John 7 & 8
It matters whether or not you and I love the Lord. Chapters 7 and 8 of John are all about the confusion and distrust of the people in considering Jesus and the Way He was preaching. If we love Him, we will want to follow His Way; we will want to please Him. If we love Him, we will know Him. The following sentences (confessions) are meant to position Jesus properly in our lives, to overcome our own little confusions, traditions, and lack of trust. Say them out loud to yourself. They help me. I hope they help you.
If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come (1 Corinthians 16:22)!
That’s a strong and fearsome statement. I certainly don’t want to be accused, and I’m sure you don’t either.
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11).
John 5 & 6
The words of Jesus are not suggestions. What He says is mandatory. If we want to please Him we will do what He says, and what He says is not something that takes away our fun. His words, in fact, enhance our lives. Remember, fun and sin are not the same. Sin might seem fun, but only momentarily. Sin is designed by Satan to ruin your life. The joy of the Lord, however, gives you strength, and peace, and rejoicing!
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him (John 2:11).
John 3 & 4
21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Fathers who sent Me.” (John 14:21–24).
How does Jesus know that we love Him? If we keep His words. How do we know that we love Jesus? By keeping His words. Make an area in your journal to write down all the words in John that Jesus actually says. Normally those words are written in red ink. As you find them, apply yourself to doing them.
John 1 & 2
To begin our study of John, I present to you Eugene Peterson’s introduction to the book of John as written in his Message Bible. Keep this explanation in mind whenever you read the book of John. This is how the Kingdom of God works.
The Book of John
Having finished Romans, we’re now going to dissect John, which happens to be my favorite book of the Bible. Apparently, for centuries, this Gospel was ignored. The church fathers found it to be vapid. I find it to be diametrically opposite. Not even Song of Solomon matches the tenor of love expressed by this writer. John’s completely platonic love of this man, Jesus, goes far beyond the bounds we know as love. May we, through our study, transform our love life—first for Jesus, then for our brothers and sisters in Christ, then for our world—into what love was designed to perform: to become one with God Almighty. That is the chief reason why Jesus came to the earth: to present His Father in truth and to bring us to Him as children, climbing onto His lap.
Early in my walk with the Lord, He asked me to go and love the world and not be concerned with who loved me. I’ll be perfectly honest. I can only do that from His lap. My heart forgives and loves easily; it’s my mind that gives me the problem. Always analyzing, always figuring, always wanting to be in control, always finding fault with those who don’t love me. After listening to my mind for a while, I then remember to Whom I belong, and I climb back up into His lap.
Romans 14 - 16
If you are reading this, I hope you are God’s servant. He calls us sons (yes, women too, we’re all sons, just like we’re all the bride of Christ), but we can call ourselves servants. I like to think of myself as His love slave. But as such—slave, servant, child—who can possibly judge us? Only God! Recently, I heard some gossip about a fellow missionary. People are saying the Lord told her to go home, but she won’t listen. Where do people get such information? One thing is for certain: they didn’t get that from God! He does not gossip about His children. The only key we need to someone else’s life is this: is Jesus their Lord? If not, get them saved. If yes, accept them at face value. We don’t need to judge them. They belong to God.
A friend of mine likes to give balloons to her audience. She has them blow one up and consider their breath to carry all the criticisms they have made of other people, all the derogatory remarks, in fact, every negative word to have come out of their lips. Then she has them stick a pin in the balloon to explode it and let the words fall to the ground, void. The second balloon is to carry redemptive words to be spoken where the destructive words were said. When the balloon is full, she has them release it to spin around in the air, spilling out all the positive words to fill the space.
Romans 12 & 13
Romans is clearly the book of the new birth. Perhaps that’s why it is strategically placed after the Gospels, in which Jesus worked with the Holy Spirit, and after Acts, in which the Apostles worked with the Holy Spirit. Now it is time, after these descriptions of what to do, for the people of God to work with the Holy Spirit, and Romans starts us at the starting gate: get born again! And then get baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Just as a point of review, when we are born again, the Holy Spirit moves into our spirit and never leaves us or forsakes us, no matter how stupid our human behavior may be. However, if we want His power to work in and with us, we must have His baptism, as that is when power comes upon us. That power doesn’t stay steady, we can lose it and regain it all day long. As Marilyn Hickey says, we leak. He’s always there, but we need the Anointing for the power to work. How do we get and keep that Anointing? That’s what the rest of the Bible will teach us.
Romans 9 - 11
Out in the world, where the Bible has little bearing, people wonder about things like “who are the children of God?” “Isn’t everybody born of God? After all, He created everything, so we must all be His children.” In these three chapters, 9, 10 and 11, Paul settles these kind of questions for the Romans. Perhaps they wrote and asked him, we don’t know. But we do know his answers, and they are still true today. Look at what he says to them about the children of God.
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed (Romans 9:8).
Solid matter, children born through a fleshly process, these are not children of God, even though He created them. He tells the Romans that God’s children are His through some mystical means he is calling a promise. He's starting a discourse here to explain Christianity.
The eighth chapter of Romans is one of the most critical, or important, parts of the Bible. It tells us who we are, while it also explains the Trinity. The word trinity does not appear in the Bible; however, God’s existence in three persons, or three personalities, is clearly demonstrated by The Word of God. Each part of God is equal to, is as powerful as, and is as much God as the other parts. But, as in all organizational plans, by necessity, there is a hierarchy.
God the Father is the ultimate authority. Jesus the Son is the Head of the Church. That word church has two biblical meanings: “the individual who belongs to (has surrendered to) Jesus Christ.” The second meaning is “an assembly of such persons, whether it be two or thousands.” In other words, the word church means “people.” In the Bible, it never means buildings or hierarchies. The Holy Spirit acts by living inside each believer as teacher, guide, counselor, and comforter. He is the one out of the three that operates on the earth, and He is in contact with every human being. Jesus meets with His five-fold ministry teammates, and God the Father oversees it all and has the final decision.
Romans 6 & 7
The Word of God is a holy book. It expresses the very essence of God. So let’s start this month’s study by answering the question: What does the Word of God say about the Word of God?
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it,”(Isaiah 55:11).
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away,”(Matthew 24:35).
Writing has been in my blood, so to speak, but when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and He told me to write, all my trepidations rolled away and I began in earnest! After all, if God Almighty says it was His idea that I be a writer, who am I to stand in His way? My hope is that you not only like what I write, but that your life is moved by it, and that your party to Jesus and with Jesus turns your life into days of Heaven on Earth.