Sunday Morning Coffee: A New Project

Finally, after all the years of thinking about it, putting it off, talking myself out of it—-finally, I’m writing. Seriously writing. Not just a blog post here and there

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Not that anyone is watching over my shoulder while I write 🙂 I just thought this was funny.

There is a challenge I’ve been considering for some time. It’s called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and it started Nov. 1 and ends on Nov. 30. The goal is to write 50,000 words by Nov. 30. Today I hit 20,000, which puts me about a week ahead of the required 1667 words per day to meet the mark.

The organization has been around for some time, I guess. Lots of people participate. Who knew how many hundreds of wannabe writers are out there! You can get involved in the community, have buddies and attend write-ins, etc. But I think I’m a loner when it comes to this. I know I’ll have to let others, like editors, have what I’ve written, but the idea of that makes my stomach hurt. Which is one of the things that’s kept me from trying.

I don’t deal well with rejection.

So there it is, out in cyberspace. The word is that we need to make a grand announcement in order to keep our commitment up and running. I hope so.

You know, I just started blogging on this site through the Book of John. Already, I’m seeing the beginning of the constant rejection Jesus experienced in His 33 years on this earth. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not,” for instance.

And I’ve been thinking, if I had lived then, a Jewish girl in Israel, what would I have thought? My nature being what it is, I’d have been curious but skeptical. I’d like to think I would have known right away that He was God’s Son, but maybe not.

Jesus didn’t let rejection stop Him, though; while just the fear of rejection stopped me for so long. Of course, the salvation of mankind is not dependent upon what I write 🙂 It’s a good thing!

The gospel of John is an amazing, wonderful book. I invite you to join me! I’m still in Chapter One, loving the verse-by-verse study of the book that presents Jesus as the Son of God. It’s a story that never grows old.

Full of Grace and Truth

John 1:14-15.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.

 John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of Whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.

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The Word (logos) became (was made) flesh: What an astonishing claim John made here! He was telling the people that God, The Word, was dwelling among them right then; that He had come in the flesh and presently walked among men. Perhaps many of them had already seen Him, not realizing Who He was.

I’m sure their reaction was, “Where? Where is this Only Begotten One of God? Where can we find Him? How can we know Him?”

There were surely skeptics among them, just as there would be today.

John goes on to say that there was a glory about this Man; He stood out from others because He was the Only Begotten of God.

He was full of grace and truth.

Not one other human being who has ever lived can be said to be FULL, completely filled to overflowing, with these two characteristics of God. Grace and truth are often apparent to a degree in true believers, but to be full of both grace and truth is to never be lacking in either of those qualities, at any time. Not even under trial. Not even under severe physical torture. Not even when being mocked, scorned, and ridiculed. He was full of grace and truth every single moment of His life, with no exceptions.

John was the forerunner of Jesus; he was the one who told the people, “He’s coming! I’ve seen Him! He is full of grace and truth! He is coming behind me, but He is, was, and always will be! He is so far above me that there is no measure! He is the Word, logos, the only Begotten of the Father! He’s coming! He’s coming!”

How do you think you would have responded, if you had heard John’s message yourself? I will tell you that if you are a skeptic now, you would have been a skeptic then. You would have demanded proof, needed to see, hear, and perhaps touch this One Who claimed to be the Son of God.

Little Born Ones

John 1:12-13

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

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Although as a people, the nation of Israel did not receive or believe Him, there were those who, in childlike faith, understood who He was. They believed in Him, and their belief gave them the power (the right) to become children of God.

It is interesting to me that John chooses the picture of a child in this passage. Perhaps that is because childlike faith is pure, simple, and unquestioning. I was only five when I prayed with my Sunday school teacher after class in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Fairmont, Minnesota. A very long time ago—67 years! I understood clearly that I was a sinner. I believed that Jesus died for my sin and rose again so that I could go to heaven when I died, and be with Him forever.

Of course I didn’t understand all there was to know about God at the age of five. Now I’m 72, and I still don’t comprehend His amazing grace, love, holiness, forgiveness. . . .it’s a long list. But I believe it. I’ve seen Him work in my life and in the lives of family members over and over. I’m so thankful that I trusted Him as a small child, and grew up in a home where He was honored. I’ve attended some good churches where the pastor and the people loved God and loved each other, and reached out to the community. I’ve been so blessed!

I believe verse 13 holds the first mention in this book of being “born” into relationship with God. Being born again is a major theme of the book of John. This verse makes it clear that it has nothing to do with human reproduction, or the will of man. It is, rather, and act of God that regenerates our hearts and minds and leads us to a new life in Christ.

To receive is simply to believe. When we truly believe in Him, then we have received Him into our hears and lives. The word for child, tekna, is similar in meaning to the Scottish bairns, born ones. It is a term of endearment. Believers are God’s little ones, related to Him by birth.

Here is a quote that I like a lot:

“The man is like a watch which has a new mainspring, not a mere face and hands repaired, but new inward machinery, with freshly adjusted works, which act to a different time and tune; and whereas he went wrong before, now he goes right, because he is right within.” (Spurgeon)

No Recognition

John 1: 10-11.

He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.

He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.

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One of the most heartbreaking experiences anyone can have is when the child that was created in love, nurtured and cherished, decides he wants nothing to do with his parents. They stand reaching out to him, and he refuses to recognize them, turning has back, mocking and scorning the ones who created him and nurtured him, loving him in spite of his rejection of their love.

This was the experience Jesus endured. He appeared first to “His own”—Israel, His chosen people whom He had cherished through centuries of their struggles: Sinning, enduring punishment, and repenting over and over.

In Matthew, Jesus is presented as Messiah, the promised One Who would reign supreme. But His own people refused to recognize Him, showing how little they understood the prophecies all through the Old Testament. They had wanted Messiah to come in glory and power. This Man, the Son of a carpenter, born in ignominy, couldn’t possibly be their longed- for King Who would save them from Rome’s cruel domination.

They refused to recognize their Creator; the One Who had made the world they lived in and Who had promised them redemption.

They not only allowed Him to be crucified. They demanded that He be crucified!

He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.

The pathos of these two verses is, to me, ineffably sad.

A Man Sent from God

John 1:6-9.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe.

He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

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Wouldn’t you love to be considered a man or woman sent by God? What an immense privilege!

If you remember, when Mary, Jesus’ mother, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, they were both with child. Elizabeth was a little farther along in her pregnancy, and when Mary approached her, Elizabeth felt the child in her womb leap for joy because he recognized the Light of the World that Mary carried (Luke 1:41). What a dramatic moment that must have been!

Elizabeth’s child became John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He was born into the world to proclaim the coming of the Light of the World, Who would be salvation for all who believed in Him.

John made sure to clarify that he, himself, was not that Light. His job was to prepare the way for the Light to get the people thinking about the One Who would soon appear publicly and proclaim that He was Messiah, Savior, Son of God.

Jesus was the true Light. John was His messenger.

Thus begins the story of Jesus on earth, Son of God, Savior of mankind. The true Light.

Darkness Cannot Defeat the Light!

John 1:5. And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

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I’m getting a late start today because of a couple of early appointments. Someone has said that the reason for retirement is so you have time to keep all your medical appointments. . . .

Anyway. I think it’s important to connect the previous verse to this one: John 1:4. “In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men.”

When we have finished this chapter, I hope you will go back and read from verse one through at least verse 14, because it’s all one theme, one central truth, and it doesn’t end at the end of Chapter One. The cohesiveness of this book is that Jesus Christ is the central figure; Jesus was the Word; He was the Light; He is the Life of man.

Jesus is the Light. He is the Life. Without Him, we are lost. Innate in most people is a fear, or at least a sense of caution, toward both death and darkness. Without the Light, death and darkness are the unknown, and we tend to fear what we do not understand. The darkness could not overcome, or defeat, the Light.

Even at the Cross, where there was darkness during the day, Jesus defeated the darkness permanently. He had the victory, and even though Satan still wages war on all that God loves, he is already defeated and he knows it. Satan and darkness cannot overcome the Light of the World!

That should bring a hallelujah! to your lips, a hand raised in worship to God, a tear or two in the eye. We HAVE the Light! We no longer need to fear darkness and death, because Jesus has overcome all of it. For our sake. For our eternal home in heaven. For our right standing with God.

His Light will never, ever be overcome; it will never be defeated, turned off, abolished. There are certainly dark days ahead before Jesus comes to establish His earthly kingdom, but don’t be afraid. No matter what, we stand victorious in His Name!

Sunday Morning Coffee: Another Random Post

Here I am, once again looking at this blank document and not really having anything particular to say. So I’ve decided to just do a “stream of consciousness” (S0C) thing, and we’ll see what comes up

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My coworkers in counseling love this sort of thing, but I’ve never felt it to be helpful in actual counseling. It usually focuses on feelings rather than facts, and can lead to some pretty weird places. So this SoC is going to be facts and observations.

  1. Last night I watched another silly Christmas movie in which every aspect of these movies was all dumped into the story line, including the random, adorable child and the line, “What are you doing here?”
  2. I enjoyed it.
  3. Because, that’s why. There’s no stress, no dark subplot, nothing to worry about. It’s good.
  4. On Friday night, I watched “Miracle on 34th Street,” a do-over of the old classic. Meh. It was ok, but not spectacular.
  5. So why do we watch Christmas movies?
  6. Because we like to be sentimental sometimes, and they are predictable, so there are no unpleasant surprises.

7, Don’t forget to fall back. The clock by my bed is already set. It’s a few minutes after 8 in that room 🙂

9. I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated, it’s National Novel Writing Month. Started Nov. 1 and ends Nov. 30. The goal is to write at least 50,000 words, which divides into 1667.777777777777……..And so far I’ve done that easily. Two days. 3,334 words. The project is one I’d already started and I had about 4500 words already. I’m surprised at how easily it’s flowing right now, and excited about writing again tomorrow. What’s my hope? Well, of course I’d love to write something that someone out there would be happy to publish. Right now, though, I’m just focused on the story, watching it develop in my mind and getting it on paper. I’m finding that my characters already know what they’re going to say. All I have to do is record it 🙂

10. Chocolate. Every year, we break down at the last minute at get some kind of candy for Halloween, and every year no one comes Trick or Treating. Most parents load their kids up and drive them to neighborhoods where there are sidewalks and apartment buildings. So now, as usual, we have a little container of candy. One a day is only 70 calories.

11. I’ve lost a little weight, enough to make my jeans baggy. I don’t even have to unbutton or unzip to get them off! I’ve already filled up two large garbage bags of things that got too big over last winter, and I’ve started on a new bag of summer things that I’m hoping will fall off of me by spring. So this season, as I trade out my warm-weather things for my cold-weather things, I’m putting the really baggy things in the bag. Baggy bag. It’s fun. And I’m not keeping them, because I don’t want to have anything a size or two bigger that I can count on if I gain back any pounds. Which I’m not going to do. Now I’ve made it public, so I have to follow through.

Most important: I’ve finished blogging my way through Ecclesiastes, and two days ago I started my next study on the Gospel of John. Already, I’m loving it! The book is so rich in doctrine. It presents Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior. I would love it if you would join me on the journey, and feel free to comment and be a part of the process.

And that’s it. Off to bed!