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Posts Tagged ‘eternal life’


1 John 1: God’s Yardstick – The Gospel Writers

The Infinite Life of Christ

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Christ at the Sea of Galilee (detail from Episodes of Passion and Resurrection)

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Christ at the Sea of Galilee (detail from Episodes of Passion and Resurrection)

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

We hear eye-witness accounts from those who were there, from those who walked and talked, ate and lived with Jesus. Scholars believe that Mark most likely writes his Gospel for early followers, gentiles who faced persecution after Jesus’ death and resurrection. He explains a number of Jewish customs to his audience and only once refers to the Old Testament. Matthew, on the other hand, writes to Jews who believed in Jesus as Messiah. Luke directly addresses Theophilus, someone of high position and wealth, and his message bolsters the story the early Christians told. John writes to non-Jewish believers, those who struggle with the conflict between philosophy and faith. And it is John who opens his first letter with words that ought to convince any who doubt the veracity of the Jesus story. (Zondervan 1356, 1620, 1663, 1718)

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. (1 John 1:1-2)

Not only do the Gospel writers give testimony to the truth they have lived, they ask that we pass this story along. They ask that we keep the Spirit in our hearts. They ask that we keep the Creator forever in our minds.

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1:3-4)

And Jesus says to his followers: “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” (John 20:29)

1-john-3-17-does-gods-love-abide-in-him1Those who lived the Gospel story have something to pass along to us. Those who read this story today have something to pass along to those who follow. When we spend time today with Gospel verses of our choosing or with one of John’s letters, we open the door to a deeper understanding of the yardstick of love that God hands to each of us so we might better measure the wealth of our lives, the infinite life of Christ we share with others.

Tomorrow, yearning. 


ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 1356, 1620, 1663, 1718. Print.

Images from: http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Christ-at-the-Sea-of-Galilee-Detail-from-Episodes-from-Christ-s-Passion-and-Resurrection-Posters_i12142445_.htm and 

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Luke 21:12-19: Giving Testimonytestimony

Friday, December 2, 2022

They will seize and persecute you . . .

Not one of us asks for loss of freedom.

They will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons . . .

None of us wants public scandal or shame.

They will lead you before kings and governors in my name . . .

We do not like to think that politics or social pressure might suborn our thinking.

It wtestimony1ill lead to your testimony . . .

So when we suffer in Christ’s name we must respond in fidelity.

Remember . . . you are not to prepare your defense beforehand . . .

There is no defense against the world’s corruption and power.

I myself will give you wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute . . .

There is only one true wisdom that preserves and protects.

You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends . . .

we are the testimonyThere is only one powerful truth that guides and transforms.

They will put some of you to death . . .

There is only one life that is eternal.

You will be hated because of my name . . .

There is only one Spirit that brings life and light and love that are everlasting.

But not a hair on your head will be destroyed . . .

There is only one Christ Jesus who returns from death to heal, redeem and renew.

By your perseverance you will secure your lives . . .

There is only one God who is and was and will always be. Let us give our faithful testimony today. Amen.

TESTIMONY (1)


Images from: http://www.fansshare.com/celebrities/testimony/ and https://livelyscribes14.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/the-testimony-of-jesus-the-life-of-testimony/ and https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/jesus-changed-everything-women/

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James 1:12-15: Life and More Life

Friday, September 30, 2022challenge-680x453

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

We perhaps find it difficult to believe that our trials are blessings . . . yet this is a belief we must nurture and cultivate. We are created in God’s Spirit and this abiding force will always find a way to turn harm to good.

Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way.

We perhaps see God as a castigator, a deliverer of punishment . . . but in this we would have erred. We are created in love, by love, as an image of God’s love.

The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us.

We perhaps feel weighed down by a sense of guilt for what we have done or what we have failed to do . . . and in this we will be mistaken. Jesus continually invites us to forgive and be forgiven.

Where we see lack, James invites us to see abundance.

Where we find oppression, James invites us to take up the eternal freedom he has gained for us.

Where we encounter overwhelming odds, James invites us to experience life and more life.


Use the scripture link above to explore various versions of these verses, and be open to receive the gifts that come to us through the obstacles in our lives. 

Image from: http://simpleeconomist.com/30-day-challenges-expand-your-mind-and-comfort-zone/

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Deuteronomy 11: Wonders

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love the Lord your God and always heed God’s charge.

The wonder of God’s love is so easily overlooked, so quickly put aside.

The land into which you are crossing drinks in rain from heaven.

We often think of rain as an obstacle for some activity we have planned, or as a spoiler of an otherwise beautiful day.  In this reading, we pause to remember that it is the rain that nourishes and sustains.

Take these words of mine into your heart and soul.  Bind them at your wrist as a sign, and let them be a pendant on your forehead. 

These are the words we hear echoed with the Shema of chapter 6 verses 4 to 9.

Teach them to your children, speaking of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. 

These are concepts we speak to ourselves but that we hesitate to speak to others, especially when we are rushed or tired.

You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and occupy the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. 

We have been assured a fertile place in which to flourish, a land of promise and goodness.

We have been guaranteed a love far greater than any we can imagine, a love that forgives always, a love that never diminishes or loses interest.

We have been asked to keep these words close and to repeat them to those who follow.

We have been asked to hold God close, to follow God’s way, and to call others to likewise follow.

This request is not a great one when what we receive in exchange is the gift of eternal life, of eternal nourishment, of eternal love, of eternal wonder at the goodness of our God.


Click on the image above to learn more about the Shema, or visit: https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-aishes-chayil-p4-2077021

A Favorite from Monday, April 26, 2010.

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John 6:52-71: Some Left Over – Part Xbread-and-wine

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

In so many ways, and on most of our days, we ask God as Jesus’ disciples do in today’s Noontime: This [bread of life discussion] is hard; who can accept it?

Jesus says to his disciples as he says to us: Does this shock you? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

And we may question as Jesus’ followers always do: Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Jesus knows that we do not understand the full impact of his words and he also knows that he will be betrayed by us in some way great or small. And so Jesus says: Did I not choose you? Yet is not one of you a devil?

Jesus refers here to Judas and he might also be referring to one of us; yet so great is Christ’s heart, so magnanimous is the Creator and so transforming is the Spirit that God’s unbounded love can heal each of us when we return to Christ with our foibles and faults fully visible in our hands as offering to our loving God.

God says: No matter how egregious or small the error, no matter how heinous or petty the action, no matter how deceitful or damaging the word, my love is great enough to redeem you. My heart is full enough to heal you. My wish to have you with me in all space for all time is greater than any wrong you may have done. Turn to me, for in my eternal living there is always enough love left over.

Compare these verses in various versions of the Bible using the scripture, and listen for God’s words of eternal promise and everlasting life.


Image from: https://creativemarket.com/camaralenta/1227831-Grapes-wheat-bread-and-wine-featuring-wine-bread-and-communion

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John 6:16-35: Some Left Over – Part VIIIloaves-fish

Monday, August 8, 2022

Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel contains what is called the Bread of Life Discourse in which Jesus amplifies the miracle his followers have just witnessed, the multiplication of loaves and fish. Bracketed by this miracle and discussion of Jesus as eternal bread is a well-known story: Jesus walks across the stormy waters to rescue his friends from their swamped boat, saying, “It is I. Do not be afraid”. Now the disciples have ears that are ready to hear the love story Jesus wants to impart. The miracle of fish and loaves will expand at the last Passover meal Jesus will share with them to encompass the world in the Creator’s enormous embrace of love. The bread and wine that Jesus will part with them will become Christ’s body and blood. The multiplication of loaves, the breaking of bread and the offering of wine will be experienced in a momentary reality that becomes an eternal embrace of love. The miracles they have experienced – and those they will continue to experience – are more than mere metaphor. They are an act of love.

We search for the Living Christ just as the people do in verses 22-24), and when we ask: “When did you get here?”  Jesus tells us: You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life.

Explore verses 22 through 35 and compare various versions to discover what Jesus’ words mean to us on this day in this time. When and where do we find eternal sustenance? How and why do we seek eternal bread? With whom do we share our own stories of encounters with the resurrected Christ? And what changes can we imagine in our little lives that will lead us to unity in Christ’s eternal life?

Tomorrow, murmuring.


Image from: https://tben.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/7-miracles-in-the-book-of-john-part-7/

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John 17:1-5: Glory, Part VIII – Unityuniversality

Monday, July 25, 2022

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes for us Unity and Variety (12:1-14); we are accustomed to looking for those characteristics that define as unique.  Today we look at the idea of glory as found in the unity of God’s variety.

Today’s lesson on Glory: The great diversity we find in God’s creation call us to come together in unity through Christ.

It is true that there is great variety in God’s creation and that we are a part of that variety.  It is also true that many of us are uncomfortable when approached by a person or an idea that varies from what we expect or want. Today we read this prayer of Jesus’ in which Jesus intercedes for all — and not some – of the people. So what do we do about those who are not on our invitation lists, in our lunch group or book club, on our street, in our political party or in our church pews? How do we begin to include all of creation that we have not regarded as one with all of us?   When we hear Jesus today, we understand that he glorifies God by obeying God in making this universal call to all.

This is the call to find unity rather than division is one which we must take up and then extend to others.  This is the call that gives glory to the Father. This is the call that we can answer if we reply with the patience, openness, and understanding of Christ.

For this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 

Let us spend time today with Jesus’s words as we consider who and what separates us from God’s glory that calls all to be one in Christ. And let us reflect on our concept of eternal life as described by Jesus.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 17, 2008.

 Image from: http://www.spirituality.org/is/150/editorial.asp or http://www.icsu.org/publications/about-icsu/icsu-universality-of-science-2006

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Blog-The-FutureWednesday, January 26, 2022

Daniel 12:1-4

Prophecy of the Future

[The Jewish and Christian communities] preserved the most important innovation contained in the book of Daniel, the notion of resurrection in 12:1-3: “and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” Isaiah 26:19 may allude to the possibility of the resurrection of the dead, but if so, it is the only instance in the OT. “Those who are wise” (12:3) may well refer to the chasidim of which the writer Daniel is a part. Whether they pass over into the realm of the holy ones of God, the hosts of angels, is not entirely clear, though the notion that they will shine “like the stars forever and ever” might support the idea. In any case, the writer of Daniel has dared here to go further than any theological predecessor in Israel, since he suggests that beyond the culmination of human history and the wise shall shineGod’s victory on behalf of righteousness is “a world populated by the saints themselves”.  (Mays 633)

Prior to this point in Daniel’s prophecy, everything had taken place as predicted. Now the faithful are called to believe beyond their experience of today.

What do we – as the faithful remnant at the turn of the 21st Century – see as our own prophetic future? How do we anticipate moving into the days we have yet to live? Who will be our companions on The Way? And what do we do each day and each night that indicates to ourselves and the world that we are followers of Christ?


Mays, James L., ed. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 633. Print.

For more on the chasidim, visit: http://www.rebbe.org/chasidism.html

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://thecommunityofleaders.com/are-you-leading-the-future-or-managing-the-present/

 

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trustMonday, June 7, 2021

1 John 5:6-12

Making Liars of Ourselves

As we near the end of John’s first letter we might be shocked to hear what the apostle has to say to us. Let us encourage one another to hear God’s word and send it on.

Whoever does not believe God has made himself a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.

As we consider the testimony John gives to us we might be amazed to hear that God loves each of us. Let us encourage one another to enact God’s word and send it on.

And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.

As we begin to understand the breadth and depth and height of God’s love we might be humbled to realize that God comes among us as the human Christ to suffer as we suffer, to rejoice as we rejoice. Let us encourage one another to love God’s word and send it on.

Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever dos not possess the Son of God does not have life.

As we begin to fully take in all that John has related to us we might be amazed to understand that God loves us always, even when our actions do not reflect our words. Let us encourage one another to speak truth by living authentically rather than making liars of ourselves with all the great and little actions in our lives.

authenticityEnter the word authenticity in to the blog search bar and consider how easy it is to cease making liars of ourselves.


Image from: http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2011/05/are-authentic-social-relationships-over-rated/

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