Showing posts from 2006

John 5:1-15 Jesus Ups the Ante

In today’s study I noticed something interesting. Jesus has done three miracles, starting when He instantly turned water into wine at a wedding, then healed a sick boy with a word, and now healing the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethesda. It’s this miracle that ups the ante, however. Let me explain…

Water is turned into wine all the time. Oh, I’m not discounting the miracle that Jesus did! It was bona fide, I have no doubt. But stay with me here, water gets turned into wine all the time. It’s not instant (unless instant wine is a new product I’ve missed—just add water—?) It takes a while for the natural process to transpire, controlled carefully by men, but in essence water on the vineyard grows the grapes, men ferment them, and in time that water is turned into wine.

Likewise, although I refuse to discount the miracle Jesus did in curing the son of the nobleman, the fact remains that kids who are sick, even dying, get better every day. I agree with you, if at the moment you’re noting …

Mark 6:35-44, 7:24-30: God's Leftovers

I have so many bowls and little plastic containers of leftovers in my refrigerator that they get shoved to the back of the shelves only to be retrieved and thrown out when they have a coating of greenish fuzz. My wealth is almost embarrassing. I’ve been known to mutter that what I was throwing out could feed a third-world village for days. So when I came upon the idea of God’s leftovers as I read the gospel of Mark, I couldn’t help but think of my refrigerator, jam-packed with leftovers this time of year.

After Mark tells us about Jesus feeding 5,000 people, which may have been as many as 15,000 people if you include women and children, we’re told, “they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.” That’s a lot of leftovers, especially when you consider that Jesus began with five loaves and two fish. He filled all these people to the point of bursting, a feast of bread and fish. There was more left over at the end than there was when He started! Probably even the birds an…

John 4:43-53 Faith Healer

Today in my study I stand in a milling crowd, alongside a desperate father who approaches Jesus for help. His son is dying…

Imagine what this man is going through. He’s a bigwig, a suited corporate type who works in the capital, a rising star in business, about to make his big break, but right now he just feels like a little cog being ground to dust in the wheels of life. He’s taken his son to every high-powered specialist around but the boy is past hope, slowly dying. This man has heard about Jesus’ reputation and he figures, why not? What does he have to lose? He might as well see if this guy can help. He won’t be the first desperate father to go to some faith healer…

He pulls into Cana just about the time Jesus arrives in the town where they say He turned water into wine at a wedding feast. There’s a crowd of people that have heard all about the things Jesus did up in Jerusalem at the Passover. Miracles, people say. They’re hanging around hoping for a good show. Maybe more wine…free!…

2 Timothy 1:7 His Prevailing Wind

This morning's verse was:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Have you ever experienced that spirit of fear? It's a dark wind blowing through your heart, freezing your soul. It might have been someone saying, "I don't love you any more." It could have been the dreaded diagnosis. Or maybe you received a late night call asking if you were the next of kin. There was that moment when your heart teetered between hope and dread, but the wind of fear pushed you over the edge in to the dark chasm where hope seemed to vanish. This fear takes you into the environs of hell, seemingly distant from the God of hope. Rest assured He's not distant. Remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear... Yet it may seem that way as you walk out of the house, leave the hospital room, or drive to the police station. You feel broken, full of dread and fear, but as you wend your way out into the unknown future where the wind of fear t…

John 4:23-24 Authentic Worship

This morning I read this verse...
"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
It got me started thinking about what constitutes authentic worship. Jesus said we must worship "in spirit and truth", which is a phrase that rolls off my tongue easily enough, but what does it mean? How do I express worship each day?

He shows us two components to worship: spirit (not capital-s Spirit but lower case-s spirit, as in the spirit of man) and truth. I think Jesus is telling us we have to come to worship from the heart, not out of religiosity. If you know the passage this verse is from, you recognize that the Samaritan woman Jesus was talking to raised a religious argument, clearly a diversionary tactic meant to take the spotlight off of her questionable moral life, but Jesus hones in on the bare-bones…

Isaiah 61:10- Clothed in Salvation

This morning I studied a wonderful verse:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

I can't help but think of the painting by Klimt called The Kiss:

Jesus has given me the unmerited gift of eternity with Him. It's this robe of righteousness that only He can give, and I'm sure it's far more beautiful than I can imagine or ever paint, but if I could it would be dazzlingly lovely, shining and fair, bright and beautiful beyond compare. He gives it to me, as He offers it to anyone who asks, out of His agape, the sacrificial love of God, enfolding me in an embrace that is far more precious than any other. Amazingly, He has offered me HIS righteousness to cover my lack, like the robe that a Hebrew bride wears, symbolizing her new role as part of the life of he…

Painting and obedience to Christ

"My career has been a journey in search of beauty and truth, which come from God. I seek to show His beauty, power and majesty, and my serenity and joy, however imperfectly translated through the talent He has given me. As I paint, I look forward to daily lessons from my Master, Jesus Christ. I hope that you will see Him shining through the work you see here."

Today I begin my web log, which I hope will be one way to keep myself accountable and transparent. Here you see one of my pastel paintings, Smoldering Moment. I really, really struggled with this one! It was twice as large and had a blue sky until one afternoon when I just lost it and decided it would either become a sunset or I'd wipe it out completely! As you can see, the sunset option worked, but I lopped the top half off in the process. I still struggle with painting, even after 25 years as an artist. It's a worthy struggle--but not the most important one in my life, trust me.

Painting is a snap compared to o…