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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sorrow into joy


John 16:16-22…

A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me. We may wonder why this was so confusing to the disciples. Yet, in reading this passage, we have to remember that we have the advantage of the whole picture. We know that Jesus would soon go to the cross, that He would rise from the dead, and that He would ascend to the Father in heaven. But the disciples weren’t just reading about it. They were in the midst of the experience, and what’s more they are expecting a Messiah that will soon be reigning, not dying and departing.

Sometimes, as we are going through something, others may be able to read the situation like a book. But that doesn’t mean we will understand it for ourselves, even when they try and tell us. This is why we need to look to the right sources. Some can diagnose us but they can’t direct us. Even if we know what to do or think it can be tough. Just because something goes like clockwork doesn’t mean we enjoy being on the clock.

The truth is that Jesus, the One who IS Truth, is always the right source. That means His Word is where we need to be finding our answers. The Bible doesn’t tell or teach us that we will be free from all trials, tribulations, and troubles. It’s quite the opposite. Yet through all the sorrow, God will lead us into peace and joy. The world laughs at what Christians cling to, but in the end, all of their answers will fall to the ground, and Christ, the solid rock, will stand (Deuteronomy 32:4 / Isaiah 40:8 / Matthew 7:24-25 / 1 Corinthians 10:4). 

Great spiritual growth often happens in the wake of great sufferings. Jesus may seem absent for a while, and there may be much pain involved, but He will show up, and He will turn your temporary sorrow into everlasting joy. The old saying rings true; happiness is the result of happenings, whereas joy is the result of Jesus.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

It’s for the best


John 16:5-15…

Jesus was looking to engage the disciples in a discussion about His departure. Earlier, they had asked Jesus about where He was going (John 13:36, 14:5). But now, knowing He is going, they become preoccupied with themselves and their sorrow. This caused them to overlook the advantages that would be brought about by Jesus’ departure, both for themselves and for the continuation of His mission.

Jesus had told them of the results of our union with Him, the provisions as well as the persecutions.  Now He once again instructs them about the Holy Spirit, who would be with them in all of these things.  When we are caught up in our own circumstance, we fail to focus on other people, and fail to realize that what may seem like the worst thing is often the best thing for us. The Holy Spirit was literally a God send.

The role of the Spirit in the world is conviction (vs.8-11). He convicts people of the sin of refusing the person of Jesus (John 14:6). He convicts people of their lack of righteousness compared to Jesus (Romans 3:23). He convicts people that evil has been judged, and will be cast out (John 12:31 / Colossians 2:15). When we witness of sin, righteousness, and judgment, the Holy Spirit will work in people’s hearts to convict of the message of Christ. 

The role of the Spirit in the believer is communication (vs.12-15). Christ said that the Spirit would not only bring all the former teachings of Jesus to their remembrance, but that He would also further reveal the truth about Jesus to the Apostles. The writings of the New Testament bear witness, the Scriptures are evidence of what Jesus was talking about (1 Corinthians 2:16).

For us today, the Spirit illuminates that written Word, and exalts Jesus Christ through our experience with that Word in living it out. The Spirit reveals the Son, who expresses the Father. God is communicating, but we must be tuned in to His frequency if we want to hear Him and to have others hear Him through us. We often miss the power because we ignore the provision. If you want to be filled with the Spirit you need to be filled with His Word.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The truth about hate


John 15:18-16:4…

Jesus had just been speaking of the results of our union with Him. Being connected with Him leads to the life of Christ being manifest in us, with prayerful, obedient, fruitful and loving joy being characteristic of our lives. Having said that, Jesus now tells them of some other things they can expect. He tells His disciples that they will be hated and persecuted for His name’s sake.

Jesus gives three main reasons why the world hates Christians. First, it is because we are no longer identified with the world (vs.19). Second, because we are now identified with Christ (vs.20). Third, the world rejects Christians because they are ignorant of God (vs.21).

Jesus says the world is guilty because they have rejected His words (vs.22-23), His works (vs.24), and the Old Testament witness (vs.25). But while the world has rejected the words, works, and witness of God, the disciples have not rejected God, and they will have the Holy Spirit as a witness to them and through them (vs.26-27).

Jesus tells us of these events ahead of time so that we may be prepared. To be forewarned is to be forearmed (cf. 2 Peter 3:17). This is especially true when it comes to religious leaders. While the world rejects Christians, the false religious leaders will do more than reject, they will try and suppress and even silence the voice of Christ through His disciples.

The true gospel offends people. It reminds us that we are in bondage to sin and on our way to hell apart from God’s offer of salvation in Christ. Believers are not to expect popularity in the world when we are true to His Word (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 / James 4:4). Our job is not to serve the crowd, but the Crown. 

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