VIDEO Jesus Loves Me, He is For Me

Nov 24, 2014

John 21:20a,24 – Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper. This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. (NKJV)

The writer of the Gospel of John does not identify himself by name in the text, but five times, he describes himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”.

One day as I thought about what it must have been like for John to know Jesus’ love, I felt a Holy Spirit “nudge” to say my own name, followed by “whom Jesus loves!” After saying that a few times, I began to notice and treasure in my heart truth about Jesus that had just been information I had read or sung before.

Here are three truths that captured my attention after beginning to meditate about Christ’s love for me.

Jesus made the universe. Jesus owns creation. Jesus is. Every day when I read my Bible, more truth about Him feeds my soul and sticks in my heart to whisper love at the most unexpected or needed times. Beginning to say and think, “Pat, whom Jesus loves!” has made it effortless to speak of Jesus’ love to others.

Stating aloud in private, “Pat, whom Jesus loves!” has enabled me to consider myself and all people in that light. Swept up in Christ’s love, more and more, I find myself asking in prayer, “Lord, what do you want me to say/do at this time and in this place?” Answers to those prayers bring simple guidance and confidence.

Contemplating Jesus’ love as portrayed by the writer of the Gospel of John led me to find the easy yoke and light burden Jesus said comes when we learn of Him. Eugene Peterson coined the phrase “unforced rhythms of grace” to speak of Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden:

Matthew 11:29-30 – Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (MSG)

Have you been looking to live more freely and lightly? Please consider yourself loved by Jesus, and say so often!

Abba Father, we make this prayer in the name [the person and the presence] of Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank You! Your kingdom is at hand! You enable us to enjoy life because Jesus came, lived, was crucified and resurrected, and now, with love, intercedes for us in heaven. Amen.

Son Reflector

sun reflector
This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light. —John 1:7

The cozy little village of Rjukan, Norway, is a delightful place to live—except during the dark days of winter. Located in a valley at the foot of the towering Gaustatoppen Mountain, the town receives no direct sunlight for nearly half of the year. Residents had long considered the idea of placing mirrors at the top of the mountain to reflect the sun. But the concept was not feasible until recently. In 2005, a local artist began “The Mirror Project” to bring together people who could turn the idea into reality. Eight years later, in October 2013, the mirrors went into action. Residents crowded into the town square to soak up the reflected sunlight.

In a spiritual sense, much of the world is like the village of Rjukan—mountains of troubles keep the light of Jesus from getting through. But God strategically places His children to act as reflectors. One such person was John the Baptist, who came “to bear witness of the Light”—Jesus—who gives light “to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (John 1:7; Luke 1:79).

Just as sunlight is essential for emotional and physical health, so exposure to the light of Jesus is essential for spiritual health. Thankfully, every believer is in a position to reflect His light into the world’s dark places.

The author of the gospel of John is not the same John referred to in today’s reading (1:6). John the Baptist, the “man sent from God,” was the fulfillment of the “messenger” prophesied in Malachi 3:1 (see Mark 1:2-3). His main task was to introduce Jesus to the world and “to bear witness of the Light” (John 1:7-8). The miraculous circumstances of John’s birth are told in Luke 1:5-80. He was probably a cousin of Jesus (Luke 1:36), had the privilege to baptize Him (Matt. 3:13-15), and was imprisoned and later beheaded by Herod (14:1-12). His ministry is recorded in Matthew 3; 11:1-11; Mark 1:1-9; and Luke 3. Jesus said that of “those born of women” (i.e., those born by ordinary human birth), none is greater than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11).

Dear Father, help me to reflect Your light into the world around me today. May all that I say and do bear witness of Your light and truth. May others see how wonderful You are.

A world in darkness needs the light of Jesus.

By Julie Ackerman Link

When Others Fail Us

2 Timothy 4:9-16

The apostle Paul knew the value of good friends: Silas partnered with him in establishing new churches; Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry; and Timothy became like a son to him. Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough (2 Tim. 1:15). We may experience something similar in our life.

People will have a variety of reactions to our struggles. Some feel inadequate and hold back because they are uncertain about what to say or do. Others are so protective of their time that selfishness causes them to turn away. And sometimes our friends and co-workers do not want to be identified with us in our trials. In my early days as a pastor, this happened to me when the church was going through a period of turmoil. Only two pastors reached out to me and offered support; the others stood back. This experience taught me the importance of reaching out to people in crisis.

Helping others requires an investment of time and energy. We start by praying for them and asking the Lord how we can help. He may have us lend emotional support, provide spiritual guidance, offer assistance in a physical or financial way, or find others who can. Standing with people will encourage them.

When friends abandoned him, Paul asked God not to count their actions against them (4:16). He followed the example of Jesus, who prayed for the Father to forgive His persecutors. What’s your response when friends let you down? Forgiveness is the choice that pleases God every time.

Heaven Opened

“And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (John 1:51)

In Jacob’s dream (Genesis 28:12), angels were ascending and descending on a great ladder between Earth and heaven. Christ promised a future reality in which He Himself would be the ladder to the opened heaven.

But that was to be “hereafter.” Until Christ came to die and rise again, heaven was closed, for nothing unclean could enter there and death had “passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Even those who died in faith could only be “comforted” in “Abraham’s bosom” deep “in the heart of the earth” (Luke 16:22, 25; Matthew 12:40), because “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

Then Christ died and rose again “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). In His spirit, “he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth,” and “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8-9), leading all pre-Calvary saints with Him into heaven. Then was fulfilled the wonderful scene predicted in Psalm 24:7: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”

Since that wonderful day when Christ ascended back to heaven, “to be absent from the body” is “to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Heaven someday will even receive our resurrected bodies. John prophesied it this way: “I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice . . . said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1). Heaven thenceforth will be open eternally to all the redeemed. “The gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). HMM

How Much I Could Have Done

And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. —2 Corinthians 8:5

Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done. In God’s sight my giving is measured not by how much I have given but by how much I could have given and how much I had left after I made my gift. The needs of the world and my total ability to minister to those needs decide the worth of my service.

Not by its size is my gift judged, but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all until he has given all. No man gives anything acceptable to God until he has first given himself in love and sacrifice….

In the work of the church the amount one man must do to accomplish a given task is determined by how much or how little the rest of the company is willing to do. It is a rare church whose members all put their shoulder to the wheel. The typical church is composed of the few whose shoulders are bruised by their faithful labors and the many who are unwilling to raise a blister in the service of God and their fellowmen. There may be a bit of wry humor in all this, but it is quite certain that there will be no laughter when each of us gives account to God of the deeds done in the body.

Help me to give of myself completely today, Lord. I hold nothing back, even if at the end of the day I’m the only one with a bruised shoulder. Amen.

The True Minister: Man of God Speaking to Men

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5

The Christian minister, as someone has pointed out, is a descendant not of the Greek orator but of the Hebrew prophet!

The differences between the orator and the prophet are many and radical, the chief being that the orator speaks for himself while the prophet speaks for God. The orator originates his message and is responsible to himself for its content.

The prophet originates nothing but delivers the message he has received from God who alone is responsible for it, the prophet being responsible to God for its delivery only. The prophet must hear the message clearly and deliver it faithfully, and that is indeed a grave responsibility; but it is to God alone, not to men!

It is a dubious compliment to a preacher to say that he is original. The very effort to be original has become a snare to many a young man fresh out of seminary, who rejects the pure wheat of the Word and tries to nourish his congregation on chaff of his own manufacture. It may even be golden chaff, but chaff nevertheless that can never feed the soul.

The true preacher is a man of God speaking to men; he is a man of heaven giving God’s witness on earth. Because he is a man of God he can decode the message he receives from heaven and deliver it in the language of earth!

Here for Our Time

Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? ESTHER 4:14

Just as those who lived in the past had the privilege of being God’s people of faith then, so do we in our own day! It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spirit filled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insights given to Paul.

All of the former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation. A Bible proverb says that a living dog is better than a dead lion (see Ecclesiastes 9:4). You may wish to be Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, but remember they have been asleep for centuries, and you are still around!

You can witness for our Lord today! You can still pray! You can still give of your substance to help those who are in need!

In this, your own generation, give God all your love, all your devotion. You do not know what holy, happy secret God may want to whisper to your responsive heart!

Thank You, Lord, for the encouragement of this devotional today. It is what I needed to hear. Use me to advance Your kingdom, Lord. Whisper, and I will obey.