Fatherly Advice

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 4

I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to see my children daily and see them grow.  This privilege is one that I do not take likely or for granted, because I know many fathers that desire and long to have their children with them daily. This past weekend, I had the joy of serving with my children at a local fundraiser on Saturday and Sunday.  All three of the kids (Oliver, Ruby, and Nadya) help me setup for the annual event on Saturday afternoon and then Ollie asked if he could serve with me on Sunday.  I was pleased and excited that he would want to serve with me.  I did caution him that it would be an early morning, but he assured me that this was his desire.   Oliver had the most pleasant and excited demeanor the entire morning and was willing to learn and help as needed.  His joy and excitement is the best ROI (return on investment) that I could ever ask. He loves serving and bringing joy to others.  

As I reflect on my childhood and experiences with my father and the relationship that I have with my kids, I can better relate to some of the stories in the Bible, especially father and children stories. My relationship with my father is complex and rich.  For the majority of my life, I have had a relationship with my father, but I missed the early daily adventures with him due to the divorce of my parents.  As a young child and through today he is one of my closest confidants and mentors.  I speak with him weekly and we have a great relationship.  My relationship with my children is one that visceral and emotional.  We have many adventures and joyous times.  We also have times of instruction and learning.  Every moment that I have with them I cherish beyond measures.  My children give me peace and humility to become a better person.  

In Proverbs Chapter 4, Solomon is giving instruction to his children as his father gave him instructions.  

Proverbs 4: 3-7

When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.

Solomon is imparting to his children the importance of passing on the virtue of wisdom and understanding.  This is the father’s purpose: to instruct and guide.   It is the father’s purpose to prepare the children in a manner that will be beneficial and prosperous to the next generations. This charge is given to all parents to be stewards of our children and give them instruction and direction for their life. 

Throughout the bible many times the author challenges the audience to decide: whether you are the audience for approval or the audience for correction.  In Proverbs, we ask ourselves if we are the ones that the instruction is intended to prevent or correct our actions.  We must examine ourselves daily to see if we are seeking wisdom or have we turned away. 

Proverbs 4: 1-2; 10-11; 20-21

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain[a] insight,
for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.

Hear, my son, and accept my words,
    that the years of your life may be many.
11 I have taught you the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.

The wisdom that we have gained, we must give to the next generations.  We must daily review our purpose and use of wisdom and adjust according.   May we pray daily for our children as David did for Solomon, which Solomon did for his children as evident in the passage. 

1Chronicles 29: 18-19 

18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. 19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”

Be blessed. L 

Jonathan’s Loyalty

Today’s Reading : I Samuel Chapter 20 

Camaraderie. Compassion. Friendship. Loyalty.  These words are used often in the New Testament, but are seldom used in the Old Testament in regards with people relationships.  In the Old Testament, people are only interested in their own gain and power.  We have a glimpse of true devotion and friendship in today’s reading between Jonathan and David.  

Jonathan is the son of King Saul.  He is also the brother-in-law to David.  David and Jonathan became great friends during Saul’s reign as king of Israel.  After David stood up to Goliath and saved Israel from their enemies, David came into the court of the king and became a trusted advisor to the king and Jonathan.  Saul became paranoid and needed assistance from David to soothe his thoughts, so David became more trusted by both Saul and Jonathan.  Along the way, Saul started to question the loyalty of everybody including David and Jonathan.  Saul conspired with Jonathan and his other advisors to plot against David and kill him.  But through all of the lies and conspiracy of Saul, Jonathan remained faithful to David. 

This loyalty and friendship is due to the presence of the Holy Spirit on David.  David had eight brothers [we are introduced to earlier in Samuel] and all of them were not concerned about David while he was in the fields as a shepherd.  The brothers even despised him as David brought them food and refreshment in the battlefield.  David had known how to be a brother, but none of his blood relatives would be committed and dedicated to him.  After David is anointed and has conquered the Philistines, he is brought into the court of Saul and Jonathan. Here the Spirit creates a bond between Jonathan and David that is stronger than birth or blood.  

Proverbs 18:24   

 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I wonder if Solomon is referring to his father’s and Jonathan’s relationship here.  This relationship literally save David’s life several times. Jonathan and David embodied the Hebrew commandment that are later spoke by Christ and shared with many  

Romans 13:9 

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

David and Jonathan knew that their purpose was far greater than anything that they could imagine.  They knew that God’s hand had placed them together for a reason. Their loyalty to each other would transcend both of their lives and live on after their deaths.  This is the goal for us a Christians:  to give unconditionally to all we encounter.  Not only should we give to our friends, but also to the ones that are searching for friends and those who have turned away from us. We cannot give up on the people that may have hurt us in the past.  We need to seek the Spirit of God to reconcile our relationships to create this type of peace and loyalty that is exhibited by Jonathan and David.  

Father God, 

Create the opportunities for the Spirit to open our relationships to create trust, peace, and loyalty that is indiscernible and amazing.  Thank you for the blessings in advance.  Amen 

Dangers of Success

Todays Reading: Deuteronomy 8 

Different people can define the measure of success many ways.  

  1. Completing higher level of education 
  2. Getting the right career 
  3. Marrying the right person
  4. Buying a house 
  5. Having kids and putting them through higher level education
  6. Retiring and enjoying life. 

Moses gives a similar stance on the level of success in Deuteronomy 8:7 -10

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

This is the promise that has been given to the Israelites from the covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15.  It is a promise that the descendants of Abraham would take possession of a land that was prepared for them by God.  A land that only had to be entered into and the remainder of life would be almost a dream.  But with success we must be mindful of pride and humility.  Moses reminds the Israelites this several times in this passage.  Moses also reminds them to remember the Lord is in control.  

In these twenty verses, Moses say “the Lord your God” TEN times.  Being a father of a 3-year-old and 4-year-old daughters, I have had the pleasure to watch many cartoons and videos, but one that I truly didn’t understand until recently was “Dora the Explorer”. This show is written and intended for the appropriate age group: preschoolers.  One particular habit that the writers of the cartoon use to illustrate a point is repetition.  Sometimes this repetition will be twenty times in less than 45 seconds.  Now several days later you can hear the kids repeating the list of Dora’s to do list as we are traveling to and from school. Moses, like the writers of Dora, uses this repetition style throughout Deuteronomy to make sure that the point of humility and pride are automatic for the Israelites.  

From this passage there are a few take away points: 

  1. Find rest in the wilderness experience.  The Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years and God made provisions continually for them.  God was preparing the chosen generation for the promises of the foretold covenant.  
  2. Take nothing for granted.  The people of Israel were given bread (manna) from heaven daily.  This was a new style of bread that had never been seen before or imagined.  God will provide us with items that we cannot imagine in the times of need if we believe in his will and divine plan.  
  3. Be aware of the hidden blessings.  In the passage Moses reminds the people Deut. 8:4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.”We can take for granted the daily things that we have been blessed with and not give God the praises for them.  The heat in our homes and cars.  The saving grace that allows us to get to the mechanic moments before the serpentine belt falls apart. The extra time that the doctor listens to your heart before sending you home. That delay of several minutes that allowed you not to be on the highway before the major-car-pile-up.  Just as God was protecting the clothing of the Israelites, He is faithful to his promises today to provide and protect us.  

Let us be mindful that it is through God’s grace that we are able to be where we are and not by our own actions.  – Lynden

Family Battles

Todays Reading Genesis 37

Good Monday Morning, the story that will take place here could easily be portrayed in a melodrama or soap opera for today.  The setting is just after the beautiful vision of heaven, Jacob has and the ladder to Heaven.  Jacob has just witnessed the promise that his entire linage will lead to God, through Christ. The destination is seen, but the journey is not known.   Directly after the vision, Jacob travels north to escape his brother, Esau, from killing him because he deceived his brother from his birthright.  

Once in Paddan Aram with his uncle Laban, Jacob finds work as a shepherd. Jacob promised to work for his uncle for seven years for the hand of Laban’s daughter, Rachel.  After working for seven years and having a wedding and feast, Laban tricks Jacob and slips his first daughter, Leah, into Jacob’s wedding tent.  The next morning, Jacob realizes the deceit and questions the validity of the transaction and finds out that in the new country where he resides the first daughter must be married before the younger daughter.  So Jacob gives Laban an additional seven years to be married to Rachel. With each daughter, Laban gives a servant.  To Leah, Laban gave Zilpah and to Rachel, Laban gave Bilhah.  In total Jacob works for Laban twenty years: seven for Leah, seven for Rachel, and six working flocks. 

Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter by theses women: Leah: Reuben(1), Simeon(2), Levi(3), Judah(4), Issachar(9), Zebulun(10), Dinah (technically 11) ;  Bilhah: Dan(5), Naphtali(6); Zilpah: Gad(7), Asher(8); Rachel: Joseph (11); Benjamin(12). Leah was Jacob’s first wife; Rachel was the second wife; Bilhah was the third wife given to Jacob from Rachel; and Zilpah the fourth wife given to Jacob by Leah.  

After twenty years under his uncle’s watch, Jacob decides to leave Paddan Aram and return to his home of Canaan.  As Jacob attempts to leave Laban, Laban pursues Jacob and tries to kill him.  Once Laban catches up to Jacob, they made a truce to never cross paths again.  As Jacob returns home to Canaan, he sees his brother, Esau, advancing with 400 men and he again is afraid for his life.  The night before he meets with Esau whom he stole the birthright; he is placed in a battle against an angel for the entire night.  He then is crippled from his wrestling match, but given a new name Israel. After Jacob has reconciled with his brother, his daughter is kidnapped and raped by the new neighbors at Shechem. His sons, Simeon and Levi, take vengeance on the men at Shechem. Then Jacob’s true love, Rachel, dies in childbirth giving birth to Benjamin.

This brings us to the seventeen-year-old Joseph and his brothers and coat of many colors.  Joseph is one of the favorite son’s of Jacob because he is the offspring of Rachel.  He has been treated differently his entire life because he has not really had to share or live in the same tent as his other siblings his entire life. He has now the opportunity to interact act with them and trying to fit in he tells them the different dreams that he has about grandeur and prestige.  He fails to realize that these dreams would have harmful implications for him. Joseph then is deceived and sold into slavery by his brothers.  His brothers then deceive their father into believing his precious son is mauled and killed by animals.  

There are many themes that run through the story of Jacob and Joseph: 

  1. Be careful whom you share your dreams with. It is good and necessary to have dreams and goals.  This allows us to set a target and make plans to achieve the target and adjust our sights if we do not make the mark.   We must be thankful for our dreams and blessings and not brag or boast.
  2. Good intentions are good if they are put into action and followed through.  Genesis 37:21-30

.   21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.

29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” Rueben had the opportunity and the position to stop this entire scenario of the killing or entry into servitude for Joseph, but he did not act.  When we have the authority and the knowledge to act, we must be bold and not allow others to suffer because of our negligence and fear.

3. Model the behavior you seek.  Jacob had modeled the behavior of deceit from the beginning of his life.  He deceived his brother from his birthright.  His uncle with his brides deceived him.  He deceived his uncle when he ran away.  His sons deceived the men of Shechem.  His sons deceived Joseph.  His sons deceived him about Joseph.  We have to be mindful of our character and true nature.  We can perpetuate human nature or we can ask God to create in us a new creation daily to be more like Christ.  We will continually have these inner struggles, but with the Holy Spirit we are able to be strengthen for God’s work and glory.  


Year End Wrap-up

As we are preparing and planning for the closure of 2018 and anticipating the arrival of 2019, let us reflect on the events and experiences of the past year.  For many this past year has brought joy: birth of children, new houses, new career paths, marriage, and countless other joys.  The year has also brought sadness and the need for comfort: deaths, loss of finances, loss of relationships, and more.  But in the midst of these journeys in life we have a constant strength that is unwavering which Christ.    Paul states it best in the letter to the Galatians 

Galatians 5: 22-23 (KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

God’s love and patience is part of the fruit of the spirit. But we also see that in enduring the harshness of life, God is able to provide comfort to us.

As we enter this New Year, allow this to be our constant prayer:

 Philippians 4:6-7 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

May we enter the New Year with hope and acknowledge the difficulties that will present themselves, but be assured that God will give us peace that will transcend all rational thought and logic.  

I John 4: 18

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 

Thank you for being a blessing to me this past year.  May God continue to work through us for His Glory.  

Happy New Years. 

The Word Became Flesh

Good morning friends! As my son would say, “It’s Christmas Evening!” Jesus’ birth is upon us today and I’m wondering how you are? Are you surrounded by friends and family this morning or are you welcoming Him in a more quiet and personal way? Whether you are experiencing the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ or experiencing the need for peace, I’m so glad you’re here. Although the primary focus of today will be Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, I’d like to share another scripture with you:

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

I wrote down several verses in preparation for my post today. I came up with about 10 different verses that have held me up when I needed them most. But this morning I opened my bible and this one was underlined. Three years ago around this time I was asked by a total stranger to write for Bible Journal. I’m not sure why I said yes! I don’t have any qualifications and certainly didn’t have experience with Christian theology. I had no way of knowing the personal and spiritual challenges that lay just a few short months ahead. I know now that it wasn’t a stranger in the form of BJ Armstrong asking me to study and write. It was God, inviting me to go deeper in His word and develop my relationship with Him. The Word has truly become flesh for me in the hands that have reached out to our family and the feet that have walked the miles with us. As I sit down to write to you for the last time tonight I can testify that I have seen His glory. John says, “The Word became flesh…”in other words it became human. By doing so, Jesus became our perfect teacher. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth today, he truly becomes flesh in our lives. He goes on to become a model of what we are to become. Those who welcome Jesus as Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Christ, this new birth changes us from the inside out. Jesus is born today. We don’t have to wait until the new year to reaffirm our faith and put our trust in Him! 

I am grateful to each one of you for reading our posts but more importantly, I am grateful to you for helping me to grow. If it wasn’t for you andthe Monday morning deadline, I wouldn’t have come to know God as I do now! To the rest of the Bible Journal team, I am forever humbled by your wisdom and grace. I wish you all a very blessed Christmas season. I look forward to reading with you each day and promise to guest post a time or two for my beloved Mr. McGriff. 

The love of Christ be with you-


The Plans He Has

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfareand not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 29:10-14

Well hello Bible Journal readers, another Monday is upon us! How are you feeling? I think of you and pray for you at the beginning of each week. I hope that you are finding joy and some peace in this holiday season. In these final days of the year, we have the opportunity to share a verse or two with you that is close to our heart. Jeremiah 29:11 has always been a foundational piece of the word for our family. I wrote these words on a small piece of paper the night before our son had a very important brain MRI in 2011. That small scrap of paper has been there ever since. We rely on these words to remind us that God will indeed fulfill his promises, that he has plans for us that are good and that he doesn’t ever harm us.

I had to go back to that little scrap of paper this week for the first time in a long time. A friend of ours died very suddenly in a place that was not his home and in a way that brought more questions than will ever be answers. It’s been a long time since I have questioned in the “but why God” sort of way. Honestly, I thought I was more mature in my faith journey than that, but this event changed things. This extinguished life without a why brought on unexpected waves of grief and anger. Have you ever had a rock bottom moment like that in your faith journey? I rolled it around in my mind looking for the grace or maybe a hint of mercy in the situation, but I couldn’t see it. I came back to my foundational verse, Jeremiah 29:11 and I got even more angry. There is no hope or future for our friend so what is the plan?When it came time to write today, I went back to my Bible, flipping pages looking for inspiration and came back to Jeremiah. For the first time in a very long time I began at the beginning:

“These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” Jeremiah 29:1

 These are the words. The words of the letter. The letter sent to the exiles. So, before the exiles got this letter they were just exiles. In fact, I noticed for the very first time in the ten years that I have been frequently this page of my Bible that the name of this chapter is, “Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles” All along it’s been really helpful and comforting to read that part about God’s plan for hope and a future but I sort of missed the point. Without a period of exile, we can’t experience the hope and the future. Without the separation or exile from that which we hold dear, we can’t truly know Him. Shoot, I forgot that being a Christian does not guarantee that we’ll be protected from really hard things. It doesn’t mean that we’ll have an easy life without the broken parts. It does mean that when the really hard things happen that we will know to seek Him. And when we seek Him, He finds us. He finds us in the darkest dark when all we have left is to cling to Him with our whole heart. There may never be answers but there will berestoration.

If I’m writing to you today, I hope you find comfort and hope in this message. I hope you see that all Christ followers have a bottom of the barrel “whyGod” moment. We are all in exile some of the time. As Christmas draws near, I hope you’ll go to Him with all your heart. Pour out your hopes to Him and ask Him to intercede with good in your life. If you are approaching this holiday with trepidation because you are broken, go to Him. If you are reading this and you are not sure if He has a plan for you, go to Him and ask.

Have a great week!


Season of Anticipation and Wonder


Today’s Reading: Revelation 1

Advent is here.  This is the time of year that we celebrate the anticipation of the coming Christ.  This is the time that we start to sing Christmas carols.  The kitchens are a buzz with warm cookies and treats to share and gift to our loved ones.  We might start decorating our houses for guest and family to share in the holiday.  And in the midst of the preparation have we allowed our spirit to settle and prepare for Christ?

John gives us a beautiful salutation to the season:

Revelation 1: 4-5

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

In the Life Application Study Bible, the commentary is as follows “ The book of Revelation unveils Christ full identity and God’s plan for the end of the world, and it focuses on Jesus Christ, his second coming, his victory over evil, and the establishment of his kingdom.”  This echoes the fulfillment of the prophets Isaiah and the gospels of the apostles.

Isaiah 9: 6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon
[d] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[e]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

As we begin our journey through this Advent season let us mediate and reflect on the Grace and Peace that Christ give us daily and allow the love of Christ to more evident in our daily lives especially in this season.




John 17

For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

John 17:8-10

 As John’s gospel draws closer to the crucifixion of Jesus, there’s a certain heaviness that settles in. We witness the intimacy of the relationship between Jesus and his Father. Jesus reveals the character of God through his presence on earth and now that character will continue to live through his disciples and Christ followers.  For me, as I read today’s scripture it feels like the beginning of goodbye. As Jesus prays for his disciples and then for all believers I find myself thinking, “no, not yet, I’m not ready to be without you!” There is so much comfort and peace in the knowledge that we belong to God and that he is always with us. But there is also a requirement of surrender that comes with that promise. My husband and I have experienced that surrender on two occasions. Two of our children battle chronic illness. Our son became very ill as an infant. The days in the hospital became weeks and the answers more elusive. Eventually, it became clear that we would take this baby home without the healing we had prayed for. Truthfully, I was angry. I couldn’t understand why God would heal other babies but not mine. I asked Him over and over to reveal what I needed to do to be a better Christian so that he would heal my son. The answer never came. As time went on, I watched friends and family members give birth to healthy babies and I envied their freedom. Every part of my life was colored by the realities of having a sick child.

On one particularly difficult day in the hospital, our son required a procedure to place central line into his heart for nutrition. They took my baby from me and promised to be back soon with the new line in place. When they brought him back, everything had changed. He was lying still, eyes closed inside a clear plastic warming box. All we could do was look at him through the lid. We could not reach in, could not touch him we simply could not have him in that moment. We were told that he was having difficulty bringing his body temperature back up to normal and therefore he needed to stay in the box. We were told that his body was very weak going in to the procedure and that now we’d have to wait and see how he responded over the next several hours. I remember every detail of that night. I remember sinking into the corner of his room, face to the wall as I slid down to the ground. There was no more reasoning, no more bargaining, no more controlling the situation. I surrendered. For the first time in my life I had to livethe truth that our children are not ours, they belong to our Heavenly Father.

“All mine are yours and yours are mine….“ John 17:10

In John 17 we watch and listen to Jesus making that same kind of surrender. He knows this is the beginning of the end for his earthly life with his disciples. There is a sadness and a heaviness as he acknowledges the tremendous battleground he leaves on earth. Jesus’ greatest desire for his disciples is that they will become one. He wanted them to be unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love. I view this chapter of John as Jesus’ last love letter to us. He has completed his mission on earth and God glorifies him. Now we are left to live in His truth until he returns. Jesus gave me one son, and today Ollie is a nearly 8 year old miracle. When I surrendered him to God on that February night in 2011, he was given back to me several hours later, tiny baby fists pounding on the lid of his isolette. I said goodbye to the idea that he belongs to me and accepted Christ and the plans he has for our life. If there’s something you can surrender this week, I hope you’ll take the time to be in prayer and conversation with Jesus. I wish you joy and most of all hope in this season of Advent!





Wait for it

Today’s Reading John 11

As we are preparing for the feast of thanks this week throughout the city, state, and nation here at my house the children are asking “When is it Christmas?”  This is somewhat due to the Christmas carols playing on the radio and television.  Somewhat due to the commercials of winter themed items and toys.  Somewhat due to the several dozen of catalogs that come to the house daily.  But the true questions started to come last Thursday when several inches of snow covered the streets, cars, and everything.  They are waiting on the coming of Christmas, but they want it to be here NOW.   I know that many parents are experiencing this anticipation and have been for several weeks post-Halloween.  While reading and reflecting on the chapter for today, I find peace in the waiting on Christ.  In Chapter 11 we can find several tokens of peace in waiting:  Waiting can be challenging, waiting can be productive, waiting allows God’s glory to be revealed.


In John 11, we have a truly significant story: The Resurrection of Lazarus.  In the beginning of the chapter, John tells us that Lazarus is sick. John also tells us the connection of the family with Jesus.  John tells us in Chapter 11, the woman whom loved Jesus an anointed him for his passion is the same Mary, that is the sister of Lazarus.  The sisters sent word to Jesus and he acknowledged the sickness, but didn’t rush to his friend’s immediate rescue.  Jesus stays in the place for 2 additional days.  Then he began his return to see his friend. When he arrived at the town of Bethany, Martha first and then Mary greets him.  The body of Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days.  When Jesus saw the family and the tomb, Jesus wept. Then Jesus instructed the tomb to be opened and he summoned Lazarus out of the tomb.  Lazarus was restored and able to be with Jesus and his family during the coming Passover.


John makes several references to the timing of this sickness, burial and resurrection to show significance of human timing and Divine timing.   1.) Lazarus is sick: This is not shown with a reference time.  We do not know the time span that Lazarus has been ill before his death i.e., one day, three weeks, a couple of months, we know that he is close to death and that Martha and Mary are expecting a miracle of health and healing.  2.) Once Jesus is informed of the sickness, he stays for 2 additional days.  Jesus knows outcome of the illness, before it has been completed.  He knows that this illness will result in death.  He knows the circumstances that we are in before we are experiences these situations.  3.) When he arrives Lazarus has been in the tomb for 4 days.  This passage of time is not shown either. We know that Jesus was summoned, he stayed where he was for an additional 2 days, but we do not know how long the journey was for him to get to Bethany.  We know that Lazarus was sick, died, had a funeral, was buried in a tomb, and now 4 days plus Jesus comes to Bethany.

The significance of the four days is profound because of the ancient traditions and the area of the world this takes place.  The regular funeral rites of the ancient Jewish people are to bury the body with in the 24 hours of the death.  Once the body is buried, the decomposition of the body in this region happens rapidly.  Due to the inability to embalm or prepare the body as in modern times, the body would start to decompose within 2 days of being buried.  The entire body would change and the figure that once was the person that as buried no longer resembled the living body.  Lazarus was dead for 4 days, and Jesus was either visiting on day 4 or 5, which means that he was completely dead and only the grace and glory of God would be able to restore him.   The full picture of Lazarus is seen after his resurrection while he is eating with Jesus, Mary, Martha, and the apostles for Passover.  Lazarus is not a half-living individual, but a fully functional person.  Christ has given life to the dead, and will fully restore all of the vitality and function to the decomposed body that once was, Christ is the resurrection and the life.


In this chapter we find lessons in waiting:

  • Waiting is a challenge and can be difficult. – Ask anyone that is waiting of results of classroom examinations, blood test, or diagnostic exams.  This can be some of the most terrify and difficult times that you experience.
  • Waiting can be productive. – In many instances waiting is the process that we can anticipate and reflect on something exciting.  Examples are waiting for the bread to rise after kneading or waiting for the flower to blossom after the long winter.  These are times that new growth and expectations blossom our spirit and our resolve.
  • Waiting to allow God’s Glory to be revealed. – In the chapter Jesus makes mention that he could have saved his friend several times over, but the ultimate purpose was not to give Jesus glory, but to give God the glory not only over health and sickness, but also over undeniable death.He has the final say.



Thank you for not being on human time, but on your on time.  Thank you for being over all things in heaven and earth.  We praise you that you created all things, including life and time and you are the keeper of all things.  Lord, allow us to be in tune with you and allow us to wait on you for your will and glory to be shown. Amen