ANOTHER MIRACLE

I started this post earlier with many, many paragraphs about myself. I was going to lead into how He does these amazing things to bring me out of the selfish state I’m normally in. Took me hours to realize that I’d done it again. Just the idea of talking about myself for a few paragraphs in light of His miracles shows I’m STILL IN THAT SELFISH STATE. 

James 3:13-15 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”

So, more importantly than any lessons I’m learning or struggles I face, God is good. Always. He is good in the bad times. Good in the good times. Funny frequently, not sure why the Bible doesn’t mention that outright. No matter what, He is. And today, He did it again. It’s almost unfathomable and honestly, it was the last thing I expected to hear today. But that’s because no matter how “close” I am to the Holy Spirit, I am not THE Holy Spirit, and really have no idea all the awesome things He’s doing…and just to be clear, neither do you. I don’t care how much intuition you have. It’s still intuition, not truth.
Job 11:7 “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?”

(Please note that the original post called this stage 4 cancer but I have edited it to describe it better)
Today, we will rejoice with the rest of our Christian family that Crystal was HEALED of horrendous breast cancer. It was really, really bad. They diagnosed it as stage 3 which is technically curable, but they later said it was all up her spine, which would mean it spread and should have been stage 4. Once it’s spread is when it’s incurable, but I get the impression that the doctors never changed it to Stage 4. Either way, the treatments she was undergoing weren’t working or even tolerable, so it wasn’t the medicine that made the cancer disappear. I didn’t get every little detail but she flew to Chicago for treatments at CTCA and everything bad happened. She was allergic to even mild treatments, there was an oozing tumor, even after all the strongest chemos and double mastectomy the cancer came back, more aggressive than ever. So they tried to radiate most of her torso just to kill off what they could and it caused crazy vomiting, which was so unusual the doctors thought it had spread to her brain. This Christmas she spent the day vomiting and praying that there wasn’t cancer in her brain. But today, January 17, she is praying thanksgiving to the Lord above who healed her entirely. The PET scan showed no cancer at all. Anywhere. Because men can’t. But God can…And God did…And God does…And God WILL…
“The Lord has done great things for us…we are glad” Psalm 126:3

A brief update on my friend–she is a friend of MANY in Tallahassee, and gives of herself lavishly for the name of the Lord– the brain tumor is not cancerous, but it is at the base of her brain stem and she needs immediate brain surgery to get it removed. She’s awaiting the schedule so please keep praying. We are thrilled that it is not cancer but brain surgery is a big, big, big deal for mere humans. Not too big for the trinity though.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”

Please keep praying for Barbara, too. The endometrial cancer attacking her body improved but a mass in her lungs is growing. She is awaiting biopsy results of it today. I’d like to pray that it’s just not even cancer and disappears. But no matter how God chooses to heal her, we just pray that He does it for His glory and so Barbara and the whole family can continue to praise His name for many days to come!

Let’s keep praying, He is LISTENING and MOVING! He cares about His people!

Emergency Prayer!!!

We’ll finish up that 21-day challenge another time…

I have a friend who prayed diligently for my healing and Satan has been attacking her health. Now it’s really bad. She is very faithful and seeks Him first, doesn’t panic or fear. But this one is a true emergency. I know, without a doubt, that the Lord will use it for His glory and He will fix it.

Anyway, she has four young children and has lost vision in one of her eyes. After various tests they realized today that it is a brain tumor, the size of a thumbnail, sitting on her optic nerve. We don’t know if it’s malignant or benign, either way it’s a huge problem. We will not worry, we will not doubt, we will declare the name of the Lord and praise Him in advance for his sovereignty over this situation. I’ve heard stories like this, good and bad. But I’m not going to speculate. I’m going to pray. And believe. And then start it over again. 
She has another test tomorrow at 11am. Please pray fervently for her. I can’t tell you how urgent and odd I feel about it. I know He is going to fix it. I know it’s going to be for His name. So we can all rejoice together about it. But it’s a lot easier for me to believe and expect that than for her and her family to do so. I’m sure her kids don’t know much and she’s going to have all those same fears and problems that we do. You want to assure them that the Lord will heal you because you are trying to claim it. But you don’t want to lie to them! And again, you want them to be prepared for the worst but that’s sort of undoing the faith that you’re stretching to believe you’ll be healed. And on. And on. These are lies from the enemy but in the midst of all this it’s hard to discern.
Faith is hard. Pray for hers. Brain tumors are hard. Pray for that (I won’t say “hers” because it is a foreign, demonic object). We rebuke Satan and his demons from the role they are playing in her destruction. We bow down to allow the Lord to rise up above us and reign supreme in her body. Pray that, even if her vision doesn’t come back suddenly to show she’s been healed, He just does it. I will go so far as to pray that the tumor disappears and is gone for tomorrow’s test. None of this enduring through it all. Let’s just clear her brain now and there is nothing problematic or cancerous in her body. Pray He fully restores her sight and relieves any other symptoms she struggles with. Pray the Holy Spirit takes over her brain and her body so there is no room for the demons to return (Mth 12:43)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Day 11

We are more than halfway there! Here is what I noticed from Day 10: 1) We see another version of this law, that the only way to enter heaven is the right way–through the gate. The gatekeeper is Jesus. You can’t be a good person or have the right intentions. It stinks, those are the people I am the saddest for, because in most ways they “deserve” heaven more than the rest of us. But If you aren’t asking Jesus to intercede for you there’s no way you can survive the judgement, because you will never be worthy of the greatest reward there is–eternal life in heaven. I wish that part wasn’t true, but it just is. It’s important, and I love you enough to tell you that. If you have people in your life like that and aren’t telling them the truth from John 10, you aren’t loving them enough. It may offend them or turn them off, but they need to know the truth before it’s too late. 2) One of the (many) reasons we worship Jesus is that He is the only one who has laid down His life for us. And He is the only one who really, really, didn’t deserve the death and punishment He had to bear. He did it for us. That’s what all the laying down the life stuff is about. 3) Just to harp on the first few points again, when you come across someone who says they believe Jesus is a way but not the only way, or something like that, it means they don’t believe in John 10. If they don’t believe part of it they can’t believe any of it. Jesus said lots of things, and this is the most important one, so you can’t pick and choose your beliefs because they are uncomfortable.

Today’s reading is John, Chapter 11:

    Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> the village of Mary and her sister Martha.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>  (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>is sick.”
    When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”  After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> Lazarus has fallen asleep;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> but I am going there to wake him up.”  His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
     So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas<span class="crossreference" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
      On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”>was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”>  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
      Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> the resurrection and the life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> The one who believes<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> in me will never die.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> Do you believe this?”  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> the Son of God,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> who is to come into the world.”
     After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
     When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
     Jesus wept.
     Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> you will see the glory of God?”
     So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> and said, “Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.
     Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> and had seen what Jesus did,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  Then the chief priests and the Pharisees<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> called a meeting<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”>  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> who was high priest that year,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”>  So from that day on they plotted to take his life. Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea.<span class="crossreference" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
      When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BM)”> many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BN)”> before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BO)”> and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

21 Day Challenge Days 9-10

Apparently it’s hard for me to even post the challenge each day, which shows you how well I’m doing at getting it together this year. I just completely forgot about it yesterday so today I’ll put 9 and 10 in the same post.
For ladies in Tallahassee, please make sure to come to Four Oaks Community Church this Thursday (1/16) from 7-9 pm for a fun night of worship and listening to Debora and my testimonies on how God miraculously healed us each of Stage 4 breast cancer! I always get excited to share it but I’m extra excited about this time. So many things are coming together to make it such a great night, I just know the Holy Spirit will be there and every heart will change for the better. If you aren’t local, please keep that night in your prayers, for a big move from the Lord, and for us to say exactly what the Lord wants!

Day 9
As a reminder, the reading from the 8th day was about the woman who committed adultery, who Jesus saved from being stoned. It sounds cruel, but that was the punishment in those days and God had allowed that to be the standard of punishment for His reasons. So it was really weird for the people of the day to be told not to do that. It’s one of those examples of how the spirit of law was intended opposed to how it was actually carried out. It’s also really convicting to think that we can’t push for people’s punishments because we are sinners ourselves. It’s easy enough when it doesn’t directly affect us, but for those who sin against us or hurt those we love it’s much harder.

The 9th day’s reading is:
John 9

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> who sinned,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>this man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> or his parents,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> that he was born blind?”
 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>  As long as it is day,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.  “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>  Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
 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?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.” They<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.”  His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”>
A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>
 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”  He answered, “I have told you already<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “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 man answered, “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,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> in the Son of Man?”  “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”  Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.  Jesus said, “For judgment<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> I have come into this world,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> so that the blind will see<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”  Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.



Day 10
From Day 9’s reading I thought it was interesting that the healed man’s parents wouldn’t vouch for the son and actually sent the Pharisees to him for answers. Ouch. I hope I wouldn’t do that as a parent, but it would be overly proud of me to say I never would. It actually convicts me more because I’ve been feeling guilty about how little I really pour into the girls anymore. Maybe the times I take the easy way out with them is sort of akin to that. 
The other glaring point that stands out is at the end: “…but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains”. For all those who know about Jesus but do not humble themselves to put Him first, there is no excuse left. Your guilt remains and there’s no getting out of it but to repent (turn back) from it!

Here is the reading for the 10th day of this challenge:

John 10

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.  Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> the gate<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> for the sheep. All who have come before me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> are thieves and robbers,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> and have it to the full.
“I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> the good shepherd.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
 “I am the good shepherd;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> I know my sheep<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>—and I lay down my life for the sheep.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”>  I have other sheep<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”>and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>
The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> and raving mad.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> Why listen to him?”  But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> and they follow me. I give them eternal life,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> and they shall never perish;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> is greater than all;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”  Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> came—and Scripture cannot be set aside<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”>— what about the one whom the Father set apart<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> as his very own<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”> and sent into the world?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> but he escaped their grasp.
 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BI)”> to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> all that John said about this man was true.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BK)”> And in that place many believed in Jesus.

Day 8

I was in a study group yesterday when someone reminded us of some of the scriptures that talk about how few people will really make it to heaven. Everyone has an invitation but so few accept it. I know it’s hard to choose things you can’t see over the concrete goodies we can touch and fight for, but that is so fleeting. In Luke 16:19-31 we see a story about a rich man who didn’t help a poor man named Lazarus. Then they both died and Lazarus went to heaven, and the unkind, rich man went to hell. The rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus in heaven, from his place in Hades. He asked for mercy but it was too late. He even begged for them to go back and warn his family about Hell, but Abraham told him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” That story has a few meanings, because it’s also referring to how people after Jesus don’t believe in Him just like our ancestors didn’t believe in God before Jesus came. With that and the more obvious implication of it being too late after death to change our mind, I agonize over that story. I ache for those who don’t believe now because I think they just don’t realize what they’re doing. And sometimes I’m so frustrated by those who know the truth but still choose another way. But seriously, the results of these choices are permanent. More permanent than anything we can relate to, because all our understanding of time has a concrete beginning and end. 


All this is a long-winded plea to keep pursuing the Lord. Plenty of people claim to know Him but still don’t, or turn away. No one is safe unless they are actively seeking Him day by day. And no matter how many times one rejects you for His name, it’s not too late for them until they die. Don’t let anyone you know perish without at least trying to help them find the truth. Give them the best gift you ever received, even though they act like they don’t care. And if you haven’t accepted it yet, it’s not too late. It might be awkward to accept Him after all the bad things you’ve done, after all the explanations you’ve used to prove He doesn’t exist, or after all the endeavors you’ve pursued without Him. But not accepting Him doesn’t make Him the fraud. It seems insurmountable at times, but it’s really the easiest decision you could ever make. Give up the nonsense you’re holding onto and release yourself into God’s loving arms. You are forgiven, beloved, and a priceless treasure to your Savior.

All this was on my heart instead of comments about yesterday’s reading. So, here’s today’s reading, John Chapter 8:

    but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> at her.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
    At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
    He said, “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> the light of the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”  Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> But you have no idea where I come from<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> or where I am going. You judge by human standards;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> I pass judgment on no one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>  But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>  In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”>  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”  Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
     Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”  This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”  But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> you will indeed die in your sins.”
   “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied.  “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.  So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a] the Son of Man,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>  The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> for I always do what pleases him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”>  Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
     To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”>  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
     “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
     Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> for I have come here from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> I have not come on my own;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> God sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”>  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> and you want to carry out your father’s desires.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> 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.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”>  Yet because I tell the truth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
    The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> and demon-possessed?”  “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me.  I am not seeking glory for myself;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”  At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed!<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death.  Are you greater than our father Abraham?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BM)”> He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BN)”> my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BP)”> I know him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BQ)”> If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BS)”> rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BT)”> and was glad.”  “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
     “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BU)”> I am!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BV)”> At this, they picked up stones to stone him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BW)”> but Jesus hid himself,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BX)”> slipping away from the temple grounds.

Day 7

We are one week deep into the three week challenge of reading the book of John. Some people get more out of reading commentaries or listening to sermons on a scripture than just reading it straight, but I think we are still supposed to do both. The Holy Spirit gave the Word in it’s entirety, not with addenda. Also, when the disciples asked why He taught in parables, He said those open to the Word would understand and I think that pertains to all of it. We understand it differently for all different points of our life. That’s why the book is so timeless and even the true Bible scholars disagree on bits and change their views over time. 
So, now we’re getting into more of the meat with things that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. From yesterday (John 6), I had these thoughts. If (and when) they differ from yours it doesn’t mean either of us is right: 1) Whenever I’ve heard this feeding 5000 miracle taught, people make a point of mentioning that it’s just 5000 men, and with women and children there would be many more. It’s true, but it still makes me smile. Is the miracle really more impressive that the fish and loaves fed 15000 than if it fed 5000? Either way, a small boy’s lunch was multiplied vastly. Transformed beyond any human’s understanding. This truly was a time that the things that are impossible with men are possible with God (Lk 18:27). This is exactly what I’m talking about with how we limit God, but we do it even worse today. We pray for what we can imagine or what we desire, instead of loosing the Creative One who can do infinitely more. We pray for little things like that He would stretch our finances or make a conversation go well. Things that we could almost do ourselves, but it’s just out of reach. But the things that are truly impossible, that we could never take credit for, like removing terminal diseases, making blind men see, donkeys talk, or fire burst from a watery hole, are “too big” for us to ask for. So we don’t ask, and He doesn’t do it. And He doesn’t do it because we don’t ask. Then we really don’t ask because He didn’t. Then we teach our children how to not dream so big, because they’ll only be disappointed. And we give a dose of “reality” to our friends and loved ones who dare to hope that He is who He says He is, and the cycle of an apparently limited God continues. 2) There are debates about the works that God requires. It’s not that confusing. Clearly, if we have the Holy Spirit the love will overflow and cause great works. But this spells out the question and answer–“what must we do?”, “believe in Him”. If we really believe, we will follow. It won’t always be easy, but if we really pursue Him we will know how to do it, and the hard parts get easier because we don’t have the same values. Sometimes when I’m feeling down I think of some of the good times I used to have before I had Him. But truly all those times were missing something. Not perfect for some reason. Since I started living for Him I have had truly perfect moments, and I realize that the things from my past that occasionally tempt me are just not worth it to me now. People who think it isn’t worth it just don’t know how good it is on our side. 3) I’m interested in why so many turned away from Him when He was teaching about following God. I would like to think I would never do such a thing, but you never know. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit yet, so even though it seems like a big deal to see all those miracles, they might not have had the clear vision that we do. But I can’t help but wonder how many sleepless nights they had after (or, if they heard) the news of how He was resurrected and the curtain was torn.
Today’s challenge reading is John 7:

     After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>was near, Jesus’ brothers<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works 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.”  For even his own brothers did not believe in him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>
     Therefore Jesus told them, “My time<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> is not yet here; for you any time will do.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> because I testify that its works are evil.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>  You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> has not yet fully come.”  After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.
       However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> and asking, “Where is he?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>  But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
      Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> without having been taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.  Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
     “You are demon-possessed,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs),<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?  Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
     At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>  Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>really concluded that he is the Messiah?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”>  But we know where this man is from;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> You do not know him, but I know him<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> because I am from him and he sent me.”  At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> than this man?”
    The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
    The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> among the Greeks,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and teach the Greeks?  What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”>
 On the last and greatest day of the festival,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> in me, as Scripture has said,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> rivers of living water<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> whom those who believed in him were later to receive.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”>
      On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”>  Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”> and from Bethlehem,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> because of Jesus.  Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
    Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” “No one ever spoke the way this man does,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BI)”> the guards replied. “You mean he has deceived you also?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> the Pharisees retorted.  “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BK)”>  No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.” Nicodemus,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked,  “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

Day 6

We’re on day 6 of this fun challenge. Make sure to let me know what your thoughts have been, and what the Lord has revealed. Now we’re getting into some of Jesus’ healings, which all have taken on new meaning to me than they had before they were sick.

Thoughts from John 5: 1) We don’t make a big deal about the pool at Bethesda but I don’t know why not. I guess it’s not as important as the rest of the Bible, but the footnotes in at least some versions say an angel stirred up the waters at a given time and whoever hopped in first was healed. What? For real. So, this was sort of normal back then. It gives a new insight on why some of the people were not totally impressed by the things He did, or maybe why some fell away when He mentioned they had to give up their lives for Him. Maybe they thought it would be easier to just wait by the water…2) The man who was healed had no idea who had healed him. I hope and pray that all of us who are healed know exactly who is responsible, whether or not He uses doctors or other people to get us there. 3) I never thought about God not judging us, that He gave all that responsibility to Jesus. I don’t have a big deep thought about it, just something to keep in my heart for another day.

Here is the new reading, John 6: Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> he had performed by healing the sick.  Then Jesus went up on a mountainside<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> and sat down with his disciples.  The Jewish Passover Festival<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> was near.
     When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
     Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
    Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>
    Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
    When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
    After the people saw the sign<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
    When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles,they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
     The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> Then some boats from Tiberias<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
      When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> when did you get here?”
     Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> not because you saw the signs<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> to eternal life,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> which the Son of Man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> in the one he has sent.”
      So they asked him, “What sign<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> then will you give that we may see it and believe you?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’   Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> and gives life to the world.”  “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
      Then Jesus declared, “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> the bread of life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.  For I have come down from heaven<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> not to do my will but to do the will<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> and believes in him shall have eternal life,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> and I will raise them up at the last day.”
     At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> whose father and mother we know?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”>
      “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God’.
 Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”>  I am the bread of life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”>  Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> which anyone may eat and not die.  I am the living bread<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”> that came down from heaven.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”>
       Then the Jews<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> began to argue sharply among themselves,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BI)”> “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> of the Son of Man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BK)”> and drink his blood,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BM)”> For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BO)”>and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BQ)”> said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
      Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BT)”> ascend to where he was before!<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BU)”> The Spirit gives life;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BV)”> the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BW)”> from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BX)”> He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”  From this time many of his disciples<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BZ)”> turned back and no longer followed him.
      “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(CB)”> “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
     Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(CE)”> the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(CF)”> (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(CG)”> who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)