Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, NRSV)

If the biggest smallest word in the English language!

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” If you continue means they were listening to and following His words. That is a question for some. But do we continue to listen and follow the words Jesus is saying to us?

They questioned even the statement of being set free, because they are descendants of Abraham, and therefore are a part of God’s chosen people, but have they forgotten this little place called Eygpt? And the years the Israelite people spent there in slavery? Never been slaves to anyone? Really?

But it isn’t about being a slave to a master who is human, could be, but more than that it is about us living a life that is freed from all worries and concerns. It is about us finding joy in the darkness because we are connected to Jesus.

It is about hearing His calling and following. It is about abiding in His word and allowing Him to abide in us.

The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
The hope of the righteous ends in gladness,
but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.
The way of the LORD is a stronghold for the upright,
but destruction for evildoers.
The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not remain in the land.
The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
(Proverbs 10:27-32, NRSV)

When we follow the path that God has set before us it may not be smooth. It may not be easy. It might go up and down and over some pretty hard terrain. But it is the easy path for sure.

The way of the Lord is a stronghold for life and in that way, we will not be removed and will be accepted because of God.

So walk in His way, and know He is always with you.

Show us!

Posted: 2017/05/14 in Biblical, Devotional, Discipleship, Easter
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. (John 14:1-14, NRSV)

Show us the father and we will be satisfied…

Really? Sometimes I am really glad that disciples didn’t get it because it always gives me hope that I’ll be ok.

Jesus has shown us the heart of the Father through all of His actions.

Through His love for all humanity, Jesus has shown us the Father.

So follow what Jesus says in, “I am the way, the truth, the life.”

Live His way, by loving all.

Live the truth, by showing God’s heart in love.

Live the life, but giving up yours and taking what Jesus has for you.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long. (Psalm 23, NRSV)

This psalm is a favorite for comfort at funerals, or during difficult situations.

But it is much deeper than we see.

He leads me in right paths is more of a He gets me stuck in a rut where He leads me. A righteous groove and it helps me to follow and stay focused on Him.

God prepares a banquet before our enemies, who are ready to kill us, but He gives us space and time to party and eat while He holds our enemies at bay!

And surely at the beginning of verse 6 is a little bit of a bad translation. It should be more of an Only. Goodness and mercy will pursue me all of my life and only that. My enemies will not neither will anything else other than the goodness and mercy of God.

He has set up a righteous groove to feed us His goodness and mercy!

So walk in it and know that he is always guiding!

 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”  (John 10:11-18, NRSV)

Jesus lays down His life for the sheep.

The hired hand runs away. Who is that? Well, that could be current pastors and priests, current leaders of the body, when the going gets tough, they just exit stage left and run away. But Jesus won’t run away. He will stand and fight and die for the sheep if He has to.

He does this willing. Which for me shows us also the greatest proof for the resurrection if you need one other than the promises from the Bible. You see all of the disciples were martyred for their faith, killed for what they believe. If it was a hoax, wouldn’t one of them have given it up before they died? Most men won’t die to save another or die for a lie. So that is the best proof there is, and it shows the depth of the love our shepherd has for us!

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, NRSV)

They were all together and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, breaking of bread, meaning eating together, and prayers.

They took care of each other, as they were devoted to God and community.

And God showed others what was happening and added to their numbers daily.

This is worship life.

And for the follower of Christ, this is life.

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.  I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken. I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid. I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations. They shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 34:20-31, NRSV)

Since the rulers of Israel had fallen away from God, God interveined.

That is good news, God does not leave His people to flounder out of the water like a fish gasping for air, trying to get back into the water forever.

God will intervene and help His people when they stray too far and long from Him.

He will bring His leaders, those who fill cling to Him to lead His people.

Follow after God and know He is always there, walking side by side with you.