Perspective

Our view from earth within our unique circumstances is only a piece of the big picture, but for the most part it’s all we see during our life. I’m especially struck today by the ways God uses circumstances in one person’s life to affect and impact others at the same time and in the future. I’m reading through Exodus which chronicles the Israelites’ enslavement, the plagues God imposed on Egypt and Moses’ leadership through it all. This drew me back to Genesis in two ways, first back where God told Abraham this would happen:

“Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. However, I will judge the nation they serve and afterward they will go out with many possessions.”

Genesis 15:13-14

This shows God’s omniscience, knowing all of the past, present & future. It also indicates that God allows hard circumstances into the lives of His children, sometimes for others even in future generations. I then began thinking about Joseph’s life (Genesis 37-50), he was hated by his own brothers, sold off into slavery, taken to Egypt, found favor with an officer of Pharaoh, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, put into jail for many years, then put in charge of Egypt’s kingdom & food reserves during a time of abundance to save people during 7 years of famine, which ultimately saved his own brothers & father when they were starving. Joseph gives this insight to his family & us:

“…don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more… God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt…I will sustain you.”

Genesis 45:5-8, 11

This all goes together explaining more of who God is, even His ways that I don’t understand, and that He is with us both in loss, pain, suffering and in abundance. When Moses asked God who he was in Exodus 3:13 in the next verse, “God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Interestingly, in Hebrew God’s “I AM” is the same verb used three verses before this when God said, “I will certainly be with you.” The same God who sends you, or allows circumstances into your life, also promises to go with you and be with you in the midst.

God is so multifaceted and is working on the present and future of His plans simultaneously and still cares deeply about the individual circumstances in all of our lives. I see this over and over again through His word and it amazes me every time I read it! Although we see life through the perspective of where we are on earth, God sees all people throughout time with an eternal perspective & plan, even this imperfect world looks much different from His perfect view.

Depths of God’s Word

Reading through the Bible fills me with a greater picture of who God is. As I read & listen, through an app called YouVersion, my prayer is that God will be present, teach me, give me a love for His word, make His voice familiar to me, reveal His character to me, give me a heart that breaks for what breaks His, fill me with His love for people that overflows to those around me, draws me nearer to Him, encourages me through His great love, refines me into who He’s created and called me to be and helps me remain in Him as I move through my day, no matter what comes my way.

As I journeyed through Genesis, here are some of the overarching characteristics of God that jumped off the pages of my Bible (the references I’ve included aren’t exclusive, just some examples of why I’ve noticed those characteristics):

  • God exists & Creator of all good- light, night & day, land, sea, animals, humans, work & rest (Ch. 1)
  • God exists in three divine parts-God/Father (1:1), Spirit of God (1:26, 11:7), Jesus/Son (John 1:1-5, 14, 18)
  • Grower- planted a garden in Eden (2:8)
  • Present in creation & with people- God saw (1:4) walked in the garden (3:8)
  • Sin has consequences, but God is still present, loving & involved with His children; made clothing for Adam & Eve (3:21)
  • God grieves man’s corruption & regretted making man (6:1-8)
  • God remembers Noah, spoke to Noah & promises to never again destroy everything on earth & gives us the reminder with a rainbow (Ch. 8)
  • He is the God who hears & sees people in their suffering & pain (Ch. 16, 30:17)
  • Nothing is impossible for God (18:14)
  • God answers prayers (Ch. 24)
  • God gives children/opens wombs (Ch. 30)
  • God provides for human needs
  • God plans, gives insight & wisdom to people (Joseph- Chs. 39-50)

Of course this list is by no means exclusive or exhaustive, but these are some of the insights I’ve been reminded of through Genesis this year so far. What is so amazing to me is how God’s word is like a never ending well, no matter how much you read & study, He continues to teach through each passage by highlighting different aspects each time I read. His word is alive and active just like Paul stated in Hebrews 4:12. The depth of insight & understanding will sustain me all the days of my life & I am just beginning!

What treasures will you uncover as you wade with God into the depths of His word?

Beauty & Blessings,

XO, Michelle

1.1.19

Photo Credit: Nathan Poland

As the sun rises on 2019, anticipation and excitement well within me to begin my 5th year of reading straight through the Bible.  This New Year’s tradition began for me as 2014 was coming to a close and I’d just finished watching all seasons of The Office with my boys, quite possibly for the second time.  I thought why not pick up the Bible and read it cover to cover as quickly as I could starting on January 1? I’ve done it with TV shows and other books, so why not the Bible? This is not a new year’s resolution, an obligation, a box to check off, a way to earn points with God or a reflection of my spirituality, but has grown into an exciting way for me to look forward to the start of each new year and see what God will teach me as I read through all of His written word.

I’m starting now at Genesis 1:1, with a curious mind as to what God will teach me through His word.  Who wants to join me in reading straight through the Bible, at the feet of our Teacher, just for the enjoyment of being with Him on a journey through His word?

Resolve

This is the fourth year I’ve started the new year in a new way for me, with resolve and anticipation in what I will uncover as I start in Genesis 1 and read the Bible cover to cover. I used to look back and make resolutions from my regrets and what I didn’t accomplish the prior year. This new pattern and has given me a different focus as I look in the rearview mirror of the past year. With this clearer lens I begin 2018 remembering what is behind and with a stronger, more intentional resolve step into the new year ready for the depths of whatever comes my way. Last year was filled with both highs and lows, joy and pain, life and loss, light and dark, laughter and tears, more and less, freedom and restriction, celebration and mourning, good and bad… it was a “both” “and” kind of year. As I look back, I am filled with gratitude that I can see God’s hand in all of it and look forward to this year anticipating how He will work and what He will do as I walk imperfectly with Him through my days.

Once again I begin from a what feels like a physically broken state, with a limited capacity to function in a day due to debilitating physical pain and fatigue. This reality reminds me how important it is to be present in my relationships, utilize time well, be grateful, patient, flexible, prioritize, live simply, generously, out of an internal motivation of love and to spend my energy on things that really matter. I’ve also learned how to be thankful for the relationships in my life and to find joy in the intangible things in this life. One of the best internal shifts for me has been a focus on gratitude for what I’m able to do instead of frustration over what I can’t do or what I used to be able to do. I’d seriously be amiss if I didn’t point to Jesus as the One who has transformed my heart, mind and internal motivations. It’s not by anything I have done, but as a result of His love, grace and mercy towards me and my imperfect efforts!

As I step into 2018, I will carry with me thankfulness to God for all of last year, both the good and the bad, lessons I’ve learned and resolve to love God and love everyone the best way I can and to read the Bible cover to cover, present with the God who never leaves me and see what He teaches me through His living and active word! Will you join me in reading the whole Bible in whatever way speaks to you this year? It’s been quite  a journey since I started this tradition January 1, 2015! Here is to great new beginnings in 2018….

 

Beauty & Blessings!

XO, Michelle

 

Good Friday 2017

On Good Friday I’m thinking about the pain and suffering Jesus faced and the way He cried out to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane asking for what He knew was coming to pass; seeking His Father, but asking if there was another way; presenting His request, but obediently submitting to His Father’s will. Jesus knew His Father intimately and that He could trust His plans no matter the human cost, but He also knew what was coming-betrayal, beating almost to death, humiliation, ridicule, denial by His own disciple, crown of thorns, carrying His own cross, being nailed to that cross, carrying ALL the sins of mankind on His perfect, sinless soul and separation from His Father. This prayer is a reminder of the tension between human pain, suffering and loss contrasted with the desire to do the Father’s will. The way of the cross for Jesus “was chosen before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20) so that I could be reconciled with God and never be separated from His presence for ALL of eternity; not in this life, in death or in the afterlife. I am challenged as I bring my personal prayer requests to God to add, like Jesus showed me in the Garden, “not my will, but Yours be done.” It feels like a small, insignificant response compared to what my Savior did for me over 2,000 years ago. And with Jesus as an example, I know I can be strengthened through prayer (Luke 22:43) to take the next step the Father is asking of me and because of what Jesus did by defeating death and what He tells me about His return and eternity in the Bible, I can live abundantly no matter the circumstances I face today or in the future. ​​

Life is Hard, Endurance Needed

I can hardly believe we are on the shore of 2017 and it’s rolling in tonight. As I look back on this year, I realize I haven’t written one post in 2016. I’ve had a difficult time organizing my thoughts this year and haven’t put much in writing. I’ve been learning and growing, but have often struggled to put words with what is going on internally. If I had to come up with a term that encapsulates 2016, I’d characterize it as a year of endurance. My health hasn’t changed much at all this year and it isn’t due to a lack of effort. I’m coming up on the five year anniversary of my diminished functioning without much improvement, just coping strategies. BUT, I’m experiencing more peace and joy than I did when I was fully functioning. Although I haven’t been able to expand my capacity, I’ve experienced a depth in relationships with my family, friends and God that brings blessings from the struggle, pain and loss. I attribute that to God and His transformational work in my heart. I believe He is able to do His work in my life when I spend time with Him in His word. At the close of 2014 I decided that every 1/1 I was going to start at the beginning and read straight through the Bible each year and see what God teaches me from His word. I did read through the Bible cover to cover for the second time in 2016. It took me until December, but I read it and was amazed at what I learned the second time reading straight through. AND, I’m excited to start in Genesis 1:1 again tomorrow morning. Will you join me? Set aside some time each day to sit with God and His word and just anticipate what He will do in your heart, mind and life. I’ll leave this year with something I wrote in August about endurance:

Is life going as you planned? Are you filling your days with what you thought you would at this stage of life? If you aren’t in the midst of a current interruption, have you ever experienced a change you weren’t expecting? Interruptions to life come in all shapes and forms from slow transitions to sudden upsets with mild pain and suffering to deep long-suffering without light at the end of the tunnel. If I could sit across the table from you over a cup of coffee, I’m sure you’d have a story to tell of how life took a turn or came to what seemed like a halt. It may be a current circumstance or one in the past, but I’m certain it would have marked you in some deep, specific, permanent ways. There are always surface level impacts, but what marks us most is below the surface at the heart, soul and mind level. When we look within at how our circumstances craft and create our story through the lens of God’s story via the Bible, we start to see that how we respond and react matters. Faith in God is strengthened sometimes through healing of circumstances, but most often, and in my personal experience, through trusting God regardless of whether or not the healing or restoration comes. When I committed to following God, did I make that commitment only if things were going as I planned in my life? Is He my God only if He fixes the broken parts of my life the way I want? In the midst of pain, suffering, loss and diminished functioning when I just want to give up, give in, medicate or end it, how will I respond?

At some point in our personal suffering we consciously or unconsciously become committed to endurance, because the alternative is death, literally or figuratively death of the heart, soul or mind. The official definitions of endurance according to Merriam Webster are: the ability to do something difficult for a long time; the ability to deal with pain or suffering for a long time; the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; the quality of continuing for a long time; the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation with out giving way. Some synonyms for endurance: tolerance, sufferance; forbearance, patience, staying power, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, grit, resolution, determination.

Do you hear the repetition? How long does suffering last to produce endurance? A. Long. Time.

I will endure. I will get out of bed when I don’t think I can put both feet on the ground. I will remain physically active, constantly pushing myself to walk and stretch when my head, neck, back, hips, legs & knees are screaming to stop. I will engage and interact with those around me when I don’t think I have anything to offer or feel irrelevant, out of the game, unproductive, under-challenged, underutilized, insignificant or invisible. I will try to be faithful to God in the little things He’s given me to do, constantly being thankful. I will be patient with myself, my health and limitations as well as with those around me and encourage others to do the same, because Love is patient first, before it’s anything else ( I Cor. 13:4). I will always remember it’s the people in my life that matter most and try to make a positive, encouraging impact in their lives daily. I will still learn new things and pursue a healthy lifestyle. And on the days that I feel I can’t go on any longer, I will still hope and remember it will get better.  I have strategies to bring some temporary relief. I will endure.

I was reminded about this endurance this morning from Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”

This gives me perspective and points me to Jesus’ example on how to endure. His focus was not on His suffering, but on the future joy that His sacrifice would bring to that which He loved most- people. What do I need to lay aside in order to keep my eyes on Jesus and the future hope He gives me right now? This is a deep, soul searching question that every one of us will answer differently. Is there anything He is whispering to you right now? The good news is that you don’t have to endure any of it alone, Jesus never leaves your side!

Life is hard. It is hard for every one of us, but it doesn’t have to make us hard. It can make us loving, joyful, thankful, encouraging, enduring, long-suffering, peaceful, kind, patient, humble, brave, bold, beautiful and faithful. You can endure your situation beautifully, my friend. I just know it!

XO, Michelle

Reflecting on the Mountain

20130323_095559Forty years had passed since the Isrealites left Egypt; forty years of wandering a route that should have taken about 11 days to travel. The promised land was ahead, but they couldn’t see it. I want to learn so I don’t wander around longer than necessary for God to do what He plans in my life.  I love how sweetly the LORD speaks to His people in Deuteronomy 1:6-7 when they are stuck, as a result of their own sin.  “The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb: ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Resume your journey and go…”.  He gently told them to move on from where they were stuck, and I believe there is truth in this for us today.  There is something better ahead, resume your journey.

As I look back at 2015, I wonder what mountain I’ve stayed at long enough. If I were to choose the mountain to turn from and leave, it would be the Mountain of Pain & Fatigue.  Oh how I would love to resume my life, turn my back and go on, but despite my best efforts I can’t heal myself.  It feels like I’ve been trying to leave for all of 2015, but that mountain is on my back and I’m carrying it with me.  Sometimes the reality of carrying the weight gets too heavy so I set it down, sit and focus on it. Looking at it makes me feel sad and see loss, but carrying it somehow makes me stronger so I pick it back up and journey on; searching, researching, making physical changes, going to doctors, taking medicine, pacing myself, walking and living.  If my health puzzle is not the mountain I’ve stayed at long enough (4 years now), then what is I wonder?  Sometimes we have to search below the obvious layers to identify where we are somehow stuck or stalled so we can resume our journey.  While I ponder I ask God to help me name my mountain, so He can sweetly whisper, ‘You’ve been at this mountain too long, it’s time to go and resume the journey I’ve called you to.’

God helps me remember that 2015 was a good year full of great memories with rich family time and a lot of letting go.  There were highs & lows; great joy in the midst of pain & suffering; success & failure; storms & calm; laughter & tears; progress & set backs; insight & overwhelming confusion; a couple more pieces to my health puzzle & tough treatment roads; great effort towards getting well without the desired result, but through it all God was in and with me teaching me about Himself, who He’s created me to be, His faithfulness, how to trust Him, put hope in His promises, live with joy, hold onto peace in the storm, love beyond myself, how to have patience no matter the circumstances and faith in His plan for my days.  I’ve learned, grown and changed in the process.  Here are some themes I can identify as I reflect through this past year: be faithful in the little things; walk worthy and walk well in all situations; honor God in my relationships; love others- it’s the people in my life who matter most; do challenging things; lean into hard circumstances & conversations; in my weakness, He is strong; even if healing doesn’t come, I will trust Him; be kind; Jesus is enough.  Of this I’m confident: God has been faithful through it all and will continue to be, no matter what comes my way.

So, what is the mountain I’ve spent far too much time at?  I’ll continue to ponder this question in my heart.  Can you name the mountain you’ve stayed at for far too long?  Here is the link to the message, ‘Can You Name Your Mountain’ by Steve Carter, revolving around this scripture from December 26/27 at Willow Creek Community Church, give it a listen:  https://willowcreek.tv/

Three days until 2016 and the start of reading through the Bible cover to cover. I can’t wait!  Will you join me at your own pace with your own plan?

XO, Michelle

Insights Gleaned from Reading Straight Through the Bible in 2015

2012-03-03_14-32-40_112I started 2015 with the goal to read the Bible straight through, cover to cover. When I began that goal I had no idea the impact it would have on my life, heart, soul, mind, relationships, perspective and circumstances. It was a seed planted in my heart from an article I read that took root and grew. I don’t share this for a pat on the back or to compare Bible reading plans, but to maybe plant a seed in Christian hearts that reading God’s word matters and has the power to transform a life regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself. When I set out to read through the Bible, I decided it would be something I would restart every January 1 of the New Year. I often don’t follow through on New Year Resolutions, so this was simply a goal I set and met.

My excitement has been growing for January 1, 2016 to come so I can start the New Year reading straight through the Bible again. As I look forward, during this Advent season, I am spending time looking back at what God has taught me through His word this year. God has taken this seed and my obedience to sit with Him in a way that fits my current life circumstances and poured into me to the point where it overflows from my heart. He’s given me a deep rooted love for all of His word exactly how He’s given it even if I don’t completely understand what or why He is giving it; all I had to do was show up, listen, be obedient and trust He would teach me something, anything. I am somehow different, in a way that isn’t always easy to put my finger on, but I feel more peace, joy, content, calm, others focused, less selfish, with a deeper understanding of God and how deeply loved I am by Him. Here is some of what I’ve learned:

God loves us, all of us!

God is extremely patient with His people. I’ve really pondered why in I Corinthians 13 the first description of love is patience, “Love is patient…” So far I’ve decided that it is the root of all the other outward descriptions of love. If you are not patient, can you be kind, others focused, humble, generous, and forgiving?

Although I may not understand all of what is there, it is ALL important and significant or He wouldn’t have inspired the author to record it. Therefore I’ve concluded that every part of my life, my years, my days, my moments are important, inspired, purposed, planned and orchestrated by Him. If I seek Him, I can find him in even the most minute detail, circumstance and situation.

He is God, I am not, and I can trust Him with all of my circumstances.

I LOVE His word and can’t get enough of it. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to burst with excitement over what I learn.

He teaches me new things every time I reread a passage.

Genesis and Revelation are perfect book ends to His story of Love for us. It starts in a garden with the tree of life and ends in heaven with the tree of life.

He is intentional and purposeful and has eternity and His perfect plans in view. I have a limited, imperfect, human perspective, which He still cares about.

There are consequences for sin.

Living life for God requires sacrifice of selfish desires.

He knows all and it all matters to Him.

Although  Jesus’ earthly life is recorded in the New Testament, He is present from Genesis through Revelation.

His word is Truth and shows me how to live. Everything I need is in there.

My comfort and happiness in this life isn’t the main point of living, I’ve been created for eternity and somehow this life, and who God’s created me to be, matters for eternity.

Not much of this life will last for eternity, but God’s word will, so I best store it up in my heart because I’m taking it with me. I Peter 1:22-25

I am His and He cares deeply about me.

God hears our prayers. There is power in prayer, even if God doesn’t answer in the way I’ve asked.

Revelation is important and promises blessing to those who read it. Rev. 1:3

Jesus Christ loved us in Revelation 1:5, beautifully looks back to the cross according to David Guzik’s commentary. “The work of Jesus on the cross for us is God’s ultimate proof of His love for you. He may give additional proof, but He can give no greater proof. No wonder many believers are not secure in knowing the love of Jesus toward them- they look to their present circumstances to measure His love. Instead, they need to look back to the cross, settle the issue once for all and give praise to Jesus, to Him who loved us.” If this insight is the only blessing I receive from reading Revelation, it is a blessing indeed!

There are so many other insights I’ve learned from reading the Bible cover to cover in 2015. I’m anticipating what God will do in my heart, soul, mind and life as I repeat this process during 2016.

XO, Michelle

Jesus’ First Sign- John 2

Writing about Scripture has proved to be more challenging than I thought. My task was simple, to read through the gospel of John and write about words that

My Mom and me
My Mom and me

Jesus spoke and the context of when He used the word believe.  I was planning to go through a chapter a day, but there is so much in each chapter and organizing my thoughts and ideas has not been easy.  I am not a Bible teacher, simply a student of God’s word who loves practically all of it and thinks it’s all important.  Plus my blog has technical issues, it isn’t organized in a way that makes sense to me, it looks better when there is a picture with the post, the formatting doesn’t look quite right…my distractions could go on and on, if I’d allow them and I’m not even going touch on the thoughts that run through my brain on what others will think about what I’m writing. Isn’t life like that though?  Full of distractions to keep us from what is truly important?  A lot of times we can be consumed by the details and miss the big picture.  I want to be taught by God from His word and for my writing to reflect what He is teaching me.  I’m hoping my words will reflect what is in my heart and in some way encourage others to read the Bible and learn more God’s great love story.

I’ve been listening to the chapters of John while reading along, highlighting Jesus’ words, and putting a box around the word believe to try to help stay focused.  Yesterday I went through this process with chapter two and three and find that most of chapter three (vs. 3-21 ) is now highlighted!  One of my biggest struggles as a student has and continues to be summarization.  I’ve always over highlighted and struggled with deciding what is the most important. I found the word believe three times in John 2; verses 11, 22 and 23.   I’m going to focus on just the first 11 verses today and attempt to organize what I’ve learned.

In the beginning of the chapter, we encounter Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine. I love how His mom, Mary, came to Jesus when they ran out of wine at the wedding. She knew who to go to in a crisis situation.  This reminds me that she knew Jesus; she was His mother after all.  Although I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be the mother of Jesus, I am a mother and I know my children, so I can identify with Mary, the mother and this ‘hostess-type’ role she seems to be in. (The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke give accounts of Jesus from conception to birth and some information on Him when he was a boy, but John starts with His ministry as a 30 year old man.)  One of my biggest fears is having some kind of a party and running out of food, which almost became a reality when we hosted my high school son’s lacrosse team for a pasta party this week.  Running out of food or in this case wine, would seem like a crisis to someone hosting guests, so I’m imagining Mary’s stress level is a little high.

Jesus’ response to Mary is a little confusing to me, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come” vs. 4.  But it doesn’t seem to be confusing to Mary because she tells the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Mary brought her need to Jesus and allowed Him to meet it.  How many times do I bring a need to God then proceed to tell Him how I think it should be resolved?

The waiters do what Jesus tells them and they get to experience a sign from Jesus on whom He really is- One who can take water and create the best tasting wine the headwaiter had tasted at this wedding celebration.  It was worth noting because usually they would serve the best wine first then the cheaper imitation after people already had the best on their palates.  Jesus isn’t like that.  He has ‘the best is yet to come’ message for us and He never gives a cheap imitation of love, grace, goodness, peace, joy, or anything for that matter.   John 2:11 says, “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”  Imagine you are at this wedding, what role would you step in to? Would you be one of the disciples already following Jesus whose belief is strengthened, one of the servants interacting with Jesus for the first time with a new belief in Him or a guest who is drinking the best wine offered, but not knowing from whom it comes? Whomever you identify with, what do you currently believe about Jesus and will you continue to journey through the Bible to learn more about Him?

Two points I’m taking away from this miracle, sign and wonder is that Jesus always only gives the best to us and He can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

XO, Michelle

You Are Known-John 1

John 1 ImageThe gospel of John starts in verses 1-5 by taking us back to remind us that Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit have always been in existence together.  It’s become particularly significant to me that Jesus, the Word, was “In the beginning” and that “all things came into being by Him”.  Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” Jesus didn’t just begin existence when He was born.  He is God, has always existed, and chose to become fully man.

As I read John chapter 1, I highlighted words that Jesus spoke and looked closely at the context of when He used the word believe.  I found believe in three places in the first chapter, verse 7, 12 and 50.  I’m going to briefly highlight the first two verses and spend more time on Jesus’ interactions with people. Here is a link to John 1: https://www.bible.com/bible/100/jhn.1.nasb

Before Jesus comes onto the scene we are introduced to John the Baptist 1:6-7, “a man, sent from God…for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, the all might believe through him”.  This is not the same man who authored the book of John.   Luke 1 tells about John the Baptist from conception to birth and Matthew 3 gives further detail about his ministry, if you want to learn more about him and his parents.  John was telling people that Jesus was coming and had a firm conviction of who Jesus was.

John 1:12 tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”.  We are told who we become when we believe in Jesus.

Jesus is all-knowing, so when Simon first meets Him, he need not introduce himself.  Jesus already knows him, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cepahs (Peter)” 1:42.  If I put myself in Simon’s sandals, I can imagine that he felt Jesus look straight into his heart and was known for the first time without having to say a word.  The same is true for us.  Jesus knows us; the good and bad, and loves us so much that He left heaven and lived on earth so He could be the “Lamb of God” 1:36, the Sacrifice for our sins that have separated us from a perfect God.

What is it like to walk into a room and be known?  Can you think of a time when you felt known or at least recognized?  There is significance to us when someone knows our name.  Think about all the places we go where people wear name tags.  Try addressing the person by name while you are checking out at the grocery store or ordering your food at a restaurant.  Does the person react to hearing his/her name used?  We can make this small gesture a habit by showing people that they are known.  It doesn’t compare to believing you are known and have been known by the One who created everything, since the start of time. Jesus knows you.

We encounter the word believe gain in John 1:50 in the context of Jesus talking to a man named Nathanael.  Earlier, Jesus called Philip and said to him, “Follow Me” 1:43.  This made such an impact on his life that Philip went and found Nathanael to tell him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” 1:45.  All the details prophesied about in the Old Testament about the coming Savior were lived out by Jesus.  Nathanael was an Israelite, so he would know what was written about the coming King of Israel.  As you read the account of Nathanael meeting Jesus for the first time in John 1:45-51, ponder what was it that made Nathanael a believer?  Can you fathom being seen by Jesus not just right where you are in your current circumstances, but from the beginning of creation?  Jesus sees you.

From the start of time, Jesus existed and He knew you.  He sees you now and loves you deeply.  He invites you to believe this is true about Him and to become God’s child.

XO, Michelle