It’s not over till God says it is over! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 24th)


Ever felt like you were getting to the end of your rope? Ever felt like you were near the breaking point? Ever felt like things were getting to be too much? Ever felt like it was the end?

But then discovered that it wasn’t! God intervened and things changed? God spoke into your life and things turned around? God stepped in and helped you through it?

I have so many stories of my own like when I was deceived and started a downward spiral. Or when I was being called to step into a role that felt and looked like it would be too big for me. Or when a group looked to want to try and sabotage my career.

God stepped in and taught me to forgive! God stepped in and showed me that if He calls me to it that He will get me through it! God helped me to forgive first and move forward and then to begin the journey of getting out of the boat I had been working in for nearly 20 years. There are many stories throughout this blog, a few others can be read here.

It’s not over till God says it is over! When He says it is over it usually means there is something new ahead of you! Other times He is able to birth something new into the situation! So don’t lose hope! So don’t give up! So don’t give in to the lies of the devil! Put your trust in God! Lean not on your own understanding but rather put your trust in God! As we do that we can be overcomers through Jesus as He shared to give us hope because He has overcome the world! Sometimes they are trials to helps us grow stronger in our faith and able to give a testimony to others who need to receive a word of encouragement. So we don’t have to be downcast because we can put our trust in God! We don’t have to give up because we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!

Imagine being Lazarus… Imagine being Mary… Imagine being Martha…

Today’s reading comes from John 1 and speaks to the story of Lazarus

The Death of Lazarus

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night,he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them,“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death,but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

–from John 11:1-16

Everyone thought it was over! Everyone thought that Lazarus was dead! People were feeling that it was hopeless! God’s timing is perfect! God’s ways are not our ways but rather they are higher than our ways and better than our ways! Reading the rest of the chapter we see how Jesus comforted the others in their grief, He wept with them, He demonstrated His power to resurrect and heal, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and through Him we can return to and be reconciled to the Father!

So don’t lose hope because sticking with God and pressing on while standing on the Rock of Jesus Christ, we can live lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory, like the story of Lazarus did! We need to share our testimonies that others may learn and hear of the power of Jesus to heal, to restore, to forgive, to reconcile, … We do not need to fear what is ahead of us, rather we can believe that Jesus will be there in our moment of need and that He has gone before us preparing in advance the good works He has for us to do!

Today’s reading also imapcted the world of the arts… The raising of Lazarus by Rembrandt…

Jan 24th - John 11_1-16 - The_Raising_of_Lazarus by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for the truth that comes from seeking Your Word and Your face daily. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void and that You have given me milestones or landmarks or road markers to help me to remember what You have already done so that I don’t lose hope for what You are about to do. I may not know what today will hold but I do know that my hope and my trust are in You! I know that my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness! I know that I wil look to live out my faith actively and that my works will be from the overflow of the Spirit that I may produce fruit that will bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory! Help me today Lord to see beyond the fog and take hold of my next steps. Help me today Lord to know what to do and what to say in order to bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory. Help me Lord to live as a living sacrifice for You that is pleasing so that I can finish the race strong and get to hear You say “well done my good and faithful servant”. I ask all this in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Repent and let’s start the revival…Rejoice, Respond, and Rebuild!


We all want to have a hope and a future! We all want to have love! So let’s get started by repenting, that is turning back to God!

God’s got a plan and His plan is to give us a hope and a future! God’s got a plan and He goes before us setting up in advance the good work He has for us to do! God’s got a plan and that is why He sent Jesus to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! God’s got a plan and through Jesus we are able to spend eternity in heaven with Him!

So will you choose to receive the gift of life which is Jesus Christ? Will you turn back to God and receive the gift of grace and love? You do realize that no matter how far you may have strayed that you can always turn back to God! So let’s repent! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s start a revival of people living a great life through an eternal and intimate relationship with God! Let’s receive Jesus and be transformed and start to help transform not only us but our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, and our world!

Let’s take a look into a few readings from God’s Word…

1“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. 3Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

–from Hosea 6:1-3

 

12“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

–from Joel 2:12-13

 

14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

–from 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Are there areas of sin or compromise in your life that you need to give up to God? Not sure? Ask Him for wisdom in this area and then give them up to Him! Ask Him for forgiveness! Remember Jesus paid it all and they will all be nailed to the cross! He paid the price once for all!

When we invite Jesus into our lives, we are born again! There is a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come! It allows us to start walking forward and leaving the past where it belongs behind us and leaning forward into all that God has in store for us!

Today’s devotional talks of repentance this way as it is a good and positive thing…

‘Repentance’ is a very positive word in the Bible. The Greek word ‘metanoia’ means ‘change of mind’. That means, first, turning away from the bad stuff. This is the stuff that spoils your life and breaks your relationship with God. Repentance means to be sorry enough to quit. Getting rid of the bad stuff only enhances your life. But, that is only the first part.

The change of heart and mind means not only turning away from the bad things, but also turning towards God and good. The word ‘repent’ rarely appears on its own in the Bible. Genuine repentance is shown by its fruit. Remorse is not enough. A change of mind, heart and life is required. It is nearly always, ‘repent and…’. Repent and believe. Repent andput your faith in Jesus Christ. It is not just a case of looking back, but also looking forward.

–from Day 358: Bible In One Year 2018

So let’s make today count and count for more than just ourselves and for more than just today by receiving Jesus, being filled up to overflowing with Jesus, and then pouring out into the world around us the love of God!

Today’s reading from the book of Revelation (Chapter 16) speaks to the importance of us responding to God’s offer of the gift of Jesus so that we can have the peace and comfort of God…

This must be one of the most terrifying chapters in the entire Bible. It describes God’s final judgment. These are the seven last plagues (see Exodus 7–10). It all ends in ‘Armageddon’. In the midst of the awful judgment, there are four things that should bring you comfort:

    • Jesus is coming back
      ‘Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You’re blessed if, awake and dressed, you’re ready for me’ (Revelation 16:15, MSG). Later on in Revelation, we will see all the blessings that the second coming of Jesus will bring to you and to the whole creation.
    • Jesus took your judgment
      The words, ‘It is done!’ (v.17) tell us that once this final judgment has taken place, ‘It is finished’ – echoing the last words of Jesus on the cross (John 19:30). They remind us that Jesus bore God’s wrath upon himself on the cross for you. God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son to die for you so that you might not come under God’s final judgment, but rather receive all the blessings of eternal life (see John 3:16–17).
    • Judgment is delayed
      The judgment only falls on those who ‘refused to repent and glorify him’ (Revelation 16:9). God gives them, like Pharaoh, so many opportunities to repent, ‘but they refused to repent of what they had done’ (v.11). God’s desire is that everyone should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He gives many, many opportunities. It is only those who absolutely refuse to repent that come under his judgment.
    • Judgment will be totally just
      Many people worry, understandably, about passages like this in the Bible. However, God’s judgments are going to be absolutely ‘true’ and ‘just’ (v.7). As the former vicar of HTB, John Collins always says, ‘We will all say on that day, “That is absolutely right.”’

Look forward to Jesus’ return. Get your life sorted out now. Make sure there is no refusal to repent in your own heart. Respond in the right way to these warnings and help everyone else to do the same.

–from Day 358: Bible In One Year 2018


Look Forward – Day 358: Bible In One Year 2018

Purpose that all you do will help you grow, develop, mature and become the person God created you to be!


We all start out young and to be taken care of. We all start with fluids and then mushy foods before we are able to start eating more solid food. Through this time we grow and develop and mature thru the modeling and leading of our parents. That can only get us so far though when we try to either do it alone or through human means only. In the human space our lives have been described as like grass that will eventually wither and die. There is a finite time we will be on this earth.

You may be wondering “is there anything after that?” or “what is the purpose of life?” and hoping it is so much more than just going through the motions of this life.

I am happy to report there is more, there is another choice, there is another way and it leads to something that lasts forever.

It is to be born again! Not a new physical birth but a spiritual birth!

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

–from John 3

When we ask Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we are born again and have begun the road to eternity with God. Without this divine gift, without the grace from God, we would be wandering in the desert and would end our lives apart from God and eternity would be spent away from Him in the pit of hell where the devil and the demons will suffer too, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. But God’s plan is for us to have life and life to the full. His plan in sending Jesus was that nobody would perish but would have everlasting life. It’s not that everything gets easier or there won’t be troubles or trials when we are born again, it is that now we aren’t going thru it alone!

Will there be troubles?

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. –from John 16:33

Will there be trials or troubles?

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. –from James 1 NLT

Another translation says it this way…

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. –from James 1 NIV

God’s plan is for us to live this life with a hope! God’s plan is that we will develop and grow so that we can be complete and lacking nothing through Jesus! God’s plan is that of our own free will, we will choose to love, receive, and follow Jesus all the days of our lives as our Lord and Savior! But we get a choice! We get to decide! We get to choose! There will be many opportunities and chances for us to choose to put God first or not! Each time we get to a crossroads we get to make a choice! Each time we face trials and troubles, we get to make a choice! Our choices will help us to grow, to develop, to mature!

The choice is yours! It isn’t the easy road, but it is the road that leads to heaven spending eternity with God! So choose wisely!


How to Grow Up Spiritually

Day 326: Bible in One Year 2017

  1. Trust like a baby … Proverbs 13
  2. Grow like a child … 1 Peter 12:3
  3. Bear fruit into old age … Ezekiel 4142

Are you feeling like dry bones? Will you allow God to speak them back into life?


Has some part of your life died? Has some part of your life fallen apart? Has some part of your life needed new breath? Has some part of your life needed help to be born again?

Are you needing help? Are you feeling cut off? Will you invite the Spirit of the Lord into your heart? Will you invite the Spirit into your life and come back to life?  Will you invite Jesus into your life and be born again? Will you choose to be God’s people and for Him to be your God? Will you follow His laws and keep His decrees?

Will you seek peace? Peace doesn’t mean we will have it easy! Peace doesn’t mean a stress free life! Peace doesn’t mean a trouble free life! Peace doesn’t mean a trial free life!

Do you want peace? Do you know where to start to find and receive peace? Start first with finding peace with God! Jesus came to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Thru Jesus you are able to find spiritual peace…peace with God! Ask God to open your eyes! (Ephesians 1:18-19) Come to Him in humility! Humility is the pathway to peace! (James 4:6) Ask God and expect Him to answer you! (Matt 11:28-29) Connect with Jesus and let Him lighten the load!  So let’s get things off on the right foot and find peace with God! (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

Next is to find peace with yourself! To find emotional peace! Jesus is the answer here too. Do not be in denial that is blinding you from the truth! Jesus has the peace you need! Receive the peace of God so that you will be at peace! (Colossians 3:15)

Next is to find peace with others! To find relationship peace with the people around you and in your life! Set God as the focal point! If you both are heading towards God then you will keep getting closer together! Be it with family! Be it with spouse! Be it with friends! God wants us to find peace with one another! (Ephesians 2: 13-14) (Galatians 3:28) We need to stop blaming others for our problems and ask God to open our eyes and help us out! Let’s step up and step in with humility! Let’s connect with Jesus and allow Him to lighten the load!

peace-of-god-thru-jesus

The battle belongs to the Lord and victory is His! There is no one who can beat Him! We know Jesus came to provide a way to salvation! Jesus is coming back and there will be a battle (Armageddon) where the final battle will be won by Jesus! So let’s stand firm and put our hope and trust in God! Let’s not just sit back and allow evil to find victory before that time! Let’s stand up and look to stop them! Let’s pick God’s side!

There is testimonies and stories, songs and praise about all that God has done! It’s not by our strength but by the strength of God that provided and created victories for His people! Put our trust not in manmade things but fully in God! Let’s stay humble in our lives to God! Let’s not become too proud and risk the folly and fall created thru pride! We need to align and walk with God! Don’t forget God! Don’t walk away! Don’t lose focus! Don’t break away from what God has planned and purposed for you! Let’s live that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory because of God’s great love!

So in closing, let’s consider what God’s Word from 1 Timothy has to say…

1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wivesʼ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
11Command and teach these things. 12Donʼt let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

–1 Timothy 4

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 37, 38, Psalm 44, 1 Timothy 4

So what will you do with your life?


What choices will you make! Will you decide to do things that are good? Will you decide to do things that are wise? Will you decide to do things that will build up? Will you decide to do things that will last? Will you decide to do things that will endure? Will you decide to do things that will show your love for God? Will you decide to do things that will show your love of others? Will you decide to walk with character? Will you decide to walk uprightly? Will you decide to live in a trustworthy manner? Will you decide to forgive rather than to allow a bitter root to eat away at you from the inside out? Will you decide to consider it pure joy when you face trials and troubles of many kinds?  What will you do with your life?

Wisdom Builds Up, Folly Tears Down

1A wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. 2The one who walks uprightly fears Adonai, but one devious in his ways despises Him. 3In the mouth of a fool is a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise protect them. 4Where there are no oxen, the stalls are clean, but from the strength of the ox comes an abundant harvest. 5A trustworthy witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies. 6A scoffer seeks wisdom yet finds none, but knowledge is easy to the discerning. 7Walk away from a fool— for you will find no knowledge on his lips. 8The wisdom of the prudent is to consider his way, but the folly of fools is deception. 9Fools mock guilt of sin, but among the upright is goodwill. 10The heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. 11The house of the wicked will be demolished, but the tent of the upright will flourish. 12There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. 13Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. 14A backsliding heart partakes of its ways, and a good man is rewarded for his. 15The naïve believes every word, but the shrewd discerns his steps. 16The wise fears and turns away from evil, but the fool is hotheaded and reckless. 17One with a short temper acts foolishly, and one with crafty schemes is hated. 18The naïve inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 19Evil men will bow in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

Poverty and Riches

20The poor is hated even by his neighbor, but many are those who love the rich. 21Whoever despises his neighbor sins, but whoever is gracious to the needy is blessed. 22Indeed those who plot evil go astray but grace and truth come to those who plan good. 23In all hard work there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. 24The crown of the wise is their riches, but the folly of fools is foolishness. 25A truthful witness saves lives, but one who utters lies is treacherous. 26In the fear of Adonai one has strong confidence. It will be a refuge for His children. 27The fear of Adonai is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death. 28A large population is a king’s glory, but lack of subjects is a prince’s ruin. 29One who is slow to anger shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one exalts folly. 30A tranquil heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones. 31The one who oppresses the poor shows contempt for his Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors Him. 32The wicked is brought down in his calamity yet the righteous has a refuge even in death. 33Wisdom rests in the heart of the discerning, and even among fools she is known. 34Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. 35The king shows favor toward a servant who acts wisely, but his wrath is on one who is disgraceful.

–from Proverbs 14

How will you answer? How will you speak? Will others be able to receive it? Will you speak in a way that others will be receptive to? Will you speak life? Will you speak hope? Will you speak truth? Will you speak love? Will you speak healing? From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks…so fill your life and your heart with the right stuff and the right attitude so that you can live and speak life!

Tongue of the Wise

1A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2The tongue of the wise treats knowledge correctly, but the mouth of fools spouts folly. 3The eyes of Adonai are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good. 4A healing tongue is a tree of life, but a deceitful one crushes the spirit. 5A fool despises his father’s discipline, but one who accepts reproof is smart. 6The house of the righteous has great wealth, but the income of the wicked brings trouble. 7The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but not so the heart of fools. 8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Adonai, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

Pursue Righteousness and Reproof

9Adonai detests the way of the wicked, but loves those who pursue righteousness. 10Stern correction awaits one who forsakes the way. One who hates reproof will die. 11Sheol and Abaddon are before Adonai— how much more the hearts of people! 12A mocker dislikes one who corrects him; he will not go to the wise.

Heart Attitude Matters

13A joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. 14A discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly. 15All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. 16Better is little with the fear of Adonai than great wealth with turmoil. 17Better a meal of vegetables where there is love, than a fattened ox where there is hatred. 18A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but one who is slow to anger calms a quarrel. 19The way of the slacker is a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. 20A wise child brings joy to his father, but a foolish person despises his mother. 21Folly is joy to one who lacks sense, but one with discernment walks straight. 22Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. 23A person has joy in an appropriate answer— how good is a timely word. 24The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to Sheol. 25Adonai tears down a proud man’s house, but He maintains the widow’s boundary. 26Evil thoughts are an abomination to Adonai, but pleasant words are pure. 27One greedy for gain troubles his household, but whoever hates bribes will live. 28A righteous heart thinks before answering, but a wicked mouth blurts out evil things. 29Adonai is far from the wicked, but hears the prayer of the righteous. 30Bright eyes bring joy to the heart. Good news gives health to the bones. 31One whose ear heeds a life-giving reproof dwells among the wise. 32Whoever avoids correction despises himself, but whoever heeds reproof acquires understanding. 33The fear of Adonai is the discipline of wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

–from Proverbs 15

Have you been born again? Have you received God’s grace and mercy by ask Jesus into your heart? It’s not too late if you are reading this, so why not make today your birthday?

Interested and not sure what to do or how to do it? Leave me a comment.

John 3 NLT

1There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

3Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,a you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

4“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

5Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.b 6Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.c 7So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘Youd must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

9“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Mane has come down from heaven. 14And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.f

16“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.g

Sample Sinners Prayer

Today’s reading closes in 1 Peter 1…

Greetings

1Peter, an emissary of Messiah Yeshua, To the sojourners of the Diaspora in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia—chosen 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, set apart by the Ruach for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Yeshua the Messiah: May grace and shalom be multiplied to you.

A Message of Living Hope

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! In His great mercy He caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua from the dead. 4An incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance has been reserved in heaven for you. 5By trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6You rejoice in this greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. 7These trials are so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua. 8Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. And even though you don’t see Him now, you trust Him and are filled with a joy that is glorious beyond words, 9receiving the outcome of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 10The prophets, who spoke about the grace that was to be yours, searched for this salvation and investigated carefully. 11They were trying to find out the time and circumstances the Ruach of Messiah within them was indicating, when predicting the sufferings in store for Messiah and the glories to follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were providing these messages not to themselves but to you. These messages have now been announced to you through those who proclaimed the Good News to you by the Ruach ha-Kodesh, sent from heaven. Even angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.

A Call to Be Holy

13So brace your minds for action. Keep your balance. And set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah. 14Like obedient children, do not be shaped by the cravings you had formerly in your ignorance. 15Instead, just like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in everything you do. 16For it is written, “Kedoshim you shall be, for I am kadosh.” 17If you call on Him as Father—the One who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds—then live out the time of sojourning in reverent fear. 18You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah. 20He was chosen before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through Him you are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your trust and hope are in God. 22Now that you have purified your souls in obedience to the truth, leading to sincere brotherly love, love one another fervently from a pure heart. 23You have been born again—not from perishable seed but imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. 24For, “All humanity is like grass, And all its glory like a wildflower. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was proclaimed as Good News to you.

–from 1 Peter 1