August 3 – “Let it Shine”

Day 215 – Read John 8:1-30

 John 8:12 – Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 When Jesus said “I am the light of the world” it carried many meanings. Jesus had gone to the Temple where they had just concluded the Feast of Tabernacles. One of the prominent symbols displayed during the feast were four golden candelabra that were lit the first night of the celebration. These represented the pillar of fire that guided the children of Israel during the wilderness wanderings.

As He had declared that He was the Bread of Life and the Living Water, Jesus now refers to another well known event to declare Himself to be the Light of the world. If they needed guidance to walk through the darkness of this world, they could follow Him who is the light. But there is another aspect that should be considered.

Jesus had just faced the men who accused the woman of being caught in adultery. They wanted to stone her according to the law, but Jesus told them to look inside of their own hearts first. If any one of them was free from sin, he should be the one to cast the first stone. One by one they walked away.

It is easy to judge others by looking at the outward appearance or circumstances. But true judgment should not begin there. It should always begin with us first. The way we judge others is the way we will be judged by God. Before taking the splinter out of our brother’s eye, we must take the log out of our own. Before exposing the darkness in someone else, we must see the darkness that is in us. Since Jesus is the light, He shines into the darkness of our human nature and exposes the sinfulness of our soul. This is not to bring condemnation, but to set us free. As the psalmist prayed, “Search me, O God.” Let the light of life shine in your heart today. You will be better for it.

August 2 – “Come and Drink”

Day 214 – Read John 7

 John 7:37-39 – On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 The Feast of Tabernacles was an illustrated sermon lived out and experienced by all those who attended this great celebration. It came at the end of the harvest season, and was observed in commemoration of their deliverance from Egypt, the years in the desert, and their entrance into the Promised Land.

For seven days, the people left the comfort of their houses and lived in tents. It was a reminder to them of God’s care and provision during the wilderness wanderings, and that they were still dependent upon Him for their daily sustenance. Every morning, after the sacrifice, the priests would go to the Fountain of Siloam with a golden pitcher and fill it with water. Then, accompanied by music and joyful shouts, they would walk in procession back to the Temple. As the people repeated the prophet Isaiah (12:3), “with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation”, the priests would pour out the water, reminding them how God provided water from the rock.

On the eighth day, the great day of the feast, the people would take down the tents as a figure of entering the Promised Land. It was on this day that Jesus stood before the crowd and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” He was declaring that, just as He was the Bread of Life, the manna that came from heaven (John 6:35), He was also the water of life that flowed from the rock. For those who were hungry and thirsty for spiritual life could come to Jesus and be filled.

The offer still stands today. Just as the woman at the well was offered living water so she would never thirst again, those who are spiritually thirsty today are invited to come to Jesus and drink of His life-giving Spirit. Are you thirsty? Come and drink.

August 1 – “The Bread of Life”

Day 213 – Read John 6

 John 6:35 – And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

I love the smell of fresh bread. Who doesn’t? In many countries the people go to the bakery every morning to buy bread for breakfast. It is an important part of their diet. We used to do that quite often when we lived in Venezuela. No wonder God gave them manna every morning, instead of weekly. You can’t compare fresh bread with week old bread.

Jesus had just multiplied the bread and fish to feed 5000 men. Now they were following Him to see if they could get a regular supply of free bread, just as the children of Israel got during their wilderness wandering. But Jesus told them they were looking for the wrong thing. When He referred to Himself as the bread of life, He was making reference to the manna God supplied daily in the wilderness, but there was one major difference. The manna was used to sustain physical life, while Jesus offers spiritual life. The one was only good for a limited time, the other will last for eternity.

Later, as He gathered with His disciples for the Passover feast, Jesus took the bread and broke it. He then said, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). Each disciple had to eat his own portion, no one could eat it for him.   If one is not hungry, there will be little motivation to eat. That’s how it is with us. Are we hungry for spiritual things? Many people hunger for the things of this world, but have no appetite for the things of God. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8). How is your spiritual appetite today?

July 31 – “Eternal Life is in Jesus”

Day 212 – Read John 5

 John 5:39 – “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

 This passage begins with the Jews wanting to kill Jesus because He had healed a man on the Sabbath and made Himself equal with God. He had called God His Father, and said that He only did what He saw the Father doing. This angered the Jews even more, and so Jesus spoke directly to them in a way that brought to light their misunderstanding.

Their mistake was that they thought they knew the Word of God, but they rejected Jesus. His argument was that if they truly understood the Word, they would believe in Him, for the Word of God points to Jesus. He is the living Word, and eternal life is found only in Him.

If we separate the Word from Jesus we miss the point entirely and bring ourselves under judgment, rather than into eternal life. Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 3:6 that “the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” How many people are there that know the Word of God, but don’t know Jesus?

It is not uncommon to find someone who is living in sin that knows the Bible better than you or me. But they missed the point. The Bible is not about memorizing verses, it is about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Eternal life and abundant life is in Him. When you read the Word, look for Jesus. It will surprise you how often He appears.

July 30 – “True Worship”

Day 211 – Read John 4

 John 4:23 – “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”

 In his song, ‘The Heart of Worship’, Matt Redman expresses some of what Jesus is sharing with the woman at the well. “I’ll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what You have required…You’re looking into my heart.”

 Jesus is talking about true worship, which He contrasts with the customary worship of the day. The Jews worship was symbolical and centered in Jerusalem; the Samaritans worshipped in ignorance upon a nearby mountain. But Jesus tells her that neither is the true form of worship. The worship that God desires is not limited to forms and locations. In fact, neither is required, for God is a spirit. He needs no local dwelling place, no temple or church building, and no sacrifices or offerings. He is seeking worship in spirit and truth.

Worship in spirit stands opposed to rites and ceremonies and other forms of external expression. It is spiritual communion between the worshipper and the One worshipped. It is the heart offered to God in love and humility. One can go through all of the rituals and forms of worship, without engaging the spirit at all. That is not to say external forms are wrong, they can accompany the spirit in worship, but spiritual worship is not dependent upon them.

To worship in truth is to replace the types and shadows with a personal relationship with the living God. Up until that time, those elements were necessary to aid the worshipper. But, with the coming of Jesus who is the Truth, the way was opened for direct access to God.

Let us worship Him in spirit and truth, offering our hearts to Him as a sacrifice of praise.

July 29 – “A Gift of Love”

Day 210 – Read John 3:16-36

 John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

 The verses set before us today are so simple that a young child can memorize them and understand their basic meaning; and yet, they are so profound that it takes a lifetime to fully comprehend the amazing love of God and the price He paid for our salvation.

How is it possible that God could love a rebellious, sinful world to such a degree that He would sacrifice His own Son for their redemption?

Because of sin, the world was already condemned, destined for the wrath of God, and hopeless to deliver itself. It was deserving of judgment and death, and there was nothing they could do to change their destiny. But God demonstrated His love for sinners by sending His only Son (Rom. 5:8).

When Jesus came He did not come pointing a finger of condemnation, but pointing us to a merciful, loving, heavenly Father. And, not only did He deliver us from eternal punishment – “whoever believes should not perish” – but He came to bring us to eternal glory – “everlasting life”.

There was nothing that we could do to earn this gift. It was nothing we deserved or had any right to claim. It was all accomplished through God’s great love for a fallen world. He only asks that we believe. Have you received this great gift of God?

July 28 – “The New Birth”

Day 209 – Read John 3:1-15

 John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly. I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 In order to see this physical world we must be born into it. There is no other way. Once we are born, we can see the light that exposes all of the material things within view. But our natural birth also exposes us to something unseen, and that is sin.

Romans tells us that there is none righteous, for all have sinned, and that the wages of sin is death. But God has made a way of escape. It comes by means of a second birth. Unlike the first, it is not physical, but spiritual. As the Holy Spirit does the work of regeneration in our lives, we are born of the Spirit and begin to see things we have never seen before. Just as the physical birth opens our eyes to the material world around us, the spiritual birth lets in the light of the kingdom of God.

The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit, but those who have been born again are able to see into a new realm of eternal dimensions. They are now exposed to things the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard. But even more, they become sons and daughters of God and heirs of eternal life.

The new birth is essential for us to get beyond this life and into the kingdom of God. Nicodemus believed that Jesus was the Messiah. But he lacked one important thing. It is that same for all of us. As Jesus said in verse 7, “You must be born again.”

July 27 – “Just Do It”

Day 208 – Read John 2

 John 2:5 – His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

 This first miracle of Jesus is loaded with lessons, and is a great example of how God can use us. In order to perform a miracle, Jesus took what was available to Him at the time. If we want to be used by God, we must make ourselves available.

On this occasion there were 6 stone water pots nearby. These were common pots used to store water. We don’t have to be someone special to be used by God. He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. The Bible says that we are “earthen vessels” – clay pots – designed to contain the treasure of God (2 Cor. 4:7).

In this case, the pots were empty. In order to be used they had to be filled. That’s just like you and me. We have to empty ourselves so that God can fill us with His Spirit. The servants poured the water in, and when they took some out it had been turned to wine. No one knew what had taken place except the servants (verse 9). We are servants of God, and there will be times when we will be let in on a miracle that no one else is aware of.

But this all happened because of what we read in verse 5: “Whatever He says to you, do it.” The servants were obedient to the words of Jesus. They didn’t question Him. They didn’t understand what He was doing. They just did it. That is good advice for all of us. If you want to see the power of God, you need to be obedient to what He says.

July 26 – “The Lamb of God”

Day 207 – Read John 1:29-51

 John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

 Around 700 years before Jesus, the prophet Isaiah described the sufferings of the Savior as a lamb brought to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7). So, when John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, the people knew he was referring to Him as the Messiah.

Of course, Isaiah wasn’t the first to use that terminology. It started long before when the Children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt. On the night of the final plague, they were to take a lamb without blemish, kill it, and put its blood on the doorpost of their house. As the death angel passed overhead, wherever he saw the blood, the people inside were safe. While inside, they ate the meat of the lamb and prepared for the journey.

To this day the Israelites celebrate the feast of the Passover. As they do, they tell the story of their deliverance. But it is much more than a historical event, it is full of types and symbols that describe the suffering Messiah who was to die for their sins.

When John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God, they only partially understood what that meant. While they knew he was referring to the Messiah, they could never have envisioned His horrible suffering and death on the cross. But that was the only way that God could satisfy the wages of sin. And Jesus was not only the Lamb for the Jews; He died for the sin of the whole world.

As Jesus hung upon the cross, He was there for you and me. He is the Lamb of God for the whole world. His shed blood is sufficient to cleanse us from our sin and give us the hope of eternal life. Today, the death angel is not looking for blood sprinkled on the doorposts of our homes. God is looking for the blood of the Lamb sprinkled on our hearts. Have you been washed in the blood?

July 25 – “God Became a Man”

Day 206 – Read John 1:15-28

John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

One of the great mysteries of all time is how a holy God, so separated from sinful mankind in every way, could bring Himself down to the level of man.  And not only did He come down to our level, but He actually became a man in every way, except without sin.

The Word of God became flesh.  He did not lose His divine nature, but took upon Himself a human nature so that He was fully man and fully God.  He was fully human, and fully divine.  This was the only way He could save us from our sin.  He could not save us by looking in from the outside.  He had to become one of us, and so He came to walk and live among us as a man.

Three of His disciples saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, but many others saw His glory in the miracles and healings He did.  He came to show us the true God.  Not the god of man’s creation, with all of their rules and traditions, but the God of love, full of grace and truth.

“If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” He declared.  To look upon Jesus was to look upon God.  It was not in His physical features, but His way of love, mercy, and grace.  It was His wisdom and truth in the parables and teachings He brought.  It was in His ultimate sacrifice upon the cross dying for the sins of all mankind.  And it was in His resurrection from the dead declaring His ultimate triumph over death, hell, and the grave.

At that time He dwelt among us, but today, for all those who put their faith in Him, He now dwells within us.  We can still behold His glory as we experience His grace and truth in our lives.

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