Devotions

Author Archives: Dr. Randy Johnson

I Am: True Vine • Devotion #1: Plugged In

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5

Years ago there was a sad story that was being passed around. It was stated that there was a hospital room that was having a higher number of deaths than any of the other rooms. After weeks of testing the equipment, they found the flaw “in the system.” Someone noticed that the night shift janitor was inadvertently unplugging the patient’s life support system so he could plug in the floor polisher. 

Snopes.com has researched and found the story to be a fable, so it has a sense of sick humor to it. Even though it was not factual, it conveys an important truth. If we are not connected to the life source, we die.

John chapter 15 reminds us of the importance of being connected to Jesus. He is the true vine and we are the branches. As long as we are “plugged in” to Him, we have power, but as soon as we become disconnected, we start to shrivel up and die.

Verse 5 closes with such a powerful phrase, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Without Jesus, we have and are nothing. The crucial starting point is putting our faith in Him. By faith, and God’s grace, we can be restored and given real life. This salvation is the starting point, but we need to stay connected so we can be used by Him to accomplish anything worthwhile.

Basic ways of staying connected include prayer, studying God’s Word, singing praises, meeting with other believers, giving to the Lord, and serving the Lord.

Start each day making sure your spirit and His Spirit are connected. Most people regularly check the battery on their phone and make sure to recharge. Are we this focused on the Lord?

We need Jesus every day and every moment of every day. Stay connected! 

I Am: The Way, Truth, Life • Devotion #1: Logic

I have had a few different times when people talking about life after death have said to me, “Everyone’s view is right.” In an effort to be “tolerant,” they became irrational. I always respond, “I disagree with you, and based on your foundation that everyone is right, you have to say I too am right. Therefore, you are wrong.” Everyone can be wrong, but everyone cannot be right if they totally contradict each other.

I chuckle when I hear people say, “There are no absolutes.” I like to respond, “Absolutely.” Please realize, their statement against absolutes, is an absolute. 

I believe there is an absolute. I believe there is one truth. If that sounds arrogant, then realize if I did not believe something was true, then I would not believe it. I would believe something else. That is not arrogance, it is conviction. It is the act of thinking, processing, and deciding based on facts and logic. By the way, the one who thinks I am being judgmental by thinking I am right is judging me while holding to a concept that I am wrong in doing that. Hence, they believe they are right. It is not about you or me, them or us, it is about truth.

In John 14:6, we read, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus is not “a” way; He is “the way.” This is an absolute. It is the truth. It brings life. 

If there was another way to get to the Father (Heaven) then God is either dumb, unloving, or both. Obviously, he is not any of these! However, if there was another way to Heaven, why would You let Your only Son die? Jesus had to die in order for our penalty to be paid. His death allows us to have freedom.

In speaking of Jesus, Acts 4:12 records, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The Bible is consistent in saying that salvation only comes by and through Jesus.

Finally, 1 Timothy 2:5 adds, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The only way to the Father is through the Son. Whether we believe it or not, does not change the facts. The truth remains the same.

I Am: The Resurrection and the Life • Devotion #1: Abundant

Happy Easter! I like the greeting, “He has risen!” The response warms my heart, “He has risen indeed!” This is the most important day of the year. It is the day of ultimate proof that Jesus is God. He gave many other proofs, but this is the granddaddy of them all. He knocked out death. He is alive.

John 11:25 says, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.’” Jesus called it. He said, “I am the resurrection; I am life.” He called it and then He did it.

By being the resurrection and the life, Jesus has the power over death. He has two offers for us.

First, He offers us eternal life. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Everyone will either perish or experience eternal life. Jesus is the difference. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In case you missed it, eternal life is a “free gift” by God’s grace through faith in Him.

Second, He offers us abundant life, life to the full. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” God offers us life to the full. It is a life with purpose, value, and meaning. He speaks into our lives and uses us to speak into other lives. He allows us to see Him active in the world and we are able to be a part of it. Because of Him, we can make a difference in the world.

Jesus is alive. This fact should affect how we think, talk, and act. It should permeate every aspect of our lives. We should overflow with grace, mercy, love, and encouragement. Remember, you do not have to do it alone. He is with us and He will never leave or forsake us. This should bring peace, confidence, and courage.

Thank you, Jesus, my Savior.

I Am: The Good Shepherd • Devotion #1: Not a Hired Hand

Do you wash a rental car before you return it? Are we supposed to clean out a rental car before returning it? Most rental car companies have a cleaning fee (also called valeting fee) if a car is returned dirtier than expected. The fee is typically in the fine print and is somewhere between $50 to $100. Why do they have to have this fee?

Most people do not take care of rental items like they would if they owned it. This is true of rental vehicles, houses, condos, tools, and clothing. Jesus knew this when He described shepherds in John 10:11-14. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”

Shepherds are referenced 111 times in Scripture, and sheep occur 198 times. The audience knew the topic well. They knew what He meant about a “hired hand” doing just enough. His heart was not in it. He had no skin in the game. However, the “good shepherd” was a different story.

Jesus is the “good shepherd.”

Psalm 23:1-4 describes the Lord, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

A good shepherd meets the needs of his sheep. He directs and guides them. He provides for them. He protects them. He does not leave or forget them. He comforts them. Jesus is the “good shepherd.”

In Luke 15:4, Jesus took shepherding to another level, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” Jesus is the good shepherd who cares for each of us individually. He created us and continually watches out for us.

A hired hand is in it for the paycheck. That is natural. However, instead of looking for payment, the Good Shepherd paid the debt for us. His death paid a debt we can never pay on our own.

I Am: The Door • Devotion #1: Murphy Door

There are all types of doors. There are hinged doors, pocket doors, roller doors, bifold doors, sliding doors, pivot doors, and French doors. Dutch doors remind me of the barn where you want to keep the bottom half of the door closed while opening the top half. I recently had a friend refer to a Murphy door. I was not sure what it was. It is a door that looks like a bookcase. It is a hidden door. I like that idea.

In John 10:7-9, Jesus describes His actions by using an object lesson. It reads, “So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.’” Twice Jesus said, “I am the door.”

Jesus was describing Himself as a shepherd. The crowd knew what a shepherd did at night. He would get all his sheep in the pen (often made of rocks) and then he would lay across the opening (doorway). His job was to keep the sheep from wandering and to keep predators outside of the pen and away from his sheep.

No matter what kind of door you have, it serves two purposes.

First, the door keeps something inside. I remember my dad reminding me to close the door to keep the heat or cool inside the house. I was reminded that we were not the Rockefellers. The shepherd wanted to keep his sheep safe and inside the pen. 

Second, the door is meant to keep something or someone out of the house or room. It allows for safety for those on the inside. The shepherd was a “wall” of protection for his sheep.

Jesus is the door. He is always with us. He provides and protects. He is willing (and did) lay down His life for His sheep. 

John 10:27-30 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Thank Jesus for guarding you from the evil one. Follow Him as He leads you to green pastures and still waters. 

The Murphy door may be beneficial in hiding a special room, but Jesus has made the way to the Father known to all who are willing to listen. How to get to that place is no secret. It is found in the Good News of Jesus.



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