Thursday, June 30, 2016

Peaceful times



June 30

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 9:23 – 43

Verse of the Day: Acts 9:31a – “So the church throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria had peace…”

For a brief period of time, Rome under the rule of Caligula was immersed in the concept of emperor Worship. Because of this, the nation of Rome was heavily persecuting the Jewish nation. Since Rome was creating so much tension in the nation of the Jews, they did not have the time or inclination to continue persecuting the church. However, at the end of the reign of Caligula, this all changed. 

Sometimes in our lives we find ourselves in a tranquil period. However, if we are doing what God has called us to do, we can be assured that trouble will find us. One has said that we are either in trouble, just out of trouble, or the phone is about to ring.

Trust God that He has everything under control, whether it is peaceful or in turmoil.

Prayer: Father, help me to continue to trust and follow all the time. Peaceful times can make me lax, call me to do your will. Amen.






Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Can't out quess God



June 29

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 9:1 – 22

Verse of the Day: Acts 9:20 – “And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God.”

The church’s greatest human enemy becomes the church’s greatest evangelist.

God has a purpose and a plan, and we can never outguess who or what He will use to accomplish His plan. Throughout the Old Testament we find God using pagan, heathen nations to correct and discipline His people the Jews. In the New Testament we find Him using Saul, one who was bound and determined to destroy the church.

As we go through our day, look for ways that God unexpectedly uses people, places, and possibilities that we may not have considered to accomplish His will. Sometimes, in the most surprising way He will show up.

Prayer: Father, give me eyes to see You at work in my life and those around me. When it seems that things are the darkest, give me the faith to trust You. And help me look continually for the way that you will show up. Amen.






Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lamb



June 28

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 8:26 – 40

Verse of the Day: Acts 8:32 – “Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb,
So he openeth not his mouth…”

αμνος. The New Testament writers often referred to Jesus as being the lamb or the Lamb of God. This was drawn from the Old Testament pictures about the sacrificial lamb. 

In the minds of the Jewish hearers, the use of the Lamb of God would bring to mind the account of the Passover lamb (consider Ex. 12). The prophets gave the pictures of sacrificial lambs in their prophecies (i.e., Isa. 53:7). The Law gave the instructions on how the sacrifices and the lambs were to be handled (Lev. 14:12, 21, 24; Num. 6:12). The pictures and prophecies in the Old Testament were given to help them (and us) see that the coming Messiah would not be a philosopher nor a teacher of morals. He would come to do what we cannot do for ourselves, take away our sin.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You that You came to be my sacrifice, my substitute, my Lamb. Amen.






Monday, June 27, 2016

Scattered



June 27

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 8:1 – 25

Verse of the Day: Acts 8:1b – “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

In chapters 8 – 12 we see a time of dynamic growth. During this period of around 12 years the church grew and spread out from Jerusalem to Judea and to Samaria. 

Some have wondered why God would allow a great persecution to come against the church in Jerusalem. I believe in reading and studying that part of the reason was that they were not obeying Him. In Acts 1:8, He had instructed them on what they were to do, and here years later they had focused on Jerusalem and had not gone out as He had commanded them. This verse tells us that He scattered them to do what He had called them to do.

Prayer: Father, help me to determine if why I am facing these struggles is that I am not following Your plan and purpose for my life. Help me to see and correct my ways. Amen.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Who's Watching?



June 26

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 7:44 – 60

Verse of the Day: Acts 7:57 – 58 – “But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

The Sanhedrin finally reached a point of anger at Stephen. He had accused them of being like their ancestors, rejecting God and His prophets. He equated their rejection of Jesus with the rejection of God in the Old Testament. In their anger, they decided to kill Stephen. In a way, they were fulfilling what Stephen had just talked about.

In this account today, we see that standing strong for the Lord can be costly. Yet, it can influence others. Many believe that this account with Stephen was the opening crack into the life of Saul, preparing him to meet Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Prayer: Father, may I stay consistent in my witness for You. I never know who is watching. In Jesus’ name, Amen.






Saturday, June 25, 2016

Give me eyes to see



June 25

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 7:20 – 43

Verse of the Day: Acts 7:39 – “…to whom our fathers would not be obedient, but thrust him from them, and turned back in their hearts unto Egypt…”

Continuing in his lesson before the Sanhedrin, Stephen starts with Moses in today’s reading. This is one who the leaders of the Sanhedrin would associate with. He gives them a continuing history lesson to refresh their memory on the background leading up to Jesus.

He tells them that Moses prophesized that Jesus would come (Deut. 18:15), and that even then, the people would not obey God. They desired Egypt (a picture of the world) over top of following God. They went so far as making Aaron construct an idol to worship. God allowed the nation to follow their folly, but He punished them for it.

Stephen is building his case that they have been witnesses of God’s plan, and yet they rejected it.

Prayer, Father, give me eyes to see and follow Your plan and purposes today. Amen.



Friday, June 24, 2016

Wisdom



June 24

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 7:1 – 19

Verse of the Day: Acts 7:1 – “And the high priest said, Are these things so?”

At the end of yesterday’s readings, Stephen, one of the seven men chosen to fulfill the need of the church (some believe these were the first deacons), had been arrested and accused of blasphemy. Today, we pick up with the Sanhedrin’s trial.

The high priest (presumably Caiaphas) starts the preceding with a question (or a challenge) to Stephen about the validity of what he was teaching. In today’s reading through the next two days, we see the response that was given in boldness before the assembled group.

Stephen doesn’t start with the resurrection; he goes back to the beginning that they would all be in agreement with, and then proceeds to bring them up to the very present time. It is a good reminder to us that often to present the message, we need to start with where they are, and then bring them up to where they need to be.

Prayer: Spirit, give me wisdom in sharing.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Too busy



June 23

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 6

Verse of the Day: Acts 6:1 – “Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”

So often we can become so busy, so overwhelmed in the hectic, breakneck schedules that we keep that we overlook some of the more important things. The idea of the tyranny of the urgent can cause us to look after the most pressing areas without considering the most important.

My schedule can get booked up fast with the many needs around me, that I fail to see the most important things. One of the single, simple, sometimes silent things that I can quickly overlook is that of helping. Helping those who may not be able to normally catch my attention because I am so busy.

Prayer: Father, today give me eyes, ears, and a heart to watch for those who need a helping hand. Those who You have placed around me to allow me to be You before them. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Obedience to God



June 22

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 5:17 – 42

Verse of the Day: Acts 5:29 – “But Peter and the apostles answered and said, We must obey God rather than men.’”

This verse has been pulled out of context and misused. Some have refused to pay taxes and quoted this as the reason. Yet, Jesus instructed His followers to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar (Matt. 22:21).

However, when the authorities go in direct contradiction of the Word of God, then we are charged to obey the Author of all Authority, God Himself. We are to submit to governmental authority because God established the order of things. When we submit to government, we are submitting to God. 

We are living in times that often challenge us to go against God and His Word. If God commands it, no one can change it. We must obey God rather than others.

Prayer: Father, give us the wisdom to know Your commands, and the courage to stand for them before men. Amen.






Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Signs and Wonders



June 21

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 5:1 – 16

Verse of the Day: Acts 5:12a – “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…”

At the start of the New Testament church, they did not have the completed Word of God to validate their message. God gave the apostle’s the ability to perform miracles on a regular basis to validate their message.

Luke says that they performed signs; this is supernatural events that pointed to a warning, instruction, or encouragement from God. He also speaks of wonders, these were the responses to the signs. Jesus spoke about this in Matt. 12:38,39).

Today, we have the complete validated teaching of God in the Bible. Sometimes God still performs miracles, not to validate His Word, but to accommodate His plan. Look for the signs and wonders, but trust in the infallible Word of God.

Prayer: God, speak to me through Your Word. Let me speak to others through the revealed truth in Your Word. Amen.






Monday, June 20, 2016

Filling for Bold Witness



June 20

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 4:23 – 37

Verse of the Day: Acts 4:31 – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” 

After Peter and John were released, we see their companions’ response. It was one of praise, song, and prayer. It was not a planned or orchestrated service, it was a spontaneous outburst. They had been so intense in their time of interceding for the apostles, that when God responded in answer, they responded in full emotional release.

Once again, we see Luke recording that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And again, we see him equating the outcome of this filling with being bold in the witness of the word of God. Do we seek God to fill us with His Spirit, and then want to just use it for our own emotional fulfillment? He fills us to serve and to share.

Prayer: Spirit, fill me with Your presence. Again, may I be filled to serve You in my life today. 



Acts of Love and Service in Fort McMurray Canada


What would cause 14 men and women, trained and certified in Disaster Relief to leave their home, travel about 25 hours to a small place just about 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle? The love of Christ, and a Servant's heart. 
   
In the early hours of Thursday, June 9, groups of North Carolina Baptist Men and Women began their trek to Alberta Canada. Arriving in Fort McMurray around 11 pm they settled in with a team from Oklahoma. God had called the 14 men and women to assist with the return of the people of the region. The region had evacuated over 90,000 people in the face of the devastating fires. Many homes and businesses were destroyed, leaving the people to face a challenging future - the majority of them have no understanding of God or Jesus Christ. From North Carolina to just below the Arctic Circle, the hands, feet, and heart of Christ would make an impact.
    
The team under the leadership of Bill Martin, consisted of a Chaplaincy team under the coordination of "Doc" Marshall and a Feeding/Recovery team. The work consisted in sifting the ashes of the homes looking for any recoverable items, and bringing hope to a situation that looked totally hopeless.
    
Working and listening to the various accounts from the victims, we heard of the frightening evacuation to the airport and other locations down the highway with flames on both sides of the road. People left hurriedly with no concept of what they would find when they could finally return.
     
As the return began in earnest Saturday, standing in the YMM (Fort McMurray) airport, we had the opportunity to see the vacant looks, the deep sorrow and concern etched upon their tired and weary faces. Speaking with one young lady, she told her story of leaving with her husband and three young children through the fires. She and her husband had left their three children (one under a year of age) to come back for one day to handle the paperwork. She was struggling with a myriad of emotions, but God allowed us to pray and encourage her.
    
On Sunday, the team traveled about an hour up the road to a Cree Reservation called Fort McKay (pronounced Mc-Kii). The village had one Catholic Church where a priest came about once a month when he could. Four of the local Cree women joined us. We  able to encourage and pray with them. A Ft. McMurray pastor, Clay Hilton of the Native American Fellowship led the service. It is his prayer for a work to start there. One of the women that we talked and prayed with was 95-year-old Flora Grandjambe. We were able to follow up over the next few days with these ladies.
    
The recovery team worked on sifting the ash in many of the homes. They were able to minister to the family members during this procedure. The workers had to dress in haz-mat type suits to work in the basements of these homes. One home, as they related, they were finding nothing. They stopped and prayed with the homeowners, and when they went back they began to discover a number of the families articles. The family was overwhelmed that their prayers were answered so quickly. At another home they worked at, the owner had lost a large coin collection. As they sifted they began to discover coin after coin. As they would discover the coins, the homeowners would vocally express their excitement.
    
Over the 10 days of deployment, we had the privilege of interacting with many varied individuals. This region of Canada has a very post-modern worldview when it comes to religion. They see all faiths as equal, and believe and teach in many of their churches that God is the same in Christian, Islam, Buddhism, and many other faith beliefs. Because of this many do not see the need or importance of a true faith in Jesus Christ. As the team would talk with men and women, they would ask if people would like them to pray for them. Some said yes and stopped to be prayed with, but many would say yes and move quickly away. "It is alright to pray for me, not with me." Bill Martin said that he was reminded how important having Christian values were.
    
A firefighter who had been working on the front line told of how one day as they were bulldozing a firebreak around a group of homes, the wind suddenly shifted and the fire began moving rapidly toward them. They quickly began to move backwards when they became aware that the fire was coming from that direction. They immediately stopped working and left the area. That evening he prayed all night for the homes in that location. When he returned in the morning, he was surprised to see most were unharmed. He began to feel that they would have "a victory over the fire."
    
The members of the team expressed their feelings about being a part of what God was doing in this area. Daniel Gillahan expressed that he saw this as an opportunity to be able to share the Gospel through acts of service and love to lost people in this area. Bruce Button shared that this is an opportunity to give some hope to those who have little left, while Emily Creech saw it as an opportunity to give a cup of water in Jesus' name. Nancy Jones spoke about the blessing that one receives by being His hands and feet. Carey Fleming gave a good summary that a trip like this helps us to see what missionaries go through. We were 14 missionaries serving Jesus Christ.
     


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Filled



June 19

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 4:1 – 22

Verse of the Day: Acts 4:8a – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them…”

The Greek word πλησθεις is used to describe the filling of anything from a boat to a sponge. It was a common term in their language, and Luke uses it her to describe how the Holy Spirit will influence a person’s life. Luke uses this phrase eight times in his books. In every instance he showed that the filling of the Holy Spirit gave power to speak or preach for God. So, in his writings, Luke associated the filling of the Holy Spirit to the prophetic ministry. The giving of the ability to reveal or explain the Word of God.

Today, as you seek God’s Spirit in your life, look for Him to give you the ability to share the good news with those around you. The ability to apply the Word of God in every circumstance in which you find yourself.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, fill me, use me, lead me, guide me. Show me the people in which You want me to invest God’s Word in today. 



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Doors of Opportunity



June 18

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 3

Verse of the Day: Acts 3:1 – “Now Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”

The early disciples were Jews who had been raised in the ways of Judaism. They continued to follow the Jewish traditions of the day. They did this not for their being accepted by God, but to provide a clear opportunity to witness about Jesus. Each day there were two prayer times, each of them followed the two daily sacrifices. One was in the morning, and the other was in the evening. The reference to it being the ninth hour means this was about 3 pm.

The beggar chose this location at the Beautiful Gate because it served as the front door into the Temple. People going to worship would be confronted by the cries of this man’s need. To assuage their guilt, they would need to respond. Peter’s response not only brought healing to the man, but an opportunity to tell others about Jesus. Look for ways to communicate about Jesus today.

Prayer: Father, open doors of opportunity.



Friday, June 17, 2016

Depth and Breadth



June 17

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 2:14 – 47

Verse of the Day: Acts 2:42 – “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

How good the depth of a church is measured by the quality of the worship and instruction they are committed to. As believers, this must be at the top of our list to be aware of. How broad our church is, is determined by our commitment to fellowship and evangelism. We must keep reaching out to those around us who are in need, both in the church and outside of it.

Jesus told us to love God and to love people (Mark 12:30, 31). Love is an action verb. It is only really seen by the outward actions that we display. We can do actions without love, but we cannot love without actions.

Today, seek out ways that you can demonstrate the love of God to those around you. All of them.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, fill me with the love of God, so that I can show others this love. Amen. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Am I an amusement?



June 16

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 2:1 – 13

Verse of the Day: Acts 2:13 – “But others mocking said, They are filled with new wine.”

We sometimes are fearful about sharing Jesus with those around us because of many reasons. One reason is that we are afraid some will make fun of us. No one likes being the brunt of someone else’s amusement.

In our verse today, we see that on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were made the mocking accusations of many. Yet, the very thing that they were accused of was not a reality. They were not filled with wine, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And, being filled with the power from on high that John the Baptist and Jesus both predicted (as well as the Old Testament Scriptures), they were sharing the message of Jesus boldly in the very place where He had been crucified.

Today, let us put aside our fears and be willing to stand and deliver the truth of the only way of salvation. Trust in Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, dwelling in me, help me to be bold and share the Good News today. 



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Transitional Accounts



June 15

Daily Bible Reading: Acts 1

Verse of the Day: Acts 1:15 – “And in these days Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, and said (and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about a hundred and twenty).”

We begin our time in the Book of Acts. Considered the History Book of the first-century church, it is a book of transitions. If you want to know how the church should be modeled and operate, use the epistles. This tells us how it transitioned into what it is.

It is a transition from Jesus being bodily here to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is a transition from a Jewish sect into the international body. It is the transition from a small group of fearful people into a major bold movement of God.

As we read this together, see the Hand of God as He leads using the marching orders given in Acts 1:8.

Prayer: Spirit, guide me to become more of the bold courageous witness that we find in this group of believers. Amen.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Books, books, and more books



June 14

Daily Bible Reading: John 21

Verse of the Day: John 21:25 – “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written.”

It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that the four gospel accounts are factual, yet they are not exhaustive about the Lord Jesus Christ.

When you consider that John starts his gospel in eternity past, and ends his Book of Revelation in eternity future, we can see the truth of this verse.

God in the Person of Jesus has, is and will do more than anyone could comprehend and write about. If all there was to know about God is in the book we call the Bible, we would have a small God indeed. Look around you today to see the many blessings and works of God going on in just this moment. And then praise Him for His vast care.

Prayer: Jesus, You are beyond my full comprehension, yet You have made much known by Your living here on Earth. Amen.



Monday, June 13, 2016

Purpose



June 13

Daily Bible Reading: John 20

Verse of the Day: John 20:31 – “ but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.”

John in each of the five books that he wrote in the Scriptures takes the time to disclose the purpose for them. 

In 1st John he gives it in 5:13, “These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.” In 2nd John it is found in verse 7, “For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” And 3rd John has it in verse 11, “Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” The Book of Revelation gives us his purpose in 1:19, “Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass hereafter.”

Prayer: God show us Your Purpose for us.



Sunday, June 12, 2016

IT IS FINISHED!!!



June 12

Daily Bible Reading: John 19:23 - 42

Verse of the Day: John 19:30 – “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.”

Τετελεσται. When Jesus died on the Cross, He poured out His life blood once and for all to provide our redemption. He cried out “IT IS FINISHED.” The Greek term used here has it’s root in the word that means completed, finished, the end. 

When Jesus spoke this word on the Cross, He was proclaiming that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was finished, over, complete, once for all. Man need ever offer another sacrifice for the atonement of sin. It is complete. It is done. It is accomplished.

Religion tells us what we need to do to appease God, Christianity tells us that it has been done.

Prayer: Glorious Father, I praise You that my sacrifice to atone for my sin is complete and finished by the work of Your Son upon the Cross. I can come before You because of Him. 



Saturday, June 11, 2016

PC or Right?



June 11

Daily Bible Reading: John 19:1 - 22

Verse of the Day: John 19:12 – “Upon this Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend: every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.”

Pilate three times (18:38; 19:4, 6) stated that he found no fault in Jesus worthy of death. In reality, Jesus was the sinless, perfect sacrifice that would meet the requirement to purchase our redemption. 

In our verse today, the Jewish leaders seeing that they were not getting anywhere with Pilate on their religious grounds, twisted the accusation into a political one. This in turn pushed Pilate into a corner, did he stand for what was right, or what was politically expedient.

As Christians today, we are finding that the world around us often misrepresents the issues so that we are in a position of either standing on truth, or caving into the pressure around us.

Prayer: Spirit of the Living God, give me the strength to stand for the right today. Amen.



Friday, June 10, 2016

What is Truth?



June 10

Daily Bible Reading: John 18:24 - 40

Verse of the Day: John 18:38 – “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no crime in him.”

“What is truth?” This statement has been described as being a cynical denial to the concept of knowing truth, a quip that it is impossible to know absolute truth, or as a desire to know what no one had been able to explain to Pilate.

People today are seeking truth. They may say that it is impossible to know absolute truth, or that absolute truth does not exist (by the way, making that absolute statement negates the idea being spoken). Yet, deep down, people are looking for truth. They desire that they might find what is really true in a world that often exposes only the fallacies around them. John 14:6 reminds us that Jesus is “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.” 

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to guide others in the way of finding Truth. Help me help them discover Jesus, the One and Only Truth in the universe. Show me, lead me, guide me. Amen.






Thursday, June 9, 2016

Deity exposed



June 9

Daily Bible Reading: John 18:1 - 23

Verse of the Day: John 18:4 – 6 – “Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When therefore he said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

This passage found in John’s Gospel shows us that Jesus did not die as a victim at the hands of man. Jesus, the Christ, was in control of all that took place. He was not overpowered, not caught by surprise, He could have escaped this ordeal.

In a brief instant, Jesus unveiled His majesty. His statement of deity “I AM” manifested His glory that literally cast the soldiers to the ground. He went voluntarily to the Cross for you and me.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise and thank You that You went to the Cross to pay my debt and because You did, I can be forgiven before the Father. May Your Name be praised. Amen.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

He Prayed for Me!



June 8

Daily Bible Reading: John 17

Verse of the Day: John 17:20 – “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word;”

In this prayer of Jesus, often times referred to as His “High Priestly Prayer,” Jesus first prays for Himself, then His disciples around Him (v.9), and finally starting at verse 20 for all who will follow. This part of the prayer is for you and me today.

He prays specifically for two things in regard to us, our unity in the Body (vv.20-23), and our glory in the future (vv.24-26).

He starts by praying for our unity that the world would then see the reality of Jesus’ love. The world finds it hard to understand Jesus’ love for them when they do not see us loving one another. He has commanded us to love each other as He loves us. Do we really show the love of Christ by our actions today? Do we make the world want what we have?

Prayer: Jesus, I know that You included me in Your prayer that day, and now I need to allow You to work in me to show Your Love. 



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Confidence and Courage!



June 7

Daily Bible Reading: John 16:16 – 33

Verse of the Day: John 16:33 – “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

We live in a day when so many preach a “gospel” of happiness and ease. They seek to entice people into their churches and organizations by proclaiming a message that God will make us healthy, happy, and rich. In fact, many will say if you are sick, struggling, or in need that you are not getting what God has promised. They try to spiritualize or explain away verses like the one we read today.

Jesus told us that are going to face pressures, afflictions, and/or distress. The Greek translated “be of good cheer” literally means to be confident and have courage. In who? In Jesus. No matter what you are going through today, He has given the ultimate victory. Just hold on and trust.

Prayer: Jesus, I trust in You. My confidence is in You and You alone, no matter what. Help me to trust Your Heart and Hand in this today.



Monday, June 6, 2016

The Holy Spirit's Vocation



June 6

Daily Bible Reading: John 16:1 – 15

Verse of the Day: John 16:8 – 11 – “ And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged.”

The word “convict” means to reprove or correct. The coming Holy Spirit would reprove/correct the world in three areas: sin, righteousness, and judgment. 

Notice in this passage, sin is singular not plural. It is not the things we do, it the foundation of who we are. Receiving the full pardon made by Christ is the only cure for the disease of sin. The Spirit would provide correct the understanding that righteousness (of Christ) is what each person needs. And finally, that there is no neutral ground, either we are a child of God or a child of the devil.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, today help me to see Your glorious work that Christ has sent You to do in the world. I praise You for Your vocation.



Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Vine



June 5

Daily Bible Reading: John 15

Verse of the Day: John 15:1 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”

The Greek word αμπελος, can be used to describe a single vine or the entire vineyard. Either way it causes us to see an image of a corporate dependence on God. The word used here for true (αληθινη) is emphatic so that we understand what is real. Jesus wants us to see that when we are connected to Him, we have that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to Him, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by Him, real, true genuine. 

When we are connected to the Vine, we are seen as being as He is by the Vinedresser (the Father). What a blessing, when we are connected to the Son, we are being changed into His image and likeness. What a responsibility that places upon us. If we are not being like Christ, we need to be sure that we are connected to Him.

Prayer: Jesus, I want to be connected, to gain sustenance, to be like You, to bring forth the fruit that You are looking for from me. 






Saturday, June 4, 2016

Believe!



June 4

Daily Bible Reading: John 14

Verse of the Day: John 14:1 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Believe. Πιστευετε. The word for believe literally means to place one’s trust in someone else. In the KJV, we find it used 248 times, in the book of John we can find it over 90 times alone. What is important is not that we believe, but that our belief is in the right person. We can believe that the Bible accounts of Jesus are true, but we must believe in Him.

In our verse today, the first use of the word is in the present, active, indicative form. It is a simple statement of fact. At that moment, they believed in God. The second use is in the present, active, imperative form. It is a command. At that moment, they are commanded to believe in Him.

Do we just have a factual belief in Christ, or do we have a personal relational belief in Him?

Prayer: Jesus, I seek to know not only about You but to know You in a personal relationship. Not facts, but personal familiarity. 



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