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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: Page 12
Feb 24, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

“Turn the other cheek.” While it is still a popular cliché in our world today, it is a seldom-seen practice among the majority of people. Far too often, we instead tend to adopt the “eye for an eye” mentality that Jesus condemns. We focus on what we see as “fair,” what we deserve, or what our rights are. Have you ever considered what would happen if God approached us with that attitude? What is fair is for us to pay for our own sins. What we deserve is eternal condemnation. God’s right was to spare His own perfect Son and allow us to suffer instead. Aren’t you glad that God was willing to turn the other cheek—to treat us with mercy and grace, instead of an “eye for an eye” attitude. Though it may be difficult for us to turn the other cheek in our dealings with others, God is not asking us to do anything that He has not already done toward us. As we strive to take on the nature and image of God in our own lives, we are called to rise above the mentality of the world and our own selfish desires and to be people of kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. May God help us to become more like Him in all our ways.

Why do you think God wants us to treat others in the way this passage describes?

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

Feb 23, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.” Such a simple concept, but so lacking in our world today. In Jesus’ day, the Jews were accustomed to making vows or taking oaths in the name of things closely related to God. But in some cases, they felt no obligation to keep those vows or to be truthful in their oaths. In so doing, they were in essence profaning the name of God. Jesus’ solution to this problem was to simply speak truthfully, for if one always tells the truth, there is no need for an oath. In our world today, as children of God, we honor our Father by being people of integrity, character, and honesty. Those around us should know confidently that our word is our bond and that our “yes” means “yes” and our “no” means “no.” This is God’s desire for us.

How does our honesty (or lack thereof) reflect upon God?

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

Feb 22, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Covenant. Commitment. These are words that have a great deal of meaning and importance in the mind of God. They are words that are often used in describing our relationship with Him, and they are also words used to describe the relationship that God desires to exist in marriage. When God joins a man and woman in marriage, His intent is for that bond to last a lifetime—through thick and thin, good times and bad, “till death do us part.” But marriage in our world today often does not follow God’s pattern or will. “Till death do us part” has become “till the relationship is no longer mutually satisfying.” But despite our world’s attitude toward marriage, God’s is still the same. He still desires for marriage to be a lasting covenant in which two people commit to loving and caring for each other for life. What a beautiful plan God has given us!

Why do you think that commitment in marriage is so important to God?

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

Feb 21, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Is Jesus seriously suggesting that we should resort to mutilating our bodies for the sake of avoiding sin? Not necessarily, but there are two very important principles that Jesus is trying to impress upon us with this harsh imagery. First, He is making the point that there is nothing in this world, even including our own physical lives or bodies, that is more important or that should be valued more than our eternal salvation. Second, He is making the point that if there is something in our lives that is coming between us and our faithfulness to God, that thing should be removed (unplugged, disconnected, gotten rid of, severed) from our lives. The point is that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is more important than spending eternity in heaven with God, and our lives should reflect that great truth!

Why is heaven and eternal salvation so important?

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

Feb 20, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Adultery begins in the heart. The point of this and most of what Jesus says in this part of the Sermon on the Mount is that sin of any kind finds its origins in the heart and mind. Before we do the act, we think the thought and have the desire. The real lesson to be learned from Jesus’ teaching here is that, if we desire to keep our lives and bodies pure from sin, we must first harness our eyes, minds, and hearts. The body will not go where the eyes and mind do not lead. We cannot allow our minds and eyes to wander into the territory of sin, and then expect our actions to stay close to God. Having a heart that is pure and fully committed to God is the first and best defense that we have against temptation and sin. May God help us to love Him more and to sin less.

What are some ways that a Christian can help keep his heart pure?

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

Feb 19, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Part of being a faithful child of God is found in taking care of our relationships with others. God desires that we treat others with kindness and compassion and show the same love toward others that God has shown toward us. Admittedly, this is sometimes a challenge as we face our own imperfections and the shortcomings of others. To patiently and lovingly forgive others and to humbly ask forgiveness of our wrongdoings is often a difficult thing to do. But what Jesus wants us to realize is that our relationships with others have an indelible effect, not only on our physical lives, but also on our spiritual well-being and relationship with God. The feelings, thoughts, and motives with which we view our earthly relationships can enhance or hinder our worship, our prayer life, and our faithfulness to God. Thus, Jesus teaches us to take those relationships seriously and to take care of them, understanding that they are related to our all-important relationship with God.

How has your spiritual life been affected by your earthly relationships?

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

Feb 18, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

The law was simple and clear: “You shall not murder.” The Jews of Jesus’ day had settled on a strict observance of that law, prohibiting the act of maliciously taking another’s life. Jesus, though, teaches them (and us) that there is a higher standard and greater principle to which we are accountable. While the Jews were content simply to stop short of acting on their murderous thoughts or desires, Jesus teaches us not to allow those malicious feelings or thoughts to enter our hearts. Not only does God care about our actions, He also cares about our hearts, thoughts, and motives. The real meaning of Jesus’ teaching is that God does not desire simply an obligatory, physical observance of a law; He wants our hearts. In addition to our actions, He wants our thoughts, intentions, and motives to be godly. To put it simply: God wants all of us!

Why does God care about our hearts and motives?

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

Feb 17, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets. It is a concept that the Jews of Jesus’ day had a very difficult time coming to terms with. They failed to understand that the old law was never intended to be permanent. God designed it to be a temporary law to fulfill a specific purpose—to preserve God’s people and prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah when the time was right. Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies and bring to fruition all of the spiritual promises of God. Though you and I never lived under the old law, the fact that Jesus came to fulfill that law is also very meaningful to us. In fulfilling the law and prophets, Jesus also brought to completion God’s plan to bring redemption and salvation to everyone, including you and me. We have the great advantage and wonderful blessing of having God’s plan for redemption revealed to us through Christ and becoming partakers of the saving grace of God through the precious blood of His Son. Thanks be to God, and to Him be all the glory!

Why is it so important to us that Jesus fulfilled the old law?

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

Feb 16, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

As Christians, we have the wonderful blessing of being children of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. In a sense, we have stepped out of the world to live with and for God. But in another sense, we are called to continue to live in the world, not according to the world’s thinking, but in a way that makes this world a better place and brings it a little closer to God. As salt, we are called to bring goodness, healing, and preservation to a lost and hurting world through the love that God has shown to us. As lights, we are to bring Christ’s light into a dark world and allow our good works to illuminate God to His glory. As the world witnesses our lives, they should catch a glimpse of the love and goodness of God and be drawn to Him through our influence. What a privilege it is to be children and servants of God, and what a great opportunity we have to share God with this world through our lives!

How can you use your Christian life to make your world a better place?

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

Feb 15, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

Happiness—the universal desire. Everyone wants to be happy, and most spend a lot of their lives searching for it. Success, money, notoriety, relationships, adventure—on some level, all of these things are sought out by many people for the purpose of finding happiness. But while any of these things can bring some level of happiness or satisfaction to our lives, Jesus tells us that the key to being truly happy (blessed) is not to be found in any physical thing, but rather in filling one’s life with the attitudes and characteristics that draw him closer to God and deeper into relationship with Him. These attributes, which we often call the beatitudes, can help to shape our souls and our lives into what God would have us to be, and to point us toward true and lasting happiness. What a priceless treasure of wisdom these teachings of Jesus are!

Which of the beatitudes is most meaningful to you and why?

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

Feb 14, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

Jesus “healed them all.” Such a simple, matter-of-fact statement, yet consider the life-changing effect of those words for those who came into contact with the healing power of the Great Physician. The blind saw, the lame walked, the lepers were made clean, the possessed were freed from unclean spirits. With these healings came normalcy and quality of life. They could once again work, provide for their families, enjoy relationships, and take part in day-to-day activities. Their interaction with Jesus was absolutely life-changing! As amazing and effectual as these miracles must have been, Jesus offers us an even greater healing. If we are willing to bring Him our broken and sin-sick lives, He offers to heal us of the spiritually fatal disease that we all suffer from. With that healing comes renewal—renewal of our spiritual lives, and renewal of our relationship with God, renewal of our hope for eternal salvation. The healing that Jesus offers us is still absolutely life-changing!

How does spiritual healing change our lives?

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

Feb 13, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

When I read and consider this list of men that Jesus chose to be His apostles, the thing I find most interesting is who they were (or maybe who they were not). They were not educated, they were not wealthy, they were not well-connected, they were not highly esteemed. They were, well, ordinary—they came from varied backgrounds and professions, they had lives, families, and interests, and maybe most notably, they were not perfect. These men were not “spiritual giants” who never struggled with their faith or made mistakes in judgment. They were men who believed in Jesus, but who often failed to understand His purpose and their place within it. They were sometimes guilty of being impetuous, selfish, or worldly. At times, they lacked faith, courage, and strength. And yet Jesus saw in them the potential to be great leaders in His church. He chose them, patiently trained them, and ultimately used them to do great things. This is an encouragement to me because, if Jesus could use them, then maybe, just maybe, he can use me too. What about you?

How are the apostles an encouragement to you?

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

Feb 12, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. 

From the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus’ mission was to change the way people viewed God and religion. Having a relationship with God was not supposed to be about a mindless, arbitrary, and inflexible adherence to a set of laws and traditions. It was to be about the devotion of one’s heart to God and the infusion of godly characteristics and principles into one’s life. Jesus’ healing of a withered hand on the Sabbath was not really about challenging observance of the Sabbath. It was about challenging the way people viewed God and their fellow man. What Jesus tried to instill in the people of His day is still true for us today. Being God’s children and disciples of Christ is still about being wholly devoted to God in heart and committed to godly principles and conduct in life. A life lived in Christ and for God is a life full of love and faithfulness, and it is the best life of all!

How do you think this text relates to our lives today?

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

Feb 11, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

As was often the case, the Pharisees were questioning the authority of Jesus and the conduct of His disciples while, at the same time, trying to assert their own authority. They were not accustomed to being challenged when it came to matters of obedience to the law. Jesus’ last statement to them in this passage is very telling: “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus was, and is, Lord of heaven and earth and of all things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. He has all authority. Interestingly, people are still trying to assert their own authority and have their own way. But as it was with the Sabbath, so it is with all things concerning the Lord’s church today—He is Lord! The church is His to own and to direct. Ours is simply to submit to Him and do His will. May God help us to ever recognize Him as Lord of our lives.

How do we acknowledge Jesus as Lord in our lives?

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

Feb 10, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

New vs. old—it is a never-ending debate among many. Some hold to the theory that anything new is better, while others contend that the old and familiar is always preferable. The Jews of Jesus’ day wanted to force Jesus into the mold of the old law and of the traditions that had become so important to them. What they failed to understand was that Jesus had come to bring the old covenant to a close and establish a new, better covenant with mankind. With Jesus came the dawning of a new day in man’s relationship with God, and with that new day came some necessary changes to the way man viewed that relationship. Our relationship with God through Christ is the result of Jesus’ redeeming work and the covenant that He established through His death on the cross. That “new” covenant which allows us to be children of God and have eternal salvation continues to be the one that God desires for us and the greatest blessing of our lives.

What blessings do we receive from our covenant with Christ?

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

Feb 9, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

One of the characteristics of Jesus’ ministry that made Him such a polarizing figure with the Jews was the time He spent with the “undesirables.” Unlike the religious leaders of the day who simply condemned and avoided them, Jesus spent time with the sinners and tax collectors. He did not do so to condone their behavior or justify their sins, but to let them know that God loved them and call them to repentance, giving them the opportunity for spiritual healing. It is the same message the Word of God continually sends to us today. Whoever you are, whatever your sins might be, there is hope. God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. If you are willing to repent and come to Him, forgiveness and spiritual healing are available through Christ. What a beautiful message of compassion and hope!

What does the mercy and love of God mean to you?

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

Feb 8, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Faith—that is the word used to describe this paralytic man and those who brought him to Jesus. But their faith did not consist only of a belief that Jesus could heal the man. No, it went far beyond that. Consider all the effort that was involved in getting their friend to Jesus. They had to find their way through the crowds to get to the house, get themselves and their paralyzed friend onto the roof, remove a section of the roof, fashion a means of lowering the man into the house, and accomplish the task of placing the man in the presence of Jesus. The proof of their faith was found in the great effort that they put forth in coming to Jesus. In a similar way, Christ can make us whole and cleanse us of our sins, but we must be willing to put forth the effort to come to Him. The effort itself doesn’t save us, but it does bring us into the presence of the One that can! May God help us to have a faith that puts forth the effort.

What are the things that we do to come to Jesus?

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

Feb 7, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. 

“If You will…” It wasn’t Jesus’ ability or power that this leper questioned; it was His willingness. He understood that he had no right to demand, and that it was ultimately Jesus’ decision whether to heal Him. His life was in Jesus’ hands. We often find ourselves in a similar position—praying to God about some problem or hardship in our lives, understanding that we are subject to His will. We ask, hope, beg, and wonder about God’s will for our lives. We know He has the power but hope that He is willing. But just as Jesus was willing to heal the leper, God is willing to help and bless us. His answers to our prayers may not always come in the way that we requested or hoped, but His answers are always perfect and best for us. While we do not always know exactly what God’s will is for the different circumstances of our lives, we should never waver in our faith that He is willing!

Why is it important that we submit to God’s will as we pray to Him?

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

Feb 6, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

The power of “one more time.” That, in a sense, is the lesson that Jesus was teaching the apostles (and us) in this scene. Despite the fact that the apostles had fished all night with no success, Jesus had the power to give them an enormous catch, but it required their willingness to cast their nets one more time. They had to be willing to trust Him enough to make the effort, and they were. How often during their lives, when they were frustrated and discouraged, must they have thought back on this event and tried one more time. As we struggle with life and its challenges, the principle of “one more time” is relevant for us as well. We must learn to trust God and make the effort to overcome temptation, repent of our sins, talk to someone about Christ—one more time. It may be that that time is the time when we find success through Christ.

What have you become discouraged by in your life that deserves another try?

 

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

Feb 5, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

The demands on Jesus’ time were rigorous—long days spent teaching and healing, huge crowds following Him wherever He went, traveling from town to town spreading the message of the coming kingdom of God. Rarely was there down time and never a day off. Yet Jesus often sought out places and times of solitude, moments to spend in prayer to His Father. It was important, no, vital for Him to do so. He longed for that communion with God and for the renewal of mind and spirit that came from it. That special relationship with God that Jesus enjoyed is one that He also came to make accessible to us. Through Him, we can approach God in prayer as His children. We too can know the renewal and comfort that comes through communion with the Father. We must only learn to seek out those places of solitude and yearn for those quiet times with God.

How has your prayer life impacted your relationship with God?

 

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

Feb 4, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Good news! Jesus travelled around the towns of Galilee, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. For centuries, the Jews had waited on the Messiah to come and for the kingdom of God to be established. Now He was here, and that kingdom was on the verge of appearing. No, it would not be the physical kingdom that many of the Jews longed for and expected. It would, in fact, be a much greater spiritual kingdom whose borders would stretch to the ends of the earth, and that would never be destroyed. It would be a kingdom that would bring salvation to all who entered it through Christ. It was certainly good news—and still is! That kingdom, Christ’s church, still exists today, and you and I have the wonderful opportunity to be a part of it, to be redeemed by the blood of Christ, and to share in the wonderful blessings of being children of God. It is indeed good news!

What are some blessings that you have received from being part of the Lord’s kingdom?

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

Feb 3, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

How amazing it must have been to witness the healing of those who were sick and suffering as Jesus repeatedly demonstrated His power over the physical world. So often, many would flock to wherever He was to see these amazing miracles performed and, perhaps, to have their own infirmities taken away. It was an infallible proof, not only of Jesus’ power, but of His compassion and mercy. But do you realize that we are the recipients of an even greater healing and an even more amazing demonstration of Jesus’ power, compassion, and mercy? Jesus came to bring healing to a world that had been ravaged by the disease of sin, and He brought with Him the only cure—His atoning blood. Through the sacrifice of Christ, and only through that sacrifice, we can find cleansing, healing, and salvation. As incredible as the physical healings performed by Jesus were, they cannot compare to the spiritual healing that we have through Christ. “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Why do you think people today do not flock to Jesus for healing?

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

Feb 2, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

“The Holy One of God.” This was not a title used by a follower of Jesus, one of the apostles, or a prophet of God. It was the name by which an unclean spirit referred to Him. It is ironic that in a world where so many people—religious people, God-fearing people—would deny Jesus and refuse to accept Him, this unclean spirit, possessing an awareness of things beyond this physical world, acknowledges the truth of who Jesus is with a term of respect and honor. While this certainly does not justify the evil spirit, it does illustrate the truth that “even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19). It also provides us with yet another piece of evidence for the fact that Jesus is indeed “the Holy One of God,” a truth that many in the world still need to be convinced of.

Why is it so important that people recognize Jesus as the Son of God?

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

Feb 1, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.

Jesus’ words always seemed to invoke a strong response from His audiences. The truth has a way of doing that. Whether it was to leave everything behind and follow Him or, as in this case, to become violently offended and angry at His teaching, people often responded to Jesus with zeal and conviction. But why? Maybe it is because truth—the kind of truth that Jesus brought—requires it of us. It brings to light our thoughts, our motivations, and even our shortcomings. It then requires us to make a choice and to commit our very lives to that decision. The truth of Christ is life-changing. Many embrace that opportunity, accept the truth, and allow themselves to be transformed into the image of Christ. Others, like those in Nazareth, become adamantly opposed to the truth that challenges the paths they have chosen. May we choose the former and always be open to and accepting of Jesus, the Truth.

How has accepting Christ been life-changing for you?

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

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!

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