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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 15 Jul 2017, 10:31 pm

Tested and Proven Character" — A Year with Jesus for 07/15/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower, 

About the same time Paul was trying to help the Galatian believers understand grace, My half-brother James was working with believers around Jerusalem and writing to those who had been in Jerusalem but now were scattered around the world. James had to emphasize the importance of putting faith into practice. While their emphases are different, Paul and James shared a common theme:

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. 
(Galatians 5:6)
They both were trying to help Christians face three primary challenges:
Standing up faithfully under trials and temptations.
Correctly understanding grace to mean that they had to be people of righteous character and gracious compassion.
Treating each other as brothers and sisters, giving grace regardless of social position.
James' first few paragraphs in his letter on how to live godly lives contain these themes. So you shouldn't be surprised that James' writing has very practical teaching for everyday godly living. While James' writing is sometimes called a letter, it reads more like a tract or study guide about wise and godly living. Regardless of what you want to call James' writing, His message has resonated in the hearts of My disciples over the centuries. 

Some, however, have tried to put what James wrote about godly living at odds with what Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians. However, I want you to see these two pieces of Scripture as complementary to each other. Use the good Jewish practice of examining what each says based on the principles implicit in "on the one hand, but then on the other hand." You will find these two letters to be quite powerful and practical when read together. 

I want you to pay attention to the key areas of focus in James' opening paragraphs:
Trials, tests, and hardships are difficult, but you can joyfully face them knowing that they produce both character in you and the crown of life for you.
Don't blame your temptations on God; they come from your own desires. Our Father in heaven gives only good gifts. He is consistently good and gracious to you.
If you want to have spiritual wisdom to handle times of trial, testing, and hardship or if you want to avoid being ensnared in temptations that lead you to sin and death, then pray without doubting for the Father to give you wisdom.
Like so many other things you will find in James' writing, these truths are practical and sound. Do what James urges you to do and you will grow strong in the faith, and your character and compassion will come to reflect Me.
Verses to Live

Remember that James was My half-brother. He did a great job of summarizing My teaching and making it into very understandable and applicable truth. As you read, ask yourself how his teaching sounds like My own teaching. Be blessed by the following excerpt from James' small powerhouse of a book.

Don't run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line — mature, complete, and wanting nothing. If you don't have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. 

The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn't assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused. 

If you are a brother of humble means, celebrate the fact that God has raised you up. If you are rich and seemingly invincible, savor the humble reality that you are a mere mortal who will vanish like a flower that withers in the field. The sun rises with a blazing heat that dries the earth and causes the flower to wither and fall to the ground and its beauty to fade and die. In the same way, the rich will fall and die in the midst of their busy lives. 

Happy is the person who can hold up under the trials of life. At the right time, he'll know God's sweet approval and will be crowned with life. As God has promised, the crown awaits all who love Him. 

No one who is tempted should ever be confused and say that God is testing him. The One Who created us is free from evil and can't be tempted, so He doesn't tempt anyone. When a person is carried away with desire, lured by lust, and when desire becomes the focus and takes control, it gives birth to sin. When sin becomes fully grown, it produces death. 

My dearly loved brothers and sisters, don't be misled. Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won't change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. We have a special role in His plan. He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love. 
(James 1:2-18)
Response in Prayer

Father, I thank You for the book of James in the New Testament. It is so practical and down to earth. As I read it along with the book of Galatians, open my eyes and transform my life as I try to put Your teaching into effect in my life. 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 Fri 14 Jul 2017, 9:16 pm

'Rubber Meets the Road' Discipleship" — A Year with Jesus for 07/14/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

I know that believing in Me is not always easy or natural. So I want to remind you of My half-brother James. My apostle James had been murdered by Herod in one of the several waves of persecution against My people in Jerusalem (Acts 12:1-2). With many of the apostles driven from Jerusalem, My half-brother James began to serve as one of the great leaders of the church there. 

James becoming a great leader in the Jerusalem churches was quite a special development for Me. You see, James did not believe in Me during My earthly ministry. In fact, he joined with My other half-brothers "in speaking contemptuously" of Me and teasing Me about My wanting to do something great for the Father. 

Later in My ministry when I was crucified, James was not there with My mother Mary caring for her. Instead, I placed her in the care of the beloved disciple (John 19:25-28). My other half-brothers also were not there to comfort our mother and support Me through the agony and humiliation of the crucifixion. 

However, I made a special point of appearing to James after My resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). This meeting was one of those "rubber meets the road" moments where all of life hangs in the balance. James had to decide what he truly believed about Me and what he would do with his faith in Me. Would he continue to see Me as little more than his half-brother? Would he recognize Me as his Savior and Lord and as the Son of God? He had to decide. And when James decided, he truly decided! 

My mother and my half-brothers were present when I poured out the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:12-14). Over time, James would grow in influence and importance in the church in Jerusalem — something quite surprising for someone from Nazareth to do in Jerusalem (John 1:46). He was an important person for the apostles to keep informed about things happening among them (Acts 12:16-17). He was considered one of the "pillars" of the church in Jerusalem. He was so important that he was even mentioned first before Peter and John in the list of pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9). 

The early Jewish Christians faced a huge decision. Would they accept Gentiles into fellowship without requiring circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law? James' influence in the council of leaders in Jerusalem was vital for the positive outcome (Acts 15:12-22). His words brought peace, provided a way for My disciples to stay in fellowship, and kept the mission to non-Jews on track. What joy the Father and I had at seeing his good work! 

One of the most impressive and touching things James did, however, was the way he talked about Me. I was his half-brother. But when faith took hold in his heart, I was so much more to him. Notice below how he begins his letter to scattered believers. He literally says, "James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ"! He did not label himself a household servant — diakonos in Greek. Instead, he used a different Greek word, doulos, that means "slave"! This kind of slave lives to do his Master's bidding. He considered Me to be his Master! Remarkable, don't you think? 

So when you have one of those days when you struggle with your faith, remember My beloved brother James. He didn't believe at first. In fact, he once thought I was out of My mind. Later, as he risked his life for Me and My church, he saw Me as God and viewed himself as My "slave." 

When the "rubber meets the road" moments come in your life, when everything is on the line, please remember James. His faith in My resurrection was so strong that he gave up everything, risked everything, and lived his life completely to honor Me as "the Lord Jesus Christ"!

Verses to Live

You've read My note about James. Now I will let you read a little bit about him from Scripture. The following passages will go in reverse order to the description I shared above. I hope you will come to believe in Me as passionately and completely as James did. After all, you are part of My family (Mark 3:31-35). We are siblings by the grace of God and the cost of My incarnation and cross (Hebrews 2:14-18; Romans 8:28-29).

From James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings! 
(James 1:1 NET) 

... 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. 
(John 7:1-5) 

Let me [Paul] remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I 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, what a powerful story the life of James tells. I thank You for his turn-around from unbeliever to believer and from ridiculer to leader. I thank You for Jesus' resurrection that has turned around my life. Grow my faith, O God. I want to be totally dedicated to Your glory and the glory of my Lord Jesus Christ. I want to be known as Your slave — a disciple dedicated to You heart, soul, mind, and strength. I ask this in the name of my older brother, Savior, and Lord. Amen. 

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

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

Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 13 Jul 2017, 1:30 pm

Released from the Curse" — A Year with Jesus for 07/13/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved Child of God, 

I love Peter's statement about the apostle Paul's writings:

And remember, our Lord's patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him — speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand... 
(2 Peter 3:15-16 NLT)
Some things Paul wrote are very easy for almost anyone to understand. Other things he wrote used technical language and logic, a kind of logic and reasoning that he had learned in the school of Gamaliel for rabbis (Acts 22:3). Today's verses contain some of that rabbinic style of teaching. So I want you to pay close attention to what Paul says and not lose his important message to you. 

Some people in the Galatian churches knew little about the Scriptures — what you call the Old Testament. Others were very accomplished in the study of the Scriptures. So Paul had to use different styles of teaching and different kinds of examples that made sense to these very different people. He wanted to bring them together in My church through the Father's grace. Some of Paul's teaching you will understand. Some may be a bit confusing. Don't let any confusion discourage you. With a little time and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to understand the most important things the Spirit led Paul to write to these new Christians. 

The fundamental truth behind what Paul wrote is very important. That truth is that your being made right with the Father depends on your faith in:
My sacrifice on the cross.
My resurrection from the dead.
My pouring out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and on you at your conversion.
You are saved by faith in Me and what I did to save you, not by keeping any law! 

In your verses for today, Paul made several points about the inability of a law to save people and make them righteous. This inability of a law to save is true of all law, even the law of Moses. Here are some of the key points to notice in Paul's message:
Abraham was counted righteous by the Father because of his faith — not because he obeyed the Mosaic Law. (Abraham lived hundreds of years before the Mosaic law was given.)
People who trust in Me are counted righteous because of their faith just as Abraham was.
Trying to be counted righteous by obeying law ends only in frustration. If you break one law out of a system of laws, then you are guilty of all of the law. ("Cursed is everyone who doesn't live by and do all that is written in the law.")
I obeyed and fulfilled the law completely, then endured the cross to carry the curse of the law for you and to release you from that curse.
No one can be counted righteous or made right with the Father by obeying the law. The life the Father wants to give you is found only by trusting what I did to make you right with Him.
This life as the Father's beloved child is yours no matter your nationality, race, or gender. It is given you when you trust in Me and put Me on in baptism and become the Father's beloved child.
Verses to Live

Law in general, and the Mosaic law, which came from God, are good. They help limit the corruption in a society that comes from people who do evil things. They also help you better understand the kind of character the Father wants from you as His child. But no law-keeping can save you! Only I can do that. So quit trying to earn your salvation by trying to be better by doing a list of rules. Trust that what I did for you in my life, death, and resurrection makes you right with God. Realize that the good things you do and the godly life you try to lead are not done to earn Our favor or get you into heaven. You are choosing to do those things because you have been saved. You do them because you have been adopted into Our family. You want to share the character and compassion of the Father with others!

You remember Abraham. Scripture tells us, "Abraham believed God and trusted in His promises, so God counted it to his favor as righteousness." Know this: people who trust in God are the true sons and daughters of Abraham. For it was foretold to us in the Scriptures that God would set the Gentile nations right by faith when He told Abraham, "I will bless all nations through you." So those who have faith in Him are blessed along with Abraham, our faithful ancestor. 

Listen, whoever seeks to be righteous by following certain works of the law actually falls under the law's curse. I'm giving it to you straight from Scripture because it is as true now as when it was written: "Cursed is everyone who doesn't live by and do all that is written in the law." Now it is absolutely clear that no one is made right with God through the law because the prophet Habakkuk told us, "By faith the just will obtain life." The law is not the same thing as life formed by faith. In fact, you are warned against this when God says, "The one who observes My laws will live by them." I am trying to tell you that the Anointed One, the Liberating King, has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It was stated in the Scriptures, "Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed by God." This is what God had in mind all along: the blessing He gave to Abraham might extend to all nations through the Anointed One, Jesus; and we are the beneficiaries of this promise of the Spirit that comes only through faith. 

My dear brothers and sisters, here's a real-life example I can give you: With a last will and testament, when all the property is accounted for, the document is signed, witnessed, and notarized; and afterward no one can make changes to it. In a similar way, God's promises established a binding agreement with Abraham and his offspring. In the Scriptures, it is carefully stated, "and to your descendant" (meaning one), not "and to your descendants" (meaning many). Therefore, in these covenant promises, God was not referring to every son and daughter born into Abraham's family but to the Anointed One to come. What this all means is that the law given to Israel comes along some 430 years after the promise made to Abraham; so it does not invalidate the covenant God previously agreed to or in any way do away with His promise. You see, if the law became the sole basis for the inheritance, then it would put God in the position of breaking a covenant because He had promised it to Abraham. 

Now you're asking yourselves, "So why did God give us the law?" God commanded His heavenly messengers to deliver it into the hand of a mediator for this reason: to help us rein in our sins until the Offspring, about whom the promise was made in the first place, would come. A mediator represents more than one, but God is only one. "So," you ask, "does the law contradict God's promise?" Absolutely not! Never was there written a law that could lead to resurrection and life; if there had been, then surely we could have experienced saving righteousness through keeping the law. But we haven't. Scripture has subjected the whole world to sin's power so that the faithful obedience of Jesus the Anointed might extend God's promises to everyone who has faith. Before faith came on the scene, the law did its best to keep us in line, restraining us until the faith that was to come was fully revealed. So then, the law was like a tutor, assigned to train us and point us to the Anointed, so that we will be acquitted of all wrong and made right by faith. But now that true faith has come, we have no need for a tutor. It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God because all of you who have been initiated into the Anointed One through the ceremonial washing of baptism have put Him on. It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one. Since you belong to Him and are now subject to His power, you are the descendant of Abraham and the heir of God's glory according to the promise. 
(Galatians 3:6-29)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I offer You my heart so that the Holy Spirit will help me understand and live Your truth. One thing I know, dear Father, is that You sent Jesus to save me and include me in Your family. So thank You from the bottom of my heart. I trust that what Jesus did not only paid for my sin but also provided the way for You to make me righteous in Your eyes. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart and the actions in my daily life show Your character and compassion to people in my world. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. 


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

The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 11 Jul 2017, 11:19 pm

Everything on the Line" — A Year with Jesus for 07/11/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

You live in a world awash in religious ideas, ideologies, and philosophies. But there is one fundamental difference between all of them and the true gospel. That difference is the Father's grace brought to you through My death, burial, and resurrection! Paul summarized this message well in some of his first words in his letter to the new believers in Galatia:

May the grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed live in you; He is the very Savior Who rescues us from this present, perverse age dominated by evil by giving His life according to our Father's will to deal with our sins.
As Paul and Barnabas completed their first mission trip, they returned to Syrian Antioch. Gentiles from all over the region of Pamphylia and southern Galatia had come to faith in Me. They trusted in what I did to save them. As Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, they placed their faith in Me by putting Me on in baptism:
It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God because all of you who have been initiated into the Anointed One through the ceremonial washing of baptism have put Him on. It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one. Since you belong to Him and are now subject to His power, you are the descendant of Abraham and the heir of God's glory according to the promise. 
(Galatians 3:26-29)
The Galatians became children of God and descendants of Abraham — that is, heirs to the promises God made to Abraham — through this experience of baptism based on their faith. All walls dividing them as people were torn down and they became one in Me (Ephesians 2:13-22). Grace had won their hearts (Ephesians 2:1-10). The Father had adopted them into His family as full heirs of all that grace has to offer. 

Unfortunately, people in every era have had a tendency to add requirements to this grace. This tendency is what happened to many new believers both in Antioch and in Galatia. Some tried to make non-Jewish believers become Jews before they could be saved. They pushed a "distorted version [of the gospel] which is not the gospel at all"! So Paul made one important truth very clear: If you add some new requirement to the gospel, it is no longer My gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). It devolves into legalism, law-keeping, and falling from grace:
For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God's grace. 
(Galatians 5:4)
Verses to Live

Paul didn't invent the gospel he preached. He received that good message from Me. He and Barnabas spoke this good news. They defended it. They spoke strongly against all who would add to it or take from it. Paul used the words "eternally cursed" for anyone who adds to it or takes from this good message of grace. 

Everything was on the line for My early believers. They would either devolve into works-based attempts at righteousness like most other religions, or they would trust in My sacrifice to make them right with the Father. They would recognize that their salvation came by grace through faith demonstrated in baptism (Galatians 3:26-29), or they would keep trying to earn the Father's favor by doing good works. To give way to legalism, to return to law-keeping as the way of righteousness, is to give Me up for what is not salvation!

Then they [Paul and Barnabas at the end of their first missionary journey] passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples. 

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. 
(Acts 14:24-28 ESV; Acts 15:1-2 ESV) 

Paul, an emissary commissioned directly by Jesus the Anointed One and God the Father (Who raised Him from the dead) — not (as some claim) an agent of men or any person — and all the brothers and sisters with me to you, the churches of Galatia. 

May the grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed live in you; He is the very Savior Who rescues us from this present, perverse age dominated by evil by giving His life according to our Father's will to deal with our sins. May God's glorious name forever receive honor. Amen. 

Frankly I am stunned. I cannot believe that you have abandoned God so quickly — even after He called you through the grace of the Anointed One — and have fallen for a different gospel. Actually there is only one true gospel of the Anointed, and you — because of divisive prodding by others — are accepting a distorted version which is not the gospel at all! 

No matter the source of the false gospel, even if it is preached by us or a heavenly messenger, ignore it. May those who add to or subtract from the gospel of Jesus be eternally cursed! Listen again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than what you have accepted, may he find himself cursed! 

Do you think I care about the approval of men or about the approval of God? Do you think I am on a mission to please people? If I am still spinning my wheels trying to please men, then there is no way I can be a servant of the Anointed One, the Liberating King. 

Know this, dear brothers and sisters: the good news I brought to you isn't the latest in fiction or the product of some creative mind. It is not a legend I learned or one that has been passed down from person to person, ear to ear. I was gifted with this message as Jesus the Anointed revealed Himself miraculously to me. 
(Galatians 1:1-12)
Response in Prayer

O Father, may I never trust anything or anyone but Christ alone as my Savior. I thank You for giving me grace. I thank You for adopting me into Your family. I thank You that I did not have to earn it or achieve it. I thank You that Jesus paid my debts and won me life. I trust in this grace. I trust in Your loving mercy and Jesus' sacrifice to save me. Thank You! 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:
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 Mon 10 Jul 2017, 11:24 pm

First Mission Is Completed!" — A Year with Jesus for 07/09/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple, 

In today's verses, Luke writes about the last part of Paul and Barnabas' first missionary journey. As you saw yesterday, they developed a strategic rhythm in sharing the gospel. They would share My message first in the synagogues with Jews and God-fearers. Then, when resistance and opposition mounted, they would go to non-Jews in that same city. The methodology was quite effective. However, it brought a lot of resistance among some in the Jewish community:

Finally the Jews and outsiders who opposed them joined forces and enlisted the political leaders in their plan to beat and stone Paul and Barnabas. They learned of the plan and escaped to Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia, and the surrounding countryside, where they continued proclaiming the good news. 
(Acts 14:5-7)
This resistance, even when in the form of persecution, did not stop Barnabas and Paul. The power of the Holy Spirit and the joy of My grace buoyed them. Furthermore, the resistance did not keep additional people from believing their message. 

Along the way, Barnabas and Paul met some challenges that were quite different from the ones of their Jewish upbringing. In places where superstition and false religion were the customs, Barnabas and Paul found their miracles didn't always point people to Me. Instead, the miracles sometimes created confusion and false worship of the miracle workers. Rather than accept the worship and adulation of the crowds, Paul and Barnabas taught the truth and pointed the people to Me:
Friends! No! No! Don't do this! [That is, don't worship us, Paul and Barnabas.] We're just humans like all of you! We're not here to be worshiped! We're here to bring you good news — good news that you should turn from these worthless forms of worship and instead serve the living God, the God Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that they contain.
Soon, My faithful emissaries, Barnabas and Paul, were facing attacks from hostile non-believing Jews, non-Jews who did not understand their message, and political leaders who were incited by leading Jewish officials to oppose My messengers. To prepare the new believers for what was ahead, Barnabas and Paul did two very important things. First, they warned these new believers that they must face "many persecutions as we enter the kingdom of God." Second, they appointed leaders — godly older men called elders — to help guide these new communities of believers. When they returned to Antioch (in Syria) where they began their mission efforts, they reported on the great work We — Father, Son, and Spirit — had led them to do and empowered them to accomplish.
Verses to Live

As you read the verses below, a new era in the life of My people and a new era in sharing My message had fully begun. Now there were disciples of different nationalities, cultures, and languages coming into My family. This diversity was a glorious beginning. However, many roadblocks, difficulties, hardships, and persecutions lay ahead. But nothing could stop the advancement of the good message of the Father's grace. That message focused on what I had done in My life, teaching, death, burial, resurrection, exaltation and sending of the Spirit. This message was empowered and validated by the Holy Spirit. 

This first mission of Barnabas and Paul wasn't easy. But when they returned, they could truthfully say, "Our first mission is completed!"

In Lystra they [Paul and Barnabas] met a man who had been crippled since birth; his feet were completely useless. He listened to Paul speak, and Paul could see in this man's face that he had faith to be healed. 

Paul (shouting):
Stand up on your own two feet, man!
The man jumped up and walked! When the crowds saw this, they started shouting in Lycaonian. 

Crowd:
The gods have come down to us! They've come in human form!
They decided that Barnabas was Zeus and Paul was Hermes (since he was the main speaker). Before they knew it, the priest of Zeus, whose temple was prominent in that city, came to the city gates with oxen and garlands of flowers so the Lycaonians could offer sacrifices in worship to Paul and Barnabas! When they heard of this, Paul and Barnabas were beside themselves with frustration — they ripped their tunics as an expression of disapproval and rushed out into the crowd. 

Paul and Barnabas (shouting):
Friends! No! No! Don't do this! We're just humans like all of you! We're not here to be worshiped! We're here to bring you good news — good news that you should turn from these worthless forms of worship and instead serve the living God, the God Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that they contain. Through all previous generations, God has allowed all the nations to follow their own customs and religions, but even then God revealed Himself by doing good to you — giving you rain for your crops and fruitful harvests season after season, filling your stomachs with food and your hearts with joy.
In spite of these words, they were barely able to keep the crowds from making sacrifices to them. 

Then unbelieving Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and incited the crowds against the Lord's emissaries. The crowds turned on Paul, stoned him, dragged him out of the city, and left him there, thinking he was dead. As the disciples gathered around him, he suddenly rose to his feet and returned to the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. After they proclaimed the good news there and taught many disciples, they returned to some of the cities they had recently visited — Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. In each place, they brought strength to the disciples, encouraging them to remain true to the faith. 

Paul and Barnabas:
We must go through many persecutions as we enter the kingdom of God.
In each church, they would appoint leaders, pray and fast together, and entrust them to the Lord in Whom they had come to believe. 

They then passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. They preached their message in Perga and then went to the port of Attalia. There they set sail for Antioch, where they were first entrusted to the grace of God for the mission they had now completed. They called the church together when they arrived and reported all God had done with and through them, how God had welcomed outsiders through the doorway of faith. They stayed with the disciples in Antioch for quite a while. 
(Acts 14:8-28)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I want to have the same joyful courage in my time as Paul and Barnabas demonstrated. I know that living the values of Your kingdom and sharing Your grace with others will not always be appreciated. However, I also know that the world needs these kingdom values. I know that so many need to discover Your saving grace. Help me please, dear LORD, to know how to share your message effectively and not worry about the hardships that may come from bringing Your grace to the unbelieving world. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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

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

Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor

Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
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.


Celebrating Our Work in You" — A Year with Jesus for 07/10/2017
Note from Jesus

Dear Friend, 

I want you to learn to rejoice in Our work in you. We — Father, Son, and Spirit — delight in your obedience and service to the kingdom of heaven. Angels rejoice when you find lost people and bring them to know Me, to experience the Father's grace, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 15:7, 10). Yes, I want you to be passionate about the mission to which I have called you. I also want you to be equally passionate about celebrating My work done through you. Learn to rejoice with Us in the work we have done through you (Philippians 4:4-7). 

I mentioned several things in My note yesterday that Paul and Barnabas did as they completed their missionary journey — their first missionary journey. Today, I want to focus on one of those things that many of My disciples have forgotten to do: celebrate Our work done through you, among you, for you, and within you (Acts 14:27-28). We are always at work in you (Philippians 2:13). Even when things look bad and life is hard, We continue to work and redeem the messes of your life for your good (Romans 8:28-29). 

We know that you are not perfectly mature. We are far more aware of the undone things in your life than you are. However, We will carry those things to full completion and bring you to us in holiness to share in Our glory (Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). Please recognize your progress in grace. Please celebrate your victories for grace. Please acknowledge the work We have done through you! 

Rejoice! Celebrate! This enthusiasm is not bragging on yourself, but giving glory to Us and blessing the family of believers. This kind of joy encourages others to live out Our mission in their lives. This kind of celebration gives other believers hope that their service in My name can be a blessing to the kingdom of heaven. 

Learn to rejoice with Us in the victories won over sin, death, hell, and the hold they have on the children of your world. Celebrate Our work done in and through you!

Verses to Live

The following is Luke's summary of the end of Paul and Barnabas' mission trip. You will notice several things these two do to establish and strengthen the churches in the cities they had previously visited. I want you to spend some extra time on the last three sentences, the ones in bold. Paul and Barnabas spent time with the believers who sent them out, and they reported to them all that We had done through them. When's the last time you've taken a significant amount of time with other believers and celebrated our work done among you, through you, and within you? We want you to celebrate with Us! Paul and Barnabas and the church at Antioch surely did. Won't you?

After they [Paul and Barnabas] proclaimed the good news there [Derbe] and taught many disciples, they returned to some of the cities they had recently visited — Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. In each place, they brought strength to the disciples, encouraging them to remain true to the faith. 

Paul and Barnabas:
We must go through many persecutions as we enter the kingdom of God.
In each church, they would appoint leaders, pray and fast together, and entrust them to the Lord in Whom they had come to believe. 

They then passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. They preached their message in Perga and then went to the port of Attalia. There they set sail for Antioch, where they were first entrusted to the grace of God for the mission they had now completed. They called the church together when they arrived and reported all God had done with and through them, how God had welcomed outsiders through the doorway of faith. They stayed with the disciples in Antioch for quite a while. 
(Acts 14:21-28)
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, I confess that I often grow discouraged by my own lack of spiritual progress. I sometimes feel as if all of my spiritual efforts are in vain. Even worse, Father, I recognize now that I have let a false sense of humility rob me of rejoicing over Your work done in me, through me, with me, and for me. Forgive me God. I recognize that without Your grace, Your mercy, and Your power I would be lost. O God, I know how empty my life would be if it were not for Your grace to work through me, in me, and for me for Your glory. Teach me to rejoice in You, Your work, and Your glory. 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 08 Jul 2017, 8:17 pm

"For All People" — A Year with Jesus for 07/08/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Believer, 

You were saved by grace when you fully trusted Me and participated in what I did to save you. This truth was the message that I gave the apostle Paul to share with all people, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Remember, when I commissioned Ananias of Damascus to go and share the message of grace with Paul, I told Ananias this about Paul's mission:

"Yes, but you [Ananias] must go! I have chosen him [Paul] to be My instrument to bring My name far and wide — to outsiders, to kings, and to the people of Israel as well." 
(Acts 9:15)
Paul was chosen even before he was born to bring My message of grace to those outside the people of Israel! (Galatians 1:15-16) So what you read today in the verses below helps you understand how he began to live out that purpose in his mission efforts with Barnabas. 

Paul and Barnabas began their mission to Pisidian Antioch in the synagogue sharing My message with Jews and God-fearing Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas' message was rooted in the teaching of the Law and Prophets. They tried to help these good people understand the Father's plan. As Paul said, that plan was to send Me as the Messiah and as the fulfillment of those teachings of the Law and the Prophets:
"God has selected one of David’s descendants as the long-promised Liberator of Israel. I am speaking of Jesus." 
(Acts 13:23)
However, Paul and Barnabas also emphasized a theme from the prophet Habakkuk — that righteousness comes from living by faith:
"Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith." 
(Habakkuk 2:4)
This theme was central to Paul's message to both Jews and non-Jews. He was never ashamed of this message. He saw it as the good news of grace that comes to all people who fully entrust their lives to Me. He and Barnabas encouraged people to "remain steadfast in the grace of God." 

When opposition to their message arose among the Jews, Paul and Barnabas saw it as their signal to reach out to non-Jews in Pisidian Antioch. The Jewish prophets of old had spoken of being "a light to the nations beyond Israel" and bringing "redemption to every corner of the earth." My parting words to My disciples had been to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Paul was "My instrument to bring My name far and wide." So the mission strategy Paul and Barnabas would use in many cities they visited was simple: First, they would go to the synagogues and speak to Jews and God-fearers about Me as the Messiah. Then, they would share that message with non-Jews. Soon, just as Barnabas and Paul had experienced in a different Antioch (the one in Syria), My church was made up of people from all sorts of different backgrounds (Acts 11:19-26). 

The promise of the Jewish prophets was being fulfilled. All peoples, Jews and non-Jews alike, were coming to believe in Me and being made righteous by their faith because of grace. This progress was good news. Neither threat, intimidation, persecution, nor rejection could stop this message. Because of the power of the Holy Spirit at work through My people and in their message of grace, there was great joy wherever that message was received in faith! 

I want you to experience that great joy! I want you to share that same message! I want all peoples — young and old, rich and poor, of all races and nationalities and languages — to find this joy that comes from knowing Me. So believe in Me. Trust Me. Share Me with your world!
Verses to Live

In these verses, we get to see Paul's mission methodology and strategy emerge. He went to Jews first, and then to non-Jews. We also discover Paul's source of power found in his message: God's grace experienced through the joy of salvation empowered by the Holy Spirit. Finally, you see how My emissaries, My apostles, could be completely resolute in their mission. They knew I called them to this task, and they were not ashamed to share the message about Me. Their strategy of sharing the message about Me changed the world! Want proof? Go look in the mirror. You are following Me nearly two thousand years later because of their work!

Paul and Barnabas prepared to leave the synagogue [in Pisidian Antioch], but the people wanted to hear more and urged them to return the following Sabbath. As the people dispersed after the meeting, many Jews and converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas. Privately Paul and Barnabas continued teaching them and urged them to remain steadfast in the grace of God. The next Sabbath, it seemed the whole city had gathered to hear the message of the Lord. But some of the Jewish leaders were jealous when they saw these huge crowds. They began to argue with and contradict Paul's message, as well as slander him. Paul and Barnabas together responded with great confidence. 

Paul and Barnabas:
OK, then. It was only right that we should bring God's message to you Jewish people first. But now, since you are rejecting our message and identifying yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the outsiders. The Lord has commanded us to do this. Remember His words:
I have appointed you a light to the nations beyond Israel, 
so you can bring redemption to every corner of the earth.
These words created two strong reactions. The outsiders were thrilled and praised God's message, and all those who had been appointed for eternal life became believers. Through them the Lord's message spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders united the aristocratic religious women and the city's leading men in opposition to Paul and Barnabas, and soon they were persecuted and driven out of the region. They simply shook the dust off their feet in protest and moved on to Iconium. The disciples weren't intimidated at all; rather, they were full of joy and the Holy Spirit. 
(Acts 13:42-52) 

For I [Paul] am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes — the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life." 
(Romans 1:16-17 NLT)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for the grace that it is mine in Jesus. I trust in what Jesus did to save me. I know that You have given me life in Jesus — life that does not end with physical death. I know that You have made me righteous by Your grace. I know that I did not earn this righteousness, but that You gave it to me freely because of Your love expressed in Jesus. So help me, dear Father, as I seek to share this message of grace with others so that they can share in my joy and Your grace. 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 Wed 28 Jun 2017, 11:18 pm

Servants to the Nations" — A Year with Jesus for 06/28/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend, 

Two powerful themes from the Bible converge in this one story in today's Scripture about Philip and the Ethiopian dignitary:

After My resurrection, I poured out the Spirit at Pentecost and the good news message about Me spread throughout the Mediterranean world, and then far beyond this part of the world. My message spread out from Jerusalem just as I had promised (Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8). The early disciples reached three of the Mediterranean area's four major cities to serve as hubs to send My message down the major highways and seaways to the nearby regions and to the rest of the world. The four largest cities at this time were Antioch in Syria, Ephesus, Rome, and Alexandria. Acts tells the story of how the good news of the kingdom of God reached the first three. Just as My disciples took the good news to all the Mediterranean region when they left Jerusalem because of persecution (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 11:19-22), Luke hints that the "dignitary from Ethiopia" took My message with him as he returned home to Ethiopia (Africa).
The last half of the prophetic book of Isaiah has a series of prophetic songs calling My people (Israel) to be the servant of the LORD — the servant who would lead the nations to follow the great "I AM" of Israel. In your day, these prophetic songs are called the "Servant Songs" of Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1-9; Isaiah 49:1-13; Isaiah 50:4-11; Isaiah 52:13-15 with Isaiah 53:1-12). When Israel did not fulfill the call of these prophetic songs, I came as their complete fulfillment. The Ethiopian was reading from one of these songs (Isaiah 52:13-15 with Isaiah 53:1-12) when the Spirit sent Philip to share My story with him. The passage the Ethiopian was reading has been known to most of My followers over the centuries. They have recognized this song as speaking about My sacrifice on the cross for them. Philip began with this song that looked forward to Me as the suffering servant and taught him about Me and then baptized him.
I want you to recognize several important principles from the Ethiopian's conversion:
Long before I came to earth (1 Peter 1:20), the Father had the plan to save the lost world He loves (John 3:16-17).
The Spirit inspired the prophets with messages that were intended to convict the people in their time, yet the messages also pointed to the Father's plan to send Me to the world to save the world (1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
This plan always included the salvation of all people, just as Israel was to be a blessing and bring all people to honor the great "I AM" as the only true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Genesis 12:1-3).
The fulfillment of this world-wide salvation began to unfold through the leading of the Holy Spirit and the willingness of My disciples to share My story with all people (John 12:20-33).
The Father has the plan to save the world. As the primary part of that plan, I came as the Savior of the world. After My sacrificial death and return to the Father, the Spirit empowered My disciples to share that message with the world. Acts tells how My story was initially told to the Mediterranean world.
Verses to Live

As the book of Acts unfolds, you read about the Holy Spirit leading My disciples to share the saving message about Me (Acts 1:8). They began, first, to share that message with those in Jerusalem and then those in all of Judea. In Acts 8, you see the message shared in Samaria. In future readings from Acts, you will see the message go throughout the Mediterranean world. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, nothing had the power to stop that message. As Luke tells this unfolding story, the events in Acts 8 are huge stepping stones in the triumph of the good news about Me. Just as those early disciples fearlessly shared My message with their world, I want you to share that same message with your world. As you do, the Holy Spirit will lead and empower you, too!

A heavenly messenger brought this short message from the Lord to Philip during his time preaching in Samaria: 

Messenger of the Lord:
Leave Samaria. Go south to the Jerusalem-Gaza road.
The message was especially unusual because this road runs through the middle of uninhabited desert. But Philip got up, left the excitement of Samaria, and did as he was told to do. Along this road, Philip saw a chariot in the distance. In the chariot was a dignitary from Ethiopia (the treasurer for Queen Candace), an African man who had been castrated. He had gone north to Jerusalem to worship at the Jewish temple, and he was now heading southwest on his way home. He was seated in the chariot and was reading aloud from a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 

Philip received another prompting from the Holy Spirit: 

Holy Spirit:
Go over to the chariot and climb on board.
So he started running until he was even with the chariot. Philip heard the Ethiopian reading aloud and recognized the words from the prophet Isaiah. 

Philip:
Do you understand the meaning of what you're reading?
The Ethiopian:
How can I understand it unless I have a mentor?
Then he invited Philip to sit in the chariot. Here's the passage he was reading from the Hebrew Scriptures:
Like a sheep, He was led to be slaughtered. 

Like a lamb about to be shorn of its wool, 
He was completely silent. 

He was humiliated, and He received no justice. 
Who can describe His peers? Who would treat Him this way? 
For they snuffed out His life.
The Ethiopian:
Here's my first question. Is the prophet describing his own situation, or is he describing someone else's calamity?
That began a conversation in which Philip used the passage to explain the good news of Jesus. Eventually the chariot passed a body of water beside the road. 

The Ethiopian:
Since there is water here, is there anything that might prevent me from being ceremonially washed through baptism and identified as a disciple of Jesus?
[Philip:] 1
[If you believe in your heart that Jesus the Anointed is God's Son, then nothing can stop you.]
[The Ethiopian said that he believed.] 

He commanded the charioteer to stop the horses. Then Philip and the Ethiopian official walked together into the water. There Philip baptized him... When they came out of the water, Philip was immediately caught up by the Holy Spirit and taken from the sight of the Ethiopian, who climbed back into his chariot and continued on his journey, overflowing with joy. Philip found himself at a town called Azotus (formerly the Philistine capital city of Ashdod, on the Mediterranean); and from there he traveled north again, proclaiming the good news in town after town until he came to Caesarea. 
(Acts 8:26-40) 

1 The brackets indicate material not found in all manuscripts.
Response in Prayer

O Father, awaken us, Your people, the church that Jesus bought with His blood, to share Your message of grace and the Lord Jesus' triumph over death and sin. Empower us by the Holy Spirit to be wise, courageous, gracious, and persistent in sharing this message. We want in our day, O God, to be your servants to the nations! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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

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

Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 23 Jun 2017, 12:45 pm

Why the Messiah Must be on His Way
http://www.aish.com/f/mom/Why-the-Messiah-Must-be-on-His-Way.html?s=mm
Mom with a ViewWhy the Messiah Must be on His Way
My unforgettable encounter with unadulterated innocence, sincerity and truth.
by Emuna Braverman 

I’m not a person who sees world events as conspiring to herald the advent of the messiah. I subscribe to the Talmudic principle that if you’re planting a tree and you hear that the Messiah has come, you keep planting. When he needs me, he’ll let me know. If I have a role to play, I’m sure I’ll be apprised of it.
However there have been two events in my life that I thought could possibly anticipate the messianic era.
One was about 30 years ago when a young single guy asked me to help him kasher (make kosher) his kitchen. Although his main desire was to find a line of kosher frozen pizza, I nevertheless saw it as suggestive of new days coming, a new era. If a single guy living the unencumbered life wanted to make his kitchen kosher I thought perhaps the Messiah really was on his way!
The next time was at my five-year-old granddaughter’s recent siddur (prayer book) party, the much anticipated event at the end of the school year when they receive their very own prayer books.

There is a tradition that “It’s gonna be the little kinderlach” who bring the Messiah. And on that day I could believe it.

Much as I adore my granddaughter (and all my granddaughters in case any of my other children are reading this!), I can’t say that I was eagerly awaiting the event. I had a very busy day – and week. I was teaching three new classes (one of them right after the siddur party), all which required significant thought, preparation, practice and revision. Who has time to schlep to a siddur party, to drive, park, walk to the school, wait for it to start (aren’t these things always late?) and on and on. But I felt a responsibility – both to my daughter and to her daughter – so I pushed myself to go.

And the tears did not stop flowing. It was not just adorable but it was so moving. Because they’re so innocent. Because their belief is so pure and true.

My own faith is not like that. It’s more complex and nuanced and shaped by life’s challenges. Theirs is simple and straightforward.
I recently read a quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan after the death of JFK. Apparently he said, “We’ll laugh again. It’s just that we’ll never be young again.” His words touched a place deep within me. They exemplify how I feel, my own perspective so shaped by all my experiences and struggles.

But those Pre-1A children have yet to be confronted by life’s “unique opportunities for growth”. Their world remains one of only promise and hope. I imagine that is why they may be the ones who merit bringing the Messiah.

And as I heard their sweet voices lifted in song, as I watched them smile with sincerity as they sang of their desire to pray like their mommies and connect to the Almighty, I thought that if the Almighty is listening (and He surely must be) that this time I am right and the Messiah must be on his way.


Growing through Problems" — A Year with Jesus for 06/23/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

The apostle Paul spoke the truth about Our — Father, Son, and Spirit's — desire for Our new covenant people when he wrote:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 
(Galatians 3:26-28 NIV)
However, it often takes time for social reality to be brought into conformity with My will. So My disciples must always seek to live the values and ethics of My kingdom even if the world doesn't appreciate those values. 

Almost everyone in the earliest days of the church was Jewish. Prejudice was a significant problem. Sometimes that prejudice manifested itself toward non-Jews coming into My spiritual family — the dominant problem addressed in Acts chapters 10-15. However, prejudice was also an issue between sub-groups within the Jewish community. In the verses below, Grecian Jews who were in Jerusalem and who had become My disciples made an accusation of discrimination. Their widows who did not speak the native language in Jerusalem were being overlooked and were going hungry while the native-speaking widows were receiving better care and more ample provision as the early Christians shared their possessions (Acts 4:32-35). 

Rather than denying the accusation of prejudice or ignoring this charge of discrimination, My apostles acted very wisely. Notice what they did:
Openness 
The apostles brought all the community of disciples together to discuss this issue — no secret meetings and no sweeping the problem under the rug!
Calling 
The apostles pointed out that their primary calling was to proclaim the message they had received from God.
Involvement 
The apostles called on the church family to be involved in the solution to this problem — more than just being open with the communication, the apostles were asking for help in selecting men to find a solution.
Direction 
The apostles gave clear criteria for selecting those who would be part of the ministry team to the Grecian widows and asked the whole congregation to put forward leaders who fit this description.
Participation 
The congregation of believers selected seven men who fit the criteria of being full of the Spirit and wisdom.
Empathy 
The congregation recognized the need for those who could understand both the language of the Grecian widows and also their plight as hungry foreigners in the homeland of their ancestors. So they chose men who had Greek names — one was even a non-Jewish proselyte — and who would be familiar with the Greek language these widows spoke.
Appointment 
The apostles publicly commissioned or ordained these men for service and publicly prayed for their ministry.
Growth 
The problem was overcome, the message continued to spread, and many came to faith in Me.
Equipping 
Some of these men selected to serve the widows later became very important leaders in other ways.
Focus 
The apostles devoted themselves to their calling — prayer and sharing My message — while encouraging and equipping others to engage in ministry.
Before you read the verses below, review the ten principles of great leadership and congregational problem-solving that are listed above. These are great principles to put into practice among My people today. Every problem has a potential for disaster or development. Led by the Holy Spirit, the apostles turned this potentially crippling problem into an opportunity for the development and growth of My disciples.
Verses to Live

Imagine how unaddressed prejudice could have wrecked the growth of My early church. However, the Spirit's guidance through Godly leaders turned around this potential disaster. Instead of disaster, the actions of My leading disciples became the springboard for greater growth. It also provided a new group of leaders the opportunity for development and service.

Things were going well, and the number of disciples was growing. But a problem arose. The Greek-speaking believers became frustrated with the Hebrew-speaking believers. The Greeks complained that the Greek-speaking widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. The twelve convened the entire community of disciples. 

The Twelve:
We could solve this problem ourselves, but that wouldn't be right. We need to focus on proclaiming God's message, not on distributing food. So, friends, find seven respected men from the community of faith. These men should be full of the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom. Whomever you select we will commission to resolve this matter so we can maintain our focus on praying and serving — not meals — but the message.
The whole community — Greek-speaking and Hebrew-speaking — was very pleased with this plan, so they chose seven men: Stephen (a man full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit), Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (a Greek-speaking convert from Antioch). These men were presented to the apostles, who then prayed for them and commissioned them by laying their hands on them. The message of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples continued to increase significantly there in Jerusalem. Even priests in large numbers became obedient to the faith. 
(Acts 6:1-7)
Response in Prayer

O Father, please bless our leaders in Your church today. Give us the courage to select leaders based on their Spirit-led wisdom and their ability to serve, with empathy, those who need to be served. I pray that Your leaders can be open and courageous in dealing with problems like prejudice, division, and hunger among Your people. Help us, O LORD, to demonstrate Your love for all people in the way we treat each other. 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 Thu 22 Jun 2017, 9:20 pm

"Goodness and Deception" — A Year with Jesus for 06/22/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved, 

Key transitions in the life and faith of My people need to be protected. In the early days of My church, this need for safety was especially true. My new disciples in Jerusalem endured repeated attacks from the Jewish religious leaders and those in power. The disciples persevered through threats, even death threats, beatings, and imprisonments from the same people who had Me crucified. Nothing outside their church family could derail this new movement of the Spirit. My message of good news triumphed throughout Jerusalem. 

However, My disciples soon faced critical junctures that you see described in the verses below and in the verses tomorrow. They faced several difficult challenges from inside My family of disciples. Pressure from the outside would continue to erupt. But, the more dangerous threats came from inside My household of faith. Some folks needed the basic necessities of life — food, water, and a place to stay. With people becoming disciples so quickly and many being from outside of Jerusalem, the challenge of caring for needy people became a valid concern. 

Because "the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul," My disciples effectively and lovingly addressed these needs. Notice what Luke says:

Not a single person in the community was in need because those who had been affluent sold their houses or lands and brought the proceeds to the emissaries of the Lord.
Notably, Barnabas — who would become a great leader among My disciples — was exceedingly generous. The compassion that Barnabas and other disciples displayed was glorious! The principles of My kingdom were clearly in evidence as needs were soon addressed with grace and generosity. 

However, the devil was not content to let any great movement of My grace go unchallenged. So My disciples had to face two tough tests back-to-back. I will speak about the first challenge today and the second one tomorrow. 

Seeing Barnabas held in such high esteem, a couple named Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property. That was great. Unfortunately, these two schemed and said that they had given all their proceeds from this sale to the apostles — My emissaries — when they hadn't. Their gift was given so that the poor among My people would receive care. Although they said that they had given all the proceeds from the sale, they secretly kept back part for themselves. On one hand, their generosity was incredibly good. They gave a great amount to the needs of others. On the other hand, they lied. They lied to My people. They lied to My apostles. Most of all, they lied to Us — Father, Son, and Spirit. 

At this crucial moment in the early church, We protected the integrity of the disciples' generosity and the apostles' leadership. Our actions were quick, decisive, and firm. We wanted everyone to know that generosity is important, but duplicity is not tolerated. 

Harsh? Yes. 

Necessary? Yes! 

Effective? Absolutely! 

Why did we react so strongly, as you see revealed in the verses below? Why did we take such drastic measures? 

What is one of the most frequent criticisms hurled at My followers today? It's that you are hypocrites. How many people have been turned away from faith in Me because of hypocritical people claiming to be My disciples? How many have ruled out learning about Me and becoming part of My people because of hypocrisy, especially hypocrisy and greed among leaders? My answer is simple: way too many! 

So in the early days of the church, We acted to protect this fresh movement of grace. We wanted the disciples to practice undiluted goodness and honesty. Such blatant hypocrisy, lying, and duplicity would not be tolerated. (The Father acted in a very similar fashion in the early days of the conquest of Canaan concerning the sin of Achan at Jericho (Joshua 7:1-26).) 

There are several truths in the Scripture below that I want you to realize from this episode in the life of the early church. 

First, generosity is necessary if My movement is going to grow and reach the hearts of all people. When people are generous above their tithes, people are saved, lives are rebuilt, and My movement grows. 

Second, during any great Spirit-empowered movement, the evil one will do all he can to divert, distract, and derail My people. While the outside attacks of the enemy are obvious, the inside attacks are often more subtle and potentially more damaging. Examine your own heart. Look carefully at your own attitudes, motivations, and desires. Especially watch out for the lure of greed and the desire to be seen as important. There are plenty of warnings in the Scriptures against both of these sins! 

Third, don't let the false motives and bad behaviors of others keep you from continuing your walk of faith. Unfortunately, the evil one will lead some astray — sometimes even well-known or beloved leaders. Don't let that disillusion you. For every Ananias and Sapphira, there are others who are like Barnabas. For every hypocrite, there are unnamed others who do loving and sacrificial things for Christian brothers and sisters without recognition. 

Fourth, when My people are led by the Holy Spirit, nothing can stop My work through them. What Satan intends for harm can be turned around and used by the Father for good!
Verses to Live

You are about to read two parts to the same story. The first is about the goodness of My people. The second is about how easy it is to lose goodness to greed. It is a reminder of how a desire to be considered important can corrupt what otherwise would be generous giving. Greed and self-importance are false desires that hold so many hostage in your world. Don't let the evil one deceive you. First, these desires lead to spiritual death since they do not come from the Father (1 John 2:15-17). Second, remember Barnabas and the unnamed people like him. These people were generous because they cared and were led by My Spirit. So, after you have read both stories, come back and read the part about Barnabas again. Let this be the part that is an example for you!

During those days, the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul to such an extent that they stopped claiming private ownership of their possessions. Instead, they held everything in common. The apostles with great power gave their eyewitness reports of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Everyone was surrounded by an extraordinary grace. Not a single person in the community was in need because those who had been affluent sold their houses or lands and brought the proceeds to the emissaries of the Lord. They then distributed the funds to individuals according to their needs. One fellow, a Cyprian Levite named Joseph, earned a nickname because of his generosity in selling a field and bringing the money to the apostles in this way. From that time on, they called him Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement." 

Once a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira fully cooperating, committed fraud. He sold some property and kept some of the proceeds, but he pretended to make a full donation to the Lord's emissaries. 

Peter:
Ananias, have you allowed Satan to influence your lies to the Holy Spirit and hold back some of the money? Look, it was your property before you sold it, and the money was all yours after you sold it. Why have you concocted this scheme in your heart? You weren't just lying to us; you were lying to God.
Ananias heard these words and immediately dropped to the ground, dead; fear overcame all those who heard of the incident. Some young men came, wrapped the body, and buried it immediately. About three hours had passed when Sapphira arrived. She had no idea what had happened. 

Peter:
Did you sell the land for such-and-such a price?
Sapphira:
Yes, that was the price.
Peter:
Why did the two of you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Do you hear those footsteps outside? Those are the young men who just buried your husband, and now they will carry you out as well.
She — like her husband — immediately fell dead at Peter's feet. The young men came in and carried her corpse outside and buried it beside her husband. The whole church was terrified by this story, as were others who heard it. 
(Acts 4:32-37; Acts 5:1-11)
Response in Prayer

Holy Father, I know that I am vulnerable to the sins of greed and the lust to feel important. Help me resist these temptations. I don't want these sins to steal my integrity or compromise my generosity. Neither do I want to grow skeptical when I see these sins in others. I want to honor You in every area of my life and bring Your grace to those in need. 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 Wed 21 Jun 2017, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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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.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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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:
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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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The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 01 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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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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Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
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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:
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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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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:
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 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:
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 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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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 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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