Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 5:1-9, 13-15

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel – John 5:1-9, 13-15

A – H – E – A – D

See also: Jn. 5:21; Luke 13:15; Matt. 9:6; Jn. 7:11; I John 5:15-16; Psalm 86:5

Anxiety of Affliction – v. 5 – For 38 years the man lay ill. That is a long time to keep an illness.

Hearsay hope – vs. 4, 7 – The man’s hope was a wish and a superstition. He hoped an angle would solve the problem. It was something to cling to. Do you cling to hopes that are hearsay?

Encounter – vs. 6-8 — Jesus met the man and offered him a blessing if he would have it. During a course in pastoral counseling students were warned that they must always ask the patient’s permission to pray, etc. Jesus wanted to know if the man wanted his help.

Admonition – vs. 8, 14 – Before they could conclude their conversation Jesus and the man parted. Later Jesus has a word of advice: “Go and sin no more.” Have you ever noticed how Jesus was not focused on the seedy past of people. Surely that is a lesson. He is about preparing people for heaven.

Divine divulgence – vs. 15, 17 – There was now no doubt about who did this. The man proclaims that it was Jesus.

Exemplary story: A dear friend who claims to be an Aunt by marriage has a favorite saying. “The past is history. The future is a mystery. The present is a gift. So, enjoy it.”
Jesus allowed the man to put sin and sickness behind him. He gave the man a gift for the present, and he gave the man a hope to cast off the uncertainties of the future.


Friends and Thanksgiving — A Meditation on Proverbs 18:24

Friends and Thanksgiving – Proverbs 18:24

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Banquets, anniversaries, and friends. How do you manage them all? On Friday morning received an invitation to attend a student’s anniversary celebration. On Friday afternoon the pastor’s wife called me to request that I speak at her church’s Thanksgiving banquet. Only by the grace of God was I able to give my well wishes to the student-pastor at noon and then be in place to share a devotional at the Thanksgiving banquet.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs says much about friendship. The writer of Proverbs uses his antithetical parallelism to speak of the highs and the lows of friendship. At every level there is dependability. You can depend on friends for better or worse. Let’s begin at the bottom and see where it leads.

Harassing Friends – These are friends who you can depend upon to lead you astray. They are your “dare-and-double-dare-you” friends. When the writer of Proverbs in chapter 1 speaks of the companions of the youth inviting him to crime, these are harassing friends. See Proverbs 1:10-19.

Happenstance Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend in a pinch. Your paths cross by happenstance, but these friends are there for good and God. Proverbs 27:10 says, “better a neighbor nearby that a brother far away.” On an Easter weekend I found I had a problem. I had been visiting family, and when I stopped about noon I made a bad discovery. Stuck in the tread of a tire I spotted a screw. What was I to do. I reported the problem to a member of the family. She called the tire store that had serviced her car when she had a flat. They said they closed at 1 PM, but they would wait until I got to the shop. I drove to the shop on State Line Road, met the men who were working on their car for a weekend race. They put my car on the rack, removed the screw, and plugged the tire. All this took about fifteen minutes. I asked the service technician the question, “How much do I owe you?” He said, “Five dollars.” The men working at Haywood Tires were being happenstance friends. Thank God for every one you and I meet. Pray that you and I can be that too.

Honorable Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend time and again. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Glenda is on my honorable friends list. When my late wife was ill, Glenda supported the family and assisted in ways only females understand. When some years had passed and my father-in-law fell ill Glenda was there again. She would bring a pan of hot homemade rolls to the house just because Jim loved them. She was there. Now if I am visiting I always get a welcome telling me I am loved and missed. Yes, Glenda is an honorable friend.

Holy Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend absolutely for God’s sake. They will push you closer to God. Have you found a holy friend? It may be someone who just takes time to say that they are concerned about your eternal salvation. Paul writing in Romans tells us all we can have just such a friend. That friend is Jesus. Read Romans 5:6-8: 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.”

Give thanks for the good friends you have. Give thanks for the holy friend who is available to us all, Jesus.

Scary Bible Stories — 2 Kings 6:8-19

English: Elisha at Dothan; as in 2 Kings 6:8-18

English: Elisha at Dothan; as in 2 Kings 6:8-18 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scary Bible Stories – 2 Kings 6:8-19

See Num. 22:31; 2 Sam 24:16; Daniel 3:25; Deut. 32:20; Psalm 18:5-6


Betrayal v. 10 The king of Samaria was warned.

Loyalty v. 11 Who did it? Who was the snitch?

Identification through investigation v. 12 Elisha, the man who.  The man they fingered was the man who – the man who made an ax head float, the man who fed a multitude, the man who turned poison stew into edible soup, the man who saw his master leave, the man who could call down fire from heaven if he so chose.

Night v. 14 A night ambush was held. Ever notice all the mischief that is worked at night?

Divine Deliverance v. 16-17 The chariots of fire stood at hand to deliver God’s children.  They were always there. Like the servant we just need our eyes opened to see the God’s chariots of fire surrounding us.


Exemplary story:  One of my former students, Gloria, says something told her to drag in the trash toter before she left for work.  She was ready to leave for work, and her daughter was leaving for a very important test.  When she retrieved the trash toter, she discovered that her daughter had a flat.  What a disaster would have ensued, if she had resisted the still small voice.  God’s angels were watching over her, and I remarked that it was her obedience that made the difference.

Note: There are numerous scary Bible stories.  In many we can find inspiration to live a better, higher life for God.

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 9

The prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Lesson 9

Daniel 9:20-27

See also: Ps. 32:5; I John 1:9; Luke 5:21; Jer. 25:11-12; Gen. 2:3


Shame of Sin, v. 8, 9 The righteous Daniel has a burden for his people and their sin.

Ear of God v. 18 God has heard Daniel from the moment he prayed.

Vision v. 21-23 Daniel is given a vision of renewal and restoration.

End of Sin v. 24 The awful tribulation of the people of faith will come to an end.

Numbers  7 and 62 and 1  lead to hope v. 25  When we count the number of years we are led to the beginning of the life of Christ in 26 AD.  The ministry of Christ traditionally was spread over three and a half years, that is, time-times-and-half-a-time.

Note:  From 457 BC to 26 AD there are 483 years.  We arrive at the prophetic number of 483 when we add 62 weeks and 7 weeks for a total of 69 weeks and multiply 69 by 7.

Exemplary story:  Not long ago I spotted a poster that said, “When you add three nails plus one cross you get ‘4-given’.”  What a wonderful addition forgiveness makes to our lives.

Someone to please

English: Meditation

English: Meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One more enticing bit of false flattery floated past like a fisherman’s fly on a fast-moving stream.

How many persons and causes and concerns do you believe you need to please?

What if you just settled for pleasing one person?

The psalmist said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Ezra’s Shame

Prayer Space.JPG

Prayer Space.JPG (Photo credit: bhsher)

Ezra was ashamed?

Yes, he was ashamed to ask the king for protection, after he had bragged to the king about God.

He said to the king, “The good hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” See Ezra 8:22-23.

To save face Ezra and his people had to wait and pray.

Then God answered Ezra’s prayer, and the praise was all God’s.

To our shame we are not ashamed to ask the world for the good things a good God would give His children.

A first cup is shared at Passover.

Festive Seder table with wine, matza and Seder...

Festive Seder table with wine, matza and Seder plate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke 22:14-18


Passover — Jesus prepared the last passover as a Rabbi leading his disciples.

Activity — Through the night there would be numerous dishes, cups, activities.  This is the first cup followed by the Rabbinic interpretation.

Urgency — Jesus expressed his desire to keep this passover.

Solemnity — The air of solemnity invades the evening when Jesus speaks of the last time he shall eat and drink with his disciples.

Expectation — All is not lost.  Jesus keeps faith that there shall be an until — until the Kingdom comes.