Category Archives: Refined by the Word

Christmas Countdown 2018 Day 11

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Day 11…how can this be?

The month is slipping by so quickly and I am thankful God led me to share this one passage with you line by line because in the hustle and bustle that is ensuing and building … this little part of my day has become a haven. 

I pray it is a refreshing stop in yours as well. 

The pause and the focus shift to this prayer of Jesus in the Garden has helped to ground me on the solid foundation of His finished work and helped me keep the celebration of His birth in perspective. 

I do believe verse 11 is one of my favorites, if that is allowed to have a “favorite” verse in a prayer prayed by Jesus just before He is going to suffer and die in my place…but this one is one that jumps out and grabs my heart and soul and spirit. 

So today…just the purity of the Scripture before we get on with tasks to accomplish…

Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one.

Contemporary English Version

John 17:11

and The Message

For I’m no longer going to visible in this world; they’ll continue in the world while I return to you. Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me, so they can be one heart and mind as we are one heart and mind. 

John 17:11

So much to love in these words…

Holy Father…

Do we call Him that?

Do we speak to God as if He is not only our Father…but our HOLY Father? 

Or have we become so casual in our displays of worship that we have forgotten that Moses was told to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground? And this just in front of a burning bush…not even face to face. 

That to see His face would mean to die because the Holiness was that intense.

Have we forgotten how to show awe and reverence and have we become so blinded by political correctness that we have completely watered down the kind of power that carved His laws into stone the way you and I jot a reminder on a post it note?

Have we forgotten that He engraved us on the nail scarred hands of His own self because holiness matters that much to Him?

And how about the assurance of Jesus that He was between here and there as He prayed?

He knew His time on earth was closing down and He knew where He was going…and yet He wanted to pray provision and protection over His followers for the in between the payment on the Cross and Resurrection from the grave. 

Because He had covered them with His name…with His power….with His love…but for a short time, He who is without sin would become sin…

please…

pause here.

Don’t gloss over this.

Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life on earth but would take on and become all the sin of all the world…and face the judgment of God in eternal death…and then He would descend and take back what we gave away and He would rise again…victorious.

And, in the meanwhile…while all that was happening…He was entrusting fallen mankind into the loving hands of a just and righteous and yes, holy God…to hold us by His Name until He could purchase us back from what we rightfully deserved. 

Last of all we see the unity. 

The unity of the Trinity and the unity of believers. 

One heart and one mind. 

We must be in agreement with each other AND with the Father, Son and Spirit. 

We cannot compromise on this. 

We cannot come into “agreement” as a church and yet be outside of agreement with the Trinity. 

We cannot agree to disagree and divide Truth like it was opinion. 

God is not divided in His thoughts and heart and Spirit. 

And it is our business as individuals and as the Church to not inform God of what our mind and heart are set on.  

No.

Until He makes His second appearance here on planet earth…we are to be about discerning what HIS heart and mind are set on. 

And then we are to come into agreement together WITH HIM. 

Be blessed today as you reflect on this prayer of Jesus for His disciples. 

If you say you are a follower of Christ, then meditate on His thoughts toward you today <3 

Christmas Countdown 2018 Day 10

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Oh friends…it’s a Monday. 

The mother of all Mondays for this tired Lola <3

Rachel and Zach had a couple of holiday events this weekend and since we had planned to meet up at a reindeer ranch between our two houses, they suggested we host the band of brothers and little miss thing for a sleepover. 

I laugh as I type these words because while yes, they all did sleep…Lola and Papi … not so much. 

But we had a grand time and I most likely will need to share some pictures tomorrow…but for today…laundry and sticky floors are singing a sweet siren song that cannot be ignored…so without ado…

Yesterday we looked at verse 9 and the way Jesus took time to set apart prayer for just His disciples. 

Focused prayer on one person or a certain set of people is okay. 

Often in my prayers, I feel pressured by some outside and unknown force to be all inclusive. 

I will find myself interceding passionately for one child or a certain friend and then this voice whispers..what about your other children…what about so and so…they need prayer too. 

Can I give you some prayer advice here?

If that whisper prompts me into deeper intercession for another and then another and it flows from the Spirit in me…that’s God.

If it prompts me to pray wimpy, guilty prayers to “prove” that I love the others as much as that one I had been praying for…THAT, my friend, is NOT the still, small voice of my God. 

And now on to today’s verse…

And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 

John 17: 10 NKJV

Let’s break that down into the points that jump out to my tired brain this morning…because yes, while I have worked ahead on other verses to this point…I am being honest and today’s is off the cuff…

First off…I see the unity of the trinity in this verse. 

All that belongs to Jesus, belongs to God. 

All that belongs to God, belongs to Jesus. 

Second, and this is from the commentary study I have been using…only Jesus can make this statement. 

You and I can pray for our loved ones and we can say…all mine are Yours. In other words, whether they currently belong to You or not, I am giving them to You and they belong to You, in my heart, by faith. 

But we cannot say…all Yours are mine. 

Only Jesus owns it all. 

Only Jesus paid for it all…for all of us. 

We borrow what belongs to Him through our relationships with each other. 

We belong together to Him. 

We love through Him. 

But only Jesus owns it all. 

All the Kingdom…all the Power..all the glory…goes to Him. 

I am called mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter…etc…etc…etc…but only Jesus Christ is LORD and Savior of all the people I love. 

And all the people I like…and all the people I don’t particularly care for ….and all the people who get on my last nerve and make me want to make them disappear from me ever having to deal with them again. 

Only Jesus has the right and the righteousness and the authority to say to God…My people are Your people…Your people are My people. 

Because only Jesus made each one of them and knows them and came for them. 

This may seem just a subtle difference in semantics, but I think if we would stop today and ponder over that a little, we might find some areas where we have proclaimed ourselves sovereign over some humans who really need to be handed over to the One to whom they rightfully belong. 

And last of all…

He is glorified in the disciples. 

They are not glorified in themselves. 

Whatever they will do in answer to the prayers He is praying in that dark and hard and lonely place, will bring glory to Him. 

And so it is that you and I, as we journey onward…we are bringing glory to Him. 

Makes me want to stop and step outside my own little bubble of me, myself and I and give Him glory…even on a Monday <3 

Be blessed…ponder a little the magnificent God we serve…and I will see you tomorrow <3

Christmas Countdown 2018 Day 9

It’s the second Sunday of Advent and just like I knew would happen when I planned to do a verse a day for our Countdown, we had the first of the super busy weekends that will finish this marathon that will carry us to the end of the year 2018.

Right now I have two breakfast casseroles resting in the fridge to pop in the oven tomorrow morning and take to our 8 AM Sunday School class breakfast. 

In various beds around the house are sleeping grandchildren and the man I married thirty-seven and a half years ago. 

Today he trekked with me to meet up with this crazy crew at a reindeer farm. 

I probably could have bought a fairly nice North Face jacket for what we spent on gas, lunch and tickets for the “Reindeer Experience” and I can tell you….I would have pawned all my coats and a couple of pairs of mittens just to see their sweet faces as those amazing animals came right up and ate out of our hands.

Because they are my people. 

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pc Rachel Maxwell

They are worth far more than any amount of cash I could ever tuck away in a bank account. 

To love them and know them and spend time with them….to think about them all the time…and their Uncle John and Tia…oh..that’s my heart beat on planet earth. 

And sure I care about a lot of people, but these … these are my flesh and blood. 

So when Jesus says in John 17:9…I am not praying for those who are of the world…it’s not that He didn’t come to save all of us…but as He is finishing it all out…He is praying for His people. 

The ones who loved Him as good as us selfish, goofy, flawed humans can grasp love.

Because there were others who didn’t love Him.

They didn’t choose Him.

They didn’t want to be part of Him and so they were not part of Him.

So as He prayed in the Garden….He wasn’t being mean….He was just praying for the ones who were His.  

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PC Rachel Maxwell

He was praying for the ones He had traveled with and “done life with” and who had recognized that He was from God and believed He was Messiah…and even if they didn’t get it right all the time, they were willing to hang in there and learn some more when they messed up. 

So today, if you are having some time with your people…your family by blood…your family in the Blood…your family that used to be just friends but have found such a deep place in your heart that you may as well share the same DNA…and you are loving them so much that sometimes it almost hurts…

remember…

YOU…

You are HIS people. 

He is praying for you. 

He loves you with that intensity and more…and He loves you perfectly.

Rest in that today my friend.

Rest in the truth that if you have believed in Him and have believed HIM…

YOU ARE HIS PEOPLE…

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PC Rachel Maxwell

Rest well in that today …. deer….<3

Christmas Countdown 2018 Day 8

photo by Kathy Mueller
pc Kathy Mueller <3

“For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You, and they have believed that You sent Me.” NKJV

“I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me.”  Contemporary English Version

and since it is Saturday…and just for fun…

“ Cuz I wen teach dem all da stuff dat you wen tell me, and day wen take um. Day know fo shu dat I wen come from you, cuz dey believe dat you wen send me hea.” Da Jesus Book Wycliffe Bible Translators Hawaii Pidgin Translation

Every word Jesus spoke to the disciples was a word from God. 

Every word you and I read in red letters in our Bible, is a word spoken from God to Jesus to us. 

We have a choice to believe that God spoke to us through Christ and that Jesus Christ came from God, the Father, to us. 

There are only two choices. 

You believe.

Or you do not believe. 

It is the most important choice you will make. 

Ever. 

In whatever language your heart and mind speak, I urge you to receive Him this season and to renew that decision with your life every day <3

Christmas Countdown 2018 Day 6

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Hey all!

Tonight was what we call the Downtown Christmas Walk in our little burg.

It is like everyone and their dog…literally…we had several customers who brought their dogs in tow…comes downtown the first Wednesday night of December.

Restaurants are packed.

Stores appear to have the same kind of chaotic flow of bodies as salmon swimming upstream in spawning season.

It is a madhouse and so fun…especially since I get to stay behind the counter and just ring up sales.

For an introverted extrovert, this is a little slice of heaven….short and friendly conversations with a nice, safe bubble of space around me.

Before the festivities ensued, I was able to slip away for a break between my regular shift and the crazy, busy evening event so I visited a new coffee shop in town and here is a glimpse of the thirty minutes of haven I soaked in.

The owner happens to be a Christian, and yes, there were Christian Christmas songs playing softly…but that was the only evidence.

No crosses or “Jesus and coffee are my jam” signage.

Even in the absence of physical evidence of typical symbols of Christianity, the atmosphere of the place whispers Christ

Right down to the way in which I was served my tea…as the owner quietly and humbly knelt and moved a small plant to one side on the low table next to my chair so he could rest my tray of tea and honey within reach of me as I worked on my computer.

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I am blessed to know many Christ followers…disciples…who carry about them a sweet fragrance reminiscent of the character of our Lord.

They manifest Christ with their very lives.

And that is what Jesus is speaking of in verse 6 of our visit to John 17.

As He prayed in the garden He spoke these words…

I have manifested Your name to the men You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

Manifested…Jesus didn’t just teach about God…

He brought the character and attributes and nature of God the Father alive through His life…

so that those around Him could know God by knowing HIM.

God drew people … and still draws people…out of the world and to Himself through relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus also credits the disciples with having kept God’s Word.

Eugene Peterson words it this way in The Message:

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place. Then you gave them to me and they have now done what you said.

One of the commentaries pointed out that this is a generous credit given by Jesus to the faithfulness of a group of men that in a few short hours would be running in fear from the Roman legion and one of them would deny three times having ever been around Him.*

What a beautiful picture of grace.

GRACE…that covers over our sin and shortcoming because He knows He is the One who will perfect us in perfect love.

We are given to Him…to Jesus.

We are taken out of the world and chosen and given to Him to belong to the Father through Him.

And because of the gift, we live lives that manifest grace and peace.

By bowing down and gently serving others.

Precious..

Beautiful…

are the hands and feet of the Body of Christ in this world <3

*David Juzik from an article on blueletterbible.com entitled Study Guide for John 17