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Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
–  Isaiah 53.3

Meditation

The prophet Isaiah is here describing what would happen when the Lord of glory would come to earth 700 years later.  How is it that the Lord of glory would come to earth to be humiliated?  How is it that He who deserved no shame, would be shamed?

God came to earth in the life of Jesus.  He was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth.  Once He embarked on His ministry, He moved to Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee.  He traveled through the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee – locations less than 200 miles apart.  He opened blind eyes and deaf ears, He made the lame to walk and cleansed lepers, He fed the hungry and encouraged the downtrodden.  Yet when His time of crisis came, no crowd rose up to defend Him.  He was whipped and then nailed to a cross, and thus died “despised and forsaken.”

Remember: this is God Almighty come to earth!  He was not surprised at the treatment He received.  He knew this would be His fate.  Why then did He submit Himself to it?  To win us back from evil to Himself.  It’s the sort of thing loves does.

You and I have the opportunity today to imitate that love – to let that love motivate our behavior toward others.  Dare we try it?  Dare we not?

All we have to do is follow His example of going into the day determined to do our duty without any thought of seeking “esteem” from others.  It is a life “acquainted with grief” and “sorrow” because people will disappoint us.  It brings honor to our heavenly Father if we love them anyway.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, God, and Father: You sought no glory or praise on earth – You sought only to serve.  Grant that I may be similarly motivated.  Grant that today I will seek approval from no one else but You alone.  I know You see everything – now and throughout the day.  Help me think as You do…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
–  Isaiah 9:6

Meditation

This is a promise given by God through the prophet Isaiah, who lived over seven hundred years before the promise would be fulfilled.  That is, Isaiah lived in the late 8th and early 7th centuries B.C. – before Christ.  This promise was part of a long-term commitment God had to save the world that had turned away from Him.

You probably recall hearing these words during Christmas season, for they are sung as part of Handel’s Messiah.

It is really quite amazing to think that the babe born in Bethlehem (the “child,” the “son”) would grow up to perform more miracles than ever performed by any other human being and to teach things like no other human has ever taught, then be crucified for his trouble, then be raised from the dead on the third day, then be taken up into heaven, then be seated at the right hand of God, and then finally take His seat on the throne once again as King of the universe.  You see, He was only returning from whence He had come in the first place – for He was King of the universe long before He ever came to earth to be born as a human being.

Thus the “child,” who was a “son,” became “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”  This was possible because the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” had first become the “child,” the “son.”  In other words, God had traveled full circle: from glory to humility and even humiliation, then back to glory – even greater glory because He had endured such humiliation.  God is love.

This is the One whom you and I are going to serve today!  He is the One who humbled Himself for our sakes.  The least we can do in return is humble ourselves for His sake.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, God, and Father, open my eyes so I can see a little more today of all these things You are.  Let me not take You for granted.  Let me not think that any of these names are meaningless.  Reveal more of Yourself to me this morning that I might reveal more of You to my world throughout this day…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
–  Galatians 2:20

Meditation

This content-rich sentence comes from a letter the apostle Paul was writing to gatherings of believers throughout the region of Galatia – part of what is today called Asia Minor (or Turkey).

Paul is speaking of himself, but as is so often the case, he is doing so to present himself as an example for those whom he is instructing.  What he is saying is that we are to see Christ’s crucifixion as our own.  Christ did not die on that cross so that we could go on living as usual.  Rather, He died on the cross so that we could die to an old self and live to a new self.

The old self is self-centered, focused on this world and this life, trying to get ahead, trying to gain the world so we can save our souls.  It’s a life that is destined to fail; it’s going to end in death.

The new self is Christ living in me, expressing His selfless love through me, replicating His life through my new life.  This new life doesn’t end in death; rather, it transitions through resurrection from death to heaven – where we go on living forever and ever.

Through Jesus’ crucifixion, we die to the sinners we were…so that we can live to be the saint that He is.  And all because Christ “loved me” so much that He “gave Himself up for me.”  Paul’s taking this whole Jesus thing very personally…and he wants you and me to take it personally, too.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

(Re-read the Scripture above, then say…) Lord, I know that my old way of life should be tied to Your crucifixion so that I might live a new life today tied to Your resurrection.  In the next few moments, please give me glimpses of how that can look in the life of duty I need to live today.  And give me the strength to do my duty before You all day long…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
–  1 Peter 2:25

Meditation

Apart from Jesus Christ, we stray like lost sheep.  He is the good Shepherd.  He is the Guardian of our souls.

Some people think of “soul” as a religious word.  It’s not.  It’s the place in every person’s inner being where thoughts and emotions come together.  It’s where we feel joy…or despair.  It’s the place we feel hope…or fear.  It’s the place we experience peace…or restlessness.  The soul is therefore the central place we experience life…whether we are religious or not.

That the soul is where life is experienced is why Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”  People try to gain the world so they’ll feel better…but what if they feel worse for the effort?  That was Jesus’ point.

Every one of us is like a lost lamb.  Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian who finds us, re-claims us, and fills our soul with good things.  We do not have to gain the whole world – or even a significant portion of it – to be full of peace, hope, and joy.  We receive these things in abundance by serving Him daily.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, I know that if I serve You today I can have peace, hope, and joy as my reward.  Show me in the next few moments what’s important to You in my life today, and I will do my best to see that You get what You want from me…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
–  Hebrews 13:8

Meditation

Being the same yesterday and today and forever is a good thing…if you’re perfect.  The Lord Jesus Christ is perfect, so the fact that He’s the same yesterday and today and forever is a good thing.  A very good thing.

You and I are not perfect and therefore it’s not a good thing if we are the same yesterday and today and forever.  Not a good thing at all.

Jesus offered Himself to the world that the world might become more like Him – one person at a time, one day at a time.

This is what today is supposed to be about for you and me: obeying the Lord Jesus so as to become more like Him.  And if we can put together a succession of such days, then the world becomes a better place because we are becoming more and more like the One who gave His life for us.

We need Jesus to be unchanging…and He is.  He wants us to be changing…therefore, let us change.  Today.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, help me to think about how I can be more like You today than I was yesterday…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

…It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
–  Colossians 3:24

Meditation

Jesus Christ is “the Lord.”  The word “Lord,” if it means anything at all, means authority.  Therefore, when you call Jesus “Lord,” you are saying He has authority over you.

The alternative to authority is autonomy.  To live autonomously is to live out from under authority – it is to be your own boss, to answer only to yourself.

The choice we have in life, and the choice we have each and every day of life is:  authority or autonomy.  How will we live today?  Will we live it under the authority of Christ or will we live it autonomously?  This is not about how we appear to others; it’s about how we think in our hearts, how we make decisions.

Today will either be a day of service to ourselves, our interests, our desires…or it will be a day of service to the Lord Jesus, His interests, His desires.  The difference between living under His authority and living autonomously is simple, but it is very, very profound.  Let’s make today count for Him.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, I want it to mean something when I call You that.  Open my eyes to see how different will be my thoughts toward today when I think of living it under Your authority rather than living it autonomously.  And then give me the strength to live it under Your authority…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts

Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ

Scripture

For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
–  2 Corinthians 4:5

Meditation

In this portion of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, Greece, he makes clear his relationship with them.  He is not their master – he is their servant.  Jesus alone is the Master.

When Paul says this, he’s not just speaking for himself – he’s speaking for all the apostles.  They laid down their lives to make the Lord Jesus known to others.  They did not seek followers for themselves; they sought followers for the Lord.  They did not seek honor for themselves; they sought honor for the Lord.  They did not seek privilege for themselves; they sought privilege for the Lord.

The New Testament is full of examples of selflessness like what’s being shown here by Paul.  It’s the kind of selflessness Jesus Himself demonstrated and taught.  One of the most amazing dynamics to see in the New Testament is to see how much Jesus’ closest disciples became like Him.  He gave up His life in service to others; and His closest disciples ended up doing the same.

There is room for only one Lord in this earth – but there is room for many, many servants.

Prayer

(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking.  Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.”  During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come.  That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)

Lord, I am content for you to be Lord of all today, and for me to be a servant of others.  So shine through my life that people will see You as Lord, and follow You as I seek to do.  As I think about the day before me, show me how I can treat you as Lord in every situation…(being quiet before Him)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts