Charles Stanley – The Table of Healing

Luke 22:7-20

Jesus knew what was about to unfold. He sensed death and darkness closing in upon Him, yet He did not seclude Himself in preparation. Rather, the Lord chose to spend the final fleeting hours with His friends around a table flowing with bread, wine, and spiritual significance. Jesus wanted to be close to those whom “He loved … to the end” (John 13:1).

The apostle Luke takes care to point out that Jesus and His disciples gathered in the upper room to celebrate the Passover. There, they shared a meal known as the Seder, whose liturgy and symbolic foods recall how God liberated Israel from bondage in Egypt, crushed Pharaoh’s armies, and cared for the former slaves in the wilderness until they arrived in the land He’d prepared as their home. Every Passover at the shared meal, Jewish families retold the grand story of God’s provision and rescue—a reminder that God was not finished with them, that He would restore and spiritually heal their people yet again.

Jesus sensed death and darkness closing in upon Him, and chose to spend the final hours with His friends.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – What’s So Holy About Holy Week?

One author famously wrote: “The way to the future runs through the past.”(1) In our contemporary ears, this may not ring true. We seem to live with a suffocating sense of immediacy, where demands and events come at as fast and furious pace, and where the “past” for many of us means two days ago.

Within such a sense of time, the historical emphasis of the church may seem obsolete, irrational even. Growing up in Scotland in a home that was not focused on religious or spiritual things, I had little sense of time holding much weight beyond the moment or any sort of transcendent continuity. Time simply came and went. There were, of course, special times loosely connected to an earlier age, such as Christmas and Easter. But these came to primarily symbolize time off from school, special food, and presents. If they were tied to any bigger or wider story or meaning, my attitude was: Who cares?

After moving to Austria, I recall a very different scenario. I had by then become a Christian and we were living in a predominantly catholic country. What the church calls holy week was taken much more seriously there, and the sense of reverence, of something special, of consecrated time, all made an impact on me. Holy week was mentioned on the national news; preparations for the Easter service in the Stephansdom were highlighted. Something was in the air. This was also seen in people’s behavior. I was struck that events so long in the past, centered on the ancient Jesus of Nazareth and his death, were seen to have lasting and important impact on modern life in a modern nation.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Jesus’ Humility in Death

“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

In His suffering and death, Jesus is our supreme example of humility.

We naturally react to injustice with deep hurt and an assertion of our rights. But Jesus’ response to His accusers did not include one word of angry defensiveness. Matthew 27:12-14 tells us: “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.”

Later on, during His sham trial, Jesus continued to humble Himself. He accepted sinful men’s abuse when they whipped Him, stripped off His robe, planted a crown of thorns on His head, mocked Him, spat on Him, and beat on Him with a reed. Christ did not even demand His rights when He was condemned to death and forced to walk to Calvary half-naked with a cross on His back.

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Wisdom Hunters – Love One Another 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

On this day, Christians around the world prepare for Easter by recalling the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples. Traditionally this day is referred to as Maundy Thursday, which at first glance may appear to be a misspelling! However, this seemingly odd phrase actually gives us a window into the very heart of Easter and the lives we live as Christian disciples.

Maundy is an English word derived from the Latin word for commandment. As such, this is the day we as Christians remember the new commandment that Jesus gave to his apostles: “as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In this single sentence, Jesus gives his followers a model of love and the expected way for them to love one another and the world around them.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Full of Him

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26

Recommended Reading

Galatians 2:20

Imagine a giant football stadium filled with one of every kind of animal on earth—including one human being. As you scan that massive crowd, could you immediately find the one human? Eventually, yes. But the point is that man is one of a multitude of creatures that God created—except for one thing.

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Joyce Meyer – Just for Today

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one. — Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I don’t have to tell you that the world is full of problems. Hunger, disease, poverty, the oppression of women, and the exploitation of children are taking place in every country on earth right this minute. Heartbreaking stories are unfolding while you and I drink our morning coffee. I’ve seen so much of the world’s anguish in my ministry travels, and it is truly overwhelming. I have also committed to do whatever I can do to relieve suffering and make the world a better place in any way I can. I challenge you today to do the same.

You may be thinking, Joyce, what I can do won’t even make a dent in the problems we have in the world. I know how you feel, because I once felt the same way. But if we all think that way, nobody will do anything and nothing will change. Although our individual efforts may not solve the problems, together we can make a major difference. God won’t hold us accountable for what we could not do, but He will hold us accountable for the things we could have done.

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Girlfriends in God – An Uncluttered Woman

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

Friend to Friend

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to twirl in the grass. With arms out stretched, I’d spin around and around until I was silly-dizzy, and then fall to the ground with a giggly heart. It was thrilling, invigorating and a fun, simple way to spend a lazy summer day in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Now that I’m older, I can’t handle spinning in circles. My body rejects any twisty endeavor. Nausea quickly sets in and reminds me that I’m not a young “spinny-girl” anymore.

Several years ago while my family and I were at an amusement park, in an effort to gain favor in the eyes of my kids and earn imaginary super mom points I enthusiastically got on a ride that spins in circles. My hero-husband always goes on this type of ride with our children, so I thought, “If Brad can do it, then I can do it, right?”

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – According to Your Faith

“Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29, KJV).

A poor heathen woman, after receiving Christ as her Savior, was remarkable for her simple faith. She decided to take Him literally at His word.

A few months after her conversion her little child became ill, and recovery was doubtful. Ice was needed for the little one, but in that tropical country, away from the world’s large cities, such a thing was not to be had.

“I’m going to ask God to send ice,” the mother said to a missionary.

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Ray Stedman – Another Alternative

Read: Philippians 3:15-21

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ… Phil 3:20

As members of the church of Jesus Christ, we have been sent by our Lord to form a colonial outpost from which we spread the influence of heaven. The church has often opted for one of two extremes. It has withdrawn from the world in order to avoid being stained by it. Or it has entered the world in order to dominate it. It has either sought to withdraw or dominate. Both inclinations have their basis in fear. When we withdraw, we fear contamination. When we dominate, we fear annihilation.

The Bible offer us another alternative, one that falls off on neither side. We gather together to adopt and reinforce the Christ pattern of self-sacrifice. Then we enter the world and influence it through this pattern — through the power of love rather than the love of power. This third alternative will always have some tension to it. We will often wonder if we’re falling off on the side of withdrawal or domination, and we will feel pulled in both directions. Isolation and power each have their appeal. We will have to think and pray and use all the wisdom that God gives us in order to take this path, but it is the path we are called to.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Feed Us

Read: Luke 22:14-21

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them. (v. 19)

Some Lord’s Supper liturgies refer to the bread and wine as “ordinary things turned to an extra-ordinary purpose.” There is something of the miraculous afoot in the mundane.

Jesus’ words at table are reminiscent—and intentionally so—of Luke’s story of Jesus feeding the multitude. In both places he offers the same gestures: take, give thanks, break, and give. At the feeding of the 5,000, the result is that “they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces” (Luke 9:17). Ordinary things turned to extra-ordinary purpose. A miracle.

When disciples today participate at the Table of the Lord, we are reminded that God uses even mundane elements to create a miraculous moment. The hope embedded in this truth is that God will use even ordinary people for extra-ordinary purposes.

So when we pray “give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11), we are also asking how we can help make “daily bread” available to those who are hungry, homeless, or hopeless. When we pray, “give us this day our daily bread,” we remember that God is always in the process of claiming ordinary things—including us—for extra-ordinary purposes.

Prayer:

God our provider, thank you for feeding us with daily bread and with Communion bread. We are ordinary people. Please use even us for extra-ordinary purposes in the day to come. Amen.

 

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Presidential Prayer Team; – Credentials

Some may remember the show What’s My Line? The panel had a certain amount of time to ask questions of three contestants, two of whom were imposters and the other who actually was who he said he was. Today many ask, “Since there are many religions, how do we know which one is true?” Even after the panelists asked questions, they often guessed the wrong person. The one who was true had the credentials.

Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise.”

Matthew 27:63

In today’s verse, the religious leaders pointed out to Pilate that Jesus said He’d rise again, so Pilate told them to secure the body so His disciples couldn’t steal it and say He had risen. They didn’t count on angels showing up and Jesus actually rising from the dead as He said He would. He fulfilled hundreds of scriptures, healed the sick and raised the dead. He died for everyone’s sin, resurrected, and ascended to Heaven. His predictions are coming true. Jesus has the credentials.

Many in America are still serving imposters. Ask the Lord to open their eyes in these last days and bring a spiritual revival to this nation. Pray for America’s leaders and citizens this Easter season to put their trust in the One who is alive!

Recommended Reading: Matthew 16:13-20

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Greg Laurie – The Power of Christ’s Words

 

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. —2 Timothy 1:13

Christ’ passionate love for the world is evident in His statements from the Cross:

 

Statement One

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Do you realize that you are in need of the Father’s forgiveness?

 

Statement Two

“Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Have you realized and confessed Jesus as your personal Savior?

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Holy and Assured

Today’s Scripture: Romans 8:14

“All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Holiness is necessary for our assurance of salvation—not at the moment of salvation, but over the course of our lives. True faith will always show itself by its fruits. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I recall a young man, a fairly new Christian, whose father was visiting him. He hadn’t seen his father for several years and not since he’d become a Christian. He was eager to share his newfound faith with his dad, and we prayed together that he might be an effective witness to his father.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – All ‘Fessed Up

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 4-7

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

In the Old Testament, God required sacrificial offerings so that the sin that separated the people from Him could be forgiven and fellowship with God could be restored.

Note carefully the order of offerings in Leviticus 5-7. The sin offering had to be made before the burnt offering. Why? To make peace with God before offering service to God. And by the way, if the person brought an offering of fine flour, it was not to be doctored up with oil or frankincense. Why? Apparently the flour itself did not taste very good, reminding the person of the pollution and loathsomeness of his sin. To add oil and frankincense would have made it taste and smell better. But God wanted the people to see their sin as it really was.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – All ‘Fessed Up

BreakPoint –  Bill Nye the Philosophy Shy: Science Didn’t Just Happen

The popular “Existential Comics” Twitter page appeals to a segment of the population most of us avoid at dinner parties. It’s humor at its most esoteric. But Existential Comics recently posted a real zinger that cuts scientific hubris down to size.

A scientists asks why philosophy matters. The philosopher counters and asks “Why does science matter?” The scientist thinks for a moment before replying that science matters because… And here, the philosopher interrupts him and says. “You’re doing philosophy.”

It would be funnier if so many scientists today didn’t share this ill-informed attitude toward philosophy. New Atheist rock star and Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins tweeted on Darwin Day that philosophers’ failure to anticipate Darwin was “a severe indictment of philosophy.” And theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking recently declared “philosophy is dead.”

Bill Nye “the Science Guy” took on the subject last month in a Big Think video on YouTube. A philosophy student contacted Nye to ask whether he, like so many atheist scientists, considers philosophy a “meaningless topic.”

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE GUEST

Read Luke 19:1-27

During the 2014 Commonwealth Games, two Australian field hockey players captured a celebrity in the background of their selfie photo. The two women are smiling at the camera—and right behind them, also smiling at the camera, is Queen Elizabeth II! The queen was making her way over to greet the team during an unscheduled visit to the games.

Jesus was an unexpected guest at the home of an unsuspecting host. He invited Himself to the house of Zacchaeus, a well-known tax collector (v. 5). Tax collectors had the reputation for collecting more from the Jewish people than required by the Romans, and they were despised as greedy collaborators. Jesus’ decision to share a meal with Zacchaeus caused no small stir among the people.

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Denison Forum – DOES GOD REDEEM ALL HE ALLOWS?

It was my privilege to speak yesterday at the 52nd Annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Louisiana. Gov. Edwards and his staff were most gracious, and the planning team did a terrific job. The music group Veritas performed—they are some of the finest vocalists I’ve ever heard.

Louisiana’s leaders are grappling with very difficult budget challenges made worse by the recent catastrophic floods. So I focused my talk on the principle that God redeems all he allows. Because he is sovereign, he must allow or cause all that happens in the universe. If he allows or causes anything he does not redeem for greater good, he has made a mistake. But he is holy and perfect, so he cannot make a mistake. Therefore, God must redeem for greater good all he allows.

We may not see or understand his redemption on this side of heaven. I don’t have to be a pilot to fly in an airplane or understand my laptop to write this Cultural Commentary. But one day we will understand what we do not comprehend today (1 Corinthians 13:12). In the meantime, we can trust our Father to redeem all he allows in our fallen world. (For the transcript of my talk, I invite you to go here.)

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