He Crafts Each Word

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“The Father who resides in me, crafts each word into a divine act” (THE MESSAGE John 14:10)

The MESSAGE: John 14:1-10
In Your Bible: John 13:33-14:10

When we think of a craftsman, a carpenter often comes to mind. His skill and workmanship can create or craft items with precision and beauty. Jesus, grew up as a woodworker and became a man with words of transforming power.

Jesus’ disciples often didn’t understand what he taught. Therefore, after lengthy sessions, he took them aside to explain what he said. At times the disciples would ask, “Why do you speak to us in parables?” His explanations became vivid examples they would remember.

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

Jesus told them he must leave, but he was interrupted. The words most of us remember centered on where he was going. Then, he comforted them by saying he’d return. Thomas and Philip were confused. Thomas didn’t know where Jesus was going and Philip just asked to see the Father. They weren’t sure they believed what he said.

Jesus encouraged them with this statement: “The words I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act” (John 14:10). THE MESSAGE. This translation is unique. It shouts that not only the miracles, but the words of Jesus have eternal impact!

Now, we see why Jesus says “…abide in me,”…all things are possible with God,” and …..”apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus relevant words from the Father are powerful teachings for life and for change. His words are CRAFTED for divine action.

Application: Every word Jesus said was crafted by the Father. If the Father does this for Jesus, we need him to craft our words too.

Prayer: Father, please craft my words to let them honor you, to help others, and to initiate divine action.

Why Did Jesus Come Into The World?

“I came into the world to bring people to a point of decision…” John 9:30
Eyewitness: pp. 140-142
In Your Bible: John 9:13-41

Do we ever wonder why something happens and later discover that there were several reasons for it? Often we see the obvious, but may find hidden reasons or benefits when we look deeper into the situation.

As Jesus and his disciples walked along, they saw a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind?” Jesus replied, “His blindness is not due to sin but was given so the works of God could be revealed in him.”

Jesus spat on the ground, made mud, smeared it in the man’s eyes and told him to wash it off. The man did as Jesus said and he was healed. Astounded, his friends and neighbors took the formerly blind man to the Pharisees.

This healing of one man provided:

* A chance for a man to be made whole at God’s hand
* An opportunity for the healed man to testify to the Pharisees
* A record for mankind to see God’s work

The Pharisees grabbed the opportunity to say Jesus could not do this on the Sabbath. Others commented, “Can a sinner do this?” The blind man said he didn’t know if Jesus was a sinner, but knew he was blind and now could see.

The Pharisees continued to interrogate the man born blind. Jesus found the man and talked with him after he heard the Pharisees vehemently question him. Jesus asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Tell me who he is sir, and I will believe in him.” “You have already seen him,” Jesus said. “He is the one talking with you.”

The man knelt before Jesus and said, “Yes, I do believe, sir.”

Jesus then said, “I came to this world to bring people to a point of decision, to give sight to the blind and blindness to those who think they see.”

The Pharisees were enraged at this blunt statement. “If you were blind, Jesus said (to them), you would be blameless. But because you say you can see, you remain blind.”

What an encounter after healing a man known to be blind from birth. The man receives life eternal, the family sees God at work, and the Pharisees get confronted with not seeing the work of God in their midst.

Application: If a man knows he cannot see, he knows he is blind. If a man does not have Jesus in his life, he is spiritually blind and does not know it. Do you know someone who is searching for God but blind to the truth? Help him find Jesus.

Prayer: Father, open my spiritual eyes to what you are doing, what you are saying, and what you want me to do. I believe you sent us Christ Jesus to show us your ways.

How Can I Be Most Blessed?

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…..The most blessed are those who hear God’s word and obey him. Luke 11:28

Eyewitness: pp. 147,148
In your Bible: Luke 11:27,28

I couldn’t be more blessed! That’s how many of us often feel when things are going well. We’re overwhelmed by the goodness of God. But Jesus says a believer can be most blessed.

Jesus performed miracles, showed kindness, and gave mercy when no one else could or would. This drew crowds. On one occasion, a woman in awe of what Jesus was doing shouted out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.”

Jesus’ reply stunned the crowd. “No,” he said, “the most blessed are those who hear God’s word and obey him.” Wow, I hadn’t seen it that way before! Simple words from Jesus should direct our thinking to God’s view on being blessed.

Yes, they were sincere and heartfelt comments by the woman. But Jesus wanted to redirect the thought from family to the blessing giver – God. Jesus showed a deeper meaning, one the Father intended for us to hear again. Interruptions like this gave him plentiful teaching moments – we need to pay attention.

We think Jesus made statements (aside from parables themselves) too difficult to grasp – not really. When we ponder this comment about blessings, the focus turns from our receiving to hearing what God wants us to hear. Obey him and his word. Life giving, life rewarding advice. Then, we will be most blessed.

Application: Yes, believers can be most blessed. True blessings follow hearing and putting God’s word into action. Often Jesus didn’t say what people expected. Study Jesus’ words, hear them with new ears.

Prayer: Father, help me see the simplicity in what Jesus says.

Jesus on Stewardship

Note: If you are new to this devotional blog, please visit the home and concept pages for helpful background. The Bible versions used here are new and exciting – THE MESSAGE and Eyewitness, The Life of Christ Told in One Story.

“Use the world’s resources to build relationships and help others.” Luke 16:9

Eyewitness: pp. 167,168
In your Bible: Luke 16:1-13

Jesus uses several parables to teach about stewardship. In Luke 16, He uses a story of a manager and a rich employer to show how the world functions. Then he explains for all of us what God desires in stewardship.

An employer was about to fire his manager when he discovered this employee was dishonest. The shrewd manager correctly feared he would lose his job. It was the only work he could do. So the shrewd man went to each debtor, discounted their bill and brought in that amount. He made himself valuable to them and his boss.

What Jesus says may surprise us. “The rich man praised the dishonest manager for his creative solution, because the people of this world are more clever in their dishonesty than the godly who do right.”

He goes on to give the key to right stewardship for the believer. Jesus said, “Here is the point: Use the world’s resources to build relationships and help others.”

He amplifies this teaching in the following verses probably more familiar to us:
Those who are faithful in small concerns, will be faithful when much is at stake.
He who is dishonest in petty matters will be dishonest in what is most important.

If you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with heaven’s riches?
If you cannot be trusted with what belongs to others, who can trust you to do right with what you own?

Application: Much to ponder here. Wealth itself is neither good nor bad. In fact, Jesus says wealth can have good use in the world. The believer is to make good relationships, help others in need, and be faithful in all things.

Prayer: Father, guide me by your Spirit to be faithful, to be a good steward of what you give me, to do justly, and to walk humbly with you.

National Day of Prayer

For the United States of America, this is the National Day of Prayer: A day intended for all Americans to join in prayer to God, express their humility before God, and to Seek God for the right path for our nation.

What should we do?

Our obligation as believers in God and Jesus His Son are simple ones:
* We must humble ourselves, yet be strong in Him and courageous
* We must seek God’s presence and be aware/hear His voice
* We must turn from our wicked ways and walk worthy of Him

God in turn promises that if we do this He will:
* Hear our prayers
* Forgive our sins
* Restore our land

The following Scripture comes from the record of God speaking to Solomon in the Old Testament – one often quoted on how to pray of for our nation.

THE MESSAGE, says it this profound way: …. my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

For the full impact and deeper understanding of what God says, read 2 Chronicles chapters 5-7.

Pray, be humble, and seek God as to what He wants for our nation today.