The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John


August 2020:



Rev. JT Overby

August 3-7 | Luke 21-24 | John 1


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Dr. Craig Bowers

August 10-14 | John 2-6


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Dr. Kevin Calhoun

August 17-21  John 7-11


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Jonathan Norton

August 24-28  John 12-16


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Rev. JT Overby

August 31 | John 17



  • August 3, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 21

     

    For too many years the Jews had served God in all the ways they wanted, but not as the Lord wanted. The Old Testament speaks of their constant offerings and sacrifices, yet their hearts were far from Him. Their hearts were not filled with love for God or thanksgiving. They gave what was convenient and easy. We see the stark contrast of the poor widow. She gives all of herself to the Lord, dependent and trusting in God. This was what Israel needed to do. Israel needed to come to the Lord with whole-hearted love and devotion. Yet, they did not.


    Because of this, when the disciples take in the great beauty of Jerusalem and the temple, Jesus tells them of its coming destruction. As the prophets spoke, Israel would be punished and judged for their turning away from the Lord. The temple age would come to an end and Jerusalem would be destroyed by a pagan nation. But the Lord was working even in that.


    The law, the offerings, the sacrifices, the temple, and Jerusalem itself were shadows of the true substance. They were a taste of heavenly glories, but were far from perfect.


    Jesus came and showed that we could never fulfill the law, but He could and did. Jesus, righteous in every way, offered Himself up as the perfect offering and sacrifice to save His people perfectly. Jesus would be the true temple, where God met with His people and the glory of God would be displayed perfectly. Jesus would cleanse for Himself a bride to dwell with Him in the new Jerusalem in the age to come.


    Do we hear the challenge of Luke 21? 


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    Are we longing for the day when Jesus returns? 


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    Are we living in light of eternity? 


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    Do we live to make Jesus known? 


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    Are we watchful of our own hearts? 


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  • August 4, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 22

     

    The Passover is the central event of the Old Testament. Everything before the  Passover looks forward to it, and all that comes after it remembers it and celebrates it. It is the main celebration and feast that the Israelites built their lives and faith around. Why? It was their deliverance from slavery by the hands of God Himself, the one true God. It was the event that brought salvation. The event that marked them out as God’s people. The event that showed and gave evidence to God and His power and glory. It was the event they were to remember and continually celebrate.  It was the event to help their hearts stay centered around God, never forgetting where they came from, who they are in Him, and ultimately, who He is.


    It should come as no surprise that Jesus chooses Passover to be the time of His great work. In fact, in Luke 9:31 Jesus speaks with Moses and Elijah about the true exodus that He was about to accomplish. Moses and Elijah couldn’t bring true salvation to Israel, and Jesus was about to do something they could never do.


    Just as Israel is given a meal to celebrate and remember Passover, Jesus gives us a meal as well. We are to regularly partake of the meal that celebrates the true and better Passover—salvation and deliverance for all who look to Jesus! Jesus delivers us from slavery. He takes upon himself, as the firstborn, the wrath of God’s judgment against sin, and shows Himself to be the true God in human flesh. He is the Passover Lamb whose blood is spilled. He is also the better Moses leading us out as God’s people.


    Life ought to be a celebration of who God is and who we are in Him. If that is the case, the Lord’s Supper is the meal we take to feast and celebrate Him. What a great Savior!



  • August 5, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 23


    In Luke 23 we see on a micro level what has been happening since the Fall—the nations raging against God and His Anointed. In Psalm 2 we see the nations crying out and raging against the Lord. They believe that He has enslaved them and want to burst His bonds on them apart. They want nothing to do with Him or His  Anointed. Here in Luke 23 we see the world doing just that. Herod in one corner and Pilate in another, representing the governments of Israel (God’s people) and Rome (pagan, Gentile nations).


    They both recognize that there is no guilt in Jesus, but they will do with God what the people want them to do. They are there for themselves and their people. Jesus, innocent in every way, will be punished. He will be mocked, beaten, tortured, and sent to the cross to die a horrific death.


    We as believers need to know this reality. Our world is fallen and until Jesus returns no human kingdom will serve God perfectly. The world will hate us, Jesus tells us, precisely because we are His.


    However, even the suffering we experience in life is a testimony to the victory we have and one day will experience in full! Jesus goes to the cross as an innocent man, taking upon Himself the sin—yes, all our sin, even our sinful rebellion against God and His Anointed—and dies for us there. We raged against God in our sin, yet Jesus lovingly dies for us. He takes it all. He takes our greatest places of shame, regret, and rebellion upon Himself. Nothing is hidden from Him. He takes it all. He goes to the cross.


    The world may not submit to Jesus, but the Good News of salvation needs to be shouted out in our communities. In the Gospel the rebels find salvation, we find salvation.



  • August 6, 2020

                                                                                                         

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 24

     

    Jesus is risen. However, not everyone is quite convinced His body isn’t just missing. After all, we would be skeptical to hear of a resurrection for a man we saw killed as well. Let’s focus on a few beautiful truths from Luke 24.


    First, the two disciples Jesus meets are unnamed. They are seemingly insignificant to not even be named in Luke’s Gospel. Yet, they are saddened and distraught at recent events. They hoped Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel but He was killed and now His body is missing. Yet, God in His great grace and mercy appears to them. Jesus comes to them—these unnamed disciples.


    Second, Jesus goes out of His way to reveal Himself to them. He walks with them on their journey.  He opens the Scriptures to them and shows them how it was necessary that the Christ would live and die in this way - in order to bring redemption to all who would believe in Him. They don’t recognize who He is, but their hearts burn as He speaks. As He breaks bread in their house, He reveals Himself to them and vanishes from sight. They believe now, He is risen! 


    Do you feel insignificant? Do you feel like God must be far and distant from you? You mean so much to God that He would lay down His life for you. And not only that, but that He would reveal Himself to you. We may not have our names remembered for thousands of years in famous stories, but Jesus loves us so much He would come to us.


    Do you want to see Jesus? 

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    Go to the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to burn within your hearts. He delights to reveal Himself to us there.



  • August 7, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read John 1


    The first 18 verses in John’s Gospel are so important to the rest of the Gospel. Each word is carefully crafted and chosen because it will be part of a larger theme that appears through the book. Take note of key points in those verses and look for them in John and you will be greatly blessed! Let’s focus on one key theme.


    What does John mean by calling Jesus the Word? First, it means that God is a   communicating God. He is a God who reveals Himself. We only know what we know about God because He has revealed it to us. God is transcendent and infinitely above us in every way, and we could know nothing about Him if He first didn’t reveal who He is. But Scripture tells us we have a God who delights to reveal Himself to us. We don’t have to live like pagan worshipers, always trying to guess what pleases their gods. Our God speaks to us!


    Second, it means that Jesus perfectly reveals who God is. Do you wonder how God the Father feels about you? Do you think of Jesus as warm and near, and the Father as cold and distant? Jesus is one with the Father. He perfectly reveals who the Father is. As Jesus is to us, so is the Father to us. What grace!


    Lastly, in Jesus being the Word, we know that in God’s Word is life. We are created by the Word of God and sustained by the Word of God. Jesus perfectly holds us together. While we feel like life is falling apart, Jesus, by his gracious Word, holds us together.


    In John’s Gospel, what does Jesus reveal to us about who He is? ________________________________________________________________

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    What does He reveal to us about the Father? ________________________________________________________________

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    How does He give and sustain life by His very Word in this Gospel? ________________________________________________________________


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    Keep a watchful eye to see those gracious truths!

     


  • August 10, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 2

     

    The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi held up a football before his ineffective football team and said, “This gentlemen, is a football.” In our search for what is wrong in our day, we must look at the basics.

     

    The first recorded miracle of Jesus is at a wedding. Jesus honored marriage because it was the first institution established by God. In His sovereignty, He decided that marriage would be the nucleus of society. That is why satan has attacked this sacred relationship. The marital covenant is not the invention of  humanity.

     

    When one studies history, it is easy to observe the correlation between the erosion of marriage and culture. Your marital relationship is the most important human relationship during your lifetime. In our culture, the very definition of marriage been changed for the first time in two millenniums. But, even in the community of faith, the sacredness and priority of marriage has eroded. It began decades ago when the parent/child relationship was prioritized over the marriage relationship. Please don’t misunderstand me. Children are a blessing from the Lord. But when parents prioritize their children over their marriage, they actually undermine the health and well-being of their children. If their marriage lasts until they are empty nesters, their marriage will be empty as well.

     

    That is why God created marriage and said that a man is to leave his father and mother and “cleave” to his wife and the two are to become “one flesh.” Every marriage will have difficult seasons. Every marriage is a work in progress. But, if you are married, you are to WORK on prioritizing your marriage over your children, grandchildren, job, hobbies, etc.

     

    Jesus performed his first miracle at the first institution the Triune God created – Marriage. Honor and protect your marriage.

     



  • August 11, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 3

     

    Just eleven years ago, John 3:16 was googled by 94 million people. Really? Yes, Tim Tebow put the scripture reference under his eyes during the national football championship. Tebow’s first response when he found out: “How do 94 million people not know John 3:16?” During the 1970’s, Americans wondered out loud what Jimmy Carter meant when he referred to “being born again.”

     

    This passage reminds us of our own underestimation and miscalculation of the prevalent unawareness of biblical truth. People do not know what the Bible teaches about the very basics of salvation. Our culture resembles the conversation in this chapter between Jesus and Nicodemus.

     

    Most people are “spiritual.” Some express it through “religion” while other expressions are outside the norms of religion. Either way, spiritual seekers look to connect just like Nicodemus. He was totally unaware of the truth of HOW to connect with the creator. He did not understand Jesus’ words. They were foreign to him. Jesus may have well been speaking English to Nicodemus.

     

    But please don’t overlook several key facts from this passage. People are looking for truth. While they may not get it when they hear it for the first time, they are seeking. Christ followers are to share the truth with others. We cannot assume people know the truth. Our calling is to share the truth. Jesus did not force Nicodemus to understand, He simply laid the truth out before him. That is your calling!

     

    Truth is only understood by those who hear it and then are willing to receive it. The Word of truth is alive. Sharing it with others does something deep inside their hearts. The Spirit of God will take His word and illuminate it in the darkened hearts of those who do not know Him.

     

    Application:

    Share salvation truth with others.

     



  • August 12, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 4


    Let’s focus on the first verse of this chapter. How do you handle precarious situations? What do you do when others want to put you in a “no win” situation? The Pharisees wanted to compare the “success” of John the Baptist to Jesus. They were going to compare their ministries in an attempt to discredit Christ as well as pit friends against one another. Few things have changed in the last two thousand years. Some will seek to do the same to you!

     

    How did the perfect Son of God handle this? He simply diffused the situation by walking away. He didn’t argue with them - although He would confront their lies and half-truths on other occasions. Today, He chose to walk away. Why?

     

    It was a no win situation. When others want to compare you to someone else, it immediately puts you in an awkward, unfair position. What should you do? Simply walk away.

     

    Our tendency is to defend ourselves or worse, cave into the unfair comparison. Think about it this way: Some thought John the Baptist was MORE successful than God. Wrong! “Let the facts speak for themselves!” That seems like a fair statement but choosing certain facts at the neglect of other facts paints a skewed perspective. Who had the higher baptism count? Fact: John the Baptist! So does that clear fact dictate who is really more successful?! No.

     

    Comparisons are often unfair, ungodly, and unbiblical. God created John the Baptist for a role. He was very successful in fulfilling his role. The religious elite compared John’s apparent success in baptisms to Jesus’ baptism count. WHY? Their goal was not to help anyone. Their goal was to undermine someone - namely Jesus.

     

    There are times to speak up. There are times when you need to engage. But, the fact remains there are times when wisdom tells you to walk away. Diffuse the situation. Don’t even respond!!! Praise God that He is the one who evaluates the “success” of our lives. Remember the key word in His evaluation: faithful.

     

    Remember that walking away is not a sign of cowardice but courage! Jesus was not afraid of the Pharisees! He wasn’t weak, but wise. He is our model. When others want to compare your church with another church, walk away! When others want to compare your gifts and abilities with someone else, walk away! There is an appropriate time for words but there is also an appropriate time for a walk.

     

    Application:

    Do you feel like a failure when you walk away from antagonizers instead of confronting them?

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    WHY?________________________________________________________________


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    Was Jesus a failure for walking away? 

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  • August 13, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read  John 5

     

    Let’s focus our thoughts on verse 18, “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father,  making Himself equal with God.” The most important theological, foundational truth in Christendom is the identity of Jesus Christ. Get this wrong and nothing else matters.

     

    Jesus is God. He is not an offspring of God or a creation of God. He is not another god among gods who answer to the Father God. He is One with God the Father. He is part of the triune God. While this is a challenging concept to wrap your head around, it is a biblical concept. Some biblical truths are too big and our human capacity for understanding too small to wrap our heads around them. But the Bible clearly identifies Jesus Christ as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

     

    God does not take on three different “roles.” Some false teachers say that God plays the role of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, at Christ’s baptism the Spirit descends on Jesus and the Father speaks of Jesus.

     

    Let’s look at some passages that clearly reveal that Jesus is the sovereign God. John 17:11 “... Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.”

     

    1 Timothy 6:14-16, “..until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time - He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see...”   Philippians 2:11 “and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

     

    Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible...” Now go to Genesis 1:1 and listen to who created the world: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

     

    1 Timothy 1:16-17 “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Who is the King eternal? Jesus Christ!

     

    1 Tim 2:3 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”

     

    In 1 Timothy 4, Paul commends Timothy to “be a good servant of Christ Jesus....” he then says in that context, “... we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of    believers.” (Verse 10)

     

    Finally, listen to this clear word from Titus 2:13, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us...”

     

    The Biblical evidence is overwhelming on the divinity of Jesus Christ.



  • August 14, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read John 6


    Let’s focus today on verse 48, “I am the bread of life.” That’s a very simple, yet profound statement. Food is a basic necessity of life. We cannot live long  without it. Bread represents the nourishment we need to be able to have life. Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Verse 51)

     

    Recently my wife, who is an excellent cook, prepared an incredible meal. Roast beef, roasted potatoes, fresh green beans, thick gravy, and carrots. I really enjoyed this delicious meal. Yet, the very next day, hunger returned. The food I ate was tremendously satisfying at the time. I was content until the next afternoon. However, it is impossible for a single meal to satisfy you for days, weeks, or months.

     

    Jesus teaches us that all of humanity has a hunger in the soul. The things of the world may satisfy us for a short period of time. But within a short while we are off seeking the next fulfilling thing. Why? Because nothing can meet the deepest hunger of the human heart but Jesus. He is the “bread of life” because He is the creator of life. The only way to be truly satisfied in life is to know Jesus. If you are not satisfied or fulfilled with Jesus, it isn’t on Him. It’s on you!

     

    When you have an authentic relationship with Jesus, your soul is satisfied. He meets the longing you have to be loved, cherished, secure, accepted. He is the only one who can fulfill your hunger for purpose. Your walk with Him meets the deepest need for the adventure of faith. As you partake of Christ, your desires change. You change. He is all you need.

     

    Application:

    How satisfied is your soul?  

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    What does that say about your relationship with the Bread of Life? 
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  • August 17, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read John 7


    In chapter 7 we begin to notice a few things about our sinful nature.  First, we notice the truth of humanity’s hardness of heart. The Jews sought to kill Him, and “not even His brothers were believing in Him,” (vs. 5). We often refer to this hardness of heart as our sin nature: we are born with a natural inclination of sin toward our Father in heaven. Furthermore, a new relationship with God through faith in Christ is not dependent upon what we say or do.  It is all of grace through faith.  In the  previous chapter, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me  unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . .” (John 6:44).  Thanks be to God He has come to us in the person and work of Jesus.

     

    In verse 7, we learn why the world is so opposed to Jesus. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” The world might accept general teaching of doctrine from the church, but as soon as the church calls our behavior sinful we begin to get upset. The message of the Gospel calls us to respond to Jesus with holiness in our living. It was said of Ahab that he hated the words of the prophets “because it does not prophesy good concerning them, but evil,” (1 Kings 22:8).

     

    Application: 
    List an area (or areas) of your life that may need to change due to the truth of the Gospel.  
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    Write a prayer of confession submitting this need to the Lord.  
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    Prayer:


    Lord Jesus, thank You for drawing me to faith in You. Lead me in paths of  righteousness as I follow You each day!  Amen!



  • August 18, 2020

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read John 8

     

    As we look at this chapter in John’s Gospel, let us focus for a moment on verses 12-20.  In these verses we discover two very important truths.

     

    1. First, we see what Jesus says about Himself.  Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world . . .” (vs. 12).  As we listen to the news each day and observe the events being described, we can readily see we live in a very dark world. Isaiah said it plainly, Darkness still covers the earth, and gross darkness the people,” (Isaiah 60:2). Although there are many who would disagree with this teaching, the only remedy for this darkness and the sin of all humanity is Jesus. He is the only true light who can redeem us from our sin. “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the light of the world.


    2. Next we see a description of His followers.  Jesus continues, “. . . he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life,” (vs. 12). Believing in Jesus involves following Him and the truth of His teaching. As we listen to His Word, Jesus will teach us His way. We will begin to walk in the light of His life. “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men,” (John 1:4).

     

    Application:

    Have you turned to Jesus as the true Light who leads you out of darkness?  
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    Describe how Jesus makes a difference in the way you live. 

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    Prayer: 
    Lord Jesus, open my eyes that I might see.  Lead me in the Light of Your truth.  Amen!



  • August 19, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read John 9

     

    As our reading for today begins we are introduced to a man who has been “blind from birth,” (vs. 1). In the narrative to follow, we see a number of interesting events take place. 

     

    1. Jesus heals the man and gives him sight. 


    2. Then the people of the community cannot decide if this is the man born blind or simply someone who looks like him. 


    3. When the man confirms he is indeed the man born blind, he is taken before the Pharisees for questioning. 


    4. The Pharisees ask for an explanation and claim Jesus is not from God because he has healed the man on the Sabbath.


    5. The man born blind then speaks up for Jesus by saying, “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing,” (vs. 33).


    6. The Pharisees remove the man from their fellowship because he dares to disagree with them.


    7. Jesus seeks out the man and brings salvation to him through faith in Jesus.

     

    I find this passage of Scripture to be quite interesting. The Pharisees, who think they have true insight into the teachings of God, are actually blind to the true identity of Jesus.  At the same time, the man born blind is the one who comes to faith in Christ as the Son of God. Paul writes, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who  believe,”  (1 Corinthians 1:21).


    Application:
    List ways in which God’s Word differs from the world’s teachings.  
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    List any influences the world may have in your life.  

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    Prayer:

    Open my eyes, Lord, that I might see You clearly. Amen!

     



  • August 20, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read John 10

     

    Jesus makes two statements in our reading for today that are crucial to understanding of our daily walk with Christ.  In verse 9 we read, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” As we have seen in other passages of Scripture, we are all sinners and separated from God.  Our sin hinders us from having a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. Furthermore, there is nothing we can do to earn or merit our salvation. However, Jesus brings pardon and peace to all who turn to God by faith in Him – His life, His death, His burial, and His resurrection.“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5).  Jesus is the “door’ of salvation. There is no other way for us to enter into a relationship with God.

     

    As we continue reading, we come to another statement from Jesus that bring great comfort. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,” (vs. 14).  Like a good shepherd, Jesus knows all His sheep by name. He is aware of our every need, our every circumstance, and our every shortcoming. Furthermore, Like a Good Shepherd, Jesus laid down His life once and for all when He was crucified for His sheep.

     

    Application:

    List ways you may try to earn God’s love through your words and deeds.  
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    Offer a simple prayer to God today seeking salvation in Jesus alone.  
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I come to You alone today for salvation. Thank You for the forgiveness of my sin. Amen!  



  • August 21, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read John 11

     

    The death and resurrection of Lazarus describes a miracle not recorded in the other Gospels. In these verses we learn a number of important truths.

     

    1. First of all, we learn that Christians, believers in Christ, get sick like everyone else. In verse 3 we read, “so the sisters sent word to Him saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” Lazarus was loved by Jesus, and he was the brother of two ladies who were also loved by Jesus. Yet, the Bible tells us Lazarus was ill. Our faith in Christ does not keep us from illness. We live in a world of sickness and death.


    2. Secondly, we must remember that sickness does not mean God is displeased with us.  Jesus said, “this sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it,” (vs. 4).  Jesus loves us when we are sick as well as when we are healthy.


    3. Our sickness should turn us to the Lord. J.C. Ryle has written: 
    “No doubt when those whom we love are sick . . . we must spare no pains to obtain the best medical advice. . .  But in all our doing, we must never forget that the best and ablest and wisest Helper is in heaven at God’s right hand.  Like afflicted Job our first action must be to fall on our knees and worship,” (Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John).

     

     

    Application:

    List the thoughts you have when you first begin feeling ill.  
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    What are the first steps you take to find healing?  
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray I will trust in You and give thanks in sickness and in health.  Amen!



  • August 24, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read John 12

     

    As we reach Chapter 12, the Gospel of John begins to slow down and cover in  detail a small fragment of time in history. The first 11 chapters cover a three-year period. Chapters 12-19 cover only one week, and Chapters 13-19 only cover between a 24-36 hour time frame. So, John clearly wants us to give our attention to this last week of Jesus’ life on earth.

     

    Let’s look at verses 20-36 today in chapter 12. In verse 21 we read that some Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. Remember when Jesus was born, we also had Greeks who sought Him, and they came from the east. Now the week He will go to the cross, we see more Greeks seeking Him and this time they come from the west. Wouldn’t there be a great spiritual revival if all people from the east to west and north to south were seeking Jesus today? How can we help make this happen? The answer is if we as believers, would be more like Andrew. In verse 22 we see Philip tell Andrew these Greeks want to meet Jesus, so Andrew and Philip go see Jesus. What is interesting is that we see Andrew appear in the gospel of John now only three times. None of the three times seems significant really, but in all three circumstances, Andrew is directly involved in bringing people to Jesus. The first time is in John 1:40-42 where he brings his brother Simon Peter to Jesus. Then, in John 6:8-9 we see Andrew find and bring the little boys to Jesus so He can feed the five thousand. What is important to notice is that Andrew never serves as key leader who speaks in front of large crowds. But Andrew is faithful in bringing people to Christ. Like Jesus says in verse 35, Andrew “walked in the light so the darkness did not overtake him”. Andrew “trusted in the light and became a child of the light” (v.36). Therefore, Andrew always shone the light of Jesus in a dark world… Are you like Andrew?   

     



  • August 25, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 13


    John, unlike the other Gospel writers, focuses on Jesus as servant, not just our Savior. In Chapters 13-17, we have what is known as the Upper Room Discourse. Notice that John does not focus on the Passover Meal or Communion, rather he focuses on the servanthood of Jesus. 

     

    When we read verses 6-9 in chapter 13, you might be surprised that Peter still did not understand what Jesus was doing and why He was doing it. After all, Peter had followed Jesus for three years - how could he not get it? Well, before we go judging Peter, remember we have had the truths of the scriptures for twenty centuries, and many of us are still just as confused as Peter. We just don’t seem to understand the scriptures sometimes. Sometimes we don’t understand what Jesus is doing in our lives, or why He has us going through certain circumstances. In verse 7 Jesus says, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will”. And then in verses 15 and 17 He says “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you…17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them”.        

     

    We must understand that Jesus’ teaching humility is a two-way street in that it is not just how you serve someone; humility is also how you allow others to serve you. Often, because of our pride, we don’t want anyone to help or serve us, so we rob the other person of the blessing of service. I like one popular definition of humility that I have heard: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less”. The disciples really didn’t get it until after the Resurrection. We are similar today, in that sometimes it takes God touching our lives in a particular way before we can truly see what He wants us to see. We must humble ourselves and follow His example daily, seeking to understand His Word.   

     



  • August 26, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 14

     

    Let’s do something a little different in how we examine today’s chapter.  Let’s look at verses later in the chapter, and work our way backwards to some earlier verses.

     

    In verse 27 Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”. Our Heavenly Father cares about us so much that He gives us a peace the world cannot provide, and this gift only comes from the power of the Holy Spirit.

     

    Pause for a moment and really take in what Jesus also promises us in verses 15-17, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you”. These three verses remind me of one of my favorite Olympic sporting events – the 4 X 100 relay race. If you have ever watched this race you realize one of the most important parts of the race is the passing of the baton. The runners must be in perfect sync and the baton cannot be dropped or they lose the race. This is an example of Jesus passing the baton to the Holy Spirit, our Helper. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus will never leave His followers because He lives inside of us. And remember Jesus never drops the baton, so we must be in sync with Him to run the race He has called us to run.

     

    Lastly, in verse 12 Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father”. Have you ever pondered what this verse is saying and really allowed it to sink in?  How in the world can we do the works Jesus did or even greater works? Because those of us who believe in Jesus will have the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit will empower us to run and win the race Jesus begun. Praise God for His Holy Spirit!    



  • August 27, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 15

     

    Back in April, Pastor Craig wrote his John 15 devotion on the first 11 verses, and he answered the questions about how we glorify God and prove to be His child. Today we will focus on verses 12-17.  The chapter begins in the vineyard, and now we go to the throne room.  Tomorrow we will talk about the battlefield. 

     

    In today’s passage Jesus gives the command to love one another as He has loved us, and He calls us His friends. When we examine the command to love others as Jesus loves, there is one critical point to notice - the command is in the present tense. We are to keep loving each other daily, not just at Christmas, Easter, or birthdays. We are to love one another sacrificially and consistently, on good days and bad.  

     

    Now notice that two times in these verses Jesus calls His followers His friends (vs. 14 & 15). Remember Abraham was called the “friend of God” in 2 Chronicles 20:7 and James 2:23. Like Abraham, those of us who are Christ followers have access to the revelation of God when we believe in Him and trust Him as our friend. I think most of us would admit that we have many acquaintances, but few close friends. Isn’t it incredible to know that the God of the universe is our closest friend? He demonstrated the greatest type of love in that He laid down His life for us (v. 13). How comforting it is to know that our friendship to each other and to the Lord is not perfect, but His friendship to us is perfect. We know that emotions get involved, but we must realize that real Christian love is an act of the will. It is treating others the way God treats us. Our friendship with Jesus  involves our love, our knowledge of His commandments and our obedience. Dr. Oswald Sanders says, “each of us is as close to God as we choose to be”. Our challenge as His friends is to be near the throne, listening to His Word, and enjoying his presence. Remember what joy it brings His heart when He sees His friends loving one another and obeying His commandments


  • August 28, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 16


    Today’s teachings started back in Chapter 15 in verses 18-27, and continues through Chapter 16. Jesus prepares His followers that battle is coming, as we will experience the hatred of this lost world. When combining these chapters, we learn that if we are not abiding in His love and obeying as His friends, we will never be able to face the opposition of the world. If we do not love one another, how can we ever expect to love lost people?

     

    As I am writing this devotion, our world seems to be in total chaos. Our country is divided, people are filled with fear, and there seems to be so much hatred. For some reason we act surprised by this. Jesus warns of this by telling us we will be hated and persecuted for following Him. But what does verses 4 say? “I have said these things to you, that when the hour comes you may remember that I told them to you”. Unfortunately, we as Christians too often remember what we should  forget and forget what we should remember. We can remember every bad thing we have done that the Lord has already forgiven, but we cannot remember all the promises that will help us remain faithful in these difficult times. We must never forget who wins in the end.

     

    Chapters 15 and 16 are tied together by the opposition of the world against the Church, and the ministry of the Spirit through the Church. We learn the only way to overcome the hatred of the world is through the power of the Holy Spirit - in us as individuals and collectively as His Church. We see the Holy Spirit is our Comforter that Encourages the Church (15:18-16:4), The Spirit Empowers us to Witness through the Church (16:5-11), and the Spirit is the Teacher that Guides the Church (16:12-15). The question today for we, the Church, is “are we listening to the Spirit and serving as Godly witnesses in this hostile world, or are we trying to convict the world?” Our job is to share Jesus, as the Holy Spirit does the convicting of hearts.                



  • August 31, 2020


    by JT Overby


    Read John 17

     

    As Jesus prays before He will walk to his death, what concerns Him, what compels His prayers as He looks at the Father and His closest friends and followers? As Jesus goes to the cross, what drives Him in prayer for us?

                     
    We see that unity is on the heart of Jesus. He cares about the unity that His  people have with God and the unity they have with one another.


    We see in verse 3 that eternal life in its essence has very little to do with a place but rather has more to do with who we know. Eternal life—life in its truest and greatest form—is found in knowing God. Jesus cares so much about our eternal life, our knowing God, that He would go to the cross and suffer in ways beyond our comprehension. Jesus cares so much about our unity with the Father, Son, and Spirit that this is the prayer that drives Him towards the cross! The Christian life is fundamentally about our union with God. Jesus makes that possible in His prayers and His actions.


    Jesus also cares so deeply for the unity of His body. Yes, we have disagreements as imperfect people often do, but Jesus calls us to be one. This unity doesn’t mean uniformity, but rather it is unity of diverse groups of people coming to be one in Jesus. It means that even though we are so different we love one another and care for one another, because this actually glorifies God and shines a light on His beauty. Unity is primarily about God, not us.


    What do we care most about? The place we end up when we die. That’s hugely important, but eternal life is more about the union we have with God! What do we care most about? Getting our way, or being unified to glorify God? May we care more for what Jesus cares about!