No Good Deed Goes Unpunished- John Chapter 9

The old saying- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished- comes to mind when I think of the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders throughout John. Chapter 9 is a classic example. No only did the religious leaders have conflict with Jesus, they were also abusive to the man Jesus healed and the man’s parents. Imagine being healed of being blind at birth only to have authorities be abusive towards because you were healed.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What did Jesus do to cause such a reaction by the religious leaders? He healed the blind man on the Sabbath. I know. It sounds ridiculous but such was the case. The man Jesus healed was brought before them.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

They had the man’s parents brought in to confirm the man was born blind, but when his parents were asked how the man could not see, they replied ask him he is an adult. The reason they answered this way was fear.

His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.

The religious leaders asked the man again what happened. The poor fellow naively made the mistake of asking them the one question that would infuriate them.

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

The religious leaders responded.

“You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The poor fellow couldn’t leave well enough alone.

“Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.  Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

His reward?

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus talked with the man revealing to the man who Jesus is. The man came to faith in Jesus which we saw last week in Jesus Healed A Man Who Did Not Know Jesus.

Jesus then said.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

The reaction of the religious leaders was predictable.

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?

Jesus pulled no punches.

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

The contrast between the compassion Jesus showed the man who was born blind and the disdain he had for the hypocritical religious leaders was palpable in John and this passage is one example of that..

Think about the compassion of Jesus. Let it be a prevailing thought for the day. When we come to Jesus in humility seeking help from him, his compassion is overwhelming.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Meeting My Little Sister Blogger in Person :)

One of the wonderful things about blogging for me is meeting people. That is doubly true when it comes to my fellow Christian bloggers because there is an instant bond in Jesus. This morning I was so blessed to finally meet a fellow blogger in person-Alicia of forhispurpose.com.

We live in the same state about four hours from each other. Alicia came to my city with her friend Debra. We met for breakfast at Panera.

Debra and Alicia are members of the same church in their small town. It was wonderful how we could fellowship from the start. There is nothing like sharing a bond in Christ. We had just met in person and were already sharing about our journeys in life with Jesus.

Debra experienced a bit of my humor when she told me she had lived in a city in Kansas. She asked me if I knew where it is. I said, “in Kansas”

They joined us for Blogger Chat for a little while. I turned my laptop for our fellow Blogger Chat friends to see Alicia and Debra because they are more photogenic than I am. 🙂

Alicia and Debra thanks for getting my weekend off to a great start. I feel blessed.

How is your weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Having Fun with My Hobby

I have been having fun being back in the building for my U.S. Citizenship classes. They are held at El Centro de las Americas which is the Hispanic Center in my city. It has been fun to practice my Spanish.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

In my evening class, all of my in person students speak Spanish. One of them is fluent in English and comes mostly to support her older friend. When I give the students something to work on in class, she finishes quickly and then checks her messages on her phone.

So I began sending her messages in Spanish like:

Yo pienso que tu estas triste porque nosotros no tenemos nieve.- I think you are sad because we do not have snow.

When I sit at my desk, I like to tell my colleague from Cuba:

You no tengo fuerza porque mucho tempo no puedo comer comida de Cuba. – I have no strength because I can’t eat Cuban food for a long time.

One of my summer goals is to improve my Spanish. My summer break is almost here. Ten more alarm clock days and then I have three months off from my morning class.

Summer time is a great time for teachers to enjoy their hobbies. Having a hobby is good for our mental health. What are your hobbies?

By the way, my favorite thing to say in Spanish is- Jesus Cristo te ama. Jesus loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Why I Share about Living with Chronic Illnesses

The minute you tell someone you are sick you suddenly become the disease not a person

This line is from the movie Midnight Sun which is about a teen girl with a rare illness. While it is true that for some people once they hear about someone being sick it is all they see, when I heard that line it caused me to think about why I share about living with chronic illnesses.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

There is a bit of a back story. After the Lord intervened and helped me recover in 1995, I began to share with people, “I should be dead but I am not.” I did so to get their attention so I could share my story and by doing so share Jesus with them.

As Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

By sharing about my experience, my hope is that others are drawn to Jesus.

Another huge reason is to encourage others who live with chronic illness. My thinking is along the lines of what Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

I am not concerned with receiving sympathy. I am not concerned with what others think of me at this stage of my life. My one overriding concern is that whatever I experience, it is for Jesus and to share him. This life is so short. I am nothing like Paul and can only wish to echo his words to Timothy:

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Knew His Mission All Along- Theme in John

Cynthia of cynthiaswarroom.home.blog requested I expand more on a theme in John of my time/my hour has not yet come. First I want to say as a teacher I love it when people ask questions like this.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To understand this theme of my hour/my time has not yet come, we need to remember how John begins in chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

The Word we see referenced here is Jesus. Jesus is the creator. All things were made threw him. He existed for all eternity before entering time being born as a baby.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

Jesus knew his mission for coming was to be our Savior. He stated this when talking with Nicodemus in John 3:

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.

Jesus knew he was here to die on the cross for our sins and to defeat death for us through his resurrection. He knew there was an appointed for his crucifixion. So when Mary asked him to intervene during the wedding feast in Cana in John 2, Jesus first replied:

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus was letting Mary know he had a mission and the time for that had not yet come.

John understood this as he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is why we see the theme repeated such as in John 8:20

Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

While Jesus was talking with his disciples in John 13, he let them know:

 “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

Before Jesus was arrested, he told the disciples in John 16:

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

Before Jesus was arrested, put through a farce of a trial, tortured, and crucified, he prayed in John 17:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”:

Jesus is our creator. He came to be our Savior and knew all along what the mission and plan was. It was for him to die on the cross for us, so we can be forgiven and receive relationship with God and eternal life. He came intentionally with that purpose always in mind.

When Jesus died for us, it was God’s plan all along. Jesus knew this, which is why he referred to his time/his hour and why John records it. It shows the intentionality of his sacrifice for us. His hour/his time was the appointed time for his death on the cross on our behalf.

Question- If Jesus would come knowing all along what would happen, is he someone you can trust?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- In The Arms by Terrian

The arms of Jesus were stretched out on the cross because of his love for us. He died for us so we could be forgiven. Jesus defeated death for us and his arms are open to us. Whatever problem, trouble, we face, Jesus invites us to come to him.

Even in death we do not need to worry. Jesus has his arms open to us to welcome us home. That is why in 1st Corinthians 15 it says:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus shares his victory over death with us. Jesus calls us to himself. He has promised to always be with us. There is never a moment Jesus is not with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Reveals A Huge Truth About Himself- John 8

Normally my posts for Study of John are on Tuesdays but due to blogger error, I scheduled a post for yesterday meant for today. In case you missed it, it is A Woman In Danger Meets Jesus.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As we continue in John chapter 8, we see the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders become more intense. However, the repeated theme in John of my time or my hour has not yet come shows up again in John 8:20:

Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

In John 8:12 Jesus proclaimed:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

This drew the Pharisees, religious leaders, attention. They were ready to debate. Thinking they could gain the upper hand they brought about the need for witnesses. Keep in mind Jesus had a purpose behind everything he said and did while on earth.

The Pharisees argued:

“Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

Jesus’ response opened up the dialogue that would lead to a major revelation about Jesus.

“I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

Jesus claimed God the Father as his supporting witness. At other occasions he would refer to John the Baptist or the miracles Jesus did. Jesus intentionally brings up the Father as his witness to lead the conversation to where he wanted it to go. The Pharisees thinking they had Jesus due to rumors surrounding his birth asked::

“Where is your father?”

Jesus answered:

“You do not know me or my Father,”

Jesus made a statement to the Jews who believed him:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

This drew the immediate reaction of:

“We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

They prided themselves on being descendants of Abraham.

Jesus replied:

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

Jesus is making a clear distinction between his Father, God the Father, and their father.Their response was an attempted dig at Jesus because of the controversy surrounding his birth, the rumors of being illegitimate

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Jesus did not back down:

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.”

Jesus then lowers the boom:

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “

After more interaction, Jesus tells them:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

The Jews thought they had the upper hand but it was all leading to Jesus revealing a huge truth about himself.

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

The conversation comes to the point Jesus was getting to. He revealed his Deity by claiming for himself the title God used when he revealed himself to Moses by saying I AM.

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

How do we know that is what Jesus was claiming? Look at the response of the Jews.

At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

They sought to stone him which was the punishment for blasphemy.

So what was the major revelation about himself that Jesus was getting to and guiding the conversation to?

Jesus is God the Son. He is a coequal member of the Holy Trinity-Father. Son, and Holy Spirit.

We see repeatedly in John that Jesus speaks of a distinct other person- The Father and of himself The Son. We will see in later chapters Jesus refers to a third distinct person- Holy Spirit.

The question is the same as Jesus Peter when Jesus asked,”Who do you say that I am?”

Who do we not only say but believe Jesus is?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Life Begins…..?

Confession time- I enjoy watching shows like The Voice and American Idol. My favorite is still Amazing Race because they show life from several countries each season. One thing I enjoy about American Idol is some of the things Lionel Ritchie says. He has a way with words. In a recent episode he told someone who performed well:

“Life begins at the end of our comfort zones.”

Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com

I love that. I thought about how many of the best experiences in my life are because of God calling me to do something I had not done before.

My first trip to Romania in 1997 will always be special to me. It was my first time traveling to another country. It opened the door in my life to many other ministry trips to other countries and to my ministry for refugees and immigrants in my city.

Even the recent experience of living through this pandemic has brought new things. Last year at this time I was quickly learning the ins and outs of teaching online with Zoom. That led to a year of hosting and teaching my Life Group from church in Zoom and meeting new friends in Blogger Chat.

Imagine being Abraham in the bible and hearing these words from God in Genesis 12:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

When I have traveled internationally, I have known where I was going. It was on my ticket. Abraham, however, was told to leave his home to go to a place God would show him. But Abraham followed God’s leading and Good blessed not only him but all of us as well for the Messiah came from Abraham’s descendents.

The bible is full of stories of God calling people to do things beyond their ability which caused them to trust God. God calls us out of our comfort zones and leads us to new things and growth.

For us it might be a new ministry at church, starting a blog, learning a new skill, etc.

Have you experienced God leading you beyond your comfort zone?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When Christians Die

This morning a celebration of life will be observed for a woman who was part of my Life Group from church. She passed away and entered the presence of Jesus on Good Friday shortly before midnight. My first thought was what an Easter celebration she had. 🙂

Her final days in hospice care provided some poignant moments. One that I will never forget was bringing some grape juice and gluten free crackers to observe communion with her, her family, and a few Life Group members. I sat near her and read scripture to her, played some worships songs, and prayed as we shared communion.

When a Christian friend passes away, I am always mindful of what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 about grieving:

brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope

Even in death we have hope because of Jesus. He defeated death for us through his resurrection. The plan is already set for our resurrection which Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4:

 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

When a Christian dies, our spirit/soul enters into heaven enjoying eternal glory but we also wait for that day our bodies will be resurrected. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:8:

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

and home it is.

So as we celebrate my friend’s earthly life, I will be mindful of the truth that she lives on in heaven and is much better off than I am at the moment. I will also remember that for Christians death is not goodbye. It is see you again.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.