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Monday, August 31, 2009

John 7-8

John 7: This entire chapter highlights the different responses to Jesus. His own brothers did not believe in him. They actually encouraged Jesus to go to Jerusalem for the Feast, hoping he would be killed by the Jewish leaders. Could you imagine your own siblings wanting to see you get killed! Of course, many of the Jewish leaders didn’t believe in him either. They misunderstood and falsely accused Jesus over and over again. Instead of being inspired by Jesus’ insightful teaching, they would nit-pick. Instead of praising God for the miracles Jesus did, they would get upset about when he did it- if he did it on the Sabbath day. While many did not believe Jesus, there were some who did “put their faith in him.”

Today, I am going to put my faith in Jesus. I mean, I’m not just going to say I believe in him; I’m actually going to intentionally act upon those beliefs. So, for example, if I really believe Jesus when he says he is “the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) then I will act on this by doing my part to, with “gentleness and respect,” embody and proclaim the good news of Christ to others. If I really believe Jesus when he says that if we want to be forgiven by God we must be willing to forgive others, then I will do what it takes to really forgive those who hurt me. Today, I want to be counted among those who don’t just say they believe but who live as if they believe!

John 8: The verse that hit me like a ton of bricks in this chapter was v. 29. Jesus says “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Jesus suggests that the presence of God is with us in a pronounced way when we live our lives simply to please him. In one sense, God is not far from any one of us. But if we’re not doing what pleases him, we grieve him and distance ourselves from his presence. The reason why Jesus had the consistently intimate relationship with God that so many of us want is because he was moment by moment obedient to the Father. What he said, what he did, what he thought flowed out of his deep desire to please God. And because of this, the power of God was unleashed in Jesus’ life in spectacular ways.

I’m reading a book that I’ve read a few times called The Sacrament of the Present Moment. It’s an old classic book, written in the 1700s. The author’s main point is that sainthood is achieved quite simply by submitting obediently to God moment by moment in the small and big things of life. Think about it. What if all followers of Christ lived with this commitment? Think of how the world would be different if nothing else mattered (peoples’ opinions, our desires) but doing what pleases God. Imagine how simple our lives would be if there was only one consideration behind everything we did- what can I do to please God? Today, I am going to be conscious of pleasing God in every word I say, every action I commit, every thought I think, and every decision I make.


Roberta said...

The fact that Jesus did not have the support of his brothers who grew up with him, must have been a lonely experience. It speaks to their "blindness". It is easy for me to see their blindness, but is it easy to see my own blindness? He had the backing of his Father. I want to live in such a way that my Father can endorse me as he did David. I pray that he will heal my spiritual eyes so that I can see him in a new way today.

Anonymous said...

After Jesus feeds the 5000 and walks on water, he resorts to "words" to follow his actions. Emily Dickinson said, "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." Through a lengthy discourse on the metaphor of "bread" Jesus attempts to help them see who he is and who he represents (without miraculous signs)--a "word" can be powerful or impotent, and He appears to be frustrated by his inability to penetrate their legalistic wall. Reading through the Bible chronologically this year, I've just confronted both Jeremiah and Ezekiel facing the same dauntless task i.e., speaking a message to a self-absorbed audience that only want to hear positive affirmations--you're okay, I'm okay. But the truth, the words of God were "eaten" by the prophets and although they tasted as sweet as honey, became a fire burning within, needing to be expressed. I appreciate that amongst the inspiring words you speak and write, Lenny,are the words that convict, challenging me to examine my own heart. I need to learn to accept the simple truth of the gospel and not constantly over-analyze the life-altering truth.

Brad said...

It has been an amazing journey the last few years at SWC. My life has been transformed! Thank you Pastor Lenny and everyone who has loved, encouraged and taught me.

One of the most important lessons that I have learned is the importance of submitting to Christ and allowing the Spirit to dwell within me. I pray that I can continue surrendering my will and living with God on a moment by moment basis.

Fortunately, the free will God has given me, allows me to love. I pray that I will love God, my wife, family, friends and enemies through my words, actions, thoughts and decisions.

Maria Cicala said...

I like verses 16-18 especially because it reminds me that I need to seek his will for his honor and glory because when it comes down to it its not about me but rather its all about him an for the Father to be honored and glorified. Chapt 8 verse 12 Praise God for his light! I couldn't imagine life without him and his light that he shines in different areas of my life that give me the direction I need. verse 36 says it all What freedom and Joy is ours in Christ Jesus Have a Blessed Day All!

Anonymous said...

AMEN! (Be still and know that I am God ~ Psalm 46:10)