In a “Peanuts” comic strip, Linus carefully listened to Lucy as she boasted about her religious zeal. She wanted him to think that she was all about witnessing to others.
“You know, Linus,” she bragged, “I could be a terrific evangelist. Do you know the kid that sits behind me in school? I convinced him that my religion was better than his religion!”
“How did you do that?” he asked.
“I hit him with my lunch box until he gave in,” she replied.
Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Jesus knew that love would work better than a lunch box!
Biblical love must never be confused with warm, fuzzy feelings or emotional ups and downs. Biblical love is a love that would open ones lunch box to someone who is hungry and in need of food even though the lunch box owner would have to do without food. It is a love that may cause us to give until we ourselves have to do without. It is a love that will, at times, drain us of energy and finances to help those who are victims of wrongdoing through no fault of their own. It is a love that absorbs the hurts of others without complaining or holding back when we think that we are being taken advantage of. It is a kind of love that is hard to do. But it is the kind of love we see revealed in the life of Jesus.
Prayer:We see in Your Son, Father, the ultimate definition of love – a love that had or has no limits or draws no lines. Fill our hearts with a love like Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
A young mother went to Mr. Duffy for him to do a portrait of her so her children would know what she looked like as a young lady. Mr. Duffy was known for his “idealized” paintings – painting his clients as they could be if they were “ideal”.
When she returned after several months of waiting, she was shocked by what she saw. Angrily she said, “That doesn’t look like me.”
“I know,” he replied graciously, “but try your best to look as lovely as it does.”
Mr. Duffy saw in the mother what she could become. And so, when he painted her portrait, he brought out the best in her, the “ideal.” He wanted to help her achieve her best.
One day after Andrew met and accepted Jesus as the Messiah, he brought Simon to meet Jesus. As Jesus looked intently at him He saw an “ideal” disciple and said, “You are Simon, the son of John – but you will be called Cephas (which means Peter).”
Jesus saw not only who Simon was but who he would become. That is the reason He gave him a new name. Peter was not always a “solid rock” throughout the Gospels but that is what he became “rock-solid” as he grew in Christ.
Christ always sees more in us than we see in ourselves. He sees us as we can be – rock-solid – in our walk with and witness for Him. Come. Follow Me!
Prayer:Lord, may we walk with You, in faith, believing that You have great plans for our lives. May we trust You completely and become “ideal” disciples. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
When he was a child Little Tommy was fascinated as he stood in the back yard and watched airplanes get smaller as they disappeared over the horizon. He would stand motionless, sometimes even holding his breath, as he watched this amazing sight time after time.
Day after day he would beg his grandmother to “take me flying on one of those airplanes.” Finally, the day came when his grandmother took him on his first flight. After he was buckled in his seat and the air craft sped down the runway and began to ascend into the clouds, a puzzled look came across his face. Anxiously, he turned to his grandmother and asked quietly, “Grandmother, when do we start getting smaller?”
This is an important question for all Christians!
John the Baptist played a most significant role in the ministry of Jesus. He realized that God gave Him an important work to do to introduce Jesus to the world. This was his main purpose in life. And he did it well. God, because of his faithfulness, made him an important person in the history of our faith.
But when Jesus appeared, John realized that his role in doing God’s work changed. Not only does his willingness to decrease in importance describe an example of what humility is, but it prescribes clearly the role of every Christian today: We are to witness God’s grace to others without drawing attention to ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, may we willingly step aside, as John did, as we present Your Son to the world. May we do what we do for You and You alone and only exalt Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 3:30-36 He must increase, but I must decrease.
It was the first day in her new position as the secretary to the president. As she was being given her first task, she wanted to appear confident and competent.
Listening carefully he said to her, “These accounts that I am giving you are very important. They are the foundation of our income. I want you to go over each of them at least three times to make sure that all of the numbers are correct before you return them to me. Your results must be right!”
Working anxiously for quite some time, she finally completed her task. She went to him and handed him the results of her efforts. As he took the papers from her hands she said, “Sir, I want you to know that I exceeded your expectations. I went over each page ten times and came up with ten different answers.”
When asked the way to heaven and eternal life, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
This statement in John’s Gospel is one of the most basic and important passages in all of Scripture. If anyone anywhere wants to know the way to God and eternal life, this is the one and only answer. Jesus, with no hesitation, declared once and for all that He is the Way. Some may argue that this declaration and proclamation is too narrow. But in all reality, it is wide enough for anyone, anywhere to enter at any time.
Prayer:Thank You, Heavenly Father, for sending Your one and only Son into the world to become, if we choose, Our Savior and the Way to eternal life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Little Danny was proud of his new born brother. Every now and then he would quietly and carefully approach his crib, look down at him and smile.
On one occasion his mother stood watching him from a corner in the nursery while she was folding the baby’s clothes. After a few moments Little Danny said, “Little Brother, before you get too big and forget, please remember what God looks like ‘cause I want you to tell me when you learn to talk.”
Little Danny is not the only one who wants to know what God looks like. Hidden in the heart of everyone, everywhere is the same question. It was planted there by God Himself!
John wrote that “No one has ever seen God.” If this is true, Little Danny is in serious trouble.
But John also wrote that “His only Son, who is Himself God, is near to the father’s heart, and He has revealed God (literally brought Him out) to us.”
Jesus was, and still is, the complete expression of God in human form. Through His life and teachings He revealed God to us so we do, indeed, know what He looks like, acts like and actually thinks like.
And Jesus passed on that “picture” of God to His disciples, and they in turn passed it on to their disciples. So, today, as His disciples, we have the same responsibility that Jesus had: to reveal God to the world through the way we live. What a great privilege!
Prayer:Lord, You have given us a responsibility to make You known to the world. Empower us with Your Spirit to live God-like lives that makes You visible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
When General Ulysses S. Grant lay dying, he called for his pastor. As his pastor stood by his bedside Grant asked, “Tell me, will God receive me?”
“Yes,” he replied, “for the Lord said, ‘him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’”
General Grant, at that moment came to the Lord. The pastor, both amazed and grateful for this startling conversation said, “God’s Kingdom had just gained a great man!”
Quietly, but with great sincerity and dignity Grant said, “God does not need great men, but great men need God.”
General Grant put things in the proper perspective. It is not uncommon for those who achieve status and power, prestige and importance to believe that God needs their help. We hear much about the résumés and financial statements of prominent people. We offer our respect and esteem to those who move across the world’s stage attempting to control world events. We speak of their efforts and accomplishments as though they keep the planet in orbit or from spinning out of control.
But in the final analysis they still need God’s grace, mercy and salvation as we do. God without man is still God. But man without God is nothing and is condemned to spend eternity in hell.
Prayer:Father, we thank You with grateful hearts for Your salvation through Jesus Christ, Your Son. May we recognize Your Lordship and serve You with gladness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 6:37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Janie had been disobedient and refused to follow her mother’s instructions. Wanting her to learn the importance of obedience and necessity of prayer, her mother sent her to her room to ask God to help her. In a few moments she returned to the kitchen where her mother was preparing the evening meal.
“Mom,” she announced, “I prayed about my disobedience.”
“Good,” said her mother. “Did you ask God to help you to be a good girl?”
“No, Mom, I didn’t,” she answered. “Instead I asked Him to help you put up with me.”
Jesus said something important about obedience: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” There is always a connection in Scripture between love and obedience. Again, He said, “If you love me you will obey my commandments.”
If we say that we love God we will show this love by being obedient to Him. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see a relationship between a Father and His Son founded on love and reflected in obedience. His life set the standard for us to follow.
It was His sacrificial life that ultimately showed us what it means to obey the Father. When we waver in our obedience to Christ we need to examine our lives to make certain that what we say is seen in what we do.
Prayer:Help us, Heavenly Father, in our struggle to be obedient to You. We know that selfish temptation often overwhelms us – but give us strength to persevere. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
Recently, while waiting for an airport bus to take me to the parking lot, I noticed that several of them had signs that read OUT OF SERVICE! There I was – standing alone and helpless at the curb – inhaling the exhaust and listening to the noise of empty buses. I waited for quite some time wondering when one would come by and take me to my vehicle.
Then I thought of those standing around me. No doubt they, too, were anxious to be helped to their destination. Perhaps they had been on a long, lonely journey and were discouraged with the results of their efforts. Maybe they were fearful of what might be awaiting them. And of course, there were also those who were filled with joy and the expectations of a happy homecoming to a welcoming family, friends or business associates.
As I waited with them, I thought of all the people that God brings into our lives each and every day who need His grace. They face the same issues in life that we do and their experiences are no different than ours. Often they face their problems alone because there is no one to give them His help or hope. Unfortunately, too often we are like the bus: OUT OF SERVICE!
Jesus said, “Look around you! Vast fields are ready right now for the harvest.”
Prayer:Help us, Father, to get involved in serving You by serving others. Open our eyes to see their needs and our ears to hear their cries and then share Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today:John 4:34-38 …“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest...”
Janie was having lunch with her friend Margie who had just started a new job. Anxiously, she asked, “How do you like your new boss?”
“Well, he’s O.K.,” said Margie. Then continued, “He’s kind of bigoted, though.”
“What do you mean, bigoted?” she wondered.
“Well,” answered Margie, “he thinks that words can only be spelled one way.”
Being bigoted is not always wrong. Sometimes it is necessary and important, even critical. Though we often think a bigoted person is unreasonable and unwholesome, there are times when it is essential to be fanatical about some things in life.
One of those “things” is the “way to the Father.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me!”
Peter was also bigoted when he said, “There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.”
There are those whom we encounter every day that refuse to accept the fact that there is only one Name and one Person who can be called upon for salvation. This one way to eternal life did not come from a church or the disciples but from Jesus Himself.
God designated His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world. There is no one else or any other way.
Prayer:Lord, help us to realize how important it is to fully accept, believe and declare that You alone are the only way to God and eternal life. May we never waver. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1-6 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”…” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
A successful executive of a large company had been in the hospital for days. He had waited, wondered and worried about what the diagnosis of his condition would be. After the tests were analyzed, the doctor came into his room and told him the results.
Tearfully and in shock, his wife asked, “Is there any hope, doctor?”
“It depends on where your hope is,” said the doctor. “If it is in me, I’m afraid not. But if it is in God, you have all the hope you need.”
Jesus gave Christians a prescription for hope. “Don’t be troubled,” He said. “You trust God, now trust me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you.”
Fear has a unique way of bringing life into focus. And there are only a few verses of Scripture that describe eternal life. But these few words are filled with promise and hope. The promise is that Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us. And the hope we have is He promised that He would come again to get us so we may be with Him in Heaven.
We can look forward to eternal life with Him because He has promised it to all who believe in Him as Savior and Lord. Although we may not know all we want to know about eternal life and what heaven will be like, we need not fear. Right now He is preparing our home!
Prayer:What joy we have, Father, that You – at this very moment – are preparing a home for us in heaven. We have great peace knowing that we will be with You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1-2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?