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Today with Jesus – May 23, 2013

May 23, 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 have you challenged “company policy”? What happened?

Read: John 11:47-54 (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 responses does the Lazarus miracle produce? Why?
  • What are the chief concerns of the leaders? How do they misunderstand the role of the Messiah?
  • How does Caiaphas propose to solve “the Jesus problem”? How does Caiaphas’ murderous threat unwittingly convey prophetic truth about Jesus’ death (see John 3:16)?
  • How does Jesus respond to this new situation?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 58: “Priestly Plottings” (pages 537-541). Highlights…

“Under the impression of the Holy spirit, the priests and rulers could not banish the conviction that they were fighting against God.” (539.2)

“His life had been one of persecution and insult. Driven from Bethlehem by a jealous king, rejected by His own people at Nazareth, condemned to death without a cause at Jerusalem, Jesus, with His few faithful followers, found a temporary asylum in a strange city. He who was ever touched by human woe, who healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, who fed the hungry and comforted the sorrowful, was driven from the people He had labored to save. He who walked upon the heaving billows, and by a word silenced their angry roaring, who cast out devils that in departing acknowledged Him to e the Son of God, who broke the slumbers of the dead, who held thousands entranced by His words of wisdom, was unable to reach the hearts of those who were blinded by prejudice and hatred, and who stubbornly rejected the light.” (541.4)

Reflect & Apply

  • What would you have done if you had been on the Sanhedrin? Would politics or truth win out with you?
  • In what ways are you most likely to misunderstand who Jesus is?
  • How have you tried to keep Jesus in line with you religious traditions?

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.

(More thoughts at http://40dwj.blogspot.com)

Today with Jesus – May 8, 2013

May 8, 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 raise one person from the dead, who would it be? Why?

Read: Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-44 (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 long had Lazarus been dead by the time Jesus arrived? How would you feel if you were Martha or Mary and you heard that Jesus had finally come?
  • What do you learn about Martha from the way she talks to Jesus in John 11:21-27? If Martha had faith in Jesus (verse 22), why was she skeptical when Jesus asked them to remove the stone (v. 39)? In what way did Martha misunderstand Jesus when he said, “Your brother will rise again” (v. 23)?
  • Since Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus (11:11), how do you account for his weeping (vv. 33-35)?
  • Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?
  • How could this passage be used to help someone who is facing death?
  • How do you respond to Jesus’ statement and question in verses 25 & 26?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 57: “Lazarus, Come Forth” (pages 524-536). Highlights…

“Christ represents death as a sleep to His believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and until the last trump shall sound those who die will sleep in Him.”

“In delaying to come to Lazarus, Christ had a purpose of mercy toward those who had not received Him. He tarried, that by raising Lazarus from the dead He might give to His stubborn, unbelieving people another evidence that He was indeed ‘the resurrection, and the life.’ He was loath to give up all hope of the people, the poor, wandering sheep of the house of Israel. His heart was breaking because of their impenitence. In His mercy He purposed to give them one more evidence that He was the Restorer, the One who alone could bring life and immortality to light. This was to be an evidence that the priests could not misinterpret. This was the reason of His delay in going to Bethany. This crowning miracle, the raising of Lazarus, was to set the seal of God on His work and on His claim to divinity.”

“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12” (530.3)

“Though He was the Son of God, yet He had taken human nature upon Him, and He was moved by human sorrow. His tender, pitying heart is ever awakened to sympathy by suffering. He weeps with those that weep, and rejoices with those that rejoice.” (533.3)

“It was not only because of the scene before Him that Christ wept. The weight of the grief of ages was upon Him. He saw the terrible effects of the transgression of God’s law. He saw that in the history of the world, beginning with the death of Abel, the conflict between good and evil had been unceasing. Looking down the years to come, He saw the suffering and sorrow, tears and death, that were to be the lot of men. His heart was pierced with the pain of the human family of all ages and in all lands. The woes of the sinful race were heavy upon His soul, and the fountain of His tears was broken up as He longed to relieve all their distress.” (534.2)

“Natural impossibilities cannot prevent the work of the Omnipotent One. Skepticism and unbelief are not humility. Implicit belief in Christ’s word is true humility, true self-surrender.” (535.2)

“At His bidding, invisible hands would have removed the stone. But it was to be taken away by human hands. Thus Christ would show that humanity is to co-operate with divinity. What human power can do divine power is not summoned to do. God does not dispense with man’s aid. He strengthens him, co-operating with him as he uses the powers and capabilities given him.” (535.3)

Reflect & Apply

  • When have you been faced with a tough situation that ended up stretching your faith? What would have been different for you if that struggle had simply been avoided?
  • Have you ever attended a funeral where there was no sense of eternal life? How did you go away from that experience? What difference does this hope make for you?
  • How does Jesus’ response to Lazarus’ death and Mary’s weeping help you to trust him more?
  • On a scale of 1 (none) to 10 (completely) how confident are you that you will live eternally? What evidence exists supporting your level of confidence? How would you live your life differently if you were more confident?
  • What are some “old grave clothes” that still must be shed for you to feel truly free in Christ?

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 – May 6, 2013

May 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

  • If your house were on fire, what three items would you try to save?
  • What is your ideal annual salary?

Read: Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23 (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 appears to be this young man’s view on how one obtains eternal life?
  • Is there a difference between the young man’s concern (“eternal life”) and Jesus’ concern (“life”)?
  • Of the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20), what is the general subject of the first four? Of the last six? Which one did Jesus omit? Why? Which commandment did Jesus add here which was not part of the original ten?
  • Had the man truly loved his neighbor? How do you know?
  • Why is it so difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom? On what basis is it possible for anyone, rich or poor, to enter (vv. 26-30)?
  • In this passage, how are these four concepts connected: salvation, discipleship, entering the kingdom of heaven, and inheriting eternal life?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 56: “Blessing the Children” (pages 518-523). Highlights…

“He [the rich young ruler] could not keep the commandments of God while the world was first in his affections. He loved the gifts of God more than he loved the Giver.” (520.4)

“Christ’s dealing with the young man is presented as an object lesson. God has given us the rule of conduct which every one of His servants must follow. It is obedience to His law, not merely a legal obedience, but an obedience which enters into the life, and is exemplified in the character. God has set His own standard of character for all who would become subjects of His kingdom. Only those who will become co-workers with Christ, only those who will say, Lord, all I have and all I am is Thine, will be acknowledged as sons and daughters of God. All should consider what it means to desire heaven, and yet to turn away because of the conditions laid down. Think of what it means to say ‘No’ to Christ. The ruler said, No, I cannot give You all. Do we say the same? The Saviour offers to share with us the work God has given us to do. He offers to use the means God has given us, to carry forward His work in the world. Only in this way can He save us.” (523.1)

“The ruler’s possessions were entrusted to him that he might prove himself a faithful steward; he was to dispense these goods for the blessing of those in need. So God now entrusts men with means, with talents and opportunities, that they may be His agents in helping the poor and the suffering. He who uses his entrusted gifts as God designs becomes a co-worker with the Saviour. He wins souls to Christ, because he is a representative of His character.” (523.2)

“Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ.” (523.3)

“The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all that put their feet in the footprints of Him who said, ‘Follow Me.’” (523.4)

Reflect & Apply

  • Jesus hit this man where it hurt—in his wallet. If Jesus were to address you where it hurts, what would be his hot topic?
  • Why is Jesus so tough on riches?
  • What have you given up to follow Jesus? How is your life different as a result?

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.

My Personal Reflections: http://40dwj.blogspot.com/2013/05/where-does-it-hurt.html – “Where does it hurt?”

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – May 3, 2013

May 3, 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 the funniest story about you as a child that you cannot remember but others told you?
  • When are you most likely to lose patience with little children? When do you really like them?

Read: Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17 (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

  • Why would parents ring their children to Jesus?
  • Why did the disciples discourage this?
  • What is Jesus’ view of children and the kingdom?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 55: “Blessing the Children” (pages 511-517). Highlights…

“Jesus was ever a lover of children. He accepted their childish sympathy and their open, unaffected love. The grateful praise from their pure lips was music in His ears, and refreshed His spirit when oppressed by contact with crafty and hypocritical men. Wherever the Saviour went, the benignity of His countenance, and His gentle, kindly manner won the love and confidence of children.” (511.1)

“Jesus knows the burden of every mother’s heart. He who had a mother that struggled with poverty and privation sympathizes with every mother in her labors… Let mothers come to Jesus with their perplexities. They will find grace sufficient to aid them in the management of their children. The gates are open for every mother who would lay her burdens at the Saviour’s feet.” (512.2-3)

“In the children who were brought in contact with Him, Jesus saw the men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His sake. He knew that these children would listen to Him and accept Him as their Redeemer far more readily than would grown-up people, many of whom were the worldly-wise and hardhearted. In His teaching He came down to their level. He, the Majesty of heaven, did not disdain to answer their questions, and simplify His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their minds the seeds of truth, which in after years would spring up, and bear fruit unto eternal life.” (512.4)

“In working for the conversion of our children, we should not look for violent emotion as the essential evidence of conviction of sin. Nor is it necessary to know the exact time when they are converted. We should teach them to bring their sins to Jesus, asking His forgiveness, and believing that He pardons and receives them as He received the children when He was personally on earth.” (515.3)

“Encourage the expression of love toward God and toward one another. The reason why there are so many hardhearted men and women in the world is that true affection has been regarded as weakness, and has been discouraged and repressed. The better nature of these persons was stifled in childhood; and unless the light of divine love shall melt away their cold selfishness, their happiness will be forever ruined. If we wish our children to possess the tender spirit of Jesus, and the sympathy that angels manifest for us, we must encourage the generous, loving impulses of childhood.” (516.2)

“Let not your un-Christlike character misrepresent Jesus. Do not keep the little ones away from Him by your coldness and harshness. Never give them cause to feel that heaven will not be a pleasant place to them if you are there. Do not speak of religion as something that children cannot understand, or act as if they were not expected to accept Christ in their childhood. Do not give them the false impression that the religion of Christ is a religion of gloom, and that in coming to the Saviour they must give up all that makes life joyful.” (517.3)

“The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His own blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing. His heart is drawn out, not only to the best-behaved children, but to those who have by inheritance objectionable traits of character.” (517.5)

Reflect & Apply

  • The story following this one is about the Rich Young Ruler who wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. His wealth was an impediment to his fully following Jesus. Are you more like the ruler or the children in how you approach God? 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.

My Personal Reflections: http://40dwj.blogspot.com – “Calling All Uncle Teds…”

Jesus. ALL.

Today with Jesus – May 2, 2013

May 2, 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 are you looking forward to or waiting for right now?

Read: Luke 17:20-37 (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

  • In answering the Pharisees’ question, what does Jesus say about the kingdom—as to when, how or where it is? Does he view the kingdom as an inward, spiritual reality within people? Or a outward, social manifestation among them? Or is he speaking of their failure to recognize who He is?
  • What did Jesus mean by “one of the days of the Son of Man”?
  • How will those days be like the days of Noah and Lot? What is so bad about the lives people were living in verses 27-28? What is meant by the warning about Lot’s wife (see Genesis 19:17-26)?
  • Verse 37 was a common proverb, implying that something will happen in its proper time. Why does Jesus say this?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 53: “Not with Outward Show” (pages 506-510). Highlights…

“The kingdom of God begins in the heart. Look not here or there for manifestations of earthly power to mark its coming.” (506.2)

“It is as true now as in apostolic days, that without the illumination of the divine Spirit, humanity cannot discern the glory of Christ. The truth and the work of God are unappreciated by a world-loving and compromising Christianity. Not in the ways of ease, of earthly honor or worldly conformity, are the followers of the Master found. They are far in advance, in the paths of toil, and humiliation, and reproach, in the front of the battle ‘against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ Ephesians 6:12” (508.4)

“Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit… Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God.” (509.4)

“Now, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Galatians 2:20” (510.2)

Reflect & Apply

  • While you live “in the kingdom” waiting for “the Son of Man” to come, what do you see in this section about the way you ought to apply verses 32-33?
  • Do you ever look back to your pre-Christ lifestyle? In what way?

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.

Today with Jesus – May 1, 2013

May 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

  • Have you ever helped a stranger in distress? What happened?

Read: Luke 10:25-37 (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

  • Who would you nominate for the “Good Samaritan Awared” in your neighborhood or church?
  • If you had ben traveling down the road to Jericho and saw the hurt man, what would you have likely done?
  • What may be some reasons the priest and Levite didn’t stop to help the hurt man (Leviticus 21:1-3; Numbers 19:11-22)?
  • What reaction would the Jewish listeners have had to Jewsus casting a Samaritan as the hero of the story?
  • How does this parable answer the question, “And who is my neighbor” (v. 29)?
  • What grade would you give yourself over the last week for loving God wholeheartedly? For loving others?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 53: “The Good Samaritan” (pages 497-505). Highlights…

“In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness.” (497.1)

“Man’s destiny will be determined by his obedience to the whole law. Supreme love to God and impartial love to man are the principles to be wrought out in the life.” (498.1)

“The way to dispel darkness is to admit light. The best way to deal with error is to present truth. It is the revelation of God’s love that makes manifest the deformity and sin of the heart centered in self.” (498.5)

“Thus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” is forever answered. Christ has shown that our neighbor does not mean merely one of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary. Our neighbor is everyone who is the property of God.” (503.5)

“Many who profess His name have lost sight of the fact that Christians are to represent Christ. Unless there is practical self-sacrifice for the good of others, in the family circle, in the neighborhood, in the church, and wherever we may be, then whatever our profession, we are not Christians… If we are Christians, we shall not pass by on the other side, keeping as far as possible from the very ones who most need our help. When we see human beings in distress, whether through affliction or through sin, we shall never say, This does not concern me.” (504.2-3)

Reflect & Apply

  • What attitude or behavior does God want you to have that is the most difficult to accept?
  • Who has been a Good Samaritan in your life? How can you be a Good Samaritan to someone in need?

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.

Today with Jesus – April 30, 2013

Apr 30, 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 to sell something door to door, what would you choose: Fuller brushes? Encyclopedias? Jewelry? Cosmetics? Subscriptions? Bibles or church publications? Why?

Read: Luke 9:51-56; Luke 10:1-24 (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

  • Why does Jesus send the disciples out two-by-two? What are they looking for (v.2)?
  • How is the Christian disciple like a “worker in the harvest”? A “lamb among wolves”?
  • What was the purpose of traveling light (v. 4)? Of praying first, going later?
  • What kind of household guests are they to be (v. 5)? Why?
  • How are they to relate to the town they visit (vv. 8-12)? What is third basic message?
  • How do verses 1-12 show the urgency Jesus Himself senses for evangelism? What is the reason for this urgency?
  • What do you know about Sodom (see Genesis 19:24-28)? Korazin and Bethsaida? About Capernaum (see Matthew 4:13): Tyre and Sidon (see Ezekiel 28)?
  • What is the comfort and the danger of aligning oneself with Jesus (v. 16)
  • Upon their return, what does Jesus say to them (vv. 18-20)? What in their report gives Jesus reason for joy (v. 21)?
  • Consider verse 23. Do you think the disciples appreciate the privilege of being with Jesus? Why or why not?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 52: “The Last Journey from Galilee” (pages 485-495). Highlights…

“Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas. “ (487.3)

“Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God. Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are the purchase of the Saviour’s blood.” (488.1)

“The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. The Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there can be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. When temptations and trials come, do not wait to adjust all the difficulties, but look to Jesus, your helper.” (490.5)

“There are Christians who think and speak altogether too much about the power of Satan. They think of their adversary, they pray about him, they talk about him, and he looms up greater and greater in their imagination. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but, thank God, we have a mighty Saviour, who cast out the evil one from heaven. Satan is pleased when we magnify his power. Why not talk of Jesus? Why not magnify His power and His love?” (493.1)

Reflect & Apply

  • How do you feel about the harvest where you live? Are people ripe for the Gospel? What would it take for you to be more involved in the harvest?
  • When have you felt like a lamb among wolves? What did you learn from that experience?
  • What do these verses show you about the privileges you have in Jesus Christ? Of these privileges, which are you experiencing now?
  • What does verse 22 tell you about those who claim to know God without Christ?

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.

Today with Jesus – April 29, 2013

Apr 29, 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

  • As a child, what was your favorite pet? How did this pet respond when it heard your voice?
  • What is the big annual “feast day” for your family? Who usually coms? What is served? What is the big pastime?
  • What family traditions are you going to preserve for your children?

Read: John 10:1-30 (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

On John 10:1-21

  • What do the sheep, shepherd, the sheep pen and stranger represent? How does the story in chapter 9 provide one example of what this parable is about?
  • Who do the sheep respond to the shepherd? How does this relate to the Pharisees’ difficulty in understanding Jesus?
  • What does Jesus mean by likening himself to a gate for the sheepfold? Who are these “thieves and robes”? How is Jesus unlike them?
  • How does Jesus identify himself with the “good shepherd” (vv. 11-15)? How does Jesus’ death relate to his promise in verse 10?
  • Who are the “other sheep” he must bring also? What characterizes his flock?
  • What final claim does Jesus make (vv. 17-18)? Why do his listeners respond as they do? How would you have responded?

On John 10:22-30

  • Given the meaning of the Feast of Hanukkah (when Jews remember their deliverance during the Maccabean revolt, 168-165 B.C.), what feelings about Rome’s authority might surface among the crowds? How would Roman authorities prepare for this feast? What might be the real intent of the Pharisees’ question in verse 24?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 51: “The Divine Shepherd” (pages 476-484). Highlights…

“It is the gospel of the grace of God alone that can uplift the soul. The contemplation of the love of God manifested in His Son will stir the heart and arouse the powers of the soul as nothing else can. Christ came that He might re-create the image of God in man; and whoever turns men away from Christ is turning them away from the source of true development; he is defrauding them of the hope and purpose and glory of life. He is a thief and a robber.” (478.2)

“Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep.” (479.3)

“Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died… He cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth.” (480.1)

“It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” (480.3)

“Though now He has ascended to the presence of God, and shares the throne of the universe, Jesus has lost none of His compassionate nature. Today the same tender, sympathizing heart is open to all the woes of humanity. Today the hand that was pierced is reached forth to bless more abundantly His people that are in the world. ‘And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.’ The soul that has given himself to Christ is more precious in His sight than the whole world. The Saviour would have passed through the agony of Calvary that one might be saved in His kingdom. He will never abandon one for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast.” (480.5)

“Because we are the gift of His Father, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us. He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust.” (483.3)

Reflect & Apply

  • What was the turning point for you in terms of hearing “God’s voice” and responding?
  • How do you discern His voice from all the voices that vie for your attention?
  • How does it make you feel to think of God caring for you as the Good Shepherd?

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.

Today with Jesus – April 25, 2013

Apr 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 is your most vivid memory as a child in a dark place (cave, tunnel, power blackout)? What feelings do you associate with darkness?

Read: John 8:12-59; John 9 (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

On John 8:12-59

  • What is Jesus really claiming in v. 12? What is the promise? What does Jesus mean by “light” and “darkness”?
  • With what does Jesus bolster His claim (see 5:31-40)? What does it matter that Jesus knows where He comes from (vv. 14, 21-23; see 7:41-42)?
  • What does the Pharisees’ question in v. 19 reveal about their relationship with the Father?
  • What is at stake in this whole discussion (v. 24)? Why does everything hinge on who Jesus really is (v. 25) and who sent Him (vv. 16, 18, 26, 29)?
  • What does Jesus mean by each phrase in v. 28? How will this show people He is the Christ?
  • What is the significance of v. 30 in light of the total misunderstanding of the Pharisees? How do the Pharisees exemplify darkness in this scene?

On John 9

  • What idea lies behind the disciples’ question (v. 1): Curiosity? Guilt-tripping? A trap? Compassion?
  • What does Jesus’ answer (vv. 3-5) reveal about how He views the man’s suffering?
  • In this story, what is the “work of God” (v. 3)? The “night” that is coming (v. 4)? The “light of the world” (v. 5)? How are sin and suffering related?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 50: “The Light of Life” (pages 463-475). Highlights…

God is light; and in the words, “I am the light of the world,” Christ declared His oneness with God, and His relation to the whole human family. It was He who at the beginning had caused ‘the light to shine out of darkness.’ 2 Corinthians 4:6. He is the light of sun and moon and star. He was the spiritual light that in symbol and type and prophecy had shone upon Israel. But not to the Jewish nation alone was the light given. As the sunbeams penetrate to the remotest corners of the earth, so does the light of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon every soul.” (464.3)

“Every gem of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world.” (464.4)

“Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery.” (466.3)

“In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” (466.4)

“The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ.” (466.5)

“He whose heart has responded to the divine touch will be seeking for that which will increase his knowledge of God, and will refine and elevate the character. As a flower turns to the sun, that the bright rays may touch it with tints of beauty, so will the soul turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that heaven’s light may beautify the character with the graces of the character of Christ.” (468.2)

Reflect & Apply

  • How is following Jesus like following someone with a light through a dark place for you?
  • How do people you know misunderstand Jesus? How do their lives exemplify darkness? How can you be a light-bearer to them?
  • When you hear about another person’s misfortune, do you react like the disciples or Jesus? 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.

Today with Jesus – April 24, 2013

Apr 24, 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

  • From your school days, what rule seemed pointless or silly? Did you break it?
  • Describe a time in your childhood when someone tattled on you. How did you feel about it at the time?

Read: John 7:16-36, 40-53; 8:1-11 (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

On John 7:16-36

  • Given the risk, why did Jesus go to the Feast of Tabernacles (v. 16)? How did the people react to Jesus’ teaching? Why?
  • What do Jesus’ responses reveal about his authority?
  • What point are the leaders missing?
  • Who is saying what about Jesus? What is causing the confusion? (vv. 25-36).
  • How do you account for the wide range of opinions about Jesus?
  • How does the confusion over Jesus’ birthplace cloud the issue of his identity? (vv. 41-42)

On John 8:1-11

  • How is this situation a trap for Jesus/ What would the Pharisees accuse Jesus of if He told them to let her go? If He told them to stone her? How does He spring the trap (v. 7)?
  • How would the woman just caught in adultery have felt? What was the significance of Jesus’ question in verse 10?
  • How does Jesus’ response to the woman exemplify “grace and truth” (John 1:17)?

Read: The Desire of Ages, Chapter 49: “Among Snares” (pages 455-462). Highlights…

“The perception and appreciation of truth, He said, depends less upon the mind than upon the heart. Truth must be received into the soul; it claims the homage of the will. If truth could be submitted to the reason alone, pride would be no hindrance in the way of its reception. But it is to be received through the work of grace in the heart” (455.3)

“God does not compel men to give up their unbelief. Before them are light and darkness, truth and error. It is for them to decide which they will accept. The human mind is endowed with power to discriminate between right and wrong. God designs that men shall not decide from impulse, but from weight of evidence, carefully comparing scripture with scripture.” (458.3)

“In the uplifting of this fallen soul [the woman caught in adultery], Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most grievous physical disease; He cured the spiritual malady which is unto death everlasting.” (462.2)

“It is not Christ’s follower that, with averted eyes, turns from the erring, leaving them unhindered to pursue their downward course. Those who are forward in accusing others, and zealous in bringing them to justice, are often in their own lives more guilty than they. Men hate the sinner, while they love the sin. Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to censure, quick to discern penitence, ready to forgive, to encourage, to set the wanderer in the path of holiness, and to stay his feet therein.” (462.4)

Reflect & Apply

  • How does Jesus reveal Himself to you today? Are you ever upset by what He says? Why?
  • When have you seen religious principles put ahead of love?
  • What different opinions about Christ do you hear today? Why does that confusion exist?
  • How does the way Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery help you to face your sins? Jesus accepts you “as is.” Does that free you to change, or does it support your bad behavior? How so?
  • What can you learn from Jesus about helping a friend who has fallen?

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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