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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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

Post  Admin on Wed 22 Feb 2017, 11:21 pm

My Plan to Train and Teach!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/22/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Leadership and choosing leaders are very important in any group, but especially among My followers. Please notice two things of great importance in the verses below. They will help you have a lasting impact for Me in your world.

First, I prayed all night before I chose those whom I would call to be My apostles — those who would be My special emissaries to minister and lead My movement when I was gone.

I regularly withdrew to have special times of prayer with the Father to tune My heart to His mission. I also dedicated long stretches of prayer to important events in My life. Selecting My apostles was one of those watershed events. Their selection was so important that I prayed all night!

My early church family dedicated themselves to worship, prayer, and fasting to choose their leaders (Acts 13:1-3; Acts 14:23). So please, don't let choosing leaders for your group, house church, missional community, organization, or congregation become a political event. Leadership is crucial to My mission in the world. Never choose leaders without prayer!

Second, no leader, no matter how faithful or influential, can lead alone or forever. I chose twelve in whom I invested My life (Mark 3:13-19). I trained them to follow in My steps (Luke 6:40; Matthew 20:25-28). If any leader among My people is following in My footsteps, that leader will choose and train other leaders to assist in his or her work and to continue that work into future generations (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

You can find this principle all throughout the New Testament. A prime example is that I — the Messiah, your Lord, the Son of God — chose apostles to assist in My ministry and to continue My work. Other examples of not leading alone are Barnabas working with Paul (Acts 11:22-26), Timothy with Paul (Acts 16:1-3), and John Mark with Barnabas (Acts 15:39-40). Leaders in your day most surely need to follow the examples of My early leaders!
Verses to Live

Leadership is vital for the future of My work in your day. I challenge you to invest in others. Share My truth and My way of life. Then, help them invest in others just as you have invested in them. This approach was the vision I left right before I returned to the Father (Matthew 28:18-20), this was the method I used to train and teach in My ministry, and this was the method My earliest followers used to train and teach. I call on you and the leaders of your day to do the same.
Around this time, Jesus went outside the city to a nearby mountain, along with a large crowd of His disciples. He prayed through the night to God. The next morning, He chose 12 of them and gave each a new title of "emissary" [or "apostle"].

They included Simon (Jesus called him Peter) and Andrew (Simon's brother), James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus) and Simon (known as the Zealot), Judas (son of James) and the other Judas (Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus).

The whole crowd of disciples (including the 12 now designated as His emissaries) came down together, and they stood on a level area nearby. They were joined by an even greater crowd of people who had come from across the whole region — from all of Judea, from Jerusalem, from the coastal areas of Tyre and Sidon. These people came to hear Jesus teach and to be healed by Jesus of their diseases. Those who were troubled by demonic spirits were liberated.

Everyone wanted to touch Jesus because when they did, power emanated from Him and they were healed.
(Luke 6:12-19)
Response in Prayer

Father in heaven, I confess that I often don't feel like much of a leader. I am also frustrated with the lack of leadership I sometimes see among Your people and in Your church. But I know that You have given me an area of influence in the lives of others. So as I influence those I love and those who are my friends and associates, please help me see ways of involving others to do Your work in my world. In addition, I pray now for my spiritual leaders by name...

Please bless them and bless us through their spiritual leadership. I pray that the Holy Spirit will stir the hearts of Your people and that we will be intentional about raising up new leaders for the future. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus, my Lord. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor.
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 21 Feb 2017, 8:22 pm

"ASK!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/21/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

We are returning today to what is often called My Sermon on the Mount. What I want you to see today is a clear, simple, time-proven truth: you cannot out give God! The truth of grace is that your Father in heaven knows you, loves you, listens to you, cares for you, and delights in giving "great gifts to His children."

As for you, just keep asking, seeking, and knocking. The Father longs to hear from you and bless you. Yes, there will be some trying times. Yes, the evil one will throw roadblocks in your way. Yes, you sometimes will grow tired of the narrow path and the challenge of seeking to become more and more like Me.

But in the middle of your most difficult times, don't quit asking, seeking and knocking. Why? Because the Father longs to bless you with the greatest of all gifts: Me! Remember this promise I made after I ascended back to the Father:
Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me.
(Revelation 3:20)
Some folks think I said it to outsiders who were not followers, but I actually said it for folks like you — people who are followers, but who are growing tired and weary of waiting and following and seeking and knocking. In those times, listen to My words, invite Me to be your strength and guide, and follow Me. I've heard your cries, I've seen your struggles, and I've come down to walk beside you, bless you, and guide you home. Your asking, seeking, and knocking will be answered with the greatest gift of all — Me!
Verses to Live

Let this set of My related promises wash over you like a shower of refreshing grace!
Jesus:
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.

Think of it this way: if your son asked you for bread, would you give him a stone? Of course not — you would give him a loaf of bread. If your son asked for a fish, would you give him a snake? No, to be sure, you would give him a fish — the best fish you could find. So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, Who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children.
(Matthew 7:7-11)
Response in Prayer

Father, please show Yourself to me in my daily life. I'm not looking for something amazing or awe-inspiring, just the reminder of Your presence and the assurance that my asking, seeking, and knocking have placed me in Your presence, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Feb 2017, 3:19 pm

"What Will You Do with My Grace?" — A Year with Jesus for 02/20/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

In today's events from My life on earth, you will meet a man who had great difficulties. But like so many who find themselves in very difficult situations, this man makes the situation worse by refusing to take responsibility for anything in his life. As you read, notice that I ask this man if he really wants to get well:
Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?
(John 5:6)
He states the truth about his situation, and yes, it is a sad truth, but also notice that he never really answers My question. Instead, this man blames his circumstances. He never really says, "Oh yes, more than anything, I want to be healed!"

When I heal the man, he gets in trouble with "the overly somber religious enforcement society" of his day for breaking one of their rules. Notice what the man does: he passes the buck and blames it on Me! (I think you will find it very helpful to compare his reaction to "the overly somber religious enforcement society" with the fellow you meet in John 9:1-41, whose actions are quite different after I healed his blindness and he was then questioned by the Pharisees!)

Don't miss two points!

Point 1:

You should have compassion for all people, but don't be discouraged when some of those you help still hang on to their victim mindset. You can recognize this by their words and actions:
"It's not my fault!"
"Don't blame me; I can't help it!"
"My problems are all because nobody will help me!"
"That person told me to do this, so don't blame me; I was just doing what I was told!"
As much as you want to help everyone, some folks will never assume responsibility for their circumstances or for getting better. Even in their greatest moments of joy, they refuse to celebrate and praise God — or thank you — for their blessings. Nevertheless, as My disciple, your love should still lead you to help people as I did.

Point 2:

Many folks don't get what being My follower really means for them. They are caught up in the religious rules of everything. You, however, need to be guided by three calls in your life. They will keep you focused on the heart of My mission! They will also keep you from being part of "the overly somber religious enforcement society" of your day! What are those three calls?
Love the LORD your God with all you are and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
Light the way to God with your good deeds done to others (Matthew 5:14-16).
Lead people to follow Me (Matthew 28:18-20).
Verses to Live

Ask yourself two questions as you read the scripture today. First, if you had been healed after 38 years of bondage, would you have blamed your healer or praised God no matter what anyone else said? Second, as My follower, would you be one who helped get this guy into the pool when he had no one else to help him?
... Jesus led His followers to Jerusalem where they would celebrate a Jewish feast together.

In Jerusalem they came upon a pool by the sheep gate surrounded by five covered porches. In Hebrew this place is called Bethesda.

Crowds of people lined the area, lying around the porches. All of these people were disabled in some way; some were blind, lame, paralyzed, or plagued by diseases, and they were waiting for the waters to move. From time to time, a heavenly messenger would come to stir the water in the pool. Whoever reached the water first and got in after it was agitated would be healed of his or her disease. In the crowd, Jesus noticed one particular man who had been living with his disability for 38 years. He knew this man had been waiting here a long time.

Jesus (to the disabled man):
Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?
Disabled Man:
Kind Sir, I wait, like all of these people, for the waters to stir; but I cannot walk. If I am to be healed in the waters, someone must carry me into the pool. Without a helping hand, someone else beats me to the water's edge each time it is stirred.
Jesus:
Stand up, carry your mat, and walk.
At the moment Jesus uttered these words, a healing energy coursed through the man and returned life to his limbs — he stood and walked for the first time in 38 years. But this was the Sabbath Day; and any work, including carrying a mat, was prohibited on this day.

Jewish Leaders (to the man who had been healed):
Must you be reminded that it is the Sabbath? You are not allowed to carry your mat today!
Formerly Disabled Man:
The man Who healed me gave me specific instructions to carry my mat and go.
Jewish Leaders:
Who is the man Who gave you these instructions? How can we identify Him?
The man genuinely did not know Who it was that healed him. In the midst of the crowd and the excitement of his renewed health, Jesus had slipped away. Some time later, Jesus found him in the temple and again spoke to him.

Jesus:
Take a look at your body; it has been made whole and strong. So avoid a life of sin, or else a calamity greater than any disability may befall you.
The man went immediately to tell the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the mysterious healer. So they began pursuing and attacking Jesus because He performed these miracles on the Sabbath.

Jesus (to His attackers):
My Father is at work. So I, too, am working.
He was justifying the importance of His work on the Sabbath, claiming God as His Father in ways that suggested He was equal to God. These pious religious leaders sought an opportunity to kill Jesus, and these words fueled their hatred.

Jesus:
The truth is that the Son does nothing on His own; all these actions are led by the Father. The Son watches the Father closely and then mimics the work of the Father. The Father loves the Son, so He does not hide His actions. Instead, He shows Him everything, and the things not yet revealed by the Father will dumbfound you. The Father can give life to those who are dead; in the same way, the Son can give the gift of life to those He chooses.

The Father does not exert His power to judge anyone. Instead, He has given the authority as Judge to the Son. So all of creation will honor and worship the Son as they do the Father. If you do not honor the Son, then you dishonor the Father Who sent Him.
(John 5:1-23)
Response in Prayer

Father, I want to answer Your three calls to love You with all I am and love my neighbor as myself, to light the way so others can find Your grace, and to lead people from other cultures as well as my friends, neighbors, and associates to know Jesus. Holy Spirit, I ask that you open my eyes to see practical ways of living out these three calls in My life today, and every day, as I live as a follower of Jesus Christ, my Lord, 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.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 Feb 2017, 8:23 pm

"Love is Always Demonstrated" — A Year with Jesus for 02/19/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

I made people nervous during My ministry by including women. I served them, ministered to them, and included them in My ministry while others treated them as less than worthy — as you will see in the verses below. I was willing to talk to them in public (John 4:27) when tradition considered such a thing wrong for a rabbi to do. I also let Mary sit at My feet in the position of a rabbi-in-training with Me as her teacher (Luke 10:38-42). I readily accepted into My fellowship women who had bad reputations, but who turned their lives around because of My grace, My teaching, and My love — turning a life around because of Me is one of the major truths in today's verses.

In the two episodes below that Luke records from My life, you will see several women who were important in My ministry. We could talk about why they were important and the roles they played and the way I turned around their lives, but I want to point you to a key truth.

Love always finds a way to demonstrate itself. Genuine love is more than feelings, thoughts, or a passing fancy. Love shows itself! Love demonstrates its authenticity. If love is real, love shows itself by its actions!
Verses to Live

Notice how the formerly sinful woman from the city demonstrated her faith and her very tender love for Me. Then you will also notice a group of women who helped support Me as part of their love for what I had done for them. Remember, love demonstrates its authenticity, just as these women did!
Once a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to be a guest for a meal.

Picture this:

Just as Jesus enters the man's home and takes His place at the table, a woman from the city — notorious as a woman of ill repute — follows Him in. She has heard that Jesus will be at the Pharisee's home, so she comes in and approaches Him, carrying an alabaster flask of perfumed oil. Then she begins to cry, she kneels down so her tears fall on Jesus' feet, and she starts wiping His feet with her own hair. Then she actually kisses His feet, and she pours the perfumed oil on them.

Simon (thinking):
Now I know this guy is a fraud. If He were a real prophet, He would have known this woman is a sinner and He would never let her get near Him, much less touch Him... or kiss Him!
Jesus (knowing what the Pharisee is thinking):
Simon, I want to tell you a story.
Simon:
Tell me, Teacher.
Jesus:
Two men owed a certain lender a lot of money. One owed 100 weeks' wages, and the other owed 10 weeks' wages. Both men defaulted on their loans, but the lender forgave them both. Here's a question for you: which man will love the lender more?
Simon:
Well, I guess it would be the one who was forgiven more.
Jesus:
Good answer.
Now Jesus turns around so He's facing the woman, although He's still speaking to Simon.

Jesus:
Do you see this woman here? It's kind of funny. I entered your home, and you didn't provide a basin of water so I could wash the road dust from My feet. You didn't give Me a customary kiss of greeting and welcome. You didn't offer Me the common courtesy of providing oil to brighten My face. But this woman has wet My feet with her own tears and washed them with her own hair. She hasn't stopped kissing My feet since I came in. And she has applied perfumed oil to My feet. This woman has been forgiven much, and she is showing much love. But the person who has shown little love shows how little forgiveness he has received.
Jesus (to the woman):
Your sins are forgiven.
Simon and Friends (muttering among themselves):
Who does this guy think He is? He has the audacity to claim the authority to forgive sins?
Jesus (to the woman):
Your faith has liberated you. Go in peace.
Soon after this incident, Jesus preached from city to city, village to village, carrying the good news of the kingdom of God. He was accompanied by a group called "the twelve," and also by a larger group including some women who had been rescued from evil spirits and healed of diseases. There was Mary, called Magdalene, who had been released from seven demons. There were others like Susanna and Joanna, who was married to Chuza, a steward of King Herod. And there were many others too. These women played an important role in Jesus' ministry, using their wealth to provide for Him and His other companions.
(Luke 7:36-50; Luke 8:1-3)
Response in Prayer

Loving Father, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and the actions in my life demonstrate my love for Jesus and what He has done, is doing, and will do to bless my life and bring me home to You. It is 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.u.
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 18 Feb 2017, 12:30 pm

Don't Make Holy Days Harmful!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/18/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Having lived among you, I know the challenges and temptations of human flesh (Hebrews 4:15). Something that troubles Me, however, is how the devil can get good, decent, God-loving people so worked up over religious rules that they actually turn the Father's gift of rest into an excuse to beat people up with religious traditions. Your desire to honor Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — is praiseworthy. However, if you distort that desire to honor Us so that you can make yourself look more holy, your desire can become despicably hurtful.

Too much of My earthly ministry was spent dealing with critics who did not think I honored the Sabbath. They wasted precious time debating Me and trying to trap Me — time that could have been used blessing people whose needs were largely forgotten and neglected by them and their religious leaders. Sadly, this kind of thing is sometimes true in your own day. Please don't turn holy days and special buildings into an excuse for neglecting people and bringing harm to those I have made in My image.
Verses to Live

The Father gave you the concept of Sabbath to bless you, to bless those who work for you, to bless those who work with you, and to bless your neighbors. He wanted to bless you with a respite from your normal activities and commitments. He wanted you to be nourished by time with family and friends who share your faith. He wanted this to be a time for you to be restored by sacred grace — for you to have true shalom. To distort this Sabbath principle into a legalistic set of rules that prevent helping your brother and sister in need or that place unreasonable burdens or restrictions on them actually brings harm and does evil. So take warning from the two events from My life in the verses below. Notice especially My questions in bold below. The answer to those questions is obvious from what I did for the man with the deformed hand!
One Sabbath Day, some Pharisees confronted Jesus again. This time, they saw the disciples picking some grain as they walked through the fields. The disciples would de-husk the grain by rubbing the kernels in their hands, and then they would eat it raw.

Pharisees:
Don't You know the sacred law says You can't harvest and mill grain on the Sabbath Day — the day on which all work is forbidden? Why do You think You can ignore the sacred law?
Jesus:
Speaking of the sacred law, haven't you ever read about the time when David and his companions were hungry? Don't you remember how he went into the house of God and took the sacred bread of the presence — which, you may recall, only the priests were lawfully permitted to eat? Remember that he not only ate it, but he also gave it to his companions? Likewise, the Son of Man has authority over the Sabbath.
On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught there. In the congregation was a man who had a deformed right hand. The religious scholars and Pharisees watched Jesus; they suspected that He might try to perform a healing on that day, which they would use as evidence to convict Him of Sabbath-breaking.

Jesus knew about their plan, and He told the man with the deformed hand to come and stand in front of everyone. The man did so. Then Jesus spoke directly to the religious scholars and Pharisees.

Jesus:
Here's a question for you: On the Sabbath Day, is it lawful to do good or to do harm? Is it lawful to save life or to destroy it?
He turned His gaze to each of them, one at a time. Then He spoke to the man.

Jesus:
Stretch your hand out.
As the man did, his deformed hand was made normal again. This made the Pharisees and religious scholars furious. They began discussing together what they would do to Jesus.
(Luke 6:1-11)
Response in Prayer

O Father, help me honor You and the gift of sabbath rest that You have given to me. Help me to do good, not harm, on all days — especially on days that I set aside as holy days given especially to family, faith, and fellowship with those who love 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 Feb 2017, 7:25 pm


"Let the Light Shine!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/17/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

While I was in the world, I was the "Light of the world" (John 9:5). I AM still the Light of the world (John 1:4-5; John 8:12), but now I am sending you to be My representative. You are to share the light you have received from Me and shine that light to all the world so everyone can see your good deeds and know that they come from your love for and loyalty to the Father.

You have probably known the message of the verses below for many years. So I want to challenge you to do more than just remember the words: I want you to demonstrate you believe them by putting them into practice in the places and with the people your life touches. The world is a dark place. Despite the shallow smiles you see around you, most people you meet each day need a touch of light — kindness and grace that you can give them in the Father's name.
Verses to Live

When you turn on the light each morning, let it be a reminder that others need the grace of God's light in their lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to see the opportunities to bless others. Show the grace of the Father, live the values of Our kingdom, and help others find their way home to the Father through the light you shine on their paths. Let the light shine!
Jesus:
You, beloved, are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes bland and loses its saltiness, can anything make it salty again? No. It is useless. It is tossed out, thrown away, or trampled.

And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden.

Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.
(Matthew 5:13-16)
Response in Prayer

O Father, I promise to be open to the leading and nudging of the Holy Spirit as I shine your light to bless others. Give me graceful wisdom to know those who need Your light. Father, I do this, not for my glory or reputation or acceptance, but so that others can find their way to You. So please, use my light to Your glory! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Feb 2017, 3:57 pm



"Reason to Celebrate" — A Year with Jesus for 02/16/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

What's with all those somber faces among those who claim to follow Me? Yes, seriousness is demanded at certain times. Yes, My call for you to follow Me is a life-changing call that demands commitment. Yes, there are times of pain, grief, and persecution that touch My people during their time on earth. On the other hand, what happened to the passion, excitement, and joyous fellowship that you see Me have in My earthly ministry and that should be a central part of your lifestyle? How do you expect to invite others to follow Me if you do not share My joy with them?

Please don't buy into the old religious affliction of false, self-imposed seriousness — the feeling that a Christian life must always be sad, serious, and somber. In My earthly ministry, I was quite often criticized for running around with the "wrong" people, going to the "wrong" parties, and being someone Who enjoyed food and wine.

While I know you will face some very difficult times in your life, I don't want you to miss the exhilaration of My coming:
My coming to earth as the Son of God,
My coming into your presence when you are gathered together to worship Me,
My coming into your life in moments of laughter and food and friendship,
My coming to you in every moment of life, and
My coming at the end of time to bring you to the greatest celebration that will ever occur!
These are things that can give you peace and contentment no matter what the external circumstances are in your life.

So read this story today and be reminded that there are religious folks who don't get it — they feel that everything religious needs to be serious, sad, and somber. Also, remember that is NOT the way I want things. I came to bring true shalom — peace, joy, fellowship, wholeness, and life. You frequently find Me — the One, Who brings you peace, joy, fellowship, wholeness, and life — at the center of a celebration.
Verses to Live

Invite Me into your life and let's share the celebration with others!
Pharisees:
Explain to us why You and Your disciples are so commonly found partying [literally, eating and drinking] like this, when our disciples — and even the disciples of John — are known for fasting rather than feasting, and for saying prayers rather than drinking wine.
Jesus:
Imagine there's a wedding going on. Is that the time to tell the guests to ignore the bridegroom and fast? Sure, there's a time for fasting — when the bridegroom has been taken away. Look, nobody tears up a new garment to make a patch for an old garment. If he did, the new patch would shrink and rip the old, and the old garment would be worse off than before. And nobody takes freshly squeezed juice and puts it into old, stiff wineskins. If he did, the fresh wine would make the old skins burst open, and both the wine and the wineskins would be ruined. New demands new — new wine for new wineskins. Anyway, those who've never tasted the new wine won't know what they're missing; they'll always say, "The old wine is good enough for me!"
(Luke 5:33-39)
Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that You came to bring Me life and that when You are present, You are not only the reason for the celebration, but You are the center of the celebration! Father, thank You for sending Your Son to give me life. Holy Spirit, thank You for filling me with Your presence and bringing me a deep wellspring of love, joy, and peace! 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 Feb 2017, 4:09 pm


When You Think You Know Better" — A Year with Jesus for 02/15/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

Frustrated! Yes, I was frustrated at this precious man in today's verses who disobeyed My direct command not to tell anyone except the priests that he had been healed of leprosy.

I understand why he did it. Most mortals would have difficulty not telling everyone they had been healed. Most people would find it very hard to do what the law required first. But showing the priests that you were healed was what the Torah required. The priests were already starting to think I was trying to upstage them. So I had very good reasons to instruct the man not to tell anyone else after showing himself to the priest. Besides, you have seen in previous days' readings how the people wanted a miracle-worker more than they wanted a Lord Who called them to change their lives so they could live for the kingdom of God.

Frustrated! Not only was I frustrated, but the Father's plans for Me were temporarily frustrated. So I want to remind you of something essential: I want you to obey Me even when you think you know better what to do!

However, there is also another important truth I want you to learn from My interaction with this man who had leprosy: My miracles were not for My benefit. Recall that I refused to use my miraculous power for My benefit and My reputation when the devil tempted Me in the wilderness. Notice carefully how I healed this man with leprosy: I touched him — sharing his uncleanness and ostracism — then I healed him with a direct command. I shared a touch of grace before I spoke his healing.

Why is it so important to Me for you to see this truth? Simple. This event tells you a major reason why I came.

I am One with the Father. My words have power — creative and healing power. Just as the Father spoke the universe into existence, when I speak, My words have power. Demons are cast out, people are healed of their diseases, and you should obey. I speak the very words of God!

I have the authority to ask you to obey Me because of Who I AM. But if you listen to My words and watch My actions, I demonstrate how much God loves you. So I ask you to obey — not just because of My authority, but also because you recognize My great love for you and My desire to make you whole!
Verses to Live

I am One with the Father. My actions show the Father's heart. God is not a god far off, but a Savior Who has come near to you in Me, Jesus of Nazareth. What I do shows the Father's love for you. In this story, you see God touch a man who would not be touched by another mortal because of his illness. Fear of contracting the disease, societal pressures, and the laws of the Torah to protect the people of Israel prevented human touch with someone who had leprosy. So with the stretch of My arm and the touch of My hand, I demonstrated My love. I AM willing to bear your uncleanness and ostracism so you can be made whole.
Another time in a city nearby, a man covered with skin lesions [leprosy] comes along. As soon as he sees Jesus, he prostrates himself.

Leper:
Lord, if You wish to, You can heal me of my disease.
Jesus reaches out His hand and touches the man, something no one would normally do for fear of being infected or of becoming ritually unclean.

Jesus:
I want to heal you. Be cleansed!
Immediately the man is cured. Jesus tells him firmly not to tell anyone about this.

Jesus:
Go, show yourself to the priest, and do what Moses commanded by making an appropriate offering to celebrate your cleansing. This will prove to everyone what has happened.
Even though Jesus said not to talk about what happened, soon every conversation was consumed by these events. The crowds swelled even larger as people went to hear Jesus preach and to be healed of their many afflictions. Jesus repeatedly left the crowds, though, stealing away into the wilderness to pray.
(Luke 5:12-16)
Response in Prayer

Father God, forgive me. I confess that there are times when I see Your commands, Your call to certain behavior — Your demand for holy character and gracious compassion — to be hard, burdensome, and limiting. I know, O God, that You have the authority to demand this of me. I realize that Your desire is for my wholeness as well as my holiness. I realize that You have demonstrated Your great love for me in Jesus — entering my world, bearing my sin, sharing my burdens so that I can be Your child. Thank You! In the name of Jesus, I thank You. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Feb 2017, 4:05 pm


"**Don't Forget Why I Came!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/14/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Human nature leads you to be fascinated with miracles. Many folks through the ages have portrayed Me as a miracle-worker. While it is true that I did a number of astounding miracles — although I love the way John calls them signs that point to a greater truth — you notice that I was not called "Healer." Instead, people called Me "Rabbi" or "Teacher"!

In addition, the demons knew Who I AM — the "Son of God." Yes, I AM the Son of God — yet I silenced the demons that identified Me. I didn't want My reputation and identity to be under the control of demons or to be in the hands of the crowds who wanted a miracle-worker. I wanted to demonstrate what it means to be God come in human flesh — the meaning of the title "Son of God" — and what it means to be Christ, the Anointed One.

So if you will watch Me in the coming days as we continue the journey through My time on earth, you will see Me define what it means to be Son of God and Messiah, the Anointed One. I AM the Teacher and the Preacher Who calls people to be a part of the kingdom of God. This is My role, My mission, and central to why I came to earth!

In addition, you will see Me demonstrate God's compassion in miracles as I restore people back to wholeness — true Shalom. I will be a servant to others, because it is My nature to serve others and sacrifice for them. In My kingdom, greatness is found in those who serve others, even if it means sacrifice. So as Son of God, I will serve and give My life as a ransom for you. I will demonstrate that I AM the Good Shepherd — the Shepherd willing to lay down His life for His sheep.

So follow Me. But please don't define Me only by the amazing and the miraculous. Those types of things are just a part of My work. Look more closely, dig deeper, and you will see that I AM God's presence among you — demonstrating the Father's love, service, character, and compassion. Come follow Me and find Me as more than what the crowds and the demons want to call me.
Verses to Live

As you think about the scope of My mission and My example as a servant, consider the following section from Luke's account of My life. This part of My story is in Galilee and relates to My teaching, My healing, and My casting out and silencing demons.
The excitement about Jesus spread into every corner of the surrounding region.

Picture this:

Jesus then leaves that synagogue and goes over to Simon's place. Simon's mother-in-law is there. She is sick with a high fever. Simon's family asks Jesus to help her.

Jesus stands over her, and just as He had rebuked the demon [in the previous verses], He rebukes the fever, and the woman's temperature returns to normal. She feels so much better that she gets right up and cooks them all a big meal.

By this time, it's just before nightfall, and as the sun sets, groups of families, friends, and bystanders come until a huge crowd has gathered. Each group has brought along family members or friends who are sick with any number of diseases. One by one, Jesus lays His hands on them and heals them. On several occasions, demonic spirits are expelled from these people, after shouting at Jesus, "You are the Son of God!"

Jesus always rebukes them and tells them to be quiet. They know He is the Anointed One, but He doesn't want to be acclaimed in this way.

The next morning, Jesus sneaks away. He finds a place away from the crowds, but soon they find Him. The crowd tries their best to keep Him from leaving.

Jesus:
No, I cannot stay. I need to preach the kingdom of God to other cities too. This is the purpose I was sent to fulfill.
So He proceeds from synagogue to synagogue across Judea, preaching His message of the kingdom of God.
(Luke 4:37-44)
Response in Prayer

O Father, open my eyes to see all that Jesus is as I offer myself to You, in service to Your will and for the good of Your kingdom. I ask this in the name of Jesus my Lord. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Feb 2017, 1:11 am


**Too Close to See the Truth" — A Year with Jesus for 02/13/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend of Grace,

Some reactions are predictable, but still hurt. At first, the people of Nazareth — the town where I spent most of My years growing from a boy into a man — were amazed at My teaching. Then their perception of Me changed. They thought they knew Me. They had seen Me grow up. They thought of Me as just a carpenter (Mark 6:3). They had not seen anything that suggested that I was extraordinary or impressive. To them, I was just another ordinary, God-loving, God-fearing, Torah-obeying, Jewish carpenter Who was their neighbor.

When I read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue as recorded in today's Scripture, the people thought nothing of it. When I applied Isaiah's passage of mission, liberation, celebration, and grace, they were impressed... at first. Then My words began to sink in and they couldn't get around their own conceptions of Who they thought I was. I was saying this passage, which was often associated with the blessings brought by the Messiah, was coming true right before their eyes. They went from being amazed and impressed to being furious and murderous.

They actually became angrier when I told them the truth, a truth simply too close to them for them to see: the truth that I AM the Messiah. This boy Whom they had seen grow into man was claiming to be God's Anointed, the long awaited Messiah. I reminded them and warned them that Elijah and Elisha had similar problems with the folks in their hometowns, so these great prophets ended up blessing foreigners and outsiders who were desperate and hopeless — which is actually the point of the passage I read from Isaiah. My words made My neighbors, fellow townspeople, and relatives angrier.

Yet no matter how angry they were and how outnumbered I was, they couldn't get rid of Me! That's the amazing reality about truth: you may not see it or believe it, but you cannot escape it or hide it. Sooner or later the truth comes out. I came as the Father's Messiah — the Liberator and Deliverer of those in bondage of any and all kinds. The anger of the people who heard Me, their confusion, and their denial of these realities would not change the truth of My identity or stop the impact of My work!

Verses to Live

Church people can be a lot like the people of My hometown. They think they know Me because they've talked about Me for many years and they have an idea about what they think they should expect from Me. However, I AM the Father's Anointed, the liberating Savior Who brings grace to those who realize they desperately need it. My disciples should be about bringing grace to the same kind of people in their world. Even if you think you have Me figured out, you shouldn't discount what I can do through you. I have far bigger plans for you than you can ask or imagine, plans that can be realized through the Spirit Who lives in you (John 14:12-14; Ephesians 3:20-21). I want you, where you are, in the time you live, to bring My salvation to people who need it most... right now!
He [Jesus] eventually came to His hometown, Nazareth, and did there what He had done elsewhere in Galilee — entered the synagogue and stood up to read from the Hebrew Scriptures.

The synagogue attendant gave Him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and Jesus unrolled it to the place where Isaiah had written these words:

Jesus:
The Spirit of the Lord the Eternal One is on Me.

Why? Because the Eternal designated Me
to be His representative to the poor, to preach good news to them.

He sent Me to tell those who are held captive that they can now be set free,
and to tell the blind that they can now see.

He sent Me to liberate those held down by oppression.

In short, the Spirit is upon Me to proclaim that now is the time; this is the jubilee season of the Eternal One's grace.
Jesus rolled up the scroll and returned it to the synagogue attendant. Then He sat down, as a teacher would do, and all in the synagogue focused their attention on Jesus, waiting for Him to speak. He told them that these words from the Hebrew Scriptures were being fulfilled then and there, in their hearing.

At first everyone was deeply impressed with the gracious words that poured from Jesus' lips. Everyone spoke well of Him and was amazed that He could say these things.

Everyone:
Wait. This is only the son of Joseph, right?
Jesus:
You're about to quote the old proverb to Me, "Doctor, heal yourself!" Then you're going to ask Me to prove Myself to you by doing the same miracles I did in Capernaum. But face the truth: hometowns always reject their homegrown prophets.

Think back to the prophet Elijah. There were many needy Jewish widows in his homeland, Israel, when a terrible famine persisted there for three and a half years. Yet the only widow God sent Elijah to help was an outsider from Zarephath in Sidon.

It was the same with the prophet Elisha. There were many Jewish lepers in his homeland, but the only one he healed — Naaman — was an outsider from Syria.
The people in the synagogue became furious when He said these things. They seized Jesus, took Him to the edge of town, and pushed Him right to the edge of the cliff on which the city was built. They would have pushed Him off and killed Him, but He passed through the crowd and went on His way.
(Luke 4:16-30)
Response in Prayer

Almighty and Sovereign God, I sometimes forget just how big you are. I confess that I sometimes don't expect Jesus to do much through me and those around me. I believe, dear Father, but please help my unbelief. 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 12 Feb 2017, 11:20 pm

Mistaken Identity" — A Year with Jesus for 02/12/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

John the Baptist was an incredible person. He was brave. He was honest. He spoke the truth no matter the consequences. He lived to help others so that they could be ready for My coming. He did not try to build a following for himself. He pointed others to Me. When crowds of people came to the Jordan River from all over Judea and Galilee to hear him preach, John called them to change their hearts and lives and then pointed them to Me. He is a great example of a servant.

Several times in John's ministry, people asked him if he were the Messiah. He never once hesitated. He always said, "No!" He refused to get caught up in the popularity game. He refused to let Satan — or the religious leaders or the crowd — distort the clear and focused point of his life. He came to prepare the way for Me to come to the people. He spoke the truth to those caught in religious confusion. He challenged people about their personal sin. He spoke like the prophets of previous generations — John the Baptist spoke as the voice of God.

Let John remind you of a question that you will face many times in your life: Will you live for your own glory, or will you live so others can find their way to Me? John's example will help direct you to the proper choice for your life just as he directed others in his day to Me!
Verses to Live

I hope there is no mistaken identity in your life about Who is Lord and Messiah! I hope you choose to follow the example of John!
The reputation of John was growing; and many had questions, including Jewish religious leaders from Jerusalem. So some priests and Levites approached John in Bethany just beyond the Jordan River while he was baptizing and bombarded him with questions:

Religious Leaders:
Who are you?
John the Baptist:
I'm not the Anointed One, if that is what you are asking.
Religious Leaders:
Your words sound familiar, like a prophet's. Is that how we should address you? Are you the Prophet Elijah?
John the Baptist:
No, I am not Elijah.
Religious Leaders:
Are you the Prophet Moses told us would come?
John the Baptist:
No.
Religious Leaders:
Then tell us who you are and what you are about because everyone is asking us, especially the Pharisees, and we must prepare an answer.
John replied with the words of Isaiah the prophet.

John the Baptist:
Listen! I am a voice calling out in the wilderness. Straighten out the road for the Lord. He's on His way.
Then some of those sent by the Pharisees questioned him again.

Religious Leaders:
How can you travel the countryside baptizing people if you are not the Anointed One or Elijah or the Prophet?
John the Baptist:
Baptizing with water is what I do; but the One Whom I speak of, Whom we all await, is standing among you; and you have no idea Who He is. Though He comes after me, I am not even worthy to unlace His sandals.
(John 1:19-27)
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, I confess that there are times that I want to be recognized, appreciated, and validated. Some of that, I know dear Father, is natural. However, I never want to live for the limelight. I never want to exalt myself over others and certainly never above Your place in my heart. Help me see ways to be like John the Baptist — a servant who speaks Your truth and who points others to Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 11 Feb 2017, 3:32 pm

"Expect More!" — A Year with Jesus for 02/11/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Don't you think it is past time for My people to be more diligent and persistent in calling their young believers into passionate work for the kingdom? The Father entrusted My life and the world's hope to a young couple named Joseph and Mary. The Father entrusted them with His amazing promises of Messiah, with My safety when Herod wanted to kill Me, and with My upbringing in the faith.

Go back and read the statements of Mary, My mother, in the opening chapters of the gospel of Luke. Listen for the faith behind her words. Notice how she knows the Scriptures and how her praise flows out of her deep well of faith and her knowledge of the Scriptures. Challenge the young disciples in your care and with whom you have some influence to seek such faith and wisdom from these same deep wells of faith that My mother used!

And here's a note to those who are young and eager to lead in My Kingdom. Please remember two things:

First, God gave My mother, Joseph, and young leaders like Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12) in the early church many important responsibilities while they were young. They were not given these responsibilities just because of their potential. My mother and Joseph had already demonstrated their faithfulness to the Father before being given the responsibility to be My parents. Throughout their early wrestling with My miraculous conception, their dependence upon Scripture and upon the God of Scripture helped guide their way. Also, Timothy knew of Paul's persecutions; he had seen them first hand, but still gave himself to serving Me before Paul chose him as a partner in the mission work.

No matter how old or how young you may be, you are important to the work of My kingdom now. However, you will be ready to serve and lead only if you are learning the Scriptures and showing yourself to be a faithful servant each day.

Second, the many little daily decisions you make may not seem so important to you. Yet each of these decisions is shaping you. Just as I learned to grow in ways that honored God and that showed obedience to My parents (Luke 2:40; Luke 2:51), so also must you (Ephesians 6:1-3). I will use these experiences of your youth to be the foundation upon which I will build a lifetime of influence that you will have for God and for the good of those around you.
Verses to Live

I want to remind you that the apostle Paul took Timothy, a young man with a great reputation in his congregation, with him to do mission work:
When Paul reached Derbe and Lystra, he invited a disciple named Timothy to join him and Silas. Timothy had a good reputation among the believers in Lystra and Iconium, but there was a problem: although Timothy's mother was a believing Jew, his father was Greek, which meant Timothy was uncircumcised. Because the Jewish people of those cities knew he was the son of a Greek man, Paul felt it would be best for Timothy to be circumcised before proceeding.

Leaving there, now accompanied by Timothy, they delivered to the churches in each town the decisions and instructions given by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. The churches were strengthened in the faith by their visit and kept growing in numbers on a daily basis.
(Acts 16:1-5).
Before long, Paul sent Timothy to help the church in Thessalonica grow in its spiritual maturity and faithfulness:
But after all our attempts to come to you [in Thessalonica] were frustrated, we decided it was best for Silvanus and me [Paul] to stay behind in Athens by ourselves and to send Timothy (our dear brother and servant of God, our partner in the good news of the Anointed One) to strengthen, comfort, and encourage you in your faith so that you won't be shaken by the sufferings and wither under this stress that we know lies ahead. Certainly you remember that when we were with you, we warned you of the suffering we would have to endure; now, as you well know, it has happened. This is why I couldn't stand it anymore and sent Timothy to report on the state of your faith: because I was worried the tempter had tested you and, if so, all of our hard work would have come to nothing.

You can imagine my relief and joy when Timothy returned to us with such good news about you, about your faith and love for us, about how you have such good memories of us and long to see us as much as we long to see you.
(1 Thessalonians 3:1-6)
Paul's words to Timothy are powerful reminders both of what God expects of young men and women and also of the need for them to be included in leading:
Don't let anyone belittle you [Timothy] because you are young. Instead, show the faithful, young and old, an example of how to live: set the standard for how to talk, act, love, and be faithful and pure. Until I get there, make sure to devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching. Don't neglect the gift that was given to you through the prophecy spoken when the company of the elders laid their hands on you. Cultivate all these practices; live by them so that all will see how you are advancing and growing. Take care of yourself, concentrate on your teaching, and stick with these things. If you do, then you will be effective in bringing salvation to yourself and all who hear you.
(1 Timothy 4:12-16)
Response in Prayer

Father, please hear my prayer for several specific young men and young women I want to pray for by name... Please bless them, protect them, give them the vision of how their faithfulness to You now can lead to even greater service for You in the future, and help those in positions of influence know how best to include the young in significant ministry to bless others and grow Your kingdom. 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 10 Feb 2017, 11:01 am

"**Who is in Control and in the Know?" — A Year with Jesus for 02/10/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

I know there are at least two things that can drive you crazy as a flesh and blood, flawed, mortal:
People who make a snap judgment about you and then reject you when they don't even have accurate information about you.
Feeling like your life is out of control and there is no one who can help you.
You should read the verses below. They tell about a difficult time in My ministry when hostility was growing against Me from the religious and political establishment. All sorts of people were saying different things about My identity. The people in power in My culture were lined up against Me. They made snap judgments about what I did because they were so steeped in their religious traditions. They refused to see the truth when it was displayed right before their own eyes because the truth about Me threatened their system and their roles in that system.

I also want you to notice a theme that My beloved disciple John develops in his gospel, a theme that flows from the events mentioned in the scriptures below and runs all the way through My betrayal, trials, crucifixion, and resurrection. That theme? I AM in control every step of the way. All the power arrayed against Me is powerless unless I choose to offer Myself to be the sacrificial "Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!" as My cousin John the Baptist described My role (John 1:29 NIV). Hostile religious leaders, soldiers under orders to arrest Me, and a confused crowd are powerless to stop Me until I let them. They have no power over Me unless I choose to let them!

Please recognize a couple of things from these truths I've shared:

First, I know what it is like to be wrongly labeled, misunderstood, betrayed by friends, and falsely accused. When you face these kinds of trials, remember the promise that the Holy Spirit shared through the writer of the book you call Hebrews:
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)
Second, recognize that I not only have the desire to help you, but I also have the power to help you. I know that when My actions seem veiled or feel so late in coming or unapparent at all, you can become discouraged. Please don't give up your faith in Me when you don't understand all that is happening. Don't make a wrong judgment about Me like the people in My day did.
Verses to Live

Realize that I am the fulfillment of everything good that the Father promised. That's what I reveal at the great festivals I attended in Jerusalem. Whether it is water, bread, light, or even the temple — all key symbols of Israel's festivals — I fill up the meaning of each of them. I AM the "yes" to God's greatest promises (2 Corinthians 1:19). So when you hear about having your thirst slaked and being blessed with living water from the Spirit, please know that I will keep that promise if you will choose to truly trust in Me!

And if you can't quite bring yourself to believe in Me yet, hang in there. Don't give up. Keep asking questions. Most of all, follow the example of Nicodemus. Keep listening to My words and watch My actions. Follow Me to the Cross and through to My resurrection. If you do, I think you will see that I AM God come to give you heaven's blessings at the cost of My life because of My love for you and My desire to ransom you from the grip of misguided religion, misunderstanding, and sin and death.
Some Pharisees were hanging back in the crowd, overhearing the gossip about Him [Jesus]. The temple authorities and the Pharisees took action and sent officers to arrest Jesus.

Jesus:
I am going to be with you for a little while longer; then I will return to the One Who sent Me. You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me. Where I am, you are unable to come.
Some Jews in the Crowd (to each other):
Where could He possibly go that we could not find Him? You don't think He's about to go into the Dispersion and teach our people scattered among the Greeks, do you? What do you think He means, "You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me," and, "Where I am, you are unable to come"?
On the last day, the biggest day of the festival, Jesus stood again and spoke aloud.

Jesus:
If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.
Jesus was referring to the realities of life in the Spirit made available to everyone who believes in Him. But the Spirit had not yet arrived because Jesus had not been glorified.

Some of the Crowd:
This man is definitely the Prophet.
Others:
This is God's Anointed, the Liberating King!
Still Others:
Is it possible for the Anointed to come from Galilee? Don't the Hebrew Scriptures say that He will come from Bethlehem, King David's village, and be a descendant of King David?
Rumors and opinions about the true identity of Jesus divided the crowd. Some wanted to arrest Him, but no one dared to touch Him.

The officers who had been sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to take Jesus into custody returned empty-handed, and they faced some hard questions.

Chief Priest and Pharisees:
Where is Jesus? Why didn't you capture Him?
Officers:
We listened to Him. Never has a man spoken like this man.
Pharisees:
So you have also been led astray? Can you find one leader or educated Pharisee who believes this man? Of course not. This crowd is plagued by ignorance about the teachings of the law; that is why they will listen to Him. That is also why they are under God's curse.
Nicodemus, the Pharisee who approached Jesus under the cloak of darkness, was present when the officers returned empty-handed. He addressed the leaders.

Nicodemus:
Does our law condemn someone without first giving him a fair hearing and learning something about him?
Pharisees (ignoring Nicodemus's legal point):
Are you from Galilee too? Look it up for yourself; no real prophet is supposed to come from Galilee.
(John 7:32-52)
Response in Prayer

O Father, the Almighty God, I believe that Jesus is the One Someone in Whom I can place My trust. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He came to earth to be the sacrifice for my sin. I ask that you flood my heart with your Living Water — the Holy Spirit and my Comforter. 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 Thu 09 Feb 2017, 8:18 pm



"What Will You Decide?" — A Year with Jesus for 02/09/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

Do you really want to know whether or not I came from God or I am a fraud?

First, you need to realize that is the real question. I don't allow you any middle ground in response to this question. I'm either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. No other options are available to you. I won't let you make Me into just another nice religious leader, one Who teaches and does good things — one among many wise teachers. Either I came from God, spoke the words of God, and was present among you as God in the flesh, or I was a self-deceived leader, a charlatan intentionally using deception, or a deeply demented religious nut. You have to decide the answer to this question for yourself, but you need to know that this truly is the real question!

In the verses below, notice that the crowds are wrestling with the radical extremes of this crucial question. They realize I AM claiming that I come from God, that I speak for God, and that I AM among them as the Son of God. So as you read the interchange of the people in the crowd, realize they are asking you to face the same radical choice they had to make!

Second, this is a make or break type of question. The correct answer helps you make the right decision about My true identity. Examine My words and let them challenge you to face the truth of your own heart:
If anyone is willing to act according to His [the Father's] purposes and is open to hearing truth, he will know the source of My teaching. Does it come from God or from Me?
Are you willing to do what God asks you to do and are you willing to hear the truth of God? These are eternally important questions! Even when you truly believe, some of what I say and some of what I do will not make sense to you. There are things about Me that you cannot know or discover on your own; you have to accept them by faith from a heart that is searching for God's truth and willing to follow it no matter the cost or what others around you think about you and your faith.

If you are not willing to do what God asks of you and you are not open to hearing all the truth, then I can assure you, you can find a way to reject Me. Yes, even if I do miracles, make My presence known in your life, or speak to you in dreams, you can find a way to reject Me if your heart doesn't yearn for the truth of God!

So join the crowd in the verses below. Ask the questions they ask. Most of all, hear the words that I speak to them because I AM speaking them to you as well.
Verses to Live

In the following account, there are people who did not believe in Me, people who were uncertain about Me, and people who did believe in Me. Notice their questions as you read the following verses. My beloved disciple John wrote his gospel to help answer the question of faith:
Jesus performed many other wondrous signs that are not written in this book. These accounts are recorded so that you, too, might believe that Jesus is the Anointed, the Liberating King, the Son of God, because believing grants you the life He came to share.
(John 20:30-31)
So what will you decide about Me?
This conversation [between Jesus and His unbelieving brothers] came to an abrupt end, and Jesus stayed in Galilee until His brothers were gone. Then He, too, went up to Jerusalem. But He traveled in secret to avoid drawing any public attention. Some Jewish leaders were searching for Him at the feast and asking the crowds where they could find Him. The crowds would talk in groups: some favored Jesus and thought He was a good man; others disliked Him and thought He was leading people astray. All of these conversations took place in whispers. No one was willing to speak openly about Jesus for fear of the religious leaders.

In the middle of the festival, Jesus marched directly into the temple and started to teach. Some of the Jews who heard Him were amazed at Jesus' ability, and people questioned repeatedly:

Jews:
How can this man be so wise about the Hebrew Scriptures? He has never had a formal education.
Jesus:
I do not claim ownership of My words; they are a gift from the One Who sent Me. If anyone is willing to act according to His purposes and is open to hearing truth, he will know the source of My teaching. Does it come from God or from Me? If a man speaks his own words, constantly quoting himself, he is after adulation. But I chase only after glory for the One Who sent Me. My intention is authentic and true. You'll find no wrong motives in Me.

Moses gave you the law, didn't he? Then how can you blatantly ignore the law and look for an opportunity to murder Me?
Crowd:
You must be possessed with a demon! Who is trying to kill You?
Jesus:
Listen, all it took was for Me to do one thing, heal a crippled man, and you all were astonished. Don't you remember how Moses passed down circumcision as a tradition of our ancestors? When you pick up a knife to circumcise on the Sabbath, isn't that work? If a male is circumcised on the Sabbath to keep the law of Moses intact, how can making one man whole on the Sabbath be a cause for your violent rage? You should not judge by outward appearance. When you judge, search for what is right and just.
Some People of Jerusalem:
There is the man they are seeking to kill; surely He must be the one. But here He is, speaking out in the open to the crowd, while they have not spoken a word to stop or challenge Him. Do these leaders now believe He is the Anointed One? But He can't be; we know where this man comes from, but the true origin of the Anointed will be a mystery to all of us.
Jesus (speaking aloud as He teaches on the temple's porch):
You think you know Me and where I have come from, but I have not come here on My own. I have been sent by the One Who embodies truth. You do not know Him. I know Him because I came from Him. He has sent Me.
Some were trying to seize Him because of His words, but no one laid as much as a finger on Him — His time had not yet arrived. In the crowd, there were many in whom faith was taking hold.

Believers in the Crowd:
When the Anointed arrives, will He perform any more signs than this man has done?
(John 7:9-31)
Response in Prayer
O Father, create in me a pure heart and a willing spirit to do Your will. I know that I need to listen to Your words and obey the things You ask of me. I believe, but some days I need help with my unbelief. So help me guard my heart from what is false and through the Holy Spirit within me, I ask you to make my heart ache to hear Your truth and rejoice in doing Your will. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International..
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 7:26 pm

One Singular Purpose" — A Year with Jesus for 02/08/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Following Me is hard. I want your heart. I want your focus. I want your future. I want to be your consuming passion.

Yes, I know there are many things in your life that can distract you, discourage you, and defeat you. Yet I want you to follow Me through those distractions, discouragements, and defeats. Don't let them sidetrack you from your faith in Me.

If there is anything that is more important to you than I AM, be aware that Satan is using it to pull you away from Me. Following Me, being My disciple, losing yourself for Me and the good of My kingdom, must come first. Otherwise, the evil one will draw your focus away from Me, harvest your bitterness, and provoke you to despair through the things that you hold more important than Me.

Remember these promises that I made. They are truths that transcend all of Satan's lies about what you hold dear:
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
(Mark 8:35-36 NLT)

And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
(Matthew 19:29 NLT)
So yes, I call you to follow Me. And I call you to make following Me your highest and most focused calling in life!
Verses to Live

As I journeyed to Jerusalem and the cross as My destination, many wanted to be My disciples... until they realized the high cost of following Me. Of course, I remind you of the much higher cost of not following!
He [Jesus] led them on toward another village. Farther along on the road, a man volunteered to become a disciple.

Volunteer:
I'll follow You to any destination.
Jesus:
Foxes are at home in their burrows. Birds are at home in their nests. But the Son of Man has no home. You (to another person) — I want you to follow Me!
Another Volunteer:
I'd be glad to, Teacher, but let me first attend to my father's funeral.
Jesus:
Let the dead bury their dead. I'm giving you a different calling — to go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
A Third Volunteer:
I'll come, Jesus. I'll follow You. But just let me first run home to say good-bye to my family.
Jesus:
Listen, if your hand is on the plow but your eyes are looking backward, then you're not fit for the kingdom of God.
(Luke 9:56-62)
Response in Prayer

Almighty God and my Abba Father, I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit as I seek to strengthen my resolve to follow Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I pray this in the name of Jesus my Lord. Amen.
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This daily devotional is written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives and to help us realize we are not alone as we seek to live for Him. — Learn More
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Thanks to our invaluable editors:
Dr. Edward Holley - Executive Editor
Ray Butts - General Editor
Heartlight is proud to support Compassion International.
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE? It's FREE! Visit the website to subscribe by email.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. © 1998-2015, Heartlight, Inc. 'A Year with Jesus' is part of the Heartlight Network.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight Inc.
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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 1:38 am

"'Listen to Him!'" — A Year with Jesus for 02/07/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

To whom are you listening? Let Me put that in plainer language, but poorer English: Who are you listening to most in your life?

The one you choose to hear and what you believe from what you hear impacts your life choices. You can listen to many voices. You can listen to your "inner me" voice to tell yourself what you think of yourself. You can listen to the voice of your past hurts, failures, disappointments, and disasters. You can choose to listen to the voice of an enemy, critic, coach, teacher, or professor. You can choose to believe the words of your favorite songwriter, favorite movie star, or favorite sports hero. You can live in the shadow of the words of a family member, boss, friend, or even an enemy. The choices seem endless.

So I'm going to ask My question to you again: To whom are you listening most in your life?

Peter, James, and John — My very closest disciples — were with Me during an amazing and bewildering experience. In fact, something happened to them in this experience that they believed at the time was the greatest thing they had ever witnessed: they saw Moses and Elijah. For every faithful Jew up until that time, Moses was the greatest leader of God's people. He was the one through whom they received the Torah. For every believing Israelite up until this time, Elijah was the greatest prophet of all the prophets. He spoke the very words of God with courage, accompanied by miraculous power when necessary. Here I was with these two heroes. That meant I was something truly special, and they were My friends. Peter couldn't imagine anything better than building a shrine to each of us. At this moment, Peter suddenly realized that his friend Jesus was as great as Moses and Elijah. Poor Peter, he just didn't know what he was saying and what he would learn through his life of following Me!

The Father, however, wanted them all to know the truth: Someone far greater than Moses and Elijah had come and was among them. That greater One is Me — Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God!

The Father wanted My disciples to know that I wasn't just another good religious teacher with great things to say. The Father wanted them to realize that I AM the ONE to Whom they must listen above all others, that I AM greater than the greatest of all other religious heroes they could imagine! The Father said:
This is My Son! This is the One I have chosen! Listen to Him!
So I'm going to ask My question to you again: To whom are you listening most in your life?
Verses to Live

The introduction to this story about My time with Peter, James, and John sounds eerily like a story on the night of My arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-53): I am praying. My closest disciples are sleeping. They can't grasp any threat of My being killed in relation to My identity. They are confused by what happens. Their loyalty to Me is challenged. And, they see My glory, but revealed in shockingly different ways. Each of the two events — My transfiguration described in the verses below and My passion — demands that they look to Me and listen to Me. In the events in the following account, the Father demands that the disciples who were with Me, and you dear friend, listen to Me as your truth. The later event, the passion (betrayal, trials, crucifixion, and resurrection), demands that you listen to Me out of love for what I did for you. So I ask you one last time: To whom are you listening most in your life?
... Jesus went away to pray. This time He took along only Peter, John, and James. They climbed a mountainside and came to a place of solitude.

Jesus began to pray and the disciples tried to stay awake, but their eyes grew heavier and heavier and finally they all fell asleep. When they awakened, they looked over at Jesus and saw something inexplicable happening. Jesus was changing before their eyes, beginning with His face. It seemed to glow. The glow spread, and even His clothing took on a blinding whiteness. Then, two figures appeared in the glorious radiance emanating from Jesus. The three disciples somehow knew that these figures were Moses and Elijah. Peter, James, and John overheard the conversation that took place among Jesus, Moses, and Elijah — a conversation that centered on Jesus' "departure" and how He would accomplish this departure from the capital city, Jerusalem.

The glow began to fade, and it was clear that Moses and Elijah were about to disappear.

Peter (to Jesus):
Please, Master, it is good for us to be here and see this. Can we make three structures — one to honor You, one to honor Moses, and one to honor Elijah, to try to capture what's happening here?
Peter had no idea what he was saying.

While he spoke a cloud descended, and they were enveloped in it, and fear fell on them. Then a voice came out of everywhere and nowhere at once.

Voice from Heaven:
This is My Son! This is the One I have chosen! Listen to Him!
Then the voice was silent, the cloud disappeared, and Moses and Elijah were gone. Peter, James, and John were left speechless, stunned, staring at Jesus Who now stood before them alone. For a long time, they did not say a word about this whole experience.
(Luke 9:28-36)
Response in Prayer

O Father, help me keep my heart, mind, and ears focused on Jesus. I want to hear His voice, obey His words, and follow His example. Dear Father, like Jesus, I want to fulfill Your will for my life, so I choose to listen to Jesus as my Lord — to let His words and His example be the filter through which I understand Your scriptures and to let Him be the goal of My life. In His name, Jesus my Savior and Lord, 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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