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?

Keep the Faith

Fight the good fightCrossbox
Finish the race
And through it all
Keep the faith

With so many witnesses around us
Let us throw off all that hinders us
And with determination inside
Our eyes on Christ, the crucified
We’ll not grow weary or lose heart
As we run the race right from the start
We’ve got to

Fight the good fight
Finish the race
And through it all
Keep the faith

Forgetting all that’s behind me
Straining to reach what’s ahead
Straight to the goal, I’m runnin’ ahead
Jesus promised in what He said
God will fill those whose desires
Are to do just what He requires

I have fought the good fight
Finished the race
And through it all
I’ve kept the faith
Through it all
Through it all
Through it all
I’ve kept the faith.

LISTEN TO THE ORIGINAL SONG – click here  (This is an mp3 file that will most likely need to be downloaded from a Dropbox folder/account.  Please notify of broken links.)

Lyrics ©1983 Kat Kreations/Kathi Isbell. Set to music by Steve Ross.
Performed by Daystar 85-86 St. Louis Christian College ensemble.  Lead vocals: Steve Ross; Guitar: Shawn Doggett

Bridal Prayer

The moment is here, and I can hardly believeWedProgram
that you, my groom, and I, your bride,
very soon will be named “husband and wife.”
I’ve been eagerly waiting for this day to come,
when we embark on our journey together,
no longer as two, but now as one.

(Chorus)
And my bridal prayer shall be…
That our marriage will reflect
our Father’s perfect design
for the union of a woman and man.
that our hearts will nurture
our Savior’s passion divine
for a richer walk with His hands in ours.
May our Lord’s desires become our own
as we grow closer to Him and one another.

I’m wanting to be all that you’ve wanted in me,
as I grow in the grace of God.
Rev’rent and pure, loving, gentle and kind,
I’ll be submitted to you as you are to Christ.
I give fully to you my loving devotion,
and await the years of life we’ll share.

(Chorus)

This is my bridal prayer
for our marriage, for our hearts, for our love

(Chorus)
May our Lord’s desires become our own
as we grow closer to Him and one another.

LISTEN to the original recording: click here 
(Please report any broken links. The mp3 file is in a Dropbox folder and may need to be downloaded.)

Lyrics © Kat Kreations/Kathi Isbell. Set to music by Tamara Carson Hogan.
Performed by Sherry Colclasure Bopp for her wedding day.

Revelation 22

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“Behold, I am coming Soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (v 12 NIV)

Lord Jesus, Come!  How I long for the Day when I’ll see You face to face, when I’ll be transformed, when this life will be gone and all eternity will be before us together in Your presence!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End … I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” (v 13, 16 NIV)

You spoke the first word that began Your creation’s existence.  You’ll have the last word in Your creation’s redemption and judgment.  You created Your people, the lineage that You preserved throughout human history and to which You grafted those born of the Spirit, not the flesh.  From that lineage, You were born into a human body that would be the light of this world, so that sin may be exposed, forgiveness might be seen, and the path to You, Father, might be illuminated.

As I await Your return, keep me continually in Your Word, regularly in communion with You, and faithfully in service to You in this world.  Keep on transforming me to be more like Jesus until the Day I am embraced by You in person.  Amen.

Revelation 21

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…and God himself will be with them…” (v 1, 3 NIV)

Long ago, Father, You spoke through prophets to Your people.  Then, You came as Your Son, Jesus, to walk among us.  When He returned to Your side, You gave us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.  One day we have the sure promise of being with YOU in person.  (How much longer, Daddy?)

“…’Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (v 9-10 NIV)

John writes a description of this city, symbolizing Your Church, that involves words which convey its nature.

  • Because I am part of Your Church, this description is of what You are making of me. Its brilliance and foundation are described as precious jewels–You consider me precious in Your sight (Isaiah 43:4).
  • Over and over in this book that You led John to write, certain numbers have symbolized perfection. Here there are twelve gates, twelve foundations and its measurements are multiples of twelve. By the blood of Your Son and Your overwhelming grace, You are at work to present me perfect, mature and complete.
  • This city is described as “pure gold” and its street too — You are at work to refine me, to purify me, so that I might be holy and blameless in Your sight.

Keep at it, Lord, as You continue to make me just like Jesus until I’m with You for eternity. Amen.

Revelation 20

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven… He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years … to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.  After that, he must be set free for a short time…

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations… to gather them for battle … “ (v 1-3, 7-8 NIV)

You reveal here, Father, just how incredibly evil the enemy is.  You also reveal Your sovereign power over him, since he is a created being.

“…In number they are like the sand on the seashore.  They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (v 8-10 NIV)

The troops of evil gather around Your people and yet, there IS NO BATTLE.  YOU destroy them in one swoop of fire from heaven!  You demonstrate again Your sovereignty, Your omnipotence and Your holiness.

Not only do the spiritual beings who are evil taste Your judgment, but we who are human do as well.  “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (v 15 NIV).  Those who have been faithful to You get to hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)  However, You don’t reward unfaithfulness or the lives who had no faith in You at all, never accepting Your Son.

“Each person was judged according to what he had done” (Revelation 20:13 NIV).  Based on what You’ve said in the rest of Your Word, this is not saying that we’re saved by what we do.  Yet, a person’s actions are vivid indicators of where a person’s heart has set its devotion and affection and faith.  (See James 4:14, 18, 20-24, 26.)

Thanks, Father, for where my name is.  I’m at Your mercy and dependent on You for the strength to remain faithful to You.  Keep on making me like Jesus and growing my faith in You.  Amen.

Revelation 19

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride had made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)”  (v 6-8 NIV)

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands… These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 1:9, 14 NIV)

Father, what a day it will be to finally be in Your presence for eternity!  Until that Day You are preparing Your Bride, Your Church–that includes me!  You are at work in my life to prepare me for “the wedding of the Lamb.”

You began with giving me “fine linen” or a “white robe” that’s been made “white in the blood of the Lamb” when I accepted Your Son as my Lord and Savior.  It is YOUR righteous act in my life that make me Yours and ready.  As Paul wrote to Titus: “…when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewed by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7 NIV)

Thank You, Father, that EVERYTHING You do in me here in this life to make me more like Jesus is preparing me for a transformed body and eternity with Your in heaven.  Amen.