Seeking God's help while knowing He is present, here and now.
Author: Jeff Doria
I rejoice; I struggle; I give thanks; I get frustrated; I am a forgiven and free child of God who loves my family, friends, and the work the Lord has called me into. I'm humbled to live for God and share His Good News, for He has chosen to come to us and make Himself know through Jesus. Immanuel - God with us!
Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Matthew 26:34
What are you doing this evening? Trick or Treating? Celebrating the 501st anniversary of the Reformation with a cold brew? A combination? Neither of those two?
Tonight, as children go door to door wearing masks and costumes, full of color and dazzle, I’m reminded of the stark contrast of light and darkness. In the darkness of night, pumpkins will light up people’s porches. Costumes will sparkle in a car’s headlights, parents will stand on the sidewalks with a flashlight or glow-stick. Light penetrates darkness. Even in our souls.
Peter walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, learned from Jesus and even saw the miracles of Jesus! Yet, he was still a sinner and proved it when he denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. It was the night before Jesus’ death on the cross. Where true darkness enveloped the land. A spiritual darkness was present in addition to the darkness in the daytime sky.
Yet light shined forth. Light penetrated the darkness as Jesus asked God the Father to forgive the people. The blood shed on the cross was both blood of sacrifice as well as blood of victory…the victory of God! Sounds strange but there is where the punishment for our sins was fulfilled. There on the cross is both great sadness in what our eyes see, but great joy in what our souls feel…release!
In those moments when you’ve denied Jesus rather than denying yourself (Matthew 16:24) imagine the look of Jesus. Peter saw it (Luke 22:61). It convicts. Yet, with eyes of compassion, Jesus looks at us in love and forgiveness as we repent of our sin.
Dear reader, know that Jesus paid the price for all the times you’ve heard the rooster crow. Confess and find release. Then in the midst of God’s grace, may you and I reflect the light of our Savior’s forgiveness and love in this darkened world.
OCT 30 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Mission and Presence. We are given both. Jesus gives us, the Church, the mission of making disciples all the while He also gives us His presence, that He is and will be with us until the end of time as we know it (and then it gets even better in paradise).
Now, don’t miss this! In this passage, in this one section of scripture of Jesus’ final words to His disciples before He ascends into heaven, Jesus addresses two fundamental needs of mankind! What are those two needs we all have? To have purpose (Mission) and to be loved (Presence). Jesus reminded His first disciples as He is reminding you as you read this, you are loved and you have purpose. Enjoy life as His child, knowing these two truths of your Savior. Jesus is with you as you embark on the incredible journey of mission and life.
If you found this (or any of the other 30 days’ devotions) beneficial, please let me know by responding to the blog. I’m curious what you thought. Peace in Christ!
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
If you’re like me, you appreciate a job well done. From building a picnic table to putting up wall paper, from mowing the lawn to rebuilding after two floods, completing a task gives a sense of accomplishment. Jesus words recorded in John’s Gospel are a glimpse into His powerful sense of accomplishment. Jesus recognized that His work fulfill the Father’s will and to save mankind was fulfilled on the cross. His suffering and death fulfilled that price that God the Father had determined. Jesus had nothing left to do in order to save us from our sins.
Yet we know Jesus did more. As the Apostles’ Creed states, “He descended into hell and on the third day rose from the dead…” We see this like a victory lap where Jesus went to hell to show He had victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil. His descent into hell was not to suffer more (1 Peter 3:19). The resurrection showed to the world that the victory is found in Jesus, the Son of God. May you live in the victory of Christ which He won for you on the cross. A job well done!
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29
“He gave his all!” Statements like that are said when someone win’s a championship, a gold medal in the Olympics or even a tough wrestling match. But, do these people, these teams really give it their all?
Jesus did. He gave it His all. In fact, He gave us His all. He gave to His disciples (and to us today) His all. His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus gave His all so that we could truly be forgiven.
Churches across the globe still celebrate this fact as they take the Lord’s Supper, aka Holy Communion. In my flavor of Christianity, we believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Not a symbolic presence, only in our minds via remembrance, nor some sort of cannibalistic presence in which we chew on flesh, but an actual sacramental presence, a Real Presence of Jesus, “in, with and under the bread and wine.” I can’t explain the mystery; but I do believe the mystery. Real Presence for Real Forgiveness. Real forgiveness . . . because Jesus gave His all.
OCT 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Whether it be in the context of a health crisis, an employment crisis, a marriage relationship crisis, or even a midterm election in our divided country, we are reminded that with God, all things are possible. This is oh, so important for us to remember. Why? Because too often people are walking around defeated, without joy, and lacking any thought that God can work in their lives. But He can. He did…and He will do it again. Pray for God to do the impossible. You may say, “Most likely, He won’t.” But I say, “Maybe He will!”
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is sufficient for you…” The apostle Paul recalls these words of Jesus as he shared them in his letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth, Greece. “My grace is sufficient for you…” I’m sure he reminded himself of that wonderful truth, time and time again. “My grace is sufficient for you…” I’ve been finding lately that I’ve been using these exact words to remind myself of God’s forgiveness, especially when the sin of my past comes haunting me again and again. The devil tries to get us to forget and lose trust in the word of God. It’s the age old trick he began in the Garden of Eden. He still tries today. Let us join the apostle Paul and speak those words often as we live in God’s grace each day. “My grace is sufficient for you…”
OCT 25 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” John 5:39
A teenager sat in Confirmation class, thumbing through his Bible with a confused look on his face. His teacher asked him, “What’s wrong?”
He responded, “The Bible is so confusing. I don’t know what its all about.”
The teacher responded, “It’s all about Jesus. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They are both all about Jesus.”
Martin Luther often wrote about how all the Scriptures point to Christ; that He’s found on every page.
Yes, we value our Bibles; however, more important than our copies of the Bible is what the Bible testifies to. The Savior of the world; the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). It is in Christ alone we have eternal life. Trust in Him dear friends. He’s the only one you can truly count on.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Who isn’t tired these days? Who isn’t stressed? Who isn’t feeling the pressure from their work? From their family? From school? From health problems? From . . .
Great comfort comes to us through these words of Jesus reminding us that if we walk with Him, connected to Him, we will follow in His ways and experience a peace and rest unlike anything in this world. May the Spirit of God help us remain connected to our Savior each day. We need it.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
Did your mother make lists for you for the chores that needed to be done around the house? It is an organized way to keep the house and lawn in order, to teach responsibility and to learn the value of hard work. But the bottom line was, she (or your father) told you that you needed to go and do it (or you couldn’t go out to play that day).
Here in this text, Jesus emphasizes the prayer aspect of sending forth workers. We are called to pray to God so that He moves on the hearts of men to go forth and be workers in His kingdom. It is a good reminder to us in the Church that we are to be praying for the Lord to raise up servant-leaders to testify to His glorious work in Jesus. “Heavenly Father, send Your Spirit to touch hearts and minds of Your future workers in the harvest. In Jesus’ strong name. Amen.”
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Peace. True peace. Inner peace. It is something I truly desire. Like you, I’ve looked for it in places, people and things of this world yet they’ve left me dissatisfied. I’ve looked for it deep within my own heart yet I’ve seen much emptiness there. I’ve looked for it in the wisdom of this age, yet the foolishness of this world becomes evident. I’ve found temporary peace, time and time again. But its only when Jesus is the source of peace in my life that I’ve found the peace that lasts. In Christ, there is true, lasting peace. It the peace that passes understanding. It is only found in Jesus. Then, with the peace of Jesus, I can appreciate the places, people and things of this world properly.
Our society lacks peace. It also can seem so powerful and overwhelming at times. Yet, just as comforting it is to know that in Christ we have peace, we also know that Jesus has overcome this world. Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, Jesus has overcome all the powers of this world and the spiritual powers that stand against Him. As the slogan goes, “No Christ, No Peace. Know Christ, Know Peace.” For a great, classic song about peace, check out Rich Mullins, “Maker of Noses” https://youtu.be/hdspZ8Dexv0 Let me now what you think.