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This is a 5 day reading plan I am beginning. Here is the outline. 1. What does it mean to rest? Rest is not the lack of doing anything, but we have planned our lives too rigidly. 2. Rest is about recovery. It is good to know when our limits. It is also good to get proper sleep. 3. Rest is about refreshment. Find what energizes us and do it. 4. Rest is about renewal. We need to spend time with God each day to be spiritually renewed. Over the next 4 days, we will learn some good habits to keep us from depleting ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Verses for today: Gen. 2:3; Exodus 34:11; and Mt. 11:28-30. Have a blessed day.

What does it mean to rest?

Our schedules seem to be getting fuller with each passing month. When we attempt to get together with friends, we are surprised that our next open evening is over a month away. There are our kids’ activities, church events, work projects, birthday parties, and summer vacations. We have programmed and planned our entire lives leaving little to no room for anything that might remotely rejuvenate us and offer us rest. 

Too often we think that rest means we should be lazy. It means we can totally chill out at home and do absolutely nothing. While there may be an element of that in our restful times, that is not the whole story. 

Rest is about recovery.

It is knowing when we are drained, exhausted, and need to breathe deeply for a while. It is knowing our limits and how we are handling the demands of our daily lives. In order for our bodies to truly recover, we must receive abundant rest, which includes sleeping well at night. If we find ourselves tired on a regular basis, it would be wise for us to evaluate not only the amount of nightly sleep we are getting but the time frame we are getting it.

Rest is about refreshment. 
It is learning what energizes us and what doesn’t. It is choosing to incorporate activities or stillness that will bring refreshing times to our spirits. If we continue doing things that deplete us when we should be finding things that fill us, refreshment will never come. We must make more deposits into this bucket than withdrawals during our times of rest.

Rest is about renewal. 
It is experiencing a deep renewal in all parts of our lives. It is spending time with God so that we are spiritually made new. While we may love to do certain things that refresh us mentally, ultimately, we need our spirits refreshed by spending time with God each day. 

Over the next four days, we will dive into some ways to find rest for our bodies, minds, and spirits. We will learn how to incorporate routines that become daily habits. And in doing so, we will be on our way towards eliminating mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical depletion from our lives.

Reflect

  • When you think of getting rest, does it feel like an impossibility? 
  • What area of your life do you feel needs the most rest? Body, mind, or spirit?
  • Write down any revelation that God speaks to you through today’s Bible reading or devotional.

Genesis 2:3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Exodus 34:21. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

Matthew 11:28‭. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:18 KJV

Total Surrender

This is the last day of this 30 day reading plan. There will be a new plan tomorrow. Today’s focus is on  the proper motive when we surrender our lives to God. Is it so we don’t have to face the consequences of our sins, or is it because we truly desire to give our whole life to His will? The first one is selfish, the latter is with a correct motive. Let’s do our best to allow God to work on others to get saved through us today and every day. Have a blessed day.

Our Lord replies to this statement of Peter by saying that this surrender is “for My sake and the gospel’s” (10:29). It was not for the purpose of what the disciples themselves would get out of it. Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result. For example, “I’m going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.” Being delivered from sin and being made holy are the result of being right with God, but surrender resulting from this kind of thinking is certainly not the true nature of Christianity. Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ‘This is what God has done for me.’” Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender. Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.

Where does Jesus Christ figure in when we have a concern about our natural relationships? Most of us will desert Him with this excuse—“Yes, Lord, I heard you call me, but my family needs me and I have my own interests. I just can’t go any further” (see Luke 9:57–62). “Then,” Jesus says, “you ‘cannot be My disciple’” (see Luke 14:26–33).

True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we will only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God. Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.

O Lord, cause my intellect to glow with Your Holy Spirit’s teaching each and every day. This is my prayer. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Mark 10:28. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Psalm 103:19 KJV

Today is day 29 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today will be on applying the vision God has given each of us, individually and as a whole, to our everyday lives. “The only way to be obedient to ‘the heavenly vision’ is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory.” Sometimes we must wait though, Habakkuk 2:3. We don’t want to miss the fulfillment of the vision by our busy-minded works. It is through God’s storms He sends us. Wait upon the Lord to plant you. In that way, we will produce much fruit. Have a blessed day.

If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible—not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life—sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.

“Though it tarries, wait for it . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision. Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7). In all matters, O Lord, I would acknowledge You. Keep me in tune with You so that others may desire the joyousness and gladness of God. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 26:19. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

P. S. I have added these next verses.

20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

21. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

22. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

23. That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

24. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

25. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

26. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

27. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.

28. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8 KJV

Today is day 28 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on being a holy messenger for God with our lives. “…it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.” Do not forget, we are now His sons and daughters. How marvelous is that?! Have a blessed day.

We are not saved only to be instruments for God, but to be His sons and daughters. He does not turn us into spiritual agents but into spiritual messengers, and the message must be a part of us. The Son of God was His own message—“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). As His disciples, our lives must be a holy example of the reality of our message. Even the natural heart of the unsaved will serve if called upon to do so, but it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.

There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching. A preacher is someone who has received the call of God and is determined to use all his energy to proclaim God’s truth. God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh. “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8).

Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory.

Lord God Omniscient, give me wisdom this day to worship and work aright and be well-pleasing to You. Lord, interpret Yourself to me more and more in Your fullness and beauty. In Jesus’precious name I pray. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Psalm 100:2 KJV

Today is day 27 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is whether we will live our lives dependent on Jesus Christ, or will we walk away. So many times I have found myself struggling and suffering unnecessarily, because I did not include God in my decisions. It is never too late to seek His help. He is waiting for our ultimate faith and trust and dependence in Him. Have a blessed day.

What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him. In verse 70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: “Do you also want to go away?”

Lord, how little nourishment I have been giving to the indwelling Christ in me; O Lord, forgive me. Fill me with the ample sense of Your forgiveness that I may not only joy in Your salvation, but be filled with Your Spirit for the work You have given me to do.

John 6:67. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 KJV

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke 6:35 KJV

Today is day 26 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus is on how disgustingly filthy sin is, and our duty to rid ourselves of it. We must come to terms with the fact that we still have pride. We who are saved sometimes believe we no longer have sin. He cannot forgive us if we are not honestly seeing ourselves as He sees us. Are you willing to give up everything to follow Him? Are you willing to look at yourself and find the wickedness and surrender it? Do not be afraid, have courage. That’s where Christ Jesus will be again and again! Have a blessed day. Today’s verse: Galatians 2:20.

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to

surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my mind and spirit are in suitable adjustment to You. Shed abroad liberty and purity and power among and in us all. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6 KJV

Today is day 25 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus is on how nothing can separate the love of God from us! We must remember that it was not because of anything we did that He came to save us, rather quite the opposite. Romans 5:8. So once we are saved, nothing can snatch us out of His hand. John 10:28. We will go through very difficult times, that’s life. It is through them, however, which makes us grow. Do not be afraid. He is with you alway, even to the end. Matthew 28:20. Have a blessed day.

Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that “in all these things we are more than conquerors.” We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against—tribulation, suffering, and persecution—are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).

The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Lord, I praise You for the joy of my life here—for the love of wife and child, for the students, for the favors of the Holy Spirit. What a wonder of joy and radiant blessing this place has been!

Romans 8:37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13 KJV

Today is day 24 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on yielding our minds unto God when times seem bleak and there is no help on the horizon. Many times (a day!) in life, we find ourselves doing and doing and doing, yet we do not see the results of our doing. It took 10 years of me witnessing to my best friend, and some of those times all I could do was pray and walk the walk, before he accepted Jesus Christ as his own Lord and Savior. So don’t give up! We may never see the results of our works, but know for a fact that God sees everything. Oh, what a relief! Have a blessed day.

When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1–17.

O Lord, save us from the murmuring spirit, which is harmful, hurting the bloom of spiritual communion. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

2 Corinthians 6:4. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5. In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6. By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7. By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9. As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10. As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 KJV

Today is day 23 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today will be on the joy we have within us. We could only attain it through the blessing of Jesus Christ. As He obeyed His Father and received His Father’s joy, so we obey Him and receive His joy. Valuing the ministry God has called us to do is the way to a fulfilling life. You do not have to be a preacher, not everyone is called to preach. You may be called to honor a parent by taking them into your home, making quilts for those in need, go visit those church members that can’t make it to church anymore, and so much more. Today’s verse: Acts 20:24. Have a blessed day.

Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it—to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16—“I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

“Do you love Me?” Then, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call—the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him. This does not imply that there is a whole series of differing ministries marked out for you. It does mean that you must be sensitive to what God has called you to do, and this may sometimes require ignoring demands for service in other areas.

O Lord, I beseech You for sustaining strength and simple joy. Keep me humble-minded in motive and design. Keep my eyes upon Jesus, Lord! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 20:24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

O give thanks unto the Lord ; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Psalm 105:1 KJV

This is day 21 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on whether or not we are doing God’s will or what we consider to be the Christian thing to do. What is the difference? The first is the calling of God to serve Him in a certain area in a certain way. The second is used by our common sense in considering what is the best value I can give. I can see why this may be hard, but serving God’s calling is much more than just showing up. It is fulfilling His Commission over our lives through Him. It is our reasonable service. Have a blessed day.

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use—but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.

O Lord, by Your grace open my vision to You and Your infinite horizons, and take me into Your counsels regarding Your work in this place. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 20:24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV

Today is day 21 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus is on God’s love toward us. “The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was.” Wow. Can you imagine how it must have felt when Jesus said, “Don’t testify about how much you love Me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed My sheep.’” This leads me to this conclusion, “If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions—I have to feed His sheep.” Have a blessed day.

This is love in the making. The love of God is not created—it is His nature. When we receive the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He unites us with God so that His love is demonstrated in us. The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was. And what kind of oneness did Jesus Christ have with the Father? He had such a oneness with the Father that He was obedient when His Father sent Him down here to be poured out for us. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

Peter now realizes that he does love Him, due to the revelation that came with the Lord’s piercing question. The Lord’s next point is—“Pour yourself out. Don’t testify about how much you love Me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed My sheep.’” Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: some that are unkempt and dirty, some that are awkward or pushy, and some that have gone astray! But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions—I have to feed His sheep. We will not be delivered or released from His commission to us. Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by following your own natural human emotions, sympathies, or understandings. That will only serve to revile and abuse the true love of God.

I would, O Lord, have all my thoughts and emotions and words redolent with love, perfect love to You, and through that to others. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 21:17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Proverbs 12:25 KJV

Today is day 20 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on our devotion to Him. Only when you love someone so deeply can you understand and feel the depths of their sorrow. Dear Father God, I am so sorry for the grief I have caused You, Your Son and the Holy Ghost. I repent of all my sins. Draw me nigh Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Thank You! Amen. Today’s verse: John 21:17. Have a blessed day.

Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very center of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life? The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions.

Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God. “Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’” Yet he was awakened to the fact that at the center of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus. And then he began to see what Jesus’ patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest bit of doubt left in Peter’s mind; he could never be deceived again. And there was no need for an impassioned response; no need for immediate action or an emotional display. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he simply said, “Lord, You know all things . . . .” Peter began to see how very much he did love Jesus, and there was no need to say, “Look at this or that as proof of my love.” Peter was beginning to discover within himself just how much he really did love the Lord. He discovered that his eyes were so fixed on Jesus Christ that he saw no one else in heaven above or on the earth below. But he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord were asked. The Lord’s questions always reveal the true me to myself.

Oh, the wonder of the patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time. Rarely, but probably once in each of our lives, He will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions. Then we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say.

O Lord, You have enlarged me when I was in distress. Oh, that the thoughts of my heart were more and more a well-spring of gracious treasure without ceasing!

John 21:17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV

Today is day 19 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on the question Jesus asks us, “Do you love Me?” This is not an emotional love but an action love. One that pierces through the sin so deeply hidden in us to expose it and remove it. Thank You Lord Jesus for loving each one of us, including me, this much. Please search me for any sin or deceit within me, and remove it quickly. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Peter’s response to this piercing question is considerably different from the bold defiance he exhibited only a few days before when he declared, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matthew 26:35; also see verses 33–34). Our natural individuality, or our natural self, boldly speaks out and declares its feelings. But the true love within our inner spiritual self can be discovered only by experiencing the hurt of this question of Jesus Christ. Peter loved Jesus in the way any natural man loves a good person. Yet that is nothing but emotional love. It may reach deeply into our natural self, but it never penetrates to the spirit of a person. True love never simply declares itself. Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men [that is, confesses his love by everything he does, not merely by his words], him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8).

Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives. The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses. But this question of the Lord intensifies our sensitivities to the point that this hurt produced by Jesus is the most exquisite pain conceivable. It hurts not only on the natural level, but also on the deeper spiritual level. “For the Word of God is living and powerful . . . , piercing even to the division of soul and spirit . . .”—to the point that no deception can remain (Hebrews 4:12). When the Lord asks us this question, it is impossible to think and respond properly, because when the Lord speaks directly to us, the pain is too intense. It causes such a tremendous hurt that any part of our life which may be out

of line with His will can feel the pain. There is never any mistaking the pain of the Lord’s Word by His children, but the moment that pain is felt is the very moment at which God reveals His truth to us.

O Lord, this morning disperse every mist. Shine forth clear and strong and invigoratingly. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 21:17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7 KJV

Today is day 18 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is believing in Jesus enough to allow Him to do the impossible. Is there anything in your life you have not taken to the Lord in prayer, because you thought it impossible or perhaps not important enough? Don’t give common sense the power which belongs to God! Now have a blessed day.

Is there something in your life that not only disturbs you, but makes you a disturbance to others? If so, it is always something you cannot handle yourself. “Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more . . .” (18:39). Be persistent with your disturbance until you get face to face with the Lord Himself. Don’t deify common sense. To sit calmly by, instead of creating a disturbance, serves only to deify our common sense. When Jesus asks what we want Him to do for us about the incredible problem that is confronting us, remember that He doesn’t work in commonsense ways, but only in supernatural ways.

Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past. We say, “I always failed there, and I always will. ”Consequently, we don’t ask for what we want. Instead, we think, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.” If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask. If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance. And God will do what is absolutely impossible.

This man received his sight. But the most impossible thing for you is to be so closely identified with the Lord that there is literally nothing of your old life remaining. God will do it if you will ask Him. But you have to come to the point of believing Him to be almighty. We find faith by not only believing what Jesus says, but, even more, by trusting Jesus Himself. If we only look at what He says, we will never believe. Once we see Jesus, the impossible things He does in our lives become as natural as breathing. The agony we suffer is only the result of the deliberate shallowness of our own heart. We won’t believe; we won’t let go by severing the line that secures the boat to the shore—we prefer to worry.

I praise You that all I am is Yours. Oh, that I could delight You as the lily does, or the tree, or even the sparrows, just living the life You have granted! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 18:41. Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Psalm 59:16 KJV

Today is day 17 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus is on how deep is our belief and why. We cannot do things out of a sense of duty instead of obedience to Christ, because that will lead to prideful and arrogant thinking. We must resist putting our sense of duty on the throne of our lives in place of our resurrected Saviour Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:7 “Walk in the light as He is in the light…” Amen! Have a blessed day.

Now we believe. But Jesus asks, “Do you . . . ? Indeed the hour is coming . . . that you . . . will leave Me alone” (16:31–32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5–6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light as He is in the light . . .” (1 John 1:7). When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation—just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.

O Lord, when I awake, I am still with You. Quicken my mortal body with Your mighty resurrection life; rouse me this hour with a gracious influx of power. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 16:30‭. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23‭-‬24 KJV

Today is day 16 of this reading plan. Our focus is on our willingness to fully surrender to Christ. Most of the time, Christians don’t fully believe God can use us, because of our human condition. You are right. That is why we must surrender to Him so He can use His attributes through us and in our lives. What an awesome we serve! Have a blessed day.

The well is deep”—and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew (4:11)! Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature—He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.

The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.

O Lord, what a wonder of perfect confidence it would create could I but hear some clear disposing word of Yours! Lord, speak it today. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

John 4:11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1 KJV

This is the 15th day of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on our own doubts, and why we shouldn’t. Remember any story of the Bible, and then said to yourself, Yes, but that’s when Jesus was alive? We forget that He became a man just as you and we are. If we believe, we should not doubt. He even told us we would achieve greater things than He. Now ponder that! Have a great day.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality—that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water—no means to be able to give us these things.” And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly—“Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but

only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”

O Lord, with what abundant relief I turn to You! I need You in unfathomable ways, and with what amazed relief and joy I find all I need in You.

John 4:11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23 KJV

Today is day 14 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is to be in the grip of the love of God to the exclusion of everything else. Through this manner, can others see the Holy Spirit at work in us. After we are saved and the Holy Spirit indwells us, then our testimony will be a witness to God. “We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward.” How cool is that! Have a blessed day.

Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. “The love of Christ compels us . . . .” When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.

When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8).

Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do—that is basic and understood—but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane—he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for—to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender to “the love of Christ” is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will

always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.

Draw me, O Lord, into vital communion with Yourself. Press through till I am thrilled with Your presence. Cause me to be Yours in the expression of Your grace as well as in the experience of it.

2 Corinthians 5:14. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 KJV

Today is day 13 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is the fact that God is in control of everything. Let us not allow the world and the things of it to control our thoughts, because they will indeed take care for themselves. Instead, focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you and for me; because of His great Love and Might and Justice and Mercy. He is control of it all because of who He is. Nothing less. He Ave a blessed day.

A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

“I say to you, do not worry about your life . . . .” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing—our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.

“Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, “What are your plans for next month— or next summer?” Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father (6:30).

Detach me, O Lord, from the things of sense and time, and usher me into the presence of the King. Keep the precincts of my mind and heart entirely Yours.

Matthew 6:25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13 KJV

Today is day 12 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on Jesus’ simplicity. I must admit, I can complicate the simple. “By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple.” Have a blessed day.

A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us because we will not be simple. How can we maintain the simplicity of Jesus so that we may understand Him? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple. Jesus asks us to consider that “if God so clothes the grass of the field . . .” how “much more” will He clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him? Every time we lose ground in our fellowship with God, it is because we have disrespectfully thought that we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed “the cares of this world” to enter in (Matthew 13:22), while forgetting the “much more” of our heavenly Father.

“Look at the birds of the air . . .” (6:26). Their function is to obey the instincts God placed within them, and God watches over them. Jesus said that if you have the right relationship with Him and will obey His Spirit within you, then God will care for your “feathers” too.

“Consider the lilies of the field . . .” (6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a onetime experience but an ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?

O Lord, I praise You for the revelation of Your supreme Fatherhood that dawns on me through the grace of the Lord Jesus. Oh, that I may be the child of my Father in heaven!

Matthew 6:30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2 KJV

Today is day 11 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus for today is to make room for God. It doesn’t matter how good we know our Bibles, we constantly make plans for today and the future. Don’t be thrown off course if God shows up unexpectedly with a blessing or a lesson. “Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.” Have a blessed day.

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him—to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly, God meets our life—“when it pleased God.”

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.

Dear precious Lord, breathe on me until my frame is knit to Your thoughts. Lift me up until I see Your face and trust Your Almightiness without fear or insidious unbelief. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Galatians 1:15. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: Matthew 7:24 KJV

Today is day 10 of this 30 day reading plan. Our personal focus today could be explained as having a clear vision and understanding of our right relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. Just as Paul saw Him in a vision on the road to Damascus, so too does He give us signs. In order to realize when this happens, we need to be in tune with Him. We do this by reading His Word, prayer, faithfulness, obedience, and putting Him first in everything. There’s no other way to please Him! Have a blessed day.

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. And Paul stated, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go . . .” (John 15:16).

When we are born again, if we are spiritual at all, we have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. It is important that I learn not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision”—not to doubt that it can be attained. It is not enough to give mental assent to the fact that God has redeemed the world, nor even to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in my life. I must have the foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Acts 26:16 is tremendously compelling “. . . to make you a minister and a witness . . . .” There would be nothing there without a personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

O Lord, enchain me to Yourself with great bonds of adoring love; encircle me around with Your Providence for Your purposes; enlarge me until I am more and more capable of being of use to You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 26:16. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11 KJV

Today is day 9 of this 30 day reading plan. Today we focus on being the mirror image of God. “When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors.” We must be very careful not to stain that imagine. We can do this by leaving our lives continuously open to God and not concentrating on the things of this world. These things could even be good things, so pay attention. Keep God first as He did for us. Have a blessed day.

The greatest characteristic a Christian can exhibit is this completely unveiled openness before God, which allows that person’s life to become a mirror for others. When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors. You can always tell when someone has been beholding the glory of the Lord, because your inner spirit senses that he mirrors the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything that would spot or tarnish that mirror in you. It is almost always something good that will stain it—something good, but not what is best.

The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it. The most difficult lesson of the Christian life is learning how to continue “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord . . . .”

O Lord, I look to You so utterly that I am worse than useless without You. Be made wisdom and discernment and understanding unto me today.

2 Corinthians 3:18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5 KJV

Today is day 8 of this 30 day reading plan. Where is your focus today? Is it on the celebration of liberty and freedom from sin given only through the blood of Jesus Christ? Or is it on the fireworks and BBQ? To tell be honest, mine is mostly on the first, but I am also looking forward to our Church BBQ. However, there is no freedom without the sacrifice God made through His Son, Jesus Christ. That is why God wants us to “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Thank You so very much Lord God! Have a blessed day.

Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ. “Look to Me…”

Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God. This is not salvation—it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, “Look to Me and you are saved,” not “You will be saved someday.” We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.

Wake yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter how many things seem to be pressing in on you, be determined to push them aside and look to Him. “Look to Me . . . .” Salvation is yours the moment you look.

Dear precious Lord Jesus, unto You do I look up. How I know that “in me dwelleth no good thing”; and how marvelous is Your grace that I now find in my heart no motive save for Your glory. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 45:22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 KJV

Today is day 7 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on attitude. If my attitude desires to serve and to please God, then I will be drawing closer to Him. If I get frustrated because things are not going my way, I am displeasing God. Do I desire God today as much as the day I got saved? Do you? Have a blessed day.

Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me?

Does everything in my life fill His heart with gladness, or do I constantly complain because things don’t seem to be going my way? A person who has forgotten what God treasures will not be filled with joy. It is wonderful to remember that Jesus Christ has needs which we can meet—“Give Me a drink” (John 4:7). How much kindness have I shown Him in the past week? Has my life been a good reflection on His reputation?

God is saying to His people, “You are not in love with Me now, but I remember a time when you were.” He says, “I remember . . . the love of your betrothal . . .” (Jeremiah 2:2). Am I as filled to overflowing with love for Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to prove my devotion to Him? Does He ever find me pondering the time when I cared only for Him? Is that where I am now, or have I chosen man’s wisdom over true love for Him? Am I so in love with Him that I take no thought for where He might lead me? Or am I watching to see how much respect I get as I measure how much service I should give Him?

As I recall what God remembers about me, I may also begin to realize that He is not what He used to be to me. When this happens, I should allow the shame and humiliation it creates in my life, because it will bring godly sorrow, and “godly sorrow produces repentance . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Dear precious Lord, how I long for You to bring me face to face with Yourself! My soul thirsts for You, for the touch of Your grace, the breathing of Your Spirit, the holiness of Your being. Until then, help me to grow nearer to Thee each day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Jeremiah 2:2. Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually. 1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV

Today is day 6 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on our relationship with God. Is it fresh? Do we look forward to each part of our day with the same excitement and newness as when we were first saved? I pray my relationship with Jesus Christ never becomes stale. Lord God, I want You to be in the midst of every decision, every thought, every deed. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes? Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know where it begins—it is hidden away in the depths of our soul. Being born again from above is an enduring, perpetual, and eternal beginning. It provides a freshness all the time in thinking, talking, and living—a continual surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication that something in our lives is out of step with God. We say to ourselves, “I have to do this thing or it will never get done.” That is the first sign of staleness. Do we feel fresh this very moment or are we stale, frantically searching our minds for something to do? Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit. Obedience keeps us “in the light as He is in the light . . .” (1 John 1:7).

Jealously guard your relationship with God. Jesus prayed “that they may be one just as We are one”—with nothing in between (John 17:22). Keep your whole life continually open to Jesus Christ. Don’t pretend to be open with Him. Are you drawing your life from any source other than God Himself? If you are depending on something else as your source of freshness and strength, you will not realize when His power is gone.

Being born of the Spirit means much more than we usually think. It gives us new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything through the never-ending supply of the life of God.

O Lord, breathe on me till I am one with You in the temper of my mind and heart and disposition. Unto You do I turn. Again, how completely I realize my lostness without You! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

John 3:3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 KJV

Today is day 5 of this 30 day reading plan. Today we focus on patience and discipline. Don’t try to force God’s will to come true. He is in control, and He will see that it happens. Remember God’s promise to Abram for a son? Sarai did not understand, so she gave him her handmaiden to wife. Much stress to follow because she did not wait on the LORD. Next time you get a vision, wait upon the Lord. Have a blessed day.

Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a “darkness” that comes from too much light—that is the time to listen. The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all of his self-sufficiency was destroyed. He grew past the point of relying on his own common sense. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. There is never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him (see Isaiah 50:10–11).

Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in myself and other people of God? Do I trust in books and prayers or other joys in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am Almighty God . . .” —El-Shaddai, the AllPowerful God (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.

O Lord, with much dimness I draw nigh to You. Clear the dimness away from me and flood me with the light of Your countenance. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Genesis 15:12. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 KJV

Today is day 4 of this 30 day reading plan. Today our focus is our service to Him, not His service to us. We are to be pure, holy, and focused on Him. What’s that you say? Strive to be pure and holy. “15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:15-16. Has He not done enough? Have a blessed day.

Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us. Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for that word—“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” How I realize that I owe nothing to Your severity but all to Your love. Oh, that Your Love and gentleness and patience toward me were expressed through me to others! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 20:28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44 KJV

Today is the third day of this thirty day reading plan. Today we focus on the service we do out of pure love toward God. “Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service.” It is wonderfully amazing! Have a blessed day.

The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service which results in my life is suited to me and is an expression of my nature. The call of the natural life was stated by the apostle Paul—“When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [that is, purely and solemnly express Him] among the Gentiles . . . .”

Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.

Dear Lord, Your Word comes so quietly and allpervadingly—“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me,” and, “If any man serve Me, him will my Father honor.” Take me as Your servant in this sense. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Galatians 1:15‭. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:14 KJV

Today is the 2nd day of this 30 day reading plan. We discuss the calling of God and His nature. It is a personal calling, and only you can answer it. Empty yourself of the busyness of the day, and invite God to talk to you. Then wait patiently. Have a blessed day.

When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.

The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.

“Let me hear Your voice”—that is my prayer. I am willing beyond all my expression to hear You, to perceive You, to be thrilled with Your presence. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 6:8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8 KJV

I am starting a 30 day reading plan today: My Utmost for His Highest. I hope you enjoy it. Have a blessed day.

My Utmost for His Highest. “. . . my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed . . . .” We will all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus the areas of our lives He has asked us to yield to Him. It’s as if Paul were saying, “My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest—my best for His glory.” To reach that level of determination is a matter of the will, not of debate or of reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. An undue amount of thought and consideration for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision, although we cover it up with the pretense that it is others we are considering. When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn’t know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point—He does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only—my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.

My Unstoppable Determination for His Holiness. “Whether it means life or death—it makes no difference!” (see 1:21). Paul was determined that nothing would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God’s gentler nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide—for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.

Lord, the range of Your power, the touch of Your grace, the breathing of Your Spirit—how I long for these to bring me face to face with You.

Philippians 1:20. According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:37‭-‬39 KJV

Today is the last day of this reading plan. I hope you had fun and learned a few things along the way. Have a blessed day.

God is looking for sincere worshipers. Worship is simply the expression of our love, devotion, and commitment to God. (John 4:23–24)

Discipleship.

The last command Jesus gave His followers before He ascended to heaven was to go and make disciples, to baptize these disciples, and to teach them how to obey God’s Word. Therefore, we should first be disciples or followers of Jesus, then we should teach others to follow Him. (Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Timothy 2:2)

Personal Application.

Are you being discipled, either one-to-one or in a small group setting?

Are you making disciples? Who are you teaching to obey God’s Word?

Are you an active member of a local church?

Who are three Christians you can call for help in case of a spiritual emergency?

John 4:23‭. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Matthew 28:19‭. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

2 Timothy 2:2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:11 KJV

Today is day 24 of the 25 day reading plan. We discuss the Church now, and how vitally important it is to God and us. True friends and fellowship can and should be found in the Church. We edify one another and love one another as Christ Jesus commanded. I have found this to be true. Have a blessed day.

Through a revelation of the Holy Spirit, Peter confessed the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God. (Matthew 16:16-18) Jesus said this truth would be the foundation stone that His church would be built on. He also described the type of church He would build: a victorious church that would overcome the kingdom of darkness. Jesus and Paul used the word “church” in reference to the people of God. Church never referred to a religious building. Here are two benefits of being part of a local church:

Friendship.

Real friends. Everyone needs them. Few find them. The best place to look for a real friend is in the church, the people of God. True friends are those who have our best interests in mind. They stick with us through thick and thin. Real friends never lead us away from God. Instead, they provoke us to godliness. (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24)

Fellowship.

If a piece of burning coal is removed from the fire, it will cool off. If it’s put back in the middle of a pile of red-hot coals, it will burn again. The same is true of Christians. If a Christian is removed from fellowship with other red-hot Christians, he or she will cool off spiritually. If a Christian stays in fellowship, he or she will stay on fire for God. (Acts 2:42, 44-46; 2 Corinthians 6:14)

Matthew 16:16‭. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Proverbs 17:17. A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43‭. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45. And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 

2 Corinthians 6:14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19 KJV

Today is day 23. We have to forgive everyone who has sinned against us. So, you think that’s hard? What would cause a great and holy God to pay attention to and forgive you and me of our sins? Jesus Christ through His blood and His great love. We must forgive. Have a blessed day.

What can we pray for?

God’s will to be done… in your life, in your family, in your church, in your city, in your nation, in the whole world. (Matthew 6:10)

Provision… personal and family needs to be met. (Matthew 6:11)

Forgiveness… receive forgiveness from God and forgive those who have offended you. (Matthew 6:12)

Victory over temptation… and protection from the devil’s schemes. (Matthew 6:13)

Does God really answer prayer?

Absolutely! The more specific the prayers, the more specific the answers will be. The secret is to pray according to His will. We know His will by knowing His Word. Therefore, as we pray according to His Word, we know He’ll answer. (1 John 5:14–15)

Personal Application.

Do you have a set time and place for daily Bible reading and prayer?

Are you involved in a Bible study or discipleship group?

Have you forgiven all who have sinned against you?

Do you pray daily for God’s provision in areas of your life?

Matthew 6:10‭. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

1 John 5:14‭. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4 KJV

Today is day 22. We  learn not only how to pray, but also what not to pray for. I like to fashion my prayers after the Master. Jesus Christ gave a great example in His sermon on the mount. Matthew 6:9-15. Have a blessed day.

Prayer.

Jesus is our best example for prayer. By observing His personal prayer life, we can learn important principles on how to have an intimate time of dialogue with the Father. (Luke 11:1)

How are we not to pray?

Do not pray like the hypocrites. (Matthew 6:5)

Do not pray like the pagans. (Matthew 6:7–8)

How are we to pray?

Pray to the Father, not to the mother, saints, or angels. (Matthew 6:6)

Do not pray like the pagans. (Matthew 6:7–8)

How are we to pray?

Pray to the Father, not to the mother, saints, or angels. (Matthew 6:6)

Pray through Jesus. He is the only way to the Father. (1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6)

Luke 11:1. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Matthew 6:5‭.  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

1 Timothy 2:5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

John 14:6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:3‭-‬4 KJV

Today is day 21. Today we focus on doing God’s will, not our own. We must submit to please Him. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are amazing. Have a blessed day.

How can I be successful?

If you meditate on God’s Word and carefully obey it, success is inevitable. Obedience brings success. (Joshua 1:8)

How can I know God’s will for my life?

As we renew our minds by studying God’s Word, we’ll be transformed, and we’ll understand God’s will. (Romans 12:2)

What happens if I know God’s Word but don’t do what it says?

The measure of our spiritual progress is not how much of the Bible we know, but how much we obey. Those who constantly learn but fail to obey end up deceiving themselves. (James 1:22)

Joshua 1:8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 1:22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Wait on the Lord : be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord . Psalm 27:14 KJV

Today is day 20. We are discussing growth and temptation. Once you became a Christian, you have the opportunity for a relationship with Christ Jesus. How does this relationship grow stronger and deeper? By reading God’s Word everyday. How do we resist temptation? By knowing the word of God. I pray for everyone who reads these words: May you have a fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ while you are in this world but not of it. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!

What is the key to spiritual growth?

As newborn babies crave milk and need it to grow, so genuine new Christians crave God’s Word and need it to grow strong in faith. (1 Peter 2:2–3)

The more we hear or read the Bible, the more our faith will grow. (Romans 10:17)

How can I resist temptation?

Jesus resisted temptation, not by willpower, but by knowing and quoting God’s Word. We can win the temptation war the same way, by knowing and speaking God’s Word. (Matthew 4:3-4)

Head knowledge and religious facts don’t produce purity and holiness. The Word planted deep in our hearts will keep us away from sin. (Psalm 119:9,11)

1 Peter 2:2‭. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Romans 10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Matthew 4:3‭. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Psalm 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalm 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

Today is the 19th day, and we begin to grow deeper in our relationship with God through His Word. Have a blessed day.

Christianity is more than just a religion. It is first and foremost a relationship with God. The foundation of any healthy relationship is communication. The better the communication, the better the relationship will be. God talks to us in many ways but He primarily talks to us through His Word, the Bible. We talk to Him through prayer. We learn to listen to the sound of God’s voice in our lives when we read His Word. He listens to us when we pray. We respond to His Word with action. He responds to our prayers with action. (Acts 2:42)

The Bible.
.

More than just a random collection of stories, poems, and letters, the Bible is the inspired, written Word of God. We must follow the example of Job who valued God’s Word more than food. (Job 23:12)

Before turning to Christ, we lived by the world’s standards. Now, we accept the Bible as the final authority for what we believe and how we live. God’s Word is the ultimate and absolute standard for every area of life.

Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Job 23:12. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. Proverbs 20:7 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.20.7.KJV

Today is day 18 in this 25 day reading plan. Tomorrow we start on devotion and prayer. Have a blessed day.

Spiritual Gifts.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the manifestation of spiritual gifts. In the Biblical accounts of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the most common spiritual gift manifested is the gift of tongues. (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44–46; Acts 19:6)

The Gift of Tongues and Prophecy.

Tongues and prophecy are both designed for edification or for strengthening. Tongues strengthens the individual and prophecy strengthens the church. (1 Corinthians 14:1–40)

Personal Application.

Have you repented of your sins?

Have you put your trust in Christ alone for salvation?

Have you been baptized in water since you repented?

Would you like to get water baptized?

Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Would you like to have someone pray with you to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Acts 2:4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 10:44‭. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Acts 19:6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

1 Corinthians 14:1‭. Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 6. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 7. And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8. For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9. So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17. For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19. Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20. Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

14:23. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24. But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40. Let all things be done decently and in order.

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.34.18.KJV

Today is the 17th day of this 25 day reading plan. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are saved. Being baptized is an outward expression of an inward confession. It is also a step of obedience. Be blessed today.

Peter taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift promised for every believer, not just for those present during Pentecost. (Acts 2:38–39)

How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

James tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask. In order to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we must ask — and we must ask in faith. (Luke 11:13)

The Laying on of Hands.

Many disciples in the New Testament received the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:17)

Acts 2:38‭. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Luke 11:13. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Acts 8:17. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5:14 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/gal.5.14.KJV

This is the 16th day of the 25 day reading plan, One-2-One. Today we look at baptism of the Holy Spirit. Surrender all, and begin to live for Christ Jesus. It is amazing! Have a blessed day.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It’s impossible to live the Christian life apart from the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to lead us into all truth. (John 16:7, 13)

Jesus the Baptizer: John the Baptist taught that water baptism was an act of repentance, and pointed out that Jesus would baptize His disciples with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11)

Power to be a Witness.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be effective witnesses. A witness is one who not only tells the truth, but also lives the truth. (Acts 1:8)

John 16:7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Matthew 3:11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Acts 1:8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Matthew 6:25 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.6.25.KJV

Today is the fifteenth day of the 25 day reading plan, One-2-One. It is not the water that cleanses us. If it were, we would only need to bathe. It is through the blood of our loving Lord Jesus Christ that cleanses our sins white as snow. Thank You Lord Jesus! Have a blessed day.

Crossing the Red Sea.

In the same way the Israelites were in slavery to the Egyptians, we were all slaves of sin. The Israelites were freed from their bondage by passing through the Red Sea. Baptism pictures the freedom from sin that Jesus purchased for us on the cross. (1 Corinthians 10:1–2)

The Flood.

Peter teaches that it is not the water or the “removal of dirt” that saved us, but the death and resurrection of Christ. (1 Peter 3:20–21)

1 Corinthians 10:1‭. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1 Peter 3:20‭. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.8.26.KJV

Today is the fourteenth day of this 25 day reading plan, One-2-One. The next five days, including today, will be discussing baptism. In my church, we believe the Bible. In the Bible, baptisms are conducted by immersion. Die to sin, be born into the Spirit of the living God. Amazing! Have a blessed day.

When the crowd asked Peter what they should do in response to his sermon, he gave them a three-fold answer: repent, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, 41) Thousands responded and were added to the fellowship of believers. The Biblical pattern is that everyone who is baptized is also added. Every baptized disciple is expected to become an active member of the local fellowship.

Water Baptism.

The Bible presents several illustrations to help us understand water baptism. Each of these pictures of water baptism shows the old life being put away and the new life emerging. In water baptism, we publicly identify with what Christ did for us on the cross, put away the old life of sin, and begin a new life of obedience to Christ.

Burial and Resurrection.

Paul compares Christian baptism to a burial. In order to be buried, a person must first die. In the same way, the prerequisite for baptism is death to sin. After we are buried in baptism, then we are raised to live a new life. (Romans 6:1–4)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Romans 6:1‭. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jos.1.8.KJV

Today is day thirteen of the 25 day reading plan. I’m so glad that our God is down to earth God. He gets to the heart of our problems by cutting through the chase. The closer we come to Him, the better we are able to here the Holy Spirit’s beckoning us to repent. Thank You Jesus for loving us this much! Have a blessed day.

No Regret

Repentance is turning away from sin and turning to God. It means we stop trusting in our own good deeds and religious activity, and we start trusting in Christ alone. We were going in the wrong direction; now we’re going in the right direction. We were running from God; now we’re walking with Him. Repentance is the starting point of a new life. Repentance takes us off the treadmill of a self-centered life and puts us on the fast track of God’s glorious purpose for our lives. Turning to God means no looking back and no regrets. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Personal Application.

Is your life going in a new direction?

Are there sinful areas in your life that are still a struggle?

Are there areas of intense temptation or consistent weakness that you need prayer for?

Are there sins that you have turned away from, yet you still feel condemned about?

2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord , He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 91:1‭-‬2 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.91.1-2.KJV

Today is day 12th of the 25 day reading plan One-to-One. The prodigal son, a story of true repentance. We serve a merciful such a God. Thank You Jesus! Have a blessed day.

Repentance and Forgiveness.

The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–24 is a beautiful picture of true repentance. The wayward son came to his senses, turned his back on his folly, and returned to his father. He made a 180 degree turn, walking away from his former life of sin and rebellion. His father forgave him for his offenses and received him back. In the same way, our Heavenly Father is faithful to forgive us when we turn to Him and repent of our sins. (Acts 3:19)

Ever had a stain on your shirt that you couldn’t wash out? Imagine a stain remover that would not only remove the stain, but would make the shirt just like new again. That’s what happens when we repent and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He not only cleans the sin’s stain of guilt and shame from our hearts, He gives us a new heart. (1 John 1:9)

Luke 15:11‭. And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Acts 3:19. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 1 Corinthians 12:25‭-‬27 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.12.25-27.KJV

Today is the eleventh day of the 25 day reading plan, One-to-One. This is talking about the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. The first is genuine and bears good fruit. The latter brings death, because there is no change, no repentance. They’re just upset they got caught. Let us try to be joyful even when we have to admit wrongdoing, because God is always gracious to forgive. Amen! Have a blessed day.

Repentance, Sorrow, and Fruit.

Real repentance begins when we are truly sorry for our sins. This “godly sorrow” makes no excuses, takes full responsibility, and never places blame on people, society, or circumstances. It acknowledges that our sin is primarily against God. Godly sorrow produces true repentance and a changed life. (2 Corinthians 7:10; Psalm 32:5)

On the other hand, “worldly sorrow” only produces excuses. While godly sorrow is having a broken heart when we realize we have offended a holy God, worldly sorrow is being sorry we got caught, or being sorry we have to suffer the consequences of sin. The ultimate difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow is the fruit. Worldly sorrow never produces the fruit of a changed life; it only produces spiritual death. (Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8)

2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Psalm 32:5. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Acts 26:20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Matthew 3:8. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 1 Corinthians 13:4 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.13.4.KJV

Today is the tenth day in this 25 day reading plan.

Driving a car in the wrong direction on a one-way street is foolish and dangerous. Some drive the wrong way out of ignorance; others out of rebellion. There’s a spiritual parallel. Whether out of ignorance or rebellion, we’re all on a dangerous one-way street that will ultimately lead to eternal separation from God. Until we turn around (repent) and begin following Christ, every step we take is a step in the wrong direction — a step away from God. (Acts 2:38)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.14.1.KJV

Today is the ninth day of this reading plan.

Lordship Is a Continuous Walk

We begin our Christian life by acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. We must continue to walk under His Lordship for the rest of our lives. Lordship is not having a one-time experience with God, but developing a lifetime walk with God. The more we know Him, the more we submit to Him. (Colossians 2:6)

Personal Application.

Are there areas in your life that you have not yet submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

Are your relationships under His Lordship?

Are your finances under His Lordship?

Is your time submitted to His Lordship?

Colossians 2:6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Jeremiah 31:25 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jer.31.25.KJV

This is day eight of this 25 day reading plan.

Lordship Demands Obedience.

Anyone who claims Christ as his or her Lord is expected to do what He says. Intellectual faith and empty confession is not enough. If we say Christ is our Lord, our lifestyle should back up our claim. (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21)

Lordship Begins in the Heart.

Submitting to Christ as Lord is not about following a set of religious rules and traditions. Rather, Lordship is a matter of the heart. Lordship begins as an internal submission of the heart. If it’s genuine, it will eventually reveal itself in outward obedience. (1 Peter 3:15)

Matthew 7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Luke 6:46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.100.4-5.KJV

Today is the seventh day of this 25 day reading plan.

Lordship is one of the central messages of the Bible. (Acts 2:36) Jesus is referred to as “Lord” ninety-two times in the book of Acts and 747 times in the whole New Testament, while being referred to as “Savior” only twice in Acts and twenty-four times in the New Testament. The Biblical emphasis is overwhelmingly on the concept of Lordship. Lord means master; the one who calls the shots, the one who makes the decisions.

Lordship and Salvation.

The starting point of salvation is the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ. Confessing Jesus is Lord implies a submission to His Lordship in every area of life. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all. We don’t have the option of receiving Him as Savior and not as Lord. Salvation is an all-or-nothing proposal. (Romans 10:9)

Acts 2:36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Romans 10:9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Luke 6:46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.126.5.KJV

Day 6. Have you stopped trusting in yourself and are ready to trust in Jesus Christ? Welcome into this family of God! Say the simple pray in this message. O glorious day!

The Response: Receive God’s Gift by Faith.

We receive salvation when we stop trusting in ourselves and put our trust in what Christ did for us.

Our salvation is a result of God’s grace. It’s based on what Jesus did for us on the cross. It has nothing to do with what we do for Him. We cannot save ourselves or earn God’s approval through the good works we do. We’re saved by God’s grace when we realize our need for a Savior, turn from sin, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, putting our trust in Him alone for salvation. (Romans 10:9–10; Ephesians 2:8–9)

Personal Application.

Have you stopped trusting in yourself and started trusting in Christ alone for salvation?

Have you turned away from all known sin?

Have you confessed Jesus as the Lord and Master of your life?

Are you willing to follow and obey Him for the rest of your life?

Prayer for Salvation.

Heavenly Father… I acknowledge that the separation between us… is because of my sin… I confess that I have sinned… and have fallen far short of Your glory… I thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus… to pay the penalty for my sin… I believe that He died on the cross for me… I believe that You raised Him from the dead… I’m sorry for my sins… and I ask You to forgive and cleanse me… I want to turn away from everything the Bible calls sin… and receive You as my Lord, Master, and Savior… help me to love, serve, and obey You… for the rest of my life… in Jesus’ name, amen!

A New Life.

If you sincerely prayed that prayer, the Bible promises that the old has gone and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) The next five lessons in One-2-One will introduce you to some of the new things that have come.

Romans 10:9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Ephesians 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/ezk.36.26.KJV

This is day 4 of this reading plan about understanding salvation and discipleship to help you help lead others to Christ Jesus and beyond. Today’s focus is on salvation and reconciliation. Have a blessed day.

The Result: Our Salvation and Reconciliation

Christ died on the cross so that we could receive forgiveness of our sins, be reconciled to God, and have eternal life.

We have all sinned against a holy and righteous God. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God in hell. God is just and must punish sin. He’s also loving and does not want us to go to hell forever. Therefore, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for sin by dying on the cross. Because of His sinless life, death could not hold Jesus. He was raised from the dead on the third day. In Christ, we experience forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. In Him, we’re restored to right standing before God and given a new life as His children. (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13)

John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesians 2:13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/2co.9.8.KJV

Day 4 continues to explain why it was necessary for Jesus Christ to come to earth, live, die, and rise again on third day. God paid the price which we could not through Jesus who knew no sin. Thank You Jesus! Have a blessed day.

The Solution: God’s Sacrifice and Substitution

The justice of God demands a sacrifice for man’s sin. Jesus Christ became that sacrifice and paid the penalty for our sin at the cross.

Since God is holy, righteous, and just, He could not allow sin to go unpunished. Since He is loving and compassionate, He did not want all of mankind to be eternally separated from Him. The divine solution to this problem was for Jesus, God’s only Son, to become the sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 9:26–28)

What exactly happened on the cross? Through His death on the cross, Jesus took our place and our punishment. He exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He took our curse and gave us His blessings. Because of His sinless life, Jesus was the only one qualified to pay the penalty for man’s sin and to bridge the gap between God and man. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13)

Hebrews 9:26. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

2 Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Galatians 3:13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.6.34.KJV

On the third day of this reading plan, we discuss the reason we are separated from God to appreciate how good the good news is. We have sinned and therefore caused a division between God and us. God has provided a way back, a way to have a relationship with Him. That is truly good news! Have a blessed day.

A new creation. A fresh start. For all of us who have ever wished we could start over, this is good news. (2 Corinthians 5:17) However, before we can really appreciate this good news, we need to understand exactly why we need to start over. Why do we need to become a “new creation?” Why do we need salvation?

The Problem: Separation Because of Our Sin

There is an immeasurable gap separating God and man. The cause of this eternal separation between God and man is sin.

Have you ever felt distant from God? We all have. Feeling far from God is very common. Many who sense this vast separation suppose that if they meditate harder, learn more about their religion, or just step into a religious sanctuary, they would be closer to God.

But since our separation from God is not physical or intellectual, neither meditation nor knowledge can bring us any closer to God. What causes the separation between God and man?

The separation between God and man is a moral separation. God is holy; man is not. God is good; man is not. God is just; man is not. All men have sinned; therefore, all are eternally separated from God. All will suffer the consequences of sin, which is eternal death. (Isaiah 59:1–2; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23)

2 Cor. 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Isaiah 59:1. Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Romans 3:23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. Proverbs 13:3 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.13.3.KJV

Today is day 2 of this 25 day reading plan. We are encouraged to trust God, not our own knowledge; to stay away from sin; attend a discipleship class, and join our small Bible study group; to read and obey our Bibles; and to share with a dieing world how good our God truly is. Amen!

These five steps will get you off to the right S-T-A-R-T, as you follow Christ:

1. Stop trusting in yourself and your own good works, and start trusting in Christ alone for salvation. (Ephesians 2:8–9)

2. Turn away from everything the Bible calls sin. (2 Timothy 2:19)

3. Attend a small group for personal discipleship and weekly worship services. (Hebrews 10:25)

4. Read and obey your Bible every day. (Joshua 1:8)

5. Tell others about your new relationship with Christ. (Mark 5:19–20)

Eph 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2 Tim 2:19. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Heb 10:25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Josh 1:8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Mark 5:19. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.3.20.KJV

I have started a new reading plan, One-to-One. It is a 25 day plan, and it’s goal is to help those who go Soul Winning to not just get people saved, but to disciple them. It is right up my alley! I hope you will enjoy it as well. Have a blessed day.

From 1974–1979, a young, upstart Presbyterian youth pastor named Ron invaded local high schools in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, boldly sharing the Gospel one-on-one with anyone who would listen — and with some who wouldn’t. Over the years, countless teenagers heard and understood God’s plan of salvation for the first time. Hundreds responded. Many went on to serve the Lord in full-time ministry as church-planters, youth ministers, pastors, and missionaries.

I’m one of those who heard the Gospel for the first time through Ron back in the mid-seventies. However, my first response to Ron and his Gospel was not to repent, but to run. I ran from Ron, from his “disciples,” and from God. I ran for about six months, avoiding Ron the best I could. It was a difficult task, as he seemed to show up everywhere. He was at every football and basketball game. He was in the school halls, in the cafeteria, in the parking lot. He and his band of disciples were always inviting me to another retreat, another Bible study, another prayer meeting, another youth night at the church. Finally in November of 1975, I responded to the Gospel. I repented and put my faith in Christ alone.

Fortunately, it didn’t end there. Ron wasn’t content just to carve a notch in his well-worn Bible to represent yet another soul saved. Since he was not out to save souls, but to make disciples, his work with me was just beginning. He added me to one of his famous “action groups” where about eight of us met together weekly and learned to walk with God.

I believe in one-to-one evangelism, one-to-one follow-up, and one-to-one discipleship. Here’s why: Ron shared the Gospel with me. I didn’t respond. I ran. Ron ran after me. For six months he ran after me, preaching to me and praying for me. He just wouldn’t go away. That’s one-to-one follow-up.

After I responded to the Gospel, Ron began to disciple me in a small group. He taught me how to study and live the Bible. He taught me how to pray. He taught me how to share my faith and how to make disciples. That’s one-to-one discipleship. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Personal follow-up and discipleship. That’s the Great Commission. That’s what One-2-One is all about.

It’s a guide. It can’t make a disciple, but it can help you make one. Most importantly, it helps a new disciple get the right start.

Steve Murrell

2 Tim 2:2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Mark 1:17. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/col.3.17.KJV

Today’s video is 9:35 minutes. It is also the last day of this reading plan. Not to worry though. I’ve started another. It is the The Bible – Chronology. I will most likely start another reading plan as well. I’m looking at Prayer Boot Camp http://bible.com/r/6TP

To end James’ message to the  believers, he exhorts them in all circumstances to pray. Do you believe you have the faith of Elijah? Moses? Abraham? You do! They were men made by God. So are you. You are as precious to God as any great person of faith you can point to, because you can have a relationship with God as well! How awesome is our God that we serve! Have a blessed day.

If prayer is, essentially, talking with God, then there must be many ways to do it. Certainly we want to speak respectfully to the Creator of the universe, but that didn’t stop Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, or other biblical heroes from speaking their minds. It’s a conversation with a great God who loves us. With that in mind, choose whatever posture or format makes sense.

Scripture indicates great value in both personal prayer and group prayer, and both appear here in verses 13–14. If you’re in trouble, pray. Call out to God privately when you need His help. But there is also healing power as the community of faith gathers, with its appropriate leadership, to call upon the Lord.

The connection between sin and sickness is not an easy one to figure out. Do James’s words mean that a sick person must have sinned in some way, to bring on the sickness? No! Sometimes that could be the case, but not always.

Earlier, James challenged his readers to humble themselves before the Lord. In this last part of his letter, he shows what that looks like. The church community is praying together, confessing their sins to one another. They accept the fact that they’re “only human,” but they still expect great things from God when they pray. And when someone strays from the faith, they don’t alienate that person with harsh words of judgment. They pray. They forgive. They restore.

The Christian faith is not about setting up some ideal of perfect behavior, but of connecting with God humbly, listening to Him, letting Him reorder our priorities, and living out His passion for the needy. Our faith in Christ changes us. A true faith—a living faith—has the natural outworking of good works. And good works—no matter how good—can’t produce authentic faith. Faith is always a gift and never earned.

So as you face trials, as you experience temptation, as you minister to the needy, as you suffer, have faith in God. Trust Him for wisdom. Trust Him for compassion. Trust Him for patience. Trust Him for endurance. Trust Him for healing. Trust Him for the faith that produces a harvest of righteousness.

If you don’t already, connect with other believers for group prayer. Talk with a few friends about getting together on a regular basis to pray for the needs of your church and community.

Congratulations, you completed the reading plan! Click here https://www.rightnowmedia.org/promo/colossians to access the Book of Colossians study with Louie Giglio, another video Bible study from RightNow Media.

Jms 5:13. Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 19. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20. Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
James 5:13‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.5.13-20.KJV

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.10.13.KJV

Today’s video is 7:48 minutes. Let’s remember the audience. These believes have been scattered abroad after losing everything. Now they have to be patient?! Yes. Just as the farmer has to wait for the harvest, so too we have to wait. Don’t blow it by being angry with one another. As Christ suffered for us, we too should bear one another. Also, don’t sweat to God. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. After all this, be patient my brothers and sisters. Christ Jesus is coming again! Be ready for that glorious day! Have a blessed day.

Waiting isn’t usually our favorite activity. James uses the word “patience” four times in four verses. Remember that this was the first generation of Christians. When Jesus ascended to heaven, some surely expected Him to return in a week or a month. When the delay stretched on for years, some were losing hope—especially when life was getting more difficult for Christ-followers. But these believers weren’t just waiting; they were suffering.

The Bible is full of encouragement for those who suffer, whether that suffering comes in the form of persecution or from some other force. We can even bring suffering upon ourselves. But Scripture keeps reminding us that God still cares, that He has not abandoned us, that He sits with us in our suffering, and that we will come out of this stronger than before.

James provides two examples. First, the “prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” Jeremiah is the best example of a prophet who suffered for speaking the truth. The second example is Job.

When people are discussing suffering, Job is the go-to Bible book. Why God allowed all of Job’s suffering can be an unending debate. But James doesn’t get into the why. He wants us to see Job and other prophets as examples of those who have been blessed as the end result of suffering.

James doesn’t get into the unfairness of suffering. He acknowledges that it’s going to happen and says, “Here’s what we can do with the suffering.” As you grapple with your or another’s suffering, remember these truths from James:

¶We can make sure it doesn’t divide us (“don’t grumble against one another”).
¶We can trust that being patient, persevering, and riding it through til the end will result in our being blessed.
¶We can look to others in the past who have persevered, like the prophets and Job, as examples of those who have gone through profound suffering and come out on the other end.
¶Because of Job’s example, we can know that sometimes verbalizing the anguish and misery is part of going through it.
¶We can know that throughout suffering, God is always “full of compassion and mercy.”

Jms 5:7. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. 12. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
James 5:7‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.5.7-12.KJV

O give thanks unto the Lord , for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 107:1 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.107.1.KJV

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.10.11.KJV

Today’s video is 10:07 minutes. While James is addressing the rich in these passages, let us be careful to think not that he isn’t also talking to us.. It is the condition of our hearts. Do our budgets reflect our spiritual priorities? Upon Christ’s return, let us have stored up spiritual treasures, not earthly ones that will be burned up. He is coming back, praise the Lord! Have a blessed day.

Do you think this letter is written to all “rich” people ever, to rich people in that time and place, or just to the rich people who were guilty of exploitation? The deeper question is: What are we going to do with this? James really lays into these people, and it makes us uncomfortable. If we can dodge this barrage, we want to. We want to say it’s their problem, not ours. And most of us don’t think of ourselves as rich, do we? We’re always looking at someone else who has more, and we say, Go after them, James. They’re the problem.

But whenever we come to Scripture, we want to see what’s there for us. God wants to speak to us, and we need to be ready to listen, even if it’s uncomfortable. How does God want us to use our resources? That’s the question we want to zero in on today.

In the video, Francis Chan got us off on the right track when he said, “Let’s look at our hearts and go, Why long for these earthly things so much? And, why am I acquiring more and more for myself and neglecting those who are in need?”

In the first six verses of James chapter 5 we learn what God cares about and we learn what makes Him mad. When rich people exploit poor people, that’s a big problem. God will turn the tables in His coming kingdom.

And maybe we should “weep and howl” a little more about the injustice in our world. We should certainly do what we can to help the poor. James has been saying this all along.

But all of that starts in our hearts. We might find it hard to admit how important money really is in our lives. Is it more important to us than God is? How many of our decisions are based on the bottom line rather than our higher calling?

How can we break the mastery of money in our lives? How can we center our hearts on God rather than wealth?

What can you do? Find out more about exploitation in our world today. Share your findings with other believers. Pray together about what you could do to change things.

Also examine your household budget. How do your expenditures reflect your spiritual priorities? What might need to change?

Jms 5:1. Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
James 5:1‭-‬6 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.5.1-6.KJV

Today’s video is 7:44 minutes. In these verses, we discover why we shouldn’t take tomorrow for granted. But what sin is this represent? Pride, arrogance. We need to give all submission to God’s will. If we know God’s will and fail to do it, it is sin to him. So when we make plans, try this: God willing. Have a blessed day.

We all make plans. We have to or things would be a mess. You have to plan to make a presentation for work or study to pass an exam. You have to plan for someone to pick up your kids from school activities if you can’t do it. Making plans is not the problem James addresses here. The problem is our attitude about the plans we make.

How would you define arrogance? Do you think it is arrogant to declare your plans without first actually saying the words, “If the Lord wills”? You’ve heard it before. It can get a little crazy when you visit a restaurant and tell the waiter, “If the Lord wills, I’ll have the chicken.” Or you get up to use the restroom and say, “Excuse me. If the Lord wills, I’ll be back in a moment.”

In the video, Francis said it’s about asking, “God, am I really in submission to Your will? Am I comparing myself to other people whom I consider more arrogant, that I’ve overlooked my own arrogance? OK, Lord, I recognize that my life is in Your hand. Every breath is a gift from You. So I surrender it to You now. What do You want me to do?”

The key here is that God’s plans trump our plans. We need to be humble enough to recognize that God might have different priorities from ours, and we should be obedient enough to make plans with His priorities in mind.

Sometimes we live as if God does not exist. We conduct our business day to day without thinking a lot about what God wants. We make our plans based on our hopes and dreams, not God’s. We may have a rather moral code of conduct, but we’re not responding to God’s daily guidance.

That’s a problem, says James. A few verses earlier he was urging his readers to “submit yourselves to God” and to “draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” That humble attitude of submission is crucial if we’re going to live for Him in this world. Living in constant communication with God is necessary if we’re going to be flexible enough to change our plans based on His desires.

How do we need to change our habits so that we can hear God’s daily guidance and follow it?

What plans do you have for your life, your family, your home, your business, your church? Talk with God about these, and then listen. What does He think about all this? If your plans involve others, get them in on the praying, too.

Jms 4:13. Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
James 4:13‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.4.13-17.KJV

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Isaiah 40:29 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.40.29.KJV

Today’s video is 10:21 minutes. Before we judge others, let us examine ourselves. Why do we quarrel? It is because we are seeking fulfillment outside of God. When we pray, do we ask for the lusts of our hearts or a deeper relationship with God? To be friends of the world is to be an enemy of God. He knows what we need and want. Therefore let us be doers of the Law and not judges of it today. Trust Him in everything, and have a blessed day.

A good strategy helps tremendously in attaining any kind of goal. Putting an effective strategy together takes wisdom—the kind of wisdom we learned about in James 3. But here, James confronts the ugly, selfish result of false wisdom. The church is fighting, coveting, and speaking evil about one another. They want things their way, but they are looking for answers in all the wrong places.

James’s original readers prided themselves on being religious. But by criticizing others who are not as religious as they are, they reveal how far from God they themselves have strayed. Every time they open their mouths, they’re slandering others. They seem more interested in building their own status than in loving their brothers and sisters.

James is calling them, and us, to humility, to an accurate understanding of our place in regards to God. An essential element of humility is prayer, but not the sort of praying James’s audience had been practicing. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly. . . .” They were asking with selfish motives, relegating God to the role of benevolent benefactor and assuming He would give them whatever they asked—if they even bothered to ask.

As soon as we say it’s everyone else’s problem and not ours, then it becomes our problem. The solution is not to argue better or to prove that we’re right and others are wrong. The solution is to humble ourselves, to admit where we have fallen short, to pray for the things that God cares about, to mourn over our sinfulness, to receive God’s grace.

Are there “fights and quarrels” in your life? If you’re not seeing eye to eye with someone, do what you can to set that relationship right.

Find a humble way to serve your church or community. Clean up, fix up, help those who routinely get neglected. This is not about you getting props for a good deed, but about showing the love of God to others.

Jms. 4:1. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2. Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 11. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
James 4:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.4.1-12.KJV

Today’s video is 7:51 minutes. The theme is wisdom. Wisdom, according to James, can be seen through our conduct. Earthly is jealous of others and full of selfish ambition. Godly wisdom is from of above and produces purity, gentleness, impartial, merciful, peaceable and more. Evaluate our lives. If we lack wisdom, just ask God for it. He will gladly equip you with the tools you need to please Him! Have a blessed day.

Who is the wisest person you know or have known? Why do you say that? How did they show their wisdom?

In the video Francis described wisdom this way, “Wisdom is about action. It’s about character. James says if you have wisdom from above . . . then you’re going to be pure. There’s going to be a holiness about your life.”

The Bible has a great amount of teaching about wisdom. One regular theme is that true wisdom doesn’t talk about itself. The wise person recognizes his or her own limitations and does not boast. The wise person knows how short life is and has a healthy fear of the Lord.

James’s audience considered themselves wise, and they boasted about it. They liked to be well-respected, and when they saw others who got more respect, they envied them, criticized them, and tried to get ahead of them. Perhaps this started with a genuine desire for righteousness, but this desire was soon clouded by impure motives, by personal ambition.

Let’s work for peace. But let’s not be drawn in by those who boldly claim that they are wiser than everyone else. Be wary of impure motives. Be careful what you listen to. Think once more about the wisest people you know. They probably don’t have all the answers, but they’re wise enough to go to God to get the answers.

Do something to honor a person whose wisdom you have been blessed by. If the person is still living, thank them by telling them what they have taught you. If they have passed, then thank God for them, and find some way to commemorate their effect on your life.

Jms 3:13. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
James 3:13‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.3.13-18.KJV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.3.17.KJV

Today’s video is 8:16 minutes. Francis Chan discusses the itty bitty member of our body that can edify or destroy: The Tongue. What a great responsibility it is when you become aware of it. Do we praise God but curse His children, His created image? We need to repent when that happens and ask God for His forgiveness and help. He is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteous. So be blessed today!

Turn on the TV or the radio or the internet, and chances are, you’ll hear someone talking. And it’s even likely that you’ll hear someone criticizing other people. It’s easy for us to get swept into that. But God still loves those people, doesn’t He? How can we praise God one minute and in the next minute tear down people God loves? This should not be.

James, writing to many believers, must have been concerned about churches in general. Apparently, there were people speaking badly—boasting about themselves, cursing others, picking fights. James tells them all to shape up.

Who is being “called out” by James in verse 1? Why do you think teachers will be judged with greater strictness? Francis said, “We live in a day and age when everyone wants to be the one who gives advice, everyone wants to be the expert, and James is going to argue, are you sure you want to do that? Because God is going to judge you more harshly for being a teacher.”

Show, don’t tell. James followed this rule of writing to fantastic effect: ships guided by small rudders, horses guided by small bits, forests set ablaze by tiny fires. He paints these pictures to drive home his point that the tongue—such a small thing—has the potential to cause great damage.

The tongue is a powerful force for all of us, and it affects the way we influence others. Whether you lead a church or a small group or a family, what you say will have a huge impact.

Think about a time harsh words hurt you. Now consider the influence your words can have on your children, your neighbors, your students, your friends. You have great power in your hands—no, not in your hands, but in your mouth. Power to do good or to do harm. How could you help or harm people by what you say this week?

It’s impossible to tame the tongue. No human can do it, but God can. Ask the Lord to give you a tongue that seeks to bless Him and bless others. May the words of our mouths be acceptable to Him.

When you find yourself speaking badly about someone, stop—in mid-sentence if you need to. Then say a prayer for that person.

Jms 3:1. My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
James 3:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.3.1-12.KJV

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Matthew 6:14 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.6.14.KJV

Today’s video is 7:24 minutes. This is very true. Faith without works is dead. It is because if you are growing toward God in your daily walk, you can’t help but to do His will. Yes, we fail big time, but do not be discouraged. God is gracious and merciful. He is there to forgive us and help us to keep on doing His will. Have a blessed day.

Martin Luther, the famous German reformer, wanted to throw the book of James out of the Bible because of this specific passage. He didn’t win that argument. In this passage James addresses the question: What is the nature of genuine faith in Christ? In other words, what does it look like? What effect does it have in our lives?

Faith in the fact that there is one God is good, but not remarkable, James says. It puts you on a par with demons. In fact, demons might be a bit ahead of you, because when they think about God, they “shudder.” If your belief in God does not result in godly actions, then that faith is essentially “dead.”

Body and breath go together. A body without breath is merely a corpse. James says it’s the same thing with faith and works. Let’s stop trying to rip them apart.

Martin Luther, the famous German reformer, wanted to throw the book of James out of the Bible because of this specific passage. He didn’t win that argument. In this passage James addresses the question: What is the nature of genuine faith in Christ? In other words, what does it look like? What effect does it have in our lives?

Faith in the fact that there is one God is good, but not remarkable, James says. It puts you on a par with demons. In fact, demons might be a bit ahead of you, because when they think about God, they “shudder.” If your belief in God does not result in godly actions, then that faith is essentially “dead.”

Body and breath go together. A body without breath is merely a corpse. James says it’s the same thing with faith and works. Let’s stop trying to rip them apart.

relationship radically alters how we live. When we believe in our powerful Lord, like Abraham and Rahab did, we will find that our faith is confirmed by our actions.

Talk with God about your own faith. Do you have “faith with works” or “faith without works?” Ask God to give you the power you need to put your faith into action.

Also, talk with at least one other close Christian friend about this question: Is my faith more on the inside or the outside? Both are good. Both are important. But if you just feel your faith and don’t show it, you’re out of balance. (It’s also possible to tilt the other way, doing stuff for God, but not taking time for personal growth.)

Jms. 2:14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:14‭-‬26 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.2.14-26.KJV

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 KJV

Today’s video is 6:47 minutes. Mercy triumphs over judgment is today’s theme. James is teaching us not to be partial to other persons, whether rich or poor, clean or filthy; since God did not. Praise the Lord! If He had, He would have passed me by. Have a blessed day.

Think about the most famous person you’ve ever met. How did this happen? How did you react to this person? Now reflect on the scene described in verses 2–3. If this were to happen in your church, what do you think would happen? How would you treat the two people differently?

We can figure out from this letter what the problems were with the people James wrote to. Those people gossiped sometimes. They got angry with one another. And when a rich person showed up at the church door, they shoved poor folks aside to clear the path.

So that’s the first challenge James offers in this chapter: Do we show favoritism? It’s natural to get nervous around celebrities. No one would blame us for favoring the rich folks who show up to worship with us. We are naturally blinded by the trappings of success and worldly value. But such behavior goes against all the truth of God. The rich don’t deserve special treatment; in fact, the poor do. Doesn’t the kingdom of God belong to them?

Then James accuses his very religious readers of being lawbreakers. Playing favorites? You’re no better than a murderer. You have broken God’s law. You deserve His judgment. James is saying that all of us have sinned, even religious folks. All deserve judgment. But guess what? God offers you mercy, so receive it. His mercy triumphs over judgment.

And once we realize how much we depend on God’s mercy, it’s hard to show favoritism to the rich. Instead, we value the poor, because they have mastered the one thing God wants above all else: relying on Him for everything they have.

If you have been working hard to keep God’s rules, talk with a pastor or teacher about the idea of God’s “mercy.” If you lead in your church, evaluate the church’s response to visitors— not just the stated policies, but the actual behaviors. Is favoritism shown? If so, what can you do about it? Finally, can you get involved in a ministry to the poor and homeless in your community? Many such ministries need volunteers and financial support. If you can’t find one to connect with, perhaps you could start one.

Jms. 2:1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4. Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5. Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6. But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7. Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
James 2:1‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.2.1-13.KJV

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
John 20:21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.20.21.KJV

Today’s reading of James is 1:19-27, and the video is 12:24 minutes. James is imploring Christians not to be hearers of the word only but doers. We need to act upon the word of God. Today being Sunday, it is a good day to be doers! Have a blessed day.

No shortage of Bible studies fills book stores and web sites, offering up unique topics and teachings about God’s Word. You are reading one right now. God wants us to read and hear His message of grace and truth. But He wants us to do more than that: He expects us to act upon what we’ve learned.

This passage opens with a warning still repeated—and needed—in modern culture: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Anger, James says, does not produce godly righteousness. Listening, with patience and perseverance, allows us to receive “with meekness” the word of God. We find the source of abundant life in the scriptures, not in our own impulsive, selfish emotions.

James is writing to religious people. They know God’s law. But James keeps pushing them, and us, to take the next step. Don’t just hear it—do it! Don’t just reject the immorality of the culture around you, but also be careful about your own anger and pride. Let your faith show up in your actions.

Do you think of religion as a good thing or not? Do you think your colleagues consider religion a good thing? A lot of people these days consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” To them, religion seems narrow, restrictive, maybe even hateful toward people outside the religion. But when believers behave according to the Bible’s teaching, we look for opportunities to care for those people around us, especially those in the most need.

And beyond that, are you careful about what you say? Maybe you consider yourself religious, too. Maybe you have been a Christian for some time now. You have this faith thing figured out. But James keeps pushing us to put feet to our words, to live what we say we believe.

•Do we listen more than we speak?
•Do we keep our anger in check?
•Are we careful about what we say?
•Do we put into practice what we hear in God’s Word?
•Do we let God’s implanted Word grow within us?

So what is the next step for you? What issue is James calling you to confront?

Jms 1:19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 1:19‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.19-27.KJV

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/act.2.38.KJV

This is a Bible study from Francis Chan. The video is 8:14 minutes. It is about sin leading to death, and God being perfect and a giver of good gifts. Don’t get it twisted. Don’t blame God for your bad choices. Come to Him now and live. Have a blessed day.

Did you ever use the excuse, “The devil made me do it!” after giving in to a temptation? We like to deflect blame from our own poor choices, don’t we? Some people in James’s day even tried to blame God for their own failures. As though He made it impossible for them to resist wrongdoing.

But God doesn’t work that way. James 1:13 clearly states that God is not the source of temptation. Rather, our own desires entice us to take what we want, when we want it. We know the feeling of being baited, like Francis pointed out—God says something is wrong or evil, but we want it anyway. We have a choice at that moment. Just like that fish that’s being lured away, either I go and I grab it, or I swim away.

Our heavenly Father is the source of “every good gift and every perfect gift.” He started by giving us life itself. His love gives us purpose and significance, just because we are His children. All the good things in life are just bonus, extra blessings He chooses to give us.

So don’t listen to the tempter’s deceptive words. Giving in to temptation takes us down a road from temporary pleasure to sin, which, if not stopped, will lead to death. What seems so small can have big consequences: Gossip could lead to a broken relationship. Gluttony can lead to chronic illness. Speeding can lead to car accidents. Our choices point us either toward life or death.

It’s hard to believe that God’s way is best when we’re being tempted. We get easily distracted by the glitter of more things, more attention, more pleasure, right? The promises of pleasure cause temporary blindness. But James tells us not to be deceived. Remember: God gives us a whole new life that is infinitely better than anything the tempter can offer. A kind word can pull someone out of suicidal thoughts. Healthy eating honors the body God gave us. Generosity combats our selfish tendencies.

We often assume that the best way to fight temptation is self-discipline. Grit your teeth and do the right thing. Just say no. And there’s nothing wrong with saying no. But maybe there’s a better approach—also saying yes to the kind of life God wants to give us.

Think about your best strategy to fight temptation. You will be tempted—no question about that. What can you do to prepare for temptation? What positive steps can you take today to obey and honor God’s way?

Jms 1:13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1:13‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.13-18.KJV

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.18.21.KJV

Why would you need wisdom? Maybe you’re facing challenges. Or you’re worried that you’ve got it all wrong, that Christianity isn’t the right way. If it was the right way, then why would God let you experience suffering or hardship like this?

If the thought has ever crossed your mind, you’re in good company with James’s audience. “The twelve tribes in the Dispersion” at the beginning of the letter described both the Jews who’d been exiled from Israel and also the Christian believers who’d scattered from Jerusalem after persecution settled in to stay.

A people sent packing due to their faith were familiar with suffering, which makes James’s opening exhortation imminently practical for them: “Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Suffering was part of life, but God wanted His children to greet trials with a counter-intuitive response. Joy.

Human nature hasn’t changed in two millennia. We want to know why we suffer. But James instead tells his readers why trials should provoke joy: “. . . for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” The word for testing (dokimion) was often used to describe precious metals put through extreme heat to remove impurities, becoming so pure you could see your reflection in it. Similarly, as God tests us and we go through the heat, we reflect His nature more. We are able to endure and remain faithful to Him.

Francis Chan said in the video, “What God wants to do is not just to make you happy. He wants to make you holy. He says He wants us mature, complete, not lacking in anything. Have you ever thought about that as the goal of your life?”

When persecution drove the Christians out into the wider world, many of them had good reason to doubt their faith. Was it really worth all the pain to stay faithful to Christ? James emphatically says “Yes!” and urges them to trust in God’s wise guidance. He says the same to us. Don’t jump in and out of your faith. Keep in touch with God when people confront you for living according to your faith, and He will get you through.

In what ways do you demonstrate your steadfast faith in Jesus? What does it look like at home or at work or with your neighbor or family members? Think back to the last time you faltered: Were you silent when you should have spoken up? Did you succumb to peer pressure and actively sin against someone? Whatever happened, confess it to God and pray for wisdom and strength when the next test comes.

If you would like to learn more about RightNow Media and our mission to resource the Church with video-based Bible study content, visit us at http://www.rightnowmedia.org.

Jms 1:1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10. But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.1-12.KJV

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/php.1.6.KJV

Subtitle: Doubt in Grace. We always question God’s motives. Why did this or that happen? Show us how You love us. There are two types of doubt. Wonderment and judgment. The first is good, the second is not. God’s plan is to come and cleanse us white as snow. He is coming to purify. He is coming to save us all. Will you accept Him through faith today? Just say this simple prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You were born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, gave Your life on Calvary’s cross to take away the sins of the whole world, including mine, and rose again on the third day. I am a sinner. Please forgive me of my sins. Please come into my heart and live, so that I am saved and have a home in Heaven. Thank You Lord Jesus! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!

P. S. This is the 40th day of our 40 day plan. Which plan would like to dive into tomorrow? One to One 25 days, My Utmost For His Highest 30 days, Proverbs Explained Part 1 5 days. Thank you for your input.

Mal. 1:5. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
Malachi 1:5 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mal.1.5.KJV

Delight thyself also in the Lord ; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.37.4.KJV

Zechariah was a prophet and priest around 20 years after the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. The foundation for the temple is laid, but the temple has not yet been erected. God tells His people not to be discouraged. In chapter 12, He speaks of One who will be pierced for them. He will also take away the sins of the world in chapter 3. The Old Testament is waiting for Christ to come the first time. The New Testament is waiting for Christ’s return. O glorious day! Until then, have a blessed day.

Zech. 3:1. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. 6. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. 8. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
Zechariah 3:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/zec.3.1-10.KJV

I will praise thee, O Lord , with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. Psalm 9:1 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.9.1.KJV

Haggai Summary

Subtitle: The Rebuilding. God’s greatest gift to His people is Himself. He is our hope, life, grace, mercy, and justification; The temple stands as a visual symbol of God with His people. God is with us: Emmanuel. God saw our brokeness, and He knew what needed to be done to redeem us. We have been truly blessed by God. Think on this as we face today.

Haggai 2:10. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12. If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. 15. And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 16. Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. 17. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD. 18. Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider it. 19. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
Haggai 2:10‭-‬19 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/hag.2.10-19.KJV

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 1 Peter 3:12 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.3.12.KJV

This is a book of review. Redemption is foreign to our fleshly nature. We will never reach the point where  the gospel of our loving God is boring. Here are the themes in Zephaniah.

1. The redemptive power from Genesis to Revelations. God sets His love on His people. 2. His people rebel against Him. Don’t be too hard on them. You do it too. 3. God disciplines His people. He does this because He loves us. Afterward, He extends His mercy. He does this over and over. How do judgment and mercy coexist? It is evident at the cross. Thank You Lord God for Your lovingkindness, judgment, and mercy, without which I would have no hope! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Zeph. 3:14. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.
Zephaniah 3:14‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/zep.3.14-20.KJV

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/nam.1.7.KJV

Hab. 1:1. The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3. Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. 

1:5. Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. 7. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. 8. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. 9. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. 10. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. 11. Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
Habakkuk 1:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/hab.1.1-11.KJV

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.8.35.KJV

Nahum Summary

The primary audience in this book is Assyria with the implicit audience being Israel. 1. God is holy and righteous. 2. Because He is holy, He is angry with sin. 3. God will meet out His justice. We see this at the cross, where justice, righteousness, God’s anger at sin come together. He is not done yet though. When Jesus returns, we will go with Him to a place, where sin and suffering do not exist, to live forevermore. What a glorious day that will be! Until then, may God bless your walk today.

Nahum 1:1. The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2. God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. 3. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. 7. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. 8. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. 9. What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10. For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry. 11. There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the LORD, a wicked counsellor. 12. Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. 13. For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. 14. And the LORD hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile. 15. Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
Nahum 1:1‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/nam.1.1-15.KJV

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.5.3.KJV

Micah Summary

Micah is the story of a warning of judgment against Samaria and Judah. God is angry because they have combined temple worship with idle worship. Warnings and judgments are always God’s grace. He wants us to repent, turn away, from our sin. Micah 5:3-5 is quoted by the wise men in the new testament (Mt 2:5-6). This foretells Jesus. His second coming is going to be a glorious day! Until that day, have a blessed one this day.

Micah 5:1. Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2. But thou, Beth–lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

5:4. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. 6. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. 7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. 8. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. 9. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
Micah 5:1‭-‬9 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mic.5.1-9.KJV

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord , I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17‭-‬18 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/hab.3.17-18.KJV

Jonah Summary

Subtitle: Unrelenting grace. This story of Jonah encapsulates the human condition. We have a God of inessimable awesome glory. He is in control of each detail at all times. We also have a God of unmeasurable grace. These three words can change our lives: But the Lord… But the Lord, there would be no salvation, no hope, no Bible, no Christ Jesus, and beyond. But the Lord…have a blessed day.

Jonah 1:1. Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 

1:4. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 8. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9. And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 

1:11. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. 

1:17. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jon.1.1-17.KJV

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.14.27.KJV

Obadiah’s subtitle: Salvation Is From the Lord. It is God who chose to place His grace on Isaac rather than Esau. Obadiah is an oracle, one of authority, against Edom (descendants of Esau). It took God’s grace for me to desire grace. Second, the Lord is the final judge. God will show grace to whom He decides. Third, the Lord defends and protects those He has given grace. Finally, the Lord blesses. Obadiah is as a finger pointing from Abraham to Jacob to Judah to Jesus to you and to me. God will complete His plan. Wow! Have a blessed day.

Obed. 1:11. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12. But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13. Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14. Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. 15. For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 

1:17. But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
Obadiah 1:11‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/oba.1.11-18.KJV

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.6.45.KJV

Amos Summary

Subtitle: Mercy Produces Mercy. God’s plan here is not just to redeem His people after they mess up, rather He wants to transform them. In Amos, God is harsh because they would not repent. God’s grace comes to us sometimes through uncomfortable ways. This is transformative. I just pray we would draw closer to our Lord daily by reading our Bibles so we would hear and listen to the Holy Spirit’s beckoning before the harshness is necessary. Have a blessed day.

Amos 4:4. Come to Beth–el, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: 5. And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

4:6. And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 7. And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. 8. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 9. I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 10. I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 11. I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 12. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 13. For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.
Amos 4:4‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/amo.4.4-13.KJV

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.19.7.KJV

Joel Summary

Joel carries forward the theological structure of the redemptive story. It is organized in the “bad news/good news” way. The gospel, in this setting, is worst news ever. It opens our eyes to the devastating reality of our own wickedness and sin. In Noel the theme is one of “bad” news and the judgment of God; and also we find the “good” news, the rescuing grace of God.

What does it mean for God to repent? He has no sin, so that can’t be it. It means that if we repent, confess, of our sin, He will repent of, turn away from, His judgment against us and replace it with mercy and grace and blessings. Hallelujah! Now go have a wonderful day, and remember to tell someone about how good our God is and what He has done for you today.

Joel 2:12. Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16. Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Joel 2:12‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jol.2.12-17.KJV

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:16 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.13.16.KJV

Hosea Summary

Subtitle: The Ultimate Payment. This is a shocking book of the Bible, and it may be hard to understand. We have to go all the way back to the promised God made to His children, the Israelites, before entering the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 6. Hosea is sad but true reflection of what sin brings. God tells Hosea to go and buy her back, after she prostitutes herself, and make her his own. That is a very good description of us. Thank You Jesus for buying us back with Your precious blood! Have a blessed and Happy Mother’s Day.

Hosea 3:1. Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. 2. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: 3. And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. 4. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 5. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
Hosea 3:1‭-‬5 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/hos.3.1-5.KJV

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.13.7.KJV

Subtitle: Lord of Glory. First, we see the willingness of God’s people to step into harm’s way for the Lord. Second, we see many prayers in this book that give strength to God’s people during the struggle between human glory and the glory of God. Third, nothing will thwart God’s will. I’m so joyful that I am in His will! Not because of anything I’ve done, God knows, but because of who He is. Hallelujah! Have a blessed day.

Dan 4:34. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36. At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Daniel 4:34‭-‬37 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/dan.4.34-37.KJV

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.22.6.KJV

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.18.10.KJV

Where do you run when life makes no sense? It is tempting to question God at these times. The ultimate question: Can life come out of death? If not, we are doomed! This is the story of Jesus. In the darkest of times, God showed His great love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. Thank You Father God! Have a blessed day.

Eze. 37:1. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2. And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O LORD God, thou knowest. 4. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

37:11. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14. And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:1‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/ezk.37.1-14.KJV

God’s warnings are not judgments; rather, they are grace. Have you ever told yourself this lie? If I commit this or that sin, it will be ok with God. Lamentations is a very sad book. That’s because it confronts us with the horrible consequences of sin. This is what happens when we reject God’s law for our own.  The subtitle: The Exiles. Do not be dismayed, however. Even though we were born exiles, Jesus was also made an exile through God’s grace to bring us into His fold. Amen!

Lam. 3:22. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Lamentations 3:22‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/lam.3.22-27.KJV

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/col.4.2.KJV

This is another great book of the Bible. Paul Tripp would subtitle Jeremiah as the paradox. How does our holy and righteous God have a relationship with the people of the old testament? With their sin and rebellion against God, there is a tension. There has to be a payment made, and Jesus pays it all. While the cross is not mentioned, the whole story points to it. What an amazing God we serve. Have a blessed day.

Jer. 2:9. Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead. 10. For pass over the isles of Kittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. 11. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2:9‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jer.2.9-13.KJV

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.10.13.KJV

Subtitle: Looking for Jesus. Isaiah presents a central reality that there is a God in this world who is holy beyond our understanding. We have a God of justice and mercy through which we find hope. This justice and mercy meet at the cross. What a great prophet. Have a beautiful day.

Isa. 6:1. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

6:5. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Isaiah 6:1‭-‬7 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.6.1-7.KJV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.1.9.KJV

Subtitle: God cares about the details. This describes the joys of the intimate marital relationship. How precious it can be when we follow Scriptures and work at it. It is a finger pointing the way to the intimacy and love we will experience with Christ Jesus and His Church (the love). It is going to be amazing. Have a great day.

Song of Sol. 4:1. Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. 2. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. 3. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. 4. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. 5. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. 6. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. 7. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

4:8. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards. 9. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 10. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 11. Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 12. A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. 13. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 14. Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 15. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 

4:16. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
Song of Solomon 4:1‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/sng.4.1-16.KJV

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1ti.2.5.KJV

Subtitle: The Search. Trying to figure out the meaning of life is an ongoing struggle until you find it. It boils down to this: Everything in this world will fade away and disappear. The physical world cannot supply the answers to our questions. Only God can do that, and He did by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Our home and our hope is in Heaven. Amen!

Eccl. 1:1. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

1:4. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. 5. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. 6. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. 8. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

1:9. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 11. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
Ecclesiastes 1:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/ecc.1.1-11.KJV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.1.3.KJV

Subtitle of Proverbs could be Rescue. Sin reduces all of us to fools. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. This, Paul Tripp believes, is not about the unbeliever; rather us in our arrogance. A foolish person believes he is self-sufficient. He does not need God.

The Proverbs are designed to rescue us from the greatest danger, ourselves. Imagine if you would that Wisdom is a person. God, in His grace, pours out His Wisdom for our Salvation, Jesus Christ. Then read Proverbs again. Do you see Him? How great a God we serve! Enjoy today, and praise His holy name.

Proverb 1:20. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21. She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23. Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

1:24. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25. But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26. I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27. When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29. For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 1:20‭-‬33 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.1.20-33.KJV

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 25:8 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.25.8.KJV

Psalms Summary

The Bible is not a collection of stories or a theological outline. What Pastor Paul Tripp is doing in these summaries is finding the common thread that ties the Bible together to tell one story; God rescues a foolish and rebellious people with the gift of a Redeemer. The subtitle for the Psalms is Honest Grace.

There are 66 books written by more than 40 different men (through the inspiration of God) over a span of 1500 years and 3 different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe) and 3 different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) without error to tell of one story: The Story of Jesus Christ’s coming to save His people from their wretchedness to be reconciled to God. Hallelujah!

Ps. 27:1. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. 5. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. 7. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. 9. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. 11. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. 12. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 13. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 27:1‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.27.1-14.KJV

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.53.5.KJV

Job Summary

Can we answer this question, Why do bad guys prosper and good guys suffer? Do we achieve the favor of God by our performance? The answer may be devastating but simple, No. Our own righteousness always falls short of God’s standard. That’s why we need Jesus. Hope is found by putting our trust in Him, the one true God, rather than our limited knowledge of our own righteousness. Did you know, BTW (by the way), that Job is the oldest book in recorded biblical history? Have a good day.

Job 38:1. Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3. Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

38:4. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8. Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9. When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10. And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11. And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 12. Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 13. That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 14. It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 15. And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 16. Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 17. Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 18. Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
Job 38:1‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/job.38.1-18.KJV

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/2co.5.21.KJV

Esther Summary

This is the one book of the Bible which does not mention God at all. Why is that? Maybe the absence of God is the reason Esther is in the Bible. It is at times when it appears God is so far away or even absent that He is doing a great work. Something to think about, eh? Have a nice day.

Est. 4:1. When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; 2. And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3. And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4:4. So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not. 5. Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. 6. So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. 7. And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. 8. Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. 9. And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

4:10. Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; 11. All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. 12. And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words. 13. Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

4:15. Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, 16. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. 17. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther 4:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/est.4.1-17.KJV

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.13.34.KJV

Nehemiah Summary

Justice. Holiness. Grace. Ezra and Nehemiah are both in history about the same time. Reconciliation, restoration, and rebuilding is exactly what God does for and to us through Jesus Christ. God is a compassionate God. Instead of walking away, which He had every right to do, He remained faithful. He could not abandoned His righteousness and grace. Now we are able to glorify God by doing His will. What is His will? If you love Me, keep my commandments. John 14:15. Have a great day.

Neh. 9:26. Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. 27. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. 28. But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; 29. And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear. 30. Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. 31. Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.
Nehemiah 9:26‭-‬31 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/neh.9.26-31.KJV

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.53.6.KJV

Ezra Summary

Israel has returned from captivity. God is able to use evil to accomplish good. God used Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem. God’s toolbox includes everything and everyone. After all, He created it. Now we see God’s law being read again, His people worshipping Him again, and more. He can also use all of us, big or small, good or bad, no matter what; for the glory of His Kingdom. Wow! Have a great day.

Ezra 1:1-11. Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. 1:5. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. 6. And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. 1:7. Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; 8. Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. 9. And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives, 10. Thirty basins of gold, silver basins of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. 11. All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/ezr.1.1-11.KJV

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.20.28.KJV

Have you ever wondered about why the genealogies are in the Bible and especially in the Chronicles? They highlight two bloodlines: Levi the priests, and Judah, royalty. These two point to a Royal Priesthood which is why the Bible was written. The Priest, the King, the Sacrifice: Jesus Christ. While the people and nations and temple of Chronicles are in decline, look forward to Chist Jesus to come and save the the world. O what a glorious day that will be upon His return! Keep your eyes upon Jesus! Have a blessed day.

2Chron. 7:11. Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

7:12. And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. 13. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. 17. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; 18. Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. 19. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20. Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. 21. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? 22. And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
2 Chronicles 7:11‭-‬22 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/2ch.7.11-22.KJV

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Revelation 7:9‭-‬10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.7.9-10.KJV

Sometimes it feels like everything has gone crazy so why would God even bother with us, but God’s promises are sure and faithful. He does things based on who He is, not based on who we are. The theme of Kings could be summed up in one word: Waiting. Waiting on the Lord! Amen. Have a blessed day.

1 Kings 8:54. And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56. Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. 57. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: 58. That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. 59. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: 60. That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. 61. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
1 Kings 8:54‭-‬61 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1ki.8.54-61.KJV

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15‭-‬16 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.2.15-16.KJV

Kings and The King. The contrast between King Saul and King David. The unrighteous and the righteous. No matter what, they were both flawed. So why did God love King David? Because God was the center of his heart. He was a compassionate king who cared about his people. We all need a king, just not a flawed king. We need the King of kings! Have a great day today everyone.

1Sam 18:6. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9. And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 10. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 12. And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. 13. Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. 15. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.
1 Samuel 18:6‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1sa.18.6-16.KJV

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.13.10.KJV

Ruth Summary

The outlaying theme here is God’s zeal for advancing the Redemptive story. What a beautiful love story between Naomi and Ruth, and Boaz and Ruth, and God and all of us. Truly amazing. Have a beautiful day.

Ruth 4:13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. 16. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. 17. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 

4:18. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, 19. And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 20. And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 21. And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22. And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
Ruth 4:13‭-‬22 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rut.4.13-22.KJV

The earth is the Lord’s , and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.24.1.KJV

Judges Summary

I know how this can happen, so I am trying to be very careful not to allow myself to be entwined with anything that will take my eyes off Jesus. Once we get stability and comfort, most assuredly blessings all, the temptation is to become lazy with our relationship with God. O to be rescued from ourselves, what an amazing concept! Have an amazing day.

Judg. 2:11. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12. And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtoreth. 14. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. 16. Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. 18. And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
Judges 2:11‭-‬19 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jdg.2.11-19.KJV

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/php.2.3.KJV

Joshua Summary

The continuing struggle between God’s plan for us and our plans for ourselves is a common theme throughout life. We are now at the point where God is finally giving His people the promised land. While His peace (and we) may be confused at times, trust God. He is the Plan Maker of our lives. He is trustworthy.

Joshua’s name points to the need for a Redeemer. Joshua means YHWH (Yahweh) saves. Have a blessed day.

Josh. 6:1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. 6. And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD. 7. And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
Joshua 6:1‭-‬7 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jos.6.1-7.KJV

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:1‭-‬2 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.23.1-2.KJV

https://youtu.be/PYU5X-a-fO4

Identity. Warning. Responsibility. They are to be a separated people, set apart, for God. Sounds very familiar. This should shape the way we conduct our lives, but there are so many temptations along the way. Commit to remembrance the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for you and for me. Hold on to Him. It. Is. Finished. He is not willing to lose any of His little ones, including you! Have a blessed day.

Deut. 6:10. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11. And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12. Then beware lest thou forget the LORD , which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 14. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 15. (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 6:10‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/deu.6.10-15.KJV

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/hos.6.6.KJV

Numbers Summary

Grace. Rebellion. Travail. It is a moral struggle. God’s character is revealed. His goodness, righteousness, long-suffering, and great love. The people continued to grumble. Manna pointed to the Bread of Life! We are very much like the people who came before us. Thank You Father God for my birthday after Your Son Jesus Christ was born. Have a blessed day everyone.

Num. 11:1. And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD , the fire was quenched. 3. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.

11:4. And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5. We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6. But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. 7. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. 8. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. 9. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.

11:10. Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. 11. And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? 12. Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? 13. Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. 14. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. 15. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
Numbers 11:1‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/num.11.1-15.KJV

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.16.24.KJV

Leviticus Summary

Holy and Unholy. This is where we see the system upon which unholy man can enter into a relationship with our Holy God through sacrifice. The sacrifice of each lamb cries out for the One perfect sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, once for all. What a wonderful gift from our Father God! Have a blessed day.

Lev. 16:1. And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; 2. And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. 5. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. 

16:11. And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: 12. And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: 13. And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: 14. And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. 

16:15. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16. And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. 

16:20. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. 23. And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: 24. And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. 25. And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. 26. And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. 27. And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. 28. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp. 29. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30. For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. 31. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. 32. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: 33. And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. 34. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Leviticus 16:1‭-‬34 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/lev.16.1-34.KJV

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1ti.6.12.KJV

Exodus Summary

https://youtu.be/-aB5pHUlJV4

He would subtitle Exodus as Slavery, Rescue, and Restoration. Please watch this beautiful video. His summary of Exodus and God’s grace is wonderful to me. Have a blessed day.

Ex. 20:1. And God spake all these words, saying, 2. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

20:12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13. Thou shalt not kill. 14. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15. Thou shalt not steal. 16. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Exodus 20:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/exo.20.1-17.KJV

O Lord , thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. Isaiah 25:1 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.25.1.KJV

Genesis Summary

In the beginning, God. God is at the center of everything whether or not we acknowledge it. This is where Jesus is introduced to us. The Creator of man, the fall of man, and the Redeemer of man. In the first three chapters of Genesis, we find the theme for the whole Bible. It is the redemptive story of Jesus Christ our Lord. Glory to God in the highest! Have a blessed day.

Gen. 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

1:6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

1:11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

1:14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

1:20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

1:24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

1:26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

1:29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:1‭-‬31 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/gen.1.1-31.KJV

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.6.6.KJV

No. The time we spend with God studying His Word is not a waste of time. That time is building our relationship with our loving Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Have a blessed day.

P. S. The video is only 5 minutes.

Luke 18:9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:9‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.18.9-14.KJV

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.23.11.KJV

Do I walk away from my Bible study more knowledgeable and without humility or pride? Or do I walk away with a deeper, transformed love for Jesus? How about you? Let’s not miss the point of it all. Have a blessed day.

John 5:19. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23. That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 31. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

5:32. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

5:36. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

5:37. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

5:39. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41. I receive not honour from men. 42. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 5:19‭-‬47 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.5.19-47.KJV

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalms 46:10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.46.10.KJV

Today’s lesson teaches us the simple meaning of the Bible: to proclaim Christ Jesus. It is the story of who He is, how He would come, how He would live a sinless life, how He must die for our sins to redeem us, and raise again in three days. The most beautiful love story I’ve ever read. Have a blessed day.

Mt. 17:1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
Matthew 17:1‭-‬8 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.17.1-8.KJV

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:2‭-‬3 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.2-3.KJV

This is a new reading plan for 40 days, Old Testament Bible Study Summary with Paul David Tripp. There will be a 5 minute summary of a book in a video along with a few verses. I hope you enjoy it, and have a blessed day.

Isa 55:10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Isaiah 55:10‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.55.10-13.KJV

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/2ti.3.16-17.KJV

This is the last day of the The Essential 100 reading plan. I will start the 40 day reading plan, A Journey Through Luke & Acts tomorrow. Should I continue to include the text of the Bible, or is a link to them sufficient? Please comment to let me know your opinion. Thanks and have a very happy day.

PRAY Dear Lord Jesus, You’ve promised to make all things new, and I look forward to that great day when You do! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!

REFLECT What are you most hoping that a new heaven and earth will be like? What do you think it will be like to live in a city where God and the Lord Jesus are with you?

My hope for the new Heaven and earth is to have animals. They will no longer fear us, because the curse has been removed. Of course I am also looking forward to all of God’s promises. Peace, eternal life, worshipping Him, and so much more. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

To live in a city with God right there,? I do that today! Only I bet it would be so much more awesome. I hope I wouldn’t be so easily distracted.

APPLY When you turn on a lamp today, think of Jesus as the “lamp” and light of the new Jerusalem whose radiance and power will provide all the light that you need.

PRAY Dear holy God and Father, Please be my true light today and all the days of my life. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  Revelation 21:1‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.21.1-27.KJV and Revelation 22:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.22.1-21.KJV

Rev. 21:1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

21:9. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11. Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12. And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13. On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20. The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Rev. 22:1. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 

22:2. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3. 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: 4. And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7.  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. 10. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.29.25.KJV

Today is the last day of this reading plan. You may continue to follow him with the link provided below. Have a blessed day.

We often think of Jesus as only appearing in the New Testament, especially the gospels or the apostolic letters. But his person is actually embedded in every book of the Bible. Sometimes directly, sometimes through parable, sometimes through the sacrificial system, sometimes through prophecy or poetry.

After he rose from the dead, Jesus showed two disciples  ‘in all the Scriptures’ that it was necessary for him to suffer crucifixion and then to enter his glory (Luke 24:26). Obviously, he was referring to the Old Testament. 

For example, in the very beginning, there is a promise that a descendant of Eve would bruise the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). This promise is defined more clearly when God tells Abraham that a descendant of his will bring blessings to all nations (Gen 12:2; 17:19).

From Exodus to Deuteronomy, the whole sacrificial system tells us again and again that one day there would be a perfect sacrifice for sin and that a prophet greater than Moses would appear (Deut 18:15). 

In the Psalms, Jesus is presented as the suffering Saviour who dies for us (Psalm 22), as the King of Glory coming into his holy temple (Psalm 24:7) and as an eternal priest and king (Psalm 110).

In Isaiah, there are astonishing prophecies of a Saviour whose name would be Immanuel—God with us—who would be the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace (Is 7:14; 9:6). In other words, he would be both God and man. Moreover, he would also take away our sins by bearing them himself and suffering in our place (Is 53). 

Then, at the end of the Bible, in Revelation, Jesus is clearly identified as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is seen in astonishing images as holy, righteous and victorious. He is the Lamb who suffers and the Lion who reigns. 

The hosts of heaven and earth sing till the earth resounds with the majesty of it:

Worthy are you… for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth…  Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing! To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever! (Rev 5:9-13).

Let’s join in the song!

What next?
As you pray today, why not ask God to fill your heart with a fresh revelation of Jesus? See Eph1:15-23.

If you haven’t come across them yet, for more on the uniqueness of Christ follow the You Version Bible Plans entitled The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, See the Invisible: Do the Impossible and Amazing Grace. You can also find the written panorama of Christ in All the Scriptures on my website www.barrychant.com/

Luke 24:13. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19. And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30. And it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Luke 24:13‭-‬32 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.24.13-32.KJV

HALLELUJAH!

We are coming to the end of this reading plan tomorrow, and today’s lesson is on praising Jesus and the second death. If you have repented of your sins and given your life to Jesus Christ, you do not have to worry about the second death. If you or someone you know has not done so yet, now is the time! Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Please let Him in! Have a blessed day.

PRAY Dear Father God, I want to thank You for Your constant care for the world which You have created. It was indeed good. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

REFLECT  What are some of the reasons that the heavenly hosts give for hailing Jesus in this way? What reasons do you have for enthusiastic worship and praise of Jesus?

The most significant one that comes to mind is because He is worthy of all praise and every good thing. I worship Him because He is the One true God. The Godhead=the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. I also worship Him because He redeemed my life.

APPLY   Think of a chorus or hymn of praise that you would offer to Jesus if you were in heaven today. Or maybe compose a new song of praise. Then, sing it!  Amazing Grace.

PRAY  Dear precious Lord, I can hardly think of words that are adequate to offer You the worship You deserve from my salvation and Your great love for everyone including me. Thank You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  Revelation 19:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.19.1-21.KJV and Revelation 20:1‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.20.1-15.KJV

Rev. 19:1. And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2. For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. 11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18. That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 

19:19. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Rev. 20:1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 

20:4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

20:7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8. And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 

20:12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.13.13.KJV

https://youtu.be/r6RO9QWiOJ0
Nowadays, ‘passion’ is a word commonly used of enthusiasm or romantic love. Originally the word had to do with suffering. In Christian tradition, it has been used to describe the suffering of Christ, particularly at Gethsemane and Calvary.

Jesus’s Passion was unique.

It was not only that he died for us. Thousands of people over the years have sacrificed their lives for others. It was why he suffered that was different. He suffered to take our sins upon himself.

How do we know this?

First, the Old Testament sacrificial system made it clear. For hundreds of years, thousands of animals were slain in Israel, everyone of them a symbol of the forthcoming universal sacrifice of Jesus. Especially on the Day of Atonement when offerings were specifically made to deal with the sins of the people (Lev 16:1-34).

Second, Old Testament prophets foretold it. Isaiah spoke of One who would bear our iniquities and sins, by the giving of his own life (Is chapter 53). David, Jeremiah, Micah, Zechariah and other prophets made similar declarations (e.g. Psalm 22:1-8; Zech 12:10). 

Third, Jesus himself warned his disciples that he would be crucified and that he would give his life as a ransom (Matt 20:17-19, 28). 

Fourth, the apostles proclaimed clearly that through the Cross, all who believed would be saved (see Acts 10:37-43; Rom 5:6-11; 1 Cor 15:3).

There are two further critical reasons why we believe Jesus’s death was unique. The primary one is the Resurrection. It was this that set his death apart and proved the validity of his sacrifice (Rom 1:4; 1 Cor 15:4). Many have given their lives for others but none has risen from the dead!

Finally, it is the Holy Spirit who convinces us that Jesus died for us and for our sins. This is not something that can be proven by argument or scientific experiment. Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would convince us and lead us into all truth (John 14:26; 15:26). Further, the apostles affirm that it is by the revelation of the Holy Spirit that we believe (1 Cor 2:7-16); Eph 1:17-19).

The Spirit convinces and witnesses to us that Christ both died for us and lives for us. Such conviction lies well beyond philosophy or rationalism or science. It can’t be analysed. But you can’t write it off just for that reason. Human experience has its own validity. And personal experience of Christ is life-changing. There have been millions of Christians who bear witness to this.

What can compare with the joy of knowing that our sins are forgiven? That we are deeply loved? That we serve a living Saviour? That we have an eternal hope?

Jesus was truly unique in his Passion!

What Next?

On a scale of 1 (Poor) to 10 (Wonderful), rate your experiential knowledge of Christ. How real is he to you? How well do you know him? Ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit and to lift your personal knowledge of Christ to a new level.

Phil. 3:1. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5. Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

3:7. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Philippians 3:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/php.3.1-11.KJV

Today’s lesson is on the seven seals, the four and twenty men in white robes, four beats, and many angels. I have been in a study of Revelations. If you are interested, I will publish the notes for you. Have a blessed day.

PRAY   God in heaven, I join my spirit with all the angels in heaven to offer You my praise and worship.

REFLECT   What picture of heaven do you get from these chapters? How does it make you feel? Who is the focus of the worship taking place there?

APPLY   Take a moment to read aloud the parts of these chapters that are words of praise to the Lord Jesus. Say them slowly and reverently as your own words of praise.

PRAY   Lord, You and You alone are the One worthy of all worship, both in heaven and on earth.

READ  Revelation 4:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.4.1-11.KJV, Revelation 5:1‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.5.1-14.KJV, Revelation 6:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.6.1-17.KJV, and Revelation 7:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.7.1-17.KJV

Rev. 4:1. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

4:4. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

4:6. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

4:9. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Rev. 5:1. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

5:5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

5:9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Eev. 6:1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

6:3. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

6:5. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

6:7. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

6:9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

6:12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Rev. 7:1. And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

7:4. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

7:9. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12. Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.4.10.KJV

https://youtu.be/hjrjcTEZqqQ

Greek mythology has numerous tales of gods visiting the earth and interacting with humanity. But there are huge differences. Sometimes the gods argue with one another about what should be done. They can be jealous or vindictive. On occasion, they set things in motion that they can neither control nor stop. Individual gods have their personal favourites. And they never become truly human.

The story of Jesus is very different.

First, Jesus was God with us when on earth. He was truly human and yet truly God. People say, ‘Oh there’s never been anyone else like that.’ Yes, that is true. 

Or they say, ‘How can someone be both human and divine? It’s impossible.’ Yes, usually it is.  

But John writes, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).   

Second, Christ is with us now by His Holy Spirit. He promised not to leave us alone but to send us another Helper or Counsellor to be with us forever (John 14:16). The word ‘another’ here in Greek means ‘another of the same kind’, not another of a different kind. So the Holy Spirit is among us to make the presence of Jesus uniquely real to us (John 16:14). 

Wherever we are, and whatever our circumstances, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is with us. We have no need of statue or temple or painting or prayer book or confessional or altar or music or church, helpful as some of these might be, because his presence does not depend on these things. In contrast to mute idols, the Holy Spirit speaks, directs, aids and strengthens us directly (1 Cor 12:2).

Third, Jesus will be visibly and powerfully present at his coming again.

The word ‘presence’ (Greek, parousia) is used in Scripture to describe his second coming (1 Cor 15:22-23; 1 Thess 5:23), when he will reappear in power and glory on earth to establish his kingdom forever.

What a great day that will be! The skies will split with His splendour. There will be thunderous shouting from the heavens, the earth-shattering voice of an archangel and the spine-tingling trumpet call of God, as Jesus comes in the clouds of glory, accompanied by countless myriads of angels. Terror will grip the hearts of the ungodly and joy and celebration will rise among the saints.

Past, present and future—Jesus is unique in his presence!

What next?

Jesus promised to be with us forever (Matt 28:20; Heb 13:5-6). On a scale of one (non-existent) to five (continuous), how would you describe your awareness of his presence with you? What do you need to do to experience his presence all the time?

Ps. 23:1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.23.1-6.KJV

Today’s lesson is on the seven churches. There is encouragement and warning for each church, then and now. Remember, each of us individually make up the church so when He speaks of the church of which Jesus is the Head, He does mean us. Have a blessed day.

PRAY Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word has both encouragement and warnings. Help me to listen carefully to both as I read Your Word and live my life for You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  Revelation 2:1‭-‬29 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.2.1-29.KJV and Revelation 3:1‭-‬22 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.3.1-22.KJV

(The reading is below. I’m trying something new.)

REFLECT These seven churches are very different and face different challenges. What does Jesus commend in them? What warnings does he give them? What lessons do you see?

The one that saved me from disaster and distress was Rev. 2:1-7. I had taken on so many earthly things concerning the Church that I had no idea I had forgotten my first love, Jesus Christ. I began to desire the approval of our earthly leaders. Thank You and Dr. Charles Stanley for bringing me back off that cliff.

As I struggle to remember not to overload myself again, I try not to become lukewarm either!

APPLY Before you next go to church, think about whether your church shares any of the characteristics or dangers of these seven. Pray about any challenges it faces.

PRAY Dear precious Lord Jesus, I am thankful for my church, and I pray that You will keep it faithful to You no matter what challenges we faces. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Rev. 2:1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2. I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 2:8. And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 2:12. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. 2:18. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19. I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28. And I will give him the morning star. 29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev. 3:1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 3:7. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 3:14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/col.4.6.KJV

There have been all manner of theories about why Jesus lived, taught, performed acts of power, died at the hands of the Romans or why he came to this world at all, for that matter. Here are seven reasons, most of which he himself gave. 

· to save sinners (Matt 9:13). He fearlessly declared that he did not appear for the righteous. They either don’t need salvation or don’t think they do. Either way the outcome is the same. Only when we confess our need, can we, as sinners, be saved (1 Tim 1:13).

· to serve (Matt 20:28). In spite of his universal authority, Jesus came with the mellow heart of a servant. 

· to give his life as a ransom (Matt 20:28). Earthly leaders often expect their people to die for them: Jesus expected to die for his people. Imagine you have been captured and imprisoned and your country wants to arrange a prisoner exchange. What if they offered a cat in exchange for you? Or twenty captives for you? Or a million dollars? Which one would indicate your true worth and value? Which one would best show how much your people loved you? Now ask these same questions about what Jesus did for you.

· to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Even those of small value in human terms, like a lost coin or a lost lamb (Luke 15:1-10).

· to give abundant life (John 10:10). Unlike those who come to make our lives more miserable, Jesus came to make them more satisfying.

· to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). Jesus said this to the Roman governor. He stood for truth in the face of falsehood and deceit.

· to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Much of the evil in the world has satanic power behind it. Jesus came to destroy this.

To go back to the third purpose, this was only possible because he was both man and God. Only a human being has the right to represent another human being. Only God has the power to do so. In the unique God-man Jesus Christ, the great Rescue was possible.

One of the greatest examples of sacrificial ransom is the story of Father Maximilian Kolbe. In 1941, he offered to die an excruciating death in Auschwitz concentration camp in the place of Francis Gajowniczek, a father with young children. Pope Paul VI called Kolbe the most glittering figure to emerge from the darkness of Nazism. This is the kind of thing Jesus did for us. 

What next?

Re-read the seven purposes listed above and specifically thank Jesus aloud, for how each one has affected your life. (Vocalising is a biblical practice that reinforces the impact of what you are thinking and saying. Psalm 34:1-2; 89:1; Heb 13:15).

Mt. 20:20. Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:20‭-‬28 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.20.20-28.KJV

Lk. 19:1. And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.19.1-10.KJV

Today’s lesson is one of those which gives us glimpse of who Jesus Christ really is and the depths of His love for us. When John fell down and lay there as dead, Jesus, who is God, bent over to touch him. He can touch you too. Call upon His name and be saved today!

PRAY Thank You, Lord God, that one day everything will finally be just the way You intended it to be, the place I will call home and worship You and throw my crowns at Your feet. What an awesome day that will be! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ Revelation 1:1‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.1.1-20.KJV.

Rev. 1:1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

1:4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1:7. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

1:9. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19.  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

REFLECT   What does this passage tell you about Jesus, about who he is, what he has done and will do? Is there something new or surprising that you learned about Jesus here?

Jesus Christ is a the Son of man and the Son of God at the same time, perfect in every way. He gave His life for me on that old rugged cross at Calvary, and He will return to receive those who are His own. Yes. The more I learn the more I understand there is so much more I need to trust in my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and rely less on this world.

APPLY   Later today, write down in just a few sentences what you have learned throughout the E100 about who Jesus is and what his life, death and resurrection means to you.

PRAY Dear Father God, help me to hear, understand clearly and take to heart what You want me to know about Your holy Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.3.15.KJV

Jesus is not often thought of as a prophet, although he most certainly was.

Moses foretold that one day God would send a prophet greater than he (Deut 18:15-22) who would have several distinguishing features—

· He would be of Hebrew origin

· God would put words in his mouth

· He would speak what God commanded

· His words would be true

All these were fulfilled through Jesus. 

If we take the term ‘prophet’ in its broader sense of someone who speaks God’s Word, then this is what Jesus claimed to be. His words were the Father’s words (John 8:47; 14:24; 17:8), spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34). They were both spirit and life (John 6:63). 

In fact, he said, heaven and earth would pass away, but his words would never pass away (Matt 24:55; Mark 13:31). Moreover, if we are ashamed of his words this day, he will be ashamed of us on ‘that day’ (Mark 8:38; 13:32; Luke 9:26;).

People everywhere acknowledged that there was a divine quality about the utterances of Jesus. No demonised person could speak as he spoke (John 10:21). Jesus’ disciples were amazed at his words (Mark 10:24) and people generally marvelled at them (Luke 4:22).

In the more narrow sense of foretelling the future, Jesus prophesied his own death and resurrection (Matt 17:22-23; Mark 8:31; 9:31). His disciples had trouble believing it, but as the whole world now knows, his predictions proved to be true.

He spoke extensively of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20-24) and specifically described the huge stones of the temple being thrown down (Matt 24:2; Luke 21:6), which seemed an impossibility, so immense were they.

But within a few years of his death, people could verify these events—they all happened just as he said. This is the test of a true prophet (Deut 18:22).

Of course, his foretelling of his second coming in the clouds in power and great glory (Matt 24:27-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:21-27) has not yet been fulfilled, but there is no reason to believe it will not be. In fact, on the basis of his other prophecies, there is every reason to believe they will be.

Jesus was unique in his prophesying. We do well to heed his words and to be prepared. Such warnings encourage both hope and holiness (1 John 2:28). John puts it succinctly: ‘Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself’ (1 John 3:3). 

And as the Reformers used to teach, we work as if he will not return for ages and we live as if he will come before we finish reading this page.

What next?

If Jesus were to return right now, would you shout with joy or shrink with shame?

I would shout with extreme joy! 😁🙏✝️❤️✝️🙏

1 Jn 2:28. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1 John 2:28 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.2.28.KJV

1 Jn 3:1. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1 John 3:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.3.1-10.KJV

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Today’s lesson is on 1 John 3:11–4:21. We are encouraged to love one another as Christ Jesus loved us. We are also called to obey the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. This way we can fulfill His commandments. I’m so glad God knows our flesh is weak and has sent His Holy Spirit for our Comforter! Have a blessed day.

PRAY Loving God, Your love is truly amazing. It never wavers, it never wanes, it never fails. Thank You.

READ  1 John 3:11—4:21

READ 1 John 3:11‭-‬24 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.3.11-24.KJV and 1 John 4:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.4.1-21.KJV

1 Jn 3:11. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 Jn 4:1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

4:7. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19. We love him, because he first loved us. 

4:20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

REFLECT How do we know what the essence of true love is? How does this kind of love differ from the kind we see in our popular culture? When have you experienced love?

Read the Scriptures. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your brother’s and sisters as yourself. This is true love.

In today’s popular culture, there is selfishness, emptiness, anger, devoid of empathy toward one another let alone God. This is why they are so broken.

I experience love with every breath I take, be it awake or asleep. The love God has for me cannot be separated by anyone nor anything. I am so grateful to You Lord Jesus for loving me so perfectly!

APPLY  Identify a nearby family in need (in your church or at the city mission). Help meet their need and tell them you’re doing this because God and you love them.

PRAY Dear Lord Jesus, I want to love others with Your love. May my love be a reflection of Your love for me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.8.1.KJV

https://youtu.be/LSfL-ohkimo

Jesus was unique in his power over death—especially his own! His resurrection was totally unlike any other.

The Bible records several instances of people being brought back to life. A Shunammite boy (2 Kings 4:18-37). Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43). Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:21-43). Lazarus (John 11:1-44). To name just a few.

There are also documented cases of people returning to life in our day—especially in a missionary context.

But the resurrection of Jesus was different. It was unique in two distinct ways. First, in every other case, resurrection was only temporary: ultimately, they all died again. Jesus remains alive forever.

Second, in every other case, people were brought back to life through the agency of someone else. A prophet, a disciple, a missionary—even, in modern times, a physician.

But the resurrection of Jesus was different. He himself returned from death, without the intervention or mediation of anyone else. His resurrection was unique. He conquered death through the power of his own endless and indestructible life (Heb 7:16).

It had to be so. Because they were mortal, Old Testament priests were prevented by death from continuing to offer sacrifices. But Jesus, having made one, eternal perfect sacrifice for sin, could not remain imprisoned by death. He is our everlasting ever-living high priest.

Years ago, a journalist named Frank Morison set out to prove the resurrection of Jesus to be a myth. He finished up being convinced of the opposite! In 1930, he published a book entitled Who Moved the Stone? This really says it all. Who did move the stone? Not a ‘crucified criminal’ (if that’s what Jesus was): he would have been too emaciated. Not the disciples: they were too scared. Not the women: the stone was too heavy. Not the soldiers: they were paid to lie about it. Not the Pharisees: it was the last thing they wanted. 

Today, if you go to Israel you will not find any trace of his body. At the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, a sign at the entrance says. ‘He is not here for he is risen’ (Mark 16:6).

Jesus was unique in his power over death. And he still is.

What next?

Paul says that if Christ was not raised, our faith is futile (1 Cor 15:14). This being so, what benefits/blessings would we have lost? Make a list of at least five things. 

1. The relationship we have with God would not exist.

2. We would still die in our sin. There would be no salvation.

3. There would be no hope for this dieing world. No reason to do what is right.

4. Our prayers would go unheard and unanswered.

5. We would go to hell for blaspheming the holy God.

Rom. 6:1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7. For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.6.1-11.KJV

Col. 3:1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1‭-‬4 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/col.3.1-4.KJV

Heb. 4:14. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.4.14-16.KJV

Heb. 7:24. But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:24‭-‬25 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.7.24-25.KJV

FAITH AND WORKS

Today’s lesson is on the book of James. In particular, James 1-2. Happy Resurrection Day!

PRAY  Lord Jesus, Please grow my faith, and may it always be in You.

READ James 1:1‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.1-27.KJV and James 2:1‭-‬26 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.2.1-26.KJV

Jms 1:1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10. But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 

1:13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

1:19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  

Jms 2:1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4. Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5. Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6. But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7. Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. 

2:14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

REFLECT  Is it really possible to consider trials and suffering “pure joy”? How? Have you had that experience? What differentiates “pure religion” from the rest?

It is possible, but I find it difficult. I do, however, try. After the trial, I can mostly see God’s hand in it and rejoice at that time. I wouldn’t have made it without Him! Trust me on that.

APPLY  Take an opportunity this week to do at least one practical thing to demonstrate the reality of your faith (helping a needy neighbor, visiting the sick, etc.).

PRAY  Dear Lord Jesus, show me how to make my faith more real and visible to those around me.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.28.6.KJV

It is Finished

This is the final day of the reading plan, It Is Finished. I pray you have enjoyed it. Much more, I pray it has touched your heart in an amazing way this year. O glorious day! May God bless you. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

The Easter Story comes to a close in this victorious scene in Matthew 28. Can you put yourself in Mary Magdalene’s shoes right before she hears the angel’s voice? In your mind, you know Jesus is dead, but your heart is holding out for the faintest of hopes that He still lives.

Then a glorious, radiant angel appears in front of you and tells you what you had hardly dared to hope.

He has risen. Just as He said.

The battle has been won. It is finished.

As you head to your Easter celebrations this weekend, I pray that hope would overflow in your heart because of the finished work of Christ. Yes, we are still building the kingdom of God on earth. Yes, we are still being sanctified. But we are not doing all of those things to get to a place of love and victory, but we are doing it from a place of love and victory. And knowing that changes everything.

It quiets the striving in my mind of proving myself. No longer do I have to wonder if I made the right sacrifices or repeated the right prayers in order to be accepted as one of God’s children.

Our victory has been secured and we can confidently share the good news, grow in Christ, and love others as we await Christ’s second coming. The ultimate Promise Keeper indeed kept His word. He is risen, just as He said.

If you haven’t accepted Christ as your savior yet and would like to do so, please pray these words along with me:

“Jesus, I acknowledge I am a sinner and I am in need of salvation. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross. Come into my heart and make me new. Thank you for your gift of eternal life. Help me to learn to walk with you now. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

If you prayed that prayer, please let a trusted friend or pastor know so they can guide you in your next steps in your next steps in your relationship with Jesus.

It’s the best decision you could ever make.

Mt. 28:1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Matthew 28:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.28.1-10.KJV

1 Cor. 15:55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55‭-‬57 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.15.55-57.KJV

That Jesus worked signs and wonders does not in itself prove that he was the Son of God although if he had not been able to do so, it would clearly prove that he wasn’t. 

He demonstrated both unique power and unique authority. As we have seen, he did this as a human being anointed by the Holy Spirit and power, but uniquely anointed because the Spirit was given to him without measure (John 3:34). He had no need of regular infillings as we do (Act 4:8; 7:65; Eph 5:18). Further, this was coupled with his divine authority as God manifest in the flesh. He was both Son of Man and Son of God. To take just the gospel of Matthew, we see this unique power-and-authority in at least seven areas— 

· over sickness and disease (Matt 8:1-17). It took a Roman centurion to recognise this. He clearly saw Jesus’ healing ministry as a mark of his divine authority.

· over nature (Matt 8:23-27). People were amazed that even the winds and waves obeyed Jesus. What kind of man is this?’ they asked.

· over demons (Matt 8:28-34; 12:27-28). Even a host of evil spirits cowed before him. He was infinitely stronger than the strong. This was proof that the kingdom of God had come.

· over sin (Matt 9:1-8). By healing a disabled man, Jesus showed that he had the right to forgive sins, which amounted to a claim to be equal with God. Anyone can forgive sins perpetrated against themselves, but only God can forgive sins committed against others. Even the Pharisees understood this.

· over tradition (Matt 9:9-17). Long-standing traditions were dissolved by the authority of Jesus.

· over death (Matt 9:18-26; John 11:1-44). Jesus overcame humankind’s ultimate enemy. His enemies were afraid that this would cause everyone to believe in Him (John 11:48). He simply said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’.

· over the universe (Matt 28:18-20). This is perhaps the most extraordinary statement that Jesus ever made: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ No honest human being would presume to say such a thing. Humanity cannot reach such heights. We are forced to return again to the only options: liar, lunatic or Lord. There is no trace or hint of Jesus ever demonstrating mendacity or insanity. So we are left only with deity. There is no other choice.

What next?

On a scale of one (not at all) to five (completely) to what extent do you think it is possible for us continue the ministry of Jesus? Consider Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:20; Luke 10:18-19; 24:49; Act 1:8. Give reasons for your choice.

My answer: I state emphatically 5. I will be getting up tomorrow morning and going to my Church at 9 am. We will pray. We will walk. We will talk to people about Jesus Christ and to make sure God’s children are saved. Do you know where you are going when you leave this world? When you accept Christ Jesus into your heart, your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. Nothing, therefore, can separate you from the love of God. You will be in Heaven.

Mk. 16:20. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Mark 16:20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mrk.16.20.KJV

Lk. 10:18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:18‭-‬19 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.10.18-19.KJV

Lk. 24:49. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Luke 24:49 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.24.49.KJV

Acts 1:5. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7. And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:5‭-‬8 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/act.1.5-8.KJV

Today’s lesson is on being holy. It isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be holy as He is holy. Have a blessed day. 

PRAY Dear heavenly Father, Please challenge me and encourage me as a read Your Word today. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ 1 Peter 1:21-‬25 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.1.1-25.KJV and 1 Peter 2:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.2.1-12.KJV

1 Pet. 1:1. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

1:10. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21. Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

1 Pet. 2:1. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 

2:4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 

2:11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

REFLECT   What do you think it means to be holy? Is it really possible for a regular person to be truly holy, or is that only for “super saints”?

1: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. 2: divine for the Lord our God is holy — Psalms 99:9 (King James Version) 3: devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity a holy temple holy prophets.

These are the definitions found in today’s dictionary. Pretty accurate I would say. I believe it is possible to draw closer to God each and in each way. Will this make us perfect? The simple answer is no. It does not mean you shouldn’t try.

APPLY Think of 2–3 steps you can take to grow in holiness in the week ahead. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask your pastor for guidance.

Pray, read your Bible, and listen for God to answer.

PRAY   Dear precious Lord Jesus, While things seem too incredible for me to overcome them, I know nothing is impossible for You. Please help me to be more holy and draw closer to You each day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14‭-‬15 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.3.14-15.KJV

Silent Saturday

This is the sixth day of the seven day reading plan. Each day this week has been powerful. I pray you had time to rest in His peace.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize the gravity of Silent Saturday. The immediate trauma of Good Friday had passed, but Resurrection Sunday was still 24 hours away. And those left behind were faced with a question that we are often faced with. What do you do in the middle? In the middle of trauma and deliverance?

Those who were grieving had witnessed not only the brutal execution of Jesus, but all the other strange phenomena that accompanied Christ’s death: earthquakes, midday darkness, the tearing of the temple veil, and more. So what did they do? What do we do?

Rest.

Those who were left behind were called to rest, because it was Christ who was doing the work. Christ was at work defeating the devil in the bowels of Hell, reclaiming what was His to begin with. It was Christ with the agenda, not us. It was Christ on the warpath, not us. It was Christ who was doing, not us.

When recovering from grief and trauma, the reactions are varied to be sure, but often doing nothing (what our souls might crave) is harder to carry out. Surely there is another phone call to be made, another closet to clean out, another demand to make, another list to record. But to rest, completely?

It astounds me that God planned for the execution to take place on a Friday, knowing that the Jews, steeped in the centuries-old tradition of Sabbath would know they would have to honor this day of rest. He planned the Great Sacrifice on our day off.

Were they relieved for a moment to catch their breath? Or did they chafe under the religious traditions, wishing they could do something, anything, to undo the horror of the past 48 hours?

Whatever your “Silent Saturday” is, whatever seemingly unanswered prayers face you, whatever traumas you are trying to heal from, know that you can rest, knowing your Father is at work.

Resurrection is just around the corner.

Lk. 23:56. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
Luke 23:56 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.23.56.KJV

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth

Ps 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalms 46:10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.46.10.KJV

Jesus was unique in his preaching and teaching.

This was acclaimed early in his public ministry. People were well used to rabbis quoting from the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, the three sections of the Hebrew Old Testament. And they knew that there had been a time when prophets frequently declared, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But no one spoke on their own authority. Until Jesus.

What he did was unbelievable. Knowing full well how the religious leaders would respond, he began much of his teaching with statements like, ‘You heard such and such said in times past, but I say…’

Try to imagine your pastor doing that today. He stands up in the Sunday morning service and declares, ‘Paul once said thus and thus but I say…’ Or even worse—which is the equivalent of what the Lord did—‘Jesus once said but I say…’

In the Sermon on the Mount, there are many examples. ‘You have been told you should not commit murder, but I say, don’t even be angry. It amounts to the same thing’ (Matt 5:22)’ and, ‘Moses told you not to commit adultery, but I say don’t even think about it.’ (Matt 5:28).

And so he went on, even replacing a great Mosaic command—an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Lev 24:17-20)—by telling people to suffer injustice without fighting back (Matt 5:38-42). Unheard of!

Sometimes his preaching and teaching simply endorsed an Old Testament precept (Prov 25:6-7; Luke 14:10), but frequently he took things much further. 

The outstanding example was his teaching on love: ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another’ (John 13:34). This was revolutionary. No one in the ancient world held to such a philosophy. But it was in this way that people would recognise his disciples (John 13:35).

And so it was in the early years of the Christian era. The great North African Latin scholar Tertullian, records how Romans used to say with amazement, ‘Look how these Christians love one another!’. In fact, some of the persecution directed towards those pioneer believers in Jesus was that they must have been engaged in sexual immorality because no one could love each other as they did without there being some skulduggery somewhere.

It was no wonder that at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, people were amazed at his teaching because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matt 7:38-39). And even soldiers, used to obeying authority, said in wonder, ‘No one ever spoke like this man!’ (John 7:46).

What next?

Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt chapters 5, 6 and 7). Choose one passage that really speaks significantly to you today.

Mt. 5:1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

5:3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

5:13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

5:14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 5:17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

5:21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

5:27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 31. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32. But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

5:33. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

5:38. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

5:43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

5:48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:1‭-‬48 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.5.1-48.KJV

Mt. 6:1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 

6:5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

6:14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

6:16. Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 

6:19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 

6:24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 

6:25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 

6:33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Matthew 6:1‭-‬34 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.6.1-34.KJV

Mt. 7:1. Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 

7:6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 

7:7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven1à Aww give good things to them that ask him? 12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 

7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 

7:15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 

7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

7:24. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 7:1‭-‬29 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.7.1-29.KJV

Today we read about the new creation we became when we received Christ Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Saviour. Have a blessed day.

PRAY Thank You Lord God for renewing my mind with new insights as I read and study Your Word. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  2 Corinthians 4:1—6:2

2 Cor. 4:1. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2. But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4:7. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14. Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:1‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/2co.4.1-18.KJV

2 Cor. 5:1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

5:9. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 5:18. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthians 5:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/2co.5.1-21.KJV

2 Cor. 1. We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/2co.6.1-2.KJV

REFLECT In what way(s) do you feel yourself to be a “new creation” as a Christian? What does it mean to you that you are now “Christ’s ambassador”? 

There are many differences between the “old” and “new” me. Mostly in attitudes and the way I see things. You could even call it a new appreciation. Being an ambassador for Christ (means to me), is a privilege, an honor, and priceless. I no longer live for myself but for Him.

APPLY Research the duties and privileges of an ambassador of your country, perhaps online. Then, decide how those may apply to you as one who is Christ’s ambassador. 

PRAY Dear precious Lord Jesus, I know You are not finished with me yet, but I am a new creation and want to be a good ambassador for You. Please guide me in everything I do. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:34 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.23.34.KJV

This is day five of the seven day reading plan, It Is Finished. Have a blessed day.

Blush pink almond blossoms dotted the landscape as the onlookers slowly retreated down the hill. The brief Jerusalem spring was in the air, but in the hearts of Jesus’ disciples, it had to feel like the bleak winter all over again.

This man, who they believed could change the world, was gone. He had already changed their world. Life since walking with Him was so different, so fresh. There was a new energy they had never felt before.

And now? Now everything was lost. Or so it seemed.

Good Friday marks the day Jesus died on the cross, and the day we remember what He suffered on our behalf. This happened only a few days after the people celebrated His arrival in Jerusalem crying out Hosanna.

That spring weekend 2,000 years ago must have felt very much like winter. Winter in the hearts of the disciples.

Sometimes we have seasons in our lives that are like that: cold and confusing, with no comforting warmth and no end in sight. They feel like winter when all we want is sunshine, green grass, and warmer temperatures.

In those seasons, I’m reminded of a quote from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis:

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,

At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,

When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,

And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

No matter what difficult seasons you and I walk through, we can be assured that winter won’t last forever. How can we know that? Because the crucifixion wasn’t the last chapter for Jesus. When He rose from the grave, death had to bow to Him.

Spring will come again.

Luke 23:44. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. 46. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. 47. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. 48. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. 49. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
Luke 23:44‭-‬49 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.23.44-49.KJV

It is a matter for some wonder that the followers of Jesus so readily recognised his deity. After three years together, you would think they would have got to know one another pretty well. After the first shine had worn off, they would have begun to discover small faults and failings that always emerge after time.

But while they were quick to find grounds for complaint with each other (e.g. Matt 20:24), they found no fault with Jesus. Which is interesting given that the Bible does not seem to have any scruples about recording people’s failings. The weaknesses and sins of Cain, Abraham, Moses, Saul, David, Peter, Paul, Mark, Barnabas and many others are all recorded for posterity. But not one sin or trespass is attributed to Jesus.

Moreover, the disciples actually claimed openly that he was divine.

When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, Thomas recognised him as Lord and God (John 20:28).

Paul states plainly that although Jesus descended from David ‘in the flesh’, by his resurrection he was shown to be the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 1:3-4). He goes on to say that he was God over all (Rom 9:5), that salvation is secured by faith in Jesus and the confession that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9), and that at the end of age, he will return as the Lord from heaven (1 Thess 4:16).

Perhaps his greatest tribute is found in his letter to the Philippians, where the apostle writes that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:11).

Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Son of the Living God (Matt 16:16) and declared that there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved (Act 4:12). John describes Jesus as the divine Word—the Expression of God—by whom all things were created (John 1:1-40 and  calls him the ‘true God’ (1 John 5:20).

In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament, commonly referred to by the letters LXX) the word kurios (‘Lord’) appears over 6000 times for God. In the Greek New Testament, it is used over 700 times for Jesus. This is either bold blasphemy or a clear declaration that Jesus is God.

Was Jesus liar, lunatic or Lord? To the apostles the answer was obvious.

What Next?
Wow! What a Saviour we have! Spend some time worshiping him now. Use one or two songs like Jack Hayford’s ‘Majesty’ or Keith Getty’s ‘In Christ Alone’.

Mt. 16:13. When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16:16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Matthew 16:13‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.16.13-20.KJV

Today’s lesson is filled with love. If only we could all love the way Jesus loves us, we would have Heaven on earth! Have a blessed day.       

PRAY Thank You, Father, for showing us true love is when You sent Your beloved Son into the world for our sins. Thank You Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  1 Corinthians 13

1 Cor. 13:1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

13:4. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Corinthians 13:1‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.13.1-13.KJV

REFLECT   How would you describe the essence of real love? Which of the aspects of love that Paul mentions is most meaningful to you? Most challenging?

The essence of real love is selflessness. Love never fails and is kind are the two attributes of love which mean the most to me. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I am too often easily provoked. That is one of my greatest challenges.

APPLY   Choose someone you love—a spouse, child, other relative or close friend—and show them your love today through one of the aspects of love Paul mentions.

PRAY  Dear Lord Jesus, Please help me to show real love first and foremost to You and to my family and friends as well. Help me to be more like Jesus. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7‭-‬8 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/php.2.7-8.KJV

The Veil is Torn

This is day four of the seven day reading plan, It Is Finished. Have a blessed day.

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In this day and age, we are obsessed with VIP access. We long to be “waved on ahead,” exempt from red tape and rules. We don’t want to jump through hoops and be held back in line. We want to be the exception.

In today’s reading in Matthew, we read about just that—how the tearing of the veil in the temple granted VIP access to God for all humans.

According to the Law outlined in the Old Testament, God’s presence resided in the Holy of Holies in the temple. This sacred section was separated from the Holy Place by a special veil and housed the ark of the covenant.

Leviticus 16 outlines the steps for atonement, the Jewish process for getting right with God before Jesus came. Depending on how you count it, there were more than 35 steps the priest must go through to make atonement for his sins and the sins of the people. Those steps included specific clothing, certain animals, and lots of washing and bathing. All of that in order to go behind the veil.

It took a lot of preparation in order to get right with God. Not just anyone could do it. In fact, there was a special day once a year set aside for it.

But Jesus’ sacrifice gained us unprecedented access to God the father. Out of all the strange happenings on Good Friday, the tearing of the veil had to shake the religious crowd to the core. God was declaring “No more.” No more separation. No more sacrifices. No more ceremonial washing. My people are free to come to me whenever and however.

We hear that and in our minds, we rejoice. But I wonder if, in our hearts, we still feel like our past (or our present) is a barrier to knowing Christ. If you only knew what I had done…if you only realized who I am…

Rest assured the veil was torn once and for all. God longs to welcome you into His arms and call you His own.

Will you open your heart to Him?

Mt 27:51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Matthew 27:51‭-‬54 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.27.51-54.KJV

Lev. 16:2. And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
Leviticus 16:2 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/lev.16.2.KJV

Lev. 16:29. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30. For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. 31. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. 32. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: 33. And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. 34. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Leviticus 16:29‭-‬34 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/lev.16.29-34.KJV

Rom. 5:1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1‭-‬2 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.5.1-2.KJV

Jesus frequently made statements that only God has the right to make.

Often he used the expression ‘I am’ to reinforce the concept of his deity. In Greek the normal way of saying this was just one word (eimi). However, there was also an emphatic way (ego eimi) that more or less means, ‘I, even I, am.’ By using this term, Jesus was making it clear that there was no doubt about what he meant.

Furthermore, the phrase ‘I am’ was identical to part of the Name God gave to Moses: ‘I am who I am’ (Ex 3:14). It is possible that the name Yahweh was derived from this, a name so sacred that Jewish people will never utter it aloud even today. 

More than this, Jesus made a number of statements beginning with ‘I am’ that no ordinary person would even consider. The greatest was, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). Imagine a local builder in your community one day taking to social media and make such a claim. You would naturally assume he was deranged or deluded. You would certainly not believe him. You would not believe him even if he was a lawyer or a professor or a billionaire or even a rock star.  

Seven times Jesus made such extraordinary claims. Here they are—

· I am the bread of life (John 6:35)

· I am the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5)

· I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7, 9) 

· I am the good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14)

· I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) 

· I am the way the truth and the life (John 14:6)

· I am the true vine (John 15:1)

In all of these, Jesus is claiming to be able to meet any and every human need. Astonishing!

Finally, Jesus shocked his Jewish compatriots by saying, ‘Before Abraham was born, I am’ (John 8:58). Bad grammar but explosive theology.  And again, ‘If you do not believe that I am, you will indeed die in your sins (John 8:23-24). See also John 10:36; 18:6, 8.

There is no escaping the universal nature of these assertions. To implement them, you must have attributes such as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and immortality. In other words, you must be God.

Jesus made many other similar statements. All authority in heaven and earth, he said, belonged to him (Matt 20:18). What a claim! Not to mention statements like, ‘I will draw all people to me’ (John 12:32). See also John 10:8; 19:11; Mark 2:20.

In a broadcast talk given in London in 1943, the great twentieth century apologist C. S. Lewis said,

‘A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.’

What next? 

If Jesus really is Lord, what are the implication for us? Consider the ‘I ams’ of Jesus and jot down alongside each one what your response should be.

John 8:48. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49. Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55. Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56.  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
John 8:48‭-‬59 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.8.48-59.KJV

Today’s lesson speaks to the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Are ready? Are you excited? I am! Have a blessed day.

PRAY Dear Father God, My desire is to know You and to know more about You. Draw me closer to You today, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  1 Thessalonians 4:13‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1th.4.13-18.KJV and 1 Thessalonians 5:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1th.5.1-11.KJV

1 Thes. 4:13. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thes. 5:1. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

5:6. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

REFLECT  What do you learn here about Christ’s return? Does anything surprise you? What does it say about those who predict exactly when Christ will return to earth?

We learn that the saints who came before us shall join Jesus in the clouds first, and we shall join them upon Christ’s return. When people predict when Jesus is coming back, I don’t listen to anything else they have to say. Not even Jesus knows the day and the hour.

APPLY    Take a moment today to look up in the sky and imagine the Lord Jesus returning. Hear the trumpet blast and feel yourself caught up to meet the Lord as he returns.

PRAY Dear Lord Jesus, I can only imagine what it will be like when You return, but I want to be ready when You do! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Luke 22:42 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.22.42.KJV

Not My Will

This is day three of the seven day reading plan, It Is Finished. Very powerful message. Have a blessed day.

In today’s passage, we read one of the bravest prayers ever prayed: not my will, Lord, but Yours be done. On the opposite side of that, we read of an underwhelming choice by the disciples. Overcome by full bellies and the Passover wine, they slept.

Jesus was a stone’s throw away pouring His heart out, but they zoned out and slept.

Have you ever done that? Attempted to zone out during a storm in your life, hoping it will pass you by? I know I have.

In times of stress or confusion, we often avoid the very things that would bring us rest and peace.

I’ve wondered what would’ve changed if the disciples had been able to enter into a time of prayer with Jesus instead of falling asleep. Would they have been better prepared for the spiritual and emotional turmoil of the next few days? Would they have found the strength to stay by Jesus’ side? Would they have been able to encourage one another?

While we may never know the answers to these questions, it’s clear they missed an opportunity in the garden. We can take a cue from their missed opportunity and press into prayer when life is pressing in on us.

I missed an opportunity in my own life last year when I felt the Lord prompting me to pray over a specific area in my life for forty days. I’m ashamed to say I made a half-hearted attempt and then abandoned the prayer focus altogether. In the following months, my attitude and emotions were severely tested in that same area. I’ve often wondered if I could’ve gone into that season better prepared had I pressed into prayer.

Are life’s circumstances pressing in on you? Do you feel the Lord calling you to prayer? I would encourage you to take heed of those promptings and don’t miss those moments to meet with the Lord. Pour out your heart to Him. And may our lives echo the words of Jesus: “Not my will but Yours be done.”

Mt. 26:36. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
Matthew 26:36‭-‬46 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.26.36-46.KJV

https://youtu.be/kVhCt28x2yo

It is commonly argued that Jesus had the power to work miracles because he was God. Actually, this is not the case. The Bible teaches that he performed signs and wonders in his humanity.

The apostle John says that Jesus became flesh when he dwelt among us (John 1:14). To do this, he had to put off his divine attributes. An obvious one is omnipresence. Humans cannot be omnipresent. We are confined to one place at a time. Another is omniscience. Humans don’t know everything.

Paul reminds us that Jesus let go of his equality with God and ‘emptied himself’ to be born as a human (Phil 2:6). Theologians call this his kenosis (from the Greek verb ‘to empty’).. Charles Wesley put it best when he wrote that Christ ‘Emptied himself of all but love.’

Now how all this could be is impossible to explain. How could someone be truly God and yet truly man? There is no equivalent anywhere and never has been. But somehow, God managed to accomplish it. And as we shall see, it had to be done to secure our salvation.

So how did Jesus perform miracles? He worked them by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why there is no record of him doing any miracles before the Holy Spirit fell on him at the River Jordan (Matt 3:13-16).

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold this (Is 61:1-3). Jesus affirmed it at the beginning of his ministry when, quoting Isaiah, he read, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me’ (Luke 4:18-19).

The apostle Peter confirmed it. ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power,’ he declared, ‘He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him’ (Act 10:38).

And the writer to the Hebrews said the same thing (Heb 2:4).

All this is further proof of Christ’s humanity. Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, he could do no signs—which again makes him just like us.

In simple terms, Jesus settled himself completely into our environment and our predicament in order to rescue us from it. As the Bible puts it, he became poor so that we might become rich (2 Cor 8:9).

What next?
If Jesus needed to be anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfil his mission, what does this mean for you and me? See Luke 24:49; Act 1:5-8

Lk. 4:14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

4:16. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Luke 4:14‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.4.14-21.KJV

Acts 10:34. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35. But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37. That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40. Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41. Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Acts 10:34‭-‬43 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/act.10.34-43.KJV

Phil. 2:5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/php.2.5-11.KJV

Today’s lesson is a good plan for living our lives in a pleasing manner before God. Very good reading. Have a blessed day.                                                PRAY  Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word, the Bible, is a very special gift and I am very grateful to You for giving it. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  2 Timothy 3:10—4:8

2 Tim. 3:10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11. Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Tim. 4:1. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

REFLECT  Do you believe the Bible is true? Why? What role does the Bible play in your life? Have you ever encountered false teaching? How did the Bible guide you?

Yes, I believe the Bible is true. Through must study and research, there is no other book with as many authors in as many countries over an extended period of time with such accuracy. The Bible is my guiding light. I wish I would have listened better when I was younger.

There will always be false teachers. If they try to tell you what the Bible says and it doesn’t match what the Bible actually says, get away from them. If they tell you that something in the Bible is not true, listen no more! Prayer is a very good way to stay strong in your relationship with God. Listen to Him.

APPLY  Make a commitment to continue Bible reading and prayer after the E100 is over.  Find a Bible reading plan to begin using on “day 101.”

Already on the One Year Bible plan.

PRAY  Dear precious Lord Jesus, Please impress on my heart again and again how important it is to know You and live by Your Word, the Bible. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.5.8.KJV

The First Easter

This is day two of the seven day reading plan, It Is Finished. My prayer for you is draw nearer to our Saviour Jesus Christ this Easter. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

To understand the significance of the meal Jesus shared with His disciples the night before His arrest and His ultimate sacrifice, we need to travel back to the Old Testament, to another spring night centuries earlier.

The night before God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, He gave them a special ceremony to perform. This came at the end of God sending horrible plagues upon Egypt because their ruler Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to God to free the Israelites.

That night, God struck down every firstborn of the Egyptians, but not of the Hebrews. The Hebrews were to put a mark of blood on their doors so God would “pass over” their homes and not touch their firstborn. In honor of God passing over the Hebrews, they would celebrate this special meal every year.

Centuries later, when Jesus sat down with His disciples to share The Last Supper, He was once and for all offering the precious blood that would mark us as His. If we accept Him as our Lord, He puts the mark of His blood over our hearts so that we don’t receive the punishment for our sins. 

Because of His sacrifice, we don’t have to cringe under red-tinged doors. We can approach His throne with confidence.

If you get the opportunity to partake in communion this week, take some extra time to reflect on the Lord’s supper. Rest in the ultimate Passover sacrifice. 

The price has been paid.

Ex. 12:21. Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 22. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27. That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 28. And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

12:29. And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. 30. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
Exodus 12:21‭-‬30 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/exo.12.21-30.KJV

Mt. 26:17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 18. And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. 19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? 23. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

26:26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

26:30. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Matthew 26:17‭-‬30 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.26.17-30.KJV

Heb. 4:16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.4.16.KJV

Jesus Christ is unique in his person. No other prophet, priest or god compares with him. This uniqueness is found in the fact that he was both God and man, fully divine and fully human.

This is clearly stated in two great early Christian hymns, which tell us plainly that in Jesus, God took human form and actually became human flesh (Phil 2:7-8; 1 Tim 3:16).

An ancient creed named Docetism (from the Greek word dokein, to seem) suggested that because human flesh was sinful, God could not possibly embrace it. Therefore, Jesus only seemed to be human. He was like a phantom, God in fancy-dress as it were. As we shall see, if Jesus was not truly human, then the whole gospel message is false.

Certainly, he displayed many human qualities: hunger, thirst, tiredness, sorrow and so on. He wept and ached and cried out to God (Heb 5:7-8). He showed two convincingly human attributes. First, limited knowledge (Mark 9:21; 13:32). As a human, he could not know everything, including the future. Second, he was subject to death (Mark 15:37). God cannot die.

Probably, as a child, like any other little one, he fell over as he learned to walk, banged his head or his elbow on things, cried when he was hurt, needed to be taught how to dress himself, tie his sandals, use a spoon and so on.

He worked as a carpenter, where presumably he often suffered bruises and cuts. If he hadn’t, surely this would have attracted attention. But there is no record of it. Quite the contrary: the Bible says he learned obedience through the things he suffered (Heb 5:8).

We know he could suffer pain because he did so on the Cross. Was it any different when he was just a kid? It is hard for us to imagine how he could be like this, but if not, he was not a real human.

The Bible says, he was tempted and tested in every way—which means emotionally, physically, sexually, mentally—just like us, but amazingly, he never once yielded (Heb 4:15).

And as we shall see, were it not so, he would have been disqualified as our Saviour. It was in his humanity that his mercy and faithfulness showed most clearly (Heb 2:17).

What next?
When you are tempted to sin, how can Heb 4:15 encourage you? Name at least two ways.

When I am tempted to sin, I try to quote Scriptures I’ve memorized for such an occasion. I find James 4:7 to be quite helpful. We can also boldly approach the throne of grace when we are tempted. Hebrews 4:15 is a great reminder that we can hold on to Him who has overcome the world.

Heb. 2:5. For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7. Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.9. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 2:5‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.2.5-18.KJV

Heb. 4:14. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.4.14-16.KJV

Today’s lesson is on Paul’s admonishing Timothy to be better in his leading the Church. Most times, we lay people just don’t understand what a heavy load to bear we put on our pastors. Take a moment today and send a text or a facebook message to your pastor, and let him know you are grateful for all he does. Also, lift him up in prayer daily. God bless you.

PRAY  Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You Father for saving me so that I could choose to be on Your side instead of demanding You be on my side. Please keep drawing me closer to the likeness of Jesus Christ every day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ 2 Timothy 2:1‭-‬26 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/2ti.2.1-26.KJV

2 Tim. 2:1. Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 8. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9. Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 14. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 

2:19. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. 22. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

REFLECT   What do you think Paul is trying to teach Timothy here? What kind of person is “a workman who does not need to be ashamed”? How can you be or become that person?

I think Paul is trying to teach Timothy that he doesn’t have to be so patient as to listen to every argument, but how to be patient with those who come to him with questions about God and Jesus out of a “pure” (they don’t know the at, and really want to) heart.

“A workman who does not need to be ashamed” is anyone who is working toward the gospel of Jesus Christ being taught to every soul in the world. Are you sweeping/vacuuming the floor at your Church? You are working toward the futherance of the gospel. Not everyone can be the preacher.

However this is not all it means. In order to become like a “workman not ashamed, share the Gospel. Do you have neighbors? Invite them to church. Ask them if they know where they are going when they leave this world. Even Christians, some, are unsure. Help them to realize that when they are saved, asked Jesus into their lives, their name was written in the Lamb’s book of Life! No one is able to snatch them out of the hand of God. Amen!

APPLY   Twice Paul mentions the importance of avoiding quarrels. If you face any today, think about how you will resolve them now or avoid them in the future.

Just tell the person in a calm voice that you do not discuss things other than the foundations of your faith. If they insist on continuing the conversation, and they usually do, politely excuse yourself and walk away. Run if necessary!

PRAY Dear Lord Jesus, Please help me to grow into a person who knows how to live well, and who wisely follows Your admonitions. Thank You for caring enough to show me my weaknesses and faults, so I may grow into the woman You know I can be. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.14.6.KJV

Prepare the Way

I wanted to provide a devotional for you during this week before we during, and after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is a seven day reading plan to help us prepare our hearts for the Lord Jesus Christ. Please spend some time in prayer seeking His will each day. Have a blessed day.

As we approach Palm Sunday and the rest of Holy Week, those words from Luke echo in my mind:

Prepare the way for the Lord.

These ancient lines from Isaiah became John the Baptist’s mission statement as he prepared the hearts and minds for the coming Messiah. And his audience would’ve known exactly what he meant. Servants would travel ahead of an approaching king and fill in potholes and level bumpy roads so the king’s arrival would be as smooth as possible.

That’s what I want our goal for the next week to be: preparing the way and preparing room in our hearts to meditate on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

And we’ll start where He did: heading into Jerusalem.

As Jesus made His entrance into Jerusalem for Palm Sunday, one of the phrases the crowd shouted was “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)

What does hosanna mean? Hosanna comes from a Hebrew word that means “save now” or “please save,” a literal cry for help. From the beginning of the world, Jesus’ plan has been to save us from our sins, and while the crowds lining the dusty streets of Jerusalem didn’t grasp the whole plan, for a moment, they were able to rejoice that a savior figure had appeared.

The Israelites may have been expecting Him to do more outward rescuing (social, political, or economical) rather than inward rescuing, by making a way for their hearts to be made new. They may have thought their immediate needs were in their circumstances: with the current-day political oppression or simmering turmoil between religious factions.

Instead, their greatest need (and our greatest need) lies within our souls.

The lines from “Joy to the World” (no coincidence how a Christmas song can make us think of Easter) come to mind as well: “Let every heart prepare Him room…”

Instead of heading into the Holy Week with expectations of what you need God to do (or not do), learn from those citizens of Jerusalem all those years ago. Lay down your expectations like the robes that lined the street. Open your heart and “let the king of Glory come in.”

Prepare Him room.

Lk. 3:1. Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4. As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Luke 3:1‭-‬6 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.3.1-6.KJV

Mt. 21:6. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7. And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11. And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Matthew 21:6‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.21.6-11.KJV

A unique Saviour is not popular in today’s world.

We call it the post-truth generation where all views and beliefs are equally acceptable.  

Somebody may say, ‘When all’s said and done, doesn’t everyone worship the same God?’  Well, I can’t speak for others, but unless they worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, everyone does not. (Amen!)

‘But all religions are basically the same, aren’t they? Good works and all that sort of thing.’ That sounds plausible enough, but in fact all religions are not the same. One major faith declares that God hates sinners. The Bible says God loves them. Some others promote ancestral worship or idolatry or self-affliction or redemption through self-effort or through good deeds. Christian faith is different from all of these.

‘What about atheists?’ Even atheism is a kind of religion. And they certainly don’t accept Jesus. 

‘Nowadays, shouldn’t we be tolerant of other beliefs?’ Of course we should. In a true democracy, freedom of worship is a basic right, as long as it doesn’t mean breaking the law. Everyone has this right but that does not mean everyone is right.

Followers of Jesus today are in a position identical to that of the early church. They also lived in a society where people worshiped many gods. So what did they do? It would have been easy to soften their emphasis on Christ’s uniqueness. Why invite opposition and persecution? But they did not hold back. They simply and boldly preached Christ.

At the Global Consultation on World Evangelisation a few years ago, a statement was issued which said among other things:

‘(We) must uphold the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the necessity of faith in Him as Lord and Saviour. This is especially imperative in the light of the increasing pluralistic environment, the resurgence of non-Christian religions hostile to the advance of the gospel,  the erosion of historic Christianity in the West, and the increasing prevalence of secularism almost everywhere.’

Over the next few days we will consider how Jesus our Lord is utterly and absolutely unique in—

· his Person 

· his preaching

· his power

· his prophesying

· his purpose

· his presence 

· his Passion

· his prophetic proclamation

culminating in a stirring panorama of how he is presented in every book of the Bible as divinely and uniquely the only true God. Don’t miss a single day! 

What next?

If someone were to ask you in what ways Jesus is unique, how would you answer?  Try to set down at least three major responses.

Jesus is unique in these three ways:

1. He is God.

2. He was born of a virgin.

3. He was resurrected from the dead on the third day, as He said He would.

Jn. 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

1:6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

1:9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

1:11. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

1:15. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 

1:19. And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20. And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26. John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27. He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John 1:1‭-‬28 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.1.1-28.KJV

This is a lesson I think each of need to learn at some point in our life. It is good to do so with a biblical understanding of why and how. Have a blessed day.    

PRAY Loving God, thank You for providing for me well in so many ways. I always want to have a grateful spirit. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  1 Timothy 6:3‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1ti.6.3-21.KJV

1 Tim. 6:3. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4. He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6:6. But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

6:11. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 13. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14. That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords; 16. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. 17. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 20. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

REFLECT  What does Paul say are some of the dangers of money? Have you experienced any of them? How could you pursue “godliness with contentment” today?

Verses 4-5 and 9-10 cover this  answer about the such dangers. Of course I have suffered from these some of these myself. Now that I have accepted Christ Jesus into my heart as Lord and Saviour, I’m not as concerned about money. I put my trust in Him, and I manage my finances wisely (or so I hope).

APPLY  Get your checkbook or look at your bank account online. How have you spent your money over the past 30 days? What does it show you about your priorities? It shows tithing is my first priority, paying the HOA is second, credit card charges fully is third, and setting aside money for savings, automatic withdrawals for charges I know will be added during the month. Then I determine how much is left to save for this roof I need to purchase. God sure does bless me!

PRAY  Dear precious Lord Jesus, Thank You for teaching me how to be content with a little and a lot. As long as I have You with me, nothing else is as important. I have never been more content, and I thank You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. John 12:13 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.12.13.KJV

Today is day seven of the seven day reading plan, CROSS & CROWN, by Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries. Below is a link if you would like to read more of Dr. Charles Stanley’s teachings. Have a blessed day.

Jesus told His disciples that He would rise from the dead. By actually doing so—by conquering the unconquerable—He not only proved the truth of that one statement but also validated everything else He ever said. The resurrection earned and deserves our trust for all that Christ ever claimed, promised, warned, and predicted.

Because Jesus is alive, we have the awesome certainty that our God is actively involved in our lives. In fact, we see evidence of His living through us. We pray and God answers; we watch Him work in people’s hearts and change lives; we ask Him to cleanse us from our sins, and we walk away forgiven—the guilt is gone, and we experience a profound sense of restored fellowship with our Father. Why? Because He is real. And when something is true, you don’t have to worry about defending it. You simply live it out, trusting God, and He will take care of the results.

Because Jesus died in our place and rose again, we are God’s forgiven children—and what He has done for us can never be undone. John 10:28-30 promises, “I give eternal life to [my sheep], and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Do you hear the permanence and guarantee of that promise? No one—not even you yourself—can snatch you from the Father’s hands once you are His.

John 3:16 also promises, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”—period. God didn’t say “except” or “if.” He said “eternal life.” That means forever, irrevocable, 100 percent sure. And He offers it to whomever will believe. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can journey forward with the assurance that if we trust Him as Savior, we will live and reign with Him forever.

May our risen Savior remind you today and every day of the certainties of the cross and His resurrection, and may He encourage your heart deeply, abundantly, and with never-ending joy.



A Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son and for the eternal life He purchased on my behalf at Calvary. If ever I doubt Your love for me, help me remember that You spared nothing—not even Jesus—to make a way for me to be with You forever. Help me live in the light of the gospel, dead to sin and raised to a new life with Christ. And with that new life, use me as Your ambassador to share the good news of salvation with others. Amen.

Click here to download an expanded copy of Cross & Crown for your phone, tablet, or e-reader.

Jn. 10:28. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30. I and my Father are one.
John 10:28‭-‬30 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.10.28-30.KJV

Jn 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.3.16.KJV

Today’s lesson is on bishops and deacons and how they are chosen. Remember, however, that just because you aren’t a bishop or a deacon; doesn’t mean there’s no place for you in the Church. There are many opportunities for us. Come to Church and see! Have a blessed day.

PRAY Thank You, Lord, for my pastor and the other spiritual leaders for which You have blessed me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  1 Timothy 3:1‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1ti.3.1-16.KJV

1 Tim. 3:1. This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3. Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6. Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

3:8. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

3:14. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

REFLECT   Using your own words, rephrase the characteristics Paul gives for Christian leaders. Are they realistic? Why are such high standards so important?

Bishops and deacons should be above reproach, honest, men of God, saved (born again), honorable men, married to one wife who is of the same caliber. Yes, we have many people in my Church that fit this mold.

By “above reproach” I do not imply sinless. There is only one who ever walked this earth like that. His name is Jesus Christ!

The reason it is very important to set standards so high is because these are the people entrusted to help the preachers spread the Good News of Great Joy. People are watching every move. The Gentiles need to see us set apart from the rest of the world which is corrupt and evil and fruitless.

APPLY   Schedule a time at least once each week to pray for your pastor, elders and deacons by name. Pray that God will enable them to be true and truly godly leaders.

Amen! 

PRAY Dear Heavenly Father, Please help to pray for Pastor Kirk Beard, Assistant Pastor Jason Pruitt, Pastor Fernando, and retired Pastor Rick Patterson. I lift them up to You in prayer with thanksgiving in my heart. I ask that You would put a hedge of protection about them. Hide them underneath Your wing. Grant to them Your peace which the world does not understand. And give them rest. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.1.29.KJV

Because He Lives

Today is the sixth day of the seven day reading plan, CROSS & CROWN, by Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries. Have a blessed day.

The fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead gives us the absolute, unquestionable foundation for everything else we believe. First of all, we have the confidence of knowing our God is alive. Jesus was not simply some itinerant preacher or teacher; He claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16: 16-17). The Lord told His disciples that to see Him was to see the Father (John 14:9); and in fact, that was one of the reasons He came—to reveal the heavenly Father so we could understand what He’s like.

All other belief systems have their so-called gods, but we know where their leaders are buried, which calls into question their “divinity.” Christ rose from the dead to validate and settle once and for all that our God is the only true God, the Creator of all things. He who made each of us can’t be fashioned by us. The One we worship is alive—not dead, inanimate, or an idea dreamed up in the mind of man. Think about it: Unless you believe that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, then you either worship something else or nothing at all, a situation Isaiah considers foolish and Paul calls pitiable. Why? Simply because people without the living Christ have no assurance of anything.


You might be wondering, Well, if Christ is alivethen where is He? What’s He doing? Scripture reveals very clearly that Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding on our behalf (Heb. 7:25; 10:12). He’s a living God who cares, loves, hears, and answers our prayers. He’s our forgiving Lord, continually advocating on our behalf. What’s more, the Lord Jesus is God the Son, who is preparing a place for each of us who believes in Him (John 14:2). He’s also the risen Savior who promised His disciples that, though He was going away, He wouldn’t leave them as orphans—Jesus assured them He would s