Sunday, March 29, 2009

EASTER DEVOTIONS

SCATTERED BUT NOT ALONE

Read John 16:5–33

"It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you." John 16:7 NKJV
* * *
The disciples were still trying to grasp what Jesus was telling them. He was preparing them for the frightening, sorrowful days ahead. He said, "Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you." (16:22)

At one point, the men thought they understood; they said, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God." (16:29–30)

Jesus replied, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone…”(16:30-32 NKJV) The disciples would indeed be scattered, but they would be gathered again, empowered by the Holy Spirit and made into the foundation of a church that would turn the world upside down.
* * *
Lord, I see from the lives of these men that I don't have to understand all that You are doing in the world. I just have to trust that You are the Son of God who has taken away my sin, and promised a fruitful, abundant life, by the power of Your Holy Spirit.
* * *
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I Have overcome the world." John 16:33 NKJV

Thursday, March 26, 2009

EASTER DEVOTIONS

I AM THE VINE

ABIDE IN ME

Read John 15:1–17

     "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5 NKJV
* * *
     These final words of Jesus to His beloved apostles are of utmost importance, both to them and to us. He was going away and they would carry on the work of spreading the gospel to the world. They did not yet have the indwelling Holy Spirit – but soon they would.
* * *
     Jesus said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…" (15:16) How were they going to be able to accomplish this? Jesus said, "…The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine…If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (15:4, 7)
* * *
     Dear Lord, I know that apart from You we will not see lasting fruit in our lives. I come to You this morning as an act of abiding in You. Speak to me from Your Word and plant Your will deep within my heart. I am asking and You have promised that it shall be done. I claim that promise today.
* * *
     "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11 NKJV

Sunday, March 22, 2009

EASTER DEVOTIONS

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED

Read John 14:1–31

     "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." John 14:1 NKJV
* * *
     The disciples still did not quite understand the clues Jesus had given of His coming death and resurrection. Thomas questioned Him about where He was going, and would not fully comprehend until after it all took place and he saw the nail prints in His hands.
     Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father…" (14:8–9)
     Then He promised, "I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (14:16-17)
* * *
     God the Father would send His Holy Spirit not only to dwell with them, but in them. The Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all working together to abide in us forever. Thank You Lord for this incomparable truth –"Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27 NKJV)
* * *
     "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  John 14:27 NKJV

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

EASTER DEVOTIONS

AS I HAVE DONE TO YOU...

Read John 13:1–17

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and--poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet… John 13:3-5 NKJV
* * *
Jesus knew exactly who He was, where He had come from, and where He was going. In view of His coming crucifixion, how amazing that He does such a loving, comforting act in washing his disciple's feet.

Peter, also knowing who Christ was said, "Lord, are You washing my feet? You shall never wash my feet!" (13:8a) But Jesus told him that if he did not allow his feet to be washed he would have no part with Him. Peter said, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" (13:9) With a poignant symbolism, Jesus told him he only needed his feet washed, because the rest of him was already clean, forgiven and eternally secure. Only Judas did not qualify as being so cleansed.
* * *
Lord, I am so thankful for the daily cleansing You offer as I confess my sins and You are faithful to forgive. Help me to follow this example of humility toward others, especially my own family.
* * *
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:14-15 NKJV

Saturday, March 7, 2009

THE BREAD OF LIFE

A TURNING POINT

[51]

Read John 6:22–71

And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35 NKJV
* * *
The crowds saw the disciples get into their boat and leave; but Jesus was not with them. They followed the disciples to the other side of the lake, not knowing that Jesus had walked on water to get there. This was the dramatic moment when He would reveal to them who He really was, and that He knew who they really were: "I tell you the truth; you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." (6:26 NIV)
* * *
Then Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (6:51 NIV) This declaration of His coming death was the turning point: From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (6:66 NKJV)
* * *
Lord, it is hard to believe so many would be willing to benefit from Your miraculous provision, and yet not embrace You as Savior. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sin and for the daily miracle of life which comes from You.
* * *
Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:67-68 NKJV

Thursday, March 5, 2009

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

Read: Luke 19:28-40
* * *
the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: "'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:37-38 NKJV)
* * *
After leaving Zacchaeus' home in Jericho, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, where a colt was already prepared for Jesus to make His entry. Jesus knew it would be there, because God had said through the prophet, "Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9 NKJV) The praise of the crowd echoed the words of the angels at His birth - all planned since the beginning of time.
* * *
Lord, I want to praise You for all Your mighty works. You are the King of Kings who will one day return to Jerusalem again. You have ordained that the mouths of babes would praise You. I pray for the "babes" in my household that their lives will ever be lived in praise of the King and that one day we will all see You face to face.
* * *
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out." Luke 19:39-40 NKJV

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friday's here but Sunday's coming!

I just looked at my calendar and realised Easter is just six weeks away. Easter came as a surprise to believers in Bible times as well. No matter how many times the Lord told his disciples that He would die and rise again the third day - they couldn't seem to comprehend. They were ready to see Him as King, Messiah, Promised One - but suffering, death and resurrection - that was unthinkable!

This Spring season we will take a break from our journey through the Old Testament - which prophesied that Messiah would suffer and die for our sins - and spend some time reading the New Testament passages leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Jesus died for our sins on Friday - but He conquered death on Sunday- so that those of us who receive Him need not fear death any more.

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