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Posts Tagged ‘John’s Gospel’

What You Are NOT

January 8, 2016 2 comments

 During a recent interview about Titus Ray, the main character in my Christian fiction series, I was asked to describe some of his personality traits. By doing so, I came up with some attributes, which point out what Titus is not: He is not an extrovert. He is not a scholar. He is not a family man.

By pinpointing what a person is NOT, a picture emerges about what a person is. The apostle John does this in the Gospel of John. He says, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” John 1:6-8.

Perhaps the most important attribute about John the Baptist was what he was NOT. He wasn’t the Messiah; He wasn’t the Light; He wasn’t our Savior. He had to reiterate this several times during his ministry. Every time he did so, he was able to tell people who he really was. He was a witness sent to point people to the real Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are other examples in Scripture of what people were NOT: Joseph was not an adulterous slave boy. David was not an intimidated shepherd. Daniel was not a cowered exile. Paul was not a timid follower of Christ.

How would you answer this question, “What are you NOT?”

How you answer that question will enable you to see what you are. The NOT realization of what he was helped John to know his role. He wasn’t the Light, but he was to tell about the Light. Perhaps you’re NOT a Sunday School teacher, but you can be a Sunday School member. Perhaps you’re NOT a teacher of the Bible, but you can read the Bible. Perhaps you’re NOT a prayer warrior, but you can pray.

John was sent by God. “There was a man sent from God.” John 1:6.

John was sent by God to be who he was;  not someone he was NOT. Discover who you are NOT, and you’ll discover who you are.

 

 

Thriving In The Vine

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Every year we plant sweet potato vines along our back fence.  We don’t plant many, maybe 15 in all.  But by August, they’ve completely covered the length of the fence and serve as a gorgeous backdrop to my backyard when seen from my living room window.

However, this year in Oklahoma the weather has been one for the record books.  Since early June, it’s been over 100 degrees almost every single day.  We’ve had sparse rainfall and yard watering is under mandatory restrictions in our city.  So, the vines have not been watered by human hands, having to survive on the moisture from the intermittent rainfalls.  Two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure they were going to make it at all.  However, here they are, thriving as if they had been watered and cared for every day.  In reality, all they really did was remain rooted to the main branch.

As I looked at the thriving vines, I was reminded of Jesus’ teaching from John 15 concerning vines.  He was teaching the necessity of the vine (or believers in Christ) remaining and not being cut off from the main branch (or Christ Himself).  A believer thrives spiritually by continually staying attached to his spiritual life source, to Jesus. 

No matter how harsh the conditions, if I remain in Him, I will thrive.  No matter how sparse the resources, if I remain in Him, I will thrive.  This beautiful truth is the reason I’ve used this phrase when signing my name to letters and emails:  Abiding in Him, Luana.

Seen any signs?

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

In my Bible study class I’m teaching through the Gospel of John.  It’s different from the other gospels for several reasons, but one of the main ones is that John wrote it after the other three chronological accounts (Matthew, Mark and Luke), and he structured his account with the knowledge that most readers would already know many of the events surrounding Jesus’ life, so he could concentrate on highlighting certain supernatural acts that Jesus did which served as signposts to lead the reader to “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life in his name.”  John 20:31.  This, by the way, is the reason John said he wrote his gospel.

These signposts or “signs” are pretty obvious in the gospel, especially after John deliberately labels the first two of them, calling them “the first of his miraculous signs” and then the “second miraculous sign.”  The pattern the reader discerns in the first two of the signs serves as a template for the rest of the gospel.  By the time Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for the week leading up to His crucifixion, there remains only one directional pointer to His being God’s Son–His resurrection. 

However, all but a few people completely missed these signs.  The disciples themselves saw them through a haze.  God was displaying His power, His beauty, His wisdom, His grace, His love and His truth, but they failed to see it.  Oh, they saw the gifts of bread or wine or healing, but they didn’t see beyond the gifts to the Giver.  Just think how it must have pleased Jesus if someone had praised Him more for being Him than for His gifts, if they were more content with Jesus Himself than with anything He could give them.

Signs from God confront us daily.  God displays Himself to us every day with His gifts.  May we not fail to recognize these signs of Him and glorify Him for who He is more than for what He gives.

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