John 13:3-5

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

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Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God;” (v. 3 NIV)

Jesus knew Himself inside and out, as God’s Son and the human representation of our Creator and Father God. He knew His strength (power), identity, and destiny.
HIS STRENGTH – that the Father had put all things under His power
HIS IDENTITY – that He had come from God
HIS DESTINY – that He would be returning to God
Knowing who He is, fully understanding Himself, He chose to serve others.

Do we know ourselves? Do we know who we are when we are followers of Jesus, when we are “in Christ,” as the Scriptures describe His followers?
OUR STRENGTH – that we can do ALL things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13) and we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5)—through Whom ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26).
OUR IDENTITY – that we are daughters and sons “of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-27 NIV), upon whom He lavishes His love (1 John 3:1)
OUR DESTINY – that our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await our Savior’s return, who will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21); that He has given us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us as a deposit to guarantee our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14) that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for us who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of His salvation upon His return. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
When we know who we are in Christ, we can set ourselves aside confidently and serve others, following the example of Jesus.

When Jesus demonstrated serving others in the upper room as He washed the disciples’ grimy feet, He went through some basic steps and movements which can be insight for us as we move ourselves toward selfless service to others. (See John 13:4-5.)

GOT UP“so He got up from the meal” (v. 4)
Jesus left His comfortable situation or position at the table. He didn’t just lie back and describe His idea to the group or preach to them as He’d often done in other settings. This time, He chose to set an example for them right before their eyes.
How willing are we to get up from wherever our comfort zone has us?

TOOK OFF“took off His outer clothing” (v 4)
He let go of His image among those around Him. They had been perceiving Him as a Teacher, leader, Messiah, and Son of God. His actions most likely raised a few eyebrows in wonder.
When we’ve been known in one way by those around us, do we have the boldness to step out in ways the more closely reflect our Savior?

WRAPPED“wrapped a towel around His waist” (v. 4)
Jesus chose to reflect the image of a servant in the culture around Him. He never did espouse the image that so many expected the King of Kings to have—not in His lowly birth in a stable to His death on a tree.
Will we conform to this world’s pattern of behavior and expectations or choose to imitate Jesus?

POURED“He poured water into a basin” (v. 5)
He prepared the tools for serving others. Not even waiting around for someone else to do something or hand Him something, Jesus got what He needed and did what was required so that others could be blessed by His genuine humility.
For what are we waiting?

BEGAN TO WASH“began to wash His disciples’ feet” (v. 5)
As Jesus washed the feet of the men who had walked hundreds of miles with Him, He cleansed toes, soles and heels of some who doubted, angered easily, were proud, thought they should have places of honor, and one who would betray. He showed no favoritism as He served those with Him.
When we serve, are we looking for certain recipients or willing to serve any the Lord puts in our path with the resources or means that He provides?

DRYING“drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him” (v. 5)
Jesus involved Himself fully in completing His service to others. He didn’t ask someone in the room to hand Him a towel or to follow Him and do the drying. He used what He had with Him to complete the service He started. At other times, He did delegate tasks to others in order to serve. In this particular instance, He chose to be the servant, allowing the others to experience the blessing of being served.
How’s our follow through when the Lord prompts us to serve with what He’s equipped or supplied us?

A number of years after our Lord showed us this example of serving others, He used the pen of Paul to exhort us. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7). In another passage, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians prompts us to “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men” (Eph 6:7).

Jesus took several opportunities, like the one recorded by John, to demonstrate His servant’s heart and to draw us to follow His example. Now, the willingness, boldness, Christ-likeness, initiative, impartiality, and follow-through are traits we can choose to employ … or not. Will we seek to be served or serve like Jesus?

Hebrews 13

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, You have promised me, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.”  Help me to always boldly say, “God is here, ready to help me; I’m fearless no matter what.  Who or what can get to me?”  Make this confidence run in me consistently.  For You, Jesus, do not change–yesterday, today, tomorrow.  You’re always totally Yourself.  Your grace is the only good ground for my life.

You are the God of peace.  You “put all things together, make all things whole.”  You made a “lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus.”  You “led Jesus, our Great Shepherd up and alive from the dead.”  Now, Father, You equip me with everything I need to do Your will, to please You.  Make me into what gives You the most pleasure, through Jesus–to whom belongs all glory and praise forever.  Oh, yes, yes, yes!

Hebrews 12

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, many, many faithful lives have gone before me–they were “pioneers who blazed the way, veterans cheering [me] on.”  Because of their faithfulness, generation after generation has been blessed.

Now, it’s my turn.  You have pointed out to Your people, including me, in Exodus 20:1-6, that nobody, nothing is to be God besides You; and that when I choose to obey You in this way, when I choose to love You more than absolutely ANYthing else, I have the power to influence “a thousand generations!” (20:6).  My obedience to You, my seeking You first, my fear and awe of You, my delight in You can all come together by Your hand. By this promise (and if You don’t send Jesus back for a while), a thousand generations from now, someone could be thanking You that I loved You and lived my life for You every step of the way.

So, Lord, as I run this race, help me to never quit seeking YOU first–“no extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins—[Keeping my] eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race I’m in.  Prompt and help [me] to study how He did it.  Because He never lost sight of where He was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with You! –He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever.  And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside You.”

When I choose to follow You, Lord, I have everything I need.  I get my needs taken care of by seeking Your kingdom before seeking anything else.  (Matthew 6:33)

When my walk is in obedience to Your will, there is no good thing that You withhold from me. (Ps 84:11)

When I delight in You, when I find my joy, my fun, my excitement in YOU, You give me the desires of my heart—sometimes even replacing mine with Your own. (Psalm 37:4)

When I fear You with an awe and respect for Who You are, there is nothing I lack.  (Ps 34:9-10)

When I am serious about and focused on following You, Lord, I can go through anything!  YOU are my Shepherd and may I not want anymore, and may I never want any other Shepherd or god.  I have everything I need. Thank you for Your goodness and mercy!  Amen.

Hebrews 11

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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This thing called “faith”–the basic part of my existence–trusting in You, Lord, is the “firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s [my] handle on what [I] can’t see.”

Life after life is paraded before me when I read the verses of this chapter.  The lives of people who held onto Your promises and believed You would do what You said.  Each one died without the end result of the promise in their hand, yet they still believed.  “They saw it was off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world.  It was obvious they were looking for their true home.  Your plan, Lord, brings their faith [and my faith (every believer’s)] together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”

Father, may my faith be spoken of with honor just as these people back then.

May my faith:
• stand firm even when I can’t see what I believe in.
• make the offering of myself, laid before You as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2), a gift that’s pleasing to You.
• “draw a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world” as Noah’s did.
• bring me into a more intimate relationship with You.
• hold onto the far-off vision You give and move me to simply follow You toward what You promise or show me… working out or walking through the little details to get there (even the ones that make no sense or seem like “have-tos” with no visible purpose….right now.
• help me to trust You to do what seems impossible to me.
• reach into the future as I touch other lives.
• strengthen me to let go of the pleasures of this world, to not worry about making sure I have fun here; but may I find my joy in You instead–consumed by You, used by You, led by You, fed by You …It’s ALL about YOU!
• look for the phenomenal in the ordinary, the dry ground where there’s usually sea.
• trust You and obey You even in the face of imposing “walls.”

You, Jesus, are the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  You have written it on my heart and You continue to edit and add chapter after chapter.  How wonderful it will be when the chapters here on earth are brought to a close and that “last” page reads “The Beginning.”  Then!  You’ll write the sequel!

Keep strengthening and growing my faith and making me just like Jesus!  Amen.

Hebrews 10

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” (v.14 The Message)

By that single offering, Lord, You did “everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process—[including me] … Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.”

So now I can– “without hesitation—walk right up to You, into ‘the Holy Place.’  Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of His sacrifice, acting as [my] priest before You.  The ‘curtain’ into Your presence is His body.”

So, may I step forward– “full of belief, confident that [I’m] presentable inside an out.  Help [me] to keep a firm grip on the promises that keep [me] going. You always keep Your Word.  Guide [me] in seeing how inventive [I] can be in encouraging, loving and helping out others, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring others on, especially as [I see] the big Day approaching” when I get to see You face-to-face!

Oh! on that day, may I be found crawling up into Your lap … or perhaps, You’ll pick me up and hold me near to Your heart!  Keep me faithful to You here in this life, Father … so that I’ll get to hear You say, “Well done!” on that Day.  Help me to stick it out, staying with Your plan so I’ll see the ‘completion’ You’ve promised.  By Your strength, I’m no quitter who loses out.  Oh, no!  I can be determined to stay with it and survive, trusting You all the way.

You have made me. . .
… someone who knows the One who said, “Blessed are the children …” and through whom those who meet me can encounter this One who came to love them and save them.
… someone who can direct others to You for all that they need.
… someone to whom You’ve entrusted a portion of Your riches so that my life can function, can be equipped and can make an impact on lives here that need You, that need to be reminded that they need You or that they belong to You and You love them.
… someone who is truly able, because of You, to set an example of a woman who first belongs to You–heart, body, mind and soul– someone You can use to move another heart closer to Your own, simply by the choices she makes … even the tough ones of setting aside her own will for the higher purpose of pointing another life to You–a purpose that has an impact on eternity –way beyond the moment (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

Only YOU, Lord, can fine-tune my heart to want what You want and not what I want or what others or the world tells me I should seek …  Go at it, Lord!  just like You’re already at work doing in me …and keep making me a little more like Jesus each step of Our journey together.  Amen

Hebrews 9

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Oh, Daddy! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! that “through the Spirit, Jesus offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing [me] from all those dead-end efforts to make [myself] respectable,” so that I can live all out for You!

Jesus, thanks for entering–not simply “the earthly version of the Holy Place, but–the Place Itself,” and You offered Yourself to our Father as the sacrifice for my sins forever!

You alone, O Lord, have made me clean… You declare me to be righteous, in right standing with You.  You have set me apart, made me holy.  You have freed me from the grip of sin.  You have called me Your very own daughter.   Thank You for Your mercy–for not giving me what I deserve.  Thanks for Your grace–for giving me far more than I deserve.  Keep on shaping my heart to resemble Your very own.  oh, yes! (amen)

Hebrews 8

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, You awakened me this morning and greeted me with Your new mercy.  You are with me throughout the day as I walk in Your grace and as You guide me by Your Spirit.

This portion of the book of Hebrews is a reminder of how You chose to put away the old regulations and ceremonies under the old covenant that You made with Abraham and Moses.  You chose to create something wonderfully new in and through Jesus, just so that I could personally and intimately know You!

You said, “This new plan I’m making with My people isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled on stone; This time I’m writing out the plan IN them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.  I’ll be their God, they’ll be My people.  They won’t go to school to learn about Me, or buy a book called ‘God in Five Easy Lessons.’  They’ll all get to know Me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great.  They’ll get to know Me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.”

Thank You for the freedom to know You personally!  May the warmth of Your presence surround me this day! Draw me near to Your heart and into Your Word for some refreshment and just a chance to enjoy Your presence, when We get to be alone together.  Keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.