Thursday, July 28, 2011

What are We Teaching?

July 28, 2011

John 5:18-19

V 19 …the son can do nothing of his own accord but only what her sees the Father doing, For whatever the Father does that the Son does likewise…

This verse is of course speaking of Jesus’ relationship with God and how they are one in the same person. However as I read that verse I couldn’t help think about how it might apply to how we influence our children. How we lead them will determine where they go in their lives to some degree. What we teach them to be important will continue on in their lives. For example, when I was younger one of my fondest childhood memories was seeing the house decorated for Christmas. My mom would go all out…there would be garland, ribbon, and Christmas decorations everywhere. It was a tradition that we would go out into the woods to find the tree ourselves. Being a child I have absolutely no idea how long it actually took Mom to put all that up, I just remember the “Ta Da” moment when it was completed. As a result of these memories I’m totally convinced is why I go all out for Christmas too. It’s why I’m a decorating fiend; why it takes me about 2 weeks from start to finish inside and outside. I love it; mainly because my Mom taught me to love it. What are we teaching our children to love?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

He is Working...

July 27, 2011

John 5:10-17

V 17…”My Father is working until now, and I am working”

How wonderful is it that God never not works in our lives. He never takes a vacation…He never is sick…He never is just tired…He never is not in the mood. He is always there and never changing. How sad is it that we can’t say the same? How sad is it that we use all the above excuses and many more to avoid personal time with God, to avoid time worshiping God, to avoid spending time with His church? How blessed we are that He holds those who are His in His righteous right hand.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Being Alone and Being Known...

July 26, 2011

John 5:1-9

V 9 And at once the man was healed…

To say that this miracle would have changed the way of this man’s life, is the understatement of the century. This was monumental to this man who lived on the edge of society most likely on his own, since he seemed to have no family or friends to help him get into the pool. Yet, he did have Jesus, and as we know this is more than enough. Sometimes that’s all we have too. Sometimes the circumstances of our lives are so overwhelming that there is nothing humanly possible we can do to overcome them; in those situations we are like this man. We are alone with no help to get into the pool. We are alone with Jesus. Actually this is a great place to be, despite our circumstances being alone with Jesus is certainly better than having hundreds of family and friends, yet, Jesus would say He knew us not.

Monday, July 25, 2011

He Believed...

July 25, 2011

John 4:46-50

V 50…the man believed

Jesus and His disciples are back in Cana, where He had recently turned the water to wine. A fact I’m sure everyone in Cana had heard about. Upon His arrival, Jesus was approached by a man whose son was ill and about to die. Being a parent myself, I know that I would go to anyone who I knew could save him. Here in these verses we don’t see a father who just thinks Jesus could save his son, but a father who knows He could. When Jesus told the official to go that his son was healed; he did just that, he left. He didn’t require Jesus’ assurance; didn’t mumble one “are you sure?” Nope he just left. This tells me that this official knew there was power in the words of Jesus. One of my favorite things to do when I pray is to pray scripture. In fact, if I have something specific that I’m praying about I will generally put a verse of scripture along with it. This helps me to recognize if perhaps what I’m praying for may not line up with scripture and need to be reevaluated. There is power in the words of Jesus, but we have to have heard them, we have to know them before they can impact our lives. This official knew of Jesus; he had heard of his power. Through this knowledge he was able to seek the only one who could save his son from death.

Friday, July 22, 2011

His Reputation Preceeded Him...

July 22, 2011

John 4:43-45

When I read this passage I immediately had the thought that our reputations follow us everywhere. Jesus, after staying for a couple of days leaves, why? Not because there are not many who may need to come to know Him but because He realized they would not take him seriously because He had grown up here. It is hard for people to look beyond what you have become because they are focused on what your where. The people of Jesus’ hometown didn’t see the prophesied Messiah but Mary and Joseph’s son, whom they always believed had been conceived out of wedlock. We of course know this was not the case but in his hometown that is what would have been assumed. So, He leaves for Galilee. When He arrives there they welcome Him with open arms because they knew His power from having witnessed it personally at the wedding feast. His reputation with these people being vastly different from the one in his hometown, yet, He was the same man. How important are our reputations? Very, right, yet we sometimes treat them as not being important. We act by allowing our emotions to guide us rather than good sense and may say things that will change someone’s perception of us. And once lost it is very hard to gain back!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shout it Out...

July 20, 2011

John 4:27-42

V 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”

How many have believed because of what I have testified? I don’t really know the answer to that, I’d guess not many and certainly not as many as this lady. True, her testimony is pretty WOW inducing; someone walking up to her and laying out all her dirty laundry would be pretty convincing. Yet, I can’t say that God has never done something as powerful as that for me. I can say that God has done some pretty miraculous things in my life. Have I used those miracles to testify to the power of God…probably not?  Has it even occurred to me to do so…maybe? I think that every verse in God’s word can be and is useful for instruction in our lives. Here we learn of a woman who was most likely the subject of much gossip due to her lifestyle, someone who was scorned by those around her, someone who went out of her way to avoid being around others; yet, she runs, leaves her water jug, to tell those same people of what she has just heard. May I be so enthusiastic to proclaim what God has done for me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Am He...

July 19, 2011

John 4:15-26

V 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

I like the Samaritan woman at the well, why, because she is obviously caught up in sin, yet Jesus shows her love, compassion, and a way to forgiveness anyway. He, with great kindness and compassion points out His knowledge of all her sin and never beats her over the head with it. He is more interested in her seeing and understanding true salvation, than He is in making her feel like a worm because of her sin. He certainly doesn’t ignore her sin (verse 17-18) but He also doesn’t dwell on it either. I wonder if she ever realized what a gift Jesus gave to her here. He very rarely identifies himself as “The Christ” directly to anyone, and here He does, to a woman from Samaria caught up in sexual sin, no less. Jesus sees the heart of man, and will not be put off by what’s on the outside or by actions that may cause others to avoid us. You can be quiet certain that this was not a woman thought of very highly in Samaria; this is the reason why she is at the well so late in the day when everyone else came at a much cooler time of day. Jesus is our great example for everything, here He is showing us that you can’t ignore sin, it must be addressed, but the more important issue is true salvation.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Whose Winning...

July 18, 2011

John 4:10-14

V 10 …you would have asked hin. And he would have given you living water

V 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever

“Living water” and “thirsty” both are physical hungers that a woman who had walked several miles along a dusty road alone would recognize. How powerful it is to realize that Jesus would have know that and been able to apply that to His teachings to this woman. “Living water” is of course referring to the Holy Spirit that indwells a believer, and being “thirsty” refers to our natural hungering we have to know God, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. Jesus said that He was the way for both of these things: the Holy Spirit, and knowing God. If one wants to acquire both of these, Jesus must provide it. The Holy Spirit is, I think, an undiscovered treasure in the lives of many believers. Being the means in which we understand and can apply scripture to our lives, it is very important that we treasure our relationship with the Holy Spirit. However, there is a bit of a catch in our relationship; the greater un-confessed sin is in our lives the less the Holy Spirit can affect it. This sin that we cling to will hamper our ability to listen to the Holy Spirit; not because He isn’t powerful enough to get around it, but we will simply not listen. We have chosen what is most important to us and it isn’t God’s word. Are we thirsty? Do we desire more of God in our lives and less of ourselves? True that is a constant battle; this desiring God verses desiring ourselves, but there will always be a winner. Who is winning today?

Friday, July 15, 2011

What do We Avoid?

July 15, 2011

John 4:7-9

V 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “how is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

In this passage Jesus and the disciples did something that most Jews of the day didn’t do, they didn’t go around the long way to avoid Samaria. Many Jews would add time and miles to what was probably a hard enough journey just to avoid Samaria. Yet, Jesus and His disciples didn’t, and Jesus even went so far as to ask a Samaritan for something to drink. He was willing to drink from her cup. To say that the Jews of this day disliked the Samaritan’s would be putting it mildly; there was no love lost for them. However, like in all things Jesus was so much more than just a Jew. He talked with this woman where she was, both at the well and in her sin (which I’ll get to eventually!). Sometimes I find myself avoiding the hard people in my life. This has always been my normal fleshly way to do things, ignore what I didn’t want to deal with. Yet, this is not Jesus’ example. He actually went out of His way to deal with the hard people. He goes out of His way to deal with me, and I know I’m certainly hard to deal with at times. If He is to be our example in how we live our lives doesn’t that mean that we should also seek out the people that the world would avoid? I’ll be honest in saying that this takes me out of my safe bubble. I’m scared of the prospect of talking to people one on one. Yet, I believe that for a believer this is unavoidable; we must make every effort of reach out to those who are hurting, or those who are belligerent and angry, or those who are so caught up in sin that they have lost their way. Because there is no doubt that this is what Jesus did and what He would do if He were here today.

Starting something new at Lou Lou's Legacy....check it out HERE if you like!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

All Who are Weary...

July 14, 2011

John 4:1-6

V 4 …so Jesus, wearied

To become weary is defined as “physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain…” this is how God’s Word describes Jesus, weary. I think we don’t really pay attention to the many times that the Bible points to Jesus’ humanity. Yet, it’s undeniable that He was fully human as well as fully God at the same time. I was getting geared up to write about the Samaritan Woman since that was the next passage, up until I read, “so Jesus, wearied.” I immediately felt like wow, He got that way to. Have you ever been weary? I think that this is more than just being tired after a long day’s work. It’s more that merely being physically exhausted. It’s the heavy weight of both mental and physical sitting on your shoulders making your knees buckle under the strain. Have you felt that lately? What a comfort to know that Jesus did. Many Christians feel like they have to have it all together, that they are almost too spiritual to get tired or if they do get tired something must be wrong with them. I mean we have God’s strength to pull from do we not. What reason would we have to ever get weary? Yet, here we read Jesus, our Savior and God’s Son, getting weary needing a rest. Sometimes we just need a rest too. Sometimes we must sit beside the road that is our life and drink water. Jesus was of course drinking actual water from Jacob’s well, but sometimes we might need to drink of the living water that is Jesus. Maybe we are weary because our work and life is just hard or maybe we are weary because we need some time alone with Jesus. Maybe we need to just read God’s word for the pleasure of it, so that it will comfort our tired soul. Don’t begrudge ourselves rest; if you are weary sit, and take comfort in knowing that our Savior did too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

He Must Increase...

July 13, 2011

John 3:22-36

V 30 He must increase, but I must decrease

I have been for some time praying this for my life. That I would stop being so concerned with what I wanted and at least try to pay more attention to what God wanted for my life, and the people in it. Yet, this is a very hard prayer. It is very hard because most times it will require a battle with your flesh, as is most often the case in the Christian walk. We are not left alone; however, we do have God’s strength to help lift us up from where we are. The desire must be there first. We must first want what is God’s will for our lives; accepting that it might not line up with our desires. As I said, I have been praying this for some time, and sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not. Being the blogger I am; I have another post on this verse on LouLou's Legacy...You can read it HERE if you like!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hating the Light...

July 12, 2011

John 3:19-21

V 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed

These verses are certainly speaking of salvation and God’s work in it and those who reject it. However, as I was reading this passage yesterday I was reminded that even the believer could hate the light. Such a strong word hate, right. I don’t allow my children to use it because it carries with it such bad emotion. The Bible tells us that if we hate a brother in our heart we have done the same as murder him. Hate is defined as “to feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; to be unwilling.” We might say, “I would never feel like that toward anything from God.” Yet, do we? Remember that Jesus was not ambivalent about obeying His Father, he was adamant that God’s word and will be obeyed, even unto His death. So, how would Jesus look toward our unwillingness to do what God has called us to do? Maybe it isn’t really about disobeying God’s will for our lives, refusing to do what He has called us to do, but it’s about disobeying His word. Perhaps, we KNOW that there is a part of our lives that does not line up with Scripture, and we refuse to do anything about it. Perhaps we refuse to even read scripture because we know that the light found there will illuminate the darkness that is our hearts; so we don’t. Believers can hate the light by simply avoiding it, by living our lives as a “Sunday Christian” and not opening our lives and heart to the Holy Spirit, in order that we might be changed. Perhaps we should ask ourselves…”Do I hate the light?”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Whoever what?

July 11, 2011

John 3:16-18

V 18 …the name of the only son of God

I think that if someone only has the very briefest knowledge of the bible, they would know John 3:16. If they knew nothing else, or if they didn’t want to know anything else, they would know God loved them. I mean that is what John 3:16 is all about right; God loving the world and sending His son to die for it? Yes, sort of. God did send Jesus to die for the world so that whoever believes on His name will be saved. Interestingly enough, this statement “for the world” was a big one for John’s audience. Prior to this statement the only people it was believed that God was interested in saving were the Jews, yet, here is proof that the Messiah will be sent for everyone who believes. Believes in what…isn’t that the question, do we only have to be a good and sincere person believing in anything we want in order to gain eternal life? I think that the familiarity with John 3:16 allows us to really overlook those verses around it, or at least it has me because until this morning I’ve never really noticed the phrase in verse 18. “…the name of the only son of God” that gets very specific doesn’t it? Everybody young or old, dead or still alive, fall into two categories: those who believe in Jesus, and those who do not. God is not lukewarm in His affection; He loves the one and condemns the other (v18). Why would He send His “only Son” to die for a people and then turn around and give them eternal life whether they believe or not? Does that make sense? What would have been the purpose for Jesus’ suffering if every “good” person was going to be saved anyway? I think it’s much easier for people, both lost and saved, to believe that God will save all the “good” people, yet His Word is clear that “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (v 18).

Friday, July 8, 2011

What do We Know?

July 8, 2011

John 3:1-15

V 11 Truly, truly I say to you, we speak of what we know…

What do we know? Where did we learn it? I think these are important questions to ask, maybe even more so if we have a background of church in our lives from childhood. Sadly, many things that we might “take” with us from childhood to adulthood concerning biblical principles could be outright wrong or at least skewed a bit. This is hard to accept sometimes because we usually revere the people who taught it to us. It’s hard to accept that they could be wrong about something. Yet, it’s also very important that we handle godly things correctly, and even more so those principles concerning His Word. It’s also just plain hard because it takes studying God’s Word to see where we might be wrong in our thinking. We are called to study God’s Word on our own, not simply to have it given to us through bible study and countless sermons, but to have our own familiarity with it. If we only ever open it on Sunday mornings how will that be enough to know if what we are hearing is true. It’s also hard to accept that the preachers we hear every Sunday could be wrong about something and they could they are infallibly human. Of course, these disagreements should be handled with respect, but that’s not what I’m really talking about here. What I’m addressing is would you really recognize something as wrong in the first place. Is your relationship with God’s word so strong that the Holy Spirit would reveal to you something just a little off in what you hear? No matter how eloquently or maybe wrong and misleading or maybe even a little boring the sermons we hear every Sunday may be, it is our responsibility to prove them against God’s Word to see if they correctly line up with it. That we what we “speak” will be correct.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where do We Run?

July 7, 2011

John 2:22-25

V 24 but Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people

What do we hide? What secret desires or sin do we put within our hearts in the hope that no one will notice? What is that little voice inside our head really saying as we put an outward smile on our faces, in the hopes of covering it up? For the most part I’d say we are pretty glad no one can see that, but is that really true? God’s Word says that He knows the hearts of man, and we know this intellectually. Yet, do we put this intellectual knowledge into practice. For instance, if we are praying for forgiveness for sin, yet, refuse to name the sin that we KNOW is in our hearts right then, are we living as though we believe God knows our hearts. If we are hurting from some pain in our lives that we hide from everyone else, why do we also hide it from the one who can sustain us through it? Why do we not run to Him who can hold us? Psalm 91:14 says “Under his wings you will find refuge.” Why are we not running for the sanctuary found there? I believe that we run to God so that He will take the hurt away and never really realize that He can also sustain us through it.  Despite the hurt going on around us there is great peace to be found kept under His wings, and also, in the knowledge that God already knows what our heart’s need.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mighty in Power...

July 6, 2011
John 2:13-22
This is one of my favorite passages about Jesus. Why? Simply put, it is the exact opposite of what the world perceives Jesus to be. The world sees Jesus as a good man and I believe a somewhat weak one; yet, when it comes to His fathers’ will and word a powerful one, and this reflects that. I think that the world confuses meek with weak, and the one thing Jesus is not, is weak. I like this passage because it points to His power and might. “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. (v 15).” I mean can you imagine the strength, power and righteous anger that poured out of Him. There would have been no doubt in anyone’s mind that this man was not weak or mild had you been a witness to this account. This also reminds me of the Jesus that will return one day. That Jesus will be awesome in power also. The Jesus that I know and love is not weak but strong enough to make sure that His Father’s house is not blasphemed, and to follow His Fathers’ will to the cross, and to triumphantly return for those that are His Fathers.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All Who Are Thirsty...

July 5, 2011

John 2:1-12

V 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

Each of the gospel writers look at the life that Jesus lead on earth from a different perspective; each gospel highlighting a different aspect of perhaps the same stories. John places a greater deal of emphasis on Jesus’ private relationships with different people and how He ministered to them, rather, than His public ministry. This first “sign” pointing to His being the Messiah reflects that; in the fact that it was a quiet miracle. In the Old Testament, many viewed wine, but not being drunk from it, as a sign of God’s blessings and joy. In verse 3, John tells us that they ran out of wine. According to the ESV Study Bible, this could be seen as a sign of their spiritual barrenness. That could certainly explain why Mary turned to Jesus for help; for who better to turn to if you are spiritually barren. We all for whatever reason, usually sin, go through a time of spiritual barrenness. It can happen in the blink of an eye or gradually over time. We look less and less to God for what we need to survive each day; this will eventually produce a dry and thirsty heart. I love the picture of Jesus being our living water, of Him being all we need to forever quench our thirst. Yet, that takes a willingness on our part to understand and live like we can’t be fulfilled with anything else. It takes a willingness to come to Jesus daily for our spiritual water despite the battles we must face to make it happen. Those who are His will thirst after Him; we want Him.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Follow Me...

July 2, 2011

John 1:43-51

V 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Phillip and said to him, “Follow me.”

Has Jesus ever said to you, “Follow me”? Maybe not in the same manner that He spoke to Phillip. Not audibly and in the flesh, instead, through the work of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. But has He called you to follow Him into an area that you fear? He has me…and unfortunately it took me a long time to obey. I wish I could say that I obeyed immediately when He called me, but I can’t. Instead, I let fear stop me. Fear of many things man, failure, the work involved. Yet, when I finally did obey, I found that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Sometimes God will call you to follow Him to a place that will be painful and full of hurt, yet, you will come out much better in the end. Unlike the world, God doesn’t hurt us just because He can; He wants to mold us and shape us into the image of His Son. And many times fire is required to change us. I have to ask myself, how many times Jesus has said “Follow me” and I have totally ignored Him, pretended that I didn’t hear, and even went so far as to quit coming to Him because I knew I would hear those words “Follow me”. I hurt to think of that because I know that when I have needed God He has always been there for me; He has never abandoned me to the world. Too bad I can’t say the same…

Friday, July 1, 2011

What are You Seeking?

July 1, 2011

John 1:30-42

V 38 “What are you seeking?”

This is my first time to “journey” (my word for having a quiet time through a book of the bible) in a gospel. So, I was actually surprised a little bit by the verse written in read because they haven’t been in the books I’ve been reading lately. I like the words written in read because they represent the actual words Jesus breathed out of his mouth. These were the first that John recorded here in his gospel…”What are you seeking?” Jesus was actually speaking to a couple of John the Baptist’s disciples when they came seeking Him. However, I think we can ask ourselves the same thing, what are we seeking when we come to Christ. Do we come daily with no other intention but to know Him better and to strengthen our relationship with him? Do we only seek Him out of a guilty conscience because we know we should? Do we only seek Him when we are in trouble and hurting? Is our seeking based only on what we might get from God? I’d say that the answer is sometimes all three of these, or at least for me it is. Yet, for us it should be to strengthen our relationship with Him always. When we hear stories of people who have done great things for God, who have suffered and triumphed for Him; we must realize that they didn’t do it from the middle of the road. Instead, they did it fully and wholly committed to God and their relationship with Him. Jesus tells the church in Laodicea in Revelation “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (3:16).” So, I’m thinking that Jesus doesn’t want us to seek Him just because we have to; I’m thinking He wants us to seek Him with everything we have, all that is within us because we want to and mostly because He is worth it. I mean when He set His feet to the cross He didn’t do it half-heartedly but with all that He was.