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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: June, 2015
Jun 30, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Jesus’ statements in this passage are vitally important. He came to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins, but if his life is taken from Him against His will, it cannot be considered a sacrifice. It was in that voluntary shedding of His blood that He became the perfect Lamb of God offered for the sins of the world. If He was to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, if He was to exhibit the authority of God as His Son, if He was to be the atoning sacrifice that He was purposed to be, it was crucial that He lay down His own life, and that it not be forcefully taken from Him. While the gospel accounts of the crucifixion seem to show a picture of the Jewish leaders and Romans both taking part in forcefully and wrongfully taking Jesus’ life from Him, it is important to remember that He was never an unwilling party in those proceedings. He had the ability to change the course of those events at any time (Matthew 26:53), but chose to go to the cross for us. His death was truly a sacrifice!

Why was it so important that Jesus’ death be voluntary?

 

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

Jun 29, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

What is the difference between an owner and a hired hand? An unconscientious hired hand only cares about getting the job done and receiving his pay. The owner, on the other hand, cares about that which he owns. He is invested. He is interested in the well- being of his property and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that it is protected and cared for. Jesus uses this analogy to help us understand His relationship with His sheep. He is not a hireling— one who has no real concern for the well-being of the sheep and is unwilling to sacrifice for them. Rather, as the owner of the sheep, He knows them by name, cares for them, and has indeed given His life for them. It is sad that so many people in the world see Christ as an unsympathetic, impersonal, heavy-handed Lord who makes unreasonable demands of His followers and has little or no personal interest in their salvation. He is, in fact, the good shepherd. His love and concern for us, His sheep, is great and overwhelming. What a privilege it is to be able to give our lives to a Lord who has already given Himself for us!

Why do you think Jesus cares so much for us?

 

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

Jun 28, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

In this “I am” statement, Jesus describes Himself as the door of the sheep. He is the means of entrance to the Father. As He will later say, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). He contrasts Himself to those who’ve come before Him, calling them thieves and robbers. Some have thought Him to be referring to “false messiahs,” those who have come before Him claiming to be the promised savior. Others have understood Him to be referring to many of the Jewish leaders of the day who, while playing the part of religious leader, had pursued only their own interests. Whoever they may have been, these “thieves and robbers” had only sought to lead people away from God and rob them of their salvation. But Jesus came to give life. He came to open the door to God and salvation for any who would enter it. And 2,000 years later, He continues to be that open door. He is still the only way to God and to heaven, and He still stands waiting to lead His sheep into eternity.

Why is Jesus the only way to God?

 

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

Jun 27, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

The thing that is most striking to me about this passage is the familiarity and relationship that Jesus speaks of between Himself and His followers. The sheep, He says, will hear and recognize the shepherd’s voice and follow Him. They know the shepherd. They trust Him. They follow Him, knowing that he has their best interest in mind. Likewise, the shepherd knows the sheep. He calls them by name, indicating that there is an individual knowledge of each sheep. He cares for them, provides for them, and protects them. What a beautiful picture of Christ’s care for those who are His. While we are certainly aware of the atoning death of Christ, we often overlook the deep level of daily care and concern that He has for each one who wears His name. He is our shepherd, knowing us individually and perfectly, and desiring to lead us to places of unmatched spiritual blessings. What is our responsibility? To follow Him! To listen to His voice, submit to His leadership, and trust Him to lead us in the way that we should go. If we will be faithful sheep, then we will reap the benefits of a caring relationship with the great Shepherd!

What is involved in being faithful sheep of Christ?

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

Jun 26, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

The blind receive their sight, and the seeing are made blind. This man, born blind, was made to see by the power of Christ. For the first time in his life, he could see— the vibrant colors of the world around him, the beauty of nature, the faces of his loved ones. His life was changed, made immensely better by a compassionate Lord that he did not yet know. But the other side of this story is not so happy. When presented with this healing—irrefutable proof of Jesus’ power and authority—the Pharisees, blinded by their own disbelief and hatred for Jesus, refused to see. They doubted, they questioned, they accused, but they would not allow themselves to believe. Their failure to recognize the Messiah, despite the many proofs of Jesus’ identity, is a sad testament to their hard-heartedness and blindness. Represented in this contrast of lives is all of mankind. We all will fall into one of these two categories. We will either be healed by the power of Christ and made spiritually whole, or we will refuse Him and be made blind to His power, authority, and Lordship. The choice is ours.

How do we make this great choice concerning Christ?

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

Jun 25, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

“If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” This great expression of truth is not made by the educated, trained, revered leaders of the Jews. It is made by an uneducated, untrained man who, until very recently, had been blind. He was not a theologian, scribe, or prophet. He was simply a man who had experienced the power of God and who recognized that the man through whom that power had been displayed was obviously a Man sent from God. It was a simple conclusion of logic. This was constantly the case with Jesus. His works continually gave testimony to His identity. How could He be anything but One sent from God, considering the great works of power that He displayed? So telling was the testimony and conclusion of the healed man that the Pharisees could do nothing but dismiss him, having him cast out. They had made up their minds about Jesus and no amount of evidence, no matter how convincing, would change them. They had once and for all rejected Jesus as the Christ.

How did Jesus’ works prove His identity?

 

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

Jun 24, 2015

HOST: Ron House

SPONSOR: Start2Finish

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

It is amazing to see the hard-hearted refusal of the Pharisees to weigh the evidence and recognize the power and authority of Jesus. They question the healed man, doubted his truthfulness, and even brought his parents before them to testify. But in spite of the overwhelming proof demonstrated by this man’s healing, they still refused to believe. Why? What was it that stood in the way of them believing in Jesus and giving themselves to Him? The gospel accounts spell out clearly the issues that prevented the Pharisees from believing—jealousy, pride, envy, and a dogged determination to maintain their positions of authority within the Jewish system. Their desire for prominence and achievement had taken precedence over the plan of God. Sadly, there are many who fall into that same trap today—those who do not obey the teachings of Christ in the New Testament because they refuse to give up their own desires. May we never have that mindset, but rather submit to the will of God as revealed in His holy Word.

Why do you think the Pharisees had such a hard time accepting Christ?

 

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

Jun 23, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

It was commonly believed in that day and time that suffering, such as this man’s blindness, was the result and consequence of sin. The disciples were thus perplexed about this man’s condition because he had been blind from birth. How could sin have caused his blindness, unless of course it was his parents’ sin that had been visited upon him. In answering their query, Jesus teaches them, and us, a very important lesson. While it is true that suffering, hardship, and adversity originally entered this world because of sin (Genesis 3), we must understand that our suffering is not always due to our sins. While there are times when one’s sinful choices will bring about negative consequences, there are also many times (e.g. natural disasters, disease, accidents) when our suffering is simply a natural function of our physical world and has no connection whatsoever to our sins. But another important lesson to remember is that, as with this man, our suffering offers opportunities for us to be strengthened and for God to be glorified. Even in our suffering, God is in charge and is worthy of our faith and praise!

How have you grown from your own sufferings?

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

Jun 22, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

“Before Abraham was, I AM.” It is the climactic point in this discussion with the Jews and the most forthright statement that Jesus makes concerning His deity. Throughout this conversation, Jesus had tried unsuccessfully to convince the Jews that He was sent from the Father and that His relationship with the Father was special and unique. Their hearts were too hard, and their minds were too closed. As they continued to question and accuse Him, Jesus finally makes a statement that cannot be misunderstood. Notice that He doesn’t say, “I was,” but rather “I AM” after the fashion of the name that God told Moses to use in identifying Him to the Israelites (Exodus 3:14). It was a term that denoted every perfect quality of God, including His eternal and transcendent existence. It was reserved only for God. In applying that term to Himself, Jesus had unequivocally claimed to be deity, and that claim was one that the Jewish leaders could not accept. They had the accusation they had been looking for—blasphemy. The battle lines were drawn, and the stage was set…

Why do you think the Jews could not accept that Jesus was deity?

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

Jun 21, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Can you imagine how offensive Jesus’ statements must have been to this Jewish audience? They took great pride in being from Abraham’s seed and God’s chosen people. They reveled in this relationship with God that was theirs alone. But Jesus makes the assertion that they are not truly children of God, but rather children of the devil. This identity had nothing to do with their lineage or heritage, and everything to do with their hearts and actions. They refused to hear and accept the truth brought to them from the Father by Jesus. They refused to believe on Him who had been promised and prophesied about for centuries and who now stood before them. They were filled with envy and hatred toward Him, propagated lies about Him, and harbored thoughts of murder in their hearts. It was these attitudes and actions that Jesus used to identify them and condemn them as children of the devil. The obvious application for us is found in the question, “Who is our father?” Are we children of God, made such by our faith and obedience to the truth of His word? Or are we children of the devil, following after his ways of ungodliness and sin? We each have the choice. May we choose God!

What is involved in being a child of God?

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

Jun 20, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Freedom. As Americans, freedom is paramount. We are well aware of the great price that has been paid, and continues to be paid, to gain and maintain it. We cannot fathom life without the freedom to believe and live as we desire. In reality, freedom is a concept that is vital to all of mankind. No one wants to be enslaved, whether to a tyrannical government, a debilitating disease, or some other controlling influence. However, what the majority of the world does not understand is that all of mankind has been conquered and is controlled by sin. None are immune. We are all slaves of sin. But Jesus offers freedom; a greater freedom than any person, government, or philosophy can offer. He offers to set us free from sin, to deliver us from the grasp of Satan and save us from certain death. Jesus says that, if you want to be free from sin and its devastating consequences, the truth can set you free. What is that truth? It is the good news of Jesus Christ.

How does the truth set us free from sin?

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

Jun 19, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

Much of this extended passage is concerned with those who did not believe in Jesus, and who were looking to accuse, condemn and destroy Him. But in this passage, there is one short statement that reminds us of the other side of that coin. “As He was saying these things, many believed in Him.” Despite those influential leaders who were set against Jesus, there were a great many people who believed in Him. They had seen His compassionate power. They had heard His authoritative teaching. They had witnessed His flawless character. They were convinced that He was who He claimed to be, the Son of God. In spite of the naysayers and unbelievers, they sincerely and fervently believed in Jesus Christ. What is the lesson for us? In a world that is still full of naysayers and unbelievers, the truth of Jesus Christ is still changing lives. There continue to be people who can and will believe in Him and have their lives changed through Him. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He is still changing lives!

How does Jesus change the lives of those who believe in Him?

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

Jun 19, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

“You know neither Me nor My Father.” Think for a moment about the severity of that accusation. He is speaking to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day. They were revered and looked up to by the Jewish people as the most righteous among them. They held themselves up as the most spiritual representatives of the Jewish faith. But Jesus accuses them of not even knowing God. They had become so steeped in their own traditions and self-righteousness that they had forgotten who God was. They had no real understanding of Him. God had been replaced in their minds and lives by a set of stringent rules and traditions that reigned supreme. The law had become more precious to them than the God who had given it to them. Even when Jesus came, showing them God in the flesh, they did not recognize Him and rejected Him as God’s promised Messiah. Like so many of these texts, this one reminds us of the danger of losing sight of God in our lives. As we daily examine the life of Jesus, let us see God and know Him more and more each day.

What are some things that we can learn about God through Jesus?

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

Jun 18, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

This story is a familiar example of Jesus’ compassion and mercy, but it is also a great example of His wisdom in dealing with the schemes of the Jewish leaders. They had brought this woman to Him as a trap, that they might have a reason to accuse Him of some wrongdoing. Though there is little doubt that she was guilty of the sin of adultery, she was but a pawn in their game—bait by which they hoped to snag the Master Teacher. But Jesus easily saw through their façade. As they were ready to put her to death for her sins, He reminds them of their own transgressions which place each of them in violation of the law just as she was. They have no choice but to walk away, convicted by their own sins. But what of the woman? Did Jesus excuse her sinfulness? Did He ignore her wrongdoing? Not at all! His simple statement to her, “Go and sin no more,” was both a condemnation of her actions and a demonstration of God’s mercy toward sinners. He gave her another chance, just as God does with us each time we fail to be obedient to Him. Thanks be to God for His loving mercy toward us!

What practical lessons can we learn from this event in Jesus’ life?

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

 

Jun 16, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Nicodemus is an interesting character and a case-study in the development of faith. We first meet him in John 3 where he comes to Jesus by night. He believed that Jesus was special and from God but was struggling to understand exactly who He was. He came by night, presumably, for fear that his fellow Pharisees would discover his fondness for and growing faith in Jesus. In this text, we see Nicodemus challenging his own brethren over their treatment of Jesus. While defending Jesus to some extent, he is very careful to appear to be neutral and simply trying to uphold the law. While still not fully given to Christ, he is convinced enough to withstand his peers on Jesus’ behalf. We will see Nicodemus one more time in John’s gospel accounts—with Joseph of Arimathea, preparing the crucified and lifeless body of Jesus for burial. Though their actions were taken at night, they were sure to be found out. Nicodemus’ faith had grown to a point that it could no longer be withheld. He was a disciple of Christ, and he was willing to risk his position and possibly his life to serve his Lord.

What lessons can we learn from the example of Nicodemus?

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

Jun 15, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

Confusion. It is an unexpected reaction to Jesus. It wasn’t that they were confused about His teaching, but rather what His teaching said about who He was. Some were convinced by the authority and wisdom of His teaching that He was the Christ, the promised One of the Old Testament. Others, who knew the prophecies but did not know Jesus, objected because they did not believe Him to be a fulfillment of those prophecies. Ironically, they were correct in stating what the prophets had foretold, but they were wrong in assuming that Jesus was from Galilee. He had been born in Bethlehem, and He was from the lineage of David, just as the prophets had promised. In fact, of more than 300 Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, Jesus would fulfill every single one. He was a perfect match for the picture of the Messiah that the prophets painted throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. So convincing was this evidence that, throughout the New Testament, the apostles and other writers continually point to those fulfilled prophecies as proof of the legitimacy of Christ. Jesus is the Christ and, about that, there should be no doubt or confusion.

How do the Old Testament prophecies prove that Jesus is the Christ?

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

Jun 14, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

We are not left to wonder about the meaning of Jesus’ words in this short passage, as the inspired writer reveals their meaning to us. This “living water” that Jesus promises to those who believe in Him is the Holy Spirit that would be given after Jesus was glorified (i.e. resurrected and ascended back to the Father). That prophetic statement was fulfilled beginning in Acts 2 when the Spirit came upon the Apostles, leading them into all truth and giving them miraculous abilities to spread that message to the world. Many first-century Christians were also granted a miraculous measure of the Spirit’s power to ensure a proper instruction and understanding of God’s will. But all of that was working toward an even greater gift of the Spirit—one that would be available to all of mankind and would be able to lead any open and receptive heart to salvation in Christ. That gift, of course, is God’s holy Word, given by the inspiration of the Spirit, and through its teachings, we have access to all of God’s blessings. What a wonderful gift!

Why is God’s Word so valuable to us today?

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

Jun 13, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

It was often the case that Jesus’ teachings were confused and misunderstood by those who heard Him because they tried to attach physical understandings to spiritual statements. In this case, it was the Pharisees who were guilty of this mistake. Jesus is referring to His ascension back to the Father that would take place after His death and resurrection. However, the Pharisees, believing Him to be speaking of a physical place where He could not be found, questioned where He might go. In our world today, we see this same confusion and misunderstanding taking place regarding Jesus and His teaching. Many fail to understand the importance or relevance of many New Testament teachings because they are viewing those teachings through physical eyes, instead of spiritual. Through those physical eyes, we might consider Christ’s commands to be nonsensical or irrelevant to our lives, but we must understand that God’s desire and plan for us is eternal salvation. His commands, while affecting every aspect of our physical lives, are in reality spiritual commands because they have a spiritual purpose. Only through spiritual eyes can we truly understand God’s plan and purpose.

How do we learn to look at the Bible through spiritual eyes?

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

Jun 12, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

This scene—Jesus teaching in the temple during the feast—had created a very volatile situation. There were many different attitudes and mindsets present that day. There were those who questioned the authority and motives of the Jewish leadership: “Why do they not do something? Do they know that He is really the Christ?” There were also those who could not be convinced that Jesus was the Christ: “When the Christ comes, no one will know where He is from.” There were those who believed on Him because of the signs (miracles) that He had performed. And then there were the Jewish leaders, whose anger reached a boiling point as they tried to lay hands on Him and take Him—no doubt, to kill Him. But despite all the confusion, all the questions, all the varying opinions and ideas, notice that God’s will and purpose still reigned supreme. Why did no one lay a hand on Him? “Because His hour had not yet come.” God’s plan was for Jesus to die at the appointed time and in the appointed way. This was not it. It continues to be true today that, despite varying attitudes and mindsets regarding Christ, the plan and purpose of God will reign supreme.

Looking forward, what is God’s plan and purpose?

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

Jun 11, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

As Jesus continues His teaching to the crowd in Jerusalem, He points to the event that was the “final straw” in precipitating the determination of the Jewish leaders to destroy Him—the healing of a lame man on the Sabbath (John 5:1-9). The Jews had manipulated the Law of Moses for their own purposes and had forgotten its true meaning. While they were willing to set aside the Sabbath day restrictions on work for the purpose of keeping the law regarding circumcision, they were unwilling to allow mercy to be shown and a man’s body to be healed on that day of rest. It was a hypocritical stance, and one that was unpleasing to God. As we seek to apply the law of Christ to our own lives and teaching, we must beware of the lessons learned from the Pharisees, lest we adopt a similar attitude of staunchly holding to one command while neglecting others. May God help us to approach His Word with a desire to apply and keep it in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Why do you think the Pharisees were unwilling to allow Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath?

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

Jun 10, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.

Despite the hostility of the Jews and the prudence of Jesus in traveling to Judea, He does go to Jerusalem for the feast—not in the caravan with his brothers, but privately in His own time and way. While in Jerusalem, He enters the temple and begins to teach, causing many to marvel at His knowledge and skill in discussing the Scriptures despite His lack of formal training. His message is a simple one: if anyone has a sincere heart in wanting to do what is right, he will know whether Jesus’ teaching is from God or from His own authority. The prophets had pointed to this time and to the coming Messiah. Their words were being fulfilled before the hearers’ very eyes in the life and message of Jesus. His desire was not to bring glory to Himself, but rather to God who had sent Him. The same is still true today. Anyone who has a sincere heart in wanting to do what is right can open up the pages of Scripture and find the truth. It is not hard to believe for those who are honestly seeking. May we all be honest and sincere seekers of Truth.

Why do you think sincerity is an important quality in accepting the truth?

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

Jun 9, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

Jesus’ time had not yet come. He had made the decision to stay in Galilee and not go to Judea because of the determination of the Jews to kill Him. It was not that He was afraid to die, for that was His ultimate purpose. Rather, He did not want the hostility of the Jews to hinder His mission. Prudence demanded that Jesus proceed carefully. On that backdrop, Jesus’ earthly brothers make a rare appearance in the gospel account. They are not yet believers in Christ and come to Him, tempting and taunting Him to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Their challenge to Him is essentially this: “If you are who you claim to be and desire for people to follow you, then go where the people are. You cannot gain followers by hiding.” It occurs to me that people still try to tempt and taunt Christ into giving in to their demands, wanting some show of proof before giving themselves to Him. But just as Jesus was on this occasion, He continues to be constant and uncompromising with us. He gave His all for us and has made clear what He expects if we are to follow after Him. May we be willing to believe in Him and submit to His will for our lives.

Why do you think that Jesus’ brothers had such a difficult time believing in Him?

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

Jun 8, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

These verses are difficult and have perplexed many interpreters throughout the centuries. Therefore, any attempt to apply them is speculation to some degree. That being said, it seems to me, given the context of the statements, that Jesus is here giving the reason for such a strong stance against sin in vv. 42-48. Every life, He says, will be seasoned (salted) with fire. The fire that He refers to, I believe, are the temptations and trials of life that God allows for the purpose of purifying and preserving our souls. While we may not enjoy those challenges in life, Jesus says that “salt is good.” But if the salt has lost its potency (i.e. its ability to purify and preserve), then it is useless. If the temptations and trials that are intended to season our lives and prepare us for eternity are met with weakness and yielding, then they have not accomplished God’s intended purpose, but have left us in sin and without hope. So accept the “fires” that you encounter in life with courage and strength, for God is using them to prepare you for much greater things in this life and in eternity!

How should we react when faced with a “fire” of life?

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

Jun 7, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

There is a good bit of curiosity attached to this passage. Who was this man of whom John spoke, and how could he cast out demons? While we do not know the answer to these questions, there are some things that we can assume. He was a follower of Christ. “He was not following us” does not mean that he was not a disciple of Christ, but that he did not accompany the apostles in their daily following of Christ. This man obviously believed in and followed Christ; otherwise, he would have no ability to cast out demons miraculously. It has been suggested that John reacted as he did largely out of a sense of jealousy, thinking that no one but those closest to Jesus should be able to do such things. This passage comes right on the heels of the teaching of Jesus that those who wanted to be great should be servants. There is no room in the service of Jesus for jealousy, envy, or prideful arrogance. We all have a place within the body of Christ and are called to use our gifts to His glory. All who are faithful to Christ are on the same side—a sentiment worded by Jesus like this: “For the one who is not against us is for us.”

Why do you think we sometimes become envious of others?

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

Jun 7, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

SPONSOR: Logos Bible Software

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Jesus, in this passage, drives home a point that is largely lost in our world—the horrible nature and danger of sin. In our world, the concept of sin has been minimized or illegitimized to the point that we are often no longer to call any action sin, regardless of how reprehensible it is. Permissiveness and tolerance have replaced righteousness and faithfulness. But Jesus’ words are still as true now as when He spoke them. He came to rescue us from sin, but it continues to threaten us. Sin is dangerous, destructive, and deadly. It is pervasive and if allowed, will invade our lives and take us away from God. Therefore, Jesus says, we must constantly be on guard against falling into sin and against leading others into its path. Avoid it all cost, Jesus says, for the price of sin is far too high.

Why do you think that the world doesn’t see the horrible nature of sin?

 

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

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