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Iglesia del Pueblo
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Love God, Grow Together, Reach the World

    Daily Devotions - Entries written by John White

    FriFridayJulJuly8th2011 Friday, July 8, 2011

    Next Sunday, we’ll continue our “I AM” sermon series with a message by Pastor Rob focusing on Jesus statement in John 8:12 that He is “the Light of the World.” In this week’s devotionals, Maturing Adults Pastor John White reflects on those words and what it means in each of our lives.

    As we prepare our hearts for Sunday’s message by Pastor Rob, this week we are reflecting on Jesus’ words in John 8:12 (NLT):

    12Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

    Sky Jethani in his book, The Divine Commodity, writes about Ghassan Thomas, a pastor in Baghdad. After Saddam Hussein was overthrown, Thomas’ newly established congregation placed a sign on their building that said, “Jesus Is the Light of the World.” Not long afterward, someone trashed the church and replaced the sign with: “Jesus is not the light of the world, Allah is, and you have been warned.” The message was signed, “The Islamic Shiite Party.”

    Pastor Ghassan responded by driving to the Islamic Shiite Party headquarters in a van loaded with gifts for children and critically needed medical supplies for those injured in the war. He told the sheikh, “Christians have love for you, because our God is a God of love.” Then, after having received permission, he read John 8:12.

    After showing the sheikh the sign that the vandals had left, the Muslim leaders apologized. “This will not happen again. You are my brother. If anyone comes to kill you, it will be my neck first,” he promised.

    Sometime later, when the church ordained Thomas, guess who attended? The sheikh!

    Ghassan Thomas brought the light of Jesus Christ into a dark situation. Jesus is Light. His followers reflect His light.

    In 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 8, the apostle Paul clearly states that followers of Christ “are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. . . . Let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

    Let’s live today in the Light and as light to a world that desperately needs it.

    Father,
    Thank you that I am a child of the Light and no longer belong to the darkness. Help me today to demonstrate Your faith, Your hope, Your love — and Your light — to the world around me. Strengthen me by Your grace to face any challenges that come my way.
    Amen

    ThuThursdayJulJuly7th2011 Thursday, July 7, 2011


    Next Sunday, we’ll continue our “I AM” sermon series with a message by Pastor Rob focusing on Jesus statement in John 8:12 that He is “the Light of the World.” In this week’s devotionals, Maturing Adults Pastor John White reflects on those words and what it means in each of our lives.

    Today we are reading John 12:35-46. The text below is taken from the New International Version, but feel free to read from the translation of your choice.

    35Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

    37Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

    “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

    39For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

    40?He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes,nor understand with their hearts, nor turn –  and I would heal them.”

    41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

    42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

    44Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

    Steve and Kathryn live in an underground flood tunnel in Las Vegas, along with 700 other people, according to an AOL News article from 2010. Spiders, mosquitoes, graffiti, yes, but they say it’s cooler than the hot Nevada air and the police don’t bother them. Their only fear is flooding — which has taken lives over the years — even so, Steve and Kathryn and their neighbors prefer to evade the light of day and the law.

    It’s easy to see a similarity to life in a spiritual sense. Jesus said, “I am” the Light. After His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, our Lord offers an invitation for those in darkness to come out into the light while they can. At the end of John 12:35 and the beginning of verse 36, we read, “The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” Then in verse 46, he returns to that theme to reaffirm, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

    It’s quite possible that some who read these devotionals have yet to respond to Jesus’ offer of relief from the darkness of sin and to walk in the light of faith in Christ. Admit your sins to Him, believe that God came to earth in Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, died for your sins, and was
    resurrected to life by Divine power. Don’t stay in darkness a moment longer, trust Him to forgive you, to deal with your guilt, and grant you eternal life with Him.

    For those who have already taken that step of faith, these verses make it strikingly clear what a difference Christ can make in the lives of those around us who don’t know Him. May that awareness transform our conversation and our prayer lives, and grow our willingness to step beyond our comfort zones to invite those who live in darkness — who don’t know where they are going — to experience the reality of Jesus, the Light of the World.

    Father,
    I thank You and praise You that You found me while I still walked in darkness and loved me while I was far away from you. Thank you for sending Your Son to suffer on the cross for my sins. Thank You that You raised Him from the dead so He could be my living Savior and Lord. Thank you for all You have done for me. Guide my words and my actions as I share that truth with others who need You.
    Amen

    WedWednesdayJulJuly6th2011 Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    We’ll continue the “I AM” series next Sunday with a message by Dr. Andrew Schmutzer, professor of Biblical Studies at Moody Bible Institute. He’ll be teaching about Jesus’ words in John 11:25-26, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” As we prepare our hearts for that message, this week in our devotionals we will be reading and reflecting on verses from John 11.

    We thank Kellie Kammes, our Director of Women’s Ministry, for preparing this week’s devotional thoughts.


    This week we are reading from John 11, focusing today on verses 39-45. The text below is taken from the New Living Translation, but feel free to read from the version of your choice.

    39?Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

    But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

    40Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

    45Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.

    This family had been through so much in just a few days: A brother getting sicker and sicker. Two sisters waiting for Jesus to come and heal him. The disappointment when He didn’t arrive in time. Their brother dying. A funeral. And now mourning with a houseful of people.

    That’s when Jesus asks them to believe in Him. And, even after all they had been through, they believe Him enough to do what he says and roll away the stone!

    And because they believed enough to do a simple thing — an act that really made no sense to them — they witnessed the greatest display of God’s power to date! A dead man exits the tomb he’d been in for four days, still wrapped up in the grave clothes he was buried in.

    He was given life again. What a display of power!

    They knew Jesus could heal the sick, but He just gave them a new reason to believe in Him — the One who is Master of Life and Death. Many people believed in Him that day, verse 45 tells us, but not everyone. Even witnessing a resurrection didn’t convince some. The same thing happened when Jesus was resurrected and many didn’t believe.

    What has been our response to the Resurrection and the Life? Has the display of His power over the grave caused us to believe? Do we face the grave — that is surely in the future for each of us — in the company of Jesus? We can put our confidence in this: Jesus overcame death at the tomb of Lazarus and He overcomes death at the tomb of every believer today.

    Jesus,
    I praise you that death is not final if I have put my trust in You, because You are the One who has overcome death. Thank you for facing Your own death and overcoming Your own grave — so that now I can face mine someday with confidence because You are the Resurrection and the Life. I pray that I will live in a way that reflects the reality that I can know (and be confident in) the power of Christ, that I can “know…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”(Eph 1:18-20).
    Amen

    TueTuesdayJulJuly5th2011 Tuesday, July 5, 2011


    Next Sunday, we’ll continue our “I AM” sermon series with a message by Pastor Rob focusing on Jesus statement in John 8:12 that He is “the Light of the World.” In this week’s devotionals, Maturing Adults Pastor John White reflects on those words and what it means in each of our lives.

    Today we are looking at John 8:12 and Matthew 5:14-16. The text below is taken from the New International Version, but feel free to read from the version of your choice.

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  — John 8:12

    “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  — Matthew 5:14-16

    During my college days, a friend and I did some sightseeing in the southwest. One of our stops was Carlsbad Caverns. At one point during the cave tour, the guide turned off all the lights. Total darkness. No one moved. Much as we tried, no one could even see a faint glimmer of light. Our thoughts went to, “What if the light doesn’t come back on? How would we get out of this cave?” We all depended upon our guide who was light for us.

    We’re looking this week at Jesus’ statement, “I am the light of the world.” But there is another source of spiritual light that Jesus taught about. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world.

    He taught this principle to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount one day on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. He wanted them to know that they — and all who believed in Him as the Messiah –  were reflections of His light in the world. When people saw them, they would see, in part at least, a likeness of Jesus. The key, He pointed out, was to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

    The guide in Carlsbad turned on his flashlight — what difference! All it took was one light to dispel our fears. As believers in Christ, we live in a darkened world, but Christ is our light. We, like little flashlights or candles, reflect His light and lessen the darkness around us. It allows people to see how we live our lives as Christians — “that they may see your good deeds, and glorify your father in heaven”

    Spend a few minutes today imagining life — 24-7 — in that total, cave-like kind of darkness. Then, think about even a small flashlight switching on. The difference is remarkable. You and I can make a difference to the people in our sphere of life simply by making sure our light is always shining. How? By getting into the Word, staying in the Word, and letting Jesus, the Light of the world, charge our spiritual batteries regularly.

    Jesus,
     I affirm that You are the Light of the world. Enable me — by the power and guidance of Your Spirit — to reflect Your light to those in darkness around me. Help me to reflect Jesus to others, and to bring glory to You by what I do and say.
    Amen

    MonMondayJulJuly4th2011 Monday, July 4, 2011


    Next Sunday, we’ll continue our “I AM” sermon series with a message by Pastor Rob focusing on Jesus statement in John 8:12 that He is “the Light of the World.” In this week’s devotionals, Maturing Adults Pastor John White reflects on those words and what it means in each of our lives.

    This week we are reading John 8:12 and other passages in John’s Gospel where Jesus identifies Himself as “the light.” Today we’ll read John 8:12-30. The text below is taken from the New International Version, but feel free to read from the version of your choice.

    12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    13The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

    14Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

    19Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

    “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

    21Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

    22This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”

    23But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

    25?Who are you?” they asked.

    “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26?I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

    27They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

    On July 4th weekend each year, when we gaze up into the evening sky, what traditional event changes all that blackness? Fireworks, of course! And what are fireworks? Explosions of light. Startling bursts of color. Sound is important, too, but it is the sky-filling light displays that cause the “wows!” and “awesomes!”

    In our verse for this week Jesus Christ says, “I am the light of the world.” Speaking during a festival in Jerusalem, He is addressing an audience that included religious leaders who recognized the significance of His assertion — His claim to be “the light” — by which He further identified Him as the expected Messiah. They weren’t happy about what they heard. Note the way they challenge Him in verse 13.

    But He wasn’t deterred, later repeating those same words in John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Even the apostle John, who wrote this book about Jesus, recognized Jesus as “the light.” Starting in the first chapter of John’s Gospel, he is talking about Jesus when he says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (1:4).

    So what does it mean when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world”? Keep in mind that our sun, which provides light for the earth is not the speaker — Jesus is. Think of it! The One Who stated, “I am the light,” is the same One who created the orb that brings light to our entire solar system. That truth is affirmed in John 1:3, where John refers to Christ when he says, “Through Him were all things made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”

    And most importantly, He is the One who brings spiritual light into our sin-darkened world, offering us deliverance from the blackness of sin and light for our path every day.

    Father,
    Thank You that Jesus came to bring Your light into my life. I praise you that I can trust You to light my way today. You are Light and Your Word is a faithful guide for me to follow.
    Amen

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