Posts tagged ‘John’

March 31, 2015

The Divine Mystery Of That Cross

by Steven Dilla

Today: The Divine Mystery Of That Cross: a Holy Week reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. Curated by Steven Dilla.

Leviticus 2.6-8
[God said,] “If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the LORD, you are to offer a male or female without defect. If you offer a lamb, you are to present it before the LORD, lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar.”

Christ Alone Suffered Death (an excerpt) | by Ambrose of Milan

O the divine mystery of that cross, on which weakness hangs, might is free, vices are nailed, and triumphal trophies raised. For Christ died for us, that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in Him, “Who,” it is said, “bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed.”

That wood of the cross is, then, as it were a kind of ship of our salvation, our passage, not a punishment, for there is no other salvation but the passage of eternal salvation. While expecting death I do not feel it; while thinking little of punishment I do not suffer; while careless of fear I know it not.

Who, then, is He by the wound of Whose “stripes we are healed,” but Christ the Lord? Of Whom Isaiah also prophesied His stripes were our healing, of Whom Paul the Apostle wrote in his epistle: “Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us.” 

That we may know that this mystery of the common redemption was most clearly revealed by the prophets, you have also in this place: “Behold, it has taken away your sins;” not that Christ put aside His sins Who did no sin, but that in the flesh of Christ the whole human race should be loosed from their sins.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 2-3 (Listen – 4:43)
John 21 (Listen – 3:58)

Holy Week Reflections
Part 2 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

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March 30, 2015

The Remedy for a Disquieted Soul

by Steven Dilla

Today: The Remedy for a Disquieted Soul: a Holy Week reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. Curated by Steven Dilla.

John 20.19
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus (an excerpt) | by Don Carson

It is vital to recognize that the peace Jesus gives is not a kind of placid tranquility which avoids all conflict. Jesus himself is heading for the cross; yet he speaks of his peace. 

Similarly, the peace Jesus promises does not avoid trouble; it triumphs over it. Nor is this peace to be confused with aloofness that is indifferent to injustice, corruption, idolatry, or some other sin. It is not simply “feeling good” in some narcissistic way, nor is it some mystical sense of well-being detached from physical and spiritual realities.

The world wishes peace on people. Yet for all its wishing, the world cannot grant the gift of personal peace, but only wish it on someone. At most, it can achieve reconciliation between brothers or between nations; and even then the achievement often proves temporary. 

Christ, by contrast, bequeaths the gift of peace on all his followers, bestowing it as an essential part of the salvation he achieves for them. The cross wins peace with God. The forgiveness, restoration, and healing which flow from this primary peace constitute the only adequate basis for peace with others, and for personal peace within ourselves.

So much of our restlessness and bitterness springs from our possessiveness, our desire for preeminence, our lust for recognition. Our love for self is so strong that it turns to hatred for others who do not give us what we think is our due. 

There is no peace where such sins flourish. Jesus betrayed no possessiveness. He desired his Father’s glory and will, not personal preeminence and popular recognition. Far from loving his life, he gave it up for others—indeed, for others who did not begin to offer him what was his due. And so Jesus could speak of his peace.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 1 (0 – 2:37)
John 20 (Listen – 4:17)

Holy Week Reflections
Part 1 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

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March 27, 2015

Heaven’s Joy, Employment and Privilege

by Bethany

Today: A Lenten reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Holy Week. Curated by Bethany Jenkins.

John 17.24
[Jesus said,] “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

Lenten Morning: The Redeemer’s Prayer (an excerpt) | by Charles Spurgeon

Christ prayed, if I understand his prayer, for three things… The first great thing he prayed for, is that which is heaven’s greatest joy—“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am” … He prayed that we might be with Christ—that is our companionship, with him where he is—that is our position. It seems as if he would tell us, that heaven is both a condition and a state—in the company of Christ, and in the place where Christ is …

Now the next prayer is, “that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.” This is heaven’s sweetest employment … The moment the soul departs from this body, it will behold the glory of Christ. The glory of his person will be the first thing that will arrest our attention. There will he sit in the midst of the throne, and our eyes will first be caught with the glory of his appearance …

I must close by noticing the last point, which is this. In our Savior’s prayer heaven’s greatest privilege is also included. We are not only to be with Christ and to behold his glory, but we are to be like Christ and to be glorified with him … That in all Christ has, a believer has a share. This seems to me to be the sum total, and the crowning of it all—to reign with Christ, to ride in his triumphal chariot, and have a portion of his joy; to be honored with him, to be accepted in him, to be glorified with him. This is heaven, this is heaven indeed.

And now, how many of you are there here who have any hope that this shall be your lot? Well said Chrysostom, “The pains of hell are not the greatest part of hell; the loss of heaven is the weightiest woe of hell” … For you who have a hope, I beseech you, hold it fast, live on it, rejoice in It … Live near your Master now, so shall your evidences be bright; and when you come to cross the flood, you shall see him face-to-face, and what that is only they can tell who enjoy it every hour.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Exodus 38 (Listen – 4:23)
John 17 (Listen – 3:40)

Lenten Reflections
Part 5 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

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This Weekend’s Readings

Saturday: Exodus 39 (Listen – 5:24); John 18 (Listen – 5:16)
Sunday: Exodus 40 (Listen – 4:07); John 19 (Listen – 6:23)

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March 26, 2015

The Blood of the First Martyrs

by Bethany

Today: A Lenten reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Holy Week. Curated by Bethany Jenkins.

John 16.33
[Jesus said,] “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Lenten Morning: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (an excerpt) | by John Foxe

James the Great. As James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle’s extraordinary courage and undauntedness, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink. These events took place AD 44.

Philip. He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolic, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison and afterwards crucified. AD 54.

Matthew. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah. AD 60.

James the Less. He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem; and was the author of the Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four, he was beaten and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.

Matthias. He was stoned in Jerusalem and then beheaded.

Andrew. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground.

Mark. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hands.

Peter. Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter … that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered, “I am come again to be crucified.” Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Exodus 37 (Listen – 3:14)
John 16 (Listen – 4:14)

Lenten Reflections
Part 4 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

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March 25, 2015

The Hatred of the World

by Bethany

Today: A Lenten reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Holy Week. Curated by Bethany Jenkins.

John 15.18-20
[Jesus said,] “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

Lenten Morning: Letter to an Unnamed Prison Guard | by William Tyndale

(When Tyndale was imprisoned for clinging to his belief that “faith alone justifies before God.”)

I beg your lordship, and that of the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me, from the goods of mine which he has, a warmer cap; for I suffer greatly from cold in the head, and am afflicted by a perpetual catarrh, which is much increased in this cell; a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth too to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth to put on above; he has also warmer night-caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain what you most desire, so only that it be for the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me, to be carried out before winter, I will be patient, abiding the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ: whose spirit (I pray) may ever direct your heart. Amen.

Biographical Note by John Piper in his book, Filling up the Afflictions of Christ: “We don’t know if his requests were granted. He did stay in that prison through winter. His verdict was sealed in August 1536. He was formally condemned as a heretic and degraded from the priesthood. Then in early October (traditionally October 6), he was tied to the stake and then strangled by the executioner, then afterward, consumed in the fire. Foxe reports that his last words were, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes!” He was forty-two years old, never married, and never buried.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Exodus 36 (Listen – 4:47)
John 15 (Listen – 3:20)

Lenten Reflections
Part 3 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

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How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

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