THE SABBATH…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 26])


Do you realize the importance of rest? Do you realize the importance of taking time to stop and rest? Do you realize that we can wear ourselves out if we don’t make time to rest? Do you realize how hard it is to catch up on rest once you fall behind? Do you realize the impact it has on your health? your focus? your relationships? your work? your self-talk? your thoughts? Do you make time to rest? Do you take time to rest?

Is there ever a reason to not do good? Is there ever a reason to not help? Is there ever a reason why you can’t make a difference? Is there ever a reason to not love?

Do you realize that when you lose that reason and purpose and that mission then what is the point? If we are to be salt and light but we aren’t being salt and being seasoning, being a preservative, being a disinfectant then what good are we? If we are supposed to be reflecting the light of Jesus and shine into this dark world and we don’t, then what good are we? You remember what happens to salt once it has lost its taste right?

Today’s reading comes to us from Luke 14

Healing of a Man on the Sabbath

1One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out? 6And they could not reply to these things.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8″When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
15When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’

The Cost of Discipleship

25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26″If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless

34″Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

from Luke 14

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the impact of the Bible on Trade and Taxes speaks to us on the topic of The Sabbath and points us to Luke 14:1-5 which says…

‘One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” ‘

from Luke 14:1-5

It teaches of how this was part of the Ten Commandments. It teaches us we are to set aside a day of rest. It also teaches us it is a matter of the heart and not just rules and routines. We see how in today’s reading from Luke people were more interested in the rules and rigger than the heart. We see how Jesus spotted that and confronted them on it. Will you do good or will you do evil? Will you live out grace or will you judge? judgement is the Lords! He is just! He is good! And without Jesus there is no reconciliation whereas with Jesus there is forgiveness of sin. So we need to be living out our lives knowing Jesus and being in relationship with Him. We also need to be making Him known in the world around us.

Today’s devotional also goes into the difference between which day of the week is considered the Sabbath for Christians and Jews. We learn about in AD 321, Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity proclaimed Sunday a legal day of rest instead of the longstanding Jewish Sabbath day on Saturday. He ordered all judges, city workers, and craftsmen to rest on that day. Around AD 363, another impact on trade and taxes took place when the Council of Laodicea declared that Christians must work on Saturday and honor Sunday as the Lord’s day.

We see the impact of this even today as many people set aside one day a week to rest from work.

How about you? Where does it stand when it comes to you getting rest? Where does it come when you consider being forgiven when you miss the mark or sin?

Let’s Pray…

Salvation Prayer Example

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that with You all things are possible. I thank You that You sent Jesus to make up for the misses in my life and the lives of everyone. I thank You Lord for the gift to receive salvation and be transformed from the inside out. Help me Lord to be salt and light today. Help me to be like the moon that reflects the sun by reflecting the light of Your Son into the lives of all those around me that You bring into my life today. Help me Lord to have wisdom to reach out. Help me Lord to have wisdom to seek out. Help me Lord to see beyond myself and become more like Jesus today. Help me Lord to be love extended to the world around me. Help me Lord through every thought, word, and deed to bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

PROTECTING ISRAEL…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 14])


Ever wondered how someone can know things? Ever wondered how someone can understand things? Ever wondered how someone can bring such unity? Ever wondered how such peace can be created? Ever wondered how such truth can exist?

Let’s take a look at today’s reading from Isaiah 11

The Righteous Reign of the Branch

1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

10In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
11In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

12 He will raise a signal for the nations
and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.
13 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites shall obey them.
15 And the Lord will utterly destroy
the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
and will wave his hand over the River
with his scorching breath,
and strike it into seven channels,
and he will lead people across in sandals.
16 And there will be a highway from Assyria
for the remnant that remains of his people,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from the land of Egypt.

from Isaiah 11

Today’s reading gives us the answer which is Jesus. We read about the Holy Spirit worked with Jesus when He had given up His powers in order to be the ultimate sacrifice in order to bridge the gap and provide a way for us to be reconciled to God. We read about the peace that comes through Jesus. We read about the fruit that is produced through Jesus. We read about wisdom and understanding made available to us thanks to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. We read about Jesus provides righteousness and equity. We learn of a time where the chaos and the rebellion against God will be replaced by peace and unity. We learn about a time and a place where there is only faith, hope, and love thru Jesus. Jesus the shoot from the stump of Jesse. Jesus a branch that bears so much fruit. We see this through Jesus’ life and we realize it more in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross and then resurrection and ascension into Heaven.

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the impact of the Bible on trade and taxes brings us to the story of protecting Jerusalem. Today’s reading starts with the call of the Pope (Pope Urban II) to have a crusade to repel Muslim attacks on the Byzantine Empire and to protect Christians in Jerusalem. He quotes Isaiah 11:10 in his speech to encourage his audience.

‘In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. ‘

from Isaiah 11:10

We get to read a portion of the speech which says…

If, when the Lord had but just been crucified and the city was still held by the Jews, it was called holy by the evangelist when he says, ‘Many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after His resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many,’ and by the prophet Isaiah when be says, ‘It shall be His glorious sepulchre,’ then, surely, with this sanctity placed upon it by God the Sanctifier Himself, no evil that may befall it can destroy it, and in the same way glory is indivisibly fixed to His Sepulchre. Most beloved brethren, if you reverence the source of that holiness and I . you cherish these shrines which are the marks of His footprints on earth, if you seek (the way), God leading you, God fighting in your behalf, you should strive with your utmost efforts to cleanse the Holy City and the glory of the Sepulchre, now polluted by the concourse of the Gentiles, as much as is in their power.

–from http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/09/23/popewatch-urban-ii/

We learn in today’s devotional about how the First Crusade saw the capture of Jerusalem and ushered in 200 years of brutal war throughout Asia and Palestine. European crusaders would occupy Jerusalem for 88 years before Saladin, a Muslim military leader recaptured the city.

So will you look to the end and receive Jesus into your heart today? Will you be transformed now so that you can walk out this life with the faith, hope, and love of Jesus knowing that these are the three that will last into eternity?  Will you choose Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Will you make the decision to transform the rest of your life by inviting Jesus into your life now? Will you make today the beginning leaving the old behind and step out into the new?

Let’s pray…

Prayer of Salvation Example

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord that You never leave me and never abandon me. I thank You Lord that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever and so I can put all of my hope and trust in You. I thank You Lord that I don’t need to walk in fear because I know in whom I trust and so will walk out this life with faith, hope, and love which will last forever and demonstrating love which is the greatest of these throughout my life and in my relationships. Help me Lord to shine the light and hope of Jesus into the world I walk out into today. Help me Lord to reflect the light and love of Jesus to all those I get to encounter today. Help me Lord to allow the joy of the Lord, Your joy, to be my strength. So that in all and ll of this You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Let’s get back to basics…to the beginning…


It’s not what we can do! It’s not what we can make! It’s not about trying to be perfect! It’s not about trying to make your own way! It’s not about trying to be good enough! It’s not about you!

It’s all about Jesus! Not Jesus+ it’s just Jesus! He came that we could have life and life to the full! He came that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life! He is the way, the truth, and the life! Nobody comes to the Father except through Him!

Everyday is a day that the Lord has made so we should live them out that way! We should be able to rejoice and be glad in it! We should be able to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that it builds our faith through perseverance in order that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing! When we face troubles, we should be able to have hope because we know that Jesus has already overcome the world! We should have hope and faith because we know that Jesus wins the victory and that we will get to spend eternity with Him!

So let’s praise God for Jesus’ birth! We have Christmas day to make it a big celebration and we need to make sure that Jesus is at the center! He is the reason for the season!

We can celebrate Easter because Jesus paid it all on the cross, defeating death and resurrecting on the third day and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me!

God showed His love by sending Jesus to live amongst us! He isn’t out there somewhere, He is emmanuel – God with us! Even now we don’t need to go through things on our own and by ourselves because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, our counselor, and our guide! We can have that still quiet voice to help us walk out the life God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! He can help us to remember that God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future! So let’s cling onto that truth as we pursue Him today! Let’s thrive to accomplish His will so that one day when we get to see Him face to face we will get to hear “well done my good and faithful servant”.

So today let’s take hold of the way to have victory! It is by the blood of the lamb and by the words of our testimony!

Let’s be overcomers through Jesus!

Let’s be rebuilders! Let’s be restorers! Let’s be repairers! All through the love and the power of Jesus!

So today, let’s follow the King of kings and the Lord of lords, that He will accomplish His plans and His purpose for our lives in Jesus’ name!


Happy Christmas — Day 359: Bible In One Year 2018

  1.  Blessing, peace and satisfaction … Psalms 147:12-20
  2. Called, chosen and faithful … Revelation 17
  3. Rebuilding, restoring and repairing … Nehemiah 3Nehemiah 4

Pursue:

  • Make a stand for the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control!
  • Understanding God’s will and purpose and plan!
  • Stand firm! Put on the full armor of God! Be prepared! to give an answer for the hope that is within you! to accomplish the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do!
  • Let’s complete the work God has given us to do!
  • Put first things first and don’t get distracted or confused by attacks of the enemy
  • Make sure to have each others back

Did you have a great Christmas yesterday?


Did you celebrate the reason for the season? Did you spend time celebrating love with friends and family? Did you do anything to remember how it all began? Thank You Jesus for coming in the form of a child in order to live a sinless life and then taking on all the pain and punishment that we deserve so that we could be reconciled back to God. For God so loves us that He sent Jesus that everyone who would believe in Him would have eternal life! God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but that through Jesus we could all be saved! So I pray that you all had a very Merry Christmas! I also pray that you took time to focus on Jesus who is the reason for this season! I also pray that there were many people who turned back to God and received Jesus into their hearts and now will get to spend eternity with God rather than apart from God thanks to Jesus.

This was an incredible year where the reality of the Bible and how we even have one today is incredible as we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the reformation! This was an incredible year where a new museum opened up in Washington D.C. focused on the history of the Bible! All pieces of a puzzle to help people come to the reality of Jesus and God’s plan and purpose! The Bible is a standard for living life! The Bible is a way to connect with God through His Word! The Bible is the place to turn when seeking Jesus! We need as a society to turn back to God! We need to be putting God back into our lives rather than looking for ways to remove Him! We need to be putting God back into the center of the workplace to help ensure we have a good standard and that people are being treated with love as defined in the Bible! We need to be putting God back into the center of the government which as the Bible says is supposed to be serving God and serving us for good! We need to be putting God back into the center of schools so that the bar is set high for standards and the focus on how to live is taught and trained! We need to be putting God back into the center of the Arts and Culture so that what is produced and presented speak to values and truth!

The key is to bring Jesus back into the center! The key is to allow Jesus to be that central line that all others get tied to for a cord of three strands is not easily broken! And do you know where to turn to find Jesus? It is the Bible!


Today’s devotional speaks to our reading from God’s Word today as follows…

The whole of the Bible is about Jesus. Martin Luther said, ‘Scripture is the manger in which the Christ lies.’ As a mother goes to a cradle to find her baby, so the Christian goes to the Bible to find Jesus. Don’t inspect the cradle and forget to worship the baby.

In today’s passages we see how Jesus Christ is revealed not only in the New Testament, in the book of Revelation, but also in the Old Testament – in Proverbs and Zechariah.

–from Day 344: Bible In One Year 2018

Take a few moments and go check out today’s devotional (Day 344: Bible In One Year 2018) and consider it as we meditate on God’s Word today!

How to Find Jesus

Day 344: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. The name of Jesus … Proverbs 30:1-10
    • 1The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.
      I am weary, O God;
      I am weary and worn out, O God.
      2I am too stupid to be human,
      and I lack common sense.
      3I have not mastered human wisdom,
      nor do I know the Holy One.
      4Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
      Who holds the wind in his fists?
      Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
      Who has created the whole wide world?
      What is his name—and his son’s name?
      Tell me if you know!
      5Every word of God proves true.
      He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
      6Do not add to his words,
      or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
      7O God, I beg two favors from you;
      let me have them before I die.
      8First, help me never to tell a lie.
      Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
      Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
      9For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
      And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
      10Never slander a worker to the employer,
      or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
    • The sceptic goes on to ask five questions (v.4):

        • Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
        • Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
        • Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
        • Who has established all the ends of the earth?
        • What is that person’s name, and what is the name of that person’s son?

      The New Testament reveals that the answer to each of these five questions is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. It is Jesus who ascended on high (see, for example, Ephesians 4:8–10). It is through Jesus that the whole world came into being (John 1:1–3). He is the name above every name (Philippians 2:9). The evidence for God is found in Jesus.

      The New Testament reveals that the name of God is Jesus. The writer of Proverbs cares deeply about ‘the name of [his] God’ (Proverbs 30:9). He asks for ‘neither poverty nor riches’ (v.8). He fears that riches may make him disown the Lord and poverty might make him steal and thereby ‘dishonour the name of [his] God’ (v.9).

      –from Day 344: Bible In One Year 2018

  2. The words of Jesus … Revelation 2:1-17
    • 1“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
       
      2“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
      4“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
      7“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

      The Message to the Church in Smyrna

      8“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:
       
      9“I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. 10Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
      11“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.

      The Message to the Church in Pergamum

      12“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:
       
      13“I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.
      14“But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
      17“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
    • These words of Jesus (‘The First and the Last, who died and came to life again’, v.8) to the seven churches are hugely challenging. The risen, ascended, glorified Jesus reveals what kind of church he wants:

        • Don’t lose your first love
          Jesus is looking for a church that is famous, above all, for its love.

          Do you remember what you felt when you first encountered Jesus? Perhaps you experienced joy, peace, a new sense of meaning and purpose, and an excitement. Did you ‘fall in love’? Was there a ‘honeymoon period’?

          As life goes on it is easy to lose your ‘first love’ (v.4). Other things creep in. Work, the busyness of life, or even your ministry can lead you away from the passion of your first love.

          Jesus commends their service: ‘I know your deeds, your hard work’ (v.2). But there have been times in my life when I’ve been working so hard for the kingdom that I have neglected the King.

          Jesus commends their patience in suffering and perseverance: ‘you have… endured hardship for my name’ (v.3). But there have been times when I have been so focussed on my own problems and suffering that I have lost my enthusiasm.

          He commends the orthodoxy of their beliefs – they have not tolerated evil (v.2). But there have been times when I have been so concerned about orthodoxy that I have forgotten to love.

          Jesus challenges: ‘You have forsaken your first love’ (v.4). These are haunting words. What are you to do if this has happened?

          First, Jesus urges you to remember your first love – to remember the height from which you have fallen (v.5). Never lose your first love, enthusiasm and excitement about Jesus.

          Second, repent and clean up your act. If you have slipped into complacency or compromise, you may need to get rid of the dross. As we read in Zechariah, ‘I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people”, and they will say, “The Lord is our God”’ (Zechariah 13:9).

          If you are in a time of testing and trial in your life, God will use the heat of the fire to refine you.

          Third, return to doing the things you did when you first encountered Jesus. ‘Do the things you did at first’ (Revelation 2:5).

        • Stand firm in the face of persecution
          Pastor Nadarkhani was imprisoned in Iran for no other reason than his faith in Jesus Christ. He was sentenced to death. As a result of international pressure he was released and reunited with his family. I had the privilege of interviewing him at HTB. We were all inspired by his faithfulness and courage.

          Only two of the seven churches are not faulted by Jesus – Smyrna and Philadelphia. Smyrna is spiritually rich in spite of the persecutions and material poverty: ‘I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich!’ (v.9).

          Jesus’ words to the church are not ‘repent’ (as so often was the case with the other churches), but rather, ‘Do not be afraid’ (v.10). Like the persecuted church today, they faced prison, persecution and even death. But God has set a limit (‘for ten days’) and promises, ‘I will give you the crown of life’ (v.10b).

        • Fight for the truth
          The church in Pergamum was living in the most godless place on earth – ‘where Satan has his throne’ (v.13). Yet Jesus says, ‘You remain true to my name’ (v.13). They have not renounced their faith in Jesus in spite of persecution.

          Nevertheless, Jesus challenges them about holding to false teaching and committing sexual immorality (v.14). Truth matters. He calls them to repent (v.16), and promises that if they overcome, he will give them food that feeds the soul (‘the hidden manna’, v.17) and eternal security in Christ.

      –from Day 344: Bible In One Year 2018

  3. The grace of Jesus … Zechariah 12, Zechariah 13, Zechariah 14
    • The Lord Will Rule the Earth

      1Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! 2I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city.
      3Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. 4On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. 5You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.
      6On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, 7yet there will be continuous day! Only the Lord knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light.
      8On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously in both summer and winter.
      9And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.
      10All the land from Geba, north of Judah, to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become one vast plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up in its original place and will be inhabited all the way from the Benjamin Gate over to the site of the old gate, then to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. 11And Jerusalem will be filled, safe at last, never again to be cursed and destroyed.
      12And the Lord will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13On that day they will be terrified, stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will fight their neighbors hand to hand. 14Judah, too, will be fighting at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the neighboring nations will be captured—great quantities of gold and silver and fine clothing. 15This same plague will strike the horses, mules, camels, donkeys, and all the other animals in the enemy camps.
      16In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. 17Any nation in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will have no rain. 18If the people of Egypt refuse to attend the festival, the Lord will punish them with the same plague that he sends on the other nations who refuse to go. 19Egypt and the other nations will all be punished if they don’t go to celebrate the Festival of Shelters.
      20On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: Holy to the Lord. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar. 21In fact, every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
    • The words of Zechariah 14 can be seen as looking forward to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and also to his return:

        • Jesus is the one whose feet would stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 21:1)
        • Jesus is the one to go out and fight against the nations in the day of battle (Zechariah 14:3; Revelation 20)
        • Jesus is the one out of whom living water would flow (Zechariah 14:8; John 7:37–39)
        • Jesus is the one who will be worshipped as king (Zechariah 14:16; Revelation 5)
        • Jesus is the one who makes it possible for ‘HOLY TO THE LORD’ to be inscribed on everything (Zechariah 14:20)
        • Jesus abolishes the distinction between the secular and the sacred. The cooking pots were the most common household vessels, yet they too had the words ‘HOLY TO THE LORD’ inscribed on them

      –from Day 344: Bible In One Year 2018

Do you know Jesus? More than just about Jesus but do you have a relationship with Him?


Who is Jesus to you? Are you a believer? Are you a seeker? Are you a skeptic? Are you questioning? Is he just a name? Is he just some guy? Is He the son of God? Is He the savior of the world? Is He the ultimate sacrifice? Is He a greater teacher? Is He a good man? Is He a miracle worker? Is He the key to life? Is He the answer?

To me, Jesus was the answer. He is the turning point in my life. He is the answer to so many questions. He is the key to my life. I use the analogy of God putting a jetpack on me in order to accelerate my experience to get me where He needed me to be and oh what a ride, what an incredible journey, what incredible times in the presence of God! Some key milestones include a spiritual emphasis night where I was baptised in the Holy Spirit, going through membership and then getting baptized on the same day as my wife, going through Cleansing Stream and the freedom that it released in my life, and the baby dedication of each of my children.

Today’s devotional speaks to how Jesus is the key. They provide some historical insight into what others have said like:

  • Madonna said, ‘When I was growing up… Jesus Christ was like a movie star, my favourite idol of all.’
  • Napoleon Bonaparte said, ‘I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man.’
  • Novelist H.G. Wells said, ‘I am an historian, I am not a believer. But this penniless preacher from Galilee is irresistibly the centre of history.’

–from Day 303: Bible In One Year 2017

God’s Word speaks about Jesus in Hebrews 1 like this:

Jesus Christ Is God’s Son

1Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.

The Son Is Greater Than the Angels

5For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.1:5a Or Today I reveal you as my Son.
God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.”
6And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.”
7Regarding the angels, he says, “He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire.”
8But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. 9You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”
10He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. 12You will fold them up like a cloak
and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.”
13And God never said to any of the angels, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”
14Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
–from Hebrews 1

And gets summarized through today’s devotional as:

The key to life is Jesus. The key to understanding the Bible is Jesus. The key to understanding God’s character is Jesus. The key to getting our lives sorted out is Jesus. No one, not even angels, can compare to Jesus (Hebrews 1:1–14).

–from Day 303: Bible In One Year 2017

God is Love! Jesus is God! And we know from the Bible that Love is…

4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

–from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Today’s devotional before speaking to each of the verses closed with this statement:

If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. He said, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9). Everything you read and understand about God through the Bible needs to be read through the lens of Jesus. He is the ultimate revelation of God.

–from Day 303: Bible In One Year 2017

Do you know Jesus? Do you want to know Jesus? Do you want to invite Him into your life? Do you want to learn more? Do you want to chat about it? Leave me a comment and let’s start the conversation…


Your Key to Life

Day 303: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Jesus provides cleansing from our sins … Psalm 119:129-136
  2. Jesus is superior to angels … Hebrews 1:1-14
  3. Jesus is the anointed Messiah … Lamentations 3:40-66, 4, 5