John 20:1-31 This passage in John was always a mystery to me. Why did Peter and John believe Jesus was raised from the dead when they saw the linen napkin? Part of the burial clothing of a person in that day was a linen napkin that was wrapped around the head of the deceased. This part of Jesus' burial clothing was lying neatly folded in a place by itself. Listen carefully as John describes that event: "Peter therefore went out and the other disciple, were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw linen cloths lying there, And the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed" (vv. 3-8).
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Psalm 119:132-155 Order is something we all want in our lives. I never knew how much I appreciated order until I visited India, a country where confusion reigns instead of order. I asked the Lord why there is such confusion in India, and He reminded me that He was not the author of confusion. Satan is the author of confusion. Confusion reigns in India because there is so much idol worship. There are over three million gods worshiped in India. The whole atmosphere is charged with demonic oppression, and this oppression affects people's mental faculties.
Psalm 119: 113-131 The Word of God is a light to our path, as we learned yesterday. Through the Word of God we can receive instruction, correction, reproof and doctrine that will keep us moving forward in our spiritual walk and also prevent our stumbling along the way. The Word of God not only shines a light on our path as we walk through this life, but it also shines a light into our hearts.
Psalm 119:96-112 What a privilege to be the container of God's glory. However, for His glory to shine out of our lives, we have to fulfill two conditions—to hear and heed God's word. In Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, David declares what the Word of God means to Him. He says, "You word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (v. 105).
John 17:1-26 So many in these last days are seeking God's glory even as Moses sought to see His glory. We, however, are living in the days after the cross and God has chosen to reveal His glory to others through us. We are the body of Christ, and if we believe and heed His Word, He is glorified in us. To think that we as flesh beings can shine radiantly with God's glory even as Moses did after his encounter with God on the mountain is amazing. In this passage Jesus makes it clear that He will not glorify us in the future, but He has already glorified those who believe in Him. Yes, there will be a day when the fullness of His glory will be revealed to the whole earth, but until that time, we have been appointed to be His glory on earth. Listen to Jesus' words: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me" (vv. 20-23, KJV).
John 16:1-33 The words Jesus spoke to His disciples seemed hard words to them. He was telling them He was going to go away and that they would forsake Him for a season. These were troubling words, yet Jesus ended His conversation with them by saying, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (v. 33).
John 15:1-27 Most of us are familiar with the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13, but did you know there is another love chapter in the Bible that is just as important? John 15 is that chapter. Here Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. The word divine has "vine" in it, and the "di" is short for deity. One could say divine love is God's dependent love. So many of us, including me, try to have the qualities of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13, but we fail miserably. Love is the fruit of the spirit, and the nine fruit of the spirit all radiate from divine love. It is impossible to love as Jesus loved when He walked on earth over two thousand years ago. We can, however, demonstrate His love to others if we are totally dependent upon His Spirit. Jesus tells us to do three things to radiate His love daily:
John 14:15-31 Jesus just told the disciples He was going away, but He would not leave them comfortless. He promised them He would send them the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, but He made another promise that we often miss. Many of the promises in the Bible are conditional, and it is important we fulfill the conditions before we claim the promise. In this passage Jesus makes a conditional promise. He said "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him" (v. 21).
John 13:31-14:14 Jesus shared with His disciples that He was going away. They did not understand Him. He told them to not be troubled in their hearts because He was going to prepare a place for them.
John 13:1-30 We talked yesterday about rejoicing and being glad every day of our lives. True joy is not conditional. We may be going through distress and trials, but in the midst of this we can rejoice and be glad. One might ask, "How can I be happy when so much is going wrong in my life?" The answer to this question is given in our New Testament reading in John.
Psalm 118:19-29 As I looked through my mother's things after her death, I found a beautiful writing she clipped from a church paper. I do not know who wrote it, but I made copies of it and passed it out at Mother's memorial service. The title of it is "The Gift of a Day." I have included it at the end of today's devotional. It expresses what this psalm says: "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" (v. 24). The following poem is included in the reading:
1 Samuel 29:1-31:13 It looked as if David had lost everything, His city had been burned, His wives were missing, and all those who followed him turned against him and were ready to stone him. He was in great distress, but he made a choice. He made the choice to encourage himself in the Lord instead of giving up. I've often wondered how he encouraged himself in the Lord. When I meditated on this, I received a mental picture of exactly what David did that day when all seemed to be lost.
Proverbs 15:22-23 I pray almost every morning, "Lord, put me in the right place at the right time." As I read this proverb, I now want to add to that prayer, "Lord, help me to speak the right thing at the right time." There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent.
Psalm 116:1-19 Psalm 116:15 is used in many funeral services, and the message conveyed is that God is blessed by the death of His saints. What a wrong interpretation of this scripture! Death is an enemy of God and has been since the Fall. God is the God of life, and death is the result of sin. God desired for us to live with Him in fellowship with Him forever when Adam and Eve were created. In His foreknowledge, however, He knew we would choose death over life. This is why Jesus had to come and die and be resurrected so that death would no longer be the conqueror. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 who is the author of death and who is the author of life. "The thief [Satan] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
Psalm 115:1-18 When we spent three weeks in India in 1980, we agreed with our pastor and his wife that we would not visit any of the Hindu temples. We did not want to expose ourselves to the spirits that dwelled in these temples. We knew that even though man had made the idols in these temples, demonic spirits were all around them.
Psalm 113:1-114:8 It was Monday morning, May 17, 1999, when I received a call from the nursing home where mother resided for four years after her severe stroke. I was told she had passed away early that morning. It was my joy to visit mother at least four times a week and spend time with her.
John 8:31-59 I was speaking at a ladies' retreat, and a woman came to me after the meeting to ask my counsel about some things in her life. I asked her if she had looked into God's Word for her answers. She replied, "Oh, I've already read the Bible through years ago." This lady did not have the concept that the Word of God is our daily spiritual bread. When we pray "Give us this day our daily bread," we are not just praying for physical bread. We are also praying for the Father to give us fresh spiritual bread or manna, a fresh word from Him that will sustain us throughout the day.
John 8:21-30 Jesus said to the Jews, "I do always those things that please Him." Jesus had just shared that He only spoke those things that the Father taught Him. Jesus' life on earth was spent pleasing the Father. He was not sent to earth to please Himself or even others. He came to speak the Word the Father spoke to Him and to do the works He saw the Father do. Jesus' life on earth reveals how we are to walk daily.
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23 Prejudice is simply prejudging a person before we even get to know that person. We often make up our minds that we are not going to like a person simply because of his outward appearance. God warned Samuel when he went to anoint a new king of Israel not to look at the outer appearance of the man. He instructed Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse. As each of Jesse's sons passed by, Samuel knew the Lord had not chosen any of those seven sons. He asked Jesse if all the sons were present, and Jesse told him that the youngest was tending the sheep. His name was David. When David appeared on the scene, he was very good looking and had a beautiful countenance. God, however, did not choose David because of his outward appearance. He chose him because He knew David's heart. David had a heart after God.
Proverbs 15:5-7 Is your house filled with treasures? I remember visiting a home in New Jersey and our host showing us all the treasures he had collected from his travels all over the world. There were paintings, statues and every kind of bric-a-brac, each representing a country he visited. I thought to myself, This man's life is wrapped up in his treasures and travels.
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