Bible Reference: Luke 22:26-60
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 56 A girl noticed Peter sitting in the firelight. Staring at him, she pointed him out and said, “This man is one of Jesus’ disciples!”
57 Peter flatly denied it, saying, “What are you talking about, girl? I don’t know him!”
58 A little while later, someone else spotted Peter and said, “I recognize you. You’re one of his, I know it!”
Peter again said, “I’m not one of his disciples.”
59 About an hour later, someone else identified Peter and insisted he was a disciple of Jesus, saying, “Look at him! He’s from Galilee, just like Jesus. I know he’s one of them.”
60 But Peter was adamant. “Listen, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t you understand? I don’t even know him.” While the words were still in his mouth, the rooster crowed.
OBSERVATION: We are identified and referred to by the people and places that we hang around, and often by the clothes we wear. Imagine a doctor walking around your favorite store in a pair of shorts. Would you ever recognize him? Imagine a charismatic pastor sitting in a waiting room at the hospital in casual clothes calmly and softly chatting with a young lady, would you recognize him? Also, what if you traveled to a country that is unfriendly to the gospel, and the authorities identified you as ‘one of those Christians’. Would you quickly step forward and rejoice that God has answered your prayers? Join me as we meditate on the dilemma of Peter.
APPLICATION: With every good intention, many of us pray that others may see the character and love of Jesus in us, hoping that others might be drawn to Christ because of our testimony. Inside our churches we sing His praises, love on other like believers, and we may even shout ‘Amen’ in agreement to all that the Pastor has to say. All things that the Savior might be proud of, right? But what are we like in our business places? In our business decisions? In our after work parties? Or in our political affiliations? Will the servant girl identify us as ‘one of His’? We might very easily become entrapped in similar challenges with other associations in life. Like Peter, some may be afraid of the consequences that might ensue because of family affiliations, or political affiliations, or others. Friends, I believe that our challenge in this Scripture today is ‘What will we do with Jesus?’. Is He just a good relationship to keep mom, spouse, children and the pastor, happy and off our back? Is He good to know when things are really rough on us – medical challenges; dying relative; a child in trouble with the law; etc. or have you truly accepted Him as your Lord and personal Savior? I pray that you’ve developed such a relationship with Him that you are comforted by His love; His guidance; His wisdom; and His promise of eternity with He and the Father in heaven? Let me suggest that if you feel all of the latter, and you know that your eternity is secure in Him, then may I challenge you today to think about what your answers would be to the questions asked of Peter? For I believe that you will be challenged along the same lines as Peter was, while living this life here on earth. Decide this day whom you will follow, and to whom you will cling to, when challenged by the ungodly and those who are out to get you.
PRAYER: Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on through every step of this Christian life. Whether in the good times of rejoicing with fellow Christians, or in situations where we are faced with the daggers of the enemy, please give us the boldness to never back down from our association and relationship with You. After all, You bore the embarrassment and the sting of punishment for us while carrying out the plan of Your Father, so that the mean and the wicked of this world might have the means of salvation – union with God the Father. Thank You for Your sacrifice, and thank You for the love shown for us. Please embolden us with Your power and Your strength to never back down from our ties with You. Oh that You would rule and reign in us, until the day You call us home to glory! AMEN!
Bible Reference: Luke 22:47-48
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 47 No sooner had he finished speaking when suddenly a mob approached, and right in front of the mob was his disciple Judas. He walked up close to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. For he had agreed to give the religious leaders a sign, saying, “The one I kiss is the one to seize.” 48 Jesus looked at him with sorrow and said, “A kiss, Judas? Are you really going to betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
OBSERVATION: A story that we’ve read and/or heard many times, yet the Holy Spirit will challenge you each time that you read it again. I bolded a statement that I was challenged with today as I read this Scripture. I trust that as we meditate on this, we might ponder what actions we take individually in betraying, or denying our Lord.
APPLICATION: Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. Discovering that someone we trusted has deeply hurt us pulls the reality rug from under us. We might look at Judas and wonder how could he possibly betray his Lord after seeing Him heal the sick; bring the dead back to life; feed the 5,000; show love to the unlovable; and sit down at the table with he and the other 11 disciples. Why Jesus even showed deep humility in washing the disciples’ feet. Yet for a small bag of coins, and a moment of recognition by the religious leaders, Judas escaped the reality of a loving Savior and joined the side of the enemy to crucify Jesus. I couldn’t help but ponder what we would feel like if Jesus looked into our eyes and asked the same question of us. Will you betray me with ______ Ed? Friends, we may not be in the same position as Judas, where we are selling out to the religious leaders, but I’m afraid that there are times that we hide our relationship with the Master. Perhaps in a public setting known for their stand against religious lingo, or Christian practices; Perhaps in the presence of government officials who are bombarded by fellow representatives who frequently speak of the separation of church and state; Perhaps just in a public setting, like a restaurant, where others may steer at you if you pause to give thanks for your food. I believe that anytime we fail to recognize Jesus in all walks of life, or are embarrassed to claim Him as your Lord and Savior, you are betraying the trust that He expects from you. Can you imagine hanging on a cross half naked and beaten to a pulp, because it was His way of displaying His ultimate love for us? Imagine if He would have backed out of that, because we were just not worth the pain it would cause our Lord? How would you feel about Him? Friends, is there anything you wouldn’t do in return for our Savior’s love and the provision of salvation made possible just for us? For Judas, it was a simple, everyday kiss that told the whole story of denial for him. What is it for you?
PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for never backing down on Your commitment to Your Father. Thank You for always loving us, and Your willingness to even be crucified just for us. Please touch our hearts today with a renewed sense of boldness and love for You. May our commitment to serving You be so strong that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. Yes, we want to please our friends, please our government leaders, and be a noble citizen, but please give us the strength to never do any of that at the expense of serving You and being true to our commitment in loving You for all eternity. Oh that others may see Your love in us today and want to know You personally, before it’s too late. AMEN!
Bible Reference: Numbers 11:21-23
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Bible Text: 21 Moses said, “There are 600,000 soldiers here, and you say, ‘I will give them enough meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 If we were to kill all the sheep and cattle, that would still not be enough to feed this many people for a month. And if we caught all the fish in the sea, it would not be enough for them!”
23 But the Lord said to Moses, “Don’t limit my power! You will see that I can do what I say I can do.”
OBSERVATION: Moses was blown away with what God said He would do, and this was partially due to the fact that Moses was looking through the lens of man’s physical limitations. But I believe that we think so logically, that we just find it very challenging to see beyond that. Let’s think about how God settled this for Moses, then think about the mountains in our own lives and how we need to surrender those to the Master.
APPLICATION: There’s a song ‘Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?‘. I initially typed ‘mountains’ instead of ‘rivers’, but I bet we all can identify with the song, no matter which object is used! For there are times when our challenges are much bigger than anything we have answers for, or that we could overcome. But friend of God, let’s be reminded that there is also another song that reminds us that ‘Nothing is impossible‘ when we place our trust in Jesus! The interesting part of the story with Moses is that God said He would feed meat to the Israelites for 30 days, and Moses took it as his responsibility to determine where he would get the meat from for God to do as He promised! That is almost comical my friend, for if God takes us to it, He will take us through it! He is not one who makes a promise and then turns around, scratches His head and tries to figure out how He will accomplish His work. If He said it, we could go to the bank with that, sit back and just watch Him accomplish whatever He said He would do. I’m sure that we are no different to Moses in wanting to be involved, wanting to help, and wanting to figure out how we could solve planet earth’s problems. But stop to remember how many other miracles Moses had already seen, and yet he still didn’t just take God at His word and sit back in wonderment while God accomplished the miraculous act that He promised. Friends, let’s remember that we serve an awesome God and that He can and will do everything that He has promised, and that He might promise you today. So let us therefore place our trust in Him, depend on Him, and be ready to praise Him as we see Him accomplish His work. Remember that mountains are only obstacles for us, not for our awesome God!
PRAYER: Lord, we have faith, but every day we need more, for we struggle to see beyond the limitations of our own eyes. I believe that each reader of this devotional will face mountains, or rivers of some form today. Oh that we might constantly be reminded that greater is He that lives inside of us than he that is in this world. In fact, You, Mighty God, created the mountains and the rivers, so You control them. Lord, as You look on feeble man today, please once again touch and encourage your children to keep our eyes fixed on You, our all-powerful God, through whom all things are possible! AMEN!
Bible Reference: Genesis 6:9-13
Translation: Amplified Bible (AMP)
Bible Text: 9 …. Noah was a righteous man [one who was just and had right standing with God], blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked (lived) [in habitual fellowship] with God. 10 Now Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The [population of the] earth was corrupt [absolutely depraved—spiritually and morally putrid] in God’s sight, and the land was filled with violence [desecration, infringement, outrage, assault, and lust for power]. 12 God looked on the earth and saw how debased and degenerate it was, for all humanity had corrupted their way on the earth and lost their true direction. 13 God said to Noah, “I intend to make an end of all that lives, for through men the land is filled with violence; and behold, I am about to [d]destroy them together with the land.
OBSERVATION: I believe that the earth has once again become, as described in verse 11. However, I want us to ponder today ‘who will be the ‘Noah’ of our day?’. Could be it be you? Could it be me? Only God knows. But we also might know whether we are truly righteous in all of our ways. We may camouflage the truth to our friends around us, but remember – God knows every little detail about our actions, and even our thoughts. Think about it friends…
APPLICATION: Imagine with me that you are constructing a project, and you leave at the end of the day feeling very proud of your accomplishments that day. But while your mind is at rest at home that evening, you remember that there was a key ingredient that you accidentally left out of your day’s work on that project, and it would lead to total disaster in a few weeks if you go on with the project instead of fixing the issue. Next morning you arrive at the project location and ask for help in destroying everything you did the previous day, so that you could start afresh and do everything according to its perfect design. In the time of Noah, God looked at everything He had created, and was extremely disappointed at the totally opposite direction that everything was going, compared to His original intent, so He decided to start back over with just one righteous man and his family. I can only believe that today the world must be in much worse shape than it has ever been before. Why, think about the little value placed on human life itself. From killing the innocent unborn, to being snatched by a Human Trafficker, or targeted by a murderer, or a pimp, or an organ reaper. The world is being destroyed in every way possible by mankind, for just as God declared in verse 12, it has become corrupted and debased in every way. Friends, we know what God did when He saw the world in such a mess in the days of Noah. I am confident that He is still God, and that He could very easily do the same thing to our world today, although I’m sure that He would never break His promise to never destroy all of creation again. But we have a responsibility, to make sure that our lives are aligned with what God demands of us in His Word, and to seek in every way to be in a condition like He found Noah to be – righteous. Prayer changes things, and we could certainly do that, but the Bible is clear that we must be ready to meet our God, no matter what circumstances are going on around us. May I encourage you today to first of all, know Jesus in an intimate and personal way; and secondly, aim for righteousness – being right with God. This would be living in a habitual relationship with God! To do this, you must seek to live according to His instructions; follow His example; and seek His will daily so that you may stay in line with His will. You may not be able to change the world, but you can become associated with the only One who can. Seek after His righteousness, friend, and all this will be given to you!
PRAYER: Lord, You created the world, and You saw fit to destroy the world with a flood. However, You have promised to never destroy the world again. Nonetheless, please help us to never lose our sense of alertness and readiness, because You have also promised in Your Word that You will return to take Your saints home to glory with You. Yes, our world today is probably worse than You’ve ever seen it before, but precious Lord, how we long for the day that You will take us ‘home’ with You! You’ve shown us in Your Word how we might become, and remain, ‘right with You’. Thank You for the assurance of our salvation Lord! May I please ask that You speak gently to the hearts of all those who will read this devotional, as You draw them unto Yourself, and open their eyes to the urgency of the hour that is quickly approaching for Your return. I want to see You Lord, and I truly want to ask the favor of You miraculously touching many who will be impacted by Your Word, and even by this humble blog. To God be the glory for all things that You will accomplish in Your time! AMEN!