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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.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

So what’s next?

Luke 3:10-14…

A person who is different will want to act different. The people knew John the Baptist had been telling the truth, and they repeatedly asked John to tell them how these “fruits of repentance” would be manifest.

John gave specific examples of what a changed, repentant life looks like. He said we become givers and not takers. We become honest and content. If we have received mercy and grace, and if we know the great depths of this, we will in turn become people who pour out mercy and grace to others. Freely we have received, freely we give (Acts 20:35).

Repentant hearts look for repentant starts. Those whose eyes have been opened to the truth, these people will now look for ways to follow the Truth. For them, it isn’t just saying a few words; it is true repentance, a change of life, lifestyle, and a different course of living. The way of eternal life makes a change in the way of our temporal life.

Have you ever asked this question, do you look to the Word of God to show you where you should be different (Ephesians 4:17-32)? Are you looking for a path to follow, or do you just think that saying some prayer to God means He will just make your way His way? It isn’t “answer my prayer and then I will get on the right path”, it must be that we get on the right path, and we will find our prayers answered.

Believing in Jesus means we are following Him; we believe He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and so we go the way He goes. It isn’t just talk, it is a walk. Turning toward God means we are walking a different path. There are lampposts along the way. The Word of God is a lamp to our feet, it shows us what we are walking on, and it is a light to our path, it shows us where we are headed to (Psalm 119:105).

So, what’s next for you?

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Isn’t that nice

Matthew 3:7-10 / Luke 3:7-9…

A lot of people think they have this “eternal life” thing all worked out, it’s a done deal. They said a prayer, lived a moral life, and attended all the right rituals, and now they can’t be bothered with matters of the heart. They are spiritually smug, and will turn quite sour if you dare bring up the ongoing fruit of repentance to them.

Most have never felt the condemnation of sin. They may have had a pang of conscience here or there, but they never actually turned their heart toward God after they felt better. Oh, they want Jesus to save them all right, but they sure aren’t going to follow Him while they still have their own life to lead.

John the Baptist didn’t play games with the souls of men. Many were coming to see, confess, and get baptized, but John, seeing the religious leaders, didn’t try to avoid confrontation. No, he went right at the hypocrites. Not those who did bad things and admitted it, but those who didn’t think they needed any mercy and grace.

They assumed that John was speaking only to the rank and file; but John said that the hypocritical religious leaders needed a baptism of repentance as much as anybody. Don’t fool yourselves, he says to them…and to you (Matthew 7:21-23 / Luke 6:45-46).

Many come to see the religious ceremony but lose the significance of it. They act so happy for the person who “turns their life around” not realizing all the while the evidence is mounting against them. Another brand plucked from the fire, manifest before their eyes, yet they burn in their hearts as ever they did. Some might even “get wet” but they never submit to the repentance and faith it embodies (Psalm 51:17).

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Hear the voice

Matthew 3:1-6 / Mark 1:1-6 / Luke 3:1-6…

John the Baptist was a preacher. His message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and his method was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. The people came to the wilderness to see him, and he looked the part of a wild man. Food and clothing were not of primary importance to him. But he was successful, his awkward look and bold approach did not stop the Voice in his message.

A lot of people are persuasive, charming, and otherwise well spoken, well learned, and perhaps even well dressed. However, you could have just gone through a car wreck, just got back from heart surgery, or just haven’t slept much in days, and God can still use you right there in your wilderness, ragged but ready. When you speak for Christ, what counts is not what you wear or where you eat, but the truth of what you say. The power of the Voice is present in your witness, you can speak the truth and be ready when God calls (1 Peter 3:15).

If you go all out for God, you will have what you need, and you will be successful. Now, you may not look like it to the spiritually blind in your world, but your world will watch, and some will learn, and live. Your voice gives voice to THE Voice.

One day we will all hear that Voice that the Scriptures say is like the roar of many waters (Revelation 1:15), and you will either hear “well done, good and faithful servant”, or “depart from me, worker of iniquity”. One thing is for certain, on that day you won’t be able to say, this is just a voice.

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