John 16 ‘Who For’ Not ‘What For’

In the world we often live glibly until we experience the anguish of death. But when we do, when that unwanted experience intrudes upon our life, when we find ourselves in the labor pains of confrontation with the death of a loved one, we also find that in Jesus, who has conquered death (death tries to keep us in the glib world) we discover life, and a far better place of rest, a place beyond the world’s power. Our own joy, going through the travail of the physical death grows full; we can live now with the confidence found in the fact of the resurrection- a death conquered-life wins!

OK, so it is not easy to live in this world of death with my mind set on Christ and thus live in the joy of conquered death. But what is it that makes it hard? My self. Bits and pieces surface under the process of grief and living on.  I find more opportunities to turn my thought struggles over to Jesus and trust Him for my needs. The aging body can get tired, yet I must persist.

dscn5564.jpgWhat sweet yet painful joy as I discover that this too can be His! That He indeed strengthens me as I climb forward and upward carrying on the task set before me. I need community and community needs me. Gosh that felt presumptuous to write. I am needed? I guess so! If not, why am I still here? There is a plan and a purpose that God has for me where I am at this moment in time. I rarely feel that I know what it is yet I tell myself I do not need to know the ‘what for’ when I have the ‘Who for’.

Jesus, it is all for You to make sense of my life and purpose. I shall climb on this day, whether the path is rocky, steep, or soft and level or something in between. You provide my resting places and refresh me with living water. Fill me today with your strength, vision and solid ground under my feet as your Holy Spirit leads me forward into this day. All praise to the Holy One, Jesus!

John 16 Rebirth

The disciples were discussing and debating everything Jesus said. When He spoke about time, a little while…and again a little while, did they hear this as a riddle? Jesus spoke it this way for a reason, perhaps to have them in that open question frame of mind. He certainly has their attention!

Now they are ready and He alerts them to listen closely to this truly truly and He promises weeping and lamenting in contrast to a rejoicing world. Imagine that for me. It is great sorrow of mine when the culture around me has an opposite reaction to the same event. What feelings does that evoke and intensify? Fear? Shame? Anxiety? Confusion? Guilt? Anger? Hurt? Feeling personally attacked or targeted? Yet, Jesus does not let them ponder this now, or at least we are told right then that He also said that their sorrow would turn to joy. He spoke this contrasting message all in the same breath. Crushing feelings contrasted to joy. He promises a joy that expands rather than sorrow which contracts.IMG_0558

We are told very early in John’s book that we must be born again. Jesus now compares His death and resurrection to birth. When we women give birth there is intense but temporary pain. I always joke about “mother brains” that if a mother was not forgetful she would never have more than one child! It really seems as if you do forget what labor feels like till you are back in there again and the pains come once more. The second time you have the memory of the birth and the amazing joy of that tender life in your arms so that you forget anything else your body is doing. I am amazed at the great strength of a woman who gives birth after the loss of a previous child; I am in awe of that courage and hope.

Jesus is speaking first to the woman when He speaks these words, to the fathers in the room as well. Without personal experience these words have less understanding, and those who have given birth, can testify to that. What an affirmation of marriage and family and of women. (Again, I wonder if the women were there in the room and just not mentioned by the male writers?)

But this is Jesus’ chosen metaphor to prepare them for what is to come. Therefore you too will have sorrow, a sorrow that will turn to joy when they see Him again. The human body of Jesus is born again. Life itself is the womb, death is the passage, the grief of his family is the labor pains and His resurrection is His new life, the great joy, and the rebirth. Jesus, the firstborn of all created beings, in the flesh as creator, created Himself in Mary’s womb; He now is created through death and resurrection into the second Adam, the firstborn. Jesus has led the way. This is the way He went. This is the way we all as believers follow.

IMG_5523Since we live in the days past His resurrection, in His name we can ask, and He will give anything from the Father to us.  Now started the time to ask in Jesus name. We ask Jesus, we ask the Father. It is the same. It is great joy.

A promise fulfilled is a fact. The facts are that Jesus died. That Jesus arose. That He returned to the Father. That Jesus lives. That Jesus hears our prayers and answers because we are loved. Therefore it is a fact that when we ask Jesus, in Jesus name, His promise is the answer comes. Jesus is not an intercessor to the Father; Jesus is One with the Father. My asking Jesus, knowing Him as from the Father, is my faith in action. My love of Jesus is love of the Father.

Just as Jesus is not alone when the next hour came and all were scattered, because He is with the Father, I can understand by my faith in Jesus, that I am never alone. Never. No matter what is around me in the world. I have Jesus. He is enough. The rest is temporary.

Lord, friend, Jesus, remind me in my lonely times the great company of Your love that surpasses all earthy feelings. Let me rest my emotions in Your presence. Let me take each breath of faith that restores and feeds my soul and gives strength to my next step, in Your name, in Your presence within me, in Your great love.

Take courage, I have overcome the world.

John 16 The Spirit of Truth

Jesus prepared us for the time of believers being cast out of the church (the synagogue) and even worse, the time when murderers, in the belief that the are doing service for God, kill the followers of Jesus. They think they do this for God, but they don’t know the Father nor Jesus. Jesus, knowing this time was to come and knowing that it would be hard for His followers, left so that the Holy Spirit would come (the Helper).

  • The Spirit of Truth guides us into all the truth.
  • The Holy Spirit convicts the world of the sin of not believing in Jesus
  • He convicts the world of righteousness – that which God approves.
  • He convicts the world in judgment: God judges the world for lack of faith.
  • The Holy Spirit does all this because the world ruler has already been judged. (At the cross!)

When the Holy Spirit speaks, the Spirit of truth, the guidance given will be directly from God, as the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and does not speak on His own initiative.

  • TRUTH hears -then speaks what is coming
  • TRUTH glorifies Jesus
  • TRUTH takes of what belongs to Jesus and discloses it to us.

So be encouraged to listen to truth dear sister!

DSCN7462These things help me confess sin, set me free from sin and guilt by trusting myself to Jesus and to the help He provides through His Holy Spirit of Truth.

Jesus, today I again surrender all to you. I give You my pain, my hurt, my isolation, my frustration, my joy, my uncertainty, my all because I want to be filled with You not me. I am your vessel. Clean me from inside and out. Shine me and fill me with Your purpose for creating me as You have chose to create me.

As an artist paints with water color, responding to the movement and flow of the paints, use your brush and loving wise hand, and wash me, shape me, mix me, craft me with all the preparation you have put into me and the others around me that I have a part and place in the masterpiece of your creation. A living, holy masterpiece in the body of Jesus!