Thieves and Robbers

John 10:1 WEB

“Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn’t enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Thieves break-in. They come through windows and other opportunities for access. The homeowner goes in through the door. When we come to Jesus on his terms, we are entering the sheepfold through the door. However, there are many who do not have the sheep’s best interest in mind. They may want to build a big church, or they may want to be wealthy. These and other issues indicate they have not come in by the gate. They may be called but instead of waiting to be chosen, they strive for their ministry position. They are thieves.

Modern-day evangelism gives rise to those whom Jesus calls thieves. In our world of self-promotion, many people can use their charisma and talents to advance in the kingdom. However, a true shepherd of the sheep will wait for the Lord to advance. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize they are not ready. That means there are wolves on a variety of platforms. The irony is they may feel confident the Lord sent them. Therefore, we need to learn to discern who is of the Lord, and who is a thief. The thief is in danger of the judgment.

How can we recognize thieves? We learn and trust the Bible. The Bible says not to rage. How many preachers use theatrics to entertain their audience? They get louder and louder until they whip the audience up into a frenzy. That is not real. A real preacher has legitimate proof of their content, not just emotional appeals. The Bible calls this kind of manipulation witchcraft. In fact, the Bible gives many instructions we can use to righteously judge those who lead us.  

Lord, please instill in me a hunger for the Bible. Help me learn its truth’s so I can detect frauds. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Seeing Miracles

John 9:8-11 WEB

The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, “Isn’t this he who sat and begged?” [9] Others were saying, “It is he.” Still others were saying, “He looks like him.” He said, “I am he.” [10] They therefore were asking him, “How were your eyes opened?” [11] He answered, “A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and I received sight.”

Have you ever seen or experienced a miracle? If you have, one of the things you may have noticed is miracles tend to be obscured. In the above passage, people were already casting doubt on the miracle of healed vision. There were people telling others the man was not blind. Even as we read the Bible today, we can see skepticism in these Bible characters. Miracles are easy to doubt, even when we see them.

Yet, God does perform miracles in our lives. Some are profound, and others are simply sweet. It is a miracle to be healed of blindness but it’s also a miracle to have access to eye care, including the skills and talents to earn money to go to an optometrist. We are so busy waiting for an undeniable God event that we miss the sweetness in the abundance of what God does for us.

The blind man needed sight. He needed to see, so Jesus healed him. But there is a small tension in the story because Jesus sends the man to wash in the pool of Siloam. Why did he do that? Why did he give a command that truly has nothing to do with being healed? Because the enormous miracle of sight was the smaller miracle of God’s care. God was healing more than the man’s physical vision; he was also healing his heart.

Lord, help me to be faithful in recognizing miracles in the world and in my life. Heal me inside and out. Help me see. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Delayed, not Denied

John 7:37-39 WEB

Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! [38] He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.” [39] But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn’t yet glorified.

Jesus invited those listening to him to drink of his spirit. This receiving from Jesus gives us access to the Holy Spirit. Jesus does not tell everyone they can drink from him. Only the thirsty get to drink. What is interesting is that Jesus told them he was going to give the Spirit. What he does not tell the listeners is they will not receive this drink for quite some time.

Jesus is still doing this. He is still speaking the promise as if it had already come to pass. We hear a word and begin waiting for it to come to pass. However, we sometimes must wait for the right people and circumstances. We may have to wait for growth in ourselves. Or we may see no path to accomplishing the Lord’s will. In those times, we trust what he has spoken is forming in our lives.

Because Jesus had not yet returned to the Father, his Spirit was not yet released for all people. How could anyone really be thirsty for Jesus when he is standing directly in their midst? It was after he died, resurrected, showed himself for 40 days, and returned to the Father people could truly thirst for Jesus.  

After Jesus went to the Father people could truly thirst for him. That is what happened to the disciples. They longed for Jesus after he left. So, they cried out, they prayed with all their might, and the Holy Spirit came like an eruption from heaven (Acts 2:1-4). The words that Jesus spoke so long ago are now coming to pass. We have the fire of the Holy Spirit resting upon us and our works are to bring Jesus’ glory.

Lord Jesus, please bless me with a fresh anointing of your Holy Spirit. Help me wait with patience while you form blessings and good works in my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.