Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day 34~ Luke 23, John 18-19

Don’t you wonder what happened to Barabas after he was released?  He was the first to experience Jesus taking his place for the sin he committed.  I hope Barabas didn’t ignore this fact (like so many do).  I hope he investigated who Jesus was and figured out how he didn’t get what he deserved.

I am impressed with the one criminal crucified with Jesus.  He got the big picture. 
First, he understood he was getting what he deserved (23:41).
Second he understood that Jesus was innocent (23:41).
Third, he had faith to take Jesus at his word when Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36). 
Perhaps he heard people talking, as he dragged his cross to Golgotha, about what Jesus had said to Pilate, or perhaps he just read the sign that was fastened to the cross of Jesus.  Either way, he heard it and believed it.  This particular criminal actually had a bent toward truth.  Remember what Jesus said to Pilate, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)

What an example for us on how simple it is to receive eternal life with Jesus.
  • Know that you are a sinner that deserves death.
  • Understand Jesus died in your place.
  • Have and keep this saving faith until you enter His kingdom.  

Three easy steps for those who are on the side of truth.  They recognize truth when they see it. 
For those who are not on the side of truth….it’s not so easy…..

If you are praying for a loved one to know Christ, pray that they are on “the side of truth”.  Then they will recognize truth when they hear it. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 33~ Mt. 27, Mark 15

Today's reading is killing me!  It’s hard to read over and over again how Jesus was falsely accused and beaten.  One commentary said that the “scourge” (beating with a leather whip that had bone, rock or metal fastened to the ends) was meant to rip the flesh from the prisoner’s back.  Scourging severely weakened a prisoner, thereby hastening death on the cross.  Sometimes the scourging was fatal itself. 😰

Something for me to remember however, is that the scourging and cross was the punishment for a guilty person.  In most cases the person enduring this pain did something wrong.  The guilty person knew the risks when they did their evil deed.  The punishment was just.  
According to God, I am guilty of punishment.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ..” (Romans 3:23);  “For the wages of sin is death, ..” (Romans 6:23)

I think that it is hard for us today in our culture to understand that concept.  It’s hard to comprehend anyone would have to suffer for their wrong doings.  Look how we treat our prisoners today.  We keep them in “humane conditions” with a cot, nutritious food; they get entertainment with TV, and in California, they can even have conjugal visits. If they get the death penalty, after multiple appeals, they are “humanly” put to sleep with a couple of drugs.
Now I’m not saying that our prison system is right or wrong.  What I am pointing out is that some people who do wrong, look at the consequences and feel….the punishment is not so bad.  Perhaps, Satan in his masterful way, has successfully made it hard for us to understand that anyone would bad enough to deserve death for their sin.  Remember how I talked about Satan’s schemes on Day 19?  Could this be a master plot of his to dumb us down on how sin is deserving of death?
If we don’t see that our sin is deserving of death, than we don’t see we need someone to save us from it.  Doesn’t that sound like something Satan would work towards?

Today’s reading was a good reminder for me that Jesus went through all that for me.  I was deserving of a just punishment but because I accepted what Jesus did for me, I don’t have to go through that.

All I can say is, thank you, Jesus!!!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 32~ John 16-17

Do you realize that Jesus prayed for you, specifically, while he was here on earth?!
“My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message (that’s you and me!) that all of them may be one..” (17:20)

And what exactly did he pray for us?

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (17:15)  So, if God incarnate prayed for your protection, you better believe you are protected!  Done deal!
No wonder we can confidently say, just as the Psalmist wrote, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

On the other hand, those who don’t believe in Jesus…..yikes!! They don’t have protection from the enemy, the devil, who “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

That knowledge alone should be pushing us to share Jesus with those who don’t know Him!

I challenge you, go tell someone today how Jesus wants to protect them!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 31~ John 14-15

I love the first verse I read this morning, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.” (14:1)  I could stop right there and meditate on that all day!

But, as I continued to read that Jesus is going to “prepare a place" for you and me, I was reminded of a verse in Isaiah.  He is not only preparing a place, but an awesome dinner party as well!  
“On the mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all people, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines.” (25:6)
I can’t wait to party with Jesus!   It’s going to be awesome! We will have much to celebrate!!  

Keeping that in mind, I am not going to let my heart be troubled over the temporary things of this world! 
What did you get out of the reading today?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 30~ Luke 22, John 13

Hello all!  I’m glad to be back with you! I hope you are doing well on your reading!  Thank you, Mitchell for keeping us focused and motivated in the daily reading in my absence!  
It was a challenge to keep reading when out of my routine, that’s for sure! I’m glad to be back now, in my routine and reading with you!

To be honest with you, I don’t like reading this part of the story where Jesus gets betrayed.  It bums me out.😢 Judas hands Jesus over just to get some money (which he later regrets doing) and Peter denies he knows Jesus, which is super sad considering he had just told Jesus to wash not only his feet , “but my hands and my head as well!”, because he wanted to “have a part” of being with Jesus (13:8).

The saddest verse in this section to me is when Jesus says to the crowd who had come to capture him, “But this is your hour- when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:53)

It brings a picture to my mind that was formed from a song by Carman Licciardello way back in 1985 called The Champion.  It plays on the theme of the ‘hour of darkness’, but it has the happy ending in it!!! 
It was very popular at the time, so I heard it several times on Christian radio.  It never failed to leave me with goose bumps each time I heard it.  I have included the link if you want to hear it.  (It takes about 7 min.; skip the ad, don’t watch him so much, close your eyes and picture the scene.)  Let me know if it gives you goose bumps.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 29~ Mt 26; Mk 14

As we approach the crucifixion, I always find it interesting to analyze Jesus’s behavior. Jesus knows what God expects of him as demonstrated by his prayers in Gethsemane, as well as what he predicts at the Last Supper, and yet his patience and love of people does not run out. As Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of him we do not see him rebuke or belittle Peter but rather acknowledges that the denial will occur and then goes to the cross to forgive sins such as this.

This is such a great picture of the love that Jesus has for us, as well as puts into perspective the gravity of the sacrifice that was made. Jesus is aware of our shortcomings and can even predict the number of times that we will break his commands, and yet with this knowledge fresh in his mind, he went to the cross so that we could be justified in the sight of God and spend eternity with him. What Love!

I have had fun doing these blogs for the last week but will be handing back the reigns to Anita tomorrow! Blessings to you all, fellow Christian Brothers and Sisters!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Day 28~ Mt 24-25; Mk 13

In Fourth Grade I was reading the Left Behind book series and was deeply impacted by the idea that all the Christians would disappear and some of the people left behind would slowly come to realize that they did not “make the cut.” Although Biblical Scholars disagree on what exactly will happen to Christians in the end days, Matthew 24:40-41 states that: Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

 This verse is likely the verse that the Left Behind authors used to formulate their plot. Although my walk of sanctification has been a continual journey, I attribute the Left Behind books to making me realize that I must take Christ’s message seriously if there is any chance that Christ’s message is true and that I could potentially be left behind. Similarly, those who read this verse should come to the same conclusion which will in turn likely spark a desire to repent and cling to Jesus.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day 27~ Mt 23; Lk 20-21

As Christians, we are repeatedly warned that being a Christ Follower will result in persecution. (Matthew 10:22) In my personal life, I have found myself in the minority opinion on divisive social issues which has led to moments of tension due to my Christian perspective. I suspect that as Christians living in the US, acknowledging ourselves as believers will become more and more testing but we must be prepared, stand firm, and know that we will be eternally rewarded for holding fast in our faith.

Luke 21:16-19 "You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life."