full of excitement. Andrew knew Simon would want to know about Jesus also. Both of them were eager for the foretold coming of the Anointed one. Simon is ready in his heart to receive with eagerness the news Andrew brings. He does not hesitate to go with him. He wants to meet this one that Andrew is so certain about. How many nights had these two brothers lain awake and discussed the prophecies and possibilities. The time was near, they knew it, they felt it, they believed it. Simon was ready. Andrew came and found him. Andrew brought him to where Jesus was staying. The very same day that Andrew found out for himself.

What happens when they first meet? Simon gets “looked at ” by Jesus. What does it mean when God Himself looks deep into your eyes, your soul, your spirit, the very creator of those eyes, that spirit?

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Jesus Christ Life Size Sculpture Bust Shroud of Turin Gives inspiration to all http://www.ebay.com/usr/haveafriendinjesus?_trksid=p2047675.l2559

Can anything be hid from Him? Can anything make a difference to His plan for you? Can you create a stumbling block that keeps Him from power? Does your soul soar to new heights as His eyes search yours? Do you tremble with awe as he holds you captive with His eyes? Can you feel his deep love for His very own creation-you? Do you want to hold anything back from Him? NO! All theses fears and doubts flee under the steady loving gaze of The Creator, The Word made flesh. And He creates something new in you. He gives Simon a new name, a new purpose, a new focus. From now on, he is Simon Peter. Later, the Simon is lost altogether and he is known simply as Peter. The Rock. The unmoving. Simon, the faltering one, becomes the great leader, the Rock.

Jesus has given me a new name and purpose as well. Am I ready to walk in it, fully trusting in my Creators Word spoken in my heart as He gazes deep into my soul when I come to Him?

John 1 Where are you staying?

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John the Baptist had two of his own disciples, men who were intentionally seeking the Messiah. Perhaps they had not been there the day before when he had pointed Jesus out to the crowd for the first time. So they must have heard and eagerly come looking. Of course when John saw him he immediately pointed Jesus out to these two men, John and Andrew. They listened to what Jesus was saying. John does not tell us what this was, but the result, the effect of whatever Jesus said that second day of having been introduced to seekers, was enough to cause them to follow Jesus. Jesus was done speaking, and they followed Him. They were not going to lose sight of him again, they wanted to be sure to be able to find Him again, not waste time in searching. So that is the first thing that they asked when Jesus spoke directly to them. Where are you staying?Gloryweb

 

 

Is that my heart as well? When Jesus turns directly to me, when I have His full attention, do I want to be certain it is not a one time shot, but that I can easily seek him out, know where he is to be found? We do have that by turning to His Word. We also have that by turning our hearts over to Him and stopping what we are doing long enough to Be Still and Know That He Is God.

Lord, settle my heart and mind today. As a new day, a new adventure begins, let me always remember You are never far from me. It is I who needs to shift my attention to You. For You have come near and are always available to me, if I only turn to you and meet you where you dwell.o-crowd-of-people-walking-facebook

FIRST RESPONSE

  • Do I linger with Jesus?
  • Do I spend my day with Him?
  • Do I run to bring my family to Him, to tell them so they can come know him as well?  Family first.
  • Who brought me?
  • John and Andrew found Jesus at the place He was staying. Was it a room in the neighborhood?
  • Was it a shelter in the rocks in the area?
  • We have no idea. It does not matter. The only thing was the presence of Jesus.
  • Who have I brought?
  • Do I stay and learn?
  • Is Jesus waiting for my response to  someone that He has uniquely placed me in the position of influence so that I am to seek them out and point them to Jesus?

John 1 Promises

Promises

Repeatedly we are told that Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist did not recognize the Messiah in Him until the day he baptized Jesus. He had been waiting to see who it would be, knowing that one day the Spirit would descend and remain on The One. How excited John must have been that day. The whole reason John was in the Jordan was to be used by God for that one moment. The spirit touched many, but with Jesus it remained. This is the sign for all of us, not just John, that Jesus is indeed The One.

 

June6.cascadefalls2015-05-26-11-15-53Jesus will baptize in the Holy Spirit, and John made sure others, including the contingent from Jerusalem, knew and were aware of this new change.

 

Jesus has been shown to me as well. Let me too be excited over the certainty that He IS THE ONE! The prophesy fulfilled and a new one given, we will be baptized now in the Holy Spirit. The writer sets us up at the beginning of his book for what will happen at the end with Pentecost. He knows how the story unfolded and just how it was completed. We can be confident as we walk by His Spirit now, that whatever He has promised shall be as true in our lives as in the one He lived.

 

 

 

Do I have unfulfilled promises? Praise God, for His timing is perfect and the end shall not come before His work is complete and His promises fulfilled.

 

John 1 Change

Change

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Matthew 3:5-6 adds details to what is going on with the baptizing.  “Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole Jordan Valley went to him. As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.” (GW).  Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near.” ( Matthew 3:2 GW)

John did not find this detail necessary to add to his book and what he was trying to show. John’s book is about the signs we are given in the life of Christ so that we can be certain Jesus is the Messiah and choose to believe. I am grateful for the added context Matthew gives. Why were people flocking to the Jordan? John the Baptizer was giving people a hope for freedom from their sins. He was sharing a message of change that starts with a change of mind followed by a change of behavior. When you turn to God, when you put your trust in Him, you will know this is so because you will seek to change and line your thinking up with truth and this will affect how you act. The confirmation and declaration of this in ones life is the act of baptism. That is the accountability factor that is talked so much about today. That this hope was calling so many into the river to declare their faith and hopeful expectation, choosing to turn away from their sin, is the reason the authorities came and took the journey to the river. John thinks its important to know they were there. Now that we, the reader of John’s writings, have this piece of information in our minds eye, John gets specific.baptism-cc3046672072_1dc7b9b385_z-e1496681754773

 

The next day is when Jesus walks into the river and John the Baptist fulfills his purpose and calls out for all to hear- and we the reader know that even the religious leaders are now represented in the crowd, that here is THE ONE. THE ONE WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!

Baptizing was about removing sin in our lives by faith in God and choosing to think and act in a new way. Now here is The One that makes it possible for us all.

Do I forget that Jesus has taken away sin for me? Do I struggle to do it on my own and after repeated failure, give up? But the walk is a new one. The hard work is done, salvation is won. I can live in redemption here and now, rethink, recreate my thought life in me today so that I think, Lord with Your thoughts and that my actions reflect you and not my self centered low ways. Your ways are higher than mine, Your thoughts are higher thoughts. For you existed before all. Romans 4:17b says “Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and ca!s into existence things that don’t exist.”  John the Baptist knew where he stood when he was in the presence of Jesus. Do I? Remind me again Lord and let it change how I think and act.

John 1 Goal- or Process?

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Goal- or Process?

There was quite a ruckus happening north of Jerusalem, the center of Jewish culture and the heartbeat of the nation. Rumors of another possible messiah sighting had come to official ears and this had to be investigated. Someone was baptizing in the Jordan river. So a group familiar with the law and from the party of the Pharisees (the resurrection party) was sent to find out.

They observed John the one who was baptizing and asked him what he was doing. They learned that it was not yet the Messiah

but He was expected soon. John did not see himself as the harbinger they were expecting rather as Isaiah had said, he was a voice calling them to attention. And now that attention had been drawn from Jerusalem, the very next day, Jesus was revealed. Isaiah 40:3 speaks of the return in power and might, so expectations were politically focused. The first part of the Messiah’s job was not understood.

How much are my own expectations of the work of God in my life are about the powerful end rather than the painful process? My daily walk is the place I most need the transforming power and love of Jesus. Am I too focused on His magnificent return that I am missing His presence in the midst of the crowd of my daily life?

Today, let me remember that Jesus walks with me. In Him, I too walk for His purpose as His body of flesh to be a voice, hands, feet, ears that listen and mouth that speak to bring honor to Him. Do I live that way? Am I speaking His words and ministering His love in my life? Do I like John, recognize how unworthy I am to touch His feet, untie His shoes?

Musings on the Book of John

 

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I entered the year 2014 wanting to explore in a new and pondering way, tasting and savoring each verse from the book of John. I always loved this book. In my studies I found John’s bottom line to be that of love. I felt the need to grow closer to the one who I am to follow. Yet how well did I really know this Jesus that I am to imitate? How do you imitate in your life someone you know about yet not in a way that you can hear His thoughts and feel His intent in all the choices set before you? So my goal was to know Him better. What a year it has been.

Recap 2014

I started the year knowing the house needed to be prepared for sale. I was job hunting, having a phone interviews, dealing with details about the rebuilding from the fire of the warehouse, searching for a tenant in the restaurant building, preparing and presenting the design job for the All City Musical in Akron, and following up with my stroke doctor, and parenting my last one through her senior year of high school.

By the end of the year I had rented the restaurant, finished the warehouse, gotten the house on the market, survived a year without another stroke incident, received and finished hopefully successful treatment for the Hepatitis C, rented the house apartment, saw youngest off to college and moved to Virginia for a great job. This year I must find a tenant for the warehouse, sell my house, do my job well and ponder if I should make changes to the property. Oh, and I have to pay my own mortgage this year. God has indeed shown Himself faithful. Have I?

January 1, 2015

Recap.jesus-comfort

 

This is how I long to be with Jesus! Only dress this image in contemporary clothing because I need Jesus today, yesterday and always!

By the end of the year I had rented the restaurant, finished the warehouse, gotten the house on the market, survived a year without another stroke incident, received and finished hopefully successful treatment for the Hepatitis C, rented the house apartment, saw youngest off to college and moved to Virginia for a great job. This year I must find a tenant for the warehouse, sell my house, deal with the obstinate tenant, do my job well and ponder if I should make changes to the property. Oh, and I have to pay my own mortgage this year. God has indeed shown Himself faithful. Have I?

My Process

I set about to read, hopefully daily, but I was not going to be legalistic about it. I had found that I wanted to explore and move at a pace that unfolded, not rushing through but to savor in it, seeing what would come from a lingering over one verse, or one word. I had a set of questions in mind, which I found I needed to write down at one point in order to pull my focus back to my purpose. It was too easy for me to wander into details that took me away from the heart of the child and into intellectual pursuits which was not my original intent. These were my questions as I approached the study.

Who is Jesus?

How does Jesus love me?

How does Jesus respond to various situations and various people?

What examples does Jesus set for me as I observe how He responded so I can be more like Jesus?

What does Jesus command?

John 1 God cloaked in humanity

MyProcess.dsc_0447

Who is he? The Word is one title. God and with God from the start. Not a spin off, not a portion, but the face of God himself, the face I in my mortality can look at and comprehend. Jesus is so much more than I can encompass in my limited state of being. John tells me in the last sentences of this book that it would not be possible to write everything Jesus did in those 3 years that John walked life with Him. Yet in those years John got to know the heart of the God that in the past, a human would die from the sight of such holiness and perfection. God Himself is so pure that no one can stand in His presence. So God, loves me so much that He wants this fellowship with me, with us. God dresses Himself in humanity. He puts on the clothing, the costume of sinful life. Like the actor, He is not the character, but is taking on the role. Dressed in Human form, the creator Himself has shown me how to live as a human. Jesus is my director and He has lived the part. He has shown me how to do it. Now I can wear the costume He has designed for me, my body, and I can live the role in the life He has placed me in.

Life with God is ultimate theatre. I must live the role. He is the designer and director of my life and the entire story.

LORD, LET ME STAY IN CHARACTER ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, FOLLOWING YOUR DIRECTING.