Tag Archives: Jesus

Nourishment

John 21:12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. NIV

What caught my attention in this last chapter were these three verses. I recognized in them both the devotion of these disciples and their humanity. Even when they had trouble recognizing Jesus out of context, not looking their “Sunday” best and not daring to admit they might have any questions, Jesus was waiting to provide His nourishment for their devotion AND their humanity.

Peace and Power for Mere Humans

John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe [or may continue to believe] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

“Jesus comes to us and gives us his peace with God. Then he gives us power to do the kinds of things that mere humans can’t do — like defeating our own selfishness, and loving other people, and treasuring Christ above all. And then with that peace and that power he gives us our central purpose for existence” John Piper

Betrayer

John 18:1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.  2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.  3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

It is not an enemy who taunts me —
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me —
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
Psalm 55:12–13 RSV

What do you think about Judas?  This is one of the saddest passages of Scripture because of Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. 
Did Jesus mistakenly choose a betrayer to be one of His disciples?
Did He purposely set Judas up for this awful betrayal?
Was Judas’s mind lost in a battle with “the” enemy?
Did Jesus grieve these words of Psalm 55 over Judas?
What about Peter and his three denials?
Did Jesus grieve these same words of Psalm 55 over Peter?
……………………………WHAT ABOUT YOU?…………………………………

Purpose

John 9:1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” NLT

Real life is less than a perfect display place but
The purpose of Jesus was not limited by “dis-ability”
so the power of God could be seen.”
“But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world”
[And Now]
“You are the light of the world.
—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden…
 so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”a

aMatthew 5:14

 

Works

John 6:28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Every person of faith is told we should read the Bible, pray, love, serve and meet together.  We’ve prioritized those more tangible expressions of our faith as requirements God has given that will lead us to Jesus. Many of us could truthfully confess at times we’ve experienced those foundations of faith as the burden of works, the “shoulds.”  Even the faith that is a gift of God does not make us immune to the flaws of a human nature that wants an answer to the wrong question; “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

It’s entirely possible the purpose of the struggle we have with those foundational parts of our faith is to help us recognize we are unable to do the work God requires.  The right question for us to ask is: WHO must do “the works God requires?”  And the answer is right there for us…”The work of God is this: to believe in [Jesus] the one he has sent.”

Learning to Live Alone

John 1:1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He existed in the beginning with God.  3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.  4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. [NLT]

It’s almost a month since my husband was killed.  I have been so blessed and comforted by my family.  They have buffered the reality of my loss with their presence.   They’ve flown in from around the country to help me navigate the unthinkable reality of death with the basics of life; food, activity and the practical and legal details that are now a part of my life.  What was previously “normal” activity has now become a reminder of being alone but they have been the hands-on proof of God’s assurance that is not the case.  One by one they’ve returned to their own homes and this week I finally have to face learning to live alone in mine.

It’s scary because I’ve realized I have never actually lived “alone” before.  I moved from my parents home to my marital home nearly 63 years ago.  I chose this book of John to read and ponder in these next weeks because it was important to my husband and the book of John is where my life of faith began long ago.  I wasn’t physically alone then, but it was the place I first read the words that revealed Jesus gives life that spans all time, circumstances and relationships.  What was true then is still truth now. “The Word already existed…with God… The Word gave life to everything…and the darkness can never extinguish it.”  

Death Notice

Death Notice

At about 9 a.m. Friday, April 9, my beloved husband of 62 years, Conrad [Ken] Bedient was killed in a motorcycle accident.  At the end of those 62 years with tear filled eyes I can testify that instead of time diminishing our love, we understood the reality of our love more than ever before. I was still his bride.  He loved me with a love that allowed me to become the woman I am today.  Not even death can take that away. I can imagine him standing beside Jesus right now and urging Him to comfort me.  I believe that because that’s  how Ken lived his life of faith.

I am leaning harder on Jesus that I ever knew possible.  I’m trapped by the desperation to avoid any familiar routine because that seems like a denial that my world has caved in and yet sitting here in the midst of no familiar routine is just as bad. Even a simple thing like making the bed, alone, has reduced me to tears.  Every familiar part of life is going to be a reminder that I am now alone.   I just don’t know how to do life right now.

I find myself sitting with my eyes closed a lot, like I’m trying to shut out the world. I’m heartbroken and shaken to the core. I’m never far from tears and my body is shaking most of the time.  Those are the details of my need for your prayers.   Friends and our two daughters are here with me. Their presence is the one blessing that reminds me there is still constancy I can count on.   I am thankful for them.  Please pray for all of us who knew and loved Ken as we try to cope with this unthinkable loss of husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.

Strength, Peace, Joy for Palm Sunday

John 21
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said,you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Real life has provided me an opportunity to remember how wide the separation between what I believe and what my response to circumstances can be.  Today I feel like Peter, sputtering my assurances to justify my lack of strength, peace and joy even at the same time I’m convinced of my own repentance.  It’s a mystery isn’t it? 

Even a life of faith and absolute commitment has moments when facing your own brokenness is a harsh reality.  I’ve read these verses countless times before but today Peter’s attempt to reassure Jesus of his love has become more real because it seems like mine too. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  

Simon Peter knew the harsh reality of his brokenness. The intensity of his words is almost tangible as he responds to Jesus taking him through that progression of the same question over and over; “do you love me?”  Jesus could just as easily have said “I forgive you.”  Peter would have expected that forgiveness, and been comforted…but Jesus had something more to give Peter during that early morning confrontation of vows and responses.  There was one thing that would ultimately forgive Peter’s lack of strength, comfort his loss of peace and restore his joy too.

Jesus’s gave Peter His trust!
…knowing Peter would complete his vows of love and
 “feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep.”

Psalm 119:169-176 Taw – Mark, Sign, Signal, Truth

Psalm 119 Taw
169 May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation,Lord, and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
                                                          >§§§>
These twenty two sections of Psalm 119 and their relationship to the Hebrew letter the Psalmist chose to “mark” each of them have challenged my thinking from mid November through Advent, Christmas and into this new year, 2021.  Transposing sentences has been a way to pay homage to the Hebrew method of reading Right to Left.  These last eight “right to left” verses were organized with that in mind but with a twist; writing all the right phrases, one after another, and then stringing all the left phrases together after them.  My intent is for them to be read as a whole that gives these important old words a new expression and then consider why the Psalmist marked them with last letter of the Hebrew Aleph-bet, “Taw.” 

The image of the ancient letter, Taw, was used like a signature mark to verify the truth of what was said.  Taw is pictured by two sticks crossed but I don’t see two sticks.  I see a cross!   It’s amazing to consider the Psalmist purposefully chose a mark all those centuries ago to verify the truth of his words and become a recognizable sign of the cross, chosen by God, to verify our future.  Read on please…
                          – Psalm 119:169-176 All Right then All Left –
Give me understanding according to your word. Deliver me according to your promise, for you teach me your decrees.   All your commands are righteous for I have chosen your precepts. Your law gives me delight and may your laws sustain me.  Seek your servant for I have not forgotten your commands.  May my cry come before you, Lord; may my supplication come before you.  May my lips overflow with praise; may my tongue sing of your word.  May your hand be ready to help me.  I long for your salvation, Lord. Let me live that I may praise you.  I have strayed like a lost sheep.
                                                 –––∞ My Thoughts ∞–––
Jesus IS the  Word!  That’s the understanding of God we need.  God’s promise to us lives in Jesus Christ; the way, the truth and the life.  Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s precepts, laws and commands and He will remove the condemnation of those same laws from those who place their life in Him.  Jesus has completed everything God required to sustain us.  He is our reminder that the truth we now have can hold us firmly while our lips learn to overflow with praise and our tongues find words to sing the song of salvation for lost sheep; being crucified with Christ.  I long for your salvation, Lord. Let me live that I may praise You, glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Psalm 119:113-120 Samekh – Prop, Support

Psalm 119
113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.

Right >§§§> Left

I love your law but I hate double-minded people.  I have put my hope in your word; you are my refuge and my shield.  May the commands of my God keep me away from you evildoers.  According to your promise, I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.  Sustain me, my God. I will always have regard for your decrees.  Uphold me and I will be delivered.  Their delusions come to nothing.  You reject all who stray from your decrees.  I love your statutes, all the wicked of the earth you discard like dross.  I stand in awe of your laws, my flesh trembles in fear of you.

–––∞∞∞–––

Props and supports are for the crippled.  Sometimes things have been broken so badly only medical traction can help. “Medical traction is the use of a pulling force to treat muscle and skeleton disorders. Traction is usually applied to the arms and legs, the neck, the backbone, or the pelvis. It is used to treat fractures, dislocations, and long-duration muscle spasms, and to prevent or correct deformities.”

This prayer the Psalmist wrote centuries ago sounds way too familiar to the reality of life at this moment doesn’t it?  I’m looking for the “ס Samekh” he’s revealed that can support and prop us up against double-minded people, evildoers, dashed hopes, delusions and the wicked of the earth…today.  Right now our nation is badly crippled by political violence, racial unrest and a pandemic raging around the world.  In one small word, “ס Samekh,” the revelation of God has shown the Psalmist the law is more than a pair of crutches or a wheelchair.  God’s law is spiritual traction for a broken body.  

The Psalmist has told us the love of God’s law is a force that can pull the muscle of the heart back into order.  He’s recorded what God taught him through the law.  God is a refuge and shield that can correct the skeletal disorders of a body fractured, dislocated and having spasms that will surely lead to permanent deformity.  We are a body in need of spiritual traction.

God’s law is the spiritual traction necessary to sustain us and yet we are unable to set it up for ourself.  Jesus is the “promise” of God [v116] and the fulfillment of His law.   He is God’s “ס Samekh” that will provide the spiritual traction God has prescribed for the complete healing of His body in the midst of double-minded people, evildoers, dashed hopes, delusions and the wicked of the earth.  Amen