Chapter-a-Day John 12

Blind Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. John 12:36 (TM)

Some people just refuse to believe. They ask for more and more proof. They want more and more assurances. And yet, the reality is there would never be enough proof. There are not enough assurances. Faith requires leaving the safety of what we know. Faith is risk.

Some will never take the step.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and KoAn

Chapter-a-Day John 11

He said these things, and then announced, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up." John 11:11 (TM)

When my "Grandma Golly" died, the girls were only 3 or 4 years old. My nephews, Sam and Sol, were the same ages. We had been at the funeral home for the long hours of visitation the evening before the funeral. There had been a steady stream of visitors, friends and family throughout the evening to share in our grief.

Like most toddlers, the reason for the occasion was lost on the girls and their male cousins who took the opportunity to tear around the funeral home playing together. Late in the evening is was quiet in the visitation room as most everyone but family and a few dear friends had departed.

My nephew Solomon, ripping around the room in a playful fury, stopped short right in front of the casket. He looked at the body of his great grandmother lying there. He looked at his wrist (where there was no watch), and then shouted at the top of his lungs for all to hear…

"IT’S TIME FOR GRANDMA TO WAKE UP!"

…If you only have faith as a little child.

Chapter-a-Day John 11

He said these things, and then announced, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up." John 11:11 (TM)

When my "Grandma Golly" died, the girls were only 3 or 4 years old. My nephews, Sam and Sol, were the same ages. We had been at the funeral home for the long hours of visitation the evening before the funeral. There had been a steady stream of visitors, friends and family throughout the evening to share in our grief.

Like most toddlers, the reason for the occasion was lost on the girls and their male cousins who took the opportunity to tear around the funeral home playing together. Late in the evening is was quiet in the visitation room as most everyone but family and a few dear friends had departed.

My nephew Solomon, ripping around the room in a playful fury, stopped short right in front of the casket. He looked at the body of his great grandmother lying there. He looked at his wrist (where there was no watch), and then shouted at the top of his lungs for all to hear…

"IT’S TIME FOR GRANDMA TO WAKE UP!"

…If you only have faith as a little child.

Chapter-a-Day John 10

Choose This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, "He’s crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?" But others weren’t so sure: "These aren’t the words of a crazy man. Can a ‘maniac’ open blind eyes?" John 10:19-21 (TM)

Jesus has always created division. When he lived on Earth in the flesh he was constantly at the center of controversy. The Jews were split, the public was split, his own family was split. People were trying to make him king as others tried repeatedly to kill him or have him killed. It should come as no surprise. There are two sides to the eternal conflict. Thus, good, evil and the conflict between the two are at the heart of every great story. Wherever good is present you will find evil present to combat it and the result is conflict.

Jesus’ teachings call each person to make a choice: believe or don’t (and in avoiding the decision you make your choice clear). To this day, that call to choose, and the and the subsequent simple act of faith splits friends, churches, communities, and families.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and SeraphimC

Chapter-a-Day John 9

Blind He replied, "I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see." John 9:25 (TM)

Think for a moment about the word "Witnessing". Believers often have a mental definition of this word that includes all sorts of uncomfortable connotations, yet the root of the word simply means to testify to what you’ve seen and experienced.

The blind man in today’s chapter was asked all sorts of theological questions by the religious leaders. Questions which he knew nothing about. All he knew was that he was blind, Jesus came along and touched him, and then he could see. What more powerful witness could he give?

The most powerful and effective witness a follower of Jesus can give – is simply to tell their story.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and ontwerpplus

Chapter-a-Day John 8

Horizon Jesus said, "You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. John 8:23 (TM)

I wonder how often we, even those of us living in faith, still allow ourselves to be tied down to the mundane. How often do we limit ourselves to only what we can see and touch? I don’t want merely to see what man is doing. I want to see what God is doing. I don’t want my vision to be limited to the flesh but to clearly see the things of the Spirit.

I want to touch what is beyond the horizon.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Norma Desmond

Chapter-a-Day John 7

His brothers said, "Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world." His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either. John 7:3-5 (TM)

With a daughter graduating from high school and planning her college career and independent life, I’ve found that it’s difficult to know when to give advice and when to keep your mouth shut. I realize that sometimes Dad’s advice is welcome and sometimes it falls on deaf ears. While I want what’s best for Taylor, she is ultimately God’s child. She must follow His calling and the path that He has for her. I’ve tried to be very conscious of that fact – and act accordingly.

After the "fish and loaves" crowd tried to make Jesus king, we find Jesus’ own family trying to tell him what he should do. I can only imagine the pressure Jesus faced from all sides as his miracles became known and his popularity skyrocketed. I’m sure he had plenty of willing "agents" wanting to make a buck from promoting him. Religious and political groups must have sought Jesus’ endorsement and so further their agendas. People wanted healing. People wanted free food. People wanted entertainment.

Jesus had to shut out the noise and the crowds. He had to stay true to what he knew he must do. God help me, help Taylor, to have discerning ears and a committed heart.