John 7: Not Always As It Appears / Thirsty

As I was preparing for this session of journaling, I somehow ended up with 2 post for chapter 7.  I could not decide which to post, so I put them both here!  Enjoy!

John 7: Not Always As It Appears
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” John 7:24 (NLT)

People are gathering and talking. They are questioning Jesus. Even His brothers don’t believe Him.  There is a lot of talking and division. Those who do believe won’t speak up, they are afraid of the Jewish leaders. They are looking for Him and wondering why He isn’t there at the festival.  Then Jesus shows up at the temple and begins teaching.

Earlier in the chapter, in verse 7, Jesus says the world hates Him because He accuses it of doing evil.  And then in the temple He begins to speak directly to the pharisees, those who accuse Him of not obeying the law.  He calls them out for doing the same thing they accuse Him of doing.  then He says in verse 24, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

It can be so easy to judge other’s actions simply by what I can see.  And how quickly I can jump to conclusions based on such little information.  And oh, how rampant is it today to call out others simply because of something we see or a comment that is made.  The reality is there is so much more beneath the surface.  My thoughts, beliefs, actions, convictions, opinions, responses are all based on my processes, journey and circumstances.  I must also recognize that about others.  I can’t let myself assume I know or understand why someone says or does something.

I must look beneath the surface.  This means I have to go deeper in my relationships to know their heart.  It’s in intentional, real relationship that I can get to the core of any issue.  There are definitely times where I need correction and to be called out on my actions, but I won’t always respond to those who haven’t taken the time to really know me, to go deeper.  So, why would I expect that others would hear my heart when I just spout off my thoughts and opinions.  If I want to make a difference in n people’s lives I must be willing to put in the work of relationship. AND, I must also look deeper into my own heart and motives, allowing the Holy Spirit to purify and cleanse my heart of malice, un-forgiveness, offense, selfish ambitions, critical judgement and whatever other junk is hardening my heart to Jesus and toward people.

Lord, I pray today for a heart like yours.  A heart that loves people right where they are.  I desire for real, authentic relationships where I allow others to speak into my life.  Teach me to respect others journey not always jumping to judgments.  I want to see people like you see them.  Teach me to love like you love. Amen.

John 7:  Thirsty

“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me.  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!  For the Scriptures declare, rivers of living water will flow from His heart.”  John 7:37-38 (NLT)

Jesus is speaking at the temple during a Jewish festival.  The religious leaders have and continue to question who he is.  He shows up and begins speaking to them of His work and their doubt of who He is..

Jesus says, “anyone who is thirsty may come to me.” (V37). And my heart responds, yes, I am thirsty!  The weight of everything leaves me feeling parched and desperate for a fresh drink.  What I see in the news, the things I hear in politics, the conversations on social media and the brokenness of it all can leave me depleted, heavy and longing for refreshing.

Jesus, I am thirsty.  Fill me with a fresh outpouring of your Holy Spirit.  Refresh and fill my soul.  Allow your living water to cleanse and refresh every part of my soul.  I pray for more and more of your Spirit, let it flow through me and out of me.

In verse 38 Jesus says that for anyone who believes and drinks, rivers of living water will flow from their heart.  The thirst is for His Spirit and it is for me, but it will flow out of me.  I know that the world needs Jesus.  Those in my life need His presence and the hope He offers.  I pray today that the filling and refreshing I experience would flow over and reach those in my life.

Today I pray for a deeper understanding of my responsibility.  Where can I offer hope?  My desire is that wherever I go, His peace will be present.  Lord, teach me to just lead those around me to you. I pray my life would reflect your heart for all people.  Amen.

What is God speaking to you today through John 7?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

John 6: Eternal Focus

“But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.” John 6:27 (NLT)

It’s the day after Jesus fed the crowd of 5000 with just 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. A miracle of provision with 12 baskets of leftovers! The crowd is searching for Jesus and when they find Him on the other side of the lake, they question when did he get there? Jesus tells them they are not looking for Him because they understand who He is, they are there because He fed them. And in verse 27 Jesus begins to change the conversation from one of physical bread, to a conversation of eternal Bread.

He tells them to not be so concerned about “perishable things,” but to put their energy on eternal things. Their focus is getting more bread to fill their stomachs. But Jesus goes on to tell them of the “true Bread from heaven.” (V. 32). He is speaking of Himself, the One who came from Heaven and gives light to the world. (V. 33)

So much of my time and energy can be used up on caring about perishable things. I can easily focus on things, schedules, programs, circumstances and tasks, all the while, miss out on what I really need. Taking care of what God has entrusted to me is important. I need to be a wise steward and be faithful to the things God has called me to. However, if my schedule gets over run with ‘stuff” that wears me out and have no eternal value, then I am missing Jesus.

During these past several months my life has looked a lot different. Just like much of the rest of the world, my schedule came to an abrupt hault. So many things were cancelled and completely removed from my calendar. I found myself with some extra time. And it was in that time that I was able to see where I had become busy with no boundaries. I have decided and I am determined that my life will not go back to what it was. I have loved the time with my family and I’m not willing to give that Up again. I missed time with people and I want to be with people more.

My prayer today is for a clearer understanding of perishable and eternal value. I desire to have a focus on those things that will last for eternity. I was recently introduced to the “Lazy Genius,” a blogger, podcaster and Author. She talks about becoming lazy with those things that really don’t matter and becoming a genius in those things that do matter. I want to become lazy about things that won’t last and focus on those things with eternal value. It’s there that I will find Life.

What is God speaking to you today in John 6? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.

John 5: He’s Always Working

“My Father is always working, and so am I.” John 5:17

Jesus just healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. Jesus told him to “stand up, pick up your mat and walk” (V. 8). It was the Sabbath and of course the Jewish leaders objected. The man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath, and when he was confronted, he told them that the man who healed him told him to pick up his mat and walk. I want to say, ummmmmm, hello Jewish leaders, this man had been sick for 38 years and was instantly healed! That’s something pretty big. So why not focus on the miracle?

The Jewish leaders found out it was Jesus that healed this man and told him to pick up his mat and walk on the Sabbath. They began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. And I love Jesus’ response, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (V. 17)

Oh Lord, am I so thankful today that you are always working! You don’t need to rest or take time off. There is never to much for you to handle. My situation and circumstances may not be ideal, but I can be assured that you are always working. I won’t always see it and often won’t even understand it, but you are always working! Amen.

I won’t always see it and often won’t understand it, but you are always working!And as I go about my day, I’m pretty sure “Way Maker” will be on repeat!

What is God speaking to you today through John 5? Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.

A Simple 2 Ingredient Fall Treat

candy corn

With pumpkin everything, is it possible to find a fall treat that doesn’t include the orange vegetable?

Why, yes! Yes, it is possible, and I can’t wait for you to try it!  This simple 2 ingredient treat is sure to please everyone………ok, maybe not everyone, but it will surprise many on just how unexpectedly delicious it is. In fact, once you start munching on this treat, you won’t want to quit.

Simply mix equal parts Candy Corn and Salted Peanuts. Mix them well and place them in your favorite candy dish. The two come together in the perfect balance of salty and sweet. You won’t be able to stop munching! Keep a bowl of this in your home, on your desk at the office or in the break room. It will be a treat everyone will love!

For a simple party favor or fall gift, fill a mason jar with the tasty mix. Tie some ribbon or twine on the jar and wala, an inexpensive, festive and delicious gift.

Happy munching!

 

This Blind Mom’s 3 Must Haves for Homeschool

journal and coffee cup

In 2016, when we decided to start homeschooling our boys, never one time did I think I would get asked the question, “How can you homeschool blind?” There were tons of other questions I anticipated, and I’ve been asked many of those as well. The common questions about social skills, grade cards, testing and college. Never once did I anticipate the question about homeschooling blind.  Yet, this is the most common question and it gets asked at almost every conversation where we reveal we are a homeschool family. In some cases this question is asked because there is an assumption that a blind person is incompetent, lacking the ability to do what a sighted person can do.

Read moreThis Blind Mom’s 3 Must Haves for Homeschool

5 Quick Marriage Tips

Picture of Stasia and David Giles

Happy Anniversary to my husband, David, of 21 years! 21 years of doing life together! Two kids, two guide dogs, four pound puppies, one unofficially adopted son, four homes and four ministry positions. 7,665 days of loving, learning, living, growing, sharing, and laughing!  Every moment of our life together, the good, the bad and the ugly, has brought us to here, where we are today and it’s right where I want to be!

One of our favorite things to do in ministry is pre-marriage counseling.

Read more5 Quick Marriage Tips