Today’s scripture: John 12:27-36
How awsome it would be to hear the voice of God in a thunderous way! “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The Father spoke so all people could hear saying that He honors Jesus’s name. The problem though is only a few actually understood the words that were spoken. John says that some only heard thunder, others understood that something spectacular just happened. Then comes the debate. It is funny how there always seems to be a debate.
Todays debate is over how long the Christ will live, but it is not over real knowledge but over what people heard. “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever.” We have heard… we have heard many things we have heard that judgement day was going to be on a certain date a month or so ago, we have heard that huricanes are God’s judgement on cities, we have heard many things but what do we know?
Jesus says that we should walk while we have light, lest the darkness overtakes us. Walk in light. That is what we know. If we walk in darkness then we stumble so we need to seek light and when we find it stay and abide with the light. Become a child of light.
Light is an intresting mystical tool. When we light a candle it is as if something magical has happened. Suddenly we receive a warm feeling that in a chaotic world there is hope. Some of our greatest times of our lives have forever been burned into our memories around a fire or candle. (Hopefully in a controled and contained way). Walk in the light, lest the darkness overtakes you. Believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. What words!
This is what lifeis all about. Slowing down and being at peace with the light. Why are dinners in candle light so amazing, becaue we are abiding in the light. Why is a gathering around a campfire so memoral, because we abide in the light. We slow down and just commune with those around us. The imperfect light provided by a flame draws our attention to those around us in a deeper why than the light of a 60 watt bulb can. The flicker provide a mystery for us to pursue and chase.
This is what scripture is like. It isn’t a spotlight illuminating everything but a candle with flickers of the divine being shown. Jesus gives us a glimpse of what full communion and compainionship with God truly is, while we interact with scripture. Worship, prayer, fellowship is like sitting at the table sharing a meal with our beloved. Yet often we aproach it with coldness.
Today I encourage you to shut off the lights and spend some time in the magic of candle light.
Today’s scripture: John 12:20-26
Over the past few weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of messages on predestination and election. I know that there is a ton of theological and scriptural support for this, but there has always been somethin about it that has set my soul on edge. I’m sure several people that read this will probably set me straight and that fine I enjoy reading different ideas. I am a practical person, one that lives a practical life. I don’t claim to know the mind of God but I do believe that he calls, leads and directs His people. This leads to election who are His people? If you read the Bible and I’m sure you do His people is Israel, plain and simple. This is the group of people the chose to tell the world about Himself through. Yet in today’s scripture we meet some Greeks that want to see Jesus. Not only do they want to see Him but it alludes that they are there to worship God as much as gentiles were allowed to.
How amazing it is that Jesus the chosen one of the Jews opened His friendship up to those outside. We see this often in His ministry healing a woman’s daughter even though she was a “dog”, and healing the Roman officials servant. These people outside of the faith of the Hebrews often show even more faith even than the disciples of Christ. Which brings me back to who is chosen and who is elect?
Abraham was called chosen out all the people of prehistoric history to be the father of a great nation, a people lead by God. This people was to be the light of the nations and bring all people back to God. To me election is a system through which God works. He brings redemption of the world through the system of people. The means of this redemption was through the shadows of sacrifice and coverings of blood. Which ultimately found its fulfillment in the sheding of the blood of the one Sent from Him, Jesus His own Son. From this the election is Christ Himself and the redemed are those that come to Him. The practicality of it all I that God works with people. He worked with Abraham to bring a nation to bring the Light to all nation.
God calls all people to Him. Some of us are too distracted to hear and actually follow. Jesus says that there is only one unforgivable sin, the greiving of the Spirit. Which makes me wonder even more what grieves God? That can only be not paying attention, neglection, forgetting. Not only does this grieve but it upsets. When I neglect, and fail to pay attention to my wife and child it really upsets them. I can justify it in a number of ways but they are upset because I failed to listen. The relationship is an image of God, our friendships, marriages, families all give a glimpse of God’s relationship to us. God wants all humans to return to Him and to do so he elected Christ Jesus to provide the way and the church. It is christ who is the chosen, and the elect we live through him by responding and listening to His Spirit.
The Greeks felt able to approach because Jesus chose as a Disciple with a Greek name. We can approach Jesus as well because through Him all can approach God.
Today’s Scripture: John 10:22-42
Over the past year I have had the oppertunity of becoming friends with many different people. Living in Kansas City I have the pleasure of working with people from Kenya, Camraroon, Guieni, Jordon, Israel as well as Texans. People from nearly every walk of life living in one area, working together to be sure we all can buy the goods we need to survive. Who would think a midwestern city would be such a melting pot?
Since there are many various people from vastly different walks of life my faith in God has grown. My understanding of how to apply scripture has broadened not because God has changed or even that I have changed, but because. Have had the blesing to see how God works in people outside of my culture. A farmboy from the USA read scripture differently than a man from the capital of Kenya. It is the same words but different statments are colored by experiences of life that I myself have no knowledge of.
At our last meeting for worship, our Missions Elder presented a concept of finetuning our giving to missions to focus more closely on one people group or area. Sending the majority of our financial gifts to that area, learning as much as we can about the lives and struggles that they face. At first I would have said no to thi idea. I have a heart for the Gospel and I love Go but why limit myself? I’ve come to realise the more I interact with people from another culture, I grow.
Let me tell you a story. I was at work a few months ago speaking to a friend from a Islamic background. I have enjoyed his friendship for quite some time and have entered into several spiritual discussions. I do have a respect for the Islamic culture through these talks. He came right out one day and asked me to prove Christianity to him and he would convert. The first thing in my mind was to start the debate…but I did not. Not that I do not care or that I am not able to share my faith, but our friendship would have been broken if I would have spoken at that time. I did not know enough about him and his culture to speak effectively and lovingly. So all of what I would have said would have offended not his religion but his very understanding of life and humanity.
This is where I see Jesus in today’s scripture. He I at the feast of Dedication, Channukah for those of us that don’t know. And the people kept asking him to tell them plainly if he is the Christ. He does and they want to kill him because of it. He offended their culture their understanding of God. By saying the words “I and the Father are one.”
A simple statement tured their world upside down. My Islamic friend had asked me several times to prove to him that Jesus claimed to be God, John 10:30 is one of those statements. This offends many people but it also frees many. Jesus is God yet he walked among mankind. Our God knows ou conditions, he knows the stuggles we have with anger, lust, greed, and disception. He knows how you feel, he lived a life similar to yours, not the same but similar. And he can help us live ours too.
Offense will happen but we can lessen it as much as possible, our first response should be showing the grace n love of Christ. Only after showing the lifestyle of Christ we should take the chance of offending. Love first so that our statements that will ruffle feathers will be handled better.