Tag Archives: Experience

Wednesday with John – Jesus Loves ME!

John 13:31 When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus knows Judas going out from them has removed the last barrier to His glory.  The “new” truth was “now”  to be fulfilled.  The glory of the Son of Man was going to become the same glory God gives Himself. The disciples had been taught by the Master. They could follow Jesus’s example and inspire others longing for the truth of God but they could never substitute themselves as Jesus did to redeem lives. That truth wasn’t “new.” Longing for God’s protection wasn’t new. Longing for God’s provision wasn’t new.  Longing to please God wasn’t new.  The “new” commandment was “just as I have loved you,” your love for one another will make those longings a reality that will be a visible way to recognize followers of Jesus.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus declares ”now” is the time the God is going to be reveal His glory in Him and in Himself.  Jesus is going to go where no one else can.

What does it say about people?
People long to know they are loved. The new command was for people to love  each other in the same way Jesus has loved them.

Is there truth here for me?
Learning about Jesus and desiring to live like Him are the easy things really.  The “new” thing Jesus commands is the hard thing; love one another: just as I have loved you,  It’s not hard because it requires time and effort, it’s hard because I know the truth about me. It takes a kind of sanctified egotism to believe and experience how much Jesus Loves ME!  He loves me enough to hold my hand while I tiptoe into the depth of that security.  This I know; the more secure I am knowing the depth of Jesus’s love for me, the more I will be free of my last barrier to love others that much too.

Sunday with John – Sabbath

John 9:13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.)

What is the general theme of the passage?
 
If there was ever a passage that clearly shows the nature of man to dispute truth, even truth which is seen with their own eyes, this is it.  Over and over the Pharisees persist in looking for ways to disprove what they themselves have seen.  The man is repeatedly questioned.  The healing is questioned.  The process is questioned. His parents are questioned.  All the answers given have been questioned.  There is no answer the Pharisees can accept. What they were looking for wasn’t the truth but a way to justify their position against Jesus: “if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he [is] to be put out of the synagogue.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus has chosen the same dust of the earth that created life in the first place to restore sight to this blind man on this particular day.  He’s chosen the most elemental reduction of His power to let them “see” with their own eyes an act that might recall to their mind all the first acts of the Creator who spoke mankind and this day they call Sabbath into being.

What does it say about people?
The human mind and comprehension is shortsighted. We question the simplicity of how God first chose to reveal His power.  “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Is there truth here for me?
I want to recognize and acknowledge it’s because of that same elemental reduction of Jesus’s power that I know anything about the Sovereign Glory of God.  It was Jesus who spit on the muddy residue of my life without Him.  It was Jesus who gathered up that mud and chose it to anoint my heart with His own.  It was Jesus who told me where to find living water to wash that residue away.  It was Jesus choosing the elemental reduction of His power to restart my heart so I could experience this particular day with Him and see…THIS is Sabbath!

In Himself

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

Is this one verse saying God granted a self-contained life to Jesus similar to what He did for Adam?  OR Is this verse saying Jesus’s life was “God in himself?” That is a bigger truth worth pondering.

The repetition of “in himself” slips by so quickly it’s easy to read it without questioning if there might be something more.  It’s easy to accept Jesus being the living example of the perfection of God, His emissary if you will, sent to be like an extension cord that would connect us to the power of God.  That is the truth of experience but words are gifts I believe God uses to direct devotional thoughts. The idea of “in himself” identifying Jesus as both the extension cord and the power made me think about Jesus as the sacrifice God made for our life on earth even before His sacrifice on the cross.

God “in himself” as Jesus was sacrificed on a cross to assure us there was a  connection that would lead to eternity.  Heaven is surely a blessing to look forward to but we live life our life on earth.  The first sacrifice of God “in Himself” was Jesus living on earth to become the connection of this life and eternity.  God “in himself” as Jesus on earth could teach us by example how to experience a connection to God that would turn every day of life, here and now, into the beginning of an eternity to come.

Familiar?

2 Samuel 15 &16 [AMP]
15:13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” 14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, let us flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom!…30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, with his head covered and walking barefoot [in despair]. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went. 31 David was told, “Ahithophel [your counselor] is among the conspirators with Absalom.” David said, “O Lord, I pray You, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”

16:20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give me your advice. What should we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left behind to take care of the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened [by your boldness and audacity].” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof [of the king’s palace], and [i]Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

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Reading 2 Samuel feels more like a discipline than a devotion to me.  It’s not easy. I’ve had to learn that I can only get through the sad and sometimes gruesome details with the aid of hindsight.   Hindsight and knowing what’s ahead in the New Testament are reliable markers that tie the experiences of this king to what I know about THE King – Jesus.

David has been forced to flee to the Mount of Olives.  He’s in a familiar spot in any wilderness – the unknown.   Sin has isolated him from his family and  now the nation.  It sounds remarkably like the experience of Jesus at that same spot so much later.  

David is completely dependent on the protection of “foreigners.”  The Kerethites, Pelethites, and Gittites may not have understood David was a man after God’s own heart.  They were gentiles,  but they certainly had foresight in their journey of open loyalty in support of the king.  The benefit of hindsight is to see God already at work to secure a place for other foreigners of his creation just like us.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand why tears were part of Davids journey.  He’s experiencing the betrayal of trust.  Absalom’s final violation of the honor of his father was to stage circumstances on a rooftop that must have pierced David’s heart and memory with another rooftop moment of betrayal from his own past.   He clearly recognizes God at work even in this moment of betrayal.  Sound familiar?

Christmas Joy

II Corinthians 7: 5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, 2018.  I have often used a list of Advent readings and explored this season through the eyes of those Scriptures other people chose.  This year I’ve made the choice to look for Christmas preparation with my own eyes as I continue exercising my mind in II Corinthians and see where my heart takes me.  Today it begins with Paul’s words “we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…”  That reality has made the Bible an enduring treasure that still comforts us in our response to the realities of life and provides transformation along with information.  Experience has shown me every part of the Bible supports the choice God made on our behalf long ago: the birth of Jesus.  Faith in God’s choice changes our choices.  

Advent reminds us transformation came in a “small” package to provide a lifetime of therapeutic doses of comfort [grace] that will fill the gaps left by wrong choices and ultimately overcome the accumulation of fatigue, stress, conflict or fear, so our “joy” will be “greater than ever.”  That’s my choice for this Advent season. 

I hope it will be yours too.  Read whatever Scripture you pick with your eyes, your mind, your heart AND your experience.  Let’s take God at his Word that Christ is his choice made on our behalf for our transformation and choose to find our Christmas joy in His choice