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By Ed Algreen
November 19, 2019

 
 

Bible Reference: John 13:34-35
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 34 “So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. 35 For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

OBSERVATION: Jesus was about to end His earthly ministry, and I believe He was admonishing His disciples to carry on by demonstrating all that they saw in Him while working together, ministering together, and seeking after the heart of loved ones who had gone astray. Because I believe that Jesus still desires for His children to be imitators of their Master, I want us to contemplate what that might look like today.

APPLICATION: Ever notice the difference between a military enlistee and a regular civilian? One is determined to follow the orders of their commanding officer and defend their country, in spite of all the evil going on inside their homeland, while the other tries to follow the general idea of the local laws, but will not think twice about questioning those laws and or commands of those in charge of their safety and welfare. Similarly, you will often identify God’s children by their demeanor, their lifestyle, their honesty, their commitment and their love for one another. I believe that Jesus is teaching us in the Scripture today, just as He taught the disciples: ‘Let the world see so much of Jesus in you, that they will be convinced that He exists, and that they could easily follow you, as you follow Christ. I believe that Jesus wants us to not only desire to know Him in order to have our ticket punched for heaven, but especially so that the non-believer would turn their heads to this cruel, heart-breaking, mean and treacherous world, and be encouraged to see the character of Jesus in every fiber of our being. And that it would be inviting enough to convince them that there is a better way! Friends, I believe that many of you may have traveled down some of the same roads that I have. For we have seen the impact of this world on folk at our job site, in our neighborhoods, in our government, and even in our churches. I am so encouraged, and touched by the living Word of God, for Jesus knew that we would face these challenges and discouragements and we may sometimes want to just throw our hands up in disappointment and wonderment of whether it is worth the effort to try and be kind and loving every day. Often, when we ‘try’ to be good, loving and kind, we are polluting ourselves with so much self-effort, and self-taught principles, and selfish desires, that we sometimes make things worse. I believe that Jesus is teaching us, as He did His disciples, to just apply all that we have learned from Him to our lives, and look to His Book of Instruction (the Bible) when searching for answers, instead of the TV Talk Shows, or the internet sites of Palm Readers, and the like. Jesus has placed the Holy Spirit inside of us, believers in Christ, so that we might be led in the right direction; understand His precious Word, and love like He first loved us. Let’s learn to love like Jesus did – for He gave up His own life for us, even while we were still sinners. He loved Lazarus and his sisters enough that He cried in empathy for Mary and Martha who thought they would never see Lazarus alive again. Let’s learn to care for others like He did – for He stopped a whole parade so that He could chat with, and seek the desire of two cripples who could not fend for themselves. Instead of racing the children away, like His disciples, He called them to Himself, taught them and loved on them as a father would. To all my readers, I would plead with you today to seek God, read His Word, pray to Him, and be bold enough to love, talk and act like Him, even in a world that tends to be in total opposition to that. Don’t force these things upon your neighbor, but allow God to embed them into your hearts and upon your life. He wants to shine brightly through you, so that your neighbor will be convinced about the One who loves him/her in spite of their circumstances and their rotten attitudes. Be willing to let go, and let God have His way in you, my friend!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You are more wonderful than all of creation! You loved me when I was totally unlovable by anyone. Why you even stood still under the barrage of whips, and You endured the cross, so that the world might know that we are loved more than life itself. Father, it seems like we are facing a world that is so evil and filled with hatred. I’m sure that this is no worse than what You faced, but Lord we need You. Every hour of every day we need You. Please fill us with Your power, so that we may not only overcome the temptations and trials of this world, but that we might shine with the glory of the Son, so that our dark world might be illuminated and convinced of Your love. While deserving nothing in return from this world, I pray that You may be glorified through us today in many wonderful ways. AMEN!

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By Ed Algreen
November 18, 2019

 
 

Bible Reference: John 13:18-21
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 18 “I don’t refer to all of you when I tell you these things, for I know the ones I’ve chosen—to fulfill the Scripture that says, ‘The one who shared supper with me treacherously betrays me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when the prophecy comes to pass you will be convinced that I AM. 20 “Listen to this timeless truth: whoever receives the messenger I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives the Father who sent me.” 21 Then Jesus was moved deeply in his spirit. Looking at his disciples, he announced, “I tell you the truth—one of you is about to betray me.

OBSERVATION: To consider this topic today, is like saying to a crowded room ‘Will the perfect one please stand up’! For who do you suppose has been ‘perfect’, or fully obedient in every way to the commands of Christ? Wouldn’t you be like the rest of the disciples should Jesus say to your group that one of you will betray Him. Let’s humble ourselves before God and consider this very challenge that the disciples faced. Is it I, Lord?

APPLICATION: We could very easily see a group of Christians get upset if someone walked into their meeting room and said that one of them will betray Jesus that day. In fact, they would probably shoo that critique out of their midst immediately, thinking that he meant to go next door where the non-Christians were hanging out. But how often do Christians take for granted the awesome love that Jesus extended to them?; how often do we think about the sacrifice Jesus made just for us at Calvary?; how often do we imitate Him in following His example to only say what the Master has ordered us to say?; and how often have we sold out to the world when it comes to representing Christ in action, deed or word? I know, the immediate response is often but. ‘we’re only human’. However, for what purpose have you given your heart to the Lord? Is it not to promise Jesus that you will leave these earthly desires and sin, so that you might live a holy, dedicated, life for Him? As you do this, are you not saying to the world, ‘follow me as I follow Christ’? So, when you choose to deliberately defy the commands of Christ, ignore the love of Christ, and totally destroy your witness to the unsaved, have you not betrayed the trust that Jesus placed in you when you promised Him that you would love and represent Him for as long as you live? Friends, I believe that if Jesus walked into a room filled with, who we might consider to be the most respected christian leaders, and He said that one of them would betray Him, I believe they all would stand in open guilt, knowing that it could be either one of them. Do we set out to be like that? No, I would never believe that. But let me remind us today that when we become unconcerned and uncommitted in our faith, we tend to start accepting more and more of the world back in. When that pollution reenters our lives, we are easily swayed into doing the former things of life. The hurtful thing about that, is that you are now subjecting the Holy Spirit to all of the filth, because you invited Him to come and live inside of you the day you gave your heart to the Lord. Do you suppose that the heart of Jesus was broken when He realized that one of His own disciples would betray Him? How do you suppose our risen Lord feels when He sees you and I betraying Him still today? Just living in this world, we will be tempted, but let me assure you today, based on the very Word of God, that greater is He that lives in you, greater is He that is available to you when you cry out to Him for help and guidance, than he that is in the world! For those who know Jesus personally, know that we serve an awesome God – one who is greater, stronger and always willing to empower us to overcome the struggles of this world! Know Him today my friend, and know peace everlasting!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, Your weak and sinful children need You each and every day. The temptations of this world are real, and they are often stronger than we can personally overcome. Please teach us to always lean on You for the strength to face the challenges of this world, and to live noble lives ordained by our perfect Savior. For those that may find this whole devotional unreal, I pray that You would please speak gently to them and melt their heart of stone so that they may see Jesus in all His glory. Lord, I know that Jesus is the answer to all of man’s challenges today. Oh that sinful man might see Him and accept Him as Lord and personal Savior, and may we commit ourselves fully to Your care, Your power and Your direction. We need You precious Lord, every hour of every day. AMEN!

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Bible Reference: John 13:6-8
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text:
Simon Peter (as Jesus approaches): Lord, are You going to wash my feet?
Jesus: Peter, you don’t realize what I am doing, but you will understand later.
Peter: You will not wash my feet, now or ever!
Jesus: If I don’t wash you, you will have nothing to do with Me.

OBSERVATION: Although foot washing is not widely practiced in today’s churches, every time I read this story I see humility symbolized in a very real way. However, Jesus not only teaches humility, but also the need for cleansing, especially as we are impacted daily by the filthy effects of Satan on his followers. Because we rub shoulders with these folk on a regular basis, we should consider how critical it is to plead with the Master daily for cleansing.

APPLICATION: My spiritual curiosity was peaked when I read verse 8, so I studied the meaning of these words deeper. I loved the way this is explained in the Matthew Henry Commentary and wanted to share it: All those, and those only who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thoroughly washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. See then what ought to be the daily care of those who, through grace, are in a justified state, and that is, to wash their feet; to cleanse themselves from daily guilt; and to watch against everything defiling. This should make us the more cautious. From yesterday’s pardon, we should be strengthened against this day’s temptation. Within pain and filth, there is an opportunity to extend God’s kingdom through an expression of love, humility, and service. This simple act of washing feet is a metaphor for how the world looks through the lens of Jesus’ grace. He sees the people—the world He created—which He loves. He also sees the filthy corruption in the world that torments everyone. His mission is to cleanse those whom He loves from those horrors. This is His redemptive work with feet, families, disease, famine, and hearts. When Jesus sees disease, He sees the opportunity to heal. When He sees sin, He sees a chance to forgive and redeem. When He sees dirty feet, He sees a chance to wash them. Oh for wonderful grace of our Savior to cleanse ourselves daily. With sin in our lives, we are like Peter, guilty and embarrassed for Jesus to look inside and see our filth. With a regular cleansing from Jesus, we would feel honored and proud to be in the presence of our holy God, because we are happy to be living a holy life before Him. Christianity is not like some men say about their marriage – I told her at the altar that I loved her, and unless something changes, that word remains true without the need to repeat myself daily!! That is not true love, and it definitely does not define a true relationship with Jesus. He deserves our commitment to honor Him every day and to commune with Him daily to keep our relationship in good, fresh order. Dear friend, if you have not been to Jesus for cleansing yet today, may I encourage to keep your priority items first on your to-do list? He deserves our first, and our best!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, living in a world filled with the filth of Satan and his demons, it becomes increasingly challenging to allow my light to shine as a beacon for all that represents my loving Savior. Like Peter, I acknowledge that there is a strong need for me to be washed by You on a regular basis. You washed my sin away, when I asked you to, back on 1976. But Lord there is a daily influx of evil that fills my eyes, my mind and tempts me with evil thoughts. Please wash me Lord, so that my mind will remain fixed on You and that I may remain immersed in Your precious love, forgiveness and mercy. Lord, I plead also for my readers that they too may receive a word from You today, and that they may be drawn to You more closely than yesterday. Our wicked world needs You, dear Lord, and I believe it would really help if they could see You in every action by Your representatives her on earth. Use us Lord as Your loyal, honest and dedicated representatives before our family and friends who desperately need You. AMEN!

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By Ed Algreen
November 14, 2019

 
 

Bible Reference: John 12:35-36
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 35 Jesus replied, “You will have the light shining with you for only a little while longer. While you still have me, walk in the light, so that the darkness doesn’t overtake you. For when you walk in the dark you have no idea where you’re going. 36 So believe and cling to the light while I am with you, so that you will become children of light.”

OBSERVATION: In our world, filled with frustrations, crime, backbiting and envy, don’t you wish sometime that life was simpler and much less stressful? Don’t you feel sometime that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders bearing you down? Take a deep breath, and now re-read today’s Scripture! Isn’t it obvious that Jesus is the answer? Meditate with me as we reflect on this awesome truth today!

APPLICATION: In John 1:5 we are told that the same light referred to in our focal verses today, is actually ‘Jesus‘. God saw how far His precious children had gone off course, and away from the ideals He had first established for us to follow, so He sent His precious Son as a ‘LIGHT’ to remind us of the joy, refreshment, peace and hope that belong to those of us looking for a way out of the darkness that seem to overwhelm us everywhere that we turn here on earth. Yesterday I glanced at my Facebook account, and there was one plea after another for prayer and encouragement. In one case a dad and his relatives were mourning the sudden death of a 30+ year old son who was killed in a tragic accident; in another case close to home, a husband lost His precious wife who was his primary caregiver and support; in another case someone was very concerned for her family displaced by Hurricane Dorian; another friend is anxiously wanting to retire for relief from the stress of her job; and if I would have read on, I bet there would have been more friends feeling the results of the ‘darkness’ of this world, than those who were able to rejoice in the Light of all that God has blessed them with. Friends, I believe that most of you reading this devotional will identify with the struggles I mentioned, because we all are impacted by the ‘darkness’ of the world that we live in. HOWEVER, true to form, I went to the Word of God today to discover ways that I might be encouraged by the God of all hope! And I was reminded that we were created in the image of God so that we might return praise back to Him. So what have we gotten ourselves into that hinders that praise back to our Father? Do we have an open and honest relationship with His Son, and experience the freedom of chatting with Him about all these worldly things that tend to stress us out? Are we able to praise Him, even in the storms of life that come our way? Don’t you think that the child of God that praises Him in all circumstances of life, will truly be able to approach Him with every decision that must be made, and every challenge that we foresee with just our human heart and eyes? Oh dear friend, let us together learn to speak with our Lord every day of the week, and not just when called upon to do so while at church. Remember, our relationship is with Jesus, and while our church family will definitely encourage us and support us, there is no one that could ratify your relationship with the Master, but you. Our verses today remind us to do this while the Light (Jesus) is available to us. I would boldly remind us that we’ve had enough of the ‘darkness’. It is high time that children of the Light, look to the Light for His huge hand of protection; healing; mercy and encouragement each and every day, so that He might wipe out the effects of the darkness and all the misfortunes that it burdens us with. Learn to praise Him in your storms of life, and recognize Him for the all-powerful, almighty God that He is. Hard to imagine that He loves even us – wimps and weaklings – but He does. We are His creation that He put His life on the line for!

PRAYER: To the Light of the world, Jesus my Savior, I am honored and humbled to stand in Your presence and not only recognize You as my Lord and Savior, but as the Light that will extinguish all darkness and especially the impacts of the ills and darkness of this wicked world. These bad things impact us all every day dear Lord, but I ask that You help us to stay focused on You and keep our eyes fixed on the awesome God that You are. Please guide us daily out of the darkness and into the light, so that our hearts will be freed and ready to worship and praise You in every aspect of life. You alone are God. Please help us to respect Your position in life, and be reminded of our need for You – in all things. AMEN!

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By Ed Algreen
November 13, 2019

 
 

Bible Reference: John 12-9-11
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: When the ordinary people of Jerusalem heard of his arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus—the man who had come back to life again. 10 Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the Jewish leaders had deserted and believed in Jesus as their Messiah.

OBSERVATION: It is often said that gossip travels like wild fire, but in our Scripture today we are told about how people reacted to hearing about Jesus coming to their town. As we meditate today, let us ponder why many in our town are not coming to see Jesus. Enter into the heart of the Scriptures with me today!

APPLICATION: I believe that if a church elder stood before a church congregation and told them about misappropriation of funds by church leaders, or an extramarital affair by the pastor, that news will spread over all the town before the end of that service. But isn’t it interesting how our pastor stands in that same pulpit each Sunday and declares the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the simple steps necessary for the sinner who is headed to the pits of Hell, to otherwise be totally converted from a life of sin and be redirected instead to the Kingdom of God, where they will spend eternity with Jesus and His Father? Nothing about that is texted out to a friend about to enter eternity without Christ. Nothing about that is shared around the dinner table with unsaved family members. Our lips are sealed at work because we don’t want our coworkers to think that we’ve become a religious fanatic. And yet, we are OK entering Heaven’s gates and responding to God about why our family and friends are not with us? I wonder, what words we might have for those lost friends who may look up from the torment of Hell and question us about our silence? When a hurricane, or deathly storm, approaches, some of our friends decide not to evacuate, as ordered by the authorities. But what a sad affair when we choose not to tell our neighbor about an approaching deadly storm. Can’t you see that it’s the same plight for those of us that can’t be bothered to share the good news of Jesus Christ with our neighbors, our family, or with those in our towns and with those in authority? But unless I remain negative about this Scripture today, please refresh yourself on what the towns people and community leaders did in response to hearing about the visit of Jesus! They flocked to see Him! I remember at one time joining others in cottage prayer meetings to pray for our Christian friends to attend a series of revival services. What a joy it was to attend those services and watch the Lord deal in the hearts of those precious friends who showed up! Perhaps if we share the good news of Jesus with those we care about, they too will gladly come to church to hear more, and to rejoice with us in worship to our King! What are we waiting for? A serious, deadly storm is coming dear friends, it’s called Judgment Day. Are we content to seek shelter just for ourselves and not worry about those we love and care for? No matter how little we know the Bible, or how educated we are, simply share what Jesus has done for you and assure your friends that He will gladly do the same for them. They need to know your Savior, not necessarily what He did for Moses, or David or Paul, etc. As they know the God of the Bible, they will desire to know more about the God talked about in the Bible!

PRAYER: Oh dear God, please speak to the hearts of Your children today, and start with me. Make us keenly aware of all that You did for us, and all that You would gladly do for those who seek Your face. Please remind us of the love You have for us, and the love and response that would normally pour out of those filled with Your love. Embolden us to act upon Your Word and to share the love of Christ that is blessing us beyond anything we deserve. Oh that none will be left behind, as we share Your love and saving grace with all that we know and associate with. AMEN!

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