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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Mar 2017, 11:53 pm

"Don't Miss My Invitation" — A Year with Jesus for 03/20/2017

Note from Jesus

My Dear Disciple,

Listen to My words for you today. They come out of the crucible of My conflict with the religious leaders and their humiliation with trying to embarrass Me. My words have power. I was heading toward Jerusalem and the horrors that were waiting for Me there. Along the way, people were fascinated by what I said, and they celebrated the wonderful things, the miraculous things, that I was doing.

I planted a promise in the people's hearts to help them understand that the power they were experiencing with My physical presence was not going to go away after My mission in Jerusalem was accomplished, and I returned to the Father. That power was part of a new order of things in the world. It was part of My Father's kingdom — the people, their actions, and their attitudes — where God's will reigns over their hearts, and they find joy in the Father's presence. The kingdom power available to them might look small at the beginning of things — no bigger than a tiny mustard seed or a little bit of yeast. But, all the great things that the people were experiencing right then with My presence, My miraculous deeds, and My powerful teaching were just a small glimpse of the greatness and gloriousness that were to come. Their power may seem small, but it will grow and permeate and bring great blessing to many.

So don't miss My great offer of the kingdom. When I return, I will bring together all peoples from all places in the world who have come to believe in Me. That, dear friend, is a celebration you definitely don't want to miss!
Verses to Live

While the religious leaders had done all they could to wall off My teaching from others, the sheer power of the kingdom that was behind My words could not be contained. My blessing, My power, My kingdom would not be based on religious pedigree or social acceptance, but upon people surrendering their hearts to Me and giving their lives to be My disciples. The old order of power and position has been reversed, and those who follow Me will be exalted, not mocked, belittled, ridiculed, or persecuted. So don't miss My invitation to follow Me!
As the impact of His [Jesus'] words settled in, His critics were humiliated, but everyone else loved what Jesus said and celebrated everything He was doing.

Jesus (explaining):
Do you want to understand the kingdom of God? Do you want Me to tell you what it's like? It's like a single mustard seed that someone took and planted in his garden. That tiny seed grew and became a tree so large that the birds could fly in and make their nests in its branches.

Do you want Me to tell you what the kingdom of God is like? It's like some yeast which a woman hid within a huge quantity of flour; soon the whole batch of dough was rising.
He was pressing toward Jerusalem, His journey taking Him through various towns and villages. In each one, He taught the people. Once a person asked this question:

Inquiring Individual:
Lord, will only a few people be rescued?
Jesus:
Strive to enter through the narrow door now, because many people — hear Me on this — will try to enter later on and will not be able to. Imagine you want to enter someone's home, but you wait until after the homeowner has shut the door. Then you stand outside and bang on the door, and you say, "Sir, please open the door for us!" But he will answer, "I don't know where you're from."

Then you'll say, "Just a minute. We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets."

But he'll say, "Sorry, I have no idea where you're from. Leave me, all of you evildoers."

Then you'll see something that will make you cry and grind your teeth together — you'll see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves will be on the outside looking in.

And then you'll see people streaming in from east and west, from north and south, gathering around the table in the kingdom of God, but you'll be on the outside looking in. That's how it will be; some are last now who will be first then, and some are first now who will be last then.
(Luke 13:17-30)
Response in Prayer

O Father, there are times when Your kingdom way of life does not seem to get much respect. As I open my heart to Jesus each day, I invite the Holy Spirit to strengthen my faith, my hope, and my desire to live your character and compassion in a world that feels so devoid of both. I believe, but please strengthen my belief. I hope, but stir my heart to a great anticipation of the day when my faith becomes sight. I trust in your mustard-seed promise and the power of your holy work like yeast, but please help me see glimpses of Your coming glory as I serve you in the grittiness of my everyday 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 Sun 19 Mar 2017, 7:45 pm

Look Closely at the Evidence!" — A Year with Jesus for 03/19/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Seeker,

My words have always provoked strong reactions! I do not leave people any middle ground for their decision about Me. There is no "safe" place they can put Me in the middle as just a good man and a good teacher. In the encounter with the crowd that you read about in today's verses, I AM claiming to be the Son of God. I AM saying that what I do and what I speak I have received directly from My Father in heaven. I AM claiming that every disciple that I have was given to Me by My Father.

Every contemporary Jewish person who heard Me in the events recorded below knew that I was claiming to be God walking and teaching among them. They told Me:
We demand Your life because You are a man, yet you claim to be God. This is blasphemy!
As an experienced rabbi familiar with their way of arguing about the meaning of Scripture, I gave them two reasons why I could claim to be God among them.

First, I used a good rabbinical defense strategy: I quoted a passage that shows that others had been called "sons of God." These people were not punished for their claim, so I shouldn't be punished for My claim. This argument is technically correct for their type of reasoning used in rabbinical discussion. However, most of those listening knew that I was claiming that I AM much more than one of many "sons of God." They knew My claim was that I AM THE Son of the God!

Second, I could call God My Father because what I claimed about Myself was validated by what I did! When you examine the great things that I did, the authoritative truths that I taught, and the way that I lived, you see that My actions validate My words. Notice what I said to My doubters and My critics:
Examine My actions, and you will see that My work is the work of the Father. Regardless of whether you believe in Me — believe the miracles.
Despite My opponents' anger at these claims, they could not disprove them. They were left to try to kill Me, but they couldn't do so at this time. The time wasn't right. The Father wouldn't let them. I wasn't ready yet to lay My life down, so they couldn't take it. Therefore, I continued with My ministry and many others believed in Me.
Verses to Live

OK. What are you going to do with Me? You can choose not to read My story, but My story won't go away. People will keep making movies about Me, they will keep talking about Me, they will be fascinated by Me, and many will come to full faith in Me.

So what are YOU going to do with Me? My claims are extravagant, even blasphemous if they are not true. But if they are true, then everything rides on your decision about Me! So look closely at the evidence — not just the evidence in the verses that follow, but at everything I said and did. Look at the movement I left behind. Examine the weak and fearful men and women who became bold and were willing to be martyred. What explains it? What was their belief in Me that led them to risk everything to be My disciples?
When He [Jesus] spoke these words, some of the Jews began to argue.
...

It was winter and time for the Festival of Dedication. While in Jerusalem, Jesus was walking through the temple in an area known as Solomon's porch, and Jews gathered around Him.

Jews:
How long are You going to keep us guessing? If You are God's Anointed, the Liberating King, announce it clearly.
Jesus:
I have told you, and you do not believe. The works I am doing in My Father's name tell the truth about Me. You do not listen; you lack faith because you are not My sheep. My sheep respond as they hear My voice; I know them intimately, and they follow Me. I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word. Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand. My Father has given the flock to Me, and He is superior to all beings and things. No one is powerful enough to snatch the flock from My Father's hand. The Father and I are one.
The Jews gathered stones to execute Jesus right then and there.

Jesus:
I have performed many beautiful works before you in the name of the Father. Which of these can be judged as an offense that merits My execution?
Jews:
You are not condemned for performing miracles. We demand Your life because You are a man, yet you claim to be God. This is blasphemy!
Jesus:
You know what is written in the Scriptures. Doesn't it read, "I said, you are gods"? If the Scriptures called your ancestors (mere mortals) gods to whom the word of God came — and the Scriptures cannot be set aside — what should you call One Who is unique, sanctified by and sent from the Father into the world? I have said, "I am God's Son." How can you call that blasphemy? By all means, do not believe in Me, if I am not doing the things of the Father. But examine My actions, and you will see that My work is the work of the Father. Regardless of whether you believe in Me — believe the miracles. Then you will know that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.
Once again, some of the Jews tried to capture Him, but He slipped away, eluding their grasp. Jesus crossed the Jordan River and returned to the place where John was... cleansing the people through baptism in the early days. He lingered in the area, and scores of people gathered around Him.

Crowds:
John never performed any miracles, but every word he spoke about this man has come to pass. It is all true!
In that place, many believed in Him.
(John 10:19; John 10:22-42)
Response in Prayer

Holy and righteous Father, I confess that some days the urgency of my faith is simply not there. I feel blah, You seem distant to me, and the Holy Spirit's presence in my life seems to have vanished. I pray that You, O Father, make me thirsty for You. I give You the invitation to make me hungry for Your presence, Your word, Your Son, and Your Spirit. Bring people into my life to shake me out of my mediocrity and my moments of spiritual lethargy. Restore my passion by reawakening my heart to the voice, the leading, and the lordship of Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International..
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 18 Mar 2017, 5:12 pm

"The Good Shepherd" — A Year with Jesus for 03/18/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

Few passages of Scripture were more beloved in My time on earth than the twenty-third Psalm. Like in your day, many found great comfort knowing that the Great Shepherd was watching over them, caring for them, sustaining them, giving them rest, and bringing them safely home to Him:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.
(Psalm 23:1-6 ESV)
So when I claim to be the "good shepherd" in the verses below, my words are heard against the background of the twenty-third Psalm. At the same time, My words about being the "good shepherd" are speaking on several different levels of emphasis. Each level is important. Each conveys a powerful truth about Me — My identity, My power, and My sacrifice.

First, by claiming to be the "good shepherd," I AM claiming to be God, the Shepherd of the twenty-third Psalm! Clearly this was offensive to many faithful Jews for whom the Shepherd Psalm was precious and personal while God was high, exalted, and beyond compare — not some carpenter they thought was from Nazareth. That was why some accused Me of being a "raving maniac"!

Second, notice the specific personal knowledge that I have of My sheep and they have of Me. I know them. I call them by name. They hear My voice and recognize Me. They follow Me. They don't trust a stranger because they know My voice, and I lead by going out ahead of them and calling them by name.

Third, there were bad shepherds among My people. I called them "hired hands" as well as "thieves and robbers"! They were bad shepherds like the ones described by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:1-31). The religious leaders who were so opposed to Me knew I was talking about them as the bad shepherds. I knew that they were about to reject Me completely.

Fourth, I laid down My life for the life of My sheep. In going to the cross willingly, I laid down My life to give life to My flock. No one could take My life from Me, but I laid it down because I love My sheep, and I want to honor the Father. But, when I laid My life down, I would also "take it up again" — I have the power to rise from the dead!

A list, however, of the things I taught cannot compare with Who I AM and what it means for Me to be your Shepherd. As wonderful and precious as the words "The Lord is my shepherd..." may be to you, please recognize and feel the great love I have for you as your Shepherd. The twenty-third Psalm takes on so much deeper meaning when you truly understand that I AM your "good shepherd": that I brought you everything promised in the twenty-third Psalm and everything promised in My words below. On top of everything else, I offered up My life to show you that My words are true, and My love and My shepherding are real.
Verses to Live

Take all the wonderful promises of the twenty-third Psalm and add all the incredible promises you find in My words below and know that these promises, that My comforting and guiding presence, are yours!
Jesus:
I tell you the truth: the man who crawls through the fence of the sheep pen, rather than walking through the gate, is a thief or a vandal. The shepherd walks openly through the entrance. The guard who is posted to protect the sheep opens the gate for the shepherd, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When all the sheep have been gathered, he walks on ahead of them; and they follow him because they know his voice. The sheep would not be willing to follow a stranger; they run because they do not know the voice of a stranger.
Jesus explained a profound truth through this metaphor, but they did not understand His teaching. So He explained further.

Jesus:
I tell you the truth: I am the gate of the sheep. All who approached the sheep before Me came as thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not listen to their voices. I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be liberated, will go in and go out, and will find pastures. The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in His care. The hired hand is not like the shepherd caring for His own sheep. When a wolf attacks, snatching and scattering the sheep, he runs for his life, leaving them defenseless. The hired hand runs because he works only for wages and does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. As the Father knows Me, I know the Father; I will give My life for the sheep. There are many more sheep than you can see here, and I will bring them as well. They will hear My voice, and the flock will be united. One flock. One shepherd. The Father loves Me because I am willing to lay down My life — but I will take it up again. My life cannot be taken away by anybody else; I am giving it of My own free will. My authority allows Me to give My life and to take it again. All this has been commanded by My Father.
When He spoke these words, some of the Jews began to argue.

Many Jews:
He has a demon and is a raving maniac. Why are you people listening to Him?
Other Jews:
No demon-possessed man ever spoke like this. Do demons give sight to the blind?
(John 10:1-21)
Response in Prayer

O God — Father, Son, and Spirit — shepherd me. I promise to listen to Your voice. I pledge to follow no other spiritual guide but You. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 11:18 pm

Opening Blind Eyes #3" — A Year with Jesus for 03/17/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

On two previous days, I have had you look at John's account of the man who was born blind and whom I healed. We've seen how people can willfully be blind to the people in need around them. Instead of viewing each person as someone in whom "the deeds of God may be put on display" (John 9:3), they treat those people as something less than people created in Our image — they treat them as a religious question, a label, a problem, or a biological product. Today, I want you to focus on the journey to faith of the man whom I healed of blindness — both his physical blindness and his spiritual blindness.

His journey toward faith began as a person in need. I healed his physical blindness, and he began his journey toward his spiritual blindness being healed. You can follow this man's journey to faith by watching what he said about me:
"a man named Jesus." (John 9:11)
"this man is a prophet." (John 9:17)
"I only know one thing: I was blind, and now I see." (John 9:25)
"This man must come from God." (John 9:33)
"Lord, I do believe [that You are the Son of Man — Messiah and Lord — promised to us]." (John 9:38)
I want you to look at this man's journey of faith. Many of you have made a similar journey in what you believe about Me. Others whom you are trying to reach with My grace are somewhere on this journey. Use gentle persistence to lead them to a deeper understanding of My identity.

Notice some things about this man's coming to faith. While I wasn't with him, he was still coming to a deeper understanding of My identity. And even at the end of the journey, he couldn't explain everything about Me, but he had a determined faith in Me. Realize that even when you are not with those you are trying to lead to faith, the Spirit is working in their lives through what others do and say — even if it is hostile. Realize that while your friends may not be able to explain everything about Me, they can point to the clear changes in their lives as rock solid evidence of what they believe about Me.

You have heard Me tell you that people have to decide whether I am a lunatic who is delusional about His identity or a liar who is trying to take advantage of people for his own good, or whether I AM the Lord. That is ultimately the decision that people have to make about Me. So help your friends stay on the journey of faith and be there to help them come to the full understanding of My identity. As you work in their lives to lead them to faith, know that you are not alone: I AM there with you and them — even when you are not present — helping them journey to full and saving faith.
Verses to Live

Notice how the Pharisees push this man to give up what he knows is true. The man never yields to them. He doesn't back down. The Pharisees cannot defeat his logic nor can they discredit the truth of My miracle. So they end up doing what many do to you today. They ostracize him and demean him. Don't be surprised when people do that to you. Just realize that when they have to resort to belittling you, they have lost the battle and are left to pettiness and living in their own willful blindness.
Formerly Blind Man:
This man [Jesus] must come from God; otherwise, this miracle would not be possible. Only God can do such things.
Pharisees:
You were born under a cloud of sin. How can you, of all people, lecture us?
The religious leaders banished him from their presence. Jesus heard what had happened and sought out the man.

Jesus:
Do you believe in the Son of Man?
Formerly Blind Man:
I want to believe, Lord. Who is He?
Jesus:
You have seen His face with your new eyes, and you are talking to Him now.
Formerly Blind Man:
Lord, I do believe.
The man bowed low to worship Jesus.

Jesus:
I have entered this world to announce a verdict that changes everything. Now those without sight may begin to see, and those who see may become blind.
Some Pharisees (who overheard Jesus):
Surely we are not blind, are we?
Jesus:
If you were blind, you would be without sin. But because you claim you can see, your sin is ever present.
(John 9:33-41)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I thank You for my journey of faith. I ask that You help me as I try to walk with others on their journey toward faith in You. Please be at work in the following people's lives that I want to see come to faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord and as Your Son. (Think of people who need to know Jesus. Bring them before the Father and mention them by name.) Help each of these people to come to full and active faith in Jesus. I pray this in His name. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
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 16 Mar 2017, 11:41 pm

"Opening Blind Eyes #2" — A Year with Jesus for 03/16/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

I want you to notice the different ways people in this story viewed the "man born blind" that you find in your Bibles (John 9:1-41):
My disciples looked at him as a religious question — was he born blind because of his sins or his parents' sins?
The people viewed him as a label — to them, he was just a blind beggar.
The Pharisees saw the man as a problem — I had healed him on the Sabbath, something that broke their regulations, but they couldn't use the man to get Me into trouble.
The man's parents treated him as little more than their biological product and not as a son — their fear of being put out of the synagogue prevented them from speaking up for their own son.
Each of these was a way that the people around the man born blind viewed him. The people's view of him was, in fact, their blindness — a willful blindness to the man's needs. These are also ways you can view people, ways that will keep you blind to their needs and to your opportunity to help those people in My name.

Which one of the following are you most likely to use to be willfully blind toward people in need? Is it...
Viewing them as nothing more than a religious question?
Assigning a label so you don't have to personally deal with them?
Treating them as a problem that needs to be solved or overcome?
Viewing them as nothing more than biological products rather than people to be protected and loved?
I call you to open your eyes to the people in need around you. I call you to treat each of these people as someone in whom "the deeds of God may be put on display" (John 9:3) and with whom God's love can be shared. To do less is simply... Pharisaical!
Verses to Live

After fielding My disciples' religious question about the man born blind, I healed him. This miracle made the Pharisees angry because I violated their regulations about the Sabbath. Instead of rejoicing that a blind man could now see, these religious leaders tried to bully him into condemning Me for healing him. They weren't ready for what they were about to get from him — a simple theology of faith and truth that trumped their entrenched traditions and embarrassed them into banishing him and demeaning him.
Townspeople to the man born blind:
Where is this man Who healed you?
Formerly Blind Man:
I don't know.
The townspeople brought the formerly blind beggar to appear before the Pharisees the same day Jesus healed him, which happened to be on the Sabbath Day. The Pharisees began questioning him, looking for some explanation for how he could now see.

Formerly Blind Man:
He smeared mud on my eyes, and I washed; now I see.
Some Pharisees:
God can't possibly be behind this man because He is breaking the rules of the Sabbath.
Other Pharisees:
How can such a lawbreaking scoundrel do something like this?
The Pharisees were at odds with one another about Jesus and could not agree whether His power came from God or the devil.

Pharisees (to the formerly blind man):
What do you say about this man, about the fact He opened your eyes so you could see?
Formerly Blind Man:
I have no doubt — this man is a prophet.
Some of the Jews suspected the whole situation was a charade, that this man was never blind. So they summoned the man's parents to testify about his condition.

Pharisees:
Is this man your son? Do you testify that he has been blind from birth? How therefore does he now see?
Parents:
We can tell you this much: he is our son, and he was born blind. But his new sight is a complete mystery to us! We do not know the man Who opened his eyes. Why don't you ask our son? He is old enough to speak for himself.
The man's parents were a bit evasive because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. It had been rumored that anyone who spoke of Jesus as the Anointed One would be expelled from the synagogue. So they deferred the thorny question to their son, and the Pharisees called on him a second time.

Pharisees:
Give God the credit. He's the One Who healed you. All glory belongs to God. We are persuaded this man you speak of is a sinner who defies God.
Formerly Blind Man:
If this man is a sinner, I don't know. I am not qualified to say. I only know one thing: I was blind, and now I see.
Pharisees:
What did He do to you? How did He give you sight?
Formerly Blind Man:
Listen, I've already answered all these questions, and you don't like my answers. Do you really need me to say it all over again? Are you thinking about joining up with Him and becoming His followers?
Pharisees (berating him):
You're one of His followers, but we follow Moses. We have confidence that God spoke to Moses, but this man you speak of is a mystery; we don't even know where He comes from.
Formerly Blind Man:
Isn't it ironic that you, our religious leaders, don't even know where He comes from; yet He gave me sight! We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does respond and work through those who worship Him and do His will. No one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of any person blind from birth. This man must come from God; otherwise, this miracle would not be possible. Only God can do such things.
Pharisees:
You were born under a cloud of sin. How can you, of all people, lecture us?
The religious leaders banished him from their presence.
(John 9:12-34)
Response in Prayer

O Father, please forgive me. Forgive me for blindly looking past people in need. Open my eyes and my heart to see each person as someone in whom "the deeds of God may be put on display". Please use me to be a person through whom Your deeds of grace and mercy flow. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International..
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 9:54 pm

"Truth Brings Celebration and Hostility" — A Year with Jesus for 03/15/2017
Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

We — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — instituted the Sabbath to be a blessing to Our people and those who lived among them. The Sabbath gave My people a day each week when they, their families, and their workers rested from their labor, remembered the Father Who richly provided for them, and were renewed in spirit. The Sabbath was made to bless people and to honor Us.

This principle doesn't seem so hard to understand, but the religious leaders' practice during My time on earth was far from Our plan for the Sabbath and made Me angry. How could the Jewish religious leaders interpret Our principles for the Sabbath and then turn the Sabbath into a day for a sick person to stay sick and a broken person to stay broken? These same religious leaders fed and watered their animals on the Sabbath. They pulled their animals out of a ditch and searched for them when they were lost on the Sabbath. Surely... surely... these religious leaders could see the duplicity in their ways and the errors of their interpretation.

Unfortunately, they didn't... or wouldn't. They were furious with Me when I healed the woman in the story below on a Sabbath. They felt this act of mercy broke their regulations and went against the Father's will! When I confronted them on their hypocrisy, they were humiliated and infuriated. The people, however, loved what I said and celebrated what I had done when I healed this crippled woman.
Verses to Live

Don't just read the words that follow. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you feel what is happening and visualize the expression on the faces of different people in the story. Look at the broken posture of this woman before I healed her. Imagine her gait as she shuffled toward Me. How could anyone with the power to help not help? How could anyone claim to be religious and refuse this woman a simple but powerful act of kindness?
Around this time, He [Jesus] was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. A woman there had been sick for 18 years; she was weak, hunched over, and unable to stand up straight. Jesus placed His hands on her and suddenly she could stand straight again. She started praising God, but the synagogue official was indignant because Jesus had not kept their Sabbath regulations by performing this healing.

Synagogue Official:
Look, there are six other days when it's appropriate to get work done. Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath!
Jesus:
You religious leaders are such hypocrites! Every single one of you unties his ox or donkey from its manger every single Sabbath Day, and then you lead it out to get a drink of water, right? Do you care more about your farm animals than you care about this woman, one of Abraham's daughters, oppressed by Satan for 18 years? Can't we untie her from her oppression on the Sabbath?
As the impact of His words settled in, His critics were humiliated, but everyone else loved what Jesus said and celebrated everything He was doing.
(Luke 13:10-17)
Response in Prayer

O Father, help me value people the way that Jesus did. Help me draw others into celebrating Your greatness and grace by helping those in need. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
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 14 Mar 2017, 10:29 pm

"One Last Season for Fruit?" — A Year with Jesus for 03/14/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Believer,

In your day, people have really toned down some of My message in order to be more politically correct. Remember, however, that the religious leaders of My day killed Me because they knew I was a threat to their ungodly way of doing things. I never taught or preached violence. In fact, My voluntary submission to the cross should tell you a lot about My heart in this matter. When the soldiers came to arrest Me in the Garden of Gethsemane — right before My trials and crucifixion — Peter grabbed a sword and began to fight to protect Me. Since I would not be using violence as a means of My own protection, I told him to put away the sword (John 18:3-11).

Hypocritical and self-serving Jewish religious leaders considered Me a threat to their power and status because I denounced them and their ungodly approach to religion. In addition, I was transforming lives and gathering devoted disciples who were realizing the errors of the religious leaders, making me an even greater threat. My devoted disciples were interested in My true identity as Son of God, Messiah, and Lord because they had seen My power and also My compassion. The leaders could not deny or explain away My power that made Me even a greater threat. Nor could these leaders deny My compassion that moved people to follow Me, making Me a growing threat. These leaders knew they had to eliminate the threat — to kill Me and presumably to get Me out of the way. My journey to Jerusalem was a purposeful march into their trap.

But hear this with your heart, please: I ached for My people and My country and the primary city of My people — even for the leaders who were about to reject, ridicule, and crucify Me. I knew they were leading the Jewish people down the path to destruction. I knew the time was short. I knew they could repent — truly change from the inside out — if they would give themselves over to the Father's will and follow Me. For three years, I taught, told stories, preached, counseled, visited, healed, shepherded, and cared for the needy, the broken, the outcast, the sinner, and the commoner. Many were coming to faith in Me. I went to the houses of the rich, and I met with powerful religious leaders to discuss truth. I even healed valued family members of both Jewish and Roman leaders. Some of these people came to faith in Me.

The problem was that I also confronted the religious establishment. I rightly called them hypocrites. I challenged their legalistic answers that departed from the Father's will. Then, I called them to repentance. John the Baptist, My cousin whom Herod executed, spent time warning of the need for repentance and preparing the people for My coming. Many had changed their hearts and their lives to be ready for Me. Not so for most of those in power.

In the verses that follow, you will read two stories about disasters and then you find a parable about a fig tree. The stories about disasters are reminders that bad things happen to good people. If destruction can befall them and they are undeserving of their hardships, how much more will destruction come to those who ignore, resist, and try to extinguish the Voice of God — Me, Jesus of Nazareth, God come in human flesh!

In the parable about the fig tree, I shared a not-so-subtle warning: God's people needed to repent, or our precious city of Jerusalem would face destruction. Such a thought gave Me great anguish. Salvation was on the doorstep of My people, and they chose the power of Rome and the security of the status quo over Me. Rome, the seat of power for that terrible lion of an empire that had oppressed them for decades, would tear them apart, and leave no stone standing.

With My heart breaking for such impending disaster, I shared a parable about asking the owner of the vineyard — a reference the people in My time would recognize as God (the Father) — to give the people more time to turn their hearts toward Him. As the "vineyard keeper" in the parable, I asked for one last season for the people of Jerusalem — the "fig tree" — to bear fruit for God. I worked to bring My people to repentance and save the city of David. I gave My people another opportunity to turn their hearts toward Me and find the salvation the Father wanted to bring them. Unfortunately, they would not.
Verses to Live

You face a hard challenge as you read the verses that follow. The warnings that I gave were not heeded, and destruction came to Jerusalem. So how do you apply these verses?

Let My words fall on your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to use them to speak to those things in your own heart that you have not yet surrendered to Me. Any other sources on which you rely for salvation will prove false. Any other source of ultimate meaning and purpose for your life will prove shallow. So let these words remind you of a previous theme: urgency! Your commitment to the holy transformation that everyone needs should be immediate and permanent. No one should waste time in making that commitment!
As He [Jesus] said this, some people told Him the latest news about a group of Galilean pilgrims in Jerusalem — a group not unlike Jesus' own entourage. Pilate butchered them while they were at worship, their own blood mingling with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus:
Do you think these Galileans were somehow being singled out for their sins, that they were worse than any other Galileans, because they suffered this terrible death? Of course not. But listen, if you do not consider God's ways and truly change, then friends, you should prepare to face His judgment and eternal death.

Speaking of current events, you've all heard about the 18 people killed in that building accident when the tower in Siloam fell. Were they extraordinarily bad people, worse than anyone else in Jerusalem, so that they would deserve such an untimely death? Of course not. But all the buildings of Jerusalem will come crashing down on you if you don't wake up and change direction now.

(following up with this parable) A man has a fig tree planted in his vineyard. One day he comes out looking for fruit on it, but there are no figs. He says to the vineyard keeper, "Look at this tree. For three years, I've come hoping to find some fresh figs, but what do I find? Nothing. So just go ahead and cut it down. Why waste the space with a fruitless tree?"

The vineyard keeper replies, "Give it another chance, sir. Give me one more year working with it. I'll cultivate the soil and heap on some manure to fertilize it. If it surprises us and bears fruit next year, that will be great, but if not, then we'll cut it down."
(Luke 13:1-9)
Response in Prayer

O Father, have Your Spirit use Jesus' words to convict me of any idols that I may have in my heart. I want to have an undivided heart for You. I want to depend solely and confidently on Jesus for my salvation. In You, O God — Father, Son, and Spirit — have I put my trust. 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 Mon 13 Mar 2017, 10:01 am

"Opening Blind Eyes" — A Year with Jesus for 03/13/2017

Video: The Gospel According to Nintendo
How do we speak into the heart of a culture growing increasingly more secular with each new generation? — Watch Now
Note from Jesus

Dear Seeker of Truth,

I was frustrated with the religious leaders who added their own regulations to the commandments of the law and made those regulations more important than caring for a woman who had been bound by a crippled body for 18 years (Luke 13:10-17). As you read the verses below, notice how My disciples come close to doing the same thing with a man who was blind. Rather than recognizing the difficulty of being blind and then caring for the blind man, My disciples asked an insensitive religious question about him within his hearing:
Teacher, who sinned? Who is responsible for this man's blindness? Did he commit sins that merited this punishment? If not his sins, is it the sins of his parents?
My disciples did not view this man who had been blind since birth as someone in whom the deeds of God's grace needed to be displayed. Instead, they used him as the pretext for a religious discussion. To them, the man and his problems were nothing more than a religious question — a question that cost them nothing. They spent no time ministering to his needs, caring for him as a child of God in need, or compassionately visiting with the man. He was just the object of their religious conversation. Anything that you do to objectify another person and treat that person as less than someone created in Our image is dehumanizing. No one should be reduced to little more than a topic of religious conversation between people who have no real interest in providing help.

You are placed into your circle of relationships to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Listen to the conversations around you. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes to see the "blind men" that other people around you miss, objectify, or turn into nothing more than a matter for discussion. Look for ways to demonstrate My love and grace by serving these people.
Verses to Live

The following verses begin a series of events that involved My healing a man who was born blind and then proceed to the things that occurred as a result of that healing. We will address more aspects of these events later. Today, notice how I treat this man as someone in whom "the deeds of God may be put on display," yet nearly all the people he meets treat him as less than a person created in the image of God.
While walking along the road, Jesus saw a man who was blind since his birth.

Disciples:
Teacher, who sinned? Who is responsible for this man's blindness? Did he commit sins that merited this punishment? If not his sins, is it the sins of his parents?
Jesus:
Neither. His blindness cannot be explained or traced to any particular person's sins. He is blind so the deeds of God may be put on display. While it is daytime, we must do the works of the One Who sent Me. But when the sun sets and night falls, this work is impossible. Whenever I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.
After He said these things, He spat on the ground and mixed saliva and dirt to form mud, which He smeared across the blind man's eyes.

Jesus (to the blind man):
Go, wash yourself in the pool of Siloam.
Siloam means "sent," and its name reminded us that his healing was sent by God. The man went, washed, and returned to Jesus, his eyes now alive with sight. Then neighbors and others who knew him were confused to see a man so closely resembling the blind beggar running about.

Townspeople:
Isn't this the man we see every day sitting and begging in the streets?
Others:
This is the same man.
Still Others:
This cannot be him. But this fellow bears an uncanny resemblance to the blind man.
Formerly Blind Man:
I am the same man. It's me!
Townspeople:
How have your lifeless eyes been opened?
Formerly Blind Man:
A man named Jesus approached me and made mud from the ground and applied it to my eyes. He then said to me, "Go, wash yourself in the pool of Siloam." I went and washed, and suddenly I could see.
Townspeople:
Where is this man Who healed you?
Formerly Blind Man:
I don't know.
(John 9:1-12)
Response in Prayer

O God, help me see the people that You place in my path each day — the very people that You placed there so that I can share Your grace with them. Forgive me when I have treated others as little more than a religious or political or social question and have not heard Your call to love them into Your family. Open my eyes and my heart to see the people others neglect and ignore. Please use me to give them hope and to share a touch of Your grace with them. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Mar 2017, 9:54 pm

"Getting Past Your Worries" — A Year with Jesus for 03/12/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

Yesterday, I spoke to you about fear. Today I want to talk to you about worry and sins that lie behind so many of your worries: greed and insufficient faith! Listen carefully as I remind you of three key principles you will see in the verses below. I gave these principles to My disciples to help them defeat the power of worry in their lives. Please know that Luke wrote about these three principles to help you defeat worry, too!

Principle 1:
You'd better be on your guard against any type of greed, for a person's life is not about having a lot of possessions.
Greed is insidious and destructive — in fact, it is a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Greed means the things you have are never enough. Greed opens the door for you to trample all over people to get things. Greed makes you think you deserve and own the things that you have, rather than seeing them as blessings from Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — to be used to bring the influence of Our kingdom into your fallen world.

Principle 2:
Don't reduce your life to the pursuit of food and drink; don't let your mind be filled with anxiety. People of the world who don't know God pursue these things, but you have a Father caring for you, a Father Who knows all your needs.
When I spoke to you yesterday about fear, I reminded you that you are precious to Us. Please remember and believe that truth. Why would the Father send Me to be sacrificed for you if you were not precious? Why would I pour out the Holy Spirit upon you, to live within you, if you are not precious to us? With so many less important things in your world that receive Our gracious provision, why would We ever abandon you when you are so precious to Us?

Principle 3:
Since you don't need to worry — about security and safety, about food and clothing — then pursue God's kingdom first and foremost, and these other things will come to you as well. My little flock, don't be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father's great joy is to give you His kingdom.
Worry is often the byproduct of having your focus on the wrong things and not having sufficient faith in Us and Our promises. If your consuming passion is to follow Me and to bring the gracious benefits of My kingdom to your broken world, then you are not going to have time to focus on temporary stuff that doesn't ultimately matter. Honor the Father with all of your heart. Love people as I have loved you. You must believe that when you focus on these two important things, all the other things in your life will fall into their proper place.
Verses to Live

Here are My words about worry. Remember My three principles; they are not simply suggestions to you, but they are given to help you find life.
Person in the Crowd:
Teacher, intervene and tell my brother to share the family inheritance with me.
Jesus:
Since when am I your judge or arbitrator?
Then He used that opportunity to speak to the crowd.

Jesus:
You'd better be on your guard against any type of greed, for a person's life is not about having a lot of possessions.

(then, beginning another parable) A wealthy man owned some land that produced a huge harvest. He often thought to himself, "I have a problem here. I don't have anywhere to store all my crops. What should I do? I know! I'll tear down my small barns and build even bigger ones, and then I'll have plenty of storage space for my grain and all my other goods. Then I'll be able to say to myself, 'I have it made! I can relax and take it easy for years! So I'll just sit back, eat, drink, and have a good time!'"

Then God interrupted the man's conversation with himself. "Excuse Me, Mr. Brilliant, but your time has come. Tonight you will die. Now who will enjoy everything you've earned and saved?"

This is how it will be for people who accumulate huge assets for themselves but have no assets in relation to God.

(then, to His disciples) This is why I keep telling you not to worry about anything in life — about what you'll eat, about how you'll clothe your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than fancy clothes. Think about those crows flying over there: do they plant and harvest crops? Do they own silos or barns? Look at them fly. It looks like God is taking pretty good care of them, doesn't it? Remember that you are more precious to God than birds! Which one of you can add a single hour to your life or 18 inches to your height by worrying really hard? If worry can't change anything, why do you do it so much?

Think about those beautiful wild lilies growing over there. They don't work up a sweat toiling for needs or wants — they don't worry about clothing. Yet the great King Solomon never had an outfit that was half as glorious as theirs!

Look at the grass growing over there. One day it's thriving in the fields. The next day it's being used as fuel. If God takes such good care of such transient things, how much more you can depend on God to care for you, weak in faith as you are. Don't reduce your life to the pursuit of food and drink; don't let your mind be filled with anxiety. People of the world who don't know God pursue these things, but you have a Father caring for you, a Father Who knows all your needs.

Since you don't need to worry — about security and safety, about food and clothing — then pursue God's kingdom first and foremost, and these other things will come to you as well.

My little flock, don't be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father's great joy is to give you His kingdom.

That means you can sell your possessions and give generously to the poor. You can have a different kind of savings plan: one that never depreciates, one that never defaults, one that can't be plundered by crooks or destroyed by natural calamities. Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well.
(Luke 12:13-34)
Response in Prayer

Holy Spirit, please empower me as I seek to have an undivided heart that is committed to the Father. Lord Jesus, I commit to believing your promises and to living Your words as I seek to rid my life of worry and as I remember Your promise that I am precious to You. I confess, Father, that the things of this world are tantalizing to me; they pull at my heart, and I sometimes think that they can bring true and lasting joy to my life. I know from experience and from Your word, dear Father, that these things are shallow and fleeting joys, so forgive me for my greed. I want always to place You and Your kingdom as my highest priorities. 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.mailmaster@heartlight.org and let us know what list you would like to leave. We'll take care of you.
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 11 Mar 2017, 10:05 pm

"Don't Let Fear Intimidate You!" — A Year with Jesus for 03/11/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower,

People are afraid of many different kinds of things. That's why one of the most frequent commands in the Scriptures is not to be afraid. It is also a command that I gave several times to My disciples. Fear is a real issue for people in your fallen world.

The Father sent Me to deal with fear and to defeat the power behind your fears — to defeat the devil who uses sin and death to keep mortals enslaved to fear. The writer of Hebrews describes My role in defeating the devil and his power to use death to enslave you to fear:
Since we, the children, are all creatures of flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood, so that by dying He could destroy the one who held power over death — the devil — and destroy the fear of death that has always held people captive.
(Hebrews 2:14-15)
You are journeying with Me to Jerusalem as you read from the Gospels in these devotionals. When My journey to Jerusalem is complete, I will die for your sins, I will be buried, and I will be raised from death to life to conquer hell, giving you glorious life beyond your death. The apostle Paul says it this way:
I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely? I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.
(Romans 7:24-25)

Sin came into this world, and death's sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, Who brought us victory over the grave.
(1 Corinthians 15:56-57)
The Father is the only One Who should truly be feared, but only if you are not His child. If you are My disciple, you are the Father's child. Then you don't need to fear Him. You are more precious to Us — Father, Son and Spirit — than you can imagine. The Father sent Me to save you at great cost. I went to the cross to redeem you and destroy the devil's hold on you through fear. The Holy Spirit lives inside you to lead you, comfort you, empower you, and transform you.

Don't fear what might happen; remember what I accomplished for you. Remind yourself how much the Father loves you and delights in you. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His presence to you to calm your heart and strengthen your faith. Then when people ignore, mistreat, ridicule, threaten, or even hurt you, you don't have to be afraid. Remember the promise I make to you as I discuss all of these issues in the verses below:
If you identify unashamedly with Me before others, I, the Son of Man, will affirm you before God and all the heavenly messengers.
Verses to Live

What do you fear?

Will you let Me help you with that fear?

Will you let the Holy Spirit empower you and lead you out of your fear?

Will you let the Father remind you how precious you are to him?

Listen to My words of promise that Luke gives you to help you overcome your fear in the face of hardship!
The crowds at this time were packed in so tightly that thousands of people were stepping on each other. Jesus spoke to His disciples, knowing that the crowds could overhear.

Jesus:
Guard yourselves from the yeast that puffs up the Pharisees — hypocrisy, false appearance, trying to look better than you really are.

Nothing is covered up that won't be discovered; nothing is hidden that won't be exposed. Whatever a person says in the dark will be published in the light of day, and whatever a person whispers in private rooms will be broadcast from the housetops.

Listen, My friends, if people are trying to kill you, why be afraid? After you're dead, what more can they do? Here's Whose opinion you should be concerned about: the One Who can take your life and then throw you into hell! He's the only One you should fear! But don't misunderstand: you don't really need to be afraid of God, because God cares for every little sparrow. How much is a sparrow worth — don't five of them sell for a few cents? Since you are so much more precious to God than a thousand flocks of sparrows, and since God knows you in every detail — down to the number of hairs on your head at this moment — you can be secure and unafraid of any person, and you have nothing to fear from God either.

That's why I keep telling you not to be intimidated. If you identify unashamedly with Me before others, I, the Son of Man, will affirm you before God and all the heavenly messengers. But if you deny Me before others, you will be denied before God and all the heavenly messengers. People can speak a word against Me, the Son of Man, and the sin is forgivable. But they can go too far, slandering the testimony of the Holy Spirit by rejecting His message about Me, and they won't be forgiven for that.

So you can anticipate that you will be put on trial before the synagogues and religious officials. Don't worry how you'll respond, and don't worry what you should say. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them.
(Luke 12:1-12)
Response in Prayer

O Father, the Almighty and my Abba, there are times when I find it so easy to be afraid. I am not usually a "Woe is me!" kind of person, but there are people I love who have things I cannot fix or change and I fear for their future. I am uncertain about my own days ahead, Father, and I don't want to be afraid of the future. So I ask, Lord Jesus, that You pour out Your Spirit with power into my heart. Please, Holy Spirit within me, bring me comfort and empower me to act courageously in the face of things I could fear. Most of all, O God, help me find my confidence in Your love for me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Mar 2017, 5:15 pm


"What Brings Deep Joy" — A Year with Jesus for 03/09/2017

Note from Jesus

My Dear Little One,

The world is a big place. I've asked you to step into this big place and make a big difference. I know there will be times when your work seems hopeless and your impact small. So, from the scripture below, I want you to realize several things from what I said to help My original disciples understand.

First, pray for more workers. The Father is waiting for you to ask for His help in bringing more good workers into the harvest fields.

Second, not everyone will welcome your efforts. When you find people who do, focus on them. Build relationships with them.

Third, when you and your message are rejected, don't take it personally. People are not rejecting you but Me and the Father Who sent Me. Don't dwell on the rejection and don't let it defeat you; move on looking for the next person or family longing to find My grace.

Along the way, as you do My kingdom-bringing work, you will experience the joy of My presence and power. Satan will be dethroned from human hearts and people's lives. This triumph should bring you joy! This victory does bring Me joy — deep joy and elation!

So yes, I'm sending you into the world that is vast and challenging with a message that often is not welcomed. But as you go, as you do My will, and as you expose people to the Father's grace, the kingdom comes. As you experience bringing glimpses of My reign in My kingdom, you experience what even the greatest of the great among the prophets and kings of old never got to glimpse.

Yes, this is all cause to rejoice. Yes, this brings Me deep joy. But here is a fantastic reason to rejoice: your name is written in heaven. The Father claims you as His own!

Verses to Live

The following events and words were written about a specific mission of sending My disciples. However, I want you to listen and look underneath My words to these disciples and find the principles to sustain you and lead you to rejoice in your own work for the Father and for bringing the kingdom!
The Lord then recruited and deployed 70 more disciples. He sent them ahead, in teams of two, to visit all the towns and settlements between them and Jerusalem. This is what He ordered.

Jesus:
There's a great harvest waiting in the fields, but there aren't many good workers to harvest it. Pray that the Harvest Master will send out good workers to the fields.

It's time for you 70 to go. I'm sending you out armed with vulnerability, like lambs walking into a pack of wolves. Don't bring a wallet. Don't carry a backpack. I don't even want you to wear sandals. Walk along barefoot, quietly, without stopping for small talk. When you enter a house seeking lodging, say, "Peace on this house!" If a child of peace — one who welcomes God's message of peace — is there, your peace will rest on him. If not, don't worry; nothing is wasted. Stay where you're welcomed. Become part of the family, eating and drinking whatever they give you. You're My workers, and you deserve to be cared for. Again, don't go from house to house, but settle down in a town and eat whatever they serve you. Heal the sick and say to the townspeople, "The kingdom of God has come near to you."

Of course, not every town will welcome you. If you're rejected, walk through the streets and say, "We're leaving this town. We'll wipe off the dust that clings to our feet in protest against you. But even so, know this: the kingdom of God has come near." I tell you the truth, on judgment day, Sodom will have an easier time of it than the town that rejects My messengers.

It's going to be bad for you, Chorazin! It's going to be bad for you, Bethsaida! If the mighty works done in your streets had been done in the cities of Tyre and Sidon, they would have been moved to turn to God and cry out in sackcloth and ashes. On judgment day, Tyre and Sidon will have an easier time of it than you. It's going to be bad for you, too, Capernaum! Will you be celebrated to heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.

Listen, disciples: if people give you a hearing, they're giving Me a hearing. If they reject you, they're rejecting Me. And if they reject Me, they're rejecting the One Who sent Me. So — go now!
When the 70 completed their mission and returned to report on their experiences, they were elated.

Seventy:
It's amazing, Lord! When we use Your name, the demons do what we say!
Jesus:
I know. I saw Satan falling from above like a lightning bolt. I've given you true authority. You can smash vipers and scorpions under your feet. You can walk all over the power of the enemy. You can't be harmed. But listen — that's not the point. Don't be elated that evil spirits leave when you say to leave. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Then Jesus Himself became elated. The Holy Spirit was on Him, and He began to pray with joy.

Jesus:
Thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Thank You for hiding Your mysteries from the wise and intellectual, instead revealing them to little children. Your ways are truly gracious. My Father has given Me everything. No one knows the full identity of the Son except the Father, and nobody knows the full identity of the Father except the Son, and the Son fully reveals the Father to whomever He wishes. (then almost in a whisper to the disciples) How blessed are your eyes to see what you see! Many prophets and kings dreamed of seeing what you see, but they never got a glimpse. They dreamed of hearing what you hear, but they never heard it.
(Luke 10:1-24)
Response in Prayer

O Father, the challenges are great, and my efforts often feel fruitless and ineffective. I pray, dear Father, that You send more workers into the harvest fields to help with Your kingdom-building work. I ask that You help me find joy in the welcome I receive from seeking and welcoming hearts. I ask that You give me the courage to trust in Your presence when I feel alone and ineffective. Dear Father, also please send the Holy Spirit to my heart to help me rejoice because I know my efforts defeat Satan in the hearts of good and sweet people and that these same efforts bring the Lord Jesus deep and satisfying joy. It is in His name, the Lord Jesus, that I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.

Truth with a Bit of Shock" — A Year with Jesus for 03/10/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

There are so many good things I could share with you about the verses below from Luke's gospel. Here are just a few things that I hope you will spend some time prayerfully considering today.

In the first encounter, Luke helps you understand the motives of the scholar who comes to question Me. Luke tells you that the scholar was there not to learn from Me, but that he "tried to trap" Me! So while he answered My question correctly, he did not answer "rightly." Correct data does not mean you have a right heart. My emphasis was on living the two great love commandments, not just knowing the right answers to them. Right answers without a right heart and without right living lead to a foolish waste of one's life — something I emphasized at the end of My Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21-27)!

Luke also tells you that the scholar was "hoping to make himself appear smarter" than Me. So notice what I ask at the end of the parable of The Good Samaritan: "Which of these three proved himself a neighbor to the man who had been mugged by the robbers?" I shifted the issue from the right interpretation of Scripture into a question about right living and serving those in need.

In the second encounter, Martha struggles with societal expectations and what is really most important. Jewish society told Martha that her highest obligation was hospitality to the guests in her home. Martha lived up to that expectation beautifully except for one problem: she wanted to impose that obligation on Mary. Mary was sitting at My feet training to know, live, and teach My truth. Mary knew that there was no higher call than to sit at My feet as a disciple learning from Me. Mary chose the one greater thing, and I wouldn't let Martha's sense of obligation steal that away from her.

Now that's quite a bit to absorb for one note, but there are two other points you must not miss:
Samaritans were never supposed to be heroes in any Jewish story. However, I made the Samaritan a hero to help the scholar see that right religious answers, a proper religious pedigree, and racial identification carry no weight in My kingdom. Character and compassion are what truly matter.
In Martha and Mary's culture, women were not supposed to sit at the feet of a rabbi as Mary did. To sit at the feet of a great rabbi meant that you were his student in training (Acts 22:3 ESV). So Mary was the hero of this special time because she had "chosen that one thing" that truly mattered: to live as My disciple while preparing to teach others to do the same.
Both of these points would have come as a shock to those who heard them. But as you are learning together in our journey each day, My truth often comes with a bit of a shock to help you see what truly matters and what does not!
Verses to Live

My encounter with the scholar and My affirmation of Mary demonstrate what the apostle Paul would later write:
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.
(Galatians 3:26-29 NLT)
Luke gives the following account of the events immediately after the return of the 70 disciples from their mission and My time of rejoicing with them. Notice who and what I commend in the two encounters you are about to read:
Just then a scholar of the Hebrew Scriptures tried to trap Jesus.

Scholar:
Teacher, what must I do to experience the eternal life?
Jesus (answering with a question):
What is written in the Hebrew Scriptures? How do you interpret their answer to your question?
Scholar:
You shall love — "love the Eternal One your God with everything you have: all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind" — and "love your neighbor as yourself."
Jesus:
Perfect. Your answer is correct. Follow these commands and you will live.
The scholar was frustrated by this response because he was hoping to make himself appear smarter than Jesus.

Scholar:
Ah, but who is my neighbor?
Jesus:
This fellow was traveling down from Jerusalem to Jericho when some robbers mugged him. They took his clothes, beat him to a pulp, and left him naked and bleeding and in critical condition. By chance, a priest was going down that same road, and when he saw the wounded man, he crossed over to the other side and passed by. Then a Levite who was on his way to assist in the temple also came and saw the victim lying there, and he too kept his distance. Then a despised Samaritan journeyed by. When he saw the fellow, he felt compassion for him. The Samaritan went over to him, stopped the bleeding, applied some first aid, and put the poor fellow on his donkey. He brought the man to an inn and cared for him through the night.

The next day, the Samaritan took out some money — two days' wages to be exact — and paid the innkeeper, saying, "Please take care of this fellow, and if this isn't enough, I'll repay you next time I pass through."

Which of these three proved himself a neighbor to the man who had been mugged by the robbers?
Scholar:
The one who showed mercy to him.
Jesus:
Well then, go and behave like that Samaritan.
Jesus continued from there toward Jerusalem and came to another village. Martha, a resident of that village, welcomed Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, went and sat at Jesus' feet, listening to Him teach. Meanwhile Martha was anxious about all the hospitality arrangements.

Martha (interrupting Jesus):
Lord, why don't You care that my sister is leaving me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to get over here and help me.
Jesus:
Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won't take it away from her.
(Luke 10:25-42)
Response in Prayer
O God, I want to have a heart that loves and chooses to demonstrate Your righteous character and gracious compassion to others. Fill me, please O God, with Your Holy Spirit to help me as I seek to honor You by loving and serving others as Jesus taught. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Mar 2017, 9:01 pm

"I AM!" — A Year with Jesus for 03/08/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

In the verses below, I want you to notice a few things about the ongoing contentious dealings I had with the religious leaders. They couldn't make Me back down or compromise the truth that I was speaking to them. They finally did what folks who are losing an argument sometimes do: they started calling Me names — using ugly, racial and religious slurs. If they couldn't defeat My truth, then they were going to try to discredit Me and beat Me up with vile words intended to brand and shame Me.

I want you to notice especially two statements that I make. Both of these are astounding claims that I would later back up with the cross and the resurrection!

First, I make you an incredible promise in the middle of all the contentious words:
I tell you the truth, anyone who hears My voice and keeps My word will never experience death.
Yes, I know that your body is going to die, but the real you will not die. The real you will be joined to Me (Colossians 3:1-4) and I will give you a new and glorious body when I return for you in My glory (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Because you belong to Me, death cannot have you, claim you, or hold you!

Second, I claim to be God — the one true and living God, Yahweh, the great I AM Who revealed Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:13-15):
I tell you the truth; I AM before Abraham was born.
They did not misunderstand Me. They either had to believe in Me or count Me as a blasphemer. The devil had so blinded them to all the good things that I had done that they could not see that the Father had sent Me.

So, dear disciple, don't miss either truth. Because I AM God and lived among you as one of you, you can come and live with Me in the presence of the Father and all those who have honored Him with their lives. What John said about Me at the beginning of his gospel is true (John 1:1-18). [See Note] If you can't remember it, then go back and read it once again before you read the discussion below. I think you will find it makes the same two points I just shared with you!

[Note] John 1:1-18 is called "The Prologue" and is famous for its beauty as well as its theological depth. Jesus is called "The Logos" which is often translated "The Word" or "The Message" of God. In these eighteen verses John teaches that Jesus is God's ultimate "Word" or "Message" to us. (Hebrews 1:1-3, Philippians 2:6-11, and Colossians 1:15-23 make similar claims about Jesus). "The Word" was...
With God in the beginning with God and thus He was pre-existent to all created things.
By nature and character God.
Creator of everything that has been made.
The source of all life.
Light for the world and for all people.
The Light that has shined in the darkness and couldn't be extinguished.
Not recognized by the world when he came, but for those who received Him, He became the source of new birth and eternal life.
God come in human flesh to reveal God and make Him known.
The One Who came to! bring grace and truth; the Someone far superior to any and all law.
[RETURN]
Verses to Live

In these verses, you are dropping in on a contentious discussion between the religious leaders and Me. They are determined to label Me as someone evil. I will not let them, but instead make the two incredible claims: those who believe in Me will never die and I not only do the Father's will, but I AM God Who walks among them.
Jews:
We were right when we called You a demon-possessed Samaritan.
Jesus:
I'm not taken by demons. You dishonor Me, but I give all glory and honor to the Father. But I am not pursuing My own fame. There is only One Who pursues and renders justice. I tell you the truth, anyone who hears My voice and keeps My word will never experience death.
Jews:
We are even more confident now that You are demon-possessed. Just go down the list: Abraham died, the prophets all died. Yet You say, "If you keep My word, you will never taste death." Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died; remember? Prophets — are any of them still alive? No. Who do You think You are?
Jesus:
If I were trying to make Myself somebody important, it would be a waste of time. That kind of fame is worth nothing. It is the Father Who is behind Me, urging Me on, giving Me praise. You say, "He is our God," but you are not in relationship with Him. I know Him intimately; even if I said anything other than the truth, I would be a liar, like you. I know Him, and I do as He says. Your father Abraham anticipated the time when I would come, and he celebrated My coming.
Jews:
You aren't even 50 years old, yet You have seen and talked with Abraham?
Jesus:
I tell you the truth; I AM before Abraham was born.
The people picked up stones to hurl at Him, but Jesus slipped out of the temple. Their murderous rage would have to wait.
(John 8:48-59)
Response in Prayer

God Almighty, the great I AM, Who is and Who was and Who is to come, I thank You for becoming human flesh, defeating sin and death, and giving me new life through my faith in Jesus and His triumph over Satan, sin, and death through the cross and the resurrection. I praise You and thank You in Jesus' name. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 07 Mar 2017, 10:17 pm

Nuggets of Truth" — A Year with Jesus for 03/07/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

The verses below come from a very contentious time when the religious leaders were trying to trick Me into a religious trap so they could kill Me (John 7:1). There are nuggets of truth that are placed all through this discussion to bless you and give you life.

Nugget One: If you really want to know the truth about Me, spend time with what I teach and put it into practice. As you do, you will realize the truth of what I say and you will find the freedom to live life as the Father intended for you to live it!

Nugget Two: Sin enslaves you. When you sin, you surrender the power of your life to the evil one who wants to enslave you to the power of sin and death.

Nugget Three: I came to set you free from the power of sin and death. As you journey with Me in the coming days and join Me on My way to Jerusalem — to My sacrificial death on the cross and My triumphant resurrection from the dead — you will discover that I came to earth because the Father and I love you and want to give you life.

Nugget Four: The devil is a deceiver. In fact, he is a liar and a killer. He has been up to his deceptive and vile attacks since the beginning of his influence on humanity. So don't trust him. Resist his temptations. Refuse his lies because they lead to death!

Nugget Five: If you seek the Father's will, if you watch what I do to redeem you, you can know that I speak the truth and that the devil speaks lies. You can recognize that the devil wants to do you harm and that I came to give you freedom and life.
Verses to Live

The following is a tough discussion with tough words. I want you to notice that I do not back down from the truth. I love everyone, even those who hate Me. However, I will not surrender the truth to those who hate Me or to their lies about Me. I know the following declaration is not politically correct in your day, just as it was not in My day, but here is the truth: Only I can truly and fully liberate you from the power of sin to enslave you. That is the mission the Father sent Me to fulfill, and I finished My earthly mission for you at great cost to Myself!
Jesus (to the new Jewish believers):
If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom.
Jewish Believers:
We are Abraham's children, and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say to us, "You will be set free"?
Jesus:
I tell you the truth: everyone who commits sin surrenders his freedom to sin. He is a slave to sin's power. Even a household slave does not live in the home like a member of the family, but a son belongs there forever. So think of it this way: if the Son comes to make you free, you will really be free.

I know you are descendants of Abraham, but here you are plotting to murder Me because you do not welcome My voice into your lives. As I speak, I am painting you a picture of what I have seen with My Father; here you are repeating the things you have seen from your father.
Jews:
Abraham is our father.
Jesus:
If you are truly Abraham's children, then act like Abraham! From what I see you are trying to kill Me, a man Who has told you the truth that comes from the Father. This is not something Abraham would do, but you are doing what you have learned from your father.
Jews:
We were not born from adulterous parents; we have one Father: God.
Jesus:
I come from the one True God, and I'm not here on My own. He sent Me on a mission. If God were your Father, you would know that and would love Me. You don't even understand what I'm saying. Do you? Why not? It is because You cannot stand to hear My voice. You are just like your true father, the devil; and you spend your time pursuing the things your father loves. He started out as a killer, and he cannot tolerate truth because he is void of anything true. At the core of his character, he is a liar; everything he speaks originates in these lies because he is the father of lies. So when I speak truth, you don't believe Me. If I speak the truth, why don't you believe Me? If you belong to God's family, then why can't you hear God speak? The answer is clear; you are not in God's family. I speak truth, and you don't believe Me. Can any of you convict Me of sin?
(John 8:31-47)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe that You came from the Father and accomplished His will, going to the cross for me. I believe, Lord Jesus, that You rose from the dead to liberate me from the power of sin and death. So I choose to follow You, to trust You, and to resist the lies of the devil. Only You, Lord Jesus, have the words of eternal life! To You, I offer my deepest thanks and praise. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
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 06 Mar 2017, 10:43 am

"Unless" — A Year with Jesus for 03/06/2017
Note from Jesus

Dear Searcher,

There is only one message that you must hear today. This message is the one truth on which your eternal destiny pivots. So rather than give you many words in My note to you today, I want to challenge you with this one, unalterable truth:
Unless you believe I am Who I have said I am, your sins will lead to your death.
My beloved disciple John wrote his story of Me, the Gospel of John, to help you truly believe and find life in Me (John 20:30-31). While I welcome you here each day on our journey through the New Testament, I encourage you to take some time this week to read John's whole story of Me. Read it at one sitting to get the whole story and come to fresh faith in Me. Do this to find the life that cannot be taken from you even when death comes to claim you.
Verses to Live

Notice especially what I say in the underlined paragraph near the end of the Scripture below. Notice what I say about Who I am and what My relationship is with the Father. Over the next several weeks, you will journey with Me to My crucifixion. All will appear to be lost. I will appear to be abandoned. Even when I AM lifted up on the cross, all will not be lost, and I will not be abandoned. I will be giving My life to ransom your life from sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). I will be doing what the Father has willed to redeem you at His exorbitant cost. I want to win your heart fully and help you know convincingly how deeply We love you. The power of sin to hold you and have you is real, but the power of My cross breaks the power of sin if you choose to believe!
Jesus (to the crowds):
I am leaving this place, and you will look for Me and die in your sin. For where I am going, you are unable to come.
Jews:
Is He suicidal? He keeps saying, "Where I am going, you are unable to come."
Jesus:
You originate from the earth below, and I have come from the heavens above. You are from this world, and I am not. That's why I told you that you will die here as a result of your sins. Unless you believe I am Who I have said I am, your sins will lead to your death.
Jews:
Who exactly are You?
Jesus:
From the beginning of My mission, I have been telling you Who I am. I have so much to say about you, so many judgments to render; but if you hear one thing, hear that the One Who sent Me is true, and all the things I have heard from Him I speak into the world.
The people had not understood that Jesus was teaching about the Father.

Jesus:
Whenever the day comes and you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He. It will be clear then that I am not acting alone, but that I am speaking the things I have learned directly from the Father. The One Who sent Me is with Me; He has not abandoned Me because I always do what pleases Him.
As Jesus was speaking, many in the crowd believed in Him.
(John 8:21-30)
Response in Prayer

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

Post  Admin on Sun 05 Mar 2017, 10:13 am

Light Shining in the Darkness" — A Year with Jesus for 03/05/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Seeker,

When seen in the darkness of a moonless sky away from the light pollution from your cities, the billions upon billions of stars merge into a deep and comforting glow at the near reaches of your universe. The brightest of stars shines even more brilliantly. The darkest of nights reveals just how brightly the stars of the heavens shine. The darkness does not snuff out their light but only makes it more visible!

In a similar but far more important way, I AM the spiritual light in a world of darkness:
I am the Light that shines through the cosmos; if you walk with Me, you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life and will not know darkness.
My beloved disciple John emphasizes throughout his gospel that I AM this Light. My light shines through the darkness of the entire cosmos. My light shines into the deepest darkness of your world. My light shines out of My life's darkest moments to give you light in your darkest of moments.

As I journey through the darkness of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, trials, and crucifixion, My light will still shine. My light will shine on and shine into the darkness and never will be truly extinguished, not even in My death. Remember this truth as I submit to the Father's will and let Satan have his way with Me on the cross. Even as darkness appears to have overcome Me and scattered and shattered those who love Me, My light shines and gives hope to those trapped in the deepest darkness:
Before time itself was measured, the Voice [the Son] was speaking. The Voice was and is God. This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator; His speech shaped the entire cosmos. Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him. His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light — a light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched.
(John 1:1-5)
I AM this Light! I AM this Voice. I AM this Word. You can believe Me. My message can be trusted, and My light can bring you life!
Verses to Live

In your darkest moments, how do you find the will to go on? In your darkness, where do you find light? Please hear My words. Trust Me. Come to Me and let Me give you light!
On another occasion, Jesus spoke to the crowds again.

Jesus:
I am the Light that shines through the cosmos; if you walk with Me, you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life and will not know darkness.
Pharisees:
Jesus, what You are claiming about Yourself cannot possibly be true. The only person bearing witness is You.
Jesus:
Even if I am making bold claims about Myself — Who I am, what I have come to do — I am speaking the truth. You see, I know where I came from and where I will go when I am done here. You know neither where I come from nor where I will go. You spend your time judging by the wrong criteria, by human standards; but I am not here to judge anyone. If I were to judge, then My judgment would be based on truth; but I would not judge anyone alone. I act in harmony with the One Who sent Me. Your law states that if the testimonies of two witnesses agree, their testimony is true. Well, I testify about Myself, and so does the Father Who sent Me here.
Pharisees:
Where is the Father Who testifies on Your behalf?
Jesus:
You don't know the Father or Me. If you knew Me, then you would also know the Father.
Jesus said all of these things in the treasury while He was teaching in the temple; followers and opponents alike gathered to hear Him, but none of His enemies tried to seize Him because His time had not yet come.
(John 8:12-20)
Response in Prayer

O Father of mercy and God of all grace, how can I appropriately thank You for Your indescribable gift in Jesus, Who gives me Your life and brings me Your light? I choose to walk with Jesus and His light. I choose to step out of the darkness and into His light. I choose to follow His words and live my life for You. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 04 Mar 2017, 10:21 pm

"Caught in the Act" — A Year with Jesus for 03/04/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Disciple,

So what did I write in the dirt with My finger?

I know many of you have wondered this about the episode in the verses below. However, don't let your question lead you to miss the message of this intersection of a woman's sin, the religious leaders' misguided zeal to trap Me, and My explicit grace that reaches out to an exploited and embarrassed woman with no place to hide her sin and shame.

Life is hard. People grow desperate. Simply to survive, some resort to things they once thought reprehensible and impossible. I do not condone the sin, but I understand the terrible power that life, culture, religion, and poverty can exert to trap people in the cruel grip of evil's hand. If you examine my own list of ancestors, you will find "the prostitute Rahab", who was in the lineage of King David (Matthew 1:5-6). Her faith in the Father's ability to protect her and her family is legendary and earned her a place in My "Faith Hall of Fame" (Hebrews 11:4-38). Rahab trusted that as the Father empowered the people of Israel to be victorious over the mighty walled city of Jericho, he would also care for a desperate woman trying to protect and to provide for her family (Hebrews 11:31).

The unnamed woman in the story below was "caught in the act" of her sin and shame. She was caught, however, not to prevent evil or to promote righteousness, but to bait Me into a religious trap. The Spirit emphasized this point — "caught in the act" — twice to show the scandal, not only the scandal of the woman but also the scandal of the self-righteous "scribes and Pharisees".

Where is the man involved in this woman's sin? Where is the righteous indignation of the "scribes and Pharisees" for his sin? How did they know where and how and when to catch this woman in their trap and yet not include him? Why would they choose to humiliate her instead of redeeming her or preventing the sin in the first place? Why place her on the raging fire of their hatred intended for Me, subjecting her to indignity at the cost of her humanity?

Deep in their souls, they knew that their vile hearts had gotten the better of their desire to be holy and righteous — that their acts were more obscene than hers. My writing in the sand and My words of warning reached the hearts of the most mature, most decent and good, among the mob.

Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud... The bone-crushing weight of large stones carried by the accusers fell to the dirt. The shuffling of sandaled feet slowly drifted from notice as the woman's accusers turned away, leaving Me alone with this scared and humiliated woman. There, in that sacred moment, I was caught by John's words... "caught in the act" of explicit grace — grace to save this child of God from a mob propelled by hate and grace to save her to live the fresh daily grace of life not in bondage to sin. She would no longer be known as the woman "caught in the act" of sin, but the woman "caught in the act" of My redeeming and explicit grace.

You will journey with Me the next several weeks as I move toward My cross and resurrection. You, like this woman, are saved by My intervention into your life with grace:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
(Romans 5:6-10 NIV — bold added for emphasis.)

As one saved by My grace, what "I ask is that you go and from now on avoid the sins that plague you"! I want you to realize that I didn't just save you from sin, but that I also saved you for sharing My grace with others through your good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Verses to Live

As you read John's account of this emotionally-charged moment, think of the shame you carry for the sin that you've hidden and that you hope daily will stay concealed. Now read this story and realize that you are in the same situation as this woman at the end of the story — that you are "caught in the act" of My explicit grace.
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. He awoke early in the morning to return to the temple. When He arrived, the people surrounded Him, so He sat down and began to teach them. While He was teaching, the scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman who was caught in the act of adultery; and they stood her before Jesus.

Pharisees:
Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. Moses says in the law that we are to kill such women by stoning. What do You say about it?
This was all set up as a test for Jesus; His answers would give them grounds to accuse Him of crimes against Moses' law. Jesus bent over and wrote something in the dirt with His finger. They persisted in badgering Jesus, so He stood up straight.

Jesus:
Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.
Once again Jesus bent down to the ground and resumed writing with His finger. The Pharisees who heard Him stood still for a few moments and then began to leave slowly, one by one, beginning with the older men. Eventually only Jesus and the woman remained, and Jesus looked up.

Jesus:
Dear woman, where is everyone? Are we alone? Did no one step forward to condemn you?
Woman Caught in Adultery:
Lord, no one has condemned me.
Jesus:
Well, I do not condemn you either; all I ask is that you go and from now on avoid the sins that plague you.
(John 8:1-11)
Response in Prayer

Father, there are no adequate words to say, other than "Thank You!" Thank You for becoming flesh in Jesus. Thank You for Your grace to save me from my sin and for the grace to call me to a greater purpose and life lived for Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 3:08 pm

"Down from the Mountain" — A Year with Jesus for 03/03/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

I know that you love mountain-top experiences. Unfortunately, sooner or later you have to come down from the mountain and face the realities of life on earth. As you read the verses below from Luke the physician, remember that I had to face very similar realities when I came down from My mountain-top experience with the Father and with My disciples, Moses, and Elijah (Luke 9:28-36).

When I came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, I faced several very frustrating realities:
The crowds that swarmed around Me everywhere I went were waiting for Me at the bottom of the mountain. I loved the people, but a lot of people in the crowds were not really interested in Who I AM or in coming to faith. They were mostly interested in what they could get from Me. Dealing with the crowds in My ministry was hard on Me.
There was a man who had a very difficult situation with his son. I hate for Satan to hold anyone in his evil grip or torment any family. This situation needed a remedy, but the man and his son had not received one.
My disciples, who had been given authoritative power and had recently been personally involved in several miraculous experiences, found themselves "incapable" of helping the man and his son. Their lack of faith was frustrating and disappointing to Me.
However, I want you to notice what I did in this situation:
Rather than getting knocked off track by the crowds and the lack of faithful and decisive action by My disciples, I did what needed to be done for this loving father and his demon-afflicted son.
I made the boy whole and freed him from the demonic spirit that troubled him.
God was praised by the crowd and a family was restored — full shalom was given in the face of a demonic attack!
Verses to Live

So here are several things I hope that you will take away from Luke's telling of this event in My life.

First, because of deep disappointment with people I knew well and loved, I experienced great frustration in being brought back down to earth after having a mountain-top experience. Please remember you are not alone when you face these kinds of frustrations. I know your hurt, and I will never leave you or forsake you.

Second, good and godly people don't always do the right thing or even realize the power available to them. It is frustrating, and they sometimes need to be sternly reminded to expect more, but don't give up on them.

Third, remember the point in ministering to people: Don't minister to get glory for yourself, but minister to bless those who hurt, to bring praise to the Father, and to bless the Father's children with joy.

Before the events in the accompanying scripture, Peter, James, and John had just witnessed My transfiguration — they experienced Me in My glory with Moses and Elijah. The Father told them to listen to Me! After this glorious experience, this glimpse of kingdom power, they were soon brought back to earth by what awaited them.
They [Jesus, Peter, James, and John] came down the mountain, and the next day yet another huge crowd gathered around Jesus. There was a man in the crowd who shouted out.

Man in Crowd:
Teacher! Please come and look at my son here, my only child. From time to time, a demonic spirit seizes him. It makes him scream and go into convulsions. He foams at the mouth. It nearly destroys him and only leaves after causing him great distress. While You were up on the mountain, I begged Your disciples to liberate him from this spirit, but they were incapable of helping us.
Jesus:
O generation faithless, twisted, and crooked, how long can I be with you? How much can I bear? Bring your boy here.
The boy had taken a few steps toward Jesus when suddenly the demon seemed to rip into the boy, throwing him into convulsions. Jesus spoke sternly to the demonic spirit, and the boy was healed. Jesus presented the boy to his father.

The crowd began cheering and discussing this amazing healing and the power of God...
(Luke 9:37-43)
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, I confess that I get frustrated with Your people who can't seem to get it. I am even more frustrated with myself because I often don't trust that You can use me to do Your great work of blessing others. So today, dear Father, I ask for a holy balance of patience and passion. I pray for personal faith to trust that You, O Father, are the great "Enabler" — that You can make my insufficiencies into effective capabilities! I pray for patience with the spiritual development of others and myself, yet ask for an urgent passion to believe that Jesus can do great things through our efforts to bless others and bring You 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.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 02 Mar 2017, 9:55 pm


"When Life Is Hard" — A Year with Jesus for 03/02/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

There are times when life is very hard. Remember when I fed 5,000 people out of five loaves and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21)? The people were tired, the hour was late, and My disciples were not ready to handle the problem. So I want to remind you where I was emotionally before all of this started.

Herod had just killed My cousin and great forerunner, John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). I felt both the personal loss of this great servant of God and also the burden of knowing that John's fate would soon be My own (Matthew 17:10-13). I was trying to get away to a quiet place and pray when the crowd found Me. Matthew sensitively describes My situation:
And so he [Herod] sent orders to the prison to have John beheaded, and there was his head, displayed on a platter, given first to Salome and then passed on to her mother.

John's disciples went to the prison, got John's body, and buried him. Then they went to tell Jesus.

When Jesus learned what had happened, He got on a boat and went away to spend some time in a private place. The crowds, of course, followed Jesus on foot from their cities. Though Jesus wanted solitude, when He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, and He healed the sick and the lame.
(Matthew 14:10-14)
I share this because I want you to realize that I know about life being hard — about needing to grieve and regroup by being alone, yet not being allowed to have that time. So when your life caves in around you, please don't believe the lies of the enemy that I don't care about your pain and that your pain doesn't matter to the Father. There will be times when you are tempted to feel that the devil's lie is true, but please remember the real truth. I know human anguish. I know it not just because I am God, but also because I have been mortal, God Who is one of you. I know what it's like to face the storms of life and feel like they are going to swallow you whole. That is why what happens next is so important for you to believe.

As I tried to be alone with the Father, I sent the disciples away. Soon, they were overwhelmed in their boat by a storm. What they were facing physically, I was facing emotionally. Nevertheless, I went to be with them. In the middle of My raging emotional storm, I entered into their battle with their storm.

While I was approaching them in the storm, Peter did what early Peter often did: he made a bit of a mess of things by presuming to do something the others would never dream to do. But don't miss this truth: he did it! He walked on the water to Me until he became distracted by the storm. Still, in the roiling power of the storm, this seasoned fisherman — this man so familiar with survival in the sea and her storms — didn't try to save himself. Instead, Peter cried out to Me to save him, and I rescued him.

So here's the deal. When you are going through your own storms, call out to Me. Welcome Me into the middle of your messes, trials, struggles, and storms. When you do, I will join you in them. You will never be alone (Hebrews 13:5-6). When My arrival seems to take forever, don't despair. I will come to you in the storm. You may not recognize My presence at first, but keep looking for me. I will be there. One way or another, I will get you to your true destination. You will find rest, hope, and peace for your soul.

Don't forget, I know what it's like to face the worst storms of life, and I will not abandon you to fight them alone.
Verses to Live

Please read this account of these important events in My life. They are taken from both Matthew's account and John's account of these events. It is more than a story; it just may be your story or the story of a friend. Remember, I won't abandon you in the storm. Look for Me when the storm seems most fierce and you can't figure out how to go on — or even better, look for Me at all times and in all situations in your life and stay with Me so you will be ready for whatever comes.
Immediately [after feeding the 5,000] Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on to the other side of the sea while He dismissed the crowd. Then, after the crowd had gone, Jesus went up to a mountaintop alone (as He had intended from the start). As evening descended, He stood alone on the mountain, praying.

The boat was in the water, some distance from land, buffeted and pushed around by waves and wind. Deep in the night, when He had concluded His prayers, Jesus walked out on the water to His disciples in their boat.
(Matthew 14:22-25)

After rowing three or four miles through the stormy seas, they [the disciples] spotted Jesus approaching the boat walking mysteriously upon the deep waters that surrounded them. They panicked.

Jesus (to the disciples):
I AM the One. Don't be afraid.
(John 6:19-20)

Peter:
Lord, if it is really You, then command me to meet You on the water.
Jesus:
Indeed, come.
Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and began walking toward Jesus. But when he remembered how strong the wind was, his courage caught in his throat and he began to sink.

Peter:
Master, save me!
Immediately Jesus reached for Peter and caught him.

Jesus:
O you of little faith. Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between following Me and heeding fear?
Then Jesus and Peter climbed in the boat together, and the wind became still.
(Matthew 14:28-32)

They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel; and when He stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they were ashore at their destination.
(John 6:21)

And the disciples worshiped Him.

Disciples:
Truly You are the Son of God.
(Matthew 14:33)
Response in Prayer

O Father, give me courage in my storms to call out to Jesus. Give me courage in my weakness to find Jesus' strength in my storms so that I can welcome Him to me and can find peace, hope, and strength for my soul. In Jesus' name, I pray.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Mar 2017, 11:28 pm

"A Different Kind of Savings Plan" — A Year with Jesus for 03/01/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

As I will say in the verses below, what I am talking to you about today is a matter of urgency:
I'm not just talking theory. There is urgency in all this.
I am calling you to live by a different economy from those in the world around you! You need to live with kingdom urgency and invest your life in what truly matters.

Now some of you are not sure what I mean when I use the term kingdom. Ultimately, the kingdom will come fully when I return and bring those who are Mine home to the Father. But, I want to remind you that I taught you to pray these words:
Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this:
Our Father in heaven, let Your name remain holy. Bring about Your kingdom. Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven.
(Matthew 6:9-10)
When I taught you to pray this way, I wasn't talking about just the ultimate coming of the kingdom when I return for you. I was also talking about bringing the way of life that reflects Our (Father, Son, and Spirit's) nature into your world. When you pray this way, you are saying that you want Our righteous character and gracious compassion to enter the world right now through you. You are making a commitment to that kind of prayer that you will treat others, especially the weak and vulnerable, the way that I treated them when I was on earth. That means that your approach to money, investing, friendship, work, forgiveness, accountability, sexual ethics, gender relations, purity, along with a host of other things, will demonstrate what I taught and lived when I was on earth.

To bring the kingdom to your time, you have to live counter-culturally to the world around you. You must live for something other than what the people around you pursue. There is an urgency about this. Your younger and emerging adults have great skepticism about My followers and their churches because they have not seen this kingdom urgency in you.

So much of their skepticism can be blamed on some disingenuous leaders and greedy imposters claiming to be My shepherds. These charlatans have crowded the media stage, begging for money and pronouncing a morality that they personally do not live. While the vast majority of the leaders in My church are good and decent people, the few who have made headlines have played right into the devil's hands so he could make Me and those who follow Me look bad.

Another problem is that so few of My followers actually live with kingdom urgency. Listen to My words of warning in the verses below about being "apathetic" and "complacent". Seek My kingdom first — seek the righteousness and compassion that I demonstrated in My ministry. The Father longs to give you the kingdom, yet you must be seeking it, longing for it, and living it if you are going to see My kingdom come!
Verses to Live

As you read these words from Luke, please know this: if you live for My kingdom and My righteousness, you will be investing in what can't be stolen, won't decay, and will never depreciate. Your heart will pursue what I pursued. And the Father? Well, the Father will be overjoyed to give you what your heart has pursued!
Jesus to His disciples:
My little flock, don't be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father's great joy is to give you His kingdom.

That means you can sell your possessions and give generously to the poor. You can have a different kind of savings plan: one that never depreciates, one that never defaults, one that can't be plundered by crooks or destroyed by natural calamities. Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well.

I'm not just talking theory. There is urgency in all this. If you're apathetic and complacent, then you'll miss the moment of opportunity. You should be wide awake and on your toes like servants who are waiting for their master to return from a big wedding reception. They'll have their shoes on and their lamps lit so they can open the door for him as soon as he arrives home. How fortunate those servants will be when the master knocks and they open the door immediately! You know what the master will do? He'll put on an apron, sit them down at the kitchen table, and he'll serve them a midnight snack. The later he comes home — whether it's at midnight or even later, just before dawn — the more fortunate the alert servants will be.

In contrast, imagine a complacent, apathetic household manager whose house gets robbed. If he had been aware that thieves were waiting in the bushes and what hour they were coming, he would have watched and he never would have left the house! I'm trying to tell you that these are times for alertness, times requiring a sense of urgency and intensity, because like the master in the first story or the thief in the second, the Son of Man shows up by surprise.
Peter:
Lord, I'm not sure if this parable is intended only for us disciples or if this is for everyone else too.
Jesus:
Imagine the stories of two household managers, and decide for yourself which one is faithful and smart. Each household manager is told by his master to take good care of all his possessions and to oversee the other employees — the butlers, cooks, gardeners, and so on. One servant immediately busies himself in doing just what he was told. His master eventually comes to check on him and rewards him with a major promotion and with more responsibility and trust. The other household manager thinks, "Look, my boss is going to be gone for a long time. I can be complacent; there's no urgency here." So he beats the other employees — the women as well as the men. He sits around like a slob, eating and getting drunk. Then the boss comes home unexpectedly and catches him by surprise. One household manager will be fortunate indeed, and the other will be cut into pieces and thrown out.

Now if a servant who is given clear instructions by his master doesn't follow those instructions but instead is complacent and apathetic, then he will be punished severely. But if a servant doesn't know what his master expects and behaves badly, then he will receive a lighter punishment. If you are given much, much will be required of you. If much is entrusted to you, much will be expected of you.
(Luke 12:32-48)
Response in Prayer

O Abba Father, I want the prayer that Jesus taught us to be my own prayer:
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.*
In the name of the Lord Jesus and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, I pray this. Amen.

* From Luke 11:2-4.
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 28 Feb 2017, 7:42 pm

"The Blindness of Fear" — A Year with Jesus for 02/28/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Have you ever been blinded by fear? Have your decisions ever been erratic or inappropriate because you were acting out of terror and confusion? Have you ever done something really stupid because you were trying to deny oncoming reality and wanted to do anything possible to avoid finding out what might happen?

Don't be too hard on My disciples in the events you read about below. They really looked like insensitive clods in several of the next events in My life because they were confused and fearful. They had risked everything to follow Me. They had seen Me do amazing miracles — feed thousands, still storms, raise the dead, heal the sick, and cast out demons. So they were having a hard time processing My repeated warnings of My impending crucifixion. As Luke describes it below, "they felt too afraid to ask" Me what I was describing because they didn't want to believe there could be a catastrophe in our future together.

Let those words settle into your heart — "they felt too afraid to ask"!

Most people reach this place of fear at some point in their lives. They need to know, they need to understand what is about to happen, they need to realize what is ahead, but... they feel too afraid to ask anyone, including Me, about what lies ahead. So they end up in arguments over "stupid and vain" questions. In the face of fear, they need to know they belong to Me and are important to Me.

So please know the following truths:

First, you don't need to have all the answers to people's problems, but I do want you to serve those who are vulnerable.

Second, don't discount the good things others do in My name just because you don't recognize them as part of your group. If they are doing good in My name, then I can use their efforts for the good of the kingdom.

Third, beloved disciple, don't be too hard on yourself when fear grips you and blinds you about your future. When your fear leads you to do or say dumb, insensitive, or inappropriate things, learn from and don't repeat your mistakes but don't beat yourself up. Remember, there will never be a place that you travel in your life that I will not go with you and ultimately bring you safely home to the Father.
Verses to Live

Be encouraging and tender with those who do dumb things because they are afraid or in denial or find themselves confused about the future. Watch how I prepare My disciples as I minister to them on My way to the crucifixion and resurrection. While I do get frustrated with them at times, notice how I warn them of the truth about what is coming and prepare them for what lies ahead. Notice that at other times I leave them promises about the future and assurances that I will not abandon them, but send the Spirit to them. Especially notice how I leave seeds of truth for them to discover as the events unfold — seeds of truth that give them strength for their important ministry ahead. The following verses are just the first stage in My journey to Jerusalem where rejection and the cross await me. So watch how I treat those closest to Me as they journey into the heart of their most unimaginable fears.
Jesus:
Listen. Listen hard. Let these words get down deep: the Son of Man is going to be turned over to the authorities and arrested.
They [the disciples] had no idea what He meant by this; they heard the words but missed the meaning, and they felt too afraid to ask Him to explain further.

Later the close followers of Jesus began to argue over the stupid and vain question, "Which one of us is the greatest disciple?"

Jesus saw what was going on — not just the argument, but the deeper heart issues — so He found a child and had the child stand beside Him.

Jesus:
See this little one? Whoever welcomes a little child in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One Who sent Me. The smallest one among you is therefore the greatest.
John:
Master, we found this fellow casting out demons. He said he was doing it in Your name, but he's not one of our group. So we told him to stop.
Jesus:
What? No! Don't think like that! Whoever is not working against you is working with you.
(Luke 9:44-50)
Response in Prayer

Dear Father, sometimes fear about things I cannot control makes me do dumb things. Sometimes, dear Father, fear about the future for those I love makes my heart waver and my faith weak. Please, dear God, hear my prayers. Show me Your presence. Give me strength to face each tomorrow. In my confusion and frustration, I need to experience Your nearness, or I cannot handle what is ahead or minister to others in a way that blesses them and honors You. In Jesus' name, I offer up my heart and my deepest fears to You. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 7:09 pm

Hold My Miracle in Your Hands!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/27/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

Before you read anything else, I want you to hear the ending of the verses below from the events leading up to and then the actual "feeding of the 5000":
Everyone eats. Everyone is satisfied. Nobody goes away hungry. In fact, when the disciples recover the leftovers, they have 12 baskets full of broken pieces.
There are many things you could focus upon in the verses below:
The ministry of My disciples to proclaim and demonstrate My good news.
Herod's fear of Me and curiosity about Me.
The confusion over My ministry and the ministry of John the Baptist.
My trying to get away from the crowds to be alone with My closest disciples.
The crowd's finding Me late in the day and needing a meal, so I feed them using only 5 loaves and 2 fish.
However, I want you to focus on two key things out of this series of events: the disciples' lack of faith and My sufficiency!

No matter how many great things My disciples had already done, they — like you — still had their doubts when faced with an overwhelming problem. And actually, I created the problem for them because I wanted them to learn this lesson just like I want you to learn this lesson (John 6:5-6). When they came running up to Me with their faithless solution for the problem of so many hungry and tired people, I gave them this command: "You give them something to eat."

When they didn't get what I was trying to help them see, notice what I did and what things happened to open their eyes:
I gave them a plan.
I took their meager resources.
I asked the Father to bless those meager resources.
I broke the fish and the bread for them to serve to the people.
I had them distribute the food to organized and orderly groups of people.
Everyone ate and was satisfied.
There were 12 baskets full of leftovers, one for each of my doubting apostles.
They each got to hold My miracle in their own hands!

Years before, when a scared and shy Gideon didn't think he was up to the challenge of liberating Our people, the Father had told him to "go in the strength that you have and save" My people (Judges 6:14 NIV). I was basically telling My disciples the same thing:
You only have 5 loaves and 2 fish. No big deal. You have Me! You have faith! You've already done great things to bless people. So bring what you have to Me and let Me make it sufficient. Go in the strength and with the resources you have and discover what you can do with My blessing!
Now they didn't get the point at first, but they surely did after I blessed the fish and bread, told them how to distribute them, had them feed the crowd, and then had them pick up the leftovers! They held My miracle in their hands!

So what's it going to take with you? When you are faced with monumental opportunities too big for you to meet, will you bring what you have to Me? Will you go in the strength that you have and trust that I can make you sufficient? Will you get to hold My miracle in your hands?
Verses to Live

The following events come together to form a powerful story. It's the see-saw of My disciples' faith: they do great things, they face a greater challenge and doubt, I step in, and then they experience the power of God at work in them to do more than they could have imagined. But, for you, let's avoid the see-saw: believe that I can make your efforts for the Kingdom sufficient as you trust Me and do what I ask of you!
The disciples left on their journeys from village to village. They preached the good news, and they healed the sick everywhere they went.

Their mission didn't go unnoticed. The local official installed by Rome, Herod, was especially anxious about the news because rumors were flying. Some people said that Elijah or one of the other ancient prophets had been resurrected, while others said that John, famous for his ritual cleansing, was alive and preaching again.

Herod:
I am the one who beheaded John. So Who is this man Who is causing such a stir?
Herod was curious about Jesus and wanted to see Him.

The emissaries whom Jesus had sent out returned, and Jesus took them away from the crowds for a time of retreat in a city called Bethsaida. They gave Jesus a full report of their accomplishments and experiences. But soon the crowds discovered where they were and pursued Him. Jesus didn't turn them away; He welcomed them, spoke of the kingdom of God to them, and brought health to those who needed healing.

Picture what happened while in Bethsaida, where Jesus and His disciples were spending time with the crowds:

The sun is low in the sky, and soon it will be dusk. The twelve come to Jesus with advice.

Disciples:
Send the crowd away so they can find lodging and food in the nearby villages and countryside. We're out here in the middle of nowhere.
Jesus:
No. You give them something to eat.
Disciples:
Are You kidding? There are at least 5,000 men here, not to mention women and children. All we have are five loaves and two fish. The only way we could provide for them would be to go to a nearby city and buy cartloads of food. That would cost a small fortune.
Jesus:
Just do this: organize them in little communities of about 50 people each and have them sit down.
They do what Jesus says, and soon groups of 50 are scattered across the landscape.

Then Jesus takes the five loaves and two fish, and He looks up to heaven. He praises God for the food, takes each item, and breaks it into fragments. Then He gives fragments to the twelve disciples and tells them to distribute the food to the crowd.

Everyone eats. Everyone is satisfied. Nobody goes away hungry. In fact, when the disciples recover the leftovers, they have 12 baskets full of broken pieces.
(Luke 9:6-17)
Response in Prayer

Father, I face an uphill battle to make a difference in my world for Your glory and for the growth of Your people. I need Your grace to strengthen my faith and courage to launch out with that faith, leaving the results of my efforts and the sufficiency of my resources to Your power. So please help me, dear Lord I pray, to have more faith and courage to serve in the strength that I have! 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 Sun 26 Feb 2017, 9:40 pm


"Let Me Decide!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/26/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Disciple,

Satan uses a very effective form of temptation on many of you who are My followers. He gets you to avoid looking at your own personal weaknesses and tempts you to focus on other people's faults. Before long, you find others you don't think measure up and aren't as fruitful as you think they should be. You can grow angry because you are discouraged by those who claim to follow Me and yet live showing no loyalty to Me at all in their lifestyles. You are frustrated because unbelievers point to the hypocrites in My churches and use them to bolster their claim that Christianity doesn't really matter. There can be times when you wish someone would just run out all the "fake followers" so there wouldn't be so much spiritual drag on your worship, mission, and influence.

Please remember that I warned you in several of My parables that many would claim to be My followers while their lives revealed something very different. Some among you are new disciples and don't fully know My way and need time to mature. Others are weak and succumb to temptation easily, but they truly love Me and need help to grow stronger and have someone walk alongside them. Even some hypocrites have good hearts; they just haven't surrendered all of that heart to My lordship and need to be challenged to love Me with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Please hear the two-part warning in the parable below.

First, My church, My people, My spiritual family on earth does not exist in a vacuum. Satan and his demonic forces wage war against Me, My people, and My church. My enemy plants fake believers in the middle of true believers. He does so to drag you down, discourage you, and hopefully diminish your spiritual passion. The evil one longs to give ammunition to your critics and discourage those trying to decide whether or not to follow Me. Don't let this situation discourage you. Instead, use this knowledge to help those who are not faithfully following Me to come to full faith in Me and to follow Me as their Lord and Savior.

Second, however, you should not try to decide who is a true disciple and who is a fake disciple. It's My job to expose what is false and what is genuine. Please don't destroy My church by ripping up someone who is precious to Me. Let Me handle discerning between good fruit and bad fruit. Most of this I will do at the end of time. I will do this with My angels — the heavenly messengers.

In the meantime, let's work together on you. Let's be honest about where you are in your spiritual journey. Are you fully following Me? Do you struggle being a new disciple? Do you have periods when you are weak? Do you catch yourself being hypocritical in what you say you believe and what you actually live? Do you find yourself being cynical about the faithfulness of other believers? Whatever is holding you back, please, let's work on it together as we journey through the New Testament this year!

Remember, I long to help you "shine like the sun in the Father's Kingdom"!
Verses to Live

In this parable, faithful disciples are described as "good seeds," and the unfaithful are "weeds." You — and everyone else — get to decide which you will be. As you undoubtedly know, the initial decision to be faithful frequently is not enough. Most people need frequent recommitment and the help and encouragement of others. Don't automatically categorize others who are not completely faithful to Me as being among the "weeds." Rather, you may be able to provide just the help and encouragement that they need, while at the same time being careful not to become one of the weeds yourself.
Jesus told them another parable.

Jesus:
The kingdom of heaven is like this: Once there was a farmer who sowed good seeds in his field. While the farmer's workers were sleeping, his enemy crept into the field and sowed weeds among all the wheat seeds. Then he snuck away again. Eventually the crops grew — wheat, but also weeds. So the farmer's workers said to him, "Sir, why didn't you sow good seeds in your field? Where did these weeds come from?"

"My enemy must have done this," replied the farmer.

"Should we go pull up all the weeds?" asked his workers.

"No," said the farmer. "It's too risky. As you pull up the weeds, you would probably pull up some wheat as well. We'll let them both grow until harvest time. I will tell the harvesters to collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, and only then to harvest the wheat and bring it to my barn.
...

Then Jesus left the crowds and returned to ... [the] house. His disciples followed Him.

Disciples:
Explain to us the story You told about the weeds.
Jesus:
The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed represents the children of the Kingdom. The weeds— who do you think the weeds are? They are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who threw the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the workers are God's heavenly messengers. In the parable, I told you the weeds would be pulled up and burned — well, that is how it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send His messengers out into the world, and they will root out from His kingdom everything that is poisonous, ugly, and malicious, and everyone who does evil. They will throw all that wickedness into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. And the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. He who has ears to hear let him hear.
(Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43)
Response in Prayer

Father, help me not grow cynical with those who claim to be Christians but who live their lives as if they couldn't care less. Use me to encourage my brothers and sisters to a deeper walk with you. I know that our spiritual family, our church fellowship, doesn't exist in a vacuum and that Satan opposes us. But Father, I believe the power You have given me in the Holy Spirit can help me triumph over the evil one. I want to shine like the sun in Your kingdom and bring You glory. I want to help your kingdom come on earth now, just as it exists in heaven. In Jesus' name and for Jesus' glory, 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 25 Feb 2017, 11:16 pm

A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
"For Those Seeking" — A Year with Jesus for 02/25/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Seeker,

Folks have talked for centuries about My methods as a teacher. Many have been intrigued by My stories that are often called parables — "everyday stories with heavenly meanings" is one description of them. There are several reasons I told these stories:
Using stories with subjects and items that you see in your everyday life allows My stories to be recalled when you see the subject or item in your daily experiences.
Stories are often better remembered than instruction because you use different parts of your brain to process stories.
I occasionally like to sneak a humorous, ironic, or happy element into the stories to make them fun as well as memorable.
Stories often elicit more emotion than simply making a point without the stories.
My stories often make you think to gather the meaning or truth behind the story. I like to make you think! Thinking makes you own the truth because you've discovered it instead of having someone spoon-feed it to you.
I always challenge you to follow Me as your Lord, to seek to bring My kingdom to your world, and to place your loyalty fully with Me. I want you to be a seeker — a seeker of My kingdom and a seeker of My truth. Your commitment to being a seeker opens the door for My stories to reveal God's truth.

However, there is an element of My stories that some miss even though I emphasize this truth in My teaching. My stories not only reveal truth, but they also can conceal truth.

Those who do not seek Me and who do not seek My kingdom first will have the truth of many of My stories concealed from their hearts. There are several reasons for this concealment. Sometimes things are concealed from non-seekers in My stories because:
The stories could get believers in trouble. In cultures pressured to express their first loyalty to king and country, some of My teachings are quite dangerous for believers.
Some non-seekers have hard hearts. They can't understand because they don't want to understand. They don't believe because they won't believe.
The promises and hopes of a certain story are only for believers, seekers, and followers.
My stories explain hidden and obscure truths that are beyond the understanding of non-seekers because of their lack of faith — they do not share the worldview of a seeker.
Remember the promise I made to you in My Sermon on the Mount?
"Just ask and it will be given to you; seek after it and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will be opened for you. All who ask receive. Those who seek, find what they seek. And he who knocks, will have the door opened."
(Matthew 7:7-8)
Well, it's true, and using this ASK principle (asking, seeking, and knocking) when you look at My stories is one of the ways you can discover this truth for yourself! So ASK. The Spirit of Truth within you, the Holy Spirit I sent to be with you and inside you, will help unlock the meaning and mystery of My stories and guide you into all truth!
Verses to Live

There is a vital reality that is a great reason for you, as a seeker, to rejoice. What is this reality? It is that I will open your minds and explain the truths of my stories if you will ask. As is illustrated at the end of the verses below, My disciples requested an explanation of one of My parables. The verses tomorrow show that I responded to the disciples' request.
Jesus gave all these teachings to the crowd in parables. Indeed, He spoke only in parables in fulfillment of the prophetic words of the psalms:
I will open My mouth in parables;
I will tell them things that have been hidden and obscure since the very beginning of the world.
Then Jesus left the crowds and returned to ... [the] house. His disciples followed Him.

Disciples:
Explain to us the story You told about...
(Matthew 13:34-36)
Response in Prayer

O Father, thank You for the stories of Jesus. O Lord Jesus, thank You for sharing the mysteries and truths of heaven with me in stories. O Holy Spirit, please open my heart to receive the truth of Jesus, please open my mind to understand the truth of Jesus, and please use my hands to do the work of bringing Jesus' kingdom to this world. 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. '
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Fri 24 Feb 2017, 6:21 pm

"Take Me Into Your Heart" — A Year with Jesus for 02/24/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

Don't miss the heartbreak of the events described in the Scripture below. Despite all I had said and had done, people turned away from Me. As long as I would do miracles for them, they were quite happy to hang around with Me. But when I would not do their wish list miracles-on-demand and when I told them the truth about My divinity, they got testy with Me and My followers. In fact, many quit following Me.

So here's the challenge. You need to take Me — My truth, My power, and My words — into your heart. Some of the things I ask of you will be hard — some of them hard to do and some of them hard to understand. But here's the point: to the best of your ability and empowered by the Holy Spirit within you, do what I ask, believe what I say, and live what I teach. My words are life-giving and life-preserving. The Holy Spirit is at work giving you guidance, using you in My service, and conforming you to My words.

There will be times when you are confused. Some of that confusion will be because life is hard. Sometimes your confusion will come from your own selfishness and rebelliousness. Some of your confusion will be there because some of what I say can be hard to understand or you are not ready for it. But despite all the shortcomings you can find in Peter and My other apostles, please notice Peter's words — spoken for all of the apostles. I asked if they would walk away from Me, too, and this is what Peter said:
"Lord, if we were to go, whom would we follow? You speak the words that give everlasting life. We believe and recognize that You are the Holy One sent by God."
Verses to Live

Notice all the back-and-forth below in John's account. There is a lot of talk about faith. Bottom line: just TALK about faith really doesn't mean much. What matters is what Peter and the apostles DO: they (except for Judas) risk all to follow Me because of their choice to believe in Me even when many are turning away from Me:
Some of the Jews began to grumble quietly against Him [Jesus] because He said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."

Crowd:
Isn't Jesus the son of Joseph? We know His parents! We know where He came from, so how can He claim to have "come down from heaven"?
Jesus:
Stop grumbling under your breaths. If the Father Who sent Me does not draw you, then there's no way you can come to Me. But I will resurrect everyone who does come on the last day. Among the prophets, it's written, "Everyone will be taught of God." So everyone who has heard and learned from the Father finds Me. No one has seen the Father, except the One sent from God. He has seen the Father. I am telling you the truth: the one who accepts these things has eternal life. I am the bread that gives life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died as you know. But there is another bread that comes from heaven; if you eat this bread, you will not die. I am the living bread that has come down from heaven to rescue those who eat it. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. The bread that I will give breathes life into the cosmos. This bread is My flesh.
The low whispers of some of Jesus' detractors turned into an out-and-out debate.

Crowd:
What is He talking about? How is He able to give us His flesh to eat?
Jesus:
I tell you the truth; unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not know life. If you eat My flesh and drink My blood, then you will have eternal life and I will raise you up at the end of time. My flesh and blood provide true nourishment. If you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you will abide in Me and I will abide in you. The Father of life Who sent Me has given life to Me; and as you eat My flesh, I will give life to you. This is bread that came down from heaven; I am not like the manna that your fathers ate and then died! If you eat this bread, your life will never end.
He spoke these words in the synagogue as part of His teaching mission in Capernaum. Many disciples heard what He said, and they had questions of their own.

Disciples:
How are we supposed to understand all of this? It is a hard teaching.
Jesus was aware that even His disciples were murmuring about this.

Jesus:
Has My teaching offended you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to return to where He came from? The Spirit brings life. The flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have been teaching you are spirit and life, but some of you do not believe.
From the first day Jesus began to call disciples, He knew those who did not have genuine faith. He knew, too, who would betray Him.

Jesus:
This is why I have been telling you that no one comes to Me without the Father's blessing and guidance.
After hearing these teachings, many of His disciples walked away and no longer followed Jesus.

Jesus (to the twelve):
Do you want to walk away too?
Simon Peter:
Lord, if we were to go, whom would we follow? You speak the words that give everlasting life. We believe and recognize that You are the Holy One sent by God.
Jesus:
I chose each one of you, the twelve, Myself. But one of you is a devil.
This cryptic comment referred to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he was the one of the twelve who was going to betray Him.
(John 6:41-71)
Response in Prayer

Holy and Almighty God, I believe that Jesus is Your Son and my Savior. I believe that He has the words of life. I may not always understand them. I may not always want to hear them. I may wrestle with always obeying them, but Father, I do believe that Jesus gives me the words of life. I choose to believe, obey, and follow Him. I pray, dear Father, for the strength of the Holy Spirit to help me remain faithful to this commitment. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Feb 2017, 12:15 pm

More Than!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/23/2017

Why is our world so broken?
This video tells why there is pain, chaos, and death in the world. — Watch Now http://www.heartlight.org/articles/201702/20170223_whathappened.html

Note from Jesus

Dear Believer,

I know that the religious world has its share of overstatement, hyperbole, exaggeration, and sometimes even fraud. So beware of the person who is trying to get you to buy something to get some favor from Me. Don't trust anyone who teaches you to bargain with God. The mindset of "If I do this, then God will do that for me!" is really a form of idolatry. It's based on having a god you can manipulate and control for your own desires. We — Father, Son, and Spirit — can't be fit into a box or forced to jump through a hoop you've made so that you can (try to) control Us and get Us to do what you want!

On the other hand, as the one true and living God — Father, Son, and Spirit — We are the God of grace. We can and we will do more than you can ask or imagine through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in you (Ephesians 3:14-21). I am talking about the power of the kingdom — Our power within the hearts and in the people with whom We reign as King. The two little short stories below about a mustard seed and a little bit of yeast are great examples to remind you that I AM at work bringing the kingdom of God to you in mysterious and wonderful ways.

Here's your part: Submit to My lordship. Ask Me to reign over your heart as King. Now take that kingdom focus — My holy reign over your heart — into every aspect of your life. I taught you to pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10 NIV). When you pray this prayer, you are asking for My holy reign over your heart!

Your commitment to being a person who lives for Me, a person who seeks to bring My kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven," is like planting a tiny seed in the ground or putting a little yeast in a batch of dough. You don't make the seed grow. You don't make the yeast spread and the dough rise. But there is a mysterious and wonderful power unleashed when that seed is planted and that yeast is mixed into the dough.

My kingdom power and grace at work within you and through you are like that seed and that yeast. The seed sprouts and grows. The yeast spreads, penetrates, and permeates, and the dough rises. Before long, the impact of your heartfelt commitment to let My "will be done" and to let My "kingdom come" in your life and through your influence begins to change you and the world around you in ways you could never even ask or imagine!
Verses to Live

I love powerful imagery from everyday life. If I held a mustard seed between My thumb and My forefinger, no one in the crowd could see it because it is so small. The same is true about a little yeast. But wow! Look at how much they grow, expand, and bless. Such power and grace can flow through you to those around you because of My kingdom power at work in you!
Jesus ... :
Do you want to understand the kingdom of God? Do you want Me to tell you what it's like? It's like a single mustard seed that someone took and planted in his garden. That tiny seed grew and became a tree so large that the birds could fly in and make their nests in its branches.

Do you want Me to tell you what the kingdom of God is like? It's like some yeast which a woman hid within a huge quantity of flour; soon the whole batch of dough was rising.
(Luke 13:18-21)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I want Your name to be reverenced and held as holy and precious. I long for Your kingdom to come fully in my life and through my influence on others. I want the things dear to Your heart to be honored in my life. I want to be fully conformed to the character and compassion of Jesus as I trust in You for everything important, and not so important, in my life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Share on Facebook | Discuss this Verse
This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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