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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 9:12 pm

"Fulfilling the Father's Plan" — A Year with Jesus for 12/12/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

In your world, independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency, and doing your own thing are of utmost importance for some people. A little independence can be good, but living your life in rebellion to the Source of life — the One Who made you and knows what is best for you to find joy and fulfillment in life — is self-destructive.

Often, it's only when you can't figure out how to put things together that you go back and read the directions or seek the help of an expert. So I challenge you to be more interdependent and seek the counsel of spiritually wise people. Even more, I challenge you to open up the Father's word and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading. After all, I sent the Holy Spirit to "guide you into all truth" (John 16:13 NIV).

When I was on earth, I always lived to please the Father (John 5:30; John 6:38). My words were the words the Father wanted to be spoken, and the things I did were the very things the Father wanted to be done (John 14:10). From your point of view that may not seem like a very exciting life — living, saying, and doing only the things that please the Father — but I can tell you that it is most exciting. In fact, it is a trailblazing way to live (Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2), as evidenced by what the Father called Me to do and what He accomplished through Me — it's a life full of grace with unlimited challenges, experiences, and opportunities.

So I want to challenge you to live to please the Father. This way you are not enslaved to what others think about you. You are not always trying to figure out what those around you think is cool or valuable or significant. Instead, you will discover life — "real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of" (John 10:10 MSG).
Verses to Live

My life was lived to fulfill the promises the Father had given through the prophets and to fulfill the requirements of the Torah. This fulfillment began with My birth. So every time you talk about My birth, My Advent, remember how I came to honor the Father and obey His will, and let My life on earth challenge you to do the same.

My ancestry fulfilled the expectations and promises that God gave to Abraham and David to have a descendant Who would bless all nations and reign forever:
This is the family history, the genealogy, of Jesus the Anointed, the coming King. You will see in this history that Jesus is descended from King David, and that He is also descended from Abraham.
(Matthew 1:1)

Abraham and David were linked with 14 generations, 14 generations link David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 more take us from the exile to the birth of the Anointed.
(Matthew 1:17)
Even from My earliest days, My mother and Joseph made sure things were done in the way that the heavenly Father wanted them done.
Eight days after His birth, the baby was circumcised in keeping with Jewish religious requirements, and He was named Jesus, the name the messenger had given Him before His conception in Mary's womb. After Mary had observed the ceremonial days of postpartum purification required by Mosaic law, she and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. They were fulfilling the Lord's requirement that "every firstborn Israelite male will be dedicated to the Eternal One as holy."
(Luke 2:21-23)
Response in Prayer

Abba Father, You are majestic beyond my wildest imagination and yet personally concerned for my welfare. Help me, dear Father, to see that the way You call me to live is for my blessing so that I will discover the life that is full, rich, and meaningful. As I follow Jesus, I am convicted that I need to yield my will to Yours in order to discover how to live life abundantly. Today, as I think about Jesus' birth, I feel called to re-commit my words, thoughts, and actions to honor You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 11 Dec 2016, 11:43 pm

You Can Find My Fingerprints" — A Year with Jesus for 12/11/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

One of the most amazing things about My story is that I created the mother who gave birth to Me. Like every person who has ever lived, I created My mother, Mary, and had a plan for her even in her mother's womb, even though she would carry Me in her womb (Psalm 139:13-16).

This connection is part of the great mystery of My birth: the Creator entered His creation to redeem it and reclaim it by being part of it. When I was born in Bethlehem and celebrated by shepherds, hated by Herod, and honored by the gifts of the magi, I was offering Myself to those whom I created. They could accept Me or reject Me — respond to My love or rebel against it.

Of course, I knit you together in your mother's womb, too! You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14 NIV). My fingerprints are not just on your world and the universe in which your world is found; My fingerprints are on you. I made you to seek after and find Me (Acts 17:27), which is what I exactly hope you will do during this season that celebrates My coming to earth, My Advent. I do not want our relationship to be Creator to creature, but family — Father to child, Brother to child of God, and Spirit that binds us together.
Verses to Live

Yes, I left my fingerprints on you!
For You [the LORD] shaped me, inside and out.

You knitted me together in my mother's womb long before I took my first breath.
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.

You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
As I took shape in secret,
carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.
You see all things;
You saw me growing, changing in my mother's womb;
Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.
(Psalm 139:13-16)
And My fingerprints are on the world I created, although many of the very people I created did not — and do not — receive Me or believe in Me.
Before time itself was measured, the Voice [Jesus] was speaking.
The Voice was and is God.

This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator;
His speech shaped the entire cosmos.

Immersed in the practice of creating,
all things that exist were birthed in Him.
(John 1:1-3)

He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him.
(John 1:10-11).

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence enlightens us to His [Jesus'] nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and ignorant claims of these people because, despite the fact that they knew the one true God, they have failed to show the love, honor, and appreciation due to the One Who created them.
(Romans 1:20-21)
Because you have put your trust in Me, I have given you the right, the authority, to be reborn as a child of God!
But for all who did receive and trust in Him [Jesus], He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God; He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God's will.
(John 1:12-13)
So yes, honor Me as your Creator, but also know you are part of My family!
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, Who came to earth in such a small but eternally precious package, I thank You for the gift of Jesus Whom I recognize as my Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and Friend. Thank You for making me in the way that You did and please help me discover how to use for Your glory all that You made me to be. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 10 Dec 2016, 11:37 pm

Heavenletter #5860 Seek New Roles in Life, December 10, 2016

God said:
No matter what befalls, you choose the part you play. Everyone chooses his or her role.
The title of drama queen gets passed down generation after generation. The title arises from somewhere. And then it leaves, and another chapter takes over. Let the next chapter unfold.
Part of being a drama queen is the belief that this well-known role is foisted upon you, that you somehow, willy-nilly, have no choice.
You are not obliged to appropriate this role even as you may believe you were cast in it. An event occurs. An event, no matter how dramatic, isn’t yours to ignite and stay in. This isn't to say that drama doesn't happen and befall you. It may be that you are thrust into the drama, yet how you play your part is up to you.
How much do you emote? What fillips to the role do you add? To what extreme, and for how long do you cast yourself into this role?
No one is saying that untoward events don't fall upon you. Whatever untoward events reach you, you are the auto-responder. You send out, as it were, an autoimmune response. Of course, what occurs affects you. To what lengths do you carry on? For how long, and to what degree do you bewail what has occurred?
Beloveds, if the worst thing has occurred, it has occurred. You have already experienced deep drama more than once.
If you come to only one conclusion, you may run dramatically all the way off the page.
Do not think for one moment that I am suggesting that you be stoic. It is not for you to pretend that you are not heart-broken when you are. Cry your honest heart out if you have to.
We are talking about added drama. Does drama reduce your suffering? And when do you get back to your life as life is to be lived? When do you reduce your term of sentence and give yourself a furlough from grief? For how long do you reflect widow's weeds on your face, and for how long and how well do you grieve?
Dear Ones, how well I know your grieving, yet grieving is a hot potato not to be held onto. No matter how deep and undeserved your grief may be, you don't have to play the role of griever so well. Playing it well may amount to your playing it to the hilt. Make it sooner rather than later that you return to the Joys of Life. Have a comeback. You are not an actress on the screen. You don't have to get an Academy Award.
Beloveds, there is more than one role you can play and play well. You can change costumes. One who mourns so well as you can also smile. Perhaps you can even think about something else besides the foul deed that befell. It is perfectly okay to give your shock and mourning a short run, dear ones. It is not for you to be lifelong loyal to grieving. Your grief is not a movie to be held over.
And you are not a performer in a stage play. You do not look to be a star. In your heartache, certainly it feels to you that no one ever suffered as you. You are one in a cast of thousands. It’s okay to play a bit part.
Then find another role to step into. Return to the little pleasures of life. You are not to major in tragedy. You can get up from grief. You can return to life even as your heart aches. You can go on about your life. You can pick flowers.
Grieve your grief, and then get up from the shallows of the world. Little by little, you can tell a different story. Little by little, you can restore yourself. You do not weep forever. Not even the greatest mourners weep forever. Your role in life is to discover new roles. You can't stay in an old role. Expand the roles you play. You were once a weeper inconsolable. Now you can be an enjoyer of little things again.
Hearts do mend, and this is a good thing. Be glad your heart mends. You have a new role in life now. See what it is. Welcome.

Permanent Link: http://heavenletters.org/seek-new-roles-in-life.html

Thank you for including this link when publishing this Heavenletter elsewhere.

Copyright © 1999-Now Heavenletters™

"Hidden Treasures" — A Year with Jesus for 12/10/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of the Father,

If you have had a loving, godly mother, then you have been profoundly blessed. No matter if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, young or old, a godly mother is a treasure beyond measure.

My earthly mother was Mary. Her heart was a deep well of mystery and secrets held together by a profound faith that the LORD was her Deliverer and that she was His servant. Like any earthly mom who has waited to hold her new-born child, she wondered what I would become. But for her, the secrets she treasured about Me were deeper, more profound, and more bewildering than normal.

So it was Luke who tenderly talked about My mother after he gathered details of My birth. She was like every good mother, whether birth mom or adoptive mom: she saw Me, her child, as a gift and a treasure. She pondered the events surrounding My birth and early childhood as cherished moments, "treasuring each memory in her heart."

So be touched, My friend; be moved in your heart, for My mother was a great window to see Who I was in My incarnation, what I experienced, and how great the cost of My coming was. Look into her heart, examine her treasures, and realize that I can be your treasure, too.
Verses to Live

Yes, My birth created quite a stir. People talked about it a lot... at least for a while. My mother, on the other hand, treasured each moment, as indicated by the following two short scriptures from different times early in My incarnation, and she never forgot the mystery and grace of it all! The first scripture starts by referring to the shepherds' story after the angels appeared to them and after they saw Me following My birth. The second scripture is when I was 12 years old, and My mother and stepfather found Me in Jerusalem talking with the Jewish religious leaders.
Everyone who heard their [the shepherds'] story couldn't stop thinking about its meaning. Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.
(Luke 2:18-19)

Jesus:
Why did you need to look for Me? Didn't you know that I must be working for My Father?
Neither Mary nor Joseph really understood what He meant by this. Jesus went back to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother continued to store these memories like treasures in her heart.
(Luke 2:49-51)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, You are my treasure. Holy Spirit, You are heaven's gift given to me. Father God, You are the grace that has ransomed my life and given me everlasting hope, joy, and peace. All praise to God Almighty, Father, Son, and Spirit, for Your abundant grace, indwelling presence, and everlasting love. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Dec 2016, 10:30 pm

"Glory!" — A Year with Jesus for 12/09/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

Glory? Glorious? "Gloria in Excelsis Deo"?

It was not too glorious if you look at the place where My birth happened! I was placed in a feed trough and wrapped in strips of cloth. By most measures, My birth was less than ordinary... it was something only the poor and outcast would have experienced. Most would have missed the glory of the moment when I entered the world in the same way you did — pushed into the harsh reality of life through the birth canal.

Being born in "less than royal" conditions, you might easily mistake My identity. I looked like any ordinary baby. But I had left the glory of heaven to accept the simple comforts of the manger and the loving arms of My mother, Mary, and My stepfather, Joseph. I came from the glory of God that shone long before the world began, yet I accepted the simplicity of the stable to connect with you. I wanted you to know that no matter where you are in society's pecking order — the high thread-count sheets of the rich and famous or the simple strips of cloth of the poor — I came for you. I wanted you to know that you are welcome in My Father's house even though I wasn't completely welcomed into the world I had made.

Glory? Glorious? "Gloria in Excelsis Deo"? Absolutely! Hear the angels. Watch the shepherds. Come to My manger and know you are gloriously loved.
Verses to Live

The glory that shone forth to those looking for it at my birth was a glory that I had before the world began and the glory that I came to share with you!
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
(Luke 2:13-14 NLT)

[Jesus praying:] Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began.
(John 17:5 NLT)
So I ask you to redefine your concept of glory by what I did — don't cling to fleeting earthly glory, but walk beside and bend down to help those who need you to share My glory!
In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember:
Though He was in the form of God,
He chose not to cling to equality with God;

But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new;
a servant in form
and a man indeed.

The very likeness of humanity,
He humbled Himself,
obedient to death —
a merciless death on the cross!

So God raised Him up to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all.

So when His name is called,
every knee will bow,
in heaven, on earth, and below.

And every tongue will confess
"Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,"
to the glory of God our Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, Who became human flesh and came to us in Jesus, how can I thank You for Your indescribable gift? You are glorious, yet left heaven's glory. You are eternal, yet clothed yourself with mortality. You are all powerful, yet became vulnerable. You came to us as a baby placed in a manger to share our humanity so we can share Your glory. Open my heart to receive Your incredible gift of grace during this special time of year. Even more, help me see Your glory in the simplest things around me where You are at work. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Share on Facebook | Discuss this Verse
This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International..
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 08 Dec 2016, 6:40 pm

Explosive 1 minute video reveals what is really behind “lone-wolf” terror
Who's behind terror - Rewound!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfDSjoJDuxE

Published on 5 Dec 2016
Help us fight terror here: http://israellawcenter.org/legal_acti...
In 2015, Shurat HaDin filed a lawsuit (Cohen v. Facebook), on behalf of 20,000 Israelis, against Facebook to stop allowing Palestinian terrorists to incite murder against Jews on its platform.
In 2016, Shurat HaDin filed a separate $1 billion lawsuit (Force v. Facebook), on behalf of terror victims and their families, against Facebook for providing its services to the terror organization, Hamas.
Terror on the streets begins with incitement on social media. HELP victims of terrorism get JUSTICE! Support Shurat Hadin’s lawsuits against Social Media companies for allowing the spread of terror to continue!


http://pamelageller.com/2016/12/obama-defends-islam-blames-america-fueling-terrorist-narrative.html/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook
Obama Defends Islam, Blames America for Fueling ‘Terrorist Narrative’
By Cheryl Chumley - on December 8, 2016

President Obama tipped his delusionary hat during a speech in Tampa, Florida, this week, telling the assembled crowd that Islam ought not to be slandered as a religion that fosters terrorism, and in fact, it’s America’s failures to recognize “good patriotic Muslims” that’s fueling violence.

Some in the saner world of thinking might say tying the two together is calling a spade a spade, as based on historical evidence.

It'd be nice if President Obama would stop blaming America for fueling terrorism and finally admit, before he leaves office, that Islam actually promotes such violence.
It’d be nice if President Obama would stop blaming America for fueling terrorism and finally admit, before he leaves office, that Islam actually promotes such violence.
But not Obama.

As Breitbart reported:
“Obama said, ‘We are fighting terrorists who claim to fight on behalf of Islam. but they do not speak for over a billion Muslims around the world. And they do not speak for American Muslims, including many who wear the uniform of the United States of America’s military. If we stigmatize good patriotic Muslims, that just feeds the terrorist narrative. It fuels the same false grievances that they use to motivate people to kill.'”
Can this man leave office soon enough?

He wasn’t done with his admonitions yet. Again, Breitbart:

“‘If we act like this is a war between the United States and Islam, we’re not just going to lose more Americans to terrorist attacks, but we’ll also lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend,’ he continued. ‘So let me final words to you as your commander in chief, be a reminder of what it is you’re fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for. The United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom. We’re a country that was founded so that people could practice their faiths as they choose. The United States of America is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny or carry a special ID card or prove that they’re not an enemy from within.'”


http://www.charismanews.com/world/53656-supernatural-signs-and-wonders-break-out-among-1-000-jews
Supernatural Signs and Wonders Break Out Among 1,000 Jews
3:00PM EST 12/7/2015 KYNAN BRIDGES

What these men and women thought was a lecture on the supernatural soon became a powerful presentation about the kingdom of God.
What these men and women thought was a lecture on the supernatural soon became a powerful presentation about the kingdom of God. (Courtesy/Bob DuVall)
Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

Amidst numerous reports of racial conflict, terrorist attacks, and religious tension, there is something tangible in the air in Israel. It's not the smell of gun powder or the resonating sound of sirens—but the supernatural presence of God.

Unfortunately, the secular news outlets have not captured the magnitude of what I recently witnessed in Israel.

For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, something miraculous took place during my recent trip to Israel: 1,000 unsaved Jewish people gathered in Tel Aviv to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This was the most significant Jewish outreach since the book of Acts. Seats were filled to capacity. This was a very powerful event!

Men, women, and children listened intently as It's Supernatural host Sid Roth presented his testimony while an interpreter spoke Russian to the non-English speaking audience. Joshua Aaron led the people in Hebrew worship songs.

The room seemed quiet and cold. At first, people were unresponsive.

Initially, there seemed to be a great resistance to the message. A few people were being very distracting, while others left the auditorium for a while and then came back.

Unlike in the United States, these events rarely ever take place in Israel. In fact, the last time someone stood up and gave his testimony to this many Jews at once, it was Peter in the book of Acts.

All of a sudden, something shifted in the atmosphere. As Sid Roth began to talk about the unconditional love of God; you could see people's eyes opening and their hearts widening. As Sid went deeper into his testimony, people began to respond.

Then, the most supernatural thing began to happen: Roth stopped the testimony and began to share words of knowledge concerning physical aliments. As he prayed for those in attendance, hundreds stood up reporting that they had received instant physical healing. They were healed in their seats without the laying on of hands.

What they thought was a lecture on the supernatural became a powerful presentation of the Gospel of the kingdom of God.

The Scripture declares that the Jew requires a sign; this was evident in the responsiveness of the people to the power of God.

The time came to give the invitation to make Yeshua (Jesus) their Messiah and Lord. To my utter amazement, nearly everyone in the room stood up and prayed the prayer of repentance and salvation. Many people even stayed after for individual prayer. Local Messianic pastors will follow up and disciple those who made a decision to follow Jesus.

So, contrary to popular belief, God is moving in Israel. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is alive and well.

Miracles are happening in Israel!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Go deeper!

Has God called you to be a leader? Ministry Today magazine is the source that Christian leaders who want to serve with passion and purpose turn to. Subscribe now and receive a free leadership book.




Shari'a Law Meets the Internet
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9433/sharia-law-internet
A man should not be questioned why he hit his wife........ as in British law

© 2016 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.


"Be Astonishing" — A Year with Jesus for 12/08/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

If you were a shepherd in the time when I was born, you would never have expected anyone to be astonished at anything you could ever say or do. You would have been "just" a lowly and despised shepherd. Most shepherds (like those who celebrated my birth) were quite young and most often ignored. Like all good shepherds, they smelled like sheep — they were not the kind of folks you invite into your house for a long conversation or a dinner party. Shepherds, in general, were not considered intellectually astute. Most people felt that shepherds would have little to say that was important.

Then came My birth. Look at what God made of these shepherds. They were the first to share the good news of My birth. They were the first "missionaries" sent to tell the story of God coming down to live with people. These shepherds were told this good news by angels sent from the glory of heaven.

People were astonished. They were astonished that God would use shepherds. They were astonished at what the shepherds told them about the angels. They were astonished at the story the shepherds told about Who I was and where I was born.

Look at what the Father made of these shepherds. They were the first to know and to proclaim the astonishing good news of God coming to the world as a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feed trough — the glory of the newborn King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel, and the Savior of the world.

And what about you? Are you astonishing?

If you listen closely to the passages below, you will see that I have done something just as astonishing with you as I did with the shepherds. Because of Me, you are now "holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection." Just like the shepherds, you have been given the opportunity to be astonishing!
Verses to Live

Simple shepherds share the astonishing news!
After seeing him [baby Jesus], the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished...
(Luke 2:17-18 NLT)
In the flesh, I bring you astonishing identity!
He [Jesus] is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal. It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes. He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything — He is first. God was pleased that all His fullness should forever dwell in the Son Who, as predetermined by God, bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God's means of reconciling to Himself the whole creation — all things in heaven and all things on earth.

You were once at odds with God, wicked in your ways and evil in your minds; but now He has reconciled you in His body — in His flesh through His death — so that He can present you to God holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection as long as you stay planted in the faith. So don't venture away from what you have heard and taken to heart: the living hope of the good news that has been announced to all creation under heaven and has captured me, Paul, as its servant.
(Colossians 1:15-23)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I place my faith in Jesus and what He did by becoming flesh and shedding His blood to make me Yours. This grace, this story, and this Jesus have captured my heart, and I offer all that I am to You, O God, in the name of Jesus and because of Your grace. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Dec 2016, 8:37 pm

God's Greatest Message" — A Year with Jesus for 12/07/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

Ouch!

You sent a text to someone, and he or she didn't understand your humor. You left a voicemail that was supposed to be cute, but your words hurt the feelings of a good friend. You sent an email before you proofed it and left out a word or two and left some stuff in you wish you'd never said, and these things crushed the spirit of someone you love.

It's very easy to misunderstand simple words on a page, in a text, or in an email. There's no body language, you can't hear the inflection or tone of the voice, you can't get a sense of the pace at which the words were said, and you don't get a feel for the heart of the person from just reading the words. These messages can feel like isolated bits of data rather than words spoken from the heart of someone who cares deeply for you.

Your experiences with being misunderstood give you a glimpse of some of the Father's challenges in communicating with you. Words written on a page, no matter how inspired, are not enough to reveal the full heart of the Father. So to bridge the distance between you and your Father in heaven, the Almighty God entered human flesh in Me, Jesus of Nazareth, to give you His greatest and clearest message (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Yes, you heard Me correctly. God's greatest message was not the Bible or even the words of the prophets (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21). As important as these are, you must know that they all point to Me as the source of life (John 5:39-40). I came as My Father's greatest, fullest, and clearest message... for you!

As you look at Me — what I did, what I said, and why I did it all — I hope you can understand the heart of the Father. I hope you realize how much We — Father, Son, and Spirit — love you! That's why My story is called the gospel — the good news from the Father, sent to people He loves, in a person Who is both fully God and fully human. I AM the Message, the Voice, and the Word of God.
Verses to Live

Notice how the angels announced the good news of My birth to the shepherds. I came as the Father's greatest message, wrapped in a blanket and placed in a feeding trough!
Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.
(Luke 2:11-12)
I came, God in human flesh, to be heaven's Voice for you to hear and heaven's presence to see, the ultimate expression of the Father's heart!
The Voice [Jesus, the Word] took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor — the one true Son of the Father — evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth. John the Baptist testified about Him and shouted, "This is the one I've been telling you is coming. He is much greater than I am because He existed long before me." Through this man we all receive gifts of grace beyond our imagination. You see, Moses gave us rules to live by, but Jesus the Anointed offered us gifts of grace and truth. God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God's only Son, straight from the Father's heart.
(John 1:14-18)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I have mangled my words in emails and texts so many times that it is embarrassing. So as much as I love that You spoke to us through the words of the Bible, I am even more thankful that You came and spoke to us in human skin — One with us and One of us — so we could not only hear Your words but also see Your heart. Thank You, Jesus, for coming so we can pray with confidence, in Your name, with Your authority. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 1:25 pm

"Not Forgotten in the Bigger Story" — A Year with Jesus for 12/05/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

The heart of our Father was beautifully revealed through the prophet Isaiah:
For this is what the high and exalted One says —
He Who lives forever, Whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite."
(Isaiah 57:15 NIV)
I know there may come times when you don't feel like your prayers are heard, or you may think that God is taking too long to answer you or that your prayers don't matter because you are not an important enough person to be heard by the King of Glory. However, if you will lean into the story of My birth, you will see that good, righteous, and faithful people are not forgotten whether they are poor or rich, desperate or confident, disappointed or delighted, old or young.

Look at the story of My birth and notice that the key players in the Father's great drama of grace are all kinds of people — some of whom are folks just like you! If you read even more closely, you will see the joy, laughter, and surprise that God brought these people in His grace!
Verses to Live

Notice those whom the Father includes in My story... and these are just a few of the precious people caught up in My story of grace!

Zacharias and Elizabeth, an old and deeply pious couple who could not have children, are caught up in the drama of grace!
One day Zacharias was chosen to perform his priestly duties in God's presence, according to the temple's normal schedule and routine. He had been selected from all the priests by the customary procedure of casting lots for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the sacred precincts of the temple. There he burned sweet incense, while outside a large crowd of people prayed. Suddenly Zacharias realized he was not alone: a messenger of the Lord was there with him. The messenger stood just to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was shocked and afraid, but the messenger reassured him.

Messenger [an angel from God]:
Zacharias, calm down! Don't be afraid!

Zacharias, your prayers have been heard. Your wife is going to have a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you great joy and happiness — and many will share your joy at John's birth.
(Luke 1:8-14).

Meanwhile the crowd at the temple wondered why Zacharias hadn't come out of the sanctuary yet. It wasn't normal for the priest to be delayed so long. When at last he came out, he was making signs with his hands to give the blessing, but he couldn't speak. They realized he had seen some sort of vision. When his time on duty at the temple came to an end, he went back home to his wife. Shortly after his return, Elizabeth became pregnant. She avoided public contact for the next five months.

Elizabeth:
I have lived with the disgrace of being barren for all these years. Now God has looked on me with favor. When I go out in public with my baby, I will not be disgraced any longer.
(Luke 1:21-25)
While many of Israel's greatest early leaders were shepherds — folks like Abraham, Moses, and King David — when it was time for My birth into the world, shepherds had fallen out of favor. But the Father had not forgotten them!
Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light — the shining light of God's glory. They were terrified!

Messenger [an angel from God]:
Don't be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.
At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers — a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.
(Luke 2:8-13)
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, thank You for catching up all sorts of ordinary people in the story of Jesus' birth. What I love, dear Father, is that where there was disgrace, sadness, and an unceasing sameness, You brought joy, delight, surprise, celebration, and wonder. What a powerful way to remind me that You came to bring hope for each of us, even me! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.

"Pitching My Tent" — A Year with Jesus for 12/06/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

I love the way My beloved disciple you know as John describes My coming to earth: "The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us" (John 1:14). Quite literally, his words could be translated as saying that I "pitched My tent" among you.

As God, I didn't just come close; I moved into your neighborhood as one of you. So during the rush of your Christmas season, I hope you will join Me — "the one true Son of the Father" — at the manger, experience the wonder of the shepherds, and share My story with all who will listen.
Verses to Live

The powerful truth of My coming is this: the Father's voice became "the Voice," Me. I came as the full incarnation of the message, the Father's ultimate Word (Hebrews 1:1-3) given to you, yet fully human flesh as one of you!
As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.

Shepherds:
Let's rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let's see what's happening! Let's experience what the Lord has told us about!
So they ran into town, and eventually they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough. After they saw the baby, they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. Everyone who heard their story couldn't stop thinking about its meaning.
(Luke 2:15-18)

The true Light, Who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos.

He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him. But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God; He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will.

The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor — the one true Son of the Father — evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth.
(John 1:9-14)
Response in Prayer

Holy God, I cannot begin to understand the incarnation — You in human flesh in Jesus, placed in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth, and welcomed by shepherds. It doesn't fit in my head. But, dear God, Your incarnation in Jesus touches my heart. Your love fills me with wonder knowing that You would "pitch your tent" among us to live as one of us. So I praise You for making such a bold move to make me Your child. I commit to following the shepherds' example and share Jesus' birth with all who will listen. It is in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, that I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 04 Dec 2016, 10:09 pm

Setting the Right Time... for You!" — A Year with Jesus for 12/04/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

The right time came for My birth into the world — God in human flesh entering the world to be raised as a child of human parents. Far from her home, My mother went into labor in the town of Bethlehem, the ancestral home of King David. This birthplace was a reminder that I descended from royalty in both My human heritage and My heavenly identity. I AM Son of David and Son of God.

In a similar way, My birth's timing was a coming together of the Father's work in history on three levels.

On a human level, My mother went into labor like all birthing mother's do. Think of it: the Son of God coming into the world through the birth pains of a human mother. I was born a vulnerable little baby to share your humanity.

On a world history level, the Father had been tuning history to prepare for My arrival. For centuries through the Jewish prophets, God had announced I would come. God had preserved Israel through all sorts of political and military intrigues. So when the Father had tuned time to be right in the world — the great Roman Peace, called Pax Romana, with all of its political stability, common language of trade (Greek), and the ability to travel throughout the world — the time was right for My birth, the birth of the Son of God Who is also the Son of Man.

There was still a third level on which My birth happened at just the right time: your time! You see, all of these events were chosen to be perfectly tuned not just for the world, in general, but also for you. The Father did all this to adopt you into Our family — He wanted you to be one of His children.

God — Father, Son, and Spirit — determined the time for My coming as Son of God and Son of Man, fully human and fully divine, so that all people could have the right to be born not just in the way all humans are born, but also born of God (John 1:10-13) and adopted into Our family! My birth is the guarantee that you can be born again and adopted into Our family!
Verses to Live

As you read the following verses, notice the underlining. In the first two cases, the underlining emphasizes two different aspects of the "right time" for Me to be born. The other underlining emphasizes your relationship to the Father. I came to earth at just the right time as the Son of God so that you could become God's child, too!

Notice the human reality of the timing of My birth:
And while they [Mary and Joseph] were there [in Bethlehem], the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
(Luke 2:6-7 NLT)
Notice it was the right time in human history for My birth:
When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters.
(Galatians 4:4-5)
From heaven's perspective, the time was made right so you could be adopted into God's forever family:
Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, Who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed — not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us. God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him. He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us.
(Ephesians 1:3-5)
Response in Prayer

Abba Father, God Almighty, thank You for making the time right to send Jesus to our world. Thank You for making a plan to bring all of Your lost children back home to You by giving us new birth and adopting us into Your family. I am humbled and amazed that You would love us, and love me, so much. I praise You for Your grace and thank You for Your plan, in the name of Jesus! Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Dec 2016, 10:28 pm

The Father's Time, Human Time, and My Time" — A Year with Jesus for 12/03/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Please know that I treasure everyone who follows Me. I know that many in your world do not believe in Me and that many who claim they believe in Me really don't know what it means to follow me — to love Me, to follow My teachings and My example, and to depend upon God's grace through Me. Thank you for taking this year to walk with Me through the New Testament.

My birth into your world came at just the right time! You will notice that the Scriptures talk about My coming, My advent, as an intersection of the Father's time, human time, and My time. There are at least two ways to look at time.

One way you understand easily in your world view: using the Greek word chronos, time is linear sequential time that passes from second, to minute, to hour, to day, to year... That's why a technical name for your watch is a chronometer.

However, there is also another view of time: kairos time, again using the Greek word. There are special, God-tuned moments in time where more is going on than just the passage of time. In kairos time, God's timing and human timing intersect. Miracles can happen. World-shaping events can occur. Most of all, the Father is at work to bring heaven's salvation to earth through events shaped by heaven's grace.

When I was born Jesus of Nazareth — fully God and fully human, conceived by the Holy Spirit in My mother's womb — the world was in kairos time! Prophecy was being fulfilled. God had conditioned the world to be in the right time for My message to spread like wildfire. The Jewish people were hungry for an authentic messenger from God, so John the Baptizer was born miraculously in his mother's old age (Luke 1:5-25) to precede Me and to prepare the LORD's people for My coming. This was such a special time; prophets and even heaven's angels were standing on tiptoe for ages trying to figure out when it would occur!
Verses to Live

Yes, prophets and angels figuratively stood on tiptoe trying to figure out when I would come! The apostle Peter describes this beautifully:
Although you haven't seen Jesus, you still love Him. Although you don't yet see Him, you do believe in Him and celebrate with a joy that is glorious and beyond words. You are receiving the salvation of your souls as the result of your faith.

The prophets who spoke of this outpouring of grace upon you diligently searched and inquired of the Lord about this salvation: to Whom and to what time was the indwelling Spirit of the Anointed referring when He told them about the suffering of the Anointed and the honor that would follow it? The Spirit revealed to them they were not serving themselves but you. And you have learned from those who told you the good news by the Spirit that was sent down from heaven. Even the heavenly messengers [angels] would like to explore this news.
(1 Peter 1:8-12)
The time was right for Me, the Messiah, to come. God had conditioned time and was beginning to fulfill great promises made through the prophets. This was when I came into the world, as a Jew, born of Jews, born under the Torah and traditional law. This was God's time for Me to come for you:
When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters.
(Galatians 4:4-5)
My coming was preceded by the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptizer to Elizabeth and Zechariah — two old, faithful, righteous, and devout people. This was also under the rule of the Romans, and the Father used every condition to prepare the time for My coming:
Around the time of Elizabeth's amazing pregnancy and John's birth, the emperor in Rome, Caesar Augustus, required everyone in the Roman Empire to participate in a massive census — the first census since Quirinius had become governor of Syria. Each person had to go to his or her ancestral city to be counted.

Mary's fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David's birthplace.
(Luke 2:1-5).
With all of this, you also need to remember that My coming was for your benefit at God's expense! My coming was determined long before you were born, but for your benefit!
You know that a price was paid to redeem you from following the empty ways handed on to you by your ancestors; it was not paid with things that perish (like silver and gold), but with the precious blood of the Anointed, Who was like a perfect and unblemished sacrificial lamb. God determined to send Him before the world began, but He came into the world in these last days for your sake. Through Him, you've been brought to trust in God, Who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him for the very reason that your faith and hope are in Him.
(1 Peter 1:18-21)
Response in Prayer

O God, how can I, a mere mortal made of flawed flesh and blood, ever fully thank You for the divine plan You prepared, prophesied, and delivered to save me from sin and death and adopt me into Your family? Thank You. I trust fully in what You did in Jesus through His birth, life, death, and resurrection to save me. Thank You for this assurance and the foundation of my deep and abiding joy. Through the intercession of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Dec 2016, 5:34 pm

"My Mother's Situation Proves Joseph's Faith" — A Year with Jesus for 12/02/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

I know most of you hate tests! Some of those tests are medical tests which can be terrifying. Some tests are necessary to get you into universities or special programs and I know you can feel anxiety as you face them. Other tests are required to receive licenses or to achieve professional certifications, and these can cause great stress in your lives. I hear your prayers and recognize your anxieties and stress over these tests. I know the long hours you've put into preparing for some types of tests. I care about you and these tests that you face.

Other tests are life tests. They have to do with tough times in your lives, times that are hard, painful, and discouraging. They may involve a time of illness, hardship, persecution, marriage problems, family upheaval, job difficulties, loneliness, grief, or a host of other painful experiences. I care about you having to face these kinds of tests, too! Many of these tests come because you live in a broken world.

Some periods of testing invade your lives because other people do evil things or make unwise choices. Sometimes, times of testing come because Satan wants to discourage you and lead you to doubt My love and grace. Sometimes, testing comes because of your unwise or sinful choices. Bottom line: The fallout from times of testing can blow into your world and wreak havoc in your lives.

So please, know two things about your times of testing:
I will never leave you or forsake you (Romans 8:32-39; Hebrews 13:5). I came to earth and shared in times of testing, facing many of the same kinds of challenges that you face so I can help you when you are tested (Hebrews 2:14-18).
You can grow stronger, develop character, and have the compassion to share with others by faithfully living through your times of testing (James 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
One of the things I most appreciated about Joseph, who served as My earthly father, was that he faced an incredibly difficult test and proved himself faithful. He had shown himself to be completely committed to being a man of God. He had lived in purity so he could honorably marry a woman who had saved herself for him.

Joseph was committed legally to marry a young woman named Mary, My mother — this is sometimes called betrothal, something much more binding than modern engagement. Then, she told him that she was pregnant by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. After that, she disappeared and went away to be with her cousin Elizabeth for several months. What was Joseph supposed to think? How could he understand My mother's pregnancy? He thought that there was only one way for her to be carrying a baby: she had betrayed him sexually. There was no other way, except...

Joseph believed what My mother told him. Joseph believed what the angel told him. Joseph believed that I — the Messiah, the Son of God — was conceived by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. He believed that My mother was not only pure and faithful to him but also that both of them together were chosen to parent their Savior, Christ the Lord — Me.

Incredibly, Joseph accepted this truth by faith. He knew he would be tested all the days of his life for his faith. People would talk behind his back. People would say he wasn't My father and that My mother had "stepped out" on him and been unfaithful to him. He chose to accept this ridicule and he also accepted taking care of Me with all of the associated risks, hardships, and impenetrable mysteries. Joseph passed all these tests and helped Me be ready when My time came to serve.

So here's my message for you today: You never know who will be blessed — even saved — by the character and compassion you show while you go through your tests!

I know this may seem hard to believe. So remember Joseph. Please remember that My situation on earth depended — and your faith depends — on Joseph's faithfulness.

Also remember this: Someone is watching and depending upon you to pass your test! Hang in despite the hardship... keep your faith despite the pain... I'm with you and won't ever forsake you... and your testing will not be wasted. Your character and your compassion will be blessings to others — some of whom you will never know till you share in eternal glory with them.

When you remember Me, please remember these truths!
Verses to Live

Here are some Scriptures I want you to think about as you face your tests and remember Joseph's test. The first one comes from my half-brother James, who with the Spirit's help learned the lesson about tests from Joseph, too! The second comes from Matthew. He tells the story of my birth and the struggle of Joseph very clearly and simply. The third set of verses comes from Luke's gospel. Luke shares the story of My conception with a little bit different focus from Matthew's account. Notice how the wonder and amazement of Luke's story pairs beautifully with the testing Joseph faced as recorded in Matthew's story. When you recognize the challenges that Joseph faced in taking My mother as his wife, you have to recognize that both My mother and Joseph were people of amazing faith!
Don't run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line — mature, complete, and wanting nothing.
(James 1:2-4)

So here, finally, is the story of the birth of Jesus the Anointed (it is quite a remarkable story):

Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, son of David. They hadn't married. And yet, some time well before their wedding date, Mary learned that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary.

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream.

Messenger of the Lord:
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else — rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonderworking of the Holy Spirit. She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means "the Lord saves," because this Jesus is the person Who will save all of His people from sin.
Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.

Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:
A virgin will conceive and bear a Son,
and His name will be Immanuel
(which is a Hebrew name that means "God with us").
(Matthew 1:18-25)

Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. The messenger entered her home.

Messenger:
Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.
The heavenly messenger's words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was.

Messenger:
Mary, don't be afraid. You have found favor with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him "Savior," or Jesus. Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.
(Luke 1:26-33)
Response in Prayer

Holy God, thank You! Thank You for making Jesus' story so much a part of the world I know. Thank You for using real people like Joseph and Mary to show us that being faithful in times of great testing brings great blessings. Help me, dear Father, in my times of testing. Please use my struggles to bless others and to help them through their difficult times so that they can find faith and hope in You. In the name of my Brother and Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Dec 2016, 11:38 pm


An Outsider's Story" — A Year with Jesus for 12/01/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

You just have to love the apostle Levi! You may know him better as Matthew since that is the name of the first gospel in your New Testament — same guy, just known by both names. My choosing Matthew as one of My 12 apostles was a big surprise to many folks. He had a good, priestly, Jewish name — Levi. However, his profession was considered anything but Jewish. He was a tax collector, and tax collectors were hated by Jewish people in the first century.

People assumed that tax collectors were unclean, sharing in an anti-pious lifestyle. Most Jewish tax collectors in Matthew's time had sold out to the Romans and financially preyed upon their fellow Jews. They also ran around with people generally considered to be sinners. So when Matthew became My disciple, he also threw a big party for his "sinful" friends so they could meet Me (Matthew 9:9-13). Whew! That party created a lot of negative chatter. It also revealed plenty about Matthew's heart, and also Mine!

Notice two things today about Matthew. Both reflect the heart of the Father.

First, Matthew cared about those who were left out. If you read My story from the Gospel of Matthew, you will notice that Matthew wants to show that all kinds of people came to know Me. There were magi from far away, people from all nations becoming disciples, a Roman centurion with great faith, a humble Syrian woman who had a seriously ill child and who gave a clever response to Me, and a lost sheep that needed to be found.

Second, Matthew may have been considered an outsider, but he connected My story to the Father's promises told centuries before I came. Over 15 times, Levi reminds you that My coming was foretold by the prophets.

Bottom line: Matthew wants you to know that God — Father, Son, and Spirit — has always had the plan to bring everyone, including outsiders, true HOPE. That plan was spoken by the prophets centuries before I came. That plan was fulfilled in Me! My coming was not an afterthought. My association with sinners and tax collectors was not a mistake. My death was not a miscalculation. My resurrection was not a last minute fix.

Levi wants you to know that no matter how far on the outside you may feel, I came for you. That's God's long-term plan — the very plan that I came to fulfill!
Verses to Live

Notice just two of the many references to Me from the ancient prophets of Israel that Levi (the apostle Matthew) shares in My story. These references to the prophets can help you see God's long-term plan to include you. The Father has had the plan to reclaim you that goes back a long way before the miracle of My birth!
Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior. Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:
A virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and His name will be Immanuel (which is a Hebrew name that means "God with us").
(Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:22-25)

But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
of the clans of Judah, are no poor relation —
From your people will come a Ruler
Who will be the shepherd of My people, Israel,
Whose origins date back to the distant past,
to the ancient days.
(Micah 5:2 quoted in Matthew 2:6)
Response in Prayer

Holy God and loving Shepherd, thank You for having the plan to include all of us who felt we were on the outside and without hope. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for choosing someone like Matthew to be one of Your 12 apostles and using him to write Your story in a way that includes us all. Thank You for including me in Your family of grace. Thank You, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 30 Nov 2016, 9:07 pm

"Your Invitation" — A Year with Jesus for 11/30/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

I am inviting you to spend this next year getting to know Me more completely through a daily time together in the Scriptures. Each day, you will learn a little more about Me — what I did, what I taught, and Who I am — with the help of aYearwithJesus.com.

The four gospels known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, tell part of My story as these books give just what I "began to do and teach." That's how Luke describes his record of My ministry in his introduction to the book of Acts (Acts 1:1 NLT). As Luke writes the book of Acts, he emphasizes that I continued My ministry through the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of My followers. These disciples recognized My presence and power when they lived, prayed, gathered together, and did miracles in My name. Still today, I am working in the world and in My church through people like them and through people like you!

We will devote approximately the next four and a half months to lessons primarily from the Gospels. Then during the week of Jewish Passover, you will join Me as I endure My passion, followed by My resurrection from the dead and My appearances to My disciples. During the remainder of the year, we will look at the of the story of My early work through the early church found in the rest of the New Testament: Acts, the letters written to various churches and individuals, and finally the Revelation that I gave to John.

So more than just wanting you to know about Me, I really want you to know Me. That's the goal of our year together. So let's start that journey today!
Verses to Live

Here are a couple of truths I want you to know!

Life is found in knowing me, so get to know Me! This is what I prayed in front of my followers the night I was betrayed:
After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life — to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth."
(John 17:1-3 NLT)
I am the fullest message of God to you, so come to Me to know God's message for you! This is what one of My followers wrote to help My Jewish brothers and sisters. He wanted them to know Who I Am and how I fit into their story:
Long ago, at different times and in various ways, God's voice came to our ancestors through the Hebrew prophets. But in these last days, it has come to us through His Son, the One Who has been given dominion over all things and through Whom all worlds were made.

This is the One Who — imprinted with God's image, shimmering with His glory — sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins.
(Hebrews 1:1-3)
Get to know Me and you're going to find real life — life that can never be taken from you! Not only that, as you get to know Me, you learn what God most wants you to know: that I AM His fullest, most complete message to you.

I know you will be blessed by this year we will have together!

May the peace of God, our Father, be with you.
Response in Prayer

Thank You, dear Father, for sending Jesus so that I can know You and so that I can find life that is full and rich — the life that You created me as Your child to discover and live. Please bless me, dear Father, as I get to know Jesus better as we journey through this year together. I pray this in my Savior's name, Jesus. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 11:00 pm

I AM Coming Soon" — A Year with Jesus for 11/29/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved Disciple,

Today, we finish our journey through the New Testament that we began a year ago. If you have been with us throughout the year, you have relived My earthly ministry when I was in human flesh. You have read My words. You have examined My ministry. You have read about the birth of My church and the power of the Holy Spirit that empowered and sustained My people. You have looked into the letters of Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude as well as the "word of exhortation" you call Hebrews. Over the last few days, you have been reading from My Revelation to John. This year's cycle ends today.

Today's message is not only a great way to end the book of Revelation, but it is also a great way to finish the whole collection of books you call the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. Yesterday (from Revelation 21 and Revelation 22:1-5) you saw how sin, death, and evil would be completely defeated by My returning in glory. You heard about the great celebration known as the wedding supper of the Lamb of God (Me) and My bride (the church). This celebration awaits you in My presence. The awful results of the Fall and the impact of sin, evil, and death will be fully conquered and their power fully removed from My people when I return in glory. Victory and reunion are assured for My disciples from every age as they join together before the throne!

Today, you will read some words of promise, blessing, and warning about the importance of the visions I gave to John and the words he used to write down these visions. These were important for the folks who were facing critical challenges when I revealed this message for them. They have continued to be important to My people throughout the years of suffering because of their faith in Me. My early disciples needed an immediate dose of comfort, encouragement, correction, and hope.

These words from Revelation are important for the people of every generation if they — and you — are to remain faithful and hopeful in times of oppression, persecution, and martyrdom. I will indeed bring My victory for all who are My disciples so that they can share in the joyous and victorious celebration.

I sent My messenger to John so that you would not be afraid when you are facing the fiery trials that can sometimes befall My people. Believe this message, this Revelation, I shared with John. Obey the truth that you know has come from the Father and through Me. Let these words stir you to faithfulness. My coming is on the horizon. Live each day without fear and with great joy as if this could be THE day of My coming.
Verses to Live

The last sentences of Revelation, the last verses in your Bible and in this book of Revelation, finish with an invitation for Me to return in My glory for you. I want you to pray for My coming: hasten My arrival with your words of anticipation, praise, and invitation.
Guide (speaking to me [John]):
These words are faithful and true.
And the Lord, the God Who inspired the prophets, has sent His heavenly messenger to show to His servants what must soon take place.

The Anointed One [Jesus]:
Look now, I am coming soon! The one who remains true to the prophetic words contained in this book will truly be blessed.
I, John, am the one who heard and witnessed these visions. And when I heard and witnessed them, I fell prostrate at the feet of the heavenly guide who showed them to me. But he refused.

Guide:
You must not do that! I am a servant with you, with your brothers and sisters the prophets, and with those who keep the words contained in this book. Worship God instead!

(continuing) Do not seal up the prophetic words contained in this book for another day, for the finale is near. Let the one given to evil continue down evil's path and the one addicted to filth continue to be its servant. But let the one who is righteous journey along the righteous road, and let the holy continue in holy ways.
The Anointed One:
See, I am coming soon, and I will bring My reward with Me. I will pay back every person according to the deeds he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the First One and the Last One, the beginning and the end.
Blessed are those who wash their garments. In the end, they have rightful access to the tree of life and will enter the city through its gates. The dogs, the sorcerers, those who commit immoral acts, the murderers, the idolaters, and all who love and practice deception must remain outside the gates for all eternity.

Jesus:
I, Jesus, have sent My messenger to show you and guide you so that you in turn would share this testimony with the churches. I am the Root and the Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star.
The Spirit and the Bride:
Come.
And let everyone who hears these words say, "Come."
And let those who thirst come.
All who desire to drink, let them take and drink freely from the water of life.
Beware, everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book. Know this for certain: if anyone adds to these words, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone subtracts from the prophetic words of this book, God will remove that person's access to the tree of life and to the holy city which are described in this book.

The One Who testifies to these realities makes this promise:

The Anointed One:
Yes. I am coming soon.
To which we say, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

May the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, be with all the saints [His disciples]. Amen.
(Revelation 22:6-21)
Response in Prayer

O Father, send the Son to deliver us from the evil that surrounds us, from those who would seek to harm us, and from the pull of the flesh that tempts us. Refresh, restore, and renew us with the love, hope, and anticipation that come through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. May You be glorified and Your people brought to share in glory with You soon! In the name of Jesus, my Lord, Savior, Friend, Deliverer, and Shepherd, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 7:36 pm

"Everything New" — A Year with Jesus for 11/28/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

You are part of My people, the church, My bride. A time is coming when all My people will share in the glorious eternal day when everything has been made new. The fatal flaw (mortality) brought on the creation because of sin will be eliminated. The threat of sin, death, and hell will be gone for My people forever. My church will no longer be oppressed, but will be glorious. She will be My beautiful bride. All who are mine will share in the joyful wedding feast, the victorious reunion party of all My people from throughout all of time.

There will be no need for a temple because the Father, the Spirit, and I will dwell in and among Our people. There will be no need for light for there will never be darkness in the place where Our glory shines. The beauty of this glory will outshine any description that your earthly mind can comprehend. What many consider precious in your world — gemstones and gold — are nothing more than building materials and paving stones in the place of Our glory. Every barrier that has separated you from Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — will be removed. Every hurt and wound will be removed by the gentle touch of the Father's finger as he wipes every tear from your eyes. Healing fruit will be your food, and the water of life will be your drink. No division between nations or peoples will exist as all will live together with Us sharing in the grace and glory that are found in Our presence and are the very essence of Our presence.

This place where everything is made new, pure, and glorious will be our home, forever, together!
Verses to Live

As you read the words below, let your mind explore the imagery and see which ones of the images lead you to see and feel the coming glory: Healing. Grace. Evil banished. Joy. Celebration. Beauty. Glory. Water of life. God's child. Everything new. No death — and many more. Realize this is your future in Me!
I [John] looked again and could hardly believe my eyes. Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes only. And I heard a great voice, coming from the throne.

A Voice:
See, the home of God is with His people.
He will live among them;
They will be His people,
And God Himself will be with them.
The prophecies are fulfilled:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
Mourning no more, crying no more, pain no more,
For the first things have gone away.
And the One Who sat on the throne [the Father] announced to His creation,

The One:
See, I am making all things new. (turning to me [John]) Write what you hear and see, for these words are faithful and true. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will see to it that the thirsty drink freely from the fountain of the water of life. To the victors will go this inheritance: I will be their God, and they will be My children. It will not be so for the cowards, the faithless, the sacrilegious, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all those who deal in deception. They will inherit an eternity in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
And then one of the seven messengers in charge of the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came over to me.

Heavenly Messenger:
Come with me, and I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
He took me away in the Spirit and set me on top of a great, high mountain. As I waited for what I thought was a bride, he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It gleamed and shined with the glory of God; its radiance was like the most precious of jewels, like jasper, and it was as clear as crystal. It was surrounded with a wall, great and high. There were twelve gates. Assigned to each gate was a messenger, twelve in all. And on the gates were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel's sons. On the east wall were three gates. On the north wall were three gates. On the south wall were three gates. On the west wall were three gates. And the city wall sat perfectly on twelve foundation stones, and on them were inscribed the names of the twelve emissaries of the Lamb.

My guide held a golden measuring rod. With it he measured the city and the gates and the walls. And the city is laid out with four corners in a perfect square, the length the same as its width. He measured the city with his measuring rod, and the result was that its length and width and height are equal: 1,444 miles, a perfect cube. And my guide measured the wall; it was nearly 72 yards high, in human measurements, which was the instrument the guide was using. The wall was made of jasper, while the city itself was made of pure gold, yet it was as clear as glass. The foundation stones of the wall of the city were decorated with every kind of jewel: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate expertly crafted from a single beautiful pearl. And the city street was pure gold, yet it was as transparent as glass.

And in the city, I found no temple because the Lord God, the All Powerful, and the Lamb are the temple. And in the city, there is no need for the sun to light the day or moon the night because the resplendent glory of the Lord provides the city with warm, beautiful light and the Lamb illumines every corner of the new Jerusalem. And all peoples of all the nations will walk by its unfailing light, and the rulers of the earth will stream into the city bringing with them the symbols of their grandeur and power. During the day, its gates will not be closed; the darkness of night will never settle in. The glory and grandeur of the nations will be on display there, carried to the holy city by people from every corner of the world. Nothing that defiles or is defiled can enter into its glorious gates. Those who practice sacrilege or deception will never walk its streets. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life can enter.

My heavenly guide brought me to the river of pure living waters, shimmering as brilliantly as crystal. It flowed out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, flowing down the middle and dividing the street of the holy city. On each bank of the river stood the tree of life, firmly planted, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and producing its sweet crop every month throughout the year. And the soothing leaves that grew on the tree of life provided precious healing for the nations.

No one or nothing will labor under any curse any longer. And the throne of God and of the Lamb will sit prominently in the city. God's servants will continually serve and worship Him. They will be able to look upon His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. Darkness will never again fall on this city. They will not require the light of a lamp or of the sun because the Lord God will be their illumination. By His light, they will reign throughout the ages.
(Revelation 21:1-27; Revelation 22:1-5)
Response in Prayer

Father God, thank You for such a beautiful and powerful vision of my future with You and Your people. I ask that the Spirit help my mind see, and my heart feel all that You long for me to have when I am finally home with You. I want to hold this vision in my heart and let it nourish me to seek You above all things and trust in my future with You no matter what this life may bring. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 5:10 pm

Every Babylon Must Fall" — A Year with Jesus for 11/26/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Follower,

Over the centuries, one powerful nation after another — often symbolized by a powerful city — has arisen. Many of these nations, represented by their dominant cities, have oppressed My people. Each of these cities accumulated power and wealth. They attracted the world's attention. Those in commerce bowed to the city's financial power and markets. Those who dealt in trade depended upon the city's ability to provide networking and trade partners. Those who moved the commerce delighted in the city's power to connect them to clients and bring them wealth. They often grew rich on the stability, transportation hub, and network of clients provided by the city. Many of these people prostituted themselves to these cities and nations. They were involved with an evil city for their benefit. They loved that the city provided the infrastructure, networks, and currency for them to get rich. But, so many of these cities over history oppressed, persecuted, and murdered My people.

Among My people, the ancient city of Babylon became a powerful symbol of such evil cities. Babylon was ruthless as a city, nation, and army against those it conquered. Babylon felt unconquerable, invulnerable, and unstoppable. So throughout history, Babylon has been a symbolic term for evil political, military, or financial powers that seemed unstoppable. However, in a mere seventy years from the time Babylon conquered the chosen people (Israel), completely destroyed the chosen city (Jerusalem), and the chosen place (the Temple) of the Father, she was conquered. The arrogance, brutality, and raw power of Babylon rapidly came crashing down at the hands of the Persians. The Persians then allowed My people, Israel, to return home and rebuild.

In today's verses, you will be reading about a new "Babylon." At one level, it was the "Babylon" that oppressed My people in the first century. At another level, the principles that you read in these verses from Revelation 18 apply to every Babylon. No city, no human power, no financial center, no religious perversion, and no center of world trade will stand when it oppresses My people. Although a city may appear for a time to be impossible to stop and too strong to defeat from a human standpoint, I will make sure it will not last long as a powerful presence of evil. No city or nation that oppresses, persecutes, or martyrs My faithful witnesses will stand. This fateful downfall has been true throughout history. It was true for the people who received this Revelation that John recorded. It will be true until I return in final victory. So do not despair. Every Babylon will fall. Justice will be enacted for the evil perpetrated against My people.
Verses to Live

As you read these verses, remember that the first recipients of the Revelation given to John were being persecuted. Some were even facing martyrdom. They faced a military power — Rome — that seemed invincible. But the malicious, capricious, and vicious powers that held sway in Rome were stopped. The same was true for the powers in Asia Minor that were allied with Rome and that were determined to eradicate My disciples. Nevertheless, Christianity thrived and would soon become the primary faith associated with the Roman Empire. The same has been true down through the centuries and has been true even in your day. So as you read these verses, remember the words of hope from a dark time in the Old Testament:
The deepest pains may linger through the night,
but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.
(Psalm 30:5)
Remember, every Babylon will fall. No power can prevail forever against Me and those who are Mine!
Next I [John] saw another messenger descending from heaven. I knew he possessed great authority because his glory illuminated the earth.

Heavenly Messenger (with a powerful voice):
Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great city!
It has become a habitat for demons,
A haunt for every kind of foul spirit,
a prison for every sort of unclean and hateful bird.

For all the nations have drunk deeply
from the wine of the wrath of her immorality,
And the kings of the earth have disgraced themselves by engaging in gross sexual acts with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown fat and rich, profiting off the power purchased with her luxury.
Then I heard another voice from heaven urge,

A Voice:
My people, get away from her — fast.
Make sure you do not get caught up in her sins.
Put some distance between you so that you do not share in her plagues,
For her sins are higher than the highest mountain. They reach far into the heavens,
and God has not forgotten even one of her missteps.

Deal out to her what she has dealt out to others,
and repay her double according to her deeds.
In the cup where she mixed her drink, mix her a double.

Whatever glory she demanded and whatever luxury she lived,
give back to her the same measure in torment and sorrow.

Secretly she says in her heart:
I rule as queen;
I am not like a widow;
I will never experience grief.
Because of this arrogance, in a single day, plagues will overwhelm her.
Her portion will be death and sorrow and famine,
And she will be incinerated with fire,
for mighty is the Lord God Who exacts judgment on her.
...

Then a mighty messenger picked up a huge stone — it looked like a great millstone — and he cast it into the sea.

Mighty Messenger [an angel of God]:
Watch and see. This is how Babylon, the great city,
will be thrown down; violently will she go down,
and they will search for her in vain.

Never again will the sound of music grace your streets.
The melodies and harmonies of the harpists and musicians and flutists and trumpeters
will never be heard again.
And never again will an artisan of any craft
be found in your markets,

And never again will the grinding of the millstone
provide rhythm to your city,

And never again will the light of a lamp
bring warm light to your houses,
And never again will the voices of the bridegroom and bride
bring joy to your festivities.
For the merchants were the magnates of the earth,
and all the nations fell prey to your sorceries.

And in her streets the blood of the prophets, saints,
and all who have been slaughtered upon the earth, ran freely.
(Revelation 18:1-8; Revelation 18:21-24)
Response in Prayer

O Father, bring down the Babylons of my day. Hear the prayers of those who are being oppressed, persecuted, and murdered for Your cause. Disrupt the powers of evil that exploit, abuse, and oppress all peoples wherever those powers entrench themselves in political, military, or religious systems. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We ask this in confident hope and pray in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.



"A Time for Praise" — A Year with Jesus for 11/27/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower,

What John saw and shared in the verses below is the powerful image of Me coming as a conquering warrior to destroy the evil power that persecutes and oppresses My people. Every Babylon will fall! Those who belong to me — whether in heaven or on earth, whether human or heavenly — will rejoice. There will be a time when I do this once-and-for-all: I will bring down evil and destroy it, so it never returns to oppress My faithful people. There will be celebration and feasting for all who are Mine!

The praise that you share now is a prelude to the praise you will share in when I come as your conquering King and glorified Savior. Remain faithful. Be steadfast. Continually offer your praise in anticipation of My return in glory. Trust that I AM coming and will give you victory. As John shared from his vision, Paul promised the Thessalonians, and I am assuring you:
On that day when He [I, your Lord Jesus] comes, all the saints in heaven and on earth will celebrate the glory of His power, and all who believe will stand and be amazed — this includes you because you believed us when we testified on His behalf. All this is why we are constantly praying for you, so God will make you worthy of the great calling you have received from Him and will give you the power to accomplish every good intention and work of faith. Then the great name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified through your lives, and you will be glorified in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, our Liberating King.
(2 Thessalonians 1:10-12)
Verses to Live

As you read these verses, think of how comforting and full of hope these words would have been for My followers who were facing hardship and even death for their faith. I AM coming for them and they will share in My victory. Now, dear follower, remember that this promise is true for you as well!
The scene changed. After this, I [John] heard the great sound of a multitude echoing in heaven.

Multitude:
Praise the Lord!

Salvation and glory and power truly belong to our God,
for true and just are His judgments.

He has judged the great whore [Babylon]
who polluted the entire earth with her sexual immorality,
And He has vindicated the blood of His servants, which she shed.
Again praise spilled from heaven.

Multitude:
Praise the Lord!

The smoke rises up from her ruins forever and ever.
And the twenty-four elders and four living creatures fell on their faces and worshiped God Who reigns on the throne.

Four Living Creatures and 24 Elders:
Amen. Praise the Lord!
A Voice from the Throne:
Give praise to our God,
all of you, God's servants,
All who reverence Him,
small and great.
And I heard what seemed to be an immense crowd speaking with one voice — it was like the sound of a roaring waterfall, like the sound of clashing thunder.

Multitude (in unison):
Praise the Lord!

For the Lord our God,
the All Powerful, reigns supreme.

Now is the time for joy and happiness.
He deserves all the glory we can give Him.
For the wedding feast has begun; the marriage of the Lamb to His bride has commenced,
and His bride has prepared herself for this glorious day.

She had been given the finest linens to wear,
linens bright and pure,
woven from the righteous deeds of the saints.
Guide:
Write this down: "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb." What I am telling you are the true words of God.
At that, I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he refused my praise.

Guide:
Stop it. Don't you see? I am a servant like you and your brothers and sisters, all who hold fast to the testimony of Jesus. Address your worship to God, not to me! For the testimony about Jesus is essentially the prophetic spirit.
I looked up and saw that heaven had opened. Suddenly, a white horse appeared. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and with righteousness He exercises judgment and wages war. His eyes burn like a flaming fire, and on His head are many crowns. His name was written before the creation of the world, and no one knew it except He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name He was known by is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, outfitted in fine linen, white and pure, were following behind Him on white steeds. From His mouth darts a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule over them with a scepter made of iron. He will trample the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God, the All Powerful. And there on His robe and on His thigh was written His name: King of kings and Lord of lords.
(Revelation 19:1-16)
Response in Prayer

Dear Father, I look forward to Jesus coming in glory, and I want to share in that glory when He comes. I pray that He comes soon and delivers all of my brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and that He brings celebration for all who joyfully await His coming. In His name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 25 Nov 2016, 7:30 pm

"War and Hell's Defeat" — A Year with Jesus for 11/25/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

The images in My Revelation to John are strong and powerful. Today's images are a reminder that My incarnation and ministry on earth were more than just My living a good life and doing kind deeds. My coming to earth was the beginning of the final battle in the Father's war against Satan. I came to save the people of the world, including you, from Satan's demonic forces and evil's grip on your world. I came to bring deliverance for the people of God. I came to defeat Satan and assure you that the final victory over Satan and his banishment to hell are certain.

Satan has his heart set on evil. When I came to earth, I defeated the evil one because of My willing surrender to the will of the Father. Because of My victory over Satan, the Father brought you the promise of victory over sin, death, and hell. Not only did the Father deliver Me from My death brought on by Satan's influence, but He also delivered you through My resurrection. The Father banished Satan from heaven (Luke 10:18). Satan's recognition that his presence and power on earth were limited made him determined to use his influence for evil. Even though his power was limited, he has repeatedly unleashed violence and evil against Me and My people. His being cast down from heaven and My resurrection signaled that his defeat will one day be final and complete.

My sacrifice ("the blood of the Lamb") and My people's faithfulness ("by... the word of their witnesses... [and their willingness to] not hold on to their lives, even under the threat of death") have assured My people of victory over hell's power and fury. Despite Satan's anger and evil intentions, he will not defeat My people. Their faithfulness unto death ensures their ultimate victory with Me in the presence of the Father. However, as long as I have not returned for you, My people, Satan roams the earth and seeks to claim more victims. What Peter warned is true:
Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone.
(1 Peter 5:8)
My resurrection from the dead and My exaltation to the right hand of the Father on high have assured My people ultimate victory — whether through life or death. So Peter finished his warning with this assurance:
Resist him [the devil] and be strong in your faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are fellow sufferers with you. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of grace Who has called you to His everlasting presence through Jesus the Anointed will restore you, support you, strengthen you, and ground you. For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:9-11)
What Peter says in plain language, I revealed to John in vision and imagery. But if you listen through the imagery in the verses below, you will hear the same message. Satan is evil. He views all people, especially those who are Mine, with murderous intent. He will inflict wounds on My precious followers. But these wounds are not permanent. Evil's defeat is assured; in fact, it has already occurred (Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:14-15). That is the reason you can depend on Our power being available to you through the Spirit to defeat temptation as well as to provide ultimate victory through your resurrection. Satan knows this. So be faithful. Resist him. Trust in My victory that will also be yours when I return in glory. While your part of the battle may be fierce, know that both present-day victory and ultimate victory are yours and sharing in My glory is assured.
Verses to Live

While the war of good and evil is fierce and cosmic in scope, the images you read in today's verses paint My truth in powerful and graphic detail. The victory has been won over Satan, evil, the demonic forces, and the power of hell. However, being cast down out of heaven, Satan still wages war on earth until I return to banish him forever. Take heart in knowing that My people will be preserved, and those who are faithful unto death are not lost as casualties in the fight. In their death, they are ushered into My presence and eternal glory.
As I looked, a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman came into view clothed in the radiance of the sun, standing with the moon under her feet, and she was crowned with a wreath of twelve stars on her head. She was painfully pregnant and was crying out in the agony of labor. Then a second sign appeared in heaven, ominous, foreboding: a great red dragon, with seven crowned heads and ten horns. The dragon's tail brushed one-third of the stars from the sky and hurled them down to the earth. The dragon crouched in front of the laboring woman, waiting to devour her child the moment it was born.

She gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule the nations with an iron scepter. Before the dragon could bite and devour her son, the child was whisked away and brought to God and His throne. The woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place of refuge and safety where she could find sustenance for 1,260 days.

A battle broke out in heaven. Michael, along with his heavenly messengers, clashed against the dragon. The dragon and his messengers returned the fight, but they did not prevail and were defeated. As a result, there was no place left for them in heaven. So the great dragon, that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was cast down to the earth along with his messengers. Then I heard a great voice in heaven.

A Voice:
Now the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
has been cast down and silenced.

By the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witnesses,
they have become victorious over him,
For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.
Therefore, rejoice, all you heavens;
celebrate, all you who live in them.
But disaster will befall the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to your spheres,
And he is incredibly angry
because he knows his time is nearly over.
When the dragon realized he had been cast down to the earth, he pursued the mother of the male infant. In order to escape the serpent, she was given the two wings of the great eagle to fly deeper into the wilderness to her own special place where she would find sustenance for a time, and times, and half a time. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a raging river that chased after the woman, trying to sweep her away in the flood. But the earth came to her rescue. It opened its gaping mouth and swallowed the river that spewed from the dragon's mouth. As a result, the dragon was enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children — those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.

And the dragon stood waiting on the sand of the seashore.
(Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 13:1)
Response in Prayer

Father, I confess that war against hell's fury and Satan's deadly attacks wear me down. When I see what is happening to my brothers and sisters who are facing hardship and persecution, I can become discouraged. When evil seems to triumph over good, when those in power seem corrupt, and when good people are hurt and killed for their faith, we — Your disciples — find it hard to keep our hope alive. But I know that over the long course of history, Your people have faced greater hardship, and things seemed far worse, and You intervened in clear ways to deliver them. So now I ask, dear Father, that You bring deliverance for our brothers and sisters who are facing such horrible persecution in many parts of the world. Give them deliverance and show Your power over evil and protect your people from hell's fury. I do trust that Jesus has conquered Satan, but please display hell's defeat in our day or send Jesus to deliver us in His ultimate triumph. In the name of Jesus my Savior, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 24 Nov 2016, 11:39 pm


My Powerful and Tender Presence" — A Year with Jesus for 11/24/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Believer,

The history of your planet is pockmarked by violence, famine, war, disease, fear, sin, torture, persecution, and death. This was not how We — Father, Son, and Spirit — created the world to operate. The gift of great beauty and diversity in Our creation was broken by human rebellion that resulted in sin (Genesis 3:9-19; Romans 5:12-14). Creation continues to writhe and groan in pain as people abuse each other and ravage the wonderful place created to be your home (Romans 8:18-22).

As the seven seals are opened in the story of Revelation, the created world shudders in fear as judgment is exercised on a world gone mad in its own evil. My people are oppressed, persecuted, abused, and martyred for their faith in Me. However, as bad as the world condition seems, it is not as bad as it could be. No matter how powerful evil appears to be, I AM still at work to preserve, redeem, and restore My people.

Nevertheless, a high price is paid among My beloved faithful followers. Physical lives are lost, good people are abused, and faithful disciples are persecuted and martyred. These problems are why I want you to get a glimpse of the glory they share with Me before the Father. Stephen saw this glory as he died as an early martyr for My cause (Acts 7:54-60).

Those who like Stephen have paid such a high price for their faith in Me are in My presence. Their sorrow, fear, and loss are caught up in the joyous celebration of victory as they share in My presence and glory. I AM their Shepherd Who protects, sustains, and nourishes them. I AM gentle with them and gently wipe away their tears, acknowledging their hurt while welcoming them into a life of grace, peace, joy, and fellowship. They will find the water of life, My never-ending supply of grace and life to sustain them forever.

On the hearts and from the mouths of My martyred people come the most powerful songs of praise and blessing you will ever hear. They acknowledge My control and My plan to intervene when and how it is best for all of My people. Evil will not defeat them. The worst that Satan, his demons, his human co-conspirators, and his oppressive ways can do to My beloved disciples is to send them into My eternal presence. Paul's words said it well as he faced his own possible death:
I [Paul] don't expect that dishonor and shame will plague me in any way, but I do hope that I will continue to be able to speak freely and courageously about Jesus, and that now and forever the Anointed One will be glorified and placed above all else through this body of mine — whether I live or die. For my life is about the Anointed and Him alone. And my death, when that comes, will mean great gain for me. So, if it's His will that I go on serving here, my work will be fruitful for the message. I honestly wouldn't know how or what to choose; I would be hard-pressed to decide. I lean toward leaving this world to be with the Anointed One because I can only think that would be much better. To stay in this body of flesh — even with all its pains and weaknesses — would best serve your needs. Now that I think of it, I am sure of this: I would prefer to remain to share in the progress and joy of your growing belief. When I return to you, we will celebrate Jesus the Anointed even more.
(Philippians 1:20-26)
If you face persecution today, please take heart. Be faithful no matter what you face. Unending glory in My presence awaits you. If you do not face persecution, remember your brothers and sisters who do. As you minister to them, please know you are doing My work, the very work I do with those who have been faithful unto death and come into My presence.

Despite how things may appear, My people will triumph. They will share in My victory and the conquering power of My grace. Your sorrow, hardship, and tears are not wasted or are they forgotten.
Verses to Live

With all the powerful and sometimes violent images revealed to John, I want you to focus on two non-violent images in today's verses.

First, notice that "a huge crowd of people, which no one could even begin to count, representing every nation and tribe, people and language" gathered around Me to praise Me with shouts of praise and joy. Persecution and martyrdom could not strip them of their faith or their victory.

Second, notice My tenderness with those who have been oppressed and who have suffered because of My name. Remember this tenderness for those who are mine when you read about the destruction of the wicked, the demonic, and the allies of Satan. I AM both the "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5) and the Lamb Who voluntarily let himself be slain to buy you from the clutches of Satan and his desire to have hell be your future.
After this vision, I [John] saw four heavenly messengers standing at the four corners of the earth. They were holding back the four winds so that the earth would not be overcome by violent, rushing winds blowing over the land or over the sea or blowing down any tree. Then I saw a fifth messenger, coming up with the sun as it was rising in the east, carrying the seal of the living God. He called with a great and loud voice to the four messengers who had authority to harm the earth and its seas.

Fifth Messenger:
Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we seal the servants of our God with a mark of ownership on their foreheads.
Then I heard that 144,000 would receive the seal, that is 12,000 from every tribe of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

After I heard about these who would be sealed, I looked and saw a huge crowd of people, which no one could even begin to count, representing every nation and tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and waving palm branches. They cried out with one loud voice.

Crowd:
Salvation comes only from our God, Who sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb.
All the heavenly messengers stood up, encircling the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell prostrate before the throne and worshiped God.

Heavenly Messengers, Elders, and Living Creatures:
Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom
And thanksgiving and honor
And power and might
Be to our God on and on throughout all the ages. Amen.
One of the Elders (to me):
Who are these people clothed in white robes, and where have they come from?
John:
Sir, surely you know the answer to your own questions.
One of the Elders:
These are coming from the time of great suffering and affliction. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, cleansing them pure white.

Responding out of a heart filled with praise, they congregate before the throne of God
and constantly worship Him day and night in His temple.
The One seated on the throne will always live among them.
They will never be hungry or thirsty again.
The sun or blazing heat will never scorch them,
Because the Lamb Who stands at the center of the throne is their shepherd and they are His sheep,
and He will lead them to the water of life.
And God will dry every tear from their eyes.
(Revelation 7:1-17)
Response in Prayer

Almighty Father and eternal God, please work in our history today to liberate and deliver Your people from oppression and deliver those facing persecution. Receive into Your glory those who have already been martyred for the cause of Christ. I pray for Your intervention. I plead for You to deliver them and bring peace to our troubled world. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 23 Nov 2016, 8:32 pm

Worthy" — A Year with Jesus for 11/23/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Disciple,

The world can be a confusing place. You love and adore the Father. You recognize the sacrifice I made for you. I know that you believe that I rose from the dead to give you victory. I know you trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. But, there are real problems in your world that are hard to reconcile with your glorious idea of Who I AM and how We — Father, Son, and Spirit — work in your world.

During times of severe persecution, as some of your Christian brothers and sisters are facing right now, the persecuted can wonder where We are and if We are going to do anything to help them. They long for us to say something substantive to give them hope. I gave John a vision of Me. He was caught up in the Spirit so that he could see what lies ahead for My churches and for his dear family of faith in Asia Minor.

However, before I revealed to John what lay ahead for My church, I reminded him of the Father's glory. I showed him the place of all creation in the Father's presence. All created beings bowed in reverence, prostrate before the throne of the One Who is worthy of all glory and honor. In the vision, the Father was surrounded by amazing beauty and glory beyond description. All present recognized the Father's holiness. They praised Him for being the one true and living God, the great I AM — the One "Who was, and Who is, and Who is coming."

In this image I gave to John, the Father held in his hand the full and complete message of what lies ahead for My people. However, this message was sealed. Only the One Who is worthy could open the seals and reveal that message. No one in heaven or earth, no one among the heavenly messengers or heavenly beings or humanity, was found who was worthy.

Then at the moment of great desperation, John saw Me in his vision. I alone was found worthy to reveal the future for My people. I alone am fully One with the Father, yet I offered Myself to be killed as the perfect Lamb of sacrifice for the sins of the people, including you. In a moment of joyous hope, all in heaven erupted in praise to Me. They used almost identical words to praise Me as they did the Father — they recognized that We are One and that We alone are worthy of their adoration and praise.

Just as I did not escape persecution because of My commitment to the Father, you and other disciples may also have to suffer persecution. The vision for John was to tell both My early disciples and you that a glorious future awaits for those who remain faithful to Me no matter what they face. As Paul wrote to the Roman Christians:
If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory. Now I’m sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:17-18)
Verses to Live

As the One Who has borne humanity in Myself, I AM worthy to reveal to My church, My people, what the future holds. This revelation of heaven's glory — of the Father and His glory and Me in My glory — sets the stage for what unfolds in the rest of the Revelation to John. For today, however, I want you to say out loud the words of praise to the Father. Praise the One Who sits on the throne. Worship the Father with your physical posture as the host of heaven did. Worship Him in your physical posture and actions as illustrated in the following verses. Physically worshiping Him in this way helps you recognize His glory.

Now use the words of praise said to Me in the second part of your readings today. Follow the lead of the host of heaven and worship Me in this way. Open your heart to praise. Too often in your dignified world, you hold back on praise and on demonstrating your worship through your physical posture. But, in times of need, you are willing to do anything to "get God's attention"; don't wait for desperation. Praise the Father as he deserves. As you do, realize how much you are loved, known, and valued. As you do, realize that you will never face a day alone. We will never leave or forsake you. We will work in history to preserve the church and deliver our people. I AM both the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah Who has won the victory for you, and I AM also the Lamb Who was slain to redeem you. Your praise provides Me the dwelling place on the throne of your heart.
After I [John] wrote down these messages, I saw a door standing open in heaven and heard again the first voice that sounded like a trumpet.

A Voice:
Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.
Immediately I was caught up in the Spirit, and I saw a throne that stood in heaven and One seated on the throne. The One enthroned gleamed like jasper and carnelian, and a rainbow encircled the throne with an emerald glow. Encircling that great throne were twenty-four smaller thrones with twenty-four elders clothed in white robes with wreaths fashioned of gold on their heads. Out of the great throne came flashes of lightning, sounds of voices, and peals of thunder. In front of the great throne, seven torches were ablaze, which are the seven Spirits of God. Also in front of the throne was a glassy sea of shimmering crystal.

In the midst of the throne and encircling the throne were four living creatures, covered all over with eyes, front to back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature was like an ox, the third creature had a face like the face of a human, and the fourth creature was like an eagle in full flight. These four living creatures, each of which had six wings and was covered with eyes — eyes on the outside and on the inside — did not cease chanting. All day and night they were singing.

Four Living Creatures:
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Who is the All Powerful,
Who was, and Who is, and Who is coming.
And when the living creatures declared glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One seated on the throne, the One Who lives throughout all the ages, the twenty-four elders fell prostrate before the One seated on the throne, worshiped the One Who lives throughout all the ages, cast their golden wreaths before the throne, and chanted to Him.

24 Elders:
Worthy are You, O Lord; worthy are You, O God,
to receive glory and honor and power.
You alone created all things,
and through Your will and by Your design, they exist and were created.
And then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One seated upon the throne, a scroll written both on the inside and on the outside. It had been sealed with seven seals. Then a mighty heavenly messenger proclaimed with a loud voice,

Mighty Messenger:
Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?
No creature of creation in all heaven, on all the earth, or even under the earth could open the scroll or look into its mysteries. Then I began to mourn and weep bitterly because no creature of creation was found who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into its mysteries. Then one of the elders consoled me.

One of the 24 Elders:
Stop weeping. Look there — the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. He has conquered and is able to break its seven seals and open the scroll.
I looked, and between the throne and the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders stood a Lamb Who appeared to have been slaughtered. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes (the eyes are the seven Spirits of God sent out over all the earth).

The Lamb came and took the scroll from the right hand of the One seated upon the throne. And when He took it, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell prostrate before the Lamb. They worshiped Him, and each one held a harp and golden bowls filled with incense (the prayers of God's holy people). Then they sang a new song.

Four Living Creatures and 24 Elders:
You are worthy to receive the scroll,
to break its seals,
Because You were slain. With Your blood, You redeemed for God
people from every tribe and language, people from every race and nation.
You have made them a kingdom; You have appointed them priests to serve our God,
and they will rule upon the earth.
When I looked again, I heard the voices of heavenly messengers (numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands). They surrounded the throne, the living creatures, and the elders.

Thousands of Messengers (with a great voice):
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain.
Worthy is the Lamb to receive authority and wealth and wisdom and greatness
And honor and glory and praise.
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and beneath the earth and in the sea and all things in them echoing the messengers.

Every Creature:
To the One Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
Be blessing and honor and glory and power
Throughout the ages.
And the four living creatures kept on repeating:

Four Living Creatures:
Amen. Amen.
And the elders fell down and worshiped Him Who lives forever.
(Revelation 4:1-11; Revelation 5:1-14)
Response in Prayer

Holy and righteous Father, I praise You. I praise with my head bowed and on My knees because I am not worthy to be in Your presence. I bow before You, dear Father, because You are worthy of my humble obedience. And I thank You that, because of Jesus' sacrifice, I know I am welcomed into Your presence not as a servant, but as a beloved child. Even as Your child, dear Father, I bow before You in thanks and adoration for all that You have done to save me. As we look at ominous things in our world, I pray that You comfort my heart with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Use the Revelation to John to encourage me and remind me that Jesus is not only at work in my life and in His church, but He is also involved in shaping history. So until the day He returns, I commit to honoring You, dear Father, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 22 Nov 2016, 9:55 pm


"To Laodicea: Lukewarm and Pathetic" — A Year with Jesus for 11/22/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

Be true to Me with all your heart (Matthew 22:37-38). Fence-straddling half-hearted efforts reveal that a person is double-minded and offensive to your Father in heaven (James 1:5-8 NIV; James 4:8; 2 Peter 1:5-9). I AM the One Who lived to please the Father when I was on earth (John 4:34; John 6:38). I lived the truth no matter the consequences (John 14:6). I AM the one in Whose name you say "Amen!" (2 Corinthians 1:20). I lived in such a way that I completed My mission (John 19:30).

Many people who claim to follow Me don't know My teaching and don't obey the Father's will. They live to please themselves. We — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — are treated by these people as good luck charms Whose only role is to endorse their immoral lifestyles and grant their selfish wishes uttered in prayer. I know this sounds harsh. Sometimes the truth has to be said clearly. Our love is not love if it lets people throw their lives away chasing after the things of the world while claiming to live for Us.

The water brought to the city of Laodicea originated from the springs where it bubbled to the surface. However, after a long trip down the aqueduct to the city, the water was lukewarm. It wasn't good for a warm bath. Those who drank it considered it awful as drinking water. Over time, the fresh, passionate, and vibrant faith of My disciples in Laodicea had become like their water. Laodicea was a "lukewarm" church.

Laodicea was a wealthy church in a city known for wealth. Living at the intersection of three major roadways and being a major center for textiles, especially black dyed wool, they found their security in their wealth. They felt as if they needed nothing. Their dependence was more rooted in themselves than in relying on Me as their Lord. Despite the fact that their city was famous for an eye salve, they needed spiritual eye ointment to remove their blindness to their spiritual condition.

As you read My letter to them, you will notice that I tell them that they are "miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked." You will notice that I do not compliment anything about their lives as My disciples. Their lukewarm hearts, their arrogant self-dependence, and their compromise with the worldliness made Me want to vomit.

Rather than depending on their financial wealth, they needed to have lives purified and refined into the gold of holy character (1 Peter 1:7).

Rather than depending on their lovely garments for which their city was so famous, they needed the white robes of purity and faithfulness (Revelation 7:13-14; Revelation 19:8) to cover their spiritual nakedness.

Rather than looking down their noses at others because they felt financially secure, they needed spiritual eye salve to open their eyes that had grown blind to what matters most (John 9:39-41).

I didn't say any of this to My beloved disciples to be mean. I said these words because they were true. The Laodicean disciples were undisciplined and disloyal — not brazenly sinful, but not passionately faithful. They kept up the facade of their faith without the substance and structure underneath the appearance.
Verses to Live

I promised to come and discipline these disciples. This act of love was needed. So I stood at the door waiting for them to open and welcome Me into their lives. Notice that these words of both promised discipline and gracious fellowship are not said to unbelievers — the way some use them. This invitation to welcome Me is for believers who are lukewarm, double-minded, and blind to their compromises. I want to come to them and reignite our relationship and restore their passion. Maybe that is what you need, too. My promise is still true:
"Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back. Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me."
Please take My words to Laodicea seriously. I long for your walk of faith to be filled with passion, focus, and commitment!
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Laodicea.

"These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God's creation:

"I know your works. You are neither cold with apathy nor hot with passion. It would be better if you were one or the other, but you are neither. So because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. You claim, 'I am rich, I have accumulated riches, and I need nothing'; but you do not realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. So here is what I suggest you do: buy true gold from Me (gold refined by fire so that you can be truly rich), white garments (to cover you so that you can keep the shame of your nakedness from showing), and eye ointment (to treat your eyes so that you may see clearly).

"Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back. Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me.

"The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death I will place next to Me on My throne, just as I Myself conquered and took a place of honor with My Father on His throne.

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches."
(Revelation 3:14-22)
Response in Prayer

O Father, forgive me. Forgive me for my flirtations with the world. Forgive me for the times I've let my heart grow cold and my faith become passionless. Please, LORD Jesus, I invite You into my heart. Discipline me gently, but bring me — heart, soul, mind, and strength — into a deep, authentic, and vibrant walk with You. Holy Spirit, please fill me and transform me to be more and more like Jesus, Who lived with whole-hearted devotion to the Father. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 21 Nov 2016, 5:13 pm

"To Philadelphia: 'I Possess the Key'" — A Year with Jesus for 11/21/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful One, 

My letter to My followers in the ancient city of "brotherly love" — the meaning of the word Philadelphia — is for you as well as for them! You see, this group of disciples faced opposition from several different groups who hated them. The ever-present emperor cult was one source of haters in Philadelphia. Ironically, the people of Philadelphia had a love/hate relationship with the emperors. Rome kept trying to impose its will and change the name of the city to match the latest family of the emperors. Those in politics in the city curried favor with Rome and the emperors. Many commoners didn't. 

However, My disciples in Philadelphia faced opposition similar to the earlier disciples that you read about in the book of Acts. Those earlier disciples encountered bitter hatred from some in the Jewish community. Misunderstanding fueled this hatred. Christians had left Jerusalem before the Roman army destroyed it. I had warned My disciples to leave when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20-24). They did. Unfortunately, many of their Jewish friends considered this treason and betrayal. Hatred settled into their attitude toward Christians. Not all descended from Israel are true Israelites (Romans 2:28-29; Romans 9:6-8). However, some Israelite people did not share this hatred of Christians. When hatred fuels any people, even those who claim My name, they are self-deluded and make themselves a "congregation of Satan" rather than My people! 

I reminded My disciples that as Son of God, I was to them speaking as God in human flesh (John 1:14-18; John 5:18). As God, I am "the holy One" (Revelation 3:7; 2 Kings 19:22; Job 6:10; Isaiah 1:4) and "the true One" (Revelation 3:7; Jeremiah 10:10). These two titles describing Me vibrate with a depth of meaning rooted in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings — the three divisions that Jews applied to what you call the Old Testament. These titles for Me reminded these believers that as Son, I spoke to them as the LORD. As their LORD, I know all about what is going on in their lives. I know their struggles. I know their deeds. I know who opposes them. 

However, I not only know about them, but I also have the power to guarantee them victory. I can make this guarantee because I have the power over death; death can no longer threaten Me and it cannot defeat My church (Matthew 16:18). As I reminded them at the beginning of Revelation, I declare to you:
"This is not the time for fear; I am the First and the Last, and I am the living One. I entered the realm of the dead; but see, I am alive now and for all the ages — even ages to come. Amen. I possess the keys to open the prison of death and hades." 
(Revelation 1:17-18)
You live in uncertain times, times when many of My own are being persecuted, executed, and sold as slaves by those claiming to act for God. But as I told My disciples in Philadelphia, remain faithful. I own and control "the key of David"; therefore, death and hades cannot contain you. Instead of holding you, death brings you fully into My presence with the Father. While the world will face a "time of trial," you do not belong to the world. "Your new life is now hidden" and joined with Me in God. When I appear, you will accompany Me and share in My glory (Colossians 3:3). 

My key opens up your future to life beyond death. My key also opens the door of possibility for you in the nearer future. Be faithful. Continue to do your good deeds. Persevere in sharing My grace. Doing so will keep anyone or anything from taking the "victor's wreath" from you. My promise of your victory is sure and certain. I used an image to remind My followers in Philadelphia of this certainty. You see, they were accustomed to frequent earthquakes that necessitated their frequent rebuilding. Many residents had moved out of the city to avoid the falling masonry during these earthquakes. My faithful ones, however, will be firmly planted as a stable and immovable "pillar in the temple of My God" and will never have to leave the presence of the glory, joy, and security of the Father!
Verses to Live

Read carefully My promises to this group of believers who felt weak as they faced hardship. Notice that I do not criticize them. I offer them My promises of power over death, opportunity over futility, and influence in the face of opposition. My promises are sure, and their victory awaits them. These promises and assurances are equally sure for you, My faithful one, and I AM so certain of it that I AM sharing My name and the name of your victorious destination with you!
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia. 

"These are the words of the holy One, the true One, and the One Who possesses the key of David, which opens the possibilities so that no one can shut them. The One Who closes all options so that no one can open: 

"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can shut. I have done this because you have limited strength, yet you have obeyed My word and have not denied My name. Watch, and I will make those of the congregation of Satan — those who call themselves "Jews" but are not because they lie — come before you penitent, falling at your feet. Then they will know how much I have loved you. Because you have obeyed My instructions to endure and be patient, I will protect you from the time of trial which will come upon the whole earth and put everyone in it to the test. I will soon return. Hold tight to what you have so that no one can take away your victor's wreath. 

"As for the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will plant that person as a pillar in the temple of My God, and that person will never have to leave the presence of God. Moreover, I will inscribe this person with the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, New Jerusalem — which descends out of heaven from My God — and My own new name. 

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches."
(Revelation 3:7-13)
Response in Prayer

Father, for my brothers and sisters who face persecution and hardship today, I pray they realize the strength You have for them and the victory that awaits them. Please give me the courage to live out of this glorious hope with faithfulness until the day I see you face-to-face and find my place in Your glorious presence. In Jesus' name, I await this day. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 20 Nov 2016, 8:03 pm

"To Sardis: 'I know the things you do.'" — A Year with Jesus for 11/20/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Friends, 

As pointed out yesterday, My words to some of the disciples in Thyatira were harsh. However, My strongest words were reserved for My church in Sardis:
"I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive — but you are dead."
A church's reputation can be deceiving. However, I know what is going on in a congregation, and I know the hearts of her people. I know the truth about a congregation's faithfulness. 

Sardis was once a great military city. It had the reputation of being an impenetrable citadel. That citadel fell three times over the years because of carelessness. Rather than posting guards, the people slept in their beds thinking they were safe. While they slept, the enemy scaled their walls and overran their city. 

The community of Jews built an impressive and influential synagogue that gave the city a reputation for being very religious with people dedicated to the Father. However, a closer look revealed that they had sold out to the culture around them, mixing elements of idolatrous religions with their faith. They lost their single-minded devotion to truth and holiness. 

Unfortunately, these flaws in their city's past — a lack of wakefulness and a willingness for spiritual compromise — seeped into and permeated the heart of My people in Sardis. Their heart disease killed authentic and vibrant faith. A little life remained, but not much. They urgently needed to repent. They didn't need just to feel sorry regarding their sin, but instead they needed to turn truly from their sinful behaviors and give their hearts back to Me. 

Sometimes change comes from the inside out. For healthy disciples, this is the way the Holy Spirit transforms them (2 Corinthians 3:18). However, when a person's heart is dying (Hebrews 3:12-14), emergency measures must be taken, and immediate changes must be made in medication, diet, and exercise if the heart is to heal. Notice the five commands that I gave My disciples in Sardis to correct their spiritual heart disease:
Wake up!
Strengthen what little you have left of your faith.
Return to what you first believed.
Hold firmly to that first faith.
Turn your heart back to Me.
While many were spiritually dead in Sardis and received My harshest rebuke, some of My disciples received My highest words of praise. Notice how they were:
Unsoiled: "don't have the stain of evil works on their clothes."
Pure: "will walk alongside Me in white."
Worthy: "they have been proven worthy."
Alive: "I will certainly not erase that person's name from the book of life."
Praised: "I will acknowledge this person's name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers."
Rather than just having a reputation for being alive, these disciples were fully and wholeheartedly alive in Me!
Verses to Live

Which of the two lists above is applicable for you? As you read My letter to the disciples at Sardis, the Spirit will help you know. Either you need a work plan to restore your heart and to come back to Me, or you are walking in the life that I give and that no one can take from you. I urge you to make sure the latter list is true of you!
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Sardis. 

"These are the words of the One Who has the seven Spirits of God, the Perfect Spirit, and the One Who holds the seven stars: 

"I know the things you do — you've claimed a reputation of life, but you are actually dead. Wake up from your death-sleep, and strengthen what remains of the life you have been given that is in danger of death. I have judged your deeds as far from complete in the sight of My God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard; it's time to keep these instructions and turn back from your ways. If you do not wake up from this sleep, I will come in judgment. I will creep up on you like a thief — you will have no way of knowing when I will come. But there are a few in Sardis who don't have the stain of evil works on their clothes. They will walk alongside Me in white, spotless garments because they have been proven worthy. 

"The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will be clothed in white garments, and I will certainly not erase that person's name from the book of life. I will acknowledge this person's name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers. 

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches."
(Revelation 3:1-6)
Response in Prayer

O righteous Father, purify My heart. Strengthen my will as I seek to live wholeheartedly for Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 19 Nov 2016, 7:23 pm

"To Thyatira: Some Are Faithful; Some Are Not" — A Year with Jesus for 11/19/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower, 

As the "Son of God," I want you to think about My watershed statement to the believers in Thyatira:
"I am the One Who relentlessly explores the mind and heart, and I will deal with each of you as you deserve according to your acts."
Does this promise strike fear into your heart or give you a reason to rejoice? Is it comforting or threatening to realize that I know and care about what you feel, think, and do? 

Unlike the influential cities of Ephesus, Sardis, and Pergamum, the city of Thyatira was a second-tier city. For centuries, it served as a frontier military outpost for more important regional and world powers. Because of the mineral content in the nearby Lycus River, Thyatira became well known for its unique "Turkish red" (sometimes called purple, as in Acts 16:14) dye used in expensive garments. 

The people in Thyatira knew about hard work and hard living. Subtlety was not the temperament of their society. The locals worshiped the false sun god of war, Tyrimnos. Many trade guilds also had their particular patron gods and goddesses. Their regular meetings included "worship" festivals and parties. These events involved drunkenness as well as sexual experiences and performances. Refusing to take part in these meetings was considered anti-social and anti-deity, tantamount to professional suicide. 

The idolatry and immorality that were woven into the social life, trade guilds, religion, and government of Thyatira placed My followers in a moral bind. How could they take part in these drunken parties and idol-focused meetings filled with sexual immorality and still consider themselves My disciples? But if they didn't participate, how would they practice their craft, make money to feed their families, and maintain friendships with those they could influence to become My disciples? 

Believers in Thyatira took different approaches to the problem. Some steadfastly stayed clear of the idol feasts and immorality. Others, however, allowed a self-appointed prophetess to seduce them. Like the ancient Queen Jezebel, this false teacher led My people astray. She encouraged them to mix their faith in Me with worship and activities that involved idolatry and sexual immorality. Her teaching about "deep things" was a perversion of the truth and was sent from Satan to corrupt and dilute the faith of My people. 

My disciples' love for each other in Thyatira pleased Me. Unfortunately, some mistakenly thought that love included a tolerance of evil behavior, so part of My message to them was this:
"However, I have this against you: you have tolerated that woman Jezebel, who is a self-anointed prophetess and who misleads My followers to commit immoral sexual acts and to eat food prepared for idol worship."
I commanded this Jezebel and all who followed her to repent. I demanded they change. If they didn't turn away from idolatry and immorality, I would come with swift judgment and severe discipline:
"Watch; I will throw her back into her sickbed with those who committed adultery with her, and I will make them a bed of great affliction if they do not abandon her indiscretions and turn to follow Me."
My being "the One Who relentlessly explores the mind and heart" and Who would "deal with each of you as you deserve according to your acts" was a harsh call to repentance! 

On the other hand, many of My disciples in Thyatira refused any spiritual compromise. Their lives were full of good "deeds, love, faithfulness, service, and endurance." They were even showing constant improvement in these areas of their lives. I encouraged them to remain steadfast: "Just keep on task, and keep the faith until I return." I also promised to reward their faithfulness and good deeds: "I will bestow the morning star to the victor." These disciples were comforted to know that I knew their difficult situation and appreciated their faithful perseverance, character, and grace. 

What about you? Are you comforted or fearful, encouraged or threatened, to know that I search your heart and mind, know your deeds, and "will deal with each of you as you deserve according to your acts"? If you compromise your life with immorality, then change! Repent and turn back to Me! I long to strengthen and empower you to live a life full of My righteous character and gracious compassion. My desire is to bring you to My home to enjoy the presence of the Father and to share in the glory of His children who will reign with Me forever and ever.
Verses to Live

My words to the believers in Thyatira are straightforward. For those compromising with idolatry and sexual immorality, My words were shocking and harsh. The disciples had to know that sin and compromise with evil were wrong. 

For those who were faithful, My words brought them comfort and reassured My presence among them, My love for them, My appreciation of them, and My glorious future that awaited them. As you read My letter to these believers, let the Holy Spirit apply these words to you and what you need as My disciple.
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Thyatira. 

"These are the words of the Son of God, the One Whose eyes blaze like flames of fire and Whose feet gleam like brightly polished bronze: 

"I know your deeds, love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your labors greatly increase in quality as you travel along this journey. 

"However, I have this against you: you have tolerated that woman Jezebel, who is a self-anointed prophetess and who misleads My followers to commit immoral sexual acts and to eat food prepared for idol worship. I have provided her enough time to turn away from her indecency, but she refuses to turn from these immoral acts. Watch; I will throw her back into her sickbed with those who committed adultery with her, and I will make them a bed of great affliction if they do not abandon her indiscretions and turn to follow Me. I will punish her by striking her children dead. Through this all the churches will know I am the One Who relentlessly explores the mind and heart, and I will deal with each of you as you deserve according to your acts. 

"I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, those who have not held to the teachings of Jezebel and who remain ignorant of the real meaning of what is called the deep things of Satan, I will not burden you with anything more. Just keep on task, and keep the faith until I return. 

"And as for those who conquer through faithfulness even unto death and continue to labor with Me until the close of the final curtain,
"I will give them authority over the nations. 
And they will rule the nations with an iron scepter, 
as fragile clay jars are shattered to pieces.
"As I received this authority from My Father, I will bestow the morning star to the victor. 

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches."
(Revelation 2:18-29)
Response in Prayer

O gracious Father, thank You for caring enough about Me to know My story inside and out. I am thankful that Jesus knows the motives of my heart and the struggles that I have to be your faithful witness in my world. Strengthen me as I seek to be faithful in my thoughts, emotions, words, and deeds. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Nov 2016, 7:03 pm

To Pergamum: Don't Compromise with the World" — A Year with Jesus for 11/18/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Servant of God, 

Tolerance and compromise can be a way to prevent conflict. Tolerance and compromise can be a politician's tool to bridge differences between political rivals. Tolerance and compromise are often seen as rational solutions to allow multicultural differences to coexist in a diverse culture. Tolerance and compromise can become a way My people try to hold onto their faith in Me without offending those around them. While there is a time and there is a place for tolerance and compromise in general society, you must know that there is never a time or a place for them concerning your faith. 

My disciples in Pergamum faced a horrible choice: renounce me and embrace the idolatrous practices of their culture or face ostracism, prejudice, persecution, and possibly even martyrdom. What was the cost of their loyalty to Me? Antipas lost his life because he would not renounce his faith in Me. 

My followers in Pergamum knew the consequences of their faith. They lived in the provincial capital. They were surrounded by all sorts of idol worship. The massive altar of Zeus, in a temple precinct high on a neighboring hill, was filled with idols to the pantheon of Roman gods. In addition, the temple of Asclepios, the god of healing, was well known throughout Asia Minor and much of the rest of the Mediterranean world. As the seat of the Roman provincial government, the emperor cult was strong, and loyalty to Emperor Domitian was enforced at many public activities. My followers lived in a place where "Satan, the adversary, has established his throne." 

The believers refused to renounce their faith in Me. I applaud them for their courage and steadfastness. They "stayed true to My name" and "did not deny" their "trust in Me"! Living as My disciples in Pergamum was extremely dangerous. How would they navigate life and faith when nearly all they did would normally be connected in some way with idolatry, false gods, and immorality? 

Unfortunately, some disciples found their solution by practicing tolerance and compromise. They succumbed to the sin of Balaam and Balak (Numbers 22:1-38). Some entered into sexual relations with cult prostitutes and celebrated idolatrous feasts, as had been done on occasion by the Israelites (Numbers 25:1-4). The Nicolaitans offered a creative solution. As "spiritual people," they claimed to know that idols aren't real gods. They decided that the food, the festivities, and the sexual immorality of idol worship really don't pollute their spirits. So they claimed Me as their Savior, but they took part in the idolatrous feasts and the temple sex. In actuality, however, by taking part in those pagan and idolatrous practices they were corrupting themselves and tainting My Body, the church (1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 1 Corinthians 10:18-21). 

The Pergamum believers' compromise with the world contaminated My truth and falsified their discipleship. If they refused to repent — to "change your ways and turn to Me" — then I had no choice. If they were going to fear the sword of Rome and trust the wisdom of their great works of philosophy urging moderation and compromise, then I would come and "battle them with the sword of My mouth"! I would "quickly come" and battle them with My "sharp double-edged sword" bringing truth and judgment (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 19:15). Such tolerance of immorality and compromise with it corrupted My grace (Galatians 1:6-10; Romans 6:1-17). Such tolerance and compromise resulted in "a mockery of the grace" that I paid such a high cost to give to you. The disciples' perversion of grace focused on turning Our grace into "a pretext for a life of excess, lived without any thought of God" (Jude 1:4). 

Persecution and martyrdom can be awful consequences of your faith in Me. I do not want My people to suffer. However, tolerance of the world and compromise with the world have far worse consequences. I want you to hear clearly the message I shared with My followers in Pergamum. I want you to examine your life and the way so many claiming to be My followers have compromised with the world chasing false gods, participating in immoral parties, and readily accepting sexual immorality as a way of life. You cannot claim My name and share in these compromises to fit into your culture. I know it is hard to be faithful in such difficult circumstances, but I am calling you to this kind of faithfulness. 

Remember, however, that faithfulness to Me brings great blessing. You will be given an invitation ("white stone") to the greatest party of all time, My messianic wedding banquet (Revelation 19:1-9). Your invitation will have the special name of one chosen to come to My great feast ("hidden manna"). You will share in My joy, healing, and victory with Me forever!
Verses to Live

Faithfulness is more than confessing My name; you must put your life where your mouth is without compromise (Matthew 7:21-23). When you do, beloved, your future and your eternal joy are safeguarded with Me and the Father in heaven (Colossians 3:1-4).
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Pergamum. 

"These are the words of the One with the sharp double-edged sword:

"I know your deeds and where you live. It is where Satan, the adversary, has established his throne. You have stayed true to My name, and you did not deny your trust in Me even in the eventful days of My faithful witness, Antipas. He was killed among you in that place where Satan dwells. 

"However, I have a few matters against you: some who live among you hold to the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to set up a stumbling block before the people of Israel. As a result, some among you are eating food prepared for idol worship and committing immoral sexual acts. You have others who are holding firm to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore, change your ways and turn to Me. If you do not, I will quickly come to where you live and will battle them with the sword of My mouth. 

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. To the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will feed you with hidden manna and give you a white stone. Upon this stone, a new name is engraved. No one knows this name except for its recipient."
(Revelation 2:12-17)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I recognize how the world around me is growing more hostile to faith in Jesus. I recognize the devil's temptations are sometimes disguised as simple little lies. Please empower Me with your Spirit as I give my heart to be faithful to You. I trust in Your power to save. Please help me see the areas where I am compromising Your purposes for Your Church. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 17 Nov 2016, 12:14 pm

To Smyrna: True Victory in Affliction" — A Year with Jesus for 11/17/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

Your world can be a brutal place for good people. I never promised My disciples that life would be easy and without problems. People persecuted Me and opposed Me, and they are going to do the same with My followers (John 15:18; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:9). Some would do it even thinking that they were honoring God. I didn't promise you an easy life free of difficulties as My disciple. I did promise My early disciples and you something even greater: I promised that I would share My victory with them and with you when I said:
"I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order." 
(John 16:33)
When tough times come, remember Paul's words written to My disciples in Rome:
Now I'm sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us. 

... 

If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don't you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him? Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God's chosen? Especially since God's "not guilty" verdict is already declared. Who has the authority to condemn? Jesus the Anointed Who died, but more importantly, conquered death when He was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God's Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. As the psalm says,
On Your behalf, our lives are endangered constantly; 
we are like sheep awaiting slaughter.
But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him Who loved us. For I have every confidence that nothing — not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing — can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord. 
(Romans 8:18; Romans 8:31-39).
I remind you of these great promises because My letter to the church at Smyrna is a painful letter to read. While I knew that the trials and persecution that they were facing were hard, I had to tell them the worst was yet to come. My letter wasn't an easy message for Me to share with these precious disciples. Unfortunately, in an evil world there are times when My people will face unspeakably hard times before My deliverance changes their situation. Hard times are what My disciples faced in Smyrna. 

The beautiful city of Smyrna was beloved by the Roman emperors. Of course, the people there catered to the whims of Rome and the emperor. This vital city also was home to a large Jewish population that was popular in Smyrna because of Jewish support to beautify the city. My disciples in Smyrna were caught in the vise grip of the emperor cult and some in the Jewish community who hated them. My disciples were persecuted and even martyred in Smyrna. This church faced very hard times. 

That's why I want you to notice some things about My letter to the church in Smyrna. The Holy Spirit will help you know how to apply My words to your world and your situation as you understand these important principles: 

First, I had no words of criticism or correction to My precious ones in this city. Their courage to hold onto faith under such pressure and opposition needed to be praised. They weren't a perfect church, but they were faithful to me under great trial.

Second, notice that I intimately knew this church and its circumstances. I knew what they were facing:
"I know your deeds and the difficult ordeal you are enduring and your poverty, although you are actually rich. I am aware of the offensive accusations preached by those who call themselves 'Jews.'"
I knew their situation because I had been in similar situations myself. I had faced harsh criticism, rejection, persecution, and death. I was present with them as their Lord and Savior even during their suffering, trials, hardships, poverty, persecution, and martyrdom. 

Third, notice that I reminded them of Who I AM and what it means for them. I AM "the First and the Last, the One Who was dead and returned to life"! I have defeated death and brought immortality to light through My victory over sin, death, and hell (2 Timothy 1:10). They do not face their persecution or martyrdom alone (Hebrews 13:5). I gladly claim them as My brothers and sisters. I will never abandon them in any of their sufferings regardless of how circumstances may appear (Hebrews 2:14-18). I AM their pioneer (Hebrews 2:10-11; Hebrews 12:1-2), having blazed a trail through suffering and death to ensure their faithfulness leads them to ultimate victory (Hebrews 2:10-13; 2 Timothy 4:6-8). 

To you, beloved, I remind you of the strong exhortation I gave to them: be "one who conquers through faithfulness"! Be faithful whether your trials focus on temptations from the flesh, the allure of all that is false in your world, problems caused by the physical frailty of your mortal body, or harsh persecutions at the hands of those who hate you because of Me. Be faithful and the victory is yours!
Verses to Live

I so dearly loved the people of this church in Smyrna because of their commitment to be faithful. I AM proud of their faithfulness in the face of trials. So as you read My letter to them, remember, they were faithful through hardship. Will you be faithful through your trials?
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Smyrna. 

"These are the words of the First and the Last, the One Who was dead and returned to life: 

"I know your deeds and the difficult ordeal you are enduring and your poverty, although you are actually rich. I am aware of the offensive accusations preached by those who call themselves 'Jews.' But these people are not the Jews they pretend to be; they are actually the congregation of Satan. In the face of suffering, do not fear. Watch; the devil will throw some of you into prison shortly so that you might be tested, and you will endure great affliction for days. Be faithful throughout your life, until the day you die, and I will give you the victor's wreath of life. 

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will escape the second death."
(Revelation 2:8-11)
Response in Prayer

O Father, please strengthen me by the power of your Holy Spirit in my inner being. I have stirred up my resolve, yet I know my weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I don't want my faith to wither under trials, difficulties, persecution, or even martyrdom. Strengthen my courage. Empower my resolve. Most of all, dear Father, help me never outlive my love for Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Nov 2016, 10:13 pm

To Ephesus: Return to Your First Love!" — A Year with Jesus for 11/16/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Disciple, 

The world can be a bewildering place for you as you seek to live for Me in a culture controlled by the evil one. This environment was especially true for My disciples in Ephesus near the end of the first century. Their city was a melting pot of cultures, beliefs, and power. 

At the throbbing heart of Ephesus was an evil and idolatrous practice that threatened great harm to My beloved disciples. This dangerous practice began as brazen courting of the Roman Emperor's favor. Over time, this courting grew into a cult that worshiped the Roman emperor. Emperor Domitian insisted that he be addressed as "lord and god!" This phrase was essentially the same title Thomas had used to confess Me after My resurrection! (John 20:28) 

My disciples could not honor Domitian, or any other person or image, with these words. When they went to the theater, bought meat in the market, tried to be part of a trade guild, or wanted to participate in political discourse, they could be asked to offer incense and make this confession about Domitian. They refused. They remained steadfast and faithful to Me. Domitian's ego-stroking temple with his towering idolatrous image cast a foreboding shadow over this great city already awash in immorality, demonic magical arts, cult prostitution, greed, and slave trade. In Ephesus, along with the additional six towns I will address in other messages in the first part of Revelation, ostracism and persecution because of My disciples' faith in Me were growing and becoming dangerous. 

My precious disciples in Ephesus had been blessed by the strong leadership over the years from the apostle Paul, Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila, and the apostle John. They had been warned about idolatry, immorality, and false teachers. They had persevered in good "deeds" and in "tireless labor." They had opposed false teachers and false emissaries who were not "true witnesses." They had endured hard times "patiently" while "holding firm on behalf of My name." They opposed false teachers known as the Nicolaitans, whose deeds they despised. 

In so many ways, these Ephesian believers appeared to be exemplary disciples. However, they had lost the precious and vital central response to their faith. This loss was so great that I warned them that I would remove them from My presence if they did not correct their ways. No matter how many good deeds the Ephesian church did, no matter how many false teachers they rejected, no matter how much they faithfully endured, and no matter how tirelessly they labored, they were close to being removed as one of My churches. They had "abandoned" their "first love"! They had lost their deep and passionate love for Me, for each other, and for the lost around them. Without this love, their practices were mere religious exercises. Without this love, their zeal for the truth became little more than a self-righteous hatred of the practices around them and a self-righteousness about their differences from the people around them. My apostle, John, had tried in his letters to turn them from this loss of love (1 John 4:7-12; 2 John 1:4-6). Unfortunately, they didn't heed his warnings. They had to hear from Me the futility of their efforts and endurance without love. 

You see, dear disciple, My goal for you is a return to the paradise the Father made for you. He wants you in a loving fellowship with Him, and He wants to remove any break between you and your fellow believers. He wants you in His life of love. 

I encourage you to be faithful. I urge you to resist idolatry. I want you to recognize and not follow false prophets. My will is for you to abstain from sexual immorality. I urge you to persevere in good deeds. However, don't forget to do all of these in love. Love for me, love for each other, and love for the lost people in your world must be your motivation. As Paul said to the Ephesians many years earlier:
[B]y truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him [Me, Jesus] — the Anointed One, the head. He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love. 
(Ephesians 4:15-16)
Verses to Live

My precious disciple, I love you. I love My churches. I love my precious followers as you all struggle in the world often opposed to you and your values. So please hear this message to My Ephesian followers. The warning I gave them was not an idle warning. No matter how many good works you do, no matter how careful you are to teach the truth, and no matter what you endure, don't lose your "first love"! Without love, all your actions eventually fall short of bringing My character and compassion to your world that so desperately needs both. "Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others." (John 13:35)
The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Ephesus. 

"These are the words of the One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One Who walks and moves among the golden lampstands: 

"I know your deeds, your tireless labor, and your patient endurance. I know you do not tolerate those who do evil. Furthermore, you have diligently tested those who claim to be emissaries, and you have found that they are not true witnesses. You have correctly found them to be false. I know you are patiently enduring and holding firm on behalf of My name. You have not become faint. 

"However, I have this against you: you have abandoned your first love. Do you remember what it was like before you fell? It's time to rethink and change your ways; go back to how you first acted. However, if you do not return, I will come quickly and personally remove your lampstand from its place. But you do have this to your credit: you despise the deeds of the Nicolaitans and how they concede to evil. I also hate what they do. 

"Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. I will allow the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death to eat from the tree of life found in God's lush paradise."
(Revelation 2:1-7)
Response in Prayer

Almighty Father, pour Your love into My heart through the Holy Spirit. I want my love for You to overflow into every area of my life, especially the way I view and treat others who are not believers. Empower my passion to love others so that my love for them may more and more closely resemble Your love. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2016, Heartlight Inc.
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