The Gospel of John: John 11

Last week Jesus continued to explain how he is God. He pointed towards testimonies of others, Scripture, and even the miracles he was able to perform. There were many who believed, and still many that did not. This week Jesus shows us that he is in the messiness of life with us. He does not sit above it all and never gets touched. Rather, being human, God experienced the same pain and struggles that we have to deal with on a regular basis.

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Happy Thanksgiving! I know that this time of year might be hard for you with the loss of someone special. I think this week’s chapter is a good reminder that we can still be joyous through pain.

Last week Jesus continued to explain how he is God. He pointed towards testimonies of others, Scripture, and even the miracles he was able to perform. There were many who believed, and still many that did not. This week Jesus shows us that he is in the messiness of life with us. He does not sit above it all and never gets touched. Rather, being human, God experienced the same pain and struggles that we have to deal with on a regular basis. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 11”

God of Peace (Isaiah 28-32)

Book of Isaiah

Sorry for the unexpected hiatus. My family and I had a very stressful situation with trying to move, I simply didn’t have time to blog. But today I return and we will continue on with the Isaiah study that we started at the end of April.

In today’s section, Isaiah opens with a warning aimed at Samaria (the capitol of the northern kingdom). However this message could be applied to the entire northern kingdom of Israel. After King Solomon’s reign, the kingdoms split. One major way the leaders tried to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship was by placing idols inside a temple. This tempted Israel into idol worship. He tells them that they will soon be destroyed by foreigners and taught the lessons that God has been trying to teach them by their oppressors. Then God moves to Jerusalem (the capitol of the southern kingdom). He warns them of following in the footsteps of their northern relatives. I particularly denounces worship by going through the motions. “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-mad rules learned by rote.” (29:13, NLT). Another version is translated, “Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.”. He then continues to tell them how worthless it is to rely on other human beings, and not God. Isaiah depicts the coming of God’s anger, but God tells His people, “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.” (30:15, NLT). Isaiah then goes on to describe what the coming King will bring to the people. “Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.” (32:16-17, NLT).

I think that in today’s world, most people are suffering from symptoms of not following God. I even have these problems myself. They come in the form of questioning yourself, God, or others and a general sense of chaos. I heard a sermon a few weeks back. The pastor was talking about hearing God’s voice. He showed a graphic that one side had the characteristics of God’s voice, and the other was the characteristics of the Enemy. On the Enemy’s side were words like, “chaos”,  “insecurity”, “instability”. Yet on God’s side were the words “peace”, “security”, “stability”. I think we have too many people running around not listening. Isaiah tells us that when the King comes that His righteousness will bring peace. That Kingdom is upon us my friends. We have to simply reconnect (or connect for the first time) to God, who is our King. When we are in His presence, we feel like we are at home. If you’re in a place where you are feeling uncomfortable, or not sure of yourself, or simply depressed, I promise you that those feelings are not from God. I encourage you to crack open a Bible (not that we aren’t doing that now) and reading one of the Gospels. I’ve had to do this myself recently, while moving made my life a little too chaotic. I promise it works. Our God is a god who bring peace. Remember that.

 

Also in this Series

Be Still (Mark 4)

be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god

As we continue through the gospel of Mark, Jesus finally starts to really teach. However, He taught by using parables. A parable is best defined as a short story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus loved to use parables. This came as a fulfillment of prophecy from Psalm 78:1-2 “Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” (NASB) The parables were not just meant as an illustration, but were also a way that Jesus was able to instruct the disciples. In this chapter we see the Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Seed, and Parable of the Mustard Seed.

After his day of teaching, Jesus decided that they should cross the Sea of Galilee. In the middle of the night, while Jesus was asleep, a storm brewed that threatened to destroy their boat.

Quick side note, the Sea of Galilee often brews up storms from seemingly nowhere. Four of the 12 disciples were experienced fisherman from the Galilee, so they would have had plenty of experience with these storms. However, based on their reaction and fear, I would say this must have been a rather massive storm.

When Jesus awoke he said two things: “Hush, be still.” (4:39 NASB) and “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (4:40 NASB)

When life begins to get rough, we all have the inclination to worry. I definitely do. When my wife became pregnant with our daughter, my first reaction (after the excitement) was worry about being able to provide for this child. This fear stayed with me up until about her first birthday. What I had failed to realize, and what many of us don’t realize, is that fear comes from a lack of faith. Jesus says in Matthew’s gospel, “do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NASB) This simply reminds us not to worry and have faith, because God will take care you!

I know that for some people, myself included, we want to fix the problem as soon as it arises, or at least figure out a solution. But just like the wind and water, Jesus is asking us to “be still”. The time we take to stop and breathe is important because it gives us a chance to listen to what God is telling us. If you have stress, and are worried, I encourage you to pray for God’s peace and know that He is with you.