Archive for : May, 2019

05/22/19 – John 12:20-50; Psalm 118:19-29; Proverbs 15:27-28

We are all probably familiar with the intense prayers and requests Jesus made of His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.  For example:

Luke 22: 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

But did you note the following verse in today’s reading (which probably occurred on the Tuesday before his crucifixion)

John 12:   27  “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”  Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Jesus knew His fate and the that moment of separation from His Father for the first time in eternity would occur.  Yet, He willingly endured out of His love for His creation. — We must bow humbled and grateful.

 

05/21/19 – John 11:55-12:19; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 15:24-26

As we read the Gospels sometimes a verse arises that makes it difficult for me to understand how Israel’s leaders could not recognize who Christ is — the Messiah and the Son of God.

John 12: 9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

So, the chief priests must have acknowledged that Lazarus was raised from the dead.  And what “man” could raise the dead?  How could they not believe?

But then I realize that we are blessed with the written Word of God – easily available and in multiple translations of our own language.  We can read but how many people still refuse to believe?

 

 

05/20/19 – John 11:1-54; Psalm 117:1-2; Proverbs 15:22-23

In addition to describing the miraculous and emotional story of Lazarus’s resurrection today’s reading relays more insight into the earthly reason Jesus was eventually condemned to death.

John 11:47   “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”  49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.

The leaders feared the loss of their political power base and were more than willing for one “man” to die than for their “nation” to perish.

 

05/19/19 – John 10:22-42; Psalm 116:1-19; Proverbs 15:20-21

Today’s reading contains a “word-picture” that I have always found reassuring:

John 1025 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.

I think of a child walking on a journey with their hand held safely in the hand of a loved one — guiding and reassuring.

05/18/19 – John 10:1-21; Psalm 115:1-18; Proverbs 15:18-19

In tomorrow’s reading we will see Jesus teach that the purpose of His miracles was to verify His authority and who He is — the Son of the Lord God, Almighty.  And we see the impact of these miracles today:

John 10:  1The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” 21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

 

05/17/19 John 9:1-41; Psalm 113:1-114:8; Proverbs 15:15-17

In Liz and my home town there is a very local & one person (Charles ***) operator TV “station.”  While flipping through channels one night we viewed two preachers discussing a very “fine point” of a scripture passage on this station.

Well, in actuality they were not discussing.  They were arguing — loudly, red-faced (as near as we could tell) with much finger pointing.  In our opinion their theatrics would have driven away anyone looking to understand the scripture or who could have been interested in their church (sadly, one was  a church of Christ.)

I was reminded of this episode today when I read John 9 and the response of the healed blind man to the accusations of the Pharisees:

John 9:  24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

No elaborate debate – no argument – only a statement of reality.  As we witness sometimes I think, like the healed blind man, simplicity is the best response.

Something like — “I may not fully understand all of the fine points and theological implications but what I do know is that through Christ my life has been changed for the better.” 

 

05/16/19 – John 8:31-59; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 15:12-14

As Jim has been leading us through the Sunday morning study of Ecclesiastes we see Solomon making the point that our trust and our happiness cannot be on possessions or what we collect.   I think the following passage from Psalm 112 echoes this reality:

Psalm 112:

Surely the righteous will never be shakenthey will be remembered forever.                                                                                                    They will have no fear of bad newstheir hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.                                                                                                                          Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.                                                                                                    They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forevertheir horn will be lifted high in honor.                                        10 The wicked will see and be vexed,  they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

05/15/19 – John 8:21-30; Psalm 111:1-10; Proverbs 15:11

As we have read through the last several days in John (Chapters 6-7) we have seen that Jesus’s teaching on who He is has had been hard to accept not only by the religious leaders but by some of His followers, as well.

That is why is was encouraged by today’s reading, particularly the last verse:

John 8:30Even as he spoke many believed in Him.”

Today when believers are assaulted on all fronts – both politically and socially it is refreshing to realize that “many still believe in Him.

 

 

05/14/19 – John 8:1-20; Psalm 110:1-7; Proverbs 15:8-10

To me the verses in John 8:2-11 contain one of the most dramatic and emotional events in Jesus’s ministry — the trap of the woman “caught in adultery.”

The very question asked is a trap: John 8: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?

Had Jesus responded “Yes” he would have violated Roman law since only Rome could authorize an execution.  If he responded “No”  He would have, perhaps, turned the people against Him for violating a Law of Moses.

Thus the inspired wisdom in His response.   John 8: When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

And in the quiet of that early morning can you not hear the sound of stones hitting the ground as they are dropped one-by-one by the woman’s accusers?

 

05/13/19 – John 7:31-53; Psalm 109:1-31; Proverbs 15:5-7

In today’s reading I see a reality that remains with us to this day — many people asking “who is this Jesus?”

John 7: 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” 

John 7:  40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”  43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

And this apparent confusion among the people reminds me that our mission is to continue reading God’s inspired word and be prepared with answers.  This way we  can share the answers contained in scripture — including a very important one — “who is this Jesus?”

 

05/12/19 – John 7:1-30; Psalm 108:1-13; Proverbs 15:4

You have probably hard the expression “blood is thicker than water” which traditionally means that family bonds are closer than those of outsiders.

But often in our loves this is just not true — the bonds with our friends we develop over years may be stronger than those of family.  In today’s verses we see that in the life of Jesus.

John 7:1  After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do.No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Jesus human brothers (or half-brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (from Matt 13:55) were, in all probability, additional sons of Mary and Joseph. His brothers at this time did not believe in him and per Coffman were saying   “Get on down to Jerusalem and perform some more miracles to encourage the people down there who believe in you.”

And we see Jesus set an example for all of us — regardless of the pressure or negativity we may feel from our earthly family our mission is to follow God’s will!

Therefore Jesus told them, My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”

 

 

05/11/19 – John 6:43-71; Psalm 107:1-43; Proverbs 15:1-3

There are specific verses in scripture that I read and then feel blessed that we have something the early disciples of Jesus did not have — the complete and inspired word of God and the insight it provides.  A terrific example is from today’s reading in John 6:

John 6:  53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

And it is verse 60 & 66 that attracts my attention …  60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” — 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Had I heard this teaching without the perspective of all of God’s Inspired Word I can almost see myself among these disciples.  This reality reminds me of how truly blessed we are and of our responsibility, as believers, to read  all of God’s Word.

 

 

 

05/10/29 – John 6:22-42; Psalm 106:32-48; Proverbs 14:34-35

In our reading today I think the combination of the verses from Proverbs and Psalms provide us insight into Israel’s history and the Lord’s love.

Proverbs 14: 34 Righteousness exalts a nation,  but sin condemns any people.

Psalm 106:   34 They did not destroy the people as the Lord had commanded them, 35 but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs.  36 They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters,whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.  39 They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

4Yet he took note of their distress  when he heard their cry; 45 for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.  46 He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy.

05/09/19 – John 6:1-21; Psalm 106:13-31; Proverbs 14:32-33

In today’s reading we see several examples of the Jewish teaching at that time on who the Messiah would be — the leader on the “white horse” who would miraculously overthrow Israel’s enemies (Rome) and restore the nation of Israel as ruler of the area.

John 6and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick

John 6: 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

What this mistaken belief in who the Messiah would be has always highlighted to me the importance each of us has in reading scripture and always comparing the truth of scripture vs. what we may be taught in a Bible Class or via a teaching.  It is an awesome responsibility

05/08/19 – John 5:24-47; Psalm 106:1-12; Proverbs 14:30-31

Proverbs 14: 31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,  but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

When you read this single verse does it not remind you of another passage that Artie discussed a month or so ago?  Our kindness will be repaid — on God’s timetable.

 

Matthew 25:   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 

05/07/19 – John 5:1-23; Psalm 105:37-45; Proverbs 14:28-29

John 5:   16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

19 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. 20 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. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

You have probably heard some people say that Jesus was a great moral teacher and philosopher but they can just not accept that He is the Son of God.  After reading the above passage I am reminded of some of the most quoted words from C.S. Lewis:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

 

05/06/19 – John 4:43-54; Psalm 105:16-36; Proverbs 14:26-27

John 4Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death

As you read through the “healing of the official’s son” did you see the word “faith” written?

I did not and, yet we have good rationale that the official did have faith, even if it was faith born out of desperation.  Jesus was in Cana  and the official was from Capernaum.  This meant that the official had to travel roughly 20 miles and climb 2,000 feet to find Jesus.

My thought is that even though we do not see the word we see the official put his “faith” into action — a powerful lesson for all of us.

 

05/05/19 — John 4:4-42; Psalm 105:1-15; Proverb 14:25

I found a similarity between the Samaritan “woman at the well” and Jesus’s disciples.  In this episode both overlooked the spiritual aspects of Jesus’s teaching & focused on the physical.

John 4:  14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.

John 4:   32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?

Our message — do not just consider our physical needs.  As we pray and meditate focus on the spiritual.

 

 

 

05/04/19 – John 3:22-4:3; Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-23

Scripture constantly gives us examples for our daily living.  Today’s reading reminded me of the reality that there are times when I must humble myself, “step back,” and allow someone else to complete a mission we have both been sharing.  I think of the New Testament example of Barnabas who stepped-aside to accommodate Paul’s becoming the prominent leader he was.

And today we see John the Baptist do the same:

John 3: 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”

05/03/19 – John 3:1-21; Psalm 104:1-24; Proverbs 14:20-21

Several weeks ago you may have read or heard that through intense research over decades scientist have found the very first image of a “black hole.”  As the researchers acknowledge the image is not actually of the “black hole” but of the gas and dust spinning around the edge and heated to billions of degrees.

Why in my opinion does this tie into today’s reading?  Well, the shear distances involved are beyond our human understanding.   A light-year is how far light travels in one year at 186,000 miles per second.  This equates to around 6 trillion miles in a year.  And the black hole imaged is 55 million light-years away.  So, you would multiple 6 trillion times 55 million.  Even the distances involved in analyzing this black-hole are beyond my comprehension.

And yet, even thought I do not fully understand this discovery I am comforted in the inspired way the Psalmist in Psalm 104 speaks to all that the Lord has created and continues to manage.  This includes the incredible distances and scientific mysteries we continue to discover.

Psalm 104:   24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.