Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.
“I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going. John 14:23-31
Hello, what a passage today! I trust today greets you with a smile! Life is wonderful when we are living in God’s will. I am simply amazed at how much God has worked in my heart regarding my husband and my marriage. It is exhilarating to see the work He is doing in my husband too. It seems to be slow going and like it will never end, but it is amazing to see how things have changed from the first day 4 years ago to this day.
Oh what fun we’ll have today. Lets get straight to the notes…
Note on verses 22, 23
Because the disciples were still expecting Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom and overthrow Rome, they found it hard to understand why he did not tell the world at large that he was the Messiah. Not everyone, however, could understand Jesus’ message. Ever since Pentecost, the Good News of the Kingdom has been proclaimed in the whole world, and yet not everyone is receptive to it. Jesus saves the deepest revelations of himself for those who love and obey him.
Isn’t that the truth? When we were new believers in Christ, we were just that, infants in the realm of believing in Christ. In our infancy, we could only understand so much, we had to grow in our faith through experiencing Christ at each new level. As we grew, we learned to depend on Him with each new obstacle or trial that we had to work through and overcome. Because we are so fragile, we can only take so much at a time. Think of Moses and the Israelites. When Moses came down from the mount to give the commandments to the children of Israel, they begged him to veil his face because the glory of God reflecting off of him was more than they could bear. They couldn’t even look upon Moses until he veiled his face. If the children of Israel couldn’t bear the reflected glory of God, or in other words, the revelation of God, then how can we withstand the deeper revelations of Jesus all at once? Jesus reveals Himself in parts, little by little to those who follow Him.
Another way of looking at it is like a game of Clue. As we work through each of the rooms and encounter different aspects of the scene, we start to piece together the puzzle, or as Paul said in his writings, the mystery of Jesus. Little by little, He reveals another aspect of Himself, His life, His will for us and for the world at large. We may never reach the final clue until we reach the other side of eternity, but He continually gives new clues to us as we continue down the path of righteousness. Each new stone that we uncover, He gives us something new to spur us on to the next milestone in our journey.
We wouldn’t be able to survive if Jesus revealed Himself to us all at one time. We would literally be destroyed. We are finite beings, and we are not equipped in this state of sin to handle the perfect being of Christ. When we are made perfect, as Adam & Eve were in the beginning, then we will know Christ fully.
Am I making sense? Well, on to the next note…
Note on verse 26
Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them remember what he had been teaching them. This promise ensures the validity of the New Testament. The disciples were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and teachings, and the Holy Spirit helped them remember without taking away their individual perspectives. We can be confident that the Gospels are accurate records of what Jesus taught and did (see 1 Corinthians 2:10-14). The Holy Spirit can help us in the same way. As we study the Bible, we can trust him to plant truth in our mind, convince us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from it.
The Holy Spirit does a lot for us. He does plant truth in our mind, convince us of God’s will, and reminds us when we stray from it, but then the responsibility falls on our shoulders to do what the Spirit is guiding us to do. If the Holy Spirit reminds us to get back on track, we are the ones that have to work that have to get back on track. Make no mistake, He helps us along the way, but we do the work. He guides, we follow. He doesn’t guide and then do the work for us. That is where we can get goofed up sometimes, expecting God to do it all. That is simply not the way that He has designed it. Yes, God could do it for us. He is powerful enough to make us do whatever He wants us to do, but we must first demonstrate that we want to do His will. We must take that first step and then He will give us the strength to move to the next step. We do the action, He supplies the desire and strength and then strengthens our desire. It is a constant circle of one thing leading to the other.
One other thing I want to comment about on this note is that the Lord does not take away our individuality. I have two thoughts on this actually, one about my husband and one about my church. First, my husband believes that I am to become one with him in our marriage by giving up myself and looking solely to his wants and desires. While much of that is true, it is meant to go in the reverse too. The Lord has given me to him in marriage, he has given me his name and I am to spend my life in service to God by submission to my husband. There is no doubt about that, but in Ephesians 5:21, before Paul gets into the roles of wives and husbands, he clearly says, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. That means that I am to submit to my husband and he is to submit to me. That does not mean that I have authority over my husband, but in Romans 12:10, Paul says this, Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. (Contemporary English Version) It is in the honoring, or as the King James says it, preferring, one another, in this case, husband and wife, that we truly honor God. When we hold others in higher esteem than we hold ourselves, we are no longer focused on our own wants and needs but the needs of those who we regard as more honorable than ourselves. It is a natural response to preferring or honoring others over ourselves. And that is what it means to submit to one another and that is what it means to become one, yet we remain individuals in the marriage.
The other thought is about my previous church. (I have to remember to call it that.) They are so good at the doing of ‘preferring one another’ yet the whole concept of individuality got lost somewhere. There came a point where individuality was lost through the overbearing governing church body, ‘no member is greater than the body.’ While this is true, to dismiss a member simply on the grounds of not fitting the mold is wrong thinking. Ahhh well, such is life. It happens in every church, not just mine. Next note…
Note on verse 27
The end result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is deep and lasting peace. Unlike worldly peace, which is usually defined as the absence of conflict, this peace is confident assurance in any circumstance; with Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future. If your life is full of stress, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ’s peace (see Philippians 4:6, 7 for more on experiencing God’s peace).
This one, as I’m sure you are well aware if you are a regular reader of mine, is not something that I have easily done. We all face times of hardship where we think life isn’t worth living, not even for God. We just want out, or we want to give up. I would almost suggest that without times of total despair, we really haven’t learned or experienced fully God and His wonderful grace and mercy. We haven’t felt in the depths of our soul His love and forgiveness. Jesus said, I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Luke 7:47 I do not recommend eagerly living a life full of sin and debauchery in order to be forgiven much and shown God’s abundant grace. However, I am assured that no matter how much I sin, God’s grace is far more abundant than I need. And because I understand that I am not perfect, that I fail from time to time, I know that God is able and bigger than anything that I encounter or do or fail to do. I can feel God more deeply because of the experiences that I have had. I do not wish them on anyone, but I am thankful for them because of the closeness I have experienced with God through them. I hope that isn’t to confusing…
Note on verses 27-29
Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him.
Whooohhhoooo! Here we have a difficult thing to understand. Jesus most assuredly offers His Spirit and through the Spirit, comfort in place of conflict. So, why then do we as Christians constantly have to deal with sin, fear, uncertainty and doubt along with all the other forces? The answer is simple, we may pray over and over about it, but we never fully give it to Him and allow Him to carry our burden for us. By the same token, we also aren’t willing to accept the peace that He offers. Instead, we would rather drown in our misery than have the peace that He provides.
That makes no sense you say? Well, sure it doesn’t, unless you look at what sin is then it makes perfect sense. Think about it, Jeremiah says that the “heart is desperately wicked.” If that is the case, we love misery and misery loves company; therefore, we would rather live in misery and bring you into our company than live in perfect peace, knowledge and understanding of Christ. If we live in misery, we are living in this kingdom, the same as everyone else. When we chose to live in God’s kingdom and live in His Spirit, then we exude confidence and peace in all the situations that life offers us or dumps on us. Then we stand out and are noticed for being different than the rest of the world.
So, we must be willing to accept Jesus’ comfort, which may not seem like comfort by this world’s standards. The key here is to understand that His comfort rests in the fact that He has taken notice. He knows what we endure and not only that, He endures it with us. And finally, one day, He will give us that which we are due. By accepting His peace, we accept His kingdom and turn from this world’s standards. By accepting His peace, we are essentially saying, it does not matter what happens to me here in this world. I will be with Jesus one day and this won’t matter. That is what His peace really is, the expectation of the realization of His kingdom. Lovely isn’t it? Isn’t it hard to get into and live in that mindset?
One final thought on this, Jesus won’t force His comfort on us. He won’t force His peace on us. He won’t force any little bit of Himself on us. Only when we ask Him to come into our hearts will He comply. And if, after we have asked Him to come into our hearts, we turn from Him again, He will simply wait until we are ready to turn to Him again and invite Him back into our hearts. My point is that God granted us the freedom to love Him or hate Him. He has enough power to withhold Himself should we decided to back away from Him. By the same token, He is always there with us, just withholding Himself from us when we force Him from our side. He waits patiently while we go through life on our own, waiting for us to seek Him. Then, He comes to us with the soft, gentle power that makes Him our God and redeemer.
Note on verse 28
As God the Son, Jesus willingly submits to God the Father. On earth, Jesus also submitted to many of the physical limitations of his humanity (Philippians 2:6).
We all know that it is so very hard to submit to anyone, especially if we think that they are wrong! Yet, Jesus did and so should we. How often do we right off submission in favor of ‘doing what we believe is right.’ The question at the heart of all of our actions and thoughts should be ‘ what will glorify God the most?’ If the answer is to submit to those in authority over us for a time until God changes things, as in the case of Sarah submitting to her husband Abraham, or is it more like Abigail stepping out in faith and doing the right thing, in spite of her husband, Nabal’s, foolishness? I think the answer lies primarily on where we are at that present moment in our life and our journey of faith. What has God taught us up to that point? In what ways has He revealed Himself to us and taught us His word through His Spirit? We are individuals within Christ’s church and therefore, we are all at different stages. I can assure you that there are people out there that understand more and deeper things than I do. I can also assure you that there are people who are new believers that don’t understand half as much as I do. Each of us will handle our situations differently based on what God has made us to understand of Himself up to that point in our lives… I know, I’m preaching again…sorry.
Note on verses 30, 31
Although Satan, the prince of this world was unable to overpower Jesus (Matthew 4), he still had the arrogance to try. Satan’s power exists only because God allows him to act. But because Jesus is sinless, Satan has no power over him. If we obey Jesus and align ourselves closely with God’s purposes, Satan can have no power over us.
There was a movie that came out in the mid-80’s that has simply been a very powerful influence on my imagination and the staying power of a good and right spirit within a person. Now, when I tell you what the movie is and describe it to you, you may think I’ve gone stark raving mad, but I implore you to hear me out and try to understand. You know, on second thought, I don’t think that I’ll go into great detail about this movie. But, the last scene was so powerful to me when I was a child and it makes perfect sense to me regarding the above note about Satan having no power over me.
In the final scene, the young girl stands in front of the goblin king and states, so aptly what a person of faith must come to…
Sarah: Give me the child.
Jareth: Sarah, beware. I have been generous up until now, but I can be cruel.
Sarah: Generous! What have you done that’s generous?
Jareth: Everything! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me. I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn’t that generous?
Sarah: Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city, for my will is as strong as yours and my—
Jareth: Stop! Wait! Look, Sarah. Look what I’m offering you – your dreams.
Sarah: And my kingdom is great.
Jareth: I ask for so little. Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want.
Sarah: Kingdom is great … Damn! I can never remember that line.
Jareth: Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.
Sarah: My kingdom is great. My kingdom is great.
[IN DAWNING REALIZATION]
You have no power over me. You have no power over me!
I have been fascinated with this movie since I first caught a glimpse of it when I was a young child on vacation in a motel room where my parents fell asleep with the TV on. I woke up in the middle of this movie and couldn’t stop watching it. This movie captivated me for years and it still has a powerful call on me, not because of the content of the movie, but because of the theme of it. Since I became a Christian, it took on a whole new meaning for me. As with most entertainment venues whether movie, theatre, books etc., many times the theme is about good verses bad. Such was the case in this movie. I cannot say that it is a perfect representation of the stand that we must take against the devil, but the essence is clearly similar. We must confront the devil and tell him that he has no power over us, no matter what he offers, because what he has to offer is death. He wants our devotion and adoration and he promises the world. Which is his right to promise since he is the prince of this world, but God offers life and eternity. Which do you choose?
Well, today’s post was rather lengthy and I hope that you found sound reasoning in all my ramblings. In all things, God deserves our glory. In all ways, we are to live for Him. And in return, He will supply our every need and go one step further and give us our hearts desires too. This is good and right and perfect in His sight, unlike the promises of the devil. To God be all the glory, forever and ever amen!
Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 I give my body to You because of all You have done for me. Let my body be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind You will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship You. I won’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but I will let You transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. Then I will learn to know Your will for me, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 Amen.
May God provide the increase.
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