Devotions

Category Archives: I AM

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 #6: Jesus is Everything

Jesus is everything.

He is everything we need.

That is the summary of something Jesus says to one of His disciples in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. To understand what is said there, we have got to back up a little. The chapter begins with Jesus telling His disciples that He would soon be leaving them. He tells them not to be troubled and assures them that they would eventually be with Him. He says that He is going to prepare a place for them to be with Him forever. Then He says, “And where I go you know, and the way you know” (John 14:4 NKJV). Now, what Jesus meant by that was simply, “I am going into heaven and the way you will go into heaven is the same way everyone does, through physical death.”

Thomas, no doubt speaking for the rest of the guys, does not understand. None of them did. They do not understand that Jesus came to die, they cannot comprehend that He would rise from the dead, and they never expected Him to leave by ascending into Heaven. It is safe to say that they have no idea what He is talking about here. This is why, when Jesus finishes speaking, Thomas immediately pipes up and says “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5 NKJV). The long and short of what Thomas said, “Jesus, we have no idea where you are going and we do not know how to get there either!” They were all thinking it, Thomas just said it.

It is to this confusion and question that Jesus says one of the most potent things that has ever been said. In verse 6 we read, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6 NKJV). Volumes have been written on this single verse, but we will do our best to summarize our Lord’s words here. 

First, He says, “I am the Way.” These are words that mean, “I am the way for or to everything.” So simple, but so rich. In this Jesus is saying, “I am the way a person is saved. I am the way a person is happy. I am the way a person gets through difficulty. I am the way a person makes the right decisions. I am the way a person makes the most of their lives. I am the way a marriage is healed. I am the way a relationship is restored. I am the way sin is overcome. I am the way to know God.” Jesus is the way to every good thing. Practically speaking, this means that Jesus and His words are like north on a compass. We check our direction based on everything He has done and said. If we are off, we must adjust back to Him and His ways to get back on course. 

Next, He says, I am “the Truth.” Again, words which mean, “I am the way you know what is true in life.” In this crazy world that is so full of deception, half-truths, and outright lies, it is hard to know what is really true. Yet, Jesus is always true. What He says is always true. His Word is the definition of truth. Practically, this means that we look at what He has said about any given subject and we can be sure that He is the truth concerning that thing. To use the previous illustration, it means that we actually have a “north” on the compass of life to compare everything to. Just try to imagine what life would be like if there was no absolute truth at all and you will begin to see how important these words are from our Lord Jesus.

Lastly, Jesus says, I am “the Life.” These words mean, “I am the way that a person truly lives here and the way that a person lives forever.” How do we avoid wasting our earthly lives? It is through being in a relationship with the One who made us. We find purpose, meaning, and fulfillment as we carry out His will and purposes for our lives. Life becomes beautiful as we walk with our Lord doing what He wants us to do. In this way, we become people who are truly fulfilled. 

It is not just physical and earthly life that Jesus refers to here. He is also referring to the eternity that is to come for every person. As people, we have been created in the image of God and as such we are eternal beings. This means that we will exist forever. There will never be a point when you and I cease to exist! The Bible tells us that we will exist in only one of two ways. We will be either eternally dead and separated from God in Hell or eternally alive in Heaven with Him. Here, Jesus makes it clear that He is the way that a person can live forever in Heaven with the Lord. It is received through the confession of our sins, in repentance to God, and the receiving Him as Lord of our lives. It is through Jesus and His work that a person lives forever. This is why the passage goes on to say, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” It is through Jesus that we not only come to the Father but live forever with the Lord. 

Where are you at today? Would you say with Thomas, “We do not know how to get there?” Or, have you found that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life?” Have you come to see that He is everything?

I Am: The Way, Truth, Life • Devotion #5: Stellar Defiance

As far back as I can remember, my grandfather had always had the best interests of his grandkids. I can remember for every birthday and Christmas, my siblings and I would receive a card with $100 in it to go towards our education beyond high school. I will always remember the summer vacation after fifth grade. We spent five to six days a week together where in the morning we would cut and split wood for a couple of hours, and then we would take the fishing boat out on the lake. I learned so much from him in a short amount of time and I cherish those memories I have of him. Many of the people that knew him, remember him as a stellar person that would give the shirt off of his back to anyone in need.   

He really was a stellar person, but he also struggled with alcoholism and anger issues. To be quite honest, I really do not know the details or the severity of it, but I do know that he died the day after my twenty-first birthday because his liver shut down, and the rest of his organs followed shortly thereafter. The only thing that we did to honor his life was to have a fish fry in his backyard and share stories of him and what he meant to us.   

This all happened before I accepted Christ as my Savior. To this day, I often wonder, and unfortunately highly doubt, my grandfather was saved. There are so many people around us that show integrity, honor, selflessness, and humility. However, just because a person has all of those qualities does not mean that they are saved. 

On a rough day, I wonder if I am actually saved with all of the wretched things I have seen and done. John 14:6 (NIV) says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus is the only way to God. You must believe in and accept Jesus to live in eternity with God. It breaks my heart to know so many wonderful souls that do not accept Jesus into their hearts knowing what comes next for them when they leave this Earth.  

Evangelizing is such a tedious and volatile practice. God called us in His last words on this Earth to do just that as He departed from the Mount of Olives. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Defiance of God’s Word comes at a price. Matthew 10:33 adds, “But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” 

We have all had chances to metaphorically swing at evangelizing to non-believers. I will be the first to admit that I have struck out several times and it is mentally draining to constantly be shut down and keep a positive attitude. Luckily, I have a God that is always a prayer away to boost my morale and give me the courage to keep doing so. I would like to challenge you all to find that stellar person in your life that may or may not know the Lord and spark a conversation about Jesus. Do not defy that God has called you to make disciples of all nations. Be bold in His name and speak the truth in love. Jesus is the way, He is the truth, and He is the life!

I Am: The Way, Truth, Life • Devotion #4: Absolutes

It is April 2020, we are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine. My son’s school has not skipped a beat when it comes to teaching and learning. He usually works from nine in the morning until about four in the afternoon. He is only in the fourth grade. I love my son, but over the past few weeks, we have had some battles over schoolwork. Sometimes I walk away and wonder why he fights so hard over certain things.

In John 14:6, Jesus makes what I think is one of His most powerful statements, He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Wow! Jesus fires three shots. These three shots seem like the biggest battles of our world.

What is “the way?” What is “the truth?” What is “the life?” If you turn on your TV, go to your Facebook, or check a news website, you will find battles being waged over these three things. 

Is there any other way but Jesus? The world fights to tell you there is another way. It fights to say how selfish it is to think that Jesus Christ, who came to this earth some two thousand years ago and was born in a little rinky-dink town called Bethlehem, is the only way. This Jesus boldly proclaims that He is God’s Son sent to this earth to save the world from sin. 

Is there truth? You have heard it said, “There are no absolutes.” Which is funny because it is an absolute in itself. John chapter 1 tells us Jesus came full of truth. However, the world will always oppose Jesus and His truth. John chapter 8 says the truth is what makes you free. John chapter 14 adds that He is the truth and that truth is the only way to God. 

Jesus’s third bullet is life. Oh, how the world seeks “life.” In the Old Testament, Moses was given everything the world had to offer, but he knew it was not life. Hebrews 11:25-26 says it like this, “Choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”Instead of choosing Egypt, he knew that this world’s pleasure only lasts for a short time. Following the Lord gives us the truth of eternal life.

The battle on this Earth will always be against the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus is either all or none of these. I contend He is the only way to the true living God.  

I Am: The Way, Truth, Life • Devotion #3: Directions

My wife and I had the amazing privilege of going on a vacation to Italy a couple of years ago. My wife still has a close family in Germany, so we figured while we were in Europe this would probably be the best time to go see her family for the weekend. We booked our tickets to take the short hour and a half plane ride over to Germany from Italy. All we had to do first was take a train from our town to Pisa, and from there we would be good to go. The only issue was the train trip involved two transfers where we had to get off our train and get on a new one, everything is in Italian, and neither of us speaks or can read Italian. Still, I was confident in my navigating ability, so off we went. Everything was going great until this ancient Italian lady started telling us through hand gestures and broken English that we were going the wrong way. We heeded her advice, got off the train, only to realize she had no idea what she was talking about. We were going the right way the whole time. The ensuing hours were extremely stressful but we ended up finding the right way to go and by the grace of God we did not miss our flight to Germany.

This is just a dumb example to show how important it is to know the right way. In this Scripture, Jesus takes this idea of knowing “the right way” to a whole other level by calling Himself “the Way.”

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.’”

The question for all of existence has been and will continue to be, “How do I get to God?” Some ask it as a question of eternity, or some ask meaning currently on this earth. Yet, everyone is looking to get to God, and Jesus gives them their answer clear as day. He tells us that He is “the Way,” and doubles down saying that nobody will come to the Father except through Him. 

Just as that day on the train there was only one way we were getting to our destination, there is only one way to God, and it is through Jesus. The sad thing is the prevailing thought in society is that there are many ways to God and many ways to eternity. Countless times I have heard people say, “As long as we all just follow our religion well, and be a good person, we are all going to make it.” 

If you are reading this and are not a Christian, I hope you will understand that all other “ways” of getting to God are just poor reflections of what true Christianity really is. Every other religion misses out on the most essential part of true salvation, they miss out on Jesus. In some way or another, they do not hold Jesus in the position of “the way, the truth, and the life.”

For those of you who are believers, you may have people come into your life and try and tell you that you are going the wrong way. However, if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ then you can confidently know that you are going the right way. As you are reading this, I hope you are not putting your faith in “the way” of false religions, self-help, or thinking you can just be “good enough.” My prayer is that you are confidently putting your hope in the only true “Way” that is Jesus Christ. 



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