"Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God, without being born of water and Spirit". John 3:5
As Jesus describes his ministry to Nicodemus, he makes the religious leader uncomfortable. Keeping Torah and observing religious teaching seem unimportant to Jesus. Instead he refers to new birth and a total transformation for those who would be part of God's Kingdom. No wonder Nicodemus was confused! No wonder we still struggle today with half-hearted attempts be aligned with God's will and God's work. Instead, Jesus calls us to be changed by God's Spirit in real and lasting ways.
Prayer - Jesus, I am not always ready for change or transformation, but I do want to be part of your ongoing work in this world. Send you Spirit into my life to birth in me new eyes to see your grace, new hands to do your work, and new compassion to share your love. AMEN
Written by Stacy Ikard, Senior Associate Pastor at WHPC.
Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again. John 8:10-11
A woman had sinned. In response, her community was ready not only to punish her, but to kill her by stoning. Some religious leaders asked Jesus if this was indeed the right thing to do. Jesus responded that, if any one of them was without sin, he could throw the first stone at the woman. The room cleared out pretty quickly as each person had to acknowledge his or her own imperfections.
The truth is that we all need the grace that Jesus offers. He forgives this woman -and all of us - before we have even had a chance to change our ways. Jesus does want us to be transformed: not to sin again. That’s a tall order. But we take a step in the right direction every time we acknowledge our own shortcomings and bear gracefully the failures of others.
Prayer - Jesus, you choose not to punish, but to forgive. Help me to practice forgiveness toward myself and others. Guide me to see the world and everyone I encounter in the light of your grace. AMEN
Written by Claire Berry, Associate Pastor at WHPC
67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:67
Many in the crowd following Jesus began complaining about his hard teachings and turned away from him. At that moment, Jesus turns to those closest to him, the Twelve. Do they, too, want to leave? Peter, the impulsive, passionate, often unfiltered disciple, cries out for the group, “Who else is there Lord? You offer us eternal life!” The disciples knew Jesus was the only way to God – to eternal life. What will we do – grumble it’s too hard, shake our heads, and go our own way or will, we, like Peter, embrace him as our only savior and follow him into eternity?
Prayer - Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief. I know you are God’s only begotten son and my only hope of Heaven. But sometimes I doubt, I forget. Sometimes it seems safer, better, easier to follow the crowd and deny you. Sometimes your words are hard to understand….hard to act upon. I’m only human – I can’t do this on my own. Then I remember your promise that you will complete the good work you have begun in me. Thank you. Amen
Written by Nancy Kocurek, Elder and Life Group Leader at WHPC
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37
This verse bonds so well with other scriptures. First, there is faith, “Whoever believes in me.” Recall our faith is a gift from God; it is not earned (Eph. 2:8). Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Given faith, living water flows from the believer in the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). And remember Jesus’ perplexing response when an adulteress was brought before him by the Pharisees, who were trying to trap him: “Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.” He did this not once, but twice as to emphasize a point (John 8:6-8). Why did Jesus do this? Was Jesus trying to convey a subtle message? In the OT we find this verse (Jer. 17:13): “Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.” Jesus reminds them of that great promise fulfilled in his life.
Prayer - Dear Jesus, spring up in my life and help me to be a vessel of your living water. Amen
Written by Isaac Sanchez, Elder and Life Group Leader at WHPC
Early in the morning Jesus came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. John 8:2
What do you like to do early in the morning? I have been enjoying the slower pace of the morning since the Stay At Home orders. Jesus seems to be so intentional with his time as shown here with him heading to teach in the temple “early in the morning”. Later in the day a woman caught in adultery is brought before him. He is so calm in his response. I wonder if his intentionality at the start of his day helped center him in God, preparing him for whatever came his way.
Prayer - Holy God, help me to make my time with you a priority. May the words I read sink deeply into my being, transforming my nature in the likeness of Christ. Amen
Written by Emily Wright - Senior Pastor of WHPC