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Hi all,

Today and tomorrow I'm going to re-air 2 posts from three years ago about the nature of Jesus. I think these two posts will bless you and I pray we would together turn our eyes toward Jesus. Here we go.

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Let's dig into Jesus’ answer to Philip’s request:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8

Have you been pondering this passage?

Here is what jumps out at me – Now normally I would put all these words in red, this being Another Red Letter Day, but today I am going to paint a just a few words in blue so they stand out.

It would be awesome if you read this out loud (or out quiet) but I want it to be oral. The more faculties you involve the more tuned in you are, so let’s have a faculty party today.

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." ~ John 14:9-21

I know, that is kind of a big chunk of scripture for a blog post, but as you can see from what is highlighted, there are some pretty strong ties from top to bottom.

Here is what I saw as I pondered this passage.

There are two (or maybe three) aspects Jesus emphasizes, that He says will enable us to see the Father.

Indwelling, or cohabitation

The first is the fact that, as He says, “I am in the Father.” This He says three times, and two of these are followed with “and the Father is in Me.” He tells Philip and the rest of the disciples that they can know God. They can “see the Father” right before their eyes because Jesus is indwelt by the Father.

The best way for them to see God was to look at Jesus.

Words and Works

The second way they could see God was to look at the things Jesus was saying and doing, His words and works. He actually tells them that if they were not sure what to believe about Jesus’ relationship with God, this indwelling thing, they should believe just because of the works He was doing. He was… – well as Luke tells us:

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. - Acts 10:38

Jesus, because God was with Him, the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside, did works that demonstrated God, His character, and nature.

We read again in my favorite of all scriptures (I am pretty sure this is the top of my top ten list:)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:1-3

We see here that Jesus is not "like" God, fuzzy around the edges, like what the prophets taught, according to verse 1. Instead, Jesus is the “exact representation of His nature.” He is not a partial image, where He is only depicting "the good parts" of who God is, but Jesus is a complete revelation of God. If you don’t find it in Jesus, it is not in God. Jesus is the complete study guide to God the Father. Jesus is perfect theology. [Tweet This] There is nothing in Jesus that is not in God, and there is nothing in God that is not in Jesus. And God has seen to it that what is recorded in the Word about Jesus is enough of a revelation for us to know the Father.

So my first takeaway is pretty simple. The best way to know God, and what God is like is to look at Jesus, His words and His works. He, Jesus, tells us this repeatedly and these other passages reinforce this idea, that He only ever did what God was doing, or would do, and His words were coming straight from the throne of God.

But Jesus does not stop here. He does not simply say, you want to see God look at Me! He takes it to a place that changes everything.

Come back tomorrow, and we will see as the other shoe drops.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon. In the mean time…

Shine where you are screwed in.

Ben

In Heaven

We need to understand that Our Father has a particular perspective on our life. There are as many perspectives on any given event as there are people who view them. There was a movie released in 2008 called “Vantage Point” which took an event and replayed through the eyes of a number of people who saw a particular event. It is interesting to me to compare notes with my kids sometimes when we see something together, what each of us perceives, and remembers.
Our Father’s perspective is "from Heaven". Have you ever looked down from the top of the Empire State Building, or some other large building? I can remember watching cars on the street level and feeling like I could see into their future. I remember watching as 2 vehicles  drew toward a corner, and they were unaware they were going to reach the intersection simultaneously. There is no way for them to know what you know, but you see the events unfolding from a completely different perspective.
Now think of Our Father’s perspective. He can see everything that is happening right at this instant, and knows all the players intimately, better than they know themselves. In addition to what is going on right now, he also knows all possible outcomes of every event facing each one of these billions of characters.  He knows the personal history of each human. What do you think this perspective adds to Our Father’s ability to give us good counsel? [Tweet This] Wisdom flavored with such knowledge would change our lives!
One more thing about perspective. In Ephesians 2:6 Paul tells us that "we are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." It is Paul's intention that we recognize that we are not just pawns in the hands of Our Father, who is really good at chess, but rather we are partners with Christ in His mission to save the world, and in this prayer we will see that we have a role to play. So not only is heaven God’s perspective, He wants us to adopt His perspective, and look out the windows of heaven at our circumstances. This will give us a huge advantage when we try to understand the mess we are in.
Have you ever prayed through a situation and gotten a change in your perspective instead of the answer you were hoping for?
BenThanks for reading today.
Ben

My dad, Robert Nelson

Our Father (Matt 6:9)

It is significant that Jesus does not teach us to pray in formal and flowery terms. Sometimes that get’s lost in the old translations, because to us they sound formal and flowery. It makes me a little sad sometimes when folks stand up and pray in public and use Thee’s and Thou’s and words they would never use in normal conversation. God is our Father.
I know that there are lots of bad examples of fathers around today, so for some “father” is the last place they want to go for relationship, but that is not the ideal. My own dad was a great father, though like all of us dads, he didn't think so himself. He loved God and was a great example to me of what it meant to live life as a Christian. When I look at pictures of my dad, I think, there is a guy who was always approachable. As an adult I would often bounce ideas off him, and go to him for advise. That's the way it is supposed to be with our Father God. He is approachable.
Father is supposed to be respected, trusted, and admired. More than that, the idea of Father is supposed to carry with it comfort and safety.
My Dad (again)
Respect we will cover further down, but suffice it to say, there needs to be an understanding of how great our God is and we should not take a flippant attitude toward prayer. The aspect of respect brings to the table making prayer a higher priority. When you respect someone, you give him honor. You honor your commitments to him. If you say you will do something, you carry through.
How God comes to be our Father is also significant. We are adopted into His family. Adopted means chosen. A child born into a family is a wonderful blessing, but to be adopted into a family indicates a level of pre-meditation, and intention. God wanted to expand His family and choose YOU!
I can trust my Father because He has my best interests in mind at all times. [Tweet This] He loves me. What does it mean to love? Many of us know that there are a few Greek words for love, but the one used most often to describe the Father’s love for us is Agape. I learned last night that agape carries with it the idea that the object of this kind of love is not loved for it's intrinsic lovability. Rather agape is express toward the unlovable.

What Is Love?

The best definition I know for this kind of love is this. Love does whatever is in its power to bring about the best for its object. Notice I did not say gives the object of love what they want, but what is best for them. The fuller the love, the higher the expenditure of resources involved. What I mean to say is this. If I love you a little, I will expend some of my uncommitted time or energy to see that you are benefited. I will consider what I see as the best outcome for you, and put some of my free resources to work for you. That may be time, money, talent, what ever.
If there is a deeper love (agape) commitment, there will be a higher level of involvement on my part. I will be more focused on what would be best for you, and expend more effort seeing it through.
Now let’s just say I am the One who created you (as well as everything else) and love you unconditionally, with a love that never fails - a love that is stronger than death - a love that can not be separated from Me by anything, created or uncreated - and I know you better than you know yourself, and I understand all possible outcomes of your life. My resources are limitless, and are completely at My disposal to bring about the best outcome for your life.

That is how Our Father loves you.

BenHey, come back tomorrow, and we are going to look at some special dads. I have been collecting stories from readers about their godly fathers and what they learned about God from them. Don't miss it tomorrow.

Thanks for reading
Ben

Our Father (Matt 6:9)

We start this look at the Lord’s Prayer with one simple word
Our
It is not “My Father” but “Our Father
The Lord Jesus is completely committed to community. [Tweet this] One of the things that so clearly demonstrates this fact is the small phrase “one another.” Below I have listed the one anothers of the New Testament. I would ask you to read through them. You don’t have to do it right now, because there are a lot of them. But some time in the next 24 hours, sit down and read these verses.
You might want to print them out and put them in your Bible. If the Bible says something once, you should pay attention, if it says it twice, that should make your ears perk up. Here are 36 verses, with the phrase “one another” 39 times, and the word love in fully 25 times as well.
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John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
James 4:11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
2 John 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.
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OK, how could we possibly obey even a portion of these 39 instructions if we are not sharing our lives with others?
I am not talking about going to Church on Sunday either. I am talking about living in community. Getting together with others. Sharing life, hopes, dreams, fears, successes and failures.
Each of us in Christ needs to be in relationships with those we can walk through life with. Sometimes pulling them along, and sometimes being dragged forward ourselves. No Christian has arrived at the place where he or she no longer needs the body. Christian life does not work the way it is supposed to when we walk alone.
Believe me, I have messed this up more than once in my life. Many of you reading this can probably point out specific times you have seem me do it. I have allowed rigid doctrines or personal preferences or even hurts or slights to separate me from people God was using to speak into my life.
What about you? Are there relationships you need to fix, people you have hurt, or left, who you should reconcile with or you need to forgive? I want to encourage you to take some action on that today. Don’t wait another day!
Is there one of the "one another"s that you would like to see more of in the Church?
Let's talk about it.
Thanks for reading today! I appreciate you.
 Ben
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