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Today with Jesus – August 26

Aug 26, 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. If you could take two things with you to heaven, what would they be?
  2. In school or at work, did you ever get burned because you stood by the truth or refused tog o along with the crowd? Was it worth it? Why or why not?

Read: John 12:20-40 (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. If you knew the world was going to end in six months, how would you live your life differently?
  2. How do you think the disciples felt as Jesus was describing the destruction of Jerusalem, signs o the end, and the persecution of Christians? How does this passage make you feel?
  3. Why do you think that Jesus used the discussion about the temple to begin His discourse about the end of the age? What made the temple so significant for the disciples? What would its destruction symbolize for them?
  4. Upon hearing this bombshell, what two questions do the disciples ask (v. 4)? What events might deceive them into thinking the end times had come (vv. 5-8)? Of what will those events be a sign?
  5. What questions about this passage would you ask Jesus if you had the opportunity?
  6. Verses 9-11 describe some of the persecution the disciples will face as they spread the Good News. What comfort and advocate will aid them to endure their trials?
  7. What dreadful event (v. 14; Daniel 9:26; 11:31; 12:11) will bring “days of distress” unequalled in human history? What deceptive signs will accompany that distress (vv. 21-22)?
  8. What promises does Jesus give in verses 30-31? How would this comfort (or discomfort) the disciples? What impact do these promises have on you, centuries later?
  9. Why do you think the Father has kept the time secret (v. 32)? What is the responsibility of believers in the meantime?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 68: “In the Outer Court” (pages 621-626, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“The authorities will make laws to restrict religious liberty. They will assume the right that is God’s alone. They will think they can force the conscience, which God alone should control. Even now they are making a beginning; this work they will continue to carry forward till they reach a boundary over which they cannot step. God will interpose in behalf of His loyal, commandment-keeping people.” (630.1)

“On every occasion when persecution takes place, those who witness it make decisions either for Christ or against Him. Those who manifest sympathy for the ones wrongly condemned show their attachment for Christ. Others are offended because the principles of truth cut directly across their practice. Many stumble and fall, apostatizing from the faith they once advocated. Those who apostatize in time of trial will, to secure their own safety, bear false witness, and betray their brethren. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the unnatural, cruel course of those who reject the light.” (630.2)

“By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, margin. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory.” (633.3)

“Those who are watching for the Lord are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to co-operate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls.” (634.2)

“Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut.” (636.2)

Reflect & Apply

  1. Have you ever faced persecution for your faith? What happened?
  2. When you see the forces of evil apparently winning, do you feel like withdrawing from the battle and perching on the rooftop? Or rolling up your sleeves and getting into the fray?
  3. What is the most exciting thing to you about the Second coming of Jesus? The most distressing?
  4. Specifically, how can you fulfill verses 33 and 37: “Be on guard! Be alert… Watch!”?

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.

More thoughts:  40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-its-about-and-what-its-not-about.html

Jesus. ALL

Today with Jesus – August 13, 2013

Aug 13, 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

Are you more likely to panic in the big crises or the little ones? Explain.

Read: John 12:20-40 (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 23)

What brings Gentiles to Jerusalem during a time of a Jewish feast?

What was so unique about their request that Philip would first filter it through Andrew?

Jesus said several times that “his time had not come” (2:4; 7:6, 30). What regarding this request caused him to say that now it has come?

In Jesus’ parable (v. 24), who is the kernel of wheat? How is this related to the Gentiles’ request?

What is He calling His disciples to do in v. 25-26? What promise do they receive?

In v. 27-32, what is about to occur “now”? How does this affect Jesus? Why did the crowd deny the reality of Jesus’ future death (v. 32-34)?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 67: “In the Outer Court” (pages 621-626, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“When the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it springs up, and bears fruit. So the death of Christ would result in fruit for the kingdom of God. In accordance with the law of the vegetable kingdom, life was to be the result of His death.” (623.1)

“Only by yielding up His life could He impart life to humanity. Only by falling into the ground to die could He become the seed of that vast harvest,—the great multitude that out of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, are redeemed to God.” (623.4)

“All who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must first fall into the ground and die. The life must be cast into the furrow of the world’s need. Self-love, self-interest, must perish. And the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation. The husbandman preserves his grain by casting it away. So in human life. To give is to live. The life that will be preserved is the life that is freely given in service to God and man. Those who for Christ’s sake sacrifice their life in this world will keep it unto life eternal.” (623.5)

“The life spent on self is like the grain that is eaten. It disappears, but there is no increase. A man may gather all he can for self; he may live and think and plan for self; but his life passes away, and he has nothing. The law of self-serving is the law of self-destruction.” (624.1)

“But the work of human redemption is not all that is accomplished by the cross. The love of God is manifested to the universe. The prince of this world is cast out. The accusations which Satan has brought against God are refuted. The reproach which he has cast upon heaven is forever removed. Angels as well as men are drawn to the Redeemer. ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth,’ He said, “will draw all unto Me.’” (626.1)

Reflect & Apply

In what area of your life are you in denial?

Where is Jesus calling you to die so that you might live? What do you tend to hold on to rather than follow Jesus?

Do you feel like you are walking in the dark, the light, or in some shadow-land right now? Why?

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.

More thoughts:  40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/08/denial.html

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – August 12, 2013

Aug 12, 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

Growing up, what “hot buttons” did you push to get your parents mad? What “hot buttons” do your kids (if any use on you?

What is your favorite city? Why?

Read: Matthew 23; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 20:45-47; 21:1-4 (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 23)

What was the seat of Moses? Given Jesus’ remarks about the Pharisees in Matthew 21-22, what is surprising about his remarks in 23:3? How does he limit his commendation of the Pharisees?

As Jesus sees it, what is the main evil of the Pharisees? How are the disciples to avoid falling into the same evil? Why would it be important that the disciples not allow themselves to be called “Rabbi”? What distinction was Jesus trying to make between his followers and the Pharisees?

Compare the path to greatness followed by the Pharisees with that taught by Jesus (verse 5-12). What do these two views of greatness teach us about the two views of the kingdom?

Make a list of the seven charges Jesus makes against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law (verses 13-32). How do they relate to what Jesus says in verses 2-7? Do you find anything common to al seven charges? How do each of these affect the common people?

How have the religious leaders corrupted the practice of evangelism (verses 13-15)? Of oath-making (verses 16-22)? Of tithing (verses 23-24: see Micah 6:6-8)? Of integrity, where public image matches inner reality (verses 25-28)?

In what way are these religious leaders condemned to repeat the past because of their failure to learn from their forefathers (verses 29-36)? How is the punishment in verses 33-36 appropriate to the crimes? What emotion does Jesus display in verses 37-39? How do you think he likely felt as he was teaching? Why?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 66: “Woes on the Pharisees” (pages 610-620, www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example. They themselves did not practice their own teaching… To make a show of their piety was their constant aim…” (612.1, 3)

Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honor indicating his control of their conscience or their faith.” (613.2)

“Again and again Christ had taught that true greatness is measured by moral worth. In the estimation of heaven, greatness of character consists in living for the welfare of our fellow men, in doing works of love and mercy. Christ the King of glory was a servant to fallen man.” (613.4)

[Regarding the offering made by the poor widow at the temple] “Man’s abuse of the gift could not turn God’s blessing from the giver.” (614.3)

“The rich had bestowed from their abundance, many of them to be seen and honored by men. Their large donations had deprived them of no comfort, or even luxury; they had required no sacrifice, and could not be compared in value with the widow’s mite… A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift.” (615.3)

“The influence of that little gift has been like a stream, small in its beginning, but widening and deepening as it flowed down through the ages. In a thousand ways it has contributed to the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel. Her example of self-sacrifice has acted and reacted upon thousands of hearts in every land and in every age. It has appealed to both the rich and the poor, and their offerings have swelled the value of her gift. God’s blessing upon the widow’s mite has made it the source of great results. So with every gift bestowed and every act performed with a sincere desire for God’s glory. It is linked with the purposes of Omnipotence. Its results for good no man can measure.” (616.1)

“Little did the Jews realize the terrible responsibility involved in rejecting Christ. From the time when the first innocent blood was shed, when righteous Abel fell by the hand of Cain, the same history had been repeated, with increasing guilt. In every age prophets had lifted up their voices against the sins of kings, rulers, and people, speaking the words which God gave them, and obeying His will at the peril of their lives. From generation to generation there had been heaping up a terrible punishment for the rejecters of light and truth. This the enemies of Christ were now drawing down upon their own heads. The sin of the priests and rulers was greater than that of any preceding generation. By their rejection of the Saviour, they were making themselves responsible for the blood of all the righteous men slain from Abel to Christ. They were about to fill to overflowing their cup of iniquity. And soon it was to be poured upon their heads in retributive justice.” (618.3)

Reflect & Apply

Where does Jesus catch your attention in this passage? What practices touch close to home in your life? How can you avoid “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk”?

How can you avoid making it hard for others to grow spiritually?

What about today’s church do you lament over (as Jesus did over Jerusalem)? When have you seen money in a church become more important than what the church stands for?

From reading this passage, what should today’s teachers and pastors be especially mindful of? How have you seen the power of the pulpit abused?

What “camels” are easy for you to swallow? What “gnats” are difficult (verse 24)? How will you cheer Jesus when you see Him again?

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.

More thoughts: http://40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/08/pushing-buttons.html

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – August 7

Aug 7, 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 do you pay your taxes: early, late, or never? Why?
  • What was the last big exam you had to really prepare for? How did you do?
  • As a child, what “hot buttons” id you push to make your parents mad?

Read: Matthew 22:15-46; Mark 12:13-40; Luke 20:20-47 (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 20:20-47 )

  • Why ask this question (verse 22)?
  • What’s the trap here: If Jesus said, “Pay Caesar,” what would have happened to his crowd support? If Jesus had said, “Don’t pay,” how would the rulers have responded?
  • What’s so insightful about Jesus’ response (verses 23-25)?
  • Why would the Sadducees, an elite religious and political group, poase a question like this to Jesus? (verses 27-33)
  • How seriously does Jesus treat this absurd question? What if he had ridiculed it?
  • What does Jesus teach about life after death (verses 34-36)?
  • How does He then “prove” the resurrection? (Not the verb tense in this Exodus 3:6 quote and recall when this burning bush incident took place.)
  • How do the teachers of the law differ in their response? Why?
  • Given the issue of authority in this chapter, why does Jesus continue to challenge traditional values? (verses 41-47)
  • What undermines the authority of the religious leaders (verses 45-47)?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 65: “Controversy” (pages 601-609). Highlights…

“Thousands become infidels because their finite minds cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. They cannot explain the wonderful exhibition of divine power in His providences, therefore they reject the evidences of such power, attributing them to natural agencies which they can comprehend still less. The only key to the mysteries that surround us is to acknowledge in them all the presence and power of God. Men need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and executes all things. They need a broader view of His character, and of the mystery of His agencies.” (605.5)

“Christ declared to His hearers that if there were no resurrection of the dead, the Scriptures which they professed to believe would be of no avail. He said, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” God counts the things that are not as though they were. He sees the end from the beginning, and beholds the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will come forth from the grave to immortal life. God will be their God, and they shall be His people. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him.” (606.1)

“The first four of the Ten Commandments are summed up in the one great precept, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” The last six are included in the other, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Both these commandments are an expression of the principle of love. The first cannot be kept and the second broken, nor can the second be kept while the first is broken. When God has His rightful place on the throne of the heart, the right place will be given to our neighbor. We shall love him as ourselves. And only as we love God supremely is it possible to love our neighbor impartially.” (607.2)

“The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father’s law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man’s duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.” (608.2)

Reflect & Apply

  • In giving yourself to God, are you in the 15, 28, 45, or 100 percent “tax bracket”? Why?
  • How do you deal with someone who wants to argue a point in the Bible? What if the person has honest questions and you don’t have the answer?
  • When have you “used” religion to get something for yourself (attention, respect, good feelings) rather than for love of God? What helps get you back on track?

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 – August 6, 2013

Aug 6, 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 seem something wrong, are you more likely to act without thinking or think without acting?

Read: Matthew 21:12-16, 23-46; Mark 11:15-19, 27-33; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 19:45-48; Luke 20:1-19 (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 11:12-25)

Although the merchants once performed a useful service for out of-towners, how had it become corrupted?

In this passage, which groups of people did and did not recognize the significance of Jesus? How do you explain that?

How is the fig tree incident a parable about what has happened in the temple and what is to come (see Hosea 9:10-17)?

What does this dramatized parable teach about faith? Prayer? Judgment? Jesus?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 64: “The Temple Cleansed Again” (pages 589-600; www.egwwritings.org). Highlights…

“Jesus looked upon the innocent victims of sacrifice, and saw how the Jews had made these great convocations scenes of bloodshed and cruelty. In place of humble repentance of sin, they had multiplied the sacrifice of beasts, as if God could be honored by a heartless service… The indignation of Jesus was stirred; He knew that His blood, so soon to be shed for the sins of the world, would be as little appreciated by the priests and elders as was the blood of beasts which they kept incessantly flowing.” (590.1)

“In quoting the prophecy of the rejected stone, Christ referred to an actual occurrence in the history of Israel. The incident was connected with the building of the first temple. While it had a special application at the time of Christ’s first advent, and should have appealed with special force to the Jews, it has also a lesson for us. When the temple of Solomon was erected, the immense stones for the walls and the foundation were entirely prepared at the quarry; after they were brought to the place of building, not an instrument was to be used upon them; the workmen had only to place them in position. For use in the foundation, one stone of unusual size and peculiar shape had been brought; but the workmen could find no place for it, and would not accept it. It was an annoyance to them as it lay unused in their way. Long it remained a rejected stone. But when the builders came to the laying of the corner, they searched for a long time to find a stone of sufficient size and strength, and of the proper shape, to take that particular place, and bear the great weight which would rest upon it. Should they make an unwise choice for this important place, the safety of the entire building would be endangered. They must find a stone capable of resisting the influence of the sun, of frost, and of tempest. Several stones had at different times been choice, but under the pressure of immense weights they had crumbled to pieces. Others could not bear the test of the sudden atmospheric changes. But at last attention was called to the stone so long rejected. It had been exposed to the air, to sun and storm, without revealing the slightest crack. The builders examined this stone. It had borne every test but one. If it could bear the test of severe pressure, they decided to accept it for the cornerstone. The trial was made. The stone was accepted, brought to its assigned position, and found to be an exact fit. In prophetic vision, Isaiah was shown that this stone was a symbol of Christ.” (597.5)

“To those who believe, Christ is the sure foundation. These are they who fall upon the Rock and are broken. Submission to Christ and faith in Him are here represented. To fall upon the Rock and be broken is to give up our self-righteousness and to go to Christ with the humility of a child, repenting of our transgressions, and believing in His forgiving love. And so also it is by faith and obedience that we build on Christ as our foundation.” (599.3)

“Our eternal safety depends upon our building upon the sure foundation. Multitudes are today building upon foundations that have not been tested. When the rian falls, and the tempest rages, and the floods come, their house will fall, because it is not founded upon the eternal Rock, the chief cornerstone Christ Jesus.” (599.4)

Reflect & Apply

If Jesus were to visit your church, where would he begin “turning over tables”? What about in your life?

Could the promise of verse 22 be abused? How does it encourage you in you’re your prayer?

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 – August 5, 2013

Aug 5, 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

  • If you could change one thing about modern Christianity, what would it be?

Read: Mark 11:11-14, 20, 21; Matthew 22:17-19 (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 11:12-25)

  • How would your church leaders have reacted to Jesus’ method of clearing the temple?
  • This profiteering on the sale of sacrificial animals took place in the only area where Gentiles could worship. Why would that especially anger Jesus (Isaiah 56:66-8)? What was Jesus threatening when he called the temple a “den of robbers” (Jeremiah 7:9-15)?
  • How does the story of the fig tree relate to the clearing of the temple? In what ways did the Pharisees cover their fruitlessness with flashy foliage?
  • Why was Peter amazed (verses 20-21)? Should he have been? What conditions for effective prayer are upheld here?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 63: “A Doomed People” (pages 580-588). Highlights…

“No one can live the law of God without ministering to others. But there are many who do not live out Christ’s merciful, unselfish life. Some who think themselves excellent Christians do not understand what constitutes service for God. They plan and study to please themselves. They act only in reference to self… Not for others but for themselves do they minister… [Christ] declares that the open sinner is less guilty than is he who professes to serve God, but who bears no fruit to His glory.” (584.1)

“… every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.” (588.1)

Reflect & Apply

  • If you were a tree, what would help you produce more fruit: Pruning? Watering? Staking? Transplanting? Fertilizing? Why?
  • Like the temple, no church is perfect. What have you done to make your church a better place?
  • How do you feel about expressing anger? Have you ever expressed righteous anger? What happened?
  • What amazing answer to prayer can you remember receiving? How much faith did it take?

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.

More thoughts: http://40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/08/thoughts-from-complacent-christian.html

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – July 26, 2013

Jul 26, 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

  • How do you make your grand entry when you come home: With a silent grunt? A big splash? A hug and kiss? Yelling, “What’s for dinner?”

Read: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19 (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 19:29-44)

  • How close is Jesus to Jerusalem now (Luke 19:29)?
  • What task does he give two of his disciples? Why? What problems might they have encountered in such a job?
  • How do you picture the scene in Luke 19:35-38? What do you see? Hear? Feel?
  • What were the people expecting Jesus to do when He reached Jerusalem (Luke 19:11; see Zechariah 9:9)? How are their expectations different from His? How does this help to explain Jesus’ words and emotions in Luke 19:41-44?
  • What does Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees (Luke 19:39-40) imply about Him?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 62: “Thy King Cometh” (pages 569-579). Highlights…

“Never before had the world seen such a triumphal procession. It was not like that of the earth’s famous conquerors. No train of mourning captives, as trophies of kingly valor, made a feature of that scene. But about the Saviour were the glorious trophies of His labors of love for sinful man. There were the captives whom He had rescued from Satan’s power, praising God for their deliverance. The blind whom He had restored to sight were leading the way. The dumb whose tongues He had loosed shouted the loudest hosannas. The cripples whom He had healed bounded with joy, and were the most active in breaking the palm branches and waving them before the Saviour. Widows and orphans were exalting the name of Jesus for His works of mercy to them. The lepers whom He had cleansed spread their untainted garments in His path, and hailed Him as the King of glory. Those whom His voice had awakened from the sleep of death were in that throng. Lazarus, whose boy had seen corruption in the grave, but who now rejoiced in the strength of glorious manhood, led the beast on which the Saviour rode.” (572.2)

“In the midst of a scene of rejoicing, where all were paying Him homage, Israel’s King was in tears; not silent tears of gladness, but tears and groans of insuppressible agony.” (575.3)… One soul is of such value that, in comparison with it, worlds sink into insignificance; but here was a whole nation to be lost.” (577.3)

Reflect & Apply

  • What kind of reception would Jesus get: (a) If He rode into your town today? (b) After the people heard the message?
  • How would He be treated by the local media? By elected officials? The guys in the tavern? The ladies in the book club at the local coffee house?
  • What person or group of people do you weep for?

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.

More thoughts: http://40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/07/grand-entrance.html

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – July 17, 2013

Jul 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

  • If you had a year’s wages to blow on one special gift, what would you buy and for whom?

Read: Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-11; Luke 7:36-50; John 11:55-57; John 12:1-11 (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

  • What is significant about the setting for this woman’s gift to Jesus?
  • What context in Jesus’ life (verse 12) justifies this woman’s act? Why are the disciples indignant?
  • What is Jesus trying to teach his disciples about priorities?
  • How could this scene relate to what happens in verses 14-16?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 60: “The Feast at Simon’s House” (pages 557-568). Highlights…

“At the burial [of Jesus] its [the perfume] sweetness could only have pervaded the tomb; now it gladdened His heart with the assurance of her faith and love… And as He went down into the darkness of His great trial, He carried with Him the memory of that deed, an earnest of the love that would be His from His redeemed ones forever.” (560.2)

“Many there are who bring their precious gifts for the dead. As they stand about the cold, silent form, words of love are freely spoken. Tenderness, appreciation, devotion, all are lavished upon one who sees not nor hears. Had these words been spoken when the weary spirit needed them so much, when the ear could hear and the heart could feel, how precious would have been their fragrance!” (560.3)

“Inspiration stoops to give no reason. An unseen presence, it speaks to mind and soul, and moves the heart to action. It is its own justification.” (560.4)

“Christ values acts of heartfelt courtesy. When anyone did Him a favor, with heavenly politeness He blessed the actor. He did not refuse the simplest flower plucked by the hand of a child, and offered to Him in love. He accepted the offerings of children, and blessed the givers, inscribing their names in the book of life. In the Scriptures, Mary’s anointing of Jesus is mentioned as distinguishing her from the other Marys. Acts of love and reverence for Jesus are an evidence of faith in Him as the Son of God. And the Holy Sprit mentions, as evidences of woman’s loyalty to Christ: ‘If she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.’ 1 Timothy 5:10.” (564.4)

“Christ’s offering was exceedingly abundant to reach every soul that God had created. It could not be restricted so as not to exceed the number who would accept the great Gift. All men are not saved; yet the plan of redemption is not a waste because it does not accomplish all that its liberality has provided for. There must be enough and to spare.” (565.5)

“Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. You may say, I am sinful, very sinful. You may be; but the worse you are, the more you need Jesus. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration.” (568.3)

“The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature. They stand beside the great Sin bearer, in the light proceeding from the throne of God.” (568.5)

Reflect & Apply

  • What “beautiful” thing could you do this week for Jesus (or “the least of these”)?
  • Whereas the woman (verse 7) gave lavishly for Jesus, Judas wanted to see what he could get from him. In what ways are you like the woman? Like Judas?

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.

More thoughts: 40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/07/who-hasnt-dreamed-of-what-you-would-do.html

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – June 27, 2013

Jun 27, 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

  • If you could pick an ideal height, how tall would you be?

Read: Luke 19:1-10 (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

  • How does Zacchaeus compare with the rich, young ruler (18:18-30) in his approach and response to Jesus?
  • Why does Jesus dine with him? Why does this bother others? Do you think Jesus’ words (vv. 9-10) stopped the crowd’s muttering?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 59: “The Law of the New Kingdom” (pages 547-551). Highlights…

“[Zacchaeus] was beginning to realize how bitter are the fruits of sin, and how difficult the path of him who tries to return from a course of wrong. To be misunderstood, to be met with suspicion and distrust in the effort to correct his errors, was hard to bear. The chief publican longed to look upon the face of Him whose words had brought hope to his heart.” (553.1)

“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” (555.6)

“If we have injured others through any unjust business transaction, if we have overreached in trade, or defrauded any man, even though it be within he pale of the law, we should confess our wrong, and make restitution as far as lies in our power. It is right for us to restore not only that which we have taken, but all that it would have accumulated if put to a right and wise use during the time it has been in our possession.” (556.2)

“It is when Christ is received as a personal Saviour that salvation comes to the soul. Zacchaeus had received Jesus, not merely as a passing guest in his home, but as One to abide in the soul temple. The scribes and Pharisees accused him as a sinner, they murmured against Christ for becoming his guest, but the Lord recognized him as a son of Abraham. For “they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7. (556.4)

Reflect & Apply

  • Where did Jesus first find you? Up a tree? Out on a limb?
  • How did He get you to join Him?
  • What wrongs do you need to make right?

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.

More thoughts: 40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-contrast-in-attitude-between-two.html

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – June 26, 2013

Jun 26, 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 did your parents want you to be when you grew up? What about you?
  • What are some secret expectations you have for your children?

Read: Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34 (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

  • What in the request of the woman (vv. 20-21) shows that the disciples’ view of the kingdom was different from Jesus? Of what is she (and are they) ignorant?
  • In order to share in his kingdom, what “cup” must the disciples share with Jesus (vv. 18-29)?
  • Why were the other 10 disciples so outraged? Were their reactions any more commendable?
  • What contrast does Jesus set up between the Gentile kingdom and God’s kingdom? How does Jesus model this new way?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 59: “The Law of the New Kingdom” (pages 547-551). Highlights…

“In the kingdom of God, position is not gained through favoritism. It is not earned, no is it received through an arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character.” (548.7)

“The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of His self-sacrificing love,–love that “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 5), –love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity.” (549.3)

“Christ was establishing a kingdom of different principles. He called men, not to authority, but to service, the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak. Power, position, talent, education, placed their possessor under the greater obligation to serve his fellow. To even the lowliest of Christ’s disciples it is said, “All things are for your sakes.” 2 Corinthians 4:15. (550.3)

“The angels of heaven od not come to the earth to rule, and to exact homage, but as messengers of mercy, to co-operate with men in uplifting humanity.” (550.6)

Reflect & Apply

  • What specific ways can you serve people, using Jesus as your model? Jesus was always saying or doing the unexpected (vv. 26-28). What has he told you that you did not expect?

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.

Further Thoughts: http://40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/06/parental-expectations.html

Jesus. ALL.

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