Having it your way
Today's devotion is based on Romans 15:1-3, "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."
Selfish living is not God-pleasing living. There is a better way. Paul writes, "Even Christ did not please himself." It's remarkable to see Jesus' life and how selfless he was. Jesus did not live his life to please himself. Instead, he willingly put us first and died on the cross to take our sins away. Because he was so selfless, you and I are forgiven, saved, and on the way to heaven through faith in him. Let the selfless love of Jesus motivate you to be different. Out of love for Jesus, don't try so hard to have it your way. Rather, as Paul says, "Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up."
Please pray with me: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for living such a selfless life for me and for willingly giving that life on the cross in my place. Motivate me with your love today to put others first and to serve them as you have served me. Amen.
The What and the Why
Today's devotion is based on John 9:4-7, "As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." After saying this, he [Jesus] spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing."
Jesus said he must do the works of him who sent me while it was still day, for night was coming soon. Jesus was there to do the work his Father had for him to do in the time God had given him. Jesus' mission was to undo the effects of sin, and God had arranged all of time for this purpose. His work could not wait but had to be accomplished. It is the same "why" in your own story and the same determination with which God works in your life. He is still the light of the world and working at just the right time and in the right way. We may have many questions about the "what" of our story, but never forget about the "why."
Please pray with me: Lord of all, enable me to do the work you have given me in the time you have given me to do it. Amen.
Jesus is the Light
Today's devotion is based on Ephesians 5:13, "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light."
God has called his followers out of darkness into his light by revealing Jesus, the world's light. Jesus shows us how great God's love is by pointing us to the cross, where he paid the price for every one of our sins. Having brought us into the light, he calls us to do what light naturally does—shine on others.
Please pray with me: Dear Jesus, help me shine the light of your salvation on others who are living in darkness. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on John 9:1-3, "As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."'
"What did I do to deserve this?" Or "Why is God punishing me?" are phrases I hear quite often. Jesus' disciples had similar thoughts when they came upon a man blind from birth. They were sure someone had done something to deserve this punishment of blindness. The only question was who sinned.
Jesus' response to his disciples reveals a greater truth about suffering for the Christian: It is not about punishment for sin but about the work of God being revealed in us. God promises that the sufferings in this life are neither chaos nor punishment for those who believe in him. Instead, God is using all of these things to accomplish his good purposes for us. Sometimes God's work is subtle, and sometimes it is obvious. Sometimes it is easy to understand, and sometimes it isn't easy to understand—all the time, it is God's good work displayed.
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father; please assure me that as a believer, the events of my life, whether good or bad, are being used to show your mercy toward me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on John 9:1,7 and 35-38, “As he [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. . . “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. . . Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
The blind man had never seen the Son of Man. He might have heard of him, but he certainly did not know that Jesus would heal his blindness, the blindness he had suffered from since his birth. He also did not know Jesus was there that day to cure his spiritual blindness so that he might see Jesus as his Savior.
Jesus is still curing blindness today. Through his words, he continues to show himself as the Son of Man who brings restoration to his people and salvation for the world. Jesus still causes men and women around the world to see that he is Savior so that they might worship him.
Please pray with me: Gracious God, thank you for saving me from the blindness of unbelief. In your blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Born to give God glory
Today's devotion is based on John 9:3, where Jesus answers the question as to who sinned. "Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."'
Imagine the freedom the man felt, not simply being healed of blindness but released from the chains of traditional judgment. For this man to hear Jesus' words, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him,' was the ultimate freedom. And not only to see with his eyes but hear with his ears. 'That the works of God might be displayed in him.'
Perhaps you feel like this man. Are you the one who feels the constant external judgments and hurled insults? You're not good enough. Someone with your past? Forget about it. This Scripture is for you. God loves you without reservation, and whatever your past, God's good works can be displayed in you, for you are created to give God glory. You are free in Jesus.
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father, amid struggles and pain, help me to hear the good news of your Son, Jesus, so that your good works can be displayed in me. Amen.
Jesus knows our thirst
Continuing with our study of Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well, today's devotion is based on John 4:6,7, "Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"
Can God honestly know what I'm feeling? Is God in tune with what is going on in our world? Sometimes, we've misunderstood God as a distant deity disconnected from the average human's experience. But Jesus steps into human history, and he shatters that false assumption. As true God, Jesus knows us intimately. But to prove he's not a distant God, he became a real man with flesh and blood to experience pain, thirst, and even temptation—yet he never sinned. But he still thirsted.
By the well, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." On the cross, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." He was thirsty, but he suffered the agony of God's crushing punishment on the cross, which parched his very being. He thirsted for relief from his Father in heaven. He knows what we're going through and did something about it! Jesus' rest beside the well and visit with that woman was a pitstop along the way to his cross, where he would experience something that he wanted no other human to experience—punishment for sin. From his wounds flowed forgiveness and peace for every thirsting soul.
Please pray with me: Lord, thank you for approaching me in gentleness and love and with your almighty power to rescue me from sin's curse. All praise to you. Amen
Where can I find Living Water?
Today’s devotion is based on John 4:15, 25, and 26, “The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” . . . The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Her interest is piqued as Jesus reveals her deepest secrets and talks about living water for her thirsting soul. So she asked, “Where can I get this water?” Jesus answered, “I am he.” Jesus is the source of eternal life. He gives relief from sin and shame. It’s relief that lasts.
Where can you and I get this living water? Jesus takes us to concrete places to find this steady stream of living water. The Bible, the Word of God, is pictured as water. Through it, we find life because it’s more than just a book. It is the power of God from which his love and forgiveness flow freely. No matter how messy life has been, there’s no stain Jesus can’t wash away. In Jesus, through his Word we find living water in abundance.
Please pray with me: Jesus, every day, lead me to your Word so that I can know lasting comfort and relief. In your blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on John 4:10,13,14, where we hear Jesus' response to the woman at the well, "Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water . . . Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Picture a desert where water is scarce. You have to dig deep to find water essential for physical life. Now picture a gushing spring of water. It bubbles up and spills over; there's an endless supply. That's the picture Jesus paints for a spiritually thirsty soul beside a well. This living water that Jesus gives is not a shallow pool or babbling brook. It's gushing over in an endless supply. Jesus gives us more than just a sip of this living water, more than a drop on a thirsty tongue. It's an endless fountain of God's love and forgiveness, gushing over. That fountain never runs dry because Jesus's living water is eternal life.
Please pray with me: Jesus, meet me beside the waters of your Word where I find relief from the guilt of sin and the refreshing flood of your forgiveness. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on John 4:9,10: The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew,+ and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews, do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
Jesus exposed her real spiritual thirst by simply asking for a drink of water. She thirsted for love and acceptance but was looking in all the wrong places to quench that thirst. We might seek approval from peers or acceptance through a relationship that becomes more important than a relationship with God. Our world has a twisted view of love and acceptance and looks for it in all the wrong places.
Jesus cares about you enough to come to you in his Word and to meet a deeper thirst that nothing in all the world could ever quench. Jesus quenches our thirst for love and acceptance, not by downplaying sin, but by forgiving it completely by washing it away in an unending flood of his love and acceptance.
Please pray with me: Jesus, meet me beside the waters of your Word so that I may find the kind of love and acceptance that only comes from you. Amen.