Reflections on John 16:1-15: Our Helper Declares

We settle for far less than what the Father has given to us. We live like paupers when we are children of the King! We are offered intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father through the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of us, but do we truly experience that relationship?

Jesus once again tells us about our Helper, the Holy Spirit. He says something that would seem so odd to a group of disciples that had walked with Jesus, talked to Him face to face, touched Him in warm embraces, been His friends. However, Jesus tells them and He also tells us:

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7 ESV

It is to our advantage that Jesus is not physically walking the earth, but instead the Holy Spirit is here inside of us! Jesus goes on to tell us more about what the Holy Spirit does for us.

“All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:15 ESV

Everything the Father has is Jesus’s, and the Holy Spirit will take what is Jesus’s and declare it to us. What Jesus received from the Father is made known to us by the Holy Spirit. In other words, we can KNOW and EXPERIENCE God!

Our time in prayer is an invitation to sit with God in conversation, not a formulated script or a few words we repeat at certain times of the day. Our time in prayer can be never ending as we walk and talk with our Heavenly Father experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit ALL DAY LONG! We have an ever present Helper living in us who desires for us to know an Intimate relationship with our God not a surface one. Our God is awesome!

Reflections on John 15:18-27: The Helper in the World that Hates

In this section of scriptures, Jesus teaches His disciples about how the world, the carnal state or corruption of the earth… evil, hates Him. As His disciples, we are to come out of that corruption. He chose us! He pulled us out of its grip. When we agree with Jesus and do as He does, the world will hate us. They won’t want to see us walking free from sin, because they do not want to be free from their sin. The light in us, God’s light, exposes the darkness for what it is… empty and vain. We are not left alone to stand against the evil of the world.

Here is where Jesus gives us a precious promise:

““But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27 ESV

The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He is the Spirit of truth. He helps us to bear witness to the truth. We can rely on Him to help us in persecution and hatred that may come against us. Remember, the world hated Jesus it did not know Him intimately. It continues to hate Him now because it still does not know Him. But we have our Helper so we can tell the World about Him so they may know Him too!

Reflections on John 15:1-17: Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing

“…apart from me you can do nothing”—Jesus

Do I really live like I believe what He said?

In this section of scripture (John 15:1-17), Jesus compared us to a branch that hangs down off a vine. That vine provides the very life flow of nutrients to the branch. The branch’s responsibility is to receive what is given to it and to bear fruit by staying connected to the vine. The branch has to stay connected, “remain in the vine.”

I have lived as a rebellious vine more than once. I was convinced that I could do things my own way, live without seeking to absorb the Vine’s nutrients- His living water, His Word (The Bible). I have thought I was ok disconnected and on my own. Living for me…

The truth is NO BRANCH prospers when it is disconnected from the VINE! You and I are the Branches. Jesus is the Vine! May we examine ourselves today. Are we trying to live our lives without being fully connected to Jesus? Do we come to Him in prayer and search for Him in His Word knowing it is THE VERY LIFE OF GOD that flows into us if we only open ourselves to it’s flow? Jesus spoke words that are soooo true, do we hear them? “…apart from Me you can do nothing!”

If life seems to be far from His peace, His joy, and His love, check your connection. He longs for us to be closely connected to Him for our good and His glory!

Reflections on John 14:15-31: Knowing the Holy Spirit

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 ESV

Never underestimate the value of having relationship with the Holy Spirit. He is our Helper, the Spirit of Truth, our Teacher, and so much more. He is with us forever.

““These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:25-26 ESV

Jesus says we will know the Holy Spirit. To know is to “take, receive or hold” or “to not be a stranger with or to be familiar with.” Knowing the Holy Spirit is be intimate with Him. The Holy Spirit desires to be relational with us or to put it simply in relationship with us. We can talk to Him in prayer, and He loves to speak to us. We can ask Him for help to understand God’s truth. He longs to teach us God’s ways if we only listen to His still small voice. He continually draws us in closer and closer to Jesus and the Father.

Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you every time you open the scripture (the Bible) and begin to read. He will! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you power to live as God designed for you to live. He will! Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing with Himself. He will!

Reflections on John 14:1-15: Greater Works Than These…Doing the Stuff!

This section of scripture is the explanation of why I believe it is so important to immerse myself in “knowing” Jesus. I want to know Him with not only a head knowledge but intimately.

We were created to know God or to walk and talk with Him in intimate relationship. Jesus tells us that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. He says that the Father does His works through Jesus. Knowing Jesus is knowing the Father.

When we read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we are reading the accounts of what Jesus did while here on earth over 2000 years ago. All His works were incredible! Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, forgave those trapped in sin, etc. He displayed the Father’s great love! Jesus is still at work in and through our lives! He did not stop!

We have this precious promise;

““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14 ESV

Jesus in us, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the assurance that we continue His work here and now! In fact, He promises us “greater works”.

John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Churches, read the same accounts we have been reading in the gospels, as a young believer during the time of the Jesus Movement in the 60’s. He asked a pastor after attending church, “So when do we do the stuff?… You know, the stuff in the Bible, like healing the sick and casting out demons. The stuff!”

May we know Him more so we “Do the stuff” that Jesus did and still does in our day and time through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us! All this to bring glory to our Loving Heavenly Father. May we know Him and make Him known!

Reflections on John 13: Having Loved His Own

This chapter is particularly touching to me. Especially when we consider who Jesus is. Jesus is God. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. Jesus is all knowing and all powerful. He knows everything within our hearts, and in this particular incident He knew what was in the heart of each of His disciples. But He took upon Himself the very nature of a servant. He loved His disciples VERY deeply, and He bowed before each of them one by one. He met the most humbling and basic need of a person of that time. He washed feet: Dirty feet that had walked dusty roads, calloused feet that had worked hard as fishermen, nasty feet few would desire to touch.

Verse 1 stands out to me today.

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1 ESV 

“Having loved His own…” Jesus does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He loves His own. I am one of His own, and He has met my greatest need. He has not cleansed just my feet. He has cleansed my heart, a hard and cold heart. It was a heart filled with anger, hatred, doubt, fear— sin. How grateful I am that Jesus has loved me, His own, as He loved His twelve disciples over 2000 years ago!

Take time today to let that truth sink into your heart today. Jesus loved His own. He loves us, His own, today!

Thoughts on John 12: My Way or His?

“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:42-43 ESV

The Pharisees had it out for Jesus. He was a threat to their power and their long list of rules they enforced. They looked continually for a way to arrest Him so they could put Him to death.

After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Pharisees wanted to kill him too. The crowds were increasingly turning to Jesus, worshipping Him and believing in Him. This increased the resolve of the Pharisees that Jesus must die.

Not only the crowds believed, the authorities began to believe as well. However, these authorities that believed did not openly confess that they believed. They were afraid of the Pharisees and they “loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” Simply put, they loved their ways above God’s.

I have lived my life at times as the authorities of Jesus time did. I have seen Him do miraculous things in the lives of those around me and could not help but believe that Jesus did them. Yet, I wanted my way above His. So I held back on confessing what I knew to be true. As I’ve often said, “I like to be liked.” Sometimes openly confessing the truth of Jesus and obeying Him fully makes those around us uncomfortable, even angry. So the easier path is to love our own ways above the ways of Jesus and not say the truth. Jesus tells us in verses 25-26:

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

May we love Jesus wholeheartedly and serve Him first not cower in fear as the authorities did! Jesus’ way above our own! That is the only way to live life to the fullest!

Reflections on John 11: The Resurrection and the Life

John 11 is the account of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. I love this story. It truly displays the heart of Jesus. Especially when we know great disappointment in our lives.

Mary and Martha were Jesus friends. They sent word to Jesus telling Him, “…Lord, he whom you love is ill.”” John 11:3 ESV They knew Jesus was the answer to the problem they were up against.

When Jesus received word of Lazarus’ condition He told those He was with, “…This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 ESV Jesus promised that Lazarus would not die, but His life would be used to glorify God. Later we see Lazarus did in fact die, but it was to give Jesus the opportunity to display His miracle of resurrection power! So Lazarus did in deed live!

When Jesus saw the heartache before He performed His miracle at Lazarus’ tomb, He felt compassion for Mary and Martha, who He loved. He wept.

That is where I come in. There have been situations in my own life that I prayed and asked God for a miracle. Only to see the situations seemingly end in “death.” I have felt the heartbreak of disappointment. As I read this chapter I am assured that Jesus did indeed hear me, and He has seen my heartbreak. Jesus has felt as I did and He has wept. But in the end I can believe that His plan always ends in “life and life more abundantly.” John 10:10. He is the God of resurrection. Even though we die, we live when we believe in Him. The seemingly dead and over situations are simply “asleep,” when entrusted to Jesus. His plan will always end in life for me. Jesus asks me the same question He asked Mary as I am asked to trust Him with my greatest disappointment, “Do you believe this?”

Do you believe He will do what is best and work all things out for your good? Even if you have a season of waiting to see His resurrection power in your life?

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”” John 11:25-26 ESV

Reflections on John 10: Follow His Voice!

At the height of the struggle I had with anxiety, verses 4-5 spoke to me.

“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.””
‭‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭3‬-‭5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Anxiety, among many other voices, cry out for our attention, but Jesus assures us that as His sheep we know HIS voice! If we really stop and listen, we can hear that voice. All the other voices shouting at us for His attention are only thieves and strangers. We as His sheep follow His voice alone.

Do not be distracted by all the shouting of lies in your ears! The truth is, when you are in Jesus, you know His voice. If you listen, you will hear it. Follow that voice! It leads to the one who tenderly cares for all our needs, our Good Shepherd.

Reflections on John 9: See Jesus!

In today’s reading Jesus heals a man born blind on the Sabbath. Once again the religious leaders of Jesus time, the Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus because He continued to challenge their man made traditions and threatened their power. They attacked the testimony of the man who was born blind by saying he was “born in utter sin.” They also claimed that Jesus was a sinner.

Jesus makes a statement in the midst of all this.

“Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”” John 9:39 ESV

The Pharisees thought they had the corner on the knowledge of God. They had studied the scripture, they thought they had God all figured out, but their hearts were far from Him. They were proud. They were spiritually blind.

The blind man was desperate. When he encountered Jesus, he obeyed His command. He received healing to his eyes. When he finally saw Jesus after being healed and spoke to Him, he “believed and worshipped.” In humility the man born blind believed Jesus and he was made whole both physically and spiritually.

We have the same choice. We may choose to do our own thing, following our own ways, the things that seem right to us, and we will die spiritually blind— never truly seeing Jesus! Or we may choose to obey Jesus no matter what and live our lives seeing His beauty and splendor!

Either way we must choose! May we choose to see Jesus for who He is—Lord, and believe!