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Day 40 – Jesus Prays for Unity

Day 40 – Jesus Prays for Unity. April 14, 2019

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:13-23

As Jesus continues His Journey to the Cross, He prays for His Disciples. He knows that they cannot be taken out of the world, for their mission is to impact the world for the Kingdom of God. But He does pray that the Father would protect them from the evil one. For clearly, the evil one is in the world and seeking whom he may devour. He also prays that they would be sanctified by the truth. Since God’s Word is truth, He is really praying that they would be sanctified by the Word. The Word cleans, sanctifies, purifies, makes us fit for God’s service. Lastly He prays, and this now includes all believers of all time, that they would be one as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One. This unity is a most incredible thing, for it will be so unique, so amazing, that the world will know that Jesus loves them. All men will know that we follow Christ, when we are united in Christ Jesus as Lord.

Lord Jesus, please help me to live as an alien and a stranger in this world. Not as one who belongs to the world. Protect me from the evil one. Set me apart for Your work and will, cleanse me through Your Word and may I only be about Your Truth. Help me to live in Unity with others who bear Your holy Name. Help me to bring Unity to those who are far from You and from each other. Help me participate in Your ministry of reconciliation for all mankind. Thank You for praying for me right now, and for Your promises that are always true. Amen.

Day 39 – Jesus Will Give Us All Things Through the Spirit

Day 39 – Jesus Will Give Us All Things Through the Spirit. April 13, 2019

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:8-15

This Advocate will lead us into all truth. He will convict of sin, so that we know what is wrong in our lives — but also convict us of righteousness, what we do right! He will tell us everything that we need to know from our Lord, Jesus. But Jesus also tells us that, “All that belongs to the Father is mine.” Jesus has access to everything that belongs to the Father. And Jesus will make known to us through the Spirit all we need to know. Ultimately, Jesus’ Journey to the Cross was about restoring us to the Father. And He does this right now! We have access to the Father through His son Jesus, and we have access to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Everything the Father has, Jesus has. Everything Jesus has, the Spirit has. Everything the Spirit has, we have. We have all things through the Spirit!

Lord Jesus, thank You for giving us what we need through the Holy Spirit. Teach me to listen to the Spirit that leads me into all truth. Give me what I need to know, when I need to know it. Help me to be patient when it is not my time to have or to know. Thank You for sending Your Spirit to be with me. Speak, Lord. I’m listening. Amen.

Day 38 – Jesus Must Go Away

Day 38 – Jesus Must Go Away. April 12, 2019

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:1-7

Jesus was concerned about his disciples. He had shared so much with them over the last three years. He spent practically every waking moment with them. So when His time had come to back to the Father, He was genuinely concerned for their safety and their continued growth. To equip them for His departure He armed them with the most powerful weapon He could — the Truth. He warned them that they would be cast our from the places of worship, and one day even be killed for their faith in Him. But He also told them that He would not leave them without help. Because He was leaving the Advocate (the Helper, the Comforter, the Counselor) would now be able to come. And now they would have a constant partner and guide, even in the midst of their darkest moments. Even when He goes away, Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us.

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking care of Your disciples. As hard as it is to see you go away, You have sent the Holy Spirit to be an Advocate for me. And now we are together through the power of the Holy Spirit. Help me listen to the Advocate and follow everything that He directs me to do. Help me in the midst of persecution and let me not fear anything that man may do to me. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Day 37 – Jesus’ Followers Will Be Like Jesus

Day 37 – Jesus’ Followers Will Be Like Jesus. April 11, 2019

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. John 15:18-27

To follow Jesus means we will be like Him. The world hated Jesus, it will hate us as well. The world persecuted Jesus, it will persecute us as well. If the world obeyed Jesus’ teaching, it will obey ours as well (assuming we teach what He did). Jesus testified about the Father, we must testify about the Father. The world loves us when we belong to it. But Jesus reminds us that we are not of this world. We are not greater than He, so we can expect no less than what He endured. When we follow Jesus, we will be like Jesus.

Lord Jesus, I want to be like You. Help me to endure what You endured. Help me to do what You did. I should expect no less than what You experienced. May my life be a reflection of Yours, and may it be unmistakable that I am a follower of Yours. Amen.

Day 36 – Jesus Calls Us Friend

Day 36 – Jesus Calls Us Friend. April 10, 2019

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:9-17

Jesus really is a friend that is closer than a brother. Part of abiding or remaining in Jesus, is keeping or obeying His commands. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Jesus lays His life down for His friends, and there is no greater love than this. We are to do likewise and lay our lives down for Him. Not counting our lives as our own, but allowing Him to guide us and command us. And His command? Love one another. When we do this Jesus’ joy will be in us and our joy will be complete. Jesus calls us Friend.

Lord Jesus, thank You for calling me Friend. I am not always the best friend to You. Please forgive me for not remaining in Your love. Help me to love others the way You loved me. I want to lay my life down right now for You…it is Yours, it belongs to You. Do with my life as You please. Fill me with Your joy and make my joy complete in You. Thank You for loving me, as the Father loves me. Amen.

Day 35 – Jesus is the Vine

Day 35 – Jesus is the Vine. April 9, 2019

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:1-8

Jesus points out to His disciples a few natural truths: if a branch does not bear fruit, it is not connected to the vine; if a branch is withered and dead, it is not connected to the vine; a branch connected to the vine cannot help but be fruitful; a branch that bears fruit must be pruned, in order to be more fruitful. Remaining in Jesus, abiding in Him is crucial in the life of a disciple of Jesus. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Apart from Him, we wither and die. In Him, we have life. In Him, we produce fruit — much fruit, and fruit that will last! In Him, we accomplish the purposes for which we were created. When we produce fruit, just like a natural branch we get heavy and hang low. God the Father, the vine dresser — the Gardener, trims or prunes all who are fruitful. Not to cause them pain or discomfort, but rather to make us even more fruitful! He not only removes fruit, but He also trims away things that hinder growth. Dead branches cannot stay attached to the vine because they do not share the nourishment and the sap that the vine provides. They fall away from the vine because they are dead, they are gathered together, thrown into the fire and burned. Not a pretty picture. Remaining in Jesus means showing the fruit of obedience. So, how fruity are you?

Lord Jesus, I want to remain in You. Help me to practice obedience and produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Help me to abide in Your presence and continually be nourished by Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Lord, trim away the things in my life that hinder my fruitfulness and stunt my growth. Thank You for the promises You give and Your faithfulness to remain in me if I remain in You. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Day 34 – Jesus Gives the Promise of the Holy Spirit

Day 34 – Jesus Gives the Promise of the Holy Spirit. April 8, 2019

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:12-21

Jesus took the Journey to the Cross with His friends, but ultimately walks the last portion alone. How good to know that we do not have to walk the Journey of the Cross alone. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit — another counsellor, guide, and friend — will be with us, and will live in us. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to keep Jesus’ commands. He leads us into all truth, and helps us love the way that Jesus loves. The Journey to the Cross can be lonely, but in truth, we are never alone.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise of the Holy Spirit. Walking the way of the Cross does seem lonely, and often times we can be misunderstood or even hated for taking this journey. But Your Holy Spirit brings a presence and comfort, He brings wisdom and peace, He brings understanding and help when we need it most. Thank You for the promise and the presence of Your Holy Spirit! Amen.

Day 33 – Jesus the Way, Truth, and Life

Day 33 – Jesus the Way, Truth, and Life. April 7, 2019

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-7

Jesus tells the disciples that He is going to prepare a place for them, and that they “know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas’ response, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus very plainly tells Thomas that He is the Way. The Way to Jesus is to follow what He did! We don’t have to move to the Middle East and walk exactly where He did — He laid out a pattern for us to follow in the way we walk through life. Jesus also tells Thomas that He is the Truth. If we want to know Truth, we must know Jesus. What He says is true, what He does is true, He is Truth. Lastly, Jesus tells Thomas that He is the Life. In Jesus we find a life that is more fulfilling, more beautiful, more real, more purposeful…this is not just ordinary life, this is extraordinary life!

Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me the Way, the Truth and the Life. You have shown me the pattern, help me to follow it. You have shown me the Truth, help me live in it. You have shown me Life, help me live it to the fullest and fill out this life with the same passion and love that You filled it with. I want to come to You, Lord…help me stay the course and know the way. Amen.

Day 32 – Jesus Gives a New Command

Day 32 – Jesus Gives a New Command. April 6, 2019

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! John 13:31-38

Jesus has just been betrayed by one of His close friends. And He warns Peter, one of His closest friends, that he too will betray Jesus not once, but three times. In the midst of all this betrayal, Jesus gives His disciples a new command — “Love one another.” This would be the sign that all men would know that one is a follower, a disciple, of Jesus — by the way we love one another. We are to love each other, not only as we love ourselves, but as Jesus has loved us. This type of higher love will be the evidence of our walk with Jesus. All men, everyone, will know that we belong to Him, that we know Him. There will be no mistake. The way of the Cross, the journey to the Cross is characterized by loving others.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love for me. Help me to love others the same way. Forgive me when I fail. Remind me that Your love went further than I think possible. Remind me that Your love laid down everything, Your very life, for me. My love seems so shallow in comparison sometimes…Lord, help me to love with the same depth and breadth that You have loved me. Change me into a Lover like You! Amen.

Day 31 – Jesus Confronts Satan

Day 31 – Jesus Confronts Satan. April 5, 2019

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” John 13:21-27

Jesus was betrayed by one of His own disciples. This man had witnessed the miracles, heard the teachings, walked many a mile, shared food and life with Jesus. Even those we may have trusted most in life can disappoint us, perhaps even betray us. Only five days ago, we read that Judas chastised Mary for pouring out a year’s worth of wages upon Jesus, as John points out, “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” Judas had been around the things of faith, the miracles, around Jesus Himself…but slowly he had become hardened, calloused to his Master’s voice. I find it interesting that we see the very moment when Judas makes the decision to carry out his betrayal, and at that moment — Satan enters him. He became available for possession, by his decision to give away his passion for Jesus. So Jesus is no longer speaking to Judas, His disciple, but rather He is confronting Satan himself when He says, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

Lord Jesus, thank You for confronting Satan himself and disarming him of his ability to hold on to us through sin and death. Please help me to never harden my heart to Your teaching, never deafen my ears to Your Word. May I always be ready to respond to Your command and never be carried off with the promise of wealth or what the world may promise in return for my betrayal. May I never be overcome by evil, but always ready to overcome evil with good. May I only and always be filled by the Holy Spirit, so that there is never any availability to Satan’s control or possession. Amen.