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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin Yesterday at 11:09 pm

"Prayer Power!" — A Year with Jesus for 06/21/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

Yesterday I shared with you that while the key ruling council tried to intimidate My people, they were undaunted. Here was their answer to the threats of the religious leaders:

You are the judges here, so we'll leave it up to you to judge whether it is right in the sight of God to obey your commands or God's. But one thing we can tell you: we cannot possibly restrain ourselves from speaking about what we have seen and heard with our own eyes and ears.
My disciples responded to the threats of the ruling council with prayer! They reached back and incorporated part of Psalm 2 in their prayer recorded in the verses below, and they trusted in the promise of the closing lines of this prophetic psalm:
But blessings await all who trust in Him. They will find God a gentle refuge. 
(Psalm 2:12)
Notice the focus of the prayer My disciples prayed. They didn't pray to have their difficulties cease, but that they be given strength and boldness to declare My message:
And now, Lord, take note of their intimidations intended to silence us. Grant us, Your servants, the courageous confidence we need to go ahead and proclaim Your message while You reach out Your hand to heal people, enabling us to perform signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.
They didn't back down. Instead, they were "praying up" their work of sharing the good news and bringing My healing to those who were broken and lost. 

I had promised in My earthly ministry that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to those who asked (Luke 11:13). I promised I would never abandon My disciples as they shared My message (Matthew 28:18-20) and testified before hostile audiences (Mark 13:11). 

My early disciples believed in these promises. They believed in the power of the Holy Spirit. They believed in the great importance of their mission. Do you? 

Enduring persecution, they rejoiced and they prayed. Facing intense scrutiny, they testified to the truth. Being threatened with death, they were undaunted. They chose to be My faithful witnesses no matter the cost. Do you? Will you? 

Great blessing comes to those who are faithful under trial. Pray and ask for boldness. Seek the "courageous confidence" you "need to go ahead and proclaim" My message and do My work in your broken world. One of those blessings is experiencing the powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in your midst as you are empowered and inspired to do My work and speak My message. And notice, dear disciple, that this power and inspiration are for you, and not just a holy few who lived long ago:
All the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking God's message with courageous confidence.
Verses to Live

Prayer is powerful because you place your trust in Us — Father, Son, and Spirit. You trust that We will enter into your world and into your lives. You trust that We will do Our will through you by the power of the Holy Spirit working through you. 

We long for you to invite Us to do in you, and through you, the very things that Our sovereign will longs to do. Often we are waiting for your faith to be displayed and for your prayers to ask Us to act. Look what can still happen when My disciples display that faith and, through their prayers, invite Us to act:

Jewish Leaders:
What do we do with these fellows? Anyone who lives in Jerusalem will know an unexplainable sign has been performed through these two preachers. We can't deny their story. The best we can do is try to keep it from spreading. So let's warn them to stop speaking to anybody in this name.
The leaders brought the prisoners [Peter and John] back in and prohibited them from doing any more speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. Peter and John listened quietly and then replied, 

Peter and John:
You are the judges here, so we'll leave it up to you to judge whether it is right in the sight of God to obey your commands or God's. But one thing we can tell you: we cannot possibly restrain ourselves from speaking about what we have seen and heard with our own eyes and ears.
The council threatened them again, but finally let them go because public opinion strongly supported Peter and John and this man who had received this miraculous sign. He was over 40 years old, so his situation was known to many people, and they couldn't help but glorify God for his healing. 

Peter and John, upon their release, went right to their friends and told the story — including the warning from the council. The whole community responded with this prayer to God: 

Community of Believers:
God, our King, You made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything they contain. You are the One Who, by the Holy Spirit, spoke through our ancestor David, Your servant, with these words:
Why did the nations rage? 

Why did they imagine useless things? 

The kings of the earth took their stand; 

their rulers assembled in opposition 

against the Eternal One and His Anointed King.This is exactly what has happened among us, here in this city. The foreign ruler Pontius Pilate and the Jewish ruler Herod, along with their respective peoples, have assembled in opposition to Your holy servant Jesus, the One You chose. They have done whatever Your hand and plan predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their intimidations intended to silence us. Grant us, Your servants, the courageous confidence we need to go ahead and proclaim Your message while You reach out Your hand to heal people, enabling us to perform signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.
They finished their prayer, and immediately the whole place where they had gathered began to shake. All the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking God's message with courageous confidence. 
(Acts 4:16-31)
Response in Prayer

O Father, give Your disciples today the courageous confidence to proclaim Jesus and live before others as witnesses of Your grace. Fill us even more with the Holy Spirit, Who now lives in us. Fill us to overflowing so that not only will we display the fruit of the Spirit in righteous behavior and gracious compassion, but that we also will be bold in declaring the message of Jesus no matter the opposition or hostility we face. 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 Tue 20 Jun 2017, 3:30 pm

Undaunted!" — A Year with Jesus for 06/20/2017

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Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower, 

Yesterday, I asked you to read about the paralyzed man that I healed through Peter and John. I wanted you to see the refreshing new life that I brought not only to that man but also to all who turn to Me. Peter and John spoke about My power and presence being available because I had been raised from the dead. The Sanhedrin, the highest ranking religious body in Israel, had asked that I be put to death. In today's verses, My disciples were standing before the same religious body, but they were not intimidated or afraid. Because of My resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they were undaunted! 

As you might expect, the healing of the paralyzed man created a big stir among the religious leaders. "So they arrested Peter, John, and the man who was healed and kept them in jail overnight" (Acts 4:3). These religious leaders had a major problem: more than 3,000 people had already become My disciples, and the number was quickly becoming more than 5,000. The religious leaders hauled Peter and John in before them. This very same group that had asked the Roman Governor Pilate to have Me put to death now threatened My apostles. 

Peter and John were unafraid! They spoke powerfully to the Sanhedrin, unfazed by the threats of these religious leaders and their earthly power. Peter and John's opponents immediately recognized the problem:

Now the leaders were surprised and confused. They looked at Peter and John and realized they were typical peasants — uneducated, utterly ordinary fellows — with extraordinary confidence. The leaders recognized them as companions of Jesus... 
(Acts 4:13)
In the next several chapters in the book of Acts, you will find that My disciples were threatened, beaten, imprisoned, and even martyred. They were put to death because of their faith in Me and their commitment to sharing My message with others. But they were not intimidated! They were undaunted! 

As you look at their examples, I hope you will also be undaunted by those who oppose you, ridicule you, and ostracize you. Let your commitment to share My message of grace with the lost world around you propel you past your fear, and let My Spirit empower you to greater things than you can imagine.
Verses to Live

What you will read below comes from the continuing story of the religious leaders' failed attempts to keep My apostles quiet. My apostles were committed to sharing My message. They were committed to reaching the lost. They were committed to honoring Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — in spite of any threat from any human power or person.

The leaders brought the prisoners [Peter and John] back in and prohibited them from doing any more speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. Peter and John listened quietly and then replied, 

Peter and John:
You are the judges here, so we'll leave it up to you to judge whether it is right in the sight of God to obey your commands or God's. But one thing we can tell you: we cannot possibly restrain ourselves from speaking about what we have seen and heard with our own eyes and ears.
(Acts 4:18-20)
After praying and being emboldened by the Spirit, My disciples continued to share the message about My life, death, resurrection, and grace. They continued to proclaim the good news, and their number grew rapidly as My power was demonstrated through them.
Those were amazing days — with many signs and wonders being performed through the apostles among the people. The church would gather as a unified group in Solomon's Porch, enjoying great respect by the people of the city — though most people wouldn't risk publicly affiliating with them. Even so, record numbers of believers — both men and women — were added to the Lord. 
(Acts 5:12-14)
After being arrested and then miraculously delivered from jail (Acts 5:19), the apostles continued to proclaim My message, undaunted by the threats, beatings, and imprisonment. When questioned by the High Priest and the ruling council they remained undaunted:
The temple police — this time, accompanied by their captain — rushed over to the temple and brought the emissaries of the Lord to the council. They were careful not to use violence, because the people were so supportive of them that the police feared being stoned by the crowd if they were too rough. Once again the men stood before the council. The high priest began the questioning. 

High Priest:
Didn't we give you strict orders to stop teaching in this name? But here you are, spreading your teaching throughout Jerusalem. And you are determined to blame us for this man's death.
Peter and the Apostles:
If we have to choose between obedience to God and obedience to any human authority, then we must obey God.
(Acts 5:26-29) 

The council... brought the apostles back in. They were flogged, again told not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released. As they left the council, they weren't discouraged at all. In fact, they were filled with joy over being considered worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of His name. And constantly, whether in public, in the temple, or in their homes, they kept teaching and proclaiming Jesus as the Anointed One, the Liberating King. 
(Acts 5:40-42)
Response in Prayer

O Father, give us the courage to do Your will and the grace to share the message about Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. May we be as undaunted in our day as these early disciples were in their day! 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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 9:47 pm

"Times of Refreshing" — A Year with Jesus for 06/19/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

Are you stuck? 

Are your days too predictably monotonous? 

Do you feel that nothing is ever going to change? 

I want you to look especially at the words highlighted in bold in the verses below. I want you to realize that when I ascended back to the Father, I didn't abandon My disciples. I continued to be present in their lives. I worked in them through the Holy Spirit when they called on My name to help them. 

Notice the following four different sets of words that tell the story of a paralyzed man trapped by his circumstances and of My grace that brings "times of refreshing." Please realize that these "times of refreshing" are not just for the paralyzed man who was healed, but also for all who turn to Me! 

Predictable Unwanted Daily Sameness: 
The words "customary time" and "every day" help us enter the world of the lame man. His discouraging situation is also the world for every man and woman stuck in a rut that he or she wants to escape. The man whom Peter and John met had been "paralyzed since birth." His routine was set by his physical limitations, his limited opportunities in society, and the limited number of people who chose to help him in their limited ways and with their limited expectations of what his life could ever be. 

Power of My Name: 
While the man who was born lame faced severe limits, these limits were removed by My gracious power. My power was released through Peter and John as they proclaimed the power behind the man's healing: "faith in the name of Jesus of Nazareth." Even though I had ascended back to the Father, Peter and John knew that I wasn't gone. They knew My power and My grace were still available through the Holy Spirit to those who called on My name. They didn't have money, but they did have faith. So they called on the power of My "name" and brought My presence and power near to address this paralyzed man's needs. 

A New Day Dawning: 
The formerly paralyzed man's life was changed forever! After he had been healed, praise was not something he watched from afar. He could stand, walk, leap, and dance in joyous praise. He was no longer dependent upon his friends to get him to the place where he could beg from other people for a few meager coins to sustain him. And if you listen to what Peter said to the crowd, you realize that the people in the crowd were paralyzed as well. They were stuck in their ways with low spiritual expectations. However, even for them, "a new day can dawn." They, too, could experience "days of refreshing times flowing from the Lord." Just as miraculous as a paralyzed man given the power to walk, these religious people could be delivered from their paralyzed religious forms into a life filled with My power and presence. 

Life's Ultimate Turning Point: 
The folks stuck in their religious rut needed to "rethink everything and turn to God." They could call upon the Father believing in My name. Believing in Me is something that you may have decided in the past. However, I hope that you will do it afresh each day, beginning today. Rethink everything! Call on My name! Believe in Me. Trust in My power and My presence! I do long to be present and powerful in your life and bring you "days of refreshing"!

Verses to Live

My apostle Paul said it well:

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone — and see — a new life has begun. 
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Step away from the boring sameness of a predictable life. Leave behind dry religion if you find yourself caught in low expectations of what I can do. Turn your heart to the Father. Call upon My name. Trust that I will be present with you and powerful for you through the Holy Spirit. Even if you feel satisfied with your life, you can experience so much more through My power and grace that bring you "days of refreshing."
One day at three o'clock in the afternoon, a customary time for daily prayer, Peter and John walked to the temple. Some people were carrying in a man who had been paralyzed since birth. Every day they brought him to a place near the beautiful gate (one of the temple entrances) so he could beg for money from people entering to worship. He saw Peter and John coming and asked them for a contribution. Peter gazed intensely at him — so did John. 

Peter:
Look at us.
The man looked up at them, assuming they were about to give him some money. 

Peter:
I want to give you something, but I don't have any silver or gold. Here's what I can offer you: stand up and walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Anointed One.
Then Peter took the man's right hand and lifted him to his feet. Instantly the man's feet and ankles grew strong. He jumped and walked, accompanying Peter and John into the temple where he walked, jumped for joy, and shouted praises to God. A crowd ran to the commotion, and they gathered around this man in an open area called Solomon's Porch. There he was, standing on his own two feet, holding on to Peter and John. They knew exactly who he was — the beggar they passed at the beautiful gate every day. Everyone was absolutely amazed at this wonderful miracle; they were speechless, stunned. 

Peter (to the crowd):
Why are you so amazed, my fellow Israelites? Why are you staring at my friend and me as though we did this miracle through our own power or made this fellow walk by our own holiness? We didn't do this — God did! The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob — the God of our ancestors has glorified Jesus, God's servant — the same Jesus Whom you betrayed and rejected in front of Pilate, even though Pilate was going to release Him. He is the Holy and Righteous One, but you rejected Him and asked for a murderer to be released to you instead. You not only rejected Him, but you killed Him — the very Author of life! But God raised Jesus from the dead, Whom my friend John and I have seen with our own eyes. So that's how this miracle happened: we have faith in the name of Jesus, and He is the power that made this man strong — this man who is known to all of you. It is faith in Jesus that has given this man his complete health here today, in front of all of you. 

Listen, friends, I know you didn't fully realize what you were doing when you rejected and betrayed Jesus. I know that you, and your rulers as well, were acting in ignorance. God was at work in all this, fulfilling what He had predicted through all the prophets — that the Anointed One would suffer. So now you need to rethink everything and turn to God so your sins will be forgiven and a new day can dawn, days of refreshing times flowing from the Lord.
(Acts 3:1-19)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I call on the mighty name of Jesus. I pray to You by the power and presence of Jesus' name. Give me eyes to see and a heart to believe, O Father. I know that You long to bring times of refreshing to me and to bring Your refreshing grace to others through me. So I offer You my heart. I seek Your Holy Spirit to help me rethink everything and see my world, my circumstances, and my influence through Your eyes of grace and possibility. 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 18 Jun 2017, 8:12 pm

"Heart Surgery" — A Year with Jesus for 06/18/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

I've been sharing some reasons that the Scriptures, including the teaching of the apostles and others in the New Testament, are important to you. The Scriptures are alive because We — Father, Son, and Spirit — are all active as you read the Scriptures. The Father examines you as you read. The Spirit opens your heart to receive Our truth. The goal of the Scriptures is to transform you to be like Me in righteous character and gracious compassion. The Holy Spirit breathed out My message through human writing partners (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Spirit is also active in helping you understand the Father's message (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). The Spirit reminds you of My words, helps you to remember My deeds, and conforms you to the Father's will (John 15:26-27; John 16:12-15; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:18). 

In the hands of the Spirit, the message of the Scriptures has the power to reach into your heart. As a tool of the Spirit, the Scriptures can do the delicate and drastic surgery necessary to help you understand the truth, receive correction, accept instruction, and understand Our will for your life. The Scriptures speak to your inner being ("soul and spirit"), to your physical being ("joints and marrow"), and to your mind and heart ("thoughts and will of the heart"). Just as you are to love Us heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30), We work on you in each area of your being through the Spirit and using the word. 

So open your Bible and read it. Open your hearts to Our message. Offer yourselves to the Father. Invite the Spirit to work in you. Read the Scriptures to seek My truth and to follow Me as My disciple.

Verses to Live

In the two passages below, you will find the word of God described as a "sword", even a "double-edged sword" or very sharp dagger or scalpel. The word of God is alive because this scalpel is used by the Spirit as the Father looks into and works on every area of your being to bring it into conformity to Our will. You need to understand these Scriptures. In order to understand how to apply Our word to your life, ask the Holy Spirit to help and look at the things I taught and the way I lived and treated people.

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He's the One we will have to explain ourselves to. 
(Hebrews 4:12-13) 

Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 
(Ephesians 6:17)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I open my heart to You and ask that the Spirit work to bring every area of my being — soul, spirit, joints, marrow, thoughts, and heart — into conformity with Your will. My petition, dear Father, is that Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians will be true for me:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify [me] through and through. May [my] whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. [I believe that the] one who calls [me] is faithful, and he will do it.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Part of this prayer is adapted from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV).
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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 14 Jun 2017, 4:58 pm

"Living for Me No Matter the Cost" — A Year with Jesus for 06/13/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower, 

How do you find the strength to go on when times are tough? 

That's a really important question because a lot of people will follow Me only when things are going well and when they get everything they want out of life. However, life can be tough. This situation is especially true if you are My faithful disciple in a locale that does not accept My call to radical discipleship. 

In the verses below, the apostle Paul is imprisoned because of his faith in Me. He is not sure what will happen to him. However, he is confident that he will honor Me and that he will be delivered either from death to a life of service or through death into My presence. His goal is to live for Me no matter the cost. 

But how could Paul have this goal and live up to it? Notice three things highlighted in the verses below:

The prayers and encouragement of other believers for him.
The power of the Holy Spirit at work in him.
His intention to honor Me no matter what he faced.
These principles are not a magical formula, but they provide the time-tested power that fuels perseverance and assures ultimate victory. 

Build your relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ. Have them partner with you in prayer. Ask them to encourage you to be faithful, to serve selflessly, and to be strong. 

Take the time to learn about the work of the Holy Spirit to empower and strengthen you. Believe My promises to you about the Holy Spirit. Read My words on the eve of My crucifixion about the coming of the Spirit as your helper (John chapters 14-16). Trust in the Spirit to be at work in you to empower, purify, transform, and resurrect you. 

Finally, I challenge you to commit to living for Me no matter what comes your way. Be "all in" with that commitment. Choose to live for My glory with Me as your Lord. 

I want you to be able to join the apostle Paul in saying, "For I can do everything through Christ, Who gives me strength." This concept is more than a slogan. It is a proven lifestyle that leads to eternal victory and glorious celebration!
Note from Heartlight: For more on the Holy Spirit, check out the daily devotional called SpiritFire. 
Verses to Live

The following words from the apostle Paul are powerful. He spoke them when facing possible death while he was imprisoned. Some opponents claiming to be believers were trying to cause him problems and hurt him. Through it all, Paul was confident. He was confident in Me, confident in his commitment to me, confident in the work of the Spirit to deliver him, and confident in the prayers of those who were faithful to pray for his well-being!

What matters is that in every way, regardless of the motives — whether pure or shady — the great story of the Anointed is a cause for joy. I will continue to rejoice because I know that through your encouragement and prayers and through the help of the Spirit of Jesus the Anointed, I will soon be released from this dark place. I don't expect that dishonor and shame will plague me in any way, but I do hope that I will continue to be able to speak freely and courageously about Jesus, and that now and forever the Anointed One will be glorified and placed above all else through this body of mine — whether I live or die. For my life is about the Anointed and Him alone. And my death, when that comes, will mean great gain for me. So, if it's His will that I go on serving here, my work will be fruitful for the message. I honestly wouldn't know how or what to choose; I would be hard-pressed to decide. I lean toward leaving this world to be with the Anointed One because I can only think that would be much better. To stay in this body of flesh — even with all its pains and weaknesses — would best serve your needs. Now that I think of it, I am sure of this: I would prefer to remain to share in the progress and joy of your growing belief. When I return to you, we will celebrate Jesus the Anointed even more. 
(Philippians 1:18-26) 

How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn't have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, Who gives me strength. 
(Philippians 4:10-13 NLT)
Response in Prayer

O LORD, God Almighty! Thank You for being ever near through the Holy Spirit and through taking on human flesh in Jesus. Thank You for fellow disciples who love me and pray for me. Thank You for the confidence that I have in the Spirit to deliver me. Now I ask, please dear Father, that You strengthen my resolve and grow my confidence. Strengthen my commitment to serve You no matter what I may face. I confess that I am a little fearful in asking for this because I do not want to face trials. Nevertheless, dear Father, growing in character and commitment is more important to me than my comfort. So I ask this prayer — trusting in Your mercy and grace — to do what is best for me to Your glory. 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.


"The Stubbornness of Unbelief" — A Year with Jesus for 06/14/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower, 

I challenge you to consider two questions about the verses you find below:

Why do you think that Mark included this story about the unbelief of the folks from My "hometown" and among My "own people" and in My "own household"?
Who are My hometown folks and family today?
If you are My disciple, you are part of My family. Mark included the episode below from My ministry to speak to My family and warn them (and warn you) of a great danger — the "stubbornness of their unbelief." This warning is about a specific kind of "stubbornness" and "unbelief." 

Over the centuries of church history, My disciples have often thought they knew what they could expect from Me. Many times they ended up under-expecting. They came up with theologies that limited My power and presence. They quit believing that I could or would do great things through them. In the process, they limited what I could do for them, with them, and through them because of the "stubbornness of their unbelief." Mark included this episode from My life to speak to this kind of loss of expectation, this "stubbornness" of "unbelief" in the people in his day. The gospel of Mark in your Bibles warns you about this same "unbelief." 

In a few days, we will begin an extended look into the book of Acts. Then, we will go through the rest of the New Testament story together. In the book of Acts, you will read about My disciples and what the Holy Spirit did for them, with them, and through them. You may be tempted to believe that the kinds of things you see in the book of Acts could never happen in your time. I want you to be aware that any lack of expectation still limits the power I can release into your life and the lives of those you love just as My relatives lack of expectation did in My hometown. 

The power of My gospel to reach lost people in every place in every age is still present through the work of My Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the "stubbornness" of "unbelief" I confronted in My hometown also happens in your day. This lack of expectation contributes to My repeated frustration with My family — My modern-day "hometown" and My "own people" and "household." This "stubbornness" of "unbelief" prevents Me from doing any "great works" for them, among them, and through them. 

Please believe! Please expect more! Please read your Bibles to see that We — Father, Son, and Spirit — long to do in your day the things We've done before. Don't let it be said in your day that I AM limited "by the stubbornness of their unbelief."
Verses to Live

In the following verses, Mark reported things that happened in My hometown of Nazareth. Notice that the people there were astonished at My teaching. They also knew about My miraculous powers. However, they couldn't see past their own familiarity with Me, My family, and what they thought they knew about Me. They refused to accept My teaching and My miracles. Their lack of faith prevented them from experiencing all that I wanted to bring to them and do among them 

Don't let your past experiences place limits on what you think I can do for you, in you, and through you. Remember this about Us — Father, Son, and Spirit: We "can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than [you] ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in" you (Ephesians 3:20).

Jesus went back into His own hometown where He had grown up, and His disciples followed Him there. When the Sabbath came, He went into the synagogue in Nazareth and began to teach as He had done elsewhere, and many of those who heard Him were astonished. 

Those in the Synagogue:
Where did He gain this wisdom? And what are all these stories we've been hearing about the signs and healings He's performed? Where did He get that kind of power? Isn't this Jesus, the little boy we used to see in Joseph's carpenter shop? Didn't He grow up to be a carpenter just like His father? Isn't He the son of Mary over there and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and their sisters? Who does He think He is?
And when they had thought about it that way, they became indignant and closed themselves to His message. 

Jesus (seeing this):
A prophet can find honor anywhere except in his hometown, among his own people, and in his own household.
He could not do any of His great works among them except with a few of the sick, whom He healed by laying His hands upon them. He was amazed by the stubbornness of their unbelief. 
(Mark 6:1-6)
Response in Prayer

Today, O God, I pray as Habakkuk did many years ago:

Lord, I have heard of your fame; 
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. 
Repeat them in our day, 
in our time make them known.
In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen. 

Prayer from Habakkuk 3:2 NIV. 
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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 05 Jun 2017, 6:47 pm

"For You, but More than Just You!" — A Year with Jesus for 06/05/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

John wrote the truth powerfully and simply in his short little letter you call 1 John:

You are my little children, so I am writing these things to help you avoid sin. If, however, any believer does sin, we have a high-powered defense lawyer — Jesus the Anointed, the righteous — arguing on our behalf before the Father. It was through His sacrificial death that our sins were atoned. But He did not stop there — He died for the sins of the whole world. 
(1 John 2:1-2)
I gave My life for you! I was crucified for your sins! I came to bring you salvation and new life. I did what I did for you, but this wasn't just for you! 

My Father's love encompasses "every nation and tribe, people and language" (Revelation 7:9). As John said it in one of the most famous passages of Scripture:
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. 
(John 3:16-17)
So when Pentecost came, I poured out the Holy Spirit upon those who were already My disciples and those who became My disciples. Then Peter reminded everyone present that My love is for all nations, which means all people, male and female, and all races, nationalities, social levels, and cultures. The salvation from sin and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that occurred on the day of Pentecost were just the beginning, a mere foretaste of what will happen throughout the world and throughout time. So remember this: My grace includes you, but it is also bigger than just you... and those like you. My grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit are for everyone who responds to My call to follow Me!
Verses to Live

Pentecost is often called the birthday of the church. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, My disciples proclaimed My death, burial, and resurrection as the message of salvation. A new era began with the baptism of over 3,000 people in response to the apostles' preaching. I want to impress two things about this message upon you. 

First, this message and this salvation are for you! 

Second, this message and this salvation are for everyone who is willing to respond! 

Notice both the words Peter says to the crowd and also the response of this crowd. This message is for you and for all who will listen to the Father's call to their hearts. 

When the people heard this [the Spirit-inspired message about Jesus as Messiah and the One Whom they had crucified], their hearts were pierced; and they said to Peter and his fellow apostles: 

Pilgrims:
Our brothers, what should we do?
Peter:
Reconsider your lives; change your direction. Participate in the... washing of baptism in the name of Jesus God's Anointed, the Liberating King. Then your sins will be forgiven, and the gift of the Holy Spirit will be yours. For the promise of the Spirit is for you, for your children, for all people — even those considered outsiders and outcasts — the Lord our God invites everyone to come to Him.
(Acts 2:37-39)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I realize that Jesus died for all people. Forgive me for the times when I have been short-sighted and didn't reach out to all kinds of people. I confess that I sometimes assume I know who will respond to Your invitation of grace and who will not. Help me, O Lord, to see people through the eyes of Jesus. Help me as I seek to share Your grace with all people. 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 Sun 04 Jun 2017, 10:25 pm

"Pentecost!" — A Year with Jesus for 06/04/2017
Note from Jesus
Dear Disciple, 

A new era began after My resurrection. On the day of Pentecost, I poured out the Holy Spirit first on My closest disciples. Then I poured out the Holy Spirit upon all those who responded to their message (Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:3-5). The pouring out of the Spirit upon My disciples was done loudly and with no small disturbance. The apostles spoke about Me. People from many countries heard the message in their own languages. Yes, there were some skeptics — as there always are. Undeniably, something dramatic was happening. The words spoken by Peter and the apostles were powerful, but there was something more than convincing words touching the hearts of the people. My life, death, and resurrection were proclaimed. Conviction swept through the crowd like wildfire. Their yearning hearts cried out for relief from their rejection of the Messiah, their Lord and Savior — Me. 

Peter let the crowd at Pentecost know that the same Spirit Who propelled this message past their defenses and brought conviction to their hearts was now available to them if they repented and were baptized. And many were immersed that day based on their faith in Me and turning their lives around to follow Me! Luke, the writer of Acts, described it this way:

Whoever made a place for his [Peter's] message in their hearts received the baptism; in fact, that day alone, about 3,000 people joined the disciples.
The movement of the Spirit in My disciples had begun and would sweep across the Mediterranean area in about thirty years. And you, My dear disciple, are a part of that movement that began at Pentecost. You are part of a movement centered on My death, burial, and resurrection. This gospel is proclaimed by people filled with the Holy Spirit. These people are built into a spiritual family that reflects my righteous character and gracious compassion. You can see that Luke emphasized all of this in his telling of the Pentecost story. 

Please know that I long to do in your day what happened in that time long ago. Come! Believe! Ask for the Spirit's power to be at work in you, among your spiritual family, and with your efforts to bring the kingdom of God to the lost world around you.
Verses to Live

These verses talk about the birth of the new era of the Holy Spirit. Read through them a couple of times and then ask yourself if you have responded to the call of My gospel the way those early disciples did. Then open yourself to the work of the Holy Spirit in your day. I long to reanimate My people with grace and power. Don't let the power of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, be dead in your day!

When the holy day of Pentecost came 50 days after Passover, they [the disciples] were gathered together in one place. 

Picture yourself among the disciples: 

A sound roars from the sky without warning, the roar of a violent wind, and the whole house where you are gathered reverberates with the sound. Then a flame appears, dividing into smaller flames and spreading from one person to the next. All the people present are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin speaking in languages they've never spoken, as the Spirit empowers them. 

Because of the holy festival, there are devout Jews staying as pilgrims in Jerusalem from every nation under the sun. They hear the sound, and a crowd gathers. They are amazed because each of them can hear the group speaking in their native languages. They are shocked and amazed by this. 

Pilgrims:
Just a minute. Aren't all of these people Galileans? How in the world do we all hear our native languages being spoken? Look — there are Parthians here, and Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, and Judeans, residents of Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygians and Pamphylians, Egyptians and Libyans from Cyrene, Romans including both Jews by birth and converts, Cretans, and Arabs. We're each, in our own languages, hearing these people talk about God's powerful deeds.
Their amazement becomes confusion as they wonder: 

Pilgrims:
What does this mean?
Skeptics:
It doesn't mean anything. They're all drunk on some fresh wine! 
As the twelve stood together, Peter shouted to the crowd:
Peter:
Men of Judea and all who are staying here in Jerusalem, listen. I want you to understand: these people aren't drunk as you may think. Look, it's only nine o'clock in the morning! No, this isn't drunkenness; this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. Hear what God says!
In the last days, I will offer My Spirit to humanity as a libation. Your children will boldly speak the word of the Lord. Young warriors will see visions, and your elders will dream dreams. Yes, in those days I shall offer My Spirit to all servants, both male and female, and they will boldly speak My word.
... 

Everyone in Israel should now realize with certainty what God has done: God has made Jesus both Lord and Anointed King — this same Jesus Whom you crucified.
When the people heard this, their hearts were pierced; and they said to Peter and his fellow apostles: 

Pilgrims:
Our brothers, what should we do?
Peter:
Reconsider your lives; change your direction. Participate in the ceremonial washing of baptism in the name of Jesus God's Anointed, the Liberating King. Then your sins will be forgiven, and the gift of the Holy Spirit will be yours. For the promise of the Spirit is for you, for your children, for all people — even those considered outsiders and outcasts — the Lord our God invites everyone to come to Him.
Peter was pleading and offering many logical reasons to believe. Whoever made a place for his message in their hearts received the baptism; in fact, that day alone, about 3,000 people joined the disciples. 
(Acts 2:1-18; Acts 2:36-41)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, do in our day what we heard that happened in bygone days. I long to see Your name glorified, Jesus' grace received, and the Holy Spirit's power bring thousands to salvation. 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.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Jun 2017, 10:38 pm

"Can These Bones Live?" — A Year with Jesus for 06/03/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Believer, 

My resurrection was a surprise to everyone, including My closest followers. It was a glorious shock to their system in many ways, but the truth of My resurrection became obvious through My many appearances. The reanimation and the reinvigoration of My followers — their "resurrected" lives — suddenly became a possibility with My resurrection. 

New life was no longer a symbolic truth, but a genuine reality. When I poured out the Holy Spirit — the Helper as John the beloved disciple liked to call the Spirit — the power that raised Me from the grave was suddenly poured into the lives of mortal people. That's why the apostle Paul could pray the following prayers for My disciples in Asia Minor:

God of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, Father of Glory: I call out to You on behalf of Your people. Give them minds ready to receive wisdom and revelation so they will truly know You. Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power. 

Friends, it is this same might and resurrection power that He used in the Anointed One to raise Him from the dead and to position Him at His right hand in heaven. There is nothing over Him. 
(Ephesians 1:17-20) 

Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. 

Now to the God Who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. 
(Ephesians 3:16-21)
This power and glorious reanimation of what was dead was foreshadowed by the prophet Ezekiel hundreds of years earlier. Seeing the people of Israel "beyond dead" — nothing more than symbolically being a bunch of scattered, dried, and unburied bones piled high and abandoned in an open valley as the remnants of war — the Father told Ezekiel to speak life into those bones. When those bones took on sinew and flesh, the Father told Ezekiel to prophesy the breath of the Eternal, the Spirit of the living God, to make those bones live. 

The gloriously strange vision you find in the verses below is what the coming of the Holy Spirit means to My followers. Where there once was death, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Heaven, can bring life. As the Father said, "I will breathe My Spirit into you, and you will be alive once again." With My resurrection, I defeated death, sin, and hell. I poured out the Spirit on My people at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21; Acts 2:33-39). I continue to pour out the Spirit on each believer (Titus 3:3-7) when she or he shares in My life, death, and resurrection based on faith and experienced through immersion with Me into My saving grace (Romans 6:3-7). 

The Breath of Heaven that Ezekiel prophesied to make the dead bones live was at work in My resurrection. This same Holy Spirit, Who was the power behind My resurrection, has also been at work in the lives of My disciples from Pentecost up until your time and will continue His work among My disciples until I return. This Breath of Heaven, this glorious power of the Holy Spirit, is available to you now. The Spirit has the power to bring life out of death, hope out of despair, and strength out of powerlessness. Can these bones live? Yes, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you can begin to experience everlasting life!
Verses to Live

Do you feel dead and lifeless in your spiritual walk? 

Are you ever frustrated with the powerlessness you see in the lives of those who claim to be My people? 

Do you long for the powerful influence of the Spirit that you see in the book of Acts? Then I ask you to read Ezekiel's old prophecy and remember this: the Holy Spirit, Who has this power, is available to you and is at work among My people who pray for the Helper's power to be released among them and in them (Luke 11:13).

The Eternal had a hold on me, and I couldn't escape it. The divine wind of the Eternal One picked me up and set me down in the middle of the valley, but this time it was full of bones. God led me through the bones. There were piles of bones everywhere in the valley — dry bones left unburied. 

Eternal One (to Ezekiel):
Son of man, do you think these bones can live?
Ezekiel:
Eternal Lord, certainly You know the answer better than I do.
Eternal One:
Actually, I do. Prophesy to these bones. Tell them to listen to what the Eternal Lord says to them: "Dry bones, I will breathe breath into you, and you will come alive. I will attach muscles and tendons to you, cause flesh to grow over them, and cover you with skin. I will breathe breath into you, and you will come alive. After this happens, you will know that I am the Eternal."
So I did what God told me to do: I prophesied to the bones. As I was speaking, I heard a loud noise — a rattling sound — and all the bones began to come together and form complete skeletons. I watched and saw muscles and tendons attach to the bones, flesh grow over them, and skin wrap itself around the reforming bodies. But there was still no breath in them. 

Eternal One:
Prophesy to the breath. Speak, son of man, and tell them what the Eternal Lord has to say: "O sweet breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these who have been killed. Make these corpses come alive."
So I did what God told me to do: I prophesied to the breath. As I was speaking, breath invaded the lifeless. The bodies came alive and stood on their feet. I realized then I was looking at a great army. 

Eternal One:
Son of man, these bones are the entire community of Israel. They keep saying, "Our bones are dry now, picked clean by scavengers. All hope is gone. Our nation is lost."
He told me to prophesy and tell them what He said. 

Eternal One:
Pay attention, My people! I am going to open your graves and bring you back to life! I will carry you straight back to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Eternal One. I will breathe My Spirit into you, and you will be alive once again. I will place you back in your own land. After that you will know I, the Eternal, have done what I said I would do.
(Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I join my heart with many others who long for a revival of Your power released through Your people. Send the Holy Spirit, the mighty Breath of Heaven, to empower us and inspire us to fulfill the mission Jesus has for us and to animate us to live as Jesus' presence in today's world. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More

The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Jun 2017, 4:01 pm

"Commissioned!" — A Year with Jesus for 06/02/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

The two passages below tell about My commissioning the disciples right before My ascension to the Father. You cannot ask for a more dramatic moment to leave My last instructions for My disciples. Some of them worshiped Me. Others were filled with a holy fear, wonder, and awe. A few even doubted. 

Anything I said was with authority. So the words here, what you call the Great Commission, were said intentionally with the claim of that authority. After I had finished giving these words of mission and purpose, I ascended out of sight, returning to the Father. 

Two heavenly messengers told the disciples to go back to the city and do what I previously instructed them to do. They were to return to Jerusalem. They were to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit with power. They did as I instructed and they were in "constant prayer" while they waited. 

I wanted My last words to be dramatic, powerful, and convicting. I wanted the results of the disciples' obedience to these words to be world-changing! I wanted My last words never to be forgotten. These last words are the words I want you to remember as well. These words of the commission are for you also. This is what I want you to do: 


Make disciples!

That was My primary command as I left the earth. You make disciples by going to all cultures of people — including your own, by baptizing those who believe in Me, and by teaching them to obey all I have taught. That's your mission. Those are My last words. Let them inspire and motivate you. I want you not only to remember them but also to put them into practice!
Verses to Live

As you look at these last words of mine from Matthew's gospel, please notice that I don't want you just to know My teaching. I want you to obey My words, and I want you to teach others to obey My teaching. The second scripture is from the book of Acts and records the events immediately after I issued the commission.

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him — but some of them doubted! 

Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." 
(Matthew 28:16-20 NLT) 

As He finished this commission, He began to rise from the ground before their eyes until the clouds obscured Him from their vision. As they strained to get one last glimpse of Him going into heaven, the Lord's emissaries realized two men in white robes were standing among them. 

Two Men:
You Galileans, why are you standing here staring up into the sky? This Jesus Who is leaving you and ascending to heaven will return in the same way you see Him departing.
Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem — their short journey from the Mount of Olives was an acceptable Sabbath Day's walk. 

Back in the city, they went to the room where they were staying — a second-floor room. This whole group devoted themselves to constant prayer with one accord: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), Judas (son of James), a number of women including Mary (Jesus' mother), and some of Jesus' brothers. 
(Acts 1:9-14)
Response in Prayer

Holy God and loving Father, thank You for Jesus' words of commission to His closest disciples and words for me. Empower me, O God, with the power of the Holy Spirit to be a part of fulfilling Jesus' mission. I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 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
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 2:10 pm

"Family Is Important" — A Year with Jesus for 06/01/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God, 

Family is important. Your spiritual family is important to you. Your physical family is important to you. Family is important to you just as it is to Me! 

One of the great hurdles I faced in My earthly ministry was that most of My physical family didn't believe in Me. Most of My brothers and sisters along with relatives and friends from my hometown did not believe before My resurrection. My family situation was very complicated like the family situations of many of My followers today. One time My family thought I was crazy because I ministered so passionately without thinking of My own bodily needs for food and rest (Mark 3:20-21). On another occasion, because My siblings did not believe in Me as God's Son (John 7:1-7 — found in the verses below), they teased Me very harshly, mocking My call to be the Father's Messiah. 

So when I was raised from the dead, I appeared to My spiritual family, and I also appeared to My physical family, most notably James. One of the touching things for Me in the New Testament is the way My half-brother James began his letter with great humility toward Me and great admiration for Me:

James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, to the twelve tribes of Israel who are spread across the earth: I send you my warmest welcome. 
(James 1:1)
Sometimes the hardest people to bring to faith are the people in your own family. I want you to know that I know that — not just because I AM God and know everything, but also because I have experienced it in human flesh. So I remind you that an essential and powerful part of your testimony about Who I AM and what I have done is your resurrected life that shows My power, love, and grace (Romans 6:1-14). Don't give up on those around you who do not believe. I will work in their lives to give them the opportunity to change, and I challenge you to show that I have brought new life to you. Demonstrate the power of that new life in the way that you live with righteous character and gracious compassion.
Verses to Live

The beloved disciple was close to My physical family, especially after My ascension back to the Father. When I was dying on the cross, I asked him to look after My mother, Mary (John 19:26-27). He knew about the struggle My half-siblings had in believing that I had come from God. His words in the first verses below capture the emotional tension that their lack of faith produced between them and Me. 

One of the most profound blessings after My ascension was to have some of My brothers become a part of the Jerusalem disciples praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). One of those brothers, James, went on to become a great leader in the Jerusalem church. That is why My appearance to him after My resurrection was so important. (See the second set of verses below.) My resurrection and My appearance to My brothers changed everything for them and for what they believed about Me!

After these events, it was time for Jesus to move on. He began a long walk through the Galilean countryside. He was purposefully avoiding Judea because of the violent threats made against Him by the Jews there who wanted to kill Him. It was fall, the time of year when the Jews celebrated the Festival of Booths. 

Brothers of Jesus (to Jesus):
Let's get out of here and go south to Judea so You can show Your disciples there what You are capable of doing. No one who seeks the public eye is content to work in secret. If You want to perform these signs, then step forward on the world's stage; don't hide up here in the hills, Jesus.
Jesus' own brothers were speaking contemptuously; they did not yet believe in Him, just as the people in His hometown did not see Him as anything more than Joseph's son. 

Jesus:
My time has not yet arrived; but for you My brothers, by all means, it is always the right time. You have nothing to worry about because the world doesn't hate you, but it despises Me because I am always exposing the dark evil in its works. Go on to the feast without Me; I am not going right now because My time is not yet at hand.
(John 7:1-8) 

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I [Paul] preached to you when we first met. It's the essential message that you have taken to heart, the central story you now base your life on; and through this gospel, you are liberated — unless, of course, your faith has come to nothing. For I passed down to you the crux of it all which I had also received from others, that the Anointed One, the Liberating King, died for our sins and was buried and raised from the dead on the third day. All this happened to fulfill the Scriptures; it was the perfect climax to God's covenant story. Afterward He appeared alive to Cephas (you may know him as Simon Peter), then to the rest of the twelve. If that were not amazing enough, on one occasion, He appeared to more than 500 believers at one time. Many of those brothers and sisters are still around to tell the story, though some have fallen asleep in Jesus. Soon He appeared to James, His brother and the leader of the Jerusalem church, and then to all the rest of the emissaries He Himself commissioned. 
(1 Corinthians 15:1-7)
Response in Prayer

O Father, my words will be few today, but My heart yearns for them to be fully true. Let the beauty, grace, love, and character of Jesus be seen in my life by everyone, especially by my family. In Jesus' name, I ask this. 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 31 May 2017, 1:49 pm

"ASK!" — A Year with Jesus for 05/31/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God, 

James, my half brother, hit the nail on the head when he taught about why My people lack so many of the simplest and yet most essential things they need to live the committed life of a disciple:

Where do you think your fighting and endless conflict come from? Don't you think that they originate in the constant pursuit of gratification that rages inside each of you like an uncontrolled militia? You crave something that you do not possess, so you murder to get it. You desire the things you cannot earn, so you sue others and fight for what you want. You do not have because you have chosen not to ask. And when you do ask, you still do not get what you want because your motives are all wrong — because you continually focus on self-indulgence. 
(James 4:1-3)
You are a child of the Father in heaven. Your Father paints a fresh sunrise every morning and mellows the sky into a new color palette every evening. Your Father listens to you attentively. He cares about what is happening in your life. So ask the Father for what you truly need. Seek after Him. Share your burdens, both spiritual and physical, with Him. Be honest with Him. Ask for Him to reign in you and in your world. 

As you pray, realize this: your Father longs to give you the gifts you need to live for Him. So one of the greatest blessings you can ask the Father to give is the Holy Spirit. The Father longs to give this gift, even to those who already have the Spirit living inside them. He wants you to be:
full of the Spirit,
led by the Spirit,
empowered by the Spirit,
comforted by the Spirit,
purified by the Spirit,
transformed by the Spirit, and
reminded about Me as the Holy Spirit reminds you of My words and My actions.
Praying for the Spirit to be present with power is one of the most basic of all prayers for My disciples. Before the apostles began their mission to reach all nations for Me, they first prayed... and they prayed... and they prayed (Acts 1:12-14). I had asked them to go back to Jerusalem and to wait for the coming of the Spirit with power. That is what they did. As they prayed, just as I promised, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. Because of this Spirit-power, they changed the world... for good... forever! So can you, if you... PRAY! 

So are you praying for the Spirit to come with power in your day and in your life? The Father longs to give you the supremely good gift of the Holy Spirit. So ASK in prayer!
Verses to Live

There are so many truths packed into these few verses that you find below. As you read them, I want you not only to notice My simple teaching at the end of these verses. Request the Father send you the Holy Spirit. Also, notice the simple, childlike prayer I teach you to pray at the beginning of these verses. Pray as a child speaking to your loving Father in heaven. You don't need a lot of words. You don't need fancy words. Come and offer your heart to the Father in humble adoration and ask Him for the most basic needs in your life. From His loving grace, your Father wants to bless you with what you most need and what He longs to give to you: the good gift of the Holy Spirit!

Another time Jesus was praying, and when He finished, one of His disciples approached Him. 

Disciple:
Teacher, would You teach us Your way of prayer? John taught his disciples his way of prayer, and we're hoping You'll do the same.
Jesus:
Here's how to pray:
Father in heaven, may Your name be revered. 

May Your kingdom come. 
May Your will be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us the food we need for tomorrow, 
And forgive us for our wrongs, 
for we forgive those who wrong us. 

And lead us away from temptation. 
And save us from the evil one.
Imagine that one of your friends comes over at midnight. He bangs on the door and shouts, "Friend, will you lend me three loaves of bread? A friend of mine just showed up unexpectedly from a journey, and I don't have anything to feed him." Would you shout out from your bed, "I'm already in bed, and so are the kids. I already locked the door. I can't be bothered"? You know this as well as I do: even if you didn't care that this fellow was your friend, if he keeps knocking long enough, you'll get up and give him whatever he needs simply because of his brash persistence! 

So listen: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. 

Some of you are fathers, so ask yourselves this: if your son comes up to you and asks for a fish for dinner, will you give him a snake instead? If your boy wants an egg to eat, will you give him a scorpion? Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask.
(Luke 11:1-13)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I want to see the influence of Your grace triumph. I want to see Your name glorified above all other things and all other beings. I have been so blessed with earthly blessings and with the blessing of Your grace. I deeply appreciate the presence of the Holy Spirit within me. Still I ask, dear Father, and I seek this with all of my heart, that Your Holy Spirit have complete influence over me so that I will be transformed into the righteous character and gracious compassion displayed in the life of Jesus. 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.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 30 May 2017, 10:45 pm

"Purpose and Power" — A Year with Jesus for 05/30/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God, 

You probably know the story that is told by Doctor Luke in the verses below. Familiarity can sometimes lead you to miss something important in the story. After My ascension to the Father, My closest disciples returned "to Jerusalem, filled with intense joy, and they return again and again to the temple to celebrate God." These are the same disciples who were distraught and immobilized by My death. 

Why? Why the "intense joy"? Why "celebrate God"? Why be glad that I had left them to return to the Father? 

Notice two things that My disciples received from Me in the joyous goodbye in the verses below:

I promised to send My disciples the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I gave these disciples a clear mission. They were to begin where they were (Jerusalem), go to the surrounding regions (Judea and Samaria), and share My message with the world (the farthest places on earth).
I gave My followers a purpose and the power to carry out that purpose. 

So today, as you read these verses about My parting from My disciples, I want you to remember something important. You have the same purpose they did, and you have been given the same power I shared with them. 

I don't want you making excuses! I don't want long faces! It's time for some "intense joy" as you "celebrate God"! Celebrate the salvation given you through My death, burial, and resurrection. Celebrate because you have a great purpose for your life in the world. Celebrate that I have poured out all the power you need to live up to the purpose I gave you!
Verses to Live

There are two sections of Scripture today. Both were written by Luke, the physician. The first one is from the beginning of the book of Acts. Here Luke summarizes some of the things from his gospel, including some of My last instructions to My disciples. The second Scripture is from the very end of Luke's gospel and records My ascension and the disciples' following My instructions to return to Jerusalem.

To a lover of God, Theophilus: In my first book [the gospel of Luke], I recounted the events of Jesus' life — His actions, His teachings — from the beginning of His life until He was taken up into heaven. After His great suffering and vindication, He showed His apostles that He was alive — appearing to them repeatedly over a period of 40 days, giving them many convincing proofs of His resurrection. As before, He spoke constantly of the kingdom of God. During these appearances, He had instructed His chosen messengers through the Holy Spirit, prohibiting them from leaving Jerusalem, but rather requiring them to wait there until they received what He called "the promise of the Father." 

Jesus:
This is what you heard Me teach — that just as John ritually cleansed people with water through baptism, so you will be washed with the Holy Spirit very soon.
When they had gathered just outside Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives, they asked Jesus, 

Disciples:
Is now the time, Lord — the time when You will reestablish Your kingdom in our land of Israel?
Jesus:
The Father, on His own authority, has determined the ages and epochs of history, but you have not been given this knowledge. Here's the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here in Jerusalem, then beyond to Judea and Samaria, and finally to the farthest places on earth.
(Acts 1:1-8) 

Then He [Jesus] leads them [His disciples] out to Bethany. He lifts up His hands and blesses them, and at that moment, with His hands raised in blessing, He leaves them and is carried up into heaven. They worship Him, then they return to Jerusalem, filled with intense joy, and they return again and again to the temple to celebrate God. 
(Luke 24:50-53)
Response in Prayer

Forgive me, O God, for thinking negatively, for not believing fully. Forgive me for not taking the time to rejoice because of the purpose you have given me for my life. Forgive me for not celebrating the power of the Holy Spirit to live out that purpose. Let the joy of heaven and the Holy Spirit's power move me, stir me, and propel me to share Your grace with great joy. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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This devotional was sent to elainejehu@yahoo.com, who has been receiving it since 13 Nov 2013 13:55.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 29 May 2017, 8:58 am

"The Hebrew Scriptures" — A Year with Jesus for 05/29/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

In today's verses, I AM in the final preparation stages of leaving My disciples and ascending back to the Father. Although the promised Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come later to them on the day of Pentecost, I wanted to open their minds and help them see that many passages in the Hebrew Scriptures (your Old Testament) pointed to My birth, life, death, and resurrection. As I journey with you through the New Testament the rest of this year, you will find many different passages from the Hebrew Scriptures that are quoted in the different writings that make up the New Testament. This continuity is a reminder that your Bible is the story of the Father's plan of redemption, revealed through the Holy Spirit and delivered through My work in your world. 

One of the responsibilities of the prophets in the early church was to help explain how these Hebrew Scriptures pointed to Me. Matthew took a special interest in pointing out how My ministry fulfilled these Scriptures. The early sermons by Peter, Stephen, and Paul in the book of Acts used these Hebrew Scriptures to affirm My identity as the Anointed One of Israel, the Messiah. 

I promised to send the Holy Spirit to My disciples to help them know the truth and to help the early witnesses speak My message and remember My words and deeds. And the precious time I had with My closest disciples just before My ascension was crucial in beginning the process of connecting them to My story and the grand story of the Scriptures. What happens is all part of Our — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit's — plan to redeem your broken world. 

When you look at your Bible, I want you to know that it is all part of My story. I existed even before the beginning and then as Creator (Colossians 1:15-17). 

I was promised as a Savior after the terrible rebellion in the garden when Adam and Eve rejected the Father's instructions and chose to live their own way. 

I was there leading My people through the parted waters of the sea delivering them from Pharaoh's hand. 

I was there in the pillar of fire and the cloud that led My people through their wilderness wanderings. 

I was there when the promise was made to Abraham and to David that a descendant would bless all nations and reign as Lord and King forever. 

I was there when the prophets spoke of My coming. 

I was there all through the journey, but I became flesh, being born of a virgin in fulfillment of the expectations and prophecies about My coming. 

Because I was there all along in the events recounted in the Hebrew Scriptures, I want you to remember what Paul told Timothy about these Scriptures. Notice especially the underlined part and realize that I can open up the power of the Hebrew Scriptures to you and help you find life and salvation in them:

So surely you ought to stick to what you know is certain. All you have learned comes from people you know and trust because since childhood you have known the holy Scriptures, which enable you to be wise and lead to salvation through faith in Jesus the Anointed. All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God’s people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work. 
(2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Verses to Live

The Hebrew Scriptures lead you to Me. Your faith in Me helps you understand those ancient words and brings you the salvation the Scriptures anticipate and declare.

Jesus:
I've been telling you [Jesus' disciples, after His resurrection] this all along, that everything written about Me in the Hebrew Scriptures must be fulfilled — everything from the law of Moses to the prophets to the psalms.
Then He opens their minds so they can comprehend the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures. 

Jesus:
This is what the Scriptures said: that the promised Anointed One should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, that in His name a radical change of thought and life should be preached, and that in His name the forgiveness of sins should be preached, beginning in Jerusalem and extending to all nations. You have witnessed the fulfillment of these things. So I am sending My Father's promise to you. Stay in the city until you receive it — until power from heaven comes upon you.
(Luke 24:44-49)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God, I thank You for Your work in creation through the ages. I thank You for working for my salvation and redemption. I thank You for promising to send the Messiah, Jesus my Lord, long before He came to earth. I thank You for Jesus' story that was proclaimed by those inspired by Your Spirit and that is now my own story of salvation. In Jesus' name, 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:
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Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 28 May 2017, 9:19 am

"My Prayer" — A Year with Jesus for 05/28/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Follower, 

The verses you will read today come from a very emotional time on the night I was betrayed. These verses are My prayer for My disciples. I want you to notice five things I say to the Father — five important truths and areas of importance to Me. 

First, I spoke to the Father about Our glory. I looked forward to the day when My disciples would fully experience this "collective glory." I had this glory with the Father "before the creation existed." This shared glory before creation should remind you of the love We shared long "before the foundations of the cosmos were laid." I began and ended My prayer with these thoughts. 

Second, I prayed for unity. I prayed for My earliest disciples to be one. I wanted this to be more than just the unity of easy times and pleasant talk. I wanted this unity to be as real as the unity the Father and I share. My first disciples had great opportunities and faced harsh resistance and vicious persecution. They needed to be one just as the Father and I are one. 

Third, I prayed for you. Yes, I prayed for you nearly two thousand years ago! You see, I prayed for those who would believe in Me because of the apostles' testimony. That is My prayer for you: I want you to be one — unified in mission, purpose, and grace. This desire is not just because I want you to get along with each other, but also because I want the world to believe in Me and that the Father sent Me. Your unity should reflect Our unity to the world. 

Fourth, being one in genuine unity is really a reflection of love. I had told My disciples that a defining characteristic showing they are My disciples would be their love for each other (John 13:34-35). This genuine love, love like the Father and I have for each other, is a foretaste of the grace, joy, life, and glory that the Father and I long to share with you in Our home. The Helper, the Holy Spirit that I have given you, fills you with this love and all its attendant graces (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22-23). 

Finally, I want you to notice that My prayer as I faced My crucifixion was not for Me. I would pray later in the garden from the depths of My heart about what I faced. However, this prayer in today's verses was for My disciples in every age — for the apostles and first disciples who would take My love and My message to the world and for you who are recipients of that message centuries later and who are also called to take My Love and My message to the world. Never for one moment think My heart is not concerned for you and your part in My family and how My family will impact the world.

Verses to Live

I want you to read this prayer several times. Listen behind the words and between the lines. Feel the depth of My love for the Father and for you. Recognize that there is so much going on in these words that is bigger than just the words themselves. These words share My heart about eternity, glory, love, and family, and you are an important part of each of these!

Jesus (lifting His face to the heavens):
Father, My time has come. Glorify Your Son, and I will bring You great glory because You have given Me total authority over humanity. I have come bearing the plentiful gifts of God; and all who receive Me will experience everlasting life, a new intimate relationship with You (the one True God) and Jesus the Anointed (the One You have sent). I have glorified You on earth and fulfilled the mission You set before Me. 

In this moment, Father, fuse Our collective glory and bring Us together as We were before creation existed. You have entrusted Me with these men who have come out of this corrupt world order. I have told them about Your nature and declared Your name to them, and they have held on to Your words and understood that these words, like everything else You have given Me, come from You. It is true that these men You gave Me have received the words that come from You and not only understood them but also believed that You sent Me. I am now making an appeal to You on their behalf. This request is not for the entire world; it is for those whom You have given to Me because they are Yours. Yours and Mine, Mine and Yours, for all that are Mine are Yours. Through them I have been glorified. 

I will no longer be physically present in this world, but they will remain in this world. As I return to be with You, holy Father, remain with them through Your name, the name You have given Me. May they be one even as We are one. While I was physically present with them, I protected them through Your name. I watched over them closely; and only one was lost, the one the Scriptures said was the son of destruction. Now I am returning to You. I am speaking this prayer here in the created cosmos alongside friends and foes so that in hearing it they might be consumed with joy. I have given them Your word; and the world has despised them because they are not products of the world, in the same way that I am not a product of the corrupt world order. Do not take them out of this world; protect them from the evil one. 

Like Me, they are not products of the corrupt world order. Immerse them in the truth, the truth Your voice speaks. In the same way You sent Me into this world, I am sending them. It is entirely for their benefit that I have set Myself apart so that they may be set apart by truth. 

I am not asking solely for their benefit; this prayer is also for all the believers who will follow them and hear them speak. Father, may they all be one as You are in Me and I am in You; may they be in Us, for by this unity the world will believe that You sent Me. 

All the glory You have given to Me, I pass on to them. May that glory unify them and make them one as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may be refined so that all will know that You sent Me, and You love them in the same way You love Me. 

Father, I long for the time when those You have given Me can join Me in My place so they may witness My glory, which comes from You. You have loved Me before the foundations of the cosmos were laid. Father, You are just; though this corrupt world order does not know You, I do. These followers know that You have sent Me. I have told them about Your nature; and I will continue to speak of Your name in order that Your love, which was poured out on Me, will be in them. And I will also be in them.
(John 17:1-26)
Response in Prayer

I am dumbfounded, Father, at the words, the love, the passion, and the prayer of Jesus. I ask the Holy Spirit to imprint their emotion and their power on my heart. Please use them to mold me into a faithful disciple, friend, and influence. O God, be glorified in my life — in my words, my thoughts, my intentions, and my actions. 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:
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Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 27 May 2017, 11:22 am

"Sending the Great Helper" — A Year with Jesus for 05/27/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

My ascension back to the Father was a wonderful blessing. I know that you would love to have My physical presence with you — to see Me minister, heal, cast out demons, teach, and preach. That was also true of the eleven apostles and My closest disciples that I left behind as I ascended to the Father, so I told them not to believe what seemed so obvious to them:

But the truth is that My departure will be a gift that will serve you well, because if I don't leave, the great Helper will not come to your aid. When I leave, I will send Him to you.
Without My ascension, My departure, the Holy Spirit wouldn't have come to their aid and the Helper wouldn't be available to aid you. 

My ascension meant that I would send the Holy Spirit to be My people's Helper — your Helper. The Spirit helps My disciples point others to the truth about Me. The Helper gives My followers strength to face their trials. The Helper works through My friends when they proclaim Me. The Helper convicts lost people of their sin, of their need for righteousness, and of their need to change because the world they trust, along with the powers of evil behind it, have already been defeated. The Helper guides My beloved disciples into the truth about Me. 

In a couple of days, I will begin sharing the book of Acts with you. The opening verses of Acts tell about My ascending back to the Father (Acts 1:1-11). I commissioned My disciples to share My story of grace with the whole world, but I told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, before beginning their mission. The Spirit's coming on the day of Pentecost ignited them on their mission with power (Acts 2:1-4). All that I promised them about the Helper came true as they lived out this mission. This little band of believers, propelled by the power and presence of the Helper, changed the world. I have given you this same Helper, the Holy Spirit, to empower you to impact your world like this first band of believers altered their world!
Verses to Live

Just as those early disciples changed the world, I am calling on you to rely on this same Helper to empower, to strengthen, to inform, to guide, and to propel you to change your world. The last words in today's verses remind you that I am confident in the Helper's power to do this:

The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine. That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you.
This same Holy Spirit is at work in you because I have ascended to the Father and sent the Helper to you!
Jesus:
I will send a great Helper to you from the Father, one known as the Spirit of truth. He comes from the Father and will point to the truth as it concerns Me. But you will also point others to the truth about My identity, because you have journeyed with Me since this all began. 

I am telling you all of this so that you may avoid the offenses that are coming. The time will come when they will kick you out of the synagogue because some believe God desires them to execute you as an act of faithful service. They will do this because they don't know the Father, or else they would know Me. I'm telling you all this so that when it comes to pass you will remember what you have heard. It was not important for Me to give you this information in the beginning when I was with you. But now, I am going to the One Who has sent Me, and none of you ask Me, "Where are You going?" 

I know that hearing news like this is overwhelming and sad. But the truth is that My departure will be a gift that will serve you well, because if I don't leave, the great Helper will not come to your aid. When I leave, I will send Him to you. When He arrives, He will uncover the sins of the world, expose unbelief as sin, and allow all to see their sins in the light of righteousness for the first time. This new awareness of righteousness is important because I am going to the Father and will no longer be present with you. The Spirit will also carry My judgment because the one who rules in this world has already been defeated. 

I have so much more to say, but you cannot absorb it right now. The Spirit of truth will come and guide you in all truth. He will not speak His own words to you; He will speak what He hears, revealing to you the things to come and bringing glory to Me. The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine. That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you.
(John 15:26-27; John 16:1-15)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I take seriously Jesus' commission to reach the world with Your grace. I trust that the Helper Jesus promised is alive in me. I trust the Holy Spirit will help me share You with the world. I thank You for the Spirit's presence within me and His power available to me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 26 May 2017, 3:18 pm

Heavenletter #6027 You Are a Living Loving Breathing Being of Light., May 26, 2017 

God said: 
Do you perhaps have the idea that being disgruntled is second nature to you? Not so. Your true nature is good nature. Never were you meant to be or appear to be routinely displeased. Never were you meant to moan and groan and weep at disappointment. Never were you intended to let your good nature down and assume a role of displeasure. If you are on a foray of discontent, then be aware that discontent truly resides within yourself. You have opted for discontent. There are other choices.

Debate as you may, Beloveds, it is you who have wined and dined displeasur, you settle for finding fault with just about anything and everything, as if nothing is quite good enough for you. You may set yourself apart from the throng. You may see yourself as bombarded by the world, yet it is you who feels, if you do, that it is the world that gave you a raw deal. What advantage is there for you to think this way?

Beloved critics, the world is bound to reflect your thoughts, uplifting or down-turning. If you announce even only to yourself your disappointment with the world, you uphold the world's playing of sour notes. You may even rush to prove the inadequacy of the world, as if the world is determined to let you down. Have you become more and more adept at forswearing and faulting the world as if you are a notch above? Of course, you have the freedom to look at Life that way.

Look, by the same token, when you give a little thumbs up to the world, the world will flock to you. Everyone and everything goes toward that which gives a modicum of joy. Give yourself joy.

It can't be that you like to have something to complain about, can it?

In the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea, the Princess emphasized the misbegotten and found pleasure in the slightest annoyance as she imbued the world with all her good taste! How good and sensitive she is, way above the quality of the world! She even deigns to say that the world is inadequate to her standards, that she really must have a world more considerate than this one, and that, really, as things are, the world must acquiesce to her! To the Princess, one-hundred soft mattresses are not enough for her to be comfortable in bed. One little pea at the bottom of 100 mattresses stands in the way of her getting a good night's sleep!

Now, is it too much to ask My Children to refrain from grumbling? It may be that you see yourself as a connoisseur of the world. Connoisseurs stay at attention on the outer fringes of Life. A food critic doesn't prepare the food, merely tastes it and makes his pronouncements.

I do not think you belong on the outside, on the rim, external to the real Life that is here as an offering to you.

Dear Ones, there is no outside you. All is within. There is no out there for you to frown at. Come back to Life and living in the World that grows with you.

Be at the Heart of the Matter. Be not desultory. Be not conciliatory. You are a Living Loving Breathing Being of Light. Rather than pointing out the wrongs of the world, shed Light. Make the world a better place by virtue of your raising the tone of the world high. Give, dear ones, and no longer think of cutting the world down to size.

Beloveds, it is for you to uplift the world. Make the world what you want it to be. Start now. Now! Raise the world. Find that which exists in the world to cheer the world on with, will you?
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 26 May 2017, 3:00 pm

Despised?" — A Year with Jesus for 05/26/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

During My earthly ministry, I warned My disciples that following Me would not be easy. The words you read in the verses below were spoken right before My own rejection, betrayal, arrest, torture, crucifixion, and death. My warnings sounded ominous to those disciples gathered around Me on the night of My betrayal. This particular part of My warnings took on a much greater sense of foreboding after My crucifixion:

"If you find that the world despises you, remember that before it despised you, it first despised Me. .. If I was mistreated, you should expect nothing less."
The beloved disciple remembered these words of warning and reiterated them decades later: "Brothers and sisters, don't be shocked if the corrupt world despises you" (1 John 3:13). Persecution has been and will continue to be very much a part of being My disciple (2 Timothy 3:12). When your role model is the crucified Messiah, then you should expect to face some pretty stout challenges yourself. 

In the first part of the verses below, I told My disciples the reasons that they would face persecution. Persecution and loss of rights for My disciples are becoming more and more prevalent in your world, too. Just like My first followers, you need to know that you are not alone as you face trials, ostracism, distrust, false accusations, persecution, and even death. I AM with you! 

I promised My disciples that I would be with them through the presence of the "Helper", the Holy Spirit. In today's verses, this promise follows immediately after the very honest acknowledgement of the hardships. The work of the Holy Spirit is to be with you, to be My presence in you, and to give you peace. The Spirit is your Helper and Advocate. Even in the worst of situations, the Holy Spirit will give you the right words to say when you are under trial (Luke 12:11-12). Even if all others seem to abandon you in your hour of need, I will never abandon you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6). You may face difficult times, but you will never have to face them alone!
Verses to Live

Please remember that I have called you to be different from the world. I have called you to be salt and light in the world of decay and darkness. You are not "of the world," so the world won't accept you. Yet be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. My glorious position is your assurance of future glory!

Jesus:
If you find that the world despises you, remember that before it despised you, it first despised Me. If you were a product of the world order, then it would love you. But you are not a product of the world because I have taken you out of it, and it despises you for that very reason. Don't forget what I have spoken to you: "a servant is not greater than the master." If I was mistreated, you should expect nothing less. If they accepted what I have spoken, they will also hear you. Everything they do to you they will do on My account because they do not know the One Who has sent Me. If I had not spoken within their hearing, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for ignoring My voice. 

If someone despises Me, he also despises My Father. If I had not demonstrated things for them that have never been done, they would not be guilty of sin. But the reality is they have stared Me in the face, and they have despised Me and the Father nonetheless. Yet their law, which says, "They despised Me without any cause," has again been proven true. 

I will send a great Helper to you from the Father, one known as the Spirit of truth. He comes from the Father and will point to the truth as it concerns Me. But you will also point others to the truth about My identity, because you have journeyed with Me since this all began.
(John 15:18-27)
Response in Prayer

I pray to You, dear Father of mercy and God of all grace. Sometimes I feel like I am swimming upstream against the current of popular opinion because I follow Jesus. Forgive me, dear Father, for being weak at times. Remind me of Your abiding presence within me through the Holy Spirit. Give me words to say to those who doubt or disbelieve You. Give me wisdom to know how and when to share my faith in Jesus with others. Bless me with courage when I feel alone and with confidence to remember Jesus' promise of the Spirit's presence and help in my times of need. 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
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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 25 May 2017, 1:10 pm

"Let's Stay Connected!" — A Year with Jesus for 05/25/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend, 

Before I ascended to the Father, I promised My disciples that I would send the Spirit. I promised I would pour out the Spirit on people with faith in Me as they were baptized into Me (John 7:37-39; Titus 3:3-7). On the night I was betrayed, I reiterated this promise over and over again as I talked to My closest disciples about the Spirit being their Helper when I was gone (John chapters 14-16). The Helper's presence would be their assurance that We — Father, Son, and Spirit — make our home in you and We will never leave or forsake you. I want you to know that My promise to send the Helper is for you, too. 

In your world, a house can have many power outlets. However, the electric devices and appliances won't be able to fulfill their purposes unless they are connected to the power source. The same is true for the work of the Spirit in your life. The Helper is My power source for you. You need the Spirit's presence and power in your life to fulfill your purpose as My disciple. I emphasized that your part of this process is to love Me and obey what I call you to do:

The one who loves Me will do the things I have commanded. My Father loves everyone who loves Me; and I will love you and reveal My heart, will, and nature to you. 
(John 14:21)
Your obedience, your commitment to abide in Me and live for Me, connects you to that power source found in the Helper's presence. 

Today's verses that you find below remind you to stay connected to Me. Our relationship is organic and relational, not mechanical or just organizational. You abide in Me. I am your vine. You are My branch. There is no source of true life for a literal branch unless it remains connected to the vine, and there is no everlasting source of life in you unless you remain connected to Me! You remain connected to Me — you connect to the power source of the Holy Spirit, the Helper I've sent to you — when you choose to love. 

In My earthly ministry, I taught the importance of love being the guiding star in your life as you seek to live for Me:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, a group of Pharisees met to consider new questions that might trip up Jesus. A legal expert thought of one that would certainly stump Him. 

Pharisees:
Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?
Jesus (quoting Scripture):
"Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is nearly as important, "Love your neighbor as yourself." The rest of the law, and all the teachings of the prophets, are but variations on these themes.
(Matthew 22:34-40)
You remain connected to Me when you love Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — with all your heart, soul, and mind and when you share that love with others. When you love Us, you live in My love as well as share My love with everyone with whom you interact. The Spirit within you will be your source of a never-ending supply of this love (Romans 5:5). 

So stay connected to Me and to each other by loving and by living in My love. Keep the love flowing!
Verses to Live

The image of the vine and branches is a powerful one that illustrates a spiritual truth you must not neglect: you must remain connected to Me!

Jesus:
I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. My Father examines every branch in Me and cuts away those who do not bear fruit. He leaves those bearing fruit and carefully prunes them so that they will bear more fruit; already you are clean because you have heard My voice. Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me. 

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn. If you abide in Me and My voice abides in you, anything you ask will come to pass for you. Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. 

I have loved you as the Father has loved Me. Abide in My love. Follow My example in obeying the Father's commandments and receiving His love. If you obey My commandments, you will stay in My love. I want you to know the delight I experience, to find ultimate satisfaction, which is why I am telling you all of this.

My commandment to you is this: love others as I have loved you. There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command. I don't call you servants any longer; servants don't know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends. You did not choose Me. I chose you, and I orchestrated all of this so that you would be sent out and bear great and perpetual fruit. As you do this, anything you ask the Father in My name will be done. This is My command to you: love one another.
(John 15:1-17)
Response in Prayer

O God, please move through the Holy Spirit within me and help me love others ever more completely, ever more consistently, until my love fully reflects and embodies the righteous character and gracious compassion of Your love. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More

The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

Thanks to our invaluable editors:
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Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
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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 24 May 2017, 10:39 pm

"I Will Be with You!" — A Year with Jesus for 05/24/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

My return to the Father after My crucifixion and resurrection was important for many reasons. However, for My apostles, the experience of losing My presence on earth was terrifying. After My crucifixion, they had retreated to an upper room in Jerusalem behind a locked door not knowing what to do (John 20:19-20). While My resurrection raised their hopes, after forty days they still had to adjust to life without My physical presence. After I had left them to return to the Father, they remembered that I had told them that I was going back to the Father. My leaving would have been even more troubling to them if I had not given them the promises that you read in the verses below. 

My return to the Father would not mean that I had left them: I would continue to live in them and be with them, and they would remember My life and words because I would send them the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

The Greek word John used to speak about "the Spirit of truth" was paraklaetos — translated as "Helper," "Comforter," "Counselor," and "Advocate" in different versions of the Bible. The presence of the Helper would ensure that they would not be left alone to do the work I would later call them to do. They would never face the opportunities and trials of discipleship alone. The Spirit, the Helper, ensured the presence of the Father along with My presence. Our presence would bring them peace — My peace, not peace like the world gives, but everlasting and life-altering peace. 

My promise began with My assurance that I would bring My disciples home to Me (John 14:1-3 — see My note from yesterday). In today's Scripture, however, I assure them that they would not have to wait till they come to Us for Us to make Our home with them. Since they would obey and live for Us, we would choose to make Our home with them. 

Now here is a great thing about these promises that were originally made to My earliest disciples: these promises are for you, too! Look at My promise. Each word was chosen carefully so that you could know that you are included:

Anyone who loves Me will listen to My voice and obey. The Father will love him, and We will draw close to him and make a dwelling place within him.
That means the following promises that I made are your promises as well:
I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, Who will remain constantly with you.
I will never abandon you like orphans; I will return to be with you.
Because I live, you will also live.
My Father loves everyone who loves Me; and I will love you and reveal My heart, will, and nature to you.
The Father will love him [anyone who loves and obeys God], and We will draw close to him and make a dwelling place within him.
The Father is sending a great Helper, the Holy Spirit, in My name to teach you everything and to remind you of all I have said to you.
My peace is the legacy I leave to you.
I will go away, but I will also return to be with you.
So I hope you ca! n see that My physical absence is not a disadvantage for you, just as it was not a disadvantage for the early disciples. On Pentecost, I poured out the Holy Spirit on them to do My work and bring My presence to them (Acts 2:2-4; Acts 2:33). At your baptism, I poured out this same Holy Spirit on you (Titus 3:3-7). These promises are for you. 

I encourage you to learn all you can about the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, that I have sent to live in you and be My presence with you. And today, I want you to rest assured in the peace of God that passes all understanding that you will never be alone. We — Father, Son, and Spirit — have made our home in you until you can come home to Us and share Our home with Us! This assurance should bring you everlasting peace. 

If you would like to learn more about the Holy Spirit through a short daily devotional on the Spirit's work, check Heartlight's SpiritFire — you can subscribe and receive SpiritFire free in your inbox every day. 
Verses to Live

Be blessed by these promises about the Spirit, the Helper that I have sent to you. Remember, these words are not just for the apostles who first heard them, but also to anyone who is truly My disciple. May these words bring you peace.

Jesus:
If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you. I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, Who will remain constantly with you. The world does not recognize the Spirit of truth, because it does not know the Spirit and is unable to receive Him. But you do know the Spirit because He lives with you, and He will dwell in you. I will never abandon you like orphans; I will return to be with you. In a little while, the world will not see Me; but I will not vanish completely from your sight. Because I live, you will also live. At that time, you will know that I am in the Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who loves Me will do the things I have commanded. My Father loves everyone who loves Me; and I will love you and reveal My heart, will, and nature to you.
The Other Judas:
Lord, why will You reveal Yourself to us, but not to the world?
Jesus:
Anyone who loves Me will listen to My voice and obey. The Father will love him, and We will draw close to him and make a dwelling place within him. The one who does not love Me ignores My message, which is not from Me, but from the Father Who sent Me. 

I have spoken these words while I am here with you. The Father is sending a great Helper, the Holy Spirit, in My name to teach you everything and to remind you of all I have said to you. My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don't give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. You were listening when I said, "I will go away, but I will also return to be with you." If you love Me, celebrate the fact that I am going to be with the Father because He is far greater than I am. I have told you all these things in advance so that your faith will grow as these things come to pass. I am almost finished speaking to you. The one who rules the world is stepping forward, and he has no part in Me; but to demonstrate to the cosmos My love for the Father, I will do just as He commands. Stand up. It is time for us to leave this place.
(John 14:15-31)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for Jesus — thank You for His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and pouring out the Holy Spirit into My heart and the hearts of all who love Him and obey Him. Teach me, please, O God, to recognize the work of the Spirit in My life and to rest in the assurance that You will never leave Me or forsake Me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More

The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 23 May 2017, 6:16 pm

"Hold These Promises in Your Heart" — A Year with Jesus for 05/23/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God, 

Beginning today and for the next several days, I will remind you of things I shared with My closest disciples on the night I was betrayed. The beloved disciple, known to you as John, wrote these things down for you. They contain a series of comforting words and empowering promises about what I can do and will do for you because I have returned to the Father. Many of these promises focus upon My sending of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's intercession for you as your advocate at the Father's side. 

Today I want you to recognize My promises that you will find in the verses below. These promises are yours because of My resurrection from the dead and My ascension to the right hand of the Father. These are great promises for you to memorize as a source of encouragement on days that are not so great, so I encourage you to hold these promises in your heart:

My Father's home is designed to accommodate all of you.
I am going to make arrangements for your arrival.
I will be there to greet you personally and welcome you home, where we will be together.
If you know Me, you know the Father.
If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.
...whoever believes in Me will be able to do what I have done, but they will do even greater things, because I will return to be with the Father.
Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son.
My returning to the Father is so important for My disciples — including you, but My first disciples could not anticipate how My leaving them would be to their advantage. However, I wanted them to know — and yes, I want you to know this as well — My role at the Father's side as your intercessor, advocate, and gift-giver is to your great advantage. So remember My promises and don't forget to ask of Me. I AM at the Father's side for you until you come home to Us!
Verses to Live

Home is such an important place. I want you to know that I am preparing your new home with Me. This assurance is just one of several incredible promises you will find in the verses below as I speak the truth about My love for you, My preparation for you, My presence in you, and the coming of the Holy Spirit — the Spirit will be more of our focus tomorrow. Be blessed!

Jesus:
Don't get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father's home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. I will be there to greet you personally and welcome you home, where we will be together. You know where I am going and how to get there.
Thomas:
Lord, we don't know where You are going, so how can we know the path?
Jesus:
I am the path, the truth, and the energy of life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you know the Father. Rest assured now; you know Him and have seen Him.
Philip:
Lord, all I am asking is that You show us the Father.
Jesus (to Philip):
I have lived with you all this time, and you still don't know Who I am? If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. How can you keep asking to see the Father? Don't you believe Me when I say I abide in the Father and the Father dwells in Me? I'm not making this up as I go along. The Father has given Me these truths that I have been speaking to you, and He empowers all My actions. Accept these truths: I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. If you have trouble believing based on My words, believe because of the things I have done. I tell you the truth: whoever believes in Me will be able to do what I have done, but they will do even greater things, because I will return to be with the Father. Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son. Let Me say it again: if you ask for anything in My name, I will do it.
(John 14:1-14)
Response in Prayer

O Father, these precious promises give me great hope and will sustain me through my darkest days and longest nights as I await the reunion of all who belong to You on the day Jesus returns. Until then, I will pray in Jesus' name and rejoice in the blessings that are mine because Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to Your right hand, and lives to make intercession for me and others like me who love You and long for Jesus' return. I praise and 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.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 22 May 2017, 5:02 pm

"The Third Time" — A Year with Jesus for 05/22/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

The last few days I've visited with you about Peter's restoration and several important principles regarding confession, forgiveness, grace, cleansing, and restoration. In today's verses, you get to read how I lovingly confronted Peter concerning his bold claims about not failing Me even if the other apostles did and concerning his subsequent denial of Me on the night Judas betrayed Me. On Peter's third denial, the rooster crowed, he realized his failure, and he went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:59-62). 

The verses below continue the account of My third appearance to the apostles. I asked Peter three times if he loved Me. He was hurt when I asked him a third time. Don't miss the symmetry — third denial, third appearance, third time I asked the question. This is no mere coincidence. This is the delicate art of loving confrontation — the parallels of things involving the "third" time, the careful wording, the loving but clear confrontation of Peter about his bold claims about being faithful when I washed his feet (John 13:1-38). 

I asked Peter three times about his love for Me. On that third time, let's just say that he heard that rooster crow figuratively once again. Three denials. Three times I asked on our third visit after the resurrection about his three denials. The point was clearly there for Peter and everyone else around the fire with Me to understand. 

I likewise made clear to Peter in front of the other disciples that I was calling him back to ministry:

"Take care of My lambs. .. Shepherd My sheep. .. Look after My sheep."
With each question about his love for Me, Peter also received an affirmation of My call for him to be a pastor. The original meaning of "pastor" was "shepherd." I was calling Peter to shepherd My people. 

For those keeping up with each of the "thirds," let's go over them:
Peter heard the rooster crow on his third denial.
This is My third visit with the disciples after My resurrection.
Peter was hurt when I asked him the third time if he loved Me.
Peter heard My call for him to be a shepherd of My sheep a third time.
Why was this loving, yet clear, confrontation so important? It was important because Peter's fellow apostles knew about his denials. Peter needed to be reclaimed and restored to leadership. He would never have been if he hadn't been lovingly confronted with his failure and if he hadn't received My call in front of those he disappointed — a call for him to come back to leadership. 

I let him know serving Me as a leader wouldn't be easy, but that is what I was calling him to do. Eventually, he was going to follow Me into a death like I endured as a martyr. He would follow Me. He would reach out to people as a shepherd. He would be a great leader among My people. He would give his life in the process. In the end, he would live up to the brash promises he had made earlier on the night he denied even knowing Me — but he would live up to his promises only after being humbled, lovingly confronted, and called back into ministry. That is what it means to be forgiven, cleansed, reclaimed, and restored! 

One last time, you see Peter being Peter: After I confronted him and then told him about the nature of his death, he wanted to know what was going to happen to the beloved disciple. It was like he was saying, "OK Lord, I know I'm going to die for you, but what about him?" Before Peter could go very far down that road of comparison of worth, value, and life span, I reminded him of the only issue that mattered: "... what difference will this make to you? You follow Me!" 

That, My beloved friend, is the issue for you today. Don't let failure, pride, embarrassment, overstatement, rivalry, jealousy, envy, or any other sin stand in the way of your following Me. Just as surely as you must face your failure, you have to know that even more I want to reclaim, remake, and restore you to useful service in My kingdom. So, follow Me!
Verses to Live

Today's verses continue the story from yesterday — the time after My resurrection when Peter took six other disciples fishing with him. Not only does this story parallel closely the time I originally called Peter, Andrew, James and John from their lives as fishermen, but there are those "third-time" parallels that run throughout this event. All of that is important to notice, however, only if you get the message: When you have failed Me and failed other disciples, I don't want you to give up and quit. I don't want you living your life in guilt and suspicion because you have not addressed your sinful failures. I want to recall you to ministry. Notice how I do this with Peter.

Jesus took the bread and gave it to each of them, and then He did the same with the fish. This was the third time the disciples had seen Jesus since His death and resurrection. They finished eating breakfast. 

Jesus:
Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these other things?
Simon Peter:
Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.
Jesus:
Take care of My lambs.
Jesus asked him a second time... 

Jesus:
Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Simon Peter:
Yes, Lord. You must surely know that I love You.
Jesus:
Shepherd My sheep.
Jesus (for the third time):
Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Peter was hurt because He asked him the same question a third time, "Do you love Me?" 

Simon Peter:
Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.
Jesus:
Look after My sheep. I tell you the truth: when you were younger, you would pick up and go wherever you pleased; but when you grow old, someone else will help you and take you places you do not want to go.
Jesus said all this as an indicator of the nature of Peter's death, which would glorify God. After this conversation, Jesus said, 

Jesus:
Follow Me!
Peter turned around to see the disciple loved by Jesus following the two of them, the same disciple who leaned back on Jesus' side during their supper and asked, "Lord, who is going to betray You?" 

Peter:
Lord, and what will happen to this man?
Jesus:
If I choose for him to remain till I return, what difference will this make to you? You follow Me!
(John 21:13-22)
Response in Prayer

Holy God, I know that You have things for me to do to bless others and honor You. Help me know these things I am supposed to do. Help me do these things humbly and faithfully. Use these things to bless others. And, dear Father, when I fail, please give me the courage to face my spiritual failures and to trust that You will reclaim, remake, and restore me. 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 21 May 2017, 10:25 pm

"Back at the Beginning?" — A Year with Jesus for 05/21/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

Sometimes things have a way of repeating themselves. The events in the verses below occurred after My resurrection. The apostle Peter and six of My other disciples were back where Peter was when I first called him to follow me (Luke 5:1-11); they were fishing. Once again, they caught no fish during a long night of fishing. Once again, I directed them how to catch fish, and they netted a huge haul of fish. After experiencing the miraculous catch of fish earlier when I was calling My first disciples, Peter fell at My feet and said:

I can't take this, Lord. I'm a sinful man. You shouldn't be around the likes of me. 
(Luke 5:8).
I then called Peter to leave his life as a fisherman and follow Me to start reaching people with My good news. 

After over three years of ministry with Me, Peter was back where he began. But I needed him ready to lead My disciples to take the good news to the world. However, Peter's failure stood in the way. Despite My warning, he denied Me three times on the night I was betrayed. Despite his claims that he would not fail Me even if the other disciples did, he failed to live up to his word. Peter's failure stood in the way of his leadership. 

There was that other problem in the verses below: a problem symbolized by Peter's jumping into the water, swimming ashore, and leaving the other men behind in the boat to take care of the fish. Peter needed to humble himself, do the little things that needed to be done and live faithfully for Me. Most importantly, the confession that he was a sinful man didn't happen this second time. Enough time had passed for Peter to own the ways he had failed Me on the night I was betrayed. He had not done so. My appearance to Peter and the apostles on the beach — see the verses below — was My third appearance to them after My resurrection. Peter had not yet confessed his failure and asked for forgiveness from the disciples or Me. 

Bottom line: Peter's failure and his brash bravado stood in the way of his being a great servant leader in the new church that was about to be born. So I began My ministry of restoration with Peter. I would firmly, but lovingly, help him confront his failure in front the men who knew it best. I seized this opportunity to help Peter remember — to remember his initial call to become a fisherman for people and follow Me and to remember his failure to live up to his brash promises. 

In tomorrow's verses, you will join Me as I directly but lovingly confront and restore Peter. Today, however, I want you to think about how your own sin and failure can make you feel as if you have to start all over and as if you have to win My trust and earn your right to My grace. Please know that is not true. 

I long to forgive and restore you. I do ask that you own your failure, that you trust the sufficiency of My grace, and that you get back to following Me. But don't let shame destroy you. Don't let your pride keep you from being honest with Me and others. Don't let the evil one cloud your heart with doubts about My love for you. I long to restore you. I want to use you to grow My kingdom and share My grace. I will use your failures to help you learn to be gracious and empathetic with others so they can be restored, too. I did it with Peter. I will do it with you! 

Believe in My love for you. Rely on the grace I have for you. Trust the plans that I have to use you. Follow me!
Verses to Live

Notice how similar this situation is to the first call of Peter (Luke 5:1-11). Then notice how these two events are different. 

Why do you think I chose for this to be the scene of My third appearance to the apostles after My resurrection? 

What do you think would have happened to Peter and his leadership if I had not confronted him about his failure before I returned to the Father?

There was one other time when Jesus appeared to the disciples — this time by the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: Simon Peter, Thomas (the Twin), Nathanael (the Galilean from Cana), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 

Simon Peter (to disciples):
I am going fishing.
Disciples:
Then we will come with you.
They went out in the boat and caught nothing through the night. As day was breaking, Jesus was standing on the beach; but they did not know it was Jesus. 

Jesus:
My sons, you haven't caught any fish, have you?
Disciples:
No.
Jesus:
Throw your net on the starboard side of the boat, and your net will find the fish.
They did what He said, and suddenly they could not lift their net because of the massive weight of the fish that filled it. The disciple loved by Jesus turned to Peter and said: 

Beloved Disciple:
It is the Lord.
Immediately, when Simon Peter heard these words, he threw on his shirt (which he would take off while he was working) and dove into the sea. The rest of the disciples followed him, bringing in the boat and dragging in their net full of fish. They were close to the shore, fishing only about 100 yards out. When they arrived on shore, they saw a charcoal fire laid with fish on the grill. He had bread too. 

Jesus (to disciples):
Bring some of the fish you just caught.
Simon Peter went back to the boat to unload the fish from the net. He pulled 153 large fish from the net. Despite the number of the fish, the net held without a tear. 

Jesus:
Come, and join Me for breakfast.
Not one of the disciples dared to ask, "Who are You?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus took the bread and gave it to each of them, and then He did the same with the fish. This was the third time the disciples had seen Jesus since His death and resurrection. 
(John 21:1-14)
Response in Prayer

O Father, thank You for grace. Thank You for repentance. Thank You for new starts. Thank You for being the God of comfort, forgiveness, and grace. I own my failures — I confess them to You and trust You will completely remove the guilt of my sin from me. I trust You will remove my sin from me as far as the east is from the west. I commit to follow Jesus, to live for Him, and to love You with all that I am and to love others by sharing Your grace with them. 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 Sat 20 May 2017, 10:52 pm

"A Turnaround" — A Year with Jesus for 05/20/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Seeker of truth, 

For several days, I will continue talking to you about restoring Peter back to ministry after his three denials on the night of My arrest. Peter over-promised what he would do to stand with Me. I warned him that he would deny Me three times, which is exactly what happened. I told Peter that I was praying for him:

I have prayed that your faith will hold firm and that you will recover from your failure and become a source of strength for your brothers here. 
(Luke 22:32)
Although initially Peter was willing to defend Me using force when the Temple guards came to arrest Me, I told him to put away the sword. I then allowed the Temple soldiers to arrest Me. This situation left Peter confused. In the aftermath of My arrest and during the early stages of My illegal trial by the Jewish religious leaders, Peter denied he knew Me. He insisted he was not associated with Me. He protested and spoke an oath declaring that he did not know Me. Then, I looked at him across the courtyard; the rooster crowed, and Peter was deeply grieved when he realized what he had done and how he had failed. 

Peter, the rock, one of My future leaders among My apostles and in the early church, stumbled miserably. His failure was not a secret. His agony over his actions was genuine. So before I share with you how I restored Peter, I want to remind you of a story I told. I was in the middle of a confrontation with the religious leaders when I told them the story about two sons (see the verses below). 

The story is primarily about repentance. I want you to think of repentance in terms of the word "turnaround." That's what Peter needed — a major turnaround. He was prone to over-promising and reaching to grab the spotlight. Peter was always wanting to go first, be best, and say the right thing at the right time. This trait was true of Peter whether he was walking on the water then sinking, confessing Me as Lord yet then denying I would suffer, or not wanting Me to wash his feet then wanting Me to wash him all over. On each of these occasions, Peter failed. He over-promised and under-delivered! 

At times, Peter was like each son in the story below. He over-promised what he would do and didn't keep his word; this is like the second son. However, like the first son, he was sorrowful and wanted to get his life back on track when he had time to think through his flawed actions. Somewhere along the way, Peter needed to own both his overstatements and his failures. He needed a turnaround. He needed to leave the past failures behind and walk a new direction, My direction, the direction of faithful obedience. 

You, like Peter, will stumble and fall. You will fail to live up to what you want to be. You don't want to stumble. I don't want you to stumble. But it will happen. Your decision at that point is very simple: Will you choose to stay in the place where you've faltered and live in your failure? Or will you choose to own your failures by confessing them and then turn your life around to live faithfully for Me? 

A life of discipleship is not about pretending you are perfect, not about saying the right thing just to make yourself look good, and not about hiding or excusing your sin. I'm not looking for a person who fakes holiness to look righteous. What matters to Me is that you are cut to the heart when you falter, and you are willing to own that stumble, then turn around and get back on track living for Me. 

My righteousness covers those who repent. My forgiveness covers those who choose to turn their lives around. So if you have let Me down and disappointed yourself because of your sin, remember that your failure isn't fatal unless you choose for it to be final. I always welcome a turnaround.
Verses to Live

Which of the two sons below are you most like? Do you push back against what I call you to do, but after thinking about it, get your life back on track like the first son? Or do you over-promise trying to make yourself look good to the folks around you and then fail to deliver like the second son? 

For Me, the appearance of being religious means nothing. What I AM after is your heart and your obedience. Even if you find yourself in the shoes of the second son, please realize that you can change. You can turn around, and you can get your life back on track and live for Me. Just remember My apostle Peter. He started out as the second son, then ended up turning things around like the first son.

Jesus:
I will tell you a story, and you can tell Me what you make of it: There was a man who had two sons. He said to his first son: 

Father:
Go and work in the vineyard today.
First Son:
No, I will not.
But later the first son changed his mind and went. Then the father went to his second son. 

Father:
Go and work in the vineyard today.
Second Son:
Of course, Father.
But then he did not go. So which of the sons did what the father wanted?
Chief Priests and Elders (answering at once):
The first.
Jesus:
I tell you this: the tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. John came to show you the straight path, the path to righteousness. You did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. Even as you saw the prostitutes and the tax collectors forgiven and washed clean, finding their footing on the straight path to righteousness, still you did not change your ways and believe.
(Matthew 21:28-32)
Response in Prayer

O Father, forgive me for the ways and times I have faltered, stumbled, and fallen. I ask that the Holy Spirit give me the strength to get up and turn my life around. I thank You for Your generous and gracious forgiveness. I thank You for the many examples of those people in Scripture who turned their hearts and behavior around to live for You after they had faltered, stumbled, and fallen. Thank You for using them, and I trust that You will use me as I turn my heart and behavior around to live for You. 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 19 May 2017, 10:31 pm

Beyond Failure" — A Year with Jesus for 05/19/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

Over the next several days, I will take you on a journey with My apostle, Simon Peter. Before his denial of even knowing Me, I warned him about this upcoming sin. While he stumbled and fell, his faith didn't completely fail. The verses below remind you of My warning to Peter. Later in the evening when I was arrested, Peter used a sword to try to defend me (John 18:10). He was trying to live up to his promise of being willing to die for Me. He was confused when I told him to put away the sword and that I must fulfill what the Scriptures had said about Me (John 18:11; Matthew 26:50-54). Later that same evening, Peter denied Me three times (John 18:16-27) — just as I had told him he would. After his third denial, I looked straight at him across the courtyard, and he went away devastated by his failure when he heard the rooster crow (Luke 22:61-62). 

What should I do with those who claim to follow Me and then deny, betray, or abandon Me in a moment of weakness? What if they renounce Me in their confusion or fear or concern for their family or...? Even many of the so-called best and bravest have failed at one point or another. Does that disqualify them from My grace? Does that mean that I abandon them as they have abandoned Me? Are they to be cast out or distrusted forever? Definitely not! 

Watch these next few days closely. See how I restored Peter. I didn't just lovingly confront him and forgive him, but I restored him to leadership among the apostles! But for today, notice the seeds of grace I planted in Peter's heart and the hearts of the other disciples. 

Know that as you face your trials, My words are equally true for you: "I have prayed that your faith will hold firm and that you will recover from your failure and become a source of strength for your brothers ..." My grace not only can sustain you, but it can also reclaim you when you have failed yet are still clinging — be it tenaciously or tenuously — to the hope that I will never leave you or forsake you!

Verses to Live

Over the next several days, I want to show you how I approach forgiveness and cleansing — the promise I made you yesterday using John's words about My atoning sacrifice and My ongoing role as your advocate before the Father (1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-2). So read the words carefully and you will see how I was already preparing Peter to overcome his failure and sin and to be restored as My leader. Did his faith fail? No, it didn't, not permanently. You will see that his failure — unlike Judas' failure — wasn't final. Was he confused? Yes! Was he overconfident? Absolutely! Did he deny me three times? Yes! Did he quit in his failure, or did he hold out hope beyond it? He held out hope. And so should you!

Simon Peter:
Lord, where are You going?
Jesus:
Peter, you cannot come with Me now, but later you will join Me.
Peter:
Why can't I go now? I'll give my life for You!
(John 13:36-37) 

Jesus:
Simon, Simon, how Satan has pursued you, that he might make you part of his harvest. But I have prayed for you. I have prayed that your faith will hold firm and that you will recover from your failure and become a source of strength for your brothers here.
Peter:
Lord, what are You talking about? I'm going all the way to the end with You — to prison, to execution — I'm prepared to do anything for You.
Jesus:
No, Peter, the truth is that before the rooster crows at dawn, you will have denied that you even know Me, not just once, but three times. Remember when I sent you out with no money, no pack, not even sandals? Did you lack anything?
Disciples:
Not a thing.
Jesus:
It's different now. If you have some savings, take them with you. If you have a pack, fill it and bring it. If you don't have a sword, sell your coat and buy one. Here's the truth: what the Hebrew Scriptures said, "And He was taken as one of the criminals," must come to fruition in Me. These words must come true.
Disciples:
Look, Lord, we have two swords here.
Jesus:
That's enough.
(Luke 22:31-38)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I live today confidently. I am not confident in my abilities to never fail, forsake or disappoint you, but confident in Your grace to reclaim and restore me. I promise never to take sin lightly. I will do my best never to presume on the generosity of Your grace. But for those times when I sin — I fail, forsake or deny you — I will not believe the lies of Satan that I am worthless and irreclaimable. I will remember Your grace and how You reclaimed and restored Peter, so I trust You can do the same with me. Thank You. And thank You Father for such redemptive love. In Jesus' grace, I rest my hope and give You thanks. 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.

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 18 May 2017, 9:28 pm

"Walking in the Light of Grace" — A Year with Jesus for 05/18/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

I came to your world to be God among you and die as the atoning sacrifice for your sins. However, My ministry for you did not end with My death. After I was raised from the dead and ascended to the Father, I began My role as a heavenly intercessor for you and all others who truly follow Me. My atoning death was the last sacrifice needed. My presence at the Father's side ensures that I am your holy advocate forever (Hebrews 7:25). My sacrifice still covers your sin. That sacrifice assures you of both your forgiveness and your cleansing. You can be forgiven and also be made pure. It is as if you had never sinned! 

We — Father, Son, and Spirit — do not want you to sin. Some sin is rebellion, some is weakness, some is immaturity, and some is missing your intended target for the character you desire in your life. I want you to be open with the Father about your sin. I want you to confess your sin to at least one other brother or sister in your spiritual family (James 5:16). Be honest about your sin and your struggle with that sin. Come clean about your sin, rebellion, moral failure, and shortcomings. You are not going to do everything perfectly. Only the self-deluded would claim to have never sinned (1 John 1:8). Only someone who does not understand the nature of sin would try to cling to his or her own supposed sinlessness: "You see, all have sinned, and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail" (Romans 3:23). However, if you walk with Me in the open fellowship of My grace, you will confess your sin for what it is. You will want it gone, forgiven, and cleansed so that your sin is purged from any record of wrongs and you are purified from any stain of sin. 

Here is what I ask of you. Realize the love and blessings of the grace you have received. Realize this grace came at a very high price. Realize that My sacrifice was given for you, but not just for you: It is for every person in the world! Please, pass this good news of My atoning sacrifice and My gift of new life, overwhelming grace, complete forgiveness, and total cleansing on to those who are lost. So walk with Me... be honest with Me... and share My grace because others need this same forgiveness and cleansing that you have received.

Verses to Live

Read the following verses several times. They are from My beloved disciple John, who wrote them to encourage those who were discouraged with their sin. These verses contain great promises to you about what I am doing right now in the presence of the Father to bless you and bless all who choose to follow Me as their Lord and Savior:

What we are telling you now is the very message we heard from Him [Jesus]: God is pure light, undimmed by darkness of any kind. If we say we have an intimate connection with the Father but we continue stumbling around in darkness, then we are lying because we do not live according to truth. If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins. If we go around bragging, "We have no sin," then we are fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. If we say, "We have not sinned," then we depict God as a liar and show that we have not let His word find its way into our hearts. 

You are my little children, so I am writing these things to help you avoid sin. If, however, any believer does sin, we have a high-powered defense lawyer — Jesus the Anointed, the righteous — arguing on our behalf before the Father. It was through His sacrificial death that our sins were atoned. But He did not stop there — He died for the sins of the whole world. 
(1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-2)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I know that I have sinned and fallen short of Your plan for Me. Thank You Lord Jesus for Your sacrifice. You sacrificed Your comfort, Your security, Your dignity, and Your life to give me grace. Your sacrifice gave me the way to receive the Father's mercy through forgiveness and cleansing. Thank You Holy Spirit for Your work to transform me to be more and more like Jesus. I commit to living for Him as You empower and transform me. I promise to share His grace with others so that they can share in these blessings. In Jesus' name, I offer You my thanks, commitment, and praise. 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

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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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