Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 231/260: Read John 21

Our God is a God of second chances. In John 18, we read of Peter’s three-fold denial of Jesus, but his story doesn’t end there. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius.

Three times, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” Peter, who “wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62) when he realized what he had done in the courtyard, now affirmed his love for the Lord. “You know that I love You.”

Jesus gave Peter a mission. He told him, “Feed My lambs.” He said, “Tend My sheep.” He said, “Feed My sheep.” Jesus, “the good shepherd,” had given “His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He was now ready to go to the Father and begin preparations for His faithful followers to join Him (John 14:2-3). While He does that, He gives Peter the responsibility to feed and tend the flock.

We can continue to learn from Peter and the other inspired writers of the New Testament, by reading their words and obeying the instructions God has given us through their pens. We are the sheep, and we are to follow the good shepherd.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Pray

Pray for selflessness in loving Christ and doing the will of God as He revealed in the New Testament.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 230/260: Read John 20

People react to bad news in different ways. Mary Magdalene rushed to tell two of the Lord’s disciples that His body was missing from the tomb. Upon hearing that, Peter and John “ran together” to the tomb to verify her words. “So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.” When they saw that His body was gone, they believed Mary and returned to their homes.

Mary stayed at the tomb, and was weeping. Distraught over the situation, she demanded answers. Two angels sat inside the tomb and asked her the reason for her tears. “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Then Jesus Himself appears behind her and asks the same question. Not recognizing Him, she accuses Him of moving the body. He spoke her name, “Mary,” and she realized it was Him. Then she sought out the disciples and told them what had happened.

They didn’t rush back to the tomb this time. Rather, they stayed indoors, fearing the Jews. Jesus appeared in their midst and said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” After everything they witnessed, all the bad news they had experienced over the past few days, “they glad when they saw the Lord.”

Do we react the same way when our bad situations turn around? Are we glad to see the Lord working in our lives to turn things around, to accomplish His will through us?

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

John 17:17. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Pray

Pray that you might be the instrument through whom the Lord works to accomplish His will.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 229/260: Read John 19

He was innocent, yet they mocked Him. He was innocent, yet they demanded His blood. He was innocent, but they cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

He was their King, but they denied His power and authority and called for His death. They claimed, “We have no king but Caesar!”

Pilate, the spineless governor who had the vast armies of Rome at his beck and call, gave in to the howling mob aroused by the chief priests and sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. He wrote a title and put it on the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

The chief priests objected and asked Pilate to amend the statement to show that “He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” Pilate refused, and the truth prevailed.

The King on a cross. The King that had the power to deliver the Jews from their oppressive enemy. Rome was a nuisance, but there was an enemy greater than Rome: Satan. The Jews did not want to hear the truth, nor did they want to follow such a meek man as Jesus as their leader.

Satan thought he had won, and the Son of God had lost. He was rejected by His own people, died upon the cross, and was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. But the story of Jesus and His battle against sin and death was not over. The final chapter had not yet been written.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

John 17:17. _____________ them by Your truth. Your _____________ is truth.

Pray

Pray for the wisdom to see that, even when things look bleak, God is working through the things in our life to bring about the accomplishment of His will.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 228/260: Read John 18

The apostle Peter is remembered for many things. He was a part of the “inner circle” of apostles along with James and John. He was the focus of much of the first half of the book of Acts, which included the establishment of the church in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. He wrote two inspired epistles that were preserved for us.

Yet, for all the good that Peter accomplished, he certainly had his less-than-stellar moments. He may be most remembered for his denial of the Lord, recorded in all four accounts of the gospel. Initially, Peter is ready to fight and defend the Lord, drawing his sword and cutting off Malchus’ ear as Jesus is betrayed in the garden. But then, he reaches his persona low, three times claiming that he did not know Jesus.

It is not difficult to see part of the problem. Peter put himself in a precarious position. “Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and hey warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.”

The closer we get to the enemies of the Lord, the easier it becomes to separate ourselves from Him and His truth. Peter was asked three times if he knew Jesus, and three times he denied it, all while in the company of the Lord’s enemies. It is easy to be bold with a friendly audience, but when surrounded by an antagonistic crowd, one’s boldness may waver.

Surround yourself with people who will support your faith; avoid becoming comfortable with those who will help you lose it.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

John 17:17. Sanctify them by Your _____________. Your word is _____________.

Pray

Pray for faithful friends.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 227/260: Read John 17

Are the things you pray for important to you? Do you want to see those prayers answered in a positive manner? Do you work to accomplish a positive outcome for those things?

If you consider your prayers important, should you consider the prayers of the Son of God important as well? Do you want to see Jesus’ prayers answered in a positive manner? Are you working to accomplish a positive outcome for His requests?

Jesus prayed for unity among His followers, even in the shadow of the cross. This was just prior to the betrayal in the garden, before He was arrested and taken before the authorities, before He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. In spite of the physical horrors that lay before Him, Jesus prayed for “those who will believe in Me through (the apostles’) word.” He prayed for you and He prayed for me. That should humble us, that the Lord was thinking about us as He faced extreme persecution.

There was unity in the early church. Immediately following the establishment of the church, Luke says that “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Notice that the unity was based upon the teaching of the apostles, those who were led into all truth by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13).

Are we still working toward unity based upon the truth? Are we seeking a positive outcome for the Lord’s prayer?

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

John 17:17. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Pray

Pray for the unity of the Lord’s followers today.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 226/260: Read John 16

Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is revealed by Jesus in these words He spoke to the apostles. In addition to the Spirit’s bringing to their remembrance the words of Christ (John 14:26) and His testimony of Christ (John 15:26), He would also “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The accomplishment of this began on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.

Luke tells us that the apostles “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). It was through the preaching of the truth that the hearers of that gospel sermon “were cut to the heart,” leading them to ask a question of eternal importance: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Peter’s answer was specific and to-the-point. He did not beat around the bush. He said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ of the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). There was nothing in Peter’s response that indicated this was only a suggestion; he did not recommend that they schedule a time to be baptized as a so-called “outward sign of an inward grace” (a phrase that is never used in the Scriptures).

These men were convicted of their sin by the Spirit-inspired message of Peter and the other apostles. The Spirit continues to convict men in the same way today: through the inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16). Have you obeyed His Word?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

John 17:17. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Pray

Pray for the courage to obey what God has commanded rather than what man suggests.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 225/260: Read John 15

Jesus makes clear to His apostles that there is a direct connection between their love for Him and their obedience to His commands. One must deny himself and bend his will to align with the will of God.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” That is to say that their desires will align more with God’s will as they abide in the words of Christ.

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” There is simply no separating a love for God from submission to Him. One who refuses to obey God’s commands —including the command to love one another—shows by his actions that he doesn’t really love God.

Jesus wanted His disciples to know that loving Him would result in hatred from the world. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Are you obedient to the Lord’s commands? Do you really love Jesus? Or are you hanging on to the love of the world, refusing to fully submit to the will of God?

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

John 12:48. 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.

Pray

Pray for the humility to shape your desires after the will of God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 224/260: Read John 14

The Lord has told His disciples that He was about to be betrayed by one of them. He has told them on multiple occasions that He would be put to death. He tells them near the end of the last chapter, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward” (John 13:36). If you were one of His closest friends, would you have been concerned?

Jesus likely recognized that they struggled as they processed this information, and He says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” To paraphrase: “Don’t worry. Trust the Father and trust Me.”

The apostles didn’t have the full picture yet, so Jesus wanted to set their minds at ease. He said He has everything under control, and He was making things ready for them too. “In My Father’s house there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I got to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Heaven is prepared for the faithful; hell is prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Sadly, many will choose to spend eternity in a place that was never intended for them (Matthew 7:13-14).

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

John 12:48. He who _____________ Me, and does not receive My words, has that which _____________ him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

Pray

Pray for comfort as you seek to do God’s will, following Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 223/260: Read John 13

Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Jesus provides His followers with the ultimate example of humility. Though He was called “Teacher and Lord” by His disciples, yet He saw fit to be a servant to them. He taught them that no one is too important to serve another.

Everyone has a role to play in the Master’s kingdom, yet no role is so important that one can be excused from working in any capacity, even the lowliest capacity. We all work together, serving one another, to get the Lord’s work done.

Later in the chapter, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

How did Jesus love His creation? He left heaven for a time, “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). Even more than that, though, “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

It was the only way to save mankind. And He loved us that much. Do we love each other enough to give up some of our comforts and conveniences, to serve as examples of faithfulness, to seek and to save the lost?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

John 12:48. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My ____________, has that which judges him—the ____________ that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

Pray

Pray that you may exhibit the humility and love of Jesus in your life today.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 222/260: Read John 12

You have probably heard the expression, “Hindsight is 20/20.” It is easier to look back on past events and see more clearly things that were not obvious at the time. Twice in the twelfth chapter of John, the apostle makes reference to things that were not initially evident, but made more sense later.

The first is the motivation of Judas Iscariot. John notes Judas’ objection to the anointing of Jesus’ feet. He claimed that the money should have been used for the poor, but in hindsight, John saw that his words did not match his motivation. John said that Judas did not care for the poor, but rather was “a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.”

Later in the chapter, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” At the time, the disciples did not understand the full import of His words, but when John wrote his account of the gospel, he was able to look back on these words and see their meaning more clearly. “This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”

When things happen in our lives, we may not see how much it impacts us and those around us until years later. We may look back and see God working in ways that we simply couldn’t have grasped in the moment. Remember, James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Good things come from bad situations, and we must trust in God to allow that to happen.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

John 12:48. 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.

Pray

Pray for patience through the struggles of life.