Christian, devotion, John 3: 16, Lenten Devotion, The Gospel of John, Uncategorized

Glimpse of Grace for the 8th Day of Lent, 2017

Devotional Readings: John 3: 16-21; Morning Psalm-27; Evening Psalm 126

Text: This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so the no one need be destroyed. (John 3: 16,17a The Message)

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, the church that I attended with my folks decided that it would be a good idea for the children to memorize a few Bible verses. I’ve always had difficulty with memorization but one of the first verses that I learned, thanks to my mother’s persistance, was John 3: 16, King James Version, of course!  It wasn’t until I became a pastor that I discovered that John 3: 16 only tells part of the Story. It told the What but not the Why. It wasn’t until I read verse 17 that I discovered the Why“For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” Revised Standard VersionGod sent the very embodiment of God’s eternal Love into the world to save it, not to judge it! God’s purpose is and always have been to save, redeem or rescue the world–choose whichever word you wish.

When the early Christians questioned why Jesus did not return before now, the writer of Second Peter replied, “The Lord is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives.” (II Peter 3:9, Common English Bible)

In this season of Lent we have a lot to be thankful for, most notably God’s eternal Love that never gives up on us and God’s Patience that is willing to wait a lifetime and beyond for us to change our hearts and lives.

Lord, let me reflect Your Love and Your Patience today and every day in the season and Lent and all the days of my life. Amen.

Born Again, Christian, John 3: 16, Lenten Devotion, The Gospel of John, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for the 7th Day of Lent, 2017

Devotional Reading: John 2: 23-3:15; Morning Psalm: 5; Evening Psalm 27

Text: (Nicodemus): How can anyone be born who has already been born and grown up? … (Jesus): “You’re not listening.” (John 3: 4 & 5, The Message)

In his little book Don’t Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide Christian educator and seminary president C. Ellis Nelson wrote said he believes “that the power of culture to shape beliefs and dictate moral behavior is so strong that only a revelation from God is capable of breaking through to give individuals a new lease on life.”*

Nicodemus approached Jesus under the dark veil at night wanting desperately to figure out who He was. What Jesus said and did inspired Nicodemus but it didn’t fit into his preconception of the Messiah. And when Jesus spoke of “rebirth” or “birth from above” Nicodemus was more confused than ever.

To see the Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus is to have a revelation from God. We do not determine the time or date of our birth. As a matter of fact, we have no control over any of the circumstances of our birth. Nor to we have any control over God intervention in our lives. This reality makes us uncomfortable because we are a people wanting  to be in control. This has been true since the story of Adam and Eve. We want to be told that it is up to us to take the first basic steps toward salvation. And, we want to “do it our way.”

But our way is not God’s way. God’s way is the way of Love. For God so loved the world… God’s Love is the first step. Salvation is not in our hands but God’s. This is hard for us to accept because it is based on pure grace, grace without merit on our part. All we can do it live into this Love that will not let us go, no matter what. There is no better news than this: it’s not about us. It’s about God.

Lord, Thank you for Your Love that first reached out to me in Jesus Christ. Thank you for Your Love that will never let me go. Thank you for walking with me in Life’s darkest valleys as well as leading me to Life’s mountaintops. I am yours. Do with me what Your will. Amen.


*C. Ellis Nelson, Don’t Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide, New York, Paulist Press, pp. 4,5