And Jesus said, “I Am” … life, forevermore

Jesus’ “I am the gate”, and “I am the good shepherd” metaphors bewildered His listeners. At the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) their questions continued: “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly” (John 10:24). Again they tried to stone Him, and again He slipped away, across the Jordan, where many believed (10:31-42). He was there when news came that His friend Lazarus was sick.

And Jesus said, “I Am” … life, to the full

The Pharisees bombarded the “light of the world” with questions, in total denial of His “I am” claims. When Jesus stated, “before Abraham was born, I am!”…they picked up stones to stone him (John 8:58-59). They knew He was claiming to be God; but it was not yet His time so He slipped away, continuing on to heal a man born blind. The man believed and worshipped Jesus; the Pharisees remained in their sin (9:1-41).

And Jesus said, “I Am” … your sustenance, and your light

The crowd by the Sea of Galilee was mystified. First, they had been fed well the previous evening, all 5000 plus of them, from “five small barley loaves and two small fish” (John 6:9). Then Jesus had sailed across the lake without a boat—how in the world (6:22)? Miracles were foremost on their minds. Give us more they said, manna for this day too, "bread from heaven”, so we can believe you were really sent by God (6:29-31).

And Jesus said, “I Am” … the Messiah, called Christ

Imagine the surprise of the Samaritan woman when Jesus talked to her by Jacob’s well that day, for Jews do not associate with Samaritans (John 4:9). When He told her He had living water to offer, “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (4:14), she was intrigued. That He knew about her five husbands, and that “the man you now have is not your husband” (4:18), she saw He was a prophet. When He revealed that “salvation is from the Jews” (4:22), she indicated she was aware of the expected Messiah who would make all things clear.

Be Blessed

Jesus often attracted massive crowds. Passionate onlookers scrambled with reckless abandonment of their personal schedules and comfort to find a position to hear him teach. They even risked the possibility of being injured. The chaotic scenes were fueled by rumors of Jesus’ numerous miracles and healings.

Tell Them

One of my most treasured grandmother memories was when my first grandchild was three years old. I was a substitute teacher for her church missions Kabam class. When I introduced myself to the group as her grandmother, she innocently said, “Tell them how you love me.” She is now is a gifted young musician, writer and scholar. She looks forward to serving orphans and widows on mission trips each summer. Etched in my memory, her innocent statement urges me to tell others about my love story with Christ. The vastness of his individual love is unique for each follower and should be shared. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Close Encounter

I was settled in a window seat on the plane looking forward to solitude while finishing my beach trip journal. A slender, pretty and radiant woman—probably in her early forties— became my seatmate. She wore a stylish outfit with fashionable slits in her designer ankle jeans complemented by great shoes. Her short blond hair was chicly highlighted. She explained how nervous she was to fly while she was ordering a glass of wine at 8:00 a.m. from the flight attendant.

Side by Side

My heart soars when I watch a certain young man joyfully assist the worship minister rehearse with the choir before entering the sanctuary. His body bends over his crutches, yet he stands as if his posture was perfectly straight. His face reflects the joy and love of Christ with an unguarded smile. His eyes look to Heaven as he sings. Christ’s radiance on his face inspires me every time I see him. This man is famous to Jesus. Jesus is famous to this man.

Jesus is the Way

Jesus spoke earlier in John 8:12, “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The light Jesus provided for Thomas has continued to light the way for His followers throughout the centuries.

God’s Fierce Protection

“She’s a Bethlehem Donkey. They get the name from their markings. If you look closely, you’ll see a brown stripe down her back and across her shoulder making the shape of a cross.” That’s how the owner introduced me to the new donkey that arrived with a small herd of cattle.

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

I scampered for shelter from tending the burn pile. The rumbling thunder signaled the arrival of yet another Spring storm. From my porch perch, I gazed at the darkened sky and marveled at what I saw—birds barely in view calmly soaring in and out of the clouds. With time, my eyes focused well enough to count to twenty-one. I wanted to imagine twenty-one eagles soaring above reminding me that I too could ‘soar like an eagle’ when I trusted in God’s power for my life. I knew better, though.

From the Inside Out

I’d patched it twice—a dab of spackling and a dollop of paint. I noticed it again while dusting the mantle. That small crack in the wall had returned. As I poked around, I discovered additional soft spots surrounding the crack. This could not be good! Bob-the-handy-man agreed. It could be water damage, dry rot or, even worse, termite damage.

Intimacy with God

My husband and I put our home on the market, and it sold in three days. We were restoring my grandmother’s home as a place for family and friends to gather. Because of the quick sale of our home, we moved into the home we were restoring. I have spent a lot of time scrubbing, scraping, and sorting. The move and restoration process has not only made me do a lot of physical organization and inventory, but spiritual inventory as well. 

Keep it Simple

A few months ago we sold our home. We wanted more time to discern what God’s plan was for our future, so we are living in our farmhouse. It is much smaller that our former home, about half the size. Many of our things are in storage because the farmhouse was already furnished. I am realizing just how many extra things I had in our larger home. We are living comfortably with a lot less stuff.

Winning on Our Knees

I never participated in sports while growing up, but by nature I am a very competitive person. I like to win and be a part of the winning team. When I face spiritual competition I want to be victorious as well. In order to have spiritual victory we must fight through prayer, and sometimes those prayers should be offered while on our knees.

The Storms of Life

How many of you can relate to the feelings of the disciples in our passage? Have you ever been caught in a storm in your life? Have you had a time when your problem seemed too big and your faith was too small? Have you ever felt threatened by the storm and its uncertainty?