2-10-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 9, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

the-Lord-is-the-one-who-made-usWednesday, Feb. 10

Ash Wednesday

John 8:12-20

When I was a youth group leader, I used to ask the youth how they knew that they existed before that very day. They all would look at me like I was crazy which is a pretty typical reaction to things I say. I always pushed it a bit so I could get them to think through things. I asked them how they knew, for sure, that they hadn’t been programmed and plugged into this life with a full bank of memories including a vast memory bank of past experiences with family and friends. Obviously, my intent was to get the youth thinking.

We continued on and I kept encouraging the youth to connect the dots to help me know for sure that they existed before that very day. They said that I knew their parents and some of their grandparents so I wouldn’t need any more information other than that. I encouraged them to think of some more proof.

I’m reminded that it really takes some time to help people step out of the box to think a new thought. Finally, one of the youth said, I just trust that my parents are my parents and that they had me and their parents had them and we’ll keep going forward in the same way.

Sometimes you just have to have faith and let the rest go.

12 Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

In this verse, Jesus described himself as the ‘light for the world;’ a light that does more than just guide us in the darkness. The light Jesus is talking about actually makes the darkness disappear.

13 The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.” 14 Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed.

The Pharisees accused Jesus as if they were in a court of law. They did not believe Jesus because he did not have any one else to prove that his words were true. The Pharisees couldn’t connect with the validity of what Jesus was saying.

15 You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. 16 But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father.

The Pharisees had their own ideas about God and about their religion and they did not understand Jesus. They sure didn’t want to change the ideas they had about Jesus. It was easier to judge him than to try to believe that he came from God!

17 That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. 18 And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.” 19 They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?” Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.”

In Jewish Law, two witnesses had to agree that something was true to prove that it was true. Jesus had two witnesses; himself and God, his Father. The Pharisees thought that Jesus was referring to a human father so they asked, ‘Where is this so-called Father?’ The Pharisees did not have a full and true knowledge of Jesus so they couldn’t wrap their heads around what Jesus was saying.

20 He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up.

The Treasury was a public place for people to meet together. It would have been easy to arrest Jesus, but God was controlling what happened in Jesus’ life and it wasn’t God’s time for them to arrest him.

Do you remember asking your parents any questions that they really didn’t answer? Did they say that they just didn’t know or that they just couldn’t answer you? What are some questions in life and about death that you just can’t answer? When have you had faith in something being true, but you really didn’t have any facts to back up your decision? Are you a person who needs lots of facts to believe something or do you tend to have lots of faith?  Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you what they do when they don’t understand something

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda M., Linda B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Corrine, Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer: O God, we come before you this day in such thanks to you for the gift of this day and the gift of life. We thank you for those times when we simply have faith in you and your ways and don’t have to have all things answered. Whatever you place before us this day, we know we can face with you. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

2-9-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 8, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

pointing-fingers-copyTuesday, Feb. 9

John 8:1-11

What is it about us and our obsession with pointing out the wrongdoings of others? We clearly spend no time reviewing any of our own actions that were less than worthy and move right over to the offenses of others.

We are people who observe other people every single day. We watch what others are wearing and what they are doing and how they are acting with others and we take dubious mental notes. Sometimes, we move past taking note of what they are doing and we share our judgmental observations with others. I suppose we want others to see how our view of things is the correct view. We share these thoughts out loud in many places. These would be the posts we post or see on Facebook that share with our “friends” our discontent with the actions or words spoken by another. We share how we feel wronged and how a whole company, organization, political party, religious denomination, is also wrong because of that one experience we ave so freely shared. Grace is not a word that comes to our mind when we’re in judgment mode. We feel very free and unaccountable as we post words that tear apart others.

We are not trying to help the other person when we talk about their infractions. When we point at the wrongdoings of others, we move the focus away from ourselves and onto the wrongfulness of others.

Think of a little child when they do something wrong. If there is another child nearby when an adult sees what has happened, you can be sure that the guilty child will point the blame on the other child. What do children learn from this situation?

The guilty child learns that they don’t have to admit their wrongfulness. In addition to their wrongful act, they’ve lied, not owned up to the wrong they’ve done, and they’ve betrayed any trust the other might have had in them.

What’s so difficult about us acknowledging our wrongs?

8:1 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, 2 but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. 3 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone 4 and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. 5 Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt.

The Jewish leaders wanted a reason still to arrest Jesus so they asked him a very difficult question. They brought a woman to him; a woman who had committed adultery and they had witnesses to prove that she was guilty. If Jesus told them to kill her, they could report him to the Roman rulers because the only the Romans could execute people; not the Jews. If Jesus told them not to kill her, he would not be obeying Moses’ Law. The Jewish leaders thought that this would be the question that would be grounds to jail Jesus. In answering, Jesus bent down and he used his finger to write on the ground like it was a chalkboard. The big clincher is that it is not recorded what Jesus actually wrote in the sand.

7 They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” 8 Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. 9 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. 10 Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” 11 “No one, Master.” “Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

Jesus was not saying that Moses’ Law was wrong. When a person sins, they deserve a punishment. Jesus was saying that everybody has sinned and everybody deserves punishment. The Pharisees thought that they were less sinful than ordinary people because they had studied the Law more than others and they followed the rules. Because the word Jesus used for sin in verse 7 could also refer to bad thoughts and desires a person might have, none of them could say that they had never sinned. The answer Jesus gave had the effect that he wanted and the leaders who had accused the woman went away. After they had gone, Jesus spoke to the woman and he forgave her and then warned the woman to not continue to sin.

I was going to ask a question about sinning and then I wondered if there are any of you who feel that you do not sin? What is it that makes something a sin and not just a little blip in the map for you? When have you done something wrong and you knew that you were wrong in what you did? Did you admit your sin to God? When you have sinned against another person, were you able to tell the person you were sorry for what you did? When you do something wrong, how likely is it that you will go and sin no more?  Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you what happens when someone does something wrong

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda M., Linda B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Corrine, Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer: O God, we begin in you this day. We know that you surround us with your love and your desire is that we serve you and do what is pleasing to you. Be with us in the day to day stuff. While we know there will be temptations that come our way, keep our hearts clearly focused on you and your ways. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

2-8-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 7, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

baptism babyMonday, Feb. 8
John 7:37-52

I love having discussions about baptism with youth. I love their openness and interest and wonder about baptism. Often their questions would arise when a baptism was scheduled in the church. They always ask about the baptismal font and what kind of water is used for such a holy event. I guess people think that there are special containers of holy water we get from somewhere.

Some of you who have a Catholic background can tell me where the water comes from for baptisms in the Catholic church. Imagine having to get holy water to fill up a whole baptistry! That would take gallons and gallons of water.

A few churches I’ve served have had a secret stash of water from the Holy Land and a few drops from that bottle get mixed in with the tap water before a baptism. Even with the different conditions of water, I’m pretty sure that baptism takes hold in the same way no matter what kind of water is used. Water is a gift.

7:37 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” 39 (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)

At the Festival of Shelters, the people prayed for rain so that their crops would grow and they prayed about the resurrection of dead people. On the last day, the custom was that the priests would pour out water and wine in the Temple. The people would be thinking already about water and also about new life. Jesus invited people to come to him if they were thirsty in their spirits because he was the one who could provide satisfaction for their spiritual thirst. In this passage, the words about living water refer to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a fountain that flows always inside our hearts and our spirits.

40 Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, “This has to be the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah!” But others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? 42 Don’t the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David’s line and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” 43 So there was a split in the crowd over him. 44 Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
After Jesus’ speech, the people had different opinions about who he was. Some people said that he was the Prophet or the Messiah. Other people said that Jesus could not be the Messiah. They knew that he had come from Nazareth and was born in Galilee. They did not realize that he had been born in Bethlehem.
45 That’s when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him with you?” 46 The police answered, “Have you heard the way he talks? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this man.”

The Jewish leaders employed their own guards in the Temple and those guards could arrest anybody who was causing trouble in the Temple. Also they could arrest anybody who did not obey any of their rules. However, the guards could not think of even one reason to arrest Jesus. They listened to him in order to find evidence against him, but his words impressed them so much that they were not able to obey their employers, the Jewish leaders.

47 The Pharisees said, “Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? 48 You don’t see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? 49 It’s only this crowd, ignorant of God’s Law, that is taken in by him—and damned.”

The Jewish leaders were very angry! They thought that only they knew the truth about God. Because they did not agree with Jesus, they did not listen to him sincerely. Their minds and their hearts were not ready to receive the truth. But many people in the crowd believed in Jesus. So the leaders said that the crowd did not really know the Law. They had not studied it, as the leaders had. Therefore, the leaders said, the crowd could not obey God properly. And they believed anything! The leaders said that God would punish the crowd for this.

50 Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. 51 “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?” 52 But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Then they all went home.

Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, accused the other leaders saying that they were not obeying the Law. They had decided immediately that Jesus was guilty of a crime and had not given him a proper opportunity to speak to them which was not legal. Nicodemus was bold and did not care what the other leaders thought about him and did not care if he did not continue to be popular among them. The leaders knew that Nicodemus was not from Galilee, but they wanted to insult him because he was helping Jesus.

When have you sided with the popular voice rather than listening to the voices before you? What do you gain by going with the popular voice? When would you feel free to voice your own thoughts rather than popular voice? Who do you go to when you want to find out about Jesus? What good memories do you have when you think about water? When have you been most ready to receive water? What are some baptisms that are most memorable to you? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you what they know about baptism

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda M., Linda B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Corrine, Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer: O God, we thank you for the blessing of this day. We thank you for the newness of this day and the new things we will learn in this day. May we always be nourished in your and your ways. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

2-7-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 6, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

who_do_you_say_i_amSunday, Feb. 7

John 7:25-36

Lucia Update: Thursday morning surgery for rotator cuff went well with no surprises. John is here and making sure I stay on top of things. I am able to type one handed so it’s all good.

While you could do this activity out and about in your community, you would probably feel more comfortable in asking other people you knew to be religious in some way. Asking this question to a church-ed population would also give a variety of answers I would get if I asked people on the street. Some would answer that Jesus was a prophet and his teachings were grounded in love and peace. Some would say that Jesus was someone who lived a long time ago and said that he would return. Some would say that they believe in Jesus because they hope that believing in him will mean that they go to heaven. Some would admit that they know little about Jesus, but don’t have the time to commit to learning more. Some might say that they aren’t so sure about Jesus but they know they need to go to church every Sunday so everyone will know that they are a Christian and will be going to heaven.

I don’t know what answer you would have, but I’d like you to think about it. How would you describe your relationship with Jesus?

25 That’s when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the one they were out to kill? 26 And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? 27 And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from.” 28 That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I’m from, but that’s not where I’m from. I didn’t set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all. 29 I come from him—that’s how I know him. He sent me here.”

Jesus knew that the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill him, but he continued to teach in public. When the Jewish leaders stopped arguing with Jesus, some of the folks wondered if the Jewish leaders had changed their opinion of Jesus and believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Many thought that the Messiah would just appear, but everybody knew that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee. They did not understand Jesus existing with God before Jesus was born on earth. Many people started to believe in Jesus, but the leaders wanted to arrest him.

30 They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn’t yet God’s time. 31 Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, “Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?” 32 The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him. 33 Jesus rebuffed them: “I am with you only a short time. Then I go on to the One who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you won’t find me. Where I am, you can’t come.” 35 The Jews put their heads together. “Where do you think he is going that we won’t be able to find him? Do you think he is about to travel to the Greek world to teach the Jews? 36 What is he talking about, anyway: ‘You will look for me, but you won’t find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you can’t come’?”

Jesus told the people that he would remain with them for a short time, but Jesus knew that the Jewish leaders would arrest him and kill him. The Jewish leaders did not understand the meaning of Jesus’ words. The Jewish leaders did not realize that he was talking about heaven. They thought that he was going to teach these Jews or maybe even go to teach the Gentiles.

When you read the words from scripture in our text today, do you think you would have known what Jesus was talking about back then? Are you any more clear about the meaning of those words today? If you could go back in time with all of our current technology, what things would you like to record surrounding these words? What questions would you have liked to have asked the disciples? Do you believe people do not like to talk about God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit because they really don’t know much about them and don’t want to ask because they might appear to be  uneducated?  Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you about something they have heard that they do not understand

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda M., Linda B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Corrine, Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer:   We love you, O God, and we thank you for this day. We thank you for your love and your presence with us through all times. Help us in those places where we just don’t know all the answers. Strengthen our faith and guide us into conversations about you. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

2-6-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 5, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

what-do-you-doSaturday, Feb. 6
John 7:14-24

Prayers for my daughter Heidi and all our family as we remember we would have been celebrating Miss Madeline’s birthday this day.

It’s complicated. When a person asks me what I do for a living, it’s complicated. Or, the answer to the question seems complicated. I think about the person and their context.  If I don’t know the person very well, I know that they might very well have a different reaction to the response, “I am a minister.” When I say “minister” they may immediately think of a televangelist or weirdo or condescending judgmental person. Some people just act like I have just shared that I have a horrible contagious disease. Others act like, because I’m a minister, I’ve memorized the Bible word-for-word, and can tell the Hebrew and Greek meanings for every word in the Bible. Not so much. There are some people who, in their minds, put me in a minister box that won’t allow me to have a specific identity other than minister.

I realize there have been times when other people might do what I have done when I hear what it is that a person does for a living. My response may be to launch into more questions about the profession rather than about the person. Maybe I meet someone who says they are a plumber. I could easily find myself launching into a line of questioning that has to do with a leak in our plumbing or asking their feelings about plumbers tape vs. duct tape, etc. Why would I do that? If you meet a physician, you may also begin a specific line of questioning that has to do with an ailment you have or a friend might be experiencing.

Why would I ask a question of a persons’ profession rather than a question about the person? 

14 With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. 15 The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: “How does he know so much without being schooled?”

When the festival was half over, Jesus began to teach in the Temple and the Jewish leaders were surprised because Jesus knew so much. It was customary that Jewish teachers had to study the law with one or more other teachers before they began to teach. Jesus knew everything about the scriptures without teachers.

16 Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. 18 A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality.

Jesus was not teaching ideas that he had just made up himself because he was from God and he was teaching God’s ideas. A teacher’s words and ideas must agree with what is in the Bible and teachers should point people to God and what he wants, not to themselves. This is what Jesus did.

19 It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?”

The Pharisees and the scribes studied the law all the time. They had added many extra rules and they liked to think that they knew and obeyed every rule. Jesus said that they were not obeying the law because he knew they wanted to kill him. 

20 The crowd said, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”

The crowd seemed very surprised when Jesus said this because most of them probably didn’t know that their leaders intended to kill him. Jesus knew intentions of their hearts.

21 Jesus said, “I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you’re still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I’m up to. 22 Moses prescribed circumcision—originally it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it’s the Sabbath. 23 You do this in order to preserve one item in the law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? 24 Don’t be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”

Jesus used a recent example from his ministry where he healed a man on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders were so intent on seeing that work had been done on the Sabbath rather than the healing of a men. They were focused on finding something that Jesus was doing wrong so they could kill him. He compared their work of circumcising boys on the Sabbath and his healing a man on the Sabbath. Jesus showed also that the Jewish leaders were using the law to suit themselves.

When did you last try to bend some rules to suit your own need? Have you ever pointed out or complained about another person bending/breaking the rules? What is the difference between another person breaking/bending the rules and you breaking/bending the rules? Why do we try to make things work for our own gain? When was the last time your focus was on what you could do for someone else rather than focusing on yourself and what others could do for you? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you one thing that they could do for someone else today

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Corinne, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer: O God, we come before you this day in thanks for all you have given us. We know that there are injustices in our world. We know what it feels like to not get our own way. Help us in each day to be watching for ways we can help others who are powerless and fall victim to this world’s injustices. May our words and actions be full of you and your ways. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

2-5-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 4, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

to-do-listFriday, Feb. 5

John 7:1-13

Timing. We’ve only got so much time. To plan out the time and think about all of the steps to get to goal makes me very happy. Thoughts and ideas come to my mind and I begin thinking about all of the things I need to accomplish. That’s when the plan seems to come together. Some days are just easier to get lots of work accomplished and things checked off the list. Other days are more problematic in accomplishing something on the list or there are more interruptions.

On the days when I can tell that my brain is engaged and in full gear, I find myself not wanting to let things get in my way. I don’t want to get caught up in conversations that have no real purpose because I want all of my energy to move into the work ahead of me. Obviously, some things take our immediate attention and it is clear that those things are front and center. The previous plan has to move to the side a bit while we serve in the present moment.

Each of us has days where we are driving toward a particular thing to accomplish and we know how easy it is for time to be gobbled up if we aren’t good stewards of our time.

When I was working my way thru my to-do list the other day, it was time for me to be at a doctor appointment. I pulled into the doctor’s parking lot and saw way too many cars out front. I sensed that the doctor was running behind.

I walked in the front door of the doctors office and the waiting area was packed out with people. I went up to the receptionist’s window and asked if there was a wait. The receptionist sensed that I was wondering if this was the best time I could be in the office. She said, “why don’t I take your cell number and I’ll call you when things slow down here?” Woohoo! I love it when we can be efficient people and realize that we all don’t have just a bunch of time to sit around and wait. Timing is very important.

7:1 Later Jesus was going about his business in Galilee. He didn’t want to travel in Judea because the Jews there were looking for a chance to kill him. 2 It was near the time of Tabernacles, a feast observed annually by the Jews.

3 His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? 4 No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” 5 His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.

6 Jesus came back at them, “Don’t crowd me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. 7 The world has nothing against you, but it’s up in arms against me. It’s against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions. 8 You go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. I’m not ready. It’s not the right time for me.”

9 He said this and stayed on in Galilee.

Every year at the Festival of Shelters, the Jews liked to remember how God had looked after them. They were still the people that God had chosen and they remembered that and it brought them joy. Jesus knew that timing was critical and he remained in Galilee because the Jewish leaders in Judea wanted to kill him. His brothers didn’t understanding his timing issue and wanted him to return to Jerusalem so that he would get more followers.

10 But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. 11 The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, “Where is that man?”

12 There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” But others said, “Not so. He’s selling snake oil.” 13 This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders.

Jesus’ brothers wanted him to go to the festival with them so that he would gain more followers, but Jesus refused. Jesus decided it would be good if he went alone so nobody would notice that he had come. The people in Jerusalem were expecting him to come and they had divided on opposing sides and were looking forward to a time of pressing in on Jesus.

When are you the most interested in the timing of things? How well do you do in the area of time management? Do you work in a place where your desk or space seems to be a common area for people to hang out and chat? How do you claim your own space and your own time? When do you most want to be noticed and when do you believe that it is more beneficial to slip in and slip out before you are noticed? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you all the things they would like to do in one day if they could

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Corinne, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer: We give you thanks, O God, for this day and for your love. We thank you for the many ways you have made provisions for us. We especially thank you for the time we stop all those others things we are doing so we can just be with you. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX

2-4-16 Daily E-Votional

Posted February 3, 2016 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

votingThursday, Feb. 4

John 6:60-71

It is obvious that those who are elected as officials are expected to produce. Something. Anything. We read and hear of the candidates and their stand on the issues and we decide whether or not we want to listen deeper to their projected plans. All in all, we want them to do something for us. We want them to turn things around so we can feel like things are under control and working to benefit the people. Our definitions of “under control” will vary from person to person, but we have our hopes and expectations.

In reality, some of us really want miracles to happen within these ordinary people. Not that miracles can’t happen, but we expect miracles in those we choose to lead us. Deep within us, we know the candidates are just people like you and me and that there are some limitations on what they can actually accomplish, but we still want them to produce.

What do we do if they don’t produce? We get angry and we start thinking about the next person we can get into office to turn things around. Over and over, we want our officials to make things happen. We’re much more interested in them making changes/performing miracles than we are of personally doing our part. Our part seems so daunting when we think of our whole country or world.

Many of us never think about those actions we can take to be change agents in the world.

60 Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”

61 Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? 62 What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? 63 The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. 64 But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”

66 After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him.

Jesus knew that people were struggling to make sense out of what he said so he tried to explain that his words had a spiritual meaning, not a physical meaning. Probably, they had followed him because he had given physical food to them. They wanted him to use his power to defeat the Roman rulers and fight their enemies. Already many disciples were questioning whether Jesus was the man to accomplish the battles they were facing.

67 Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”

68 Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. 69 We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”

These twelve men Jesus chose to be his special friends and disciples could not have understood everything that Jesus said, but they knew enough to trust him. Although they did not understand everything, they believed in him. They knew that God had sent him so they wanted to stay with him. Simon Peter spoke on their behalf and said that nobody else could offer what Jesus offered by giving eternal life.

70 Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!” 71 He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. This man—one from the Twelve!—was even then getting ready to betray him.

Jesus knew that one of his disciples would betray him. In verse 70, the Greek word for ‘devil’ means ‘somebody who accuses’. Jesus was referring to what Judas would do when he would hand Jesus over to the Jewish leaders.

When you remember back to your school days, what kind of election of leadership occurred in your classroom or school? What were the merits you considered in who you were going to vote for in the election? Were you more worried about the popularity of the person than what they could actually do? As you have matured, has your way of considering the merits of candidates changed? When have you held a leadership position and not followed thru? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you what they think parents should do

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer:  Linda, B., Amy Beverland Elementary school & family and friends of Susan Jordan, Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Corinne, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe

Prayer: We love you, O God, and we thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to us. We know there are times when we question. Help us rest in our belief that you are God and we are not. May our words today be, “thy will be done.” Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2016 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX


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