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Jun 28, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 10


“An Extraordinary Stone”

Verses 31
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.”

I know this is an odd verse to settle on from chapter 10. It stood out to me. I skipped over it but came back.
 The following struck me about verse 31.

  • Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected. (1 Peter 2:4-8)
  • That scripture is so ironic to me: They wanted to stone THE STONE.
  • The Pharisees are not interested in TRUTH.
  • They continue to repeat their patterns as they intercept Jesus, and take up stones “again” to stone Him.
I don’t want to be guilty of taking up “stones” whether it is in attitude or action and throwing them at a work of God. I may not understand the viewpoint or be privy to the background of another, so I must guard myself from sinful attitudes and wrong assessments.

Verse 39
"Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand."
God's plan and His timing are perfect. There is a "set time" for His sovereign acts. 

Verses 40 - 42
"And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. Then many came to Him and said, 'John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.' and many believed in Him." 

Again, those who had ears to hear believed on Jesus.The Light of Truth penetrated their hearts and they believed in Him.
And to those who believe He promises life and that more abundantly (more than enough, more than sufficient, extraordinary, above the ordinary). 

THE I AM is my sufficiency and the EXTRA in my ordinary. 

Live abundantly and carry on!

Jun 26, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 9 Notes

Verses 5 – 7, 39 - 41

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.”

  • He who participated in the creation of man (Let Us create man in Our image…), forming man from the dust of the ground and breathing life into him,
  • took earthy substance and mixed it with His own DNA.
  •  He smeared the clay mixture on the blind man’s eyes, he himself as we, a jar of clay (2 Cor. 4:7),
  •  and told him to go and wash in a pool whose name is translated “Sent.”

“So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”

My take away:

  • I am made in God’s image yet I am made from dust.
  • Anything good in me is of God. The knowledge of God through Christ Jesus is the treasure contained in my jar of clay.
I first learned the scripture in 2 Cor. 4:7 in the NIV translation which reads, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  

I never hear this scripture or the phrase, “jars of clay” without thinking of the day my husband and I rode the grounds of Serenity Gardens in a golf cart with a representative of the cemetery. I never imagined we would have the heart wrenching task of choosing a piece of ground in which to place one of our children. I heard myself say over and again as tears streamed down my face, “Our bodies are just jars of clay, just jars of clay…just jars of clay.”

Interestingly, verse 6 of 2 Corinthians 4 ties into John 9:5. It reads, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

  • My “jar of clay” is cracked—weak and fragile. Just when I think that I am making some progress and reach around to “pat my own self on the back,” I am made aware of my blind spots!
Thank God that He cares for me and shows me that without Him, I am blind. Without His perspective, I really cannot see very far in front of my own nose. It’s when I choose my shortsightedness over His Eternal and perfect perspective that I begin to analyze things and make judgments based on my own limited and clouded vision.

Verses 39 – 41
“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’”
 “Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’”
Talk about a rhetorical question!

  • Pride blinds us to truth.
  • I must be on guard to put down pride in my own life.
“Let not the foot of pride come against me…” (Psalm 36:11) for “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

I need the Word of God to bathe my eyes in the salve of Truth, to be washed over by the Word. It is to the extent that I keep Truth before my eyes, in my heart and on my tongue that I am Sent.

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34).

As believers whose spiritual eyes have been opened, we also are sent of God, speak His words and contain the Spirit in jars of clay.

Jun 24, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 8

Verses 1 – 12
I believe the Pharisees are searching for various ways to trip Jesus up. They mean business in destroying His witness, His influence and His person. Of course we know as we read that they can do nothing without it being a part of God’s timing. 

God uses the decisions of men and women to accomplish His purposes. 

It behooves me to be on the positive side of that!

V. 9 “Then those who heard it (“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”), being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.”
I’ve heard that the order of leaving – oldest to youngest – represented the years of sinning. The older one is, the more time in which to have sinned!

They left until Jesus, alone, was standing, He being the only One without sin.
And the woman, who so desperately needed a Savior, remained.
Jesus does not condemn the adulterous woman for He came not into the world that the world might be condemned but to save us.

Jesus’ encounters with women are so encouraging. He does not discriminate. And although there was plenty of discrimination toward women in those days, He does not share in that attitude nor behavior. In fact, Luke 18:9-12 records a traditional Jewish prayer of men which thanks God that he is not like “other men.” Research shows me that the prayer is often recited: 

“Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, that thou hast made me an Israelite; (in some books it is, as before, that thou hast not made me a Gentile;) blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, that thou hast not made me a servant; blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, that thou hast not made me a woman.”

I love that Jesus set women free! 

Paul writes to the Galatians, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:27-28.

Verses 13 – 20
V. 15 “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.” 

I think how many times in my life that I have misjudged someone by what I have seen or heard (by the flesh and in the flesh). We are to judge a tree by its fruit. But I have been guilty of judging another by MY fruit! 

In other words, my fruit was jealousy or pride and so my “judgment” was skewed. I know that any time my judgment is rendered when my own heart condemns me, then my judgment is not of truth. I must stay in the Word so that I more clearly see my own heart before I judge the heart of another. 

I’ve heard it said that we often judge ourselves by our intentions while judging others based on their actions!

The crux of this chapter for me is portrayed in these words of Christ Jesus:
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" John 8:31-32.

Walk in freedom and carry on!

Jun 23, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 7 Notes

"To Everything There is a Season"
Verses 1 – 9
V. 8 “…for My time has not yet fully come.”
  • Jesus knows the times and seasons of His ministry.
  • You simply cannot rush Your destiny and God’s ordained timing.

Verses 10 – 18
V. 14 “Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught.”
  • Jesus walked in His purpose no matter what. He never rushed and never lagged behind.  Always on time.

V. 18 “He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.”

  • Jesus speaks of the Father just as the Holy Spirit speaks of the Son. 
  • God the Father introduced the Son to us. 
  • The Son points us back to the Father and the Holy Spirit testifies of the WORD, Jesus Christ.

Verses 19 – 24
“…are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?”
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath. Mark records Jesus’ words, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 – 28.
It is in Him that we “enter that {Sabbath} rest” Hebrews 4:11.
The Pharisees could not see what was under their noses. Under the government of the Roman Empire, they were afraid of anyone coming along who might knock them from their place of power. 

They could not fathom that this man, Jesus from Nazareth, was the Messiah of the prophecy. They feared Him because of His following. If the thousands who believed on Him were to revolt against the status quo and try to make him their leader (earthly kingdom), who had the most to lose? The Pharisees and the Saducees. 
They did not have the ears to hear the true message of Christ the Messiah. Their pride, stubbornness and religiosity stopped their ears and hardened their hearts.

V. 19 Jesus asks, “Why do you seek to kill Me?”
V. 20 “The people answered and said, ‘You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?’”
V. 26 “But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?” 
However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.’” 

In verse 28, Jesus speaks to both crowds, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.’”

Those who spoke did not really know from where Jesus came. The testimony of John is that Jesus is the Word made flesh.

Verses 32 – 39
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

From my footnotes: Each day during the Feast of Tabernacles a joyous celebration was observed in which the priests brought water (symbolic of the water supplied from the rock in Ex. 17) to the temple from the pool of Siloam in a golden pitcher. During the procession the people recited Is. 12:3,“Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

The water was poured out on the altar as an offering to God, while the people shouted and sang. Jesus was the fulfillment of all that the ceremony typified. “…For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

Jesus reveals to those who will hear Who He is. He continually draws upon the word (for us what is the OT) in order to testify of Himself. In Him the Old Testament is fulfilled.
My teacher, from many years ago (who was Egyptian), taught us in our Survey of the Old Testament class that the New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.

And for a final quick notation: In verse 50 we see Nicodemus whom Jesus called a teacher of Israel. At our first introduction, he came by night and now here we see him in the light of day standing for the cause of Christ. 

 Rest in His timing and carry on!

Jun 22, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 6 Notes

Verses 5 – 9
Jesus is teaching the multitude but also teaching His disciples how to be His disciples.
Five thousand men and their families had gathered on the hillside. Jesus asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
Verse 6, “But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew shat He would do.”
The word “test” here is the word “peirazo” (Strong’s #3985) and means to examine or prove. It describes the testing of the believer’s loyalty, strength, opinions, disposition, condition, faith, patience, or character. Peirazo determines which way one is going and what one is made of.
I think it’s interesting to see the differences in the disciples’ personalities. We all have one! 
Philip begins to calculate the costs of purchasing enough food, while Andrew scans the crowd for what may be at hand.

Verses 14 – 15
Those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah thought the kingdom he had come to establish was an earthly kingdom. When they saw that He fed the multitudes, their minds went to Moses who had led them when God fed them daily manna in the wilderness. Once again, God’s Chosen people were under a type of servitude as they were ruled by the Roman Empire. 

Imagine 5000 men preparing to forcibly take Jesus and lift Him up as their “Bread – Messiah.” After this sign of feeding over 5000 with a few loaves and fishes, they began discussing how they could remove the present government and make Jesus their king.

Verses 28 - 68
But Jesus “departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.”
Jesus continued to teach those who had ears to hear that:
1)      Rather than looking for signs, He wanted the focus to be on believing and trusting in Him.
2)      Just as He told the Samaritan woman that He could give her living water and she would never thirst again, He teaches that He is the Bread of Life and in Him they will have eternal life.
3)      He continues to teach them eternal truths rather than temporary solutions.

Even though the inner twelve are challenged to understand Jesus’ deeper meanings, still Peter sums up their devotion with, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” 

Go with God and carry on!

Jun 20, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 5 Notes

Notes on John 5:30 – 39             
In this passage we see that there are 4 witnesses of Christ:
V. 33 ~ John the Baptizer witnessed of Christ
He was the voice in the wilderness, "a burning and shining lamp..."
Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:19 that the prophetic word is as "light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in {our} hearts..."

V. 36 ~ Jesus' own works testify of Himself.
"...for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me." 

V. 37~ The Father has witnessed of Christ.
Upon Jesus' water baptism, the Father spoke, "And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' " (Matthew 3:17)
Although the baptism of John was of repentance, Jesus had no need of repentance. This is why
John, at first, refused to baptize Jesus saying, "I have need to be baptized of You, and You come to me.?"
But there are 2 aspects of this water baptism to realize:
1) Priests were purified by water just before representing the people before God in the Most Holy Place.
2) Jesus' cleansing by water marked the beginning of his public ministry and the pursuit of His call.

V. 39 ~ The Scriptures testify of Christ.
"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me."

Thoughts on John 5:7
Jesus asks the disabled man, "Do you want to be made well?"
The man replies, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before. Me." 

A few years ago I spoke on a Sunday morning in my church on this passage. What impressed me from the scripture in verse 7 was the reply of man on the mat, "I have no man..."
I thought of how we often look for someone else to help us out. We look for someone to give us a break. We look for a mentor or a teacher and that is fine because mentors, teachers and helpers can be of great assistance. And there are seasons when we are stuck in a "lame" position because we feel we just need someone to give us a hand to get from one point to the other. I've been there. I lived for a few years of my life waiting for someone to tell me I had been called of God, that I had a gift. The truth is each of us are called and each of us has been gifted in some way to glorify God and serve the Body of Christ. I realized as I studied this passage a few years ago and as the Holy Spirit illuminated this specific phrase: "I have no man..." that I was "disabled" so to speak.
I kept waiting around for someone to validate me when all along Christ was standing and asking me, "Do you want to get up and walk?"

You see, THE MAN is Jesus. Each of has THE MAN. I think of the Samaritan woman who called out, "Come, see a Man..."

There is a man and His name is Christ Jesus. He validates us. He calls us. We really don't have to wait around for someone else. There is something you can be doing right now to use the gift you have been given.
After my son went to Heaven, I said I would never stand before a group and speak or teach again. But God poured in the oil and began to massage my wounded heart and gave me a new message. And although I have had several opportunities to speak since the fall of 2010, I have nothing else scheduled at this time, except a tentative date in the fall. Rather than giving into the excuse of "I have no man..." I am going to busy myself learning more, studying more, memorizing more Scripture and "showing up" in the prayer closet and in the Word so that I can keep "growing up" and maturing in Christ.

I have a Man. His name is Jesus.
Take His hand and carry on!

Jun 16, 2011

Iron Girls ~ Notes on John 4

I have so many thoughts on this chapter, especially as it relates to the Samaritan woman.
John 4, verses 3 and 4 tells us that Jesus is leaving Judea and going again to Galilee but that He needs to go to Samaria. You see He had a divine appointment with a woman at a well. There are moments in our lives that start out for us as typical and routine in our day. We do not yet realize that our names have been written in God’s day planner – day, time, and place.

Jesus needed to go through Samaria because He had a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman. Samaritans were a mixed breed of people and although the Jews and Samaritans did interact and share commerce, the Jews did not share eating or drinking vessels.
A Samaritan woman approaches the well where Jesus sits. Verse 6 tells us it was about the sixth hour which, by Jewish reckoning, is 12 noon. Because of this woman’s lifestyle she fetches water at the hottest time of the day, rather than face the other women who would come in the cool of the early evening.
And what can I say here?
I can tell you that right away, at the beginning of her story, I relate to this woman ~ a woman, who out of fear, avoids the group. I believe that most issues in our lives are rooted in fear. They may display as anxiety, anger or avoidance but I believe if you dig deep enough, the root is fear.
In response to Jesus’ talk of living water that springs from a fountain into everlasting (perpetual, unchanging, of unlimited duration, eternal, age-long, unending) life, the woman responds, “…‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’”
I believe at this point her interest lies in a source of water that  
1) satisfies her immediate thirst and 2) allows her to continue avoiding the group at Jacob’s well (verse 12), a group that reminds her of what she does not have and who she has become.

When Jesus tells her to call her husband, she answers honestly. It is at this time Jesus reveals her past and she sees the truth in Him, changing her present and her future.

There is so much more richness in this passage, but what I want to share is this:

1)      Jesus will leave the group to find one soul. (“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” ~ Luke 15:4)

2)      Often times we see where the temporary things of the flesh are used as a tool leading us to the eternal. In chapters 2 and 4 we see thirst (wine & water) leading to a miracle of water to wine and in chapter 4 a miracle of sinner finding her Savior. 

June 16 - 17 ~ Let's REST in John 5.

Jun 13, 2011

Encouragement for Iron Girls (The Bible Study Group)

A word of encouragement for Iron Girls ~

In the past two and a half years I’ve experienced harsh, savage, difficult, dangerous, painful, fierce, grievous, and hard to deal with days. All of those descriptions define the word “perilous” - the word Paul uses to describe the “last days" (2 Timothy 3). Perilous times picture a society with plenty of vices and few virtues.

How about you? Had any “hard to deal with,” difficult or perhaps even dangerous days of your own lately?

In perilous times, we women of God have to get strong, stay sharp and remain aware of the schemes of the devil. I’ll be blunt. He hates us. He targets us and does not play fair. He’ll even kick you when you’re already down.

Getting in God’s Word - studying, memorizing and meditating on it, helps us build spiritual muscle, keep our edge and be on guard.

We do not want to be of the sort of women who are made captive due to their gullibility, loaded down with sins and led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth. (2 Timothy 3:6-7)

We are women who are strong and courageous, protecting our households through prayer, standing in the gap for those who are in need, serving one another through grace with humility.
We are women who know the Truth and believe we are set free in the knowledge. We do not shrink back in our faith but push forward with every ounce of strength.
We are not perfect and sometimes we grow weary.
But the good news is we don’t have to be perfect because we are loved perfectly and perfect love casts out fear. And when we are weary, we don’t need to worry that our lives will come undone. For in our weakness, His strength is made known.
That same strength was made known to a group (including women) facing perilous times. Hebrews 11 writes that the faithful “out of weakness were made strong…” (Hebrews 11:34).

As you plan your week and live out these next days, don’t neglect your Power Source. Plug into God’s Word. 

Go in strength and carry on!

Jun 11, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 2 "From the Vine to Wine" & "The Word is a Discerner"

 (My personal notes on John 2)

"From the True Vine to the Good Wine"

John 2:6-10

The natural process of making wine is for rain to fall and to be absorbed by the roots of the grape vine, to be drawn up into the grapes, and then to be pressed out of the ripe grapes as “new wine.” Jesus’ miracle began naturally, as he directed the servants to “Fill the pots with water.”
And who is the vine? Jesus says of Himself in John 15:1, “I am the true vine…”
The supernatural is then displayed even as the natural timing of wine making is displaced and Jesus turns the water into wine.
Without Him, we can do nothing. Jesus is the Vine. Our Father is the Vine dresser (the One knows us intimately, cares for us, and prunes us to bear fruit). We are the branches. As we abide (make our dwelling) in Him, we are fruitful. ("And the Word became flesh and dwelt among them..." John 1:14; "Abide in Me and I in you" John 15:4)
The fruit we produce glorifies God, fulfills us and blesses others. If we go back to verse 8, we hear Jesus’ words regarding the wine, “Draw some out now.”

As you live and dwell in Christ, you will begin to hear his unmistakable instruction to take what is in you and give it to others. You will hear Him say, “Draw some out now.”

Is there any area in your life in which you are hesitating to “draw some out”?

The WORD is a Discerner

John 2:23-25

V. 23 – “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.”
V. 24 – “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men…”
V. 25 – “…and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”

The Greek word used for “sign” is this passage is “semeion,” and occurs 77 times in the NT. It identifies an act of supernatural power. It is an authentication of a person “sent of God.”
Verse 23 tells us that many believed in Jesus’ name (name representing oneself) when they saw the signs or miracles He performed. This would not be an unusual outcome – to believe upon seeing. However verse 24 reveals that Jesus did not “commit” Himself to those who believed after seeing a sign. 

(Strong’s #4100 “commit” – to put in trust with)

The disciples already believed in Jesus; the miracles only deepened their faith and trust in Him, as compared to those who believed in His name upon seeing a sign.
Verse 24 elaborates on the idea of Jesus “knowing” man. He knows what is in a man’s heart and mind.
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Last year as I was only a few months from the passing of our sweet boy, Andrew, I was out running in the dusk of the evening. As I often do, I used that time to talk to God. My heart was overwhelmed with grief and also questions. But that night one very clear word from God that was balm to my wounded heart. As I turned the corner of my street heading home, I told God that even though we did not see Andrew’s healing in our present time, I still believed that He is the Healer. I ran past a few more houses, getting closer to the end of my run and as I approached my driveway, this word rose up in my heart, 
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Are you in a place of longing to see a sign? 
Do you need a supernatural intervention? 
Are you praying for a miracle? 

I don’t know what God has in mind for you. But I do know His plans for you are good ones.

Keep believing and carry on!

Jun 10, 2011

Iron Girls ~ John 2

Iron Girls 
Bible Study
John 2
Assignment for 6/10 - 6/11 and some of my thoughts:
*Before reading the assigned chapter, take a few moments to pray that the Holy Spirit opens up the passage to you. 
This Bible Study is not so much about my insight or that of anyone else but what the Holy Spirit pinpoints for YOU as you read & study. 
Remember this study is meant to be REST.
*Read John 2.
*Expect (eagerly) that the Holy Spirit will guide you in truth and knowledge.
*Study that portion that comes alive to YOU. For me this happens as a drawing toward a particular section, verse, phrase or single word. Don't stress over this. It's a work of the Spirit. Use Biblical resources (Strong's concordance - there is an online version; Commentaries - I often use John Gill's Commentary, also online www.biblestudytools.com
*Transform your mind as you meditate (ponder, reflect, recite, "to chew upon") on what you have read and especially on the portion you have been led to study.
And don't forget to come back and share your insight.
If you would like to participate in the FB Iron Girls Bible Study, let me know. Because of the nature of FB's comment format, the interaction is much more dynamic.

Jun 9, 2011

Iron Girls - John 1

"Seen, Found and Called by HIM!"
 (My personal study notes)

John 1:43-51
 As I read John chapter one, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to verses 43 – 51. What I find compelling in this passage is the difference in the order of events in the lives of Jesus, Nathanael and even Philip as we see them outlined in this context.  

From Philip’s viewpoint:
  1. Philip is found and called by Jesus.
  2. Philip finds Nathanael, telling him, “We have found HIM…”
  3. Nathanael questions whether “anything good can come out of Nazareth.”(Nazareth was an obscure town and Nathanael knew Bethlehem was the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah.)
  4. Philip responds, “Come and see.”

From Nathanael’s viewpoint:
  1. Nathanael is found by Philip.
  2. Nathanael questions whether “anything good can come out of Nazareth.”
  3. Philip responds, “Come and see.”
  4. Nathanael is seen approaching Jesus and HE says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
  5. Nathanael questions Jesus with, “How do you know me?”
  6. Jesus responds that HE saw Nathanael before HE called Nathanael.
  7. Nathanael confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Israel.
  8. Jesus tells Nathanael he will see greater things, including His ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

From Jesus’ viewpoint:
  1. Jesus finds Philip and calls him saying, “Follow Me.”
  2. Jesus sees Nathanael under the fig tree before Philip finds him.
  3. Jesus sees Nathanael coming toward HIM and says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit.”
  4. Nathanael questions Jesus with, “How do you know me?”
  5. Jesus replies, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”*
  6. Nathanael confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Israel.
  7. Jesus tells Nathanael he will see greater things, including His ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

This speaks to me in that it illustrates how my order of events is actually out of order. For example when I tell a story, I usually begin with the beginning and, if you are like me, give lots of details! However, if I were to hear “my story” told from the viewpoint of the ONE who sees the parts I cannot see, the ordering of “my story” including the beginning would be complete in a way that I do not yet see. But one day, I trust I will see it! One day I will see how HE saw me before I was found by HIM and before I was called by HIM. One day I will see how all things worked together for good to me who loves God and am called according to HIS purpose.

*If we simply read the passage in verses 43 – 51, we read that Nathanael was under a fig tree when Jesus saw him, and when Philip found him. It seems like a minor, inconsequential detail. But with further study, we gain a deeper understanding of the passage. “The hour of this happening is given in verse 39 as the tenth hour. John uses the Roman (and modern) method of reckoning the hours. The hour is 10 a.m; but most modern versions give 4 p.m. Nathanael was following the Jewish custom of meditating on the scriptures under his fig-tree. It seems likely, from Jesus’ words in verse 51, that he was thinking about Jacob’s dream of a stairway between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:12).” [Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible, p. 535]

As we study, meditate and memorize the WORD, you can be sure that you are seen by the WORD. For “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1.

 What are your thoughts concerning John 1?

© Melanie Dorsey 2011

Jun 8, 2011

Iron Girls Bible Study

Yellow rose symbolizes frienship. 

"Jesus According to John”

Introduction to the Gospel of John ~

John, who wrote five books of the New Testament (The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John and Revelation), is second to Paul in authorship of the New Testament books. John was known as “the beloved disciple” and belonged to the inner circle. We see the intimacy John shared with Jesus during the Feast of the Passover, as Scripture records “the disciple whom Jesus loved” leaning on Jesus in private conversation (John 13:23-26).
He was called as a young man to follow Christ, was with Him throughout the whole of His ministry and outlived the other disciples. He was an ear and eye witness to the things he relates in the Gospel of John. John was a Galilean and unlearned in the natural yet with supernatural giftings and under the unction of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit qualified whom Christ had called.

The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are so called because they are so similar in structure and wording. However, the Gospel of John records several things that are not included in the Synoptic Gospels and is more topical rather than sequential.
While the book of Matthew was written to the Hebrews and emphasizes Christ’s sermons, Mark to the Romans with an emphasis on His miracles and Luke to the Greeks emphasizing His parables, the book of John was written to all the world and places emphasis upon Christ’s doctrines. The Synoptic Gospels stress the humanity of Christ while The Gospel of John stresses the deity of Christ. Chapters 2 – 12 give insight into Christ’s public ministry, while chapters 13 – 21 relate His private ministry to His disciples.

Author: The Apostle John
Date: About A.D. 85
Theme: Knowing God by believing in Jesus Christ.
Key words: Believe, Bear, Witness, Life

Challenge to Go Deeper: Write out John 1:1-5 on a card or sticky note. Put it where you can read it several times a day, working on memorization. Once you have memorized it, meditate on it. I only use the NKJV to memorize Scripture. I have found that staying with the same version for all of my memorization/meditation Scriptures has been the best help in my retention of Scripture.

After reading the background information on the Gospel of John, begin reading John chapter 1.
Pray and ask for insight and inspiration as you read chapter 1.
Using the REST method, you will:
READ the passage.
EXPECT to have the Holy Spirit "highlight" or draw your attention to a specific portion of the passage. Don't pressure yourself in this. It is a work of the Holy Spirit. You may be drawn to a verse, a phrase or one word.
STUDY more in depth that portion you feel drawn to. Use Bible Study resources to go more in depth. Write your notes in your Bible Study Notebook (I like to use an "old school" composition notebook.) At the end of the study of John, you will have taken notes on all 21 chapters.
TRANSFORM your mind through active study of the Word of God, including Scripture memorization, meditation, note-taking and sharing your insights with the rest of the Iron Girls.
Take 2 days for each assigned passage and your personal note-taking. Then we'll move on to the next reading assignment. Check in on the Iron Girls Group page and share your insights, read what others have to say and read my personal notes on each chapter. If you get behind, no worries! Just jump back in. Remember this Bible Study is meant for us to REST in the Word not get stressed over the Word.

Also, I need your grace extended to me as I work out kinks in this online plan. It's the first online Bible study I've led. But, this morning as I was reading my devotion from My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers), I read these amazing words:

"When you know you should do a thing, and do it, immediately you know more."  from June 8.

Jun 7, 2011

Are You an Iron Girl?

I'm beginning an online Bible study that starts this week! Check it out and join in as you'd like. I'll be sharing it here and on a group page on facebook. I opened it up today and have 38 Iron Girls "pumped up" and ready to begin our study of Jesus according to the Gospel of John. Yay and Hallelujah, too! This is a Bible study I am writing. All you need is your Bible, a notebook and any resources for Bible study you have access too.
(I like www.biblegateway.com.)
You can read the introduction below.
If you'd rather participate on facebook, let me know.

The yellow rose symbolizes friendship.
Photo by Linda Charlene

Iron Girls (Bible Study Group)
“As iron sharpens iron, so a {girl} friend sharpens a {girl} friend.”
~ Proverbs 27:17 NLT (brackets –mine)

“Jesus According to John”

One of my spiritual goals for this year has been to “know Jesus more and better,” and in this pursuit I have been led to study the Gospel of John. I felt confirmation of this after a conversation with a friend last week.
We were out for a run together, when the topic of restlessness came up. We each related how we feel we should be doing more in our lives. For both of us our season in life is changing and we wonder, “What’s the next thing we should be doing?”
As we were about to part ways, we agreed to revisit the topic at our next meeting. In the meantime, I began to think more deeply and ask God for His thoughts on the subject.
Although our lives do transition from one season to another requiring some changes, still, I believe the restlessness we feel is because we are not meant for this world as it is. Though we live in the here and now, our citizenship, as Paul writes in Philippians 3:20, is in Heaven.

Romans 8:22-25 tells us, “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

So while we “wait for it with perseverance,” let’s find our rest in Christ. I have been so drawn to these words of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (a cessation from toil, a refreshment, an intermission). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy (well-fitting and built on personal relationship with God by the indwelling Spirit) and My burden is light” Matthew 11:28.
As I read this passage today, tears flowed as the Holy Spirit magnified these three words, “…learn from Me…” You see, it fits so perfectly with what I believe has been a divinely inspired desire of mine for this year: “to know Jesus more and better.”  There is no better teacher than the Holy Spirit for that is one facet of His personality as He indwells the believer.

Perhaps you, like my friend and I, are feeling a bit restless too. At our second meeting, we concluded that restlessness in the seasons of change just “comes with the territory.” Be that as it may, I am determined to know Christ in a way that I have not known before. I am hungrier for Him than I have ever been. I crave a holy communion and I believe He puts that hunger and thirst for Himself in each of us. But sometimes we feed that emptiness with other things. 

The problem is we can be full but not satisfied. 

And that’s why I’ve invited you to be a part of Iron Girls as we study the Gospel of John. Let’s satisfy ourselves with Him. Let’s sharpen one another as we learn from Him. Let’s find the rest that only He can give in this restless world. 

© Melanie Dorsey 2011

Jun 3, 2011

Do Gators Growl?

Do gators growl? That's the question I asked myself as I ran in my favorite park on Memorial Day. To read about it, go to my running blog See My Mom Run.