Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 4
Sense of Purpose
John 3:22-4:3    New English Translation (NET)
Further Testimony About Jesus by John the Baptist
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples came into Judean territory, and there he spent time with them and was baptizing. 23 John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming to him and being baptized. 24 (For John had not yet been thrown into prison.)
25 Now a dispute came about between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew concerning ceremonial washing. 26 So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, about whom you testified—see, he is baptizing, and everyone is flocking to him!”
27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but rather, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. This then is my joy, and it is complete. 30 He must become more important while I become less important.”
31 The one who comes from above is superior to all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is superior to all. 32 He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The one who has accepted his testimony has confirmed clearly that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he does not give the Spirit sparingly. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. 36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.
Departure From Judea
4 Now when Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was winning and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself was not baptizing, but his disciples were), 3 he left Judea and set out once more for Galilee.
Sent to perform a certain task, it is good to know the purpose behind it. We like to know the "why" s and "wherefore's" .
For John the Baptist, this was so very clear.
How do you think he knew so precisely his purpose?
It surely must have been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit of God.
He knew that he was NOT the Messiah.....the One and Only Son of God, even though the circumstances of his own birth were not the normal.....
He knew that Jesus was the One.
He knew that Jesus cmae to earth from heaven.
He knew that Jesus would gain in importance on the earth, as he himself would become less and less important.
He knew that ALL THINGS were placed under the authority of Jesus, the Son of God.
He knew that putting your faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God would mean salvation!
John's purpose was to teach and open the hearts of the people for the coming of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.
He knew and yet, did not rise up saying, "Hey what about me? I was here first. God is using me! I am important too!!!!"
No, he humbly and graciously relinquished his place in the eyes of the the One he had been born to serve.
God says in his Word that He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us.
Pray and move forward in your own life, with a renewed sense of purpose to serve Him!

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3
John 3:1-21                New English Translation (NET)
Conversation with Nicodemus
3 Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, 2 came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?”
5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus replied, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I have told you people about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19 Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. 21 But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.
How often I have needed the wisdom or comfort of the Lord in the middle of a restless night!
Sometimes the thoughts, fears, anxieties or pain of the day, play over and over in our minds at night.....when we are supposed to be sleeping!
But sleep eludes .........and we think and think and think and think.....
until finally, exhausted, we give up......get up.....and........what?
Run to our Bible, open it to some familiar passage and dive in!
We read, we pray.
No matter how many times this scene is played out in my life, the Lord Jesus is always there........always available and waiting to meet me at my point of need. Even in the middle of the night.
He comforts..... gently leads me to scripture that speaks life and wisdom into my situation.
Sometimes, He reveals some new aspect ......or perspective.
It is a wonderful blessing, isn't it.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being accessible to each one of us, 24/7, 365 days a year.......

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2
John 2:1-25   New English Translation (NET)
Turning Water into Wine
2 Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.” 4 Jesus replied, “Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother told the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.” So they filled them up to the very top. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did. 9 When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!” 11 Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
Cleansing the Temple
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there a few days. 13 Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. 15 So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves he said, “Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will devour me.”
18 So then the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” 19 Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” 20 Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” 21 But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken.
Jesus at the Passover Feast
23 Now while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, many people believed in his name because they saw the miraculous signs he was doing. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people. 25 He did not need anyone to testify about man, for he knew what was in man.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1
God Has Provided a Lamb
John 1:29-51              New American Standard Bible (NASB)
29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who [a]has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 I did not recognize [b]Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing [c]in water.” 32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize [d]Him, but He who sent me to baptize [e]in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes [f]in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
Jesus’ Public Ministry, First Converts
35 Again the next day John was standing [g]with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39 He *said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the [h]tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means [i]Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of [j]John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated [k]Peter).
43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and *said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael *said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He *said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
If you have read the Old Testament, or just know the stories of the ancient forefathers, you probably know the story of Abraham taking Isaac, his long-awaited son, up that mountain to sacrifice him.
It is a very different story isnt it? Always makes us a little uncomfortable that our loving and holy God would make such a request~
And then....what relief we feel when God stops Abraham from taking the life of his precious son, Isaac!
I want to take you to that very moment.
 Genesis 22:"Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a lamb caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the lamb and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son."
Do you see? God provided a lamb for us!
The Lord Jesus Christ......the Lamb of God.........provided by God to take our place as the sacrifice for our sin. 
Lord, open our eyes that we may fully see the truth and what you reveal to us today in these scriptures... Amen 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 30
Let There Be LIGHT~

John 1:1-28           New English Translation (NET) 

The Prologue to the Gospel

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.
6 A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. 9 The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was created by him, but the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children 13 —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.
14 Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. 15 John testified about him and shouted out, “This one was the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’” 16 For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed—he did not deny but confessed—“I am not the Christ!” 21 So they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not!” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No!” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us so that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John said, “I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 So they asked John, “Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not recognize, 27 who is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal!” 28 These things happened in Bethany across the Jordan River where John was baptizing.
The opening verses of the Gospel of John are some of my most favorite~ I LOVE that John makes it clear that the WORD is God and that that very same WORD is Jesus Christ who was also CREATOR. He is LIFE. He is the Light of Mankind!
He gives those who receive Him the RIGHT to become the children of God!~
Such rich words.........given to US.
Through those words we can gain enough understanding of the magnificence of who God is to desire a relationship with Him, more than any other thing in this life.
Things to ponder:
vs:5 The darkness in my life is my lack of understanding.
               Am I really trying to understand?
               Do I believe the truth of God enough to allow it to bring light to
                       the darkest places in my heart?

Believe: (verb) "Active faith-something we DO" , " commitment, loving self-abandonment.

Lord, do I truly believe YOU? Help my unbelief! Help me to understand my purpose and destiny in you, and to live it out well!


Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29
Luke 24:13-53  J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The walk to Emmaus
13-17 Then on the same day we find two of them going off to Emmaus, a village about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they went they were deep in conversation about everything that had happened. While they were absorbed in their serious talk and discussion, Jesus himself approached and walked along with them, but something prevented them from recognising him. Then he spoke to them, “What is all this discussion that you are having on your walk?”
18 They stopped, their faces drawn with misery, and the one called Cleopas replied, “You must be the only stranger in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard all the things that have happened there recently!”
19-21a “What things?” asked Jesus. “Oh, all about Jesus, from Nazareth. There was a man—a prophet strong in what he did and what he said, in God’s eyes as well as the people’s. Haven’t you heard how our chief priests and rulers handed him over for execution, and had him crucified? But we were hoping he was the one who was to come and set Israel free ...
21b-24 “Yes, and as if that were not enough, it’s getting on for three days since all this happened; and some of our womenfolk have disturbed us profoundly. For they went to the tomb at dawn, and then when they couldn’t find his body they said that they had a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of our people went straight off to the tomb and found things just as the women had described them—but they didn’t see him!”
25-26 Then he spoke to them, “Aren’t you failing to understand, and slow to believe in all that the prophets have said? Was it not inevitable that Christ should suffer like that and so find his glory?”
27-29 Then, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them everything in the scriptures that referred to himself. They were by now approaching the village to which they were going. He gave the impression that he meant to go on further, but they stopped him with the words, “Do stay with us. It is nearly evening and soon the day will be over.”
30-32 So he went indoors to stay with them. Then it happened! While he was sitting at table with them he took the loaf, gave thanks, broke it and passed it to them. Their eyes opened wide and they knew him! But he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts glowing while he was with us on the road, and when he made the scriptures so plain to us?”
33-34 And they got to their feet without delay and turned back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven and their friends all together, full of the news—“The Lord is really risen—he has appeared to Simon now!”
35 Then they told the story of their walk, and how they recognised him when he broke the loaf.
Jesus suddenly appears to the disciples
36 And while they were still talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be to you all!”
37 But they shrank back in terror for they thought they were seeing a ghost.
38-40 “Why are you so worried?” said Jesus, “and why do doubts arise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet—it is really I myself! Feel me and see; ghosts have no flesh or bones as you can see that I have.”
41 But while they still could not believe it through sheer joy and were quite bewildered, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
42-44 They gave him a piece of broiled fish and part of a honeycomb which he took and ate before their eyes. Then he said, “Here and now are fulfilled the words that I told you when I was with you: that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must come true.”
45-47 Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the scriptures, and added, “That is how it was written, and that is why it was inevitable that Christ should suffer, and rise from the dead on the third day. So must the
change of heart which leads to the forgiveness of sins be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Jesus commissions them with the new message
48-49 “You are eye-witnesses of these things. Now I hand over to you the command of my Father. Stay in the city, then, until you are clothed with power from on high.”
50 Then he led them outside as far as Bethany, where he blessed them with uplifted hands.
51-53 While he was in the act of blessing them he was parted from them and was carried up to Heaven. They worshipped him, and turned back to Jerusalem with great joy, and spent their days in the Temple, praising and blessing God.
What a wonderful way to complete the reading of the Gospel of Luke!
The Gospels truly are GOOD NEWS!
The great joy of knowing we serve a risen Savior......a God who is alive and enough, isn't it?
It is so exciting to see how many of you are reading along with this program. I hope that as you read each days scripture, you will also pray for those others literally Around the WORLD that are reading the same Word of God as you! Stay the course, my friends!
Keep your heart and minds focused on HIM!
Tomorrow we begin our new journey with the Gospel of John!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28

Luke 23:44-24:12      J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The darkness, and the death of Jesus

44-46 It was now about midday, but darkness came over the whole countryside until three in the afternoon, for there was an eclipse of the sun. The veil in the Temple sanctuary was split in two. Then Jesus gave a great cry and said, “Father, ‘into your hands I commend my spirit.’” And with these words, he died.
47 When the centurion saw what had happened, he exclaimed reverently, “That was indeed a good man!”
48-49 And the whole crowd who had collected for the spectacle, when they saw what had happened, went home in deep distress. And those who had known him, as well as the women who had followed him from Galilee, remained standing at a distance and saw all this happen.

Joseph from Arimathaea lays the body of Jesus in a tomb

50-53 Now there was a man called Joseph, a member of the Jewish council. He was a good and just man, and had neither agreed with their plan nor voted for their decision. He came from the Jewish city of Arimathaea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. He took it down and wrapped it in linen and placed it in a rock-hewn tomb which had not been used before.
54-56 It was now the day of the preparation and the Sabbath was beginning to dawn, so the women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph, noted the tomb and the position of the body, and then went home to prepare spices and perfumes. On the Sabbath they rested, in obedience to the commandment.

The first day of the week: the empty tomb

24 1-7 But at the first signs of dawn on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb, taking with them the aromatic spices they had prepared. They discovered that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on going inside, the body of the Lord Jesus was not to be found. While they were still puzzling over this, two men suddenly stood at their elbow, dressed in dazzling light. The women were terribly frightened, and turned their eyes away and looked at the ground. But the two men spoke to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: he has risen! Remember what he said to you, while he was still in Galilee—that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and must be crucified, and
must rise again on the third day.”
8-9 Then they did remember what he had said, and they turned their backs on the tomb and went and told all this to the eleven and the others who were with them.

10-12 It was Mary of Magdala, Joanna, the mother of James, and their companions who made this report to the apostles. But it struck them as sheer imagination, and they did not believe the women. Only Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He stooped down and saw the linen clothes lying there all by themselves, and he went home wondering at what had happened.
Praise God! He has risen! There is nothing greater to say! Hallelujah!