Tis The Season

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.-Ecclesiastes 3:1, 1 Cor. 15:8 (NKJV)

I am thinking about seasons.  The author of Ecclesiastes lists fifteen pairs of seasons that are opposites, starting with, "a time to be born and a time to die".  One translator writes, "opportune time", for season.  It's like a season is a window of opportunity.

But what if you miss an opportunity or that opportunity is closed off by others?  What if the plan or the positive, logical, sequence of events, is aborted?  Paul's ministry came in a different or peculiar way.  It was born out of due time; not in season, to the natural eyes.

This is Christmas week.  It is the season to celebrate Jesus birth.  But, there are people who are suffering loss right now.  They are in a sad place.  So, there are two season's going on in their lives, out of harmony.

I believe that God supplies the grace for people who seem to be out of season.

The person who is out of season carries a sort of stigma, that is like what Joseph, Mary and Jesus experienced, their whole lives.

Mary's miraculous conception was something that even Joseph had a hard time with.  It is interesting that Elisabeth was the one person that had no trouble getting it, because she was already pregnant herself with a special child.  It is a gift from God, when we find people who understand, because God has already been working in their lives, in an extraordinary way.

This a message from the Christmas story.  

Tis the season when God intervened.  Remember the words later of Simeon, who met Mary & Joseph, with Jesus, when he was 8 days old:
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,According to Your word;For my eyes have seen Your salvationWhich You have prepared before the face of all peoples,A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,And the glory of Your people Israel.”
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” -Luke 2:25-35
I am not going to do a study here on what Simeon's words might mean, but in today's language, perhaps, it could be said, that he (Jesus) is going to shake things up and sort things out.  Jesus came to save us, to bring us into salvation.  He himself causes people to make a choice.

This week, I have been thinking about the verse that says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God" (Rom. 1:16).  Jesus is the answer.  Jesus said he is the way, the truth, and the life; because he wanted us to know that it is all about him - living in him and letting him live through us.

The hope of the world is Jesus.  The gospel is the news about his coming to save us and bring us into God's kingdom, here and now.


Blessings to you,

Steve 

Perseverance...

Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.
-Hebrews 6:11-12 (HCSB)

Do you have perseverance?  It takes perseverance to inherit the promises.  Perseverance is long-suffering.  It is patience, as in a long temper.  It is a "keeping on, keeping on".  Perseverance also means, "delayed hope" (Prov. 13:12).  

A quick diagramming of Heb. 6:11-12 is this.  I imagine this is not perfect, but this is my attempt, to try to understand it better:

Now we want 
-each of you 
   -to demonstrate
       -the same diligence
       -for the final realization
       -of your hope,
       -so that you won’t become lazy
   -but will be imitators
      -of those who inherit the promises
         -through faith and perseverance.

My focus is on this word, perseverance.  It falls within the "imitators" section.  We want to be "perseverer's", who inherit the promises, through faith.  The writer tells us that, indeed, faith is not passive.  Real faith is proven through long-suffering.  That is how it works.

The author says, to do that, by imitating or following the example of others who are doing this.  Verse 12 is somewhat of a restating of verse 11, in which it says that we demonstrate diligence.  Diligence means earnestness or an enthusiastic going after.

Becoming Christlike, is a process to be pursued.  It takes diligence and perseverance.  These verses are in contrast to the verses that precede them, that talk about people who do not diligently go after Christ being formed in them (Gal. 4:19).

I like the Holman Standard Christian Bible (1), here, because they use this word, perseverance.  The King James has, "patience", which is the most common way this word is translated.  I found "longsuffering" in the ACV.  The NLT has "endurance", and The Message says, "stay the course", which I also love.  The other ones that use "perseverance", are The New English Translation and The Jerusalem Holy Bible.

There are "promises" that Christians want to see in their lives.  I was going to say "strive after", but I don't want to say that we make it happen.  However, we do have the paradox, that we need to be still and "be", while letting God "do" and "be".  But, there is also much that we "do".  We do "press on", to finish our race, which is a marathon (Phil. 3:14).

As a young man, I wrestled with the idea of, "waiting on God".  I found out that what this means is waiting like a waiter, at a restaurant.  In other words, it is not passive, and it is relational.  You are active, like the wise virgins, who kept their lamps going, while waiting for the call of the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-3).

We have to learn to trust God, with all our hearts (Prov. 3:5) and not depend on our own understanding.  That is inheriting the promises through faith and perseverance.  In all our ways, we acknowledge him and he will make our paths straight, or direct our paths (Prov. 3:6).  It is a faith and patience thing.  We keep on, not losing our temper.

We don't want to become lazy.  The world is always dragging us down and back.  We have to work.  Faith saves you, but faith does not work in your life, unless you work it.  It is like having things, but you have to get up and do something, to put them to use.

We inherit the promises (2 Cor. 1:20) of God through perseverance.  Everyone who inherits God's promises has a hard life.  There are bumps, detours, losses, set backs, and betrayals; just to name a few of the challenges.  Things do not always go as planned.

But God has provision there, in the challenges to our faith.  We have to receive and take hold of it, and put it to use.  God provides for us when any bad things happen to us, and God compensates us for the deficits that the injustices of life place on us.  God is huge on justice (Psalm 89:14 & 97:2, Luke 18:7).

Perseverance is the way on.  Those that  persevere will inherit.  That is what it says.  It is a narrow path (Matt. 7:13-14).  If you want to live in Romans 8:28, seeing God causing all things to work together for good, you have to keep loving God, confirming your calling, for his purpose.  We persevere (keep faith-ing, working out a life of believing no matter what, like Job (Job 13:15)), and God works stuff out through provision and compensation.
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I found the photo above on J. Michael Cunningham's blog post, here.
1. A review of the HSCB.

My Mourning

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
-Matthew 5:4

If Jesus said God blesses the people who mourn, then mourning is alright.  Even Jesus mourned (John 11:35).  Tears are good.

I was at a lecture, and I suddenly felt very sad, about a loss in my life.  There was a grief, a loss, to mourn.  We call it "grief work".  Many of us have pockets of loss or hurtful memories in our hearts.  More than a few times, a scene in a movie has resonated with my grief or loss; and I am suddenly bursting into tears.

I also had a dream this past week, and in it, I was reciting a disappointment, which was mourning a loss.  It got my attention and I agreed to grieve it.  If we ignore our "grief work", the hurts stay with us and contaminate our lives.

Blessed are those who mourn their losses.

We need to let go of the hurt, so that we can take hold of the new beginnings, the new seasons, and the second chances.  For example, when you suffer a loss; if you stay in the place of hurt and judgement and anger and resentment, you are looking at and holding onto the old.  That is your obsession and your heart is full of it.

When a new opportunity comes, you cannot see it or take it in, because you are preoccupied with the loss of the past.  In God's kingdom, we get forgiven, we forgive others, and God brings new beginnings and the second chances (and third and forth chances).

In God's kingdom, it is a "fail-safe" environment.  We can try things and fail at them.  We can miss things, but different things come, that we get a chance at.  We can be sinned against, ripped off, lied about, or bullied by others; and God makes up for it.

The one who is stuck, sometimes says, "why oh why did God allow thus and so".  Then they theologize and surmise that their experience of loss means that either God is not good or God is not powerful.  Both of these positions are false.

God gives life.  In living, God gives us the gift of mourning or grieving our losses.  Everyone's story has losses and God's compensation.  "Beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair." (Isa. 61:3)  If you suffered a loss, God has compensation for you, but you have to take hold of Christ (Phil. 3:12) and work it out (Phil. 2:12).  Part of that is mourning.

Without mourning, you don't experience morning.

God has a new day for people who have suffered, but they have to grieve the loss.  Some people laugh inappropriately, when they should be mourning.  James wrote, "Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy." (James 4:9)

Some of our losses are linked with what we have done.  Sarcasm and masochism are not the answer.  Mourning is the answer and healing.  Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Isa. 61:1).  He came to tell mourners that the day of God's favor is here (Isa. 61:2).

To receive, you must grieve.

I believe in riding the wave of mourning in our lives, and receiving the blessing of being healed by Jesus from any and all loses.  We do let it go and we do get over it, but not as the world does (1 Thess. 4:13).  The healing and the freedom comes from and through Christ.

He heals my life.  He is my compensation.  He always has a plan, even when I have failed or others fail me.  He is always good.  He always has a way because he is the way.  In him there is always provision.  He is my hope.


My Anger

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
-Ephesians 4:26-7 (NLT)

A few weeks ago, I was on the way, with my family, to go to a performance of "A Christmas Carol".  I had never been to the theater we were driving to, and was taking directions from the GPS.  We got off the freeway, and I was disoriented about which lane to be in.

I was changing lanes and another man honked at me.  There were four lane choices, and I am not even certain I wanted to get in front of him; but just over, towards him, one or two lanes.

When he honked at me, I honked back.  He honked,  then I hooooooooooooonked.  You get the idea.  It was a, "how dare you honk at me, and now here is a taste of your own medicine", honk.  I think I also upset the panhandler, but he may have already been talking up a storm, before I hooooooonked.

We continued to follow the Magellan's directions, and it was funny, because the man that I had the honking thing with, was leading us the same way.  Yes, he was headed to the Christmas play too.  He just went into the adjacent parking lot, to the one I was looking for.

Later, when I crossed through that lot, looking for a coffee shop, I wondered if I would see that man.  In the theater, I wondered where that man was seated, with his family.  We were all there to watch the famous play about the  most famous Christmas grouch, who had his heart changed.

It took me a while, but I realized that even if someone is ungracious, in my eyes, and honks at me; perhaps they are doing it, because they really think I don't see them and want to prevent an accident, which is what horns are for after all.  I'm stating the obvious, because it is so easy to get caught up in a hysterical 'drama-fest'.  If I get honked at, I need to forbear and live out of the provision of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

So, a week past, and it happened again.  I made the mistake of going to the store, "to pick up a few things", in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.  The roads and the parking lots were as full and crowded as they get (accept for on Christmas eve.)  I was carefully exiting the parking lot onto the crowded street, making a difficult left turn.

And then the car in back of me honked.  I was tempted to make a scene by putting my car in park and setting the brake, then walking to their window, and asking them what their problem is.  In that moment, I let my spirit reach out to the Spirit of God and get the provision for the fruit of the Spirit I so much needed.

In the moment, I got it.  I chose not to sin in my anger.  The honk alarmed and annoyed me.  But then rather than escalating it, I reached out to God for the fruit of the Spirit, and God provided.  I made a choice, in the angry moment, to choose not to sin in my anger.

It felt different than the other way.  I felt peace.  There was a sting in the slight humiliation of the honk, but I learned again what it feels like to turn the other cheek.

And a few days later, last night in fact, after I had been reflecting on this, and began writing about it here; it happened again.  Someone honked at me, and I just chuckled and didn't feel anger at all.  All I wanted to do, is recognize them and their concern, and get out of their way.

I believe that The Fruit of The Spirit is there for every Christian, to resource us in every interpersonal situation challenge.  I am learning to live in that place.

I also believe that if we have deep pain, from childhood, that feeds our being touchy or angry adults, that we need to get in touch with it and release it, as Christians, through the cross of Christ.  Jesus helps us forgive.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases (Psalm 103:3).  Many people have suppressed anger.
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The photo above is from Jamye Price, Forbearance.
Here are some books for further study:
The Angry Book, Theodore I. Rubin
Deep Wounds, Deep Healing; Charles Kraft
Boundaries, Henry Cloud & John Townsend
Questions & Answers on Anger, Cloud & Townsend
Anger and Assertiveness in Pastoral Care, David W. Augsburger.
The Three Battlegrounds, Francis Frangipane
Hate Work: Working Through The Pain and Pleasures of Hate, David W. Augsburger
(I have not read these two books by David, but he was a teacher of mine, and they look like very good resources.)

He Owns The Cattle On A Thousand Hills -I know He Will Care For Me

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in ev'ry mine;
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -
He is my Father so they're mine as well;
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
I know that He will care for me.


John W. Peterson wrote this song, published in 1948.  He was born in 1921 and died in 2006.  He wrote over 1000 songs, including Heaven Came Down an Glory Filled My Soul, Surely Goodness and Mercy, This Is The Day That The Lord Hath Made.

It is a great reminder that God takes care of us.  Generous is a word that describes God and we live out lives of generosity:
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
-2 Corinthians 9:8-10 (NLT)
I have been prompted to think about financial resources this week.  God resources us, and we resource others.  There is seed and bread.  We sow the seed and eat the bread.

In Acts 20:17-38, Paul says goodbye to the Ephesian elders.  This is where he warns them about wolves coming into the eldership of the church.  He also warns them about taking money from the church.

This song, "He Owns The Cattle On A Thousand Hills", is Paul's song.  All through Paul's writings, he says that God or Christ will take care of me.  Paul's bottom line in Christ.  And about the resources in your life, Paul quotes Jesus' saying, "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Is this song your song too?  Do you know that God takes care of you?

The gospel is about giving.  God is a giver.  God is generous.  The blessing comes from giving.  God gives to us and we give to others, showing off God to them.

That's the Christian life.  God gave.  Christ gave.  We joyfully and humbly receive, and then give.

The New Testament teaches grace giving in a lifestyle of generosity, and living by faith - sowing seed and eating bread for today.



How Firm A Foundation

I will not, I will not leave thee, I will never, never, never forsake thee.”
-Hebrews 12:5 (1)

Have you ever heard J. Vernon McGee's "Thru The Bible", radio program?  It has been on a number of stations, here in Southern California, for decades.  He passed on in 1988, but his radio ministry has kept going, because it is so popular.  How Firm A Foundation, is the hymn that opens the show.  I decided to look at this amazing hymn.  Here is is:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

How Firm A Foundation, first appeared in hymnals, in the 18th century.  It is attributed to someone named "K", who perhaps wanted to remain anonymous.

According to this Hymn studies website, it is based on Isaiah 43:1-5:


But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will gather you and your children from east and west.

1 Corinthians 3:11 says:

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 41:10 says:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right ha
nd.

And Romans 8:35-39 says, 

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 13:5 says,

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,

“I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.”

And finally, Deuteronomy 31:6 says,

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

(NLT)

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1. (The Family Expositor; or a Paraphrase and Version of the New Testament, with Critical Notes and Practical Improvements, by the famous Dr. Philip Doddridge.)  See notes here.

Obedience Is From A Life That Has Had His Love Revealed, & Loves Back

Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.'

“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”
-John 14:21 (NJHB, MSG)

The person who loves Christ, has grasped, has layed ahold of his commands firmly.  That person's mind holds onto Christ's words, which are commands to be obeyed.  The person who loves Christ hears him, takes hold of the commands his gives, and obeys them.

But this does not happen in a vacuum.  It happens through God's love for us first.  It also is able to happen, because we are people who have the Holy Spirit.  We take hold of something that deeply impacts us- God's love in Christ, and become lovers ourselves.  And we express that love through obeying God's son.

The Father has always loved the Son.  The Father loves those who love the Son.  Those who love the Son, show that love by obeying what the Son has said.  And what he says are commands.

Jesus is king.  His words are life.  His words are instructions for life.  If we love him, we will follow him, by obeying his words.  We will observe his commands.

God's love is not conditional.  God loves the disobedient and the ones to even listen, but do not hear or lay hold of his commands and put them into practice.  God still loves those people.  Many verses say this, in John (3:16, 13:34, 15:9, 12; 17:23), and places like Romans 5:8, that says, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us".

When we obey Christ's commands, we enter in to the reciprocal love between the Father and the Son.  Conversely, when we do not obey; we close ourselves off from enjoying fellowship with God.  Like Adam and Eve, we end up hiding and putting on fig leaves in God's presence, because of the stain of sin and the shame of it.

God is unconditional, but we put the conditions on our own selves.  Every believer is as close to God, or as much in God's love, as they choose to be, through their own actions in their lives.  God does not decide to be near to some believers and distant from others.  We actually choose how close we will get.

Jesus says that those who enter in to the reciprocal love of the Father for him, through their obedience, will be loved by him in a revelational way, that is showing himself, manifesting himself, in our lives.

To paraphrase, Jesus is saying that if you take his words and run with them, getting it and doing it; that you will find yourself living in the extravagant love of the Father for the Son.  Then, Jesus will show up in your life, in a special way.

His revealing himself to you is not specific, but it is sure.  Your obedience takes you into a deeper experience of God's love for the Son and then, Christ promises to reveal himself to you.

The context of Jesus saying that the one who loves him obeys his commands, and will enter in to the reciprocal love of his Father and be so loved by Jesus, that he will manifest himself to you; is, the whole of John 14, which is a discourse that Jesus spoke to the disciples at their last supper or communion time together.

The backdrop, is when Jesus washed their feet, and had the exchange where he told Peter that he would get it later, on what this was about.  Then, he told them that one of them would betray him; and he dismissed Judas, into the night.

After Judas left, Jesus talked to the remaining eleven about how he is about to be glorified and God will be glorified in him.  Then, he told the eleven that he would be gone from them soon.

Immediately, as if this was importantly linked to how much they are going to miss Jesus human presence with them, he tells them this new command, that they should love one another, as he has loved them.  He said that as they do this, all people would know that they belong to him, are his disciples.

This command was wonderful and awe inspiring, but his leaving them was disturbing.  So Peter, inquired further about it and bragged that he would go anywhere with Jesus, even to death.  And that is when Jesus had to tell Peter that he was going to soon deny him three times, before dawn breaks tomorrow.

That must have broken Peter's heart.  They were all broken up about losing their master.  This is where they are in John 14:1, when Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled".  Jesus said that, because their hearts were very troubled.  Jesus is not saying, "just get over it", and he does not say that to us when we are suffering a loss.

John 14:1-3 is not a sermon to comfort us at funerals, about heaven.  The Father's house is you and me.  That is what Jesus explains in the whole chapter of John.  Jesus was not talking about heaven.  He was talking about the life of his disciples, on earth.

The only way you can live the life is to abide in Christ.  And it is even better than that, because Jesus says that the way that it works, is for the Holy abides with us (14:16).  We are his abodes, the dwelling places that Jesus mentioned in verse two.  He, the Holy Spirit, will remain with us and be in us (14:17).  They, and we, will not be orphans.  Mysteriously, Jesus comes to be with us, through the Holy Spirit (14:18).

Jesus is saying, in the midst of this, "here is what I want to tell you, for you to know."  He then tells them that the life he has planned for them is a life of abiding in God - in him, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  John 14:21:
Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them: it is he who loves me. And whoever loves me shall be loved by my Father. And I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him.”
Do you notice the quotation marks, at the end of Jesus' words, and wonder what the beginning of his statement was, or what he was responding to?  He was responding to Philip, who spoke in verse 8, saying:
Philip said to him, “Lord, reveal the Father to us, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus answers Phillip:
Jesus said to him: "Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me? Philip, whoever sees me, also sees the Father. How can you say, 'Reveal the Father to us?'
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I am speaking to you, I do not speak from myself. But the Father abiding in me, he does these works.
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
Or else, believe because of these same works. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me shall also do the works that I do. And greater things than these shall he do, for I go to the Father.
And whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you shall ask anything of me in my name, that I will do.
If you love me, keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give another Advocate to you, so that he may abide with you for eternity:
the Spirit of Truth, whom the world is not able to accept, because it neither perceives him nor knows him. But you shall know him. For he will remain with you, and he will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans. I will return to you.
Yet a little while and the world will not see me any longer. But you will see me. For I live, and you shall live.
In that day, you shall know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them: it is he who loves me. And whoever loves me shall be loved by my Father. And I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him." -John 14:9-21 (CPDV)
 That gives us the context.  The manifestation, revelation, that Jesus gives us is of the Father.  He is answering Phil's question, "show us the Father".

The Christian life is a life of God being in us, with us, and beside us; empowering us to love and to obey what Jesus has said.  God starts the relationship and we just have to say, "yes", and enter in.  We agree, we yield, we permit, and consent.  Then we work it out and walk it ou and live it out.  But God supplies the ability to do it.

Those that love Jesus obey him.  They have entered in to the love of the Father for the Son.  They have the Holy Spirit in their lives, who empowers them to live the life.  He guides, he comforts, and most of all, he points to Jesus.

Baptism in water is a blessing.  But what about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  John, the baptist said that Jesus would baptize his disciples with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8).  John 14 is a chapter about the Trinity.  We need to understand Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  Only by experiencing God, can we live out the life.  True understanding is when we get it and live it.  And we can only get it, if we genuinely love, entering into the love of the Father for the Son, and allow the Spirit of God to dwell and abide in and with us.
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