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Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div.

Visionary Strategist Faithful Innovator Inspirational Essayist

Salvation and Stilettos Blog


A Double Dose of 3:16...

Posted on October 17, 2018 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)
Today I am reflecting on two verses that sound a lot alike and have very similar references.  Now I am clear that in the original writings there was no chapter-verse organization.  So, to discover this striking similarity was quite uncanny, but then again, God is just kind of amazing like that.  I am grateful for the reminder of the promise in these verses.  The reminder of how I am the recipient of the love of God through His Son, Jesus Christ and how this love is experienced in variety of manifestations.

Friends, I am not ashamed to admit that on the day I am writing this blog, I needed that reminder.  I needed to be reminded of what true love is and in whom I must place all of my hope.  I have experienced some disappointments lately and as much as I love the Lord, I am still human and I had some sucky feelings about two different situations.  I will not disclose the details but just suffice it to say that I needed to read these words for myself...

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. [John 3:16]
This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. [1 John 3:16]

I needed to be reminded that God LOVES me and God LOVED me so much so that if I just believe in Him, I will NOT perish.  I will have eternal life.  I will NOT perish.  I will have eternal life.  Now while most of us think of these promises as pertaining to the afterlife, today, I need to know they are true for THIS life.  I need to know that because God loves me, even though I am disappointed with life's twists and turns, I will NOT perish.  Life will get better.  I will be better in this life.  And all I have to "do" is believe.

I needed to be reminded that true love is when we are willing to sacrifice, give of ourselves for another person.  I needed to be reminded that this is the sign of love, that your friends and family will lay aside their life's agenda, priorities, "to do" lists to listen to you, to be there for you, to love you when you need it most.  I needed to be reminded that I have people in my life who lay aside their lives to support me, hug me, look out for me, make sure I am taken care of in ways that bless me.

Friends, this double dose of 3:16 has blessed me today and I pray that you know that without a shadow of a doubt that the same love and promise in these verses is available to you. You can RECEIVE 3:16 as truth for you NOW and LATER.  All you have to "do" is believe.

BlogFam, You are loved.  You will NOT perish.  Your life will get better.  There will be people who will press pause on their own life, lay aside the stuff of their own life, to be there just for you.  Therefore, I pray that you will experience God's love in amazing and life-giving and hope-filled ways TODAY...NOW and LATER.

God LOVES YOU and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
Instagram - @AudraSunshine1

#John3 - You Can Get to the Point with Jesus!

Posted on October 11, 2016 at 9:41 AM Comments comments (0)
BlogFam - 
Have you ever initiated or been a willing, or maybe not so willing participant in a conversation that seemed to not get to the point soon enough?  The kind of conversation that goes on and on and on and on and on... kind of like I am doing with this sentence and in your head, you know that you or the person with whom you are conversing is straight beating around the bush.  You begin to think: Will you just make your point already OR would you at least not pretend that what you just said is relevant to the primary topic of discussion that is on your mind?  I have been on both sides.  I have initiated conversations  in which I did not want to get straight to the point.  I wanted both of us to do the mental gymnastics necessary to finally stick the landing.  I have also felt minor frustration [rolls eyes] with people who invite me into the same kind of conversations.

Why do we do this?
Why do we just not get to the point of whatever it is that is on our mind?  
Why must we play these intellectual, emotional, and sometimes even childish games instead of just saying whatever it is that we want to say?

Well, great questions, Delesslyn! LOL!
I ask you even as I ask myself these very questions.  I know that my answers include fear of how the other person might react, embarrassment due to the details that I might need to disclose about myself, caution because you know a little background of the other person in the conversation, hesitant because you really do not want to have this conversation in the first place... and probably many other reasons/excuses for not getting straight to the point.

In our verses for today, Nicodemus, a well respected Pharisee and legal scholar of his day attempted to initiate the same kind of conversation with Jesus in John 3.

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader.  He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

OK. This initial greeting seems innocent, cordial, highly complimentary on Nicodemus' part.  If any of us heard it, we might say, Thank You.  Or because we know a little about the background of the person who begins with such words AND we are clear about the current status of our relationship, we might say, Thank You, but think - What do you want?

Here is Jesus first response to Nicodemus.

 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”

Wait. What?  No Thank Yous here.  Jesus is so wise and discerning that he cuts straight through the cloud of compliments to get to the heart of the matter and the conversation continues from there.  But before we further explore the content of their conversation, I wanted to pause here today to remind us of how important it is for us to STOP beating around the bush when it comes to everything concerning our relationship with the Lord.  Friends, you can get straight to the point with Jesus!

There is such freedom in knowing that you can talk to Jesus about anything you fear or that you are embarrassed about and Jesus will listen.  You can just jump right in because BE CLEAR, He knows it ALL anyway!  Why do we leave certain people, places, decisions, dreams, struggles, or sins out of our conversations with the Lord?  Maybe we feel like if we put on a front with our words Jesus will completely ignore every other detail of our life or our heart's true condition.  Well, my friend, GET OVER IT and get to the point!  Maybe I need to say this again.  JESUS KNOWS IT ALL!

Jesus knows it all AND He loves you anyway!
Jesus knows it all AND He loves you anyway!
Jesus knows it all AND He loves you anyway!

Now, you might have to dump a load of meaningless dialogue on someone else before you get to the point with them but with Jesus, head straight there!  You do not have to fix it up or make it pretty or save it for a better day when you are more comfortable or more forgiving or more in control of the situation or more this or that.  Just get to the point with Jesus!  Get to the point so Jesus can then point you in the right direction.

When Nicodemus came with all those words of flattery, Jesus saw straight through the fluff.  He basically said, 'Nick, it is late so let me save us both some time.'  After Jesus cuts straight to the heart of Nicodemus, the conversation continues and we will explore those details in coming blogs.  Today, I just really want to encourage you to get to the point with Jesus!  When you beat around the bush, you are delaying your own pointed sense of direction that the Lord can give you...or has already given you.  The Lord is not looking to play games with any of us.  He desires that all of us have life and have it more abundantly.  So, get to the point and our Lord will definitely guide your life and your heart to whatever point it needs to be.

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

John 3: Jesus, Can You Keep A Secret?

Posted on September 30, 2016 at 8:44 AM Comments comments (0)

BlogFam -
Are you familiar with the song:

Have a little talk with Jesus.
Tell him all about your troubles.
He will hear your faintest cry
And He will answer by and by
Feel a little prayer wheel turnin'
And you know a little fire is burnin'
Just a little talk with Jesus makes it right.

I like that song.  I cannot tell you how many times I have sung that song and a few of its verses in public and in private throughout my life.  I like that song.  I am so encouraged to know that I can talk to my Savior at anytime of any day, in any place, using any words that I need to use that best convey the sentiments of my heart, and Jesus cares.  

That is one of the reasons why I talk to Him.  Jesus cares.  I really do believe that Jesus loves ME and cares about ME [and everyone else too] and so I have a lot of little talks with Jesus.

Since I talk to Jesus about a lot of different people, places, and things, I have often wondered if Jesus can keep a secret.

Friends, I do not know what kind of things you talk to Jesus about but the way my Jesus chats are set up, nothing is off limits.  Nothing and Nobody.... and because I choose to be so transparent with my prayer life, I need to know if Jesus can keep a secret.  I am sitting here shaking my head at all the details I have shared with my Lord and how the Lord has been a steady presence in my life as I take seriously the Pauline instruction to pray without ceasing.    My Lord, the details!  I have needed to be reassured that Jesus can keep my secrets more than a few times.

I think that is how our friend Nicodemus felt when he went to Jesus in the cover of dark.  While everyone was probably sleeping, he was sneaking to have a little talk with Jesus.

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader.  He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” [John 3:1-2]

Jesus, can you keep a secret?
In those days, those words should not have gone together but the Gospel writer lets us know that even in the Bible, people were having chats with Jesus that nobody else knew about.  Honestly, I wonder how John even got this story.  I know the disciples were close and he considered himself the beloved, so maybe he heard Jesus get up in the night and followed him.  Maybe John woke up to use the bathroom and saw Jesus leaving the place where they resided and for his own protection, John followed him.  Maybe Nicodemus told John the story after Jesus death.  I do not know and I am not about to do any deeper research to figure it out.  The point is this.  A man who was supposed to be an adversary of Jesus had a talk with Jesus at a time that was probably easier for him to hide and not get caught.

Nicodemus went to Jesus at night.
The Pharisee went to the Savior.
They had a little talk.
And over the next few blog posts we will reflect on that conversation but I had to begin this series by acknowledging that this conversation was one of those that probably was not supposed to happen.

But I love it because Jesus probably had plenty of chats with people that others thought he was not supposed to talk to at times that were not convenient for the crowds to hear and in places the details for which we may never have the privilege of knowing.  I believe that at this point in the life and ministry of Jesus, Nicodemus had witnessed something about this man that made him question the perspectives, strategies, and plots of his fellow brethren.  He needed answers that only Jesus could give to him.  So, he went to Jesus at the time that was most convenient  and the least threatening for him.  Let's keep it real.  We ALL have things we do not want anyone else knowing that we have talked to Jesus about.  Those secret prayer requests are NOT the ones you put on the church prayer lists.  Those kinds of conversations happen in the privacy of your own home and heart... sometimes as late as possible to ensure that the brightness of the sun does not expose your darkest truths.  You have secrets.  Secret prayers.  Secret sins.  Secret dreams.  Secrets. And you need to know that Jesus will keep them.

YES.  He Will.  Jesus will keep your secrets.  

Be clear that exposure of your secrets may come in nuanced ways for the blessing and benefit of your own personal growth or for that of the Kingdom but you will be ready.  I mean, look, we are reading about Nicodemus "secret" meeting, aren't we?  You will be ready more than you think that you are.  But until the appointed time, Jesus can keep your secrets. 

Jesus can keep your secrets.
And I am so very glad that he has kept plenty of mine.

God LOVES You and I Do Too!!!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!!!