He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38 NKJV) Reading: John 7 Power, popularity, prestige, position, food, fashion, success, wealth, passion, entertainment, etc. are the things with which people try to fill their lives. Here in the southeast, where we sometimes experience tornados and severe storms, people who have lost all their possessions often say, “We lost our homes and everything else, but we thank God we are still alive!” One of the greatest kings who lived on earth was Solomon who had everything – power, wealth, women, etc. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11) However, his cry was, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) But hear the words of Jesus: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38) Once more, Jesus gave an opportunity to the people of Israel to know who He was. He wanted them to know that He is the source of life. He wanted to give them the river of living water. For Jesus is the wellspring of salvation. He is the source of life and the giver of eternal life. The offer of Jesus is still true today for everyone. Jesus wants to give us the river of living water because He is the source of life, the bread of life, and the living water. Jesus offers His life to anyone. He alone can satisfy the hungry soul. He alone can fill the longing of hearts. Nothing else can fill the emptiness in a man’s soul. People in the world today try to pursue earthly dreams, success, worldly wealth, good life, and happiness. They try all kinds of things, relationships, and intimacy, but none can fill the void in one’s heart. Jesus alone can satisfy the soul, as He made a way for us to come to the Father, the giver and source of life. All the striving for happiness, success, and fulfillment cannot be compared with the joy and satisfaction of a relationship with Jesus. In Jesus, there is peace, love, joy, hope, the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. What Jesus offers and gives is not a temporary solution or a quick fix; He gives eternal redemption and salvation of the soul from sin and hell. In Jesus, all our needs are met – physical, emotional, and spiritual. He is the Provider of food, shelter, etc. He is the Healer when we are sick. Jesus is the Comforter when we are lonely and sad. Jesus is strength when we are weak. Jesus is Hope when we do not know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus is love when we feel abandoned. Jesus is Wisdom when we need guidance and direction. Jesus is Refuge when we need protection. Jesus is the Good Shepherd when we have lost our way. Jesus is the Resurrection and the life in time of death. And Jesus wants to give us more. Reflection: The invitation of Jesus is for everyone to come to Him and be filled. He wants to give us the river of life, the river of living water. He desires to fill the longing of our soul and to satisfy our spirit. Jesus wants to give us eternal life – a life connected to God in eternity. Prayer: Dear Jesus, I praise You and bless You! Thank you for your offer to give us the river of living water, that we could live with you here on earth and in eternity with our God. Thank You that I can come to you for everything and anything I need in life and in the life to come.
Merry Christmas, God loves you!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.John 3:16
Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17
(Jesus said) “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” Revelation 22:12
Prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus as your Lord and Savior:
Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins. I open my heart to you. I commit and trust my life to Your Lordship. Please help me, Holy Spirit, to live the life God has planned for me. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?
Christianity is not just a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
God speaks to us through reading the Bible every day. (www.biblegateway.com)
- We speak to God through prayer in the name of Jesus.
- To hear good Bible teachings, look for a good Bible believing Christian church to be part of, or maybe look for online for now.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”Philippians 2:5-11(NKJV)
At this time of year, we often think about Jesus coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby, but do we really consider the implications of Jesus humbling himself by coming to earth? Think about it. Jesus left all the glory & splendor of heaven and the worshipping heavenly hosts to come and live among us. He gave up His omnipresence to live in a human body confined by time, space, and geography. He gave up the perfections of heaven to live in a body that was subject to hunger, pain, and discomfort. I can imagine that, upon occasion, Jesus suffered the pain of hitting his thumb with a hammer or stubbing his toe on a rock. When Jesus fed the five thousand, have we ever considered that Jesus himself was hungry? When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, have we ever thought about how thirsty Jesus must have been? And after a long day of ministering to the physical needs of hundreds of people, have we ever considered how tired Jesus must have been? Or after seeing how the religious leaders of his day despised Him and His teachings, have we ever considered the degree to which Jesus felt the pain of being misunderstood and rejected? And let us not forget the emotional pain that Jesus felt when his earthly father Joseph, his cousin John the Baptist, and his friend Lazarus died.
Dr. David Jeremiah recently did a teaching a series about the Nativity, has listed several reasons why Jesus came to live among us. We often think about the obvious reasons – to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies and to save us from our sins. But do we consider that He also came so that he could fully understand what it means to be human, to experience human emotions and to empathize with our weaknesses? The writer of Hebrews brings out this point:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
I don’t know about you, but these verses bring me great comfort! When I feel discouraged, I can remember that Jesus also felt that way from time-to-time. When I feel alone, I can remember that there were times when Jesus also felt the pain of isolation. When I am tempted, I can remember that Jesus also faced temptation, although of course He never yielded to those temptations. Isn’t it comforting to know that whatever we are going through, we can bring those cares to the One who understands our struggles (I Peter 5:7), knowing that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). And there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). Now that is truly Good News!
Acts 2: 1-47
Part 3 : The power of the Holy Spirit to change people
Key verse: Then Peter said to them, repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (v.38)Acts 2:38 (NKJV)
It was the day of Pentecost (Festival of Harvest in Israel). The disciples of the Lord Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem, as Jesus instructed them to wait there (Acts 1:4-8). About 120 followers of the Lord Jesus and eyewitnesses of His resurrection gathered together in the Upper Room. As they prayed and worship, the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. Each of them received the gift of speaking in tongues, (Acts 2:3-4). At the same time, there were God-fearing Jews who were visiting Jerusalem from different nearby countries.
“Everyone heard them speak in his own language, they were amazed and marveled” (v.5)
The visiting Jews heard the local disciples speak their native languages. Then Peter got up and explained to the crowd what was going on. Peter explained to the people that it was a fulfillment of God’s word in the Book of Joel.
“And it shall come to pass afterwardJoel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
And Peter further explained that Jesus is their Lord and Messiah (v.22-26). Peter through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit made connections of the Jesus and King David in the Scriptures (v. 25-28). “For David did not ascend into heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, til I make Your enemies Your footstool’. (v. 35) “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. V.36
The Holy Spirit’s touch and power came to the disciples of the Lord Jesus on the day of Pentecost. They spoke new languages or spoke in tongues and gave witness to Jesus’ power and resurrection. The disciples obeyed the instruction of the Lord Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
About fifty days prior to this event, the disciples were all bereaved and bewildered with the death of their Lord Jesus on the cross. They were frightened for their lives and were in hiding (John 20:19). Then when they saw Jesus alive and had risen from the dead, they rejoiced! Even when Jesus commanded them to go and make disciples, they were still uncertain. But when they waited for the promise of Jesus, they all received the touch and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
Almost instantly they received the power-new courage, strength, and boldness. Peter also received wisdom and knowledge in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit gave Peter real strength and boldness. Before the day of the Pentecost, the zealousness and boldness of Peter were from his natural abilities and was limited. When Jesus was arrested and was in trial, Peter even denied Jesus. But when the power of the Holy Spirit came to Peter, he became a changed man. First Jesus restored Peter and their relationship . Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem his denial of Jesus three times, (see John 21). Then through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter became bold, courageous and full of wisdom. He was able to stand up and witness for Jesus in front of many people. He became anointed and powerful preacher for Jesus. And that day, 3000 souls were added to the disciples!
Jesus changed Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit as well as the other disciples. As a followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit can change us too. Through the power of the Holy Spirit He can empower us to be strong, courageous and bold witnesses for Jesus, of His love and saving grace.
Dear Jesus, I praise You for sending Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, like Peter, please fill us with your spirit of wisdom, courage, strength and boldness to be Your witnesses.
For part 1 and part 2 see attach files:
Reading: Acts 1:8- 26
The Holy Spirit gives power to do the works of Jesus!
v.8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
//Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
One of the last words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples before He returned to heaven was, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5); And “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (v.8)His disciples thought Jesus was talking about physical power, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (v.7). The disciples knew and believed with all their hearts that Jesus was their long -awaited Messiah or Savior. However, their definition of Messiah was different from Jesus’ kingdom’s definition. Perhaps in the minds of the disciples and other people of Israel, they thought Messiah or Savior was like Moses or David. Moses was their physical ruler who freed them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 1). Then David later on, led the people of Israel into battles and established his kingdom throughout Israel (2 Samuel). Perhaps, the disciples and other people were thinking, Jesus would do the same, deliver them from oppression and tyranny of the Roman rule. However, as the Word says in Isaiah 55,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.”
The mind of Christ and the plan of God was far greater than the thinking of men- temporary relief. Men like the people of Israel thought of physical deliverance from hardships, taxation, violence and other physical oppressions. From the beginning, when Jesus was born on earth, God’s plan was to deliver people from the bondage of sin.
for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV)
The plan of God was not just a temporary relief from hardships and oppression, His plan of salvation was far greater than temporary earthly relief- His plan of salvation was eternal- to deliver people from sin. God ‘s plan of salvation for the people of Israel is still the same for everyone in the world. (John 3:16)
So, when Jesus told His disciples, You will receive power (Acts 1:8), He meant the power to preach the Gospel, the power to heal sick people, to perform miracles, so people would believe in Jesus. When Jesus was with His disciples on earth, He did the Father’s will – preaching salvation, teaching the people the words of God, healing the sick, and delivering people from demonic oppression. Jesus’s focus and mission were to set people free from sin, from hell and eternal condemnation. The same power Jesus received from the Father, He passed on to His disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit so they could be witnesses in all places starting from Jerusalem, other cities, other places, other countries, and to the ends of the earth.
The same power Jesus gave His disciples is available to all His followers even to this day. The power to preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, heal the sick, deliver people from demonic oppression, set people free from sin, hell and eternal condemnation. As followers of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is made available to us all.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to us. Thank You Holy Spirit for coming. Please fill us with your power – Your spirit of strength and courage to the works of the Lord Jesus, to be witnesses Him to everyone, in every place you send us.
Reading: Acts 1:1-8
Key verse – 5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”Acts 1:5
Other references: John 14:16, John 15:26
//Matthew 3:11& Luke 3:16- I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The Lord Jesus spent 3 full years with His disciples. He ate with them, traveled places with them and did ministry together. The disciples studied and learned from Him directly, as they listened to His teachings and preachings. They witnessed and saw miracles He did firsthand. Jesus trained them to be teachers of the word of God, to be preachers, prophets and evangelists. However, Jesus had to go back physically to His heavenly home to be with His Father. Jesus had fulfilled His mission and primary purpose- when He gave His life as a sin offering for the world. Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world, (John 19), then rose after 3 days. HE showed up to His disciples and other people for 40 days. They were together again for 40 days and gave them His last words and re-commissioning (Acts 1:1). Jesus encouraged the disciples one more time (not the last one).
“for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5)
Jesus promised this to His disciples even before He died on the cross.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
Jesus had to go back to heaven, leave the earth, but He did not abandon His followers, disciples and friends.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (v.18)
He already made plans for them, to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, He speaks the Truth, which is the Word of God, to enlighten people’s minds, to convict of sin.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. – John 15:26
The Holy Spirit is also the Helper. Like Jesus, He helps in time of need. Like Jesus, He promised to stay with them forever, As Jesus promised His disciples, I will not leave you orphans (John 14:18)
The Holy Spirit, like Jesus, is Truth and Helper. He continues to do the work of Jesus- to speak the Truth of God’s words. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, our help in time of need, whatever is the situation, whatever we need- healing, healing of bodies, healing of emotions, healing of minds, financial needs, guidance, protection, comfort, etc.
Jesus is back in heaven, but He is still with us, as His followers, through the Holy Spirit. He provides for us, every need we could possibly imagined. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into Truth- to be our Teacher and Helper in time of needs. The Holy Spirit abides /or stay with us forever.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to us Your followers. Thank You Holy Spirit for helping me in time of need, and for guiding me and for teaching me the Truth of God and His words. Amen!
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life.
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the Giver of life.
Thank You, my Creator, for the gift of life.
Thank You, Jesus, for giving us Your life.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to preach Good News to the poor.
Thank You, Lord, that You came to heal the brokenhearted.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to set people free.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to open blind eyes.
Thank You, Jesus, for your life.
Thank You, Jesus, for your gift of eternal life.
Thank You, Jesus, for your great love.
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the God of love
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to make me free.
Thank You, Lord, You are my life.
Thank You for blessing me with Your life and love.
Thank You, Lord Jesus!
(Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2)
“He who has the Son has [a]life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
I John 5:12- Bible Gateway
Praying… I am praying for you! Prayers…
I see these comments a lot, especially these days in social media, but I wonder when people say that, “Praying, I am praying…” to whom they are praying. I heard that one religion has more than three million gods. Another religion encourages its followers to pray to various saints for different needs. When David and I travel to Asia, we often see places on the streets where food is offered on an altar to appease their gods so their petitions could be heard.
Others say they can only pray in certain buildings or cathedrals on certain days.
A few months ago, we were grateful for an opportunity to visit one of the holy sites for many Judeo-Christian people. While visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, we were told by our tour guide that we could write our prayer requests on slips of paper and stick them between the crevices of the wall. I am not sure who actually prays for those many prayer requests.
Jesus addressed this issue when He was here on earth when He was talking to a woman from Samaria. The woman of Samaria told Jesus, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” (John 4:20).
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)
God in heaven is Spirit, He loves to hear our prayers and worship. The way to God is easy and simple since Jesus made a way.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
We pray to God in heaven in the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful privilege we have as children of God to be able to express our needs to Him in prayer.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (I John 5:14-15)
At the breaking of the dawn
Are Your new mercies;
At the breaking of the dawn
Your love is new again;
At the breaking of the dawn,
Your faithfulness has come again;
As Your Word says,
Your mercies are new every morning.
At the breaking of the dawn,
Darkness flees away
And fears are gone
My strength is renewed
At the breaking of the dawn
Fears fly away
At the breaking of the dawn.
Thank You Lord Jesus that Your love is here
At the breaking of the dawn;
I praise You Lord Jesus that You are here with me
Always at the breaking of the dawn.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassion never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23