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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 9:25 pm

"A Tale of Two Powers" — A Year with Jesus for 02/01/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Child of God,

Two powers — God and Satan — are at war over your eternal destiny. The story below illustrates the different goals of these two powers. No matter how alluring temptation may seem to you, the ultimate goal of the tempter — Satan, the evil deceiver, the devil, the evil one — and all the forces of hell can be seen from the condition of the man called Battalion.

When you meet the man identified as Battalion, the forces of evil are literally hell-bent on his destruction. This devastation is Satan's intent for you. However, the ultimate goal of your Father in heaven is for you to be in your right mind, for you to be learning from Me how to have purpose for your life, and for you to live out that purpose in your daily life.

Notice the ways Battalion is described at the beginning of the events recorded in the verses below:
He is isolated — actually driven into isolation by the demonic powers that control him.
He is filled with destructive power.
He is naked.
He lives and sleeps in a cemetery — the place of the dead.
He is uncontrollable.
He has lost his sense of self-identity — he doesn't even know his real name.
He is aware of all of these problems in himself.
However, as much as this man is in bondage to demonic powers, notice this one truth: he can still come to Me and fall at My feet despite the power of the demons in him wanting to be rid of Me! I AM more powerful than all of these demons. So notice what I do to bless this man despite the demons trying to use My identity to gain power over Me and send Me away.
I deliver him from the demonic powers oppressing him.
I return this man to a normal life and a right mind.
I welcome the man into My fellowship and friendship.
I send the man out on a mission to share his good news and My story of grace.
Satan's goal for you is clear: he wants to do with you what he did with Battalion. He wants to introduce hell on earth into your life. His temptations may look enticing. There may be no apparent signs of Satan's destructive and evil intent in these temptations — at least not at first. But behind each temptation, there are traps designed to enslave you. I can help you break your bondage to these traps, although you are much better off if you avoid the traps all together!

I have a goal for you. I want you to be My disciple. I want you to sit by Me and learn the way of true life from Me. I want to defeat the powers that desire to hold you in bondage and enslave you to self-destruction. I want you in your right mind — in control of your life and your decisions. I want you to find your purpose in Me. I want you to have a positive and influential relationship with your family and friends. But you have to choose Me... you must call out to Me for help... and you must ask Me to take control of your life and be willing for Me to do so!

Not everyone will be happy if you choose Me. Some prefer to live out-of-control lives rather than to yield their lives to Me. In addition, the lure for you to go into a life under Satan's control — to have that uncontrollable power at work in you — is just as destructive as it is strong.

You must recognize that you cannot defeat the power of evil on your own. However, I can defeat it. In fact, I have defeated it through My death and resurrection. Do not despair in the face of great evil. Cry out to Me. Trust Me. Follow Me. Learn from Me. Share your story about Me with others. And when you do, you can know this: I will never leave you or forsake you.
Verses to Live

Notice how the "friends" of Battalion react when he is set free of the demonic spirits. They order Me to leave after I have liberated him and put him in his right mind. They cannot deal with Me. They don't know what to do with a power they cannot control or understand. So rather than inviting Me into their small little world, they ask Me to leave. What about you? Will you ask Me into your world or order Me to leave?
When they [Jesus and His disciples] get to the other side of the lake, in the Gerasene country opposite Galilee, a man from the city is waiting for Jesus when He steps out of the boat. The man is full of demonic spirits. He's been running around for a long time stark naked, and he's homeless, sleeping among the dead in a cemetery. This man has on many occasions been tied up and chained and kept under guard, but each time he has broken free and the demonic power has driven him back into remote places away from human contact. Jesus commands the demonic force to leave him. The man looks at Jesus and starts screaming. He falls down in front of Jesus.

Possessed Man (shouting):
Don't torment me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! Why are You here?
Jesus (calmly and simply):
What's your name?
Possessed Man:
Battalion.
He says this because an army of demons is inside of him. The demons start begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. They plead instead to enter into a herd of pigs feeding on a steep hillside near the shore. Jesus gives them permission to do so. Suddenly the man is liberated from the demons, but the pigs — they stampede, squealing down the hill and into the lake where they drown themselves.

The pig owners see all this. They run back to their town and tell everyone in the region about it. Soon a crowd rushes from the town to see what's going on out by the lake. There they find Jesus seated to teach with the newly liberated man sitting at His feet learning in the posture of a disciple. This former madman is now properly dressed and completely sane. This frightens the people. The pig owners tell them the whole story — the healing, the pigs' mass suicide, everything.

The people are scared to death, and they don't want this scary abnormality happening in their territory. They ask Jesus to leave immediately. Jesus doesn't argue. He prepares to leave, but before they embark, the newly liberated man begs to come along and join the band of disciples.

Jesus:
No. Go home. Tell your people this amazing story about how much God has done for you.
The man does so. In fact, he tells everyone in the whole city how much Jesus did for him that day on the shore.
(Luke 8:26-39)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I know that You stand at the door of my heart and knock. I know You won't break down the door and barge into my life. I know that I must invite You in and welcome You to my table. So, Jesus, I ask You to claim me, cleanse me, come to me, care for me, and guide me so that I serve You in ways that bring You glory and bring others to know You and Your saving 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 11:21 pm

"Questions You Need to Ask!" — A Year with Jesus for 01/31/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

How's your boat? No, I'm not talking about a literal boat you may own. I'm talking about the things in your life that furnish you security, a sense of safety, identity, order, or purpose.

So let Me ask you again. How's your boat? Are your investments up or down? Do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Has the job or person you trusted for security let you down? Are you working madly to keep your body and your appearance looking young and vibrant while fearing that aging is stealing away your identity and usefulness? Is your family all that you hoped it would be? Have your achievements brought you joy and a sense of fulfillment, or do you feel as if you have to accomplish more to be significant?

Your boat is whatever you have used as your sense of safety, security, identity, order, or purpose. So how's your boat?

Here's the truth: Sooner or later, something much bigger than you, something you can't control, is going to rock your boat! So what are you going to do then? How are you going to face the raging storms of life if you are depending on a fragile and temporal boat?

Today's verses speak directly to one of life's harshest truths: no mortal can protect or even navigate his or her boat in the face of life's raging realities. Many who claim to follow Me have had Me along as a sleeping passenger, a mere mascot, someone to talk to through some of the minor squalls of life when they needed something fixed. They never really have given Me control of their boat. They've never handed Me control of the sails and rudder. Then when life's storms hit, they want to know why I've let the troubles of life threaten them.

So when the next storm hits and rocks your boat and scares you down to the depths of your soul, what are you going to do? I hope it will be this: I hope you will wake Me from being your sleeping mascot. I hope you will ask Me for help. And most of all, I hope when it is all done, you will ask the questions My disciples did when the storm rocked their boat:
Who is this man? How can He command wind and water so they do what He says?
Then, I hope you will make Me your boat and not just your mascot! Better yet, why not make Me your boat, your Master, your Lord, today... before the next storm hits and the waves pound and the wind blows?
Verses to Live

As you read today's verses, ask yourself, "What is my boat?" Answer as honestly as you can. Then invite Me to be more than your passenger or your mascot; ask Me to be your Boat — to provide you security, direction, and your future.
Picture this:

One day Jesus and His disciples get into a boat.

Jesus:
Let's cross the lake.
So they push off from shore and begin sailing to the far side. As they progress across the lake, Jesus falls sound asleep. Soon a raging storm blows in. The waves wash over the sides of the boat, and the boat starts filling up with water. Every second the situation becomes more dangerous.

The disciples shake Jesus and wake Him.

Disciples (shouting):
Master! Master! We're all going to die!
Jesus wakes up and tells the wind to stop whipping them around, and He tells the furious waves to calm down. They do just that. Then Jesus turns to the disciples.

Jesus:
What happened to your faith?
The disciples had been terrified during the storm, but now they're afraid in another way. They turn to each other and start whispering, chattering, and wondering.

Disciples:
Who is this man? How can He command wind and water so they do what He says?
(Luke 8:22-25)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, forgive me for making other things in my life my basis of security. I want You to be Lord of my life and the basis of my security. Please help me as I make You my Boat! 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 10:57 pm

I Bring Hidden Things into the Light" — A Year with Jesus for 01/30/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower,

Hide and seek is a great children's game. However, it is a dangerous and deadly spiritual game. If you are My follower, don't hide your loyalty and commitment to Me from others. When you have guests in your house, you don't hide the lamp so they can't find their way around your house in the dark. So if your friends are lost in spiritual darkness, why would you hide My spiritual light from them? Do you want them to stumble around in spiritual darkness?

Remember, I see what you do in your life. I'm not there to snoop, spy, or try to catch you doing something wrong. I'm there to strengthen, encourage, and bless. And know this: where I go, I bring true light. Hidden things are exposed. So I'm asking you to let My light penetrate deeply into your hidden places and drive out your darkness (John 3:19-21). When you let My light into your life, it will be filled with more and more light. However, if you try to keep things hidden away in the dark corners of your spirit, little by little you will lose the light you have now (Matthew 6:23). And be sure of this: even if you drive My light from most of your heart, sooner or later, everything in your heart will be revealed (Matthew 10:26-33).

Finally, remember I AM the One Who can help you find truth by shining My light in all places. As you try to look through the Bible for truth, don't forget Me. I AM here to help you make sense of it all in a way that is a blessing to all! So just ask Me to use the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, to help you know what Scripture means and how it all points to Me. I AM the One Who brings light to dark places, the one Who exposes truth and error, the One Who gives light to those seeking light, and the One Who helps you know how to use the Scriptures to unlock the truth and find great treasures!
Verses to Live

I AM the light to illuminate dark places, the guarantee that everything hidden will be brought to the full light of truth.
Jesus:
You wouldn't light a lamp and cover it with a clay pot. You're not going to hide it under your bed. No, when you light it, you're going to put it out in the open so your guests can feel welcome and see where they're going.

Hidden things will always come out into the open. Secret things will come to light and be exposed. I hope you're still listening. And I hope you're listening carefully. If you get what I'm saying, you'll get more. If you miss My meaning, even the understanding you think you have will be taken from you.
(Luke 8:16-18)
Just like hidden things will ultimately be revealed, people will ultimately be seen for who they are and what they have done.
Jesus:
Or think of it this way: the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea, a net that caught a world of flickering fish. When the net was full, the fishermen hauled it to shore. They separated the good fish from the bad, placing the good fish in a bucket and throwing out the inedible fish. That is what the end of time will be like. The heavenly messengers will separate the good from the bad, the righteous from the wicked, the repentant from the prideful, the faithful from the hard-hearted. The bad, the wicked, the prideful, and the hard-hearted will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

Do you understand?
Disciples:
Yes, we understand.
(Matthew 13:47-51)
My servant, the apostle Paul, said it very well: the holy Scriptures "enable you to be wise and lead to salvation through faith in Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). So not only will hidden things be revealed and not only will people's works be revealed, but the truth of the Scriptures can also be revealed to you so that you can find many treasures if you approach them through faith in Me! Just as I said in this next verse, regardless of where you are in your walk of faith you should be on the lookout for new things as well as old familiar things as you study the Scriptures.
Jesus:
Every scribe and teacher of the law who has become a student of the ways of the kingdom is like the head of the household who brings some new things and some old things, both out of the storeroom.
(Matthew 13:52)
Response in Prayer

Father, help the light of Jesus to shine through everything I do and say. Please open my eyes to see Jesus and hear the voice of the Spirit in every bit of Scripture that I hear, read, and memorize. I ask this 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Jan 2017, 11:49 pm

"Don't Let These Truths Elude You!" — A Year with Jesus for 01/29/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

I love to tell stories from everyday life and connect them to heavenly truths. There is a reason for that. You can remember stories better than you can remember abstract words. You see things in your everyday life that yank My stories back into your conscious mind. You can repeat My stories to others. You can pass My stories down to your children and grandchildren. These recollections and the retelling of My stories all help you feel and see the truths in My stories as well as know their spiritual messages when you most need them.

The narrative in today's verses is one of the most important stories that I told. This story — or parable — has several different uses.

I used it to challenge people to look into their hearts and see what kind of followers they really were. You need to know that you can choose how you hear what I say! In the account below, the concept of how people hear what I say is presented in terms of how different types of soil receive seeds that are sown and then how the types of soil represent how different people receive My teachings. Also, I want people to know that they actually choose which kind of soil they will be — they choose what kind of heart they have for My good news.

I used this story to alert My disciples to the fate of many of those who follow Me. There are many people who at some point in their journey with Me are very excited about following Me. However, more than a few who start down the road of discipleship end up becoming distracted and are unfruitful. Some, regrettably, never even follow Me at all — they look up one day, and any interest they had in Me is gone!

I AM heartbroken when I see people lose interest, not bear up under trial, succumb to temptation, or become distracted by the cares of the world. My disciples needed to know these things happen all too frequently! Just because many reject My message or turn away from discipleship does not mean that you quit sharing it with others. You must not give up on someone when his or her heart turns away. Remember, just as you can choose which soil your heart is, that other person can choose to be a different soil, too!

I also told this parable to warn My followers about some of the things that might distract them from a passionate life of productive faith. I want you to recognize those same kinds of things in your life. They can lead your heart to be poor soil and not respond to the good news of grace.

Notice the three things that can steal your heart away from following Me passionately:
Satan can come and steal away the message of God before your heart accepts it.
The heat of living for Me in the trials and temptations of life can wither your faith before it is fully grown.
The delight of things, the pursuit of wealth, and the worries of preserving these things can get in the way of your living productive lives for Me.
Verses to Live

So which message do you most need to hear from My words? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear what I want your heart to hear today in My words of truth in the story of the soils? After I presented this parable, My explanation of its meaning was longer than the parable itself. Why? Because I want you to determine which type of soil you are. Actual soil "is what it is," but you can enrich the type of "soil" you are! I encourage you to seek the Spirit's guidance in enriching the soil of your heart or keeping it a fertile place for My word to grow!
While a huge crowd gathered with people from many surrounding towns streaming to hear Jesus, He told them a parable.

Jesus:
Once a farmer went out to scatter seed in his fields. Some seeds fell along a trail where they were crushed underfoot by people walking by. Birds flew in and ate those seeds. Other seeds fell on gravel. Those seeds sprouted but soon withered, depleted of moisture under the scorching sun. Still other seeds landed among thorns where they grew for a while, but eventually the thorns stunted them so they couldn't thrive or bear fruit. But some seeds fell into good soil — soft, moist, free from thorns. These seeds not only grew, but they also produced more seeds, a hundred times what the farmer originally planted. If you have ears, hear My meaning!
His disciples heard the words, but the deeper meaning eluded them.

Disciples:
What were You trying to say?
Jesus:
The kingdom of God contains many secrets. They keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep observing, but do not understand.

I want you to understand, so here's the interpretation: The voice of God falls on human hearts like seeds scattered across a field. Some people hear that message, but the devil opposes the liberation that would come to them by believing. So he swoops in and steals the message from their hard hearts like birds stealing the seeds from the footpath. Others receive the message enthusiastically, but their vitality is short-lived because the message cannot be deeply rooted in their shallow hearts. In the heat of temptation, their faith withers, like the seeds that sprouted in gravelly soil. A third group hears the message, but as time passes, the daily anxieties, the pursuit of wealth, and life's addicting delights outpace the growth of the message in their hearts. Even if the message blossoms and fruit begins to form, the fruit never fully matures because the thorns choke out the plants' vitality.

But some people hear the message and let it take root deeply in receptive hearts made fertile by honesty and goodness. With patient dependability, they bear good fruit.
(Luke 8:4-15)
Response in Prayer

Father, I ask that the Holy Spirit will help me hear the message I most need to hear today from Jesus' words. I know that I can choose which kind of soil I will be. I also have concern for folks whose hearts are becoming like the nonproductive soils. O Father, please use me to help them turn their hearts back to Jesus. Also, dear Father, I don't want to be deceived into living an unproductive life because the soil of my heart is bad. So, sweet Holy Spirit, guide me into all truth. Lord Jesus, please help me know the most important things from Your message today that You want me to know, feel, and put into practice. In Your 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 2:02 pm

My True Family" — A Year with Jesus for 01/28/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

There is so much talk in your world about community. I understand that you want to find a place where you can be close to other people and be yourself. You want people around you who understand you and support you. I know that many folks today don't like the word church, so community is a nice, safe, nondescript word to use for a gathering of My followers. Yet something precious is lost when My followers are reduced just to being a community. Let Me explain.

There are two powerful, dynamic, living images I have given you for My church: My body and My family. I don't ever talk about a member of the church — in fact nowhere does the Bible use that term. You, however, are a member of My body — a vital body part that the rest of My body needs to function fully as My presence in and to the world! Just as there is no perfect human body, the church as My body will not be perfect. A community can have folks come and go, wander in or wander off. However, this is not true with My body. When a member of a body is hurt, there is pain and impairment to the whole body! When a member of a body is missing, there's been an amputation. You're a connected part of Me! You matter. You are much more important than a member of a community or organization!

You are also a member of My family. Yes, I know some of you come from messed up families, and sometimes family analogies can be hard for you to hear because of your negative experiences with your family. My spiritual family on earth is far from perfect — a lot like your human family. But I promise you, My family has a future that is so wonderful it is even hard for you to imagine. All those hurtful family connections are caught up in the grace of My presence and perfected.

A family — especially My family — is something far more precious than a community. Our Father — your Father — loves you so desperately that He sent Me to bring you into a relationship with Him. I AM your older Brother. I came to rescue and redeem you and restore you to Our family (Hebrews 2:14-18). I paid the ultimate price to buy you out of slavery to sin and death and bring you to the Father and to Our family. So you are far more precious than a member of a community — you are My blood-bought family. The people around you are flawed just as you are flawed. But remember, they are blood-bought family.

So when you hear Me teach, I don't invite you to become part of a community: I call you to be My disciple — a follower who obeys and becomes a vital part of My family as we do the will of the Father. Hear clearly what I say:
Anyone who does the will of My Father in heaven is My mother and brother and sister.
(Matthew 12:50)
When you hear Me teach, pray, or talk with My followers, notice the language I use: it is the language of family. God is your Father. You are brothers and sisters. Yes, community is a nice word, but I call you to something deeper — something you crave and need. I call you family because you are!
Verses to Live

I AM the Lord, the Christ, the Messiah and Savior. I am also your older Brother Who loves you so much that I left the security of My heavenly home to come to you. I love you so much that I gave up My intimate participation with the Father and the Spirit in Our heavenly glory so that I could bring you home to real, forever, family. So come, follow Me, and let's walk together in the way and will of the Father as family.
While Jesus was speaking to the crowd, His mother and brothers came up and wanted to speak to Him.

Someone in the Crowd:
Your mother and brothers are waiting outside to speak to You.
Jesus:
Who is My mother? And who are My brothers? (pointing to His disciples) These are My mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of My Father in heaven is My mother and brother and sister.
(Matthew 12:46-50)
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, You are holy. Without Your grace, I have no chance to be holy. And because of Jesus' love and sacrifice, I come to You as Your beloved child. I am thankful for Your grace, Your love, Your mercy, and my adoption into Your family. I ask for the Holy Spirit to be poured out into my life so that I can be conformed to Your will and love my brothers and sisters, Your children, just as much as my older Brother Jesus does. I ask this in His 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.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 9:54 pm

"For Some Folks, Miracles Aren't Enough!" — A Year with Jesus for 01/27/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

My words in yesterday's Scripture (Luke 11:14-26) were hard. The folks I spoke them to didn't like them. So, they challenged Me to do another miracle for them to prove that I had a right to say the things I was saying.

Let's be real. If they wouldn't believe in Me for the exorcisms I performed or the miracles I had already done, they weren't going to believe in Me if I did a few more powerful acts to satisfy their curiosity and jump through a few more of their hoops! For many people in the crowd, miracles weren't enough. They simply didn't want to believe, so they wouldn't believe.

That's why I pointed them to a couple of stories from the Hebrew Scripture — you call it the Old Testament. These stories talk about two great figures (Jonah and Solomon) who captured the hearts of outsiders and pointed them to the truth and wisdom of God. I challenged those hearing Me to believe that I AM greater than either of these two heroes. The only sign I would give these skeptics was the sign of Jonah! If My life of ministry, miracles, teaching, and compassion and My death on the cross and resurrection wouldn't convince them, then nothing would.

Thankfully, if you read the story about the birth of My church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47), you will see that many people responded to the sign of My triumph over death and sin.

As one who has come to believe in Me, one who recognizes My triumph, I want to challenge you to trust that I AM the "One far greater than Jonah" and the "One greater and wiser than Solomon." I AM the wisdom and truth you must follow, believe, and obey, and you will find life in Me!
Verses to Live

Even after all the miracles I had already done, the religious leaders in the account below wanted more to prove I had the right to say what I said to them. Don't miss My point. I have the right! The real question is this: Do you have the heart to follow someone greater than all those other religious heroes you've heard about?
Scribes and Pharisees:
Teacher, we want to see some miraculous sign from You.
Jesus:
You wicked and promiscuous generation — you are looking for signs, are you? The only sign you will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish, as the Son of Man will spend three days and three nights in the belly of the earth. One day, the people of Nineveh will rise up in judgment and will condemn your present generation — for the Ninevites turned from sin to God when they heard Jonah preach, and now One far greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will also stand in judgment and condemn this generation — for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom. And today One greater and wiser than Solomon is among you.
(Matthew 12:38-42)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, You are greater than Jonah and Solomon. You are superior to Moses and Elijah. The law and prophets find their meaning, their fulfillment, and their goal in You. You are the One I choose to hear and obey. Jesus, You are Lord. I choose You to be my Lord! To You, I offer my life and my all because You not only conquered death and the grave through Your resurrection, but You also won my heart and my allegiance! 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 26 Jan 2017, 8:12 pm

"Do More than Roll Your Eyes!" — A Year with Jesus for 01/26/2017

Why did God make us?
See the second session of our new video series "Finding Our Story in God's Story." — Watch it Now
Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Some of you roll your eyes or quickly speed-read past any biblical discussion of demons because you think that this kind of thing doesn't apply to your "modern and enlightened" world today. But please do more than roll your eyes at the talk about demons below. Remember what the apostle Paul said:
Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We're not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places. And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground.
(Ephesians 6:10-13)
I came to defeat the evil one and his "wicked spiritual armies" of dark demonic forces. I want to free you from their influence and lead you past their temptations. So rather than ignoring or fearing these powers, please understand what I said to my disciples when I was on earth. I have power over demons because I am superior to them in every way — holiness, power, and authority (Luke 11:17-22; Colossians 1:15-20).

I am in no way subject to these evil powers. I do not get my power from them. I am not helped by them. I am even hated by them. They oppose Me and all who belong to Me, but they do not have the final word or authority over Me or those who follow Me! I AM the true "man of power" like I talk about in the story below. I am "stronger and better" than the prince of demons and all his powers arrayed against me.

So you need to choose which side of this holy war you are going to take: My side or the side of evil. There is really no middle ground or no other choice.

You need to be very clear about this. Following Me is not just about ridding yourself of what is bad in your life — it is not merely adhering to a good list of "DOs and DON'Ts"! A good, clean, and ordered life sounds very good to most religionists, even to a lot of do-gooders and humanists. Yet notice what can happen to this kind of person in the scripture below: the demonic influence can slip back in and greatly corrupt the life of such a person who is not filled with My Spirit.

I AM challenging you to do more than just trying to be a good person. I want you to be My person. I call you to follow Me and let Me be your Lord. Yes, you will do good things. More than that, you will bring God's kingdom to earth. You will bring God's goodness, justice, and mercy to a world corrupted by human ego, self-will, arrogance, and other evil influences of the devil (Ephesians 2:1-7).

Your world is in a spiritual war. You have to choose a side. Despite all the talk in your world about being nice, the real question is whether or not you are My disciple. I endured the cross for you. I left the tomb in triumph despite all the forces of hell wanting to keep me captive. Therefore, I remind you of two truths:
I conquered death to give you life — unlike Satan who wants to deceive, manipulate, and destroy you.
If you follow Me, you will share in My victory over sin, death, evil, and hell!
So do more than roll your eyes at the talk about the devil and demons: choose to follow Me and find life and victory!
Verses to Live

Talking about demons is always challenging. Having authority over them makes people afraid. But make no mistake about the truth: I have defeated the power of demons. I have the authority to defeat evil, demonic forces, and Satan, and I did! I demonstrated this victory when I walked on earth as God in human flesh and then overcame the worst that Satan could do to Me.
Picture this:

Jesus is exorcising a demon that has long kept a man from speaking. When the demon is expelled, the man starts talking and the people are amazed. But then controversy erupts.

Some People:
Do you know why He can cast out demons? It's because He's in league with the demon prince, Beelzebul.
Other people want to see more, so they challenge Jesus to give them another miraculous sign. Jesus knows what they're thinking.

Jesus:
People, be logical. If a kingdom is divided against itself, it will collapse. If a ruling family is divided against itself, it will fall apart.

So if Satan's kingdom is divided against itself, won't his whole enterprise collapse? Does it make any sense to say I'm casting out demons by Beelzebul? Besides, if you're saying it takes satanic power to cast out Satan, by whose power do your own exorcists work? If you condemn Me for an exorcism, you'll have to condemn them. But if I by the power of God cast out demonic spirits, then face this fact: the kingdom of God is here, just as I've been saying.

When a man of power with his full array of weapons guards his own palace, everything inside is secure. But when a new man who is stronger and better armed attacks the palace, the old ruler will be overcome, his weapons and trusted defenses will be removed, and his treasures will be plundered. Can you see that I'm asking you to choose whose side you're on — working with Me or fighting against Me.

When a demonic spirit is expelled from someone, he wanders through waterless wastelands seeking rest. But there is no rest for him anywhere, so he says, "I'm going back to my old house." He returns and finds the old house has been swept clean and fixed up again. So he goes and finds seven other spirits even worse than he is, and they make themselves at home in the man's life so that he's worse off now than he was before.
(Luke 11:14-26)
Response in Prayer

Father God, I say this by the power of the Holy Spirit and with the conviction of my heart: Jesus is not only Lord of all, but I choose Jesus to be Lord of my life. I offer this confession and my commitment in Jesus' name and for Jesus' glory. 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 Wed 25 Jan 2017, 7:31 pm

The One?" — A Year with Jesus for 01/25/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Doubt! Even the best people have periods of doubt. My cousin John the Baptist was in prison awaiting certain death at the hands of Herod. John's prophecies about Me were bold. His proclamation of repentance and practice of baptism were powerful. His willingness to give up his popularity and point people to Me was incredibly courageous and humble. However, even John had his lingering doubts.

Why? Why would someone so bold, powerful, courageous, and humble have doubts?

Think about it. Courage is boldness in the face of danger and doubt. Faith is trust that risks everything in the face of uncertainty and danger. You will have doubts — sometimes deep doubts just like John faced. John was wanting to know with certainty that he had not wasted his life as he approached his death. So he asked, "Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?"

As I said while on earth, "Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist." Yet John had doubts as he faced his own martyrdom because My work didn't seem to match his understanding of My role.

You have been born of God into My kingdom. In this way, you are greater than John (Luke 7:28). Still you will have doubts, and they will find their gravity in the same two places John's doubts found theirs:

First, life is hard and can rattle you to your soul. The world may not appreciate the truth of the life you live to honor the Father. John's passionate and faithful proclamation of truth landed him in Herod's jail and ultimately led to his martyrdom. The world's brutal treatment of God's people can lead to times of doubt in their hearts.

Second, you have certain expectations of Me that sometimes don't seem to line up with your reality. Even in those times when I appear to be distant and unconcerned, please remember that I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6; Romans 8:32-39).

In your doubt, remember what I helped John the Baptist do: he got a fuller picture of Who I AM. In your life, I will help you in a similar way through a deeper look at Scripture, My promises, the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and the people of faith who have come before you and those who support you now.

My hope is for you to have a deep understanding of My grace and to have a faith that can hang onto hope through life's storms when things don't seem to line up with your expectations of the Father's promises. Remember, doubt is part of living life in a tough world. The greatest heroes in Scripture had their moments of doubt. Yet hanging onto faith, looking at great examples of faith in Scripture, and using Scripture to get a fuller view of Me will help you be faithful... even to the point of death. Courageous faith is choosing to believe in the face of uncertainty and difficulties.
Verses to Live

The following passage from Luke's Gospel recounts the events when John's disciples came with his question about Me. Notice that My answer wasn't just a bunch of words; my answer to John's disciples included actions. These actions were specific types of miracles: miracles that Isaiah had prophesied the Messiah would perform — prophecies John knew. So My explanation about fulfilling Isaiah's prophecies about the Messiah made clear to John that I AM indeed the Messiah!
News of Jesus spread across the whole province of Judea and beyond to the surrounding regions. When these reports reached John's disciples, they brought news to John himself, who was known for his preaching and ritual cleansing. John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord, "Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?"

They came to Jesus and asked their question exactly as directed by John the Baptist.

Before He answered John's messengers, Jesus cured many from various diseases, health conditions, and evil spirits. He even caused many blind people to regain their sight.

Jesus (to John's disciples):
Go and tell John what you've witnessed with your own eyes and ears: the blind are seeing again, the lame are walking again, the lepers are clean again, the deaf hear again, the dead live again, and good news is preached to the poor. Whoever is not offended by Me is blessed indeed.
When John's messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowds about John.

Jesus:
When you went out into the wilderness to see John, what were you expecting? A reed shaking in the wind? What were you looking for? A man in expensive clothing? Look, if you were looking for fancy clothes and luxurious living, you went to the wrong place — you should have gone to the kings' courts, not to the wilderness! What were you seeking? A prophet? Ah yes, that's what John is, and even more than a prophet. The prophet Malachi was talking about John when he wrote,
I will send My messenger before You, to clear Your path in front of You.
Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist. Yet even the least significant person in the coming kingdom of God is greater than John.
The common people and tax collectors heard God's own wisdom in Jesus' assessment of John because they had been ritually cleansed through baptism by John. But the Pharisees and religious scholars hardened their hearts and turned their backs on God's purposes for them because they had refused John's baptism.

Jesus:
The people of this generation — what are they like? To what can they be compared? I'll tell you: they're like spoiled kids sitting in the marketplace playing games, calling out:
We played the pipes for you,
but you didn't dance to our tune!
We cried like mourners,
but you didn't cry with us!
You can't win with this generation. John the Baptist comes along, fasting and abstaining from wine, and you say, "This guy is demon-possessed!" The Son of Man comes along, feasting and drinking wine, and you say, "This guy is a glutton and a drunk, a friend of scoundrels and tax collectors." Well, wisdom's true children know wisdom when they hear it.
(Luke 7:17-35)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, thank You! Thank You for giving me a Bible that is full of people like me — people who love You but struggle with real-life faith and doubt. I trust You, Holy Spirit, to lead me through these times and conform me to be like 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 24 Jan 2017, 6:32 pm

"Choosing the Right Path" — A Year with Jesus for 01/24/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

The Father is holy and wholly given to doing what is right, just, holy, gracious, and merciful. What about you? What is your consuming passion? Is it to honor the Father? Is it to obey My words and follow My example? Is it to be conformed to the righteous character and gracious compassion of God?

Let Me warn you. Long before the instant age you find yourself inhabiting, many folks wanted an instant and easy holiness. The evil one has long twisted the truth and deceived the gullible into taking short cuts. My words today warn you about four deceptions and temptations that the devil will offer you in the name of religion:
The wide door and the easy path — the ones that suggest all religions are OK and equal — but that really lead to destruction.
The sweet deceiving words of false prophets whose lives (their bad fruit) show they cannot be trusted.
Nice sounding religious words of praise and adoration that are disconnected from a life of obedience and end in shocking condemnation.
A religion that is quickly embraced, shallowly believed, and focused on appearances, but cannot stand the stress and strain of real life.
There is one path, one way, and one truth (John 14:6). Some folks in your day don't like such talk. In fact, you may bristle at it yourself because you've had the easy way peddled to you by false prophets who talk a good religious game while living any way they want. Such talk is foolish. It's not new or innovative or post-modern; it's just the lie of the old deceiver who wants to steer you the wrong way so that when the floods of life come... well, he can be there for your destruction.

Don't be deceived. Follow Me. Obey Me. Trust Me. Doing so may look narrow and hard, but I promise you this:
Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders — it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)
Verses to Live

These are My words from the Sermon on the Mount about choosing the right path that leads to the Father. If your heart is set on Me — if your heart's desire is to follow Me and obey Me — then you will be able to resist the deceptions and temptations of the easy way, the false prophets, a religion that is all talk with little obedience, and quickly constructed facade-based religion!
Jesus:
There are two paths before you; you may take only one path. One doorway is narrow. And one door is wide. Go through the narrow door. For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad; the wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it; but the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death. Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.

Along the way, watch out for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath that quaint and innocent wool, they are hungry wolves. But you will recognize them by their fruits. You don't find sweet, delicious grapes growing on thorny bushes, do you? You don't find delectable figs growing in the midst of prickly thistles. People and their lives are like trees. Good trees bear beautiful, tasty fruit, but bad trees bear ugly, bitter fruit. A good tree cannot bear ugly, bitter fruit; nor can a bad tree bear fruit that is beautiful and tasty. And what happens to the rotten trees? They are cut down. They are used for firewood. When a prophet comes to you and preaches this or that, look for his fruits: sweet or sour? rotten or ripe?

Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven. Simply calling Me "Lord" will not be enough. Only those who do the will of My Father Who is in heaven will join Me in heaven. At the end of time, on that day of judgment, many will say to Me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? Did we not drive demons out of the possessed in Your name? Did we not perform miracles in Your name?" But I will say to them, "I never knew you. And now, you must get away from Me, you evildoers!"

Those people who are listening to Me, those people who hear what I say and live according to My teachings — you are like a wise man who built his house on a rock, on a firm foundation. When storms hit, rain pounded down and waters rose, levies broke and winds beat all the walls of that house. But the house did not fall because it was built upon rock. Those of you who are listening and do not hear — you are like a fool who builds a house on sand. When a storm comes to his house, what will happen? The rain will fall, the waters will rise, the wind will blow, and his house will collapse with a great crash.
With that Jesus finished His teaching, and the crowds were amazed by all He had said. But Jesus taught in His own name, on His own authority, not like the scribes.
(Matthew 7:13-29)
Response in Prayer

Dear Father, I confess that I want my faith walk to be easier at times. I don't always understand why I need to obey. Sometimes, I'm not convinced that what I hear is fully true. Yet Father, I do know this: Jesus came and died for me. He came as the expression of Your love for me and to pay the penalty for my failures and my shortcomings — my sin. So I commit to obey and follow even when I don't understand or agree. I trust that as I follow Jesus on Your path, my eyes will be opened, my burdens will be lifted, and I will find life and joy for my soul. In the name of Jesus, I choose to follow. 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 23 Jan 2017, 10:47 pm


Grace for the Opposites" — A Year with Jesus for 01/23/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of the King of Glory,

Whatever your situation in life is or may have been, I want you to know that when you hurt, I care! You see, I don't notice the faith just of the religious insiders, but also the faith of the religious outsiders. I don't recognize the pain just of the powerful and influential, but also of the forgotten who feel abandoned and alone in life.

When you see the Centurion's faith (in the events you will read about below), you have to join Me in admiration for his faith. Few have expressed it so well! He was humble. He didn't need Me to come to his house to know that the miracle he desperately wanted would happen. He understood authority because he was in a position of authority in the Roman military, and he knew that I had ultimate authority. As you read My story in the gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — you will notice how rare this kind of faith truly is!

Then you see the next story that the good doctor Luke shares from My ministry: a woman who is left all alone when her son dies. Widows without family were in a very desperate situation in this time. As God in human flesh, I wanted to show the promise of the Old Testament is true:
The True God Who inhabits sacred space
is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.
He makes a home for those who are alone.
(Psalm 68:5-6)
I also want you to know that I AM touched with compassion at the heartbreak of widows and of parents who lose a child to death.

What a joy it was when I "presented" the woman's formerly dead son back to her alive again! Jubilation and praise came from the crowd, but I assure you, the same thing was going on among the angels of heaven. There will be even more joy when I bring the full reunion with My return in glory!

The point of all this, My dear follower, is simple: I bring grace for everyone seeking the help of God — for people who are opposite in every way, and for all those who are in between. When I AM present, God is present caring for His people: all people, of all races, of all genders, of all social classes, of all political affiliations, and of all financial positions. I care about your worry, grief, and loss. That's why I came to defeat death and bring immortality and life to light!
Verses to Live

In the following stories, you will notice two people who are opposite in every way, yet joined by these key truths: life is fragile and when those we love are sick, dying, or dead, our hearts are broken. Please know, however, that broken hearts matter to your God!
When He [Jesus] was finished, He went into the town of Capernaum. There, a Centurion had a slave he loved dearly. The slave was sick — about to die — so when the Centurion heard about Jesus, he contacted some Jewish elders. He sent them to ask Jesus to come and heal his dear slave. With great emotion and respect, the elders presented their request to Jesus.

Jewish Elders:
This man is worthy of Your help. It's true that he's a Centurion, but he loves our nation. In fact, he paid for our synagogue to be built.
So Jesus accompanied them. When they approached the Centurion's home, the Centurion sent out some friends to bring a message to Jesus.

Message of the Centurion:
Lord, don't go to the trouble of coming inside. I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. That's why I sent others with my request. Just say the word, and that will be enough to heal my servant. I understand how authority works, being under authority myself and having soldiers under my authority. I command to one, "Go," and he goes. I say to another, "Come," and he comes. I say to my slave, "Do this," and he obeys me.
Jesus was deeply impressed when He heard this. He turned to the crowd that followed Him.

Jesus:
Listen, everyone. This outsider, this Roman, has more faith than I have found even among our own Jewish people.
The friends of the Centurion returned home, and they found the slave was completely healed.

It wasn't long after this when Jesus entered a city called Nain. Again all of His disciples accompanied Him, along with a huge crowd. He was coming near the gate of the city as a corpse was being carried out. This man was the only child and support of his widowed mother, and she was accompanied by a large funeral crowd.

As soon as the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her.

Jesus:
Don't weep!
Then He came to the stretcher, and those carrying it stood still.

Jesus:
Young man, listen! Get up!
The dead man immediately sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother, and everyone was both shocked and jubilant. They praised God.

Funeral Crowd:
A tremendous prophet has arisen in our midst! God has visited His people.
(Luke 7:1-16)
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, the King of Glory, I believe, but help my unbelief! When I face worry and grief, I sometimes struggle to trust that my hurt matters to you. I sometimes wonder why the miracle I pray for never comes. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort, strengthen, and revive my flagging hope. I know You love me, but I need help in the storms of my life to hang on to that confidence. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your demonstration of authority, compassion, and 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 22 Jan 2017, 9:39 pm

"The Golden Life" — A Year with Jesus for 01/22/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

We often make understanding what God wants much harder than it really is. One of the important aspects of My teaching is that I tried to make things easy to understand so that you can focus on putting those things into practice. In My teaching, I taught you to love God with all you are and to love your neighbor just as you love yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). This teaching is the heart of the Torah — the law of Moses and the message of the prophets also boiled down to those two simple principles: love God and love your neighbor.

Today, I want to do the same and focus on easy-to-understand ways to love your neighbor. Let me give you a few kernels of advice on how best to proceed.

Don't judge your neighbor's motives. His or her fruit — the kind of things a person's life produces — will tell you what kind of person he or she is. I will have much to say about that later in My teaching. Right now I don't want you to worry about other people; I want you to focus on yourself and your "stuff" — your issues, your struggles, your sins. You wouldn't want to have someone sitting around judging your motives for everything you do, would you? Of course not! So don't waste time looking into people's actions for their motives. Spend that time on dealing with your "stuff" and you will be a more delightful person to others and a godlier person before the Father!

Don't harp on religious topics with people who couldn't care less about Me or the ways of God. These people have chosen not to be interested in the ways of God for now. Harping on things about the kingdom often makes some people more determined than ever to never respond. You are wasting your precious time that could be spent doing something productive. Instead, remember the principle of your light shining before others so they can see your good deeds and know that they come from your relationship with the Father (Matthew 5:16). Peter, a leader among My apostles, talked about reaching a point where you can win people without words by your behavior (1 Peter 3:1).

Boiling this all down to one simple principle is pretty easy if you will use it everywhere you go and with everyone you touch with your life. Do for others what you would want to be done for you if you were in their situation!
Verses to Live

Remember, My teaching in what you call the Sermon on the Mount is not just for your learning, but for your living! So don't get lost in the words; put these principles into practice:
Jesus:
If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people.

Why is it that you see the dust in your brother's or sister's eye, but you can't see what is in your own eye? Don't ignore the wooden plank in your eye, while you criticize the speck of sawdust in your brother's eyelashes. That type of criticism and judgment is a sham! Remove the plank from your own eye, and then perhaps you will be able to see clearly how to help your brother flush out his sawdust.

Don't give precious things to dogs. Don't cast your pearls before swine. If you do, the pigs will trample the pearls with their little pigs' feet, and then they will turn back and attack you.


This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Matthew 7:1-6; Matthew 7:12)
Response in Prayer

Holy Spirit, stir my heart with empathy to see the needs of others. Father God, please empower my efforts to do for others what I believe I would want to be done for me if I were in their situation. Lord Jesus, I pray this because I want to put into practice the things that You have taught me! 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 21 Jan 2017, 9:15 pm

Wisely Invested Treasures" — A Year with Jesus for 01/21/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

Are you worried about finances? Retirement? Funding college? Too little money at the end of too long a month? Or paying off your debts?

Are you working for money for money's sake? For greater success? For more security? For a new play toy? For a vacation play place? For a bigger and better box to sleep in? Or simply for the prestige of having a lot of stuff?

Remember this: stuff doesn't last — "your precious trinkets" won't amount to anything in the end! If what you invest in can't change the ultimate reality of your life — death — then what good is it going to do you in the long run? Can what you worry about or what you work for decay, be stolen, or be lost? Then can it ever really be yours... can it ever be truly satisfying... will it ever be enough?

Those who live with selfish extravagance or who run after material things often end up losing their life. Pick up the latest tabloid and see which spoiled young superstars have ended up in jail as they live out of control trying for a bit more limelight, searching for a bit more gusto in their joy, wanting a bit more of something that their stuff can't seem to satisfy. What their eyes see as success is, in reality, darkness. What their hearts call significance ends up as emptiness. What their wealth buys now later becomes their ongoing burden.

Let Me have your heart! Let Me show you the right places to invest! Let Me deposit your truest riches in the bank of eternal grace! Then notice in the process that you have found the spiritually meaningful life that many others chase without success.
Verses to Live

Here's My teaching on worry, riches, and true wealth. It comes from My Sermon on the Mount. Please remember, what I say here is not opinion or suggestion: this is the truth. Disregard it at your own peril. Obey it to find true life!
Jesus:
Some people store up treasures in their homes here on earth. This is a shortsighted practice — don't undertake it. Moths and rust will eat up any treasure you may store here. Thieves may break into your homes and steal your precious trinkets. Instead, put up your treasures in heaven where moths do not attack, where rust does not corrode, and where thieves are barred at the door. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is clouded or evil, then your body will be filled with evil and dark clouds. And the darkness that takes over the body of a child of God who has gone astray — that is the deepest, darkest darkness there is.

No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa. People try to serve both God and money — but you can't. You must choose one or the other.

Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don't worry about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don't worry about how you clothe your body. Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up. Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don't plant gardens. They do not sow or reap — and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you. Worrying does not do any good; who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying?

Nor should you worry about clothes. Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning. Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies. And think about grassy fields — the grasses are here now, but they will be dead by winter. And yet God adorns them so radiantly. How much more will He clothe you, you of little faith, you who have no trust?

So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don't realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.
(Matthew 6:19-34)
Response in Prayer

Father, forgive me for believing the lies of the advertisers, the deceptions of my fleshly greed, and the pressure of my peers to want to have more stuff that does not fully satisfy or have ultimate eternal value. Please give me eyes to see and a heart to seek after what is truly lasting and what is of eternal significance. 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 20 Jan 2017, 11:59 pm

Don't Be a Show-Off!" — A Year with Jesus for 01/20/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

I have a question: Why are you doing spiritual things? Are you trying to impress someone and prove you are religious? Are you trying to honor the Father? For whom are you doing all your "spiritual stuff"?

Yes, I know that the last question is a bit abrupt. However, I want you to think through the question carefully. The Sermon on the Mount is challenging to understand. (You can find this teaching in Matthew chapters 5-7 in your Bible.) My teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is even more challenging to put it into practice. I know because this teaching reflects the life I chose to live as I sought to honor the Father! So my teaching today will ask you to examine why you do what you do for God and for others. What's your motivation for doing good things?

Here's the important point to notice. When you do good things for others to notice them, then you've already received your reward. When you do them to honor the Father, He sees even the secret things done to honor Him and will never forget those things. On top of that, your heart will begin to resonate with the Father's will and the Spirit will help conform your life to be like Mine.

We've all had enough of religious show-offs who talk about all the great things they have done for God. Just remember, the Father keeps track of the things that you do to honor Him but that most folks never know about.

I guess the question is really pretty simple: Do you want the applause of heaven or are you satisfied with a fleeting pat on the back at church?
Verses to Live

Faith without good deeds, spiritual service, and worship is simply talk. Also, doing religious things to be noticed by others so they will think you are special and holy is actually unholy. Please hear what I say in these words from My Sermon on the Mount!
Jesus:
But when you do these righteous acts, do not do them in front of spectators. Don't do them where you can be seen, let alone lauded, by others. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the poor, do not boast about it, announcing your donations with blaring trumpets as the play actors do. Do not brazenly give your charity in the synagogues and on the streets; indeed, do not give at all if you are giving because you want to be praised by your neighbors. Those people who give in order to reap praise have already received their reward. When you give to the needy, do it in secret — even your left hand should not know what your right hand is doing. Then your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you.

Likewise, when you pray, do not be as hypocrites who love to pray loudly at synagogue or on street corners — their concern is to be seen by men. They have already earned their reward. When you pray, go into a private room, close the door, and pray unseen to your Father Who is unseen. Then your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not go on and on, excessively and strangely like the outsiders; they think their verbosity will let them be heard by their deities. Do not be like them. Your prayers need not be labored or lengthy or grandiose — for your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him.

Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this:
Our Father in heaven, let Your name remain holy.

Bring about Your kingdom. Manifest Your will here on earth,
as it is manifest in heaven.

Give us each day that day's bread — no more, no less —
and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who owe us something.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

But let Your kingdom be, and let it be powerful and glorious forever. Amen.
If you forgive people when they sin against you, then your Father will forgive you when you sin against Him and when you sin against your neighbor. But if you do not forgive your neighbors' sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

And when you fast, do not look miserable as the actors and hypocrites do when they are fasting — they walk around town putting on airs about their suffering and weakness, complaining about how hungry they are. So everyone will know they are fasting, they don't wash or anoint themselves with oil, pink their cheeks, or wear comfortable shoes. Those who show off their piety, they have already received their reward. When you fast, wash your face and beautify yourself with oil, so no one who looks at you will know about your discipline. Only your Father, Who is unseen, will see your fast. And your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:1-18)
Response in Prayer

Abba Father, the LORD God Almighty, please accept the things I do to Your glory. Help me guard my heart against doing them for the applause of others on earth. If You are pleased with what I do for others in Your name, give me satisfaction in knowing that You have seen those things. I want Your Name to be glorified and Your Kingdom to come in my life and through my efforts to Your glory! Through Jesus and with the intercession of the Holy Spirit, 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 19 Jan 2017, 10:23 pm

"Going Deeper than the Old Commands" — A Year with Jesus for 01/19/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

Today's message is very important because many in your religious world turn grace into an excuse to do whatever they want rather than seeing it as a joyous reason to live for the Father. In My days on earth, some accused Me of being easy on sin and negligent on ritualistic obedience to the traditions. So it is important that you not only receive the teaching that you will read below but that you also pay close attention to the emphasis.

The words I say are hard words to obey. However, I want you to obey them — to put them into practice, to make them real in your daily life. I'm not giving you a few more rules to obey so that you can feel superior to others who are not as good at being religious. What I want is for your heart to yearn for God's righteous character as well as His gracious compassion.

There are two things I want you to realize as you read and take My words below to heart.

First, I speak with authority. My authority doesn't depend on human sources because I speak with divine authority. Moses and the prophets spoke for God, but I fulfilled the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). My words are more important than those from Moses and the prophets because I AM the Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-2)! My words matter eternally. My words must also matter to you and how you choose to live.

Second, I want your heart. I want you to move beyond surface obedience to My teaching. Keep asking this simple question: "Lord Jesus, what is the Father's intent for my heart and my behavior in this truth?" The Father and I have given you the Holy Spirit to help you hear My answer each day (John 14:23-27; Titus 3:3-7).

If you do this, you will be a true child of your Father — the Father of all grace and mercy for all those who seek to honor Him!
Verses to Live

I came to help you see through the vain rule-keeping approach to religion. I want you to look deep into the heart and the will of the Father. So you will notice that I stated what the existing teachings were in My day (the underlined portions below) and that I then intensified the meanings of those truths to point you to the heart of the Father (the portions in bold text).
Jesus:
Do not think that I have come to overturn or do away with the law or the words of our prophets. To the contrary: I have not come to overturn them but to fulfill them.

This, beloved, is the truth: until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter, not one pen stroke, will disappear from the sacred law — for everything, everything in the sacred law will be fulfilled and accomplished. Anyone who breaks even the smallest, most obscure commandment — not to mention teaches others to do the same — will be called small and obscure in the kingdom of heaven. Those who practice the law and teach others how to live the law will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you this: you will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless your righteousness goes deeper than the Pharisees', even more righteous than the most learned learner of the law.

As you know, long ago God instructed Moses to tell His people, "Do not murder; those who murder will be judged and punished." But here is the even harder truth: anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger. Anyone who taunts his friend, speaks contemptuously toward him, or calls him "Loser" or "Fool" or "Scum," will have to answer to the high court. And anyone who calls his brother a fool may find himself in the fires of hell.

Therefore, if you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God.

If someone sues you, settle things with him quickly. Talk to him as you are walking to court; otherwise, he may turn matters over to the judge, and the judge may turn you over to an officer, and you may land in jail. I tell you this: you will not emerge from prison until you have paid your last penny.

As you know, long ago God forbade His people to commit adultery. You may think you have abided by this Commandment, walked the straight and narrow, but I tell you this: any man who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart. If your right eye leads you into sin, gouge it out and throw it in the garbage — for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell. And if your right hand leads you into sin, cut it off and throw it away — for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell.

And here is something else: you have read in Deuteronomy that anyone who divorces his wife must do so fairly — he must give her the requisite certificate of divorce and send her on her way, free and unfettered. But I tell you this: unless your wife cheats on you, you must not divorce her, period. Nor are you to marry someone who has been married and divorces, for a divorced person who remarries commits adultery.

You know that God expects us to abide by the oaths we swear and the promises we make. But I tell you this: do not ever swear an oath. What is an oath? You cannot say, "I swear by heaven" — for heaven is not yours to swear by; it is God's throne. And you cannot say, "I swear by this good earth," for the earth is not yours to swear by; it is God's footstool. And you cannot say, "I swear by the holy city Jerusalem," for it is not yours to swear by; it is the city of God, the capital of the King of kings. You cannot even say that you swear by your own head, for God has dominion over your hands, your lips, your head. It is He Who determines if your hair be straight or curly, white or black; it is He Who rules over even this small scrap of creation. You need not swear an oath — any impulse to do so is of evil. Simply let your "yes" be "yes," and let your "no" be "no."

You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say this, don't fight against the one who is working evil against you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away.

You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you — in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us — good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. It is easy to love those who love you — even a tax collector can love those who love him. And it is easy to greet your friends — even outsiders do that! But you are called to something higher: "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect."
(Matthew 5:17-48)
Response in Prayer

O Father, give me the wisdom to always see Your grace and the courage to live Your will in the challenging truths I have heard from Jesus today. I long, dear Father, to have my heart shaped by Jesus' teaching and to have my heart conformed by the Holy Spirit to be like Your heart. Transform me, O Father, to You and to Your will. 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 2:12 pm

"My Counterintuitive Kingdom" — A Year with Jesus for 01/18/2017
Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Many mortals chase after so many things thinking that a fulfilling life will be found in those things... those pursuits... those possessions... that power... that position... that reputation.

However, a fulfilling, meaningful life for you as My disciple is found in living for the kingdom of God. To live for this kingdom means that you take the righteous character and gracious compassion of My Father — the values that will be present when the kingdom is fully realized at My return — and put them into practice right now!

What you will hear Me teach below is counterintuitive both to you and to those who want to tell you how to be successful. Very few of your "how to be successful" promoters tell you:
to be "spiritually poor."
to "mourn."
to be "meek and gentle."
to "hunger and thirst for righteousness."
to be "merciful."
to be "pure in heart."
to be "a peacemaker."
to allow yourself to be "persecuted because of righteousness."
But I tell you that you are "blessed" if these characteristics are true of you! In fact, there will be those who take advantage of you for these things; yet I remind you, you are "blessed" if you have these characteristics and do these things!

Notice that while the crowd is gathered around Me, these words and the words of the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount that follows are for My disciples. The crowd does not understand them. When you are persecuted, ridiculed, called weak, and considered out of touch for living these things, remember that these are the same things that My opponents did to Me for living this way. But also remember how My life was victorious (Philippians 2:5-11). My Father will see that your life will matter, that you will be "blessed," and that you share in My victory!

There is a time in every person's life when he or she will need to have the blessings of heaven, to be comforted, to have security while on earth, to be shown mercy, to know the Father's intimate presence, and to know that her or his eternal destiny is secure. However, all of these things will be lost to some people. They will have forfeited them by chasing after other things. However, you, dearly beloved who live for the Father's will, will have them all. They will be yours because you live the values of the King.
Verses to Live

Remember when I told Peter to fish in a different place, even though he just knew he would not catch fish? But he did it anyway because I asked him to do so. Do you remember what happened? He caught so many fish he couldn't haul them in by himself (Luke 5:1-7). So when I call you to live the kingdom lifestyle that is counterintuitive to the world — to live the character and compassion of the Father — then please know I want to bring you more grace than you can ever imagine. I want to bless you with what lasts!
Now when He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He went up on a mountain (as Moses had done before Him) and He sat down (as Jewish teachers of His day usually did). His disciples gathered around Him.

And He began to teach them.

Jesus:
Blessed are the spiritually poor — the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Blessed are those who mourn — they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek and gentle — they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful — they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are those who are pure in heart — they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers — they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness — the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

And blessed are you, blessed are all of you, when people persecute you or denigrate you or despise you or tell lies about you on My account. But when this happens, rejoice. Be glad. Remember that God's prophets have been persecuted in the past. And know that in heaven, you have a great reward.
(Matthew 5:1-12)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, as Your child, I confess that I see the world telling me to live in a very different way from what I find Jesus teaching in these Beatitudes and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. I need the help of the Holy Spirit to apply these truths to my life and live them out in ways that reflect Your character and compassion. I ask for this grace 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 17 Jan 2017, 11:51 pm

Beyond the Sacred Page" — A Year with Jesus for 01/17/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

The Bible is a precious treasure. Don't neglect it. Use it and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it. Remember! It is a tool that the Spirit uses to shape your life and to point you to Me. Even the best of religious people can get so caught up in trying to prove themselves right by the Bible that they lose sight of the goal and the gift.

The goal of the Scriptures is to find Me! That's why My beloved disciple John identified Me as God's Message, the Word, that became flesh (John 1:1-18). That's also why the apostle Paul could say that faith in Me was necessary to unlock the salvation promised in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15), that I am the "yes" to God's promises and the One through Whom every "Amen" can be spoken (2 Corinthians 1:18-20). I am the goal of the Holy Spirit's transforming work in you (2 Corinthians 3:18) and the goal that the apostles were trying to reach in their work with you (Galatians 4:19; Colossians 1:28-29). I am the Father's ultimate, greatest, and clearest Word (Hebrews 1:1-3).

The gift you receive when you understand that the Bible points to Me and when you follow Me is life! I came to give you full, abundant, and purposeful life (John 10:10). I want you to experience true life, which is life in Me (John 14:1-6; John 17:1-3). I want you to have life through faith in Me (John 20:30-31; 1 John 5:13). So let the Bible bring you to Me and find the life I long to share with you!

Appreciate the Bible, use the Scriptures, and learn the message of the word of God. But, don't worship the Bible. Worship God — Father, Son, and Spirit. Seek Me! Love God with all you are. Don't substitute the Bible for the Holy Spirit. Seek the Father to Whom the Scriptures point and from Whom the Scriptures come.

Sadly, many of the religious people in My days on earth were so caught up in looking at tiny little arguments over the Scriptures, so caught up in trying to prove themselves and their traditions to be right, that they missed Me — the very One to Whom the Scriptures point.

I am so glad you are taking this year to journey with Me through the New Testament. So I want to encourage you to continue this spiritual exercise to help you along your journey this year, and every time you open the Bible going forward. As you study the Bible, pray this simple prayer:
Father, thank You for Your Scriptures. Open my heart to hear Your truth. Holy Spirit, please open my eyes to the message Jesus wants me to put to work in my life. Jesus, conform me to Your will and help me find true life in You. Amen.
Verses to Live

There are a couple of big points made in this passage, but notice especially the message with bold emphasis. This point is the one I want you to see... to be your focus... and to help you find life in Me!
Jesus:
The Father does not exert His power to judge anyone. Instead, He has given the authority as Judge to the Son. So all of creation will honor and worship the Son as they do the Father. If you do not honor the Son, then you dishonor the Father Who sent Him.

I tell you the truth: eternal life belongs to those who hear My voice and believe in the One Who sent Me. These people have no reason to fear judgment because they have already left death and entered life.

I tell you the truth: a new day is imminent — in fact, it has arrived — when the voice of the Son of God will penetrate death's domain, and everyone who hears will live. You see, the Father radiates with life, and He also animates the Son of God with the same life-giving beauty and power to exercise judgment over all of creation. Indeed, the Son of God is also the Son of Man. If this sounds amazing to you, what is even more amazing is that when the time comes, those buried long ago will hear His voice through all the rocks, sod, and soil and step out of decay into resurrection. When this hour arrives, those who did good will be resurrected to life, and those who did evil will be resurrected to judgment.

I have not ever acted, and will not in the future act, on My own. I listen to the directions of the One Who sent Me and act on these divine instructions. For this reason, My judgment is always fair and never self-serving. I'm committed to pursuing God's agenda and not My own.

If I stand as the lone witness to My true identity, then I can be dismissed as a liar. But if you listen, you will hear another testify about Me, and I know what He says about Me is genuine and true. You sent messengers to John, and he told the truth to everyone who would listen. Still his message about Me originated in heaven, not in mortal man. I am telling you these things for one reason — so that you might be rescued. The voice of John the Baptist, the wandering prophet, is like a light in the darkness, and for a time, you took great joy and pleasure in the light he offered.

There's another witness standing in My corner Who is greater than John or any other man. The mission that brings Me here, and the things I am called to do, demonstrate the authenticity of My calling which comes directly from the Father. In the act of sending Me, the Father has endorsed Me. None of you really knows the Father. You have never heard His voice or seen His profile. His word does not abide in you because you do not believe in the One sent by the Father.

Here you are scouring through the Scriptures, hoping that you will find eternal life among a pile of scrolls. What you don't seem to understand is that the Scriptures point to Me. Here I am with you, and still you reject the truth contained in the law and prophets by refusing to come to Me so that you can have life.

This kind of glory does not come from mortal men. And I see that you do not possess the love of God. I have pursued you, coming here in My Father's name, and you have turned Me away. If someone else were to approach you with a different set of credentials, you would welcome him. That's why it is hard to see how true faith is even possible for you: you are consumed by the approval of other men, longing to look good in their eyes, and yet you disregard the approval of the one true God. Don't worry that I might bring you up on charges before My Father. Moses is your accuser even though you've put your hope in him....
(John 5:22-45)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I pray the words of the old hymn* today:
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word!

O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes, and make me see:
Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord.
I pray this in Jesus' name and to be conformed to His will. Amen.

* Mary Lathbury from the hymn, "Break Thou the Bread of Life," 1887.
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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 Mon 16 Jan 2017, 10:55 pm

True Healing" — A Year with Jesus for 01/16/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

To be My disciple means that you are committed to following in My footsteps. You come to Me, recognizing your need for healing grace — not just to cure some physical malady or even just to find salvation, but also to heal what is broken inside your life and your heart. When you recognize that I have called you to follow Me, that I have accepted you, and that I have brought you into My family, then you will offer My healing grace to others.

Today in My life story from Luke's gospel, Levi, also known as Matthew, leaves his life as a tax collector. In the times when I physically walked the earth, tax collectors were a notorious lot who used their position and power to extort money from others in the name of Rome and to line their own pockets. They were hated and despised. Most lived up to their reputation — living it up with those who were openly sinning. When Levi followed Me, he didn't abandon his friends even though he left his old lifestyle. Instead, Levi did what he knew best: he threw a party for his friends at his house. There, he introduced his friends to Me.

As you might expect, my religious critics launched their criticisms at My disciples and Me for being at Levi's party. Before their whispers turned to full public criticism, I reminded them what Levi knew: I came to heal sinners. I came to mend broken lives. I came to restore people to fellowship with God and with each other. So when people find My healing grace, it becomes their lifestyle to share that healing grace with others — not to think of themselves as spiritually superior and certainly not to isolate My healing grace away from those who desperately need it.
Verses to Live

As you read this story about Levi, rejoice in the grace I have given you (Ephesians 2:1-9). Realize that grace not only saved you from sin and destruction but that it also saved you to be a blessing to others: you were carefully made by the Father for this purpose (Ephesians 2:10). I hope this will stir your heart to follow Levi's example and think of others who need to be invited to come and know Me!
Some time later [after forgiving and healing the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof], Jesus walked along the street and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting in his tax office.

Jesus:
Follow Me.
And Levi did. He got up from his desk, left everything (just as the fishermen had), and followed Jesus.

Shortly after this, Levi invited his many friends and associates, including many tax collectors, to his home for a large feast in Jesus' honor. Everyone sat at a table together.

The Pharisees and their associates, the religious scholars, got the attention of some of Jesus' disciples.

Pharisees (in low voices):
What's wrong with you? Why are you eating and drinking with tax collectors and other immoral people?
Jesus (answering for the disciples):
Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. I haven't come for the pure and upstanding; I've come to call notorious sinners to rethink their lives and turn to God.
(Luke 5:27-32)
Response in Prayer

Abba Father, thank You for the grace that forgave my sins and adopted me into Your family. Today, dear Father, I want to pray for several people who need Your healing grace in their lives. So, Father, please bless the following people as I pray for them by name... Also, use me to be a magnet to attract people who need Your grace and please use me to be a bridge for them to You and Your family of grace. 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 Sun 15 Jan 2017, 8:58 pm

Extraordinary God!" — A Year with Jesus for 01/15/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

What is your greatest need?

Seems like a simple question, doesn't it? But when you look deeper, the events in the verses below from in My life story clarify some things for you... including what three of your deepest needs are!

First, many times people going through hard times, especially if they involve illness, think that a cure for their disease is the most important thing. However, in this story, the man who was paralyzed received blessings that far outweighed having his physical problem removed. This man had friends. These determined friends were willing to take risks that could cost them something. These were friends of faith. I saw their faith and it led Me to help this man with his greatest need. He needed forgiveness. He needed a right relationship restored with the Father. I gave him that at great risk and cost to Me because of the reaction of the Jewish leaders to My ministry. And if you have been paying attention to what I have been saying these last few days, you know why I did it. As God with you, I want you to know by My actions that God wants you both holy and whole — to enjoy full shalom!

Second, the religious leaders in this story can point you to another great need. Notice what the religious leaders said:
Who can pronounce that a person's sins are forgiven? Who but God alone?
Now don't miss the point, because some religious groups who claim to be My disciples miss it. My actions show that I AM God among you. I healed the man to show I have the power, the authority, the right to do what only God can do: forgive people of their sins, both the ones that involve only them and God and the ones that involve other people as well!

No matter your problem, please recognize the most important issue in your life involves your relationship with the Father. I can bring you forgiveness no matter what you've done if you will only come to Me and be honest about the sin issues in your life. Don't believe Me? I recommend you read what My beloved disciple wrote about forgiveness (1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-2).

Finally, and most importantly of all, recognize that I AM God. The Father and I are One. I came as God in human flesh, Immanuel — God with you! This conviction is the most basic and important belief of all. To understand God's love, the meaning of My sacrifice, and the importance of your obedience, you must believe that I AM God, come in human flesh to save you — and not just you, but everyone else in the world who is willing to recognize Me for Who I AM and follow Me! As My apostle Thomas said when he saw Me raised from the dead, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28 NLT).
Verses to Live

In the following story, there is a paralyzed man whose life was forever changed because of the faith and determination of his friends. If you have friends who are determined in their faith, give thanks to God. Affirm them. Lean on them. Just as was the case for this sick man, there will be days when your friends may have to have the faith to get you to Me when you don't seem to have the power, courage, or willingness to come to Me. So value those friends.
One day Jesus was teaching in a house, and the healing power of the Lord was with Him. Pharisees and religious scholars were sitting and listening, having come from villages all across the regions of Galilee and Judea and from the holy city of Jerusalem.

Some men came to the house, carrying a paralyzed man on his bed pallet. They wanted to bring him in and present him to Jesus, but the house was so packed with people that they couldn't get in. So they climbed up on the roof and pulled off some roof tiles. Then they lowered the man by ropes so he came to rest right in front of Jesus.

In this way, their faith was visible to Jesus.

Jesus (to the man on the pallet):
My friend, all your sins are forgiven.
The Pharisees and religious scholars were offended at this. They turned to one another and asked questions.

Pharisees and Religious Scholars:
Who does He think He is? Wasn't that blasphemous? Who can pronounce that a person's sins are forgiven? Who but God alone?
Jesus (responding with His own question):
Why are your hearts full of questions? Which is easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven" or "Get up and walk"? Just so you'll know that the Son of Man is fully authorized to forgive sins on earth (He turned to the paralyzed fellow lying on the pallet), I say, get up, take your mat, and go home.
Then, right in front of their eyes, the man stood up, picked up his bed, and left to go home — full of praises for God! Everyone was stunned. They couldn't help but feel awestruck, and they praised God too.

People:
We've seen extraordinary things today.
(Luke 5:17-26)
Response in Prayer

O Jesus, You are Lord and Christ, God's Son, Immanuel, God Who came to us in human flesh. You are my Lord and my God! Thank You, God, in the name of the Son and through the intercession of the Spirit. 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 14 Jan 2017, 5:36 pm

"Move Out to Deeper Water" — A Year with Jesus for 01/14/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

Wow, there is so much I would like to say to you about this important moment in today's verses that forever changed the lives of Peter, James, and John when I told them where to cast their fishing nets. The last few days, I've been trying to help you look beyond the miraculous to My message and My mission. The same is true with today's message.

You see, I'm trying to gain committed followers, real disciples, not just an audience. This purpose is an important message for you to hear in your day because some churches are working hard to gain an audience, but not all are equipping people to be real disciples. So notice a couple of things about the events in today's story from My life on earth.

First, Peter and his co-workers had to trust that I had authority over the areas of their lives that they didn't see as religious. On their road to being fully committed to Me, they had to learn that My lordship extended over every area of their lives. So when I pushed them to go to deeper water and to continuing fishing even though they hadn't caught anything all night, they had to decide whether to obey Me or do what their human experience thought best. Notice this key phrase from the way Luke tells the story: Peter says, "I'll do it if You say so." Boom! That's the point. It's the key point for a disciple in your day, too. There are some religious sounding people in your day who have found ways to make themselves sound smarter about truth than what I said when I was among you. They haven't learned the lesson of Peter.

Second, Peter admitted in front of his rough, tough, fishing partners that he needed My grace and forgiveness. This response is not easy for anyone, but it was especially tough for a guy like Peter. He recognized that he had to surrender control of his life to Me or he was going to make a mess of things. In fact, he was pretty sure he was not worthy to be around Me because he had made a mess of things in the past. Of course, My grace has something much more profound to say about this presumed lack of worth. In simple words, I told him, "Peter, I've got bigger fish for you to catch than you are fishing for now!"
Verses to Live

Once again, while a miracle is involved in the following account from Luke's gospel, this whole series of events grows out of My teaching. We're about to spend some time with My teaching. So I want you to open your heart to receive My truth and to make a commitment — like Peter — to say, "I'll do it if You say so!"
Picture these events:

On the banks of Gennesaret Lake, a huge crowd, Jesus in the center of it, presses in to hear His message from God. Off to the side, fishermen are washing their nets, leaving their boats unattended on the shore.

Jesus gets into one of the boats and asks its owner, Simon, to push off and anchor a short distance from the beach. Jesus sits down and teaches the people standing on the beach.

After speaking for a while, Jesus speaks to Simon.

Jesus:
Move out into deeper water, and drop your nets to see what you'll catch.
Simon (perplexed):
Master, we've been fishing all night, and we haven't caught even a minnow. But... all right, I'll do it if You say so.
Simon then gets his fellow fishermen to help him let down their nets, and to their surprise, the water is bubbling with thrashing fish — a huge school. The strands of their nets start snapping under the weight of the catch, so the crew shouts to the other boat to come out and give them a hand. They start scooping fish out of the nets and into their boats, and before long, their boats are so full of fish they almost sink!

Simon's fishing partners, James and John (two of Zebedee's sons), along with the rest of the fishermen, see this incredible haul of fish. They're all stunned, especially Simon. He comes close to Jesus and kneels in front of His knees.

Simon:
I can't take this, Lord. I'm a sinful man. You shouldn't be around the likes of me.
Jesus:
Don't be afraid, Simon. From now on, I'll ask you to bring Me people instead of fish.
The fishermen haul their fish-heavy boats to land, and they leave everything to follow Jesus.
(Luke 5:1-11)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I thank You for coming to our world as Jesus and telling us heaven's truth. I confess that I want to call the shots in my life when I think I know best how to do things. However, I realize that I need Your grace and guidance, Your words and wisdom, or my life will never be all that You have made me to be. I offer myself to follow Jesus because I know that You are God, and I am Your creation. 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 Fri 13 Jan 2017, 11:37 pm

[b][/Moving Beyond a Little Religious Excitement" — A Year with Jesus for 01/13/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

My half-brother James warned that simply believing in the existence of God was nothing special — even the demons believe in God and shudder in fear at His power (James 2:19). In today's story from My life on earth, you meet a man tortured by a demonic spirit. This demonic spirit knew My name and knew Who I AM. In fear, this demonic presence shouted at Me to leave because it knew that I would cast out every tidbit of demonic influence that had a hold on this man. And that is what I did. My power over evil was demonstrated as I cast the demon out of the man with just a few words.

People were excited and amazed at My power. However, don't confuse their reactions with meaningful faith. Don't confuse their reactions with discipleship. Believing in Who I AM, saying the right words, getting excited about My power, even doing some things in My name, should never be confused with being My disciple (Matthew 7:21-23). A disciple follows his or her teacher to become like the teacher (Luke 6:40).

My disciples follow Me to become like Me. They do what I call them to do. They put into practice what I teach. So in many ways, the excitement of the crowd and the fear of the demons in today's story are very much the same things: a lot of emotion and commotion without devotion to Me.

As we journey through this year together, I hope that you will move beyond mere emotion and religious commotion to heartfelt devotion!
Verses to Live

Even though the religious leaders should have recognized Me during My time on earth, most of them did not. However, the demon in today's story did recognize Me and even confessed Me before the people in the synagogue, albeit in a confrontational way. Your response to Me needs to be much more than a confession of Who I AM. Just as the demon-possessed man's life was dramatically changed by My power, your life should also change dramatically because of Me. Your life should acknowledge Me just as your words do.
Next He [Jesus] went to Capernaum, another Galilean city. Again He was in the synagogue teaching on the Sabbath, and as before, the people were enthralled by His words. He had a way of saying things — a special authority, a unique power.

In attendance that day was a man with a demonic spirit.

Demon-Possessed Man (screaming at Jesus):
Get out of here! Leave us alone! What's Your agenda, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are: You're the Holy One, the One sent by God!
Jesus (firmly rebuking the demon):
Be quiet. Get out of that man!
Then the demonic spirit immediately threw the man into a fit, and he collapsed right there in the middle of the synagogue. It was clear the demon had come out, and the man was completely fine after that. Everyone was shocked to see this, and they couldn't help but talk about it.

Synagogue Members:
What's this about? What's the meaning of this message? Jesus speaks with authority, and He has power to command demonic spirits to go away.
The excitement about Jesus spread into every corner of the surrounding region.
(Luke 4:31-37)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, open my eyes, my ears, my heart, and my mind to fully see Jesus for Who He is. I want to follow Him with wholehearted devotion. I offer You my life to be a follower of Jesus. Shape me to become like my Savior as I journey with Him each day. In the name of the Lord 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 12 Jan 2017, 11:37 pm

"Savior of the World" — A Year with Jesus for 01/12/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

You receive these notes because you love Me and want to walk with Me in your daily life. So I want to remind you of something very important. When you take the time to value someone, especially someone whom others discard and disregard as unimportant, I can do amazing things with that person. I AM the Savior of the world. But for the world to know that I AM the Savior of the world, each person needs to know that I came for her or for him!

My conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria led to many others in her village coming to faith in Me. Her painful story was known to the people of the village. Despite the villagers' view of this woman's past and their rejection of her, she still had influence with them after her interaction with Me. When I valued her personally, specifically both listening and speaking to her heart, she realized Who I AM. Then she shared this truth with everyone. The result? Many came to Me to find out for sure if I AM Who she thought Me to be. Then, after visiting with Me and hearing My teaching, they concluded that I AM indeed "the Savior of the world"!

Please be open to the people around you. Speak to them. Value them by asking questions about their lives. Listen carefully to their answers. Gently lead them to meet Me. You don't have to convince them to believe. You don't need to twist their arms so that they will listen. Value each one of them as a person the Father deeply loves. Invite each of them to "come and see" Who I AM. The kind of person you are and the way that you value each person you meet will open the door for each one to come and meet Me.
Verses to Live

So here is the amazing result of the woman at the well learning My true identity and finding hope for her life:
The woman went back to the town, leaving her water pot behind. She stopped men and women on the streets and told them about what had happened.

Woman:
I met a stranger Who knew everything about me. Come and see for yourselves; can He be the Anointed One?
A crowd came out of the city and approached Jesus.
(John 4:28-30)

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said:
He told me everything I ever did!
When they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear His message and believe. Then they said to the woman:
Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know that He is indeed the Savior of the world.
(John 4:39-42 NLT)
Response in Prayer

Gracious God, open my eyes to the people who are around me each day but whom I do not notice and do not take the time to value. I want to value people so that I can invite them to "come and see" Who Jesus is. I pray this 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.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 11 Jan 2017, 11:00 pm

"Leaving the Bucket Behind" — A Year with Jesus for 01/11/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

I surprised My closest disciples at Jacob's well in Samaria. We were traveling from Judea to Galilee, and Samaria was the region between them. Religious and racial prejudice separated Jews and Samaritans. Most Jews wouldn't have anything to do with Samaritans and usually avoided even going through the region of Samaria. They would take the long way around Samaria and walk along the Jordan River. In addition to the Samaritan issue, rabbis were forbidden to speak alone with women. So, as you can imagine, this cultural ban was especially true of a Jewish rabbi speaking with a Samaritan woman.

Traveling through Samaria, we came to Jacob's well. My followers left Me there to go into a nearby town for provisions. When they returned, they found Me speaking with a Samaritan woman. They were stunned. The woman had come from town to draw water from the well. However, when she began to think that I might be the promised Anointed One (Messiah), she was so excited that she left her water bucket behind and went back to town to tell others about Me.

My followers discovered several surprises by Jacob's well in Samaria:
I will do whatever is necessary to break through the barriers of religious, racial, and gender prejudices to bring grace to the heart of anyone seeking God.
The people who appear least likely to be spiritual seekers can actually be thirsty for God and searching for the Father's truth.
A whole village can be brought to faith if My followers will lovingly care, listen, and teach those I bring to them.
The deepest conversations about life's hurts, social yearnings, and spiritual thirst can begin with the most simple of questions when you listen to and care for the people God places in your path.
I AM the water of life. I bring deep, spiritual refreshment to the souls of those who truly seek Me. But even more, I hope you see from My actions at this well in Samaria that I long to include all people in My family of grace and that I want you to be open to all those who are seeking Me... even the apparently least likely people in the most unlikely situations. Remember, I reveal Myself in the ordinary events of life for those who are truly seeking Me!
Verses to Live

Here's the story of My visit with the woman by the well in Samaria:
The picture was becoming clear to the Pharisees that Jesus had gained a following much larger than that of John the Baptist, the wandering prophet. Now He [Jesus] could see that the Pharisees were beginning to plot against Him. This was because His disciples were busy ritually cleansing many new disciples through baptism. He chose to leave Judea where most Pharisees lived and return to a safer location in Galilee. This was a trip that would take them through Samaria.

In a small Samaritan town known as Sychar, Jesus and His entourage stopped to rest at the historic well that Jacob gave his son Joseph. It was about noon when Jesus found a spot to sit close to the well while the disciples ventured off to find provisions. From His vantage, He watched as a Samaritan woman approached to draw some water. Unexpectedly He spoke to her.

Jesus:
Would you draw water, and give Me a drink?
Woman:
I cannot believe that You, a Jew, would associate with me, a Samaritan woman; much less ask me to give You a drink.
Jews, you see, have no dealings with Samaritans.

Jesus:
You don't know the gift of God or Who is asking you for a drink of this water from Jacob's well. Because if you did, you would have asked Him for something greater; and He would have given you the living water.
Woman:
Sir, You sit by this deep well a thirsty man without a bucket in sight. Where does this living water come from? Are You claiming superiority to our father Jacob who labored long and hard to dig and maintain this well so that he could share clean water with his sons, grandchildren, and cattle?
Jesus:
Drink this water, and your thirst is quenched only for a moment. You must return to this well again and again. I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again.
Woman:
Please, Sir, give me some of this water, so I'll never be thirsty and never again have to make the trip to this well.
Jesus:
Then bring your husband to Me.
Woman:
I do not have a husband.
Jesus:
Technically you are telling the truth. But you have had five husbands and are currently living with a man you are not married to.
Woman:
Sir, it is obvious to me that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped here on this mountain, but Your people say that Jerusalem is the only place for all to worship. Which is it?
Jesus:
Woman, I tell you that neither is so. Believe this: A new day is coming — in fact, it's already here — when the importance will not be placed on the time and place of worship but on the truthful hearts of worshipers. You worship what you don't know while we worship what we do know, for God's salvation is coming through the Jews. The Father is spirit, and He is seeking followers whose worship is sourced in truth and deeply spiritual as well. Regardless of whether you are in Jerusalem or on this mountain, if you do not seek the Father, then you do not worship.
Woman:
These mysteries will be made clear by He Who is promised, the Anointed One.
Jesus:
The Anointed is speaking to you. I am the One you have been looking for.
The disciples returned to Him and gathered around Him in amazement that He would openly break their customs by speaking to this woman, but none of them would ask Him what He was looking for or why He was speaking with her. The woman went back to the town, leaving her water pot behind. She stopped men and women on the streets and told them about what had happened.

Woman:
I met a stranger Who knew everything about me. Come and see for yourselves; can He be the Anointed One?
(John 4:1-29)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, the Source of all life, open my eyes to the people around me who are searching for Jesus. I know many of these seekers do not realize that Jesus is the water of life they seek for their spiritual thirst. So open my eyes to these people. As I seek to speak appropriately to their hearts, please open my ears to hear what they are saying behind their words. Give me patience to truly hear their questions and give me wisdom as I seek to respond to their questions. Please use me, O Lord, to touch those around me who are seeking 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 10:29 pm


Will You Truly Believe?" — A Year with Jesus for 01/10/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

I know the struggle that goes on inside your heart to truly believe. You want to believe, but really placing your full trust in Me is hard to do... especially when you are desperate for a solution to whatever difficulty you are facing. You may want to see the solution before you will really trust Me. However, true discipleship doesn't work that way.

You have to trust Me. Even before you receive the results of your faith, you have to act on your faith that what I say is true. Real faith is something more than thinking I can do something for you: It is acting on that belief. My half-brother, James, said it well:
Without actions, faith is useless. By itself, it's as good as dead.
(James 2:17)
I love the government official you meet today in My story. He was desperate. He wanted to believe that I could heal his son, but he wasn't sure. He had hoping faith, but not full faith. So I nudged him to truly believe. I challenged him to really trust Me and to act before his faith in Me was proven true — to go home because he believed I had already healed his son before he could validate it. This situation is where his hoping faith became acting trust.

He took Me at My word and headed home. On the way home, he discovered that I had done what I said at the time he trusted Me. Then his trust became experienced faith. He believed — not just with hoping faith and acting faith, but with validated faith. He then shared that faith with others and they believed, too.

I want you to see the progression of faith in this story and know that this is the way faith often works in real life:
Hoping faith — Desperate for answers, the father whose son was near death came to Me.
Acting faith — The father started back home, taking Me at My word.
Validating faith — The father discovered I did what I said.
Sharing faith — The father told this story so others could believe.
Verses to Live

Are you willing to act in trust before your faith is validated? When you do, it is real faith — believing without immediate validation, trusting while you are waiting, and acting before you have proof! For many of you, the wait between acting faith and validating faith can be much longer than it was for this father. But, no matter how short or how long the wait might be, this is the kind of faith that I'm calling you to have as you follow Me!
After two days of teaching and conversation, Jesus proceeded to Galilee where His countrymen received Him with familiar smiles. After all, they witnessed His miracle at the feast in Jerusalem; but Jesus understood and often quoted the maxim: "No one honors a hometown prophet."

As Jesus traveled to Cana (the village in Galilee where He transformed the water into fine wine), He was met by a government official. This man had heard a rumor that Jesus had left Judea and was heading to Galilee, and he came in desperation begging for Jesus' help because his young son was near death. He was fearful that unless Jesus would go with him to Capernaum, his son would have no hope.

Jesus (to the official):
My word is not enough; you only believe when you see miraculous signs.
Official:
Sir, this is my son; please come with me before he dies.
Jesus (interrupting him):
Go home. Your son will live.
When he heard the voice of Jesus, faith took hold of him and he turned to go home. Before he reached his village, his servants met him on the road celebrating his son's miraculous recovery.

Official:
What time did this happen?
Servants:
Yesterday about one o'clock in the afternoon.
At that moment, it dawned on the father the exact time that Jesus spoke the words, "He will live." After that, he believed; and when he told his family about his amazing encounter with this Jesus, they believed too. This was the second sign Jesus performed when He came back to Galilee from Judea.
(John 4:43-54)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I believe, but help my unbelief! Jesus, thank You for this challenge. You are right; I prefer everything to be proven and to be easy before I step out. Nevertheless, I commit to acting on my faith by trusting Your words are true, and Your intentions in my life are for my good. Holy Spirit, I need Your strength and comfort to act on what I say I believe. For this grace — of believing, acting, and being strengthened — I thank You. 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 11:03 pm

"Your Best Is Not Good Enough" — A Year with Jesus for 01/09/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

What do you do when you recognize that your best isn't good enough to get you to God?

That's the essential question that every religion has to answer. The resolution is also what separates being My disciple from being part of just another religious group. This response is also what Nicodemus — the best of the best by Jewish standards — had to learn. Getting to God is about being re-born by God's power and not about being better at practicing religion.

New birth into God's family is about grace — the Father loving you so much that He sent "Heaven's Best" to pay the price for your worst to adopt you into Our family through the power and the work of the Holy Spirit — I called it "water and Spirit birth." You can't make that new birth happen. That birth is the work of the Holy Spirit to make you fresh and new. The Holy Spirit changes everything! You are cleansed. You are forgiven. You are re-born. You are adopted. You are part of the Father's family! You couldn't earn it. You couldn't work hard enough to deserve it. You couldn't get enough things right to reach it. You aren't consistent enough to achieve it. You are made new by the Holy Spirit!
Verses to Live

Yes, Nicodemus was right: To be re-born physically is impossible — you can't crawl back into the womb and be born again! That's why I came. By trusting in what I did when I was "lifted up" and by being born from above in the "water and Spirit birth," you can start a new life.
Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees, a man with some clout among his people. He came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness to question Him.

Nicodemus:
Teacher, some of us have been talking. You are obviously a teacher Who has come from God. The signs You are doing are proof that God is with You.
Jesus:
I tell you the truth: Only someone who experiences birth for a second time can hope to see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus:
I am a grown man. How can someone be born again when he is old like me? Am I to crawl back into my mother's womb for a second birth? That's impossible!
Jesus:
I tell you the truth, if someone does not experience water and Spirit birth, there's no chance he will make it into God's kingdom. Like from like. Whatever is born from flesh is flesh; whatever is born from Spirit is spirit. Don't be shocked by My words, but I tell you the truth. Even you, an educated and respected man among your people, must be reborn by the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. The wind blows all around us as if it has a will of its own; we feel and hear it, but we do not understand where it has come from or where it will end up. Life in the Spirit is as if it were the wind of God.
Nicodemus:
I still do not understand how this can be.
Jesus:
Your responsibility is to instruct Israel in matters of faith, but you do not comprehend the necessity of life in the Spirit? I tell you the truth: We speak about the things we know, and we give evidence about the things we have seen, and you choose to reject the truth of our witness. If you do not believe when I talk to you about ordinary, earthly realities, then heavenly realities will certainly elude you. No one has ever journeyed to heaven above except the One Who has come down from heaven — the Son of Man, Who is of heaven. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. In the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up; then all those who believe in Him will experience everlasting life.

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here's the point. God didn't send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.

No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God. Why does God allow for judgment and condemnation? Because the Light, sent from God, pierced through the world's darkness to expose ill motives, hatred, gossip, greed, violence, and the like. Still some people preferred the darkness over the light because their actions were dark. Some of humankind hated the light. They scampered hurriedly back into the darkness where vices thrive and wickedness flourishes. Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God.
(John 3:1-21)
Response in Prayer

O Father, thank You for giving me new birth into Your family. Thank You for saving me through My faith in Your Son. Thank You for making me new and giving me new birth through the work of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 11:26 pm

Just Another Face in the Crowd?" — A Year with Jesus for 01/08/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

I surprised people when I went to the Jordan River to be immersed by John the Baptist. John's baptism — like baptism in the early church — was immersion based on repentance and for the forgiveness of sins.* It was practiced to prepare people for My coming (Mark 1:2-4). John was reluctant to baptize Me, feeling that he needed to be baptized by Me instead (Matthew 3:13-14).

So why was I baptized by John?

As I told John, I did it to fulfill the righteous will of My Father (Matthew 3:15). But there was also another reason. I did it to identify with you. I came as one of you (Luke 1:31). I didn't come to your world as some alien from a foreign galaxy. I didn't come as some super-protected divine being Who couldn't be hurt or tempted or killed. I came as one of you: Born of a woman, just like each of you. Vulnerable to death, just like each of you. Able to be tempted, just like each of you. I shed tears, just like you. My heart broke when people made wrong choices, when they rejected Me, and when they died. I got thirsty and hungry and tired. I was truly one of you!

So when I came to John the Baptist to be baptized, I may not have been just another face in the crowd, but I was one of you because you matter so much to the Father and to Me!

* See Acts 2:38; cf. Acts 22:16. The English word baptize is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizô which means to dip, immerse, or plunge under water. John's baptism was in anticipation of Jesus and did not include the gift of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit's role baptism — Acts 19:1-7 and Titus 3:3-7.
Verses to Live

I love the way that Luke tells about My baptism. The way his account starts, he makes it seem like such a normal day with John the Baptist baptizing people in the Jordan River. And just as those people came to be baptized, so did I — I came as one of you!
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, "You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy."
(Luke 3:21-22 NLT)
One of the great blessings for you about My baptism is that you can do something I did: You can be baptized. And when you are baptized, you share in My death, burial, and resurrection so that you can also share in My victory over sin and death. I came as one of you so that you can be one with Me!
Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
(Romans 6:3-11 NLT)
Response in Prayer

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to be one of us. Lord Jesus, thank You for coming and sharing our world so that we can share Your home with the Father. Holy Spirit, thank You for living inside of us and transforming us to be more and more like 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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