Hey Everyone! This is the next segment of devotions for days 8-14 of our 21 day fast. Keep on praying!! For those of you who may be just “tuning in,” the chapter references are all from the Gospel of John…
A Fasting Devotional for Days 8-14
Day 8 John Chapter 8
In this chapter, John retells the story of the woman caught in adultery, His interactions with her accusers and the marvelous ending. In that story He reveals more of Who He really is, as we see Him convict the consciences of the woman’s accusers and with only the words “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (verse 7) In verse 12 He says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Then He begins again to shine the light of truth on the Jews who challenged Him and what He was saying and continues until they are ready to stone Him at the end of the chapter. Remember John’s stated purpose in writing this book. It’s “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Light and truth are closely related. Light is a revealer and in the same way Jesus the Light revealed some difficult things to the Jews. “You are of your father the devil…” (verse 43) is the one that comes to mind. Ouch! But look at verses 31-36. Jesus says this of the truth: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Truth reveals. Truth hurts, it cuts. But the truth, when accepted and adhered to, makes you a free person. Ask the Lord for the truth in a deeper way. Ask Him to reveal Himself, and yourself, in a clearer picture. There may be some uncomfortable moments when He answers (like the woman’s accusers and the Jews) but in the end, there’s freedom. Remember, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, but He often uses people, certainly situations, to help us to see what we need to see, coupled with the Scriptures. It’s still Jesus behind it all, wanting to make you free.
Day 9 John Chapter 9
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.” (Verse 1) Did you ever read that sentence and ask why He “saw” this man? This chapter is all about blindness, the physical blindness that this young man had and the spiritual blindness that the Pharisees retained. The entire story is contained in this chapter, the story of how Jesus asks the man to hold still while He made some clay from His spit and some earth, applied it to his eyes and told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. Jesus then disappeared until the now healed, interrogated young man was found by Jesus, giving thanks to God in the Temple. Because Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath (verse 14) and He didn’t fit into their rules regarding the Sabbath, they couldn’t believe that the miracle could possibly indicate that Jesus was the Messiah. And so the formerly blind man (verses 27-33), presumably uneducated and common, now tells the blind Pharisees the common sense answer to the real question: just who is this Jesus? Then the seeing man was finally introduced officially to Jesus and he confessed that he believed. Jesus was the dividing line between those who believed and those who didn’t. Those who believed saw, but the stubborn Jews refused to humble themselves and believe and so remained blind. And it cost the now seeing man, as the Jews disfellowshipped him, allowing him no more contact with the bulk of Jewish society. Two questions: are you humble enough to allow God to work in your life so that you believe and will you believe to the point that you stand out from the rest of the world around you? Ask the Lord to help you to “see,” even if it means that in seeing and believing that others are divided from you. It takes courage but it’s worth it!
Day 10 John Chapter 10
In this chapter, Jesus identifies Himself as the Great Shepherd of the Sheep. He talks freely about the so called shepherds that have come before Him and identifies the “hireling,” a leader who runs when danger comes and leaves the sheep with the wolves. All very vivid imagery describing how God cares for those who are truly His. Those who are truly His, “believe.” (Verses 25 and 26) And what is the characteristic of one of His Sheep? Look at verses 27-30. They hear His voice, they have relationship with Him and they follow and obey Him. The promise to those who are His is that He will give them eternal life and security in their standing with God. How are the characteristics of sheep applying to your life these days? Do you listen for His voice? God loves to speak to His people, but distractions, apathy and other factors are allowed to get in the way. It’s not God’s voice that’s the problem, but our ears! How is your relationship with Him? Also distracted and forgotten? And when you hear Him by the Spirit, through the Scriptures, do you follow His directives? You see, Jesus may be the Great Shepherd, but are we the kind of sheep that are identifiably His? Ask the Lord to help you to hear Him much better this year. Make plans to set aside time to actually pray in the Spirit and pause long enough to find out what’s on His heart. Have a Bible reading program that takes you through the Bible in a significant way this year. Relate to Him, practice His Presence. And then ask Him to give you a heart and determination to follow His directives. After all, He is the Great Shepherd and He won’t lead you astray!
Day 11 John Chapter 11 Halfway through the fast already!
If there were a chapter in John that you would have read before, right behind John 3 is John 11. In this portion of the Scripture we read the miraculous story of Lazarus, his death and his raising from the dead. Jesus’ uttered those famous words at his tomb, “Lazarus, come forth!” Of course, he did! Many have said that if Jesus didn’t specify “Lazarus” that everyone in the tombs there might have come back to life and out of their graves. Yes, the Word of God is that powerful.
The relationship Jesus had with Mary, Martha and Lazarus is another marvel of this chapter. Jesus plainly had a personal interest in this family of three siblings and loved them. Not that He didn’t love others or that He doesn’t love you and me, but the chapter features His very personal closeness to people. Jesus weeps at the “funeral,” but have you thought that since Jesus is the express image of God that this reveals how the Father feels about human tragedy and unbelief? I love what this tells us about God and His heart. Yes, He weeps with you at your tragedies.
Notice the most remarkable part of this chapter, though, from a human standpoint. After Lazarus came out of the tomb you would think that there would be no one remaining in unbelief regarding the Lord Jesus. C’mon, how could you not say that this is God in the flesh, having given life to the dead right in front of your eyes? Yet in verses 45-57 at the end of the chapter we find that while many did believe, others still did not. They went from there to the Pharisees and they plotted His death, even though Jesus did what no man could do. Miracles, signs and wonders are marvelous. They are evidences of God’s witness to the Gospel. But they, in themselves, are never enough to save anyone. It always has been and always will be faith that saves. Pray today that God would draw people to Himself and grant them the gift of faith. Pray for faith to arise in the hearts of your friends and loved ones. And ask Him to strengthen your own faith as you pray.
Day 12 John Chapter 12
As Jesus approaches His final Passover He has dinner with Mary, Martha and our friend Lazarus. Imagine sitting at the table with the man Jesus raised from the dead? Mary, in a manner similar to the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, anoints Jesus’ feet with costly spikenard and wiped the excess with her hair. It was done of love and sacrifice and prepared Him for the day of His burial. In these first 8 verses we see a foreshadow of His betrayal and His death and burial. There are so many things we could focus on in this chapter, but let’s settle on verses 25 and 26. “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 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.” How much do you love your life in this world? Is it all you think about and care about? Not that you should neglect your responsibilities and relationships, but just where is your heart? Do you prioritize the Heavenly over the Earthly? Are you pursuing Eternal fruitfulness and a real relationship with God or is He a “part” of your life? Do you follow Him to where He is, and where His Heart is? Where He is, “there (His) servant will be also.” Ask God to show you where your priorities lie and ask Him to take you where He wants you to be.
Day 13 Chapter 13
This chapter takes place at the last Passover supper (seder) Jesus has with His Disciples. It nearly entirely takes place in an upper room that we read details of in other Gospels. Again, there is so much here for us to take in; His foot-washing lesson, His betrayal’s beginning and His prophetic conversation with Peter about roosters crowing during his denial are all in this chapter. Again, let’s focus on two verses, 34 and 35 this time. “Love one another as I have loved you,” the Lord said, and then He tells them that this kind of love would identify them as His disciples to the world. How is your love toward, especially, other Christians? The most obvious expressions of love belong to our spouses and children, but Jesus said that His new commandment was that we were to love, in a sacrificial way, people only related to us by our common faith. Do you mean that the Christian across the church aisle, who I am not related to nor do I especially like, is someone I need to show extravagant love toward? Does that mean that I need to forgive them when they wrong me, give to them when they are in need, express love toward them at all times and sacrifice myself for their sakes? What kind of love, other than that, would make us stand out in the world as His disciples and most closely imitate what our Master has done for us? Ask Him, during this prolonged time of prayer and fasting, to show you how to love like that. Ask Him to show you where you stand on the issue of loving like He does and to show you who the specific people are that need you to love in His way of loving. Go beyond toleration to love that reflects His amazing love.
Day 14 Chapter 14
This chapter is preparation for the days following Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, days in which the Disciples would seemingly be on their own. There are many wonderful words in this chapter, but let’s draw our attention to verses 15 through 17. “If you love Me,” said Jesus, “keep My commandments.” Wow, how can I do that, you might ask, when I’ve never been able to come close at any time in the past? Are we back to earning God’s favor by our adherence to rules and regulations? Not at all. Jesus here speaks of a love relationship that’s not based on our perfection, but on grace. Remember, Jesus is full of grace (to relate) and truth (to reveal). But if you love Him, really love Him, you’ll want to do what He holds dear and important. Again, how could I possibly be consistent in even that? Ah, that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. The Helper, the One who is the Spirit of Truth, Who will guide you into all truth, Who will abide with you forever (!) will be the One who will enable you to keep His commandments of love and sacrifice in holiness. He dwells with you (like someone living in your house with you) and will be in you! Wait a minute. Did we read that right? That God Himself would live in you to enable you to live according to God’s commands? Yes. It’s the privilege of everyone who believes on Jesus and is further reinforced by what is said in verse 23. If you are His, He will come and make His home with you. Do you doubt that you can live a godly, overcoming life? Do you live life like every other person you meet? Or does your life manifest the truth of the amazing words recorded here? Ask God to enable you to believe that, as a Christian, you have the Lord living in you. Ask God to burn out the ungodly in your life so that your outsides match the Holy Spirit on the inside. Ask the Lord to use you as His instrument so that you decrease as He increases in His work through you to love and reach every life around you. And thank Him for a privilege that none of us fully understand or appreciate. That’s “Emmanuel” in a way we can hardly grasp!If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!