John 14: The Indispensable, Enduring, and Intervening Work of the Spirit

ALICE KIM|GUEST The disciples had waited their entire lives for this moment. They envisioned Jesus as the fulfillment of the promised king who would rescue them from their oppressive pagan government and establish a kingdom where they would assume roles of prominence (Mt. 20:21, Mk.10:37). So, when they heard Jesus say he would leave them, they were deeply discouraged and disturbed. Jesus responds, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (Jn. 14:1a). Pause here and consider how Jesus comes alongside his disciples and acknowledges their angst. He relates to them by sympathizing with the awaiting trauma. Earlier, he too uttered the same distress (Jn. 12:27a) as he anticipated both the agony and necessity of the cross. He then proceeds to invite the disciples to let go of their finite understanding of redemption—which included their misguided perceptions of Christ’s earthly ministry—in exchange for infinite and incomparable glory.

John 14: The Indispensable, Enduring, and Intervening Work of the Spirit2022-05-04T00:31:16+00:00

John 14: The Helper

HOPE BLANTON AND CHRISTINE GORDON|GUEST “Wow. I’d like a personal encourager. How do I obtain one of you?” Our younger friend was sitting in our hotel room with us listening to a description of what our administrator, Jen, does for Hope and me (Chris). “We literally pay her to pray, among other things,” we joked. But it was based in truth. This woman, hired to do things like mailings and conference planning for At His Feet Studies, had become so much more than that. She prayed for us every week, encouraged us, comforted us, exhorted us, and challenged us. It was no wonder our friend wanted her own personal Jen. Our daily attempts to follow Jesus come up against hostility both from the world and from our own sinful hearts. We all need our own personal encourager. We need someone who knows our very specific life situations, needs, limits, stresses, temptations, weaknesses, and tendencies. Everyone needs a Jen! In John 14, we learn that we do have someone that does these things. But even better than Jen, we have Jesus himself.

John 14: The Helper2022-05-04T00:32:48+00:00

The Spirit’s Work of Regeneration and Renewal

EMILY DARNELL|GUEST I recently enjoyed a morning hike to a waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. As I hiked closer to the stream, the rushing of the water drowned out all the other noises of the forest. I could no longer hear the birds singing to one another. I sat down to take in my surroundings and a passage that I had just studied came to mind, a reminder from the LORD of His work in me. Titus 3:5-7: He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in  righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing  by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Regeneration and Renewing The pouring down of that waterfall helped me ponder the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This passage in Titus is one of two New Testament occurrences of the word “regeneration.” The original audience would have pictured water baptism, which is the outward sign pointing to the inward reality of the Spirit’s washing, and of our cleansed conscience (Hebrews 9:8-14). In Old Testament sacrifices, the sprinkling of the blood symbolized cleansing; water now symbolizes the cleansing that is ours in Christ. The Spirit does the work of regeneration. As He does, the voices surrounding us urging us to just try harder, or the accusatory voices using the Law to conjure up old guilt, begin to fade away. The Spirit washing us by regeneration is the beginning of our new life, the beginning of His rich work in us. In addition to regeneration is the Spirit’s work of renewal where He makes all things new. He doesn’t patch us up, fix what is broken, or strengthen us to remake ourselves; rather, He makes us anew, born again. He takes Christ’s work on the cross and applies it to each of us so that we might have abundant life and growth in Him (see Colossians 3:10)....  

The Spirit’s Work of Regeneration and Renewal2022-05-04T23:19:52+00:00

On Suffering and Christ our Cornerstone

WENDY ALSUP|GUEST “I'm so sorry.” Many of us have heard these words from someone delivering life altering bad news. I've heard it more than once – the kind of news that turns your life on its side. With one sentence, your world gets tipped. The floor of your former life is now a wall. The wall is now a ceiling. Furniture is toppled. Everything seems out of place. How do you find your footing in this new toppled version of your previous life? In John 14, Jesus sat with His disciples, preparing them for their own lives to be turned on its side. He was about to die, and despite teaching them about His coming death, He knew they would be shaken. They hadn't understood or accepted that He came to die, as Peter's rebuke of Jesus in Matthew 16:22 showed. Yet, Jesus had compassion on them and gave them a sweet promise in John 14:18 to sustain them in the coming days when everything they thought they understood about Christ would be turned on its side. “I will not leave you as orphans.” Jesus said He would send them a Comforter, a Counselor who would remind them of the teachings of Christ. In fact, the Apostle Paul calls this Counselor the very Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). The same power that rose Christ from the grave would indwell and empower Jesus's disciples (Eph. 1:19-20). That same power indwells us. Through several rounds of the kind of life altering news that turns everything on its side, the Spirit of Christ has reminded me of the teachings of Christ, particularly that He is our sure foundation, our Cornerstone. This is a truth we desperately need when everything is toppled by unexpected news...

On Suffering and Christ our Cornerstone2022-05-05T00:38:50+00:00

In a Little While: Jesus’s Promises in John 16

When my oldest daughter was six, my husband and I left the country for two weeks. Two weeks. It’s really not that long, but, from the perspective of my six-year-old, it seemed like an eternity. She was afraid to be left without us, she was sad because she was going to miss us, and she was worried about what it would be like with us gone. Knowing phone calls would be difficult at best, I left her with several things to comfort her when she was sad and strengthen her when she was afraid—a photo of us, some notes to read, and the reminder we would be praying for her. I also tried to reassure her by telling her, “We’ll be back before you know it.” After all, we were only going to be gone a little while. A little while. The phrase is used seven times in John 16. Jesus, preparing his disciples for his death, said, "A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me” (John 16:16). At the thought of Jesus leaving, the eleven disciples were like my daughter: they were afraid, sad, and worried. Not only did Jesus reassure them with the certainty they would see him again, he also promised them he would leave them three things: his Spirit, his joy, and his peace.

In a Little While: Jesus’s Promises in John 162022-05-07T23:47:23+00:00

When the Agenda is Love

SHARON MORGINSKY|GUEST On the Meyers Brigg personality assessment I am an INFJ. The J basically means I love [...]

When the Agenda is Love2022-04-28T01:10:38+00:00
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