Easter Sunday, 4/5

Today's Reading: Nicodemus – John 3:1-15 & John 19:38-39

Today's Meditation:

You might say that he [Nicodemus] had a feeble beginning. He secretly came to Jesus by night for fear of what others would think. Look at him now. Where are Peter and James? Who knows? Where is the rest of the gang? Hiding.

Where is Nicodemus? Out front and center, saying he will take the body of Jesus. He was a famous and well-known man. But he wanted to stand up for the Lord. We need to think about that. Maybe some of us have not been doing so well spiritually. We might be limping along. The good thing is you can make a recommitment to finish well. You still can try, to the best of your ability, to make up for lost time.

One day, you will take your last breath. You will eat your last meal. You will speak your final words. The apostle Paul recognized this. Knowing his life was coming to a close, he wrote these words:

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Paul was saying that he finished the race he had begun. Will you be able to say that? If not, you can make a change now. Keep running the race and look to Jesus. Consider what he went through for you. You can go through this for Him. He is the author and finisher of your faith. What God begins, He wants to finish. You need to be working together with Him.

Greg Laurie 

Holy Saturday, 4/4

Today's Reading: Hebrews 4:1-16

Today's Meditation:

God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today. (Heb 4:6 msg)

The concept of rest is central to living the Christian life. Two things happen when we rest. First, we understand where we’ve come from. And second, we understand where we’re going. When we rest, we look back and see how God has providentially led us along the way, how he has protected us and provided for us.

If, however, we’re immersed in the present, preoccupied with the pressing issues of everyday life, we’ll never see his providential care for us. If we don’t enter into the rest that’s both symbolized and experienced in our Sunday worship, our lives will become cluttered, and that will keep us confused. We often labor under the illusion that everything depends on us or on those around us. But it doesn’t. Everything depends on God. And this is the great lesson that rest has to teach.

Eugene Peterson 

Good Friday, 4/3

Today's Reading: Mark 12:1-12

Today's Meditation 

After the cross, God will never be safe from us. God has freely, willingly determined to be in solidarity with us, for us—perhaps the most risky decision God ever made. God comes to us in a form that allows us to reject him, to mock and ignore him. The merciful God places himself at our mercy. Surely God’s greatest pain and suffering is not that of the cross but of our continual, daily, moment-by- moment betrayal. Love and death seem to go together, at least for the God who would dare bend toward us.

What will the Father do now that we have stooped to killing the only Son in a vain attempt to get God off our backs? As was so typical of his narrative style, Jesus does not finish this parable of the wicked tenants. Perhaps he could not finish the story because it was a story about the cross, a story that could only be ended by the Father, in one great, decisive setting things right as they could only be set right, by the Father. Now aht we’ve done our worst, we tenants of the vineyard shall have to commend our fate into the hands of the Father. Jesus is now silent, without having ended the lesson. Here is a story so cosmic, so severe, so awful and tragic that only God knows how to end it. How long will we have to wait for the Father to end the story, in the Father’s own way?

At least three days.
But for now, on this day, we’ve heard Jesus’ last word. Pray to God that you might have the grace, and the faith too, to make it your last word, your final prayer, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” 

Bishop William Willimon 

Wednesday, 4/1

Today's Reading: Hebrews 10:19-23

Today's Meditation:

Since we have a great priest ... let us draw near to God with a sincere heart ...

If any of us wants to meet someone who is powerful, rich, or famous, getting to that person is all about access. We need someone who can help us get our foot in the door, secure an appointment, or get us noticed somehow. You don’t just walk in and expect an audience with someone who is a celebrity. They are shielded by layers of staff workers and security.

God, however, has worked powerfully to give us 24–hour direct access to him. He has given us “a great priest,” Jesus, who has opened the way to God, who knows what our needs are, and who also has qualified us, through his blood shed for us on the cross, to come into God’s presence.

When Jesus sacrificed himself as payment for the guilt of our sins, a phenomenal event took place in the most sacred space known to the Jews: the Most Holy Place in the temple. This room was kept separate from the rest of the temple by a curtain. But at the moment Jesus completed his sacrifice, the curtain was torn in two, without being touched by human hands, from top to bottom. This was God’s announcement that anyone could now come into his presence through the shed blood of Jesus. Because Jesus has opened the way for us, we may boldly approach God and seek his face, at any time. Jesus, our high priest, has given us immediate access. 

Today Daily Devotional.com

Prayer
Father, thank you for calling me to be confident as I seek your face. I bless you, O Christ, for earning me free access to the holy presence of my Father. In your name, Amen 

Tuesday, 3/31

Today's Meditation

Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name....

“Father” How often this word was upon the Saviour’s lips! His first recorded utterance was, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” In what was probably His first formal discourse – the Sermon on the Mount – He speaks of the “Father” seventeen times. While in His final discourse to the disciples (John 14-16) the word “Father” is found no less than forty-five times! In the next chapter, John 17, which contains what is known as Christ’s great high priestly prayer, He speaks to and of the Father six times more. And now the last time He speaks ere He lays down his life, He says again, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

And how blessed it is that His Father is our Father! Ours because His. How wonderful this is! How unspeakably precious that I can look up to the great and living God and say, “Father” my Father! What comfort is contained in this title! What assurance it conveys! God is my Father, then He loves me, loves me as He loves Christ Himself. God is my Father and loves me, then He careth for me. God is my Father and careth for me, then He will supply all my need. God is my Father, then He will see to it that no harm betide me, yea, that all things shall be made to work together for my good. O that His children entered more deeply and practically into the blessedness of this relationship, then would they joyfully exclaim with the apostle, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should called the sons of God” 

Arthur Pink 

Monday, 3/30

Today's Reading: Matthew 27:45-56

Today's Meditation:

The new stage of history began at the very moment of Jesus’ death, as Matthew showed with the events that occurred immediately thereafter. Jesus’ death accomplished the very thing that Judaism looked for with the coming of the Messiah the new era of the reign of God, when he promised to shake the earth and raise up his holy ones. Our salvation and renewal began when Jesus died on the cross. Yet, God’s chosen people – even Jesus’ own disciples – missed its inauguration. Once again, it was a group of outsiders, the Roman soldiers, who readily accepted the cross and the signs of transformation that accompanied it.

By telling the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection as he did, Matthew sought to hold out hope to a community undergoing tremendous pressures from inside and out. On a personal level, we all experience struggles: the pain of rejection, the challenge to do God’s will in the face of opposition, the sorrow of apparent failures that face us every day. Like Matthew’s community, we, too, can learn that not every obstacle comes from outside of ourselves: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Growth and renewal come at a price: opening ourselves to be shaken up and allowing the Spirit to breathe life into us. 

Gregory Roa