Reflections on John 8: Who is Your Father?

In today’s reading, there is the account of Jesus forgiving the woman who was caught in adultery. After finding herself with no one to condemn her, Jesus tells her He does not condemn her either. Before she goes, Jesus says, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

““No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8‬:‭11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus then speaks to the Pharisees. He tells them the truth about the condition of their relationship to God. They were claiming that God was their Father. This is where Jesus says something profound:

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.” John 8:42 NIV

In our day and time it is a popular thing to say that we are all God’s children. Jesus narrows down who is truly a child of God, the one who can call God, Father. It is the one who loves Jesus. To define this even better we must know what it is to love Jesus. In John 14:15 Jesus defines who loves him even further. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Or simply said we will OBEY God’s word. One of the commandments Jesus gave is to “go and leave our life of sin.”

It is true our Heavenly Father loves us and longs for us to know Him, but we cannot experience the freedom of His forgiveness and simply go our own way once again. To truly be His child means a transformation within or being born again. This transformation will lead us to love our Heavenly Father giving evidence of our love for Him by our obedience.

Reflections on John 7: No One Ever Spoke Like Him!

When faced with Jesus people have so many reactions. This chapter illustrates them so well. Jesus’ half brothers found it hard to believe that Jesus was more than a man. They wanted Him to prove Himself. The religious leaders, who thought they had God all figured out, thought Jesus was a threat to the power they exercised over themselves and others. Others thought He was crazy, demon possessed. Some were curious. Others were offended. Some didn’t know what to do with Him. We are much like that today. People hear of Jesus and struggle to put Him in a convenient Box within their minds that could explain Him away. So they are conflicted as the people of Jesus time.

Verse 46 gives us the response of a temple guard that I think sums up the point where a person begins to see Jesus for who He is and accept Him as who He longs to be in our lives, Lord God.

When asked why the guard did not arrest Jesus. The guard said, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.”

When Jesus speaks to us, His voice is different than all the others around. When we truly hear Him, He is like no other. His word in our heart changes us. It causes us to see He isn’t all the things we thought He might be. He is God and He is Love and He is Lord. May we hear Him speak and recognize that no one speaks like Jesus does. His word is power and it changes our hearts!

Thoughts on John 6 – Hungry for the Bread if Life!

In John chapter 6, Jesus met the physical needs of the people when He fed the 5,000 with five small barley loaves and two small fish, a boys lunch. These people followed Him from that place the next morning to the other side of the lake. It is there that Jesus addressed our real need, His spiritual food. He told them He was the bread that came down from Heaven.

“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭6‬:‭48‬-‭51‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Often I have lived my life as if I did not really need this “spiritual bread.” I have heard His word read, but I didn’t really take it into me as my very life. Jesus’ word is full of the Spirit and life! I need it desperately!

We all do! May we hunger and thirst for Him, the Word of God! He is all that satisfies!

Thoughts on John 5 – That is What Our Heavenly Father Does!

“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5‬:‭19‬-‭20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Gospels (Matthew, Mark,Luke, and John) are the accounts of Jesus’ life on earth. They are so important for us to get into our hearts and our minds. The reason is that Jesus came to show us the way to God the Father. He came so we could have relationship with the Father. When we look at Jesus we see the Father because as John 5:19-20 says Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing. Jesus and the Father are one. That can be hard to wrap your mind around, but it is a wonderful truth.

So many times our view of God is skewed by the worlds opinion, bad experiences with religious people, or even the actions of our own earthly fathers. But God the Father wants us to know Him as He is. When we see Jesus reach out to an outcast, that is what our Heavenly Father does. When we see Jesus heal the broken, that is what our Heavenly Father does. When we see Jesus give out of His great love, that is what our Heavenly Father does!

“In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.””
‭‭John‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus did so many amazing things as He walked the earth 2000 years ago and He has assured us that we will see greater things than these. That is because our Heavenly Father is still at work! (Verse 17) We can have hope, a confident expectation of good because Jesus has shown us the Father! As Jesus ways are alway loving and good towards us, we know that is exactly what our Heavenly Father does!

Thoughts on John 4- If You only Knew The Gift…

“Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10 NLT

In today’s chapter, Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan Woman at the well. She had a sinful past and had come to the well at an hour that signified her life of shame. Jesus asks her for a drink of water and she is surprised that a Jewish man would talk to her. Let along ask her for a drink. Jesus responds to her surprise. I love the NLT’s wording of this response. “Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

Oh how I have run from God. I do anything at times to avoid being where He is and what He has for me. I guess it’s because I want what I want, when and how I want it. Surrender to Him goes against my “me centric” life. Maybe you have been where I have been too?

But Jesus stands there offering what He offered the Woman at the well over 2000 years ago. “The gift God has for you…”. If we only knew what that gift would be when we simply yield our way to His and ask. Jesus offers us “living water” that satisfies us forever. We never thirst again when we finally take a drink of His life He offers.

“If you only knew the gift of God…”. May you and I thirst for that gift more than all the other things that are temporary and futile. He offers us Himself in abundance. May we thirst for Him alone!

Thoughts on John 3 – Come into the Light

Awesome chapter! Well worth reading the entire chapter. There are some very famous words that start in verse 16.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬-‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The words that are standing out to me today are in verses 19-21.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭19‬-‭21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In Jesus, there is no reason to hide in the darkness of shame. We are free to come out into the light so that all we have done can be exposed to it. Shame makes that a scary thing. God wants us to have it out in the open so that we can repent of the wrongs we have done and be healed and set free.

There is no fear in letting God’s light shine into the hidden parts of us. His light is full of love and healing. He is our Good and Loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us, Freedom!

The Journey (originally written February 20th, 2013)

“So how long are you planning on homeschooling your kids?” That was a question I would hear quite frequently when the kids were little. Usually I would reply with a polite, “I don’t know. As long as God wants me to I guess.” “Will you homeschool all the way through high school?” “That’s another good question I don’t know.” Now I sit here about 12 years later getting ready to graduate my first Senior, having a Freshman, junior high schooler, and an elementary level student.

My favorite photo of our homeschool years.

My heart is pretty full this morning thinking now blessed I am and how would not trade this journey I have been on for anything. I have homeschooled my kids through fun times and hard ones: Pregnancy, nursing, toddlerhood, miscarriage, devastating family sickness, a husband on shift work, etc… life. But this journey, though at times, trying, has been one of the joys of my life. Because I have had an abundance of hugs, kisses, laughter, and fun with 4 of my my most favorite people on the planet, next to my handsome husband. We have explored the wonders of a turtle caught in the yard, the reality of gravity as mom rolls down the hill and falls into the creek on a nature hike, how cool it is to mummify a chicken and build it a sarcophagus out of a shoe box, what kind of toads are we really catching at night around our house, meteor showers on a school night when we should be in bed, building a front deck on the house for some shop hours, music lessons, dance lessons, t-ball, flag football, swim lessons, 4 H, choir, Awanas, Bible stories, the list goes on and on. I have shared a significant part of my journey with some of the most adventurous people I know and I have loved it!

About 10 years ago, I was contemplating how much I desperately wanted my kids to know Jesus. Not just know about Him. I was reading Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I thought about 1 Corinthians 9:10 “Now He supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” At times on this journey I have felt like my seed bag for sowing into my kids had a giant hole and leaked every bit of patience, joy, and peace out of it, but I was reminded that this is not about ME at all. God is the one who supplies seed to the sower and as I obey Him. He will bring the harvest. He loves my kids way more than I do and He wants them to know Him more than I do. What I used to tell Aaron when he was 3 is more true than I ever knew at the time. I would ask him: “Who loves you Aaron?”. “You do Mommy.” “Who loves you more?” “Jesus”. “Right!” God loves them more! With that assurance, how can we fail. “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Two days ago I sat in Aaron’s scholarship audition at Evangel and watched as my little boy, now a young man did something I would have never had the guts or talent to do. Whether or not he gets the scholarship, whether or not he goes to Evangel or Moberly Area Community College, I felt a sense of amazement. What was started 13 years ago with a kindergartner who couldn’t sit still for 15 minutes straight to do his phonics has now came to this a confident young man who is willing to work hard for something he wants to do. God’s word is true: He supplies the seed. He gives us strength to sow. He brings out a harvest, and He gives us Joy as we work.

On this Journey that started 13 years ago, I still have about another 9 years for me to go. Many more adventures. Many more seeds to sow that God will give me as I work my field. Harvests to see come forth that will bless me. I am thankful I started this road and I am blessed that God has taken me on this Journey. I would not trade it for anything.

Choose Your Song

My husband and I were as people in Missouri say,¨dirt poor¨when we first got married. Our honeymoon consisted of going back to the apartment I lived at in Columbia and staying there for 2 nights while my roommates found other places to stay. Then it was off to our new lives in another town and a new job for me. This year marked our 30th Anniversary. When we started talking about what we should do, I told my husband, ¨Let’s go big!¨ So we contemplated what it would take for us to swing a trip to Hawaii. Finally it was in our plans.

One of the whales at play

That´s where this week begins. For the past six days my husband and I have been living our Hawaiian dreams: walks during the sunrise and sunset on the beach, driving around seeing all the sights, a luau… It has been fun! Yesterday was an excursion on a catamaran around the island watching dolphins, turtles, and even a manta ray swim up next to the boat. But the star of the show was the humpback whales. Every year they migrate from Alaska to Hawaii for their mating season. We have been blessed to be here for the prime time of their activity. They were jumping, splashing their tail fins, and even breaching! It was breathtaking! Our Captain stopped the boat for awhile to allow for time snorkeling. Which was awesome! Just before we embarqued on our return back to the pier the Captain set up a waterproof microphone on an extra long cord and for a brief moment we were able to hear something amazing, the singing of the whales. What more could a Missouri girl ask for in a tour!

What struck me the most about the whales’ song was how it goes on and on yet it is often unheard. We can miss it!

This morning I woke up thinking about the ¨songs¨ we listen to and the most important ¨songs¨we miss. Zephaniah‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬ ‭says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” I have spent much of my life not really hearing the sweet song of Lord as He has sung it over me. Instead I have let the sounds of wind and waves drown it out with noise of fear and anxiety. Or I have missed the Lord’s song as the angry and bitter noises of loud commotion the enemy has echoed near me over and over. I have often missed the Lord’s song. I have chosen to focus on all the noise around me when He has called me away to sit with Him and hear Him sing.

When I woke up this morning I kept seeing the words, ¨choose your song.¨ They ran through my mind over and over and over. Then I remembered the whales’ song. We had to choose to listen to the whales singing yesterday as we sat anchored on the ocean. I have to choose as well. Our minds have been rightly called ¨a battlefield.¨ They are where we listen to the spiritual voices and they are where we decide. For years I have taken the lazy approach to my thought life, thinking I had no control over where my mind took me, or what ¨song¨ I listened to. The fruit of that kind of living was miserable. We must ¨Choose our song.¨ We must choose to listen to the song the Heavenly Father as He sings over us. His song is a song of love, joy, peace, and mercy. He sings it over us all the time! He is patiently waiting for us to listen and to respond to His singing. He longs for us to focus on His song and to reject all the noise the enemy tries to distract us with.

Lately, Ive been tempted to listen to all the distorted noises of the enemy. It’s so easy to find yourself tuning into His lies. It takes no effort to hear him… But my loving Heavenly Father reminded me by a moment miles away from my home, that He wants me to ¨listen intently¨to Him. Keep my focus on His voice. If I don’t I will miss His singing. Just like I could have totally missed the singing of the whales, had I not took the opportunity to stop and hear.

Our God is such a good, good God. May we listen to Him sing His song of love over us each and every hour of each and every day!

The Day That You Were Born

As I look out my window
On this beautiful morn
I think of what it was like
The day that You were born.

Was the air a little crisper?
Did the sky seem more blue?
Was the beauty in the sunrise more intense
As it rose in honor of You?

Did all of creation’s groaning stop
As it welcomed You that day?
A precious little baby
Who came to show us the way.

You came to look through human eyes
And touched with human hands
To feel the pain that we all feel
To be God and yet a man.

You came to give the sacrifice.
The one that covers them all
From the largest of all my sins
Down to the very small.

What can I give you?
How can I ever repay?
I have nothing but my life.
Take it all I pray

As I look out my window
On this beautiful morn.
I worship Emmanuel, God with us,
And thank Him that He was born.

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!!