Bible Devotions

Jesus’ Prayer from John 17 NKJV Part II

Jesus Prays for Himself

1 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, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should[a] give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “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. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me,[b] that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world,[c] I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept;[d] and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[e] believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

In Part I we took a look at Jesus’ part in this prayer. Today we look at God’s part. Let’s review the outlined verses once again:

Glorify Your Son

have given Him authority over all flesh

Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

the work which You have given Me to do

men whom You have given Me out of the world

They were Yours, You gave them to Me

Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You

the words which You have given Me

for those whom You have given Me

You should keep them from the evil one

Sanctify them by Your truth

As You sent Me into the world

And the glory which You gave Me

that the world may know that You have sent Me

You have loved Me.

God gives glory, authority, work, people, and wisdom to Jesus. God sanctifies and protects us. God commissions Jesus to go out into the world. He does all this from the motivation of love.

God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 NKJV).

Start thinking about all God has done for us today.

Lord God Almighty, blessed be your name. You are wonderfully generous, graciously loving and forever kind to us because of your Son, Jesus. Thank you for loving us as you love Him. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Jesus’ Prayer from John 17 NKJV Part I

1 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, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should[a] give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6I 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. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me,[b] that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world,[c] I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept;[d] and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[e] believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Did you notice most of the outlined items above were all past tense? That’s right because Jesus came and did His work. He finished His purpose on earth. He completed everything the Father wanted Him to do. Look at just the outlined items again:

I have glorified You on the earth

I have finished the work.

I have manifested Your name to the men

I have given to them the words which You have given Me

I kept them in Your name.

I also have sent them into the world.

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them

And I have declared to them Your name,

Jesus came to glorify God by finishing His work and manifesting God to men. I gave us God’s word, kept us in God’s name and sent us out into the world to tell others. He gave us the same glory God gave Him and He declared God’s name to us.

What a blessing to finish our life with the same gusto! To know we finished the work God gave us, of manifesting Christ to men and sharing God’s promises with others.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your faithfulness to complete the work God gave you. May we be filled with the same determination and complete our calling in this life. In your precious name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Contentment is a Learned Mindset

What we allow our mind to think about eventually plays out in our life.

Let me give you two examples: When I focus on all that is not right or doesn’t fit with my plans, I turn into a disgruntled person. Blaming others, pointing out flaws, and complaining about everything become normal actions. But when I focus on all God has done for me, how He saved me from hell, restored my marriage, and renewed my heart, I turn into a humble, grateful, and pleasant person. Joy fills the heart and mind.

Thoughts lead to action. Therefore contentment begins in the mind. Renewing our mind is a daily challenge. One must be diligent in providing a constant stream of good, right, and pure thoughts. Jeremiah tells us “the heart is desperately wicked. Who can know what?” Jesus tells us “out of the heart springs forth the issues of life”.

Where do the good, right, and pure thoughts come from? Not from us. God’s word is the only source of good, right, and pure war thoughts. God’s thoughts are higher than ours. His ways are better than ours. Romans 12:2 says to be transformed by the renewing at our mind so we will know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

Paul urges us in Philippians 4:8 to meditate on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praise worthy. If our thoughts are fixed on God’s word then complaining, comparing, envy, strife, and self-centered thinking will disappear.

In other places and Scripture we are told to do all things without complaining and disputing. And again were told in everything work as though we are working for the Lord rather than mere men. With our minds firmly rooted in God’s word these things become easier to do.

If we take God’s word seriously and do what we hear it telling us, we will be able to say as Paul did: “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” Paul understood where his strength came from when he penned Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Here are a few tips for getting more of God’s word into our mind:

  1. Read the Bible daily, even if it’s just a verse or two.
  2. I think about the verse you just read. Try to remember it throughout the day.
  3. Write the verse down, carry it with you, and stick it where you will see it several times a day.
  4. Share the first with someone else.

The more we interact with God’s word for more insight He reveals to us. What are you doing today to get God’s word rooted deeply in your mind?

Dear God, thank you for giving us your truth your word and a life with you. Give us that desire to draw close to you because your work tells us when we do you will draw near to us. In Jesus name we pray these things Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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These things I have spoken to you…

peace

Jesus used this phrase many times as He taught His disciples. Let’s take a look at several of them from John 13 through John 16.

Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. John 13:16 NKJV

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12 NKJV

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. John 15:3 NKJV

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 NKJV

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

But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. John 16:4 NKJV

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. John 16:20 NKJV

Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. John 16:23 NKJV

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 NKJV

We are His servants if we believe in Him. We are already clean because the word He spoke to us. His joy remains in us so our joy will be full. We will not stumble when we remember what He told us. Though we may sorrow at times, it will turn to joy in the end. We are to ask anything in Jesus’ name and God will give it to us. The result is peace.

How beautiful Jesus’ Words are! May you cherish them and let them dwell richly inside of you. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and light to our path, so let’s stick to the path!

Jesus, thank you, for your love and guidance. Enable us to desire your word. We draw near to you this day. Please draw near to us. In your precious name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Darkness versus Light

Light from above I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46 NKJV

Contrasting darkness and light we come across some interesting insights. While darkness is shapeless, colorless, fear filled, and hopeless, light brings clarity, purposefulness, and activity.

Think more about darkness. We can’t really see anything. Therefore we don’t know where we are or where we’re going. We might stumble around bumping into things and hurting ourselves. If we can’t see a hand before our face how can we possibly accomplish anything? Darkness seems cold, black, and uninviting. It is a place where nothing gets done.

Now let’s think about light. It is bright, colorful, warm, and inviting. Light brings clarity so that we can see what we’re doing and where we are going. There is no fumbling around and we can avoid trouble. We can do things in the light such says reading a book, writing a letter, and meeting the needs of others. Light is joyful and purposeful. There’s lots of activity in the light.

Genesis 1:2 NKJV says “In the beginning the earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.”

Genesis 1:3-4 NKJV says “God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”

The world was in darkness until God made light. In the darkness of our mother’s womb we all began. In the darkness of our mind, sin entered the scene. Poisoned by self-centered thinking, we made to hurtful decisions to rebel against our Creator.

God made a division between darkness and light just as He has with those who believe and those who refuse to believe. John 12:46 NKJV says this about Jesus and darkness: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” Jesus came so we wouldn’t have to live in the darkness any longer. Look at what it says in John 14:48 NKJV about those who refuse to believe: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”

Jesus calls us to believe in the light that we may become sons and daughters of the light. We are permitted to trade in our guilt and shame for a new life simply by trusting in Jesus. We are brought into the family of God sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee by coming to the light.

Which will you choose darkness or light?

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming into the world as a light for us to follow and believe in. Thank you for saving us from eternal darkness. Help us this day to choose light and live with you forever. In your name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Grain of Wheat

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24 NKJV

What happens at the end of the growing season? The harvest comes, but it wouldn’t be possible if not for the grain. It did its part by dying to produce a crop. The field is re-plowed, reseeded with grain, and the growing process starts again. Just as the field must be replanted season after season, our process must repeat itself over and over again until we enter heaven.

John 12:25 says “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” The love his life part speaks of the self-centered life, controlled by “what’s in it for me” mentality. Jesus said those living this way will ultimately lose everything.

Conversely, anyone who hates his life will keep it for all eternity. What do we do when we hate something? We throw it away, distance ourselves from it, and try not to think about it, right? Jesus is telling us to tease the same. Distance us from our self, become others-focused instead. In this way, we give our life away. The reward for doing so is clear; life forever with Jesus.

The Bible teaches pride goes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). Therefore in our first step is recognizing the pride so we can get rid of it through confession. When we confess our sins, it helps us grow into humility, which represents the ground. This enables us to carry out the next step, denying self. Dying to self is a picture of a dying grain. We put aside our desires, wants, needs and focus on others instead. The result is a crop of spiritual fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV says this about spiritual fruit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Which part of this process is most difficult for you? Why do you think that is? Ask a trusted friend to help you recognize pride, keep you accountable in confessing, and to remind you of the benefits of living life God’s way.

John 12:26 says “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” When we follow Jesus, we will act as He did. We become servant-hearted, as He is. So begins our journey.

Lord Jesus thank you for the many stories do you used to teach us your way. Help us be like the grain, willing to fall to the ground, willing to die, says a harvest will be plentiful. Help us recognize pride, confessed that it, deny our self, that the fruit of the Spirit might be evident in our lives. Not by our power, but by your spirit we pray these things in your name amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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5 Steps to Contentment

Have you ever considered Acts 17:6 speaking about how the followers of Jesus were turning the world upside down?

Figure 1 below describes this paradox between the world’s way and God’s way.

Figure 1: God’s Way Leads Upward

The Jews who were not persuaded by the disciple’s teachings were right about their claim. The disciples did turn the world upside down. The Jews were on the bottom side of the stairs, following the world’s way. Along came the disciples living by Jesus’ way traveling up the stairs on the top side. When we compare the two paths it appears they are opposite of each other. Consequently, one side will feel upside down.

God’s word tells us in Isaiah 55:9 NKJV “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Follow the steps leading up to God’s way, for these are the steps to a content life.

Lord Jesus, thank you for choosing the foolish things to be the path to you. Enable us to choose the right side of the stair case leading to God’s Way. Every time we are tempted to follow the world’s way, may we remember to do the opposite instead. In your name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Contentment

Contentment is such a pleasant sounding word. It conjures pictures of green meadows, trickling stream, peacefulness, and calm serenity. Contentment is a place where all your needs are cared for. It sounds like fantasy doesn’t it? Is this for real?

I’m here to tell you “yes, contentment is real and it’s possible”. The apostle Paul talked about this contentment in Philippians 4:10-12 when he said “have learned in whatever state I am, to be content”. I know this place exists, for I myself have been there from time to time.

What do you mean you’ve been there from time to time? Aren’t you content? Yes and no, I can let the contentment go by allowing many things to tempt me to step out of contentment, just like you. What things interfere with contentment? How about stress, anxiety, worry, striking, jealousy, greed, envy, bitterness, angry, fear, insecurity, or uneasiness? (See 2 Corinthians 12:19-21, Galatians 5:19-21)

Contentment for me is confidence in the Lord. Psalm 118:8 says “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Resting in Him, relying on His promises and trusting God no matter what I must face each day is how I demonstrate confidence in Him. (Proverbs 3:26, Proverbs 14:26, Isaiah 30:15)

Contentment is a reward for losing my life to God. Look at 1 Timothy 6:6 NKJV “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” I don’t mean we ran out and commit suicide. Rather I’m referring to a wholehearted commitment to living God’s way. We learn to give Him everything because He gave His everything that we might live.

How do we get to this place called the contentment? The directions are easy but the journey may be challenging. Contentment comes from God. Therefore the path to contentment always begins with drawing closer to God. There are many ways to get closer to God: read the Bible, pray, fellowship with other believers, worship, go to church, serve others and on and on. What you choose is up to you. Our part is to seek God. God’s part is to guide us. And He is faithful to do just that.

Next we begin trusting God. Start by giving to God something bothering you and then watch how He takes care of it. Keep a journal of how God answered your prayers because referring back to all God has done will help us trust him more.

Lastly we act based on our trust in God. What does this look like? This will be different from person to person. God has shaped each one of us differently. Therefore the action we take will depend on which gifts, talents, abilities, life experiences, and personality God’s given us. When we start using all we have been given we not only glorify and honor God but also demonstrate our trust in him.

How is your contentment?

Lord Jesus, in you we find contentment. Thank you for it your healing touch, forgiveness of sins and the power to live for God honoring life. Draw us closer so we may experience your contentment stay and every day. In your name we pray amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Opposites Attract

You have no doubt heard the saying “opposites attract”, but I doubt you have heard it in this context before.

Throughout the New Testament we are taught by Jesus and his disciples to live differently.

  • Don’t hold grudges but forgive (Matthew 18:21)
  • Love your enemies (Matthew 5:42-44)
  • Believe without seeing (John 20:29)
  • Hate our life so we will live forever (John 12:25)
  • Give that we might receive (Acts 20:35)

When we do these things, it is opposite from what our culture and the people around us we do. Being different, we stand now like a city on a hill. We shine like a light that can’t be easily snuffed out. The more consistently we follow Christ and his examples, the more others are drawn to us to find out why. Then it’s our job to give them an answer for why we live as we do.

Jesus is compelling not just for His name but for His actions. He followed the will of His Father. He was obedient and even unto death. He served others rather than waiting to be served. He healed people. He gave His life so we could live. Likewise Christians ought to be compelling not for their namesake but for their actions done out of love for their mighty Savior.

Lord Jesus thank you for having a plan and inviting us to be part of that plan. Help us to live our lives pleasing to you. Enable us through our witness to the world to stand out for you, to be opposite of the world, to turn the world upside down for you Lord. In your precious name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Dark Side of Believing

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Read John 12:9-11

 

Many Jews started believing in Jesus when they witnessed Lazarus being raised from the dead. Each one of us is like Lazarus. We were raised from the dead as soon as we believed in Jesus Christ.

 

Following Christ has its cost. Look at verse 10. The chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus simply because so many Jews started believing in Jesus because of him.

 

Our story of salvation will have an impact on others. Some may turn to the Lord and believe. Others may treat us rudely, shun us or try to slander our faith. While we have no control over how others will react, we do have a responsibility to share our story when someone asks about it.

 

Do you have your 30 second story yet? Try to communicate these things:

· What were you like before?

· How are you different now?

· And what caused the change?

 

Here’s an example:

I used to be a perfectionist judging others by my insanely high standards. On the verge of divorce, I found myself humbled by the consequences of my behavior. I cried out to Jesus and asked him to come into my life. Now I no longer judge others and have found contentment and peace through faith in Jesus.

 

Do not be afraid to share your story with others. For the Bible teaches we are blessed when we do.

 

Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

We are called to be salt and light to the world around us. Therefore, as Matthew 5:16 says “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”, let’s shine!

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for making all things work together for good. Thank you for the good work you do in us will be noticed by others. Give us courage to share our story when we are asked, regardless of how others may respond. In your name we pray amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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