Saturday, March 31: Hebrews 4- .

I felt a little out of it as I was reading today, and I wondered if the Word could burrow into my exhausted body. The theme of rest was a read disconnect with me as I read today, probably because I was so exhausted. It never ceases to surprise me how much my personal attitude or situation impacts my time with the Lord.

Anyway, when I turned into verse 12, the text light up. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I pictured not a Roman sword but a surgeon’s scalpel… with precise cuts, body layers are sliced apart. Surgery is performed to bring health back into a damaged, broken or diseased body. And that’s what God’s Word does to me and for me regularly.

When I exercise the discipline of reading and contemplating the Word, it works its way into my life, surgically healing and repairing my depraved human condition, cutting out sin. Actually God’s Word generally confronts me of my sin and then I must rely on the Holy Spirit to help me gain victory over that sin. Victory comes with the cooperative effort of exercising my will and God’s strength to do so in a godly manner.

And so my meditations went.

Before I closed in prayer, I looked back at verse 12-13 and noticed the 3rd sentence. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. One final thought came to me. “No use pretending, Bill. Deal with your sins and issues.God knows what they are anyway. You are only fooling yourself when you pretend you don’t have sins to contend with.”

This thought brings me back to the gift of God’s Word… which can penetrate and repair the sin-diseased areas of my life. Thanks be to God!

Lord, thank You for Your Word, a gift. Yes, like surgery, sometimes my time in Your Word hurts… but it is a repairing, healing hurt. I didn’t like the pain and recovery time I needed after my emergency appendectomy, but I am alive today because of it.

Lord, thank You that I am spiritually alive today because of the scalpel work of Your Word in my life. Thank You… Lord Jesus, Father and Spirit. Thank You. Amen.


Friday, March 30: Hebrews 3- Faithful.

Verse 2 caught my eye. Here’s how the writer opens today’s chapter. Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house (1-2).  ‘1’ was the line I bolded that attracted my attention.

Jesus was faithful to the one who appointed Him…

I mulled over faithfulness… its hues, shades and applications in my life. I considered my relationship with the Lord, and particularly my faithfulness.

Lord, are there any particular areas of my life that need work? Areas where I am less than faithful, even areas where I am fooling myself? Lord, speak to me, show me and help me grow stronger and more faithful in those areas.

I scanned areas like…use of time, charity & giving, how I speak and treat others, willingness to do God’s promptings, over and above my own desires…

Next I reviewed those relationships closest to me… with my spouse, children, parents, friends and coworkers.

Lord, do I treat these important people in my life with the respect and honor that behooves a Christ Follower? Am I kind and loving, faithful to my word and words, gracious, patient, honest, truthful and full of goodness? Does my life encourage them to desire a deeper relationship with You or do they view me as a hypocrite?

Oh, Lord, help me be the kind of person others want to be around. A person who blesses lives like Jesus blessed.

Next I thought about my work and civic duties. I thought about things like work-ethic and effort. I considered my response to civic issues like paying taxes and giving back to my community…

Lord, do I represent You well in my work and civic endeavors? Do I give of myself in these ways, adding to the common good through my efforts?

Lord Jesus, help me to be faithful to You in all spheres of my life. May my life make a difference in small and not so small ways, as Your will determines. May I, Jesus, be faithful to You in all areas of my life. In Your name, Jesus, I bring these requests to the Father through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Amen.




Wednesday, March 28: Hebrews 1- Glory and majesty of the SON.

Reading this magnificent description of the Son, Jesus, after having just read John’s Gospel is a one-two punch of the majesty and glory of Jesus. This is the heart of our faith –the Christian Faith- that Jesus is God’s One and Only son and God Himself.

The writer to the Hebrews makes it painstakingly clear that Jesus, the SON, is greater than any other.  He is even greater than angels who are superhuman messengers from God endowed with strengths and abilities beyond anything known in our material world. And in addition to their powers, they live in the presence of Almighty God. Yet no angel can compare with the SON, Jesus. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

I sat and pondered the SON… I thought about His earthy ministry and even more, I contemplated Jesus at the right hand of Majesty. I have few words… but many images and pictures and further wonderings about the One I worship and love… Jesus, my Lord and Savior and the Lord Almighty…

Holy Spirit, fill my life today with the Majesty of Jesus. Allow me to see and hear things that will increase my devotion to and love for Jesus, the Father, and You. I pray this in the name of the Oone who sits at the right hand of Majesty, Jesus the One and Only Son. Amen.


Tuesday, March 27: John 21- In the midst of life.

I found it intriguing that seven of the disciples were hanging out together and fishing. Whether they were friends, prior to their years with Jesus, we cannot determine since we don’t even know who all seven were. But surely after three years, friendships grew.

What I also find interesting is that they are not in Jerusalem, but somewhere on the Sea of Galilee. Apparently after the resurrection they returned to the familiar territory of where they lived before Jesus entered their lives. Fishing was natural way for Simon and the sons of Zebedee to get food.

In the company of friends, doing what they normally do, Jesus shows up and redirects their lives.

Jesus entering normal life, redirecting, changing, calling… a thought worthy of meditation.

Long ago, as a grad student working on my thesis, Jesus knocked on my heart and placed within me the idea of seminary. My life trajectory changed.

Is some kind of radical life call the only way Jesus enters life and redirects, changes and calls? I think not.

What started with two women sitting next to each other in worship has blossomed into a mentoring relationship with the older wiser mom, helping the younger single mom deal with a special needs child. Hmmm… Jesus entering normal life, redirecting, changing, calling…

The other day a voice message beeped on my home phone when I walked in. A long tough day, I was tired and didn’t really want to check the call. The voice leaving the message began with a bubbly, “I wanted to call and cheer you up and tell you Jesus loves you…” No request, no needs, simply an encouraging phone message from a special woman in my church who has this knack of calling people just to sprinkle joy and love. Well, her voicemail did just that. Through her voice, Jesus entered my life, encouraging me. I was blessed that in the midst of her day she had the nudge to call and leave that message, and that she did it.

My final thought on my meditative journey today is this, “Do I leave room in my life for Jesus to show up and redirect me? Do you?”

Oh Lord, break into the routine of my life today… give me an assignment, a calling, to touch someone’s life with Your love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, March 26: John 20- Time to believe.

John tells us directly why he wrote his Gospel. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (20:31). From his opening words until now, John has been working to convince readers to put their faith in Jesus.

As we have traveled with Jesus via John’s pen, we have watched and listened as Christ followers grew in their ability to believe. Belief may be an instant moment for some, but for many, belief takes time.

Even in today’s chapter we see belief grow over time. Mary showed up at the tomb, distressed. Her vision of the angels and of Jesus, whom she didn’t recognize, seemed to cause her more confusion. Yet by the time she made it to the disciples, she was convinced, “I have seen the Lord!” (18).

Thomas is another example. Though not present when Jesus first came to the disciples he refused to believe unless he personally saw and touched Jesus. He was not about to take the other disciples at their word, even though he basically lived with them for three years (!). NO, Thomas had to see for himself. Despite all their attempts to convince Thomas during the week, he couldn’t cross the line of belief. But he did make sure he was with them when they gathered that next weekend. Only after Jesus showed himself to Thomas did he believe.

Thomas needed time and proof…

We all have our own recipe of time and proof necessary to believe. If you have not yet put your faith and belief in Jesus, what do you still need to cross the line of belief?

Will you, like Thomas, put yourself in a place where you will receive what you need to believe?

These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

O Lord, show me how to help people believe. Show me, Lord, how I can help people cross the line of belief so that they can have life, in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


Saturday, March 24: John 19- Torture, insults, humiliation and death.

Jesus’ final hours were wracked with pain… the worst kind of pain humans can devise. It was a horrible day and horrendous series of events.

John 19 does not hide what happened and yet it does not glorify or titillate readers with every gory detail. What people did to Jesus was reported truthfully but not graphically.

God shows us what Jesus went through to bring us salvation. God wants us to see human nature at its raw and lowest self.  What we can do to other human beings is despicable. But the gore and inhumanity of what happened to Jesus was not the point or the focus.

What Jesus offered humanity and how He endured the intensity of His final hours with dignity, grace and love was God’s point.

Scan the few words of Jesus in this chapter. They paint the picture of a man in control, despite what He is enduring. They reveal a man who could love and care for those He loves even during His most excruciating moments. They show a man who though in need –I am thirsty– died at peace –‘it is finished’.

To the bitter end Jesus carried out God’s plan of salvation and because Jesus did, we can live in relationship with the Spirit, Father and Son.

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown: how pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn! How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!...


Friday, March 23: John 18- the Garden of Gethsemane .

As I come to the passion of Jesus, a story very familiar to me since I have read it at least four times a year for 30+ years, I intentionally keep my eyes open for a surprise… something new I might not have paid attention to before. This morning God gave me a surprise.

John opens the account like this:

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples (1-2). It was the last eight words, which I bolded, that caught my attention.

The other Gospels tell us that Jesus was going there to pray. John says Jesus often met His disciples there… to pray, I wondered? That feels right.

It seems that the Garden of Gethsemane was one of those places Jesus regularly went to, to be in prayer.

A question popped into my thoughts. Do you have a regular place to go to meet with the Lord? Do you have a quiet place, a meeting place, a regular place to meet God?

Over the years I have had a number of places. Right now it is a stool at my kitchen counter. I sit there most mornings with Bible open before anyone else in my house is up. It is familiar. Sometimes just placing myself in that location quiets my soul so I can begin to hear the Lord more clearly…

For years a quiet place was my grandparents Morris chair which I keep in my office. The chair was reserved for reading and prayer. I never sat in it when I counseled or consulted with others. It was reserved for my times with the Lord.

I have friends who go into our church sanctuary early in the morning before people come to the church. It is their special place of meeting with God. I have another friend who often goes to a small chapel not far from his home. It is one of his quiet places where he regularly meets the Lord.

Do you have a quiet place where you regularly meet with God? If not, consider finding one…

Lord God, thank You for the quiet places I have had over the years, places of sanctuary, places of calm, places where I regularly met with You. Thank You for the stability these places have provided me. Thank You for the strength and solace I have found from You in these places. Thank You, Lord, for my ‘Gardens of Gethsemane.’ I treasure the hours I have spent there with You. Even now as I pray, I feel the peace that I often find when I meet You in my special place.

To You be the honor and the glory and the praise, Oh Lord, my God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Thursday, March 22: John 17- God Protection.

Listening to Jesus pray.  What a gift that God should include this chapter in His eternal Word.

Verse 3 sparked some meditations. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Eternal life is knowing God. I tried to dwell on that. Eternal life is a relationship with God that begins immediately when we confess Jesus and it continues into and throughout eternity. Eternal life flows from knowing God…

The word ‘protect’ in verse 11-12 sparked other meditations. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

It seems that Jesus is referring to a spiritual protection more so than physical protection. I thought about the lives of the Apostles, most of them suffered death and persecution for Jesus’ name. Yet everyone had strength for those moments of trial and each one finished the race with faith and valor. So God did protect them. God watched over them and guaranteed their inheritance (Eph 1:14).

Emphasizing this same truth, Paul instructs the Romans, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-39)

God protects His own and sees us through to eternity.

Lord God Almighty, I marvel at Your care… May my life bring You honor and glory… Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, March 21: John 16- The days are coming .

When I watch the world I continually scratch my head.  How can people kill others in the name of religion and believe God approves? From the time of Cain and Able (Genesis 3), God has despised murder.

Jesus doesn’t explain people’s reasoning, but He does warn His disciples that this will happen and that His followers will be the victims. "All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

On the one hand this is little comfort when I read of fellow believers killed for their faith around the world. Yet on the other hand, Jesus did warn us. He warned us that we would be persecuted. He warned us that His way was narrow and difficult and, yes, He warned us that we might be killed by people who believe they are serving God.

In following Jesus, He does not guarantee us a sweet time this side of eternity. What He promises is thatHe will be with us, that He will send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be with us and that the Spirit will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come (13).

Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee an easy life.  It guarantees eternal life! Think about it.

Jesus, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit. Thank You for the Comforter and Counselor Who is with us and Who will guide us each day and carry us into eternity with You and the Father.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Amen.


Tuesday, March 20: John 15- Remain.

11 times in 10 verses, the word ‘remain’ lit up as I read this morning. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

God is telling me I have to put effort into my faith. I have to work at my faith. I have to remain in the faith… and obedience to Jesus’ commands is the key to remaining. ‘If I (you) obey then we will remain,’ says Jesus.

Immediately the Spirit drives the message home, “Bill, what must you do today to remain in Jesus?” Spending time in God’s Word is a good start,after that, treat people like Jesus would have; listen for the voice of the Father and do what He says like Jesus would have; be open and available for ‘God-orchestrated moments’ like Jesus would have…

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit may it be so… may I live this way, not only today, but everyday. To You be the honor and glory. Amen and Amen.


Monday, March 19: John 14- Trust God and me.

The opening two sentences captivated me. After finishing this rich chapter I immediately returned to verse one. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Aren’t we all seeking to have our hearts at peace and rest? Don’t we all want to avoid a troubled heart? Isn’t this a basic human desire? For people I know it is.

And Jesus, in seven words,  answers this basic human desire. Trust in God; trust also in me. So basic, so simple, so straightforward.

Trust in God; trust also in me.

Trust in Jesus brings peace (John 14, 16, 20; Philippians 4:7-9)

Trust in Jesus brings abundant life (John 10:10)

Trust in Jesus brings reconnection with God (John 1:12)

Trust in Jesus brings the constant presence of the HS (John 14, 16; Acts 2:38-39)

I only wish trust, true trust in Jesus, were easy. Alas, it is not… but it is worth it.

Have you put your trust in Jesus? Are you trusting in Jesus now? Are you trusting Jesus with life’s problems and challenges?

Lord Jesus, help me to trust You fully… Amen.


Saturday, March 17: John 13- Washing Feet.

Washing feet.  Have you, as an adult, ever washed the feet of someone else? Have you ever had your feet washed by someone else? I have.  Once in a church, I took part in a foot washing where my feet were washed. It was more symbolic than actual, and yet there was something powerful about having someone wash and dry my feet. Another time I was given a pedicure at a men’s spa. First, let me say the pedicure was luxurious, so relaxing. It began with my feet getting washed, dried and lotioned. This was the luxurious part but I found myself wondering what it is like for those who washed my feet, to spend days hunched below people, taking smelly feet and washing them all day. It is not glamorous work!

Now remove the ‘spa’ atmosphere and the salary paid and the relatively clean environment of our world, and the task is even more humbling. In the ancient world, feet were dirty and grimy from constantly walking dirt and dust covered roads. You have seen parades where people follow horses to clean their messes off the street,  That job didn’t exist in the ancient world. People wore sandals.   Maybe they went around barefoot. You get the picture. It is little wonder why the lowest servant/slave in the pecking order got the foot washing job!

Jesus the Teacher and Lord (13) stooped to wash and dry his disciples feet to make a point. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (12-17).

His point… we –Christ-followers- are to serve others. No service is to menial for a Christ-follower. No service is beneath us.

As the point settled in my soul, the Spirit began a parade of names and faces in my mind… my wife, kids, co-workers, people I naturally like and those not so much. “Serve them,” came the Spirit’s whisper. “Wash their feet…”

Oh, Lord, I am so much better at superficiality, symbolically washing feet in a church service. However, to really and honestly serve, I am not so good. When it benefits me, I am okay at service, but when it is real and honest, down in the dust service, I am not so good.

O, God, I fall so far short of Your example, Jesus. Forgive me.  And even more, help me to become like You. Amen.


Friday, March 16: John 12- Lazarus.

I have never had a bounty on my head. I imagine knowing people were out to kill me would add significant stress to my life. Jesus knew the leaders wanted Him dead. He also had a perfect relationship with the Father and understood that in the Father’s time His death would provide reconciliation for all who believe in God through Him.

But then there is Lazarus, a friend of Jesus’ and brother to Martha and Mary. His claim to fame was that he died and Jesus brought him back to life. Because he was raised from the dead, he was placed on the Jewish leaders hit list. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him (10-11).

My thoughts and musings went in many directions, wondering about Lazarus’ stress level and wondering what it would be like to come back to life after four days in the tomb. However, I  then began wondering what it would be like to live my life in such a faithful manner that on account of me and my life many put their faith in Jesus…

Was it the miracle or his life that drew people to Jesus or a combination of both? Lazarus was not the only person Jesus brought back from the dead, but of none of the others are we told that their life led many to faith in Jesus. So there certainly was a character and witness to Lazarus’ life that made him a beacon pointing to Jesus…

Lord, Jesus, I don’t have a miraculous and well know testimony like Lazarus. However, that is no excuse., Lazarus was not the only person Jesus brought back from the dead. So, Lord, I am not off the hook. Help me, Jesus, to be a beacon point to You. Help me to cultivate a life that shines so brightly for You that many come to faith in You because of the way I live. In Jesus name. Amen.




Thursday, March 15: John 11-Different responses to Jesus.

I am always surprised by the varied responses to Jesus. Some people seem to believe easily, some struggle but finally believe.  Others struggle and eventually choose not to believe and then, still others dismiss Jesus out of hand. I see that all around me. And here it was in the story of Lazarus being brought back to life.

I would think that seeing someone walk out of a tomb where he had been dead for three days would cause everyone to believe, but apparently not so. After Lazarus was called out of the tomb by Jesus, we read, Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. … So from that day on they plotted to take his life (45-47, 53).

There we have it the same spread, belief to distain. I guess Jesus will always engender various responses…

As I mull this over, I am heartened to spread the news of Jesus because some will believe. Who and how and why will be a mystery to me. But some will believe and that’s the joy of sharing Jesus.

And if I share Jesus in appropriate and honest ways, I can remain friends with everyone with whom I share Jesus, no matter their response. This, too, is comforting news.

Lord, help me to be open and transparent in sharing Jesus will others. Help me to listen to Your whispers about when and how to share Jesus. After that, Lord, I leave the response in Your hands. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 



Wednesday, March 14: John 10- The difference between understanding and belief.

The Jews understand Jesus. They know what He is saying, preaching and teaching. They get it. But they choose not to believe it. This becomes clear in verse 31-33. Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

They understand that Jesus is teaching that He is God. Instead of believing Him, they follow their religion and look to stone Him.

Understanding someone is being able to follow their logic and even restate what they have said, taught or proclaimed.

Believing means to ‘buy into, to trust, to be willing to follow’. Believing, at its best, involves understanding. Understanding doesn’t require believing.

As we read through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, hopefully your understanding of God’s Word is growing. However, the most important factor is whether your belief in God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit, is growing.

John writes his Gospel and letters that you might believe Jesus is the Christ and by believing you might have life in His name (John 20:31).

Do you believe? Do you?

Jesus, I confess that You are God and that You came to teach us about the Father and the Spirit.  That You came to show us the way back to God and that You came to be our sin-penalty substitute. You came to give Your life on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all who would believe in You. I believe in You and I believe You. Alleluia. Amen.


Tuesday, March 13: John 9- Threats.

Reading the New Testament I am continually astonished by the threats placed on the early believers. Their world is so different from ours. Even during Jesus’ time, threats were levied. I was struck by this again as I read of this man healed from blindness. His parents confirmed their son’s healing but wouldn’t say how because of Jewish leaders threats. His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue (22).

We never hear if the parents believe in Jesus. The man healed wasn’t deterred by the Jewish threats but apparently his parents were. I wonder how many others were kept from belief in Jesus due to the Jewish leaders threats of expulsion.

I am not in the same boat as the parents. I have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. However, maybe someone perusing this blog is held back by some threat (real or perceived) from confessing Jesus. I wish I had special words that could help you to cross the line of faith and believe in Jesus. All I can say is that believing in Jesus has been the best decision of my life and I know God will fill your life with the same if you confess Jesus.

Then my thoughts flipped.  I began to extrapolate on this idea of threats. I began to examine my life to see if there were any threats (perceived or real) that keep me from fully devoting my life to Jesus, that hold me back and cause me to play it safe within my faith in Jesus. This is one difficult question, but one worth asking and praying about.

Lord, Jesus, help me to get over any lingering areas of unbelief in my life so that I can be more fully devoted to You.  So that I can and will serve You with reckless abandon, to Your will and Your way, no matter the cost I would have to bear. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, March 12: John 8- Another gospel summary.

Verse 24 offers a simple summary of Jesus’ mission. Jesus said, I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.

Not the entire gospel but certainly a key portion of it… if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.

Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the one and only Son of God and God himself who came to offer his life on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins? Do you believe?

I believe that with all my heart. On October 3, 1975 I professed my belief to Jesus in prayer in a motel room in Muhlenberg, PA. That was the most important decision of my life and the one that changed my focus, my hopes, my desires and my dreams…

Do you believe?

Lord, I know now that without Your grace I would never have believed. Thank You, thank You, thank You… In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, March 10: John 7- Timing.

 “Timing is everything,” or so the saying goes. Certainly there is truth to this. I had a cousin in the 1960’s who was an innovator before his time. With a background in electronics he had an automatic timer for his morning coffee, unheard of back then. He could start his car from in his house so he it would be all warm and toasty when he got in it in the winter.  He created electronics in a small Tupperware box on which you could push buttons and it would play musical notes. He attempted to sell some of these inventions but they never flew. Today each idea lives in our market…

Timing may not be everything but it is important.

Verse 6&8 speaks of another kind of timing. Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. … You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come."

The right time… the Greek word in this verse for time is ‘kairos’ time, as season or moment. Knowing God’s time for something is important. When God moves things happen. But if/when we attempt to make things happen on our own there can be problems.

A key for living faithfully with the Lord is learning to listen to God for His timing….knowing when to step out and when not.

Jesus waited a few days, Then He did go up to the feast.  While at the feast he again waited until the right time before he began to speak publicly.


Over the last years, thanks in part to the teachings that grow from a ministry called PRMI (check out or its teaching arm, I am learning to listen to the Lord for His timing. I don’t always get it right but when I do, there is a sense that God’s power has anointed the moment for His glory.

“God’s timing is everything,” this I do know to be true.

Lord, Jesus, help me to listen to You and the Spirit’s nudgings so that I can move when You say move, go when You say go and speak when You say speak. Then Lord, I will be in ‘Your timing’ and will accomplish all that You desire for me to accomplish so that Your kingdom will advance.

Jesus, I pray this in Your name and for the sake and glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.




Friday, March 9: John 6- Believe.

At every turn John is inviting people to believe in Jesus. Over and over again in many and various ways, belief in Jesus shows itself to be the heart of John’s Gospel. John longs for all his readers to believe.

About mid-chapter there is a brief exchange between crowds and Jesus, that again points people to belief in Jesus. In verse 28, the day after the miraculous feeding of 5000, the crowd came to Jesus and asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Any number of answers were available to Jesus. Jesus chose the simplest answer, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." Believe in me, Jesus says.

Questions abound, circumstances arise, but the base of all spiritual issues is answered above. What does God require and desire? That a person believe in Jesus…

Do you believe in Jesus… Do you?

Lord, Jesus, I believe. Help me with those areas in my life where unbelief still exists. Help me, Lord, to believe totally and completely. Amen.


Thursday, March 8: John 5- Where will you be found?.

The opening story in chapter 5 is about the invalid at the Pool of Siloam. For thirty eight years this man’s life have been defined by his infirmity.  Presumably he has been coming to the pool for those thirty eight years in the hopes of being healed. Occasionally the pool would be stirred and when it was stirred, the first in the pool was healed. For thirty eight years the man hoped against hope that he would receive healing.

Problem was, as an invalid, he needed someone’s help to get into the pool, so he was never able to get in the water first.  So he waited and hoped and laid by the pool.

Jesus finds him and asks a seemingly obvious question, “Do you want to get well?” (6).

An interesting question.  Could the man have been delaying his pool entry so he didn’t get well. Stranger things are true. After all, healing will mean a quantum shift in his life.

The story progresses with Jesus healing the man. Thank you, Jesus.

After more detail about Jesus slipping away into the crowd, He later catches up to the man in the Temple. That little detail sparked my meditations.

Healed, the man now could go anywhere and do anything. He could have run home to family and friends, “I’m healed!” We could easily imagine him shouting as he talked non-stop about his healing. He could have danced in the streets calling attention to himself. He could have run to the Jerusalem Chronicle and sold his story to a tabloid or Oprah. He could have done any of a thousand things, but he chose to go to the Temple. He chose to go to God’s home, presumably to thank and praise God and possibly to fulfill the law, showing himself to the temple priests.

When God shows up in your life, where do you go, what do you do?

This man went to God’s house to praise and thank the Lord. Think about it…

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above you heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen…


Wednesday, March 7: John 4- Gift, peace, challenge.

The richness of John’s Gospel continues to amaze me even after 35+ years. Three verses leapt up at me as I read this morning. I will try to keep my thoughts brief…

Verse 10: Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." The way Jesus answered hit me. Jesus is the gift of God. Jesus was the one who asked her for a drink. I spent some time thinking about Jesus as God’s gift.  Gifts are unmerited, gifts show we are loved, gifts provide something we need, gifts are often a surprise…

Yes, Jesus is God’s gift to us. Alleluia!

Verse 27: Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman… I noticed how Jesus is having this amazing conversation with the woman. Just as it climaxes, the disciples arrive. God’s timing is perfect. I imagine that if they had arrived five minutes sooner the conversation would never have made it to Jesus’ pronouncement of Messiah-ship. However,  God orchestrated all things, even the length of a conversation.

This helps me trust that when I am in a spiritual conversation, God will orchestrate things so that I have just the right amount of time to say what God needs me to say. My task is to pay attention to the Spirit and follow His lead. He will see that things work out to the end the Father desires.

This gives me courage and peace as I seek to witness to Him.

Verses 40-41: So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along and didn’t socialize. It is amazing that Jesus struck up a conversation with a Samaritan woman and now He is staying TWO days in a Samaritan village. Jesus never ceases to amaze me, how he will cross human-made barriers to share God’s love and message!

This challenges me to be bold and to stretch past my comfort zone in the name of Jesus and for the Gospel sake.

Oh, Father, may I have the boldness and love that Jesus had to take Your message of grace to every person You bring to me. May I be bold in following Your will and winsome as I follow the leading and promptings of the Holy Spirit, who guides me to do all that You would have me do. May my life bring honor to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, March 6: John 3- "We".

I find myself drinking in the words of John’s Gospel. Chapter 3 is familiar with the famous John 3:16 and the account of Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night. There is so much truth in this chapter. If you are not familiar with this story and what it teaches, I encourage you to sit with it and think on it. It is a powerful teaching.

Interestingly, my heart was drawn to a small detail that appeared in verse 2. Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He [Nicodemus] came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him" (1-2). It was the two-letter word ‘we’ that launched my meditation.

It could be that Nicodemus was using the word ‘we’ in order to deflect attention from himself. Maybe he was a little embarrassed by his question to Jesus?

Another scenario is that the ‘we’ sent Nicodemus as a representative to speak to Jesus and report back. John reports in Chapter 19 that Joseph of Arimathea accompanied Nicodemus in burying Jesus (19:38-42).

A third possibility is that the ‘we’ refers to other Pharisees and members of the ruling council who quietly believed Jesus was from God. This is where I lingered.  Why would Nicodemus come to Jesus but the others stay away? What might have kept them from Jesus? Intimidation by others who loathed Jesus? Fear of what Jesus might ask of them? The loss of high standing and prestige if they were put off the council? Did they ever let this knowledge that Jesus is from God grow into true and honest faith in Him? Or where they like rocky soil that had a measure of belief but the cares of the world and heat of the day snuffed that out? All of these are guesses but it started me wondering why people who are spiritually hungry avoid Jesus.

Thinking about such things might help me when I have opportunities to speak with and answer questions of people who are spiritually seeking.

Oh, Lord, help me to grow in skill and wisdom in sharing my faith in Jesus with others, particularly with people who are seeking something more and deeper in their lives. Allow me, Lord, to point them to Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, March 5: John 2- No showy manner.

A word about John

John was one of the "12", and one of the closest friends of Jesus, as well as of Peter. John's Gospel is very different from the other three. It was the last to be written, so John assumes that everyone knows the facts about Jesus' life. Instead John chooses to concentrate on interpreting the meaning of Jesus’ life. The goal of John, in writing his Gospel, is “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name”  (John 20:21).



The story of Jesus’ miracle at Cana is such a wonderful story on many accounts.

Jesus keeps the bridegroom from embarrassment if the wine ran out.

Jesus goes above and beyond creating the finest wine provided at the wedding even though much wine had been served and many people probably couldn’t tell by this point.

Jesus honors His mother and her request.

There are many layers to this account.

One aspect I saw as I read this morning was the humble, quiet manner in which Jesus proceeded with His miracle. He never stood in the lime light, instead He quietly performed this miracle. In fact only His mom, the steward, and any disciples who happened to be with Him actually knew what happened. Jesus quietly came to the aid of the bride and groom.

This thought reminds me that as we work for Jesus, we need not stand in the limelight and gain honor for ourselves. Instead we can be humble and quiet in our service of the King and God will make it so that those who ‘need to know’ will know.

Be completely humble… (Ephesians 4:10) is one way Paul charges us…

Oh, Lord, as I live and work, please help me to be humble and quiet in my service of You… In Jesus’ name. Amen.



Saturday, March 3: John 1- Jesus, Yes JESUS

Having spent the last two months in the Old Testament, I found John’s pronouncements about Jesus, life-giving. Jesus, yes Jesus, is God incarnate. John makes that absolutely clear. Listen as I recount description of Jesus painted in John 1…

Verses 1-4: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

Verses 10-18: He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Finally verses 29-34: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

Reading and re-reading these verses, I found words unnecessary. Simply soak in these truths.

Oh, Jesus, I surrender to You. You are God. You created all things. You give life. You take away sins. I believe in You and I believe You. Alleluia Amen.



Friday, March 2: Lamentations 5- To whom do you turn?.

In tragedy, heartache, pain, to whom do you turn?

Jeremiah, hurting, bewildered and upset continues to turn to God with his questions. This short book is a testimony to God’s faithfulness in dark days. This entire lament is a song to the Lord.  Why God? What God? Help God…

I realized this as I sat to read. The focus of each chapter was the Lord. My thoughts were confirmed with the closing verses. You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure (19-22).

Questions for God?  Absolutely. A plea for restoration?  Yes. But behind both of these is the belief that the Lord is in control (19) and that He alone has the final say over the future (22).

To whom do do you turn to in times of pain, heartache and tragedy?

Lord God Jehovah, I rest my life and future in your hands. You are my rock and my fortress, in You will I trust.

Praise You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Thursday, March 1: Lamentations 4- When leaders cease to be honorable.

The sad and disturbing tale of the fall of Jerusalem continues. Jeremiah saw unspeakable horrors as God unleashed His wrath and people resorted to terrible actions.

Buried in the lament of Jeremiah lies verse 13, But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous.

I stare at that verse. The fall of the nation rests on the backs of its leaders. Those who should have been the backbone of honor, who should provided a moral compass, became derelict in their duties. Jeremiah accuses them of shedding within her the blood of the righteous. These leaders didn’t kill people, they didn’t kill ideas; they killed morality. They killed righteousness –the following after the Lord and His ways. This is so much worse! The moral lapses and inhuman actions of the people (women eating their children to survive) grows directly out of the actions and misguided leadership of the prophets and priests who shed within her the blood of the righteous within the gates of Jerusalem.

This word from the Lord sends a chill down my spine.  All around us, in places of power and authority, I see people who shed within her the blood of the righteous. People who are willing to look the other way, to bend rules to suit personal gain, people willing to compromise righteousness. I see it in politicians, business leaders, coaches, entertainment and, yes, even religious leaders.

Oh, God, where are we headed?

Lord, today’s listen to Your Word causes me to wonder where the world I live in is headed. Our leaders seem to have no sense of Your righteousness or even general righteousness. Are we on a path similar to Judah?

Lord, in my position as pastor, I carry Your mantle within my community. Help me, please, not to succumb to the influences of the world and life and …. Help me to uphold righteousness that pleases You, especially when it isn’t fashionable. Allow me to do it with a spirit of humility, recognizing You, alone, are perfect and holy and I am not.

I pray this for Your glory and in the name of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit on whom I rely for strength to be a man about You, O Lord. Amen.