John Lesson 16: John 14:1-16:33

For Thought and Discussion Question, Page 149(2)

Why does it glorify the Father when Jesus grants prayers offered in His name? (John 14:13)

NIV Footnote:  John 14:13: Prayers offered in His name is prayer aimed at carrying forward the work Jesus did, Prayer that He himself will answer. (3, page 1622)

 

Prayer brings us in line with Jesus and in accordance with God. Our purpose is to always be in alignment with God, for our prayers to be heard and answered.  Prayer in line with Jesus gives us a better understanding of how to pray, why we should pray and how prayer changes things. (1, page 44)

God gets glorified because of our relationship with Him. We know He answers all prayers that come from His son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. As we grow in our relationship with God our Pray life should grow as well.

John 14:6: I am the way and the truth and the life…

 

References:

  1. Helen Smith Shoemaker, The Secret of Effective Prayer, Word Book, 1967.
  2. John, Life Change Series, NavPress, 1987
  3. NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 2008 edition.

Fathoming The mystery of God

In the Beginning GOD; God Created the Heavens and the earth, God told Moses that He was I AM; GOD, outside of time; GOD outside of the known and unknown universe.  GOD, we know He is, but to understand who God is, that is an entirely different thing.  Job speaks of God “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (11:7). And Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I have just finished reading a book by Walter Lippmann entitled Preface to Morals in this book Mr. Lippmann enunciates the various aspects that must be considered in understanding the morality of the modern life.  The book was written in 1929, yet much of what he has written is still very pertinent today.   Mr. Lippmann looks at how we see God in our modern world as opposed to the way that those who wrote the Bible looked at God.  When these men wrote the word King or Lord they had a current reference, a very accurate example of what that meant.  How do we understand that simple word in this Democratic, Capitalistic society that is ours here in the United States?  He writes, “The Omnipotence of God means something to men who submit daily to the cycles of the weather and the mysterious power of nature.  But the city man puts his faith in furnaces to keep out the cold, is proudly aware of what bad sewage his ancestors endured, and of how ignorantly they believed that God, who made Adam at 9 A.M. on October 23 in the year 4004 B.C., was concerned with the behavior of Adam’s children.”  And in saying this he is merely stating that as we have more and more machines to rely on, our daily lives require less faith in God to see to our needs, and in needing God less, we are forced to redefine who He is.  Even within the Bible, the book of Job is a fulcrum to reassess God and his association with man.  For in Job we see that God allows evil into our lives.  We see that Job is tenacious in his understanding of who God is, and that God asks only for our belief.  As a Jewish writer, Mr. Lippmann is unfortunate, for his insights are defined by a lack of faith in Christ, but I believe that his assessment of how modern man perceives God is not only accurate, but also extenuated by the world of electronics that now demand our attention second by second.

Who is God?  This is the question of the ages, but I wonder how many of us really try to put our mind around this mystery of faith.  I use the word mystery, because although we use terms that express the various aspects of God, we really don’t know or understand who God is.  The Bible tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:24).  In the poetry of the Psalms, God holds us safe beneath his wings and in Exodus 33:20 God himself tells Moses that “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”, yet in the New Testament Jesus states that when we see the son, we see the father.  “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9).

God created; therefore, he is larger than all the galaxies of the universe.  He holds together the smallest of molecules as they are ordered to create life and He is capable of destroying the entire planet.  Do you realize that if God were not conscious of each of us, the very molecules of our bodies would fly apart and we would no longer exist?  In prayer, I should submit myself in complete reverence to the God of creation. As a modern person, I don’t know or understand reverence.  The terms we use have no place in our modern world, yet those words are the thing that links us to the religious, the divine.  Reverence, Webster defines as, respect, admiration, awe, veneration, astonishment, amazement, yet when I think of God, all of these words do not begin to put me in touch with His real being.  We respect the right of others to have their own opinions; we admire a teacher who against all odds inspires children to excel.  It is popular now to say that God is Awesome.  Veneration, now there is a great word – I think of old China when I hear this word.  The young venerated the old, in a manner that is unknown in western culture.   Are we really astonished or amazed when we think about God?  We should be, but I think many times we are too busy to feel the full impact of these words, to allow ourselves to dwell on God’s majesty.

God is Father.  Who is the father of our modern life?  Fathers don’t have the same authority as they had when Moses brought the commandments down from Mt. Sinai.  Then Father was the total authority of his home, he had the ability to give blessings on his sons and daughters that had not only financial, but also spiritual meaning. The authority of father has been changed in our modern society.  These changes are not bad, but they have redefined what we comprehend when we hear the word.  In prayer, as His child, I don’t bow, or prostrate myself to be heard, I speak to my Father in a way that may be considered in light of the historic term, wreck loose.

If you spend much time with me, you will know that I cry easily at things religious.  I love God for so many reasons, but I don’t think it is the love that sets me off, it is the torture of my soul to be united with my creator.  As body and blood, we can’t know God, but in that day when we move from this realm into the realm of spirit we will “understand as we are understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Like so many people in our society today, I am without family.  I am blessed that God has given me friends, so I am not lonely or anxious about that aspect of my life.  The truth is we are all alone.  We are never known fully, even by our most intimate friend or spouse.  We touch the world through our own experiences and those experiences create for each of us a different world, a different understanding even when we are together in it.

We are asked to go to God in a prayer closet and I know why.  Only in a closet, a small place devoid of the daily distractions of living can we quiet our brain enough to try to touch even a small essence of who God is.  Just as we all experience things with more than one of our senses, I am conscious of this in me and it has a tendency to put me into overload.  I have a contemplative spirit, and am forced by my own excesses to escape to solitude and quiet, yet even in that quiet place, I am constantly avoiding the question of God.  I want to experience Him in a sensory way, but I know there is something internal, in my soul, that needs to be released to ever begin to comprehend Him.  And if I give my spirit completely, turned myself over to this Spirit of God, I will become a puddle on the floor, unable to express except through tears the magnitude of His presence.

There is a song by Casting Crowns that defines us as vapor in the wind, a drop within the ocean.  How can we possibly know the total of God?  I only ask that you take time to try.

All Scriptures are New International Version

How can the Word be with God and be God? John 1:1

How can the Word both be with God and be God? John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NIV)

John is referencing us back the Genesis 1:1, In the beginning….(NIV),

John wants us to know that Jesus has always been with God from the very beginning. If we see this verse as John states it… In the Beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus is God…

As you study John, you will understand why his gospel starts at the beginning… unlike the other gospel Mark, Matthew and Luke. They start with the birth of Jesus or the Baptism of Jesus.

References: NIV Bible, Life Change series: John page 21.

God is…

These are my reflections from the teachings of a sermon series called God is…

Who is God to me and more importantly how can I grow to know him more fully in order to establish and foster a relationship with him.  During our study we looked at scripture to first glean why it is important to God that we know him.

Jeremiah 9:24(NIV) …but let him who boasts boast about this: that he who understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.

We can learn who God is by his own words and how he describes himself. In the earlier verse (v.23) he chides us about our own placement of importance on such things as wisdom, strength and riches. We have a tendency to boast about these things and place them high on the list of how we feel about ourselves and our accomplishments. We decide that being smart and having the money to purchase and use the latest smart phone is important. These things have no value to God; they are not important to him. What is important, God declares, is our knowledge and understanding of him, that we know that he is the Lord. He teaches us in his word that our knowing his attributes, what he does for us, his purpose, his love for us – in all of these he delights.

Another scripture we studied in the God is… series was Isaiah 6:1-3 where Isaiah looked upon the Lord and described him seated on a throne with a robe that filled the whole temple. Seraphs or angels called to one another:

Isaiah 6:3 (NIV) Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.

We learned that triple repetition of the word holy denotes God’s infinite Holiness; a way to exclaim before there were exclamation marks. Holy is defined in Webster’s dictionay as revered, set apart, awed. The majesty, splendor and grandeur of God is described by Isaiah who is so awed and inspired that he answers God’s question to be the one God sends to deliver his message. Will we be so inspired and not run away from the tasks, the challenges that God puts before us? Will we listen and obey; will we run to him and welcome the relationship offered to us. God’s invitation is clear.

We can learn who God is by exploring how God describes himself. This time we looked at scripture where The Lord asks:

                 Isaiah 40:25 (NIV) “To whom will you compare me?”… and in V.28 Isaiah responds “The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.”                 

There is none to compare to him. He can name every star by name; he most assuredly knows who we are and wants us to know who he is. He wants us to understand who he is and to develop a relationship with him.  We are to be in awe of his power and his majesty but we also are to be aware of his love, his kindness and his righteousness provided for us the faithful, obedient people he created. God you truly are Awesome, awesome, awesome to me. You are wonderful and to be praised.

What Joys Have You Brought into 2014?

Romans 5:1-11

Peace and Joy

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (NIV)

 

To the Believer, it is my hope that our joys from the past year (2013) were so complete that we have a “storehouse filled with joy to bring into this New Year of 2014, and will share our joys with others!

We enter this New Year with the peace of God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

Joy to the Believer is not dictated by what is happening in the world around us, or in our immediate circumstances.  It may even appear that we are not being realistic about our situations.  It may also appear to some that we are just “plain crazy”!  Because we are enabled by God, to continuously experience and display joy in the middle of calamity, that’s where “fear turns to faith”. “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18.  When we give our life-issues over to God daily, it’s because we know his track record— that He has always been faithful to us.  “So do not fear, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10.  That’s how we are able to experience his joy, peace, love, and mercy.

Will this New Year, 2014, add to your joys? Look around you, through the eyes of faith each day! John 14:12 says this, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Happy New Year!

Reverend Glenda Brunson

(Reprint from January 2012)

Stewartship of God’s Gifts

Whatever God has put into your trust, be it, self, family, finances, relationships are your responsibilities. God’s appointed trust in His church (1 Corinthians 12:28) and gifts from the Holy Spirit (See 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 ), are required to administer those responsibilities according to God’s will and way. 1 Corinthians 4:2 “Now it required that those that have been given a trust must prove faithful.”