When God Speaks to Us Through His People

Have you ever had one of those conversations that you realized God arranged for you? That happened for me this morning in church.

My Rheumatology appointment is this Wednesday. After having seen various specialists the past five years, I must admit in the back of my mind I have had doubts about my upcoming appointment.

This morning in church I was talking with a few women who asked me what my appointment is for. I briefly shared with them about my experiences trying to get a diagnosis. One of the women is a retired nurse. She shared with me about how her son has gone to the same clinic I will be going to and how great they have been.

As she shared with me, I realized I am going to the right place. When I walked to the worship center, I thanked God for that brief conversation.

If we are open to God’s leading, he will direct our paths even in little things like the conversation I had this morning,

Now I will go home and take a nap. 🙂

How is your Sunday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Is Our Source- John Chapter 6

As a single man, when someone gives me food or invites me for dinner in their home, instantly I have a fondness for them. When I was younger, a married couple were my friends and I could stop by anytime. I tended to do so close to dinner time. When I would stop by, they would ask me to stay for dinner, I would act like I did not want to be a problem, and they would assure me they wanted me to stay.

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After Jesus fed the thousands and left, the people looked for him. When they found him, they did not admit to the reason they were looking for him.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Just like my friends knew the reason I stopped by at dinner time, Jesus knew why the people were looking for him.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”

He took that moment to teach them about eternal life.

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

So they asked the question.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

The Jewish religion was full of works people had to do. The list of rules by the religious leaders for how to follow the Sabbath was cumbersome. The people were looking for a checklist of works. Jesus answered.

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Believe in Jesus. It is that simple. Not easy but simple. The reason it is not easy is because people tend to want a complicated religion not relationship.

So under the guise of asking for proof what he said is true, they said.

“What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

Ah but even in asking for proof, their real motive still show. They started talking about bread. The manna from heaven. Jesus had just fed all of them with turning a few fish and a few loaves of bread into enough food for them all to have their fill. They were not actually looking for proof. They wanted more food. But by bringing up the manna from heaven during the time of Moses, they opened the door for Jesus to reply.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Jesus is our source for every thing. He created the water we drink. He created the plants that give us food. But here Jesus is talking about spiritual/eternal life. When we have Jesus, he gives us the Holy Spirit, the living water he spoke of in John 4. When we have Jesus, we have the word of God to sustain us. When Jesus said, I am the bread of life, he was telling them he is the source for eternal life, for all things spiritual concerning God.

The people were looking for physical food. Jesus used the opportunity to teach them about spiritual food.

Do we believe in Jesus or do we want to add to that a list of our own manmade rules?

Do we trust Jesus alone, or do we want to have a checklist for us to accomplish?

Do we spend time with Jesus for our souls to be nourished?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Troubled Woman Meets Her Savior Jesus- John Chapter 4

John chapter 3 ends with proclaiming Jesus is the Son of God and has all authority. The first three chapters of John show us that Jesus is the creator, is God the Son, is eternal, and that he came for us.

In chapter 4 we see the first account by John of Jesus interacting with someone desperately in need of God- a Samaritan woman.

Samaria was an area that no self respecting Jew would walk through. Jews thought of Samaritans as being unclean half breeds and Samaria as being a place one would be defiled just walking through. Serious Jews would walk around Samaria to avoid it.

The closest we come to it in the USA would be the days of whites only and colored sections in restaurants. The division between Jews and Samaritans ran so deep.

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So what did Jesus do? He went into Samaria one day and sat down next to a well waiting for the person he knew was coming, a Samaritan woman with a dismal track record with men and relationships.

She came to the well and Jesus spoke to her:

“Will you give me a drink?” 

This simple request sent shock waves through the woman. She knew Jesus was a Jewish man and she knew her “place” in life. She knew Jews did not interact with Samaritans and she knew women were not valued. She replied:

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

Jesus steered the conversation to the reason he was waiting for her- to offer her forgiveness and relationship with God. He used the physical water to begin to speak of spiritual matters:

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Living water, the Holy Spirit living within us because of knowing Jesus is what he is beginning to offer her, but she did not understand yet was trying to grasp it:

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?

Jesus shared with her that he was speaking of spiritual water and eternal life:

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

She asked Jesus for the water he was speaking of but first Jesus let her know that he knew about her life saying:

“Go, call your husband and come back.”

After she replied that she did not have a husband, Jesus let her know:

“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Jesus knew this fallen woman had a series of broken relationships with men. We do not know if some died or if they left her. We do not know if she left them. We only know she had a string of husbands and was then living with a man not married. And yet Jesus spoke with her offering her eternal life.

She tried to change to subject by talking about where to worship. Jesus corrected her thinking about worship by saying:

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman began to understand something about Jesus saying:

“I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

She wondered if he was the long awaited promised one from God- The Messiah.

Jesus confirmed it for her:

“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The woman became the first Samaritan to share with others about Jesus when she ran back to the village saying:

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 

No matter how far we have fallen in life, no matter what others think of us, Jesus loves us and will come to us just as he did the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus will give us relationship with him and eternal life if we will believe in him. We cannot earn it just as the Samaritan woman could not.

Not only that, Jesus will do his work through us just as he did with the Samaritan woman.

Who Jesus Is- John 3:31-36

If I were to divide John into theme sections, I would place chapters 1 to 3 as introduction to who Jesus is with chapter 4 beginning the section of Jesus’ miracles proving who he is.

It is fitting that at the end of chapter 3, John recaps the basic truths about Jesus in the first three chapters. It could be summed up as Jesus has all authority being from God and being God. The recap sets the stage for what will transpire in following chapters as Jesus shows who he is. Jesus is our creator who came into our fallen world to be our Savior.

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In verse 31 we see the contrast between Jesus and all others. Jesus is from above and speaks of things above with above being heaven. Those who are of the earth speak of earthly matters.

We also see in verse 33 that whoever accepts the words of Jesus certifies that God is truthful.

Verse 34 has a wonderful promise that God gives the Spirit without limit. Jesus teaches more about the Holy Spirit in later chapters.

In verse 35 we see two distinct persons- The Father and The Son. We see that The Father loves The Son-Jesus, and has given all things into Jesus’ hands. So we see even in the brief recap in John 3 that there are 3 distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit-the Trinity. It is so had for us to fathom 3 persons in perfect unity, oneness, who have existed for all eternity.

Analogies fall so short but one that I like is the sun in the sky. The sun exists in 3 forms and the same time, solid, liquid, and gas. It is one sun in the sky with three forms.

The chapter ends with a promise yet also a warning in verse 36:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

If we believe in Jesus, we have eternal life. Jesus only sees two groups of people, those who know him and those who do not. My desire is to share Jesus.

The recap is important and not to be overlooked as it sets the stage to the encounters people will have with Jesus in following chapters. In the following chapters, Jesus our creator and Savior shows who he is.

The question each person is faced with is who is Jesus to you and does it match up with the Jesus of the bible?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

He Is Able-We Are Sent

God guided my church to a new lead pastor one year ago after the lead pastor of 38 years felt it was time to step aside into a new role. Pastor Danny says something at the end of each service-“He is able. We are sent.”

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That simple statement has a lot of truth in it for us. When we step out to help others, reach out, serve in the church, whatever we do, we do not do it because we are able. We do it because Jesus is able and he sends us out. It makes me think of John 15:

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

We need to stay connected with Jesus through prayer. He is the one who empowers us through the Holy Spirit. Acts 1 says:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We do not go out because of our ability. We go out and love others, help others, reach out to others because Jesus is able and gives us the ability.

That takes a lot of pressure off of us if we stop and really think about it. The pressure is not on us to perform and get results. We merely step out guided by Jesus and leave the results to him.

Remember- He is able. We are sent.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Build A Windmill?

Yesterday morning before other bloggers joined for blogger chat, I had a short conversation with Pastor Chuck of lakeside4jesus.wordpress.com. We talked about the Chinese government blowing up and destroying church buildings recently and yet how the church continues to grow in China. We talked about how throughout history various rulers have tried to stop Christianity, but to no avail.

I shared with him about how Holy Spirit is always at work but we can’t see him. yet we know when he is around. I mentioned that Holy Spirit like the wind cannot be stopped. A person can make a private barrier to refuse the work of Holy Spirit in their own lives, but Holy Spirit cannot be stopped just like the wind cannot be stopped.

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Pastor Chuck made a great comment- “If there is wind, it is better to build a windmill to work with the wind.”

God is always at work. He cannot be stopped by any force of humankind. Chuck’s comment is a fun reminder that it is better to let God work in our lives and cooperate with his work.

Our Blogger Chats each Saturday are fun and encouraging. It only began because of the shutdown and a prompting from Holy Spirit. If you want to join sometime, leave a comment.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.