Heart of the Father

Scripture (John 5:31-47)

Jesus said to the Jews:
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"

Reflection

I just need to start by letting you all know today’s readings were a real struggle for me… I just couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to say, what I was supposed to write that would enlighten you all. After repeated cycles of reading and thinking and frustration, I got stuck on verses 39-40.

“You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.”

I’m searching the Scriptures. I believe they give life and God speaks to us through them, but I wasn’t hearing it because I had been going to my head and my heart to come up with the words to write and not to Him, the one who gives us life. Then the Spirit really hit me hard and served up a little humble pie. He sent me back to verse 34.

“I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved.” 

Ultimately what I have to say doesn’t matter. Christ can use me and my testimony (when I’m/ it’s humble) as an instrument to bring others into Him, but He’s the one doing the work. And anything I can say or do is so small in comparison to what Him.

I swallowed that humble pie and asked, “So what are YOU saying Lord?” “What do YOU need me to hear and focus on?” His answer to me:

I AM here. I AM present. I AM at work in every moment saving you and bringing you to life. I have proven this time and time again if only you would simply believe. Let go and have faith in me when times are overwhelming, scary, hard. I was there for Moses and his people when the desert seemed like it would never end, and I am there for you when you feel like you’re in the desert. I have promised you my life and my love, and I don’t disappoint. My cross and resurrection weren’t simply to save you from sin. You were saved from sin, so our relationship could be restored. So, I could bring you deeper into my heart and my love, a love that never fades and never hides. You need to believe and trust in me in order to see and know that I am at work in every moment loving you.

WOW God, WOW.

I go back and read what I just flowed out when I let the Lord do the talking and those powerful words rock my core. Then I go back and reread the Scripture and I see that’s exactly what He was saying to the Jew’s, but I was too caught up in myself to hear it, just like the crowd he was talking to. He told them the exact same thing: I’ve proved time and time again that I am the one sent by the Father to bring you salvation and life. John says so; my miracles and works say so; God, the Father, says so; and Scripture says so, if only you would listen and believe.

 
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These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc.  Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018.  Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.

 

Questions

  • Where have you seen God witnessing His love and salvation in your life:
  • Who, like John, has been a “burning and shining lamp” for you?
  • What miracles has God performed in your life lately?
  • What is the Father speaking into your heart right now?
  • What Scripture speaks most to you about God’s salvation and love for you?
Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works.
— Rick Warren

Action 

PRAY for the Lord to open your eyes and your heart that you may always see His goodness and love at work in your life.

FAST from people or things that distract you from seeing the truth of God’s love.

GIVE your time to be a “bright and shining lamp” for someone who needs to know God’s active love in their life.

Prayer

Good and Loving Father,

We thank you and praise you for your faithfulness to your people. Throughout salvation history, you have come time and time again to restore our relationship with you. We thank you for the ultimate gift of restoration, the cross and resurrection.

Father send your Spirit down upon us so that we may live each and every moment with the joy and hope that comes from being your chosen people. Strengthen us that we may walk each and every day witnessing your love to each and every person we meet so that they may encounter you more deeply.

Amen.

Author

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Julie Trzebiatowski is the Camp Director for Shepherd's Fold Ranch in Avant, Oklahoma.  Before moving to Avant, she was a teacher and retreat director in the Milwaukee area.  Julie is also the proud mom of Zeke!