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July Newsletter- Chloe Jane

This month’s letter is on a subject I’ve never written about. It’s been lying in the back of my brain for 30 years and I’ve never before felt the time to write it was now, but I guess the time is now. I’ve said over the years that WBVN is a ministry to the Church. As such, evangelism, while important to us, is what we do indirectly rather than a direct approach. We encourage the Church and in doing so we hope they in turn become evangelical and share their faith with others. In that way, evangelism is on the other side of our daily efforts to encourage you; it gives even more purpose in what we do.

So, let’s talk Nicodemus. He was a special dude. Reportedly, he was one of the three richest men in Jerusalem. He was a Pharisee. He was a member of the Sanhedrin. He was, as such, a teacher. Simply, Nicodemus was a person of authority and held the position in his community of purposively knowing God. He taught people God! He’s mentioned three times in the Gospels. First, and probably most famously, he was a quizmaster of Jesus. (John 3:2-21) Second, he acted as a defender of Jesus’ right to speak before being judged. (John 7: 50-51) And lastly, he brought 100 lbs of myrrh and aloes for Jesus’ burial. (John 19:30) John is the only Bible author that tells of Nicodemus’s quizzing Jesus. In John’s text, Jesus simplifies the processes of coming to God, knowing God, as being born. Nicodemus, in the great Jewish fashion of answering a question with another question in order to try and get further explanation (and I’m sure with a bit of Jewish swagger) suggested Jesus surely doesn’t mean re-entering his mother’s womb. Jesus follows: unless we’re born of water (literally, rainy from above) and the Spirit, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God…that which is flesh is flesh and that which is Spirit is Spirit. The Kingdom of God is the place where God is present, the place where God reigns. That Kingdom of God can be right here, right now. In fact, Jesus emphasized that the Kingdom had come. I’ll pause the story right there for now.

Jane and I have a new granddaughter. Chloe Jane has re-kindled the wonder we’ve experienced when observing the miracle of birth with our own daughters. Birthing, bringing forth a new life, parallels the birthing that God did when He created Adam and with every person since Adam. The experience we have with babies is the same kind of heart experience God has when creating His children. So much hope, so much love, so much caring. Simply put, God loves His children just as easily as we do when we look over the crib seeing our new part of the family. These first few months have had Jane and me amazed at Chloe’s personality and her rapid growth mentally and physically. Have you ever thought back to your first 9 months? (That’s a bit of a trick question.) I know the answer to that- you have not! No one has because we don’t remember the first 9 months at all. I’m talking embryonic stage of our lives. In some ways, that pre-coming-to-birth 9 months can be representative of our whole lives. I’ll explain. I know people that simply turn away from any reference to God simply because they can’t see Him, can’t feel Him and can’t imagine Him. Without the physical confirmation of a God, they simply deny the presence of God in the world: no proof equals no God, no belief.

For 9 months, each of us was sustained and nourished as a gift from someone we weren’t mentally aware of. However, that someone was someone we still we have an intimate relationship with. That’s mom. Our mothers provide every need for our development for 280 days. They provide an environment for us to be comfortable and they provide the umbilical cord, our only source of life. That whole 9 months, we’re completely, totally unaware of mom and her provision. All we knew was ourselves: were we comfortable upside down? Did we want to stretch our arm? Maybe kick our leg? Did we want to sleep all day and wander around birthing space all night? Then, we’re born. A whole new world appears to us. Mom becomes the center of our universe and we know her, depend on her, we cry for her attention and we become aware for the very first time that mom is our life source. Suddenly, we’re awakened to someone we actually had a relationship with all along, we just didn’t recognize it. We’re moved from unaware, to being aware that someone existed besides us, someone who looked out for our safety long before we became aware of them. Our not being aware of mom, not feeling her presence, not seeing her, did not define her existence. She did exist and played the central role of getting us where we were supposed to be after 280 days. Being unable to recognize ‘MOM’ in that first 9 months, didn’t mean there was no mom. Jesus’ parable to Nicodemus concerns what’s True, even Truth that we might not presently be aware of. That’s the Gospel that Jesus shared with Nicodemus. God is here, the Kingdom of God is here, and our being unaware of it gives us no excuse to deny it. Truth is real whether we perceive it or not. As Jesus said, people need a birthing to become aware of Who has been present with them all along. Without that new birth, we simply are like infants in the womb of our mothers, without the knowledge of who has been with us since cell two.

Faith is the bottom line of our Gospel. Proof is not the bottom line of our Gospel. It was never intended that we would prove Jesus, prove the Father or Spirit. Jesus did not come to prove He was the Son of God. His miracles were signs but they were not requirements to prove who He was. With Compassion and Love, yes, Jesus did respond. He could have done a million things to prove who He was but did not do that. Significantly, all the temptations offered to Jesus by people or by Evil, were all suggestions to express proof in a fleshly manner, not the Spiritual. Throw yourself off the mountain, turn stone into bread, others, were offered to tempt Jesus to prove His deity, turning the Gospel into power not faith. He refused to give seeing, feeling, touching as way to God. Faith was the only way to discover Him, become aware of Him. Awareness by the Spirit, not the flesh, was Nicodemus’ lesson on being born again. In the original language, redemption did not mean just changing one’s behavior or mind but included a qualifier, a necessity requirement: changing our heart. The Life of God doesn’t just affect our flesh; it sets up our heart to rule and reign over our flesh. Godly Life is not just about good and evil, but also contains a change in why we live, what in our heart motivates us. Coming to Faith is just that. We don’t arrive at the doorstep of God and present him our faith; we arrive asking for Faith and He ‘rainy from above’ Faith on us as a gift from Himself.

We can go through 90 years of life like a baby goes through 9 months. We can only be aware of self all our life or we can come alive into the new world of knowing God. We can remain in a pre-birth condition, unaware of God providing for us, nourishing us, caring for us, without our awareness of Him. Or, we can be made alive to His presence by the Spirit. Eternity will not change our minds and hearts. That’s what this life is about, birth now, not then. We will enter Eternity knowing or not knowing, awareness or not awareness. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5: 6, ‘blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.’ Seeking God is the way to satisfaction in this life. The reciprocal works for that statement as well, those who do not seek Him will be ‘uncomfortable’ (my word) all the time. Get your Peace now; there are other things in store in the future. Faith can’t prove God; but unbelief can’t prove its belief either. The bottom line is: faith in God is one way to live and faith in not believing in God is just another faith to believe. Both are belief systems. Which one you choose is simply choosing a faith either way.

It seems because of Nicodemus’ social position, he chose to meet Jesus at night, in the dark, not to be seen. Maybe Nicodemus was hiding from other Pharisees or was just simply too embarrassed to be seen with Jesus by his friends. There is a parable in that story as well; darkness is where we all come from to meet Jesus. We all are blinded by our own minds; we have built in prejudices and cultural traditions. We can’t see Him in our darkness. Reason? Darkness is associated simply with the absence of light. Actually darkness can’t exist if any light is present at all. A single candle can light a whole room. Darkness only exists if light is missing. Scripture crowns Jesus as the Light. We must all come to the Light, a Light that illuminates our surroundings and surroundings that we have not been aware of before. And, similar to Chloe becoming aware of her mom at birth, the light of a new world revealed mom to her, the Light of Christ, our delivery into a new life of God, reveals the presence of God in order to experience the Kingdom of God right now.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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