A Prayer for a Husband — Going Out, Not Knowing Where You’re Going

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Proverbs 3:9-10; Genesis 12-13

"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you." - Genesis 12:1 ESV

Abram, too, finds his way into the Hebrews Hall of Faith, like Abel and Noah that we read about recently.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." - Hebrews 11:8 ESV

In reading Genesis 12-13, I wanted to either focus on Abram failing to protect his beautiful wife from the advances of the Pharaoh or on Abram choosing to trust God and go out to an unknown land.

But, instead, I’m going to choose Door #3, that in spite of Abram’s great shortcomings, he was God’s chosen man called for a specific purpose. Like Noah, a righteous man, chosen by God for a great purpose who became drunk with wine shortly after surviving the worldwide flood, Abram obeys God in going out to this new place, yet he gives way to fear.

Like we read in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

From Abel to Noah to Abram to Bill and Kim Endraske, each of us have been saved by our faith, not by our works. Yet our faith will lead us to do works of faith, whether in offering good sacrifices, or building big boats, or going out to foreign lands, or writing blogs one-day-at-a-time, may we walk faithfully with our God.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the precious gift of faith. You did not choose me because of any deed that I had done. In fact, You cast Your eyes and Your love upon me while I was Your enemy. You called me and chose me and drew me and put faith into me … and all I can say is THANK YOU!

Lord, I pray for my husband to hear You loud and clear. Help him to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid. Help him to resist the temptation to take the easy way out. Father, I pray that You will be faithful to complete the good work that You have begun in him. Direct his steps and protect him from the schemes and lies of the evil one. Give him the strength and wisdom to follow You. Help him to know Your Word and hear Your voice as You lead him.

Father, help us as wives to submit to our husbands, not to fear anything that is frightening. Encourage us to sit daily at Your feet, that we might trust You when life is scary. Help us to keep a careful watch over our mouths and our minds, thinking and speaking the truth in love. Make us godly helpmeets, doing good to our husbands all the days of his life, so that his heart can trust us and he will have no lack of gain.

Lord, we submit to You and Your will for our lives. We will go where you send us, when you send us, trusting that Your ways and thoughts are always better than ours.

In the Good and Sovereign Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

The Life was Made Manifest

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 10, 1 John 1:1-3

"Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" - Psalm 10:1 ESV
"[The wicked man] says in his heart, 'God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.'” - Psalm 10:11 ESV
"O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more." - Psalm 10:17-18 ESV
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." - 1 John 1:1-3 ESV

Sometimes it can feel like God is hiding. But the truth is that even though we can’t see the invisible God, we can see him and what he has made. And in His great mercy He sent His own Son in the flesh, making the invisible God manifest among man.

It is the foolish and wicked who say in their hearts that there is no God. Let us not be fools, thinking God doesn’t see us or hear us. He does.

Today we can still read the eyewitness testimony of John who did see and hear and touch the risen Lord and be encouraged, and have fellowship with the body of believers – from the psalmist to John to today – and have fellowship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for sending Your son, Jesus Christ in the flesh that mankind could see Your glory. Keep us from the pride that tempts us to think that You cannot see us or hear us, that You are hiding, that You are blind and deaf.

Help us to be humble and to seek Your face and to search diligently and faithfully Your Word of Truth.

We pray that we will have a fellowship with the body of believers who are alive today and who have gone before us. We pray that we will have fellowship with Jesus Christ. Help us to live surrendered lives, walking by faith and not by sight.

To the glory of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, Amen

It is the Lord

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 21

"That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!'" - John 21:7a ESV 

I love that John just can’t bring himself to use his own name, but refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This reminds me that my value, like John’s, is found in being loved by Jesus, my Creator, Savior, and Lord who knows all of my shortcomings and sins, yet He still loves me.

"When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea." John 21:7b ESV

I can picture it in my mind. Peter heard, “It is the Lord,” and rather than questioning John, he immediately puts on his outer garment, and jumps into the sea to get to Jesus. He wants to see him first this time!

While everyone else is working on bringing in the boat – dragging a heavy net loaded full of fish – I wonder if John was frustrated, disgusted, or irritated with Peter’s irresponsible, impulsive response… Or did his heart leap with Peter’s, praising God for making Peter so easily excitable? I hope it was the latter. I want to be able to thank God for the variety of personalities and temperaments that He has given to His children.

After thinking about this, it was particularly ironic to me when I read later in the chapter about Peter pointing his finger at John, asking “Lord, what about this man?” (John 21:21 ESV)

Did Peter ask this out of love and concern for John or out of jealousy? Pride ? Conceit? I don’t have any idea, but I do know how Jesus responded to Peter’s question, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:22)

I want to hear Jesus’s words loud and clear and apply them to my own life. “Kim, beloved daughter, don’t worry about those other people.”

Jesus has a unique purpose for each of our lives. I need to keep my eyes focused on Christ, so I can follow Him well. If my eyes are looking over at my friend’s lane, how can I see clearly to drive in mine?

Let’s pray, sisters!

Heavenly Father,

Please help me not to be jealous, envious, covetous, or disdainful of my fellow servants or the tasks that You’ve given them to do. Help me to remember Ephesians 2:10, that I am Your workmanship and that I have been created on purpose for good works that You have prepared in advance for me to do.

Help me, Lord Jesus, to be about my Father’s business with eagerness and joy, not looking to the left or right, not looking behind, but with my eyes fixed firmly on Christ and the hope that is before me. Make me eager to trust and obey You, to look for You and listen carefully for Your voice.

In the blessed name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

When Not Seeing is Believing

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 20

"Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:24-29 ESV

As an atheist, I refused to believe in anything I couldn’t see with my eyes.

Now I see the many contradictions in my own worldview. Why did I believe my world history teacher when she taught about things that happened hundreds of years ago? Why did I believe my chemistry teacher when he taught about how chemical elements worked?

Now I see the irony in my faith in evolution – how that was as much a leap of faith as faith in Jesus is – but at the time I believed that the images of fossils and ape men I’d seen in my science textbooks and on TV were “scientific proof” of evolution.

Reading John 20, I noticed how John and Peter and Mary and Thomas believed because they saw.

I have such empathy for Thomas when I think about how much he had just been through. He just couldn’t fully trust his friends’ testimonies when they said, “We have seen the Lord.”

Judas, a fellow apostle, had just betrayed Jesus. Jesus, their messiah, had just been publicly beaten and executed on a Roman cross. And now Thomas has to figure out what is next for his life. How can you be a full-time disciple of someone who’s dead? Is this whole “Jesus is risen from the dead” thing real or just a hoax?

So Thomas demands, “Unless I see in his hands, the mark of the nails and place my finger into the mark of the nails and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Strong words. Strong demands. It’s not enough just to see the mark of the nails on Jesus’s hands. He has to place his own finger in those nail-pierced hands and place his own hand on His spear-pierced side. Merely seeing, apparently, is not believing, either.

Oh, that Jesus then appeared to the disciples again when Thomas was there … And went directly to Thomas and give him what he had requested.

How is it possible? Why didn’t Jesus rebuke him? How can Jesus say, “Put your finger here. See my hands. Place your hand on my side”?

Such grace. Such mercy. Such love.

Will you pray with me?

Jesus, we are not worthy. I am not worthy. Thomas was not worthy. We cry with Thomas, my Lord and my God.

Jesus, You are not only our Messiah and Savior and Lord, but you are God. This is the gift of faith, the precious, priceless gift to those who have not seen and yet believed.

Remembering the words of Hebrews 11:1, that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, We ask that you will open our eyes to have faith to be sure what we hope for and fully convinced of the things that we have not seen, but what we have read in your word. Help us to believe these eyewitness testimonies that have been passed down and preserved for us. Help us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, that by believing we may have eternal life in his name.

In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen

Proving to be His Disciples

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 10; Proverbs 2:1-15; John 15:1-17

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." -  John 15:4-5 
"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." - John 15:8

Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my mom’s green thumb and I’ve managed to kill every plant I’ve ever had unless they were planted outside and survived independent of any regular care. So, I was so happy when I received not one, but TWO, fake plants to put in the greenhouse window in my lovely sunroom.

But those plants won’t bear any fruit. They might look pretty and green, but they’ll never bear so much as a flower – not to mention bearing apples or strawberries. They’re really not good for anything other than looking nice. Remember, they’re fake plants.

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, a disciple is someone who is not only a pupil but also an adherent and imitator of their teacher. Fake followers of Christ might look nice and green on the outside, but they aren’t following Christ’s commands. They’re not loving one another with the sacrificial love that Christ modeled for us. And they’re not bearing MUCH fruit, as true disciples, true followers of Jesus, will.

Do you see yourself in that last paragraph? If so, there’s hope for you. Attach yourself to the vine which is Jesus Christ, abide in Him and allow His words to abide in You. Ask the Lord to forgive you and to prune away whatever is holding you back. Repent of your sins, turning away from the world and turning toward the Lord in faith, and the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit will fill your veins. Then, fruit will start popping out of you, maybe just a little at first – a little peace, a little patience, a little kindness … And as you cling to Him, He will bear MORE fruit in you, the fruit of good works done as you listen to the Master Gardener who died that you may have life.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your amazing grace that prunes away whatever is hindering us that we can be Your disciples and bear much fruit. Sometimes pruning hurts, and it seems like it would be easier to just be a fake plant, looking nice and green, but not bearing great bushels full of fruit.

We want to be disciples of Christ, living and loving like He lived and loved. Jesus obeyed you, His Heavenly Father, and we need to obey you, too. Give us the wisdom and strength to reject passivity and comfort, and instead to put out the necessary effort to send out tendrils that hold tightly to You that we may grow higher and fuller.

Help us to remember that we can do no good thing apart from You, that we need to abide in the vine of Jesus Christ. Help us to turn to You day after day, so that Your Word will abide in us and we can abide in You.

We love You, Father. You are a good gardener, taking good care of Your garden, giving us rain and sun and snow and clouds in due season. Help us to trust You more.

In the good and mighty name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Not Orphans

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 14

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." - John 14:6

Like we read a few days ago in John chapter 10, Jesus is the door, the gate to God. If you want to reach God, you have to go through Him.

There are not many ways to the Father; there is only one. Jesus is the only gatekeeper. He is the only way.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." - John 14:27
"I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper (advocate, counselor) to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you.... The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." - John 14:16-17, 26

Jesus was about to leave His disciples, to go back to His Heavenly Father – but He was not leaving them as orphans. Friends, we have not been abandoned.

We are not alone. He has left us His Spirit and peace, and He will return for us.

1. Jesus left the Holy Spirit to be our Helper. Like when I would leave my kids with Grandma, they weren’t really alone. I may have left, but I left them with a very good helper.

It seems to me that in many of our lives the Trinity has become “The Father, The Son, and the Bible.” We must not underestimate our need for the Holy Spirit to be with us, our helper and counselor, to bring to mind what Jesus has taught us and to help us understand what the Word means. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s ongoing help. When I’m praying, or meditating or studying the Word, His quiet voice often leads me to remember other passages of Scripture. The Holy Spirit also brings conviction and encouragement to my heart. Thank You, Father, for sending us the Holy Spirit to live and abide in me and with me.

2. Jesus left us His peace. When Jesus returned to heaven, he left His disciples, but He didn’t leave them alone – He left them with the Holy Spirit, but He also left them with His peace.

“Peace” (Hebrew – “shalom”) was a customary parting greeting for Jews. Jesus here is not only wishing them farewell because he’s leaving – but He’s leaving them with His peace, giving them peace. As Thayers Greek Lexicon defines this Greek word eirēnē (peace), “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is,” Jesus has left us with His eternal peace as we have been reconciled with God through the forgiveness of our sins through faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

3. Jesus Himself will return for us. It reminds me of when I was leaving my kids home alone when I went to a meeting or out on a date with my husband, I’d say, “Don’t worry. I’m coming back.”

Jesus Himself will come back. Let’s be ready for His return – watching for Him, telling others about Him, and living with the trusting expectation that He is coming soon.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, Jesus, for going to prepare a place for me. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to be my counselor, helper, and advocate. Thank you for not leaving me alone.

Thank you for giving me Your peace, peace that surpasses worldly understanding, the supernatural peace of being held by Almighty God while a hurricane swirls around me.

I pray, Father, for those children who are orphans in this world. I pray that You would place them in families. I pray that You would be a Father to them and provide for them the daily bread they need as well as Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Help them to know that they are not alone.

I pray, Lord, that I will be found waiting and watching. Give me Your strength and wisdom to remember that You are coming soon. Help us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:12-13)

In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

A New Commandment

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 13

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34 ESV

When Jesus knew that His hour had come to give up His life and return to his Father, He didn’t look to a bucket list of “Top 100 Things to Do Before You Die.” No, he washed His disciples’ feet. The most important thing to Him before His death was to leave an example of true love for His followers.

He gives them this “new commandment” – a very old commandment actually, but made even more difficult by the addition of “JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” It’s really, really hard to love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31) This takes supernatural power. But to love others sacrificially as Jesus did – washing your friends’ feet, your students’ feet, even your betrayer’s feet – and even to lay down your own life for someone else, this is impossible apart from being born again, having a new will and new power working in you. (Philippians 2:13)

Will you please pray with me for the Lord to give you this strength?

Heavenly Father, I confess to you how hard it is for me to love others as myself, and even how impossible it is for me to love others as you have loved me. Help me to remember that what is impossible for man is possible for God. Nothing is impossible for you. I can do this because you give me strength.

Help me to remember that You loved me while I was a sinner, your enemy. You ran after me while I was running away from you.

Help me to feel that kind of love for others and to express that kind of love toward others. Help me to pursue others like you pursued me. Help me to serve others like you served me. Help me to see the need of other people as greater than my own need.

Jesus, you are my perfect example of being a servant. Help me to consider others more highly than myself. Help me to serve my family and my friends, people who love me. Help me to serve my children and my students, people who are under my authority. Help me to serve the stranger and alien and even my enemy, remembering that you loved me when I was a stranger and alien and even Your enemy.

In the strong and kind name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Our Good Shepherd

Read Through the Bible in Two Years: Psalm 8; Proverbs 1:20-33; John 10

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" - Psalm 8:1a and Psalm 8:9 ESV

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" - Psalm 8:3-4 ESV

Yesterday we read John 9:35, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Jesus is the Son of Man and Son of God. Fully God and fully man. How awesome are His works – to create the heavens for man to see – and also to create man to see them!

"So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.... The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:7, 10 ESV

This reminds me of when I was a child and our house was broken into. A thief took a baseball bat from our front porch and smashed the panel of glass in our front door so he could enter. Thieves come to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that we may have abundant life. Jesus is Himself the door for the sheep. If we want to meet the Father, we must come through Jesus, the only door. We can’t break our way in. There is no secret back entrance. Jesus is the only way. No man comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep." - John 10:11-15 ESV

Jesus isn’t just any ol’ shepherd. Jesus is the good shepherd. Jesus isn’t just a hired hand who is getting paid to watch the sheep like “Little Boy Blue” or “The Boy who Cried Wolf.” Jesus is the good shepherd who willingly laid down His life for His sheep.

One of the most compelling reasons I have to believe that the Bible is true is that Jesus’s disciples were willing to be martyred for their faith. If they had known they were preaching a lie, would they have been willing to die for their faith? I don’t think so.

Jesus, too, was willing to die for His testimony that He was the Son of God, and Jesus was willing to die for us, His lost sheep who needed a good shepherd to rescue them.

Jesus is such a good shepherd. He doesn’t drive His sheep; He leads His sheep. He goes out front and says, “Follow me.”

Are we good shepherds of our children and those we are shepherding? Do we go first and say, “Follow me?” Or do we stand in the rear (or sit on the couch) yelling and pointing, “Do this! Do that! Don’t go that way! You’re doing it wrong! Don’t you hear me?”

"Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." - John 10:25-27 ESV

Jesus both spoke compelling truths and did compelling signs in the presence of thousands of witnesses, so that His sheep would believe that He truly was the Son of God and Savior of the World. Yet, many did not believe? Why? Because they were not among Jesus’s sheep. They couldn’t understand what Jesus was saying. They couldn’t believe what Jesus was doing. They weren’t His sheep.

It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

So, just like you don’t expect a chicken or a hamster to understand you, don’t be surprised when some people don’t understand God’s Word – or you. If someone is still in the darkness, they truly can’t see what you’re talking about. Like those Jewish men who heard Jesus’s words, “I and the Father are one,” and rather than worshipping Him they accused Him of blasphemy, saying “you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:30, 33). It’s like Proverbs 1, which I also read today, wisdom cries aloud in the streets and markets, yet the people do not hear. Instead they close their ears and scoff, ignoring wisdom’s counsel and reproof.

Instead of being angry with these simple scoffers and fools, let’s humbly pray for them, remembering that we once we blind, too. Just like you shouldn’t be angry with a chicken or a hamster when it doesn’t do what you tell it to, don’t be angry when a friend can’t understand what you’re talking about. Instead, let’s always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks, correcting our opponents with gentleness and respect. (See 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and 1 Peter 3:14-17)

Will you pray with me?

Lord God,

Thank You for opening my eyes and calling me into Your flock. Help me to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in me and to do it with gentleness and respect. Help me to be patient and kind to those who are still in the darkness. Give me a humble and grateful heart.

Help me to hear Your voice crying above the noise of the world saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” Give me eyes to see the door and the straight and narrow path to it.

Thank You for sending the Good Shepherd, the Perfect Shepherd, to lay down His life for me. Help me to be willing to lay down my life for my friends – and for my enemies. Give me the wisdom I need to discern the enemy’s voice and let me not be deceived by the devil’s lies and schemes.

Help me to remember that Jesus who is my Good Shepherd who says again and again, “Follow me.” Jesus came to earth, taking on flesh, being the Son of God and Son of Man, that we could know You and follow You because we know Him and follow Him.

In the Name of Our Good Shepherd I pray. Amen.

One thing I know: I once was blind but now I see

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 9

Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." - John 9:3 ESV

God has a plan and purpose in pain. Sometimes that plan is for discipline and chastisement, but sometimes God has other purposes. We have to be careful not to be so self-absorbed that we think our lives are only about us. Rather, we must recognize that as God’s children our lives are on display for the world to see. What trial are you facing right now? How can the works of God be displayed in that trial?

[Jesus] said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." - John 9:7a

Parents want their children to obey promptly, cheerfully, and completely. Likewise, we should obey our Heavenly Father promptly, cheerfully, and completely.

This blind man must by faith obey Jesus and go wash in order to be healed. What if he waited to wash? What if he grumbled the whole way he was walking to the pool? What if he went to a different pool? How often do we refuse to obey at all – or we don’t obey promptly, cheerfully, and completely – and we miss out on a blessing?

"His parents answered, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself." ... He answered, "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."" - John 9:20-21, 25 ESV

Did you notice how many times “know” and “don’t know” were used in verses 20 – 31? There are so many things that we don’t know, right? But there was something this healed man KNEW — he was blind but now he sees. Do you feel that way?

Near the end of this chapter, in verse 35, when Jesus found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” and he answered, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” can you feel his joy in having his question answered, “You have SEEN Him and it is He who is speaking to you”?

Can you answer with this man who was once blind but now sees, “Lord, I believe” and worship Him?

Let’s praise, thank, and worship Him together.

Heavenly Father,

You are the God who creates people who are born with sight and people who are born blind. You have purpose in both. Thank You for the gift of earthly sight that allows us to see the beauty of creation that we are drawn to seek You. And thank You for the gift of spiritual sight that we can see You at work in our lives and in the lives of others around us.

We pray that You will give us spiritual wisdom to obey You promptly, cheerfully, and completely. Please forgive us for all those times we have stubbornly refused to follow You, and all those times we have followed You grudgingly and half-heartedly, those times we’ve waited for a better time, or waited to hear You a second or third or fourth or hundredth time. Help us to be obedient children so that Your works and Your character will be powerfully on display in our lives.

We pray that we will recognize that we were once blind, so that we can be grateful for the GIFT of sight that we have received. Keep us humble and protect us from that pride which so easily creeps into our hearts. Thank You for Your lovingkindness and grace.

In the Almighty Name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.

Our Righteous Judge

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 7; Proverbs 1:19; John 8

It was interesting today to read Psalm 7. Along with John 8. Psalm 7:8 says” The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, oh Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.” Then verse 11a says, “God is a righteous judge.”

I was thinking about how unrighteous I am. Like my favorite Bible verse, Romans 5:8, says, “God shows his love for us and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And like 1 Peter 3: 18a says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.”

God is righteous and I am unrighteous and in need of his forgiveness. Yet, as a Christian, I should not just continue in sin because Christ will forgive me. Rather, as Psalm 7 encourages me, I am called to live a life of righteousness and integrity.

So when I got to John eight and read the story of the adulterous woman, I was encouraged in this truth again. On Jesus says in John 8:11b, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on send no more.”

God is completely full of grace and mercy, but god is also holy and righteous. As His children and followers, we must not just “continue in sin that his grace may abound.” (More on this when we get to Romans 6.)

I found it particularly interesting that John 8:7, 9, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her…” “and they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones.”

The older I get, the more I recognize my own sin. As a young believer I thought I was so mature. God had changed me so much and brought me out of darkness and into light, but I still had so much to learn. Now I know the word well, and I know all the more what a terrible sinner I am. So many of my obvious, external sins are gone (by God’s grace!) but those inward sins of pride and malice and covetousness lurk beneath the surface.

And then to jump to the end of John 8, verses 58-59a, “Jesus said to him, ‘ truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. So they picked up stones to throw at him…”

Whoa. Clearly these men thought that Jesus had committed blasphemy, calling himself God, when he said that he was the eternal one who had existed before Abraham. I hope you’ll remember this when we read the stories of Abraham and Moses in Genesis and Exodus. Remember what we read in John 1, Jesus was with God in the beginning and all things were made through Him. He is God in the flesh. The Pharisees knew it and so should we.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father, You are God alone. You are the truth. Every word of God proves true. You are a shield to those who take refuge in You.

Hide us in the shelter of your wings. Help us to “go and sin no more.” Help us to hear You and follow You.

We pray that we would come into the light that our works would be exposed, and we would be laid bare before you – that we would repent, turning away from our sins and turning to Jesus, the eternal god in human flesh.

Help us to recognize our own sin and our own need for a savior. Help us to be among those who do not throw stones at our fellow sinners, but instead point them to the One who came that we would have life to the full.

Satan is indeed a liar. He came to steal and kill and destroy. He is the prince of this world, the king of darkness. Help us to rescue those who are held in his snare.

We pray that the eyes of many would be opened so that they would see You, the author and creator of our faith.

It is in the matchless name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.