Thursday, December 29, 2022

Give Me a Drink/Part One

 Give Me a Drink/Part One

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 39

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” John 4:7 (NKJV)

Jesus went from an encounter with Nicodemus in John three to another one with the woman at the well in chapter four.

His meeting with the Samaritan woman had a more positive outcome than it did with Nicodemus. Although we know Nicodemus became a [secret] follower of Jesus, he didn’t make his position clear at the conclusion of their middle-of-the night meeting. With the woman, not only did she believe Jesus was the Messiah, but an entire village believed in Him as a result.

I’m going to mess with your theology…with all those things you thought you knew about the Samaritan woman at the well. Let’s begin by revealing who this remarkable woman was not.

1.         A rejected woman

I’ve heard numerous sermons about this wretched woman who had to go to the well in the middle of the day (instead of in the morning) because she was ostracized by the other women in Sychar. Chapter and verse please. We read she went to the well to draw water. Nothing more. We do not find in scripture where she was rejected and ridiculed by the other women because of sexual promiscuity. 

2.         A sullied woman

We do know she had five marriages; however, we don’t know why. Nowhere does it state she was unfaithful to any of her husbands or did anything worthy of divorce. She could have been widowed five times for all we know. Also, in those days, a man was allowed to divorce his wife for even the smallest reason. If she didn’t please him, he could serve her with divorce papers. If he decided he no longer loved her, he could divorce her. Nowhere in scripture do we find that these men divorced her because of illegitimate sexual acts on her part.


She was a hurting woman, I’m sure. How could she not be wounded after five marriages for whatever reason? But sullied? I don’t see any evidence in the scriptures.

3.         A timid woman

When the Samaritan woman and Jesus got into a theological discussion she didn’t back down. She held her own with Him. I like that about her. She’s not the shameful, timid woman I’ve heard so much about in sermons.

4.         A woman living in sin

Jesus pointed out the man she lived with was not her husband. She admitted she lived with him although the scriptures never state they were having an illicit affair. Many people read between the lines and assume something sinister happened. Jesus never addressed her sexual sin. He never told her, “Go and sin no more.” Nor did He demand that she change her lifestyle. Just because she lived in this man’s house doesn’t mean she slept in his bed. In fact, if she was a widow, law required a kinsman to step up and provide for her.

Did I rattle your theology a little bit? I sure hope so. In the next devotion, we’ll look closer at her true character.

Father, I misunderstood this woman because I looked at her through my modern-day American interpretation of the Bible. I’ve come to realize there’s much more to this woman than I’ve given her credit for. I love it when You challenge me to look at scripture from a new perspective. Thank You for teaching me new and wonderful truths from Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, October 31, 2022

November Will be a Quiet Month

During the month of November, I won't be writing any posts on my blogs. I'm sure you find that bit of news devastating (not). I have been challenged to participate in NaNoWriMo. That stands for National November Writing Month. The goal is to write at least 50,000 words in that amount of time. I'll see you on the other side of attempting this crazy feat.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Give Me a Drink


Give Me a Drink

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 39

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” John 4:7 (NKJV)

Jesus goes from one encounter with Nicodemus in chapter three right into another one with the woman at the well in chapter four.

The outcome of His meeting with the woman had a more positive ending than it did with Nicodemus. Although we know Nicodemus became a [secret] follower of Jesus, he didn’t make his position clear at the conclusion of their middle-of-the night meeting. With the woman, not only did she believe Jesus was the Messiah, but an entire village believed in Him as a result.

This woman’s day (we never learn her name) started out like any other. Full of weary. Weary of life and its disappointments. Weary of being thrown away like a filthy rag, not once but five times. How does one recover from so many rejections? Why? Because some exes found a younger woman more appealing? Because she couldn’t bear children? Her dowery paled in comparison to another? She lost count of the excuses.

And now, she wearied from the shame of living with a man she didn’t marry. Once beautiful, she bore the scars from a life of misuse and abuse.

She stared out the window as the other women gathered at the well to draw water early that morning. She craved the friendly banter she witnessed among the women. However, no way would she associate with the judgmental women since their jeers were too painful to endure. It was safer to visit the well in the heat of the day when everyone else rested.

This woman started out her day like any other…defeated by life. Praise Jesus, it wouldn’t end that way. All it took were four words from a stranger. “Give Me a drink.” Those words started her down a life-changing path.

Father, just like the Samaritan woman, I used to be defeated and wearied by the hardships of life. I woke up every day empty, lost, and thirsty for more than what life offered. Then Jesus came into my life and offered me a fountain of living water. When I drank from it, eternal life sprang up within me. It changed my life forever. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Jesus Needed to Go Through Samaria

Jesus Needed to Go Through Samaria

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 38

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples). He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.   John 4:1-8 (NKJV)

There’s so much packed between the first verse of John 4 and when He said to the Samaritan woman, “Give Me a drink.” Let’s unpack some of these items before we delve into the interaction between Jesus and this woman.

 1..       He had to leave Judea.

            The Pharisees, although tolerant of John the Baptist, didn’t like his water baptisms and messages of repentance. Many of their faithful followers changed their allegiance to John. They were even more unhappy with Jesus who had a larger following than John. Verses 1-3 give indication Jesus left Judea because of the Pharisees. He didn’t run away in fear of them but out of concern that He would be arrested and crucified before His time.

 2.        The Holy Spirit led Him.

On His way to Galilee, Jesus went the shortest and most direct route He could take - through Samaria. Due to strong animosity between the Jews and Samaritans, many Jewish travelers went out of their way to not go through Samaria. Although Samaritans were somewhat distant relatives, the Jews felt they erred in their religious practices since they didn’t worship God at the temple in Jerusalem.

            Not Jesus.


“But He needed to go through Samaria” gives indication God sent Him on a specific mission. To fulfill the mission, it was imperative He go through Samaria. The Spirit compelled Him to go to the well outside of Sychar to meet with a lost and hurting woman. A Samaritan who had value in the eyes of God.

 3.        Jesus faced human limitations.

He walked quite a distance that morning. His feet hurt and He thirsted for water. Jesus completely understands our physical struggles because He experienced them too. He chose to live within the realms of the natural law as a human so He could die for us. And yet, He is God. (It would take volumes to explain what our finite minds struggle to grasp here.) Suffice to say, Jesus is both God and human.


Father, thank You for the encouragement we receive in the above verses. You loved the woman of Samaria long before she ever heard about Jesus. You set her up for a great encounter with the Messiah. We have value in Your eyes as well. Your love for us is unconditional. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for drawing us to Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Nicodemus: Was He Born Again?

 Nicodemus: Was He Born Again?

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 37

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.  John 19:38-40 (NKJV).

The above passage relates the final time John mentions Nicodemus.

Up until the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, scripture gives no evidence Nicodemus publicly declared himself to be Jesus’ disciple. The scriptures indicate just the opposite – He and Joseph of Arimathea, both Pharisees, were secret followers.

After Jesus died, many of His followers laid low for fear of being the next martyr. Not Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea. They went public. I’m sure word spread rapidly that the two Pharisees accepted the responsibility of burying Jesus according to Jewish custom.

That act alone could’ve cost them their reputations, positions, and possibly their lives.

Be forewarned. The rest of this devotion is “the gospel according to Lollie” so please bear with me.

I want to believe Nicodemus was born again and is with his Savior.

I don’t know if Nicodemus saw Jesus after His resurrection, but the good news must’ve impacted his life. After all, he touched Jesus’ corpse. He helped wrap His body in strips of linen with the special spices he purchased. He knew for a fact Jesus died.

Jesus’ resurrection forced Nicodemus to a point of decision…to believe or not believe He was the Messiah. Jesus’ words in John, Chapter 3, would have stirred his spirit because God’s Word doesn’t return void (Isaiah 55:10, 11). Since he followed Jesus before His crucifixion, albeit secretively, I think it was a probable next step for Nicodemus to accept Him as his Living Savior.

Yes, my theory is speculation. Maybe I'm sympathetic towards him because he seemed like a sincere man, but I’ll be looking for him once I reach heaven.

How about you? The important question now is, “Are you born again?” Have you given your life to Jesus? Click here to learn how you can be born again: :May His Light Shine More Brightly: Salvation (

Father, thank You that I am born again. Jesus is my Savior and my Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and making me a new person. The old has past and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Nicodemus' Response to the Words of Jesus

Nicodemus’ Response to the Words of Jesus

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 36


Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”  John 7:45-52 (NKJV)

Before we move on to other “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus, let’s take another look at Nicodemus.

At the conclusion of John 3:1-21, nothing indicates that Nicodemus became a follower of Jesus. However, this isn’t the only place in the book of John we read about Nicodemus.

The above scriptures relate the second time John mentions Nicodemus. Prior to the officers (temple guards) reporting Jesus’ behavior to the religious leaders, they had witnessed Him teaching in the temple during The Feast of Tabernacles. Some of the people believed He was the Christ while others refused to believe since nothing good came out of Galilee. As a result, a commotion arose among the crowd. The officers were supposed to whisk Him away, but they didn’t because they were mesmerized by His words (vs. 10-44).

The frustrated Sanhedrin demanded to know why the officers didn’t bring Jesus to them. They accused the guards of being deceived by Jesus. They challenged the officers by asking the wrong question. “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?” They didn’t realize the answer to their question was “Yes.” We know of at least two Pharisees who believed in Him…Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38-40).

Both were covert disciples of Jesus. The passage above which reads, “Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them” (vs. 50) indicates he was a secret follower. He pointed out that his peers broke the law by deeming Him guilty before He had an opportunity to defend Himself (vs. 51).

Nicodemus had a lot to lose if he declared Jesus as the Messiah. Did he ever publicly declare his faith in Him? We do know Nicodemus wasn’t ready to make such a statement in these verses. We’ll continue this discussion in the next devotion.

How about you? Are you a covert Christian or are you willing to declare boldly, “…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15[b]).

Father, may my faith in Jesus be bold and steadfast. May I not hesitate to openly declare He is my Savior and my Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

My Choice - Light or Darkness


My Choice – Light or Darkness

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 35

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he Who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  John 3:17-21 (NKJV)

During my junior high years (now middle school), I was insecure which probably made me a typical adolescent. I also had a recurring nightmare that my subconscious couldn’t shake.

In my dream, I was invited to hang out with the popular kids from school. It was always at night. Once I got to my destination – whether the beach, hamburger joint, football game, etc. – the kids would turn a spotlight on me. Evidently, I was the only one aware of the fact that I didn’t have any clothes on. I tried to run but I couldn’t. I was stuck in the spotlight, frozen in shame. Then my peers would mock me and call me names. (Please tell me someone else had those dreams in their early teen years.)

I think that’s a good analogy of how I felt when the Holy Spirit dealt with my love of darkness before I gave my life to Jesus. (Darkness gives reference to my life without God.) When the Truth of God’s Word illuminated my evil deeds, it brought shame and condemnation. That’s probably why I preferred the obscurity of blackness. My evil deeds remained hidden in the darkness.

Initially, I hated the light. (Light gives reference to God’s Truth which exposed my sin.) When the spotlight shone on my sinister ways it immobilized me with shame. Sort of like the “deer in the headlights” scenario.

At that point, I had a choice. Slink back into the darkness or allow the Holy Spirit to continue to shine the Truth of His light on my life leading me from condemnation to guilt to repentance to forgiveness to freedom from shame.

Father, thank You for calling me out of darkness into Your marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Thank You that I am no longer under shame and condemnation because I am forgiven in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). I choose truth and light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(For further explanation of my transformed life, click on the page titled, “Salvation.”)


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Jesus Didn't Come to Condemn the World

 Jesus Didn’t Come to Condemn the World

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 34

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18 (NKJV)

Robert Wilson was found guilty of murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery in a Georgia courtroom. He received three life sentences, plus seven years, for each crime he committed. Only by the grace of God did he not receive the death penalty.

The jury didn’t condemn Robert nor did the judge who tried the case. His own actions condemned him. It was the judge’s duty to make sure he had a fair trial, and that the resulting guilty verdict was carried out.

Let’s revisit the bronze serpent mentioned in John 3:14, 15. The Israelites were judged by God because of their constant complaining and lack of faith. As a result of their guilt, God sent poisonous snakes to bite the people. Many people died. Once they cried out to God and repented, He gave them an antidote. He had Moses set a bronze snake on a pole. When folks looked up at the snake, they were healed.

God nor Moses condemned the Israelites for their complaining. Like Robert, they condemned themselves by their own actions.

Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We’re all guilty of sin. Maybe we didn’t murder someone, but we’re still marked by our sinful nature.

Romans 6:23(a) says, “For the wages of sin is death.” We receive a sentence because of our sin. Robert’s consequence was three life sentences. Poisonous snake bites were the sentence for the Israelites. Eternal death is our sentence.

Thank God for the rest of Romans 6:23, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world. It was already condemned. Jesus came to rescue humankind from the consequences of their sin by being lifted high on a cross.

Through believing in Him, we are pardoned from spiritual death and receive eternal life. Those who choose not to believe in His name are condemned by their own sin. Sadly, since they refuse to look up to the One lifted high, the guilt can’t be removed from their lives.

Father, Jesus didn’t come to condemn mankind. Like Robert, it’s our sinful actions that condemn us. Thank You that Jesus is our Salvation. When we believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God, we are forgiven and eternal life is ours. More importantly, our relationship with Him is restored. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Robert Wilson was twice pardoned…once by his Savior Jesus Christ while incarcerated and a second time miraculously by the state of Georgia. You can find his incredible story of redemption in his book Beyond Hope. Here is a link to his book. Click on the link for direct access: Beyond Hope - Kindle edition by Wilson, Robert. Self-Help Kindle eBooks @

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

For God So Love the World...Say What?

 For God So Loved the World…Say What?

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 33

 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:14-17 (NKJV)

Nicodemus probably had a tough time accepting what Jesus said in verse sixteen. “For God so loved the world…” went against everything he believed. Befitting the Pharisaic mindset, Jesus should have stated “For God so loved the Jewish people that He gave His only begotten Son…”

The Jews expected the Messiah to come, not to the entire world, but exclusively to them to save them from Roman domination. That’s why Nicodemus visited Jesus in the middle of night. His thought was, “Could this be The One the scriptures prophesied about?”

It’s easy for me to condemn the Jewish view of exclusiveness, and yet, the truth is at times I’m guilty of the same thing. And I don’t have Nicodemus’ excuse either. According to God’s own law, He consecrated them as His unique people and set them apart from the rest of mankind to fulfill His purposes and plans. God even promised the Messiah would descend from the nation of Israel.

When I arrive in heaven, I’ll probably be shocked at some of the folks who are there. How did the Catholics and Methodists get in? After all, their doctrines pale in comparison to the one for my denomination. I’ll let the Baptist slide because they are strong on salvation and baptism, although I don’t quite buy the “you have to be baptized to get to heaven” part.

Of course, I’m being facetious. I think you get my point. My denomination doesn’t hold the keys to heaven and eternal life, only Jesus Christ does. Even so, I do know when Nicodemus heard Jesus declare that God loved all people, it was a tough pill for him to swallow.

Father, You indeed love the entire world. Your love isn’t exclusive but all-inclusive. Please forgive me where I have judged others and attempted to exclude them from Your love. Or where I have deemed my denomination superior and authoritative compared to other denominations. As a result of Your great love, You have the whole world in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, March 28, 2022

The Bronze Serpent


The Bronze Serpent

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 32

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:14-16 (NKJV)

Numbers 21:4-9 tells the account of the bronze serpent. In the wilderness, the Israelites complained to Moses about everything. God punished them for their ungrateful attitudes by sending poisonous snakes to bite the people. Many died. After the Israelites repented, God gave them an antidote. He had Moses make a bronze serpent on a pole. Anyone who looked at the bronze serpent was immediately healed.

In John 3:14-16, Jesus’ predicted His death to Nicodemus. Just like Moses raised the bronze serpent on a pole, Jesus would be raised up too. However, He wasn’t raised up in glory but on a cross where He suffered horribly.

Two provisions were made for all people when Jesus was lifted on the cross:

1.         Salvation

Did you notice in verses 15 and 16 Jesus declared His deity? He claimed Himself to be God’s only begotten Son who could offer everlasting life. His declaration didn’t sit well with Israel’s spiritual leaders, and it cost Him His life.

The Israelites who looked at the bronze serpent were saved from physical death. When we look to the cross of Jesus Christ and believe we’re saved from eternal death. (See page titled "Salvation" for further information.)

 2.         Healing

The Israelites who looked at the serpent on the pole were healed of their poisonous snake bites. When we look to Jesus, His wounded body provides healing for our sick and broken bodies.

             Isaiah 53:5 states:       He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement of our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.


1 Peter 2:24 states:      Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.


We are saved through Jesus' shed blood. We are healed because provision was made through

the stripes He bore. Receive salvation and healing now in the name of Jesus.



Father, thank You that through Your resurrection power, Jesus is alive. Thank You we

have eternal life in Him. Thank You for the healing that is ours through His broken body.

In Jesus' powerful and authoritative name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Complaining = Rebellion

Complaining = Rebellion

The “Red Letter Words” of Jesus

Day 31

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:14-16 (NKJV)

In Numbers 21:4-9, you will find the story of the serpent mentioned in the above scriptures. In this Biblical account, the Israelites complained to Moses about God delivering them from Egypt. They nitpicked about the wilderness and the manna too. Whine. Whine. Whine.

God became fed up with them and brought judgment because of their angry and rebellious spirits. The Lord sent fiery serpents. “Fiery” references their bodies’ reaction to being bit by poisonous snakes.

The people went to Moses and admitted they had sinned against the Lord and repented of their rebellious attitudes. Immediately, God gave the antidote. He told Moses to make a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. Everyone bitten by a snake who looked up at the pole was healed.

Time to be vulnerable. I’m a complainer. I’m a “my glass is half-empty” kind of person. Even complainers think I complain a lot. Okay, you get my point. I may want to heed what happened to the Israelites.

When I moan and groan about my situation, my eyes are on my problem and not the Lord. When I murmur, I’m letting the Lord know I don’t like what has happened in my life. I’m not happy with the cards He’s dealt me. I don’t like His way; I want my will to be done. That’s called rebellion. When I protest, I lack trust in God.

Anyone else want to raise your hand and say, “Me too.”

Father, I admit I’m a complainer. Instead of looking to You, I focus on my circumstances. I blame you for dealing me a bad hand. I become angry and cling to my ways. I accuse You of not caring about me. Please forgive me. I have sinned against You. You do care…so much so You sent Your Son to take my punishment on the cross. May I choose to trust You. Your ways and thoughts are higher than mine and are for my good (Isaiah 55:8-9). In Jesus’ name Amen.

(In the next devotion, we’ll look at how the fiery bronze serpent typifies Jesus Christ.)

Monday, February 28, 2022

I'm Back

I've been quiet for the last few months refining a manuscript for a children's chapter fiction book and ended up adding several chapters to it. Whew. It may take me a couple weeks to get back into the groove of writing on my blogs again, but I'm looking forward to the change. The nitty-gritty of preparing the manuscript for an editor was grueling but glad I focused on getting it done.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Jesus: Human and Divine


Jesus:  Human and Divine

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day Thirty

If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.  John 3:12-13 (NKJV)

Nicodemus struggled to understand heavenly things via his human nature (vs. 12). He couldn’t comprehend godly truths with a natural mind. Hence, the reason he needed a spiritual rebirth.

Jesus had a dual nature. Verse thirteen gives us some insight into His dual nature. Jesus’ preferred title for Himself, “The Son of Man,” gives reference to His human nature. And “…who is in heaven” gives reference to Jesus’ divine nature.

I admit the above scriptures confused me when I first started studying them. How could Jesus be in two places (earth and heaven) at the same time? It’s a head scratcher of a question, for sure.

Let’s look at John 1:51 to help us understand Jesus’ statement. “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Jesus’ body was limited by the laws of His humanness. That’s why He couldn’t perform miracles until the Holy Spirit, like a dove, lit on Him. However, His spirit, not limited by the laws of nature, knew no bounds. Heaven was wide open to Him. He had connection in the spiritual realm allowing Him readily access to His Father and home.

In John 3:13, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that heaven was His eternal home (long before His Bethlehem birth). Who better to teach spiritual truths than someone who had come from there? It’s true Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven, but they never returned to earth. Jesus, being the only one who descended from there, understood its ways and glory.

Jesus makes it clear heaven is open to us today. Through rebirth our spiritual eyes can be awakened to its activities, warfare, and dynamics. He gives us first-hand knowledge of its funtionality and splendor. The Holy Spirit helps us to comprehend those heavenly things which were previously hidden to Nicodemus and us.

“But as it is written:  ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:9-10  (NKJV)

Monday, October 11, 2021

Nicodemus Understood Religion, Not Spirituality

 Nicodemus Understood Religion, Not Spirituality

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day Twenty-Nine


Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”  John 3: 9-12 (NKJV)

I’m encouraged by Nicodemus’ question. It seems to me he wanted to push through the confusion he experienced to some type of understanding of what it meant to be born again. He became the humble student instead of the well-renown teacher.

I like what Charles John Ellicott has to say:  The answer to the previous question has spoken of a spiritual birth and a spiritual life and a spiritual kingdom, but all this is in a region of which the Rabbinic schools knew nothing. They were the authorized exponents of Law and Prophets; they knew the precise number of words, and the shape of letters; the form of a phylactery, and the width of a fringe; the tithing of garden herbs, and the manner of washing the hands; but spirit, life, a man’s soul born again!—“how can these things be?”

Nicodemus understood religion all too well. Spirituality, not so much.

Jesus “called him out” since Nicodemus was more than a common teacher…he taught in the Sanhedrin…the governing, religious authority. Nicodemus’ words carried weight and power. It became imperative for him to teach the truth; but, first, he had to understand the truth.

The interpretation of the “We” and “Our” in the above scriptures vary with each Bible scholar I studied. Some say they were plural references to Jesus; others say they referenced the presence of some of the disciples with him; and still, others say they referenced Jesus’ and John the Baptist’s teachings. The one thing they all agree on is Nicodemus didn't accept Jesus' teachings right away. They believe he eventually did, although he remained in darkness that night.

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it."  John 1:4,5 (NKJV)

Nicodemus lived in darkness and only through rebirth could he understand the truth of Jesus’ words. Being born again brought him into the light and helped him comprehend “heavenly things.” 

That's true for all of us. It wasn’t until I gave my heart to Jesus that I could say, “Ah, now I get it.” It took the Holy Spirit to illuminate my understanding to spiritual truths.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Understanding the Spirit

Understanding the Spirit

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day Twenty-Eight

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:7, 8 (NKJV)

What was true in Nicodemus’ time isn’t true today. Advancements in meteorology have helped us to know from where the wind comes and where it goes. Hurricanes can now be forewarned thanks to Doppler Radar and satellite imagining. Understanding Low- and High-Pressure Systems help predict the direction of the wind and its velocity

Nicodemus didn’t have the luxury of modern science to help him predict wind or weather. Even with all the sophisticated meteorological equipment we have today, science still can’t control the direction of the wind. Just like in Nicodemus’ time, the wind blows where it wishes.

So does the Spirit of God. We can recognize the effects of the Holy Spirit; however, we can’t control Him any more than we can control the wind.

Jesus wanted Nicodemus to know that, although he couldn’t control the Spirit of God, he could discern the things of God by being born again. The truths Jesus shared with him fell on confused ears since he hadn’t experienced spiritual rebirth yet.

Look at Nicodemus’ response in verse nine, “How can these things be?” He tried to see spiritual truths through carnal eyes. As a footnote, the above scripture was a play on words. The word “Spirit” means “breath” or “wind.” Nicodemus simply didn’t get it because he was spiritually dead.

Being born again helps us discern godly things. Even then, we can’t always understand the purpose of the Spirit’s comings and goings, but we can see the effects of it. We can give personal testimony how the Holy Spirit impacts our lives as He lives in us.

Let’s face it, we can’t control the wind. We can’t control the Spirit of God either. But we can become intimately acquainted with Him. It begins with being born again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Born of the Spirit

 Born of the Spirit

The “Red-Letter Words” of Jesus

Day Twenty-Seven

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:5-7 (NKJV)

When Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again, it shocked him. Hence, the “Do not marvel” part. Nicodemus thought his religious pedigree and good works were sufficient to earn him entrance into God’s kingdom. They weren’t because his spirit man was dead and needed to be revitalized.

Newborns of my generation have something in common which isn’t practiced today. We got our butts spanked. If a baby didn’t immediately cry, the doctor would hold the baby upside down and give him or her a smack on the butt. The doctor believed the shock of the smack helped jump-start the baby’s breathing. Must have worked. I’m here.

When God created man, He did something unique that He didn’t do for other creative beings. Adam’s first breath came from God. Of course, Adam was a grown man so holding him upside down and giving him a good smack on the butt wouldn’t have been dignified. However, God did literally breathe life into Adam.

God then created another human being to be a helpmate to Adam. The Bible doesn’t say if God breathed life into Eve but, obviously, something happened. Perhaps a first kiss from her husband?

Adam and Eve had perfect communion with God until the dreadful day they disobeyed Him and ate the forbidden fruit. Sin came into the world like a fatal sucker punch to the gut. Man’s spirit died that day. Direct communion with God was severed and needed to be restored. Spiritual rebirth became necessary.

Thankfully, Nicodemus came to understand his need to be born again. Jesus so impacted his life that, after His death and prior to His resurrection, Nicodemus risked his reputation and life by helping Joseph of Arimathea procure Jesus’ body for burial in the tomb. (John 19:38-42)

Jesus’ declaration to Nicodemus still holds true today. You must be born again. Just like God breathed life into Adam, the Holy Spirit can breathe life into your spirit. This comes about through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and commit your life to Him. Your spirit being will leap to life within you as you take your first spiritual breath.