Charles Stanley – The Lamb of God

John 1:29-36

Scripture has a variety of titles for Jesus—Messiah, Lord, Christ, Rabbi, Teacher—but the one that is probably least familiar to the modern world is the Lamb of God. Since most of us do not have a Jewish background, we may have a limited understanding of this designation. But the Israelites of that day understood its significance. Lambs were for sacrifice.

God has always dealt with transgression through the blood of sacrifices. When Adam and Eve sinned, an animal was slain to cover the nakedness and shame of two individuals (Gen. 3:21). On the first Passover, each household covered the doorway with sacrificial blood (Ex. 12:1-7). Later, a goat was slaughtered for the atonement of the entire nation (Lev. 16:15). Now in John 1:29, we see the ultimate sacrifice—the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

Many lives are marked by some fine achievements, but think about the enormity of what Jesus accomplished through His death. Just as innocent animals had died in place of the guilty, so Christ gave His perfect life for sinful mankind. He assumed full responsibility for all our sins and took the punishment that we deserved. As He hung on the cross, the judgment and wrath of God was poured out on Him instead of on us.

Since we are limited by our human minds and senses, we cannot fully understand all that the Lamb of God endured to bring us salvation. But we know enough to realize that we owe Him our lives. He took our place on the cross, so let’s give Him first place in our hearts.

Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 30-31

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Our Daily Bread — The Blacksmith and the King

Read: Exodus 31:1-11

Bible in a Year: Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. —Colossians 3:23

In 1878, when Scotsman Alexander Mackay arrived in what is now Uganda to serve as a missionary, he first set up a blacksmith forge among a tribe ruled by King Mutesa. Villagers gathered around this stranger who worked with his hands, puzzled because everyone “knew” that work was for women. At that time, men in Uganda never worked with their hands. They raided other villages to capture slaves, selling them to outsiders. Yet here was this foreign man at work forging farming tools.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Start of Jesus’ Final Challenge

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane” (Matthew 26:36).

The agony of Jesus’ death, beginning with His ordeal in the Garden of Gethsemane, is something finite believers will never fully comprehend.

C.H. Spurgeon, in an 1880s sermon, said this to his congregation: “It will not be enough for you to hear, or read [about Christ]; you must do your own thinking and consider your Lord for yourselves. . . . Shut yourself up with Jesus, if you would know him.” However, even those who most conscientiously follow Spurgeon’s admonition to meditate on Jesus’ Person and ministry find the effort reveals much about Him that is beyond human understanding.

As we continue our study of the events leading up to the Lord’s sacrificial death, we also realize that it’s difficult to grasp the full meaning of many of them. Even with the aid of the Spirit’s illumination, we find the weight of Jesus’ agony and suffering more than our minds can completely fathom. As the sinless God-man, He could perceive the full scope of sin’s horror in a way we never can.

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Wisdom Hunters – Faint-Hearted Faith 

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.   Psalm 61:2

Sometimes it seems like you are a million miles away from Jesus. It’s as if He’s doing big business on the other side of the world in Africa, India, and China. Your small concerns seem trivial in the big scheme of our Savior’s strategy. As in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), your Master has left you to faithfully manage His stuff while He has gone away. However, you grow impatient, bored, and even faint-hearted from fear and/or fatigue. You wonder if faithfulness to your heavenly Father is really worth the effort and you question the cause and your calling. It was exciting when you first started on this journey of faith, but now it is unfocused and uncertain. You may become melancholy or depressed.

Your heart may grow faint without the fire of fresh faith. Left unchecked, a crevice of concern can become a canyon of crisis between you and Christ. Life may have backed you onto a fearful ledge and you are paralyzed for fear of falling. However, now is the time to grab hold of the Lord’s arm for stability. Even when you are on the verge of despair, God is there. No spot is too dreary or condition too deplorable. Even in life or death situations, prayer is available.

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Joyce Meyer – You Can’t Drive a Parked Car

Establish my steps and direct them by [means of] Your word.…—Psalm 119:133

People often ask, “How do I know what God wants me to do with my life?” Some spend many years being totally immobile because they are waiting to hear a voice from heaven telling them what to do. My best advice to anyone in this position is to simply do something. Do what you think God might be calling you to do and if you make a mistake, He will help you correct it. Don’t spend your life so afraid of making a mistake that you never try to obey what you believe God has spoken to you.

I like to say, you can’t drive a parked car. You need to be moving if you want God to show you which way to go. He has no need to say to you, “Turn left” if you are not going anywhere. But if you are moving, He can give you directions.

Let me insert a word of wisdom here. There are certainly times when we need to be still, wait on God, pray, and not take immediate action. But that does not apply to every situation. There are times when the only way we can discover God’s will is to get moving in a certain direction and let Him speak to us and lead us as we go. If you are going in the wrong direction, He’ll close that door and open another one.

From the book Hearing from God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Gift of His Spirit

“This is what God has prepared for us and, as a guarantee, He has given us His Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 5:5).

A dynamic young business man sat across from me in my office. By almost every standard of human measure he was an outstanding success in both his business and his religion.

He was one of the leading men in his field of specialty in the world. A highly moral, religious person, he was very active in his church. And yet, he was not sure that he was a Christian.

He wanted desperately – more than anything else in the world – to have real assurance, but he did not know how to go about obtaining it. Step by step, I explained to him from the Bible how he could receive Christ into his life and be sure of his salvation.

Soon we were on our knees in prayer, after which he went on his way rejoicing in the assurance of his salvation to begin a supernatural walk with God.

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Ray Stedman – The Need For Peace

Read: Leviticus 3

If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the Lord an animal without defect. Lev 3:1

Now we come to the fellowship offering, which is better rendered the peace offering. In the peace offering we are recognizing another basic, fundamental need of the human heart. No proper life is possible without peace.

I am not referring here to the peace of forgiveness. That will come in the next two offerings: the sin and the trespass offerings. It is not peace with God; it is the peace of God we are talking about here. It is peace not in the sense of hostility ceased but in the sense of emotional stability, of an untroubled heart. That is what we need — a sense of security, of well-being, of confidence that things are under control and that it is all going to work out. That is the kind of peace this offering represents.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Unstoppable Kingdom

Read: Mark 1:14-15

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel. (v. 14)

Jesus’ very first sermon was clearly inspired by John the Baptist. Lots of preachers begin by modeling themselves on other good preachers, and Jesus did too by echoing his cousin John. And it’s a good thing Jesus took up this sermon, because John was no longer free to preach it himself. He’d been arrested, thrown in prison, and would never get out. By the time we get to Mark 8, we will read about the sad end of this great forerunner of God’s Messiah.

It’s very upsetting that John was arrested. And so maybe it seems like an odd time for Jesus to begin whipping up enthusiasm for what he calls “good news.” Can we proclaim good news in a time of bad news? Or, when the world reacts to the proclamation of God’s kingdom by locking up the first preacher who proclaimed it, isn’t that a pretty good indication that the gospel doesn’t have much of a chance in this world?

In truth the world has always resisted God’s kingdom. It put John the Baptist to an end, and eventually would get around to doing the same thing to Jesus and then later to the apostles. But here’s the wonder of it all: the gospel’s light has never gone out. The message has never died. God really is on the move re-creating the world through Jesus. The kingdom of God is near, and there’s no stopping it!

Prayer:

When we feel beaten down by the world, lift our eyes to see your kingdom all around us

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P.- Purposes

Concerning God’s will for the individual, some picture Him whispering a neatly packaged to-do list. You are to go to this specific college, work this job, and live here. However, learning God’s will for your life is a process. First, you need to learn God’s purposes in general.

I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well.

Luke 4:43

As you study God’s Word, you discover who He is, what He’s like, His priorities, His desires and what He expects of His children: things such as praying, loving Him, and caring for others. As you get to know Him and begin putting the teachings of the Bible into practice, you will respond to needs, decisions, and circumstances the way God wants you to. You’ll also learn to recognize His Holy Spirit as He guides you through the seasons of your life: attending school, raising children, or working a particular job or ministry.

Today’s verse shows Jesus was clear on why He was sent to the Earth. Are you sure of your purposes? Pursue the Lord and His will, respond to His leading…and don’t forget to pray for the leaders and people of this nation to seek God on the issues at hand in the country. Trust Him to accomplish His purposes through your prayers.

Recommended Reading: I Peter 4:1-11

http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php

Kids 4 Truth International – God Sees Us at all Times

God Wants Us To Be Content in Him Alone

“Jealousy is the rage of a man.” (Proverbs 6:34a)
“I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 5:9b)

When the Bible talks about jealousy, it means envy, discontentment, being mad about someone else’s “good luck,” and, even a hatred against that other person. Have you ever discovered that you were jealous of someone? Maybe there was something you wanted and did not get get, but your friend did get that thing. How did you feel? Maybe you know people who are very popular, or very good looking, or very talented in sports, or very rich. And maybe sometimes you wish you could be like them. We live in a world where it is easy for us to be jealous. Commercials on television make us want to have whatever they are advertising. When people show off what they have, it makes us feel left out.

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

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 4:11

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

There’s a place for legitimate discontentment. All of us should, to some degree, be discontent with our spiritual growth. If we aren’t, we will stop growing. There’s also what we might call a prophetic discontentment with injustice and other evils in society, coupled with a desire to see positive change. But there’s also a sinful discontentment that negatively affects our relationship with God. It can easily lead to resentment or bitterness toward God or other people.

Whatever situation tempts us to be discontent, and however severe it may be, we need to recognize that discontentment is sin. We’re so used to responding to difficult circumstances with anxiety, frustration, or discontentment that we consider them normal reactions to the varying vicissitudes of life. But that just points out the subtleness and acceptability of these sins. When we fail to recognize these responses to our circumstances as sin, we’re responding no differently from unbelievers who never factor God into their situations. We’re back to our ungodliness as the root cause of our sins.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Contentment

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Beyond Good Intentions

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 11-13

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.” – John 13:13

Back in Nehemiah 9:38, we find a group of people who made a binding agreement and put in writing their intention to keep the Law of the Lord. They had searched God’s Law to find out what it taught, then searched their own hearts to discover where they were falling short. After listing a number of things that were examples of their failures, they put in writing exactly what they were going to do about it.

Written applications should be part of every Bible study. As we see where we fall short or receive a new challenge in following the Lord, we should write down what we plan to do about it. But that’s not enough. In Nehemiah 13, we see that the people got off to a great start by putting their intentions in writing, but stumbled in putting them into practice.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Beyond Good Intentions

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JUSTIFIED IN CHRIST

Read Galatians 2

What does justification mean? In academic research, justification explains a theory or thesis in order to support the conclusion. In ethics, justification is the category of theories that tries to answer questions like “Why should I be moral?” In popular usage, if we say a decision or action is justified we mean it was an acceptable choice. But what does it mean to say we are justified in Christ?

Our passage today provides us with a clear answer. Being justified is a central part of our identity in Christ, and it is part of our understanding salvation in Jesus.

First, justification means we are declared righteous before God (v. 21). As we saw yesterday, we can never justify ourselves. We can never be right with God on our own terms. “We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ” (v. 16).

Second, justification means we now live by faith in Christ (v. 20). Being justified in Christ not only changes the status

of our relationship with God but also transforms the way we live. We have the Spirit of God living within us to guide our lives. We can embrace grace rather than legalistic ideas of how to please God.

Justification also matters for our relationships with others. If we grasp that our identity of being justified in Christ is entirely based on what He has done for us—not our own goodness— then we can extend that grace to others. We don’t have to impose additional restrictions or expectations on others when we know that Jesus does the work of justification for all who believe in Him (vv. 4, 21).

APPLY THE WORD

Peter and Paul clashed over associating with Gentiles. Disagreement between Christians is not new and need not mean breaking fellowship. In disagreements, the gospel takes priority over our preferences. Paul confronted Peter for choosing Law over grace; Peter later became a persuasive advocate for Gentile believers (vv. 11–14; Acts 15).

http://www.todayintheword.org