Charles Stanley – Jesus: Obedient Unto Death

 

Philippians 2:5-11

Imagine someone asking whether Jesus is Lord of your life.  Unsure how you’d respond? Then think back to the last time God commanded you to do something. If following through was just too hard to face, it’s likely you haven’t yet given Jesus lordship over your life. When Christians feel the need to confer with anyone before obeying what they know God is telling them to do, an idol is likely in the way—whether it’s pride, a relationship, or an aspiration.

Our Father understands that obeying Him can be a challenge for everyone—including the Son. We can be encouraged by Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was wrestling in prayer with His Father’s will. Jesus was committed to being obedient but still struggled. Have you ever wondered what He saw in the “cup” when He prayed that God would let it pass from Him, if possible? (Matt. 26:39). At least four things would have made any of us want to push that cup away:

  1. The suffering Jesus would endure when He was crucified.
    2. The sin burden of the entire world.
    3. The desertion of His disciples.
    4. The separation He would feel from His Father.

We correctly see Jesus as God, but sometimes we forget that we cannot separate His humanity from His deity. His suffering and pain were greater than any we will ever know. And yet, though grieved to the point of death, He made a choice to obey the Father, demonstrating to us that we too can do even the most difficult things when we live in submission to God.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 25-26

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Despised for All of This

 

Read: Isaiah 53:3–12 | Bible in a Year: Judges 13–15; Luke 6:27–49

He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12 Susannah Cibber gained fame in the eighteenth century for her talent as a singer. However, she was equally well known for her scandalous marital problems. That’s why when Handel’s Messiah was first performed in Dublin in April 1742, many in the audience did not approve of her role as a featured soloist.

During that inaugural performance, Cibber sang of the Messiah: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 kjv). Those words so moved Rev. Patrick Delany that he jumped to his feet and said, “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!”

He is risen! Matthew 28:6

The connection between Susannah Cibber and the theme of Handel’s Messiah is evident. The “man of sorrows”—Jesus the Messiah—was “despised and rejected” because of sin. The prophet Isaiah said, “My righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (v. 11).

The connection between Messiah and us is no less apparent. Whether we stand with the judgmental audience members, with Susannah Cibber, or somewhere in between, we all need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Jesus, by His life, death, and resurrection, restored our relationship with God our Father.

For this—for all Jesus did—be all our sins forgiven.

Father in heaven, we all stand in need of Your forgiveness. We stand too in awe of Your Son Jesus, who was despised and rejected for our sins. Thank You for coming to us in Jesus 2,000 years ago so that we might know You now.

Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 19:6 kjv

 

http://www.odb.org

Wisdom Hunters – He is Alive! 

 

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again”. Then they remembered his words.  Luke 24:5–8

He is alive, I am forgiven and my soul has been set free. He is alive and I am forgiven,  my joy I cannot contain. He is alive and I am forgiven, my faith is here to stay. He is alive and I am forgiven, my love flows deep and wide. He is alive and I am forgiven because He did what He promised—He arose after three days. He is alive! He is alive! He is alive!

What emotions did the friends and disciples of Jesus feel when they realized He was real? Certainly, they were surprised by the joy of knowing Jesus was back, even larger than in life. Even though they had watched Him raise Lazarus after four days of death, their faith had forgotten. But now they were glad again because God raised His Son to life.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

If you look for Jesus among the dead you will not find Him. He has left the cold cemetery and risen to be with the warm love of His Father. Dead churches cannot claim the calming presence of Christ because they have forsaken the faith required to recognize Him. Look for the Lord among the living, those who live out their faith with bold grace.

Remember the words of Jesus, and your faith will resound with reassurance. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). You serve a risen Savior who lives in your life by faith. Take Him at His Word, and joy will fill your innermost being as you celebrate His appearance almost two thousand years ago. Enjoy Jesus, anticipating your Lord’s second return.

“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).

Prayer: I praise You Lord for my resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, in His holy name I pray, amen.

Application: How can I reassure my faith with the reality of a risen Savior? Where are the places I can find Christ among the living? What words of Jesus do I need to constantly remember?

 

Related Readings: Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Peter 3:18

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Joyce Meyer – Known by Our Fruit

 

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is recognized and judged by its fruit…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. — Matthew 12:33-34

A woman I’ll call Dorothy knew more about the church and every member and visitor than anyone else did. She was fairly well known as the church gossip.

“One thing about her,” a friend said, “She’s not prejudiced—she talks about everyone,” and he laughed.

One day as I stood near the front door, I heard Dorothy telling several people about one of the deacons, “But it isn’t up to me to judge him,” she said. The venom poured from her mouth, and she went on to mention several others. Of course, she was critical of each one.

I listened to her and realized something. She was only speaking from what was already inside her heart. That’s obvious, but I grasped something else. Dorothy was so critical of herself, so filled with disgust for herself, how could she speak well of others?

Too often people make promises that they’ll speak better of others and gossip less. They really try, but nothing ever changes. This is because they are trying to change their words without changing their thoughts. That’s a bad solution, because they start at the wrong end. What they need to do is look inward, asking, “What is going on inside of me?”

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart, Jesus said. As I considered those words, I felt a deep compassion for Dorothy. She had allowed Satan to fill her mind with critical, harsh thoughts. She didn’t speak much about herself, but I’m sure she was totally critical of herself as well as other people, and when she spoke, the evil words came out of her mouth.

Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. The same is true of our lives. Everything begins with a thought. If we allow negative and unkind thoughts to fill our minds, they bear fruit. If we dwell on the bad, we produce bad fruit.

As we observe people, it’s easy to see the fruit of their lives. They show either good fruit or bad. It’s that simple. But the fruit is the result of what’s going on inside. We can learn a lot about a person’s character simply by listening to their conversation. The more loving our words and actions are toward others, the more loving and kind our thoughts will be.

If I believe God truly loves me, and if I enjoy fellowship with Him every day, I’m planting good seeds in my own heart. The more good seeds I plant, the more good fruit I produce. The more I think kind and loving thoughts, the more I see others as kind and loving.

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Kind or judgmental words don’t just come to us—they come out of our mouths because we have nurtured them in our minds. The more we open ourselves to the Spirit’s positive and loving thoughts, the more we pray, and the more we read God’s Word, the more good fruit we produce on the inside—and that good fruit shows itself by the way we behave toward others.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask You to forgive me for all the harsh things I’ve said about other people. Also, please forgive me for allowing harsh thoughts to fill my mind—about myself or about others. I know I can’t make myself more loving, but You can. Please, help me focus on healthy, positive thoughts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Mark of Ownership

 

“He has put His brand upon us – His mark of ownership – and given us His Holy Spirit in our hearts as guarantee that we belong to Him, and as the first installment of all that He is going to give us” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Some time ago, a young Christian came to share his problems. He was very frustrated and confused, and he spoke of the constant defeat and fruitlessness which he experienced in the Christian life.

“You don’t have to live in defeat,” I said to him.

The young man registered surprise.

“You can live a life of victory, a life of joy, a life of fruitfulness,” I assured him. “In fact, by the grace of God – and to Him alone be the glory – for more than 25 years as a Christian I do not recall a single hour of broken fellowship with the Lord Jesus.”

He was really shocked at that.

“Do you mean you haven’t sinned in 25 years?” he asked.

“No, that’s not what I mean, I replied. “I have sinned regrettably, I have grieved and quenched the Spirit at times with impatience, anger or some other expression of the flesh. But when I grieve the Spirit, I know exactly what to do. I breathe spiritually. I confess my sin to God and immediately receive His forgiveness and cleansing, and by faith I continue to walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.”

Bible Reading:I Corinthians 12:3-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Realizing that a believer can live a supernatural, holy life only as he yields to the control of the Holy Spirit, I will seek to practice holiness in my personal life and encourage other Christians to do the same.

 

http://www.cru.org

 

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Resurrection News

 

Read: Matthew 28:1-15

Some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. (v. 11)

What we have here is better than any episode of NCIS or whatever crime scene investigation series is on these days. Eyewitnesses, fearing for their lives, run to religious authorities for protection, tell the truth, and, in a sudden twist, the good guys become the bad guys and bribe them to tell a different story. A bribe they take from the treasury of God, who just watched his Son die. Some payback.

You would think that soldiers from an army known for its bravado would stick to the facts, rather than stoop to a cover up. Doesn’t this truth, of all truths, bear telling? Soldiers who’ve vanquished foes find a Savior who’s vanquished the grave? Although Romans have now witnessed an empty tomb, professed Jesus as “the Son of God,” “not guilty,” and “King of the Jews,” a resurrected Jesus is simply not an acceptable plotline. And their fear pales in comparison to that of the Jewish religious leaders of the day.

Lest I get too carried away in my judgement, however, I remember my own reactions to feeling fearful. I have resurrection news, too, and what I do with it either makes me more like the paid-off eyewitnesses or the simple, humble moms, ex-fishermen, and ex-harlot who risked their lives to tell the truth. —Amy Clemens

Prayer: God, forgive me when I tiptoe around the outrageous news of a grave-conquering Savior. The world will still pay me to shut up, but may I stand by the truth of my encounter with the Resurrected One.

 

https://woh.org/

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE NEED FOR FORGIVENESS

Joshua 24:14–28

Martin Luther said, “Forgiveness is God’s command.” Though we may agree that forgiveness is a central principle of Christianity, we also often struggle to practice it. Many of us resist forgiving those who have hurt us.

Why must we forgive? Why must we be forgiven? We’ll examine the biblical answers to those questions in our study this month, in which we’ll learn that forgiveness is a gift we receive and a gift we offer.

In today’s passage, the people of Israel were asked whether they would choose to serve God or the other gods that they have allowed into their homes. As they had made their way from Egypt into the Promised Land, they had grown increasingly tolerant of foreign gods and practices. Joshua urged them to reject the false gods from Egypt and Arabia that they had accumulated and make a choice about which deity they would trust: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (v. 15).

The people seemed shocked and even offended by Joshua’s suggestion. Of course they will serve God! But Joshua reminded them of God’s character. They serve a God who will not tolerate partial allegiance. He is both “holy” and “jealous” (v. 19). In His holiness, God will not tolerate disobedience, and Joshua warned the people that God would not forgive their rebellion (v. 19). In this context, the word forgive means to “bear with” or “live with.” God would not allow sin to continue unchecked.

God will not ignore our choice to rebel against Him. When we sin against a holy and just God, we are in desperate need of forgiveness. But He offers us the invitation to choose to follow Him.

APPLY THE WORD

On this Easter Sunday, confess your sins to God. We have been given an amazing gift: the forgiveness of sin! The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is the perfect time to begin a study on the forgiveness offered to us through His death and resurrection. Rejoice that we have a Savior who forgives our sins and guarantees for us eternal salvation.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org