Just a quick note to let you know I've moved my blog to the following address:

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

John's Gospel... Jesus's Love... The Ultimate Sacrifice

The Prince of Peace by Thomas Kinkaide

You know, as I sit thinking about all that this day means to our lives as Believer's in Christ - I am filled with awe, with great wonder that God would love me that much, that Jesus was so brave and that my sin cost them both so much.
John's life and gospel are really what started me on the journey of revelation. The revelation of Christ in my heart, my mind and my entire being started a little less than five years ago when my heart grew hungry to know His Word, to teach it to others and to live beyond the relative ignorance that I found myself in when it came to the things of God.
I knew John 3:16... I'd known it since before I received Christ as my Savior when I was 12 years old. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (NKJV). For God so loved me that He gave His One and Only Son so that I could believe in Him and not perish in eternity, but live there instead. WHEW! Heady even for a grown adult. I could not have possibly known what it meant when I was 12, but I knew enough to know I needed Him.
I would spend more than half my life after that day living out a great battle - a battle for my testimony. I would walk the desert road, questioning God, making bad choices, living in consequences and all the while He was stirring in my heart and drawing me back to one place: The foot of the cross. I had to return there again and again. Each time I saw it as a place where a super human Christ put up with the scourge of death and a criminals execution. But, somehow that sacrifice did not "hurt," in my mind it was bloody because it had to be, but not painful. He was after all God and could endure anything on His own terms. Which is why the beauty of His love eluded me for many years.
I never seemed to grasp that my God was the personal God of John's gospel until the Holy Spirit settled on my in a banquet room in Euless, Texas on May 3, 2003. God's love became revelation to me, God sacrifice became real to me, His pain palpable, His death excruciating... in that ballroom as I lay weeping on the floor confessing how I had forsaken Him all those years of my life since I had been saved His love enveloped me like a warm bath and caressed my soul with His nurturing Spirit. He soothed me the way a Father soothes His child. His love was a healing balm for my heart, His forgiveness the power I needed to move forward and His truth the very thing that would set me on a journey free.
I allowed His love and His mercy and His truth to settle into me these last five years like sand settles to the bottom of a riverbed it shifts at first, but over time that sand is pelted into bedrock. His truth became the foundation of change in my life. It came with the rush of life going on about me, with the intense pressure of temptation and strife raging over me, and I have held firm to my one truth, my one hope - Christ Jesus crucified and resurrected. He has used those pressures, those trials to create an unshakeable foundation... an unshakeable faith.
It was the summer of 2003 that I found John's gospel and his life so compelling. I found Christ in the pages of Beloved Disciple (Beth Moore). I found my heart there also. A heart longing to lean into the breast of my Savior, to have my questions answered and my hope assured. I found abatement for my fears, and my flesh heart's condemning chant. I found love, forgiveness and hope for the future in John's life, gospel, letters, and revelation. He lived way beyond himself, transformed from a selfish second child to a selfless advocate of God's great love, Christ's beloved he lived fully in the favor of God and inherited the greater blessing of revelation in his faith.
Do I ever want to live like that? Absolutely I do.
Here are a few truths I discover in John's gospel.
1. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ~ John 3:17 (NKJV)
Jesus did not come to condemn us, but He came to bring the judgment of the world to a close and institute a new era of grace and mercy and redemption from the curse of sin. Glory!
2. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. ~ John 3:36 (NIV)
Jesus died to set us free, to redeem us from sin's consequences and give us eternal life, but we must choose to receive the gift. Choosing not to believe, choosing to "wait until later" because you have plenty of time is a choice. It is rejection. He who rejects the Son will not see life. When we walk continually in sin, refusing salvation in pride, vanity or the pursuit of pleasure... we live also in the wrath of God as His enemy. We must choose life, we must choose Christ and why would we abide in wrath when Christ came that we may abide in His love. (John 15)
3. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. ~ John 19:25-30 (NKJV)
Even as Jesus hung on the cross, bearing a criminal's punishment and suffering the most unimaginable agony. He had the clarity of mind to process each and every aspect of His circumstances, His plight and His death. While He hung there He saw His mother weeping, His friends suffering with Him unable to leave Him and He had compassion on them, He spoke to them and left instructions for His mother to be cared for. His death and His submission to the Father's will in redemption is a choice - a conscious decision Christ made and as He did He had us on His mind. He did not just think of the pain, He thought of the Love of the Father He was expressing to us, He thought of the lives that would be saved as a result. He died to give us life - He gave His life that we may live. Are you living? He made the provision have you received it?
4.) They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
~John 20:13-16 (NIV)
Even in the midst of confusing and defeating circumstances, when we can't even recognize God in the things around us, we can still hear and recognize His voice. He calls us to Himself, reveals Himself, and wants us to know He is still there even when it hurts, even when it is hard and even when we feel there is nothing we can do. God shows up, He calls to us and He has already taken care of what it is that concerns us so - we just have to trust Him with the outcome. Just like Mary, she had no reason to believe the man before her was Jesus except that she recognized the sound of His voice. We must learn to listen through God's Word and His Spirit because His Word is revelation, His Word is truth and His Word is the key to a blessed life in Christ.
May God richly bless you as you consider Him this Easter Sunday. He is Alive! He is Alive! And He is coming back to take His Home... Let's live all the way there... Let's live all the way HOME!


twinkle said...

I love that study, Beloved Disciple. I learned so much doing that study. And, of course, it changed my life! I restored relationships that the enemy tried to steal from me. I stopped enabling bad relationships. And I feel more in love with Jesus Christ. John had such a beautiful way of writing about Christ. I treasure that study.
May you have a blessed Easter. Thank you for sharing your testimony. Can you just imagine the glory of heaven when we all will be in His Presence on Easter? Praise God, He is risen INDEED!

Stephanie said...

I jumped over from Susan's blog- Forever His- and I am glad that I came. I could have written your post, though not nearly as eloquently. Thank-you for sharing your heart!
Happy Easter!

luvmy4sons said...

Great thoughts! Happy Easter!

Julie said...

I loved "Beloved Disciple". It was one of my favorites.

Praise God that He never stops pursuing us and welcoming us into His embrace.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

I wanted to let you know that I had to move my blog's web address so I started over with a new blog. You can find the new blog (which looks very similar to the old one) at

PS. I got your email. Thanks for sending the book. I look forward to reading it!