Are you aware of God through observation, inquiry, or information? Have you developed a relationship with God through meeting and spending time with Him?
In John 10:14 we read about knowing… I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me
1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
–from John 10
What do you consider the answers to the following questions raised in today’s devotional?
- What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else?
- What were you made for?
- What aim should you set yourself in life?
As you consider these questions, do you already have a relationship with God? As you consider these question, do you feel a void or uncertainty? As you consider these questions, does it seem like there could be many answers? As you consider these questions, does it seem like there aren’t answers?
Without God there is a hole that can’t be filled by stuff! We need to invite Jesus into our life and allow the Holy Spirit to move into our hearts and fill that hole! We need to allow God to start working in and through our lives from the inside out! He can go into our hearts and help clean up the mess! We have all missed the mark at sometime in our lives! We all need a savior to make amends! The ten commandments shows us how inadequate we are and how much we need God! Jesus calls us to a higher calling so that we can live out a life that glorifies God even more! Jesus paid it all! Jesus came and gave us everything we need! All we need to do is to receive it, accept it, believe it!
So the answers are:
- What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God
- What were you made for? To know God.
- What aim should you set yourself in life? To know God.
–from Day 137: Bible In One Year 2017
So will today be your day? Will you ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you? Matthew 7 speaks to us:
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
–from Matthew 7
Knowing God as a Father … Day 137: Bible In One Year 2017
1. Trust him, at all times … Psalm 62:1-12
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. –Psalm 62:8
Let’s trust Him on the mountain tops! Let’s trust Him in the valleys! Let’s trust Him in the peace! Let’s trust Him in the storms! Let’s trust God all the time! Put your trust in God alone! Not in stuff or in people, but in God who can be trusted! Sometimes the greatest challenges come in the midst of success! Success flatters but does not provide a lasting sense of purpose! Don’t get tripped up by material things, rather put your trust in God!
Knowing and trusting God leads to:
In the midst of all your fears and anxieties you can find peace: ‘My soul finds rest in God alone… Find rest, O my soul, in God alone’ (vv.1,5)
Salvation comes by faith in God: ‘My salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation… My salvation and my honour depend on God’ (vv.1b–2a,7a)
Everything else in life is uncertain, and ultimately insecure, but God ‘is my fortress, I shall never be shaken… he is my mighty rock, my refuge’ (vv.2b,6b–7b)
–from Day 137: Bible In One Year 2017
2. Enjoy life in all its fullness … John 9:35-10:21
Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan and purpose, for God’s plan is good and it is to give us a hope and a future! Jesus came that we will have life and life to the full, to overflowing! So don’t miss out on all that God has planned for you! Don’t miss out on the benefits of walking in relationship with God! Yes, in this world we will have troubles, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! By walking in relationship with God, we have the benefit that God is with us in and throughout our lives! Don’t go it alone! Don’t go in your own strength! And then we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!
Will you accept Jesus? Will you receive Jesus? Will you go beyond seeing to believing? Will you not allow success or riches to keep you from receiving the hope that comes from a relationship with God? We know how in God’s Word it speaks to the difficulty for the rich to receive Jesus but we also read that nothing is impossible with God!
“Then Jesus said to his disciples,“Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said,“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””
People who are in need we see in our reading will receive Jesus – the blind, the sick, the troubled. People who think they are well or wealthy seem to find it challenging.
Today’s devotional speaks to our reading for today as follows…
The man healed of blindness had no trouble believing in Jesus. When Jesus finds him and says, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ (9:35), he asks, ‘Who is he sir?… Tell me so that I may believe in him’ (v.36). Jesus replies, ‘“You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him’ (vv.37–38). In Jesus, the man realised that he had encountered God himself. You too can encounter God in Jesus.
Jesus explains how, through him, you can know God. He uses two analogies. First, he speaks of himself as ‘the gate’ (10:1). The Greek word ‘thura’ is perhaps better translated as ‘the door’. Jesus is the door for the sheep to come in and find salvation (v.9). He is the door to the Father. The door to knowing God is to know Jesus.
The second analogy Jesus uses is that he is the good shepherd. The Greek word for good (kalos) means ‘beautiful’, ‘noble’, ‘wonderful’. The sheep know the shepherd: ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father’ (vv.14–15). The background to this is that God himself is described as the ‘shepherd’ in the Old Testament (for example, see Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11). To know Jesus is to know God.
Enjoy fullness of life
In a relationship with Jesus, you find meaning, purpose, fulfilment, peace, forgiveness, and life in all its fullness.
Don’t let the devil rob you
Jesus contrasts himself with ‘the thief’ who comes to ‘steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10a). The devil wants to rob you of your peace and enjoyment of life. Don’t let him.
Be assured of God’s love for you
Jesus also contrasts the good shepherd with the ‘hired hand’ who, when the wolf attacked the flock, runs away because he cares nothing for the sheep (vv.12–13).
On the other hand, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (vv.11,15). This is entirely voluntary: ‘The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord’ (vv.17–18). If you ever doubt that God loves you, you simply have to look at the cross: Jesus laid down his life for you.
Jesus came to give his life on the cross to take away all the blocks that prevent you knowing and being in communion with God as your Father.
Learn to listen to his voice
It is in the instinctive nature of sheep to recognise the shepherd’s voice. ‘The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice’ (vv.3–4).
The more you get to know Jesus, the more you will get to discern whether it is his voice rather than the deceptive voice of the wolf.
Know that you have eternal life
The one you know not only dies for you but he also rises from the dead for you. He has the power to take his life again: ‘I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again’ (v.18b). He gives you eternal life.
Jesus later defines eternal life like this: ‘Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (17:3).
–from Day 137: Bible In One Year 2017
Ever wish you had known? Why not start the journey to knowing God today by starting your relationship with Jesus?
3. Honour God in all circumstances … Ruth 3:1-4:22
Today’s devotional speaks to this reading from Ruth as follows…
God honours those who honour him and do what is right – even when it is costly to do so and even through the trials and difficulties of life. We see how each of the main characters honours the Lord: Naomi (1:8–9), Ruth (v.17 and following), and Boaz (2:4,12; 3:10,13; 4:11). They are great models for us to follow.
The book of Ruth begins with Naomi despairing of the kindness of God (1:20–21). She then experiences many of the people around her displaying great human kindness. She experiences it in her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah (v.8), and in Boaz’s treatment of Ruth. Finally, she declares, ‘He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead’ (2:20).
Ruth obeys her mother-in-law in every detail. Naomi’s concern is wholly for Ruth’s wellbeing. Boaz is self-controlled, generous and honourable. Boaz’s life is obviously God-centred. His immediate reaction when he wakes up and sees Ruth is, ‘The Lord bless you’ and ‘as the Lord lives’ (3:10,13).
Yesterday, we saw how Ruth honoured the Lord and did the right thing by being loyal to her mother-in-law. Today, we see how Boaz clearly wanted to marry Ruth and felt it was the right thing, yet did not simply go ahead as he could have done on the basis of the end justifying the means. He was completely upright in the way that he approached the matter – abiding by the etiquette and traditions of the culture.
Boaz did not just rush ahead and get married. He went through the correct process. Humanly speaking he was taking a great risk and might have lost Ruth. But he trusted that the Lord was in control.
The Lord honoured this in an amazing and wonderful way. Boaz and Ruth were married and gave birth to the grandfather of King David (4:17). Indeed, Ruth, the servant girl, became an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5–6). In one sense, Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 4:14). He calls us his brothers and sisters, understands our struggles and acts to redeem us (Hebrews 2:11–12, 17–18).
We see the kindness of God throughout the book of Ruth. Behind the human kindness of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz lies the kindness of God.
–from Day 137: Bible In One Year 2017