October 8 “Hear”

Hear

“Hearing” is a much deeper process than simply detecting sound. It means understanding. Jesus told His detractors that they failed to “hear” Him. By this He was not referring to their ears but to their hearts. The condition of the heart determines what any of us can “hear.” Educators refer to a condition of readiness, defined as a state of being when one can learn something new. For the student, until readiness happens no amount of lessons will get through. For the enemies of Jesus and those with no interest in spiritual things, there was little readiness about them.

Who is your Father?
His message was another factor that hindered the ability of so many in Jesus’ audience. It was truth from another world, the good news of higher Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. It was time for the leaders of God’s people to expand their theology and understand deeper things, higher things, sweeter things, more powerful things—to really hear the message of Jesus. He spoke to them of His heavenly Father as the source of these things. They protested,

“Abraham is our father.”

According to the detailed genealogies so important to them, this was indeed the case. Jesus wanted them to call on a greater Father.

“If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.”

Abraham was their Father in the faith—a hero of the faith—a believer in the Word of God. As children of Abraham, they should also be people of faith, hearing and obeying the Word of God. Abraham set the example of faith by following God’s direction by travelling to a new world. This was exactly what God wanted them to do—follow Jesus into a new land of a New Covenant.

To their chagrin, Jesus accused them of doing the evil works of some other father. They were outraged, protesting that not only Abraham but God Himself was their father. Their lack of relationship with the Father created their lack of readiness.

“If God were your Father, you would love Me!”

If they really loved God, they would love Him. If they believed God they would believe Him. They could not hear Jesus because they did not hear the Word of God. Then Jesus told them the truth they never wanted to hear.

“You are of your father the devil… there is no truth in him…for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Who is of God?
The proof of who is of God and who is of the devil, is found in the beliefs and behavior of an individual. In another place Jesus said that we would know people by their works. Some of the people in the Temple courts that day were truly the people of God while others were wholly owned subsidiaries of Satan. Those who were of God, heard the words of Jesus and took them to heart letting them work mightily in them, changing them from the inside out. Pause and remember those who believed,

  • 12 ordinary men, called to follow Jesus,
  • a young member of the Sanhedrin,
  • a woman with a checkered past in Samaria,
  • a nobleman’s son healed with a word from Jesus,
  • a lame man by the pool, and
  • a hungry multitude in the wilderness.

Others witnessed events like these and went away unchanged.

“Hearing” is a much deeper process than simply detecting sound.

Scriptures:
John 8:37-47

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father — God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
Matthew 7:15-20
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You promised that Your followers would hear Your voice, the way sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd. It is true. I know Your voice and rest in Your tender words. I also know Your rebuke when I need correction, gentle but firm. Thank You, Lord! I hear Your voice in the Word. I hear Your voice in conversations with brothers and sisters. I hear Your voice when the preacher opens the Book behind the sacred desk. I hear Your voice in the liturgies of worship–the holy songs we sing. Thank You, Lord, for speaking life to me. Amen.

Song:
Wonderful Words of Life

Words and Music: P. P. Bliss

1. Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life;
let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty:

Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.

2. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all wonderful words of life;
sinner, list to the laving call, wonderful words of life;
all so freely given, wooing us to heaven

Refrain

3. Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life;
offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever,

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

October 7 “Free”

Free

Roman soldiers armed to the teeth with officers on horseback and soldiers packing short swords and long spears patrolled the cities, highways and villages of Israel.
This was called Pax Romana, “the Roman peace.” Limited religious freedom was granted to the nations occupied by Rome. They were free to worship whatever gods they had invented. Among pagan nations this worked well—tolerance of all manner of gods and all modes of worship made sense. With the Jews, there was a problem: they worshiped only one God and rejected all others. This practice sealed them off from the rest of civilization, and made them the exception to the Roman rule.

We have no king but Caesar.
In a few chapters of John’s gospel we will hear the leaders and the people confess this fateful chant. At that moment it was the subtext of everything said and done. As long as the worshipers of the One True God kept their religion out of politics, a fragile peace made daily life possible. To one degree or another, the people of Israel harbored a whispered hope—Messiah! Through His prophets, the One True God they worshiped had promised a Redeemer, a Deliverer, a King who would take the government on His shoulders and of His Kingdom there would be no end. This was the threat to Rome, especially as would-be “messiahs” often appeared making the claim to the One. To survive this captivity, the leaders tried to keep worship going without the emphasis on Messiah. The appearance of Jesus disturbed this unspoken strategy.

More than Miracles
The miracles of Jesus were acts of mercy, relieving the suffering of so many and awakening hope in so many others. There was more to His ministry than deeds of mercy; there was a message of truth. The truth He taught was not a refutation of the Law; it was the fulfillment of it.

  • After centuries of sacrifices and multitudes of lambs, Jesus was the final Lamb. John the Baptist said so!
  • After wilderness tabernacles and palatial temples, Jesus was now the habitation of God by His Spirit.
  • After generations of reading and chanting the written Word, Jesus came as the Living Word.
  • Jesus was the final prophet, the promised King, the Sun of Righteousness rising with healing in His wings.

His message was as powerful and transformative as His miracles.

Free Indeed
His message was the herald of true freedom, a greater freedom than Rome could provide or crush. It was a freedom born in faith in Him. Listen to His words:

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.”

Of course, the leaders could not let this invitation pass. They pled the case for their “freedom” under Rome.

“We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone.
How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

The truth was and is, all sons of Abraham—all human beings, for that matter—are slaves to sin. It doesn’t matter which politicians rule, people are slaves to sin until Jesus sets them free. When He rules in the heart, true freedom is the result.

History has proven this freedom to be greater than

  • the dungeons and legions of Rome,
  • the prisons of fascism or communism,
  • the chains of American slavery,
  • the shackles of poverty and
  • any other prison or chain or oppression man can devise.

In all these historical tragedies, believers have been free in their spirits on earth and destined for eternal freedom in the great beyond.

Scriptures:
John 8:31-36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I called out to You, You heard me. When I repented of my sinful life, You forgave me. When I confessed You as Lord, You became my Savior. The chains of sin that bound me fell from my life at Your command. You sent Your Blessed Holy Spirit to abide in my heart so that I can walk in the Spirit, walk about in freedom by Your power. Most of all, I am free to tell Your story to my world and to worship You with Your church on earth and heaven. Thank God I Am Free! Amen and Amen.

Song:
Thank God I Am Free

Words and Music: James McFall

1. For a long time I traveled down a long, lonely road,
My heart was so heavy, in sin I sank low;
Then I heard about Jesus, what a wonderful hour!
I’m so glad that I found out
He would bring me out through His saving pow’r.

Refrain:
Thank God I am free, free, free from this world of sin,
Washed in the blood of Jesus, I’ve been born again;
Hallelujah, I’m saved, saved, saved by His wonderful grace.
I’m so glad that I found out
He would bring me out and show me the way.

2. Like a bird out of prison that’s taken his flight,
Like a blind man that God gave back his sight;
Like the poor wretched beggar that’s found fortune and fame,
I’m so glad that I found out
He would bring me out through His Holy Name.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

October 6 “Father”

Father

It is fair to say that Jesus stood out from the crowd.
Life with Jesus was an adventure. Twelve men followed Him everywhere, dispersing themselves among the people watching and listening at all times. Crowds pressed Him without mercy, some with sickening needs, others with dangerous motivations. After the latest challenge by the Pharisees, Jesus began to speak publicly about when this all would end.

“I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin.
Where I go you cannot come.”

Surprised by this, His enemies whispered among themselves what He might mean by “going away.” Did He mean departure—no doubt they hoped for this—or did He mean suicide? There was no way of predicting what He might do or understanding what His words meant. They could not hide their breathless questions from Jesus.

“I am from above.”
Jesus wanted them to understand. His visit to this earth would be brief by design. He had come from “above” to do a work here “below.” Just as they could not restrain Him before His “time,” neither could they stop Him from completing His mission. Once again He explained that His origin was a different one from theirs. He made it as clear as He could:

“You are of this world; I am not of this world.”

He also made it personal and dangerous not to believe in Him.

‘Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins;
for if you do not believe that I am He…’

Who are You?
The Pharisees and priest had had enough of this pointless discussion. One of them blurted out the question that troubled each of them.

“Who are You?”

They knew the rumors.

  • He was a carpenter’s son from Nazareth,
  • He was a gifted speaker who held massive crowds spellbound while teaching incomprehensible things,
  • He was either a healer or a magician who worked wonders or performed magic tricks depending on what one wanted to believe, and for sure,
  • He was a trouble maker who threatened the fragile peace of the day and the power structures of the nation.

Those in the crowd who believed in Him shouted their answer to the crucial question—He was the Christ, the Promised One, the Messiah! This was the greatest fear of the leaders. They shouted protests and all order was lost. When a quieter moment presented itself, Jesus tried once again to explain.

“I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true;
and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

He was talking about His heavenly Father who prompted His every move and message. His connection with Jehovah was the key to believing in Him.

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone,
for I always do those things that please Him.”

Lifted Up
He spoke of a coming day when He would be “lifted up.’ At that moment those of faith would see and understand.

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things…”

That day of “lifting up” was still in the future but, even on this day of debate and discourse, many believed on Him.

Scriptures:
John 8:21-30
Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?” And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the bond between You and our Heavenly Father is a mystery, but this I know—it is strong, unbreakable, and eternally secure. Just as You walked this earth in dynamic contact with the Father, so may I today walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. I please the Father when I stand in Your righteousness and not my own. When I have seen You, I have seen the Father! Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Song:
Son of God, Eternal Savior

Words: Somerset Corry Lowry; Music: Traditional Dutch Melody

1. Son of God, eternal Saviour, source of life and truth and grace,
Son of Man, whose birth incarnate hallows all our human race,
thou, our Head, who, throned in glory, for thine own dost ever plead,
fill us with thy love and pity; heal our wrongs, and help our need.

2. As thou, Lord, hast lived for others, so may we for others live;
freely have thy gifts been granted, freely may thy servants give:
thine the gold and thine the silver, thine the wealth of land and sea,
we but stewards of thy bounty, held in solemn trust for thee.

3. Come, O Christ, and reign among us, King of love, and Prince of peace;
hush the storm of strife and passion, bid its cruel discords cease;
by thy patient years of toiling, by thy silent hours of pain,
quench our fevered thirst of pleasure, shame our selfish greed of gain.

4. Son of God, eternal Saviour, source of life and truth and grace,
Son of Man, whose birth incarnate hallows all our human race,
thou who prayedst, thou who willest, that thy people should be one,
grant, O grant our hope’s fruition: here on earth thy will be done.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

October 5 “Judgment”

Judgment

Day after day, Jesus stood in the Temple teaching.
He claimed no authority except His own. He was not a product of the leadership structure of the nation. He had climbed no “corporate ladder” to achieve His right to be heard. He was His own credentials. This of course, was nonsense to those who kept the “ladder.” Jesus suddenly appeared, teaching strange things and exhibiting His right to do so with miracles. The leaders had the credentials but Jesus had the power! How could the power structure deal with a man who not only was not endorsed by them, but who did not need them in any way?

The Pharisees Object to Jesus
The keepers of the “ladder” accused Jesus of the obvious fact—He was His own witness!

“You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

It was not a wise tactic. Jesus knew the Law and the Law said that two witnesses in agreement sealed an issue. His personal witness was accompanied by that of His Father.

“I am One who bears witness of Myself,
and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

His witness carried with it the proof of His life and ministry among them. He claimed to come from “above” and proved it with deeds that had to have been sourced in Heaven. No one else could make wine out of plain water, command weather, multiply food with a touch, walk on water, heal diseases, drive out demons, and cleanse ordinary people of leprosy, the most dreaded of diseases. He was His own living proof.

His companion witness was His Father in heaven. He had explained at one point that He did what He saw His Father doing. The power of the Holy Spirit rested upon Him as a gift from His Father. His judgment was true.

The Pharisees Took the Bait.
They could not explain or refute the miracles, but the “Father” issue was up for debate.

“Where is Your Father?”

Of course, their context for this question was earthly not heavenly. They had no way of knowing that Jesus was not referring to a man somewhere. He tried to explain:

“You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me,
you would have known My Father also.”

This was well beyond their ability to understand. Still, they found they could not lay hands on Him. A strange paralysis seemed to afflict their minds and hamstring their Temple Guards. What they did not understand was that it simply wasn’t time yet for His arrest at their hands.

The Father of Jesus
People today who deny the dual nature of Jesus—Son of God and Son of Man—have the same problem the Pharisees had that day. If Jesus was not the virgin-born Son of God, who was His father? What earthly man possessed the genepool that could produce such a man? How could the fallen nature of mankind produce even one perfect human specimen? We are all flawed from our entrance into this world until our exit, no matter what transpires in between these events. For us, by faith we believe in Jesus and in His Father, our Father, the One Who is in heaven! His judgment is true.

Scriptures:
John 8:13-20

The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father? Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe Your claims to be both the Son of God and the Son of Man. I receive Your witness. Since my childhood, I have sensed Your Holy Presence—Your witness to me of Your truth. I sense also the inner witness of the Heavenly Father. I see His hand as Your will as it unfolds for me each day. I have even seen miracles by Your hand and transformations by Your presence. Yes, I believe Your witness! Amen and Amen.

Song:
Fairest Lord Jesus

Traditional

1. Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

2. Fair are the meadows,  fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

3. Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

4. Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

October 4 “Adultery”

Adultery

While the frustrated leaders went home to try again on the morrow, Jesus went to His place of prayer on the Mount of Olives.
With the dawn, Jesus and the leaders were ready for another round. Jesus came to the Temple early, sat down, and began teaching the early arrivers.

One of the Adulterers
John does not tell us how the leaders found this unfortunate woman except to quote them that she was caught “in the act.” This was not rumor or baseless accusation—her guilt was beyond question. There was no mention of the man. To have discovered her in the act indicated that he was present and just as guilty. The custom of the day dwelt on the guilt of the woman. This was one of the things Jesus came to correct—the gender inequality of cultures that held men and women at different values. The man was as guilty as the woman, but he seems to have faded into the crowd. He may have found his place among the elders. The woman was all the men needed to challenge Jesus.

What Would Moses Do?
The elders cared nothing for her. She was a useful tool to trap Jesus in a conflict with Moses and the Law.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

This tested the heart of Jesus.

  • He was known for His passion for the Law, claiming to be the fulfiller of the Law, not its destroyer.
  • He was also known for His compassion for the sinful and downtrodden.

The leaders thought they had Him in a trap from which He could not escape. It was wishful thinking.

Hand-writing in the Sand
As if He didn’t heard their challenge, Jesus stooped to the ground and began writing in the sand. John does not tell us what He wrote. This omission has prompted commentators through the centuries to speculate about what He may have written. Some have suggested that He wrote the names of the men, or the man, who had committed adultery with this woman. That is as good a theory as any. Jesus stood and announced,

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

A Slow Exit
Whatever Jesus wrote, this was the effect: a profound, silence broken only by the sound of stones dropping from the hands of guilty men. When He stooped and wrote again, there was an outbreak of guilt. An orderly exit resulted, starting with the oldest men whose sins and indiscretions were long ago but were suddenly fresh in memory. This exit by age continued from the oldest to the youngest until all the accusers were gone. Finally the woman had no accusing fingers pointing at her. Jesus spoke,

“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

Her voice was small in the cavernous Temple.

“No one, Lord.”

His splendid answer still rings through all these centuries giving hope to those who have fallen.

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

The accusers were gone, but the listeners were still there. Women attended the woman and led her away in peace. Instead of angry stones, tears fell like rain to the sand beneath the feet of the onlookers. Jesus seized the moment.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life.”

Scriptures:
John 8:2-12

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are the One who makes things right. Wicked men, and one man in particular, ganged up on a wayward woman. Without excusing her sin, You showed compassion on her and served justice to the men. They fled the revelation of their secret sins. At the end of the scene, the men still bore their sins but she was forgiven. You have made so many wrong things right for me—thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
The Light of the World

Words and Music: P. P. Bliss

1. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in;
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain:
Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

2. No darkness have we who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light when we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

3. Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash at His bidding, and light will arise;
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

4. No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

October 3 “Division”


Division

The leaders of the people scrambled to try and get their parade going again.
The people were divided. That was part of the plan—turn those feeble-minded souls against each other and mostly against Jesus. Confusion was the dividing device. The talk was frantic and conflicted:

  • This is the prophet!
  • This is the Christ!
  • Will Messiah come from Galilee?
  • Shouldn’t the Christ be of the House of David?

Everyone wanted to hear more from Jesus but most people were afraid to approach Him.

Hand-tied Soldiers
There were two groups of armed men: Roman soldiers and Temple guards. At this point in the story the Roman soldiers were simply spectators. They chose not to be involved in the religious conflicts of the Jews—who could understand them anyway? How did the belief in just one God create so many conflicting opinions? They were there to keep the peace, even if the peace they kept was a noisy one. The Roman soldiers were amused by all this folderol over religion. To them, power was the only thing that really mattered and they were the ones who wielded it.

The Temple guards were a different matter. They also kept the peace but carried an additional responsibility for the safety and sanctity of the Temple. They guarded both the building and the traditions the building housed. They answered to the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, not the Roman governor. For some reason, the Temple guards acted as if their hands were tied. They had orders to lay hold of Jesus but they did not, a risky disobedience.

An Unexpected Report
Regardless of the outcome of the mission, soldiers have to report to their superiors. When the guards entered the inner chambers of the Temple to give their report, they knew they were in trouble. They did not present Jesus in chains; they were empty handed. The elders demanded an explanation.

“Why have you not brought Him?”

The guards themselves were not sure why they had failed in their mission. Sheepishly they tried to explain. They were not just guards—they were worshipers of Jehovah also! They also harbored hopes for a Messiah to rescue their nation from tyranny. Finally, the officer answered:

“No man ever spoke like this Man!”

The elders could not believe what they were hearing.

“Are you also deceived?”

They expected the guards to follow their lead, not to be swayed by this Jesus of Nazareth. They were supposed to lead the crowd not be led by them.

“Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?
But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

A Lone Voice in Opposition
A single voice complained against the growing mob mentality. Unlike the other leaders, Nicodemus had interviewed Jesus and found it a life-altering experience. He had been a confident leader of leaders before He met Jesus by night. After that meeting, his life was under radical reconstruction. Something powerful stirred deep in him when Jesus spoke. He appealed to the rule of law.

“Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

Every eye on the council turned to him. This was no time for division in their ranks. The respect they had for Nicodemus served to break the momentum of their meeting.

“Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”

With guards who wouldn’t guard and leaders who failed to lead, the meeting broke up and they all went home.

Scriptures:
John 7:40-8: 1
Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ. But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. 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.” And everyone went to his own house.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, just as You did not walk through this world without affecting everyone and everything in Your path, You still have that effect on me! There is no thrill like the sensation of Your voice sounding sweetly in my spirit. There is no comfort like Your nearness in times of stress, strain, or stillness. Your life flows through me. Your peace surrounds me. Your will stretches before me. I know that tomorrow will be another day in Your plan for me. Thank You Jesus! Amen.

Song:
All that Thrills My Soul Is Jesus
Words and Music: Thoro Harris

1. Who can cheer the heart like Jesus, By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious, Oh, how blest to call Him mine!

Refrain:
All that thrills my soul is Jesus;
He is more than life to me; (to me;)
And the fairest of ten thousand,
In my blessed Lord I see.

2. Love of Christ so freely given, Grace of God beyond degree,
Mercy higher than the heaven, Deeper than the deepest sea.

Refrain

3. Every need His hand supplying, Every good in Him I see;
On His strength divine relying, He is All in All to me.

Refrain

4. By the crystal flowing river With the ransomed I will sing,
And forever and forever Praise and glorify the King.

<em>Semper Reformanda!</em>
<em>Stephen Phifer</em>
</div>
<em> © 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved</em>

October 2 “Rivers”

Rivers

Rivers define the land.
Wide, slow moving rivers twist and turn from the source in the uplands to the delta by the sea depositing rich soil through the land fortunate enough to host them.

  • Mountain streams burst forth from solid rock, crystal clear and cold, carving canyons through deserts.
  • Tidal rivers hardly move at all filling large plains with brackish water, salt water mixed with fresh.
  • Along the way, rivers recruit smaller streams to join them in their service to the land.

At once, great rivers are barriers difficult to cross, and highways of commerce making a way to the sea.

The land is defined by its rivers. Here is the continuing drama:

  • deserts have few and they are shallow and seasonal;
  • mountain ranges have swift, crashing rivers, hurrying to obey the pull of gravity;
  • fertile plains surround broader streams, imbibing their substance and coloring their waters brown; and
  • river deltas, spread the river into a triangle of streams to finally enter the sea but the sea is never full. (Ecclesiastes 1:7)

Rivers of Living Water
With his brothers somewhere in the crowd watching His every move, Jesus chose the climax of the feast—remember, this was the climatic feast of the whole year!—to draw the attention of the Temple crowd to Himself. Many scholars believe that Jesus chose a spectacular moment to make His amazing pronouncement. At the moment when tradition says that a parade of priests carried jars of water from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple, Jesus stood and commanded the attention of the crowd. His words were amazing, revolutionary, and true.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”

Water had long been the illustration of God’s blessing, thus the procession of priests with jars of it. Jesus redirected the quest of the people from the long-established sources of the waters of life—the traditions of the elders—which had their headwaters in the words of Jehovah Himself. Jesus called the people to Himself instead of the Temple. It was another way of announcing a New Covenant. Add this to being “born again” and to “worship in spirit and truth” and it is clear that something new and better was in the offing. The crowd fixed their attention on Jesus and the priestly parade halted. Jesus went on:

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said,
out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

The stunned crowd was confused. Was this man crazy? No one had ever spoken this way or made these kinds of claims. Somewhere in the crowd, the other sons of Mary sought to separate themselves from Jesus. He had followed their advice.

The River of the Holy Spirit
It makes sense to us today: Jesus was talking about the River of Life, the life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit from the heart of the believer. John’s commentary explains:

“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;
for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Of course, first there had to be a cross and then an empty tomb, but then, in a New Covenant in His blood, the Throne of God would come to the heart of each believer. According to Ezekiel and John the Revelator, the River of Life flows from the Throne of God and of the Lamb. When we believe, the River flows through us to the healing of the nations.  This River defines my life.

Scriptures:
John 7:37-39

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.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Ezekiel 47:1-2; 7-9 NKJV
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. …When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live.
Revelation 22:1-5NKJV
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I gave my heart to You, Your Holy Throne came to rest there. Beneath that Holy Throne is a bubbling spring of Living Water. Without ceasing, I drink from that spring and it is life in me, just as You Promised. This living water flows out from me in words: praise, obedience, witness, and in deeds of mercy, kindness, and peace. It is a river of peace and of healing. Any good that I may do, will actually be the waters of life flowing from You through me. “There is a river that never shall run dry!” Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
There Is a River

Words and Music: Max and David Sapp

1. There came a sound from Heaven, Like a rushing mighty wind,
It filled their hearts with singing, And gave them peace within,
The Prophet gave this promise, The Spirit will descend,
And from your inner being, A river with no end.

Refrain:
There is a river That flows from deep within,
There is a fountain That frees the soul from sin,
Come to this water, There is a vast supply,
There is a river That never shall run dry.

2. There was a thirsty woman, Who was drawing from a well,
Her life was ruined and wasted, Her soul was bound for hell,
Then she met the Master, Who told of her great sin,
And if you drink this water, You’ll never thirst again.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

October 1 “Sent”

Sent

Just as is the case today, there were conflicting opinions about Jesus.
Some were convinced He was the Promised One while others thought it was a possibility. Some were sure He was not Messiah while others hoped He wasn’t—Messiah would seriously shake up the carefully constructed peace with Rome. The crooks in the crowd—and there are always crooks in any crowd—feared for their various schemes and scams. Above all things, they feared an honest leader with power to reform the corruption they counted on for sustenance. Sincere members of the faithful remnant who longed for Messiah prayed that Jesus was the Promised One.

Amazed by His Boldness
A conspiracy of powerful men was forming to arrest Jesus and take His life. When Jesus burst out of hiding and started teaching in the Temple courts, they made no move to stop Him. Their strategy was to let the factions in the crowd foment opposition to Him. Prompters were planted in the crowd to create doubt.

Questions arose from all sides of the issue:

  • How can He be so bold? Doesn’t He realize the danger?
  • Do the leaders think He might be Messiah and are therefore not arresting Him?
  • How can He be Messiah? He comes from Galilee and Messiah must be born in Bethlehem of the House of David.
  • Others claimed that no one would know from whence Messiah would come.

As planned, confusion reigned in the streets of Jerusalem and in the Temple courts.

Jesus identifies Himself.
Jesus tried to take the people deeper into the prophecies concerning Messiah. He wanted them to see the spiritual dimensions of God’s plan. This was more than politics and genealogies; this was the divine plan of God.

“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.”

His origin was neither in Galilee nor in Bethlehem. He had been sent from heaven—sent from God. He went on,

“…whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”

The stunned silence enveloped the multitude. How can He claim to know God? Many knew of Joseph of Nazareth, but he was dead. With the silence came a paralysis; no one moved to silence Him. Finally someone began to ask the obvious question,

“When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”

The leaders could have none of this. Their paralysis broken, they moved to arrest Him. As temple guards approached with swords drawn, Jesus fastened His eyes on the officer in charge. His voice stopped the guards in mid-step.

“I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me.
You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.”

Was he threatening suicide? Should they seize Him? No, not until the issue was settled. Theories were advanced about where He might be planning to go—out of their hair, perhaps!

The Moment Passed
The leaders realized the sentiment of the people was not yet settled against Jesus in sufficient force . It was too soon to make a move against Jesus so they called off their initiative. Other opportunities would present themselves soon enough. If indeed, He had been sent from Heaven, time would tell.

Just as is the case today, there were conflicting opinions about Jesus.

Scriptures:
John 7:25-36

Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? 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.” Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “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.” Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, while the world may be confused about You, I am not. I know You are Son of God and Son of Man, the Lord of Glory, the Prince of Peace, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Savior, the Bright and Morning Star, the Rose of Sharon, Emmanuel—God with Us, the Sun of Righteousness, Mighty Warrior, and Victorious Lord! You are all the world to me! Amen and Amen.

Song:
Who Is He in Yonder Stall?

Words and Music: Benjamin Russel Hanby

1. Who is He in yonder stall, At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress, Fasting in the wilderness?

Refrain:
‘Tis the Lord! O wondrous story! ‘Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall, Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!

2. Who is He the people bless For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring All the sick and sorrowing?

Refrain

3. Who is He that stands and weeps At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gath’ring throng Greet with loud triumphant song?

Refrain

4. Lo! at midnight, who is He Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree, Dies in grief and agony?

Refrain

5. Who is He that from the grave Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne Rules through all the world alone?

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

September 30 “Doctrine”

Doctrine

Strengthened by a brief time with His Mother, Jesus gave His brothers a good head start and then made the trip to Jerusalem secretly. He knew the officials would be seeking to arrest Him. They made a quiet public search for Jesus, interviewing who people had seen and heard Him. Alerted to the danger, believers guarded their reports to help Him avoid arrest. Meanwhile the debate over Him raged on.

“Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.”

Teaching in the Temple
When the feast was well underway, Jesus came out of the shadows. He entered the Temple and began to teach. His words had lost none of their power. Just as today when His voice is truly heard, strong men wept at His words so great was the conviction on their hearts. Women straightened bent backbones, laden by the burden of societal devaluation and stood tall and straight in His message of equality before God. Unlike the mumbling drone of the priests, His voice rang with an authority no one could match or explain. It was like the trump of God, musical and mandatory; it was pleasant to the ear and it demanded to be heard.

Credentials, please!
The usual teachers were put to public shame. They could not compete, nor could they debate; all they could do was question.

“How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”

Jesus laughed at the question, exciting others in the crowd to join Him. Red faces glowed beneath the headdresses and vestments of the bedecked priests and Levites. Embarrassed by His laughter, they let the question stand until Jesus answered.

“My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”

Jesus cited the source of His teaching as Jehovah Himself. That was no way to silence His opponents, but it was simply the truth. The opinions of the keepers of the Law and its commentaries were not at all relevant to Jesus. The confirmation of Jesus’ message was the inner witness that comes with the Word of God. Jesus then detailed some of the commandments of Moses, citing the inner witness of the truth of the Word of God. Believers did not believe because it was tradition, but because it somehow rang true deep in their spirits.

“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”

All Glory to God
Everything Jesus said and did was intended to bring glory to God, not glory to Himself.

“He who speaks from 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.”

By then, the hostility of the critics in the crowd burned white hot. Jesus knew they sought His life.

“Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law?
Why do you seek to kill Me?”

They accused Him of being possessed by demons.

“Who is seeking to kill You?”

Jesus knew all they were looking for was an opportunity. He appealed to whatever shreds of logic they had left.

“…are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?”

The illogic of their logic brought a momentary silence to the crowd. Jesus seized the moment.

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The people calmed a bit, many of them thinking, “Could this man be the Christ?”

Scriptures:
John 7:10-24

But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from 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. Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, Your Word carries its own credentials. No other word stirs my spirit like Your Word. Its logic appeals to my mind, for You gave the ability to think. Its passion ignites my heart for You gave me the ability to feel. Your Word is proved in the living. As a lamp it does indeed shine on my every step and light my life’s path. Your Words are apples of gold on plates of silver, so beautiful and profound and true. Your Word is Spirit; it is Life! Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
O How I Love Thy Holy Word

Words: William Cowper; Music: Carl Gottlieb Reissiger

1. O how I love Thy holy Word, Thy gracious covenant, O Lord!
It guides me in the peaceful way, I think upon it all the day.

2. What are the mines of shining wealth, The strength of youth, the bloom of health!
What are all joys compared with those Thine everlasting Word bestows!

3. Long unafflicted, undismayed, In pleasures path secure I strayed;
Thou mad’st me feel Thy chastening rod, And strait I turned unto my God.

4. What though it pierced my fainting heart, I bless Thine hand that caused the smart;
It taught my tears awhile to flow, But saved me from eternal woe.

5. O! hadst Thou left me unchastised, Thy precept I had still despised;
And still the snare in secret laid, Had my unwary feet betrayed.

6. I love Thee therefore O my God, And breathe towards Thy dear abode;
Where in Thy presence fully blest,Thy chosen saints forever rest.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

September 29 “Brothers”

Brothers

Jesus sought respite in Galilee.
It is true that He was a healer and miracle worker and teacher of the Word of God, but He was also a young man who had grown up in a town. He loved Nazareth and by extension Galilee, that northern part of Israel was separated from the politics of Jerusalem in the south by Samaria. Trouble awaited Jesus in Judea and the Feast of Tabernacles called for all true worshipers to attend.

Jesus and His Family
While some hold that Mary and Joseph had no children of their own, this is clearly not the case. By the time of Jesus’ ministry Mary was a widow with a rather large family for whom Jesus was a problem. To all customary expectations, Jesus as eldest son of Mary, should have taken over the family business in Nazareth but this did not happen. He abandoned His family to go off preaching some strange new doctrines.

Luke records an incident in the synagogue at Nazareth where Jesus, fresh from a preaching and healing campaign, was asked to read Scripture. This was a great honor. What did He do? He claimed to be Messiah. These people had known Him all His life. They had done business with Him for years. They had chosen to ignore the rumors of Mary and Joseph having Jesus a little too soon, to accept them into the community. Then He made such a public and ridiculous claim. A riot ensued and they took Him to the brow of a hill to throw Him off. He stared them down and passed through the mob untouched. What were His brothers and sisters supposed to do about such behavior?

The Feast of Tabernacles
Of the three feasts of Old Covenant worship, the Feast of Tabernacles was the largest and served as the finale on the worship calendar. Jesus’ brothers encouraged Him to attend when He preferred to stay in the friendlier region of Galilee.

“…go into Judea… For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

Jesus saw through their motives; they wanted to be rid of Him because they did not believe in Him. Imagine how this family division must have hurt Mary. Just a Simeon had predicted all those years before, a “sword” was constantly piercing her heart.

His time had not yet come.
The cynical advice of His brothers cut like a knife into the heart of Jesus. He thought of the prophecies, “We esteemed Him not.” His heart breaking for the family He loved, He tried to explain His dilemma.

“My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.”

Jesus wanted His brothers to go to the feast and be faithful in their worship, even if they had no faith in Him. When the time was right He would attend but the time was not yet right for this. At that moment, Jesus needed rest in a place where He was loved not hated. He needed time with Mary, unhindered by the doubts of the rest of the family. She believed in Him. He stayed for the moment in Galilee.

Scriptures:
John 7:1-9

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.
Isaiah 53:1-3
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, for every soul who responded to Your call in faith, it seems many, many more rejected You, including Your own family. Holy Spirit, impress upon my heart today, the pain of that rejection—not strangers in the countryside, not fellow villagers of Nazareth–but Your own brothers and sisters. The Bible says I am called to know You in the fellowship of Your sufferings but this pain is too much for me to imagine. Now I can see why my prayers and acts of worship are so precious to You—Help me be a brother who believes in You! Amen.

Song:
I Believe in Jesus

Words and Music: Marc Nelson

1. I believe in Jesus.
I believe He is the Son of God.
I believe He died and rose again.
I believe He paid for us all.

Refrain:
I believe He’s here now,
Standing in our midst,
Here with the power to heal now,
And the grace to forgive.

2. I believe in You, Lord.
I believe You are the Son of God.
I believe You died and rose again.
I believe You paid for us all.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved