JohnSWilson3 Blog

Words on Losing the Soul Life

From the last section of Hebrews 10 I have been led to other passages related to the soul life and God’s desire to express Himself by saving, preserving, obtaining, and possessing our soul life by His Spirit through His body. There is a lot to chew on here and I have been doing so for many weeks.

I have purposefully left much of the passage to help in understanding of the context, but of course like any letter it should also be viewed in the wider context of the letter or teaching given.

After Hebrews sections I have the provided the passages in the Thessalonians and Ephesian letters and then the gospels. I have inserted in the text the original meaning of some of the words from the NASB.

Hebrews 10:

32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving (possession or obtainment) of the (soul life).

Hebrews 4 (I have capitalized the Divine Word of God):

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the (Word) of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of (soul life) and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Hebrews 6:

9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the (soul life), a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

1 Thessalonians 5:

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

2 Thessalonians 2:

13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain (obtain) the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

Ephesians 1:

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Matthew 10:

37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his (soul life) will lose it, and he who has lost his (soul life) for My sake will find it.

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Matthew 16:

21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it; but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his (soul life)? Or what will a man give in exchange for his (soul life)? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Mark 8:

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it, but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his (soul life)? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his (soul life)? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 9:

21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it, but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 17:

28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to keep his (soul life) will lose it, and whoever loses his (soul life) will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”] 37 And answering they *said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”

John 12:

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his (soul life) loses it, and he who hates his (soul life) in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now My (soul life) has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

“…do you truly love me?”
August 12, 2009, 1:13 pm
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

As I finished reading the book of John this morning, chapters 18 to 21, there is a sense that Jesus’ words from the last chapter (“…do you truly love me?”) seems to permeate the narrative. To Judas, the betrayer, and the “detachment of soldiers and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees” who came to arrest Jesus I can hear Him say “do you truly love me?” To those who questioned Him in the mock trials, like Annas and Caiaphas and finally Pilate I can hear Him say “do you truly love me?” To Peter who denied Him three times I can hear Him say “do you truly love me?” To the crowds that shouted “Crucify him!” I can hear Him say “do you truly love me?” To His mother, his mother’s sister, and Mary Magdalene and John who stood near the cross I can hear Him say “do you truly love me?” After His death on the cross, to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who buried Him I can hear Him say “do you truly love me?”

Jesus said to the disciples a few days before during the Passover meal “If you love me, you will obey what I command….Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him….If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him….As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command….This is my command: Love each other.” Can Jesus say it any clearer? Can what we read here be any brighter? The love that Jesus has for us is incredible, unfathomable. He is truly full of grace and truth!

After His resurrection Jesus had a camp fire going, sizzling some fish over an open fire…man, that sounds good! His disciples recognized who He was and came to Him, after following His directions in catching fish. Jesus asked Peter three times, as if to reaffirm to Peter that He had forgiven Peter’s denial of Him before His crucifixion, “do you truly love me?” When Peter says yes to each question Jesus answers, as if to say okay if you truly love me then “you will obey my commands” which in Peter’s case was to “feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…and feed my sheep(and finally)…Follow me!” I sense that the focus here is that Jesus, while reaffirming Peter is telling me that if I truly love Jesus then I will be involved in participating/loving in His Body.

Jesus new command was to love one another just He had loved us. After His death on the cross that brings a bit more meaning to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me”! If I truly love Jesus then I WILL deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus. I will choose, because of the power of the Holy Spirit in me/us, to love others, even when it means taking up the cross, whatever that cross is. What are the crosses that I need to take up? What are the things I need to die to in order to truly love Jesus? Perhaps like Peter maybe it is arrogance, selfishness. Perhaps like Judas I need to die to greed. Perhaps like the soldiers I need to die to hurting others whether verbally or physically. Perhaps like the religious rulers I need to die to my ego or what I think is right for me. Perhaps like Pilate I need to die to cowardice and men pleasing.

Perhaps I need to be more like His mother Mary, Mary’s sister, Mary Magdalene, John, Joseph of Arimathea, or Nicodemus who forsook themselves and were willing to not pay attention to the worlds standards and love Jesus more than anything, even my own life. I’m not even sure they even gave the worlds standards a second thought because they were solely focused on loving Jesus and loving one another.

After the Holy Spirit came and indwelt His people, His body there seems to be some additional meaning to what Jesus told Peter. It is the sense that feeding Jesus sheep, because they are His Body, and Peter is part of the body, is like meaning we are to feed each other, mutual feeding. Feeding then in its essence is mutual love in the Body. In humility listening to what Christ says in the inner man and speaking and serving in love to one another. Jesus words of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, feeding on Him comes to mind. When we live by His life, we feed on Him, abide in Him and we do so by listening to Him, and paying attention to what He is saying by His Spirit. His words are always about loving one another.

Lord help me be like these who didn’t pay attention to themselves or the world, not caring about the consequences, but solely focus on listening to You, loving You, Your Body, and others around me! “Do you truly love me?”

“…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…”
August 11, 2009, 12:44 pm
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

Reading chapters 15 to 17 from the Book of John this morning is always a heart pounding, mind blowing time with the Lord! The words Jesus speaks are incredible! The depth of the words are tremendous! The one word that even comes close to describing these chapters is oneness or unity.

In chapter 15 Jesus describes His relationship with His disciples as Him being the “true vine” and that His disciples “are the branches.” The branches of the vine are part of the vine, have the life of the vine, in fact the branches make up the vine! The statement Jesus gives that “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” seems to be a reference back to Jesus new commandment He gave His disciples which is repeated again in chapter 15: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” because “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus furthers this thought by calling His disciples no longer servants but “friends”! Friends love each other, even to the death, denying myself for my brother or sister in Jesus!

And in chapter 17 Jesus, in His prayer to the Father, describes this close intimate relationship like this: “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me.” Awesome! God’s glory cannot be displayed through His Body only when His disciples truly “love one another.” The Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three Persons of the Godhead, One God in three Persons, lives in me and His followers. God desires for me/us to be closely and intimately connected with a few other followers of Jesus, in love for each other, so that God’s glory could be displayed to those around us.

Interconnected through Jesus’ words are His words about His Spirit. Through the Spirit every follower is connected to the Triune God and vice versa. This connection seems to only grow closer when followers of Jesus grow in love for each other. The mission Jesus gave His followers can only be fulfilled when this happens. We cannot be solo Christians, we cannot be the only one who speaks, the only one who serves, the only one who sings, the only one who teaches, the only one who encourages, when His Body comes together. Everyone must learn to participate, everyone must learn to love, the closeness Jesus describes cannot happen until everyone “loves one another.” How can we have this happen, except that we spend time together, learning about each other, enjoying time together, working through the issues of life together, and allowing Jesus to love through each of us to each other. Jesus words of “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me” comes to mind.

I like to do a lot of things on my own, as part of my personality, and I know that I can’t live that way, all the time. I have to give up, deny myself, and decide to share life with a few other followers, His Body, in order to experience the life of Jesus. Lord speak to me, guide me, lead me, show me those whom You would desire to bring into my life, my family’s life, so that Your glory would be expressed, because of our love for one another, and displayed to our neighbors that they may know You.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. BY this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
August 10, 2009, 1:36 pm
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

Reading chapters 13 and 14 of the book of John this morning this one statement Jesus makes seems to be the crucible, the bridge if you will of everything Jesus has said and done before and what happens next. It seems that it summarizes all that Jesus came to do and then generalizes or explains what He does next. Jesus said this was a “new command.” Loving one another seems to have always been the desire of God’s heart from the beginning, but Jesus, God now having been in our human flesh, now explains it this way: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” What is incredible to me is that Jesus says this after He just knelt down and washed all of the disciples feet, pretty nasty job if you ask me! I’m not a foot person myself, and washing someone else’s feet is probably the lowest thing you could do. But Jesus did it and He says afterwards that He did so as “an example that you should do as I have done for you.” What is amazing, beyond just this, is the fact that He also washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, fully knowing that he would betray Him. I always seem to ask myself, can I humble myself to someone whom I am in conflict with, who I know hates me, who is trying to do their best to ruin me? Can I overcome my pride and ego to humble myself to another person? I have to honestly say no, at least not without some help! Perhaps that’s it! Jesus, after He gives this new command tells the disciples to focus on trusting in Him, God, that He is the way, the truth, and the life. If there is a way through life’s difficulties, Jesus, in truth, is the only way through life, because He is Way, Truth, and Life! We can go to Jesus and “ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Awesome! And the key to our life in Jesus is that He gives us, followers of Him, His very life, Himself, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit. Because God lives in me, and I in Him, I CAN “love one another” no matter the circumstances. Because He is in me and I in Him, Jesus IS my life, Jesus IS the One who actually is loving others through me! Maybe I need to hear it and see it more often, so that Jesus can truly live through me. How are you as a follower letting Jesus live through you? Perhaps if every follower of Jesus (me included!) would trust Jesus and allow Jesus to truly be their life and let Jesus live through them, then perhaps the world would really see and know that we are His disciples…because we love one another. Isn’t that what I and you, everyone in their heart of hearts really desire, to love and be loved? But satan always seems to try and gum things up, he’s always trying to ruin what God is doing, satan is a thief and wants to steal, kill, and destroy. We need each other, we don’t love in isolation, Jesus said to “love one ANOTHER.” Only when we “love one another,” through the stuff of life, letting Jesus overcome the difficulties, will we fulfill His command. Jesus said “do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” because he’s preparing a place for us and one day we will be with Him forever! In the mean time “love one another” just as Jesus, denying Himself and dieing on a cross because He “loved the world.”

“…And the house was filled with the fragance of the perfume.”
August 9, 2009, 12:34 pm
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

I have gotten a new appreciation for Bethany because of the fact Jesus always seemed to enjoy returning to Bethany, perhaps God is telling me that maybe every group of followers of Jesus should/can be a Bethany. That one statement: “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” seems to echo something in my heart, a desire in my heart. When my wife puts on perfume in our bathroom there is something beautiful about it, as well as her! Maybe I need to see Jesus, and susequently His Body, more like I see my wife…beautiful! In chapter 12 of the book of John it says that Jesus spent time in Bethany, in this case the sixth day “before the Passover.” As I continue to read John says “where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.” Can you imagine, enjoying dinner with a person who was dead!? How weird would that be! Notice that the dinner “was given in Jesus’ honor.” Also notice that Martha again is serving, (she just loved serve!) this time not in frustration, but in order to serve her Lord from a pure heart. Others, like Lazarus were “reclining at the table with him” enjoying time with Jesus. Then Mary takes some “expensive perfume,” (a year’s wages worth!) and pours it on Jesus’ feet and wipes “his feet with her hair.” Can there be any better picture of a body of followers of Jesus? Jesus arrived at the home, dinner was given in honor of Him, reclining at the table with one another, sharing life, serving one another, in humility worshipping Jesus together, letting the beauty of Jesus, His love, become such that the “house is filled with the frangrance of the perfume.” Lord, I desire that my own home and the homes of every believer could be a place where Your followers would desire to be a place You would enjoy going to (even though there has been pain and suffering, because thats what happens in real relationships!), honoring you in the midst of a meal with others, enjoying life with You, serving each other, in humility worshipping You, that Your beauty would be so rich, the love that we have for one another, for the Body of Christ, that it would be like perfume, fragant and spilling over through the entire house! But the thief wants to come and steal, kill, and destroy the beauty of Jesus. Judas Iscariot complains when Mary pours all of the perfume on Jesus’ feet. Are there times where I unintentionally kill, steal, or destroy life that happens in the midst of the followers of Jesus? May it never be so because then I would be acting like a Judas Iscariot a betrayer of Jesus, a follower of satan! He attempted to make something that was beautiful into something ugly and meaningless. There is nothing meaningless in simple devotion to Jesus! Jesus says “leave her alone.” Jesus saw meaning in what was done, because it was done in simple worship to Him. She loved Jesus freely and to the uttermost, can I love Jesus freely and to the uttermost? Can I give up an entire wages, for example, and give it to Jesus in one act of devotion to Him? What do I need to give away to Jesus so that He would be given ALL of the glory and honor? Jesus is now in His Body, the followers of Jesus, through His Spirit! How could I honor Him by honoring His Body? Maybe that’s why the New Testament focuses so much on how to love one another, because in doing so, we ARE loving Jesus!

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
August 8, 2009, 12:36 pm
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

I kind of camped out on chapter 11 of the book of John this morning. What an incredible story! As I began to read the story of Lazarus the Lord reminded me of the story earlier of the the man born blind whom Jesus healed. When Jesus received news from Mary and Martha of Bethany that their brother Lazarus was sick he said to His disciples: “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Earlier when Jesus was asked about the man born blind He said: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned….but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life….I am the light of the world” and “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” When Jesus got the report about Lazarus, even though He loved this family, “he stayed where he was two more days.” Jesus waited until Lazarus had died before returning to Bethany. That somehow seems terribly discomforting, it seems Jesus did not care for His friends. But Jesus said “it is for God’s glory.” We don’t know the real reason until later in the story. Jesus mentions to Martha “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus said earlier: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So this whole story somehow, even in the midst of this tradegy, in the midst of the sorrow and pain, that Jesus allowed, Jesus through it all desires our faith in Him. Can I trust Jesus to be “the resurrection and the life” in me, in us a His body? Can Jesus really change us and our relationships, can He bring what seems dead to me, to life? What happpened when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead – many “put their faith in him.” Lord, increase our faith! When I pray that, I know that life’s circumstances are not going to be easy, because Jesus’ desires to “be glorified through it.” I trust in You, You are “the resurrection and the life,” be glorified through me, through Your Body!

“…The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full…”
August 7, 2009, 5:33 pm
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

In chapters 9 and 10 of the book of John Jesus gives me a glimpse of what He means when He says in chapter 8: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus just happened to be walking along with His disciples one day and He sees “a man blind from birth.” What is interesting to me is that the disciples didn’t ask Jesus to heal him but asked Jesus “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.” Isn’t that what we do, we see someone in trouble and the first thing we think is that person must have done something wrong. Why do I/we do that? I guess it goes back to the blame thing we do, when ever there is a problem we have to blame something. Why can’t I just help the person in trouble instead of trying to weasle my way out by blaming or making excuses? But Jesus makes an incredible freeing statement: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life…I am the light of the world.” Awesome! So somehow Jesus is saying that when ever there is a problem there may be something about it that God can use to display His glory, to redeem it in some way. What is amazing is that Jesus heals the man and the man is clueness to who Jesus is except that he had heard of Jesus before. Then the religious leaders make a well-to-do about the whole thing because it didn’t fit their traditions. The man repeatedly states “I was blind but now I see!” The religious leaders cannot overcome their own pride and ego to admit what happened and give credit to Jesus, living in denial – amazing! It even comes to a head when the religious leaders actually attempt to stone Jesus for the words He speaks against them, because they “do not believe.” Am I denying something that I know Jesus desires in my life? Jesus said that He is “the good shepherd: I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” Jesus wants to give me/you “life, and have it to the full”! As I/we know, life isn’t always pretty, it can be pretty rough, but Jesus can give us “life, and have it to the full” even when life can be pretty bad around us. Maybe that’s it, maybe life is more of attitude and how we take what comes our way and giving the situation over to Jesus. How is my/your attitude when life gets bad? Can I/we really trust Jesus to help me/us? I need the body of Christ, some other followers of Jesus, who can be on the road with me, the body of Christ together, so that He can live through us and build each of us up together so that “the thief” won’t come and “steal and kill and destroy.”

“…I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life…”
August 7, 2009, 11:34 am
Filed under: D Gospel According to John

In chapters 6 to 8 of the book of John the Lord gave me a sense of Jesus’ intensity both in what He said and did. The beginning of Chapter 6 Jesus does an incredible miracle of feeding five thousand men (not to mention the women and children who must have been present!) with only “five small barley loaves and two small fish.” Jesus used this opportunity to give a lesson (like normal!). I need to remember that the lessons that Jesus wants to teach me can be in the things that occur in my own life, whether miraculous or not. But this miraculous feeding of so many people provided Jesus the opportunity to explain how He was”the bread of God” who “comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  Jesus again points to the fact that He is not just “Jesus, the son of Joseph.” But then Jesus gives a striking visual image: “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Talk about a crazy statement. But Jesus said that “the words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” I guess to say that He was speaking in a spiritual sense, but nonetheless true. Jesus said earlier that “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” I do a lot of things at home, helping others, and of course my work as a teacher at school. But Jesus says “to believe.” To Jesus then, to believe Him means more than just to know about Him, it is to KNOW Him. Jesus says to “come to” Him, to “believe” in Him, to “listen” and “learn from him,” to “come to me and drink,” to follow Him, to “hold to my teaching.” I have to consume Jesus, I have to have all of Jesus! Peter was right when he said to Jesus “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Thank you Jesus that in You is life! In You I am set free being a slave to sin! I believe You, I am listening and learning from You, I come to You to drink from You and Your word, I follow You, I obey You. Amen!

“…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst…”
August 7, 2009, 2:51 am
Filed under: D Gospel According to John
As I read chapters 4 and 5 from the book of John this morning I got a sense that John more so than the other gospel writers makes a point to share more of the words that Jesus spoke during his encounters with people. In the story of the Samaritan woman, the story of the sick son of a royal official, the story of the invalid, and an encounter with Pharisees Jesus’ words focus on “life.” With Jesus I/we find life, but more than just life like we know it. To the Samaritan woman Jesus’ describes drinking “the water I give” and you will “never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Spring water gives me the image of fresh and satisfying water! Jesus gives life that is living, fresh, and satisfying, that wells up, life to the full so to speak! I need that kind of life! To the “royal official whose son lay sick” Jesus doesn’t give a lot of images but simply says “your son will live.” Sometimes I think I need to hear a lot from Jesus, but really the most profound can be the simplest things in life. When life seems hopeless and just “stinks,” to hear Jesus say “live” gives me a new sense of perspective. How simply am I enjoying life with Jesus even though life isn’t going my way, or is my life more about me? To the invalid Jesus spoke some simple words of “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Do I trust Jesus at His word? Can I let Jesus do the extraordinary in my life or in someone else’s life through me? To the Pharisees, the religious people, Jesus never minced words: “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.” Jesus always gave words of judgment to those who were judgmental, who were religious, who were egotists, who were bigots. But He still showed them He cared by telling them the truth and gave them hope if they would only hear Him out and believe what He said. Lord help me to hear you, believe what you say, follow you, so that I and others can enjoy that life giving spring of water that only comes from You!

“…For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him…”
August 7, 2009, 2:50 am
Filed under: D Gospel According to John
The Book of John is an image exploding book of good news! As I read the first three chapters two things came sceaming out at me: who Jesus is and what He came to do. Some names or images that John gives of Jesus are: the Word, God, Creator, life, the light of men, the true light, the glory of the One and Only, Messiah (the Christ), the Lamb of God, the Son of God, Rabbi (teacher), Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, the King of Israel, the temple, the Bridegroom. Oh, the richness of Jesus! Each name is full of meaning and wonder. Oh Jesus, help me to grasp the depth of You! As John describes the beauty of Jesus he also describes the beauty of His mission: “The light shines in the darkness…The true light that gives light to every man…Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ…(Jesus has) made him (God) known…Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!…he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit…He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him…Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days…no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son…the bride belongs to the bridegroom…For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” Through faith in Jesus, receiving Him into my life, I have been given life, life with God, one blessing after another, grace, truth, forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of God, new birth, eternal life, His love, and have become a child of God and a member of His bride! And this is just the first three chapters of John…God is an awesome God! How about you?