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Friday, November 28, 2014

There is always something to be thankful for

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1Thes 5:16-18

The air was stinging bright.  Crisp and cold, a fall day unfolded outside my door.  The sunshine cold was not oppressive, so I could savor the morning as I stepped off my doorstep.

Brown fields were washed clean of soybean stubble, clean shaven really. They proudly gleamed mile after mile, rolling away from my hilltop perch.  

The past two weeks have not been easy, but Fall’s light still sparkles with each footstep.  I thank God as I descend from the hilltop.  

There is always something to be thankful for.

I said goodbye to my father Sunday.  He was like a precious little bird lying there, but I know he heard my whispered words of love.  By midnight he joined the sparkle light, no longer a little bird, but an eagle -soaring.

There is always something to be thankful for.

It’s Thanksgiving and we remind each other to be thankful for one thing or another. After the prayer and the last leftover package, however, we often forget.  Please don't forget. Don’t reserve gratitude for only one day.  

There is always something to be thankful for. 
   
Please hug your spouse and your children (even the distant ones) and never wait to tell folks you love them.  - 

Forgive quickly and thoroughly.  More importantly, ask for forgiveness.  There is a big God out there waiting to welcome you home when you come humbly.  
   
Jesus will wrap big bear-hugs around you if you accept His forgiveness. That's a good feeling. 
    
There is always something to be thankful for. 
   
For heaven’s sake, let go.  If you hold all things with a defiant fist, no one will ever be able to hold your hand. Let go.
   
There is always something to be thankful for.  
   
In your darkest hour, the stinging bright will come.  Crisp and cold, it will wake you up and cause you to love more deeply and appreciate God’s gifts more fully.
   
It’s been a tough couple of weeks, but I am very thankful for God’s bright light.  

I'm wide awake now.  Thanks, God.  

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!