Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bible Study- Daily Devotions’ Category

How many times do we shy away from sharing Christ, from spreading light in the darkness, from standing up for The Lord and what’s right, simply because we love praise from men?  And we make up all sorts of excuses.  Among the worst of those reasons is this one… if they don’t like me I won’t be able to evangelise them effectively.

How dare we blame our shortcomings on God.  It’s one thing to honestly misunderstand, but to lazily settle for less and say someone else is to blame… shame on us.

While we must become all things to all men, that does not mean they must like everything we do.  Indeed if they are not a Christian then there will be things they simply won’t like about us.  There’s no getting around that, for the flesh does not like dying to the Spirit.

God did not call us to “Go unto the world and be liked.”  There are enough people who are liked, that’s not what the world is starving for.  God called us to love, and to speak the truth plainly in that love.  He called us to be like Christ.

In our passage, starting in vs. 42, we see that while some denied the plain truth of Christ, others believed.  Even some among the leaders believed!  But they fell short.  They would not confess their belief out of fear.  Fear of being put out of the synagogue.  Fear of losing the praise of men.  They loved that praise, more so than praise from God.

But Jesus encourages them.  He tells them, and indeed us, that those who believe in Christ believe also in the Father.  He tells us that He came to give us light, so we won’t have to remain in the darkness.

Jesus even says that He did not come to judge us.  No, He came to give us life.  Now there is judgment, and it will come by the words Jesus spoke to us.  But those very same words lead to eternal life!  We only need to heed them!  It isn’t God’s goal to cut us off and leave us in darkness.  Quite the opposite!  He came for our good.  And all that He did is for our good.  All that He continues to do is for our good, if we love Him and His calling.

God’s commands lead to true life.  And He has commanded every vessel of His Spirit to go and show the world that there is indeed light.  We need to warn them of the darkness they’re in by showing them that light.  Even if it means they don’t like us.  It’s not their opinion of us that will judge us on that Day, it’s the words of our Saviour.  The Saviour we claim as Lord.

And it’s not their opinion of us that will get them into heaven or hell.  It’s their standing with the Lord.    Are you living for yourself, so that hell will be full of people who like you and were never offended by the light you didn’t bring to their eyes?

You may enjoy your time in the synagogue that is the heart of the lost.  But will it be at the cost of Jesus not coming into their place of worship?  Has it become a place for the worship of you?

But they won’t listen to me if they don’t like me…

I desperately need to be different in this, and I fear I’m not the only one.

Read Full Post »

Jesus did so much to prove who He was. 

Many people today say that if they could meet Him face to face then surely they’d believe.  I doubt most people who say that, that is those who continue to say such a thing,  have been honest with themselves.  Even people of His time, who saw (in person) real and undeniable MIRACLES, did not to believe in Him. 

Verse 39 says “for this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn- and I would heal them.””

This is not the easiest passage to understand.  It seems to have a lot in common with Pharaoh’sheart being hardened.  Some people try to explain it by saying that God pointed fingers at random and decided who would and would not be capable of believing.  We know that’s a fallacy however, for many reasons.  One reason being that God Himself said through Paul that He “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

The quote in verse 40 of our text is from Isaiah 6:10.  Let’s go there.  God is sending Isaiah unto Israel with a message.  There’s more to it than that, but you’ll have to go back and read it carefully (noting in vs. 9-10 what Isaiah is told to “say” and what he’s told to “do”).  I’m still working on that one myself.  But in response Isaiah asks how long.  God says (to sum it up) until Israel’s cities are destroyed and the Israelites are sent far away.  All of this is because of Israel’s unfaithfulness.

Also quoted in our John text is another passage in Isaiah.  John says it’s a prophecy fulfilled by the people not believing in Jesus.  This quote is from Isaiah 53:1, and again you really should go to it and consider it in relation to our John 12 text.

While I have some ideas about what the entire meaning of this passage in John is, I won’t lay out my speculation here.  I’d hate to lead someone astray.  But what I can say is this…

Every person presented with Christ has a choice to make.  Choose Him and you will live.  You can ask your questions, but do not do so proudly.  You’ve been shown clearly enough that God exists and you have been shown that you have indeed sinned.  God does not expect you to say you believe in Him if you really don’t… He expects you to really believe in Him.  So leave no stone in your heart unturned and throw your all at His feet.  Consider everything with eyes wide open… He will answer you.  And the humble in heart will love His answer.

But a person could also choose to be proud and arrogant.  They could choose to close their ears, and turn their eyes, and harden their hearts.  This is not a correct answer to a math problem that they’re making, it’s a decision of what the answer is regardless of the equation.  It is not a whole hearted honest response, it’s a choice to reject the evidence before them because they want to believe something else.  Such a response may have results you didn’t plan on though.

A warning to any such person is found in John 12:37-50.  Go down this path, just as Pharaoh foolishly did, and you run the danger of having your heart hardened.  This hardening may last until you come to your last breath, in which case you will have ruled out for yourself any possibilityof hearing the truth with your heart.  Or the hardening may last until the false kingdom in your heart is destroyed, and you experience a pain and suffering for which you only have yourself to blame.

Lamentations 3:31-33 says “For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.  Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.  For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”  It is not God’s desire to make you suffer.  But He will do it to open your eyes and ears, to soften your heart.  The pain is your own doing, for it would not hurt to tear a thing from you unless you yourself stitched it into your own flesh.

Tear it off He will though, if you dare to let it go.  Better still, believe on Him when He comes to you, and save yourself the heartache of seeing your lie destroyed.  Believe on Him, that He might save you from the wrath to come.

Verse 41 brings up some more interesting thoughts, and again I can’t tell you I have it all figured out.  Likely it’s simply referring to the event described in the beginning of Isaiah 6.  Whether it is speaking of that event or something else, it’s clear that seeing the glory of Christ will change a person.  For better or worse, believe that you will be changed.  And know that you will have to answer for your response to Him.  Don’t chance eternal suffering for the sake of keeping your heart calloused.

Praise God!!!  Believe in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of man!!!

Read Full Post »

The hour had now come for Jesus to be glorified.  The Jews said their Hosannas, and now even the Greeks who came to worship God wanted to see Jesus.

And in this hour of glory Jesus states that He must die.

It may be hard to think of this as glorious, but remember that His life was not taken from Him.  He laid it down willingly for his people.

We too shall be honored by God when we lay down our own lives; when we go where He goes, and live as servants of Christ.  It may trouble our hearts to go through the hardships He calls us to, but remember it troubled Jesus’ heart too (v27).

But shall we say “Father, save me from this hour?”  Jesus didn’t.  It was for this very reason that He came to the hour of glory, the hour of death.  If God brings us to a place that requires a cross, then we must remember that He brought us there for that very reason.  If we love our life we will lose it.

If we can lose our life… we will find it.  And it will be something better than we could have ever imagined!

Read Full Post »

The Jews of Jesus’ day were looking for deliverance from Rome.  With that in mind, if we look at Zechariah chapter 9 it’s not hard to see why they were so excited when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem.

Zechariah 9 speaks of Jerusalem’s deliverer, and it is powerful!  It’s exciting!  Verse 8 says “But I will defend My house against marauding forces.  Never again will an oppressor overrun My people, for now I am keeping watch.”  That’s just one verse of it, the rest is in the same vein.

This “Triumphant Entry” of John 12 was the same event in which Jesus said that if the people didn’t worship Him then the rocks would cry out.  These people were pumped.  But when it turned out He wasn’t making a physical kingdom, we see a shift in the crowds.  It wasn’t long after this entry that the crowds shouted “Crucify!”

Do we do the same thing?  We see the behaviour of these people as foolish, but then we go about our lives expecting God’s deliverance for us to be an earthly one.  And when He doesn’t overthrow the Romans people get upset, they doubt Him, and they even put Him on a cross with their sins.

Read Zechariah 9, but recognize the truth of it.  The real deliverance.  We can, and certainly ought to shout “HOSANNA!”  Our King has come, righteous and having salvation.  He is gentle, and proclaims peace to His own.  We will still face the hardships of this world if we live but a bit longer.  Thank the Lord that His salvation for us is not simply from the temporary things, but from that which wages war on our souls.

Hosanna!

Read Full Post »

After withdrawing from the public for a time, Jesus comes to a dinner in Bethany (where Lazarus lived).  The dinner was to honor Jesus.

Martha served, Jesus and Lazarus were among those reclining at the table.  Mary was on the floor, pouring expensive perfume onto Jesus’ feet and wiping His feet with her hair.

And Judas was there, Judas Iscariot.  When he saw what Mary was doing he objected, saying that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  But as verse six tells us, Judas didn’t say this out of concern for the poor.  He said it because he was a thief.  He kept the money bag and liked to help himself to it.

How horrible that someone would do that!  Steal money from the bag that belongs to their Saviour, and use it for their own desires.  I don’t know why we do it.

God gives us so many talents.  Though the Bible says not many of the called were of note, it also says that God gives to each one as He sees fit.  And He gives to us for His own glory.  We are to use those gifts to serve Him and His people.

Yes there are things God gives us for our enjoyment (and indeed our enjoyment should be in using those things for Him).  But we’re no better than Judas when we dip into the treasury of the Lord in order to serve ourselves.  This includes not only money, but every gift from Him. 

There’s a story of a group of men who were told they would die if they didn’t turn bad.  For some of them this was no problem at all.  Some thought for a few moments before giving in.  But one man would not do it.  He feared his Maker more than those persecuting him.  He declared his stance for what’s right, and he told them God was his reason.  They killed him right then and there.

One of the men later looked back on the situation and wondered why the man died like that, saying that it was a wasteful choice.  He thought the man should have lied for the moment, so that he could escape and then go on living and find opportunity to use his good faith.  He thought “Now the man will never get a chance to use it.”

But the observer was wrong.  It was in that very moment that the martyr had opportunity to use it.  Though it cost him, he used the gift God gave him.

We cannot pass up opportunity to dip into God’s “money bag” for the purposes of God.  We should not think selfishly, as Judas did, and horde the goods for ourselves.  We need to give of our time, money, talents, and whatever else He’s given us.  We need to give these things to His service.  We should not steal for ourselves.  And we should certainly not discourage others from using those things for God’s work, especially not for the purposes of serving self.

What’s that in your hand? 

Whose purse did it come from?

Read Full Post »

After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Sanhedrin got really worked up.  They knew that things had gone too far.  They said “If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him”.

While they weren’t inspired when they said this, I can’t help but think that there was some truth in their statement.  If Jesus were to keep on doing His work today, then a lot of people would believe in Him…

So did His body stay in the grave?  No, we know He resurrected.  And we also know that His body remains on this Earth.  That is, the Church remains on Earth.

And His body continues to raise the dead.  His body continues to heal the blind.  But we could do much better.  Obviously not in the physical sense.  But then our call isn’t to fix the temporary.  We are called to the deeper things.

If we were truly living as Christ called us to live, there would be a drastic difference in the world.  There would likely be more persecution of Christians, but more importantly there would be more people freed from the bondage of death.  We do so many good things by His power now, it shouldn’t be hard for us to believe in His power.

Caiaphas told the Sanhedrin in that meeting… “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”  He didn’t say this because of some craftiness of his own.  He said it because it was a prophesy directly from God.  And I can’t help but think about His body at this point.  While it’s not a prophesy telling us to kill our physical bodies, it was a prophecy about Christ dying for our sins.  And we are His body.

We can’t die for the sins of others.  But in dying to ourselves we can have an impact on this world that continues to shake it as Christ shook it by His death.

Read Full Post »

It seems to me that many people miss an important fact.  They miss the fact that all things are for God.  Let me explain…

The Bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called  according to His purpose.  And it’s completely true.  But the second half of that gets little play time in our conversations, and even when we include it we miss the point.  It’s not all about us.  It’s about His purpose.

Nobody has a real foundation for the argument that God does not love us.  His love for us is easy to see for those who’s eyes are opened (that is, those who simply choose to open them).  And His love is unlike anything else.  It is greater than we can comprehend, and far beyond our own aspirations to love one another.

But God doesn’t exist for our sake, we exist for His.  We are not the end all of it all, He is.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  In Him all things exist, and in Him we have our being.

In our passage, John 11, we have the story of Lazarus dying.  And Jesus didn’t say the situation was for Lazarus’ good, although it certainly works out good for Lazarus.  Jesus says in verse 4 “No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.”

What I don’t want is for someone to walk away from this post misunderstanding our place in reality.  People are not just pawns that God throws around without concern.  One would have to completely ignore the cross to see us as such.  We are loved by Him more than we could ever be loved by anyone, including by ourselves.  But in the end it is all about God.  And it should be.  And there could be no higher honor for man, indeed no more complete joy, than to be used to that end.

What a terrible thing it would be if reality was all about anything except Him!

What goodness lays in store for us BECAUSE it’s all about Him!  Look what it did for Lazarus!

Praise God that He is God!!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »