Friday, March 25, 2022

Grace and Truth, John 13:1-30, Love to the End

Verse 1: It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.


Jesus loved his disciples until the last minute he was with them.


Verses 4-5: so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


He washed his disciples’ feet, giving them a lesson and example to serve each other.


Verses 8-10: “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!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”


Jesus calmly dealt with Peter’s usual impulsivity.


Verses 18-19: “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.”


He continued to teach them Scripture, and worked to increase their faith.


Verses 21 and 27: After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”


I believe Jesus had loved Judas, and it broke his heart that Judas was betraying him. And though the other disciples didn’t understand what was happening, Jesus dealt honestly with Judas.


Thank you, Jesus, for your strength and for your love. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Stories of Grace and Friendship

These are some precious new and older books I read recently.


A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren. This is a story of rescuers during snow avalanches in the mountains of Montana. A reminder for us not to base our belief that God wants to help us on our opinion of ourselves. He wants to save us despite our messing up. Romans 5: 8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


True Courage by Dee Henderson. I first read this book some years ago. But when I read it again recently, I was caught by breath-taking suspense, deep characters, heart-swelling dependence on faith.


The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson. An excellent story. About—well—church ladies.


Take this Cup by Brock and Bodie Thoene. the story of a young boy who came from a far country to deliver to Jesus the cup he would use at the last supper.


The promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry. A brilliantly written, heart-stopping story of the beauty and anguish of love among family and friends.


The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. I first read this book more than forty years ago, probably in high school. It’s an amazing story about teenagers, written by a teenager. About brothers, friends as close as brothers, struggles between gangs from different social classes, who hated each other without knowing why. After heart-breaking experiences, a few of the kids began to realize the enmity was senseless. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Psalm 5, The Shield of God's Favor

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord,

    consider my lament.

Hear my cry for help,

    my King and my God,

    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

    in the morning I lay my requests before you

    and wait expectantly.

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;

    with you, evil people are not welcome.

The arrogant cannot stand

    in your presence.

You hate all who do wrong;

    you destroy those who tell lies.

The bloodthirsty and deceitful

    you, Lord, detest.

But I, by your great love,

    can come into your house;

in reverence I bow down

    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness

    because of my enemies—

    make your way straight before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;

    their heart is filled with malice.

Their throat is an open grave;

    with their tongues they tell lies.

Declare them guilty, O God!

    Let their intrigues be their downfall.

Banish them for their many sins,

    for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;

    let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them,

    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;

    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.


Father God, thank you that I can wait expectantly for your answers to my prayers. Lord, I know you hate evil, but in my heart, I want to be righteous before you. Thank you that you will lead me in your righteousness, and please shield me with your favor. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Grace and Truth, John 12:37-50

Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 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?”

For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

“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.”

Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

“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. 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 at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”


Jesus stayed focused on speaking the message God gave him to speak.


Yet, knowing that Jesus was a man, with human emotions, I believe he must have felt hurt and alone when people refused to believe in him. Or, if they did believe, some would not say so as not to face conflict with the Pharisees.


Lord, thank you for sticking to your message. Thank you for being the force that saves us from darkness, and for bringing the command which leads to eternal life.