Wednesday, March 13, 2013

John 12:37-50

Jesus makes it crystal clear in this passage that to believe in Him is to believe in the One True God - the God of the Old Testament. But because the powerful religious leaders of the day had decided Jesus was lying and was not really from God (let alone God-in-the-flesh), many people who believed in Him would not make their faith public. They feared losing their place in the synagogue more than they feared God.

What kinds of fears keep you from making your faith in Jesus public?

Ask God to give you His boldness and courage to overcome that fear.

God will bless your reading,
Pastor David

John 12:20-36

A very interesting passage that begins with some Greeks (non-Jewish people) wanting to see Jesus. In my Bible I have underlined their request:  We want to see Jesus, and next to it I wrote this note:  "The greatest thing I could wish for anyone." Wanting to see Jesus is the greatest thing because of this promise in Jeremiah 29:11-13

 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  (NIV)

God promises that He will be found by us when we seek Him. Jesus points out in John 12:32 that "When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw ALL men to myself." In other words, Jesus is making it clear that He did not just come for the Jewish people. He came for all people, including these 'seeking' Greeks.

Please pray for God to work in the heart of some person in your life and bring them to the place where they too "want to see Jesus."

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

Saturday, March 9, 2013

John 12:12-19

This is the familiar "Palm Sunday" passage. What always strikes me about this passage is how quickly public opinion can turn 180 degrees. On Sunday the people were hailing Jesus as their new king who had come to save them. By Friday they were swayed by the religious leaders into thinking Jesus was a blasphemer guilty of death. The real problem was that Jesus didn't live up to the expectations of the public. They expected a king who would lead them in battle against the hated Romans. The people were thinking way too 'small'. Jesus was the King of kings who came to win the battle against much worse enemies: sin, Satan, death and hell. Ironically, they were right when they shouted "Hosanna" (Save!). That's exactly what Jesus would do - just not from the enemy they thought and not in the way they thought.

The key is to have the proper expectations of Jesus. And Jesus tells us what we should expect. We need to listen to what He tells us and then remember our March discipleship verse:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart... and lean not on your own understanding."

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

Friday, March 8, 2013

John 12:1-11

Let's get rid of the evidence !  Not only do the religious leaders decide that Jesus has to go, they plot to kill Lazarus too!! Have you ever seen such hard-hearted refusal to believe the obvious? Of course you have. It happens in our lives all the time. It's that "sinful nature" thing us humans share, the desire to have our own way instead of the way God has mapped out for us.

Thank God Jesus did go to the cross to pay for even those hard-hearted sins of ours. Ask His forgiveness. He died to give it to you.

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

John 11:45-75


I find it interesting that Luke's gospel records for us in chapter 16 a story Jesus told about a man named Lazarus who died and went to heaven. In that story there was also a rich man who died and went to hell. Once in hell, the rich man asked if he could go back to warn his brothers. He is told that if they don't believe the Scriptures, they won't believe even if someone comes back from the dead. In today's reading we see that truth played out after Jesus raised his friend Lazarus (not the same Lazarus as in Luke) from the dead. It amazes me that not only do some folks who witnessed Lazarus' resurrection refuse to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but that the religious leaders - out of jealousy due to Jesus' popularity - actually want to put Him to death. The passage goes on to remind us that God knew this would happen, and actually used the high priest's evil plot to bring about the greatest good: The forgiveness of sins for mankind.

Once again we see this truth:   Evil is strong. But God is ALWAYS stronger.

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

Thursday, March 7, 2013

John 11:38-44

Mercy Me's contemporary Christian song "I Can Only Imagine" is a favorite of many. That title pretty much describes what it would have been like to have been there to witness the raising of Lazarus from the grave. I can only imagine. Imagine you were Mary or Martha. Imagine you were the disciples. Imagine what you would think, say and do...

After the excitement of seeing a loved one and close friend literally rise from the dead, what crosses your mind about Jesus?

He states His desired result:  That everyone there would believe that Jesus has been sent by God the Father. And the result of believing that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God?  Jesus will do the same for us as He did for Lazarus.

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

John 11:17-37

I've heard many people comment about how cool it is to visit Washington D.C. I would agree there's some 'cool stuff' to see there. But when I visited there quite a few years ago, I also had this sense of an ever-present evil in the place. It's hard to describe, but it was a feeling that Satan is working overtime in our nation's capitol. One place I didn't have that feeling was at the burial site of our nation's first president, George Washington. Above his grave was this inscription from verses 25 and 26 in our reading for today:

Jesus said to her (Martha), "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

A great reminder that no matter how strong evil may be, Jesus demonstrated power over it when He rose from the grave and has power to keep us in the faith that will result in our own resurrection from the dead.

Pray today for God's power to protect from evil those who make and interpret our laws.
Pastor David

John 11:1-16

There are so many things in these verses that are worthy of comment. Here are just a few:

1) Mary & Martha set an example for us: In time of distress, simply 'send word to Jesus.' (Like the little boy in the pic is doing) He knows what to do.

2) Jesus refers to death as "sleep." A reminder both of the temporary nature of it for believers and of the ease with which Jesus can raise someone from the dead. No tougher than waking someone from sleep.

3) Thomas always gets the 'bad rap' of doubting. In fact, most people probably think it's his first name. But here he displays a very bold faith, willing to go to Jerusalem and die with Jesus. Thomas strikes me as being like all the rest of us - possessing a very bold faith one minute and then questioning what we believe the next.

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

John 10:22-42


Please, continue reading a chapter of Proverbs each day. The Proverbs truly are God's wisdom for everyday life (not just everyday in February). Reading Proverbs daily will serve you well as ammunition against the temptations Satan attacks with every day.

But after commenting on the chapters in Proverbs for the past month, starting today I will begin commenting on the March daily readings found in your newsletter. The readings prior to Holy Week take us through the events leading up to Holy Week as recorded in John's Gospel (and as we learned in the Children's Message on Sunday, 'gospel' means 'good news').

Last Wednesday in our Lenten devotion I talked about the festival of Hanukkah. The first verse of today's reading (John 10:22) is the only mention of that festival in the Bible. It is often called "The Festival of Lights" because of a miracle that occurred when God miraculously enabled oil sufficient to keep one candle lit for a day to actually last for 8 days.

In this passage, Jesus points to the many miracles He performed as evidence that He is God in the flesh. I find it kind of funny (in a sad sort of way) that many people  say Jesus was merely human and that He never claimed to be anything more. Obviously, they have never read this passage of Scripture. Not only does Jesus claim to be God here, but His enemies want to put Him to death for that very reason:  blaspheme, claiming to be God.

The folks who don't believe Jesus is truly God will most often say that he was simply another human being who was a good teacher and a good example. But C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Chrstianity reminds us that we really don't have "good teacher/good example" as an option for Jesus. He did claim to be God, so the only two options we have available are 1) to believe that He is who He said, or 2) believe that He was a raving lunatic - or worse - for claiming to be God when indeed He was not. If He claimed to be God when He was not, He certainly cannot be said to be a good example or a good teacher.

The event we will celebrate on the last day of this month proves that option 1 is the correct one. Jesus truly is who He said: God in the flesh!

God bless your reading,
Pastor David

Friday, March 1, 2013

Proverbs Chapter 26

You've heard it said, "If you can't say anything good... don't say anything at all."  Well, God tells us the natural result of holding your tongue.

Without wood a fire goes out;

    without gossip a quarrel dies down.

Gossip is the fuel that fires quarrels. Without it, relationships are preserved. Think about that truth today as you have conversations and are tempted to chime in with some comments about certain people that are best left unsaid.

God will bless your reading,
Pastor David