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Today with Jesus – February 5, 2014

Feb 5, 2014   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  1 Comment

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

“Seek My face, and you will find not only My Presence but also My peace. To receive My Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand. Ask My Spirit within you to order your day and control your thoughts, for the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace.

“You can have as much of Me and My Peace as you want, through thousands of correct choices each day. The most persistent choice you face is whether to trust Me or to worry. You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what. I am an ever-present help in trouble. Trust Me, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

(from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young)

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.

(Psalm 46:1-2, NLT)

 

Today with Jesus – January 29, 2014

Jan 29, 2014   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  No Comments

(From Jesus Callingby Sarah Young… written as if Jesus were speaking directly to us…)

Keep your focus on Me. I have gifted you with amazing freedom, including the ability to choose the focal point of your mind. Only the crown of My creation has such remarkable capability; this is a sign of being made in My image.

Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me. Whenever your mind wanders, lasso those thoughts and bring them into My Presence. In My radiant Light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel away. Judgmental thoughts re unmasked as you bask in My unconditional Love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of My Peace. I will guard you and keep you in constant Peace, as you focus your mind on Me.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive everythought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Also read Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 8:5; Isaiah 26:3.

 

Today with Jesus, January 21, 2014

Jan 21, 2014   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  No Comments


Do you tend to see the glass half-full, or half empty?

Do you fear what you cannot see, or are you confident that the One whom you cannot see is there?

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you saying, ‘Destroy him!'” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

From Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young (a devotional written as though it were Jesus speaking to you)…

“I want you to be all mine. I am weaning you fro other dependencies. Your security rests in Me alone–not in other people, not in circumstances. Depending only on Me may feel like walking on a tightrope, but there is a safety net underneath: the everlasting arms. So don’t be afraid of falling. Instead, look ahead to Me. I am always before you, beckoning you on–one step at a time. Neither height nor depth,no anything else in all creation, can separate you from My loving Presence.

Read also Romans 8:28-39.

Have you felt today more like a conqueror or conquered?

What confidence does Romans 8:28 give believers about events that occur in their lives? When has it been hardest for you to believ this? How have you seen God bring something good out of a bad situation?

From Romans 8:29-30, what steps are outline, “For those God foreknew”?

How does Romans 8:31-34 support Romans 8:1, “There is no no condemnation for those who are in Christ?”

Of the agents of separation listed in Romans 8:35-39, which is most threatening to you?

What phrase or verse from this passage particularly strikes you and why?

Reflect…

How are you doing in the school of hard knocks right now?

What is the closest you have come to feeling the despair and loneliness of being separated from God like Paul describes in Romans 8:31-39?

How does this passage help you overcome this feeling?

 

Today with Jesus – December 13, 2013

Dec 13, 2013   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

When you were a kid, would you rather have been punished by your fourth grade teacher or by your school principal? Why?

Read: Matthew 27:2, 11-31; Mark 15:1-20; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-40; John 19:1-16 (www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on Luke 22:63 – 23:25)

Why would the guards (22:63-65) treat Jesus as they do? What physical and emotional shape do you think Jesus was in by daybreak (22:66)?

How is the concern of the elders and priests in verses 67-70 different from the concern which they bring to Pilate (23:2)? Why?

In light of Jesus’ condition, with what tone of voice do you picture Pilate asking the question of 23:3? How seriously does he seem to take this claim?

What new charge do the elders bring against Jesus in verse 5? What does Pilate’s referral of the case to Herod show about the seriousness with which he viewed “the Jesus threat”?

What do you learn about Herod’s character from verses 8-11? What do you think he asked Jesus? Why wouldn’t Jesus answer him at all? How do you account for the new friendship (23:12)?

Although Pilate and Herod both found Jesus innocent, why does Pilate finally give in to the leaders? What would you have done in his place?

What ironies do you see in the fact that Barabbas (his name means “son of the father”) was released, while Jesus was condemned? What does that show about the leaders? About Pilate?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 76: “In Pilate’s Judgment Hall” (pages 723-739, egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“[The priests] hoped to impress Pilate with a sense of their importance, and thus lead him to accede to their request without going through many preliminaries. They were eager to have their sentence ratified; for they knew that the people who had witnessed Christ’s marvelous works could tell a story very different from the fabrication they themselves were now rehearsing.” (724.4)

“In their extremity they called false witnesses to their aid, “and they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King.” Three charges, each without foundation. The priests knew this, but they were willing to commit perjury could they but secure their end.” (725.6)

“Christ affirmed that His word was in itself a key which would unlock the mystery to those who were prepared to receive it. It had a self-commending power, and this was the secret of the spread of His kingdom of truth. He desired Pilate to understand that only by receiving and appropriating truth could his ruined nature be reconstructed.” 727.3)

“…Christ was as one who heard and saw not. The Son of God had taken upon Himself man’s nature. He must do as man must do in like circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to save Himself the pain and humiliation that man must endure when placed in a similar position.” (729.2)

“The mission of Christ in this world was not to gratify idle curiosity. He came to heal the brokenhearted. Could He have spoken any word to heal the bruises of sin-sick souls, He would not have kept silent. But He had no words for those who would but trample the truth under their unholy feet.” (730.3)

“…Pilate had taken step after step in the violation of his conscience. He had excused himself from judging with justice and equity, and he now found himself almost helpless in the hands of the priests and rulers. His wavering and indecision proved his ruin.” (731.6)

“‘What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. Again the surging multitude roared like demons. Demons themselves, in human form, were in the crowd, and what could be expected but the answer, ‘Let Him be crucified’?” (733.2)

“Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth! Behold the oppressor and the oppressed. A maddened throng enclose the Saviour of the world. Mocking and jeering are mingled with the coarse oaths of blasphemy. His lowly birth and humble life are commented upon by the unfeeling mob. His claim to be the Son of God is ridiculed, and the vulgar jest and insulting sneer are passed from lip to lip.” (734.2)

“As their cruelty degraded His torturers below humanity into the likeness of Satan, so did His meekness and patience exalt Jesus above humanity, and prove His kinship to God. His abasement was the pledge of His exaltation. The blood drops of agony that from His wounded temples flowed down His face and beard were the pledge of His anointing with ‘the oil of gladness’ (Hebrews 1:9.) as our great high priest.” (734.4)

“The greatest guilt and heaviest responsibility belonged to those who stood in the highest places in the nation, the depositaries of sacred trusts that they were basely betraying. Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. They thought to please the priests and rulers by abusing Him. They had not the light which the Jewish nation had so abundantly received. Had the light been given to the soldiers, they would not have treated Christ as cruelly as they did.” (737.2)

“… by choosing a heathen ruler, the Jewish nation had withdrawn from the theocracy. They had rejected God as their king. Henceforth they had no deliverer… Satan was their leader… That people who chose Barabbas in the place of Christ were to feel the cruelty of Barabbas as long as time should last… The blood of the Son of God was upon their children and their children’s children, a perpetual curse.” (737.6, 738.5, 739.1)

Reflect & Apply

In 19:45, Jesus confronted injustice with action, but here he was silent. Why? What particular form of injustice makes your blood boil? How do you decide when to fight for what is right, and when not to? Has that decision faced you recently?

What contrasts do you see between Jesus’ kingship and the authority of Pilate and Herod? What difference does it make to you that Jesus is not the type of king they were?

How do you feel as you consider what Jesus experienced during his trial?

Further Reflection: 40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/12/injustice-and-how-to-react.html

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – November 7, 2013

Nov 7, 2013   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

Have you ever been in a court of law or situation where you felt unfairly treated or felt the judge violated your rights?

Read: Matthew 26:57-75; Matthew 27:1; Mark 14:53-72; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:54-71; John 18:13-27(www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on Matthew 26:57-45)

Who is the Sanhedrin (or Jewish court of elders), and what kind of cases were brought before it (see Acts 4:-22)?

Why take Jesus to the high priest? Why do you think Peter followed? Why would the priests knowingly accept false evidence? Why two witnesses (verse 60; see Deuteronomy 19:15)?

What is unusual about Jesus’ self-defense? Why did he remain silent? How does he view God’s kingdom?

Why would the priests think Jesus was guilty of blasphemy?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 73: “Before Annas and the Court of Caiaphas” (pages 698-715, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

The Saviour contrasted His own manner of work with the methods of His accusers. For months they had hunted Him, striving to entrap Him and bring Him before a secret tribunal, where they might obtain by perjury what it was impossible to gain by fair means. Now they were carrying out their purpose. The midnight seizure by a mob, the mockery and abuse before He was condemned, or even accused, was their manner of work, not His. Their action was in violation of the law. Their own rules declared that every man should be treated as innocent until proved guilty. By their own rules the priests stood condemned. (699.2)

He who could have doomed His enemies to death bore with their cruelty. His love for His Father, and His pledge, made from the foundation of the world, to become the Sin Bearer, led Him to endure uncomplainingly the coarse treatment of those He came to save. It was a part of His mission to bear, in His humanity, all the taunts and abuse that men could heap upon Him. The only hope of humanity was in this submission of Christ to all that He could endure from the hands and hearts of men. (700.5)

Conviction mingled with passion led Caiaphas to do as he did. He was furious with himself for believing Christ’s words, and instead of rending his heart under a deep sense of truth, and confessing that Jesus was the Messiah, he rent his priestly robes in determined resistance. This act was deeply significant. Little did Caiaphas realize its meaning. In this act, done to influence the judges and secure Christ’s condemnation, the high priest had condemned himself. By the law of God he was disqualified for the priesthood. He had pronounced upon himself the death sentence… The high priest who dared to appear in holy office, and engage in the service of the sanctuary, with a rent robe, was looked upon as having severed himself from God. (708.3, 709.1)

Peter had not designed that his real character should be known. In assuming an air of indifference he had placed himself on the enemy’s ground, and he became an easy prey to temptation. If he had been called to fight for his Master, he would have been a courageous soldier; but when the finger of scorn was pointed at him, he proved himself a coward. Many who do not shrink from active warfare for their Lord are driven by ridicule to deny their faith. By associating with those whom they should avoid, they place themselves in the way of temptation. They invite the enemy to tempt them, and are led to say and do that of which under other circumstances they would never have been guilty. The disciple of Christ who in our day disguises his faith through dread of suffering or reproach denies his Lord as really as did Peter in the judgment hall. (712.1)

One day the base men who scorned and spat upon the calm, pale face of Christ will look upon it in its glory, shining brighter than the sun. (715.4)

Reflect & Apply

What impresses you most about Jesus here?

Ever “defend your faith”? How ell did you do? How could you give a better answer for the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15-16)?

How do you now when to keep silent and when to talk about you faith?

Further Reflection: 40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/11/ramped-up.html

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – October 23, 2013

Oct 23, 2013   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

In times of crisis, do you stay cool, get hot, panic or dig in?

Where do you go to be alone?

Read: Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-50; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-12 (www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on Luke 22:39-53)

What strikes you about Jesus’ prayer? In saying “your will be done,” is Jesus: (a) Helplessly submitting to fate? (b) Admitting defeat before a power that beat him? (c) Bitterly resigning himself to the inevitable? Or (d) Quietly trusting in God’s love?

Why is the crowd so large and armed (verse 52)? What do they fear? Why are their fears unfounded?

What is the irony in Judas’ betrayal? How do you reconcile verse 38 and Jesus’ behavior in verses 50-51?

What does Jesus mean by “your hour” (verse 53; in contrast to his own, verse 42)?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 73: “Gethsemane” (pages 685-697, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“But now He seemed to be shut out from the light of God’s sustaining presence. Now He was numbered with the transgressors. The guilt of fallen humanity He must bear. Upon Him who knew no sin must be laid the iniquity of us all. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father’s love. Feeling how terrible is the wrath of God against transgression, He exclaims, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’” (685.2)

“He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man’s sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression. “(686.3)

“As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.” (686.4)

“They [Peter, James, and John] did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.” (688.1)

“But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.” (693.2)

“The angel came not to take the cup from Christ’s hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it, with the assurance of the Father’s love. He came to give power to the divine-human suppliant. He pointed Him to the open heavens, telling Him of the souls that would be saved as the result of His sufferings. He assured Him that His Father is greater and more powerful than Satan, that His death would result in the utter discomfiture of Satan, and that the kingdom of this world would be given to the saints of the Most High. He told Him that He would see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied, for He would see a multitude of the human race saved, eternally saved.” (693.3)

Reflect & Apply

What do you mean when you pray, “your will be done”?

How would you compare Jesus’ attitudes and actions with those of his disciples? His enemies?

What impresses you most about him?

Further Reflection: 40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/10/crisis.html

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – October 17, 2013

Oct 17, 2013   //   by Chuck Reeves   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

What is your favorite room in the house? Why?

Can you remember a time when you got lost? What happened?

Read: John 13:31-38; John 14-17 (www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on John 14:1-13)

What comfort does Jesus offer his disciples?

Look at John 13:36; 14:6, 8; and 14:22. What problems are the disciples struggling with?

Put Jesus’ statement in 14:6-7 in your own words.

How does 1:18 relate to what Jesus says in 14:9? With what tone of voice do you imagine Jesus speaking in verse 9-14? What evidence does Jesus give for his claims?

Do you think the promises Jesus makes in verses 12-14 are “blank check” promises about prayer? In verse 12, does he mean the church will do works greater in power? Greater in scope? How could this be?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 72: “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” (pages 662-680, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“Christ had not ceased to be God when He became man. Though He had humbled Himself to humanity, the Godhead was still His own. Christ alone could represent the Father to humanity, and this representation the disciples had been privileged to behold for over three years.” (663.5)

“Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.” (664.4)

“The prayer of the humble suppliant He presents as His own desire in that soul’s behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.” (667.3)

“The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.” (668.1)

“There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord’s promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us.” (672.1)

“Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter.” (679.2)

Reflect & Apply

If Jesus is the Way, do you feel you are on a bumpy dead-end street, or on a four-lane highway? Why?

In light of 14:6, how would you respond to someone who says, “there are many ways to God”?

Further Reflection: 40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/10/recognizing-father.html

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – October 1, 2013

Oct 1, 2013   //   by Chuck Reeves   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

When you are troubled, what symptoms show on you face? In your spirit?

Read: Matthew 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23; John 13:18-30 (www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on John 13:18-30)

If you were a movie director, how would you capture the drama of verses 18-22? If you had been sitting at this table, what would you be feeling? Saying?

In foretelling his betrayal, what do you sense in Jesus: Resolution? Resignation? Restlessness? What do you sense in His disciples? In Judas?

Is Judas to be excused or held responsible when Satan entered into him” (verse 27; also 6:70; 12:4-6; 13:2)?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 71: “A Servant of Servants” (pages 652-661), www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds.” (652.3)

“Wonderful had been the long-suffering of Jesus in His dealing with this tempted soul. Nothing that could be done to save Judas had been left undone. After he had twice covenanted to betray his Lord, Jesus still gave him opportunity for repentance. By reading the secret purpose of the traitor’s heart, Christ gave to Judas the final, convincing evidence of His divinity. This was to the false disciple the last call to repentance. No appeal that the divine-human heart of Christ could make had been spared. The waves of mercy, beaten back by stubborn pride, returned in a stronger tide of subduing love. But although surprised and alarmed at the discovery of his guilt, Judas became only the more determined. From the sacramental supper he went out to complete the work of betrayal.” (655.1)

“Though Jesus knew Judas from the beginning, He washed his feet. And the betrayer was privileged to unite with Christ in partaking of the sacrament. A long-suffering Saviour held out every inducement for the sinner to receive Him, to repent, and to be cleansed from the defilement of sin. This example is for us. When we suppose one to be in error and sin, we are not to divorce ourselves from him. By no careless separation are we to leave him a prey to temptation, or drive him upon Satan’s battleground. This is not Christ’s method. It was because the disciples were erring and faulty that He washed their feet, and all but one of the twelve were thus brought to repentance.” (655.4)

“Christ’s example forbids exclusiveness at the Lord’s Supper. It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches. 1 Corinthians 5:11. But beyond this none are to pass judgment. God has not left it with men to say who shall present themselves on these occasions.” (655.5)

“None should exclude themselves from the Communion because some who are unworthy may be present. Every disciple is called upon to participate publicly, and thus bear witness that he accepts Christ as a personal Saviour.” (656.4)

“Our Lord says, Under conviction of sin, remember that I died for you. When oppressed and persecuted and afflicted for My sake and the gospel’s, remember My love, so great that for you I gave My life. When your duties appear stern and severe, and your burdens too heavy to bear, remember that for your sake I endured the cross, despising the shame. When your heart shrinks from the trying ordeal, remember that your Redeemer liveth to make intercession for you.” (659.2)

“Looking upon the crucified Redeemer, we more fully comprehend the magnitude and meaning of the sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven. The plan of salvation is glorified before us, and the thought of Calvary awakens living and sacred emotions in our hearts. Praise to God and the Lamb will be in our hearts and on our lips; for pride and self-worship cannot flourish in the soul that keeps fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary.” (661.2)

“He who beholds the Saviour’s matchless love will be elevated in thought, purified in heart, transformed in character. He will go forth to be a light to the world, to reflect in some degree this mysterious love. The more we contemplate the cross of Christ, the more fully shall we adopt the language of the apostle when he said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14.” (661.3)

Reflect & Apply

If you knew ahead of time that someone would stab you in the back, how would you treat that person? How does Jesus show you what love is all about?

Given three years of very intimate fellowship with Jesus, how could Judas turn around and betray Him? Have you ever betrayed Jesus? If so, how?

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – September 25, 2013

Sep 25, 2013   //   by Chuck Reeves   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

  • What were the special meals in your family: Thanksgiving? A Sabbath or Sunday lunch? Birthday dinners? Christmas? What was usually served?
  • Who would you nominate for the “mother Teresa Award” in your family or church for selfless, tireless servanthood?

Read: Luke 22:7-18, 24; John 13:1-17 (www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on Mark 13)

  • What does Jesus know that escapes the disciples’ attention (vv. 1, 3, 11)? Hence, what impresses you abou Jesus washing their feet?
  • If you were Peter, would you have racted as he did? Why or why not? While Peter is taking the washing of his feet literally, what do you think Jesus meant by His statement in verse 8? In verse 10?
  • How does Jesus challenge their idea of what it means to be the chief followers of the Messiah (vv. 12-17)? What role reversals do you see here?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 70: “A Servant of Servants” (pages 642-651), www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“The whole life of Christ had been a life of unselfish service. “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” (Matthew 20:28), had been the lesson of His every act.” (642.2)

“It is not humiliating to the Master to allow Him to work for our purification. The truest humility is to receive with thankful heart any provision made in our behalf, and with earnestness do service for Christ.” (646.1)

“Like Peter and his brethren, we too have been washed in the blood of Christ, yet often through contact with evil the heart’s purity is soiled. We must come to Christ for His cleansing grace… He alone can wash us clean. We are not prepared for communion with Him unless cleansed by His efficacy.” (646.4)

“Christ would have His disciples understand that although He had washed their feet, this did not in the least detract from His dignity… being so infinitely superior, He imparted grace and significance to the service. No one was so exalted as Christ, and yet He stooped to the humblest duty. That His people might not be misled by the selfishness which dwells in the natural heart, and which strengthens by self-serving, Christ Himself set the example of humility. He would not leave this great subject in man’s charge. Of so much consequence did He regard it, that He Himself, One equal with God, acted as servant to His disciples. While they were contending for the highest place, He to whom every knee shall bow, He whom the angels of glory count it honor to serve, bowed down to wash the feet of those who called Him Lord. He washed the feet of His betrayer.” (649.3)

“There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place; and often this results in evil surmisings and bitterness of spirit. The ordinance preceding the Lord’s Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother.” (650.4)

“In washing the feet of His disciples, Christ gave evidence that He would do any service, however humble, that would make them heirs with Him of the eternal wealth of heaven’s treasure. His disciples, in performing the same rite, pledge themselves in like manner to serve their brethren.” (651.2)

“Jesus, the served of all, came to be the servant of all. And because He ministered to all, He will again be served and honored by all. And those who would partake of His divine attributes, and share with Him the joy of seeing souls redeemed, must follow His example of unselfish ministry.” (651.3)

Reflect & Apply

  • In your spiritual life, who is one person who has demonstrated what it means to “wash feet”? What did he or she do?
  • Specifically, how will you put Jesus’ teaching into practice in at least one relationship this week at home, work or church?

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus, September 14, 2013

Sep 18, 2013   //   by Chuck Reeves   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Prayer to Begin

Jesus, open my eyes today. Change me with your touch. Transform me with the power of Your word, Your teachings, and Your life.

Warm Up

  1. When have you felt like you were really important?
  2. When have you felt like you were really unimportant?
  3. What made you feel either way?

Read: Matthew 25:31-46 (www.biblegateway.com)

Observe: What are the FACTS of these passages (without interpreting them: who? what? when? where? why? how?)? What are some key words and phrases?

Think (based on Mark 13)

  1. What was Jesus saying about Himself in verse 31-32? How would this (as well as calling Himself “King” in verses 34 and 40) have been received by His audience that day?
  2. What does this passage say about Jesus’ priorities as “King”? How does this compare to what people may have thought about a “king”?
  3. Read carefully the responses of both “sheep” (righteous) and “goats” (wicked) in verse 37-39 and verses 44. How are they the same? How are they different? What do these responses say about how people were living their every day lives? What does it say about their awareness of people around them and about their priorities?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 69: “The Least of These My Brethren” (pages 637-641, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“In all who suffer for My name said Jess, you are to recognize Me. As you would minister to Me, so you are to minister to them. This is the evidence that you are My disciples.” (637.3)

“… not to any class is Christ’s love restricted. H identifies Himself with every child of humanity. That we might become members of the heavenly family, He became a member of he earthly family. He is the Son of man, and thus a brother to every son and daughter of Adam. His followers are not to feel themselves detached form the perishing world around them. They are a part of the great web of humanity; and Heaven looks upon them as brothers to sinners as well as to saints. The fallen, the erring, and the sinful, Christ’s love embraces; and every deed of kindness done to uplift a fallen soul, every act of mercy, is accepted as done to Him.” (638.4)

“Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.” (634.4)

“… we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.” (640.2)

“Love to  man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God.” (641.3)

Reflect & Apply

  1. How easy or hard is it for you to notice people in need of help (financially, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise)? What makes it easy or hard for you to notice?
  2. What is you first response (in your heart/mind) when you do notice?
  3. How can you align your priorities this week with the priorities of the King of the Universe who will soon return?

Prayer to Conclude

I have learned the following about You today: ____________________________.

With Your help I will make the following changes in my life because of what I’ve learned: ______________________________.

I need clarity for _____________________.

I need courage for _____________________.

Jesus, thank you for touching me today. Please reveal yourself further. Today, my life is Yours. Put me to death. Raise me up again, totally in You, with Your heart, Your Spirit, Your mind, and Your nature. I will deny myself today, take up the cross of Jesus, and follow You.

Jesus. ALL.

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