Tag Archives: John

Exodus 30; John 9; Proverbs 6; Galatians 5

The disciples consider whose fault it is that a man was born blind. Jesus ends the debate by revealing the purpose of the man’s blindness— to reveal God’s glory, His character.  Jesus spits on the ground, makes a bit of mud and applies it to the eyes of a blind man and tells him to go and wash it off. He does as instructed and for the first time, sees.

No one can quite believe what has just happened. Three times, he is asked to tell his story. It appears that his audience would like him to change his narrative and when he refuses, they turn on him. The formerly blind man will have none of it:

“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this nam were not from God, he could do nothing.” John 9:30-34.

Here is my take away: I have had parts of my life that have been crippling in a variety of ways. There are times when repentance is required, but other times, pointing my finger at myself or others is in vain. Sometimes, bad things just happen, but Jesus is the master of using the ordinary stuff of life, the things that aren’t glorious or pretty to work his wonders.

The formerly blind man gets it right. He isn’t willing to change his story to accommodate others’s desired narrative; he gives credit where credit is due.  He believes.

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” John 9:39.

Lord Jesus, thank you for bringing healing into my life. Help me to be true in the telling of how you have healed me. May the glory of your character at work in humble lives, shine through. Amen.

Kathy

 

 

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Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

Psalm 91 (ICB), a well loved and oft repeated psalm of refuge and protection throughout the centuries, one I have spent many a struggle professing; because sometimes it’s important to be reminded that I have a protector that can be trusted and that I am not alone:

1Those who go to God Most High for safety

will be protected by God All-Powerful.

2I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety and protection.

You are my God, and I trust you.”

Yesappa, I trust you. You are faithful. You are full of power. You are above all. Even in the midst of danger and trials, you can be counted on to protect me as your beloved child.

3God will save you from hidden traps

and from deadly diseases.

4He will protect you like a bird

spreading its wings over its young.

His truth will be like your armor and shield.

You outstretch Your massive arms over me acting as my covering. My Savior and Giver of Truth rescue me from that which seeks to trap and destroy me. Be my armor. Be my shield in the midst of my trials.

5You will not fear any danger by night

or an arrow during the day.

6You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark

or sickness that strikes at noon.

Make me brave and give me courage to face the dangers that come into my life by day and by night. Remove fear that tries to control me. Remove sin that tries to defeat me. Remove illness that tries to snuff my life.

7At your side 1,000 people may die,

or even 10,000 right beside you.

But you will not be hurt.

8You will only watch what happens.

You will see the wicked punished.

It doesn’t matter what happens around me, the destruction, the despair. My focus is on You. My understanding acknowledges Your judgement and rejoices at Your redemption, Your grace, Your mercy as I turn toward You, as I look at Your face.

9The Lord is your protection.

You have made God Most High your place of safety.

10Nothing bad will happen to you.

No disaster will come to your home.

11He has put his angels in charge of you.

They will watch over you wherever you go.

12They will catch you with their hands.

And you will not hit your foot on a rock.

13You will walk on lions and cobras.

You will step on strong lions and snakes.

I can walk without fear into the scariest of situations, the most dangerous circumstances and I am assured of Your care for me. I can be certain that You will never leave me nor forsake me. I can be firm in my belief that Your arms are a place of strength and safety.

14The Lord says, “If someone loves me, I will save him.

I will protect those who know me.

15They will call to me, and I will answer them.

I will be with them in trouble.

I will rescue them and honor them.

16I will give them a long, full life.

They will see how I can save.”

I love You Lord and I know that You Love me more than I can ever imagine. I call to You for help and You are there. You listen to my prayers. You give me answers, solutions to my problems. You put Your hedge around me, enveloping me in Your arms. You strengthen me. You encourage me. You give me life.

Thank You for being my refuge and my fortress. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings,

Julie (juliet2912)

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Ezekiel 25-27; Psalm 85; John 9

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out. So Jesus found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36He asked, “Who is the Son of Man, sir? Tell me, so I can believe in him!”
37Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you now.”
38He said, “Yes, Lord, I believe!” Then the man bowed and worshiped Jesus.
39Jesus said, “I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind could see and so that those who see will become blind.” John 9:35-39 (ICB)

Since the beginning of time, the thing that God desires most is to be known by His creation. Throughout the Bible, every story talks about the ways He shows himself to people who will listen; and how He shows himself to the people who won’t.

He wants us to believe in Him, to know His name, to see His goodness and His power, to experience His mercy, grace, and love.

I think back in my own life about the ways that God has revealed Himself to me and realize that I probably don’t even truly recognize all of it. But I know that more than 10 years ago, He lifted the veil off of my eyes and I could see Him in a way I never had before.

The Old Testament is filled with stories of the wrathful, angry God. In Ezekiel, there is prophecy after prophecy of how God is going to destroy the nations who chose not to believe in Him and the people who chose to come against Him.

7So I will use my power against you. I will give you to the nations as if you were valuables taken in war. I will wipe you out of the lands so you will no longer be a nation. I will destroy you. And you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezekiel 25:7 (ICB)

The key to the prophecies in Ezekiel is, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.

When the blindness has fallen away, when I choose to seek His face and seek to know Him, when I believe in the saving power of His Son, than His wrath falls away and His love reigns. His goodness is reflected to the world through my life.

9God will soon save those who respect him.
And his greatness will be seen in our land.
10Love and truth will belong to God’s people.
Goodness and peace will be theirs.
11On earth people will be loyal to God.
And God’s goodness will shine down from heaven.
12The Lord will give his goodness.
And the land will give its crops.
13Goodness will go before God
and prepare the way for him. Psalm 85:9-13 (ICB)

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Daniel 10-12; John 20

Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. 

Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”

Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”

As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” Daniel 10:12-19

I have been holding on to God, holding tight to what I believe He’s told me; and yet there is a battle going on for the break through. I believe that it’s a battle, not against flesh and blood, but in the spirit…the enemy desiring the breakdown of family, bitterness, and a turning from faith. Most of the time the enemy isn’t succeeding, but here and there my resolve to be strong in the circumstance weakens for a time and I am left frustrated and bewildered.

My husband and I got married in India in February 2010. I was born and raised in the US and he is an Indian citizen, and through a series of events – a long story for another time – we were brought together, a marriage arranged by God.

For the past year and a half we’ve been following procedure to acquire the visa that will allow our family to be reunited in this country – a process that can typically take up to 8 months. Through all this time apart, my husband has continued ministering to the orphans, widows, lepers, and poverty stricken. Meanwhile, I am stateside nurturing our family, educating our children, and praying for a miracle.

There have been minor roadblocks throughout the process – illness, a baby born, waiting on finances, etc. But a few months ago we hit a major obstacle that requires a miraculous breakthrough. Because I have been on and off the mission field since 2008, I have not held a paying job for any length of time. Needless to say, the income of a non-paid volunteer* is well below poverty level, and I do not financially qualify to be considered the sole-sponsor for my husband, a requirement for the next step in the process. In order for my husband’s visa to be granted, we need a co-sponsor who is able to team up with our family, and so far the search for that person is proving to be difficult.

This recounting in the book of Daniel, strengthens my hope and encourages me. It helps me remember that just because I pray hard with expectancy, I may not hear the answer right away. But that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t heard my prayer; it doesn’t mean that He hasn’t already put the answer in motion. God loves me and calls me precious to Him.

Even when I am most frustrated, I believe God already knows who will join with our family in this crazy adventure. I believe that person’s heart is being prepared even as I write this. I believe that God didn’t bring us together from worlds apart to allow the barricades the enemy sets up to tear us down and steal our family’s hope. I hold onto the peace He gives that surpasses understanding. I hold onto the encouragement He sends my way through His Word, through music that honors Him, through family and friends. I hold on to His strength. I hold on to the truth that God knew we’d experience this trial and that He already knows the solution; and I trust that He will give me the wisdom to know where to walk and through this journey, He will transform me more into His image.

Yesappa, Thank You in advance for the answer. Thank You in advance for making it possible for our family to be reunited. Thank You in advance for leading me to the person who will partner with us in this adventure. Thank You for Your peace and Your strength in my weakness. Help me walk out each day in this journey in a way that displays Your glory, and help me glean from the lessons this trial is teaching me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Ezekiel 28-30; John 10

The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10:24-30

 

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When I went to India the first time, I was able to see firsthand what shepherding looked like during Biblical times. No barns, no fenced-in green pastures, no troughs of food or water, just a mass of goats (most commonly) or sheep and in their midst their shepherd and sometimes his nomadic family.

A dried rice paddy, the ground resting after a harvest, the herd hired to fertilize the land in preparation for the next planting season. A lone shepherd crouched down in the shade, a sun-bleached towel wrapped around his head to protect him from the elements, his watchful eye missing nothing.

A herd journeying through the village toward new grazing land, some stragglers lingering in the road blocking traffic. The shepherd, carrying the newest addition to the flock under his arm, gently guiding them with his staff, a unique clicking sound coming from his mouth, a warning to move out of the way…and the sheep instantly respond.

When there is more than one herd in the area, to the untrained eye, it is just a swarm of bodies, chaos and pandemonium. Then each shepherd bellows out, both calling his sheep like children. The herds separate like the Red Sea and every sheep goes to right or left toward the voice it recognizes.

But how do I recognize my Shepherd’s voice? How do I really know how to hear God’s voice?

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the audible voice of God – that big, booming, Charlton Heston-like voice portrayed in most religious movies – but over the years I have learned to recognize how He talks to me.

When He says something, it may be words that come through my head like thoughts, it may be a picture I see in my mind’s eye, or an impression I feel with my heart or my other sensations, etc. And, I know it’s God, the same way I know it’s my mom or dad or my sister, my husband, or my friend on the phone; I recognize His voice because I have practiced listening to Him.

I have learned to distinguish the difference between God talking to me, the enemy accusing me, and my own self-talk. I have learned to look for the proof by seeing the fruit of what each voice brings. God’s voice is loving, full of grace and mercy. He speaks life and encouragement to my heart, even when He reprimands me, calling out my sin and convicting my heart to turn back to Him. Hearing His voice helps me know Him better and helps me follow, choosing the right path and walking in the footsteps of Heaven.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:14-16

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.

P.S. This video was filmed in Norway and is a superb example of sheep responding to their shepherds voice. When God calls His sheep we will come running.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Image of shepherd in India: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204520204577250391151923490

 

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Ezekiel 22-24; Psalm 134; John 8

“He who is without sin, let him throw a stone at her first,” (my emphasis).  Sometimes when I read Scripture I want to disassociate from the brutality of ancient cultures. At other times I struggle to make sense of the do’s and don’ts, the either this or that, the right way versus the wrong way, or the judgments on many juxtaposed with mercy to the few. Yet these words spoken by Jesus Christ stand out today as more than the obvious call to consider one’s own sinful past; it is an external – look at her face before you act – directive that harnesses the inhumanity of intentions with the finality of eternity. These are two terrifying steeds dangerously galloping in the darkest night, intent on lurching the driver and his passengers into the abyss.

If this seems too dramatic, perhaps we have grown lukewarm to the message of spiritual death. Consider the powerful influence of the Pharisees and scribes to judge the misdeeds of others. Even though they lacked the official authority to mete out death (only the Romans wielded the power to torture and crucify), the Jewish leaders were feared by their community for merciless judgments. Jesus certainly knew the dark intentions of their power hungry hearts, yet he exhorted all those present to consider what might befall them. Self-examination – what a worthy exhortation. By heeding this call, even we can avoid the hypocritical and negative accusations that cause us to look like fools and that will alienate us from others who pride themselves in being the more tolerant of our day. Even the ungodly knows to make calculated decisions to avoid committing social suicide. The oldest in the crowd that Jesus addressed were the first to understand this. Their impulsiveness was stayed, perhaps not by looking at the adulteress, but by remembering a longer and possibly more shameful history of mistakes than those of younger men.

Unfortunately I, too, have reacted much too impulsively and emphatically when making judgments – not reviewing the self-incrimination of my past words and actions – instead, whipping those horses into a run without a thought to the cliffs up ahead. My judgments and assumptions have risen from worldly observations and biased interpretations, forgetting that I could not do what I required of others.

Even worse, I have arrogantly believed that I controlled the reigns. In my own understanding, I maintained that a word spoken with authority fell within my knowledge and power to affect change. How shocking to find the target trampled under the wheels! Had I not judged, the grace of God might have brought the forgiveness that truly changes a heart and a destiny.

Jesus once said to the Pharisees and scribes, “You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one,” (New International Version). This is an amazing statement considering He is the Son of God and will judge all mankind. Yet I hear deadly caution in His words not to decide for another eternal life or death. Isn’t spiritual death what awaited the adulterous woman? She was to die in her sins without mercy. Inhumanity’s justice carried out. Jesus, however, directed these men to look at her; then think about their own sins and the consequences of dying without absolution. For their own sakes, those stones were dropped to the ground. Christ snatched this woman out of a careening carriage hell-bent toward spiritual death because He looked past hers, theirs, and our sins to offer redemption and an eternal destiny with Him. She was given a chance to “sin no more.” Can we remember to do the same for others, and if not for their sakes for our own?

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Ezekiel 19-21; Psalm 84; John 7

Confession: usually I read Ezekiel over lightly. It’s not my favorite book in the Bible, but today something caught my attention; I counted over 12 references to eyes, seeing and sight in Ezekiel 20 alone. And throughout this past week, there have been numerous times when the topic of eyes and seeing have come up.

It started last Saturday when I was visiting my Turkish friend’s home. Displayed about her apartment were beautiful blue glass “evil eyes.”  When I asked her what they meant,  she explained that in Turkish culture, how you look at someone as well as how you are seen is taken very seriously. The manner in which something or someone is looked upon holds a certain influence or power for both the one looking and the one seen. The purpose of the “evil eye” is to divert the vision and diminish its power if the intention is evil.

In the West, we tend to minimize the power of what we look at as well as how we are seen, but Ezekiel tells us that God sees this as a life and death matter. He is heartbroken when the Israelites  turn their eyes from Him to gaze longingly at false gods. He holds back his wrath: “for the sake of my name, I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out.” Ezekiel 20:22.

Ezekiel asks me to examine the object of my vision, my attention. My focus rests on what or whom I love. I am more likely to become like the object of my affection than that which I disregard. When I focus on the One who knows me, loves me and made me, “my Soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2.

Lord Jesus, this morning, I sing this prayer to you:

Be Thou my vision O Lord of my heart.

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou my best thought, by day or by night

Waking or sleeping, they presence my light.

Dallon Forgaill

Klueh

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