Come and See the Holy Helper


GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).

gary-2015I’ve never doubted that I was designed to play a participatory role in life. At the same time, it didn’t take too many steps along the trail to see that the things which seem to be within my control can be listed on a rather small screen.

Not too long ago over a telephone conversation with my friend Jim R., we talked with amusement of the illusion we experienced in our former “work world” of “being in charge” only to awake in our “elderly years” to helper11the realization that nothing is really in our control.

I need a Holy Helper. Life is hard.

Restaurants tease their diners with appetizers. Movie Theaters show previews. Televisions and computer screens light up with the advertisements of soon to be released products. Each year Apple manufactures suspense as it builds to announce the new iPhone.

In John’s Gospel he invites me to come and see a preview of the Holy Helper. He doesn’t offer a lot of detail. It is more like a description of an appetizer that will draw me toward something even better.

helper4So, his first hint is, the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (7:39). Next, he shares a statement from Jesus, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth (14:16-17). And, when He arrives His presence will be recognized, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Finally, Jesus tells his disciple see that he has to depart earth for his Triune Holy Spirit to indwell within: it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you (16:7).

The remainder of the New Testament stands as the fulfillment of Jesus promise. The Holy Helper is truly one of God’s best saved for my now.

To be truthful, I am still in learning mode when it comes to Jesus advocacy from within. It’s a daily challenge to live into the promise: he lives with you and will be in you.

It seems to me that this “inside relationship” calls me to participate in at least three ways.

helper18First, I find that I need to keep the flow of Scripture in my life to help me identify His presence and His actions. I would like to think that I do this reasonably well. Although, I must admit I am woefully unaware of the totality of the Holy presence.

Second, my side of the conversation with the Holy is expressed by worship, gratitude, presentation of needs, pleas, observations and submission. Certainly, I would not grade myself with high marks on this one.

Third, I must return to my previously mentioned Jim R. conversation. Each day I realize helper15more and more how very little of life is within my control. I am more acutely aware than ever of how much I need the Holy Helper.

Increasingly, I find my language has begun to change in my prayer life. I hope it has moved more toward the trust side of the continuum.

I find my request to be more along the lines of, “Lord, I trust you to solve this in your way and in your time. Show me how you might want me to help.”

I close where I started. I need a Holy Helper. Life is hard.

I would love to hear what you have observed through the years of how the Holy Helper shows his presence within you.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See the Holy Helper

Gary@Godreflection.org       www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Come and See a Dead Man Raised


GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).

gary-2015I’ve attended a rather long list of services for the dead throughout my life and experience the finality of the casket lowered into the grave. Never once have I heard a corps asks for rescue from the bottom of a six-foot hole before the casket disappears under shovels of dirt. Never once have I heard the call to resurrection.

I’ll get back to burials in a moment. But first, John the author of the Fourth Gospel, wants me to come and see a house. It’s that house that perhaps we’ve experienced in reality or at times in the deepest desires of our heart. It’s the house where we feel at home.

dead10In the Gospels it was the home Jesus seemed to enjoy after he left his hometown Nazareth.

Just a short walk from Jerusalem was the house of Martha, Lazarus and Mary where he could always find rest, friendship and home baked meals.

Our look at this home is rewarded not only by what is recorded in John and the other Gospels but also by all that jumps out between the lines through conversation with the two sisters. Jesus loved these three siblings.

About halfway through the narrative the apostle John is ready to illustrate future reality. Jesus’ love for Lazarus and his sisters will make a perfect picture of God’s desire for His creation. It will be a living illustration of God’s grace. The sign will take place, “for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (11:4).

John wants me to see an eternal reality in Jesus so here comes another sign that Jesus is God.

dead4The scene is set. Lazarus identified as “He whom you love” (11:3) died. Instead of a quick departure Jesus waits for two days after receipt of the message. I suspect he wants all to know Lazarus is indeed dead. He leaves time for reality to set in, doubts to appear and faith to grow.

Jesus leaves for Judea and the little town of Bethany. As he approaches, Martha learns he is near and goes to meet him. Four days ago, Lazarus was wrapped with strips of cloth and sealed in a tomb. For finality a stone closed the entrance.

After the greeting their conversation reveals her growing faith: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God . . .” (11:27).

Then follows the encounter of Mary and Jesus which is one of the most moving dialogues dead0.pngin all of Scripture:

. . . she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.

He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (11:32-36)

It’s time to go to the grave site to see the dead man raised.

 Jesus, once more deeply moved came to the tomb . . . “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone (11:38-41).

Jesus looks upward and speaks in a loud voice directly to God so that the crowd could see the connection.

dead00“Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go” (11:41-44).

What can I learn from this Lazarus who is raised from the dead but does not speak a word in my Bible? This is a great illustration of the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Here is what I think.

dead15My two big take-a-ways are first, to see how Jesus is affected by the death experience. He is deeply saddened—moved to tears—to see the pain it causes to people he loves.

Second, the Holy has a commitment to make death obsolete. The glory of Father and Son unite to give a preview of their power over death.

I would love to hear your insights as to why this is a come and see event for John and why it illustrates for you that God has saved the best for now.

In the next post I want to follow up with the celebration of the siblings.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See a Dead Man Raised

Gary@Godreflection.org   www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

 

Come and See I am the One Who Jesus Loved


GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).

gary-2015Five times in John’s Gospel the apostle refers to himself as the one who Jesus loved. It just dawned upon me. I had not seen it until now.

It was not a designation given to him by others. I doubt that Jesus ever referred to him as such. Instead, Jesus called John and his brother the “sons loved3of thunder.”

I suspect they received their nickname from occasions like the time they suggested to handle the opposition with a speedy request: “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” or the request to be placed ahead of the other disciples as his number one and two people in his kingdom.

Could John’s self-designation have been an insight of genuine defect rooted deep in his heart? Was it because he realized Jesus loved him in spite of his failures that in utter amazement he self-identified as “I’m the one who Jesus loved?”

lovedHere is what I think. There is good reason to believe John was the youngest of the twelve. In fact, he outlived Paul and the other apostles.

I wonder if as the youngest of the group Jesus may have made a deep impression on him? It is not uncommon to be overwhelmed with the loss of one’s childhood sinless state in the transition toward adolescents and adulthood.

Whatever the inadequacies John brought to the band of disciples obviously he felt total and complete acceptance by the Teacher and by the Heavenly Father.

When he pens his account of Jesus he is most likely an old man. While a youngster he learned from the Teacher as a member of Jesus closest disciples and stood witness to the death, resurrection and ascension. Then, for seven decades he matured through persecution and missionary hardship as he walked with the Spirit of his Holy Master

loved11Through it all John couldn’t get over it. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).

It’s a gift too good to be true—but it is.

He remembered the abuse, the suffering and the cross. And he recalled what Jesus told him prior to the event:

loved7My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends . . . This is my command: Love each other (15:12-13,17).

Across the pages of time far too few have grasped what John wants us to see—yes, me as an individual, I am the one who Jesus loved. Without a doubt that is God’s best saved for my now. What would it take to join John and live with this insight as a soul-felt conviction?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See I am the One Who Jesus Love

Gary@Godreflection.org          www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

 

Come and See Light


GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).

gary-2015Light shows are a multibillion monetary industry. As a small child I was invited to participant in the annual production of a light show on the family Christmas tree. When Independence Day appeared on the national calendar we went to see a light show decorate the night sky.light8

Laser shows are sought-after events on the twenty-first century tourist routes.  Vacationers are enticed to come and see light.

My Bible opens with the Creation Song.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

light9And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night” (Genesis 1:1-5).

The Fourth Gospel begins with a creation prologue that reflects the Genesis account. The apostle John wants me to see a light that is greater still than the one called day. It is The Light that created light.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (From John Chapter One).

light12About midway through John’s Gospel he introduces a man who was blind from birth. His purpose is to invite me as a reader to come and see light. Surely, John’s spirit must have glowed when he started to record as he reflected upon the events that surrounded Jesus and a blind man. Truly, God saved the best for now. Jesus declares:

“. . . I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So, the man went and washed, and came home seeing (John 9:5-7).

Like the unnamed Banquet Master (when Jesus made water become wine ) we are not given the name of the blindman. John wants all who read to self-identify as the recipient light13of Jesus’ sign. He invites readers to come and see light.  I meet real light when I encounter Jesus. I meet the light that is greater than all displays of illumination. I meet the light of the world.

I can’t help but add John’s inclusion of Jesus reason for him own self-description as light. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness (John 12:46).

I would love to hear your description of your own encounter with the light of the world. How does that encounter continue to play out in your daily walk? How does it continue to be a display of light?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See Light

Gary@Godreflection.org    www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Come and See


GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

gary-2015Parallel to the creation story of Genesis is the creation story from John’s account of the good news in the Fourth Gospel. His striking language echoes from the opening verse of The Old Testament, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

With the ring of creation’s echo across time the apostle now shares fresh and undeniable news of the gift of created grace that is about to become accessible to humankind.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning . . . In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind . . .  The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world . . . to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us . . . (The) one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth . . . grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

see4Two minor characters, Philip and an unnamed Banquet Master, are used by John to set the expectations for what Joseph’s son Jesus is about to reveal.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:45-46).

Philip sets the stage for John’s invitation to “Come and see,” the abundance this Jesus see6has prepared for me if I will accept it.

The invitation is wide open to “Come and see,” and we will catch sight of great things as, heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man (John 1:51).

Now for the other player in John’s Gospel who casts a vision for what is to be found in Jesus the Messiah. He is master of the banquet where Jesus did his first sign at the request of his mother. John never gives his name.

After Jesus made water become wine the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine . . . he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2:9-10).

John has his second illustration for the news he is about to share. God has “saved the best till now.”

In this series of posts, I want to accept John’s invitation to come and see a new type of water, to come and see dead people return to eternal life, and to come see God in a whole new way.

Come and See the Very Best God has Saved for Now.I want to see the very best God has saved for my now. I want to see anew what is mine in the present through His gift of a Holy Helper.

I want to see the very best Holy forgiveness God has saved for my now. I want to see the eternal and perfect light that is God’s best that He saved till now.

I want to come and see the Great Fisherman, I want to come and see a temple built in only three days.

I want to see a cross and an empty tomb left only with clothes of death no longer needed by the One who lives. I want to see a risen Savior and an ascended Lord.

I hope you will come with me as we see that He has saved the best for now. 

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

Gary@Godreflection.org  www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Seasons of Jobs


20161004_150844 (2)What do you do when you are in a Job-like season, and it seems your loved ones are also.

I am not sure, except to study this book of wisdom more deeply and with fresh eyes. Recently our church studied Job in concert through a series of devotionals every morning.

After considering Job and the devotionals, I had a few takeaways, though only touching the hem of what God may want to teach.

Listen.

…to God’s still [immovable], small but perfectly powerful voice, trust, get counsel where needed.

…to God’s still [continued] small but perfectly powerful voice, trust, get counsel where needed.

…to God’s still [small] but perfectly powerful voice, trust, get counsel where needed.

“Then Job replied to the LORD:

‘I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.

‘You asked, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?” It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.

‘You said, “Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.”

‘I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

‘I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.'”

-Job 42:1-6/NLT

What I am learning…

1 – Be humble.

2 – Refuse to be a Job’s friend.

Or door #3, an option yet to be revealed.

Whether one is a Job or a Job’s friend, God wins, as do God’s image-bearers.

Job was blessed with a double portion of everything in the second half of his life. His new daughters were the fairest in the land. He also included them in his will along with his sons.

Humanity is God’s most prized Creation. God’s enemy is here to destroy God’s success and take over.

But GOD IS, GOD HAS WON, GOD WINS and GOD WILL WIN!

Job’s win is God’s win. Job’s friend’s obedience is God’s win, and in the end even Job’s friends are blessed due to God’s mercy and Job’s prayer.

Amazing!

Called to Re-up on Trust


GodReflection: When God Calls

gary portraitMy phone is about to ring. It’s a nagging thought. It’s a faint voice generated from the core of my soul. Is God about to call me to ask that I re-up my trust?
It is both the good news and the bad news.

trust2God’s call to trust is tied tightly with our earth walk. The good news is each time I am called to re-up my trust I morph a tad more into the likeness of the Holy. The bad news is I must step off the ledge and trust God with the darkness of the unknown for growth in His likeness to take place.

Like you, I don’t like the black freefalls. It reminds me of the experience inside a cave when I waited to hear a pebble hit the bottom as I tossed my small stone into a dark pit.

trust0Prior to this post I went to the internet to find a life expectancy calculator.

It predicted my demise to be August 26, 2027. I certainly wouldn’t risk money on the accuracy of the prediction. I would have a better shot were I to purchase a lottery ticket the next time the grand payout exceeds the half billion dollars mark.

However, when I consider my age, my gene pool and my current medical profile, I would guess at best I’m into the last decade of my earth walk. That’s my guess rather than a revelation from God. Only He knows.

trust10During my so called productive years I was at least under the allusion that I was in control. Mostly, I went where I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted.

The process of aging has challenged my control switch. What once seemed as if it came as a given is no longer my reality. Each day calls me to relinquish more control. Even the allusion of whatever control I thought I had over my daily life is gone.

God’s call to crossover the horizon of my earthly walk has begun to echo from the distant canyons.

trust13Within that echo I faintly hear the call to re-up my Trust in His provision and care. There is a sense in which I find myself on a stretch of life’s trail that is unknown.

While on the productive doing portion of the trail even though the unseen was before me, it was as at least interpreted somewhat through a familiar landscape with trail markers I had seen before. While I moved toward the unknown the familiar aided my trust element.

trust16I find I am now in uncharted waters. Never have I been so close to eternity’s door. Before, my intellect knew life to be a progression toward the next reality but there was a sense of prolonged distance that kept the transition out of sight and away from my daily walk. What was once a distant concept is now casting its shadow in the headlights.

So here I am being called to re-up on trust as I await the next call from Father God.

Any advice?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Called to Re-Up on Trust

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com