Ending that 21 day challenge and some prayers/praises

I need to take a minute to post a few prayer requests that people have made me aware of (usually through comments on here) If you send them to me, please let me know the results, the less we know the harder it is to pray, and honestly when there are so many to pray for sometimes it’s the details we learn that remind us in daily life of the circumstances and ignite our passions…

First, Abbie is my neighbor who had brain surgery for a non-cancerous tumor a few months ago. She had to leave her family to go for radiation in a different city for 6 weeks! Please pray for her total, permanent healing, no side effects or problems with the radiation, peace and provision for all involved, and a miraculous restoration of her lost vision! God can DO it! Pray that this is an amazing time for every family member, not one filled with sadness or fear. Luke 12:28-31, “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

A man named Radu who is only 31, with two children, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Please, please pray for his faith, peace, and total, miraculous healing. Pray that the Lord will use those around him to truly encourage him, and that his hope and strength will be found in the Lord. There is something about this case that really stirs me up. I think we will pray Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Also, a wife named Naz is asking for serious prayer for her husband, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. There is a little information and a request for financial support here: http://familyfightingcancer.wordpress.com. Please pray for them and see if He leads you to contribute money or a nice note in the comments, a special verse, etc. 
I think we pray for total peace, that their finances and other concerns of this world would be cast aside so they can enjoy time together without the incomprehensible burden. Pray that He would bless them each with one-track minds and be reflections of you despite their circumstances. And pray for each of their faith, health, spiritual, and physical healing that will all be to glorify the Holy One.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 1:2

An anonymous person posted about her mother’s stage 1 breast cancer. Pray for both of their peace, as it’s so tempting to get caught up in the terror that comes along with troubles of this world. Pray that the cancer will be permanently removed from her body and that it will not be permitted to control their thoughts or bodies! Matthew 6:31-33, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Tamara had cancer (I think it was breast but not positive) in the past and is fighting it again. Please pray for her and her friends and family’s assurance that the Lord has a perfect plan and will turn all things the enemy intends for evil into good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

A friend of mine’s mother and sisters have all battled breast cancer and anger. Please pray He will be glorified through all of it and that they would turn from trusting themselves and blaming Him to trusting in Him and seeing His goodness.Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

My friend Mandy’s mother has been battling a return of multiple myeloma and we are praying that He will make it disappear so they can extol the great things the mighty one does! John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Okay, the end of the 21 day challenge (which has taken about 4 months to get through!) is here. 
Day 20
John 20
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> at the strips of linen<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> 12 
and saw two angels in white,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other
 at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” 
she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> 14 At this, she turned around and saw 
Jesus standing there,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why 
are you crying?<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you
 have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> “Rabboni!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my 
brothers<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> went to the disciples<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them
 that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors 
locked for fear of the Jewish leaders,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> be 
with you!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> The disciples were overjoyed<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> As the Father has sent me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> I am sending you.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> 22 And 
with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, 
their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when 
Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails 
were, and put my hand into his side,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> I will not believe.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”>
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the 
doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> be with you!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> 27 Then 
he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my 
side. Stop doubting and believe.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”>
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> blessed are those who 
have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in 
this book.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Until this year I always thought Thomas got a bad rap. It didn’t seem that bad to me for him to want to see Jesus with his own eyes. But now that I know more about faith–that true faith is reinforced by His signs and answered prayers, but is not contingent upon them–I reflect on this with different eyes. We should strive for the faith that is so strong we don’t need to see the scars. After we know what will happen it’s easy to look back and see where we could have had more faith, but in the moment it’s very, very hard. Thankfully there’s a helper that we will read about in John 21!


Day 21
John 21
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:Simon Peter, Thomas<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> (also known as Didymus), Nathanael<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> from Cana in Galilee,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> the sons of Zebedee,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.<span class="footnote" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[c]”>[c] When they landed, they saw a fire<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> of burning coals there with fish on it,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”>
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”>
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> He said, “Lord, you know all things;<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”>by which Peter would glorify God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> Then he said to him, “Follow me!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”>
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> what is that to you? You must follow me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”>
25 Jesus did many other things as well.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

In case you didn’t know, the disciple John is the one who wrote this book and is also the one “whom Jesus loved”. What’s that all about, because we know He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, etc.)? I guess He doesn’t deliver consequences based on how much He likes someone, but still enjoys us in unique ways. John was a great guy and is possibly the only disciple not martyred, but when we remember that heaven is better than here, that sort of gave him the short end of the stick. 

Easter and Days 15-19 of the 21 Day Challenge

I can’t believe it’s Easter. This year it has been particularly meaningful for me, I think because my BSF Bible Study of Matthew lined up with passion week this year. Starting in the fall, week after week we have read and discussed the ministry of Jesus, then followed Him to the cross this week. We all know the story, but soaking in it so much makes me reflect on each person who was involved. The injustice that Jesus suffered because of people’s pride is so heart-wrenching, I don’t know how it doesn’t move more of us to overflow with constant passion and appreciation.

I am pasting the next 4 days of the 21-day challenge below. Please read it, no matter how well you know it. Ask Him to let it sink in and highlight special nuances you had never noticed before!

Day 15, John 15

15 “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> the true vine,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> while every branch that does bear fruit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> Remain in me, as I also remain in you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> If you remain in me <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> This is to my Father’s glory,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>
“As the Father has loved me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> 14 You are my friends<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> if you do what I command.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> so that you might go and bear fruit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”>—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> 17 This is my command: Love each other.
18 “If the world hates you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> out of the world. That is why the world hates you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> for they do not know the one who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> 22 If I had not come and spoken to them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> they would not be guilty of sin.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law:<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> ‘They hated me without reason.’
26 “When the Advocate<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> comes, whom I will send to you from the Father<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”>—the Spirit of truth<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 27 And you also must testify,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> for you have been with me from the beginning.

I love this chapter! Am I the only one motivated by the need to stay with Him and bear fruit that way? It’s a great (but, a little unwanted to be honest) reminder that we can only bear fruit through Him. I am having an extremely hard time waiting on Him with a new project we are involved in, and I suppose this is the answer. I’m trying to do it on my own and He says I have to wait for Him. Not so positive how to do that in a practical way, but I guess the point is that you literally just keep praying and reading the Word nonstop until He does something, or shows me what to do next. Feel free to comment with ways or stories about how you have learned to wait on Him!

Day 16, John 16
16 “All this<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> I have told you so that you will not fall away.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> They will put you out of the synagogue;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> but now I am going to him who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> Rather, you are filled with grief<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> because I have said these things.But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> because I am going to the Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>comes, he will guide you into all the truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”>
17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> but I will see you again<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> 23 In that day<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> and your joy will be complete.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”>
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> a time is coming<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> and have believed that I came from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”>
29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> that you came from God.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and in fact has come when you will be scattered,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> each to your own home. You will leave me all alone.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”>
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> In this world you will have trouble.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> But take heart! I have overcome<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> the world.”

Bits of this chapter still leave me a bit confused, but I appreciate the promise that He will speak plainly to us in the future. He obviously shows us answers for the things that are unclear, but not necessarily all at once. The promise that He will give us anything we ask in His name is one I’ve talked about often on here. It is literal. First, we get completely right with Him, we confess all our sins, receive His forgiveness, read and pray with passion, and then ask for the things on our hearts with full expectation that He will answer. I praise Jesus for this promise that I know so well! It’s very difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s false.

Day 17, John 17

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> and prayed: “Father, the hour has come.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> For you granted him authority over all people<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> that he might give eternal life<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> to all those you have given him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> Now this is eternal life: that they know you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> I have brought you glory<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> And now, Father, glorify me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> in your presence with the glory I had with you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> before the world began.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> and they believed that you sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> I pray for them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> and I am coming to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> as we are one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> except the one doomed to destruction<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> so that Scripture would be fulfilled.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>
13 “I am coming to you now,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> 18 As you sent me into the world,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> I have sent them into the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> that they may be one as we are one<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and have loved them<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”>even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> to be with me where I am,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> and to see my glory,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”>
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> I know you, and they know that you have sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> 26 I have made you known to them,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> and that I myself may be in them.”

Did you see how Jesus prayed to God about those He GAVE to Him? We believers are gifts from God. First, He is talking about the disciples. Like Peter, the guy who publicly denied Him three times. That guy was more than just a-ok with Jesus, He considered Him a GIFT. I love that. Our worthless, hypocritical, sorry selves are beautiful to Him. Blessings, even. I want to live up to that today. And tomorrow. Maybe the next day, too.

Day 18, John 18

18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> On the other side there was a garden,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> and he and his disciples went into it.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>
Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>So Judas came to the garden, guiding<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
“Jesus of Nazareth,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> or at the temple,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> nearby slapped him in the face.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> the high priest.
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”>
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> But now my kingdom is from another place.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”>
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”>
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

How beautiful that the chief priests couldn’t even conjure up a consistent argument about why Jesus needed to be crucified. Any of us has sinned enough that an outsider could chat up a few of our friends and come up with some exaggerated version of the truth to condemn us. But perfect is perfect and they had no dirt on the man. 
This is also the chapter I’ve been referring to with all the denials from Peter. We see how instead of watching and praying, the way Jesus told Him to a few chapters back, he got distracted and wanted to hang out by the fire, etc. Next thing you know, he is so caught up in the ways of the world that he doesn’t want to be associated with Jesus. He realized his sin immediately after the rooster crowed, but he had already compromised his integrity. We all need to keep watching and praying. Must stay alert to keep out of such trouble. Easier said than done! Peter had Him right in front of him and couldn’t keep it up, but we do have the Holy Spirit and as we saw a bit ago, we can do such things, bear such fruit, if we remain in Him!

Day 19, John 19
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> And they slapped him in the face.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>
Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> because he claimed to be the Son of God.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”>Therefore the one who handed me over to you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> of the Passover; it was about noon.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>
“Here is your king,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> he went out to the place of the Skull<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>(which in Aramaic<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> the king of the jews.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”>20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”>
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> of Jesus stood his mother,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> 26 When Jesus saw his mother<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> there, and the disciple whom he loved<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> and so that Scripture would be fulfilled,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”>Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> 35 The man who saw it<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> has given testimony, and his testimony is true.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled:<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”> This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> and since the tomb was nearby,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> they laid Jesus there.

This is probably crazy, but whenever I read this I still look for some evidence that it’s not Pilate who killed our Savior. All those who arrested, plotted, and insisted he be crucified were responsible, and the more we see how sinful even the good men like the disciples were, we know that if we were alive back then we would have most likely been spitting on Him too. Before cancer I would have told you I wouldn’t have done such a thing, but one thing I learned so clearly from the cancer was that I really don’t know myself the way I thought. I hope that I can remember this lesson throughout the rest of my days and lean more on Him than on my own understanding.

Days 12-14 of the 21 Day Challenge…Many, many days late

Clearly I got myself wrapped up in other things and never finished the 21-day-challenge on here. I was going to delete the previous posts where I had recorded Days 1-11, but then I realized that was wrong. You see, as we focus so much on what God did for us, I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about Peter. I keep reading what he did to Jesus for my Bible study (if you aren’t enrolled in a good one, GO to Bible Study Fellowship. Seriously. They are everywhere and it’s SO good), and my heart has changed so much for this guy.

Peter was the first disciple to call Jesus the Son of God. He was zealous, intuitive, and bold. He really got it. Sure, he made a mistake or two, but all of them did, other than Jesus. You know, the other disciples were not discussed as much as him and it’s not because he was the only one messing up. Even before I was a Christian I preferred to live life making mistakes than fearfully avoiding them. Obviously that’s been magnified since the Lord healed me. Now I’m completely compelled to go out and DO things for Him, not just talk about them (2 Cor 5:14). So, there’s a special place in my heart for Peter because I see how he messed up. He had the right foundation–faith in Jesus. But instead of watching and praying in Matthew 26, he fell asleep (like they all did). And he pridefully declared that he wouldn’t deny Christ even though the Lord knew he would. But can you picture that moment? They’re all sitting around hearing about the awful things they would do. I would have jumped up with the guy and pounded my chest at the prospect of denying Him also. Peter and I would have taken turns chopping the servant’s ears off when they came to collect Jesus (Mth 27, John 15 which is pasted below). I would have called it zealousness as I swung my sword, and only later would I realize I had allowed my own plans to take over. After the mistake had been made I would have cried and apologized and wished I had never done it.

So, because I do stuff like that, I decided not to delete evidence of the incomplete challenge from a few months ago. When I started it I felt the Lord suggest I post the 21-day challenge, which was to read a chapter from the book of John each day for 21 days. Then I forgot about my firm foundation and got lost in my own ways. So I might still wish I had never done it but might as well try and make things right now. His word will not return void and plenty of them will be posted below.

I’ll paste the chapter here and then some comments beneath it. I’m not writing commentary but if something excites you enough to read more into it, post what you find!

Day 12

John 12 Six days before the Passover,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> Jesus came to Bethany,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”>

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.9em; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”>

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”>
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> Only after Jesus was glorified<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”>

Jesus Predicts His Death

20 Now there were some Greeks<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> for eternal life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> and what shall I say? ‘Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> save me from this hour’?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> now the prince of this world<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[g]”>[g] from the earth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”>will draw all people to myself.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”>
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> that the Messiah will remain forever,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> must be lifted up’?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> before darkness overtakes you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”>When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”>

Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> in their presence, they still would not believe in him.38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”>
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
    nor understand with their hearts,
    nor turn—and I would heal them.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”>
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”> and spoke about him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”>
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> But because of the Pharisees <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”>they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> 43 for they loved human praise<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> more than praise from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”>
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BI)”> 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> 46 I have come into the world as a light,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BK)”> so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BM)”> at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BN)”> to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BO)”> So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
It hurts me deeply that people who walked along my journey with incurable cancer don’t see the truth about the Lord in that. But when I read things like this I realize, the people back then saw every single thing Jesus did and they still didn’t believe. It’s so much more than believing in something or someone you can’t touch. It’s about humbling yourself enough to accept Him. To recognize that you NEED Him. That the fact that He is God matters. 
Day 13
John 13 It was just before the Passover Festival.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> Jesus knew that the hour had come<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> for him to leave this world and go to the Father.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> and that he had come from God<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> though not every one of you.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> 11 For he knew who was going to betray him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> and ‘Lord,’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

18 “I am not referring to all of you;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> I know those I have chosen.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture:<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> ‘He who shared my bread<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> has turned against me.’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”>
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> that I am who I am.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>
21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”>
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”>
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> or to give something to the poor.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”>

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.9em; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”>

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> is glorified<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> and God is glorified in him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>
34 “A new command<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> I give you: Love one another.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> As I have loved you, so you must love one another.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”>35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”>
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”>
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> but you will follow later.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”>
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Oh, Judas. Everyone hates that guy. Now. It appears that he was always a slimeball, but there’s no hint that the disciples noticed. Jesus knew everything so obviously he was aware, but Judas wasn’t the creepy predator lurking in the shadows like we might expect from a guy like that. Sort of like we (yes, myself included) hypocrites who put on a good face but don’t live it out. 
I wonder why Jesus told Judas to “go quickly”. Did He want to hurry up and get it over with? I hate waiting in suspense for bad things, is it worse when you know exactly what’s going to happen like He did? Or was it more of an acknowledgement that He knew what was going to happen and would not thwart the plan? 
As a side note, at the start of this chapter we saw that Judas already made a plan to betray Jesus before Satan entered him. That’s different from being a helpless body possessed by evil.
Day 14
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> You believe<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> in God;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> the way<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> and the truth<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> and the life.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> No one comes to the Father except through me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> in me will do the works I have been doing,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> The world cannot accept him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> I will come to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> Because I live, you also will live.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> 20 On that day<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> you will realize that I am in my Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> and you are in me, and I am in you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> The one who loves me will be loved by my Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
22 Then Judas<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”>
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”> 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”>
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> will teach you all things<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> and will remind you of everything I have said to you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”>27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AS)”> and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> for the Father is greater than I.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”> 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AX)”> is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”>
“Come now; let us leave.

How cool. The prince of this world (Satan) is coming. He HAS NO HOLD OVER ME…he comes so the world may learn that I love the father. The story had to go this way. The only way for us to see true love was for us to know that the perfect, spotless lamb willingly did exactly what His father commanded. He is the only one to ever do exactly what OUR father commands. And He is the only one of us who didn’t deserve a brutal death. What an injustice for Him. It pains me so much to know what people just like me did to Him. We can all say we wouldn’t have done that but the truth is we do awful things all the time. We get caught up in our own plans and allow someone to suffer. We don’t fight the mob for fear of getting trampled. We sit idly by as hatred prevails.

Request

You all probably know that I can be a little sensitive on the inside, but outside I am not as gentle…so, I’m not sure how to express this request that might be touchy. Basically, I am writing a fictionalized version of my story and want to include a godly character who died of cancer at a young age. I feel very moved to base that character on a real person. One whose family would be blessed to share truths about her (or him) and to (hopefully) see the story in print one day.I don’t have an agent or publisher yet but if God wants it printed it will be.
So, if you know of a person whose family might want to be involved in something like that, please have them contact me. Ideally the character will be based on a young woman who died of breast cancer, but the Lord could have someone else in mind. I would love for you to pass this request to people you know who might be interested, but do so prayerfully. I want people’s involvement to help them heal or to remind them of other special moments, not to just relive the pain of their loss. To be really clear, please don’t contact me with someone else’s name because for something that might be difficult I don’t want to surprise them with the question. Just have them consider the opportunity and reach out if they want to be involved.
…And this probably doesn’t need to be said, but let’s not ask people who are still alive because the Lord might still heal them!
So…that’s my awkward request. Thanks in advance!

1 Chronicles 16:12 “Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth.”

Sometimes

Sometimes it’s easy to see how good God is. He is everywhere. The sun is shining like only He can make it do, the birds are chirping the songs He taught them. Your children are behaving like the perfect little angels that only He (or the promise of chocolate) can convince them to be. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Always be joyful.”

Other times we are awakened at 4 am by the “puppy” that is bigger than a miniature horse, clawing at us to go outside. Then maybe the day gets worse so our head aches and we feel that we’re climbing up a mountain of infinite height the whole time. And when it’s finally time to sit and rest we glance at our phone to see bad news. Really bad news.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.”

This is a day with struggles like that. God is good no matter what, but I sure wish I hadn’t just read that Kate died. I mentioned her on here before. She was really young (don’t remember, mid-twenties probably), and had ovarian cancer. I met her when she was scared, sick, and seeking God. She prayed with us for her healing but not for her salvation. As soon as I left her I knew I should have pushed for her to pray for the Holy Spirit to envelope her life. But I didn’t. 

Ecclesiastes 9:12 “Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”

She was in town visiting this winter, and was about to return to Colorado. Since then we emailed a few times and she implied that she was involving Jesus in her life, but I don’t know if she ever literally prayed a sinner’s prayer and accepted the Lord. That’s between Him and her now. I desperately hope that she did, and ask that you would all pray for her family to see Him through this tragedy somehow. Pray that her life and death would have a beautiful impact on the kingdom of heaven and that all who knew her would live for Him. And with Him, forever in heaven.

I’m just devastated that she passed away. She was really frail but was also on a strict diet so I sort of thought that was it. I can’t believe someone who was able to fly here and get around just fine a few months ago was sick enough to die so soon after. You would think I’d be used to it by now but I’m just not. This girl did NOT want to die. There wasn’t that lack of hope that would make her give up. And her poor husband actually married her after she was already diagnosed. They were newlyweds and never even spent a day of her marriage as a healthy person. She never got to have kids or to really celebrate the great things God gave her. 

Acts 14:7 “…and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

It’s really hard to see His goodness in all of this, but it’s there. It’s there in the little things, like letting her get diagnosed in time to appreciate the notice and share a lot of love and memories. It’s there in the fact that at least as of a few months ago she wasn’t in a lot of pain. It’s there because He led her to seek Him before she died. So many people do that. I think on some level they realize that the emptiness they feel has a source, and it’s not in the pleasures that healthier people enjoy so much. They start realizing that they aren’t in control of their own destiny, and maybe eternal life isn’t worth hedging your bets about.

John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except by me.”

It’s not enough to be a good person, or to help others. Anyone can do that. But not just anyone can go to heaven. I actually don’t live for Jesus because of the promise of heaven, I do it because He has redeemed me and I am overflowing with that gratitude NOW and want to share it TODAY. But when it boils down to it, it doesn’t matter what we do on earth, because it’s less than a fraction of eternity. There is no end to eternity. No second chances, no do-overs. That’s why a true Christian will love these non-believers enough to tell them about the Lord. He is the ONLY way. Honestly, I wish that wasn’t so, but I’m not going to lie to you about it.

Ephesians 5:6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

There are a lot of reasons not to devote yourself to God. It can be embarrassing. You might have to give up your lavish lifestyle. You have to depend on Him instead of yourself. But…we are not promised tomorrow and you will likely not have a clue when you’re about to die. I sure had no clue that I was dying at the time of my diagnosis, and I really thought I had a good handle on intuition. Hell is an eternal wrath, a complete separation from God. It’s not worth it. 

Revelation 14:11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

There is no official prayer to accept the Lord but I’m going to paste one from here. You just have to acknowledge the God is supreme and Jesus is the only way to get to Him. Promise to change your ways (then do! He will help!). You could pray this and if you mean it (or really, just try to mean it. If there are parts you fail at or don’t understand you just pray for help!). If you do this, it’s the first step in a relationship with Him. Most of us don’t just “get” what to do next. If that’s the case, read the Bible, pray, find a church and repeat. I can help you find resources so feel free to email me here if so.

A Sinner’s Prayer:
“Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
Amen.”

Passover Hope

Naomi turned three last week. THREE! She wasn’t even a year old when I was diagnosed with, and then miraculously healed from, stage 4 cancer. Since then she learned to crawl, walk, run and talk. She’s so much fun I can’t help but smile when I look at her, and the days that I do so with sadness because of what is coming for us are long gone. God has restored our family and allowed us to move on, with a stronger faith and love than we had before it all began. But I will admit that as the time has passed I am farther removed from cancer, and more focused on normal daily struggles. I am giving my testimony next week and realized that is the very first time since it all began that I haven’t had another opportunity to do so on my calendar. I have become less of a cancer survivor and more of a woman and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.

I passionately promised God that I would never forget, never stop bragging about His awesomeness. Not in an attempt to “make a deal” with Him, but because I truly don’t want to. I don’t want to become the person I was before. To move back to my old definition of hope, which was more like “accept and except that bad things will happen but really want good ones” and back to the biblical definition that I learned, “the urgent expectation” that we all need. That we should all cling to.

I just read about the four different ways the word and concept of hope is used in the Bible. They are all awesome, so check it out here. The most interesting one to me is with Rahab in the Old Testament. In Joshua 2 we saw that Rahab was a prostitute who hid God’s men for Him. When they destroyed the city later, they had her hang a scarlet cord out the window to show they should pass over her place. That scarlet cord is a tiqvah, which is actually an unbreakable cord, symbolizing our unbreakable hope in God. And I’m sure it’s not coincidence that of course, during passover, God had His people put scarlet blood over their doorposts so the angel of death would pass over those homes…and that Jesus was celebrating the Seder meal from passover during the last supper, when He demonstrated how He would actually bear all our scarlet sins on the cross. And when it comes to judgment, our sins are passed over if we put our hope in Him.

Now that I’ve so smoothly brought this post about hope around to passover and Easter, I would like to invite all of you locals to a teaching Yaacov is doing about passover on Thursday, April 17 from 6-8 pm at Four Oaks Community Church. It will have elements of a traditional Seder meal that Jesus and the disciples were celebrating for the Last Supper (Lk 22, Mth 26, etc), and he will show how the things He said were explaining how His actions fulfilled the rituals his predecessors hadn’t understood. It is always a good time and this one will be shorter than many. You don’t have to be a Four Oaks member or have any idea what passover is about to attend. You might be able to see a description here, and if not email me to RSVP or for more info.

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> In his great mercy<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> he has given us new birth<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> into a living hope<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> that can never perish, spoil or fade.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> until the coming of the salvation<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> that is ready to be revealed<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> though now for a little while<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>—may result in praise, glory and honor<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.