July 5 –Joy, Cheer, Courage, and Peace

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” – John 14:27 (NASB)
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NASB)

Joy, Cheer, and Courage have their origin in one ultimate victory and that is Christ’s victory over hell and the grave. Old Testament saints looked forward to this promise being fulfilled and the New Testament church (post Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection) looks back on the beginning of the fulfillment. The essential ground for endurance in trials and persecution is the Jesus’ victory over the world system and its prince of darkness. Through Christ’s impending death, and he is looking for it to happen momentarily, in just a few hours. He rendered the world’s opposition null and void. While the world continues to attack His people, such attacks fall harmlessly, for Christ’s victory has already accomplished a smashing defeat of the whole evil rebellious system. This means that all the promises of God, all the promises Jesus gave to us through His disciples are imminently pending and are guaranteed by His Word. In the middle of our topsy-turvy world where all that was stable is being uprooted and discarded, we have the assurance that the peace Christ gave to us is the real thing. Let’s trust the peace.


June 3 –– Keeping Us From Evil

“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15 (NASB)

The Bible tells us that Jesus, the Son of God is praying for us in heaven. We might wonder what He is asking God do to for us and we might find some answers to that question in the last prayers which Jesus prayed before he was arrested and crucified. Recorded by John in chapter 17 of his gospel account. Jesus prayed for His disciples as He was soon to leave them. He knew what they would face here in this world. He knows what you and I face and he knows the increasing antagonism that Christians are facing these days. The evil one is active and we do need God’s help to overcome the influences just as the disciples did. We believe that this is in part what Jesus is praying for us today. As long as we live here on earth we need God’s help and God the Father does help us and answers the prayers of His Son Jesus. This is a promise that God will keep us from the evil one. God’s way of keeping us is to preserve our souls even as we face difficulty in this world. Trust Him today!


May 26 –Hears, Knows, Follows

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” John 10:27 (NASB)

One of the many things Jesus spoke of Himself to help people understand His mission was that He was the Good Shepherd. It was very common in that day and people knew how important a shepherd’s job was. Today’s verse are words spoken by Jesus and recorded in the Gospel of John. We believe that everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior enters into the relationship pictured in this verse. What we mean is that by believing in Jesus we become one of his flocks and we can think of Him as our shepherd. Jesus said in our verse that His sheep listen to His voice. This means that He is speaking to us. He is not just up in heaven and far away. He knows us and is talking to us right now. It also reminds us that we should be listening to hear our Lord speaking to us and following what He is telling us. This is a wonderful provision. Jesus has thoughts to share with us. We don’t have to go through a day without hearing His voice in our spirit. Let’s be sure we’re within hearing range so that we can hear Him today.


May 23 – Peace to Overcome

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NASB)

Yesterday’s promise included the appropriation of the Gospel of Peace in order to stand firm against the ruler of this world system set on our failure as Christians. The attack is on all around us. Christian and Christianity is a target and quickly criticized by ungodly forces. Today’s verse gives us the promise of peace. Jesus, as he spoke to His disciples that last night at Passover Supper did so in order that they would have peace. He knew what was ahead was going to be very difficult and include tribulations and persecutions. But, as Jesus said, with His peace we can overcome whatever the world dishes out to us. Why can we trust this promise? How do we take on the courage we need and know it will be there for us? Because, Jesus declared the He had already overcome the world. As difficult as it was going to be, Jesus promised that what He had done for them and for us was to give us what we need to overcome the world – and that included His peace. Not a worldly idea of peace but a Godly kind of peace that lasts forever.


May 16 – Learn and Obey

“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” John 13:13 (NASB)

In Scripture many names are used to identify God whether He spoke them as God the Father or as the Son of God, each is significant in its meaning. During Jesus’ time on this earth, he taught people about Himself using, several names by which people could refer to Him. In today’s verse two names were used especially by Jesus’ disciples expressing what Jesus Christ was for them. These names represent what Jesus is for us too. He is our Teacher and is involved in our lives daily teaching us His truth. We need His teaching and we should be learning from Him all through our lives. Each moment is “a teaching moment” if we pay attention. Jesus, by title and essence is our Lord but let’s not forget that this name is manifest through our obedience. We must obey our Lord. There’s no place for us to say, “No, Lord” and continue to call Him Lord. As we think of these two names, let’s remember to be learning and obeying Him each day. He teaches us and directs each steps of our lives which we need to follow – learn and obey what we learn.


April 19 – Knowing His Plan

Things happen and we react. Maybe we’re primed for a response that is not the right response or time to act. When we do, we often learn quickly of our overreach just as Peter does the night Jesus is arrested. Jesus had just gone three torturous rounds in prayer about the cup he was facing. Now Jesus has to ask Peter if he was trying to divert God’s plan. Impetuous Simon Peter, of course—wielding a sword! Peter was no stranger to jumping right in with both feet. He had jumped out of the boat attempting to walk on water to Christ. He had spoken his mind thinking to rebuke Christ. He had offered to lay down his life for Christ and swore he would be true, always. But shortly after stepping up to defend Jesus, fear would grip Peter and he would deny even knowing Him. Our  impatience might push us to interfere with what God had declared, with His  plans. What God has declared; He will do. Let’s learn to put away our figurative swords. Let’s trust God’s plan as we understand it and, wait on His timing. Acting on God’s command is how we serve Him best.


April 15 – Good Friday – Finished for Us

“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John  19:30 (NASB)

The entire work of redemption had been brought to completion when Jesus said the words “It is finished.” The verb “finished” here carries the idea of fulfilling one’s task and, in this context, has the idea of Christ fulfilling the religious obligations which He did for us.  These last words He spoke mean very much to all of us who have believed in Him. Earlier in verse 28 we learn that Jesus knew that it was done. He said, “knowing that everything had now been finished.” Jesus knew that His death was accomplishing His Father’s purpose in sending Him to this earth.  He came to pay the price for bringing us into God’s family.  He paid the penalty for our sins when He died for us. So after hanging on the cross for about six hours, enduring the separation from His Father which our sins had caused, He knew that God’s purpose was accomplished and so He declared it accomplished. The way was open for you and for me to come to God to have our sins forgiven. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he was declaring a promise for us. Through His sacrifice and death, we are forgiven.


April 14 – Maundy Thursday – Drawing Closer

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” John 12:32-33 (NASB)

Many of Jesus’ teachings during the days just before his crucifixion were given to His disciples. Other things He told the crowds of people. Today’s verse is found in John’s record. Jesus said that His soul was troubled because of the impending weight of what He was to do. God the Father in and audible voice confirms the glory that will result from the obedience of His Son Jesus. John records how Jesus was revealed the kind of death He knew He was going to suffer and what effect it will have on those who learn of it. Well, isn’t it true that when we heard about Jesus dying on the cross for us it drew us to Him and we believed in Him as our Savior? And even today when we think of Him dying on the cross doesn’t it draw us to Him in love. Let’s think of Jesus dying on the cross. Let’s think of Him often these days especially and each time we think of Him let’s allow Him to draw us closer and closer to Himself. That was His desire the day He died. It is His desire today.


April 13 – Holy Wednesday – When a Seed Dies

“And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:23-24  (ESV)

During the last week before Jesus died on the cross he was in contact with many people in Jerusalem. In John’s record we read in Chapter 12 about some people from Greek regions who came looking for Him. They said, “We would like to see Jesus.” When the disciples tell Jesus what the Greeks asked, His reply is found in today’s verse. Instead of responding to the curious sight-seers Jesus begins to talk about his coming death. When Jesus says “the hour,” He refers to the time of His death, resurrection, and exaltation. Up to now, Jesus’ hour had always been future. He knew that by dying on the cross He would do more good for those Greeks (Gentiles) than by just satisfying their curiosity.  We think of Jesus’ death like a seed planted which sprouts to bear many seeds. So Jesus, through his death and resurrection has brought many people into the family of God. We don’t know if those Greeks ever believed in Jesus as their Savior but they could have. They wanted to see Jesus. Maybe they did. Because He died, we have come to know Him and one day will see Him in heaven.


 March 11 – Be and Remain

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither you unless you abide in Me. ” – John 15:4 (NASB)

Communion with Christ is a cure for every ill. In our passage today, Jesus encourages us to live within Him. Living near to Jesus, we are covered with the wings of God, and underneath us are His everlasting arms. It is of secondary importance whether we’re famous and prosperous, or live humble lives in comparative poverty. So we’re focusing on the first three words Christ commanded his disciples here, “Abide in Me.’ The word “abide” means to remain or stick around. By “remaining” we confirm that salvation for us is an accomplished act. The evidence of salvation is our continuation in service to our Lord Jesus according to His teaching. An abiding believer is the only genuine believer. Abiding and believing actually address the same blessing of salvation. Let’s not allow anything to keep us from that blessed communion that is the unique relationship of our life hidden in Christ. Let’s always seek to retain His company, for only in His presence will we find either comfort or safety. Jesus is not for us a friend who calls us now and again, but one with whom we are in constant touch. 


Drawn in part with revision from C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).