Live Loved

God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
[2 CORINTHIANS 5:21 NLT]

The Bread of Life

Would you consider the offer of Jesus? “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again” (John 6:35 NLT).

The grain-to-bread process is a demanding one. The seed must be planted before it can grow. When the grain is ripe, it must be cut down and ground into flour. Before it can become bread, it must pass through the oven. Bread is the end result of planting, harvesting, and heating.

Jesus endured an identical process. He was born into this world. He was cut down, bruised, and beaten on the threshing floor of Calvary. He passed through the fire of God’s wrath, for our sake. He “suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18 MSG).

Bread of Life? Jesus lived up to the title. But an unopened loaf does a person no good. Have you received the bread? Have you received God’s forgiveness? . . .

God does not give us what we deserve. He has drenched his world in grace. It has no end. It knows no limits. It empowers this life and enables us to live the next. God offers second chances, like a soup kitchen offers meals to everyone who asks. And that includes you. Make sure you receive the bread.

[OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE]

Dear Lord, thank you for being the bread of life. You offer to us the sustenance we need for our spiritual lives. As bread feeds our physical bodies, so your Word and your wisdom provide food for our spirits. Your gift of salvation brings us to God and enables us to live for him. You offer this gift freely to all who will accept it. We gladly receive this bread of life, and we praise you for drenching this world in grace and giving us what we did not deserve, amen.

Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD, “and not a God afar off?”

[JEREMIAH 23:23]

With God nothing will be impossible.

[LUKE 1:37]

God . . . does great things which we cannot comprehend.

[JOB 37:5]

Evening Prayer

JESUS’ FRIEND

[John 15:15; James 4:4]

I pray that you will enter into a close, intimate relationship with Jesus. May you understand that He does not call you a servant, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, He calls you His friend, for everything He has learned from the Father, He makes known to you. I pray that you will accept Christ’s offer of friendship which He extends to you. May you remember, also, that friendship with the world is hatred toward God. I pray that you will choose to be Christ’s friend today.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Faith’s Checkbook

The Life-Giving Stream

Every living creature which swarms where the river flows will live; there will be many fish, for these waters flow there. It will become fresh and everything will live where the river flows.

[Ezek 47:9 NET]

The living waters, in the prophet’s vision, flowed into the Dead Sea and carried life with them, even into that stagnant lake. Where grace goes, spiritual life is the immediate and the everlasting consequence. Grace proceeds sovereignly according to the will of God, even as a river in all its windings follows its own sweet will; and wherever it comes it does not wait for life to come to it, but it creates life by its own quickening flow. Oh, that it would pour along our streets and flood our slums! Oh, that it would now come into my house and rise till every chamber were made to swim with it! Lord, let the living water flow to my family and my friends, and let it not pass me by. I hope I have drunk of it already; but I desire to bathe in it, yea, to swim in it. O my Savior, I need life more abundantly. Come to me, I pray Thee, till every part of my nature is vividly energetic and intensely active. Living God, I pray Thee, fill me with Thine own life.

I am a poor, dry stick; come and make me so to live that, like Aaron’s rod, I may bud and blossom and bring forth fruit unto Thy glory. Quicken me, for the sake of my Lord Jesus. Amen.

Evening Prayer

RESIST UNGODLY THOUGHTS

[2 Corinthians 10:5; James 4:7]

I pray that you will train your mind to resist impure thoughts. Submit your thoughts to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you. May you learn to demolish arguments and every pretension that aims to destroy the knowledge of God. I pray that you will bring every thought and every imagination captive to make it obedient to Christ. May you experience growth in every area of your life as you resist ungodly thoughts.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Evening Prayer

SURPASSING LOVE

[Ephesians 3:16-19]

I pray that, out of His glorious riches, God may fill your inner being with the power of His Holy Spirit. May He fill you so that, through faith, Christ may dwell in your heart. I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. May you know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Live Loved

The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

[1 JOHN 2:17]

Heaven Is a Perfect Place

In heaven you will be you at your best forever. Even now you have your good moments. Occasional glimpses of your heavenly self. When you change your baby’s diaper, forgive your boss’s temper, tolerate your spouse’s moodiness, you display traces of saintliness. It’s the other moments that sour life. Tongue, sharp as a razor. Moods as unpredictable as Mount Saint Helens. This part wearies you.

But God impounds imperfections at his gate. His light silences the wolf man within. “Nothing that is impure will enter the city” (Revelation 21:27 TEV). Pause and let this promise drench you. Can you envision your sinless existence?

You will be you at your best forever!

And you’ll enjoy everyone else at their prime! As it is, one of us is always a step behind. Bad moods infect the best of families. Complaints shadow the clearest days. Bad apples spoil bunches of us, but rotten fruit doesn’t qualify for the produce section of heaven. Christ will have completed his redemptive work. All gossip excised and jealousy extracted. He will suction the last drop of orneriness from the most remote corners of our souls. You’ll love the result. No one will doubt your word, question your motives, or speak evil behind your back. God’s sin purging discontinues all strife.

Heaven is a perfect place of perfected people with our perfect Lord. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

[3:16: THE NUMBERS OF HOPE]

Loving Father, what a precious day it will be when we stand in your presence, perfect and whole. What relief it will be to finally be just like Jesus. Thank you for preparing a heavenly home for us, and thank you for preparing us for that heavenly home. Father, we want to please you and know that on the day we stand before your throne, you will have purged all the sin from our lives. What a glorious day that will be! Amen.

I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it.

[ECCLESIASTES 3:14]

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

[EPHESIANS 1:3]

Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

[PSALM 37:4]

Devotional

Talking Things Out With God

We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.

[Luke 24:21]

The encounter between Jesus and the disciples from Emmaus has much to teach us about prayer. The day Jesus rose from the dead was the most glorious day in history. But later that day, the risen Lord assumed the role of an anonymous traveling companion. It’s striking that the Lord of glory would so humbly seek out two discouraged individuals.

This assures us that when we feel abandoned by God, he is still present with us. Perhaps we don’t recognize God’s presence because a difficult situation has taken up all of our attention. But God is with us nonetheless.

Consider too how patient Jesus is as the two disciples talk about the events that took place in Jerusalem over the past few days. As if Jesus didn’t know these details! Sometimes in our prayers we pour out every­thing in our hearts to God. And God listens! But it’s not as though we are telling God anything he’s not aware of. He simply lets us express ourselves. God is incredibly interested in hearing all we have to say.

When Jesus finally revealed his identity to the two disciples at Emmaus, they were filled with joy. It’s the joy we feel when we realize that God is walking with us, listening to us, and sharing his time with us. The Lord who has come to us with humility and grace is the one to whom we can always pray.

Thank you, Lord, for always being with me. Thank you for being so interested in hearing my prayers. When I walk with people who are hurting, help me to lead them to you. Amen.