Friday, January 17, 2014


I started this post earlier with many, many paragraphs about myself. I was going to lead into how He does these amazing things to bring me out of the selfish state I'm normally in. Took me hours to realize that I'd done it again. Just the idea of talking about myself for a few paragraphs in light of His miracles shows I'm STILL IN THAT SELFISH STATE. 
James 3:13-15 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil."

So, more importantly than any lessons I'm learning or struggles I face, God is good. Always. He is good in the bad times. Good in the good times. Funny frequently, not sure why the Bible doesn't mention that outright. No matter what, He is. And today, He did it again. It's almost unfathomable and honestly, it was the last thing I expected to hear today. But that's because no matter how "close" I am to the Holy Spirit, I am not THE Holy Spirit, and really have no idea all the awesome things He's doing...and just to be clear, neither do you. I don't care how much intuition you have. It's still intuition, not truth.
Job 11:7 "Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?"

(Please note that the original post called this stage 4 cancer but I have edited it to describe it better)
Today, we will rejoice with the rest of our Christian family that Crystal was HEALED of horrendous breast cancer. It was really, really bad. They diagnosed it as stage 3 which is technically curable, but they later said it was all up her spine, which would mean it spread and should have been stage 4. Once it's spread is when it's incurable, but I get the impression that the doctors never changed it to Stage 4. Either way, the treatments she was undergoing weren't working or even tolerable, so it wasn't the medicine that made the cancer disappear. I didn't get every little detail but she flew to Chicago for treatments at CTCA and everything bad happened. She was allergic to even mild treatments, there was an oozing tumor, even after all the strongest chemos and double mastectomy the cancer came back, more aggressive than ever. So they tried to radiate most of her torso just to kill off what they could and it caused crazy vomiting, which was so unusual the doctors thought it had spread to her brain. This Christmas she spent the day vomiting and praying that there wasn't cancer in her brain. But today, January 17, she is praying thanksgiving to the Lord above who healed her entirely. The PET scan showed no cancer at all. Anywhere. Because men can't. But God can...And God did...And God does...And God WILL...
"The Lord has done great things for us...we are glad" Psalm 126:3

A brief update on my friend--she is a friend of MANY in Tallahassee, and gives of herself lavishly for the name of the Lord-- the brain tumor is not cancerous, but it is at the base of her brain stem and she needs immediate brain surgery to get it removed. She's awaiting the schedule so please keep praying. We are thrilled that it is not cancer but brain surgery is a big, big, big deal for mere humans. Not too big for the trinity though.
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose."

Please keep praying for Barbara, too. The endometrial cancer attacking her body improved but a mass in her lungs is growing. She is awaiting biopsy results of it today. I'd like to pray that it's just not even cancer and disappears. But no matter how God chooses to heal her, we just pray that He does it for His glory and so Barbara and the whole family can continue to praise His name for many days to come!

Let's keep praying, He is LISTENING and MOVING! He cares about His people!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Emergency Prayer!!!

We'll finish up that 21-day challenge another time...

I have a friend who prayed diligently for my healing and Satan has been attacking her health. Now it's really bad. She is very faithful and seeks Him first, doesn't panic or fear. But this one is a true emergency. I know, without a doubt, that the Lord will use it for His glory and He will fix it.
Anyway, she has four young children and has lost vision in one of her eyes. After various tests they realized today that it is a brain tumor, the size of a thumbnail, sitting on her optic nerve. We don't know if it's malignant or benign, either way it's a huge problem. We will not worry, we will not doubt, we will declare the name of the Lord and praise Him in advance for his sovereignty over this situation. I've heard stories like this, good and bad. But I'm not going to speculate. I'm going to pray. And believe. And then start it over again. 

She has another test tomorrow at 11am. Please pray fervently for her. I can't tell you how urgent and odd I feel about it. I know He is going to fix it. I know it's going to be for His name. So we can all rejoice together about it. But it's a lot easier for me to believe and expect that than for her and her family to do so. I'm sure her kids don't know much and she's going to have all those same fears and problems that we do. You want to assure them that the Lord will heal you because you are trying to claim it. But you don't want to lie to them! And again, you want them to be prepared for the worst but that's sort of undoing the faith that you're stretching to believe you'll be healed. And on. And on. These are lies from the enemy but in the midst of all this it's hard to discern.

Faith is hard. Pray for hers. Brain tumors are hard. Pray for that (I won't say "hers" because it is a foreign, demonic object). We rebuke Satan and his demons from the role they are playing in her destruction. We bow down to allow the Lord to rise up above us and reign supreme in her body. Pray that, even if her vision doesn't come back suddenly to show she's been healed, He just does it. I will go so far as to pray that the tumor disappears and is gone for tomorrow's test. None of this enduring through it all. Let's just clear her brain now and there is nothing problematic or cancerous in her body. Pray He fully restores her sight and relieves any other symptoms she struggles with. Pray the Holy Spirit takes over her brain and her body so there is no room for the demons to return (Mth 12:43)

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 11

We are more than halfway there! Here is what I noticed from Day 10: 1) We see another version of this law, that the only way to enter heaven is the right way--through the gate. The gatekeeper is Jesus. You can't be a good person or have the right intentions. It stinks, those are the people I am the saddest for, because in most ways they "deserve" heaven more than the rest of us. But If you aren't asking Jesus to intercede for you there's no way you can survive the judgement, because you will never be worthy of the greatest reward there is--eternal life in heaven. I wish that part wasn't true, but it just is. It's important, and I love you enough to tell you that. If you have people in your life like that and aren't telling them the truth from John 10, you aren't loving them enough. It may offend them or turn them off, but they need to know the truth before it's too late. 2) One of the (many) reasons we worship Jesus is that He is the only one who has laid down His life for us. And He is the only one who really, really, didn't deserve the death and punishment He had to bear. He did it for us. That's what all the laying down the life stuff is about. 3) Just to harp on the first few points again, when you come across someone who says they believe Jesus is a way but not the only way, or something like that, it means they don't believe in John 10. If they don't believe part of it they can't believe any of it. Jesus said lots of things, and this is the most important one, so you can't pick and choose your beliefs because they are uncomfortable.

Today's reading is John, Chapter 11:
    Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
    When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”  After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
     So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
      On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
      Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
     After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
     When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
     Jesus wept.
     Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
     So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.
     Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.  So from that day on they plotted to take his life. Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
      When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

Friday, January 10, 2014

21 Day Challenge Days 9-10

Apparently it's hard for me to even post the challenge each day, which shows you how well I'm doing at getting it together this year. I just completely forgot about it yesterday so today I'll put 9 and 10 in the same post.
For ladies in Tallahassee, please make sure to come to Four Oaks Community Church this Thursday (1/16) from 7-9 pm for a fun night of worship and listening to Debora and my testimonies on how God miraculously healed us each of Stage 4 breast cancer! I always get excited to share it but I'm extra excited about this time. So many things are coming together to make it such a great night, I just know the Holy Spirit will be there and every heart will change for the better. If you aren't local, please keep that night in your prayers, for a big move from the Lord, and for us to say exactly what the Lord wants!

Day 9
As a reminder, the reading from the 8th day was about the woman who committed adultery, who Jesus saved from being stoned. It sounds cruel, but that was the punishment in those days and God had allowed that to be the standard of punishment for His reasons. So it was really weird for the people of the day to be told not to do that. It's one of those examples of how the spirit of law was intended opposed to how it was actually carried out. It's also really convicting to think that we can't push for people's punishments because we are sinners ourselves. It's easy enough when it doesn't directly affect us, but for those who sin against us or hurt those we love it's much harder.

The 9th day's reading is:
John 9
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.  “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”  Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.” They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.”  His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”  He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”  The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.  We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”  Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.  Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”  Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Day 10
From Day 9's reading I thought it was interesting that the healed man's parents wouldn't vouch for the son and actually sent the Pharisees to him for answers. Ouch. I hope I wouldn't do that as a parent, but it would be overly proud of me to say I never would. It actually convicts me more because I've been feeling guilty about how little I really pour into the girls anymore. Maybe the times I take the easy way out with them is sort of akin to that. 
The other glaring point that stands out is at the end: "...but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains". For all those who know about Jesus but do not humble themselves to put Him first, there is no excuse left. Your guilt remains and there's no getting out of it but to repent (turn back) from it!

Here is the reading for the 10th day of this challenge:

John 10
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.  Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”  But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”  Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 8

I was in a study group yesterday when someone reminded us of some of the scriptures that talk about how few people will really make it to heaven. Everyone has an invitation but so few accept it. I know it's hard to choose things you can't see over the concrete goodies we can touch and fight for, but that is so fleeting. In Luke 16:19-31 we see a story about a rich man who didn't help a poor man named Lazarus. Then they both died and Lazarus went to heaven, and the unkind, rich man went to hell. The rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus in heaven, from his place in Hades. He asked for mercy but it was too late. He even begged for them to go back and warn his family about Hell, but Abraham told him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." That story has a few meanings, because it's also referring to how people after Jesus don't believe in Him just like our ancestors didn't believe in God before Jesus came. With that and the more obvious implication of it being too late after death to change our mind, I agonize over that story. I ache for those who don't believe now because I think they just don't realize what they're doing. And sometimes I'm so frustrated by those who know the truth but still choose another way. But seriously, the results of these choices are permanent. More permanent than anything we can relate to, because all our understanding of time has a concrete beginning and end. 

All this is a long-winded plea to keep pursuing the Lord. Plenty of people claim to know Him but still don't, or turn away. No one is safe unless they are actively seeking Him day by day. And no matter how many times one rejects you for His name, it's not too late for them until they die. Don't let anyone you know perish without at least trying to help them find the truth. Give them the best gift you ever received, even though they act like they don't care. And if you haven't accepted it yet, it's not too late. It might be awkward to accept Him after all the bad things you've done, after all the explanations you've used to prove He doesn't exist, or after all the endeavors you've pursued without Him. But not accepting Him doesn't make Him the fraud. It seems insurmountable at times, but it's really the easiest decision you could ever make. Give up the nonsense you're holding onto and release yourself into God's loving arms. You are forgiven, beloved, and a priceless treasure to your Savior.

All this was on my heart instead of comments about yesterday's reading. So, here's today's reading, John Chapter 8:

    but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
    At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
    He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”  Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.  But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.  In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true.  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”  Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also." He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
     Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”  This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”  But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
   “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied.  “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.  So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up[a] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.  The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”  Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
     To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
     “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
     Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
    The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”  “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me.  I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”  At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death.  Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”  “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
     “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.