Tag Archives: Christmas
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate[a] with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar[b] of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages.[c] It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people[d] heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them[e] and believed in Jesus.
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others[j]about it. 18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone[k] has gone after him!”
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man[l]to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture[m]that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
The Unbelief of the People
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”[n]
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”[o]
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. 42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
- 12:2 Or who reclined.
- 12:3 Greek took 1 litra [327 grams].
- 12:5 Greek worth 300 denarii. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer’s full day’s wage.
- 12:9 Greek Jewish people; also in 12:11.
- 12:11 Or had deserted their traditions; Greek reads had deserted.
- 12:13a Greek Hosanna, an exclamation of praise adapted from a Hebrew expression that means “save now.”
- 12:13b Ps 118:25-26; Zeph 3:15.
- 12:15a Greek daughter of Zion.
- 12:15b Zech 9:9.
- 12:17 Greek were testifying.
- 12:19 Greek the world.
- 12:23 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- 12:34 Greek from the law.
- 12:38 Isa 53:1.
- 12:40 Isa 6:10.
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Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
14 One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. 2 There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen.[a] 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” 4 When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. 5 Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son[b] or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” 6 Again they could not answer.
Jesus Teaches about Humility
7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!
10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
Parable of the Great Feast
15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet[c] in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”
2 Chronicles 3 New Living Translation (NLT)
Solomon Builds the Temple
3 So Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David, his father. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah[a] the Jebusite, the site that David had selected. 2 The construction began in midspring,[b] during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.
3 These are the dimensions Solomon used for the foundation of the Temple of God (using the old standard of measurement).[c] It was 90 feet long and 30 feet wide.[d] 4 The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet[e] wide, running across the entire width of the Temple, and 30 feet[f] high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold.
5 He paneled the main room of the Temple with cypress wood, overlaid it with fine gold, and decorated it with carvings of palm trees and chains. 6 He decorated the walls of the Temple with beautiful jewels and with gold from the land of Parvaim. 7 He overlaid the beams, thresholds, walls, and doors throughout the Temple with gold, and he carved figures of cherubim on the walls.
8 He made the Most Holy Place 30 feet wide, corresponding to the width of the Temple, and 30 feet deep. He overlaid its interior with 23 tons[g] of fine gold. 9 The gold nails that were used weighed 20 ounces[h] each. He also overlaid the walls of the upper rooms with gold.
10 He made two figures shaped like cherubim, overlaid them with gold, and placed them in the Most Holy Place. 11 The total wingspan of the two cherubim standing side by side was 30 feet. One wing of the first figure was 7 1⁄2 feet[i] long, and it touched the Temple wall. The other wing, also 7 1⁄2 feet long, touched one of the wings of the second figure. 12 In the same way, the second figure had one wing 7 1⁄2 feet long that touched the opposite wall. The other wing, also 7 1⁄2 feet long, touched the wing of the first figure. 13 So the wingspan of the two cherubim side by side was 30 feet. They stood on their feet and faced out toward the main room of the Temple.
14 Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim.
15 For the front of the Temple, he made two pillars that were 27 feet[j] tall, each topped by a capital extending upward another 7 1⁄2 feet. 16 He made a network of interwoven chains[k] and used them to decorate the tops of the pillars. He also made 100 decorative pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 17 Then he set up the two pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one to the south of the entrance and the other to the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.[l]
- 3:1 Hebrew reads Ornan, a variant spelling of Araunah; compare 2 Sam 24:16.
- 3:2 Hebrew on the second [day] of the second month. This day of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in April or May.
- 3:3a The “old standard of measurement” was a cubit equal to 18 inches [46 centimeters]. The new standard was a cubit of approximately 21 inches [53 centimeters].
- 3:3b Hebrew 60 cubits [27.6 meters] long and 20 cubits [9.2 meters] wide.
- 3:4a Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters]; also in 3:8, 11, 13.
- 3:4b As in some Greek and Syriac manuscripts, which read 20 cubits [9.2 meters]; Hebrew reads 120 [cubits], which is 180 feet or 55 meters.
- 3:8 Hebrew 600 talents [20.4 metric tons].
- 3:9 Hebrew 50 shekels [570 grams].
- 3:11 Hebrew 5 cubits [2.3 meters]; also in 3:11b, 12, 15.
- 3:15 As in Syriac version (see also 1 Kgs 7:15; 2 Kgs 25:17; Jer 52:21), which reads 18 cubits [8.3 meters]; Hebrew reads 35 cubits, which is 52.5 feet or 16.5 meters.
- 3:16 Hebrew He made chains in the inner sanctuary. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 3:17 Jakin probably means “he establishes”; Boaz probably means “in him is strength.”
1 Chronicles 16 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. 2 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord. 3 Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates,[a] and a cake of raisins.
4 David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. 6 The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.
David’s Song of Praise
7 On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:
8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the Lord our God.
His justice is seen throughout the land.
15 Remember his covenant forever—
the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
16 This is the covenant he made with Abraham
and the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant:
18 “I will give you the land of Canaan
as your special possession.”
19 He said this when you were few in number,
a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.
20 They wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them.
He warned kings on their behalf:
22 “Do not touch my chosen people,
and do not hurt my prophets.”
23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
26 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
27 Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and joy fill his dwelling.
28 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord,
recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
29 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his presence.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
30 Let all the earth tremble before him.
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
33 Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation!
Gather and rescue us from among the nations,
so we can thank your holy name
and rejoice and praise you.”
36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting!
And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord.
Worship at Jerusalem and Gibeon
37 David arranged for Asaph and his fellow Levites to serve regularly before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, doing whatever needed to be done each day. 38 This group included Obed-edom (son of Jeduthun), Hosah, and sixty-eight other Levites as gatekeepers.
39 Meanwhile, David stationed Zadok the priest and his fellow priests at the Tabernacle of the Lord at the place of worship in Gibeon, where they continued to minister before the Lord. 40 They sacrificed the regular burnt offerings to the Lord each morning and evening on the altar set aside for that purpose, obeying everything written in the Law of the Lord, as he had commanded Israel. 41 David also appointed Heman, Jeduthun, and the others chosen by name to give thanks to the Lord, for “his faithful love endures forever.” 42 They used their trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments to accompany their songs of praise to God.[b] And the sons of Jeduthun were appointed as gatekeepers.
43 Then all the people returned to their homes, and David turned and went home to bless his own family.
1 Chronicles 14 New Living Translation (NLT)
David’s Palace and Family
14 Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber, and stonemasons and carpenters to build him a palace. 2 And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
3 Then David married more wives in Jerusalem, and they had more sons and daughters. 4 These are the names of David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 5 Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, 6 Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, 7 Elishama, Eliada,[a] and Eliphelet.
David Conquers the Philistines
8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he marched out to meet them. 9 The Philistines arrived and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. 10 So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.”
11 So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). 12 The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, so David gave orders to burn them.
13 But after a while the Philistines returned and raided the valley again. 14 And once again David asked God what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” God replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar[b] trees. 15 When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, go out and attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 16 So David did what God commanded, and they struck down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
17 So David’s fame spread everywhere, and the Lord caused all the nations to fear David.
Sin is more contagious than covid-19
A Matter’s End
(#362 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning. The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
Is it because “it was finally over” that Solomon writes such things. What was he expressing within the exhale of such words as they vibrated over his vocal cords? Would you consider the character of Yahweh in every process loved one? Would you credit the pleasure and the pain, the victories and the defeats, all as the working of His hands?
The process should never culminate with a concession; “I just need to get through this.” A healthier introspection would yield a different inference, “Yahweh has orchestrated this to remove some idol in my life, to decimate a stronghold in my ego.” Pain in the thought world always equals the death of improper attachments to something in the physical realm. And so the conclusion of the matter is the removing of deadly adhesions to unholy things; it is the intent of the supernatural process. And because the intent is supernatural, its conclusion will have supernatural results: “The end of a matter is surely better than its beginning! And patience is always better than pride.”
Yahweh is very patient in removing the pride within you that actually keeps you from Him. Imagine a great love that never fails, His only way of loving, and then imagine how that love longs to envelope your entire being. But by being true love, it has no option but to wait (1 Corinthians 13:4)! This unsearchable perfect love, which longs to envelope you, waits patiently while all that rejects it is removed from within you. All fear must be cast out in order to dwell in perfect love (1 John 4:18). All pride gives way to meekness; and all boasting becomes wrapped in humility (1 Corinthians 13:4). Listen closely to the conclusion of the matter. Because you have been given revelation of this pattern, understanding and wisdom about this process, you can then participate in the supernatural; you can praise Him and give thanks even during the process (Psalm 100:4).
“Be pleased when things go well, but when things seem bad, consider this: Yahweh has made the one as well as the other, so man shall never know what lies ahead of him.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14) And even though you do not know what lies ahead, you do not need to wait for the end of a matter to praise Him; the end is ALWAYS better than the beginning!
Personal Note: As always, I never read the devotions until I open them to edit. But what has transpired in my life over the last few weeks is this EXACT process. I have actually thought this very thing, “I just need to get through this.” I have counted the days until that day that I would not be “REQUIRED” to sit at my computer for hours to write and edit. “I just need a few days off,” I would reason. My arm, hand and wrist have been in agony. I’ve had to change my position and change from mouse to the internal track pad and then to an external pad and back again. It has gotten to the point that on any given day I have to go back and forth between the three just to get through the day, just to manage the searing pain in my wrist. “Just a few more weeks, just a few more days,” I would concede.
But then Yahweh spoke to me. He showed me that this was my “self”, the remnants of my ego (pride) that was scratching and clawing to hang on to the last vestige of hope that it would NOT HAVE TO DIE. I felt as if I could not think straight anymore. After hundreds of days in a row, my mind was blank, numb and in pain. I was confused, angry, depressed and unmotivated. After hundreds of days in which I was 100% confident in His supernatural direction for each devotion, every word edited, and all the scriptures I was inspired to add, I was all of a sudden blank! Nonetheless, each morning when I would wake to read today’s devotion, what came from what seemed to be a blank, numb and unmotivated mind yesterday, was completely heavenly and inspired. What He was showing me was, “None of you, Jeff. All of Me! It has always been Me.” And then on the 361st day of the year, just four days till the end, as I sat to edit this devotion, number 362, I opened to read “A Matter’s End”! All I could say was, “O, Yahweh You are faithful and true. You must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) And the end of a matter is surely better than its beginning.
If you want your Prayers Heard, Give Reverence to Yahweh
Here is the video to watch The Insanity of God https://www.revelationmedia.com/watchinsanityofgod/?_thankyou=Y