SWORD: John 1:29-34

John Testifies About Jesus

I really enjoyed studying this passage and found that the more and more I chipped away at the surface of these verses, the more and more wisdom and self-discovery I realized. Here are some notes I took on verses 29-34:

What does this teach us about God?
-Before Jesus had done anything of note he is singled out as God’s sacrifice. Before he had healed, performed miracles, preached & taught. His mission and purpose was laid out for all to hear.
-In Genesis there was a lamb for a man.  In Exodus there was a lamb for a family.  In Leviticus there is a lamb for a nation.  In John its the lamb for the world. (I didn’t come up with this but am borrowing it…wish I could find the original source).

-A Lamb: tenderness, loving, kind, gentle

-THE lamb: uniqueness: there is only one. No one else like him, only way to heaven/essential for salvation.
-v34: Jesus is God’s chosen one.
What do we learn about people?
-John knew his place, his position, his purpose. John cleared the path, showed people their sin and then revealed the solution to their sin.
-We can prepare the path to God for people like John did. Testify, tell others but let’s not forget our place, position and purpose.
-Be bold in your proclamation, look at John, did he “look” like a “model” citizen
Is there a command to obey?
-Believe in Jesus as the one, our messiah
Is there a command to follow?
-Testify, tell others
– Obey, believe and have faith

Root Down!

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And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

I’ve felt this way before, this “now what?” feeling. A few days after giving my life to Christ, I knew there wouldn’t be a transformation immediately, but I was also at a loss on how to “root down” and develop a strength/conditioning program for lasting measure. Persistent prayer (talk to God often), praise (give thanks to God in everything) and dedicate time to study His word (this has to be the easiest part).

This has been my plan since receiving Christ as my savior and giving my life to Him. Just like any human with a “plan”, I’m boy always perfect at it. But that’s what separates religion from relationship. Think about your own relationships, don’t they seem to go better when you take the focus off of you and give your time, attention and affection to the other person? What if you were “religious” with that relationship and told the person you loved them everyday at 9 AM and only gave them about 2 hours of your time a week (but no more)? It probably would feel forced and not last very long, right? That is the difference between religiosity and being in a relationship.

I hope my own experiences help you in some way, stay rooted!

I am a sinner and this is my friend

Becoming a Christian does not mean an end of sinning. The battle between flesh and spirit is something the Apostle Paul struggled with (and wrote about). He considered himself chief among sinners. The good news is… that’s who Christ loves.

I was inspired to share this post after reading this verse in Psalm 69:6 as part of the Essential Jesus reading plan from YouVersion:

“Lord, the Lord Almighty,
may those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me.” http://bible.us/ps69.6.niv

Then, while driving down the 101 on our recent family vacation, I listened closely to the lyrics to the Casting Crowns song, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” and it reminded me of our words and actions as Christians. Are we swinging the sword of righteousness and driving people away from Christ or are we loving people in such a way to draw people to Jesus?

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

The eyes of the world are on us as Christians. Do our lives reflect Christ? Our actions speak volumes. We draw people to Christ, or drive them away, often by the things we say and do.

All of this reminded me to think, live and act intentionally to reflect Christ’s love and bring them to Him. What do you think?

SOAP Day 276

S: 1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:1-3 NIV

O: This verse is a good (frequent) reminder to be aware that many will appear “Christian” from the outside (much like the Pharisees), but their confidence lies within these outward appearances (going to church, church membership, etc.). This verse reminds us to NOT put our confidence (con = with, fide = faith) in these things but in Christ Jesus and to serve God by the Spirit, not our own volition.

A: I catch myself falling into this myself. I’ll see a situation or fear what people might think if I do or don’t do something that is “Christian”. I need to rely more (and solely) on the Spirit, pray continually and give praise to God who has done all of these things for me.

P:  Father God, thank You for your wisdom, guidance and provisions. Thank You for being a gracious God to us. Please continually reside in our hearts and be our beacon, remind us where our faith lies and help us avoid falling into these pitfalls that can make us stumble. We give all the glory to You, Father, in Jesus name we pray, amen.