The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John


Dr. Kevin Calhoun

April 1-3 | Luke 22-24


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Jonathan Norton

April 6-10 John 1-5


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Rev. JT Overby

April 13-17 | John 6-10

 

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Dr. Craig Bowers

April 20-24 John 11-15


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Dr. Kevin Calhoun

April 27-30 | John 16-19

(May 1, John 20)



  • April 1, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Luke 22

     

    In verse 14 of today’s passage we read, “And when the hour had come He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.” Jesus regularly shared a meal with His disciples and with others. My question for us today is:  How did the apostles come to be/sit with Jesus at this meal.  Their relationship with Jesus did not just happen by chance.

     

    Three years earlier they began as followers of Jesus. They may have heard a few things about Jesus, but they did not yet know Him well.  They still had much to learn about Jesus. As they began to learn more about Jesus, they became disciples. A disciple is one who watches, listens, and learns from a teacher.  As they learned more and more from Jesus about His purpose and ministry, they then became servants. They began to put their faith into action by serving others in the name and power of Jesus.  Finally, as they gathered around the table on this occasion, they had become friends with Jesus.

     

    My favorite verse in all of Scripture is John 15:15, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” I find great comfort and joy in knowing I am a friend with Jesus through faith in Him as my Lord and Savior.


     

    Application:

    Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior?  If not will you do so today? 

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    List a few of your friends you can introduce to Jesus today.
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, thank You for calling me Your friend. I pray I will be faithful to You today. Amen!



  • April 2, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Luke 23

     

    Our Scripture reading for today is crucial for our understanding as we approach Easter in a few weeks. Look closely at all that occurs in this one chapter. Jesus first appears before Pilate who sends Him to Herod.  Herod treats Jesus with contempt and sends Him back to Pilate. Pilate seeks to release Jesus, but the people demand He be put to death, so Pilate follows the wishes of the people. Jesus is then beaten and led to Golgotha with Simon of Cyrene carrying His cross. Then we read about the crucifixion and the burial of Jesus.

     

    I am drawn to the various responses to Jesus while all of these events take place. In verse 35 we read, “And the people stood by looking on.”  As bystanders in the crowd they wanted to watch the proceedings as they took place. Then there were those who were mocking Jesus: the rulers sneered at Him (vs. 35), the soldiers mocked Him (vs. 36), and one of the criminals crucified by Jesus hurled words of abuse at Jesus (vs. 39). The other criminal, however, spoke these words of faith,

     

    “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. . . Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (vss. 40-42).

     

    Application:

    How have you responded to Jesus and His death on the cross?  
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    Have you repented and believed in Jesus?  If not, why not today?  

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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I turn from my sin today, and I trust in You alone as my Savior and Lord. I want to follow You by faith each day! Amen!

     



  • April 3, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Luke 24

     

    I am trying to understand the thrill of those who first experienced the resurrection. The ladies came to the tomb wanting to anoint the body of Jesus. They left the tomb with an experience that changed their lives completely.  Look again at verses 5-7.

     

    “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

     

    Oh, the joy they must have felt. Look at how they responded to this news.

     

    “And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest,” (vss. 8-9)

     

    The One who died for our sins rose from the grave . . . and He lives today! 

     

    As we prepare for our Easter worship in the coming days, how will we respond to the good news of the resurrection of Jesus? Will we be filled with a desire to worship Him in praise and thanksgiving? Will we have a burden for others who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord? Will we follow Him by faith each day trusting Him in all of our circumstances? Will our words and deeds be a reflection of the joy we have in knowing Jesus?

     

    He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!

     

    Application:

    List two or three steps you can take to prepare for Easter.  
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    List two or three people you can invite to share Easter worship with you. 

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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray I will walk in the power of Your resurrection today!  Amen!



  • April 6, 2020
                                                                                                         

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read John 1


    As we now move to the last of the Gospels, let’s summarize what we have learned about Jesus the last three months: Matthew said He is the Messiah – Worship Him; Mark said He is the Servant – Follow Him; Luke said He is Sinless – Emulate Him; and now John tells us He is God in Human Flesh – Believe in Him. Believe is a key word that we will read 98 times in the Gospel of John. He is talking about a two-fold belief here. First, a belief that “acknowledges truth as truth”, and Second a belief that means to “trust and rely on and have confidence in”. When we decide to believe in Jesus that means we accept His Word as the only truth, and we rely on Him for everything. We have full confidence that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

     

    The first three Gospels focus on describing the events in the life of Christ, John emphasizes the meaning of these events and who Jesus is. Today, in the first chapter we read that John recorded the seven names (and titles) of Jesus that identify Him as the eternal God. How incredible to be reminded that Jesus is all the following:


    The Word (vs. 1-3)

    The Light (vs. 4-13)

    The Son of God (vs. 15-28)

    The Lamb of God (vs. 29-34)

    The Messiah (vs. 35-42)

    The King of Israel (vs. 43-49)

    The Son of Man (vs. 50-51)

     

    So, friends, John’s Gospel is not just a biography of the life of Jesus and His ministry. The Gospel of John is an invitation to us all to believe in Jesus, to trust His Word, to become His disciple, to grow in maturity, and to join Him on His mission.

             

    Application:

    Do you Truly Believe in Jesus? _____________________________________

    Do you Totally Trust His Word? ____________________________________

    Do you Have Full Confidence in Him? _______________________________ 


  • April 7, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read John 2


    In Chapter 2 we see the first of eight “signs” or “miracles” that Jesus performs in the Gospel of John. Jesus turns the water into wine in verses 1-12 to demonstrate He is the source of life and to demonstrate His deity. Only God can create something from nothing. John uses the word “signs” to refer to significant displays of power that always had a purpose. These signs pointed to something beyond the wonders of themselves. This sign revealed the glory of Jesus and the result was His disciples believed in Him (v. 11). The response of Jesus at this wedding also reveals that the blessings He promises for all believers will come only in God’s time. In the meantime, He has revealed His glory to us so that we will have faith and hope in Him.    

     

    John also records two other revelations of Christ in this chapter. He reveals the “Zeal of Jesus” in verses 12-22 and “His Knowledge” in verses 23-25.

     

    Jesus revealed His zeal for God when He cleansed the temple (vs. 13-17) and when He spoke of giving His life (vs. 18-22). What is zeal? It is great energy, enthusiasm and passion in pursuit of a cause. When the disciples saw the courageous zeal of Jesus, they most likely remembered Psalm 69:9 “For zeal for you has consumed me”. Do you have that same zeal for Jesus?  

     

    When John writes of the “Knowledge of Jesus” in verses 23-25 he is simply referring to that Christ “knows what is in man” (v. 25). We must understand that our Lord has accurate knowledge of each human heart. Jesus knows our character, our inner most thoughts and all our actions. The fact that our creator knows us and wants us to know Him should create a zeal within us that the world can’t help but see.      

            

    Prayer:

    Lord, we praise You for who you are and give You all the glory for the many great signs You have given us. May we seek to know You more and to serve You with zeal. Amen. 

     


  • April 8, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read John 3

     

    Most people are familiar with the Bible verse John 3:16. I want to focus on the last two words of this verse “Eternal Life”. This is the first of 17 times that John references these two words in his Gospel. These two powerful words appear 50 times in all the New Testament. To fully understand John 3:16 we must understand what “Eternal Life” (or Everlasting Life) really means. Eternal life is referring to the divine quality of life, not just the quantity of life. It means as believers we get to spend our lives here on earth under the authority of a perfect God, participating in the eternal life of the Living Word. Then we will spend eternity in His Heavenly and Holy presence. Wow! Isn’t that amazing to dwell on for a moment?

     

    Another key verse in this chapter, but not as famous, is verse 30 “He must  increase, but I must decrease”. John the Baptist is speaking here with humility and joy as he provides us with a simple teaching point for believers. John   wasn’t the Messiah; he came to point others to the Messiah. So, when Jesus arrived, John “rejoiced greatly at the Bridegroom’s voice” (v. 29). Do we rejoice at the sound of His voice? Do we acknowledge that “He who comes from above, must be above all in our life” (v.31)?


    As you read back over Chapter 3, I encourage you to see how John the Apostle emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He speaks of a Living  Relationship when we receive Jesus into our lives and share His life as we become His children in the family of God. John also describes a Loving Relationship since He is the Bridegroom and we are a part of the bride. After all, verse 16 tells us that “He so loved the world that He gave His only son”. Lastly, John teaches us that we must have a Learning Relationship with Jesus as we receive His Word, pray over it and allow it to guide our lives. What type of relationship do you have with Jesus right now?           



  • April 9, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read John 4

     

    In this chapter Jesus ministers to a variety of people: The Samaritan woman (vs. 1-30), His own disciples (vs. 31-38), The Samaritans who trusted Him (vs. 39-42), and lastly the official from Capernaum (vs. 46-54). All these people had in common was their faith in Jesus. Today, let’s look closer at the second sign (or miracle) that John writes about - when Jesus heals the official’s son, in which we see as a picture of Jesus the giver of grace.

     

    In this passage we see a man that needed a healer. A father at his wit’s end and desperate. I like how one pastor summed up this text by describing the official’s stages of faith: He came to Jesus with a Crisis Faith as he was about to lose his son; Then he grew into a Confident Faith as he believed the words of Jesus; Thirdly, he had a Confirmed Faith as his servants told him his son was healed; and finally the official developed a Contagious Faith as he shared his faith with his family and others. The fact that the father believed the words of Jesus but did not know the results until the next day is evidence of his strong faith. Does this progression describe your faith at times?

     

    Quickly let’s also compare the first two signs (miracles) John writes about. In chapter 2, Jesus gets a request from His mother, whereas here in chapter 4 the request comes from a father. Both miracles were private, not public. The first miracle at the wedding revealed Jesus’ power over time, and in this second miracle Jesus reveals His power over space. This is one of several miracles that Jesus performs at a distance (Matthew 8 & 15, Ephesians 2). In other words, Jesus can heal anybody from anywhere. What an incredibly powerful God we believe in!

     

    Prayer:

    Heavenly Father, we pray that our faith will be strengthened through the study of Your Word and the testimonies of Your people. May we have a faith that is contagious. Amen.



  • April 10, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read John 5

     

    Chapter 5 gives us the third miracle of Jesus when He heals the man beside the pool who had been invalid for 38 years. In doing so Jesus demonstrated His power over disease. What happened next? Jesus was persecuted for healing on the sabbath and the Jews sought to kill Him (v.18). So, we see the times Jesus was living in while on earth were just as difficult as what we are living in today, even more so in a lot of ways. What is important is how Jesus responded to those who were questioning Him. Look back over verses 30-47 to see how we should respond to those who doubt or persecute us.

     

    The key word is “witness”. The word witness is used 47 times in the Gospel of John. Why is this word so important? Because we are called to be a   witness to the world (Acts 1:8). As believers we should certainly tell others what Jesus means to us and how He has changed our lives. But, like Jesus, we should also point people to other witnesses like we see in the last passage of chapter 5. The more believers that witness about Jesus, the more His Kingdom will grow.

     

    I love the description of John the Baptist’s witness in verse 35: “He was like a burning and shining lamp”. Remember a lamp does not burn on its own, it must be lit. And when a lamp is shining it gives off warmth and can light the way in a dark world. Who lights your lamp and who are you shining your lamp for (Psalm 119:105)? We must remember we might be the only lamp where we work or go to school. We need to be burning and shining bright the path that leads to Jesus! And when others take that path, we welcome them in with warmth and discipleship.  


    How would you describe your witness?  
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  • April 13, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read John 6

     

    As you read John 6, remember how the Israelites are taken up out of slavery, into the wilderness, brought through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness where they must place their faith in God. They find themselves grumbling and living in unbelief. Large crowds follow Jesus; He gives them bread to eat, He brings His disciples through the water (no need for Jesus to part them this time), and shows them how He is the true bread from Heaven as they grumble at His words. What can we learn from all this?


    Jesus is God in the flesh. He has come as the true bread of Heaven and all who look on Him will have life, and all who partake of Him will truly be satisfied. Jesus is God in the flesh who has power over all creation to do and perform His perfect will, and ultimately to provide a way for His people. Jesus is the one whose words are life. 


    Our flesh, our strength, and our efforts to come to God on our own are      completely fruitless. Our hearts constantly drift towards unbelief and we need God, through the Spirit to do a work in us (6:63). But we also learn that God delights to save His people through his Son! Jesus does not grumble about those whom He must save! He comes willingly to give His life for us, so that all who look on Him may have life. 


    A better exodus has come. Jesus has brought us out of slavery to sin and into His glorious life. We await the Promise Land and currently must walk in the wilderness. But our God who delights to save is with us, and He calls us to come and partake of Him and find ourselves satisfied for the journey!

     



  • April 14, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read John 7

     

    The Feast of Booths is the feast where the people of Israel remember how Yahweh provided for His people while they were in the wilderness. Even though the Israelites grumbled against the Lord, He still graciously provided them protection, food, and water. Specifically, He provided them water from the rock. This is significant for John 7, as Jesus in John 6 already showed the people how He was the true bread from Heaven, and in John 6:35, He says that anyone who believes in Him will never hunger or thirst. How does Jesus satisfy thirst in the wilderness?


    We see Jesus address this in 7:37-39. All who are thirsty can come to Him and out of His heart (better translated as the stomach region) will flow water. Out of whose heart? Jesus. Just as the rock was struck in the wilderness to satisfy the thirst of the people, our Savior would be pierced on the cross, and out of His side would flow water. Jesus cried out in thirst on the cross.  He then died the death that we deserve, so that we could know life and satisfaction in and through Him. The spiritual Rock was struck (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-5). What is this water He gives? The Spirit.


    The Spirit satisfies our deepest longings as He communicates the love and delight of Jesus to our weary hearts. This is not our home. We are in the wilderness awaiting the Promised Land (the New Heavens and New Earth of Revelation 21), but we need not grow weary. In Jesus, by the Spirit, do we find life and satisfaction.


    Are you partaking of Jesus today or filling up on the world? Will we look upon Him and find life, or confess with our mouth that we believe, yet live like we need more than Him?

     



  • April 15, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read John 8

     

    One of the greatest rewards to reading John slowly and carefully is to see the way he weaves themes throughout the entire book. We see a few of those themes (light, word, belief, children) in John 8. Read John 1:1-18 again and see how the Word of God is the light of the world; how that light is rejected, but to all who do believe in Him, He gives them the right to become children of God. Then read John 8 carefully to see how those themes are further developed.

     

    Jesus comes as light. We live in darkness, alienated from God, without hope, and dead in our sins (Ephesians 2). Jesus comes as light to expose all of that. When His light shines into the dark places of your life, and   reveals your fleshliness for what it is, what is your reaction?

     

    Jesus comes as the Word, God revealed in human flesh, and He is the truth. Do we allow His Word to abide in us, or do we just listen to it to do our Christian duty? The truth sets us free. Do we know freedom from sin or are we still enslaved from believing the lies of Satan?

     

    What do we believe about Jesus? Is He truly the Christ, the King and   Savior, or do we take Him for a get-out-of-hell-free card? Do we come to Him as we need, or do we come to Him in humble belief, recognizing that He is God and King over all?

     

    To those who come to Jesus in humility, we get to call God Father. No longer do we know Satan as father who leads us to death. We get to know the God of the universe as Father, and there we can abide in His love and life. May we come to the Son so that we can know the Father!



  • April 16, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read John 9

     

    In John 8 we see Jesus revealing Himself to be the light of the world, and in John 9 we see Jesus healing blindness, taking one living in literal darkness into glorious light. We see this paralleled with spiritual     blindness and spiritual healing. Why do some reject Jesus and the  healing He offers? Because they cannot accept Him, the works He is   doing, and how He is revealing the glory of God.


    Who sinned that this man was born blind? We often attribute suffering to some moral lapse. It is an easy, natural reaction. Yet, Scripture shows us case after case of the righteous suffering and the wicked prospering (ex. Jesus as the suffering Christ!). Why suffering? God seeks to perform His works and reveal His glory in the midst of suffering. Look at Joseph, Israel enslaved in Egypt, Job, David, and almost every other person of Scripture!


    What we need more than anything is not a change of circumstance, but we need to see God’s glory! In our sinfulness we have rejected the glory of God for created things (Romans 1). The most gracious thing God does is that He works in and through this fallen and broken world to make His glory known to us! When God works His glorious works, our spiritual blindness is healed and we can see Him!


    When suffering comes your way and Jesus is not the type of Christ you want Him to be, what is your reaction? To say that you see things  clearly and God has let you down? To walk in unbelief? May God seek His glory in our suffering, because what we need more than anything is to see Him and believe in Him! Our suffering is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory  (2 Corinthians 4:17). May that truth comfort us.



  • April 17, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read John 10

     

    We live in such troubling times. We have much to rejoice in and much to be thankful for, but the world is often so dark and discouraging. We have an enemy that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us. He speaks lies to us, trying to call us away from our Shepherd. Do you feel the darkness press in? Do you feel its weight? Do you struggle to know the hope we have in Christ? 


    Fear not! There are so many comforting truths found in this beautiful   chapter. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, lays down His life for the sheep. Where we once were not His, He has purchased with His blood. He calls us and we follow. What grace that a Shepherd would lay down His life for sheep! 


    The sheep will know the voice of Jesus and will flee from the enemy. As   believers we will ultimately resist the temptations and lies of Satan. The truth has set us free and the Word of Jesus now abides in us (see John 9). We will know victory. 


    Jesus will hold His sheep in His hand and nothing can snatch them away. The Father holds the sheep in His hand and nothing can snatch them away. We have a blessed assurance in Jesus. What can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35)?! Jesus is our Defender against the accuser, our   Redeemer who purchased our lives with His. He is our Savior who brings us out of death and into life, and our Way to the Father where we find our rest. 


    Nothing can stop Jesus from doing that and accomplishing that in our lives. Nothing can stop our Good Shepherd from leading us, guiding us, and protecting us. Let these truths from John 10 set your troubled heart free.



  • April 20, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 11

     

    What is the purpose of life? The ultimate, primary purpose of all life is to bring glory to God! The resurrection of Lazarus reminds us of this great, overarching truth. Here are a few incredible things in our passage: We are loved by Christ Jesus; God’s delays fulfill His purposes; our requests are tiny saplings compared to God’s desires; Jesus’ heart breaks when our hearts break; “Doubting Thomas” should also be called “Dying Thomas” as he was willing to die with Christ; even physical resurrection does not change the cold, unbelieving hearts of people. While these are incredible truths, the one that eclipses them all is the purpose of all created things bringing glory to God.

     

    Now, let’s talk about how you bring glory to God. Obviously, Jesus did not respond to the call to quickly come heal the dying Lazarus! How many times have you misinterpreted someone’s actions!? Have your actions been misinterpreted!? We may think that an action OR non-action of the Lord is a lack of compassion. However, we must be very careful here. A casual reading of this passage makes it clear that Jesus LOVED Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Circumstances may cause us to question the clear love of God in our lives. Why? Because we think the Almighty should respond differently. While we may think that, never question His love for you. His glory allows His love. He is glorified in loving you.

     

    Here’s another thought for today. We may think that love responds quickly to the cry for help. Maybe a family member has an urgent request for help. It may be a real need. Yet, when you pray about it, God may tell you to wait. Why? That’s His business. You simply listen to Him. It may be that helping someone is really enabling their irresponsible behavior. Certainly that is not what is happening in this passage but it happens many times in life.

     

    Glory is about weight. It is giving the proper weight to a situation or person. Glorifying God gives the proper weight to His character! The physical resurrection of Lazarus was but a small demonstration of the awesome power of Christ.

     

    Jesus does not want to “heal” us, He wants to transform us! Lazarus’ sisters wanted Jesus to prevent Lazarus from dying. That is often what we want. We want Jesus to prevent any pain. But Jesus does not want us to experience pain, He wants us to experience death. Death to self, death to our sin, so that we can experience a transformation of our soul!!! Healing no! Resurrection yes!!!

     

    Let’s finish today thinking about Thomas. What comes to mind? No doubt, “Doubting Thomas.” Why isn’t he called “Dying Thomas?” He is the only disciple to say, ‘Let’s go back with Him and die!’ Here’s the reason: Human nature is to focus on the flaw instead of the beauty. We remember the bad at the expense of the good. When you think about someone else, do you think first of their positive character traits or their flaw?

     

    Prayer:
    As I journey through this day Lord God, may I glorify You as I reflect Your character by loving others!

     



  • April 21, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 12

     

    Who switched the price tags? That’s not only the name of a book, it is one of the greatest challenges of life. Value, or a “price tag” is placed on everything - even people. We learn in the first section of this passage that too often our values are driven by our own agenda. Judas criticized Mary because he publicly stated that the “wasted” money could be used to feed the poor. We know better! He was a thief and simply wanted more money in the treasury to embezzle.

     

    Notice how Judas justified himself! One of the greatest questions we can ask ourselves in our growth is this: “Why does this action/situation increase my blood pressure? ”The answer is probably not as obvious as we would like. Only after joining the Holy Spirit in digging into the garden of our hearts will we uproot the selfishness of our anger, the self-centeredness of our “righteous indignation.” It takes courage, humility, and honesty. Adjusting the price tag can be tricky. We may find that the marker in our hand came from the same crayon box that our children use for childish drawings.

     

    God is the only One who can properly determine value. Why is it that which we prized so highly in our younger years is no longer important in our latter years? Maybe it is because we see things differently. Could it be that the  value of what is really important hasn’t changed? Could it be that “age” doesn’t change the real value of something? Think about what you estimate today as highly valuable. Now, take this test: Will it still be that valuable 10 years from now? Go further, add another decade to it. Now, add a century to it. How’s the value holding up!?

     

    Prayer:

    Dear God, the truth is I can see things with the same heart as Judas. I can be lured into believing something is of tremendous value simply because it fits my agenda. Please touch my eyes so that I can see the value You have set. Help me to be courageous enough to accept Your rebuke. May the marker I hold in my hand not be from a children’s crayon box but from Your eternal word.



  • April 22, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 13

     

    How would you live if you had nothing to prove? Nothing to prove to yourself, your parents, your mate, other people! Nothing to prove to anyone! Your life would probably be A LOT different.

     

    Psychologists tell us that our actions and emotions are related to proving our worth. Think about some of the greatest athletes in recent past - Michael Jordan and Tom Brady, to name two. Both were not taken seriously at the beginning of their careers. Both had something to prove. It drove them to be more disciplined, dedicated, and determined. Nothing wrong with that!!! But, too often our passion to “prove” something to others inflames our pride and creates emotional dysfunction.

     

    Jesus teaches us the key to living a life with nothing to prove to others. He accomplished more in his 33 years than anyone in history. The key is having nothing to prove. How do you do that?

     

    It begins with your identity. What is the source of your self-esteem? What is the root of your fulfillment? When do you feel “good” about yourself? Jesus’ identity was cemented to His relationship with the Father. He knew that He was about to die. He knew where He was going. He loved others! So, Jesus’ identity was totally consumed with His Father’s love.

     

    As Christ followers, our identity is to be totally wrapped up “in Christ.” That is Paul’s favorite expression. Paul “bragged” about his credentials from the earthly perspective. Then he stacked them up against knowing Christ. His summation: They were like dung!

     

    You are loved by our Heavenly Father. You can’t do anything to make Him love you more or less. You are secure in your position in heaven. You can’t do anything to change that. When you wrap your identity up in Christ, you can take off the “outer garment” and serve others freely. You can love them with an agape love.

     

    Application:

    Search the Scriptures and know your real identity and worth!



  • April 23, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read John 14


    I’m writing this in mid-March and we are in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic! We don’t know if it is going to get better or worse. But this       passage is timely for any storm. The disciples were overwhelmed with grief. Their lives were about to be turned upside down. They didn’t know what they were going to do. Fear gripped their hearts. It finally sunk into their minds that Jesus was going to die. They could not imagine life without Jesus.

     

    During these days, fear is very real. Seeing empty parking lots that are normally filled is surreal. Dining areas in restaurants that are normally packed are empty. Life can change so quickly! The disciples felt like they had just lost everything. Christ’s words to them speak directly to our hearts, “Let not your hearts be troubled...” The word troubled means to be overcome, overrun! Jesus is saying, don’t be overwhelmed. Now, that would be rather cruel unless He could give us the vaccine!

     

    “You believe in God, believe also in me...” That is the vaccination to a       troubled heart. Faith triumphs over fear in the greatest arenas of life. Not just any faith, but faith in Christ Jesus. Our faith is only as good as the object of our faith. What do we believe?

     

    “I am going to prepare a place for you...” Our faith is in the One who          prepared us for eternity! We know the end game, the final score. Our       confidence is not in man’s ability to figure things out! Our lives are not built on temporal things. We have certainty in this world of uncertainty. Our anchor holds fast during the worst storms! He is preparing a place for you!

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I confess to You that too often my heart is troubled when I look around. Thank You for reminding me that You have prepared me for eternity and You have prepared my place in eternity. May my heart be filled with a quiet confidence and peace because You are the victor! You are faithful. You defeated death, hell, and the grave. I praise Your holy name!



  • April 24, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read John 15

     

    How do you glorify God and prove to be His child? Jesus answers those two overarching questions in the first 11 verses. Let’s carefully walk through them.

     

    Jesus is the vine, the Father is the vine dresser, and we are the branches (vv 1&2). That means Jesus is the source of life, the Father prunes the branches, and we are all plugged into the life source.

     

    We get plugged into the life source by being cleansed. (Verse 3) That cleansing is the result of believing the character of Christ.

     

    You can only bear fruit when you “abide” in Christ. (Verse 4) What does it mean to “abide”? You believe and accept the words of Christ. You receive Christ Himself. You dwell there. You live there. Your soul and mind are rooted in the truth of Him and His word.

     

    When you live in the reality of His truth that is deeply implanted in everything you do, you will bear fruit. (Verse 5) It is impossible to “bear fruit” apart from Christ. What is the “fruit” that we bear? The Bible answers that question. Remember that the Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible. Galatians 5:20-24 teaches us the fruit of the flesh and the Spirit. When you are “filled” with the Spirit of Christ (that is the same as abiding) then you will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

     

    Those who do not trust in Christ and His word will be “cast into the fire and they are burned.” (Verse 6) In other words, those who are lost will suffer eternal ruin.

     

    When you abide in Christ, your prayers will be answered. (Verse 7) Here’s why -   abiding in Christ is surrendering to His will. It is seeking for that which is the Father’s desire. We surrender our desires and embrace His.

     

    You prove that you are a Christ follower when you bear fruit (verse 8). When you bear fruit, you glorify God because you reflect the character of Christ.

     

    Christ followers are not motivated by obligation. Our lives are filled with joy because we are motivated by love. (Verse 9-10). You are loved by God and because He loves you, you love Him. When your life is built on Christ, your life is rooted in love. You serve Him because you love Him. You serve others because you love Him.

     

    Application:

    What evidence of the fruit of the Spirit do I see in my life?

     



  • April 27, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 16

     

    In our reading today Jesus is telling His disciples what will occur in the coming days and what they can expect. As Jesus is speaking to them the disciples are filled with many questions. But more than anything else, the disciples are beginning to grieve the time when Jesus will be gone. 

     

    “Because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart,” (vs. 6).

     

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful . . .” (vs. 20).

     

    Their sorrow is understandable. They were sorrowful because they would experience personal loss. They loved Jesus with a love that had grown with every day they were with Him. His death would be very difficult for them. They also felt sorrow because they knew the world would welcome the death of Jesus. With Jesus out of the way, the world could go on without hindrance. I am sure they were also sorrowful  because they had such high hopes (though misguided) about what Jesus would    accomplish. We have all experienced sorrow like this at many times.  

     

    But the story does not end there. Jesus continued, “but your sorrow will be turned to joy,” (vs. 20). Then again in verse 22 Jesus said, “Therefore, you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.” Through faith in Jesus we have joy that can never be taken away.

     

    Application:

    What are you facing today that causes you to grieve of be discouraged? 
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    What verse(s) in Scripture fill with you joy in times of discouragement? 
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    Challenge:

    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

     



  • April 28, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 17


    Often called the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus,” John 17 has also been called “The True Lord’s Prayer.” In these verses Jesus prays that He might glorify His Father, He prays for His disciples, and He prays for the Church. Let’s focus today on five aspects of His prayer for the Church. 

     

    1. Jesus prays that, “they may have My joy made full in themselves,” (vs. 13). I    wonder sometimes if the people in our churches are joyful today. It is easy to be overcome with defeat and discouragement when we should display joy in Christ Jesus.


    2. Next, Jesus prays, Sanctify them . . .” (vs. 17). Jesus prays for the Church to be sanctified and set apart from the world. We must not be a “worldly church” accommodating worldly values.


    3. Jesus continues, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth,” (vs 17). Building a foundation upon truth involves a thorough study of God’s written word and an application of its truths to daily life.


    4. Jesus then prays for the mission of the church. “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world,” (vs. 18). As we go about our daily activities, we are to be a faithful witness for Jesus in all we say and do.


    5. Jesus then prays for unity in the Church. “That they may all be one. . .” (vs. 21). Unity does not mean uniformity, but we are to be one in purpose and mission.

     

    Application:
    Which of these areas need your attention today? 
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    Who can you enlist to pray with you about this today? 
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, fill me with Your joy that I might be a faithful servant for You today!  Amen!



  • April 29, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 18

     

    “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, into which He Himself entered, and His disciples,” (John 18:1).

     

    The first garden mentioned in Scripture is the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1 – 2). It was in this garden that Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the one tree God told them not to eat (Genesis 2:16-17). From that moment on, we have all born with a sin nature, and we are separated from God because of our sin. 

     

    In today’s reading we find Jesus and His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. The accounts of this event recorded in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46, provide many more details than this brief reference recorded in John. In the first three Gospels we see a vivid picture of the agony of Jesus.


    If we turn ahead to tomorrow’s reading we will find another garden. “Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid,” (John 19:41). It was in this garden tomb Jesus was placed and it was from this garden tomb Jesus was raised.

     

    It all happened in a garden. Sin entered our world in a garden, Jesus agonized over His death for our sin in a garden, and He was raised victorious over sin in a garden. 

     

     

    Application:

    Have you turned to God by faith in Jesus?  If not, will you do so today? 
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    List some people you can talk to who will share with you about trusting Jesus. 
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray I will be a faithful witness for You today!  Amen!

     



  • April 30, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 19

     

     “After this, Jesus knowing that all things had been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled . . . He said, ‘It is finished!’ (John 19:28, 30).

     

    What was it that had been accomplished and was now finished? James Montgomery Boice points out four answers to this question, (Boice, The Gospel of John, vol. 5, Baker Books, 1985, pp. 1538-1541).

     

    1. Christ’s sufferings have come to an end. Isaiah had written centuries before,“He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and of grief,”  (Isaiah 53:3). All of Christ’s sufferings are now finished.


    2. The “work” of Christ was complete. He had accomplished all He had been sent   by His Father to do. Jesus said in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him  who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”


    3. Thirdly, “the prophecies of His first coming” (Boice, 1539) have been accomplished.  There are still future prophecies concerning Jesus yet to be completed, but there was nothing else in His incarnation yet to be done.


    4. Lastly, the atonement had been accomplished. Christ Jesus had/has done all that needs to be done for our salvation. There is nothing we can or need to add to His work.

     

    “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;

    Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”

     

    Application:

    Important truth: although there is nothing we can do to add to the atoning work of Christ, there is much we can do for Him as we walk with Him by faith.

     

    In response to the work of Christ in your life, list ways you can serve Him each day. ________________________________________________________________


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    Prayer:

    “Here am I, Lord, send me!”  Amen!

     


  • May 1, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 20

     

    How observant are you? When you look at someone or something, what details do you notice?  When Mary Magdalene told the disciples the tomb was empty, Peter and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) ran to the tomb to see for themselves.

     

    John arrived first “and stooping and looking in he saw the linen wrappings lying there,” (vs. 5).  John took a casual glance and saw the grave clothes, but he did not notice much else. 

     

    When Peter came into the tomb “he beheld the linen wrappings lying there, and the facecloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself” (vss. 6-7). Simon Peter took in much more detail than John. He took note of the clothing that remained and where it was placed.

     

    Then we read, “So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed,” (vs. 8). At this point John began to have a greater understanding of what had taken place, and he believed the power of God was at work.

     

    I wonder, when we read the Bible, do we merely skim over the text in order to complete our reading? Or do we take time to reflect upon what we are reading? Furthermore, does our reading of Scripture stir us on to a greater degree of faith so that we respond in obedience to God’s Word? It is something for us to think about.

     

    Application:

    How often do you take time to read God’s Word? 
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    How does the Word of God impact the way you live each day? 

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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, may I be found faithful to the truths I glean from reading Your Word!  Amen!