“The land of the free, and the home of the brave.” After a devastating week of wildfires, this phrase takes on a whole new meaning for the people of Colorado. Sudden and swift, these flames took so much from so many.
I’m in awe at God’s timing in our study. This week’s chapters could not be more appropriate. As we wrestle between the heartbreak of loss and the celebration of America bravery, these chapters will show us (still) that Jesus is forever speaking to us, pouring light over our darkness, feeling our pain when we hurt, and turning us always to His Father, our amazing and good God.
Lisa Williams is a familiar voice to many, both here at Foothills and in the world of radio. You will be incredibly blessed this week by her heart and her passion for the Lord. Allow the Lord to use her words to bring beauty out of the ashes of your life…
This Week’s Reading: John, Chapters 10-12
This week, you will read what Jesus spoke to one of his closest friends: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
When we answer that question with “yes”, we begin a walk toward unending knowledge of His glory, like opening the door to Heaven itself.
Please join me this week in reading John 10, 11, and 12 several times. Join me in asking the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to us as we read, re-read, ponder, and meditate on His words. This week, we’ll dig into four distinct areas about Jesus:
1. His voice
2. His light
3. His groaning and tears, and
4. His obedience to His Father.
John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
I’m captured by the intimacy of us knowing His voice. You can probably name many people whose voice you recognize. And, if you really think about it, you will realize there are hundreds of voices you know!
Jesus said we, as His sheep, would know His voice. After spending decades on the radio, I would hear “I know you!” when someone heard my voice in person for the first time. It always amazes me how many women have said as we met face to face, “I feel like you are my best friend.”
You know someone’s heart from what they say to you (see Matthew 12:34). John 10 reveals that we can recognize His voice and know Him through the intimacy of His voice.
“The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger, in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:2-5
John 11:9-10 “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
For a year of my Christian walk, I distinctly chose to follow my desires over following God’s word. It was a time of spiritual darkness. I nearly stumbled and lost so much. The depth of Jesus’ words here are very clear to me. He is the light of the world. For our own safety, we should walk in His light every day.
Ponder John 12:35-36. “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
HIS GROANING AND TEARS
Even though we are studying the red letters this summer, notice these sounds that came from Jesus mouth:
John 11:33 “…when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”
John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
He loved his friends deeply. He felt deeply. He mourned deeply. Although He was 100% God, He was also 100% human. It’s okay for us to embrace our humanity. He showed us it is okay to feel, to mourn, to cry, and to love fully and deeply.
HIS OBEDIENCE TO THE FATHER
Please read John 12:23-28.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, `Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
These verses are so powerful that I feel shaken after reading them again. He understood He was going to die like a grain of wheat, but in doing so, He would produce life. His soul was troubled. But He knew His Father’s will and He knew His purpose. When He said “Father, glorify Your name” as recorded in verse 28, He was giving us a key to life.
So, how can we respond this week to the red letters in John 10-12?
1) Do you know His voice? Is your heart’s radio station tuned in – or is there only static? Ask Him to help you hear clearly. Then, slow down and listen. Spend time seeking Him this week, letting Him know that you ache to hear His voice.
2) Choose to live in the light. He said in John 12:46 “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” Hold your life up to the light of God’s word. If you see areas of darkness you’ve embraced, repent. Don’t abide there. Walk in the light for your own safety and peace. If you are struggling with darkness, find every verse in the Bible about His light and write them down.
3) Don’t be afraid to love deeply. Even though you may have been hurt by people in the past, loving deeply is important. Weep, groan, love, feel.
4) Ultimately desire God’s glory in your circumstance. Although our path may lead to very painful places, we will never be asked to carry the weight of every person’s sin and die on a cross. But even in facing that – the greatest burden ever carried – He prayed that God would be glorified. We can learn the most important lesson of life from this prayer. Surrender to God’s will and pray in all things that He would be glorified!
I realize it’s a holiday week, however, my challenge this week is to SLOW DOWN. Intentionally take some time for yourself each day to slow your pace, your thoughts and your activities. Walk through each of the four responses above. Then, see what He speaks to your heart.
Written by Lisa Williams
Lisa serves each Sunday with her husband Darin, who is the Children’s Pastor at Foothills Community Church in Arvada, Colorado. After 21 years in full-time Christian radio, Lisa left K-LOVE last year to fully embrace being a mommy to their young sons, Jon David and Jesse. Lisa blogs at godsradiogirl.com and also for MomLife Today. From home, she does a radio show for Z88.3 in Orlando on the weekends. Favorite things? The Colorado mountains, strong coffee with lots of cream, her husband’s smile, her boys’ laughter, and learning to see all children through the eyes of Christ.