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Posted By Nan

John 5:1-15
There is a lot in these verses. On the surface, this is the story of Jesus, back in Jerusalem, encountering the sick waiting at the pool, called Bethesda, to be healed. Jesus singles out an invalid and asks him if he wants to be healed. The man replies yes, but there is no one to help him into the water when it is stirred up. Instead Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk. So he did. As always when Jesus works in our lives, there is some legalistic person there to take the blessing away. Have you followed church rule 69 sub-paragraph 3? Well then, what has just happened to you is wrong. In this case, the man was chastised for carrying his mat on the Sabbath, because the legalists had made it a sin to carry your mat on the Sabbath. When the man answered that the one who made him well had told him to carry his mat they challenged the authority of the man who made him well.
I will talk in my next entries about this and healing. Today I want to talk about verse 14-15 when Jesus found the man at the temple later and told him to stop sinning or something worse could happen to him.
The verses here do not say what was wrong with the man and whether his illness was a result of something he had done. But Jesus drew attention to this man’s sinfulness to challenge him to change. It is not clear what he was doing. He may have been a man who did terrible things, but I suspect he was just an ordinary person. His wrongdoing was the wrong doing we all fall into. The worst wrong doing is to ignore God’s direction in our lives. As for the consequences of that wrong doing, Jesus told the man that worse could happen to him. What was that worse thing? Was it that he would get sicker? Maybe, but I think it was the consequences of failing to acknowledge God and live a life in His presence, seeking to do His will. What could be worse than denying God and being cast out of His presence for ever?

Posted By Nan

I was writing about John 5 today. I often stop, mid writing, to pray. My aim in writing this blog is not to draw attention to myself, but to give God’s message to the person He wants to receive it. I don’t know who that is, or what their need is, but my prayer is always that someone reading my blog will receive a wonderful message from God and it will draw them closer to Him. It is all about God and our Saviour, Jesus. As I stopped today to pray, God asked me to write this entry first. It is all about Jesus.
Lately I have been challenged in many of the daily devotionals I receive to ensure my worship is about God and not the process. One was an email I received on 18 September from Chip Brogden titled “My mother and my brothers” and all about being doers of the will of God as well as hearers. If you are interested the link is
I often print these encouraging posts so that I can reread them frequently. As I went to file this one away I found an earlier article I had printed by Geoff Bullock. It is titled “Beyond self-centred worship”. In this article Geoff stressed that worship is not about enjoying the sense of closeness with God and the buzz many get from the corporate worship with a great rock band and fantastic light show and hands raised at the appropriate moment. He considered the worship is not what God wants us to enjoy. It is Him he wants us to enjoy. He cited the New Testament examples of Paul and Silas singing praises in a Philippian gaol and Jesus singing a hymn on the eve of his arrest. This worship was based on who they loved, not what they found enjoyable. He contended we have made worship self-centred instead of God-centred.
If you would like to read Geoff Bullock’s article it is from Renewal Journal #6 (1995:2), Brisbane, Australia, pp. 8-11
For a long time I have disliked the sort of worship I see in churches like Hillsong (Australia). I have chastised myself for my bad attitude and considered I was wrong to dislike their worship. But recently God has laid these thoughts on my heart and has revealed through the devotionals He sends my way, that my dislike is about the worship being self-centred instead of being Christ-centred.
Many churches, alarmed at the large numbers of people who do not attend church, have adopted elaborate musical rituals and rousing songs to bring people in. This hedonistic age seek self-pleasure wherever they go. But we come to God not to bring ourselves pleasure, but to sit at the feet of the throne of God and worship Him. How many people in those beautifully polished, self-uplifting services actually have had a personal encounter with God? Do they fully comprehend what Jesus did for them? Do they long to just sit in His presence? Do they delight day by day to grow in their relationship with God? Do they seek out God, or do they seek out self-satisfaction?
So we need to concentrate on being with our Heavenly Father. If you sit in God’s presence and love Him you are worshipping Him. Sometimes this may involve singing, although I often find the self-centred worship of others distracting, but it does not necessarily involve anything more than your desire to sit at your Father’s feet. For the churches, they need to look at why people really don’t attend church. It is not the lack of meaningful worship experience, but more likely to be a lack of true worship and a bit too much legalism.

Posted By Nan

John 4:43-54
Interesting set of verses. Jesus spent two days with the enthused Samaritans. He then left for Galilee despite knowing a prophet is without honour in his own country. This seems a funny comment to precede a statement about how He was welcomed into Galilee. But why did they welcome Him? Did they welcome Him as the Samaritans had, because they believed He was the Saviour of the world? Or did they welcome Him because they had seen His miracles in Jerusalem at the Passover and wanted to see His party tricks here in Galilee? The next sentence suggests that the latter was the reason for the welcome. Hence the statement that a prophet is without honour in his own country. The people did not realise who Jesus was, they just saw Him as someone who could do something for them and sustain their interest until the next entertainer came.
The story of the royal official is quite an interesting contrast. This man came to Jesus because his child was dying. Jesus told the man the child would live and he did. Because of this the man and his household believed. Not so the Galileans who also witnessed the miracles.
How often do we look to Jesus for the party tricks? How often do we pray in prayer meetings with flowery, complicated prayers, hoping to invoke Jesus’ power through the Holy Spirit in us, and create our own party tricks? How often do we join in healing prayer, looking for the dramatic and exciting response? In this example, Jesus merely told the man his son would live and he immediately recovered! If you go to a church to worship, how often do you go to a worship service and participate enthusiastically in the worship expecting a warm fuzzy? How often do you expect to hear a sermon that leaves you feeling warm and comfortable, so that you can continue with your complacent existence? Do you feel affronted if the sermon instead challenges you to change the way you live?
We all need to be careful that we are more like the Samaritans, accepting Jesus as our Saviour and not see Him as some exciting, miracle worker.

Posted By Nan

As we approach the end of our sabbatical year from church, my family have been discussing where we go to next. For my children and my husband it is a no brainer. We stay outside church. But for me it has been harder. I worry about my children’s walk with Jesus. I have spent a lot of time in prayer about this one. Last week, I had an answer. My daughter is a student paramedic almost at the end of her university degree. She is currently in a regional centre almost 700 kilometres from Brisbane, taking her internship. Last week she was feeling quite down at having to deal with a particularly unpleasant colleague. I prayed about how to respond to her and found myself telling her to trust God. As I continued to explain how trustworthy God was and how much He listened to our prayers and answered them, I realised God was telling me that this was what He had in mind to grow my children’s faith. They were never going to grow it attending a church that excluded them and did not teach them about Him. But they could learn it from their parents. It is after all our responsibility as parents to teach our children about God. We cannot expect other people to teach them, including a church. So I will listen to my Heavenly Father and continue to trust Him. I will speak boldly to my children about faith and never miss the opportunities our Father gives me to teach them about Him and I will continue to hold them in my prayers.

Posted By Nan

I am taking a short vacation so will not be posting a blog on Wednesday. Back Saturday.

God bless!




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