Monday, October 31, 2011

What Does It Mean?

Jesus called himself, “I AM” (John 8:58). What does that name mean?

It reflects eternity. At any point in history, in the present or in the future his name is I AM.

I am life
I am your creator
I am the one who sees you
I am your healer
I am your provider
I am your Savior
I am your God
I am your defender
I am your bread
I am your breath
I am the way
I am the Truth
I am the Life
I am the Word
I am who I am

(Genesis Chapters 1,2; Genesis 16:13; Exodus 15:26; Ps 147:8; 2 Samuel 22:3; Isaiah 43:3; Exodus 14:14; John 6:35; Genesis 2:7; John 14:6; John 1:1-3; Exodus 3:14).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Who is Watching

Many people think that saints in heaven are completely unaware of what is happening on earth. Others think their loved ones who have died are constantly watching over them. The truth lies somewhere between these two views. We see here in John 8 54-58 that Abraham was aware of Jesus coming to earth. Angels came to announce Jesus’ birth and to comfort him both at the begging of his ministry and the end of his life (Lk 2:13-15; Mk 1:13; Lk 22:42). And in Hebrews 12:1 scripture mentions that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.

We, however, do not interact with those who have gone on before us. Their focus and our focus is on God. If they see us, they are rejoicing over what God is accomplishing in and through us. We glorify God by doing all the Father has given us to do, obeying his commands and loving him. (Ephesians 2:10; John 15:9-10).

God gets all the glory.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Holy Invitation

Jesus did all that the Father told him to do and kept his word always (John 4:34; 8:54-56; 15:10; 17:4). He knew the Father and the Father knew him (John 10:15). He loved the Father and the Father loved him (Mt 3:17; John 15:9).

You have been invited into this relationship. There will never be a more important invitation in your existence than the one you have been given to join in the union between our Heavenly Father and his Holy Son. Don’t miss walking in it today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The Jewish leaders had the same reaction as we did to Jesus’ promise that those who kept his word would not see death. Everybody dies. Even the most righteous people like Abraham and the prophets died. None of it made sense. Then Jesus takes it a step further, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).

The Pharisees were infuriated. “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus could have explained, “Abraham is in heaven. He saw me leave heaven to come to earth and knew why I came. He was glad because I am bringing the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy.” Instead Jesus infuriated them further by using the name of God to describe himself.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). Jesus always existed and will always exist. Before coming in the form of man he was known as the Word (John 1:1-3). At his birth he took on the name Son of God, and Jesus (Luke 1:31, 35). He was God, is God and will always be God (Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 1:8, 17-18; 22:12, 16).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Deaths

Everyone who has ever believed in Jesus in the last 2,000 years has died. So why on earth did Jesus say, “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death” (John 8:51)?

There are two definitions of death. One is death of the body. The other is death of the spirit, or separation from God. If we keep Jesus’ words we will never find ourselves separated from our heavenly Father.

One day our physical suitcase we call a body, will cease to function. It is like the clasp or zipper on the suitcase breaks and the contents come pouring out. Our spirits will soar to God forever released from corruption (1 Peter 1:4).

If Jesus waits to come, we will all experience the first death, but not all of us will experience the second.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Situational Goals

We read how the Jews accused Jesus of being a Samaritan and having a demon. Jesus answered plainly, I do not have a demon; but I honor my father and you dishonor me. And I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks and judges.’ (John 8;49-50). In other words, “I do not seek my own glory, but you seek yours”.

Jesus certainly could have shown his glory, so that they would immediately fall on their faces in fear (Ezekiel 3:26-28). But his goal was not to glorify himself or to manipulate people into following him. His goal was to proclaim his Father’s message. “I honor my Father” (John 8:49).

What is our goal today in the situation we find ourselves in?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Samaritan Devil?

The Jews as a hole were extremely prejudiced against other races. They knew God had chosen them but they had forgotten the purpose of God’s choosing a people. God intended to show the world what it meant to trust him. The Hebrew nation was to be a visible invitation to the people to come to him (Isaiah 9:1-2; Mt 12:4-15; 10:18; 12:18, 21).

His own people continued to reject anyone that was not full blood descendent from Abraham. They accused Jesus, “Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (John 8:48). They knew Joseph was not his father and they refused to believe God the Father had created him in his mother’s womb. To do so would mean they had to listen to what he had to say and act on it.

They rather trust in themselves. Would you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Not His Way

Why do people not believe what Jesus said? He was kind, compassionate and always spoke the truth. He was not prejudice, offered forgiveness and taught people to love one another. What fault could anyone find in anything Jesus spoke?

Jesus himself asks this question, “Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I tell the truth why do you not believe me?” He then answers, “He is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:46-47).

People reject Jesus’ message because it is a message of holiness and exclusivity (John 14:6). Individuals want to create their own way to heaven. They want to be the author of the rules. If their proclivity is in conflict with God’s word, they want the right to reject all claims for authority but their own.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of that way is death (proverbs 14:12).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cast Out

Jesus gives us insight into Satan’s intentions. Satan is a liar and his intentions are always to kill. Notice Jesus said Satan was a murderer from the beginning. When did Satan murder anyone?

Satan’s first murder was his rebellion against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Rev 12:7-9). His action caused a multitude of angels to be cast out of heaven and separation from God (Jude 6). He went on to successfully temp Adam and Eve to separate themselves from God (Genesis chapters 2 and 3). He went on to

Satan’s motives have not changed throughout the centuries. He destroys relationships with God by convincing people that God is not good and cannot be trusted. Thankfully God has not left us to his devices without a way out (John 3:16; 1 John 1:9; John 6:35-37).

Jesus is our restoration (Romans 5:11).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The Pharisees are indignant that Jesus had the nerve to tell them they were not spiritually free. They tell him first that Abraham is their father. When push comes to shove they slur Jesus’ reputation and say, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God” (John 8:37-41).

The irony of calling God their Father is almost palpable, because not too long in the future they will seek to kill Jesus because he says God is his Father (John 10:31-33).

Jesus is straight forward in his response, “You are of your father the devil and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:44).

They said they were worshiping God, yet Jesus told them they worshiped Satan. How could he say that when they had never bowed their knee to an idol or false God? He could say that because they were rejecting the one God had sent to save them from their sins (John 8:42-47). These men were not of God therefore they were of Satan.

There are not three choices, God, Satan and Self. There are only two. Satan is self serving, so if we serve only ourselves, we have partnered with him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What Does it Mean to Be Free?

What does it mean to be free (John 8:34-36)? It means our bodies do not control us, we control it (I Cor 6:13). It means we have the strength to engage self control (Galatians 5:22). It means we regulate our anger (Ephesians 4:26-27). We are free from the need for revenge (Romans 12:17-21) and are not bound by fear (Mt 28:20, 1 John 4:18, Romans 8:28-29).

It means we can enjoy the life God has given to us (Romans 15:13).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Human Trafficking

Imagine being someone’s slave. You came to America on a work visa owing your sponsor a quarter of a million dollars with his promise of good pay and good work. Instead you find you are paid below minimum wage and live in a grimy basement with little to no heat in the winter and no air conditioning in the summer. Your days are filled with scrubbing toilets, digging trenches or meeting the bodily needs of your capture. You do not know the law or the language so can see no way to gain your freedom.

Then one day the Son of your slave driver tells you that his father has died and you are free to go. He gives you several thousand dollars and a plane ticket back home. You are set to leave at 5 PM, just enough time to pack your bags. Your heart will barely keep in your chest. You head for the door at 4:30 pm, anxious to get out of that cold damp basement. But when you reach the top of the stairs you are informed that the Son was killed in a car accident and you someone else purchased your loan. You are no longer allowed to leave.

But Jesus lives forever, therefore if he sets you free; you never have to be enslaved again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jesus Bypasses

Jesus bypasses discussions of culture, religions and politics and goes straight to the heart of the matter. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever” (John 8:34-35).

Paul expounds further explaining, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).

What looks like gratification of a driving desire would result in bondage for the one violating God’s command. What appears as an innocent act results in a prison sentence within our own spirit, but God’s directives bring us life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blind Pride

At first the Pharisee’s response to Jesus’ words about freedom looks absurd. “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?” (John 8:33). Weren’t they being occupied by Rome even as they spoke? Weren’t they lead into captivity by the Babylonians in Jeremiah’s time?

Maybe they were saying, “We have been obeying Abraham and have never followed any other religious teaching. But wasn’t the reason they were lead captive in the Old Testament because they were worshiping other gods?” It seems the Pharisees were so blinded by their pride that they could not speak the truth at any level.

It seems pride in one’s own righteousness is a dangerous thing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Removing the Veil

As Jesus carried on a conversation with the Pharisees in front of the crowds, some of the people believed (John 8:30). Jesus said to those who believed, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples in deed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

Negative experiences in life have a tendency to blind us to eternal truth. We put up guards to protect ourselves from being hurt any further. Equating being vulnerable with being hurt, we do not realize we are hardening our hearts against love as well.

But Jesus has told us that living in God’s word will remove the veil from over the eyes of our understanding and we will see life as it is, not as Satan wants us to see it. We will know that we are the Children of God and all that occurs will eventually bring him glory and will benefit us.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lifting up the Son of Man

Jesus told the people, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things” (John 8:26).

The term Son of Man comes from the Old Testament. It was part of the prophecy of the Messiah. The people also knew what it meant when someone was “lifted up”. It was a euphemism for being crucified (John 12:34). If they did not know he was the Son of Man when they saw the miracles, what would happen at the crucifixion that would make them believe?

At the moment Jesus gave up his spirit there was a huge earthquake. Rocks and mountains were split. The temple shook at the vale between the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies was split. The most amazing thing was the opening of graves and that some of the people who were buried came to life (Mathew 27:48-54). It was enough to make one of the Roman Centurions believe (Mt 27:54).

It is an amazing thing. When our lives are in danger we find it much easier to believe in God. We believe because we want him to rescue us. How much better it is to get to know him before tragedy strikes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jesus' Stance on Tolerance

There is no room for a margin of error in Jesus’ words. He told the people plainly, “…for if you do not believe I am he, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

From the time I was a child in grade school until now, America’s view of Christianity has drastically changed. As a child most citizens believed in the Christian God and attended church at least on Christmas and Easter. Then sometime in the 60s we began to hear about tolerance of other cultures and belief systems. At that time tolerance meant, not attacking or taking actions against people of other persuasions while holding to the truth.

Tolerance has come to mean that no one can or should claim there is only one way to God. To do so is to say you and your beliefs are better than everyone else’s and to be ostracized from the culture at large.

In Jesus’ day it not only meant disapproval from both secular and political cultures; it meant death. Nonetheless Jesus did not hesitate to speak the truth. The eternity of others depended on it, as it does today.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


When Jesus told the people for the second time that they would look for him but not find him, some of them thought he was going to commit suicide (John 8:22. Did they think the pressure of people wanting him dead was too great (John 7:25)? Did they think he would rather kill himself than be crucified by the Romans? Jesus responded definitively. “You are from beneath: I am from above. You are of this world: I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins: for if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins” (John 23-24).

Jesus would not commit suicide no matter how much pressure he was under or how much suffering was before him. He knew that his Father had a purpose that he must fulfill and that his Father would be with him through everything (John 16:31-32).

More Christians have dealt with feelings of giving up or taking their own lives than what we want to admit. But for those whom Satan has tempted to end their lives, may I tell you, God is able to bring us peace. It does not mean we will understand all that has happened to us (Philippians 4:6-7). It does mean God is able to turn our sorrow into something good, though it may take a very long time (Romans 8:28-29).

Make a decision to put your trust in God in spite of what others have done to you or what you have done to others. He will make it worth the wait.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Like Father Like Son

Jesus told the people, “You know neither me nor my father. If you had known me, you would have known my father also” (John 8:19) To know God the Father is to know the Son. To know the Son is to know God the father (John 12:44; 14:7,9).

If the Father hates sin, the Son hates sin. If the Son forgives, the Father forgives. If the Father loves, the Son loves. If the Son judges, the Father judges. If the Father speaks, the son speaks.

The Father’s goal for us is to become like his son and thus become like him (Romans 8:28-29).

Meditate on how that practically works out in your life today.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Does He or Does He Not Judge?

John was compelled to write the unabridged words of Jesus, even if they appeared to be contradictory. We see yet another example in Jesus words to the crowd after forgiving the woman caught in adultery. “I judge no one,” he says. Yet earlier in John 5 we read, “The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…” (John 5:22) and that the Father “has given him (Jesus) authority to execute judgment also, because he is he Son of Man” (John 5:27). So does Jesus judge or doesn’t he?

The answer is partially seen in John 12:47 “And if anyone hears my words and does not believe, I do no judge him, for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” When Jesus was on the earth he did not judge anyone. His sole purpose was to bring the offer of salvation of a changed life. But when the end of this world finally comes, he will then judge all (Romans 14: 10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 4:5).

We do not need to be afraid if we have accepted his offer of forgiveness, the fruit of the Spirit and hope. His grace saves us from the wrath to come. We are wise to accept his gift now (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Witness

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The Pharisees did not pay attention to the message Jesus had given them. They zeroed in on the fact that he was speaking of himself. You can hear the sarcasm in their voices. “You bear witness of yourself; your witness is not true.”

They are referring to Jesus’ words after he had healed the lame man by the pool of Bethesda. “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:31). But once again they were applying Jesus’ words out of context. Jesus had gone on to say, “…But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the very works that I do, bear witness of the, that the Father has sent me. And the Father himself, who sent me, has testified of me” (John 5:36-37). In other words he had far more than his own witness to prove he was the Son of God.

If people took Jesus’ words out of context in an attempt to entrap him, do not be surprised if it happens to you as well.