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Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 22nd

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The Great Commission. After Jesus rose from the dead, He spent 40 more days proving that He is alive and preparing His followers to continue His mission after He returned to heaven to be with His Father. Matthew 28:16-20 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus directed the disciples to go to a mountain where He appeared to them again. They worshiped Him, but some still doubted. On the mountain, Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission. First, He stated that all authority had been given to Him. Through the resurrection, the Father gave Jesus far more than Satan had promised. Matthew 4:8-9 “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms and their splendor. All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”  Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God subjected everything to His Son. Because of Jesus’ authority, He commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news about Him.

I need to be reminded that Jesus said that unbelievers will know we are Christians by our love.  John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We are called to strengthen, edify, and build up people through God’s Word into maturity with Christ. (FaithLife)

The Great Commission isn’t just for missionaries all around the world, it is for you and me too. We, as believers, are called to share the gospel with others. God has given us a mission and gives us power through the Holy Spirit to obey this calling. We are called to this mission in different ways, pray that God shows you an open door to share His good news with others today and everyday.

Whatever we do, we must not treat the Great Commission like it’s the Great Suggestion. (Swindoll)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 21st

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He is Risen! Early Sunday morning, several women including Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of James went to the tomb and discovered that the large stone covering the entrance had been rolled away. The angel said: “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” Matthew 28:5-6

And because He lives, we who know Him shall live also. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death; He is alive forever. Today we celebrate and churches are filled with worshippers because there is an empty tomb in Jerusalem. 1 Corinthians 15:20 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

The message of the resurrection, life springs forth from death. A desert becomes a garden. Beauty transcends the ugly. Love overcomes hatred. A tomb is emptied. The grim and haunting outline of a cross is swallowed in the glow of an Easter morning sunrise. (M. Anders)

“Because He lives, we shall live also!!”
John 14:19

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 20th

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Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin. Jesus’ body laid in a tomb which was guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day on Saturday. Nicodemus treated Christ’s body for burial. John 19:39-40 “He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.”

Nicodemus, like Joseph of Arimathea, was a member of the Sanhedrin, the court that had condemned Jesus Christ to death. Both men had lived as secret followers of Jesus, afraid to make a public profession of faith because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community. They both came out boldly, risking their reputations and their lives because they had come to realize that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Together they cared for Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial.

Matthew 27:62-66 “The next day, the one after Preparation Day the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again’. So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”

Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by offering the perfect, spotless sacrifice. He conquered death, both spiritually and physically, securing our eternal salvation. 1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Lord God, On the Sabbath, Jesus rested.  He was in the grave.  He had finished his work.  To most people’s eyes, it looked as if it were over.  He was dead and buried.  But only has a seed dies when it is planted in the earth, not to decay, but to spring to new life.  Teach us to take refuge in you when we are afraid.  Teach us that death is not our end.  Teach us to hope always in you and in the resurrection, the making of all things new.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.  (R. Stone)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 19th

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Good Friday. Why would today be called “Good Friday?” Because by His death, Jesus became the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. We cannot erase our guilt, nor can we overcome our sins by our good deeds. But Christ did what we could never do for ourselves, by dying for us on that first Good Friday.

Jesus endured false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Before he was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him and pierced him with a crown of thorns. Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the cross.

Matthew 27:45-50 “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Elo, lama sabachthani? – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.”

Friday evening, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.

I try to imagine the agony and suffering He went through because of our sins, and it is hard. John 19:30 “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished”. With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” He meant that God had accepted His work on the cross as the penalty for our sins.

Sooner or later everyone will face death. The question to contemplate is where will it lead? All of mankind will be resurrected; some to new life in Heaven with the Savior; others to eternal separation in Hell. But God in Heaven desires that all be saved 1 Timothy 2:4 “…who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Do not miss the significance of what this day represents. (B.Graham)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 18th

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Holy Thursday. Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper.

Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and instituted the Last Supper, also called Communion. Matthew 26:27-29 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility. John 13:6-17 “He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Holy Thursday also known as Maundy Thursday, the word maundy derived from the Latin word “command”. It refers to the command Jesus gave to His disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another.

Later that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He was taken to the home of the High Priest, where the council had gathered in making their case against Jesus. Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied his Master three times before the rooster crowed.

Matthew 26:20-24 “When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Now even His loyal twelve had left. And at last we hear Him cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34. Not only had He been forsaken by His human companions, but now in that desperate and lonely hour, He-because He was bearing our sins in His own body on the cross-had been forsaken by God. Jesus was enduring the suffering and judgement of hell for you and for me.

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 17th

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Holy Wednesday. This week as we read about what Jesus did in preparation of the death, burial and resurrection, we get to Wednesday and find that it was quiet.

Matthew 26:14-16 “Then one of the Twelve-the one called Judas Iscariot-went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”

“Spy Wednesday”, the Wednesday before the crucifixion that Judas conspired to hand Jesus over. And for this he was paid 30 pieces of silver.

Matthew 26:6-13 “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”  In the evening, Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus with costly perfumed oil.  Judas objects but Jesus rebukes him and says Mary has anointed him for his burial.

There is not a lot found about what Jesus did on Wednesday of this Holy Week but after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of Passover.

I think he rested because he knew God had everything under control. Easter should remind us that God has everything under control and we should also take time to rest. Rest, even if you are in the middle of the most important week of your life.

Dear God, I give you thanks, for you are good, and your mercy is endless. Here I stand, during this holy week, this week in which your church remembers Jesus’ passion and death. I am distracted by many things. Turn my eyes now to the One who comes in your name, the one who opens the gates of righteousness. I bless you, Lord, for shining your light upon me and for sending your Son to us. Open my eyes that I may see Him coming, and may praise Him with a pure heart, and may walk in the way of His suffering and share also in His resurrection. Through, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. (R Stone)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

April 16th

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Journey to the Cross. Last night I watched Jesus:His Life on the Dish History Channel 120 and I was surprised at how good it actually was. I didn’t check the schedule but I am sure it will run all week if you would like to watch it.

Matthew 21:12-22 “Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers’.” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?’ And he left them and went out to the city of Bethany where he spent the night.”

The morning after Palm Sunday, Monday, Jesus returned to Jerusalem. He arrived at the Temple and found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple. Luke 19:46 “My Temple will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

Matthew 21:18-22 “Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to the mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem and they passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus spoke to them about the importance of faith.

Back at the Temple, the religious leaders were upset with Jesus for establishing himself as a spiritual authority. They organized an ambush with the intent to place him under arrest. Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced judgment on them.

Jesus left the Temple and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem. Here Jesus gives the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. He speaks in parables about the end time events, including His second coming and the final judgment. Matthew 21:23-24:51

This Holy Week fix your gaze steadily on Christ as he loves you to the uttermost.

We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His Only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried and rose from the dead. If you truly believe and trust in your heart, receive Jesus along as your Savior, declaring “Jesus is Lord”, you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven. (allaboutGod)