John 17

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“I pray for them.  I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world but for those You gave Me, for they are Yours by right.  Everything Mine is Yours, and Yours Mine.” (v 9-10 MSG)

You were so very near Your own death, Jesus; and in Your own conversation with Your Father, You had ME on Your mind.  You prayed for several things that You desire to be a part of my life, because I belong to You and have chosen to follow You:

ETERNAL LIFE = KNOWING THE FATHER = KNOWING JESUS, THE SONFACE

“Now this is eternal life: that they may KNOW You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (v 3, NIV)

Only by spending time with someone–talking, sharing, listening–can I get to know someone.  People are so multifaceted and ever-changing that opportunities to learn and know folks rarely run out.  You, Lord, are multidimensional (at the least!), with more to learn about You than our finite minds may be able to comprehend.  However, in all Your vastness, immensity and grandeur, YOU desire for me to know You, to really get to know You.  Thanks for calling me “friend” (John 15) and for taking steps to build that friendship.  Guide me in making the necessary time throughout a day to turn my attention toward You and our relationship.

PROTECTION FROM THE EVIL ONE

“My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.” (v 15)

“…protect them by the power of Your name…” (v 11 NIV)

When I am nestled close to Your heart and feasting on Your Word–seeking to know it and live it–that leaves little room for the Deceiver to mess with my mind and emotions, in order to affect my behavior.  Father, indeed, protect me “from the evil one,” that thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)  Guard my heart, and fill me up with You.  Protect me inside and out as I seek to know You and serve You.

HOLINESS

“Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth.” (v 17 NIV)

You’ve used the word “sanctify,” or originally, You would’ve used the Greek word for it, which means “set apart for sacred use” or “make holy.”  Through Your Word, You make me holy.  It serves as Your very own cleansing agent to set me apart so that You can use me.  When I’m not in Your Word, the filth remains and my usefulness isn’t all it could be.

COMPLETE UNITY = MESSAGE TO THE WORLD

“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”  (v 23 NIV)

You long for Your children to get along, to serve side-by-side, Lord.  When we do, when we genuinely choose to accept one another’s differences of tradition, opinion and practice, the world can more clearly see that we’ve each been sent by You with a message it needs to hear (and SEE).

THAT I’D BE WITH YOU ONE DAY

“Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am.” (v 24 NIV)

Jesus, I still remember the first time I read this verse and realized what You were saying to Your Father in that moment.  I remember weeping at the thought that YOU want ME to be with You where You are.  The infinite God of all creation WANTS to spend time–no, wants all eternity!– with ME!  Sometimes in the rough times of this human existence, when others who know me seem to want nothing to do with me, to be reminded that You ALWAYS enjoy, desire and long for my company is SUCH a gripping thought.

So–what shall we do together today, Lord?

YOU AND YOUR LOVE IN ME

“I have made You known to them and will continue to make You known IN ORDER THAT the love You have for Me may be in them and THAT I Myself may be in them.” (v 26 NIV)

Too often I think I put a lid on my heart and with a little slit in it that only lets Your love trickle inside (or so I fool myself to think).  Perhaps, I’m afraid of too much at once … but all the while I long for Your love to consume me.  If only I could hang onto the fact that You totally love me.  IF only the feeling of knowing that Your love is in me, that YOU personally are in me could continually be what I experience.

Set a guard around my heart, so that the fruit of love, joy, and peace cannot be stolen, masked, or maligned by the enemy.  Rip off the “lid” I try to keep on my heart and pour it on, Lord!! YOU fill me up … and when this vessel becomes full, I believe You’ll enlarge the vessel and pour in more of You, more of Your love!

Help me to surrender to You, Lord Jesus.  May Your desires be my own:

  • May I know You and Your Father intimately as I thankfully embrace Your gift of eternal life.
  • May I be grateful for Your protection and  may I entrust myself to You in the face or threat of the enemy.
  • May Your Word clean me up continually and make me truly holy and set apart for Your use.
  • May my attitude toward every other human being on this planet be altered to be aligned with Yours. May I see them through Your eyes alone.
  • May I always look forward to and eagerly anticipate the Day I get to be with You.
  • May Your love and presence be alive and evident in me as I surrender to Your work in me to make me just like Jesus.

Amen.

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John 15 & 16

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“REMAIN,” “ABIDE,” “LIVE IN” — several different terms are used in various translations of Your Word, Lord.  My favorite expression of this concept is in a phrase found in the Message:  “MAKE YOUR HOME IN ME.”  Where this passage contains that phrase, how simple it is to consider the blessings of cultivating a relationship with You that’s intimate and organic.

“Make your home in Me just as I do you.” (v 4)

“… if you make yourselves at home with Me and my words are at home in you …” (v 7)

“… Make yourselves at home in My love.” (v 9)

“… If you keep My commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in My love.  That’s what I’ve done–kept My Father’s commands and made Myself at home in His love.” (v 10)

Lord, show me how to fully “make my home in” You, Your Words, and Your love!

“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating Me.  If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own.  But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you” (vv 18-19 MSG)

There’s a song that friends of mine used to sing in concert when their youngest son was a teen (he sang the lead): “When the world looks at me, do they see Jesus?  When the world looks at me, what do they see?”* Oh! I pray that it is YOU that the world sees when they look at me!  However, this passage brings home the reality that those who see You in me, may not react with all joy, attraction, and curiosity.  Rather, with some folks, their seeing You in me, may result in some harsh encounters.  Sometimes I wonder “If I’m not being persecuted, as You’ve said I will be, does that mean that You’re not as evident in my life as You desire to be”?

“May those who fear You rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your word” (Psalm 119:74 NIV)

Lord Jesus, I know You live in me and I know that my hope (or assurance) is in Your Word.  Now, what I wonder is … even among my brothers and sisters in Christ, when I encounter someone, do they rejoice to see me or do they react less than positively?  Is it genuinely evident that I belong to You, that I am continually seeking to know You better, that I desire to give You free reign in my life?  Like Steven Curtis Chapman sang several years ago:  “Do they know, can they see, Jesus lives in … me?”**

Saturate my heart and mind, so that all I do is for You alone.  Cause others to see more of You than me when they encounter me.  May those who love You see me coming and begin to rejoice out of expectation of being encouraged or lifted up.  And if those who don’t know You see me coming (realizing they most likely might persecute me), may they be more intrigued and interested than irritated or intimidated.  May the You in me reach out to the others around me, as You keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

*”When the World Looks at Me” by The Mitchells on We Are So Blessed

**”Do They Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman on First Hand (c)1987 LifeSong Music Press/Stych-N-Him Music/(BMI)

John 14:15-31

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“PEACE I leave with you, My PEACE I give you.  I don’t give to you as the world gives.  Do not LET your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (v 27)

Thanks for the peace You offer and supply, Lord.  Yet I noticed that in this setting that’s conveyed in this passage, You didn’t say those words until after You’d pressed home a point repeatedly with these:

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command” (v 15)

“Whoever has My commands and obeys them, He is the one who loves Me” (v 21)

“…if anyone loves me, he will obey My teaching” (v 23)

“He who does not love me will not obey my teaching” (v 24)

This entire conversation You had with Your disciples followed the example of serving one another that You set when You washed their feet.  Along the way, You pointed out two ways You want Your followers to live:

SERVE ONE ANOTHER AS YOU SERVED

“… He now showed them the full extent of His love … He began to wash His disciples’ feet … [He said,] ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you …” (13:1, 5, 15)

LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS YOU LOVE

“A new command I give you: Love one another.    As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  (13:34-35)

You lay these out as expectations; and then I noticed something else—each time You call for obedience, You reveal a promise:

  • With v. 15, You tell me that You’ll ask the Father to give me another Counselor to be with me forever—the Spirit of truth.  You assure me that You wouldn’t leave me as an orphan, just because You’re not physically here.  But Your Spirit lives with me, is in me, and I know Him, because I know You and the Father.
  • With v. 21, You assure me of the Father’s love and that You love me, Jesus; that You’ll be real to me.
  • With v. 23, You again assure me that the Father loves me.  You also promise that You both will come to me and MAKE YOUR HOME WITH ME.

If I love You, I will obey You.  If I obey You, it shows that I love You.  When I am living in obedience, I can know that Peace You offer and supply, because You, Jesus, and Your Father and Your Spirit will all reside in me.

Just like You said about Yourself (v31), I say too (’cause I wanna be just like You, Jesus): “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (v 31)  Oh! How I need Your help for that to happen.

John 14:15-26

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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All of these words in these final chapters of John are the last conversations You had, Jesus — the final opportunities to speak to Your closest friends before You chose to die in our place.  You shared Your promises, Your expectations, Your wisdom, and Yourself.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (v 16-17a)

Here’s what You said about Your Spirit in regard to me:

  • He’ll teach me all things (v 16-17a)
  • I know Him (v17)
  • He lives with me (v17)
  • He is in me (v 17)
  • He is sent by the Father (v 26)
  • He’ll remind me of everything You’ve said to me (v 26)

Thank You, Jesus, for the gift of Your Holy Spirit as my constant companion.  Thanks for the vital relationship possible with You through Him.  Thanks for Your presence with me always as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen

John 14:1-14

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“Do not LET your hearts be troubled.  TRUST in God; TRUST also in Me.” (v1 NIV)

Father, You are trustworthy.  You have followed through on Your promises in Your sovereign time table throughout the ages.  Thank You for sending Jesus, another fulfillment of Your promises — proving again that I can trust.  Help me to trust You with all of who I am and all that is to come.

One of my calendars has for one month’s message: “Life’s daily struggles lose their power over us when we realize that all things are part of God’s plan … when we realize that He is wise beyond our comprehension and knows exactly what we need each and every day.”

How I really, really need to trust You, Lord!  “Trust does not mean pretending we are strong; it means recognizing our weakness and need for God’s help.  If we believe for a moment that we can follow Jesus on our own strength, we will fail as miserably as Peter.” (Life Application Bible Commentary—John, Osborne, editor, Tyndale, p. 286)

Throughout each day I have a choice in how I will handle whatever trouble comes my way.  I want that choice to be to trust You — to leap into Your arms and allow YOU to carry me through it.  Your strength in me, Your grace at work in me … transforming me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

John 13

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (vv 34-35 NIV)

You waited, Lord.  You waited until after You had demonstrated Your love to Your followers, and then You told them Your expectations.  You set the example by Your actions during the last meal You shared with the twelve:  “… He now showed them the full extent of His love … He poured water in a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet …” (v 1,5 NIV)

Your entire lesson in love was set in an atmosphere of betrayal.  You knew Judas was bent on turning You over to the frothing religious leaders.  You could see the hold that Satan had on him.  You even pointed it out, leaving the door open for change.  But, seeing his intent, You just simply told him–both of you probably looking at each other with that “know-what-you’re-thinking” look–”What you are about to do, do quickly.”

You had washed his feet out of love, knowing he’d be leaving that night to betray You out of greed and misguidance (probably other things too).

How extensive is Your love, Lord.  Grow mine too.  Make me just like Jesus, especially in the way I truly show others that I love them.  Change my heart and make it new.  Amen.

John 12:37-50

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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“When  push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory” (v 43 MSG)

Father, set my eyes on You.  Shape my desires to be for You.  Keep me from chasing after the things the world has, offers, or pushes.  You are my Lord, my true Source of all things, including approval, acceptance, and value.  Because I belong to You, have accepted Your Son’s sacrifice for my sins, You have set Your mark of approval on me.  You have chosen to accept all of me, not only the good parts, but all that’s me.  You have esteemed me, conveying high value of who I am in Your sight.

How silly for me to seek these things from humans.  Even I can’t give others enough of these things; so how could I expect to find any humans who could do such for me?  It ALL goes back to You.  I need You.  I want to be like You, Jesus.  Thank You for accepting me.  Thanks for continuing to transform me.  May my life express YOUR love and mercy to others this day.  Amen.