Charles Stanley – The Bread

John 6:35

Editor’s Note: The devotions for March 21st, 22nd, and 23rd focus on elements of Passover, which Jesus celebrated with His disciples the night before His crucifixion.

For thousands of years the Jewish people had a special script for their most important event of the year—the Passover. Brimming with drama and intensity, the Passover included a carefully prepared order of words, symbols, foods, tastes, smells, and actions. So if the father of the household went off script as he led the Passover meal, everyone present would immediately notice.

And that’s exactly what happened when Jesus gathered His band of followers as death loomed. The evening started like a typical Passover meal—they were celebrating the way Jews had done for centuries … until Jesus intentionally went off script and started talking about Himself. As the Savior took the Passover bread in His hands, He said something utterly shocking: “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matt. 26:26).

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Our Daily Bread — The Best Is Yet to Come

Read: Colossians 3:1-11

Bible in a Year: Joshua 10-12; Luke 1:39-56

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. —Colossians 3:2

In our family, March means more than the end of winter. It means that the college basketball extravaganza called “March Madness” has arrived. As avid fans, we watch the tournament and enthusiastically root for our favorite teams. If we tune in early we get a chance to listen to the broadcasters talk about the upcoming game and to enjoy some of the pre-game drills where players shoot practice shots and warm up with teammates.

Our life on earth is like the pre-game in basketball. Life is interesting and full of promise, but it doesn’t compare to what lies ahead. Just think of the pleasure of knowing that even when life is good, the best is yet to come! Or that when we give cheerfully to those in need, it’s an investment in heavenly treasure. In times of suffering and sorrow, we can find hope as we reflect on the truth that a pain-free, tearless eternity awaits us. It’s no wonder that Paul exhorts: “Set your minds on things above” (Col. 3:2).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Question and Answer

“What do you want me to do for you?” is a common enough question. Used in multiple personal exchanges, it could be asked by a clerk of a patron or between colleagues in dialogue. It could be used casually between friends or spoken harshly in retort for misunderstanding. Whatever the context or mood, it is a question of clarification. On the one hand, it seeks to clarify the expectations of the one to whom it is directed. On the other hand, it seeks to clarify what action is required of the one who asks.

“What do you want me to do for you?” is a seemingly ordinary question Jesus asks more than once. In the Gospel of Mark, it is posed both to a blind beggar and to the disciples of Jesus.(1) The writer places the two instances right beside one another in a way that reveals the questioner as much as the expectations of the men being asked. Mark tells the story of the blind man, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, immediately following a revealing exchange between Jesus and his disciples. For the disciples, the question would no doubt have rung familiarly in their ears. But their answers to this question could not have been more discordant.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Humility of Jesus’ Servanthood

“Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7).

Jesus is the role model of the suffering servant.

Jesus not only gave up His divine privileges when He emptied Himself, but He also became a servant. For us, this is the next phase in His supreme example of humility. Paul’s phrase “the form of a bond-servant” can also be translated “the essence of a slave.” Christ’s servanthood was not just external—it extended to the essential, down-to-earth role of a bond-slave doing the will of His Father.

We would expect Jesus, the God-man, to be a servant only in the truest fashion. His servitude was not performed like a stage player putting on and taking off the costume of a servant. Jesus truly became a servant. He perfectly fulfilled everything Isaiah predicted about Him (52:13-14). Jesus was the Messiah who was a suffering servant.

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Wisdom Hunters – The Parable of the Two Prodigal Sons

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23

God has been sending some messages my way lately that have been hitting me right in the heart. Such are the words from Timothy Keller’s book, The Prodigal God. In this fantastic read, Keller reveals there is more to the Parable of the Prodigal Son than most Christians were ever taught in church.

In his book, Keller writes that there is not just one lost son, but two in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In reality, the older brother who diligently obeys his father is as lost as the younger who squanders his inheritance and lives a wild lifestyle. Both are alienated from the father because each reject relationship with the father but in very different ways: one through licentious living, and the other through legalism. One through being bad and one by being good (Luke 15:13; 29). Both attitudes are rooted in pride and self-centeredness—and both attempt to get from their father what they want without caring for their father’s heart.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Always Enthroned

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

Isaiah 6:1

Recommended Reading

Revelation 4:2–3

Sometimes after a calamitous event, a well-meaning person will say, “Not to worry. God is still on His throne and everything will be alright.” That is definitely true, and such statements affirm our belief in the sovereignty and providence of God in all things. But the word “still” poses a bit of a problem.

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Joyce Meyer – Building Bridges, Not Walls

For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us. –  Ephesians 2:14

One day while I was praying, the Holy Spirit showed me that my life had become a bridge for others to pass over and find their place in God. For many years, I erected only walls in my life; but now where there were walls, there are bridges instead. All the difficult and unfair things that have happened to me have been turned into highways over which others can pass to find the same liberty that I have found. I have learned to build bridges instead of walls.

In Hebrews 5:9 Jesus is referred to as “the Author and Source of eternal salvation.” He pioneered a pathway to God for us. He became a highway for us to pass over. It is as though He faced a giant forest and went in ahead of us so that when we came along we could drive right through it without having to fight all the elements and the density of the forest. He sacrificed Himself for us; and now that we are benefiting from His sacrifice, He is giving us a chance to sacrifice for others so they can reap the same benefits we enjoy.

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Girlfriends in God – The Power of the Pit Part 2

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.

Psalm 40:1-2

Friend to Friend

We have several choices about how to deal with the pain and darkness in life. We can become bitter and blame God or someone else for the pain, or we can give up and wallow in the mire and mud of that slimy pit.

At one point in my life, I simply plastered a smile on my face, gritted my teeth, and denied that the pit even existed. Not a good choice.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Gain Understanding

“For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations” (Psalm 119:89,90, KJV).

A story is told of a young woman who had been informed about a famous novel. She was interested in reading it, but as she began to read the novel, she found it dry and uninteresting. She would put it down to read something else, and then she would come back and try to read it again because her friends said it was an excellent book.

Even with the high recommendations of her friends, the book just did not captivate her. Then one day she met the author. He was very handsome and personable. They became interested in each other, and she fell in love with him.

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Ray Stedman – Knowing Him

Read: Philippians 3:9-11

I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death Phil 3:10

Paul says he is quite ready to give up the usual status symbols of the Christian for the personal knowledge and friendship of Jesus Christ. This is not an academic subject. This is not a course in Christology or on the person of Christ. This is not knowing about Christ. This is knowing Him. As has wisely been said, Knowing about has value; knowing has vitality. This knowledge the apostle is talking about is not simply a casual contact now and then. You don’t get to know your friends that way. The friends you know best are the ones you have spent most time with, or at least you have gone with through deep experiences. This knowledge of Christ comes by continual sharing of experiences together. It comes by the two of us, Jesus and I, living our lives together, moment-by-moment sharing experiences. It comes by gazing on the face of Jesus Christ as he appears in the pages of scripture. It comes by allowing every circumstance to make us lean back on his adequate life, hiding nothing from his eyes, by bringing every friendship and every loyalty to his gaze, for his approval or disapproval, by walking every day reckoning upon him to be with us. That’s the secret of a successful ministry.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Hallowed Be Your Name

Read: Luke 19:45-48

It is written, “My house shall be a house of prayer,” but you have made it a den of robbers. (v. 46)

I have a friend who can walk into any thrift store, find something everyone else had overlooked, bring it home, spruce it up, and set it up as the loveliest decoration in the room. She sees the world differently. She finds beauty in strange places.

When Jesus walked into the temple, he saw it differently too. He saw the glory of what it should have been behind the chaos and money-changing it had become. He saw the glory of a “house of prayer” overshadowed by the gaudy showmanship of a “den of robbers.”

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Presidential Prayer Team; G.C.- Filter Change

Have you discovered the amazing array of photo filters available on your phone’s camera? You can process a standard photo to appear similar to one taken with an old Polaroid, an antique land camera, or even psychedelic paint. While the filters are interesting, they still cannot change the subject matter. If you photographed a monkey, it will always be a monkey.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Corinthians 15:22

In the spiritual world, a different principle holds true. According to the Bible, every person born has a predisposition to sin and running away from God. It’s your inheritance from Adam, your distant grandfather, and the result is spiritual death. The good news is your old nature is not a permanent condition – if you choose Jesus as the way for reconciliation with Holy God. When you invite Christ to be Lord over you, a dramatic change takes place…not a filter change but a miraculous composition change. Your deadly sinful nature is rewired with Christ’s life-giving hope, helping you to reject sin and actually seek God.

Today, ask God to make more than a filter change in the lives of America’s leaders. Pray for those entering office to reject sin and find new life and faith in Jesus Christ.

Recommended Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-33

Greg Laurie – The Lord’s Supper

So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup.—1 Corinthians 11:27–28

Matthew 26 contains one of the most well-known events in human history and certainly the most famous meal ever eaten, the Last Supper.

As the disciples sat together, Jesus said, ” ‘Take it and eat it, for this is my body’ ” (verse 26). He then gave thanks and offered them the cup and said, ” ‘Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many’ ” (verses 27–28).

Jesus, as He often did, was speaking symbolically. To say He was speaking literally here does not fit with the word pictures He often used. After all, Jesus said He was the Bread of Life. And didn’t He say that He was the Door?

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Your Whole Heart

“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:10)

If you were participating in a Bible trivia game and were asked to name the first three kings of Israel, you would probably have no trouble jumping up and shouting out “Saul, David, and Solomon!” You have heard the stories of how Saul became king while looking for his father’s donkeys (1 Samuel 9), how David killed Goliath with his slingshot (1 Samuel 17), and how Solomon asked God for wisdom instead of riches (2 Chronicles 1). But have you ever thought about what kind of heart each of these three kings had for their God? Did they follow God with their whole hearts, just parts of their hearts, or none of their hearts?

King David had a whole heart for God. The Bible describes him as a man “who followed [God] with all his heart,” (1 Kings 14:8). You can open your Bible to the book of Psalms and read many of King David’s prayers to the Lord. David had a desire to follow God with everything that he had.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Removed

Today’s Scripture: John 1:29

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Expiation is another seldom-used and little-understood theological word. You can readily see its spelling similarity to propitiation. In fact, the two words are often confused, though significantly different in meaning.

Propitiation addresses God’s wrath. It is the work of Christ saving us from that wrath by absorbing it in his own person as our substitute. Expiation, which basically means “removal,” accompanies propitiation and speaks of Christ’s work in removing or putting away our sin. Such is the symbolism of the two goats used on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:20-22). The first goat represented Christ’s work of propitiation as it was killed and its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat. The second goat represented Christ’s work of expiation in removing or blotting out the sins that were against us. The object of propitiation is God’s wrath; the object of expiation is our sin, which must be removed from his presence.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Our Bible Teacher

Today’s Scripture: John 14:16-17; 16:13-15

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. – Nehemiah 9:20

Years ago, our son Randy and his wife, Jackie, told us about a supper time when little one-year-old Clayton laid down his spoon, looked up at his parents, and jabbered away with a great deal of emotion and earnestness. “Blah, blah, blahppety blah blah,” he said.

Finally Clayton ended his oration, leaving his parents completely in the dark as to what he’d been saying. Because Christine had listened so intently, Randy thought maybe she knew what Clayton had said and could act as interpreter. So he asked her, “Christine, do you know what your little brother just said?”

She nodded. “Clayton said, ‘Blah, blah, blahppety blah blah.’”

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BreakPoint – Making (Exotic) Babies: Human Life, Made to Order

Americans have a thing for the exotic, no matter how costly it may prove to other people. For instance, the Florida Everglades are home to, among other species, Nile crocodiles, green anacondas, and most famously, tens of thousands of Burmese pythons.

As words like “Nile” and “Burmese” suggest, none of these species are native to Florida or even to this continent. Their presence in the Everglades, and the damage they’re causing to that fragile ecosystem is the result of people indulging their desire for exotic pets and then dumping them when they become inconvenient.

As bad as this sort of self-indulgence is when we’re talking reptiles, it’s infinitely worse when the exotic commodity is people.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE GREATER NOAH

Read Luke 17

Author Lesley Leyland Fields writes about the journey of learning to forgive her absent, abusive father. Though she had long held against him his litany of sins, in later adulthood she moved toward him in forgiveness. With sympathy, she recognized the brokenness of her father’s past, and this fueled new compassion and greater willingness to forgive.

Forgiveness is just one manifestation of the faith that Jesus says will be required to enter the kingdom of heaven. Humility is another evidence of kingdom faith, in which we count our work for God the Master not as some extraordinary achievement of our own doing but as something necessary that flows from His work for us (v. 10).

Kingdom faith must also be grateful, giving thanks as the healed Samaritan leper did (v. 16). And finally, by faith in Jesus our perspective is transformed, allowing us to see beyond the banality of the everyday to a greater spiritual reality—both of our sin and of the gospel (vv. 20–21).

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In December 2014, President Obama began the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. The two governments now have embassies in each other’s countries. Prior to the president’s arrival on Sunday, the hotel company Starwood announced that it will be making a “multimillion-dollar investment” in Cuban hotels. Cruise lines are preparing to include the island nation in their Caribbean itineraries.

However, the Cuban government has not budged on human rights.

Dozens of members of “Ladies in White,” a group that campaigns for the release of political prisoners, were arrested hours before Mr. Obama touched down in Havana. According to Columbia University professor Christopher Sabatini, over 1,400 dissidents and human rights activists were detained just in the last month. Clearly, the Castro regime wants the economic benefits of improved relations with the U.S., but it does not want to cede power and control to obtain these benefits.

Those who are familiar with Holy Week should not be surprised.

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