Thursday, April 05, 2012

Daily Devotional Thursday 5th April

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"On him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."
Luke 23:26

We see in Simon's carrying the cross a picture of the work of the Church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.

But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon's, it is not our cross, but Christ's cross which we carry. When you are molested for your piety; when your religion brings the trial of cruel mockings upon you, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ's cross; and how delightful is it to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus!

You carry the cross after him. You have blessed company; your path is marked with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of his blood-red shoulder is upon that heavy burden. 'Tis his cross, and he goes before you as a shepherd goes before his sheep. Take up your cross daily, and follow him.

Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the whole of it. That is very possible; Christ may have carried the heavier part, against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end. Certainly it is so with you; you do but carry the light end of the cross, Christ bore the heavier end.

And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for a very little while, it gave him lasting honour. Even so the cross we carry is only for a little while at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should love the cross, and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, when it works out for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Evening

"Before honour is humility."
Proverbs 15:33

Humiliation of soul always brings a positive blessing with it. If we empty our hearts of self, God will fill them with his love. He who desires close communion with Christ should remember the word of the Lord, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." Stoop if you would climb to heaven. Do we not say of Jesus, "He descended that he might ascend?" So must you. You must grow downwards, that you may grow upwards; for the sweetest fellowship with heaven is to be had by humble souls, and by them alone. God will deny no blessing to a thoroughly humbled spirit. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," with all its riches and treasures. The whole exchequer of God shall be made over by deed of gift to the soul which is humble enough to be able to receive it without growing proud because of it. God blesses us all up to the full measure and extremity of what it is safe for him to do. If you do not get a blessing, it is because it is not safe for you to have one. If our heavenly Father were to let your unhumbled spirit win a victory in his holy war, you would pilfer the crown for yourself, and meeting with a fresh enemy you would fall a victim; so that you are kept low for your own safety. When a man is sincerely humble, and never ventures to touch so much as a grain of the praise, there is scarcely any limit to what God will do for him. Humility makes us ready to be blessed by the God of all grace, and fits us to deal efficiently with our fellow men. True humility is a flower which will adorn any garden. This is a sauce with which you may season every dish of life, and you will find an improvement in every case. Whether it be prayer or praise, whether it be work or suffering, the genuine salt of humility cannot be used in excess.

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Today's reading: Ruth 1-4, Luke 8:1-25 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has turned against me!”

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Ruth 2

Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field

1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!”

“The LORD bless you!” they answered.

5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”

When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over.15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.

19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”

Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.

20 “The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.”

21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”

22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”

23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Ruth 3

Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

10 “The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”

Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

Ruth 4

Boaz Marries Ruth

1 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.

2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”

“I will redeem it,” he said.

5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)

8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.

9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”

11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

Naomi Gains a Son

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him.17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Genealogy of David

18 This, then, is the family line of Perez:

Perez was the father of Hezron,

19 Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab,

20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

21 Salmon the father of Boaz,

Boaz the father of Obed,

22 Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of David.


Luke 8

The Parable of the Sower

1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

A Lamp on a Stand

16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

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Ahithophel [Ăhĭth'ophĕl]—brother of folly. One of David’s privy counselorsand father of one of David’s heroes, a Gilonite (2 Sam. 15:12-34; 16:15-23;17).

The Man Who Was Noted for His Advice

There was no one who could hold a candle to Ahithophel in his day as an able and famous politician. His counsel “was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God” (2 Sam. 16:23 ). Such counsel was a proverb in Israel in David’s time. Matthew Henry speaks of him as “a politic, thinking man and one that had a clear head, and a great compass of thought.” Perhaps David and Ahithophel had been friends from their boyhood up and are before us in Psalms such as Pss 41:9; 55:13, 14.

Ahithophel, the wise and trusted counselor, however, was found unfaithful because he also thought of himself, and not of David. Ahithophel joined Absalom and advised the prince to take his father’s harem (2 Sam. 15:12; 16:21 ). He advised pursuit of the fugitive monarch, but Hushai, another counselor, thwarted this move (2 Sam. 17:11)). Ahithophel was so disgusted over the collapse of his influence, for he could foresee that the insurrection against David was doomed to failure, that he went home a crestfallen man and set his affairs in order and hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23).

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April 4, 2012
Knock. Knock. Is Anybody There?
Part 2
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
Indeed, none of those whowaitfor You will be ashamed;" (Psalm 25:3 NASB).
Friend to Friend
Yesterday I told you about my little neighbor, Philip, who had a tendency to walk in our house whenever he wanted. I told him that he couldn't walk right in, but had to knock first. So the next day he knocked, and then when I didn't answer the door, he walked right in.

"Philip," I scolded, "I thought I told you to knock."

"I did," he said, "But you didn't come. So I came on in."

Mercy! We looked at how quickly we knock (ask God for direction in prayer), but how reluctant we are to wait for the answer before plowing ahead. Let's look at that again today.

Many problems and messes in our lives come from not waiting on God's answer before we move forward and forge ahead with our own desires without hearing clear direction from God.

Silence from God does not mean "go ahead, do what you want to do." God not saying "no" cannot be interpreted as God saying "yes." I'm not sure if that sentence is even grammatically correct, but it is scripturally accurate.

"God didn't stop me from buying that house, so I did it." "God didn't stop me from marrying that man, so I did it." "God didn't stop me from sleeping with that boy, so I did it." Oh my. "I knocked and you didn't answer, so I came on in."

If you aren't hearing from God in a particular area of your life, here are a few questions to consider.

  1. Are you obeying what He already has told you to do?
  2. Are you living your life according to the principles He already has mapped out for you?
  3. Are you asking for direction in one area of your life, and yet knowingly disobeying Him in another?

Perhaps God is waiting for you to do something He already has told you to do, before He tells you the next thing or gives you further direction.

Now let's go back to Philip. He knocked and I didn't come to the door. So what should he have done? Knock again? Sat by the door and waited for me to come? Come back another day? Ring the doorbell a hundred times until I got tired of hearing it and opened the door? There are many other options, but walking through the door was not one of them. Are you tracking with me here?

I put my arms around this lump of love and tried to explain. "Philip, I just don't want you to get hurt. You might walk into someone's home and scare them? They might think you are a robber? It could be very dangerous. You have to knock and then wait for someone to open the door and invite you in."

"OK," he moaned with a singsongy huff of frustration.

I'm not sure he really understood, but after that day, Philip restrained his urge to walk into our house whenever he wanted.

Join me tomorrow when I share about a time when I knocked, but was met with God's silence.

Let's Pray
LORD, I'm knocking. Help me to wait until you answer to move ahead.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
What do you tend to do when you don't know what to do?

What do you tend to do when you don't hear God's answer or direction right away?

Look up the following passage and note how long Moses waited until God spoke to him on the mountain. Exodus 24:15-18

What happened in the valley below when the people got tired of waiting for God to give them direction through Moses? Exodus 32

Have you been knocking and waiting for God to answer? Click over to my blog page and tell me what I can be praying about for you today www.sharonjaynes.com . Just look for the comment box under today's devotion and enter your request.

More from the Girlfriends
Trusting God. It is something we all need to do. And when life doesn't turn out the way we had hoped, we need to trust that God has a better plan in mind. If you'd like to learn more about trusting God, check out our new GiG book by the same title…Trusting God. You can find it on my website at www.sharonjaynes.com or the GiG website atwww.girlfriendsingod.com. While you're there, download a free chapter and watch an intro video!
Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

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www.girlfriendsingod.com

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Christ's Divine Authority

Matthew 9:1-8 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.'" (v. 2).

Continuing to display His divine authority through the working of miracles, Jesus returns to Capernaum ("his own city," Matt. 9:1; see 4:13) where the people are glad to see Him. Unlike the Gentiles in the region of the Gadarenes, the citizens of Capernaum apparently want Jesus to stick around. He is back only a short time when some men seek Him out to heal a paralyzed friend (9:2).

In Jesus' day most people slept on mats that were laid upon the floor. These pallets served as a stretcher that was fairly easy to carry, and the paralyzed man was lying on a mattress of this kind. Our Savior's first response is to pronounce the lame man forgiven (v. 2), and some commentators believe this indicates that sin is the cause of the man's paralysis. Sin can indeed cause many illnesses, but note that Scripture never teaches that disease is always proof of transgression in a person's life ( John 9:1-3). In any case, Christ's declaration of pardon does not sit well with the scribes. Forgiveness, it is well known, is the prerogative of God alone (Ps. 130:3-4). An ordinary man who claims this right puts himself in the Creator's place and commits blasphemy (Matt. 9:3).

Yet Jesus is no ordinary man. Seeing that He is accused of breaking the third commandment (Ex. 20:7), Christ asks the scribes what is easier to pronounce - forgiveness or healing (Matt. 9:4-5 ). Of course, it is easy to declare sins forgiven since divine forgiveness cannot be verified or falsified with the senses. However, healing can be tested empirically. To say that a person is healed when no healing has taken place makes the would-be healer a liar. In pronouncing forgiveness, Jesus has made the easier declaration, but to show that His pronouncement of forgiveness is not merely wishful thinking, He declares the paralytic healed and restores the man's health (vv. 6-7 ). The truth of His healing word verifies the truth of His forgiving word. John Calvin comments, "As it is not easier to quicken by a word a body which is nearly dead than to forgive sins, there is no reason to wonder that he forgives sins, when he has accomplished the other."

The citizens marvel that such authority has been given to Christ (v. 8). After all, if Jesus can forgive sins, then He is more than a man. He is God incarnate.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Some theological traditions tend to pursue physical healing as if it is the ultimate need of human beings. Yet while it is good to ask the Lord to heal us when we are ill, we fundamentally need our sins to be forgiven. This forgiveness has been purchased by Jesus and is the great blessing of God on all of those in Him. If you doubt the Lord's pardon, know that He forgives the repentant; therefore, each day ask Him to forgive your sins.

For further study:

Psalm 103:6-14

The Bible in a year:

1 Samuel 3-6

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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Glynnis Whitwer

April 4, 2012

I Can't Think Straight!
Glynnis Whitwer

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5 (NIV)

I felt like I was walking in circles. My to-do list was long but I was accomplishing nothing. Nothing except shifting messes from one place to another and getting increasingly frustrated with myself.

Why couldn't I think straight!? Urgency pulled and tugged, creating anxiety, yet I couldn't get myself unstuck.

Many days I just plod along, hoping that somehow I'll pull myself together and move forward. Sadly, my success rate with that approach is pretty low. Just doing more doesn't help when my mind is scattered.

My biggest challenge with bringing order to my day and home usually isn't found externally. It's not too much to do, too small closets, or too many kids running around. Yes, those can be challenges, but they aren't the biggest one.

My biggest foe is my cluttered mind. When I don't think straight, I can't solve problems.

Our minds are the command center of managing our lives. We may blame outside pressures for our problems, but many times the issue is within: minds that aren't seeking help from the Source of all wisdom and clarity-God.

As Christians we have a direct line to God's wisdom as our key verse promises. Plus, we have the Holy Spirit living in us who is our Counselor (John 14:26), and as the Bible tells us, we have "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). That's a powerhouse of help!

But we don't always tap into this Source of help. And when we do, if the truth were told, we often don't reallyexpect God to answer us. Others, those super-spiritual types, may hear from God. But not me, we think.

And so we struggle with problem-solving. We are frustrated at our circumstances, confused about what to do, discouraged and defeated. It's a downward cycle.

For years, I never even thought to ask God for help making little decisions. Maybe I'd bring Him in on the big decisions, but the little ones I figured I could handle myself. Oh, how I missed out on so much clarity and focus.

If you are having trouble thinking, ask God to clear your mind and direct your decision-making. Then trust He is doing just that. Once you ask God to speak to you,expect it to happen. This expectation is crucial to hearing from God. Here what James 1:5-8 says:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."

If you do start to doubt, then take that thought captive and choose to trust that God has spoken. Listening and trusting are important parts of prayer, because prayer is not always to get God to move.

Many times, prayer positions us to hear God's direction on how we should move. Through prayer, we align our hearts to God's heart, and things become clearer.

Is the clutter in your mind making it hard to think clearly? Perhaps one of the problems is you're trying to figure things out on your own. We've been given the mind of Christ and we are offered the wisdom of God. Let's ask and receive.

Lord, You know how hard it is for me to focus sometimes. It's hard to figure out what needs to be done. I just feel overwhelmed and discouraged. I know You aren't a God of confusion, so I ask for Your wisdom and clarity to help bring order to my chaotic mind. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

Visit Glynnis' blog for some tips on how to manage your ideas.

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Reflect and Respond:
Are there areas of your life that seem harder to figure out? Why do you think that is?

If you feel overwhelmed, sit down and write out your thoughts. Ask God to show you His priorities for you this morning, afternoon or evening. Write down what He tells you, and spend some time thanking Him for His faithfulness.

Power Verses:
Romans 8:6, "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." (NIV)

Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (NIV)

© 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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Christ's Divine Authority

Matthew 9:1-8

Some theological traditions tend to pursue physical healing as if it is the ultimate need of human beings. Yet while it is good to ask the Lord to heal us when we are ill, we fundamentally need our sins to be forgiven. This forgiveness has been purchased by Jesus and is the great blessing of God on all of those in Him. If you doubt the Lord's pardon, know that He forgives the repentant; therefore, each day ask Him to forgive your sins.

For further study:

Psalm 103:6-14

The Bible in a year:

1 Samuel 3-6

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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Death and life in Christ

‘Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he did unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:8–11

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 1:12–18

I would to God that on one of these four anchor-holds your faith might be able to get rest. Jesus died, poor trembler; if he died and took your griefs, will not his atonement save you? Rest here. Millions of souls have rested on nothing but Jesus’ death, and this is a granite foundation; no storms of hell can shake it. Get a good hand-hold on his cross; hold it, and it will hold you. You cannot depend on his death and be deceived. Try it; taste and see, and you shall find that the Lord is good, and that none can trust a dying Saviour without being with him in paradise. But if this suffice you not, he rose again . Fasten upon this. He is proved to be victor over your sin and over your adversary; can you not, therefore, depend upon him? Doubtless there have been thousands of saints who have found the richest consolation from the fact that Jesus rose again from the dead. He rose again for our justification. Sinner, hang on that. Having risen, he lives. He is not a dead Saviour, a dead sacrifice. He must be able to hear our plea and to present his own. Depend on a living Saviour; depend on him now. He lives for ever , and therefore it is not too late for him to save you. If you cry to him he will hear your prayer, even though it be in life’s last moment, for he lives for ever. Though the ends of the earth were come, and you were the last man, yet he ever lives to intercede before his Father’s face. O gad not about to find any other hope! Here are four great stones for you; build your hope on these; you cannot want surer foundation—he dies, he rises, he lives, he lives for ever.

For meditation: All kinds of questions, doubts and fears attack our faith (Romans 8:32–34 ); the very best answers are to be found in the crucified and risen Saviour who intercedes for us at the right hand of God.

Sermon no. 503
5 April (Easter 1863)

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Justification by grace

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 10:11-18

God demanded of Christ the payment for the sins of all his people; Christ stood forward, and to the utmost farthing paid whate’er his people owed. The sacrifice of Calvary was not a part payment; it was not a partial exoneration, it was a complete and perfect payment, and it obtained a complete and perfect remission of all the debts of all believers that have lived, do live, or shall live, to the very end of time. On that day when Christ hung on the cross, he did not leave a single farthing for us to pay as a satisfaction to God. The whole of the demands of the law were paid down there and then by Jehovah Jesus, the great high priest of all his people. And blessed be his name, he paid it all at once too. So priceless was the ransom, so princely and generous was the price demanded for our souls, one might have thought it would have been marvellous if Christ had paid it by instalments; some of it now, and some of it then. Kings’ ransoms have sometimes been paid part at once, and part in dues afterwards, to run through years. But not so our Saviour: once for all he gave himself a sacrifice; at once he counted down the price, and said, “It is finished,” leaving nothing for him to do, nor for us to accomplish. He did not drivel out a part-payment, and then declare that he would come again to die, or that he would again suffer, or that he would again obey; but down upon the nail, to the utmost farthing, the ransom of all people was paid, and a full receipt given to them, and Christ nailed that receipt to his cross.

For meditation: Those who attempt to complete or repeat a finished piece of work insult its maker and render it useless to themselves (Galatians 5:2).

Sermon no. 126
5 April (1857)

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The Secret to the Early Church

Today's reading: Acts 4

The real power at work in Acts

Acts 4:7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?"

Author J.B. Phillips, after spending 14 years translating the New Testament, sat back and reflected on his most lasting impressions. He kept returning to the book of Acts and its portrait of an infant church. "The sick are not merely prayed about," said Phillips. "They are healed, often suddenly and dramatically ... Human nature is changed. The fresh air of Heaven blows gustily through these pages.

"The early church lived dangerously, but never before has such a handful of people exerted such widespread influence ... To put it shortly, the lasting excitement which follows the reading of the book is this: The thing works!"

Who Was Behind the Success?

Why did it work? Acts points decisively to the power of God, through his Holy Spirit. Luke carefully notes that every major decision of the young church was made under the Spirit's guidance. Indeed, some have suggested that Acts should really be titled Acts of the Holy Spirit because of his dominant role. Luke mentions the Holy Spirit 57 times in Acts.

The disciples waited on the Spirit in Jerusalem before beginning to preach (see Acts 2:4). According to Luke, the Holy Spirit fell on each new group of believers: on Jews (see Acts 4:23,31), then on Samaritans (see Acts 8:14-17), then on Gentiles (see Acts 10:44-45) and finally on John the Baptist's disciples (see Acts 19:1-6).

For Their Good

As the church grew, the disciples gradually began to understand what Jesus had meant when he said, "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 16:7). Although Jesus himself departed, God became present in each one of them, making his activity in the world more widespread than ever before.

The Spirit personally directed each major advance of the church. He sent Philip into the desert to meet an Ethiopian (seeActs 8:26-29), set apart missionaries in Antioch (see Acts 13:1-2), guided the first big church council (see Acts 15:1-29) and helped plan Paul's itinerary (see Acts 13:4; 16:6). As presented in Acts, the Spirit was no vague mist but a living person who spoke, guided in decisions and fueled the church with the energy of faith.

Life Questions

How is the Holy Spirit active in your life?

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At Issue - Gossip

Proverbs 11:13

You know you shouldn't say anything, but this info is big. It's juicy. And it sits on the tip of your tongue, ready to be shared. Would it hurt to tell just one person? What if you cloak it as a prayer request? Chances are if you share this news about someone else, it will keep getting passed on until you've really harmed that person's reputation. But gossiping also hurts you. It hurts your character, your integrity, your reputation and your relationship with God, whose Spirit's prompting you ignored. Which would you like to be known as-a gossip or a trustworthy woman?

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Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional

DO YOU BELIEVE “YOU MUST BE SAVED”?

Surely she would escape from her kidnappers if she had the slightest chance, everyone assumed. If there was any opportunity for her to call out to someone for help, or pass a note that said, "I'm Elizabeth Smart, help me," she would. And so, for the nine months of her captivity since she was snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night, most people assumed the worst-she must be dead.

Yet fourteen-year-old Elizabeth was very much alive. During her captivity she had been around many people, yet had not signaled for help. She was left alone at times, capable of walking away. When police approached her on the street, inquiring whether she was Elizabeth Smart, she denied it. This poor young girl, practically brainwashed by her domineering abductors, needed so much to be saved, but didn't see it, and couldn't take advantage of it. It was a good thing a police officer who recognized her on the street knew better, and was determined to find the truth.

Today some people think it's a joke when they hear, you must be saved. "That's the kind of thing religious kooks say," they think. "Isn't salvation an antique idea, or maybe just the mental crutch of some people who still aren't willing to stand on their own two feet in life? Isn't it just derelicts who need to 'come to Jesus'?"

But what if you do have two broken legs? In that reality a crutch is not an excuse, but a treatment. What if we have no idea just how much trouble we are in and how desperately we need to be saved?

Almost all religions begin with the assumption that we need to be saved from that something dreadfully wrong in the world-or with us. Salvation is a belief and a hope that there is a way out of captivity, a rescue whether we know we need it or not.

Christian faith says specifically that we need to be saved from evil, from judgment, and from our own self-destructive sin. Salvation from evil means that we can hope in God's power to prevent the whole human race from descending into the deepest darkness-even though evil will keep on appearing in tomorrow's headlines until God comes to remake the world. Salvation from judgment means that, by God's gracious act of free forgiveness, he frees us from the penalty of our spiritual crimes and misdemeanors. And salvation from sin means that God's power is available to reshape our character so that we need not repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

That is precisely why the Bible speaks of salvation as a past, present, and future reality. The biblical authors say we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.

Looking backward, the truth is that "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Complimentary DVDavailable now.

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About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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Day 43

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”

At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.

When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.

Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

Why did the Jewish religious leaders dislike the early Christians?

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Today's Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9

4 The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!
9 It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me.
Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
the moths will eat them up.

New Testament Reading: John 13:21-35

21 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."

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means."

25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"

26 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.27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, "What you are about to do, do quickly." 28But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

33 "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.

34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

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Today's Lent reading: John 17-18 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Prays to Be Glorified

1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “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. 14 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. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 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. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 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.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

John 18

Jesus Arrested

1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Peter’s First Denial

15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Jesus Before Pilate

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.


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