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Five Minutes with God

Five Minutes with God is a distinct and exciting approach to daily Bible devotionals. Instead of a lofty goal of going through the entire Bible—or even the New Testament—in one year, Five Minutes with God focuses on shorter passages so that the reader can absorb more of the text and apply it to everyday life. This daily podcast will step you through the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. Each day’s podcast also ends with a thought for further reflection and a call to prayer. By reading, reflecting, and praying, Five Minutes with God will help you come to know Him, love Him, and follow Him like never before.
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Now displaying: January, 2015
Jan 31, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 

As Jesus begins His teaching ministry, He does something that is simultaneously expected and remarkable—He reads from the Word of God. As Jesus reads these words from Isaiah the prophet that pertain to Him, He demonstrates a truth and principle that is still vitally important for us today—that the Word of God continues to be trustworthy, timely, and relevant. Though written hundreds of years before Jesus read them, the Word of God spoken through the prophet proved to be true and accurate. And though we live thousands of years after the penning of the Bible, God’s Word is no less true or relevant than it was when it was written. God’s wisdom and power continue to shine through His timeless Word, which can still change lives and lead us to salvation. Thank God for the wonderful blessing of His Word!

What do you consider to be the greatest blessing of God’s Word?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 30, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. 

Can you imagine walking away from everything that you know as “normal” in your life—your job, your family, your home? When Jesus asked these fishermen to follow Him and become fishers of men, He was asking them to do just that—to leave everything behind and become his full-time followers, students, and apostles. He didn’t promise them riches or fame or a life of ease; He offered them something even better. He offered them the unparalleled opportunity to learn from the Master Teacher, to be first-hand witnesses to His power, wisdom and compassion, and to be daily companions of the Son of God. And He gave them the opportunity to live out a greater purpose in their lives—to bring the saving message of Christ to the world and to become fishers of men. In a sense, Christ still calls us to walk away from this world as we know it and follow Him. And while the cost of following Him might be high, the rewards and blessings of making that commitment are still beyond compare.

Is there anything that you have sacrificed in order to follow Christ?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 29, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

Matthew focuses a great deal of his gospel account on Jesus as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. In His life, Jesus was wholly committed to fulfilling God’s will. Every day, every act, every word was about doing the will of His Father and fulfilling His purpose. One of the greatest proofs of Jesus’ authenticity, especially to Jewish audiences, was His perfect fulfillment of no less than 333 Old Testament prophecies that had been made concerning the coming Messiah. As we live our lives, Jesus is, as always, the perfect example to us. Though our heart’s desire may be to be so perfectly committed to God that we completely rid our lives of sin, we are quickly confronted with the reality that we will certainly never reach the level of perfection that Jesus demonstrated. Yet our devotion to living out God’s will for our lives needs to be uncompromising and complete. It is a challenge that most of us will struggle to achieve for most of our Christian lives, but the rewards are great!

What are some ways that we can work to fulfill God’s will for our lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 28, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” 

She was not exactly the ideal messenger—a woman, married five times, and currently living with someone out of wedlock. There wasn’t much about the Samaritan woman that was admirable or even respectable. Yet she had a great story to tell—a Man who knew all about her, though they had never met; One who offered her living water, and who claimed to be the Messiah. She was excited. She couldn’t contain herself. And they believed her—not because of her credibility, but because of the Man that she told them about. They came to Him, they heard Him teach, and they believed on Him; all because of one woman who believed in Him and shared Him with others. We are not perfect. We all have our pasts and our shortcomings, our struggles and failures. Yet Jesus has offered us that same living water and the opportunity to be changed forever. And, as with the Samaritan woman, if our lives have been changed by Jesus, shouldn’t we tell someone else about Him?

What are some things that keep us from talking to others about Jesus?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 27, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 

“Lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” As Christians, we are all laborers in God’s fields. In some lives, we will sow seeds; in others, we will reap the fruit of the seeds sown by someone else. Maybe the important and greatest lesson to learn here is that, in any life that we have contact with, we can influence and affect spiritually. We may not win everyone personally, but we might plant a seed that will later bear fruit that someone else will reap. Or we might reap the fruit of seeds that were planted years before by someone else. We must always be aware of our influence and be ready to work in whatever capacity we are called to fill. What a privilege and responsibility it is to be workers for God!

Who in your life have you or can you influence for God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 26, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

“Give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty...” Oh, the thought of never being thirsty again; never having to come to the well to do the difficult work of drawing water again! She wanted the living water that Jesus offered, but she misunderstood. She was thinking physically and missed the spiritual point. The water that Jesus offered (and still offers) had nothing to do with physical things but was the gift of spiritual life. Those who drink from that spiritual fountain that flows from Christ will never want for any spiritual thing again. Forgiveness, redemption, relationship, joy, peace, hope, salvation, eternal life—it is all available to the person who accepts the living water that Jesus offers. What a gift and blessing that water is! “Give me this water...”

What makes the living water that Jesus offers such a special thing?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 25, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

There are many lessons that can be learned from this event, but I want to draw your attention to one that we often miss. Verse 4 says, “And He had to pass through Samaria.” Normally, we consider that statement nothing more than an insignificant geographic detail, but that is not necessarily the case. Though Samaria was located directly between Judea and Galilee, it was not uncommon for Jews to travel well out of their way to avoid Samaria because of their disdain for the Samaritan people. But Jesus made a point to go through that region, not necessarily because He had to, but because He knew that He could make a difference there. He took the message and offer of living water to a woman and people that most Jews would have considered a lost cause and not worthy of their time or effort. He reached out with God’s love, and as a result, many believed in and followed Him. What an example from the Master Teacher!

Who have you not mentioned Christ to because you considered them a lost cause?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 24, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison). Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” What a powerful statement. John had certainly gained a great deal of notoriety and a large following during his preaching in the wilderness. No doubt, some of his followers, motivated by their respect for and loyalty to John, felt threatened by Jesus’ presence. But John understood that it wasn’t about him. It was about Jesus. John had fulfilled his role in preparing the way for Jesus, and it was now time for him to humbly and submissively give way to the Master. There is a great lesson there for us. So often, we know Jesus and want to have a relationship with Him, but don’t want to get out of the way so that He can have control. We are happy to share our lives with Him, but we are not willing to give Him our lives. We would do well to learn from John and follow his example in saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Why is it important that we give our lives to Christ?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 23, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

“The golden text of the Bible.” That is the label that many have attached to John 3:16. That short verse does contain the core message of God’s Word—that God loved us so much that He was willing to give His Son for us to die in our place so that we could be saved. Every facet of that verse amazes and overwhelms us as we consider our desperate need that required such a great sacrifice, the limitless love of God that motivated Him to give the very best of heaven for us, and the wonderful promise that is made to us because of that gift. It is truly an amazing thought! And yet, even as we savor those great truths, we are reminded by Jesus that many in the world will love darkness, rather than light, and will reject the greatest gift ever offered to them. But knowing that many would not accept Him, Jesus still came and died anyway, even for them. I am not sure that any of us can truly comprehend the depth of God’s love or the greatness of the sacrifice that was offered for us. Thanks be to God!

Why do you think so many are unwilling to accept Jesus?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 22, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

To be born again—to start over, a new beginning, a second chance. It was a strange concept to Nicodemus, who could only conceive of the impossibility of a second physical birth. But the rebirth of which Jesus spoke was not a physical one but spiritual. That spiritual rebirth is still offered today, and it is still difficult for many to understand. We don’t often get the chance to erase the failures and mistakes of the past and have a fresh start, but God gives us that opportunity through Christ. But being born again is not just an opportunity; it is a necessity. Notice that Jesus says that, in order to see the kingdom of God, we “must be born again” of water and the Spirit (for more on being born again, see Romans 6:1-7). It is such a simple act of obedience and submission, and yet it opens up so many wonderful blessings to us in Christ. What an amazing thought, that God allows us to be born again!

Have you been born again? If so, how has it changed your life?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 21, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

The scene at the temple, though it had become commonplace for the day, was a shameful and disgusting one—merchants making a profit from people’s worship; people thoughtlessly buying sacrificial animals instead of bringing their best to God. When Jesus saw the mockery and abuse with which some were treating the temple and the worship of God, He was filled with righteous indignation. In His authority and power as the Son of God, after taking the time to fashion a whip, He rid the temple of the merchants and money-changers and, in the process, made a powerful point about the importance of proper worship. God has always been concerned about how we approach Him in worship. What we bring to God in worship, and how we bring it, is vital to our relationship with Him and to the acceptance of our worship by Him. Let us always strive to give Him our very best!

Why do you think proper worship is so important to God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 20, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

An unusual situation, an unusual request, an unusual miracle. Why did Jesus choose this moment and this miracle to begin to demonstrate His power? Maybe we don’t know for sure, but as you read through the life of Christ, keep this in mind: Jesus never did anything—a miracle, a teaching, an interaction with someone— without having a purpose. In this case, notice the result of the miracle: “and His disciples believed in Him.” The effect of this act of power by Jesus at the very beginning of His ministry was that those who were already following Him were furthered convinced of His identity, and their faith was strengthened. And hopefully, as we read of His life and witness His power, compassion, and holiness, our faith is strengthened as well.

Why do you think that miracles were such an important part of Jesus’ ministry?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 19, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

“Follow Me.” Two simple words, and yet a command that had a life-changing effect on anyone who heard and obeyed it. To follow Jesus meant to leave the world behind and give Him your life. It meant to make sacrifices and endure hardships. It meant to put Christ before everyone and everything else. It also meant to have the wonderful opportunity to sit at His feet and learn, to witness His compassion, forgiveness, and power, and to reap all the spiritual benefits of a relationship with the Son of God. Jesus still invites us to follow Him today, and to follow Him still means the same things—commitment, devotion, sacrifice. But the blessings continue to outweigh the challenges, and accepting Jesus’ invitation still has the power to change lives.

Have you accepted the Lord’s invitation? If so, how has it changed your life?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 18, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Andrew, one of the first disciples of Jesus and later called to be an apostle, is not one of the most talked-about or well-known of the Lord’s apostles. Yet in this text, and almost every time he is mentioned, Andrew gives us a great example and lesson in bringing others to Jesus. Upon meeting Jesus, Andrew’s first and immediate action is to find his brother, Peter, to share the news of Christ with him. When you think of the tremendous impact Peter had on the early church, remember that it was Andrew who introduced him to Jesus. We often focus our evangelistic attention on faraway places while often overlooking those who are closest to us. While there is certainly a great need to take the good news of Christ to the whole world, let us remember that each of us probably has close friends and family who also need the gospel. Why not follow the example of Andrew by going to those people and telling them about Christ?

How can you reach out to your friends and family with the gospel?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 17, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

These temptations of Jesus were surely not the first, last, or only times that Satan attempted to lure Jesus into sin. So why are these temptations recorded as they are? The simple answer to this question is that they are given to us for our learning. Through this event from Jesus’ life, we learn about Satan—his cunning, his deception, his knowledge of us and our weaknesses, fears, and desires. We also learn how to deal with temptation—being strong and determined, using the truth of God’s Word to ward off Satan’s attacks, and caring more about faithfulness than about physical needs and desires. Most of all, it teaches us that we can win over Satan and temptation! Yes, Satan is powerful, and temptation is strong, but we do not face them alone! As our helper, we have the almighty God of the universe. With His word to guide us and His Son as our strength, we can overcome!

How will you deal with the temptations that you face today?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 16, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

It is interesting that, at this initial introduction of Jesus by John, he refers to Him not as a King and Conqueror, as so many of the Jews were looking for, or as the glorious Son of God as had been previously revealed to Him at Jesus’ baptism, but as the sacrificial Lamb sent by God to take away the sins of the world. It was this picture of Jesus that was the hope of Israel and the supreme purpose of Jesus’ coming into this world. And it is that great identity of Jesus as the Lamb of God that continues to offer hope and salvation to a lost and dying world, for it is only by His atoning death that we can find the redemption and forgiveness that we so desperately need. Thanks be to God for His incredible love and the wonderful gift of His Son who willingly died for us!

How has your life been changed by the sacrifice of Christ?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 15, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

In speaking of His baptism, Jesus says to John that “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” If it was right and good for Jesus to fulfill the righteousness of God and to leave nothing undone that would honor God and His will, the same can certainly be said for us. As we search the pages of God’s word and learn of the will of God for our lives, our determination and commitment should be to do His will and leave undone nothing that God desires. It is interesting and troublesome that so many in today's world want to argue with the Scriptures in an attempt to avoid doing all that God commands. Instead, it ought to be our desire to be obedient to God in every way and, in the words of Jesus, “to fulfill all righteousness.”

What are some things that you can do to fulfill all righteousness?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 14, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: John 1:19-28

"And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing."

Two things stand out to me about John from this passage: his commitment to his calling and the humility with which he approached his work. John never wavered in his preaching. He endured the hardships and was wholly committed to fulfilling his purpose. He also never allowed the notoriety or success that he experienced to affect his character. He was constantly downplaying his own importance and pointing to the greatness of the coming Christ. What an example! As we approach our Christian lives, the commitment and character with which we live will have a great impact, either positive or negative, on those around us. Let us strive to draw people to Christ, rather than turn them away.

How can your commitment and character help the cause of Christ?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 13, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Mark 1:1-8

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”"

Can you imagine being John the Baptizer and having the enormous task of preparing the way for Jesus? How important his work was! As the forerunner of Christ, he laid the groundwork for Jesus’ teaching to be received and for the repentance and change that Jesus would call for. In a way, we all have the same calling as John. As those who know Christ and have given our lives to Him, we are called to use our lives, influence, and teaching to prepare the hearts of those around us to receive the teachings of Christ and, ultimately, to give themselves to Him in faith and obedience. What a great opportunity and blessing it is to be involved in the work of the Lord!

Who in your life can you influence for Christ today?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 12, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Luke 2:41-52

"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man."

From the early age of twelve years old, Jesus demonstrated a remarkable understanding of the importance of doing the will of God. Throughout His life, He never wavered from that same determination—to do God’s will and fulfill His purpose. As in every aspect of His life, Jesus is, in this passage, a wonderful and perfect example for us! Certainly, we understand that, as the Son of God, Jesus had a very special relationship with God and a unique purpose on this earth. Nevertheless, His example is powerful, and we should learn from Him that our primary and greatest purpose and motivation in life should be to be about our Father’s business.

What are some things that your family can do to be about the Father’s business?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 11, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:13-23

"Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene."

It is hard to imagine the unspeakable means by which Herod tried to destroy Jesus and the overwhelming fear and hatred that must have motivated that cruel act. But Herod was just the first in a never-ending line of people and forces that have tried to rid the world of Jesus and His influence. There will always be those who, out of fear and hatred for a God that they don’t even know, will try to dismiss, dispel, or destroy Him and His Word. But try though they may, they will never be able to rid the world of God. He has promised us that His Word will never pass away, and as long as there are faithful Christians who are living for Christ, He will continue to live on in this world and change lives for good.

What can you do today to influence someone for Christ and help further His cause?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 10, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."

One of the things that stands out to me in this story is the trouble, expense, and determination with which the wise men came to find and worship Jesus. They made the long, difficult journey to see Him, they brought expensive gifts to offer Him, they searched for Him until they found Him, and they did all this for the opportunity to worship Him (v. 2). Too often, we take our worship for granted. It is easy, comfortable, convenient, and without risk. We have much to be thankful for. Yet we often find it burdensome, tiresome, and unrewarding. One of the great lessons of this story, and of the New Testament altogether, is that Jesus is worthy of our praise and worship. He deserves the very best that we have to offer Him. Let us rejoice in the opportunity to give Him the glory due His name and never take for granted the wonderful blessing of worship!

What blessings or rewards do you gain from worshipping God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 9, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Luke 2:36-40

"And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him."

“The Child grew”—what an amazing statement! Not because Jesus grew, for that is the normal process of human development. What is amazing is the fact that God sent His only Son to this world to take on flesh, and that he was born as all humanity is born. He came into the world as a weak and helpless baby to be cared for by Joseph and Mary. He had to be fed, bathed, clothed, and taught. He experienced human life from its earliest moments, and thus understands us with a sympathy that comes only from experience. When the Hebrews writer says that He is a High Priest who can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (4:15), it is true because He experienced every facet of humanity. It is a plan that could only be conceived in the mind of an all-knowing and loving God. What an amazing God and wonderful Savior we have!

How is it comforting to know that Jesus experienced human life?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 8, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Luke 2:25-35

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Throughout Jesus’ life, many would deny, question, and reject Him, ultimately leading to His death on the cross. Simeon is a wonderful example of someone who recognized and accepted Jesus as the Son of God and promised Messiah, and glorified God because of Him, despite the fact that Jesus came in a form that was much different than many (possibly including Simeon) expected. What a wonderful example of faith and acceptance of God’s will and plan. In our lives today, God’s will and plan still does not always come in the form that we expect. His blessings and answers to our prayers may look much different than we anticipated. Yet God’s plan is always perfect and best for our lives. May God help us to have the faith to trust in His wisdom and accept His will for our lives.

Why does God’s plan so often differ from our own?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Jan 7, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Today’s Reading: Luke 2:8-20

"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."

Much has been made of the glorious news of the birth of Christ being proclaimed to these shepherds, but notice an aspect of this story that is often overlooked—their reaction to the news. First, they came to Jesus without delay (vv. 15-16). Second, they shared the news of Jesus with others (vv. 17-18). Finally, they glorified and praised God for all that they had seen and heard (v. 20). Today, there is still no better news that can be heard than the good news of Jesus Christ. It is news of love and atoning sacrifice, of redemption and relationship, of mercy and salvation. It is good news, great news, the best news! Surely, our reaction to the good news of Christ should be the same as that of the shepherds who were told of the Savior’s birth. So, let us draw near to Him, tell others about Him, and praise and glorify God because of Him!

What are some good ways to respond to Christ today?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

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