Archive for the month “November, 2014”

Quotes Worth Pondering – Mary Winslow

QuotesWorthPondering“Is it not strange that we can for one moment lose sight of heaven and the increasing glory; and grovel in the dust to gather pebbles, for the pleasure of throwing them away afterwards.”

(Mary Winslow – one of the first pilgrims to step ashore from the Mayflower.)

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Henry Nouwen

QuotesWorthPondering“Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world.”

Pondering John 21:15-25

gospel-of-john

You can click HERE to read the passage.

The question that comes to my mind after reading and pondering this passage is this: If I were sitting around a campfire with Jesus and He were to ask me, “Do you love me?”, how would I respond?

I would be tempted to answer something like this: Of course I love You. I’ve been to seminary and I’m a pastor and have worked in a church for over 30 years. I’ve preached, I’ve read the Bible many times, I tithe faithfully, I love my family, I pray regularly. Isn’t it obvious that I love You?

But then I started thinking – that answer sounds a lot like what the Pharisees answer was, and Jesus said something like their hearts were far from God.

So I know that it is not a matter of what I have done, but why I have done these things. It is a matter of where my heart is. And do I do all those things because I love Jesus or because I’m trying to earn His favor and impress Him with all my good works.

Perhaps this is why I love Peter’s answer. It was a simple, “Yes Lord You know I love You.” He didn’t try to justify his answer. There was no need to. The Lord knew his heart.

Perhaps this is also why I love this prayer that I heard several years ago and that I find myself praying often, “Lord would You capture my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection.”

Indeed!

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So this brings us to the end of the Gospel of John. For those of you who have been pondering along with me this year I hope you have enjoyed the journey. I will be blogging  rather randomly between now and the end of the year but will begin a new Pondering Project in January. You are, of course, invited to join me for the adventure. Stay tuned!

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Keith Green

QuotesWorthPonderingKeith Green probably had as much influence in my early Christian years as anyone. These are words from a song,  “Make My Life A Prayer To You” which you can listen to by clicking HERE.

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light You gave
Through Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You’re really there

Well I wanna thank You now for being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have the trust and just believe what You say
Oh You’re coming again, You’re coming to take me away

I wanna die and let You give Your life to me, so I might live
And share the hope You gave to me, the love that set me free
I wanna tell the world out there, You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I’ve made up inside my head, You’re God the Son
You’ve risen from the dead

Oh I wanna thank You now for being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have the trust and just believe what You say
Oh You’re coming again, coming to take me away

I wanna die and let You give Your life to me, so I might live
And share the hope You gave to me
I wanna share the love that set me free

 

Pondering John 21:1-14

gospel-of-john

You can click HERE to read the passage.

Spoiler alert – this post will be a bit different. It borders on comedy. It centers around the fact that John took the time to mention exactly how many fish were caught… 153. It got me thinking about one of my favorite TV shows. I confess that I am indeed a fan of The Big Bang Theory. There is an episode where Sheldon discusses why 73 is the perfect number…

Sheldon: “The best number is 73. Why? 73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the 12th and its mirror, 21, is the product of multiplying 7 and 3… and in binary 73 is a palindrome, 1001001, which backwards is 1001001.”

Leonard: “73 is the Chuck Norris of numbers!”

Sheldon: “Chuck Norris wishes… all Chuck Norris backwards gets you is Sirron Kcuhc!”‘

As I was reading what some commentators said about this passage in John I found it kind of funny what explanations they came up with as to why John used the number 153.

(i) Cyril of Alexandria said that the number 153 is made up of three things. First, there is 100; and that represents “the fullness of the Gentiles.” 100, he says, is the fullest number. The shepherd’s full flock is 100 (Matthew 18:12). The seed’s full fertility is 100-fold. So the 100 stands for the fullness of the Gentiles who will be gathered in to Christ. Second, there is the 50; and the 50 stands for the remnant of Israel who will be gathered in. Third, there is the 3; and the 3 stands for the Trinity to whose glory all things are done.

(ii) Augustine has another ingenious explanation. he says that 10 is the number of the Law, for there are ten commandments; 7 is the number of grace, for the gifts of the Spirit are sevenfold.

“Thou the anointing Spirit art, Who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.”

Now 7+10 makes 17; and 153 is the sum of all the figures, 1+2+3+4…, up to 17. Thus 153 stands for all those who either by Law or by grace have been moved to come to Jesus Christ.

(iii) The simplest of the explanations is that given by Jerome. He said that in the sea there are 153 different kinds of fishes; and that the catch is one which includes every kind of fish; and that therefore the number symbolizes the fact that some day all men of all nations will be gathered together to Jesus Christ. (William Barclay)

My explanation is much simpler. There were 12 disciples and there were 12 tribes of Israel. 12 x 12 =144. There were 5 books of the Law and 4 gospels. 144 + 5 + 4 = 153.

Okay, I jest! I think there really were 153 fish caught. Seems to me like the best answer… and the perfect number for John to use as he told his story.

Next Week’s Passage: John 21: 15-25

Quotes Worth Pondering – Paul Miller

QuotesWorthPondering

Here are a few quotes by Paul Miller from his book A Praying Life – Connecting With God in a Distracting World

“Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.”

“We have an allergic reaction to dependency, but this is the state of the heart most necessary for a praying life. A needy heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer.”

“Sometimes when we say “God is silent,” what’s really going on is that He hasn’t told the story the way we wanted it told. He will be silent when we want him to fill in the blanks of the story we are creating. But with His own stories, the ones we live in, He is seldom silent.”

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