Friday, August 30, 2013

Jesus' Prayer for You! (John 17:13-21)

Today's scripture: John 17:13-21

Before you were even a "glimmer in your daddy's eye," Jesus prayed for you. Before you took a breath, Jesus prayed for you. Before you learned your ABCs and 123s, Jesus prayed for you. Before your first heartbreak, Jesus prayed for you. Before ... before everything you are and do, Jesus prayed for you.

Isn't that amazing?

What did He pray? He prayed the same words for you as He did for the disciples who had walked with Him for three years. He prayed for unity among believers. He prayed for joy. He prayed for protection from the evil one. He prayed for sanctification. He prayed that you would be one with Him and with the Father. He prayed that the world would believe in Him through you.

When I first studied the book of John years ago, I vividly remember reading verse 20 of chapter 17: "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word ..." I wrote in the margin of my Bible: "This prayer is for all who believe!!" I remember being awed and blessed—and humbled—to think that Jesus prayed for me. For me!

As I meditated again on this verse this morning, I decided to insert my name: "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for Sauni also who believes in Me through their word ..." It's not too far-fetched to think that Jesus thought of each and every one of us by name when He said these words.

Do it yourself. Insert your name. Jesus prayed for you!!

Seriously. Isn't that amazing?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jesus' Prayer (John 17:1-12)

Today's scripture: John 17:1-12

Back to John ...

Today begins a three-day meditation on a prayer of Jesus; indeed, it was His final prayer before the cross. These words should offer tremendous encouragement for us because, not only was He praying for His disciples, but He was also praying for us (see John 17:20, which we'll look at tomorrow).

In today's verses, Jesus prayed for several things. He prayed that the Father would glorify Him and that He would give eternal life. I love the definition of "eternal life" here: "that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." If we know God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we will have eternal life. Eternal life begins the moment we commit our lives to Jesus!

Jesus also prayed that those who followed Him would "truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me." Those of us who have committed our lives to Him understand that He is the Son of God, sent by the Father to provide salvation from our sins.

Then comes the most encouraging thing we see today: Jesus knew He would soon be leaving earth and ascending to heaven. He knew His disciples would be alone, so He earnestly prayed, "... keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are."

Jesus no longer walks the earth in human form, but we are not alone. We are being "kept" in the name of the Father. He protects us and cares for us. But we're also not alone because we're part of God's family. We are surrounded by brothers and sisters with whom we can pray, study God's words, and learn from. It's so very important to have Christ-following, Bible-believing friends, and one of the reasons is that we need to be guarded from the wiles of the enemy.

Come back tomorrow because we're going to continue looking at Jesus' prayer—for you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

His Praise Endures Forever (Psalm 111:10)

Today's scripture: Psalm 111:10

When we truly fear God, focusing on Him with reverent awe, we want what He wants. We seek His will. We find wisdom as we read His word—and we’re eager to do so.

As we read and meditate on His word to us, we understand more the desires of His heart. We understand that we’re to love and serve Him, with everything we are (Mark 12:30). We’re to seek first Him and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). We’re to daily take up the cross (Luke 9:23). We’re to love others (Mark 12:31).

When we know God more intimately, we become more certain of His trustworthiness and faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9). We can be confident in His everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). We can rest assured in His constant presence (Deuteronomy31:6, 8).

We can rejoice that He listens to us (Jeremiah 29:12). He sees us (Genesis16:13). He provides for us (Genesis 22:14). He heals us (Exodus 15:26).

And we can praise Him for all that He has been, all that He is, and all that He will be. Forever.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Redeemed! (Psalm 111:9)

Today's scripture: Psalm 111:9

One of the greatest gifts we receive as followers of Christ is that we're redeemed What an amazing blessing it is to know we’re “free from the consequences of sin” (Webster’s Dictionary)!

Even though Adam and Eve chose to follow their own path and thus sin entered the world, God loved His children so much, He “sent redemption” to us. He established a covenant with the people of Israel , and atonement came through annual sacrifice. Why was this sacrifice required? God is holy, and without His providing a plan of redemption, we would be forever separated from Him. But He loves us too much for that.

So throughout the Old Testament, atonement was for God’s chosen people. Oh, but then the New Covenant! Each Easter, we celebrate the culmination of God’s plan for the redemption of all mankind: the death, burial, and resurrection of God the Son, Jesus Christ. 

That’s how much God loves us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And anyone who “calls on the name of the LORD will be saved” (Romans 10:13, NKJV).

What an amazing, awesome God we serve!

Praise Him today … and every day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Works of His Hands (Psalm 111:6-8)

Today's scriptures: Psalm 111:6-8

“The works of His hands are verity …”

Verity isn’t a word we use much these days, but it has rich meaning:

the quality or state of being true or real”
“a fundamental and inevitably true value”
“the quality or state of being truthful or honest”
God is truth. He is real. He has infinite value.

“The works of His hands are … justice … “

God is just. He is holy and righteous. 

He inspired a written account of His precepts, His commandments, His assurances, His encouragements. His word, the Holy Bible, is “trust and righteousness,” and it will “stand fast forever and ever.”

Do you know this God? Do you know the one true, real, holy, righteous God? Read His word. Read the history of His people. Read about His plan of reconciliation for you. Read about His love—an everlasting love.

Just for you.