The response of the Galileans was fundamentally flawed because it disregarded the person of Christ and centered in the need for a constant display of miraculous signs. Such an attitude represents the deepest state of unbelief.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for John 4:48.
Jesus taught many things about prayer and its central role in a believer’s life. He also promised that our petitions will be answered when we meet certain requirements.
One condition is mentioned in John 14:14: After receiving Christ as our personal Savior, we have the right to present requests in Jesus’ name, which means praying something that the Lord Himself might pray. To exercise this privilege, we must come to the Father, depending not on our own good works or character but on the merits of Christ alone. Jesus’ atoning death on the cross is the only basis for approaching God and being assured of receiving an answer to our petitions.
A second requirement is separation from all known sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” This refers to ungodly behaviors and thought patterns that we know are wrong but refuse to give up. Remember, God looks at our heart attitude. If we struggle against our sinful ways, grieve over them, and ask for forgiveness, He will hear our cries and respond. But when He sees a hard heart, He is not obligated to listen.
Next time you pray, start with words of praise to God for His sacrificial love and gratitude to Jesus for dying in your place (1 John 4:10). Express that you understand why your prayers are heard – because you have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and not because of anything you have done. Confess all known sin and ask for forgiveness. Then present your requests to God with anticipation, and trust His answers.
(More on Friday this week.)
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 14, 2017.
The Pharisees spent their lives trying to appear holy by keeping the meticulous rules they had added to God’s law. Jesus’ accusation (see John 7:14-36) that they didn’t keep Moses’ laws stung them deeply. In spite of their pompous pride in themselves and their rules, they did not even fulfill a legalistic religion, for they were living far below what the law of Moses required.
Jesus’ followers should do more than the moral law requires, going beyond and beneath the mere do’s and don’ts of the Law to the spirit of the Law. The spirit of God’s Law is captured in love for God and one’s neighbor. We must never allow rules to keep us from following the true intent of God’s Law. Obedience to God must be from the heart.
Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, August 27. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2003
See more about my vision for these images.
We will know fullness of joy by spending time in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11), aligning with His will, and sharing Him with those around us.
See more about my vision for these images.
The scene is usually a cliff, a waterfall, a window ledge, or some other precipice – a fall from which would result in certain death. One person is over the precipice, kept from falling only by holding to the outstretched hand of another. Three things can happen to the one hanging over the edge; the grip is unintentionally broken due to a failure in strength, the grip is released intentionally due to malevolence, or the person is pulled to safety due to the strength of the rescuer.
One of the strongest images of the believer’s eternal security in Christ was painted by the Savior’s own words: “Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” Too often, Christian’s feel that eternal security depends on their strength, their faithfulness, their perseverance – their ability to hold on to the Savior’s hand. The opposite is actually the truth: It is Christ’s strength, Christ’s faithfulness, Christ’s perseverance – Christ’s ability to hold on to the believer’s hand – that keeps the Christian eternally secure.
When you wonder if you have been faithful enough, hold out your hand – and picture it enveloped in the strong hand of Christ.
“Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?” C. S. Lewis
Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, June 6.
And His sheep follow Him
because they know His voice.
When God speaks to you in a still small voice, listen carefully. He is unfolding a plan for your life; and if you trust Him each step of the way, you will ultimately find peace and fulfillment as you follow Him.
Noah heard the same kind of voice when he was instructed to build the ark; and each step of the way, he trusted that God had a purpose for it.
Commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, March 4.
The Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, is reported to have said, “I looked and looked but I didn’t see God,” as he orbited the earth. For many, that was ultimate proof: If God lives in heaven, and a scientist like Gagarin didn’t see Him, He must not exist.
But the Bible says that God has “at various times and in various ways” spoken (revealed himself) to mankind and “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Just because God didn’t reveal himself to a Russian cosmonaut in space means nothing. Jesus has not revealed himself to mankind on earth in the twenty-first century, but He did in the first century. Likewise, we have no burning bushes today like Moses had in the fourteenth century B.C. But God has revealed himself to all of humanity in one way or another so that Paul wrote that man is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Don’t fail to believe in God through His Son, Jesus Christ, because you have not seen Him in the way you desire or expect. Rather, embrace the revelation God has given through the living and written Word, lest you be found without excuse.
Commentary from David Jeremiah, Pathways Devotional, March 10.
There is a disconnect between the results of national polls concerning religion and religious reality. For instance, upwards of 90 percent of Americans claim to believe in God, and a large majority of those claim to be Christians. If that’s true, where are all these followers of Christ? It would seem that many people believe it’s possible to follow Christ and follow other religions or the ways of the world at the same time.
Jesus made it clear in His teachings that His “religion” is an exclusive one: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). In a modern, pluralistic culture, that doesn’t sit well. And it didn’t sit well with Peter who was momentarily confused about “followership.” To Peter, Jesus said (paraphrase), “Don’t worry about what others are doing. You follow Me.” When someone asks you what you are (religiously speaking), what do you say? “I’m a (name of your denomination)”? Or do you say, “I’m a follower of Jesus Christ-a Christian”?
In an age that values tolerance and rejects absolutes, it will never be popular to say, “I follow only One.”
David Jeremiah’s Pathway Devotional, March 7.