You Will See Me

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.” John 14:19

Do you see Jesus, beloved? According to Jesus’ own words, that’s one of the rights and privileges of being His disciple. While the world cannot see Him, His followers can.

Perhaps that statement causes your eyebrows to rise in disbelief. Seeing Jesus was a blessing reserved for those who lived in His day, before He returned to the Father, right? How can we see Jesus? Yet before He left, He told His Disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.” John 14:18-19

I will admit to you that for many years I didn’t see Jesus. I went to church. I had memorized Scripture. I had followed someone through the recital of the “sinner’s prayer” and had asked Jesus to be my Savior, but I couldn’t see any evidence of Jesus at work in my life. It left me doubting my salvation and wondering if He was even real.

Can you relate to my experience? Do you see Jesus at work in and around you? Or are you left trusting that Jesus exists only because you’ve heard stories of how others have experienced Him? Are you secretly longing to have your own stories to share?

You, dear one, are meant to witness Jesus revealed in your life. That blessing is available to you by the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus sent. Consider Jesus’ words from Luke 4:18.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”

Jesus came to set the oppressed free and restore sight to the blind. His promise wasn’t only for those suffering the limitations of physical blindness. Jesus speaks that promise to you and me. The gift of the Spirit He sent us after His death and resurrection restores our spiritual sight.

How can you experience the revelation of Jesus in your life? Let’s see what Jesus had to say about it.

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21

Did you see His promise, dear one? Jesus claims He will love and reveal Himself to a very distinct group. He will show Himself to those who love Him.

Seeing Jesus isn’t about how often we go to church or how much Scripture we know. Seeing Jesus at work relates directly to the condition of our hearts.

If you want to see Jesus, He simply requires that you love Him. That was the part I missed all those years. All the ritual of religion couldn’t open my eyes to see what I desperately needed. I had to open my heart to Him. I had to love Him. And I had to demonstrate that love by walking in obedience to His commands as He led me.

Here’s the great news. Ezekiel 36:26-27 teaches,

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

The ability to love and obey Jesus has been given to you by the Spirit Jesus sent. You need only ask Him to empower you to love Jesus as He deserves. The Spirit within you will “circumcise your heart” to love Him (Deuteronomy 30:6). And as you draw on His strength and submit to His authority, He will “move you to follow” His commands. As you follow Jesus through loving obedience, you will see Him revealed in your life.

Don’t settle for someone else’s experience of Jesus. Perhaps it’s time you had your own.


The Greater Gift


“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7

Jesus made a profound statement to His confused followers while preparing them for His departure. He told them that He was leaving them for their own good.

Can you imagine their disbelief as they listened to Jesus—the promised Messiah they had waited centuries for—tell them He was leaving them again? They had just gotten started! And to top it off, He said that His departure was for them!

I imagine you and I would have been right where the disciples were: dumbfounded. In fact I know we would be, because we still continue to argue with God’s plan just like they did. We grumble that the disciples had it so much easier than we do. After all, they could see Jesus and touch Him. They were eye witnesses to His miracles! We reason that we can’t be expected to impact the world like they did because their faith grew out of what they saw. We’re simply asked to believe in the unseen.

I suppose it’s a reasonable argument when we consider those facts. Our problem is that we neglect to contemplate all of them.

Let’s consider these Disciples, ordinary men who enjoyed the enviable privilege of ministering along-side Jesus and seeing Him face to face.  

  •          They spent time daily in Jesus’ presence.
  •          They were taught Scripture by the Son of God Himself.
  •          They witnessed miracle after miracle and even performed miracles themselves by His power.

And yet, when an angry mob came to arrest Jesus, “all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). Even with all of those things going for them—things we wish we had—when they were faced with something they didn’t understand, all of them turned their backs on the Messiah they claimed they would never deny.

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you I never will.” Matthew 26:33

We know how that turned out. Peter, so certain that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that he would never disown Him (even if he had to die with Him, verse 35), denied that he even knew Jesus on the night of His trial. Not once, but three times.

The original Disciples had everything we claim we need, and still, they couldn’t stand up against their unseen enemy. Standing side by side with Jesus on this earth didn’t empower them for victory. When push came to shove, they deserted and denied Him.

Do you know what they lacked, dear one? The one precious gift that we have been given.  

“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7

According to Jesus’ own words, we have the greater gift. His death and subsequent return to the Father released the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ. He has sent us the Counselor to guide us into God’s will and empower us for victory.

Jesus walked beside the Disciples; the Spirit dwells within us. People had to fight through the crowds to get near to Jesus; the Spirit is accessible everywhere and at all times. Jesus taught them from the outside; the Spirit teaches and transforms us from within.

What if we decided to actually believe that Jesus’ words to us are true? What if we chose to quit complaining about what we didn’t get to experience with Jesus and start taking hold of what we have available to us in the Spirit He sent us?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

It wasn’t the fact that they had Jesus for a teacher that ignited the Disciples to risk their lives to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. They stumbled and fell like the rest of us until they received Jesus’ gift. But after He sent them the Holy Spirit, they were empowered to become what they could never be no matter how much time they had spent listening at Jesus’ feet. Steadfast . . . victorious . . . changed.

Let’s spend the next few weeks getting to know the Spirit Jesus sent us. After all, Jesus claimed He was sending Him for our good. Perhaps it’s time we discovered just how good.

Joy in Times of Trouble


Today I’m excited to introduce you to my dear friend and right hand in ministry, Juliet Sharrow. Juliet has faced difficulties in her life that would break many people, and yet one word comes to mind when I think of this sister: joy. The smile that illuminates her face and shines through her eyes bears witness to the all-powerful, transforming life that is found in Jesus. Juliet shared at a women’s event at our church recently, and today she shares some of those thoughts with you. May her words provide hope as you face your own difficulty. Be blessed, dear one.


Joy in Times of Trouble

By Juliet Sharrow

Does trouble seem to FIND you? Do you feel like you can't avoid it no matter how hard you try?

I think it's safe to say we've all been in situations that have caused us distress or pain.  We've all had difficulty.

Maybe you can relate to some of mine. I was rejected by my biological father and unloved by my adoptive father.  I suffered physical abuse in a bad relationship and became a mother to a child with special needs. I’ve battled depression forever and have even attempted suicide. We struggled financially for years after my husband and I both lost our jobs… The list goes on.

For years I felt like my life was one painful event after another, like I must be doing something wrong or I was being punished. So, I decided to see what the Bible had to say about trouble.

You know what I found?  In John 16:33 it says…

"In this world you will have trouble."

This is Jesus speaking, saying that we will have trouble—not that we might, but that we will!  Wow. That hit home.  Instead of seeing all my trials as punishment, I realized they are a normal part of life!

Then I read 2 Corinthians 4:17.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

Well, I don't know about you, but my troubles have never seemed light and momentary to me!

But what if we allowed God to change our perspective? If we could see our suffering from His view point—in light of eternity—we would see how truly small and insignificant they are.   

Try to think of the biggest problem you had when you were 18.  Can you even remember what it was?  Do you remember the outcome?  As you look back, most of what you perceived as unbearable trouble has likely faded from your memory.  And 20 years from now, many of the problems you face today will long be forgotten. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 gives us a key to help keep our perspective.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is Temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Through most of my hardships, I was fixing my eyes on what is temporary and seen: the problem itself.  Despair often overwhelmed me and I felt emptied of hope.

I should have been fixing them on the eternal—the unseen—Christ himself. When we shift our eyes from the trouble and instead focus on Jesus, He will change our perspective and revive our souls.

You can't let your troubles define you or dictate your expectations of what lies ahead. You have to stop focusing on your problems and instead concentrate on Jesus.

Through all of this, I’ve learned that I am not meant to have peace and joy apart from troubles and trials. However, I can experience joy and peace in the midst of them.

As I focus on Jesus and spend time in His presence, He reminds me that He is in control. He’s on top of the situation, so I don't have to be, and that fills me with peace.  Then as His peace settles on me, I feel joy overflow from the knowledge that I don't have to do anything but focus on Him. It’s His job to do the rest!

What are you going to do with your trouble? Will you allow Him to use the trouble that comes your way to mold you into the person He created you to be, or will you let it make you bitter? Will you cling to your suffering and wear it as a badge of honor, or will you cling to Jesus?  Will you allow Him to use your pain for His glory? Will you be thankful, even in this, knowing He’s working glory in you? 

I know this is hard when you’re in the midst of suffering, but Jesus gave us another promise in John 16:33, ". . . take heart! I have overcome the world."

Jesus has overcome the world, so you don't have to.  You just need to keep your focus on Him no matter what and allow Him to triumph over your mess.

And, you can rest in knowing the best part of your life lies ahead, stored up for you in heaven, awaiting your arrival. Let this hope give you courage to keep holding your head high as you endure suffering and sorrow in this life.

"For blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God promised.” James 1:12

Did you get that? We are blessed when we persevere.  We are meant to stand the test and receive crowns in Heaven for our perseverance. That represents our eternal reward!

One of my favorite verses in the Bible contains a promise that I cling to during difficult times.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

I await the day when there will be no more crying or pain, but until then, I want to glorify my God in the midst of trouble.  I want to have joy in the suffering.  I want to be thankful for the trials.  And I want to persevere so I can claim my eternal reward!

The Way of Death


“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12

Logic. It’s one of our worst enemies—at least it’s one of mine. I’ve always been a person who needs to understand things. It helped me in school and produced straight A’s on my report cards, but it often works against me when I need to trust. My analytical mind sets to work and robs me of peace.

Can you relate? Have you ever tossed and turned in the night working through all angles of a scenario, looking for that light bulb moment when it all becomes clear? If we can just figure it out, we can fix it, or at least we’ll be able to rest.

That might be true in the world, but that doesn’t apply to God’s agenda. Isaiah 55:9 explains why.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God’s thoughts and ways are beyond our ability to understand. If we spend our time trying to, we’ll end up frustrated. There’s only so high our thoughts can ascend. Once we reach that plateau, we’re left with trusting the unseen as our only recourse, and most of us aren’t very comfortable there. We don’t like that dark area where we can’t understand or make sense of our circumstances. Logic tells us things shouldn’t be happening this way, so we find ourselves robbed of peace.

Oddly, we pursue logic in search of that elusive peace, but we won’t find it there. Consider our opening Scripture,

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

Death, not peace, lies at the end of the road traveled by logic. In God’s economy, logic is our enemy, not our friend. The way that seems right to us is often the path that leads to destruction. How do we escape it? We need to allow God to renew our minds. Praise Jesus that through salvation, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Dear one, peace comes when we learn to release what we don’t understand and trust what we know of God. What do we know of Him?

  • He’s good. “may your saints rejoice in your goodness.” 2 Chronicles 6:41
  • He’s loving. “He is my loving God and my fortress.”  Psalm 144:2
  • He’s for us. I know the plans I have for you . . . to prosper you.” Jeremiah 29:11

Here’s the best part.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”1 Corinthians 2:9

If you can think it, you’re limiting what God wants to do for you.

Ask God to let that settle on you . . . Give it a moment to really sink in. The best plan that you could come up with for yourself—your best case scenario— is less than what God desires to do for you.

Beloved, if God gave you the desire of your heart in the way you think He should do it, He would be robbing you of a blessing.

Your God loves you too much to allow you to settle for less than. He wants to give you it all.

So the next time you find yourself stumbling in the darkness, try practicing gratitude. Know that the blackness you see is merely the result of your limited ability to understand, but there is something waiting for you just beyond the horizon. Something you can’t yet see. Something wonderful. Something perfect for you.

Don’t let logic rob you of your blessing. When His blessing for you finally does come, it will likely bring you to your knees, overcome with gratitude, because it has blown your mind. But of course it has. It was designed for you by the One who made you. He alone knows what you really need.

City on a Hill


“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

Do you ever struggle with how you’re supposed to shine the light of Jesus when we’re surrounded by so much darkness? Jesus compares our light to the penetrating glow of a city! How can we possibly shine with that kind of strength?

One thing is certain; we can’t do it alone. But then again, we weren’t meant to.

I remember as a child in Sunday school joining with the other children to sing a favorite song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” As we belted out the words in unison, we would point our fingers toward the sky and boldly declare that we’d never allow our light to stop shining. Together we would radiate Jesus like a city on a hill until His return.

I meant those words when I sang them; I’m pretty confident most of us did. But something happened between my own grand declaration and my reality. My light never turned on. My problem was not so much that I allowed my light to become hidden or blown out by Satan as the song suggested. My issue was that I never actually let Jesus ignite the flame.

When we put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and receive the gift of His Spirit, we receive all the potential we need to shine brightly. Jesus said in John 8: 12:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Did you notice the one action required of you in that verse? Your job is to follow Jesus. He is the light itself. In order to possess that light and illuminate the darkness, we must choose to follow Him.

I used to think it was my job to produce the light. I thought that by trying to live according to God’s ways and by doing good things, I could make the light shine. What I didn’t understand is this:  If I could do that, I wouldn’t need Jesus.  

Let’s discover together how to let Jesus shine. Consider the words of Isaiah 58:6-8.

 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice 
   and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free 
   and break every yoke

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— 
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear . . .” 

Verse 8 announces the promise of what we seek: your light will break forth like the dawn! The Scriptures leading up to it reveal our path to get there: freedom from chains and oppression, followed by loving the world through good works.

Dear one, Jesus came to set captives free (Isaiah 61:1). Our freedom from bondage to sin plays an integral role in whether Christ’s light will burst forth from our lives to illuminate the darkness. Yet we often ignore that part of the equation. We overlook the biblical call to freedom and go straight to producing works for the kingdom. Good works, after all are tangible—something we can control and manage ourselves.

Yet in this passage, the loosing of chains and freedom from oppression precede our call to produce good works.  Why do you think that is? Perhaps because true spiritual freedom can only be reached through Jesus. (“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36) Anyone can produce works, but an atheist who helps stock a food pantry or donates clothing to a shelter isn’t shining Christ’s light; he’s demonstrating self-righteousness.

Release from our bondage to sin is the only way to allow Christ’s light to truly shine. When we daily choose to follow Jesus and submit ourselves to the authority of His Spirit, He frees us from the sin that has held us captive. As He releases our hearts from bondage, we are free to love with His love. And as He prompts us to serve others from a pure heart, we begin to shine with the glory of the Lord.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

When we become Christ’s light instead of trying to reproduce it ourselves, His glory cannot be concealed. And another beautiful miracle occurs among the hearts of believers who have been set free. Jesus said,

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.”

John 17:22

Like a city on a hill, our individual lights shine as one, unhindered by selfish chains. And we, His church, pierce the darkness with glory.