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.
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!
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!
“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!
“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!
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!
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.
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!
I am a writer. It’s kind of an outlet for me. Sometimes the things I feel come out better written in a journal with pen or pecked out on a laptop keyboard. I woke up this morning, 4:36 am to be exact, thinking about my mom. My mom has suffered for 22 years with poor health and chronic pain. A couple of weeks ago she took a turn for the worse and has now been released to hospice care at home. I spent the past couple of days at my parent’s house helping out as our family has begun to navigate what hospice has indicated are the last one to two weeks, she is with us here on earth. So, forgive me as I sort through it all in this Blog entry today.
Mom probably doesn’t know this, but some of my best parenting hacks I could attribute to her. When I was little, she made me and my brothers and my Dad the center of her world, with the exception that God truly was first. My earliest memories are hot summer days sitting on the concrete back porch of our home eating homemade popsicles she had in abundant supply. (I got the recipe and made them for my kids.) They were always soooo good especially my favorite, the grape. Summers were spent going to the Current River to play, Sinking Creek to be exact. Mom took us there frequently during the hottest of the summer days. She wanted to make sure I could swim. If we didn’t go to the river, she would set up a sprinkler for us to run through in our back yard. While I played outside, she canned fresh vegetables and made the best homemade jellies ever. I was so spoiled with the taste of them, I struggled when I moved out and went to college to eat store bought jelly. It wasn’t the same as my mom’s.
During the winter, on snow days, Mom let my brothers, my cousin Ted and I build forts out of blankets between our rooms so we could have rubber band gun wars. As a kid they seemed to go on forever. She didn’t seem to mind us sliding down the hallway in our socks on the hard wood floor of our little 1200 sq ft home. We loved to pretend to ice skate. I’m sure we were loud, rambunctious, and a little crazy, but she let us play.
Mom took us to the public library frequently and would read us book after book. She also, sat us down and read us Bible stories from the Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, which is one of my personal favorites. Her mom read it to her, she read it to me, I repeated this with my kids and hope to pass this tradition to my grandkids as they grow up too. Thanks, Mom, for giving me the idea.
Mom was the church pianist, so she made sure piano lessons were available to each of us kids. She loved music. It was always playing in our home. She passed this love on to me, my kids, and now to my grandkids. What a heritage!
My mom was a seamstress. She spent hours sewing me the most complicated of dresses that I would request. They fit perfectly and were beautiful. Although occasionally she would forget a sewing pin in them, and I would find it while trying it on. i teased her a lot about that. She made several quilts for wedding gifts or baby blankets as well. She painted paintings, worked on cabinets and other projects with my grandma in Grandma’s woodshop. She was brave enough to take us kids to that woodshop and let us make Christmas Ornaments with the bandsaw one year. That instilled in me a love for woodworking inspiring me to take shop in High School so I could make a cedar chest as a project. Maybe someday I’ll take up woodworking again it sure sounds fun.
Probably one of my favorite things my mom passed down to me is the love of fishing. My favorite summer memories are of her and my dad taking us fishing at Grandma’s pond. It was such a happy and peaceful place to go. Mom loved to fish. If she got a big one on the line, she would get so excited making my dad and the rest of us laugh as she reeled in her catch.
Mom tried to pass down her skills to me working with me to learn to crochet, embroidery, sew, cook (I was pretty resistant when it came to that), and even tried to get me to learn to bake pies. When I was around five, she would be making dough for her own pies, but give me a little of hers, put it in my little toy pie tin, let me dip a spoonful or two of her pie filling in the crust and help me to seal it up with a small piece of dough on top. She would bake my little pie right next to hers so I could give it to my dad when he got home from his long day of work at the mines. I would “work” right next to her wearing a little apron she had made for me. to wear. This is one of my happiest memories growing up.
When I was nine, Mom and Dad felt like God was leading our family to become a foster family and help children who were in need. The second child my parents fostered was a special needs child that they adopted almost 9 years later. Mom tried very hard to help my sister, and keep our home what it should be, but those years proved to be very hard years for us all. Things were not easy at home as they once were. When I graduated high school, I left home a day or two after graduation. I let a lot of hurt and bitterness fester for several years in my heart. Things were not what Mom and I had wanted between us.
A couple of years ago, I took a trip home to talk to Mom about it all, for years she had been trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t. We laid it all out there and forgiveness came. We talked about how we did not have what we both had wanted all those years, but we had what we had now, and we would try to go forward from there. But her illness, kept us from really getting to do the things we wanted to and to be what we wanted to be.
While I was at home the past couple of days, mom told me how much she had always wanted me. I was a “pleasant surprise” to my parents when I was born. She hadn’t planned another baby, and she never dreamed she would get a little girl. She proceded to tell me how she wished things had been different.
Things may not have been all we wanted here, but we have a hope, His name is Jesus. I know very soon she will leave behind the pain she has walked through and step into the beauty of His glory! Although by earth’s years, (I hope to have at least another 40 years left in me), it may seem to be a long time. In heaven, time is no more. It will only be a short time for her, and we will be back together once again. Everything that kept us apart will be no more. What we missed here will be there. Yes, we have this Hope. I told Mom as I kissed her goodbye, “If Jesus comes to get you, go ahead and go. I will see you again very soon. We will all be together again, and it will be beautiful.”
I love you Mom, don’t worry about me. As we talked about in the hospital a week ago, “God has worked all things out for the good of us (me and her) who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) If I don’t get to see you before Jesus comes to call you on, I will see you again when my race is done.
Hope seemed lost after the crucifixion. Even though Jesus had plainly told His disciples He would have to suffer and be crucified, but He would rise again, they did not understand. The women who followed Jesus had went to tomb with spices for Jesus’ body, but instead they found two angels there proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection.
On the First Christmas, Angels proclaimed Jesus’s birth. On Resurrection Sunday, the Angels proclaimed Jesus alive forevermore! He was not there among the dead but He is risen just as He said!
The reign of darkness has been broken The King of Kings came to our world. When life seems to be at it’s darkest hour, remember God’s light has come! May it shine in our world as we celebrate Jesus Birth!