John 3:16 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I was a little girl when I memorized this verse.
I had already accepted Jesus as my Savior and was excited to learn about Him.
I remember wanting to have something to quote to others.
I went to public school and found this verse my favorite answer to the question, “Why should I believe in God?”.
But it wasn’t until I was an adult, that I realized these words, so beautifully and succinctly capturing the truth of salvation, were spoken byJesus.
How precious it is to me today to think Jesus Himself gave me these words to share about Him!
The only thing I would change about all of this is: adding John 3:17.
Together they really give a clearer picture of what Jesus wants us to know.
John 3:16-17NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
What life-changing truth!
What a clear picture of God’s love!
How blessed we are to have these words spoken by the Savior of the world.
If you have yet to memorize these words, I’d encourage you to do so, for the truth of eternity here is too good to simply read, it’s worth making it a memory.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Your truth astounds me and the preciousness of Your sacrifice has only grown in my heart over the years. You have brought me through so much and I praise Your holy name for it all. Great is Your faithfulness and greatly are You to be praised. Please continue to breath life into my heart and mind through Your scripture and Your Holy Spirit that my life might reflect You more and more each day. Thank You for Your love and salvation. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Born from a long line of citizens, I was raised with a deep respect for the privilege of being an American.
My father and both my half brothers served in our military.
Our country’s freedoms were purchased at a very high price.
I hold my freedom as a prized possession.
As a Christian, I hold my salvation at an even higher price.
Because as much as I love and honor my country and it’s beautiful heritage of fighting for freedom, defending the oppressed from abuse, and providing the individual a long list of civil rights because “…that all Men are created equal…”, I understand that true freedom rests in Christ alone.
Through Jesus and God’s Word is how we learn that God is the Creator of all and He has given us standards.
His Word tells us how we are to respond to one another, that we are to love as He does, and our lives should be in service first to God and then to our fellow human.
It is through Christ we understand the value of sacrifice, as well as received freedom from sin and death.
As we celebrate this Independence Day, I pray we praise God for His gift of salvation.
While not forgetting the gift of freedom and the birth of our nation.
Happy Fourth of July!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your gift of salvation. Lord, I can never fully comprehend Your sacrifice nor the extent of Your love and work upon our behalf. Lord, thank You for all You have done. Thank You for my country, the land of my birth. Lord, thank You for history, which I can clearly see You working in and through. Lord, thank You for this day, where we pause and celebrate the beginning of our nation. Lord, I lift up our nation and the people who are it’s citizens. Lord, our nation is in desperate need of You. Please help us to return to You. Lord, help us to live unto You in all things. Thank You for Your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Thank You for salvation. Amen.
Yet, when she was the most desperate, the most in need of His healing, He was absent, although she and Mary had sent word.
John 11:3 NKJV — Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
Not only did Jesus choose not to go visit Lazarus when he was sick, He didn’t arrive right after his death either.
John 11:17 NKJV — So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
From Martha’s perspective, Jesus’s absence must have been extremely disappointing.
John 11:20 NKJV — Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
Martha had heard Jesus was coming and had gone to face Him with her disappointment.
John 11:21-22 NKJV — Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Jesus gives her the truth, but like most of us, Martha doesn’t understand what God is doing.
John 11:23 NKJV — Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
John 11:24 NKJV — Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Through this story we get one of the most profound scriptures, spoken by Jesus.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NKJV
In the midst of Martha’s lowest point, when she is deeply hurting, confused, disappointed, and clothed in grief, Jesus speaks to her the truth and the hope every single human needs and can put their trust in.
Her response is beautiful.
John 11:27 NKJV — She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Did she understand that Jesus was going to raise her brother from the dead?
No, or she wouldn’t have said:
John 11:39 NKJV — Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
Her response to Jesus’s words about being the Resurrection was trust.
She didn’t understand what God was doing in her life.
She couldn’t see her brother’s death as anything more than a tragedy.
She did choose to trust Jesus, despite the circumstances.
John 11:43-44 NKJV — Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Can you imagine the celebration?!
Although there are tragedies, grief, and extreme disappointment Jesus is
“…the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25b-26
It doesn’t guarantee our circumstances will fall into place the way we desire.
Choosing trust is to fall in place with Jesus.
Like Martha, we can choose to trust God.
Not knowing the future, but knowing the One who is the future.
Philippians 1:21 KJV — For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I bet Lazarus understood this truth better than anyone else present.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your truth. Thank You that You are the Resurrection and the life! What can possibly be more profound than God as man dieing for our sins and rising again?! Your sacrifice is beyond my comprehension. Your love, mercy, and grace out strip anything I’ve experienced in this world. Lord Jesus, Your Word is amazing. Please, let those who have hurt, grief, loss, disappointment, and deep pain find healing in You. Please open the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and soften the hearts, that they might turn and be healed. Lord, please continue to hone our hearts and minds that we might trust You no matter the circumstances. For You are worthy of all our trust, love, honor, glory, and praise. Amen.
Matthew 1:5 NKJV — Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
This is the lineage of Jesus.
And in this one verse is such incredible redemption.
Salmon’s wife, mentioned by name, was not born a Jew.
She wasn’t raised to honor God Almighty, the Creator.
A childhood of idolatry brought her an adulthood marked with sin, she was a harlot.
Joshua 2:1 KJV — And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
Yet, she chose to be a friend of God’s children and in return her life became brand new.
She went from worshipping idols to worshipping the One true God.
She went from selling herself, to be a wife and mother.
She went from a future of annihilation, to being saved.
Joshua 6:25 KJV — And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
As if these things were not enough, she became a member of the lineage of Jesus Christ.
God doesn’t allow His children to choose to live in sin without consequences.
Yet, He is merciful and full of forgiveness for the lost heart who seeks to be cleansed from sin.
The past doesn’t have to chain any life into sinful destructive behavior.
Through Christ Jesus, any life can be redeemed, if they believe and call on the name of the Lord Jesus.
Romans 3:23-25 NKJV — for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Romans 10:9 KJV — That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rehab’s life was redeemed by God.
And so has mine.
What an incredible God He is!
Jonah 4:2b NKJV — “…for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.”
Psalm 117:2 KJV — For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 103:8 KJV — The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
Nahum 1:3 NKJV — The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for all Your salvation! What an incredible thing to know that You are full of mercy and You want to redeem us. Your truth is life and the answer to all we need. Lord, help those who have yet to call on Your name and believe in Your gift of salvation to see the truth and turn to You. Lord, please do not allow those called by Your name to deceive themselves into thinking they can choose sin and still follow You. Instead, Lord, please help us to be quick to allow Your Word and Your Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, that we might walk in Your ways. Lord, shine Your light into our hearts and minds that we might reflect You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Lamentations 3:26 NKJV — It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.
It’s one of the most difficult things to do.
But in the case of our salvation, it’s a pleasure and privilege.
Because we don’t earn our salvation.
Hebrews 12:2 KJV — Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We can simply wait upon the Lord Jesus.
Because He provides all our needs.
He has given us His Word.
It’s a wonderful gift which brings us knowledge, understanding, and hope.
He has blessed us with salvation, when we believe and trust in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 68:19 KJV — Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
We even have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our hearts.
Acts 2:38 NKJV — Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 NKJV — “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Thus, we can live unto the Lord, with confident expectation and quiet waiting.
2 Timothy 4:5 NKJV — But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Our patient endurance will be rewarded, one day Christ will return!
Isaiah 40:31 KJV — But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for salvation! Lord, please continue to teach me how to walk in Your Word daily, waiting quietly upon You in all things. I know often I get distracted and worried by many things and I get tangled up in trying to do things on my own instead of humbling myself and waiting upon You. Lord, I do not want to continue in that. Please help me to recognize when I am, that I might return to trusting and waiting upon You. Thank You for Your love, Your mercy, Your faithfulness, and Your grace.
And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. Matthew 26:6-7 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.26.6-7.NKJV
This woman poured perfume upon Jesus.
And not a little, she saved none, but used it all.
Mark 14:3 NKJV — And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how much perfume this flask held, but it does include it’s value: very costly.
And this woman’s sacrifice was honored by Jesus.
Mark 14:6 NKJV — But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.
Mark 14:8 NKJV — “She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.”
Throughout the next few days; the soldiers by night, the unjust trial and beating at the Priest’s home, the interrogation of Pilate, the mocking of King Herod, the cruel and disgusting scourging, and then the walk to where He would be nailed to a tree, the fragrance of the spikenard was still on Him.
Or if the perfume couldn’t over power the stench of the betrayal, lies, and undeserved punishment, the memory.
Mark 14:9 NKJV — “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
His body had been anointed by her selfless act; it was only a tiny hint of the anointing God was going to pour out through Jesus’s.
Because through His death and Resurrection, we have salvation and the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:1-3 NKJV — When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
As we celebrate Easter, let us never grow weary of dwelling upon the enormity of the gift we have been given.
Nothing so costly has ever been nor ever will be comparable to His.
Truly, a fragrance far lasting, past death and into eternal life.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your sacrifice. Thank You for this woman’s anointing You. How full of joy she must have been to be able to give You something! Lord, the best and most costly gift I can give is my heart and life. I want to offer it to You spotless and perfect, but I can not. Please take my gift and make it beautiful through Your blood and Your Word. Please continue to hone my heart, that I might not sin against You. Thank You for forgiving me of my sin. Lord, I am so thankful for Your love and Your gift of salvation! I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” Matthew 26:59-61 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.26.59-61.NKJV
Here is the most embarrassing moment in all of history.
From the time of the serpent in the Garden, lies have been spoken about God.
Genesis 3:1 NKJV — Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
Genesis 3:2 NKJV — And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. Genesis 3:4 NKJV
And so entered sin into humanity with the taking of the fruit.
Many heinous and deplorable acts of wickedness have occurred since that moment.
Yet, this trial of Jesus is the lowest point of mankind.
The creation was prosecuting their own Creator.
But lies wouldn’t stand, they couldn’t condemn Him on falsehood, no matter how much they tried.
So, instead they accused and convicted Him on the truth.
But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “ It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:63-64 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.26.63-64.NKJV
How ironic, God’s own creation, plotted and schemed, to accuse and convict God for being Himself.
Because our sinful nature wants to be God ourselves.
And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/gen.11.4.NKJV
Mankind wants to make a name for themselves, instead of being called by God’s.
People want to live lives unto their own desires.
Thus, when faced with God in flesh, mankind choose to crucify Him.
If one is honest with themselves, and observant of others, we can easily see the accusations and falsehoods have not stopped.
“If God is so loving why all these wars, famine, and death?”
“If there is a God, He must not care about anyone, look at the mess we are in!”
“If God is truly all knowing and all powerful why didn’t He stop that?!“
Since the beginning, we have blamed God for our sin.
But the incredible thing about this is what God did through the accusations.
Jesus allowed Himself to be convicted and punished for being Himself.
Then, after dieing for all sin, He rose again and gave us a way to be saved.
Genesis 50:20 NKJV — “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
What a wonderful holy God, Who loves in such a way!
To turn lies aside and use the truth to set us free from sin and death!
2 Timothy 1:9 NKJV — who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Romans 8:28 NKJV — And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being the Son of God. Thank You for Your sacrifice and for using our accusations to show us Who You are. Lord, too often our pride and rebellion towards You causes us pain, confusion, and misunderstanding. Lord, please help us to humble ourselves, confess our sins and be made new. Please help us to relinquish our own ideas, our desires, even our dreams into Your hands, that we might follow Your perfect will as the bond servants we are called to be. Lord, please help us to discern lies from the truth. Help us to walk with You daily in humility and in surrender. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Did you ever notice when Jesus forgave those who were responsible for His death?
It was in the midst of His suffering.
Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
This truth struck me this morning as I was praying.
Jesus is the believer’s example in all things and that includes forgiveness.
Thus, we should be quick to forgive, even in the midst of the pain, right in the middle of the wrong, we need to forgive.
What about those things which happened already?
Yes, we need to forgive those who hurt us in the past as well.
Because Christ Jesus forgave us, we must forgive others.
Acts 5:31 NKJV — “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your example, that You chose to forgive, even in the middle of the most horrific abuse You were experiencing. Thank You that it doesn’t matter how much we are hurt, it matters how much You are willing and able to heal the hurt. Lord, thank You for Your incredible sacrifice. Thank You for salvation. Amen.
Matthew 26:1-2 NKJV — Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
There’s nothing which can really prepare someone for the death of a loved one.
But this is an even deeper shock.
The disciples had great expectations for Jesus and crucifixion wasn’t one of them.
Not to mention, that Jesus had done nothing wrong.
What would they accuse Him of?
How could an innocent man be allowed to pay the ultimate punishment?
Their minds couldn’t grapple the full truth of what was occurring.
The Gospels were written for those who came after.
So we might learn the truth as well as those who walked with Jesus.
Luke 24:15-17 NKJV — So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
Jesus, Himself, explained all that had happened to His disciples, that they might share the truth.
It was why He came.
Luke 24:25-27NKJV — Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
As difficult as it is to realize that Jesus was born to die on a cross, all of scripture points to Him as the Redeemer.
It is truly wonderful that Jesus knew exactly what He was walking to and when He rose, He had made the way to salvation.
As we walk forward in this week before Easter, let us spend time meditating upon Jesus.
What He did.
Who He is.
And why He did it.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your sacrifice. Nothing I can do or experience will ever compare to Your wonderful gift of salvation. How great a blessing! What a wonderful, beautiful, priceless gift! Lord, I want to honor You and Your sacrifice. I want my life to reflect Your love and truth. Please help me to live daily, carrying my cross with joy. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your love. I love You. Amen.
Philippians 1:21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching us so many things and giving us Your truth. Lord, please continue to open our minds to learning more about You each and every day. Help us to walk in Your ways, always. Please train our hearts to be humble, loving, compassionate, quick to forgive, quick to listen, and full of mercy and grace. Lord, thank You for salvation! Through the washing of Your Word, please purify our hearts and minds. Let us not look on evil, but instead focus on You. Lord, please shut off lies, deception, and trickery. Help us to put away anything which would hinder our walk with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness and amazing love. I love You, Jesus. Amen.