Greetings from beautiful snowy Asheville! Wherever you are reading this, we hope you stay dry and warm.
For those of you who have been attending our Bible study here at The Cove, in person for the last several weeks, you know that we were snowed out for Kendra’s last session.
After the snow cleared, Kendra came in and video recorded the message she prepared for that last night and we are rolling it out here in our blog in three segments. The first video focuses on John 11: 1-32. Please read this scripture before viewing the video.
We have posted the three-questions below the video to coincide with the video content (yes, it is a repeat from last week, but we want to keep current with what’s in the video).
After watching the video, instead of sharing your three-questions, Kendra would like you to comment with a sentence or two on the following question: When has God decided to wait in your life?
Video 2 will be featured next week (Tues. March 3) and video 3 (Tues. March 10).
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Click here to watch the video if it does not show up in your browser.
Kendra Graham NOTES from John 11 (Excerpts)
WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.
Verse 4: When Jesus heard it (that Lazarus, the one He loved, was sick) He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God.
Verse 6: When He heard it, He stayed two days longer where He was.
Verse 14: Jesus said plainly, “Lazarus is dead.”
Verse 15: “I am glad for YOUR sakes I was not there, so YOU may believe.
Verses 25-26a: “I AM the resurrection and LIFE, he who believes in ME shall LIVE, even if he dies, EVERYONE who loves and believes in ME shall NEVER die.
Verse 26b: DO YOU BELEIVE?
Verse 27: She said to Him, “YES, Lord. I have believed You are CHRIST the SON of God even He who comes into the world.”
Verse 32: When Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, fell at His feet, saying, “Lord, if you had, my brother would not have died.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.
Verse 4: There is so much more to our suffering in life than “just to kill us,” which is surely what God wants to do, right? How many of us hold this view of God? IF He is good, how can He allow suffering? God allows suffering to show us His goodness. God allowed two sisters to lose a brother, and a brother to lose his life, to show them His love. We have so many misunderstandings about the compassion and love of God. We think God’s love should look like our personal definition of love. God is not bound by our finite thoughts or feelings, and this is a GOOD thing!
Verse 6: Love often waits, not out of hate, evil or power issues, but out oflLove. We do not understand the compassion of a God who loves us with a relentless love. Trust God in the waiting, even if there is excruciating pain associated with that.
Verse 14: We do not serve a God who is unaware of the difficulties and suffering of life. Jesus does not skate over the facts; He sees it how it is, plainly—there is no time to live in denial. The reality of life is hard, and we serve a God who is not ignorant of that.
Verse 15: Our sorrow, suffering and heartache is not in vain. THERE is Purpose in the Pain, which brings hope. Jesus is more concerned with my eternal soul than with my temporary comfort.
Verse 25-26a: Jesus meets you in the middle of the pain and suffering. You never find Jesus hiding out or running from people, did you realize that? Jesus runs to the hard situation here, full of grief, blame, hurt, tension, and feelings of personal abandonment from Mary and Martha… (ever feel that same way about God?) Jesus waited, yes, but now He will weep with His handmade creation. Jesus tells EVERYONE CLEARLY who He is. Everyone WILL have a confrontation with Jesus, what you do with that is your choice. Jesus either is who He said He is and IS the WAY, TRUTH and LIFE, OR Jesus is the worst kind of humanity, a LIAR who has basically played the role of “pied piper” for ages… NOT bringing people to life, but death. There is no in between. If Jesus isn’t the SON OF GOD, then He truly isn’t even a good man or a prophet. Some think that Jesus is being very “exclusive” here… it’s Him or nothing. I see that as very clear. ALL roads DON’T lead to heaven… but the great thing here is that GOD is CLEAR about which One does!
Verse 26b: YOU MUST DECIDE ABOUT JESUS.
Verse 27: The hard times are where our faith turns from being something theoretical to being real. It’s not to stroke the ego of Jesus that Martha needed this moment; this moment is for Martha so that she can see, and know in her heart, what she believes. If you want to know what you truly believe about God, your belief is proven in the challenging and hard moments of life, when challenges force choices out of you. Martha worshipped Jesus IN it. This is what it looks like for faith to travel from being talked about in Sunday school circles to being lived out in your life. Your faith (or lack of it) is forced out, in moments like this.
Verse 32: We all have these statements, don’t we? “Lord, if You had…. then….” In the middle of her questions—her grief—notice Mary does not shake her fist and spew her ideas of justice and the love of God, Mary sees Jesus in it and falls at His feet, worships in the middle of her grief, knowing that just because she lost a brother, it doesn’t change the FACT of who Jesus is. All things are under His feet… even those things that He allows in our lives that we wish He didn’t. Often it is the hard stuff—the stuff for which we have more questions than answers—that brings us to the feet of Jesus.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?
Verse 4: What do you believe about God? Is He a God who cares less about your suffering and is the cause for it? OR Do you believe God is good and wants to use the suffering for a greater purpose? Are you willing to let God use your suffering to bring Him glory?
Verse 6: Are you waiting for God to move and fix things how and when you think they need to be fixed?
Verse 14: Are you willing to be raw and real in the presence of Jesus? Did you realize that He knows the pain, He can plainly see it, and you can just lay it out to Him and call it what it is?
Verse 15: Are you willing to ask God what He wants to do with your pain?
Verse 25-26a: What will you do with Jesus? Who do you say that He is?
Verse 26b: DO YOU BELIEVE?
Verse 27: What do your actions say about your belief, in those hard situations, the crossroads of your life when you are hemmed in? Do your words and actions agree?
Verse 32: Are you willing to just fall at the feet of Jesus in the middle of your pain and let it out? Do you feel guilty telling God you don’t get it, or if You had….? Isn’t it great that we can just lay out our realness at the feet of Jesus and it is not held against us? What posture do you have in your pain in the presence of Jesus?
LIVE IT OUT!
Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.
Oh, that you would be compelled to BELIEVE because of the relentless Love of a LIVING, LOVING Savior!!!!
Homework: John 11:35-40
Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!