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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!