Day 237 Jesus predicts the world’s hatred John 15: 18-16:4

Guided reflection:

Have you ever felt like you do not belong to this world – you think differently than what seems to be the norm?  Well, bravo!  In this passage, Jesus promises us that the world will hate us if we do His will.   We are citizens of heaven, just passing through on this earth… so we are not to think like everyone else.  We are to live on another level.   But we have the Holy Spirit to be with us and in us.  So, don’t be surprised if you don’t fit in!  Jesus was letting go of this world, too!

Guided prayer: (words from a song from my childhood come back to me as our prayer)

This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through/My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue/The angels beckon me from heaven's open door/And I can't feel at home in this world anymore...Amen” 

Day 236 The Vine and Branches John 15: 1-17

Guided reflection:

Remember, Jesus is spending his last times with his disciples.  Every word is important.  This metaphor uses a vine to represent Jesus; the gardener/pruner is God; and we are the branches.  We will die if we do not stay connected to the vine, and we will not be as fruitful as we could be if we do not yield to the pruning!   The goal of our lives is to produce fruit.   Jesus wants our joy, our fruitfulness to be complete.  Bottom line Love God, means you Love Jesus, Love Jesus means you love others; love others means we love God... and the circle continues.   Pay attention – Love one another!  How are you going with that?   What needs to be “pruned” in you to make you more fruitful?

Guided prayer:

“I want to abide in you, O God.  I want to be fruitful for you.  Do what you need to do in me so I can mature and be connected to the source. Show me where my connections are weak.  Amen” 

Day 235 Jesus prays for us John 14: 15-31

Guided reflection:

This is one of the dearest passages in all of scripture. Jesus is explaining how to keep the faith… keep the relationship with him going after he leaves them.  These are his last statements to his beloved ones.  We call this the last supper for a reason…and John lets us in on the conversation,  Enjoy the words… Jesus is giving you instructions on how to make it in this world where we have trouble and fear – but we need to be at peace, because Jesus has overcome the world!    Do not worry or be upset!!  Just do what Jesus told you to do!

Guided prayer:

“Sometimes I am afraid.  Sometimes I am not at peace.   Help me hear the words of Jesus to not be afraid… that Jesus is the overcomer and then so am I!  Thank you for your peace.  Amen”

Day 234 Jesus’ promise about the next life John 14:1-14

Guided reflection:

This passage is a favorite to use at funerals, because we are saying good by to a loved one, just as Jesus was saying good by to his dear Disciples – thus to us!   Now that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, He is actively preparing a place for us… where there is room for us – our coming is anticipated!  Jesus is the way to that next life… and He is not worried about us!   If we believe in Jesus, then we will do even greater works than Jesus did because His spirit is with us, empowering us to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Are you afraid to die?  Do you believe that Jesus is preparing a place for you?

Guided prayer:

“You do not want my heart to be troubled… so I believe in what Jesus said to the disciples.  I trust that a place is prepared for me.  I trust that my coming is anticipated and cherished.  Help my unbelief!  Amen!”

Day 233 The New Commandment John 13: 31-35

Guided reflection:

Jesus wants them to know that He is not going to be with them much longer.  Now they must change their focus from him to each other.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another. As ‘I have loved you, so you must love one another.  If you have love for one another, then I will know you are my disciples.”  Well, dear ones, that is Jesus’ bottom line.  How are you doing at loving others?  Does your servant hood show that you are a disciple?  What can you do right now to be love for others?  Make a ”to do” list!

Guided prayer:

“I have not always loved others as you would have me love.  Forgive me.  But also help me come up with concrete plans to show your love.  Amen”   (OK, what is your plan?)

Day 232 Jesus washes His Disciples’ Feet John 13:P 1-20

Guided reflection:

I wonder why this was not recorded in the other gospels, but John makes sure we get the whole story.   At the Last Supper, no one did the servants job of washing their dusty feet, so Jesus does it!   Jesus uses this act to be an object lesson about servant hood.  Jesus wants us to know that it is when we serve others, we are serving Christ.   Jesus wants them (and us) to know that if we receive Him, we receive God – they are one.   And, Jesus wants us to know that our greatness is correlated to our humbleness in God’s book!

Guided prayer:

“I want to be a servant for Jesus too.  I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I want to be made clean through Jesus’ words.  Amen.”

Day 231 Judgment by Jesus’ Word John 12: 44-50

Guided reflection:

Now Jesus was speaking to the people of his day who were not listening to him but instead judging him and plotting to kill him, but his words are still for us today!  Do you believe in Jesus – then you believe in God!  If you believe in Jesus, then you have access to light and can get out of darkness!  We do not need to feel shamed or condemned by Jesus, because Jesus did not come to condemn us, but to save us!  In other words, the stories of Jesus you have been reading are not just literature, but are life giving words!  Do you believe?

Guided prayer:

            “I do believe, help my unbelief! Amen” 

Day 230 Jesus and his own brothers John 7:1-9

Guided reflection:

Jesus did not want to go to Judea because the folks were out to kill him.  But his own brothers – not the disciples, but his kin – did not really believe that their brother was really the Son of God – would you?  They encouraged Jesus to go to the Feast in Judea so he could “show off” with a few miracles so everyone would know about him.  But Jesus told them that this was not the time to go to Judea – they should go on without him.  But not to worry, the world would not hate them because he was their brother… the world only would hate him because he was the one who spoke the words of truth about the world’s problems and lack of faith.  It would have been hard to believe that your big brother was really a “God”, wouldn’t it?  You will note that John’s gospel shows the Pharisees being ready to kill Jesus earlier in the story line that the other three gospels.  Has it ever been difficult for you to follow Jesus?

Guided prayer:

“Today I pray for those who are tortured for their faith.  We are so thankful that we have the freedom to worship as we please.   However, when I am comfortable, I often forget to keep my faith in the forefront of my life.  I stop at this moment and ask that you show me where you want me to grow today.  Amen” 

Day 229 Words of Eternal Life John 6: 60- 71

Guided reflection:

Jesus must have been gathering a rather large group of disciples, but Jesus teachings were beginning to be too hard to grasp and live out.  So, many grumbled and gave up on following Jesus. He had the 12 left… and he asked if they were going to leave too!  Peter replied “Where else can we go?  You have the words of life!  We choose you!”   Have you ever felt like walking with Jesus was too hard?  Remember Peter’s words – to whom can we go besides Jesus?

Guided prayer:

“I do not understand all that I need to know about loving and following Jesus.  I just know that you are my source of life and love.  Help me to keep my eyes upon Jesus.  Amen” 

Day 228 Jesus is the Bread of Life John 6: 25-59

Guided reflection:

Jesus said to the crowd “Do not work for food that spoils, but work for food that last for eternity.”  Where are you placing your energy – in things that are fleeting, or things that matter?   And, by the way, is your soul hungry?  Feeling empty?  Jesus is the bread of life!  Live!   The Pharisees really had a hard time with this teaching – they did not “get” the metaphor… they made fun by saying Jesus was a flesh eating cannibal!    WE know that Jesus meant that what we really need is what He can offer – God in made flesh – Immanuel, God with us, Love with and in us.  Like the song says “what the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”   Jesus is what we need!  What have you been “feeding” yourself that is worthless?  How might you “feed” on Jesus?

Guided Prayer:

“Why do I look to things of this world to fill my life?  How is it that I long for truth and light and love and yet do not pay attention to the one who is the source of that Love?  Feed me, bread of life.  Fill the empty places in my heart with you.  Amen”