Making Yourself At Home in God's Love

Remaining in love and obedience can seem like an odd pairing of commands, especially according to the standards of the world. Yet there is deep wisdom in these words of Jesus. He knows that to obey is to listen -- really listen and hear the heart of his Father in the words of his Father. By remaining at home in his Father's love, Jesus heard the will of his Father. That love fueled his choice and power to act in love, ultimately laying down his life for his friends, including us.

John 15:9-17 (NLT)
  “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which caught your attention you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

What feelings – either comfortable or uncomfortable - are rising up in you as you listen to this text? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus. Listen for how he meets you in these feelings.

Sketch or color a picture of what “remaining” might look like for you.

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God’s compassion for you.

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Belonging to the Bridegroom

Have you had an experience where you knew deep within that you belonged to God? If you become real quiet, can you remember where you have most felt a sense of belonging? That your life mattered and you were wanted? Sometimes we do not have a storehouse of nurturing memories to draw from. It is helpful then to vulnerably trust the longing to belong which God has placed within us. Bring these consoling memories and longings into your prayer as you listen to the following passage. John's inner knowing of who he belonged to gave him great confidence to walk in humility and trust the Bridegroom's voice.

John 3:22-30 (NIV)
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”

For Reflection and Prayer:

What did you hear as you listened or read the text? Did something particular catch your attention? Bring it into conversation with Jesus.

Give yourself room for the word to affect you. What are you feeling or sensing? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus.

Share your longing to belong with Jesus. How does he meet you in this longing?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

Friends

Shared confidences, shared burdens, story, history, being known, respect, honor, joy, delight, love, forgiveness, solace, mutual: these are the words of friendship. As you enter this time of prayer, listen to God's invitation to friendship - even in the midst of pain, trouble, fear and shame.  

Psalm 25:11-22(NLT)

For the honor of your name, O LORD,
    forgive my many, many sins.
12 Who are those who fear the LORD?
    He will show them the path they should choose.
13 They will live in prosperity,
    and their children will inherit the land.
14 The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.
    He teaches them his covenant.
15 My eyes are always on the LORD,
    for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.
16 Turn to me and have mercy,
    for I am alone and in deep distress.
17 My problems go from bad to worse.
    Oh, save me from them all!
18 Feel my pain and see my trouble.
    Forgive all my sins.
19 See how many enemies I have
    and how viciously they hate me!
20 Protect me! Rescue my life from them!
    Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.
21 May integrity and honesty protect me,
    for I put my hope in you.
22 O God, ransom Israel
    from all its troubles.

For Reflection and Prayer:

Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that shimmered as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus. Perhaps you want to draw or color your prayer.

Picture your friendship with God. Where and how do you most enjoy being together?

When have you been aware of God feeling your pain or seeing your troubles? In your prayer, remember and reflect on an experience of God rescuing you. What stands out to you?

Friends of the Bridegroom

If you could imagine being the best man in a wedding, you could imagine that your role is to support, encourage, and be present for the bridegroom. You stand at his side, readied and listening, alert to help your friend. In this passage John describes his mission and purpose. John was called to prepare the way for the Messiah. For John it is all about Jesus, the Messiah, and John takes great joy in Jesus' success. Read on to see why this was so important to John. He understood what was going on. He knew who Jesus was.  

John 3:27-36 The Message
John answered, "It's not possible for a person to succeed--I'm talking about eternal  success--without heaven's help. You yourselves were there when I made it public that I was not the Messiah but simply the one sent ahead of him to get things ready. The one who gets the bride is, by definition, the bridegroom. And the bridegroom's friend, his 'best man'--that's me--in place at his side where he can hear every word, is genuinely happy. How could he be jealous when he knows that the wedding is finished and the marriage is off to a good start?

That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.

The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. The earthborn is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heavenborn is in a league of his own. He sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven. No one wants to deal with these facts. But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth.

The One that God sent speaks God's words. And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away--a lavish distribution of gifts. That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that.

  • "Lord, what are you pointing at for me in this passage?"
  • How is my heart being spoken to in this moment?
  • Where might this word intersect with my life right now?
  • How do these words foster greater love for God and others in you?