Category Archives: 40 day devotional

FINAL WEEK

This is the end of our 40-day journey through Jesus’ last days here on earth. I know, for me, this has made this very special season that much more special. Focusing specifically on Jesus’ last days and having the opportunity to share it with others has been a great blessing. May your Resurrection Sunday be more meaningful for having joined us on this 40-day journey!  He is not here, but is risen! Luke 24:6

April 11—Matt. 21:1-11 Triumphal Entry

Blessings:

  1. If Jesus knows the steps of a colt, He knows my steps too! (v. 2)
  2. Praise the Lord that Jesus has and WILL fulfill every prophecy concerning Himself. (v. 3-5)
  3. May I be as obedient as these disciples. (v. 6)
  4. Never saw this before: Jesus quietly rode a colt that hadn’t been broken! He has power over all things! (v. 7)
    1. Some may ask, “Then why doesn’t He stop all the bad things from happening?
    2. Don’t you find it amazing that He didn’t stop His OWN crucifixion—the worst pain and suffering anyone would ever suffer?
    3. ANSWER: God is ALWAYS good. He knows what is best. He knows the beginning and the ending! He will ALWAYS do what is right. Suffering is part of His plan to prune us and bring for more fruit.

APPLICATION: Lord, please help me to worship You in true Spirit and Truth.

April 12—Matt. 21:12-14 Cleansing the Temple

We start this Holy Week with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt, fulfilling the prophecies showing his humility. Today, we see Him making a scourge (John 2:15), overturning tables and seats and deriding those who made merchandise of the Passover system. Matthew also includes the verse accounting His healing the blind and lame.

Once again, I am reminded that we serve a God who loves us more than we will ever understand, but also a God who makes demands concerning our worship and holiness.

APPLICATION: Lord, help me to understand and display holiness in my life.  Help me to love as You loved, knowing that without Your help it will be impossible!

April 13—Matt. 21:23-27 Jesus’ Authority Questioned

  • 25b…And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
  • Show’s Jesus’ amazing wisdom!
  • They knew that they were in a corner but still chose the wrong path of unbelief.

APPLICATION: How often to I rely on reason instead of faith!

April 15—Matt. 22:15-22 Question of Tribute Money

  • So sad. Here we are in the last week and the Pharisees only seek to trip up the Son of God!
  • 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest (fear) thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men( no person’s position),
  • 18—Jesus calls them hypocrites!
  • LOVE His answer! Still true today! “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

APPLICATION: They marvel at his wisdom. We need to do more than just marvel, we need to submit and worship Him!  He wants our hearts AND our brains!

April 16—Matt. 22:34-40  The Greatest Commandment

  • Luke 10 goes right into “The Good Samaritan” story.
  • 6:5; 10:12;30:6—all include the command to love God (heart, soul, mind)
  • Spirit-controlled, Mind-controlled, Body

April 17—Matt. 25-31-46 Judgment Day

The day that the world talks about but doesn’t believe. This passage makes it sound as though we work our way into heaven. But we are responsible to compare scripture with scripture.

As born-again believers, our works glorify God—they do not purchase our salvation—Jesus’ blood does that! PRL!

Faith/works: Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The opposite scenario is in Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. These people preached, cast our demons and did many wonders in Jesus’ name, but they were cast into hell. Sadly, Jesus says that “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord…(22).

APPLICATION: I’m praising God for my salvation!!! Thank you for loving me and calling me, Lord!

April 18—Matt.27:35-38/John 19:18-24 The Crucifixion

Sometimes, I find it helpful to just look at the verbs in a passage (oops! Vs. 1-14):
Actions of the chief priests and elders: Plotted, bound, led, delivered, consulted, bought
Actions of Jesus: stood, said, answered nothing
Pilate: asked, said, marveled greatly
Soldiers: crucified; divided (his garments); cast lots; sat; kept watch

APPLICATION: Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; THE MORE YOU KNOW HIM THE MORE YOU WILL LOVE HIM.

April 19—Luke 23:39-43, 47 Confessions of Belief

How many times has the testimony of this criminal been used to encourage folks to trust Christ alone? He was not baptized, did no good works, did not take communion, and did not join a church.  In Christ Alone!

Every person that has ever lived is represented in these two men. We either choose to believe or not—it’s that simple.

APPLICATION: …Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.  Mr 9:24

April 20—Matt. 27:59-61 The Burial

What would have happened if Joseph of Arimathaea had not stepped in? Who would have buried Jesus and where would they have buried him? I’m sure someone would have done the difficult task, but Joseph is the one who did it.

I love the way the KJV words his approach of Pilate. He “begged the body of Jesus.” It shows a man with determination. We read that he was a disciple of Jesus.  All the Gospel writers mention him. Mark says that he was “an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God.” John writes that he, “being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews.”

APPLICATION: Is there a job that God wants me to do? Certainly, Joseph’s job was difficult and unpleasant.  It was a sacrifice and may have even been dangerous, but he did it! Oh, may I be so bold and obedient!

PASSOVER/LAST SUPPER

Well, sorry I’m so late posting this, It has been a great challenge to keep up with this 40-day challenge! I hope you are doing better than I am!!

April 4—Matt. 26:17-20 Preparation for the Passover

 We have here an account of Christ’s keeping the Passover. Being made under the law, he submitted to all the ordinances of it, and to this among the rest; it was kept in remembrance of Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt, the birth-day of that people; it was a tradition of the Jews, that in the days of the Messiah they should be redeemed on the very day of their coming out of Egypt; and it was exactly fulfilled, for Christ died the day after the passover, in which day they began their march. MHenry

There was no question that they would keep the Passover, even though the Jewish rulers were out to kill Jesus. Keeping the Passover came as naturally as breathing to them.

APPLICATION: We can so easily fall into the trap of ritualism.  May it not be so in my heart.  Lord, make every Lord’s Supper as fresh as the day we’ll eat at Your table!

April 5—Luke.22:24-30; John 13:1-17 Strife Among Disciples

What caused the strife:

  • Pride
  • Greed for power
  • Greed for prestige
  • Jealousy (Matt. 20:21—mother of Zebedee’s sons)

Look at the blessings Jesus’ promises!

  • An appointed kingdom
  • Eating and drinking at Jesus’ table in his kingdom
  • Sitting and judging

APPLICATION: Lord, help me to be a servant and to walk by faith in this day, not jumping the gun for heaven’s joys!

John 13: 1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

Here’s what I saw about Jesus from this passage:

  • Love v. 1
  • Betrayal v. 2
  • Omniscience v. 3
  • Servanthood v. 4,5
  • Patience v. 6-10 (He is so patient in teaching Peter! It is not here that he says, “how long shall I be with you? Matt. 17:17 but at their unbelief.)
  • Omniscience v 10,11
  • Teacher/Example v. 12-17

APPLICATION: Go and do likewise!

April 6—John 13:21-30 Traitor Revealed

So sad. Why Judas? Why not one of the others? I believe Judas gave into the temptations that Satan had been whispering in his ear for some time. Peter was disillusioned about the kingdom and King Jesus to the point of cutting of Malcaus’ ear. He denied that he knew Jesus, but soon repented with tears. (2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.)

Jesus knew Judas’ heart from the start. I wonder if He worked hard to win Judas over. Surely, the priests didn’t need Judas.  They would have found a way to crucify Jesus.

APPLICATION: We all have choices to make. Some take us further from Christ and put us on dangerous ground!  We think that we’re invincible, but we’re weak as kittens in the face of our Enemy! Only Jesus saves! Only a broken, contrite (sorry, remorseful, repentant, regretful, apologetic, penitent, ashamed) heart chooses correctly. (Ps 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.)

April 8—Matt.26:26-29 The Lord’s Supper

This ordinance of the Lord’s supper is to us the Passover supper, by which we commemorate a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. Take, eat; accept of Christ as he is offered to you; receive the atonement, approve of it, submit to his grace and his government. Meat looked upon, be the dish ever so well garnished, will not nourish; IT MUST BE FED UPON: so must the doctrine of Christ. This is my body; that is, spiritually, it signifies and represents his body. We partake of the sun, not by having the sun put into our hands, but the beams of it darted down upon us; so we partake of Christ by partaking of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his body. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine. He gave thanks, to teach us to look to God in every part of the ordinance. This cup he gave to the disciples with a command, Drink ye all of it. The pardon of sin is that great blessing which is, in the Lord’s supper, conferred on all true believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings. He takes leave of such communion; and assures them of a happy meeting again at last; “Until that day when I drink it new with you”, may be understood of the joys and glories of the future state, which the saints shall partake with the Lord Jesus. That will be the kingdom of his Father; the wine of consolation will there be always new. While we look at the outward signs of Christ’s body broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, let us recollect that the feast cost him as much as though he had literally given his flesh to be eaten and his blood for us to drink. M Henry

APPLICATION: Thanksgiving for God’s Amazing Grace—Jesus, the eternal One, paid the price of my eternal punishment. The agony of those but few moments, in light of eternity, suffered by the Perfect Sinless Lamb of God was the substitute which would have taken me all of eternity to pay. (2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.)

APPLICATION: Hallelujah! What a Savior!

April 9—John 15:1-11 Jesus’ Parting Words

This week I started a devotion which basically taught that Jesus “closed the book on vengeance.” No one should like to dwell on the vengeful side of our Heavenly Father or wield His wrath like a heavenly baseball bat BUT God’s vengeance IS part of His holy character—His holiness demands it.

So, as I look at this wonderful passage, which is part of Jesus’ last words to His disciples (and us!), I’m looking for attributes and actions of God in the life of a believer and unbeliever.

1 ¶ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.   GOD IS MY LIFE-GIVER/CARETAKER
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: GOD PRUNES (OUCH!)
and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. HE KNOWS BEST!
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. GOD CLEANSES ME THROUGH HIS WORD.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. GOD DRAWS US TO HIMSELF—WE MUST BE CLOSE/CONNECTED TO BEAR FRUIT
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. GOD OF STRENGTH
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. GOD OF VENGANCE!
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. GOD, THE GIVER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. GOD LOVES!
9 ¶ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. GOD LOVES!
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. GOD PROVIDES THE WAY FOR ME TO ABIDE IN HIM: HIS WORD.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. GOD GIVES FULL JOY!!

APPLICATION: Don’t lose sight of ALL God’s amazing characteristics. I can’t pick and choose what I want to believe about God!

April 10—Luke 22:39-46 (oops! –48) The Betrayal

Betrayed with a kiss. It always cuts me to the quick when I read that. (FYI: I didn’t know this until we had a dog, but when clipping a dog’s claws you have to be careful not to clip the quick, because that is where the nerves and blood vessels are!)

This passage is so full of information other than just the betrayal. Is it just Judas that betrayed Jesus here? Did He feel somewhat betrayed when He found the disciples sleeping? But a kiss—the most intimate show of public affection!

APPLICATION: Am I true to Jesus no matter who is watching?

WEEK FOUR: Miracles of Jesus’ Last Month

Here is the entire week of devotions:

March 28—John 11:1-46 Raising Lazarus

Spiritual vs. Physical Perspective

This miracle shouts the two perspectives all over the place.  Here are just a few:

Situation:   Physical/Spiritual

  1. Lazarus’s sickness: Sisters and disciples want him healed/Jesus allows him to die to bring glory to His Father
  2. Walking in the light: the disciples speak of the Jews’ threat of stoning and Jesus responds about walking in the daylight. I don’t think He is speaking literally!
  3. Jew’s seek to kill Jesus: Thomas is ready to die with him (probably not!)/Jesus knows His time.
  4. Resurrection: How could Martha know that Jesus spoke of his resurrection?  She couldn’t but I love her faith!
  5. Mary’s words to Jesus: She literally rebukes Jesus; interesting that He does not answer her, but weeps with them!
  6. Martha’s practical side: Lazarus will stink by now! Jesus knew!!!!

It is truly amazing that the chief priest and Pharisees still are plotting against Him!  I hope this doesn’t sound skewed but that should encourage us as believers when the whole world seems to turn their backs on God, missing all that He has done!

APPLICATION: Praise God for His amazing power and love! Jesus wept while on this earth; He wept here and over Jerusalem. Oh, to have HIS heart for this world!

March 30—Luke 18:35-43 The Two Blind Men

Oh my!  What a contrast from yesterday!  This man (Matt. 20:29 says two blind men; Mark 10:46 names him as Bartemaus) is crying out to Jesus so much so that the disciples rebuke him. Mark 10: 32 sheds some light on the atmosphere as they left headed to Jerusalem. “they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him.”

It’s a somber group. Jesus has His face set, knowing what He would face there. It seems as though He doesn’t hear or notice the blind man, but then He stops and has him brought to Him.  Here, He questions him: what does he want Him to do? It seems odd. He’s a blind man. Why does He ask? He already knows. Here, Jesus mentions that is it the man’s faith that healed him.

APPLICATION: I trust the Bible. Some may say the Bible is inaccurate because of the differences in the Gospel’s account, but that does not concern me. Different men from different perspectives, lots of people, lots of confusion—one truth: a man received his sight that day!

March 29—Luke 13:10-17 The Woman Healed of Infirmity

It would be an interesting study to compare the different conversations between Jesus and those He healed: did they approach Him or did He approach them, etc.? Here, this woman does not ask to be healed; in fact, she never says a word until she is healed. Then she glorifies God, looking up for the first time in eighteen years! Jesus has her brought to Him. Does He question her faith? No. Does he know what is in her heart? Absolutely!

Of course, it’s the Sabbath. Once again, Jesus is trying to get the people’s attention, especially the religious leaders. He rebukes them by reminding them of an Old Testament law which says that it was lawful to loose an animal and lead it to water, but they criticized Him for setting this daughter of Abraham free from Satan’s bondage. Praise the Lord that they recognized their fault and were ashamed AND “all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.”

APPLICATION: Jesus knows my heart. He sees inside and out! He knows my needs more than I do and I don’t even need to speak them for Him to answer! Wow! What an amazing God and Savior we serve!

April 1—Mark 11:12-14, 20-21 Cursing the Fig Tree

Just a simple fig tree not bearing fruit! Jesus was hungry and hoped to have a bite to eat from this tree, but He only finds leaves! He curses the tree and when the disciples pass by later, the tree is withered—“ dried up from the roots (v. 20).” There are certainly many lessons concerning fruitlessness here, but His main point is faith—faith strong enough to move mountains!

“Have faith in God,” is Jesus’ answer to Peter’s astonishment. Jesus has raised people from the dead, fed thousands with next to nothing, calmed the seas and performed countless healings. What is it to Jesus to curse a tree!

The statement “dried up from the roots” reminds me of the Temple veil which was ripped from the top to the bottom (Matt 27:51)! God is in control. This tree was not struck by lightning, Jesus cursed it and it died!

APPLICATION: Why do I worry? Psalm 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.”  With Christ in my vessel I can smile as the storm as we go sailing home!

April 3—Matt. 27:51-53 Graves Opened

Wow! The graves may have been opened because of the earthquake but certainly earthquakes do not cause the dead to live!

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Matthew 27: 50  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

The sequence of events following Jesus’ last words:

  1. The veil is rent—the way was immediately made open for all (This veil was a most elaborately woven fabric of seventy-two twisted plaits of twenty-four threads each and the veil was sixty feet long and thirty wide. The rending of the veil signified the removal of the separation between God and the people. Robertson)
  2. Earthquake—God shakes the very core of the earth!
  3. The graves opened/rocks broken—physical barriers removed
  4. Dead arise—The work was finished!
  5. Centurion’s declaration—the start of the Gospel word spoken!

God is not bound by religion, physical barriers, or even death to accomplish His purpose!

APPLICATION: Praise Him! Praise Him, all ye little children!

April 2—Luke 22:50-51 Malchus’ Ear

In verse 36, it seems as though Jesus is telling them to buy a sword, and yet by verse 50 Peter is rebuked for using it. Once again the answer comes with the spiritual meaning. Verse 36—be ready to defend the truth.  Peter was not defending the truth, he was pushing his own agenda—making Jesus King of the kingdom!

APPLICATION: Thankfully, Jesus is there fixing the problem! Amazing! Oh, if only a miracle could have fixed some of my mistakes and made them disappear! But with each mistake comes a lesson that I need to learn!

 

March 26

backlit cemetery christianity clouds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

—Isaiah. 53:4,5/Matt. 8:16,17 Suffering Vicariously (Our Delegated Substitute!)

Isaiah 53: 3,4

  • He is despised (hated, reviled, loathed, shunned, scorned, derided [antonym is beloved: how heartbreaking that the beloved Son of God bore all this FOR ME!])
  • and rejected (disallowed, forbidden, banned, excluded, vetoed, prohibited) of men;
  • a man of sorrows (distresses, troubles, burdens, disappointments),
  • and acquainted with grief (sorrow, heartache, anguish, pain, misery, unhappiness, woe [antonym is joy: how ironic, that the joy of the Lord gives me strength! Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.]):
  • and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
  • Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
  • yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

The NT reference, which speaks of Jesus’ healing the sick, refers back to Isaiah, but I think more of His “vicarious sufferings” on the cross. Yes, He suffered physical pain more than I can imagine, but the fact the He was also bearing the sins of the world is beyond human comprehension. When I think of my darkest days—those times when I was guilty of some sin and yet not willing to confess or forsake it—I think of the agony of heart: the guilty and misery in my soul! That is just a microcosm of what Jesus bore on the cross! He bore it ALL!

APPLICATION: Stop sinning! Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful?! I can never be fully “sin-free” or sin less, but as the play on words tells us: I can’t be sinless but I can sin less! PTL!

And then be grateful for God’s forgiving power! It cost SO much, but it is FREE to all who will yield to His perfect way!

March 25

—Isaiah 53:7/Matt. 26:62, 63 Silent When Accused

agriculture animals baby blur
Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

 Isaiah 53: 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Matt. 26:62-65 (NKJV)

And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”

But Jesus kept silent.

And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

Jesus was not going to answer the high priest and, in fact, does not answer him until the religious leader makes it an oath to God. Even then the high priest does not believe Him!

APPLICATION: Know when to speak and when to keep silent. Some questions need no comment. This is a lesson I STILL have not learned! Also, know that this world will not accept me or God’s Word unless the heart is ready to do so.  Some folks will never choose Christ! How sad!

March 23

download.pngYea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9

And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. Mark 14:10

And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. Luke 22:47

Even though this lesson is focusing on the prophecies, the substance of the scripture stops me in my tracks.  Have you ever been betrayed by someone you loved dearly? I suppose we all have. It’s such a hurtful thing. Our hearts are grieved in places where nothing else can touch. Heartsick.

Oh, how thankful I am that my closest Friend will NEVER betray me! That thought alone can salve the wound of loving betrayal.

APPLICATION: Father, may I never be the cause of such grief to Your heart!

March 21–Week 3: PROPHECIES CONCERNING JESUS’ DEATH

PalmSunday-58e280f35f9b58ef7e94e120Zech. 9:9/John 12:13, 14 Triumphal Entry

Some may scoff and say that Jesus staged the whole thing, but the amazing prophecy actually begins in Matthew 21:2 where Jesus tells His disciples, “Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.”

Fulfilled prophecies strengthen our faith because only an all-knowing, all-powerful God could know the future and have them occur exactly when he plans.

APPLICATION: Praise God for His amazing strength, knowledge, compassion, and plan for my life!