Saturday, March 31, 2018

Day 88~ Acts 7 & 8

So, what did you think when you read what Peter said to Simon, the former magician?
“You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God…..for I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” (8:23)

Did that confrontation leave you feeling a little uncomfortable?  I bet it did!  I have commented on this idea before.  I had to smile with the thought of someone taking Peter’s approach today.  Ha! I don’t think it would happen!  Not in today’s politically correct environment where Christians are afraid to state the obvious, in fear of looking judgmental.  
Sadly, the consequence of our current trend is resulting in a boat load of people going to church (just like Simon), deceiving themselves, thinking they are saved, when in reality they are “in the bond of iniquity” (in other words, living an immoral life).  We as Christians just bit our tongues, smile and maybe say, “Jesus loves you and so do I!”  But is that really loving them?  I think Peter was extremely loving to Simon! In confronting Simon, Peter was, “snatching him out of the fire” (Jude 1:23).

The beauty that resulted in Peter’s confrontation is Simon’s response.  “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you said may come upon me.” (vs 24).  That sounds, to me, like Simon was realizing his need to change, don’t you think?  If Peter never called him out, he may not have ever realized his error.

Remember, Peter heard first hand from Jesus, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…” (Matt. 18:15)

When reading this story, it doesn’t indicate who was around them when they had this confrontation.  Simon could have come to Peter alone to exchange money for the “magic trick”.  Or perhaps someone else brought Peter (the 2 of them) to Simon to address this person’s concern.  Either way, it appears that they may have gained a brother by confronting him of his sin.
This reminds me of what Paul also wrote to the Galatians, “Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him, in a spirit of gentleness.” (6:1)

Jesus, Peter and Paul all taught that we are not to ignore sin, but to confront it, in order to save a person.  Boy, has Satan done a mighty work to muzzle us in this area! I’m just say’en…..

Friday, March 30, 2018

Day 87~Acts 5 & 6

I noticed a couple things I haven’t noticed before reading chapter 5.  We just read about Peter and John being arrested for healing the the lame man (4:3). They went to trial for that but were released with a stern warning, no punishment. (4:21) 

So, today when I read that the apostles got beaten (5:40), I assumed it was just Peter and John again.  However, it wasn’t just those two, it was all twelve! 
This is why I think that:
  1. “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles.  And they were all together in Soloman’s Portico.” (5:12) 
  2. The jealous priests and Sadducees arrested the apostles and put them in public prison. (vs.18)
Ha! Imagine the angel leading 12 men out of the prison secretively!  I had always pictured it was just two….but 12?!  No wonder the captain of the guard and the chief priests were greatly perplexed! (vs. 24)

3.  “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than man.” (vs 29)
No wonder Gamaliel suggested not to kill the 12 men.  That would have been a lot of blood on their hands!
4.  They called in the apostles , they beat them and charged them…” 

Now I have a better picture of the scene when they all leave, having been beaten.  In unison, all 12 felt the same thing.  They rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (5: 41) The name of the person they followed for three years of their lives!

I can’t help but think that this is a good example of why Christians should stay in fellowship with like minded believers.  Suffering together helps strengthen one’s resolve to stay on course and encourages others to do the same. 

By the way, did you notice the name Gamaliel?  That name will come up again.  He was Paul’s teacher! (22:3)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Day 86~ Acts 3 & 4

I had a thought when I was reading about the lame beggar that was healed in chapter 3. Why didn’t Jesus heal him during his three year ministry on earth?  After all, 3:2 says “..a man lame from birth (now 40 years old) was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple.”  
Jesus had just recently died and rose again, so I am sure that this guy had been on the temple steps on one or all of the many visits Jesus made to the temple.  

Interesting thought….don’t ya think?

It could be that Jesus saw him early on….maybe even at his visit to the temple when he was 12 years old.  The lame man would have been 19 years old then.
Maybe on a visit during his ministry years, Jesus saw the lame man but knew the man’s heart wasn’t ready yet.  Perhaps the lame man saw the crowd that always surrounded Jesus, but he himself didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah so he wouldn’t have followed Jesus even if he could walk.  
Or, what if Jesus knew he was going to heal him, but at a specific time for a specific purpose.  Yes, Jesus could have healed him in person, years before, but He chose to wait and do it through those with faith in his name (3:16).  
Ultimately, the healing accomplished the same thing all His healings accomplished during His ministry.  It brought glory to Him and proof of who He was/is. 
“..a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all…” (vs 16)

This story can be used as an example for us in our lives.  We may have an issue that we have been dealing with for a long time, maybe 40 years!  We may want healing right away, but it doesn’t come.  We need to remember that Jesus has his perfect timing.  We may not understand the timing, but we can rest knowing that when he does heal, it will be for His glory and “evident to all”.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Day 85~ Acts 1& 2

We finished the Gospels!!! Now on to Acts....

I always feel so unsettled when I read about Judas.  Matt. 10:1 says, “And he (Jesus) called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”

Today we read Peter saying, “For he (Judas) was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (1:17) 
“..(Jesus) show which one of these two you have choses to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” (1:24-25)

So, Jesus called Judas, yet Judas turned aside to go to his own place.  Hummm…🤔

I say this leaves me unsettled because there is an unexplainable mystery here.  I like to figure out mysteries, but there are some that I just can’t.  The mystery of God’s sovereignty and Man’s responsibility is one of those that just can’t be figured out with our human brain.  Some denominations try to explain or stick to one side or the other of those two options. Yet, today’s reading shows both in action. 

Peter says, “save yourself from this crooked generation.” (2:40)  and it also says, “And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them,.. (2:40) 
Both these verses imply a human responsibility to decide.  

However, we also read, “Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” ( vs.23), implying God’s sovereignty.  

My heart actually aches for Judas.  He had very opportunity to see Jesus for who he is/was.  Yet, the choice was still his to turn aside.  And that’s what he did….😖  Even though it was predicted that Jesus would be betrayed, Judas is still responsible for his decisions.  

I ache for people I know today who are doing the same thing, but as long as they have breath in their body, they can still turn back.  It’s such a shame that Judas killed himself.  He didn’t give himself the opportunity to be restored like Peter had been.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Day 84~ John 21

Once in awhile I think it would be nice to know the future.  Wouldn’t it be great if God told you tidbits of future events in your life specifically?  That way you could plan accordingly, right?  You wouldn’t need to fear the ‘what if’s’ because you would know what to expect.
Well….after today’s reading, I’m rethinking that! I’m actually glad God doesn’t let me in on further events, especially how I would die!  I think that information would actually hinder how I would act.

Jesus told Peter how he would die (21:18).  In one way, knowing that information could help Peter live freely in certain situations.  He could eat without fear of being poisoned to death.  He could cross a river without fear of drowning.  He could hold deadly snakes without fear of dying from a bite.  (He could get extremely sick from all of the above, but he wouldn’t need to fear death.)  On the other hand, every time he went out to “feed the sheep” he could have felt fear of being arrested; which could lead to the death of him.
I don’t know…I think I would rather not know, so that it didn’t hinder me from doing the one job Jesus gave me to do!

God, in his wisdom, doesn’t tell us how we are going to die.  So we don’t need to fear one aspect of life.  All we need to know is that we will die at some point.  Like we learned the other day, Satan can’t touch us, so we don’t need to fear him (1 John 5:8).  We’ve also learned that we don’t need to worry about the things the world strives for, (food, clothing, etc.- Matt. 6:25).
There is only one thing the Bible says we should be afraid of, and one thing only,… Matt. 10:28 if you don’t remember…..
But, thankfully, that fear doesn’t apply to the children of God. He’s our Abba (Daddy)🤗

I get a kick out of memes titled, “You Had One Job!” It will be a picture of how someone obviously failed at their job. 

Peter was given one job, “Feed My Sheep” (21:17).  Thankfully for us, he did not fail.  Jesus gave us one job to do as well;  “Follow me” (21: 22).  I pray that a meme will never be made of me failing to do my job….It wouldn’t be funny.😞

You had one job.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Day 83~ John 20

My kids think I am a little obsessive that I want all beds made in the morning. After today’s reading, I have a new point I can make if we ever get on the subject again. I can say, “Be like Jesus! When he got up, he folded the cloth that had been on his head (20:7).….Jesus made his bed… make yours!” 😁
And by the way, I’m not obsessive, I’m just trying to be like Jesus in every way! 😉

On a more studious note, I found it interesting that Jesus told Mary, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father,....”. (20:17). I like how my commentary clarified that this statement, “does not deny the fact that Jesus’ spirit went to the presence of the father in heaven at the moment of his death but affirmed that his bodily ascension after his resurrection had not yet occurred.”

This makes sense to me in light of what Jesus said to the thief on the criss, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Their spirits were with God immediately. But we also have this verse, “..and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16)

So, to me, looking at all these scriptures, it implies that our spirits go to the Lord immediately but our physical bodies join up later to get the updated version. 😉 (2 Cor. 5:1-2)

What do you think?....

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Day 82~ John 19

I had two thoughts reading this chapter. 

One, it’s a difficult chapter to read!  It starts with Jesus getting flogged, I can only imagine the pain Jesus must have been feeling when Pilate asked him, “Where are you from?” (vs. 9).  No wonder Jesus didn’t answer!  Yet he did manage to clarify to Pilate that he had no authority over Jesus.  Jesus willingly went through all that.  😩 (Thank you , Jesus!)

Second, as I was finishing the chapter, I was found myself admiring Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.  Here these guys were “secret disciples”, but when the rubber met the road, so to speak, they gave up being in hiding and did a very public thing!  Those closest to Jesus all scattered, but these two took the body, prepared it and put it in the best tomb around; unused, in a garden, prepared for a rich family!  What a display of loyalty.  They may have been very confused, but that didn’t stop them from doing a very nobel thing for the man they secretly were very loyal to. 

I pray that when ‘the rubber mets the road’ in my lifetime, I will naturally do the nobel thing and openly show the loyalty to Jesus that I have.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day 81~ John 18

Finishing today’s reading, I can’t help thinking about how pathetic Pilate was.  Here was the man that should be the one to determine the guilt or innocence of a man (basically find out the truth of a situation), and all he can say is, “What is truth?” (vs 38).

Can you imagine when the day comes, when, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.” (Rom. 14:11, Phil 2:10 & Isaiah 45:23)?  Pilate is going to drop to his knees, shaking like a leaf, thinking, “I had truth right in front of me and I walked away from him!”

What a dramatic picture!  But, in essence, every person who rejects Jesus will have that moment of realization that truth was in front of them. (Rom 1:20).  Whatever excuse they give as to why they rejected Jesus (Truth) will sound just as pathetic as Pilate’s.  😖

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 80~ John 17

What a prayer!  I love thinking about the fact that Jesus prayed for me!! (vs. 20)

Especially this, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (17:15)
If Jesus is praying, I’m confident that this prayer will be answered, right?!  So, if he prayed that God would keep the evil one from me, that will be done!!! 

And if that’s the case, why would I ever have any fear?

Not only can I be without fear of Satan, but I can have peace (vs. 33), even though tribulation is all around me.  Ahhh…..

The early disciples understood these truths and made sure they told others. 
  • Paul reminded the Thessalonians that Satan can’t touch them, “But the Lord is faithful and he will strengthen you and protect you from he evil one.” (2 Thess. 3:3). He also reminded the Philippines of the peace they can have, ”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
  • John also reminded his readers that Satan can’t touch them! “We know that anyone born of God does not go on sinning, rather the Son of God keeps him safe and the evil one cannot touch him.” (1 John 5:8)

I need poster to remind me that I have nothing to fear!  

Maybe the one below will do.  The first part I need to tell myself, the second part I need to tell Satan! 😜

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 79~ John16

Again, the first line of the reading caught my attention.  “I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away. “ (16:1)

What?!! You can fall away?  What did Jesus mean by that?  Well…., I found a commentary by Barnes that spoke to this verse in such an understandable way, I thought I would share it with you:
These things - The things spoken in the two previous chapters, promising them divine aid and directing them in the path of duty.

Be offended - For the meaning of the word offend, see the notes at Matthew 5:29. It means here the same as to stumble or fall - that is, to apostatize. He proceeds immediately to tell them, what he had often apprised them of, that they would be subject to great persecutions and trials. He was also himself about to be removed by death. They were to go into an unfriendly world. All these things were in themselves greatly fitted to shake their faith, and to expose them to the danger of apostasy. Compare Luke 24:21. If they had not been apprised of this, if they had not known why Jesus was about to die, and if they had not been encouraged with the promised aid of the Holy Spirit, they would have sunk under these trials, and forsaken him and his cause. And we may learn hence:

1. that if Christians were left to themselves they would fall away and perish.

2. that God affords means and helps beforehand to keep them in the path of duty.

3. that the instructions of the Bible and the help of the Holy Spirit are all granted to keep them from apostasy.

4. that Jesus beforehand secured the fidelity and made certain the continuance in faith of his apostles, seeing all their dangers and knowing all their enemies. And, in like manner, we should be persuaded that "he is able to keep that which we commit to him against that day," 2 Timothy 1:12.

I love that!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Day 78~John 15

What stood out to you in today’s reading?

I got a little side tracked when I read the first line of Ch. 15. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser…” 
Those words instantly transported me back to the 80’s and the lyrics of Keith Green in his song, “He’ll Take Care Of The Rest”.  I haven’t sang those lyrics in decades, but when I found it on YouTube, I was singing the song word for word.  It’s amazing how music sticks in your brain!

Maybe that’s why God designed and implemented the Levites to lead the Israelites in worship with the use of songs, lyres, harps and cymbals. (1 Chronicles 15:16)

I think I have posted a Keith Green song before, but here’s another one! 😄 (skip the ad)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 77~ John 14

If Jesus repeats himself, I always perk up!  He repeats himself almost word for word when he says “Let not your hearts be troubled.” ( vs. 1 and 27)

This chapter was so encouraging with those two verses in addition to others;
“..whoever believes in me will also do the works I do, and greater works than these will he do..” (vs.12)
“I will not leave you as orphans.” (18)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (27)
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (27)

Verse 1, when it says “Believe in God, believe in me.” is described in my footnote as “keeping with Old Testament usage that denotes personal, relational trust.”
So, Jesus is basically saying to his friends and us…trust me; you know who I am!  Trust me!

So why is it a constant battle for us to trust in Jesus?
Maybe because we let stretches go by where we forget to talk with him or stay close to him by reading his word.  So, we distance ourselves from him and forget that he is able to sustain us in our needs.  

I have adopted a little trigger that helps remind me to trust in Jesus.  Whenever I see a penny on the ground, I make a point to pick it up.  I remind myself what is written on the coin, “In God we Trust.”  and I ask my self, am I trusting Him?  Then I pray, “Thank you God for the reminder.  Help me to trust you today!”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 76~ John 13

Have you ever heard a fellow Christian say, “i’m just as bad as a sinner as the next person.  We are all sinners.”  
I have always bristled when I hear a Christian talk like that.  How can one feel that way if they accepted Jesus as their Savior?
  • “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
  • You are no longer a slave to sin.(Gal. 4:24-31)
  • “You were dead in your sins, but now have been born again.” (Eph. 2:1)
  • “How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Rom. 6:1)
  • “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 6:11)
  • “ have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness .” (Rom. 6:18)

If one has the attitude that they are (as a Christian), still just as bad of a sinner as one who is not a Christian, they are guilty of saying what Peter said to Jesus regarding the washing, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and head!” (John 13:9)  Yet, Jesus said his disciples were clean. “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except his feet, but is completely clean.” (vs 10) 

So, yes, we as humans are “contaminated” by the sinful world (our feet get dirty), but we are not “just as bad”, or dirty, as any other sinner who has not been washed by the blood of the Lamb. When one says they are just as bad, they are discounting the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1: 3-4)

After making the above point that, “NO, you are not the same as a nonChristian!”, you have been washed through the Jesus’ once-for-all death,  the fact remains that Jesus indicated the need for a “daily cleaning” or repentance.   So, what is that all about?….

I found an article that gave an insight to the daily repentance of a believer, that I had never thought before. The article talks of 2 different types of repentance.
1.) An appeal for saving forgiveness- that we have by faith.
2.) An appeal for God to forgive us from the consequences of our sin.  Meaning “We aren’t appealing for relief of Hell; we’re appealing for relief from the discipline of the Lord.”  The writer backed up that point using 1 John 1:9. Heb. 12:7-11 and 2 Sam. 12:13-16.

Well, that was a new way for me to look at daily repentance! What do you think about that?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 75~ John 12

I had experienced some Blogger  technical issues, but now I am up and running again!  Hope you all have been keeping up on your reading!

I noticed again today how John adds details to his narrative in such a way, it gets me to wonder…why?
For example, today he writes how some Greeks wanted to see Jesus.  So they came to Philip, who then “went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.” (vs 22)  Why would John be so detailed to tell us that?
Then Jesus tells them about the cost of discipleship and says these encouraging words, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (vs.26)

Did John give the detail about Andrew and Philip for a reason?  Well, I have a theory….😄

I Googled the two disciples.  Apparently Andrew and Philip are the only apostles that had Greek names (although John clarified that these apostles both came from Galilee, vs 20)  So, perhaps the God-fearing Greeks (we know that they were God fearing because they were worshipping at the feast -vs.20) sought out an apostle with a name familiar to them, thinking they had some sort of Greek bond or connection.

It’s possible that their Greek names opened up doors, for Andrew and Philip, to preach to the areas they went after Jesus returned to heaven.  Remember, the 12 dispersed after receiving the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.  God gave them new tongues to speak in other countries and off they went; Peter ultimately to Italy, Matthew and Thaddeus to Iran, and Thomas to Afghanistan. 

According to Hippolytus, a theologian alive during 170-235 AD, says that Andrew, along with Matthias (the apostle chosen to replace Judas) headed to modern day Georgia/Bulgaria to spread the gospel.  Matthias went back to Jerusalem but tradition says that Andrew was martyred in the town of Achaea in Greece
As for Philip, non-canonical writings say he went to preach in Greece, Phrygia (Turkey) and Syria.  He was then mattered in the city of Hierapolis, Turkey.  (Don’t confuse Philip the Apostle with Philip the Evangelist we read about in Acts.  They are two different men explained in Acts 6:5) 

Isn’t it interesting that the two that brought the Greeks to Jesus ended up going to Greece to share the Good News with the Greeks?  I think they must have recalled the words of Jesus, “If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”, as each preached to the Greeks.  What comfort they must have had, as they clung to those words straight from the mouth of Jesus, as they were martyred for their preaching.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 74~ John 11

Did you notice that only the gospel of John tells the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead?  That is quite a remarkable miracle for only one gospel writer to mention….🤔  And, in my opinion, how John tells the story is a little odd.  However, maybe not…..

Notice how John’s focal point when telling the story of Lazarus is all about Jesus.  John gets so detailed we even get to see the emotional reaction of Jesus when he sees his friends grieving.  Yet, when any other author would have shifted to the excitement of the crowd and their awestruck reactions when Lazarus walked out of the tomb, John stays oddly silent about those details.  In fact, John immediately shifts back to how their reactions will affect the future of Jesus.

Like yesterday’s reading, when we saw how the Jewish leaders focused more on when Jesus did his healing of the blind man, today they are focused on his growing popularity rather than the miracle of someone coming back to life!  Boy, do they have their priorities mixed up!

I’m glad John stuck to the main theme of the story.  It helps me keep my focus on Jesus as well!  

Lord, please help me to keep my priorities straight and remember “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Day 73~John 10

I am struck with how hard hearted the Jews were that gathered around Jesus in verse 24.
“How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  
Why did he have to tell them plainly?  He just gave sight to a man that had been blind since birth, for heavens sake!!
The expression, “Actions speak louder than words” must not have been penned back then!

Sadly, these people (the Pharisees) were the “hired hands” that Jesus spoke of, who care nothing for the sheep. (vs. 13)  They didn’t care about the fact that this man’s sight had been restored.  They were much more concerned that mixing spit with dirt to make mud was work, and work must not be done on the Sabbath! 🙄

I thought verse 38 was interesting.  “..but if I do them (good works), even though you do not believe, believe the works that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 
Jesus, by his actions, proved he was the Christ. 
I have said before that I think the old saying, “Seeing is believing” isn’t the way it works.  I think the saying should be, “Believing is seeing.”  It is so much easier to see the miracles of God when you have belief!  Yet, Jesus is basically saying here, “Come on people! Even if you don’t believe what I say, look at what I am doing!”

But, they just couldn’t…😞

That reminds me of the verse in Romans, “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” (9:18)  Had God hardened the hearts of these people?  Maybe for a time and a purpose…
This touches on one of those theological points that I have a hard time getting my head around.

But, after long stretches of trying to understand and not getting there…I always end with the thought….. Thank you Jesus for opening my eyes to your miracles!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Day 72~ John 9

God loves to display his work!  It is seen in his creation of the universe, and the earth (Psalm 104:24).  He also likes to display his work in people!
“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (9:3)
God works miracles in peoples lives to display his work!

What a great reason to share your testimony! Your life story, if changed by God, needs to be told in order to put His work on display! 

Every believer has a story.  The miracle that must be displayed is that your heart opened to the truth.  I think Christians get caught thinking that they need a spectacular story like the man who was blind from birth.  That was pretty amazing!  Yet, thinking that your story needs to be that spectacular undermines the miracle done in you.

If everyone, including you and me has , “The heart (that) is evil above all things, and desperately sick…” (Jeremiah 17:9), than the fact that Jesus moved into my heart is a miracle! (Eph. 3:17).

That is every Christian’s story that can be shared with others in order to display God’s work!

Points to share your testimony:
1.) What was your life like before Christ?
2.) How did you come to Christ?
3.) What is your life like now.

Simple!  Your story displays God’s work.  If you think about it,….every believer has a similar story to the blind man.  We can each say, “One thing I do know, that I was blind, now I see.” (9:25)

John Newton a sailor (who also had the mouth of a sailor) in the 1700’s personally experienced, “God’s work”.  God changed his life so he got into pastoral work in his 30’s and penned the famous poem that became the song, “Amazing Grace.”  He too, was blind at first but then could see truth.  Good thing he took the time to write about it so that God’s work could be displayed for generations to after!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Day 71~ John 8

We are lucky, here in 2018, post resurrection!  We get the full picture of who Jesus is, where he came from and where he went.  To be honest, I can understand why the teachers of the law wigged out when they heard, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (8:58)
That was new information!!!  Imagine how hard that would be to understand!

Think how hard it would be to believe that not one, but two buildings, that took the space of 16 acres in width and rose a quarter of a mile in height, could disappear in a matter of minutes. Prior to 2001, structural engineers and experts would have said it was impossible.  Those same experts would stand up and condemn engineers today who still believed it couldn’t happen.  The current engineers would be responsible for the new information available them when forming their opinion.

It makes me realize how much more accountable we are for what we know.  I am reminded of that verse in Luke when Jesus said, “The queen of the South will rise up at judgement and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” (Luke 11:31)
The queen of Sheba’s actions (faith) pointed out how the Pharisees of Jesus’ time didn’t have faith.  Likewise, the Pharisees who did believe in Jesus, before they understood His whole story, can “condemn” later generations for their unbelief since they (we) do have the whole story.

Today we read how Jesus is revealing information that people of the past and even angels longed to know and understand (1 Peter 1:10-12).  With the new information, people are responsible for what Jesus revealed.  What will they do with it?  Believe it?  Act like it never happened?

I say we are lucky! Personally, I think it’s easier to believe when I have all the information.  As I read the Bible everyday I feel more and more confident of the truth.  It’s like I am living out John 8:31: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Day 70~ John 7~ messed up on the schedule, 😐

Did you notice in today’s reading that “some people of Jerusalem” said , “But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” (vs 27)
Yet, just a couple paragraphs later some said, “Is this Christ to come from Galilee?  Has not scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (vs. 42) 
Why were the people split on this point? 

I have a theory as to why the people were saying two different things on the point of where the Christ will come from…..they had different teachers…why would the teachers not be teaching the same thing?

Why would a teacher of the law abandon what scripture predicts?  Well, let’s look back at the time when Jesus was born.  Herod assembled “all the chief priests and scribes of the people” and “inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” (Matt. 2:3-6)  It was unanimous; all agreed and told the king, “In Bethlehem of Judea for so it is written by the prophet”,  and they quoted Micah 5:2.

So, in review, the wise men asked Herod (who was in Jerusalem), Herod gathered the “teachers of the law” (who were also in Jerusalem), and now 30 years later we are back in Jerusalem discussing the same topic.  Yet, this time there is not a unanimous opinion to the answer. The teachers taught the people different things….

I wonder….if some of the teachers are the same ones who consulted Herod thirty years prior.🤔  If they were learned teachers of about 30 years old, when Herod asked, they would be 60 years old now.   What if….some of those older teachers had been living with the guilt of what their “consultation” produced…the death of all boys in Bethlehem 2 years old and younger.
Guilt has a way of making people change their minds on issues……regardless of the facts…..

Because of the work I do related to the abortion industry, I can’t help relating that guilt to what I see in women and men today.  People who once held that abortion is wrong, change their mind when they have had a hand in it.  They become adamant defenders of “pro-choice”, insisting that a pregnancy does not equal a worthy human.  Despite the information available showing that life begins at conception, they will defend their stance vehemently!  It’s hard not to look at some of the people at protests, with rage in their face, and not see the internal conflict raging in their souls.   I wonder if the Scribes and Pharisees, who were saying “no one knows where the Messiah would come from”, made that up; changed their stance to alleviate the guilty conscious they have held for 30 years? 

It sounds reasonable, don’t you think?….

Monday, March 12, 2018

Day 70~ John 6

“Everyone who has heard and learned form the Father comes to me.” (vs 45)…..So, what do we hear and learn from the Father? And why would that point us to Jesus?  

Well, when I read the Old Testament I am struck with how God wants his people to be holy.  All the Levitical law was set up to keep the “chosen one’s”, the Jewish race, pure and “set apart” from the surrounding nations.  If they obeyed, his favor would be on them, if they didn’t, he would remove his favor.  Well, as anyone can read in the Old Testament, they couldn’t do it.  They couldn’t keep themselves pure.  Because of what happened in the garden, they weren’t capable of being holy.  They were true decedents of Adam and Eve, one’s to think, “I know better than God..…I think I will just go ahead and do what he told me not to do.”  
They, and we, need God given help to be holy.

I like how Adam and Eve responded when they sinned.  They hid in shame (Gen. 3:8).  At least they knew they did wrong! Today, we have come so far in our sin, we don’t even recognize it for what it is.

Have you ever noticed that God approached Adam and Eve in the same way he approaches us today? He seeks us out, points out our sin and gives us a free gift to deal with that sin. 
I love the line in Genesis, “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9)
He was drawing them out of hiding. God drew Adam and Eve out, to confront their sin and deal with it.…He still does that. 
Look at the verse we read today, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”  (Jn. 5:44)  

So, what do we learn from the Father?…that he wants us to be holy, yet he points out, using his law (Rom 7:7), that we are full of sin and need help.  
So the next question is, why would everyone who has heard and learned from God go to Jesus?  
Well, we know that answer to that, don’t we?!  Jesus is our help; our salvation (Jn 5:47).

I like what Matthew Henry said in his commentary.  

“The discovery of their guilt, danger and remedy, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, makes men willing and glad to come, and to give up every thing which hinders applying to him for salvation.”