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Monday, November 24, 2014

John 8 !

My darling friends!

I'm so sorry I am late in finishing  John 8.  It's such a wonderful chapter to linger over, however!
There is so much going on in this chapter, but an overarching theme is, appropriate for this time,

LOVE

The Jewish people are very very curious about what Jesus is saying -- remember -- He was talking about His Father.... the leaders asked Him who His Father was.

These guys just do NOT get it. They think in their worldly terms. Again, I love the true dialog here --

The Jews question everything Jesus says.  Their frame of reference is their tradition -- their history -- their position in life. They do not understand the Son of God. When you cling to yourself and your own resources, it's easy to lose sight of who Jesus is.

I've done that....and I have been frazzled beyond belief.

I went back and looked at the flow in what Jesus is saying.
Jesus is about to give the Jews a lesson in LOVE. He is about to tell them His own story, but, they refuse to see. Here's the exchange:

“You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put.  Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

The Jews think Jesus is going to kill himself. Too bad. What they don't understand is - Jesus is telling them they are killing themselves when they refuse to believe.

While some of the Jews are not really understanding -- others are starting to believe. Jesus goes on:

"I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him. Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

Jesus explained what people should do when they believe.

I LOVE the following quote -- one which was used by Dr. Martin Luther King:

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Jesus goes to say (I believe He is speaking directly to us !):  Unless we know the TRUTH -- we will be a slave to sin.

This is so true. We will never truly be free until we believe in the Truth of Jesus.

Sin takes us further than we ever thought we would go. Jesus frees us from this bondage!

BUT! -- Let's go back to the temple scene!

The Jews are so smug -- They cling to their own identity and self-worth. They smugly say they are children of Abraham -- the CHOSEN (They THINK!)

Oh, how our pride can bring us down. We may think we have it all together, but if we have not included Jesus -- we are LOST!

Jesus basically tells these self-righteous guys that HE was with Abraham in the beginning. He tells them another important thing:

"Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”- John 8:23

Oh, the Jews are still trying to stump Jesus! They argue some more. Then Jesus drops the bombshell, referring to himself as :

"I AM"

In the language of the time, "I AM" means Jesus is saying He is God.  The Jews are ready to stone Jesus.
They do not understand.

In John JESUS told the story of LOVE -- He died for US! What greater love is there than THIS? Just like today, however, the people do not want to hear something that clashes with their own notions.
Stay tuned for John 9!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Silence is Golden: The Art of Communication

I read John 8 last night and was blown away by the message! I am loving the speedy, sharp message of journalist John (my new name for the disciple!)

Did you know they think John wrote Revelation also ? He and his brother James were the sons of Zebedee and were some of the first called on the Sea of Galilee. These boys were later called , "The sons of thunder"!
John was the only disciple present at the cross when Jesus died. Remember? Jesus basically told John to take care of His mother.

Maybe that is why John is so succinct in telling us Jesus is God. As an eye-witness to Jesus suffering and death and also as the disciple so close to Jesus he refers to himself as "the disciple Jesus loved" -- God would give him keen insight and sharp understanding.

He sure is sharpening my understanding!

Read John 8 .

In John 7, Jesus got everybody all riled up in the temple, where the pharisees try to arrest Him...but...He disappears!

John 8 talks about Jesus spending the night at the Mount of Olives.  I'm picturing  a quiet place (we see Him there praying before His death). Jesus has again spent time AWAY from others, talking to God, I am sure!

By morning, Jesus is back to face the challenges!

Just a thought...Do we take time to regroup with God before we throw ourselves into challenges?

Hmmmm... most of the time, I just make my list and plunge right in there.  YIKES! that's not too smart ! Take time to pray, Laurie !!!!

At the beginning of John 8, Jesus comes back to the temple. There, the bureaucrats have a new trap for him.
They drag this adulterous woman to him and stand there waiting to stone her . They look to Jesus.

What will Jesus say?

NOTHING.

WHAT?

NOTHING.

Jesus bends down and draws in the sand with his finger! -- Don't you think, by that time, the pharisees are leaning closer, trying to figure out what Jesus is going to say?

-- Nothing like silence to promote interest!

This tells me something the Bible has already told me long ago: Be slow to speak and quick to listen (I think that's somewhere in Proverbs!)

Most of the time -- I let my mouth move with my feelings. Not good.

Here's what Laurie would have done:

I would have yelled, "CUT THAT OUT ! Stop mistreating her! What did she do? Who do you guys think you ARE?"

With those words, I would have lost a teaching moment (Sorry, girls, for the times I have lost the teaching moment!)

JESUS -- what a guy -- gets His message out without hitting the folks on the head.

I AM AMAZED!

Here's the rest of the story -- It is so beautiful and so very very simple:

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 
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.” 
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, 
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

WOW ! I'm glad to be reminded of this exchange again.

Jesus is the MASTER and the MASTER communicator. I need to remember His method of communication!

There is so much more in this chapter -- Let's talk about rest of John 8  Friday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

John 7 - A Hidden Gem !

Tonight, I decided to read John 7.  I had been so blessed by John 6, I wanted to be inspired after a long day of work!  




I really like the writing of John, the "disciple whom Jesus loved"! 



Chapter 6 was full of the Gospel.  Jesus had great things to say.  I shared John 6 with the teens at my church Wednesday.  I was proud to say I study this book with my readers!

John is such a great book ! 



I have to say, I feel like I've read John 7 for the first time,  I do not recall reading all the details of this little "Hidden Gem"



I think this chapter reflects the humanity of Jesus. He was God, but He also allowed Himself to be a man, subject to human dynamics.

Jesus is with his earthly brothers in John 7.  I can see sibling conflict brewing!  

John 7: 1-5:

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want 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' brothers are trying to give Him advice on how to become a "public figure"  -- ha ha!  

The brothers had a plan for glory, but God's plan was different!   Even Jesus brothers didn't believe in  Him!  

This can be so true in life. Family members can be the toughest to convince of the reality of our Savior.

I think the individuals interacting with Jesus  truly come to life in John 7.  The dialog is reported so clearly! Jesus tells His brothers: 

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."

Jesus words help me understand why people have such a hard time when I  talk about Jesus.  Folks can handle my mention of God...but Jesus is just too up-close and personal.  Jesus' light reveals our sin.  Most people can't handle the thought of being "found out".  

The reality is - Jesus already knows  what we do and say and think. He knows all about us (This can be awkward!) but He loves us just the same.

Jesus tells his brothers He is not going to Judea, but then He goes in secret.  

Suddenly, Jesus is in the temple and He steps forward to preach. The Jewish officials go ballistic!

Check out John 7: 16- 19:



 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.  Has not Moses given you the law?  Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

Busted!  This statement must have really shocked the men who truly WERE plotting to kill Jesus.  



Then comes a big exchange between the crowd and Christ.  I'm amazed at how John captures the exchange, word-for-word. - What a super reporter !    



 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”



Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?  Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.- John 7:20-24


Oh, my gosh !  Jesus makes a good point.  How hypocritical can we get ?  I'm cringing a bit here for the many times I have "judged by mere appearances."


I can just hear the crowd whispering.  Who does this guy think he is?  Hmmmm. This is a hometown boy.  What's up with him?  Just look at John 7:25-29:

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. 

Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 

But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

The crew is whispering, but Jesus hears every word.  Look how He responds in John 7:28 - 29:

Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."

WOE !  Jesus just claimed to be connected to God in a BIG way here.  This is dangerous stuff.  

In a sneak peek as to what is to come, the priests start plotting against Jesus.  

Who speaks up for him?  NICODEMUS!  We met him in John 3!  That same timid priest who came to see Jesus in the dark in Chapter 3 is NOW speaking in the light. 

 --Experiencing the presence of Jesus can give anyone strength to do great bold things!
Just look at John 7:50-51:
    

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

The priests do NOT like what Nick has to say !  Also, don't miss what the guards say and all the quibbling over where Jesus is from.  This is all fascinating stuff!

John 7 ends with the question to Nicodemus.  The chapter leaves us hanging -- but I LOVE the action-packed dialog and the human elements brought to play in all these exchanges!

Read John 8 this weekend!  


Now it's time to check on my patient and go to bed ! Now, it's time to check on my patient and go to bed ! be I can read John 8 for tomorrow! 
This is good reading!  I like the way John writes!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

John Chapter 6 - On the Road Again



Hope you get a chance to read John 6! 
 
Midnight -- a hotel in Tennessee.  Everything is dark but my computer screen.  I have had my life and blogging interrupted by emergency surgery in Georgia (My husband's - Yes, he is recovering) 
 
John 6 is very appropriate.  How do we deal with life's interruptions??????
 
Let's see what Jesus does. 
 
-- I'm taking time to send a little Bible note in the midst of a crazy day!
 
Love Laurie

John Chapter 6 -- Those unexpected interruptions....How did Jesus handle them?


READ JOHN 6!

OK -- between you and me....I think John was a journalist.
 
In his Bible book, he covers so much stuff so succinctly  He covers the action in Jesus' life and  he highlights the good, meaty stuff. 
I'm enjoying reading this!
 
John 6 is unbelievable!  We start with feeding of 5 thousand. 
 
When I read this, something impressed me.  Jesus got in a boat and tried to have some "alone" time. 
 
 I can understand this.  He was always pressed upon from all sides. 
 
I'm impressed by the number of times the Bible talks about Jesus getting "away" to be with His Father.
 
You  need to take time away also -- Just you and God -- A lot of listening and resting in the presence of your Father.  GOOD stuff!
 
Well -- Jesus has left the people, but he looks up and here they COME!
 
What happens next - I love.  I could not do this.  I would have seen those people coming and I would have panicked and gotten cranky!  
 
What does Jesus do?  John 6:5  He talks about feeding them!
 
ZOWWWEEE!  Jesus doesn't fuss. He doesn't panic.  He doesn't send those annoying people away.
 
Do I???? (fuss and panic, I mean!)  I think  I do sometimes with my attitude!   Sometimes, I need to CHILL!!!!!!
 
Jesus feeds the 5,000, then collects the leftovers. 
 
Here's the deal -- God gives us gifts -- Use them wisely and HOLD on to them. 
 
Just like Jesus had his disciples gather extra food for another day -- we should not waste what God has given us 
 
There will be a time use those gifts - today and tomorrow.
 
Jesus leaves to be alone again and the disciples get in their boat without him. 
 
--Here Jesus comes !  Walking on water !  Jesus told them not to be afraid. 
 
In another verse (different Bible book) , Peter tries to walk on the water to Jesus.  Problem is, Pete takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the storm.
 
  Hmmm when he takes his eyes off Jesus....he sinks.  Jesus pulls him out at the last minute!
 
--Keep your eyes on Jesus during storm.  He moves in those dangerous times.  Don't miss His leading. 
 
Jesus states over and over in this book that He is the Savior - the one true path to God. 
 
 
In John  6:29 Jesus says it all: 
 
 "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent." 
 
The crowd is asking Jesus for another miracle.  I can tell Jesus is annoyed The people want miracle bread. 
 
Jesus says He is the bread of life.  The people are still dumb (so are we!) 
 
They're looking for something BIG -- something "out there"  -- but the BREAD OF LIFE is standing right before them! 
 
He still stands before us -- but sometimes we choose not to look at Him. 
 
Listen to what Jesus says in John 6: 40 : 
 
"For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him
shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." 
 
The Jews were annoyed at all of this .  They knew this guy.  How could he be from heaven?  How could he be God's son? 
 
"Stop GRUMBLING,"  Jesus says -- Haha -- I think he says that to me all the time!
 
Jesus was saying some controversial stuff.  The powerful Jews were getting uncomfortable. 
 
Jesus was a hometown boy with profound teaching.  This was threatening to the Jewish leaders.  They started plotting to kill him. 
 
A lot of Christ's followers left Him when He got too controversial.
 
 -- Go figure..  some of us leave Him , too, especially when the following makes us uncomfortable. 
 
 We think we can park Jesus somewhere outside of our lives and then do what we want. 
 
It's always easier to pick Jesus up on the way home after the party.   But Jesus is still there. 
 
Jesus is now back with the 12 disciples -- He asks, " You do not want to leave too, do you?" 
 
Peter answers, "to whom shall we go?"  So TRUE!!!! -- Where else can we go but to Jesus! 
 
Friday is John 7! 
 
I hope to be home with my patient by then!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

John Chapter 5 - Helpless - Hopeless - Hypocritical and...Heavenly

Before I nod off to sleep -- Wanted to talk about John 5.  Please read this chapter! 

I may be sleepy, but I'm getting fired up by John Chapter 5!  We start with the beggar by the pool. 
This guy is helpless. He has been lame for 38 years.  No one carries him to the "healing" water, so he is resigned to a "hopeless" situation.

"Do you want to get well?"  John 5:6

Jesus asks the lame man this question.  Isn't that strange?  Why wouldn't the man want to get well?

Wait a minute....

Do WE want to get well?  Perhaps we're more comfortable moaning here on our mat of self-pity. Jesus says it's time we pick up our mats and walk.  That's what he tells the beggar to do. 

But that's not enough.  Later, Jesus sees the healed man. 

"See, you are well again. Stop sinning," Jesus says, "or something worse may happen to you."  - John 5:14
 

WOW!  No one can be truly healed unless they ask for forgiveness and stop sinning.  The lame man is no exception. 

OK, let's get this Bible lesson straight:  

___We should abandon our "lame" excuses, stop whining on our mats and stop         looking to others to do the work we need to do.  

___We should stop sinning,  ask for forgiveness, give our lives to Jesus, pick up our    mat and start walking! We will be hopeless no more!

Going back to the Bible -- Enter: the hypocrites.  I find it interesting in John 5: 9-10 that  the Jewish leaders don't even seem to notice that a man who's been lame for 38 years is now walking.  All they see is someone breaking a rule: 

DON'T work on the Sabbath!  They do NOT want this guy to carry his mat! They are so busy looking at rules, they missed a miracle. (Have I ever done that?????)

GEESH!  Do you know Jewish leaders in Bible times created hundreds of intricate rules to govern the lives of the Jewish people?  Their nit-picking drove them to distraction!  

The Jewish leaders loved rules.  Rules kept them in control. They did not like Jesus shaking up their instructions. How could Jesus work on the Sabbath?

Jesus told them straight about working on the Sabbath:
"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." - John 5:17

This statement shocked the Jewish leaders.  Jesus was claiming to be God's son.  This was dangerous to them.  -What a threat to their power base!   They started plotting to kill Jesus.

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said.  -- Now, when Jesus says something like this, be sure to pay close attention!

"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

Hmmmm.  Why do I try to do things on my own?  Have I even LOOKED to see what my Father is doing?  Am I trying to join God in great and wonderful works?  Maybe I'm just too busy trying to follow a bunch of rules.

"I tell you the truth whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." 
                                                                 -John 5:24


Wow !  There's that opening phrase "I tell you the TRUTH," once again!   

Jesus' TRUTH can set you FREE!  Here is our message of salvation in a nutshell !

Jesus is sharing some pretty heavy duty messages as He walks through the temple.  I can just see the horrified Jewish leaders following Jesus, watching and listening for more reasons to get rid of this person who threatens their power base.

I can just picture Jesus spinning around to face the men skulking behind him.  He calls the hypocrites on the carpet:

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me,yet you refuse to come to me to have life." - John 5:39,40

Yikes!  If I bring this message home, I have to ask myself: Am I so busy teaching, preaching and sorting through a bunch of rules that  I miss the salvation and peace Jesus has to offer me ?

Jesus continues to condemn the spiritual leaders. 

"But I know you. You do not have the love of God in your hearts. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" - John 5: 42,44

I'm thinking of  church here.  I'm thinking of everyone giving each other "high fives" on jobs well done....hmmm ... have we checked in with God's opinion yet?

OUCH!  Maybe I should be more worried about God's opinion than other people's .  I would hate for Jesus to say of me: "You do not have the love of God in your heart."

YIKES!  I hope Jesus does not think I am hypocritical.

Jesus goes on to tell the Jewish leaders even more... but I have to go to bed.

 Please explore these wonderful lessons from your Heavenly Father and let me know your insights!

Read on and write me at watwelsh@gmail.com if you have thoughts, questions, comments!

Next up: John Chapter 6!

Have a wonderful July 4 and we'll see you next week!   




Love you!

Friday, June 27, 2014

John 4: From Messy Life to Messiah Messenger !

"Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and 
who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him 
and he would have given you living water.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?"    -- John 4:10-11


It's really hot in the middle east at noon time.  I'm sure anyone in their right mind would not be carrying heavy loads of water pots under the hot noonday sun....unless she was hiding something.

John 4:4-42  tells a wonderful story of a mess turned to message...a shunned woman...a hiding woman... being transformed into someone who influenced many people to follow Jesus.

Zowee! -- How does something like this happen? Did this woman have super powers?  -Was she a leader of a dynamic ministry?  
-Was she well-liked, respected and influential? hmmmm....

Let's take a closer look at the woman at the well.  

Who was she?
--------------------------------------------------------
Woman at the Well:

___She was a WOMAN -- Jewish men never spoke directly to women. Culture during Bible times considered women property -- of little consequence.  





When Jesus spoke directly to her, she was SHOCKED!

___She was a Samaritan. Jews traditionally despised Samaritans, considering them a "mixed breed" of folks. Jesus asked her to give him a drink. Jewish tradition holds  he would be unclean as soon as he touched the water she offered. Jesus did not seem to be worried by this. 

___She had a problem.  She had five failed marriages and was living with a man who was not her husband.  She was at the well at noon to avoid the gossip and piercing looks of the women who gathered water in the cool of the morning.  
---------------------------------------------------------

As always, Jesus looked beyond this woman's checkered history and saw what she lacked in her soul.  

Jesus continued to talk to this woman: 


 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 
 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 
-- John 4:17,18

Busted!  How many of us have carefully "hidden" some embarrassing flaw from the world and foolishly thought we were hiding from God, also?

The woman at the well was SMART, though.  She wanted to learn more.  She asked Jesus several religious questions.  


“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet." -- John 4:17-19

As Jesus answered her questions...this sharp woman began to understand....Jesus was not just a prophet.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. 
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” 
-- John 4:25,26

 Wowee!  The woman at the well knew she was in the presence of the MESSIAH!  She was so excited, she left her water jar and went rushing back to her community!  She had a MESSAGE to communicate! 

 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. 
Could this be the Messiah?”  They came out of the town and made their way toward him. -- John 4:28-30


The woman who came to the well at noon to hide from people was suddenly running down the streets of town telling people about Jesus!

She wasn't hiding her mess any more.  She had a message to share! In spite of her past, in spite of her mistakes, God used her to bring people to Jesus.  


Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers

-- John 4:39 - 41



OK...Let me get this straight.  The fallen woman, a woman who doesn't even get NAMED in the Bible, is used by God in a BIG way.....Hmmmm ... I'm figuring her life changed in a BIG way, too.



What does this mean to you?  



Stop hiding your mess.  Use it.  You could be hoarding a MESSAGE that could change a few lives!



Can you do this alone?  OF COURSE NOT!  Without an encounter with Jesus...I'm talking a significant "one-on-one" conversation - you and I will never get far with our message.



Talk to Jesus -- Ask Him to come into your life.  Thank Him for dying for you.  LISTEN to what He is telling you in prayer and in the Bible. 


Then - get out there and SHARE the message...but....

Keep it simple:  Here's what Jesus has done for me.  

Keep it personal:  Here's my mess and here's how Jesus turned it around OR helped me deal with it.

Oh, thank you, God, for the Woman at the Well!  I can relate to her in many ways.  

I like to hide from the disapproving eyes.  I would rather keep quiet than go to a lot of trouble speaking.  I have some messes to clean up.

I want to give them to you, Jesus.  Take them over.

Turn my mess into a MESSAGE.  I'll trust you with the results!  












Monday, June 23, 2014

John Chapter 3...Stop sneaking around!


Stop right now and read John Chapter 3!

Nick at Night...Sees the Light!


John Chapter 3 brings a smile to my face. The chapter features Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who comes to visit Jesus in the night.   This reminds me of a great group of kids I worked with in VBS years ago. We put on a play about John Chapter 3.

That summer many years ago,  my VBS kids performed a play I wrote called, "Nick at Night....Sees the Light!"  We had a such a great time performing this play! Two of my toughest boys played Jesus and Nicodemus -- I pray pray pray those boys and girls remember the message of being "born again,” the central message to John 3.

The first time I read John 3, I was shocked to read Jesus’ words:

 "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." 
John 3:3 

WOWEE ! I always thought the "born again" phrase was made up by televangelists! WRONG, Laurie!
Jesus spoke these words long ago !

In John 3 Jesus explains that the process of being "born again" requires a total transformation, a rebirth through the Living Water and the Holy Spirit.

--More on that later!

This is such an important chapter. It is such a picture of who we are today and what Jesus can do for us!

In John 3 we meet old Nicodemus who is part of an elite group in the Jewish hierarchy. He is a pharisee, basically one leaders of the Jewish faith.  Nicodemus is curious about Jesus, but he’s afraid of what his associates may think if he is seen with this bold new “rabbi”.

Nicodemus is skulking around at night cause he's ashamed to be seen with Jesus. Are we ashamed ? Truth be told, maybe we hide our faith in the dark of indifference when we are out in the world. Hmmmmm

Jesus tells Nicodemus  what he needs to do to be born again, but Nick does not get it.

Duh...I didn't get it either 20 years ago. It seemed too simple for my Type A,  list-making mind!

In John 3:16, Jesus says,

"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." 
John 3:16 

We all repeat this verse like a chant.  A lot of us memorized it in Sunday School,  but do we realize JESUS said it?  This verse is  key to being “born again.”

To be "born again" is to pray to ask forgiveness for your sins (that stuff you know you do wrong) and also to ask Jesus to come into every part of your life, public and private, good, bad and downright ugly.

This prayer requires total belief and commitment to the One who loves you most, Jesus Christ.  It is the key to eternal life with Jesus, the LIGHT of the world.

In verses John 3:19 - 21, Jesus refers to himself as the LIGHT.  Jesus explains to us why people are so afraid of Him.  His light reveals their sins....

“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.” 

Jesus is the light, but some people hate the Light.  I’ve noticed, when I share my faith,  people don't seem to mind when I talk about God, but when I mention Jesus, they  get agitated. They shift from foot to foot.  Their heads drop.  The Light is just too personal.  Jesus is just too close for comfort.

John 3:22 switches back over to John the Baptist. I love his words:

 "He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30 

Yep ! I’ve gotta get out of the way with my ego so God can use me. Enuff said.

The final Word in John Chapter 3 is riveting:

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:36 

I am so grateful we can choose to be born again by getting very personal with the LIGHT: Jesus !  He is the Son who offers eternal life to everyone.

We have a choice to make.   Should we continue to sneak  around in the darkness like Nicodemus?  OR Should we embrace the Light and give our lives to Jesus Christ?

I’m ready to walk in the LIGHT!