Devotional

How Do You Picture God?

Part 1of 3

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father, so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:9 (NKJV) 

When people imagine God, there is a wide assortment of viewpoints. Some picture Him as an old, giving man, like Santa, ready to bless and give whatever is requested of Him. Others picture God as judgmental, ready to strike down anyone who strays from what they think He demands. Some people think of Him as indifferent, having wound up the world and walked away from it. The Lord God is described by Jesus as our Heavenly Father, but if one has a negative example of an earthly father, one can have a hard time relating to a loving Father God.

One thing I realized about myself is that I tend to put Almighty God in a box, and not anticipate Him to act beyond my expectations. He didn’t heal my parents of terminal cancer, so I’ve been reluctant to pray with the certainty that He will heal. Yet I personally know people who had been healed of stage-four cancers and other health issues.  During my mission trips to Colombia, I saw people come to faith in Jesus during door-to-door evangelism. I didn’t expect the welcome the local believer, my translator, and I received.  I didn’t expect so many to show interest in Jesus and give their lives to Him. God blasted out of my box. I’m learning that He will do much more than I imagine or pray for.

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We can know who God is through studying His Word. Scripture teaches us about His character and attributes. Many of His names are listed. We can look at how He interacted with people in the Bible as well as with us. Because Jesus said that He and His Father are one, we can examine Jesus’ life. (John 10:30).  No one has ever seen God; the Begotten Son who abides at the Father’s side has made Him known. (John 1:18 MLV)

Jesus showed us the Father through how He conducted His life on earth. Scriptures show the same character traits in the Heavenly Father. Here are just a few:

Truth. Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV) Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17 NASB20) The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160 NKJV)

Unity of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”…”I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him for he dwells with you, and he will dwell in you.” (John 14:10, 16, 17 RSV)

How do you picture God?

The next devotional in this series will go deeper into the character of God.

In the meantime, let’s dig into God’s Word that we may know Him better. How many attributes of God can we find? Let’s write them down and post them on the refrigerator or another spot where we will see them daily.

Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to see You for who You are, and not with any misconceptions or limitations. Thank you for sending Jesus so I know You. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

FREEDOM!

The Truth Will Set You Free – Part 1 of 3

Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31, 32 NIV

Freedom.

It’s something that is longed for, fought for, and cherished. People should be free from imprisonment or slavery. Many wars have been fought to keep another government from taking over a nation or people, or to bring or keep freedom within one’s nation and allow for self-rule.  We desire to have the power to act, speak, and think as we want without hindrance.  

A few holidays during June and July celebrate freedom in North America.

  • Juneteenth is a celebration that started when the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas received the news that the civil war was over and they were free in 1865 on June 19th, a date that was melded into the word “Juneteenth.” Juneteenth became a U.S. federal holiday in 2021.
  • For Canadians, July 1, Canada Day, is a commemoration of a united Canada and independence. It is the anniversary of Canadian confederation which occurred on July 1, 1867, when the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. It was formerly called Dominion Day.
  • The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, honors the founding of the United States of America. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress announced the political separation of the thirteen North American colonies from Great Britain.

Thinking about these observations of freedom got me thinking about the even greater freedom we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus told His disciples that the truth would set them free. How were they, and we, to know the truth?

Jesus claimed to be the truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14;6 NLT. Notice He said the way, the truth and the life, not a way, or a truth, nor one of many.  Now, if we believe Jesus to be the God the Son, and that He spoke truth, then it follows that His claim to be the truth and the only way to the Father are also true.

Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” How do we hold to His teaching? We must know what the Bible says and follow it. That comes through careful and regular study of Scripture and through obedience to what we read and learn from it. It always comes down to obedience to God and not just head knowledge about Him if we want our spirits to be free.

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What are we being set free from?

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34 NIV) Have you ever felt that sin controlled you? I know some of my bad habits, or sins, seem impossible to break. I say I won’t complain, but then I do so again and again. I tell myself that I will spend time in prayer every day, but then I crawl into bed realizing that while I spent time watching television, I didn’t read my Bible or pray. I too often fail to make Jesus first in my life. The chain of sin binds me.

Jesus breaks the chains. It is in the Son that you and I have freedom. Jesus continued with, “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35-36 NIV) Jesus set us free on the cross by His death and resurrection. He gives us the power to live for Him because if we believe in Him the Holy Spirit lives within us. He makes us part of His family.

Let’s claim our freedom. Let’s listen to the truth and not the lies that try to convince us that we will always be shackled. Choose one area that you want to have Jesus free you from bondage, and memorize verses that address it. For me, it’s my complaining. I plan to look at verses that talk about being content and not complaining. I’ll ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen me and to help me be aware of what I say, and to practice thankfulness. What freedom will you seek?

Dear Lord, Thank you for the freedom that only You can give through Jesus Christ. Please lead me in Your truth and set me free. Amen.

Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.