Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 30 ~ you are a third of the way through!

Today's reading: John 16-18

18:37, “…I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

I find that statement absolutely fascinating!  

There is soil that is just plain ready to receive the seed. (Matt. 13:23)
There are sheep who hear the shepherds voice and follow it.  (John 10:3)
There are those that have ears to hear about Christ. (Matt 11:15)

I am one that believes man has free will, but there are scriptures that stump me in this thinking.

“no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matt. 11:27)

Why is it that some are naturally “on the side of truth” and when they hear it, they receive it?  Yet others are hardened to it.  When they hear it, they don’t recognize it.

Matt 11:25 says it was for God’s “good pleasure”.  🤔

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 29~ John 13-15

Some days I can be quite wordy!  Other days,….not so much! 
Today, I am just pondering…….
In chapter 15’s parable, Jesus says the word “remain” 11 times!

What are your thoughts on the wording Jesus chose to use in 15:10. “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,….”?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 28~ John 10-12

The whole subject of miracles is an interesting one!  The truth is,  IT IS NOT “Seeing is Believing”  it is “Believing is Seeing”

I found it odd that John is the only gospel that tells the story of Lazarus.  To me, that miracle is one of the big ones!! Raising a guy to life FOUR DAYS after he died?!!  Come on!! Wouldn’t that get everyone to believe??  Why didn’t the other writers mention it?

Jesus says in 10:38 “…, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles , that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

Jesus admits that he did a lot of miracles.  “I have shown you many miracles from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?” (10:32)

I am sure it was with exasperation that Jesus says, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” (John 4:48)

It is also the reason John writes his book, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (20:31)

Yet, even after establishing the fact that miracles help us humans to have belief, it is not the prerequisite to our faith.  Jesus actually points out to Mary that one needs belief first in order to see and understand the miracles. 
Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 

It reminds me of the parable we read in Luke 16 when the rich man dies and goes to hell.  He talks to Abraham, who is in heaven.  Abraham responds, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (vs.31) 

11:45 Shows exactly what happens when a miracle is given.  The miracle causes some to believe and others will still not believe.  Remember John 12:37, “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe him.”

Romans 1:18-20 explains so well why some believe and some don’t. It is the wickedness of us humans that “suppress the truth…, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities -his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
No wonder Jesus said to the nonbelievers, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!” (Matt. 12:39)
Here we have (and they had) all the miracles we need to believe and yet some of us have the audacity to ask for more!  😬 That does seem pretty wicked!

But in reality, we have all seen miracles!  The biggest being creation itself.  Maybe the other writers of the gospels knew this.  They wrote of other miracles that John didn’t.  We have enough testimony. Now it’s up to us to believe or not.

We are going to read soon in John 20:29, Jesus saying, “..blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” 

I would rather Jesus call me “blessed” than “wicked”! I need to remember this the next time I start thinking I need a miracle! If I continue in my belief, I will see all the miracles that happen around me daily! Believing is Seeing!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Day 27~ John 7-9

I want you to know that I am praying for you!  I know this is a lot of reading!  I pray you are able to get ‘er done!

John 7:7 “The world…hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” 😳
Have you ever pondered that?
So, here’s a question for you (as well as for me).  If I am to be like Jesus……do I testify to the world that what it does is evil?  Am I hated for doing that?…..
Do Christians (me) skip over this part and just want to focus on “loving” the world? 
The first line of this blog’s theme verse is from Romans 12.  Have you ever pondered how to do this?  “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 26 ~ John 4-6

My eyebrows shot up when I read read 5:14, “See you are all well again.  Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

What? Why would Jesus say that?

Well, let’s figure this out. This is what we know:
1.) This man was an invalid for 38 yrs. (That is longer than Jesus had been alive at this point! When Jesus was brought to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated at 8 days old, this guy could have already been sitting by the pool for 5 years!!!) 
2.) He obeyed Jesus by picking up his mat and walking.
3.) After the healing he was found in the temple (presumably, either offering sacrifices or having fellowship with other Jews, two things he probably couldn’t do much of before if he was always at the pool waiting for the “water to stir”).

To me it appears (at least on the outside) that this man had a “conversion” of sorts.  He was changed by God and was back in church. He appeared like he was doing all the right things.  HOWEVER, Jesus knows the heart (Acts15:8)!  This man may not have had the “saving faith” that it appeared he had.  He didn’t know Jesus.  “The man had no idea who it was”, who healed him physically.  

Jesus had just said a little earlier in our reading, “..true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”  Jesus is the truth (John 14:6)  In other words, in spirit, would mean we can worship him anywhere,(he is not tied to a building) and “in truth” is “in Jesus”.

The truth for this man is that his heart was sinful.  Jesus knew it and called him out on it.  My footnote says, “The eternal consequences of sin are more serous than any physical ailment.”  Jesus was pointing out that going to church and acting the part doesn’t make you a believer.  Changing your life to walking in truth is what he wants.

So, this story has a questionable ending, depending on how you see it…..

It could have a sad ending;  “the man went away.”
Would you go away from the man that healed you from a 38 yr. ailment?  I think I would have become a groupie at that moment!
the ending could be a good ending (the optimist in me would hope this).  This man may have done the same as the official in the story ch.4- “The man took Jesus at his word and departed”(vs. 50)

What do you think?  Sad or happy ending for the physically healed man by the pool?

On another note….John 6 ~ Jesus is the Bread of Life……and then many disciples desert Jesus…….whew…. a lot in that section to comment on but I’m going to hold off!!!!  Do you have any thoughts there?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 25~ Welcome to John! The last of the four gospels!

John 3:1- I was impressed with Nicodemus today.  He says, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.”  I think Nick was really trying hard to understand the concept of being “born again”.
The fact that he called Jesus a “teacher from God” is remarkable since Pharisees were known to be a “legalistic and separatistic group who strictly kept the law of Moses and traditions of the elders’.

Now, I don’t know if John’s writings are in the order of how/when things happened, but he did place this teaching at the beginning of his book.  If Nick had this conversation early in Jesus’ s ministry, he had a lot of time to keep watching and learning from Jesus. 

In the end, we know that Nick’s life was changed because he took great personal risk to his career.  We will read in 19:39. He joined Joseph who “was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews”. (You remember, the rich guy who owned the un-used tomb.) The two of them prepared the body of Jesus for burial.  It was Nick who brought 75 lbs. of an embalming mixture.  That much would have been used in a royal burial!  It seems to me that his actions lined up with what he believed, and he was “born again”.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 24 ~ Luke 22--> end

The verse that stuck out to me today is 22:31.  Jesus says to Peter, “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Remember Luke 12:8-9? And we will also read in 2 Tim 2:13, “If we disown him, he will disown us.”  Peter was in that zone!  He denied Jesus!
Can you imagine how utterly sad that moment was when, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.”  Yet, Jesus didn’t leave Peter without hope.  Maybe the look Jesus gave Peter was full of compassion.  Maybe, when Peter “remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him”, he remembered that Jesus not only predicted his denial, but he also remembered him saying “when you have turned back…”

As long as we have breath in our bodies, we have the same hope.  Do you know that Jesus prayed for us too?!  Check out John 17:20!!!😊