Daily Archives: March 11, 2018

March 11: In the Moment of Weakness

Numbers 11–12; John 18:1–24; Psalm 11–12

All leaders have their moments of weakness. But without such times, they wouldn’t stretch themselves (and that would mean they weren’t really in God’s will). It’s not that these moments shouldn’t happen, but we should turn to God when they do.

Moses dealt with more than his fair share of people getting upset with his leadership, and he felt weak as a result. He didn’t always handle these situations correctly, but in Num 11 we see a glimpse of what an amazing leader he really was. The people were upset because they didn’t have meat to eat and were (once again) wishing they were back in Egypt. They were considering going against God’s will, and at least with their words, they were already doing so. Moses responded by telling God about his frustrations:

“Moses heard the people weeping according to their clans … Then Yahweh became very angry, and in the eyes of Moses it was bad. And Moses said to Yahweh, ‘Why have you brought trouble to your servant? Why have I not found favor in your eyes, that the burdens of all these people have been placed on me?… If this is how you are going to treat me, please kill me immediately if I find favor in your eyes, and do not let me see my misery’ ” (Num 11:10–11, 15).

God uses moments of weakness to create strength. He took the burden of leading off Moses alone and divided it among the people. In doing so, He made all the people accountable together for their actions (Num 11:16–23). God may have been angry about their disobedience, but that didn’t stop Him from listening to His servant, Moses, and graciously responding. God wants to interact the same way with us when we bring our burdens to Him.

In what ways are you feeling weak as a leader? What would God have you do?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 11 Praying for God’s Glory

“O Lord, in accordance with all Thy righteous acts, let now Thine anger and Thy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.

“O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own but on account of Thy great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name” (Dan. 9:16–19).

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God’s glory must be the ultimate goal of every prayer request we make.

Someone once said, “Show me your redeemed life and I might believe in your Redeemer.” That’s a fair request! As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors to a dying world. With His Spirit in our hearts and His Word in our hands, we are to speak His truth in love and live a life that lends credibility to what we say.

When we fail to do that, we dishonor God and provide ammunition for those who seek to discredit His work. That was certainly true of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, and yet His name was blasphemed among the Gentiles because of Israel’s unbelief and disobedience (Rom. 2:24).

Daniel knew Israel didn’t deserve mercy, but he asked God to forgive and restore them to their homeland for His own name’s sake. Therein would He be glorified.

When you pray according to God’s will, fervently confessing your sins and interceding for others, you’re following in the godly tradition of Daniel and every other saint who sought God’s glory above all else. May it be so today!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Pray for the nation of Israel, that God might redeem many Jewish people for His name’s sake (cf. Rom. 10:1).

For Further Study: Read Ezekiel 36:16–38. ✧ Why did God scatter Israel? Why will He regather her? ✧ How will the Gentile nations react to her regathering?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 83). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MARCH 11 ANTICIPATION OF HEAVEN: MORE THAN ESCHATOLOGY

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

HEBREWS 11:16

We have come to a wretched emphasis in the Christian church, so that when we talk about the future we talk about “eschatology” instead of heaven!

We must confess that Christians are living too much in the “present now”—and the anticipation of better things to come has almost died out of the church of Christ.

We find ourselves so well-situated now, that we don’t really need any tomorrow’s heaven. We don’t need to hope—we have everything well enough now!

In this kind of emphasis, the fact remains that the true Christian is one who is kind of sick of this world. When God works a miracle within the human breast, heaven becomes the Christian’s home immediately, and he is drawn to it as the bird is drawn in the springtime to fly north.

The Christian does have a homeland, and the fact that we are not anticipating it and looking forward to it with any pleasure is a serious mark of something that is wrong with us.

When I find someone who is settled down too snugly into this world and its system, I am forced to doubt whether he has ever truly been born again.

Actually, it is true that all of the Christians I meet who really amount to something for God are those very much out of key with their age—very, very much out of tune with their generation! Remember, you are on earth and God is in heaven so don’t be afraid to dream high spiritual dreams, believing what your Bible says.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

March 11, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

50:7 The Lord is the Servant’s only source of help (41:10, 13, 14; 49:8). The phrase not be disgraced means to be honored (49:7; 52:13). Like a flint indicates determination in the face of opposition (Ezek. 3:8, 9). For this prophecy’s fulfillment in Christ, see Luke 9:51.[1]


50:7 — “For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.”

If you know and feel certain that God is for you, then you too can set your face like a flint, and “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).[2]


50:7 set My face like flint. So sure was He of the Lord God’s help that He resolutely determined to remain unswayed by whatever hardship might await Him (cf. Eze 3:8, 9). Jesus demonstrated this determination in setting His face to go to Jerusalem to be crucified (Lk 9:51).[3]


50:7my face like a flint. The servant chose his sufferings willingly and he moves forward with resolute determination, confident in God’s overruling help.[4]


50:7I have set my face like flint The Servant’s faith in Yahweh will not be shaken, and is just as strong as Israel’s stubborn unwillingness to repent (48:4).[5]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 860). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Is 50:7). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 50:7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1333). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 50:7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

MARCH 11 THE GREAT PHYSICIAN

When Jesus saw him…he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

John 5:6

If you are a discouraged and defeated Christian believer, you may have accepted the rationalization that your condition is “normal for all Christians.”

You may now be content with the position that the progressive, victorious Christian life may be suitable for a few Christians—but not for you! You have been to Bible conferences; you have been to the altar—but the blessings are for someone else.

Now, that attitude on the part of Christian believers is neither modesty nor meekness. It is a chronic discouragement resulting from unbelief. It is rather like those who have been sick for so long that they no longer believe they can get well.

Jesus is still saying, as He said to the man lying by the gate at the Jerusalem pool, “Do you want to be made whole?” (see John 5:6). Jesus made him whole—because of his desire! His need was great, but he had never lapsed into that state of chronic discouragement.

Thank You, Lord, that a victorious Christian life can be the norm—even in the midst of this chaotic, malevolent world. Fill me anew with Your Spirit, and shine through me today.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

March 11 The Great Enemy of Peace

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.—Matt. 5:9

The great enemy of peace is sin. Sin separates people from God and causes disharmony and enmity with Him. To talk of peace without establishing the need for repentance from sin is foolish. The corrupt religious leaders of ancient Israel proclaimed, “Peace, peace,” but there was no peace, because they and the rest of the people were not “ashamed because of the abomination they had done” (Jer. 8:11–12).

To be an effective peacemaker, you must recognize that any conflict is the result of sin. If you separate conflicting parties from each other but don’t confront their sin, at best you will create only a temporary truce. You can’t circumvent sin; it is the source of every conflict.

In what appears on the surface to be the antithesis of the seventh beatitude, Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). His meaning is clear: the peace He brings is not peace at any price. The sword Christ uses is His Word—the sword of truth and righteousness. Like the surgeon’s scalpel, it must cut before it heals, because peace cannot exist where sin remains.

To be a peacemaker you must live a holy life and call others to embrace the gospel of holiness.

ASK YOURSELF

How have you seen sin decimate and destroy relationships? How has your own sin contributed to whatever strain exists between you and another person? If you have not yet repented of a sin that has caused distance between you and someone else, choose repentance today. If others need correction, ask for the Lord’s grace and supply in seeking it.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 79). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 11 The Motive of the Church

To Him be glory in the church.

Ephesians 3:21

If you were to survey a group of people and ask them to name the primary purpose of the church, you would probably get a variety of answers.

Some might suggest that the church is a place to form friendships with godly people. It’s where believers strengthen each other in faith and where love is cultivated and shared.

Others might suggest that the mission of the church is teaching the Word, training believers for various responsibilities, and instructing children and young people with the purpose of helping them mature in Christ.

Still others might say that another purpose of the church is to praise God. The church is a community of praise that exalts God for who He is and what He has done. Some would suggest that since praise is the central activity of heaven, it must also be the primary responsibility of those on earth.

But as important as fellowship, teaching, and praise are, the primary motive of the church is to glorify God. The apostle Paul described salvation as being “to the praise of the glory of his grace”(Eph. 1:6).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 84). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

March 11, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Source of Understanding

And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (24:25–27)

The two disciples’ confusion and unbelief clearly defined their need to understand the reality of what had happened. They needed to know not only that Jesus rose from the dead, but also that His death and resurrection are essential features of His messiahship. They needed to understand that what had taken place was God’s plan for the redemption of Israel and the world. The risen Lord’s questions and their responses had put Him in position to provide them with the answers they needed. Good expositions of Scripture are set up with questions.

Before instructing the men, Jesus first rebuked them for being foolish men and slow of heart (i.e., “dull,” or “stupid”) to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Their confusion stemmed from their failure to understand and believe all that the Old Testament taught regarding the Messiah. They were right to expect Him to reign and rule; to establish His kingdom over Israel and the world.

But that was only part of the truth, as Jesus’ question, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” indicates. They, like all the Jewish people, were looking for a Messiah who would vanquish their oppressors, not be killed by them, and missed the truth that He first had to suffer before establishing His kingdom. There was no excuse for their lack of understanding, since the Old Testament was clear and understandable. Jesus repeatedly challenged His opponents, “Have you not read?” (Matt. 12:3, 5; 19:4; 22:31; Mark 12:10), and said that their errant theology stemmed from a failure to understand the Scripture (Matt. 22:29).

There was no excuse for failing to recognize the necessity for Messiah to suffer death. They knew that sin must be paid for by the death of a substitute. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God killed an animal to provide coverings for them, picturing the death of an innocent substitute to cover the sin of a guilty sinner (Gen. 3:21). He accepted Abel’s sacrifice because it was a blood sacrifice, and rejected Cain’s because it was not (Gen. 4:3–5). After the flood, Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices (Gen. 8:20). The sacrificial system laid out in the Pentateuch, including the Day of Atonement and Passover, involved the deaths of countless thousands of innocent animals. It was self-evident, however, that those sacrifices did not ultimately satisfy God’s justice, otherwise they would not have been constantly repeated, as the writer of Hebrews explains:

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? (Heb. 10:1–2)

Having rebuked them for failing to know the significance of the Old Testament’s teaching regarding Messiah’s suffering, Jesus—the one to whom that teaching pointed (John 5:39)—personally tutored them in a true understanding of it. Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. That teaching would undoubtedly have included such things as the Protoevangelium (Gen. 3:15); Abel’s and Noah’s sacrifices; the ark, which pictures Him as the true ark into which sinners enter and sail safely through the waters of divine judgment; the ram offered as a substitute in place of Isaac (Gen. 22:13); the Passover lambs, which pictured Him as the final sacrifice (Ex. 12; cf. 1 Cor. 5:7); the manna (Ex. 16), which pictured Him as the true bread from heaven (John 6:32–35); the five main offerings in Leviticus (burnt, grain, peace, sin, and trespass), of which He is the fulfillment; the Day of Atonement, where He is pictured by both the sacrifice on the altar and the scapegoat that bore away sin; the rocks that provided water in the wilderness (Ex. 17; Num. 20), which pictured Him as the source of spiritual provision for His people (1 Cor. 10:4); the prophet of whom Moses wrote (Deut. 18:18–22; cf. Acts 3:22), who was the Messiah; the one hanged on a tree, cursed by God and taken down before sunset (Deut. 21:22–23), and hated without a cause (Ps. 69:4). He might have taken them to Psalm 40:7, which the writer of Hebrews applied to Him (Heb. 10:7). He would surely have pointed out the details of His crucifixion given in the Old Testament (Pss. 22; 41:9; 69:21; Isa. 50:6; Zech. 11:12–13; 12:10; and especially Isa. 53); and Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks (Dan. 9:24–26), which predicted the exact day of His triumphal entry. Jesus also would have explained the prediction of His resurrection given in Psalm 16:8–10 (cf. Acts 13:34–37).[1]


25–27 Jesus’ response begins with a note on the ignorance of the two disciples—a theme that will reappear in the speeches of Acts (cf. Jacques Dupont, Le discours de Milet: Testament pastoral de Paul Actes 20:18–36 [Paris: Cerf, 1962], 339). The reader of the Greek text will immediately observe the pronoun auton (“him”) in an emphatic position in v. 24 and kai autos (“and he”; NIV, “he”) in v. 25 (referring, still emphatically, to the same person, though he remains unrecognized). As Dillon, 132, notes, “The Stranger seizes the platform from the confused disciple.”

Jesus, who in his transfiguration was superior to Moses and Elijah (9:28–36), now invokes Moses and the Prophets to substantiate the divine plan of his path from suffering to glory (v. 27). The word “all” (v. 25) is a warning not to treat the Scriptures selectively and also points to the unique position of Jesus as the One who represents the goal of salvation history. In this plan of God, one cannot ignore the role of the Messiah’s suffering (v. 26). “The Christ” (Messiah) did “have to” (edei) suffer. The verb dei (GK 1256), meaning “it is necessary,” is one of Luke’s key words (cf. 2:49; 4:43; 13:16, 33; 15:32; 18:1; 19:5; 21:9; 22:7, 37; 24:7, 44, along with the basic passion prediction of 9:22 that occurs also in Matthew and Mark). The future “glory” of the Christ (v. 26) was mentioned in the context of the passion prediction, ascribed there to the “Son of Man” (9:26; cf. 21:27). Some have argued that “glory” here is to be understood as a substitute expression for “was raised from the dead” (cf. Dillon, 141ff.). More likely it refers to the honor anticipated in the OT for the Messiah and attributed to the Son of Man in the verses just referred to. The unexpected element in Christ’s messiahship was his suffering. On the other hand, one could hardly argue that Christ’s glory excludes the resurrection. Paul quoted the OT to prove the necessity of both the suffering and resurrection of the Messiah (Ac 17:2–3). In any case, the connection between glory and suffering/death as found in Scripture is a constant emphasis of Luke’s (Lk 9:26, 32; 21:27; 24:26; Ac 3:13; 7:55; cf. John J. Kilgallen, “Jesus, Savior, the Glory of Your People Israel,” Bib 75 [1994]: 305–28). “Beginning with” (v. 27) probably implies that Jesus drew on all the Scriptures but principally on the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Prophets (cf. Marshall, 897). The central subject of these OT passages is “himself.”

For several reasons vv. 25–27 are vitally important. With great clarity they show that the sufferings of Jesus, as well as his glory, were predicted in the OT and that all the OT Scriptures are important. They also show that the way the writers of the NT used the OT had its origin not in their own creativity but in the postresurrection teachings of Jesus, of which this passage is a paradigm. The passage also exemplifies the role of the OT in Luke’s theology. Though he does not directly quote the OT Scriptures as many times as Matthew does, nevertheless, he alludes frequently to the OT, demonstrating that what God has promised must take place and employing a “proof from prophecy” apologetic for the truth of the gospel (cf. Bock, Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern). In this particular statement by Jesus, one can also find the critical hermeneutical role of the OT, when contemporary events (in the time of Jesus) have to be interpreted in the light of OT promises.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2014). Luke 18–24 (pp. 423–425). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 347–348). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MARCH 11 GOD MADE COLOR

And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

—Psalm 89:5

Some people are afraid of color. They think that spirituality consists in being drab. But God made color! He made all shades of colors. Look at the sunset—what is it, just something scientific? Do you think that God splashed the lovely, beautiful sky with rose, cerise, blue and white and wasn’t smiling when He did that? Is that just an accident of nature, scientifically explained? Then you’ve got too much learning for your own good! Go empty your head and get your heart filled and you’ll be better off. The Holy Spirit wrote 150 psalms and in those psalms He celebrates the wonders of God’s creation….

We ought to stop thinking like scientists and think like psalmists.

This infinite God is enjoying Himself. Somebody is having a good time in heaven and earth and sea and sky. Somebody is painting the sky. Somebody is making trees to grow where only gashes were a year ago. Somebody is causing the ice to melt out of the river and the fish to swim and the birds to sing and lay their blue eggs and build their nests and hatch their young. Somebody’s running the universe. AOG011-013

Indeed, Lord, the heavens shall praise Your wonders! Thank You for running the universe with beauty, variety, intricacy and color. Amen.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

March 11 Understanding Who We Are

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

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The first step to humility is understanding our sinfulness.

I’ll never forget a meeting I had at my house with some seminary students. One student asked me, very seriously, “John, how did you finally overcome pride?” I said jokingly, “Well, it was two years ago when I finally licked it, and it’s never been a problem since then. It’s so wonderful to be constantly humble.” Of course, I have not completely overcome pride; it’s a battle I face every day. Satan makes sure we always struggle with it.

Overcoming pride in even one area is difficult, but Ephesians 4:2 requires “all humility.” Having some humility isn’t enough. We must have total, complete humility in every relationship, every attitude, and every act.

So we all have a lot of work to do. But where do we start? How can we become humble?

Humility begins with self–awareness. We need to look at ourselves honestly. We can mask who we really are and convince ourselves that we’re something wonderful. But we are sinners and need to confess our sins daily before God (cf. 1 John 1:9). Even Paul called himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) and realized he had not yet reached the goal of Christlikeness (Phil. 3:12–14). Whenever you’re tempted to be proud, remember you haven’t arrived yet spiritually.

And don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Paul said, “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). If we’re to be honest with ourselves and with God, we need to evaluate ourselves by an outside standard—God’s standard. Humility starts when we take off the rose–colored glasses of self–love so we can see ourselves as unworthy sinners. We must recognize our faults and confess our sins daily.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Confess any known sins to God, and ask for help in overcoming them. ✧ Ask God to keep you from comparing yourself to others instead of to His perfect standard.

For Further Study: Many consider Paul to be the greatest Christian who ever lived, but he viewed himself very differently. Read 1 Timothy 1:12–17. How did he see himself? ✧ As he saw his sinfulness, what was his response to God?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

March 10 Daily Help

YOR see yonder ship. After a long voyage, it has neared the haven, but is much injured; the sails are rent to ribbons. That is like the righteous being “scarcely saved.” But do you see that other ship? It has made a prosperous voyage; and now, laden to the water’s edge, with the sails all up and with the white canvas filled with the wind, it rides into the harbor joyously and nobly. That is an “abundant entrance;” and if you and I are helped by God’s Spirit to add to our faith, virtue, and so on, we shall have at the last an “abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 73). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

March 10: Jesus Christ (Meant to Be) the Superstar

Numbers 10:1–36; John 17:1–26; Psalm 10:1–18

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, is certainly incorrect (and rather heretical) in its portrayal of history, but it got one thing right: Jesus is meant to be the celebrity. He—no one else—is the Savior, the Christ, the Lord.

And that’s why the celebrity pastor movement is quite frightening. I don’t say this as a cynic, and it’s not that I’m primarily concerned with how these teachers are marketed (although that, too, can be scary at times); I’m worried about the way they’re received.

Certainly there are people who can be trusted more than others, and popularity is by no means a measurement of trustworthiness. But automatically agreeing with everything a teacher says puts the disciple in a bad position with the God they worship. It also puts the teacher in a position similar to an idol. Teachers who truly follow Christ would never desire such glory for themselves.

In the Gospel of John, we see Jesus glorified by the Father. Jesus was obedient to the Father, even to death, which is why He alone is worthy of our worship. “I have glorified you on earth by completing the work that you have given me to do. And now, Father, you glorify me at your side with the glory that I had at your side before the world existed” (John 17:4–5).

True teachers of the gospel want commitment—not to themselves, but to Christ and His cause. Jesus prayed: “Righteous Father, although the world does not know you, yet I have known you, and these men have come to know that you sent me. And I made known to them your name, and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I may be in them” (John 17:26).

In what parts of your life is God asking you to make a statement similar to Paul’s? What teachers are you adoring too much?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.