The Way of Trust and Surrender

Repeatedly through the Gospels, Jesus has candid conversations with those in relationship with him. He allows them not only to hear his words but also to actually live in the experience of them.   Some of what Jesus seems to be saying in this passage is...
 
I have shown and will keep showing you how I trust my Father's life in me, surrender to his initiatives and take action. It may look senseless, crazy or too hard to you at times but this is where life is so big that it can hold truth, reality and pain together while my Father continually works to bring renewal. Evil will not prevail. Vulnerable love is powerful. Are you willing to join me in what I am doing?

John 14:5-14 (NLT)
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

For Reflection and Prayer:
If something captured your attention - a word, a phrase, an image - let this simmer in you and allow the Spirit to expand its meaning for you. Journal what you hear and your response.

Meditate on one of the names of Jesus which has been particularly meaningful for you. What about that characteristic deepens your attachment to Jesus?

Quietly rest with God and any consoling words or images given to you in this time of prayer.

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What Do You Know For Sure?

Sometimes we are gifted with an encounter with God which changes everything, including the trajectory of our lives. We know that we know that we have met with God - the Father, Jesus the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Sometimes these encounters happen when we least expect them, such as with this man born blind since birth. Sometimes we encounter God because we seek, ask or wait for one. Regardless of why we encounter the living God, God says, "you can know me" (Ps. 46:10) and "you can find me" (Jer. 29:14). As you pray with this passage concerning the testimony of the blind man, the Spirit may remind you of your own personal knowing of Jesus. No one can take that knowing away from you.

John 9:24-34 (NLT)
 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”
25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”
26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”
27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”
34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which caught your attention you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

Was there any particular emotion which emerged as you listened to the scripture? Talk it over with Jesus in your prayer.

Is there anything regarding God which you know that you know? Some truth anchored deeply within you? Take some time to remember and cherish it.

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

Light Which Leads To Life

Spiritual darkness can feel overpowering and all together frightening. The daily news serves up a verbal and visual charred feast of such darkness. We might wonder, "how long O Lord"? How are we to pray? Will our individual voices and choices make any difference?  Yet we hope in the One who is in the process of restoring all things. Through trusting and walking intentionally in the spiritual light which is given each day, we participate with God in that process. Where are you discovering the light which leads to life? May we keep asking for eyes to see the light.

John 8:12-20 (NLT)
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”
14 Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
19 “Where is your father?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” 20 Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.

For your reflection and prayer:
As you listened, was there a word, a phrase, an image, or something else that stood out to you? Notice what it stirs in you. Have a conversation with Jesus about this.

Place yourself in the story and enter into it as it unfolds. Who are you? Who is interacting with you and around you? What are you seeing, smelling, sensing, hearing, touching? Write about your experience in the story and allow it to be your prayer.

In this passage on discernment, where are you noticing light which leads to life? Reflect on what you notice.

Slowly savor any consoling words or images which God gives you in this time of prayer. Simply rest in God’s presence with them.

When Sabbath Comes

The ancient Hebrews prepared for and observed the Sabbath every week of their lives. Sabbath began at sundown on Friday evening and the entire day was spent preparing the home and the food for this shared gathering of remembrance and blessing. The Hebrew word "Sabbath" means to stop, to cease striving. When we intentionally make space to stop in the rhythm of our lives, we receive the freedom to enter God's rest and the gift of living in greater awareness of Christ's presence within and among us. Like the man in this story, we are changed and set free in the presence of Jesus.

Many in our Wednesday night group felt hope swell up within them as they prayed with this text. Some of the comments shared where:

"I underestimate the presence and authority of Jesus"
"I want to be amazed"
"When Jesus shows up, things change, shift"
"I am enlarged through the process of waiting on God"
"Sometimes, it is not easy to see the Holy Spirit working in our lives right before us"
"I want to know who you are Jesus"

Mark 1:21-28 NIV
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

For Your Reflection and Prayer:
What did you hear or feel as you listened to the text? A word? A phrase? A sensation?

How do you experience the presence of Christ when you make Sabbath an intentional part of the rhythms of your life?

If you could ask Jesus anything about who he is so that you could know him more, what would you ask him? Could you ask him now in your prayer? What does he share with you about himself?