John 8:31 Daily Devotion March 02

Devotion March 02

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.

Jesus was being challenged by some Jewish Pharisees concerning His claim that He is the Son of God. However, Jesus quashed their attempts to discredit Him. He never sought to conceal the truth, even in the face of most fearsome opposition. With greater boldness and determination our Lord declared the truth, even though the Jewish leaders were fuming with anger. The more they opposed, the more He testified.

His answers and assertions were so convincing that some of the Jews who heard Him speak believed at once that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. They received His doctrine. Though many of the Jewish leaders became more obstinate and cynical under His preaching, there were also many who repented and believed on Him upon hearing His irrefutable, cogent and compelling proclamation of truth.

The unbelieving and recalcitrant Pharisees often followed Christ to engage Him in debates, and to denounce His teachings. They also wanted to dissuade the people from following Him. Jesus was fully aware of their intentions. So He said to the believing Jews, what true discipleship means. He said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”

It is not uncommon that some hearers, being moved by the reasoning and earnestness of the preacher, manifest a great amount of sympathy and even excitement about the truth expounded. However, their enthusiasm soon vanishes, and they are no more to be found among the adherents of Christ. Such fleeting fervour is not the mark of a true disciple.

The true evidence of a genuine disciple of Christ is that he continues in the Saviour’s Word. This is the true test of Christian character. The apostle John said in 1 John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” So the apostle also reminds us in 1 John 2:24, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” It is to those who persevere in His Word with obedience that Jesus says “then are ye my disciples indeed.” True Christians will always delight in the Word of their Lord; and only such will have the attestation and assurance from the Lord that they are His true disciples.

February 20 Daily Devotion Ephesians 2:4

Ephesians 2:4

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.

The worldly man speaks of riches in terms of material wealth. He yearns for money, jewellery, big houses and luxury items. Sadly, even churchgoers of our time are overly concerned for material riches.

But a godly man, like the apostle Paul, will be extremely vigilant and cautious toward material wealth (cf.1 Tim. 6:9-11). In fact, such a man will also be overwhelmingly fascinated with the riches of God. In his epistles, Paul spoke glowingly of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8), “the exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph. 2:7; 1:7), “the riches of his glory” (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:18; 3:16), “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4), “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33), etc.

Our text for today declares that God is rich in mercy. The riches of His mercy far outshine all the wealth of this world. While man becomes rich by hoarding things for himself, the riches of God’s mercy endlessly bestow His goodness and glory on those who need them. He is so rich in mercy that no one who comes to Him for His mercy shall be turned away for lack of it.

What sinners like us need most from God is His mercy. Shall we dare to approach His awful throne for His blessings? The answer is that He is rich in mercy! Are we then worthy to ask favours from Him? The answer is that His mercy is abundant to those who seek Him. You need not possess any merit nor meet any eligibility requirement. Just come to Him, you shall have mercy; and His mercy shall supply all your needs.

What is the guarantee of the bestowal of His mercy? The apostle assuredly says, “for his great love wherewith he loved us.” The love of God towards His people is everlasting, and His loving hands are always stretched out to receive those who come and to bestow upon them His rich mercies.

The richness of His mercy and the greatness of His love are both now extended to His children in full measure. O what great encouragement we are given to come to our God! There is no reason why we should hesitate to come to Him. He says to us, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

January 8 – Daily Devotion – Colossians 3:1

Colossians 3:1

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The opening words of the verse, “if ye then be risen with Christ” assume that the readers are those who have experienced the new life in Christ (or those who are born again). The word “if” is used logically, as a means of argument, and not as a means of doubt.

Representatively, all the elect of God died with Christ unto sin and resurrected with Him unto newness of life. Also, dying and rising with Christ is a spiritual reality that they experience. In the earlier chapter, Paul told the believers that “And you, being dead in your sins… hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13). So those who are “risen with Christ” are no more dead in their sins, but they “are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12b). Our faith in Christ, the joy of forgiveness, sanctification and all other spiritual realities we enjoy are evidences of the power of His resurrection that is at work in our lives (Cf. Eph. 1:19-20).

In our text, Paul speaks of the new spiritual pursuit of those who are risen with Christ for they will “seek” (zēteite) or strive earnestly for those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. The Phrase, “those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” points us to all things with reference to Christ’s present exalted state.

Since He is interceding for us as our advocate at His Father’s side, we must seek His forgiveness and sanctification (Cf. 1 Jn. 2:1).

Since Christ reigns in heaven as the Head of the church, we must submit to His headship (Eph. 1:20-22; 5:23-24); we must give Him preeminence in all the affairs of our life (Col. 1:18); we must seek to be nourished up in the fullness He grants us as our Head (cf. Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 2:10,19); we must seek to grow unto the Head, even our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:15); and we must seek to be knitted together as His body (Col. 2:19).

Since He is preparing a place for us there in heaven, let us be ready for His coming and for the heaven and rewards He prepares for us (Jn. 14:1-3; Col. 3:24; Heb. 10:35).

January 7 – Daily Devotion – Acts 19:20

Acts 19:20

So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

When Apostle Paul and his team arrived in the city of Ephesus, they preached the Gospel to the Jews first. Paul went into Jewish synagogue and “spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). But some of the hearers “were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude” (Acts 19:9). He was forced to move out of the synagogue; and teach in the school of Tyrannus. Notwithstanding the hostility, Paul undauntedly preached the Word, influencing the Jews as well as the Greeks in that city and its surrounding region (Acts 19:10).

Another giant obstacle to the Gospel advancement was the city’s enchantment with sorcery and witchcraft. Ephesus was renowned for the statue of Artemis and her temple. The statue had mysterious engravings on the crown, girdle, and feet. Those mystic writings, referred to as “Ephesian scripts”, were considered to have magical power. Sorcery was part of Ephesian culture. Some of the Jews also practiced wizardry. Acts 19:13 reports that “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. When seven sons of the chief of the Jewish priests, named Sceva, tried to exorcise the demon in the name of Jesus, they were violently attacked by the demonic man. This incident brought much fear among the people.

Nonetheless, the preaching of the Word of God turned many away from their diabolical practices. “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Acts 19:18,19).  Mightily did the Word of God grow and prevail in that city, where unbelief and fierce demonic activities stood in its way.

In our own day, many dabble with horoscopes, tarot cards, crystal balls, Ouija boards, séances, and other mystic and demonic acivites, which are dangerous to their minds and emotions. If the church is committed to preach the Word faithfully and fervently, we will see some people being delivered from the enticement and enslavement of the devil and unbelief. The preaching of the Word shall prevail all demonic powers!

January 6 – Daily Devotion –

Luke 11:28

But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Jesus spoke those words in response to a woman who loudly acclaimed the blessedness of Mary, His mother. Her words about Mary were, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked” (Lk. 11:27). Jesus neither denies her words, nor reproves her for what she said. In fact, His words “yea, rather” infer that He agreed to the woman’s suggestion that Mary was blessed to bear and suckle such a child (Cf. Lk. 1:27-28, 42, 48), and also wanted to pronounce something more joyous than the honour and privilege of bearing and suckling the Holy Child. Jesus wanted them to possess the greatest, noblest, and purest joy that transcends all other rejoicing of man.

Have you realised that there is no greater blessedness than hearing and obeying God’s Word?  Jesus said, “Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” True happiness belongs to those who hear and obey the Word of God. This is a greater blessedness than being physically related to Jesus. He wanted all to know that more than an earthly relationship with Him, they should seek a spiritual relationship that leads to ultimate joy.

True loving relationship with Christ is one’s faithful allegiance to His Words. On another occasion Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15). We must not only hear His words, but also obey them diligently. As James wrote in his epistle, “…not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

Where there is high regard for His Word, there His love, cheer and blessings will flourish. His promises of blessedness to those hear and obey are repeated in the Scriptures. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 22:7 assures, “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”

Even if you give assent to His Word with your nods, it would be of no avail unless you hear, believe and put into practice. Blessedness belongs to those who hear and obey His Word. He who hears to believe, and believes to do His Word shall be blessed.

January 5 – Daily Devotion – Hebrews 4:12a

Hebrews 4:12a

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.

Three astounding properties of the Word of God are revealed in our reading from Hebrews 4:12. No other book wields such qualities as the Bible. This is because it is “the Word of God.” It is divine. It is that which God has revealed through His selected servants (cf. 2 Pet. 1:21). It is God’s revelation of His truth. All that it says is from God.

The first quality of the Bible mentioned here is “quick”. The word “quick” is the translation of a Greek Word zon which means “living.” Its original verbal form in the Greek text (present participle) suggests a constantly active kind of living. The Word of God is not lifeless, dormant or impassive. As the living Word, it powerfully interacts with those who seek its counsels. In John 6:63, Jesus said, The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The Christian martyr, Stephen referred to God’s Word as “lively oracles” (Acts 7:38). Because God’s Word is quick, it can quicken our souls. It is not only living, but also life-giving.

The second quality of the Bible stated here is “powerful.” The word “powerful” is the translation of the Greek word energes (ἐνεργες), from which we get the English word “energy”. It indicates that the Word of God is active and energizing. It is able to act and produce all that God has purposed it to accomplish. The Lord said in Isaiah 55:11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, we read, “the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

The third quality of the Bible identified here is that it is “sharper than any twoedged sword.” This depiction of the Word of God is found several times in the Bible (cf. Is. 49:2; Rev. 1:16; 2:12; 19:15). The metaphor of the double-edged sword is used to give us a graphic picture of the awesome work that the Word of God can accomplish. God’s Word can pierce, or penetrate our thoughts. The Word of God can cut through our conscience to lay bare and confront all our wicked and defiant ways. It exhorts, rebukes, corrects, instructs all who hear.

The Bible is living, because its Author lives for ever. It is powerful for its Author is omnipotent. It pierces our hearts for its Author is all-knowing.

January 4 – Daily Devotion – 1 Peter 1:23a

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God (1 Peter 1:23a).

All genuine Christians are “born again.” Here, a second birth other than the natural birth is mentioned. Jesus, in his conversation with Nicodemus, said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). So being born-again is to enter God’s kingdom. Jesus tells us, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). In other words, no one enters His kingdom by virtue of his natural birth. Even though you are born to Christian parents, you do not enter His kingdom until you are born-again.

Our text also says that being born again is not of “corruptible seed.” In other words, it is not by means of any perishable seed of this earth. No earthly or human means, which are perishable, is sufficient to give us access into God’s Kingdom.

Again, our text says, “But of incorruptible, by the word of God” that one is born again. Only by means of the “incorruptible” or imperishable seed that one can be born again. This incorruptible seed, the imperishable life, is planted in a man “by the word of God.”

Here, “the word of God” is set forth as the means by which the incorruptible seed is implanted that one may be born into God’s kingdom.  James says in James 1:18,Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”  The word of God is the divine means of our regeneration. God’s Word has the power to give life to those who were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

Later in verse 25, Peter reminded his readers that “this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” The word of God is brought to us by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and by believing it we are born again.  How important it is that the gospel will be preached everywhere for the regeneration of man! Let us pray that the Lord will raise preachers of His Word, and that His Spirit would empower them to preach the gospel effectively. At the same let us praise God for the understanding of His word that He has given to us that we might be born into His kingdom. Let us also love the Word of God and meditate upon it daily that we may persevere in our spiritual life and bear fruits.

January 3 – Daily Devotion – Matthew 24:35

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

What a glorious affirmation by the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ concerning all the words He hath revealed to us! Every word in the Bible that He has revealed is here to stay. You may sooner see the heaven and earth pass away, than His words fail. The permanency of every word that the Lord has revealed by His Spirit (Cf. 1 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16) is here guaranteed by Him.

The enduring nature of all the words that He has revealed in the Bible is unequivocally declared by the Lord Himself. He will not fail, neither His words. We must trust His promise concerning all His words to be true. His words are not transient, but permanent!

Jesus’ assurance concerning the ever-abiding nature of His words was declared not only by Matthew, but also by the other Gospel writers, namely Mark and Luke (Cf. Mk. 13:31; Lk. 21:33).

Jesus’ assertion of the eternality of His words has been reiterated by His apostles in their epistles.  For instance, Apostle Peter said,   “… The word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23b). “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:25a).

Deplorably, even scholars within the church challenge the authenticity and accuracy of the words of the Scripture. Worse still, a vast number of church goers, including preachers, do not believe that every word of the Bible is perfectly preserved. But let us pay attention to Jesus’ promise that His words are immortal and immutable. Since we have Jesus’ assurance concerning the unchanging nature of all the words of the Bible, let us boldly reject all the suggestions of errors in the Bible. Every word of the Bible is perfect, true, and eternal, not because scholars said so, but Jesus said so. There is no greater witness to the infallibility, inerrancy, perfection and eternality of the words of the Bible than Christ, our Saviour.

Upon the ever-abiding and never-changing words, let us build our lives. There is no other foundation stable and steadfast like His words to build our lives on. What precious promise Jesus has given us that we can fully trust all His words to be true and faithful forever!

January 2 – Daily Devotion – Psalm 103:2

Psalm 103:2

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

The proper response to divine favours received is a personal commitment to bless the LORD. Thankfulness leads the beneficiary to worship the Giver, who is the LORD. In the previous verse, the psalmist has already exhorted his soul twice to bless the LORD; and now a third time he says, “Bless the Lord.”  The repetition denotes the earnestness of his desire to express His gratitude. Besides, he stirs up his soul to employ itself in grateful worship of the LORD. The worship of the Lord must rise from the inner man. It is a soul-work. Jesus reprimanded those who engaged in lip-worship. Citing Isaiah, He said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8; Cf. Is. 29:13; Ezek. 33:31). No worship exists when the heart is not sincerely and earnestly employed in praising the LORD.

In Deuteronomy 8:10-14 the LORD warned Israel against forgetting His benefits – “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God …”

Recollecting and recognising the LORD’s help, guidance, rebuke, promises, spiritual blessings, physical provisions, strength, hope, etc. will provide genuine impetuses for the worship of His name. Grateful emotions make the soul to yearn to bless the LORD. Recognition of the Lord’s blessings in his life caused a psalmist to cry out, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people” (Ps. 116:12-14).

In order to mould oneself to be a better worshipper of the LORD, one should awaken his memory of the benefits he received from the LORD. Our memory is like a large storehouse. Recollection will bring to present awareness those things stored up in the memory, producing powerful passions of gratitude and worship in our hearts.

January 1 Daily Devotion – Psalm 103:1

Psalm 103:1

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

This is the first line of a psalm of praise, which glorifies the Lord for all His gracious blessings upon His servant, David. The object of praise in this psalm is the LORD; and that is clearly set forth right at the beginning of the verse, when it says, “Bless the LORD.” The LORD is worthy of our praise at all times. As Psalms 145:3 tells us, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised” (Cf. Ps. 48:1; 96:4; 147:5).

What does it mean to say “Bless the LORD”? When the LORD “blesses” us, He mercifully bestows upon us His goodness. But when we “bless” God, we add nothing to Him, for He lacks nothing, and needs nothing from us. Our blessing the LORD is a grateful acknowledgement that He is the source of all our blessings. When we joyfully recognise and exclaim that the LORD had done great things for us and praise Him for His blessings, we bless the LORD. Each of His children must say, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1; Cf. Deut. 8:10; 1Chr.29:20; Neh. 9:5; Ps. 16:7; 26:12; 34:1; 103:1-2,20,22; 104:1; 115:18; 134:2; 135:19-20).

The psalmist’s commitment to worship and praise the LORD is revealed in his self-exhortation, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Furthermore, he summoned all his powers and passions to praise the LORD, saying, “And all that is within me, bless his holy name.” A genuine worshipper would employ his heart, his mind, his emotions and all his strength to render praises to the LORD.

Twice, in this verse, the psalmist urged himself to bless the LORD. Such reiteration would help the believer to avoid slothfulness or negligence that would prevent him from worshipping the LORD wholeheartedly. He fortified his self-exhortation to bless the LORD by citing another solemn reason for the worship of the LORD, namely, the fact that the LORD is holy. So He said, “Bless His holy name.”

It is most reasonable that we bless the LORD, for He is Holy. Before the LORD, who is holy we must bow in humble and solemn prostration. Like the Seraphims, the angelic hosts that surround the heavenly throne, we must worship the Lord saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is. 6:3). Psalms 99:5 also teaches us, “Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.”