Are You Clean?

October 21, 2014

There are times in our lives when being clean is appropriate, but there are also times when being dirty is desired. As a freshman football player in college, I certainly did not want to be clean after the game. It was a clear sign that I did not get in the game, and if I did, I did not do much since defensive players are supposed to make tackles. One of my most favorite memories was playing in the Atlanta recreation league city championship in Cheney Stadium. It had rained all day. It was a mud bowl. Mud and clumps of grass and who knows what else regularly entered our face masks. After the game, I was covered in mud. There was nothing like that good ole Georgia red clay. My uniform, my socks, my shoes and my underwear were saturated in Georgia red clay. My mom washed my socks and underwear, but the stains never came out.

While I kept those under wear as a badge of honor for years, most of us desire to be clean in our daily lives. There is soap and water for us and washing machines for our clothes, but what about our hearts and souls? That begs me to ask Are You Clean? We like to think that we are good people with good hearts, but the Word of God dismisses that notion. In Romans 3, listen to Paul quote the Psalms.

10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”

In addition, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?“It is clear from the Word that we are not good nor do we have a good heart. The Word says that God is good not us.

Since we are not clean,how does one become clean? The Word has an answer for that too – the Word. The Word makes us clean. John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” That is a direct reference to Jesus Christ. Fast forward to John 15. There, Jesus answers the question of Are You Clean as well as how does one become clean. Let’s read what Jesus said in John 15.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Jesus said the word He spoke to the disciples made them clean. For us, we need to understand that Jesus meant more than hearing a mere spoken word even from Him. He referred to the words about who He was and what He offered. He meant that since the disciples had placed their faith in Him that they were cleaned by their faith in Christ. Similarly, Paul says, “13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10.

When Jesus stated that the words He spoke to them made them clean, He was conveying that the Word is God’s cleansing agent in our lives. It is Jesus who cleanses us from our sins. It was through His blood that we can be redeemed, but it is his Word that condemns those who do not believe in the Word. Jesus. John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”The word not only cleanses, it encourages adherence to the Word resulting in growth and victory over sin.

Matthew Henry wrote “The word of Christ is a distinguishing word, and separates between the precious and the vile; it will purify the church of the first-born in the great dividing day. They were each of them clean, that is, sanctified, by the truth of Christ (John 17:17); that faith by which they received the word of Christ purified their hearts, Acts 15:9…The word of Christ is spoken to them; there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. It cleanses as fire cleanses the gold from its dross, and as physic cleanses the body from its disease. We then evidence that we are cleansed by the word when we bring forth fruit unto holiness. Perhaps here is an allusion to the law concerning vineyards in Canaan; the fruit of them was as unclean, and uncircumcised, the first three years after it was planted, and the fourth year it was to be holiness of praise unto the Lord; and then it was clean, Lev. 19:23, 24. The disciples had now been three years under Christ’s instruction; and now you are clean.”

Are You Clean? Consider Psalm 119:11 which says I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. The psalmist knew that it was the Word that made him clean. If you attempt to define your cleanliness without Christ, you are deceived. If you want to be clean, trust in and follow the Word of Christ. 

Are You Cut Off or Pruned

October 20, 2014

Within the first five verses of John 15, Jesus has either directly stated or indirectly referred to Himself as the vine. Therein lies the answer to Are You Cut Off or Pruned.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

As we see in verse five, Jesus reiterates the fact that “I am the vine, you are the branches…” It is evident that Jesus wanted the disciples to have a clear picture of the order of things or the nature of the relationship. Now that He has restated the order of things, Jesus wanted the disciples to be sure that they were aware of the conditions necessary to bear fruit. It is an expectation that men and women bear fruit. Verse two says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Essentially, Jesus tells them that you are going to be cut. It is just a matter of how you will be cut, so I ask Are You Cut Off or Pruned?

To answer that question out of truth and not emotion or feeling, one must use Jesus’ criteria for determining that answer. Jesus said that if one bore fruit that person would be pruned, but if he did not bear fruit, that person would be cut off. Cause and effect is an effective tool to use in conveying concepts to people. Jesus adds to that relational order by connecting a causal condition on the relationship. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” In the post Abide in Me, we saw that the metaphor of the vine illustrates the point; it is only when nutrients flow freely to the branches that fruit can be borne. Simply, are we following Jesus as evidenced by greater obedience to His Word and Will?

Are You Cut Off or Pruned is answered by our obedience. If we are following after Jesus, we will be pruned for greater fruitfulness. If we are not following Jesus, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire. We are useless to the work and kingdom of God if we are not bearing fruit. God wants our character to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The Reformation Bible states “The Christian’s mind-set is to be determined and reshaped by knowledge of the gospel, by the power of the Spirit, and by the concerns of the age to come (8:5–913:11–14), rather than by the passing fashion of this age (2 Cor. 4:181 John 2:17). Only by such sanctifying renewal is the Christian made sufficiently sensitive to “discern” the behavior that is God’s will in each situation.” In other words, obedience leads to greater obedience.

Are You Cut Off or Pruned ? Which is it for you? Evaluate your obedience to the Word of God and the Spirit of God. If we are honest with ourselves, God will reveal where we are out of compliance with His Word and His Will. If you abide in Him, you will bear fruit. Remember, without Him, you cannot demonstrate the character of Christ. Without the vine, the branches cannot bear fruit. The branches simply shrivel up and die eventually being cut off and discarded. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Abide in Me

October 18, 2014

In the post Abide in His Word, Jesus, in John 8, called for An Invitation for Discipleship. We have an invitation to be a learner, a pupil and a follower of Jesus. Now in John 15, after serving as disciples for three years, Jesus is calling for the disciples to continue following Him. This call was for when He left. Remember, Jesus had told them that He was going to the Father. It would be their task, as is all believers in Christ, to continue on in Him until we meet Him or until His return. As He prepared them for His departure, Jesus gave them the most important directive – Abide in Me

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (NIV)

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (NKJV)

I have read that Fruit bearing is impossible without abiding; but it is inevitable with abiding. The quality and quantity of the fruit may differ, but the fruit will be inevitable. The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. People don’t raise grape vines to look at the pretty leaves. They take the trouble to cultivate, plant, water and tend the vines so that fruit can be enjoyed. In this sense, we can say that fruit represents Christian character as outlined in the passage on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Are you bearing the fruit of Christ’s character in your life? Jesus says yes if you Abide in Me.

Fruit also implies inherent reproduction. Virtually every piece of fruit has seeds within it, seeds that are meant to reproduce more fruit. Jesus intends on His disciples to reproduce. “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 Are you making disciples? Jesus says yes if you Abide in Me. 

Jesus makes it clear that no fruit will be borne if you do not Abide in Me. Jesus emphasizes permanence and steadfastness in His relationship with the disciples. “Abide” is repeated ten times in vv. 4–10. The metaphor of the vine illustrates the point; it is only when nutrients flow freely to the branches that fruit can be borne.

Our Lord is calling Abide in Me. It is up to us to choose appropriately. I know it is hard, but I want to remind you that “were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh… So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.” Galatians 5.  Jesus says, “Abide in Me”, and you will bear fruit. What will you do?

I Am The True Vine

October 16, 2014

Today’s passage marks the last of Jesus’ “I Am” As a reminder, Jesus made the 7 “I AM” statements.

Jesus’ 7 I AM

I AM the True Vine (John 15:1-17)

I AM the Way, Truth and Life (John 14:1-7)

I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44)

I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18)

I AM the Door (John 10:1-9)

I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12-18; 25-30)

I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:25-35; 48-59)

In John 15, Jesus is continuing to speak to the disciples about His departure and His expectation for them after He leaves to return to the Father.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I dare not delve too far into the text beyond verse one. First, Jesus says that He is the true vine, so apparently, there is an untrue or false vine. Theologians have submitted that in this text as well as other scriptures, “true” means “genuine.” Jesus is the final, real “vine,” as compared to Israel. Jesus was laying the groundwork or foreshadowing of the true Israel outlined in Romans 9. Israel is called God’s “vine” or “vineyard” in the Old Testament (Ps. 80:8–16; Jer. 2:21). Israel is judged for not bearing fruit, while Jesus is and does what the type signified. What fruit is Jesus talking about? Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Jesus also shows the order of the relationship He was obedient to on His quest to provide redemption for man. Jesus, in role not in essence, shows that the Father has first priority in the Godhead. Jesus is the vine, but the Father is the gardner. He used a natural relationship that was common to them all. For sure all had seen a vine growing. They were aware that vines need pruning in order to maintain proper yield and proper fruit.

Jesus is the source of any one (branch) connected with God. Without Christ, no one can produce the fruit i.e. character of Christ or godliness that God requires. When that condition is not met, God cuts off or prunes every branch that bears no fruit. No branch, person, belongs to Christ’s can be completely fruitless. One may bear fruit at a lower rate than others, but true believers in Christ will bear fruit, and according to Jesus will experience pruning from God necessary to increase their fruitfulness. The lack of fruit described in Ps. 80, Is. 5:1, and Jer. 2:21 is one’s failure to obey God. The Reformation Study Bible comments state that these Old Testament discussions of the vine and its fruit, combined with Christ’s command to love in this chapter, indicate that “fruit” refers to a Christ-like life produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23), rather than to the number of people converted under a believer’s ministry.

Jesus is the true vine. We can not be considered a child of God through any other means which Jesus outlined in the beginning of this book (John 1:12). Jesus is consistent in that message. We can only know God through Him. His “I AM” statements confirm His stance on this matter. Where are you? Are you trying to produce fruit by your own means? Are you trying to connect with God through some other source than Christ? Jesus says that you will be cut off and discarded if you are. Repent (turn from) of those ways and turn to Him.

Come now; let us leave.

October 14, 2014

There comes a point in all of our lives when we should stop talking and act. In today’s post, we see Jesus demonstrate that point. After He had washed their feet and shared with the disciples that He was soon to leave them to return to the Father’s house but only after atoning for man’s sin, Jesus tells His disciples “Come now; let us leave.”

Let’s hear the Word of the Lord.

John 14

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.”

Jesus models obedience to us. He told the disciples what was going to happen before it did, so that they would believe. He shared with them that the devil did not influence or make Him give His life, but He laid it down on His own out of obedience to God. When Jesus says “Come now; let us leave“, He is no longer talking but taking action.
There has been something that God has been telling you about. Today, He is saying “Come now; let us leave” in efforts to get you moving toward doing that which He has been talking to you about. I don’t have to know what it is. You know, and God knows. Will you demonstrate obedience like Christ? Will you take action now that the Almighty God has shown you what you need to do? Let Jesus’ Word continue to speak to you – Come now; let us leave.

The prince of this world is coming

October 13, 2014

According to literary-devices.com, the literary device foreshadowing refers to the use of indicative word or phrases and hints that set the stage for a story to unfold and give the reader a hint of something that is going to happen without revealing the story or spoiling the suspense. Foreshadowing is used to suggest an upcoming outcome to the story. As we near the crescendo of Christ’s atonement for sin, Christ calls us back to the foreshadowing of this moment back in Luke 4:1-13. This is the passage where the Spirit of God leads Jesus to the desert to fast 40 days and where He was tempted by the devil. After the last temptation that Jesus refuted, Luke wrote “13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” From that statement, Jesus foreshadows that The prince of this world is coming.

That was a great example of foreshadowing. This is the more opportune time the writer of Luke 4 referenced. The devil tried to get Jesus then, now in John 14, we see Jesus extend satan’s effort and the foreshadowing of the efforts to rid the world of Jesus by satan. He provides greater detail as to what is about to happen, but Jesus wants His disciples to be absolutely lucid about the events that are about to unfold.

John 14

30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.

The betrayal of Judas (John 13:10-11) marks the beginning of satan’s entry onto the scene as Christ prepares to atone for man’s sin. Jesus told them that the prince of this world, satan, “has no hold over me” which means that the devil is not leading, directing, or influencing Christ in any fashion to the cross. Remember, Jesus had told the disciples “I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” in John 10. Now, Jesus tells the disciples that The prince of this world is coming, but His actions leading to the cross has nothing to do with the devil. They have everything to do with the world learning that He loves the Father and does exactly what the Father commanded Him to do. This was about Jesus’ Love and Obedience to the Father. Jesus went to the cross out of loving obedience to God, The Father, not out of any trickery or influence of satan. Jesus surrenders Himself to the consequences of our sin out of love for the Father. Again, it is God’s love that brings about our atonement. We are told that in John 3:16, but we see love in action here as it is proclaimed by the one who suffers on our behalf.  While Jesus said “The prince of this world is coming“, He also said and demonstrated that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is here and will remain here through the Advocate, the Spirit of truth. Jesus heralds the advent of the Spirit of truth along with the lying spirit – the devil. Jesus told the disciples this so they would know and believe when it happened. Likewise, Jesus documented it through His Word, so that we too would  know and believe. Romans 10:14 tells us “14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Now that you are hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, are you ready to believe?

Be Glad I Am Going to the Father

October 12, 2014

I am sure that you have experienced someone in your life saying something that makes no sense to you. In fact, you, without the intent to be disrespectful, may have responded by saying that does not make any sense, that’s crazy, or that’s stupid. Those responses are typical when we don’t understand a concept. Let me give you an example from my life, just the other day, I was talking to my mom about a whipping she got when she was a little girl. She told me that my Uncle Reginald told her that my grandmother only whipped you because she loved you. My mom’s response was that was the stupidest thing she had heard; yet, those same words came out of her mouth more than once when she was attempting to discourage some choices I had made. Likewise, I used the same words she did long before she told me. I thought to myself, if you loved me, you would not whip me.

In John 14, we see Jesus address the disciples before they have the opportunity to make such a statement. Jesus had been telling them of His imminent departure back to the Father. The disciples wanted no part of Jesus leaving them no more than I wanted any part of that whipping from my mom. Both knew what was best for those charged to their care. Jesus, in fact, told the disciples so. He said,

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. – John 14

All the disciples knew was that Jesus had been an incredible person and force in their lives. They had seen things like the blind seeing, the lame walking, the storm quieting and the dead rising to life. Who would be glad that someone who was able to do those things would be leaving you. I can relate to how they felt. They wanted the presence of Jesus in their lives as long as they could.

Jesus said, “if you loved me”. What does love have to do with this? Love not in the sense of some feeling, but that same love when my mom told me that she was whipping me. It is a commitment to what is best regardless of the action and cost. It is a desire for something greater than ourselves and our own personal interest. That notion was difficult, no it was not grasped by the disciples. They did not want to hear that nor did they believe it. Jesus was saying it was best for me to leave you. They were saying no it is not. Not only was it best for the disciples, it was best for the rest of mankind. I am convinced this is why Jesus puts the condition on His statement, if you loved Me. He challenges them to take their eyes off themselves and see the bigger picture. Now that is a revelation I needed now too.

In addition to addressing their improper response, Jesus also told them how they should respond and why. “If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than” The word for glad there is rejoice or chairō (khī’-rō) which means to be glad or to rejoice exceedingly in the Greek. Why would it be joyous for Jesus to leave them? Jesus would join the Father to intercede on their behalf. The promised Holy Spirit would come to dwell (live) in the believers to empower, to teacher, to remind, and to convict them in regards to the Way and Word of God. Without the power of the indwelling Spirit. It is impossible for man to demonstrate victory over sin. It is impossible for man to be cleansed as His presence symbolizes that man has been made right through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

When Jesus says the Father is greater than I, He is not saying that He is less than God in being or His essence. He is not denying to be God. He is referencing the order or position of His place in the Godhead. Jesus is acknowledging that the Son’s role is supportive to that of the Father just as the Spirit’s role is supportive to that of His. Without the triune Godhead working in concert, God’s redemptive plan for man would not be possible. Man would be eternally separated from God. Man would not be united with God.

That is why Jesus said Be Glad I Am Going to the Father. This why parents state that they whip us because they love us. Without Jesus’ going to the Father, a better condition for us would not be possible.

a. If you loved Me, you would rejoice: This was hard for the disciples to believe; but Jesus’ departure really was best. It was best for Jesus, best for the disciples, and best for the world. Jesus wants the disciples to realize this, and so says, “If you loved Me, you would rejoice” at His return to God the Father.

I am glad I got those whippings, because they guided and lead me toward the best direction and character. Moreover, I am overjoyed that Jesus went to the Father. As a consequence, I am not longer a slave to sin being held in bondage by my anger and wandering aimlessly without a purpose that satisfies my soul and being. Hallelujah – Be Glad I Am Going to the Father.

“You Are Great”

October 10, 2014

Sometimes, you wake up with a song in your heart, “You Are Great”. That describes me this morning. I woke up with a song in my heart as I reflected over my life especially during the times of challenge and controversy. Dr. King stated that the measure of a man comes not in times of comfort and convenience, but in times of challenge and controversy. God knows that. God allows and creates times of challenge and controversy known as trials. Listen to our God through the Apostle Peter – 1 Peter 1

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

As I reflect over my life, it is appropriate to say to God “You Are Great”I believe that will all my heart, to the limits of my faith, to the faults of my faith. Genesis 15:1 says, “After this, the word of theLord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” These were God’s Words to Abram(ham) when God established His covenant with Him. Through Christ, Gentiles like me have access to the covenant God made with Abram and his descendants. God is my greatest reward. To know and experience the God of the universe is unparalleled by anything in this world. Look at how God manifested Himself, His character to Abraham, Moses, Caleb, Gideon, Jehoshaphat, Samuel, and many more. I could go on and on about Stephen, Peter, Saul (Paul) and the list goes on. The point is this. God has proven “You Are Great” is truly applicable to Him alone.

In Exodus 18:10-11, Jethro said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.

What has been that defining moment or moments in your life when God cemented your knowledge of who He is? When He showed you there is no other God except Him? If you have not experienced that, ask God to distinguish Himself in your life with the intent for you to follow Him all the days of your life after He does so. God desires to reveal Himself to man, but like a committed spouse, God will not disclose private things to those who are not in covenant, i.e. relationship, with Him. He made that covenant with Abraham and extended to us through Christ Jesus. God, “You Are Great”.

Listen to the song titled as such and praise the Lord God.

“You Are Great”

[Verse:]
You deserve the glory and the honor,
I lift my hands in worship and I bless Your Holy name.

You deserve the glory and the honor,
I lift my hands in worship and I bless Your Holy name.

[Chorus:]
You are great, You do miracles.
So great, there is no one else like You,
there is no one else like You.

You are great, You do miracles.
So great, there is no one else like You,
there is no one else.

[Ending:]
There is no one else like You

“Do not let your hearts be troubled II.”

October 8, 2014

On September 10, 2014, I wrote the post that starts with the second paragraph below. I wanted to repost as Jesus restated His expectation for us in verse 27. Read and be encouraged.

“27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid..” Jesus restates what He told the disciples, so I thought it was appropriate for me to repost what I wrote about not letting our hearts be troubled. I certainly can benefit from hearing the Word of God again especially about our hearts and fear. God is the remedy for both. By trusting in Him, we experience peace with God and the peace of God. Ephesians 2:14 says, “For he himself is our peace,..” Since Jesus is our peace, we know that we cannot truly experience peace with God and the peace of God without Jesus being Savior and Lord of our lives. When He has the rightful place in our lives, we can make the choice to ‘not let our hearts be troubled’ because He has given us the power to do so. By trusting in Him, we can rely on Him to protect, lead, guide and provide for us. What will it be for me today? Will I face every thought and situation that presents trouble to me to God? If I do, I will not be troubled but experience the peace that Jesus provides. I can experience Him, since He Himself is our peace. Be blessed.

No matter where you are in the world, there is some level of trouble facing you. Whether emotional, physical, financial, relational or any other manner, we are facing trouble. Life confronts us at every point of contention that moves us. From 2 Corinthians 4, we know “10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” We should not be surprised at trouble. It is necessary for God to conform us to the likeness of His Son which is the goal for those who are not perishing.

Today’s post comes from John 14Do not let your hearts be troubled is the first line of the text designated as John 14. It follows Jesus predicting His betrayal, His denial and His death. Despite knowing the weight of what He was about to face, suffering for the sins of man, Jesus had his attention on His disciples. Jesus’ selflessness continues to be a model and inspiration for me.

He issues the conciliatory statement to HIs disciples. He shows that He is God in that He evidences love. Like us, He could have been consumed with His own sufferings, but He was concerned with man’s. The Greek word for troubled is tarassō (tä-rä’s-sō). Here is its meaning

tarassō (tä-rä’s-sō)

  1. to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro)

     a. to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity

     b. to disquiet, make restless

     c. to stir up

     d. to trouble

     e. to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread

     f. to render anxious or distressed

    g. to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts

We know what it means to be troubled. We are not at peace. All is not well within us. We are preoccupied with our circumstances. The disciples had just learned that one of them would betray Jesus, that Peter, the emotional leader of the group, would deny Jesus, Jesus, after being with him everyday for three years, was going somewhere that they could not go right now and that Jesus would die. Fortunately, I have not had too many people whom I love die, but for those who have, I know the finality of the moments of realizing death is at their door. It is humbling and sobering at the same time. We realize how infinitesimal our strength and ability is. This is why Jesus always offers an alternative action to ones that He directs us not to engage.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

We are told not to let our hearts be troubled. That conveys that when our hearts are troubled that it is because we allowed it. How can we prevent it? Jesus tells us plainly to trust/believe in God and trust/believe in Him. Believe that He is the Son of God, the Resurrection and the life, the Good Shepherd, the Door/Gate, the Light of the World, and the Bread of Life. Jesus was calling on the disciples to reflect on all that He had shown them He was and to believe in Him. If He turned water to wine, healed the blind, raised one from the dead, He could comfort their fears and sooth their sorrows.

Through His Word, He is saying the same thing to those who claim Jesus as Lord – Do not let your hearts be troubled. We have a choice to not have our hearts to be troubled by trusting in who Jesus is and what He said He would do. As a matter of application, write down your troubles. Seek out scripture that addresses your concerns. Present your concerns to God; trust in Him; stand in faith. David laid this out for us in Psalm 37. One of the things God says there is “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” God wants us to be at peace. The only way we can experience peace is through Jesus. Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

Do not let your hearts be troubledYou believe in God; believe also in me.

Deuces: Peace I leave with You.

October 6, 2014

For a long time, urban vernacular has woven its way into the American lexicon. Like coined phrases from speeches or literature, society recognizes the value of phrases or gestures that capture an ideal succinctly. Today, I want to share one of those phrases. Really, it’s not a phrase. It is a word usually spoken in conjunction with a gesture. It is Deuces: Peace

Deuces: Peace I leave with You. While I do not intend to offend you or my Lord Jesus with the use of this term, it may connect with many of you. Oft, we are embroiled in conversations or spirited debates when time beckons us. It is time to go. We cannot continue the conversation. We end the conversation by saying “Deuces” and raising up two fingers as in Peace. This signifies to the person that you are leaving and all is well.

Again, I am not saying this was indicative of Jesus, but this is what I thought about as I read the verse in today’s text: John 14.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

May I remind you that throughout this passage, even from the very beginning, Jesus had been telling His disciples that He was about to leave. He was returning to the Father. He had just told the disciples in the prior verse (26) that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, would attend to them in His absence.

Now, Jesus is saying to them Deuces: Peace I leave with You and to us that He has given us peace. I have read that Jesus had no fortune to bequeath (give to) His followers, but He gives them gifts that can’t be bought – the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence of peace. How many a defeated lives would buy the power of the Holy Spirit if they could? How many distraught souls would buy the peace of Jesus? These can’t be bought; If you could, ask Robin Williams, but Jesus gives them as gifts to His people. Those who have chosen to follow Him. “All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace. ” (Thomas a’ Kempis). It is following Jesus that one has access to peace with God and the peace of God.

Again, He commands them to not let their hearts be troubled and not to be afraid to emphasize His expectation and our ability to carry out what He said. The gifts of the Holy Spirit and peace do not grant us exemption from the storms of life, but provide us the promise of Jesus’ power and Jesus’ peace to weather any storm. Remember Jesus’ Words in Matthew 7

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice(X) is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Do you want to survive the storms of life? Follow Jesus, for He consistently tells His followers Deuces: Peace I leave with You.


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