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Showing posts from August, 2013

No Good Thing Withheld

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I’m deviating from my journey through the Gospel of John to linger a bit in the Psalms.

Oftentimes, waiting on the Lord is the most difficult request He makes of us. We wonder what He is doing and even, to our shame, wonder if He is doing anything at all! Things happen that don’t seem right but He makes no correction. We pray and those prayers remain unanswered as far as we can tell.

Then we come to Psalm 84:11.

The psalmist is basking in the wonder of being in the presence of God. He has come to understand that even in the driest seasons of life God can produce springs of life-giving water (Psalm 84:11). This dovetails nicely with John 7:37 which I also read this morning: “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’

The psalmist had discovered that fountain of living water, and with it came …

The Devil's Territory in God's Country

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It’s just a little piece of trivia. As we read of deeper, more “spiritual” details, we can easily skip right over it. But John 7 highlights a problem that shouldn’t exist. The trouble is, in a broken world what shouldn’t be, often is.

Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles in secret. But that secret visit didn’t remain so for long since His intention was to appear in the Temple to share His message—the message that the religious leaders wanted to kill him over (7:1).

But quite apart from the battle between Jesus and the religious elite found in this passage, is the undercurrent of fear among the general population. People talked about Jesus wherever He went. They had opinions—pro and con (7:12, 13). But they voiced those opinions in whispers and behind closed doors. “...no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews” (7:13).

As I read this I was reminded about another incident in John 9 where Jesus healed a blind man. The man whose sight was restored…

Sometimes Words Trump Deeds

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The honeymoon, if there ever was one, is over. In John 6 we learn that many of those who had been following Jesus, began to move away from him (John 6:66). The miracles couldn’t hold them and His teaching had become too demanding and too offensive.

As we begin John 7, we discover that even in His own family Jesus had little credibility. It appears that his brothers (Mary and Joseph had had children after Jesus’ birth) thought that all this “campaigning” that Jesus did was simply a craving for notoriety. As the date for the Feast of Tabernacles approached, when huge crowds would gather in Jerusalem, his brothers encouraged Him to go.

Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles 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’” (John 7:3, 4).

We might think that they simply wanted to enhance His ministry by broadening it if it weren’t for …

Jesus Approaching

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The water was rough, the waves high, and the rowing was difficult. When the situation didn’t seem like it could get any worse, “they saw Jesus approaching” (John 6:19).

Jesus had sent His disciples away, commissioned to cross the lake while He retreated to talk to His Father. The wind came up. It was dark. The Master wasn’t with them and the circumstances threatened to overwhelm them. Then...”they saw Jesus approaching.”

As soon as the Lord stepped into the boat, they were “immediately” on shore (6:21). They were safe.

Another interesting little detail appears in these few verses. When the disciples first saw Jesus they were frightened. After all, they hadn’t expected to see Him walking on water! But when they recognized Him, “they were willing to take him into the boat” (6:21).

In the middle of the storm, they needed to see Jesus, they needed to be willing to put aside their fear and take Him into the boat. Only they could they feel the solidness of land under their feet.

Good lesson.

Th…

The BEST

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It’s amazing how many things we experiment with in our quest to find satisfaction in life.

Since I woke up this morning the words of this worship song have been running through my head:

KNOWING YOU

All I once held dear built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this


(Chorus)
Knowing you, Jesus knowing you
There is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord


Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
To be found in you, and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh to know the power of your risen life
And to know you in your suffering
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with You to live
And never die.

(Graham Kendrick)

By the time Jesus ended His discussion with the crowds that had followed Him, recorded for us in John 6, many people decided that knowing Him wasn’t the greatest thing at all. …

Finding Out Where Jesus Lives

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George MacDonald once said: “Did the fact ever cross your mind that you are here in this world just to understand the Lord Jesus Christ, and for no other reason?

It was in the spirit of that same truth that Jesus told his followers: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29).

The statement was made as Jesus spoke to the crowds about the need to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal and it was bracketed by some remarks about miracles (6:26, 30). Some of those who followed Jesus in those early days didn’t really care about the miracles Jesus did as long as they got what they wanted. Others wanted Jesus to do more miracles to prove who He was. In both cases they wanted what would satisfy them, rather than what would satisfy God.

When the question was asked: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (6:28), Jesus reduced everything to one simply statement: BELIEVE.

Truly believing changes everything.

Truly believing leaves you with a thirst, a hung…

A Bad Trade

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They didn’t get it.

The Lord had just fed more than five thousand people with a handful of fish and a few hunks of bread. The crowd had already seen Him heal the sick. What do you want of someone who looks after these most basic of human needs? You make Him your king (John 6:15), or at least you try to. How could anyone resist the best social services and health care plan in town?

After that attempt failed, the crowd realized that Jesus had not escaped them with His disciples and yet only one boat was missing (John 6:24). Where had He gone and how had He gotten there? No problem—they simply guessed that He would go to Capernaum so they followed him there.

Jesus knew what they were looking for so He went immediately to the point: “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the …