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Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ – 46 of 366

Scripture

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
–  Matthew 6:34  NASB

Meditation

Jesus is here teaching us to take one day at a time.  That’s how we’re approaching our devotion to Christ in these blog posts: in daily increments.  Of course, we want to live our whole lives for Christ, but any life lived well is lived in a steady daily direction.  And since this series of posts is titled “Daily Devotion to Jesus Christ,” it’s clear that we’re seeking to express our devotion to Him one day at a time.

In His wisdom, God designed life so that it has to be lived one day at a time.  We see this in the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible.  In that first chapter, God divided His creative activity into days.  He did this on one day, and that on another.  As the consummate part of that daily activity, “He made man in His image.”  Thus God divided life into subsets of days even before He brought us on the scene.  And thus the punctuation of life by days is inherent in the very design of creation.

Even if, however, we did not have the book of Genesis, we would still know that we have to live life one day at a time because of our need for sleep.  God could have designed life so that we never slept.  Instead, He crafted it so that about one-third of every twenty-four hour period would have to be given over to sleep – thus providing a clear distinction between one period of living and the next.

Why might God have made life a series of days instead of one very long day?  Jesus is making clear in His teaching above that this is God’s way of allowing us to more easily manage our lives.  It’s easier to focus on how to live today if we don’t have to figure out how to live tomorrow – and all our tomorrow’s – simultaneously.

Therefore, when you pray each day, don’t let the worries of tomorrow bleed into the concerns of today.  Focus on what you need from God today – and today only.  You’ll be less distracted that way.

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.)

Jesus my Lord, thank You for giving life to me in manageable units.  My questions to You today have only to do with today; I’ll ask You tomorrow what pertains to tomorrow…(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 – 45 of 366

Scripture

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
–  John 8:12  NASB

Meditation

Today’s verse will remind you of something else Jesus said – a verse that we focused on several days ago.  It was:

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
–  John 12:46  NASB

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the lights went out.  When Jesus came, it was the lights coming back on.  If you think my imagery sounds overly dramatic, it’s not.  Remember what God said to Adam:

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
–  Genesis 2:16-17 NASB

Note that God said, “…in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” – and that’s just what happened.  Adam and Eve didn’t die physically that day – physical death for them would come many years later.  But that very day they died spiritually.  That is, the creatures became disconnected from their Creator.  And that disconnection affected all their descendants.  Therefore, God thereafter worked for thousands of years to restore the connection between Himself and humanity…through Jesus Christ.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” He was announcing that the light that had been removed from human beings in the garden of Eden because of their sin was being turned back on through the forgiveness they could receive through Him.

Jesus shines from heaven in order that the human race might be raised from the dead – the death that came when Adam and Eve broke relationship with God.  This resurrection we have in Christ is not merely for when we physically die – God wants us raised in the here and now, too.  To be connected to Jesus is to be alive in this world.

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.)

Dear Creator and Redeemer, thank You for redeeming us from sin and death as well as for creating us in the first place.  Let me be awake to You today.  Let me be alive in Your presence.  Show me now how the otherwise mundane duties of my day can be lived in Your loving sight and for Your righteous pleasure…(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 – 44 of 366

Scripture

…proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
–  1 Peter 2:9  NASB

Meditation

In the past week or so, we’ve heard about light and darkness from a variety of scriptural voices: David, Isaiah, Micah, Malachi, and Jesus Himself.  Today, we hear from Peter.  Before we focus on Peter’s statement, however, let me show you three scriptures that speak of light in a different way (emphasis added).  The first statement is Jesus speaking to His disciples:

You are the light of the world…”
–  Matthew 5:14 NASB

The next statement is the apostle Paul addressing the believers in Philippi:

you appear as lights in the world,
–  Philippians 2:15 NASB

The last statement is Paul addressing the believers in Ephesus:

you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord”
–  Ephesians 5:8 NASB

What is going on here?  We’ve read for a week about Jesus – the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord – being the light.  Then today we see these scriptures saying that believers in Him are light.  How can both things be true?  Jesus Christ is the source of light; believers in Him are recipients of that light.

Christ is like the sun and those who believe in Him are like the moon.  The sun emanates light, but the moon only reflects light – specifically, it reflects the sun’s light.  For this reason, it was all the more apt for Malachi to call the Messiah “the sun of righteousness.”

Thus Peter writes of His excellencies, not ours (“proclaim the excellencies of Him…”).  And thus Peter writes of His light, not ours (“…His marvelous light”).  The gospel (good news) is about Him, not us.

Christ is the light.  It’s His light into which we are called (“…who has called you out of darkness…”).  Thus Paul could put the Lord’s call in poetic terms:

“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
–  Ephesians 5:14 NASB

We were asleep.  We were dead.  We were darkness.  We couldn’t see our hand in front of our face – spiritually speaking – if it were not for Him who suffered and died on the cross to demonstrate His love for us.  And being raised from the dead three days later, He demonstrates His love for us to be undying!  He is a sun that will never set.

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 of Light, knowing You has brought me out of darkness.  Let me know You better so that I won’t be drawn back into darkness…(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 – 43 of 366

Scripture

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
–  2 Corinthians 4:6  NASB

Meditation

This verse from Paul helps us understand better the contrast we’ve been seeing between light and darkness in the various scripture verses covered in the last week.

Notice first and foremost that the Light of the glory of God is found in Christ (i.e., Messiah).  From the Bible’s point of view, if we’re going to understand God, we need to understand Christ.  This is because God reveals Himself in Christ.

  • Christ is the name God has made for Himself in the earth.
  • Christ is the greatest and fullest revelation of God that we have.
  • This is why our daily devotions are devotions to Christ.

If you can grasp Christ, you have grasped God.  If you reject Christ, you cannot find God.  (If this sounds like Christ is the only way to God, it is because God intended it to sound this way.)

Next notice that the “Light” is “knowledge” (“the Light of the knowledge“).  That doesn’t just mean intellectual knowledge.  It means awareness, knowing, consciousness of, intimacy with.

Notice also that this is all a matter of the heart (“has shone in our hearts“).

Therefore, it is the awareness (consciousness) of Christ in our hearts that is bringing us life with God.  This “light” is an enlightenment of the soul.  Christ brings us out of “the dark night of the soul” into His glorious light.  We walk in the light as we continue in this awareness.  However, if we return to sin, we return to darkness.

To sin means “to miss the mark.”  Thus James tells us:

  …to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
–  James 4:17

There again is the concept of knowledge (“knows the right thing to do”).  Sin is what you know deep down is wrong.

Therefore, out of the darkness of our hearts, the light (knowledge) of Christ shines to lead us out of sin – that is, lead us to doing the right thing.  If we keep following that light, it will eventually drive all the darkness out of our hearts.

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.)

Heavenly Father, thank You for the light of Christ that shines in my heart.  Draw me closer to the fullness of Your light 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 – 42 of 366

Scripture

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
–  2 Corinthians 4:3-4  NASB

Meditation

Our passage today is taken from the apostle Paul’s second letter to believers in the city of Corinth.  In recent days, we have been focusing on verses that similarly portray the Lord as “light in the darkness.” Consider, for example, the contrast between light (bold print) and darkness (italics) in some of the verses we have recently studied – the first two from the Old Testament and the third from the New Testament:

…Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.
–  Micah 7:8  NASB

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you…
–  Isaiah 60:1-3 NASB

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
–  John 12:46  NASB

In the 2 Corinthians passage, Paul is acknowledging that those who do not believe in the gospel (good news) of Christ are blind to its light.  Why do some people remain in darkness while others come to the light?  Jesus gave us the answer when we looked at the following passage a couple of weeks ago (again I will emphasize references to light and darkness):

…the Light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness rather than the Light,
for their deeds were evil.
For everyone who does evil hates the Light,
and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed…”
–  John 3:19-21 NASB

Thus we see that those who remain in darkness do so according to their own desire to stick with their sins.  Do not gloat that you have come to the light.  Instead, be humble and stay repentant, knowing that if you return to your sins you will be returning to darkness.  We must love the Lord Jesus more than we love sin.  Temptation abounds, but we avoid it by walking in His Light.

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.)

O Lord our God, draw me closer to Your light today so that darkness cannot reclaim 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 – 41 of 366

Scripture

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
–  Numbers 6:24-26  NASB

Meditation

The words of this passage may sound familiar.  A minister often recites them when he is dismissing a congregation.  Maybe the words will seem even more familiar if I give them to you from the King James Version:

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.
–  Numbers 6:24-26  KJV

Who is “the Lord” in these verses?  For us who live in the wake of the New Testament, it is clearly and without a doubt Jesus of Nazareth, descendant of King David, raised from the dead on the third day after being crucified, and ascended to heaven in eternal glory.

How is it that His face can shine upon us?  According to the prophets we have been reading the last few days, He is the One Malachi said would rise as “the sun of righteousness,” who was called by David “my light and my salvation,” and who was addressed as “a light in darkness” by Micah.  Through the apostle John, we know that Jesus called Himself the “Light” that came “into the world.”  And here again is one of Isaiah’s prophecies:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
– Isaiah 60:1-3 NASB

This light is for those of us who believe in Him, who live for Him, who arrange our thoughts and behavior in hope of His approval.  Yet the world around us is in deep darkness because they do not believe in Him and do not look to Him in this way.  What will we do – will we trust the light or trust the darkness?

If we want His face to shine on us, let us give Him things to beam about.

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 Jesus, bless us and keep us today.  Make Your face shine on us and be gracious to us today.  Lift up Your countenance on us and give us peace today…(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 – 40 of 366

Scripture

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
–  John 12:46  NASB

Meditation

These are words of Jesus found in the Gospel of John.  Of course, you knew that they were Jesus’ words…because who else talks this way and can get away with it?  As British author C. S. Lewis said about Jesus in his World War II radio talks, which were later published in his book Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.”  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that option open to us.  He did not intend to.

In boldly claiming to be the “Light” that penetrates the world’s “darkness,” Jesus was, among other things, claiming to be the fulfillment of God’s promise through Isaiah that we read yesterday:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
– Isaiah 60:1-3  NASB

The Israelites had been waiting over 700 years for Isaiah’s words about light and darkness to be fulfilled.  Jesus was leaving no doubt that the time had come.

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.)

O Light of the world, shine on me today!  Let Your glory be reflected in my thoughts and words.  Let me be Your blessing to the lives of those around me today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)…  Amen.

Index to Scriptures Used in These Daily Posts