Daily Devotionals

The Pastor of the church provides a daily devotional entitled Think Upon These Things hoping it will be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and strengthening of your faith. It is not intended to take the place of other devotional materials (Our Daily Bread, Open Windows, etc.) but to supplement those devotionals. Contact the church office if you wish to receive Think Upon These Things via email, or subscribe to the church's website and it will be sent to you automatically. We pray it will be an encouragement to you.

August 19, 2022

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word (John 17:6).

We have taken a very brief look at the sovereignty of God in salvation, but we cannot overlook the accountability of the person in salvation. While it is true that a person cannot be saved unless God extends grace and gives faith to that person to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it is also true that the person to whom grace has been extended and faith is given must exercise faith in Jesus Christ to obey the Gospel. The classic text that addresses both the sovereignty of God and the accountability of man is Romans 10:8-21.

August 18, 2022

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word (John 17:6).

August 17, 2022

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word (John 17:6).

In His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus made it clear that salvation comes to those whom the Father has given to Him out of the world. This underscores the biblical doctrine of the sovereignty of God and His election of those who will be saved. It also underscores the truth that sinners are responsible and are held accountable for how they respond to the Gospel. Although some may question the validity of this doctrine and its relationship to salvation, Scripture makes clear both the sovereignty of God and the accountability of man.

August 16, 2022

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was (John 17:5).
 
The prayer of Jesus reveals His confidence in the Father and His intimate knowledge of the will of the Father. Sometimes our prayers express our wishes and hopes. His prayer expressed His knowledge of the truth. In perfecting God’s plan of salvation on earth, Jesus knew He would return to the Father in heaven in an exalted state at the right hand of the Father, the same state He had before His incarnation. His prayer stressed the desire for that return to the glory He had with the Father in eternity past.
 

August 15, 2022

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do (John 17:4).

As noted before, there were a number of ways in which Jesus glorified the Father on earth. Here, the fullest expression of Jesus’ obedience that glorified the Father on earth was His death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). It was God’s plan from the beginning that Jesus should die a sacrificial, atoning death. Everything about His life culminated in the cross, expressed by His final two words from the cross, (John 19:30) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” and (Luke 23:46) He said, “Father, ‘Into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last

August 14, 2022

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

August 13, 2022

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

August 12, 2022

. . . as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him (John 17:2).

I was taught that I made the decision to be saved. The Gospel was preached and taught to me. I knew the Father loved me, that Jesus died on the cross to save me, and that it was Their desire for me to be saved - but it was my decision. In every church service I attended an invitation was given. I could say ‘yes’ and be saved, or I could say ‘no’ and not be saved. I made the choice.

August 11, 2022

. . . as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him (John 17:2).

This prayer of Jesus is fraught with highly controversial, yet solid biblical theology. This verse is a prime example. First, authority over all flesh (humanity and creation) has been given to Jesus Christ by the Father.

August 10, 2022

Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You . . .” (John 17:1).

Jesus did not seek His own glory personally, but that His sacrifice on the cross would bring glory to God. It was a selfless request. It was a holy and righteous request. Dr. Leon Morris wrote, “This part of the prayer is often said to be Jesus’ prayer for himself. As he prays that he may be glorified (vv.1,5) there is perhaps something in this. But this in not prayer ‘for’ himself in the way we usually understand this. Since his glorification is to be seen in the cross it is a prayer rather that the Father’s will may be done in him. If we do talk about this as Jesus’ prayer for himself, we should at least be clear that there is no self-seeking in it.”

August 9, 2022

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You . . .” (John 17:1).

August 8, 2022

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You . . .” (John 17:1).

August 7, 2022

THE HOUR HAS COME
Sunday, August 07, 2022

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” . . . (John 17:1).

Every word of this prayer is precious, important, and revealing. It is purposeful. By that I mean it is not a prayer where the one praying is simply rattling off random thoughts and ideas, wants and desires, meaningless information (as if God doesn’t already know all things!), etc. No. Every word of Jesus in this High Priestly Prayer has meaning and purpose - it stands on a firm foundation, it goes somewhere, it accomplishes a higher and nobler purpose than mere praying for prayer’s sake. 

August 6, 2022

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” . . . (John 17:1).

August 5, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Here the instructions of Jesus to His disciples are concluded until after the resurrection. It was a monumental body of truth that He gave, often repeating certain truths for emphasis. As stated earlier, I have no doubt the disciples couldn’t grasp much of it because of their emotional pain, frustration, and sorrow. But the promise of the Holy Spirit was included in these words of Jesus, and the comforting reality that He would remind them of all that Jesus had said and would give them insight to the meaning of His words.

August 4, 2022

I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:32).

Webster defines alone as, “without company; companionless.” Loneliness is defined as, “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone, lonesome; destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship.” Some people are alone, but not lonely; they like their solitude. Other people are alone and lonely; they find it difficult to live without friendly companionship. And some people are not alone, but lonely, even in a crowd.

August 3, 2022

Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:31-32).

August 2, 2022

His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:28-32).

August 1, 2022

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father." His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:28-32).

July 31, 2022

In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God (John 16:26-27).

Frederick M. Lehman (1868-1953) penned these words to one of my favorite hymns: “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill, and ev’ryone a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure - the saints’ and angels’ song.”

July 30, 2022

In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God (John 16:26-27).

Some of the teachings of Jesus are difficult to understand and accept. They challenge some of the ideas we have held for years, ideas that have developed from a less than thorough study and understanding of Scripture. 

July 29, 2022

These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father (John 16:25-28).

July 28, 2022

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:23-24).

Biblical joy is choosing to respond to external circumstances with inner contentment and satisfaction, because the believer knows God will use those circumstances to accomplish His work in and through their lives.

July 27, 2022

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:23-24).

July 26, 2022

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:23-24).

July 25, 2022

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you (John 16:22).

July 24, 2022

Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. "And in that day you will ask Me nothing.

July 23, 2022

"A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father." Then some of His disciples said among themselves, "What is this that He says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?" They said therefore, "What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is saying" (John 16:16-18).

July 22, 2022

A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father (John 16:16).

July 21, 2022

A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father (John 16:16).

July 20, 2022

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:13-14).
 
The Holy Spirit came to guide (hodegeo: show the way; lead) the disciples into all truth. The word ‘all’ (pas) is not an inclusive term. In other words, the Holy Spirit was not sent to the disciples, or to us, to give us knowledge on every single subject known, and unknown, to man. His leading would be limited to the parameters Jesus set in these verses.
 

July 19, 2022

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:13-14).

Just as Jesus came to reveal to mankind the truth concerning God the Father, so the Holy Spirit has come to reveal to mankind the truth concerning Jesus Christ. Everything about the life and ministry of Jesus was about the Father - He lived in complete obedience to the will and word of the Father, He lived in complete fellowship with the Father, what the Father wanted Jesus to speak, that’s what He spoke, etc.

July 18, 2022

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:13-14).

Truth is what is real. Not only would the Holy Spirit teach the disciples all things, and bring to their remembrance all things that Jesus said to them (John 14:26), not only would He fulfill the Lord’s promises to the disciples, not only would He convict the world with regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment, He will also lead the followers of Jesus into all truth.

July 17, 2022

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now (John 16:12).

Joseph Scriven (1834-1918) wrote the lyrics to a once popular hymn, “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

July 16, 2022

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:8-11).

July 15, 2022

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:8-11).

July 14, 2022

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:8-11).

July 13, 2022

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:8-11).

The Holy Spirit has been sent not only to minister to the church, but also to the world. In His explanation for sending the Holy Spirit, Jesus points out three activities He will have on the world - convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. These activities, while looked upon by the church as being negative, are in fact positive actions of the Spirit upon the unbelieving world.

July 12, 2022

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).

July 11, 2022

But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart (John 16:5-6).

Over the course of many years I have stood at the deathbed, casket, or grave-side of hundreds of people. Some of them had no faith in Jesus Christ, no fellowship with God the Father, no hope of eternal life. Many of them did. What has been interesting is to note the reactions and responses of people in both groups. In many instances it didn’t matter what the spiritual condition of the deceased person had been, or what the spiritual condition of those who remained had been. Most demonstrated a sorrow that was contrary to what the Apostle Paul said it should be in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. 

July 10, 2022

But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you (John 16:4).

Over and over again Jesus warned the disciples of the coming opposition to the Gospel and persecution to those who bear witness of it. He again emphasized the necessity to be prepared when the time of testing arrived. At that time the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance those things He told them.

July 9, 2022

They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me (John 16:2-3).

In the Reformed faith there is a strong adherence to five cardinal principles espoused by John Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564). These five principles are symbolized by the acrostic T.U.L.I.P., which stands for: Total depravity of man, Unconditional election of God, Limited atonement of Christ, Irresistible grace of God, and Perseverance of the saints.

July 8, 2022

They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me (John 16:2-3).

July 7, 2022

They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me (John 16:2-3).

July 6, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (John 16:1).

Scripture teaches us that God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (present at all times). Scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit share in these same attributes because they are one with God the Father in essence, character, nature, and purpose. This begs the question, “If Jesus knew the disciples would fail in their loyalty to, and faith in Him, then why warn them about it?”

July 5, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (John 16:1).

July 4, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (John 16:1).

The word ‘stumble’ (skandalizo) is translated as ‘fall away’ in the NET, ESV; ‘abandon faith’ in the NLT, GNB; ‘stumble’ in the RSV, NASB, NKJV, ASV; ‘offended’ in the KJV; ‘lose faith’ in GW; to ‘doubt’ in the BBE; and to ‘be afraid’ in the CEV. The Greek word skandalizo sounds very familiar to our English word ‘scandal’ or ‘scandalize’. Literally it means to ‘trap’ or ‘trip up’; ‘entice to sin’ or ‘cause to stumble’ spiritually.

July 3, 2022

And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning (John 15:27).

July 2, 2022

And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning (John 15:27).

July 1, 2022

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning (John 15:26-27).

June 30, 2022

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning (John 15:26-27).

June 29, 2022

But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:25).

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