Friday, March 18, 2016

Abide In Him

Scripture: John 15:1-17

Focus Verses: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:7-8 (NIV)

               The following lines comprise what the disciples might have thought as Jesus shares with them.

               “Abide with him?”
               “What does he mean?”
               “We have followed him all these months and assisted in his teaching. Yet he says he can now call us friends.
               “I don’t understand where he is going with this.”

               These thoughts show the confusion the disciples felt when they heard Jesus talk about his soon-coming death.

               We who live in the 21st Century collectively have doubts about what goes on around us—either temporally or spiritually.
               Jesus tries to prepare his disciples for what lay ahead of them. He also shares moments with us, his children, today as a way of making us ready for what will enter our lives, as a way of giving us strength.

               Does our abiding with Jesus cause circumstances we would rather not have? I believe it does. However, our abiding (remaining) with Jesus gives us strength to withstand many difficulties that come our way.

Dear Father God:

We give thanks to You for allowing us to experience Your grace and mercy. We appreciate Your going before us and being beside us whenever we face difficult and trying circumstances. In Jesus’s name, we pray. Amen   

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Counselor Will Come

Scripture: John 16:5-17

Focus Verse: “But I tell you the truth: it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7 (NIV)

               Jesus’ message brings more confusion to the disciples. Their thoughts could have been like the following:

               “What is Jesus saying?”
               “He keeps telling us he is going away. Now, he tells us he will send someone else in his stead?”
               “Do we need someone else, why can’t he stay here?
               “”This new person will guide us?”
               “He will convict the world?”
               “Why does what he says not make sense to us?

               Could the disciples be like many 21st Century people? Did they think their group would be together forever?

               Several years ago, we had a situation in our family. A young man died from a terrible disease. Most of us knew his outcome would not be what we wanted. His sister drew into herself. I found myself asking her why she seemed so saddened. Her answer—“I just knew the doctors would find a cure for his illness.”         This sister was not a believer; therefore, I chose not to tell her that maybe God did heal her brother by taking him home to heaven. Today, I believe she did not realize that we only have a certain God-set time on this earth.

               The disciples began grieving as they heard these words from Jesus. They probably could not focus on the words spoken about the Father, “he will never leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6 (NIV)

               Another relative grieved prematurely when her older sister was in the hospital. That sister had undergone two Cancer surgeries in less than 10 days. The patient was not rallying. The doctors said she was doing well, in spite of what we saw. The older sister lived nine more years.

               The disciples received something we do not always receive about the end of someone’s life. Jesus tried to prepare them for his departure. We don’t always get to prepare ourselves when a loved one passes on to heaven The part we initially find strange is they could not grasp what He was telling them.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Persecuted by The World

Scripture: John 15:18-16:4

Focus verse: “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘ No servant is greater than his master’. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”John 15:20 (NIV)

               “What is the Master saying?”

               “He speaks of people being persecuted because he chose us from the world. Why?”

               “They hated him without reason? Who would do that?”

               The disciples are hearing things they don’t understand. They hear him speak of hatred, persecution, shunning and killing of those who believe in Him. Questions arise in the disciples’ minds. Jesus’ words pierced their hearts, bringing grief to the forefront.

               In our 21st Century world, we should look closely at these words and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us. 

Back just before the Super Bowl, I read where an automobile company would have a a commercial about their product. What I read offended me. The message I received from that company was, “We cater to the young. We think older people (read senior citizens) are not the people we want purchasing our cars.” My original thought was: When did older people become personae non grata? As I read this scripture, I understand why businesses do not treat older people with the respect they deserve. They don’t look at the people as who they are but for what those people can give. (Please forgive my rant.) 


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Book Review: I Hope it’s not Hereditary, by Jedidiah Hartley

               Jedidiah Hartley writes a series of stories about his father, Evangelist Bob Hartley. This book tells about his father and many antics that Bob Hartley performed as a child growing up, as a young adult on his own, and an adult during the years as Jedidiah grew up.
               The tales this son shares with his readers remind me of stories one would hear around a kitchen table. A son would say something like, “Do you remember when,” or “Let me tell you about my dad.”

While Jedidiah Hartley shares stories from his dad’s life, some rather embarrassing, the reader will get the feeling that this son is proud of his father in spite of the crazy antics, Bob did.

               I usually choose to review books that deal with spiritual growth. There was some spiritual growth in this collection of stories. This book starts out like a biography and changes toward the end to a memoir.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy stories about families and those members who have come through times brought about by their own choosing.

There was a drawback to my really liking this book. The title on the Book Club Network site read, “Hope it’s not hereditary.” The actual title of the book was “I Hope it’s Not Hereditary” I found this misleading.

               I received this book from Whitaker House publishing via Book Fun and Book Club Network free of charge. All they asked of me was an honest review.


Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...