Tag Archives: John

Thirsty

Standard
Thirsty

I was honored last year to be chosen as a leader for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship).  On one hand it makes sense – leadership is one of my Spiritual Gifts.  One the other hand it makes no sense at all – how can I, Felecia Clarke, hope to lead anyone in God’s Kingdom?  I mean seriously, it’s HIS kingdom!  How can He entrust anyone into my care?  I know the only way is through His constant watch over me and whatever group I happen to be facilitating at the time.  It also helps that the Holy Spirit lives inside me.  He’s equally stopped me from saying something and prompted me to say something as an opportunity presents itself.  I’m forever thankful that He resides within.

As a BSF leader, I’m expected to perform homiletics on the material we’re going over in any particular lesson.  Homiletics (from a BSF study guide) “involves a careful analysis of a passage of Scripture with emphasis on both the content and the application.”  We go over the Scripture level by level winnowing the teaching down to one sentence of 10 words that appropriately states the meaning of the passage as well as identifies where it is in the Bible.  There’s more to it, but when I first started performing homiletics I was horrible.  Pathetic, really.  I could only adequately manage the Content (first) stage of the 5-level exercise.  With practice throughout the year I got much better at developing divisions within the passage and writing my 10-word sentence as well as the AIM (what we want the audience [or ourselves] to learn).  But I was still dreadful in developing Application questions.  You see, at BSF we don’t just want to collect knowledge about the Bible and Jesus, we want to help participants learn how to apply what they’re reading to their lives.  And when I say ‘their lives’ of course I want to learn how to apply it to my life too!

In an attempt to get better at Homiletics I joined a study group this summer to practice for the John study (beginning the week of September 12 somewhere near you!  Wherever you are in the world, go to BSFinternational.org to find a group that fits your needs and join us!)  As I opened my Bible to prepare for this week’s lesson I see that it’s about the Samaritan woman at the well.  Can I confess that sometimes my pastor or BSF or some other study mentions a particular Bible story and I roll my eyes and sigh?  Is that blasphemous?  I’ve heard the story so many times, what new nugget could I possibly extract from it?

I’m ashamed of myself.  I do realize that is a poor attitude with which to approach God’s word and I immediately ask for His forgiveness, extending a silent prayer that He help me see something new in the text before I start to read.

God doesn’t ever disappoint.  If you ask, He will give.

We meet the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, Jesus asks for a drink of water, she’s aghast because Jews don’t speak to Samaritans, and Jesus indirectly mentions He’s God and offers her living water.  But within seconds my eyes zero in on John 4: 13-14a  and I sit bolt upright in my chair.

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this (well) water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again — ever!”

Wha?  Who is He kidding?  How can He say we will never get thirsty again?  I drink His living water and just get thirstier!  The more I get to know my Lord the hungrier I become to know more of Him.

How can I not be thirsty?  Aren’t you, Christian, thirsty for God?  Breathless to know more of Jesus?  Panting to be quenched by the Holy Spirit?

How funny that one minute I inwardly bemoan having to read what I thought was a well-worn and boring, Bible story and a few minutes later get such a kick in the pants from God.  I could just hear Him saying, “Aren’t you thirsty for me anymore, Felecia?  Can I no longer satisfy your appetite?”

LORD!  You absolutely do!

I immediately think of Jesus’ letter to the church at Ephesus and shudder:

“But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.” ~ Revelation 2:4

Prayer

Let me never cease to be both greedy to know you and satisfied by your Word, Lord.  Pray I never lose the depth of my first love for you.  Amen!

He is the Light

Standard

I used to post what I call ScripturePictures every Wednesday.  This is where I take my photography and lay God’s glorious Scripture over it.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to that practice every once in a while.  It’s a nice respite during the week and will help us to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely …

Today’s ScripturePicture is John 12:46.  The subject is the Jupiter (FL) lighthouse.  Enjoy!

John 12-46 (617x800)

 

Jesus is the light that came into this world to remove the darkness.

As we begin to see evidence all around us of attitudes intolerable of the Christian, remember that the world likes the darkness and shuns the light because it illuminates their wrong doings.  We are in a war, my friends, but our enemies are not our neighbors. Our enemy is not flesh and blood at all.

Earlier in Chapter 12 John records Jesus saying, “While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.” ~ John 12:36

Stand strong, my fellow sons and daughters of light, because we will live with our Lord forever, in pure and glorious light. (See Rev. 21:23 and 22:5)

 

Bible Study ~ The Trinity

Standard
Bible Study ~ The Trinity

Days Two, Three, and Four of the bible study discuss the Trinity.  I mentioned Wednesday that we would discuss God’s attributes today, but I came across some other items that I want to discuss first.

There is a person in my life who doesn’t consider Jesus God.  Because he calls himself a Christian, I didn’t realize this until he mentioned after church one day that he didn’t like a song we sang in which we called Jesus, God.  I was flabbergasted to hear that he believes Jesus is the Son of God and the Father is completely distinct.  Literally speechless … my mouth might have even been gaping open.  What a teaching moment!  Actually, I did teach, or at least tried to, but it didn’t work out so well.  Sometime later, when I was listening to Moody Radio, I heard a pastor say that people who didn’t understand this core concept of Christianity should read the book of John because in it Jesus calls himself God several times.  I was kicking myself.  I’d told him to reread the bible but if I’d thought about it (and given the Holy Spirit a chance to speak) I could have given him better direction.  Especially since he also mentioned that he only believes what Jesus says in the bible (but that’s a topic for another day!).

In reading several of the scriptures pulled out by the study, John 10:30 must be especially jarring for those who don’t see the connection:  “I and the Father are one.”  Really can’t misread that sentence.

Isn’t funny how Jesus called himself God over and over and no one either (1) believed him or (2) even heard him?  It really wasn’t until He asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15) where Peter answers, “You’re the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” (v.16) the first time that this revelation is voiced publicly.  Jesus tells the disciples then that the only reason Peter knew the truth was because the Father allowed it to be revealed to him.  Why doesn’t God allow this truth to be revealed to everyone?  The same can be said for the Holy Spirit, but we’ll get to Him next.  I stop in the middle of the study and thank God that He has revealed this truth to me and pray that He will reveal it to my friend as well.

So if it’s hard to believe that Jesus is God, how does that fare for the Holy Spirit?  Just who is this guy anyway?

Well the most amazing thing I learned during the third day of the bible study is … wait a second … do you ever come across a verse and swear you’ve never seen it before?  I know for a fact I’ve read John and I’m willing to bet I’ve even read it several times; yet here in the study is a verse I swear I’ve never read.  It was so foreign to me that I even looked it up in several different versions trying to fathom how I’d missed it.  Yet in each version there it sat plain as day.  The verse is in John 14 where Jesus is talking to the disciples about having to leave soon.  You know they’re reeling.  It seems they’ve just hit their stride and their rabbi is now talking about his death – the end of it all.  In verse 16 Jesus talks about how he will ask the Father to send another Helper to be with the disciples forever.  I can appreciate that they’re not really hearing this.  But then, just as he’s discussing the Holy Spirit coming, we hit the bit that sent me running for different translations, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

I will come to you … meaning I am the Holy Spirit.

Of course, I know that we worship a triune God, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one – but I can’t believe I’ve missed that verse my entire life.  Jesus stating in no uncertain terms that He is the Spirit.

As I let this verse roll off my tongue over and over again, I grasp that I’ve been guilty of treating the Holy Spirit and Jesus as different entities.  Even though my head knows they’re one in the same with the Father, my heart and my mouth have probably prayed differently to them.  I make a pact with myself and God to not let that happen again.

We’ll talk more about God’s attributes on Monday and what I learned in the study which may spark a hot debate.

Have a wonderful weekend!