Wednesday, August 31, 2011


"The flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63). Some may interpret these words to mean it does not matter what we do with our lives. As long as we accepted Jesus' sacrifice for our sins, we are home free. "God would never throw one of his kids into hell," some said to me.

But Jesus gave a powerful warning, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words" (John14:23-24).

John wrote later, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (1 John 1:6). "Now by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says, I know him and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 1:4).

When we respond to Christ's call, he changes us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spirit Versus Flesh

Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe" (John 6:63-64).

We tend to want to interpret God's Word by our culture and traditions. But our human reasoning profits us nothing. It is important that we recognize that we need the Holy Spirit to interpret scripture.

This is not to say we throw out our reasoning. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). But it does mean we need to be careful to rightly divide (interpret) the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). A reliance on Holy Spirit to speak to us as we meditate on God's Word will bring to life his words to our specific situation.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Am I His?

God teaches us about himself (John 6:45). Without God’s intervention, we would have no desire to seek God, or to know him (Romans 3:10-18).

If you are struggling with wondering if you are God’s child, remember you would have no desire for him unless he called you. The fact that you are concerned over pleasing God tells you, he has already called you.

Enjoy your heavenly Father today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Centuries of Debate

In the 6th chapter of John, Jesus says several things that people have debated for centuries and will most likely continue to debate. The follow three comments by Jesus are the bases of these arguments.

1. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).
2. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him:” (John 6:44).
3. “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has ben granted to him by my father (John 6:56).

The following is what everyone on both sides of the debate agree on.

Unless God by his mercy calls us to himself, we have no hope. We cannot save ourselves. God sent his Son that we might be his children.

I am overwhelmingly grateful.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


When people began to question Jesus’ strange words about eating his flesh and drinking his blood he explains his words. “It is the Spirit who gives life: the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe” (John 6:63-64).

In other words, we get our life from being engulfed in Jesus’ teaching, by being consumed by God’s Spirit. Consuming Jesus means all our choices are based on the Truth. Paul puts it this way, “I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20).

We consume Truth and are consumed by the Truth.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). Jesus is about to shock people with his teaching. His speech sounds like a kind of cannibalism. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink” (John 6:53-58).

He had spoken to them plainly. He had done miracles while they watched and they still refused to believe. Now he would speak to them in symbolic language. Those who truly wanted to know him would remain, waiting for him to explain. Those who were only interested in miracles or the fame of being near him would drop out.

The test of a true believer is not in understanding everything, but in trusting God when we don’t understand…yet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There are times when I am reading about the Pharisees that I want to say to them, “Dah!” The story in John 6 is one of those times. Jesus fed 5,000 thousand men with five barley loaves and 2 small fish one day. The very next day they are asking Jesus to perform a miracle to prove he is the Son of God (John 6:30). How obstinate can a people be?

Then I remember times he has healed me instantaneously yet at other times I have doubted his involvement in my personal life. Perhaps I need to look in the mirror and say “Dah!”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Unlimited Power

Jesus told the people to seek God for food which does not perish. There response is as far off as the darkness in their hearts was from the light that was in his. “What can we do that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28).

They wanted to do miracles. Imagine being able to provide food for your family and everyone else’s family with nothing but a boys lunch. It was amazing to think of the power that could be at their fingertips.

But Jesus quickly put it all in perspective, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom he sent” (John 6:29).

The purpose of the miracles was to point to the Savior. It was not to give people power.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Full Belly

The next morning the crowd woke to find Jesus and the disciples had not returned. Now they were hungry and still far from any markets. Spying a couple of boats that had just landed a group of them decided to cross over to Capernaum where someone had heard the disciples were headed. When they arrived they were surprised to see Jesus standing there. They had seen the disciples get into boats, but saw Jesus heading toward the mountain alone. So how did he get there?

When they asked Jesus he answered, “You ask m, not because you saw he signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal on him” (John 6:26-27).

Don’t just seek God so that he will fill your bellies. Seek God.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Night Terrors

The waves are slamming against the side of the boat. The disciples are putting every muscle against the oars in an attempt to stay afloat. They knew these water and how traitorous the sea could be. They most likely began to fear for their lives.

One of them spotted the white form moving across the water and pointed it out to the others. The next moment it was gone. They may have shook their heads and pushed harder against the oars. There it was again, the white spot moving up and down the crescent and deep troughs of the troubled waves. It started taking human shape, but that was impossible. “It has to be a spirit” one of them screamed above the roar of the wind. “Row! Row! We can’t let it get near us.”

But they were not making any progress and the form was gaining on them. Suddenly it was next to them and they froze in fear. Then the familiar voice called out “It is I: do not be afraid.” It was Jesus. Gladly they welcomed in the boat and immediately they were on the shore where they were headed (John 6:16-21).

Even in our ignorance God will get us where we need to be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Row Row Row Your Boat

It had been an extremely exciting yet exhausting day for the disciples. Dealing with crowds can take the strength out of you. Then add that to the excitement of the miracle of the five barely loaves and two small fish and you can understand why the disciples were anxious to get home. They had much to tell their family members. Their bodies must have been pumping all kinds of adrenaline because of the hope of a coming kingdom and the role they would be playing.

They waited for Jesus to come back from his walk as long as they could. We are not told who first brought up the idea, but someone said, “Let’s just get home. It’s dark already. He probably plans to spend the night out there. He’s done it before.” Exciting news to the family and a warm bed sounded awfully inviting, so they all got into the boat and started rowing.

The problem soon became evident when the wind started howling and the waves began tossing the boat first up on side then down the other.

Rushing ahead of God’s timing always causes trouble.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Battle of the Wills

Every temptation pits our will against our Fathers. It is a form of glorifying ourselves above God simply because we are elevating our desires above his.

“Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he departed again to the mountain by himself alone” (John 6:15).

Jesus did not allow people to manipulate him into doing anything contrary to his mission. He removed himself from temptation. He left to be alone with his Father.

Have you been alone with your Father today? How do we imagine we will be able to withstand temptation to glorify ourselves if we do not go to the source of spiritual strength?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Timing is Everything

Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he departed again to the mountain by himself alone" (John 6:13-15).

The men were right that his was the profit that was to come into the world. But their response to that revelation was wrong. They did not comprehend that Jesus had to suffer death first. Many centuries would come and go before he will rule on earth.

How often do we understand a truth but misapply it? We are wise to remain humbly teachable.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pass the Bread Please

Jesus thanked his Father for the bread first. He was teaching us that all provision comes from our Father. He then distributed the bread to the disciples and the disciples distributed the bread to the people (John 6:10-12).

The fact that he gave bread to the disciples to distribute is symbolic of the gospel message. God gives us the good news and we share it. He allows us to participate in the miracle of new birth of yet another one of his children.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bread and Fish

It almost seems like Philip was quick to give up when Jesus asked him how they were going to feed the multitude of people. "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Andrew was doubtful that anything could be done, but he at least tried saying, “There is a lad here, who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:1-9).

At other times Jesus rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith, but in this case he simply said, “Make the people sit down” and he proceeded to miraculously provide for the people.

Philip seems to have no faith and Andrew very little, yet they both experienced the miracle of the bread and fish. God sometimes works miracles in our life despite our lack of faith because he wants to teach us about himself. God is indeed merciful to his children who are learning to depend on him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

From the Foundation of the World

When we are surprised with the impossible it is no surprise to God. Just as Jesus knew how he would feed 5,000 men before he asked Philip, he knows what he is about to do in your life.

The writer of Hebrews said the Children of Israel were not allowed to enter the rest in Canaan because they did not believe, "Although the works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Hebrews 4:1-3).

Our victory has already been prepared at the beginning of creation. Stand back and watch God accomplish his plan for you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Feeding the Crowds

Some people have a habit of testing people they love to see if they will respond the way the individual thinks they should. If questioned about the tactic, he or she will respond, "So and so ought to know I need them to ____ fill in the blank. As a counselor I advise people never test someone else. You will always be disappointed simply because we do not all think alike.

Only God has a right to test others. When he does, he already knows the answer. His test is simply to show the individual what is in his heart. So it was when Jesus tested Philip. We read the story in John 6:1-6. Jesus asks Philip where they can buy food to feed a multitude. Scripture tells us, "But this he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do."

Sometimes God places impossible situations in front of us so that we will see our need for dependence on him.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Tutor

Many Christians completely ignore the Old Testament. The common remark is, “That is the Law and Christ has set us free from the Law.” That Christ has set us free from the law is a wonderful truth, but there are at least two things that are missing in their overgeneralization. 1) Only a relatively small portion of the Old Testament is the Law. 2) Jesus said he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.

Jesus was not against knowing the Law. He was against misusing it. Jesus told the Pharisees, "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (John 5:46-47).

Moses taught about the Messiah that was to come. We learn about God’s nature through the stories in the Old Testament. The entire Old Testament points to Christ. It teaches us our need for a Savior (Galatians 3:21-24). There was glory in the Law and greater glory in Christ (2 Cor 3:6-11). Knowing the Old Testament gives us a more complete understanding of the marvelous grace in which we now live.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Deadly Praise

Spiritual pride is connected with praise of men. Jesus said, “"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44).

Seeking the approval of others can be deadly (Mt 7:13-14). We not only endanger ourselves by refusing to stand for truth; we endanger the spiritual life of everyone we know.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Favorite Tool

The religious people of Jesus’ time knew the scriptures. Each man had to have at least Genesis through Deuteronomy memorized. Leaders had the books of the prophets memorized. Knowing what the scriptures taught about the messiah, they still did not trust Jesus. Jesus said to them “You search the scriptures because "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

Paul wrote, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6).

Spiritual pride is a favorite tool of the enemy of our souls. It makes us un-teachable and blinds us to our errors.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crushed Legs, Hardened Heart

There were plenty of signs and clear statements as to the identity of Jesus as the promised Messiah. Jesus refers to three of these in this passage. 1) the Father bears witness(John 5:32) 2)John the Baptist bears witness 3) Jesus' works (miracles) bear witness. Yet many of those who saw and heard these things did not believe.

I knew a man who was involved in a extremely serious motorcycle accident. Every bone in his legs were crushed by an automobile. He was told he would never walk again. He made a deal with God that if God would heal him, he would be a faithful Christian.

God healed him. He walked again, with no cane, no crutch, and no pain. Did he keep his promise? Unfortunately for him, no.

We can never serve God on our own strength. We must trust him for the faith to believe (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). If we try to do it on our own or out of obligation, we will indeed fail.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Jesus said, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true" (John 5:31) yet he was God incarnate (God in the flesh). Why did he say this?

Referring to God the Father Jesus continues, "There is another who bears witness of me and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true" (John 5:32).

Several times during his ministry the Father speaks from heaven saying, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him"(Lk 9:35).

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, "...The Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak..." (John 16:13).

These passages show us that the Trinity works together in unity and never separately.

Do we?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Babies Cry

Babies cry when they are hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable or in pain. When they grew older and learn words, they begin to demand their own way. At first it looks cute when a child places his tiny little fists on his or her waste and says “No.” But that cute little rebellion quickly becomes ugly as the child physically matures into adolescence then into an adult.

Our natural inclination is to want our own way. But Jesus said, “I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me” (John 5:30). To be like our Savior, we too must learn to say no to our desires and say yes to God’s direction for our lives. Only then will God be able to bless others through us. It is part and parcel of belonging to God.