Devotions Week One

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The Bible is a Book of LOVE

If we are not careful, we may neglect to see God’s Love in the scriptures that we read. At Bible Stories from the Heart we never want this to happen. It is our goal to view every word found in the Bible as a piece of a love letter written especially for us. Because of this, we are very intentional in the way that we write and pace both our lessons.

The devotions we will be studying will move us very slowly through certain passages of the Bible. Each week we will spend time rereading and reflecting upon key words found in our focus verses.  Doing this will help us to actually relate God’s Word to our life and help us to feel His love on such a deeper level.

We believe that the BEST way to study God’s Word and REALLY Absorb it is to really take the time to reflect upon it and then allow it to flow THROUGH You as you read!!

LOVE is a verb- it is ACTION…  it is not STAGNANT!!!

Consider for a minute the difference between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Life does not exist in the Dead Sea, yet The Sea of Galilee THRIVES.  What is the major difference between these two bodies of water is that-  The Dead Sea has NO outlet!

We must remember this fact and apply it whenever we spend time with the Lord.

One way to allow God’s LOVE to flow through you as you study the Bible is to DOODLE or COLOR as you read.

There is something very powerful about reflecting and creating while reading.

 

Devotional Study

About this study

Each week we will focus on a different scripture.  This scripture will be reread several times over that week. The purpose behind rereading the scripture is so that we will spend time reflecting and meditating on God’s deep and powerful Love for us.

At Bible Stories from the Heart, we believe that we should meditate on the Word of God DAILY.

We believe that the Word of God should be savored not gulped.  We know that the concepts in each verse are given to us from the Holy Spirit himself!  They are meant to guide us and change us.  It is up to us to actually allow that to happen. We believe that in order to read God’s Word as intended, we must be intentional and actually MEDITATE on its concepts.

 

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Video Introduction:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyVyvjqTGSs

 

David learned this in his life as did Joshua:

 

Psalms 119:15-16 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. Joshua 1:8 NKJV

 

 

 

Weekly Devotions

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Week One

 

I am the Light

 

John 8:12 (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

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Devotional Study in 3 parts:

 

History Behind These verses

Key Word

Connection to Us Today

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History Behind this Verse

Historians are not one hundred perfect certain who authored the book of John, but they do all note that the book of John reads as an eye witness account of Jesus’ ministry.  The author of this book describes himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved. He writes with one main purpose:  to prove the divinity of Jesus. The word “believe” appears over 100 times in this book. The author writes this book to help us “believe” that Jesus Christ truly is the son of The Almighty God.

 

Verse 12 takes place as Jesus is teaching to the multitude of people who traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  The Feast of the Tabernacles was a yearly celebration that was (and is) a very important Jewish tradition.  It was a way to help all Jews to remember their ancestors’ desert wandering and to recall how at the end of the 40 years God led them to the promise land.  It was a time for all Jewish people to gather and celebrate all the ways that God had blessed both them and their ancestors. During this feast there were several traditions. One tradition was for different religious men to stand and teach lessons to the crowds that had gathered. The teachers who considered themselves to be the most important would usually try to speak to the crowd first. It is interesting to note that Jesus did the opposite. He waited until close to the end to share his teachings.  To me, this is a great demonstration of WHO Jesus is! This public event would be the first time that several of these people had ever heard Jesus speak.  This was His chance to introduce Himself.  His teachings consisted of “I am” statements.  He used this opportunity to share His purpose and His LOVE with His people. Jesus knew that some of the people at this celebration were religious, but not necessarily followers of “The Truth.”  He understood that some of the people in the crowd liked to use the 10 commandments as a way to judge others and that they would not be ready to hear His offer of LOVE and GRACE.  Jesus understood before He even began to speak that many of the people in attendance were waiting for a strict and punishing Messiah to appear. He used these “I AM” statements to paint a clear picture to the Jewish people of who their Messiah actually WAS and IS!!

 

Throughout the book of John, Jesus declared 7 “I Am” statements

 

Bread- “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” John 6:35

Light- “I am the light of the world; he who fallows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12  

Gate - “I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9

Good Shepherd - “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.”John 10:11

Resurrection and Life- “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25

Way, Truth, Life- “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6

True vine- “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

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Monday

 

Key Words: I Am

 

I am the Light

 

John 8:12 (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

Another example:

John 8:58. Jesus said, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am”, which means that Jesus existed before His human life on earth.

 

Definition of am: (used with I) a form of the present tense (indicative mood) of be

Notice it states: PRESENT TENSE….  Jesus has ALWAYS been and will ALWAYS be.  That is a HUGE realization that we should not brush over!

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Connection to Us Today

 

There is never a time or a place when Jesus is not with us!  He has ALWAYS existed and WILL ALWAYS exist! We can turn to Him anytime day or night for direction, grace, and LOVE!

 

 

 

Tuesday

Key Words: The Light

 

John 8:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

Definition of the- definite article

(used to mark a proper noun, natural phenomenon, ship, building, time,

point of the compass, branch of endeavor, or field of study as something well-known or unique):

the sun; the Alps; the Queen Elizabeth; the past; the West.

 

Definition of light (according to life)– noun

Light is something that sustains all life on this planet. All things need energy to grow. We get energy from the food we eat. Plants get energy from light through photosynthesis.  So, light directly affects the growth of a plant. Without light, a plant would not be able to produce the energy it needs to grow.

 

Definition of Light (broad term)-noun

  1. the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. 2. understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment. 3. source of energy that enables photosynthesis in plants

 

 

 

 

Connection to Us Today

 

Just as plants need sunlight for their nourishment and growth, we also need “son” light for our nourishment and growth. Plants blocked from sunlight will eventually wither and die. Likewise, our faith, trust and love will eventually wither and die if we are blocked from THE LIGHT! We must intentionally place ourselves in THE LIGHT in order to grow and thrive spiritually.  To do this we must receive nourishment daily by reading and meditating on The Word and praying to our Heavenly Father.

 

Wednesday

 

Key Words:  Walk in Darkness

 

John 8:12 (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

 

Walk: verb

 

Dictionaries – Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

The verb, walk in its literal sense of going along or moving about on foot at a moderate pace is found numerous times in the Gospels. However, this same verb is more often used throughout the Old Testament and the epistles of the New Testament in a metaphorical way. In this sense it means to follow a certain course of life or to conduct oneself in a certain way.

 

In:  Adverb

The adverb in means a situation of being enclosed or surrounded by something.

we were locked in

 

Darkness: noun

Dictionaries – Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Darkness in both the Old Testament and New Testament brings very strong images with it.  If light symbolizes God, darkness connotes everything that is anti-God: the wicked.

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Connection to us

 

Let’s really focus on the word, in.

By reading this scripture slowly and reflecting on this key word, we will be able to gain a deeper understanding.

The word “IN” can be a VERY SCARY THING!

Let’s look again at the sentence given with the definition of the word “in”

“We were locked in”

now, relate that to our spiritual lives:

When we follow “sin”- we begin to become captives- hence the word “in”

This verse does not say walk “WITH” darkness- it says walk “IN” darkness- the meaning of this REALLY hit home to me this time!

By not following Jesus- we are ultimately choosing to walk ENCLOSED in darkness!

It is almost as if the darkness SWALLOWS us and we become a part of it!

We are not walking beside it – but “IN” it!  The longer we walk “IN” the darkness the more we LOSE our true identities!

The darkness begins to push us deeper and deeper INSIDE of IT!

This is a POWERFUL and SCARY thought!

Let’s encourage one another to INTENTIONALLY follow Jesus each and every day of our lives!

 

 

Thursday

 

 Key Words:  Have Light of Life

 

John 8:12  (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

Have: verb

to possess, own, or hold.

 

Light: Noun

Dictionaries – Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Light

Light always involves the removal of darkness in the unfolding of biblical history and theology. The contrast of light and darkness is common to all of the words for “light” in both Old and New Testaments. The literal contrast between metaphysical good and evil, God and evil forces, believers and unbelievers. The Bible entertains no thought that darkness is equal in power to God’s light. God is the absolute Sovereign who rules over the darkness and the powers of evil.

 

Light Is Good. God Is Light. If light represents goodness in antithesis to the evil associated with darkness, it is a natural step for the biblical authors to understand God, the ultimate good, as light. Light symbolizes the holy God. Light signifies God’s presence and favor in contrast to God’s judgment.

 

Of:  preposition

expressing the relationship between a part and a whole.

“the sleeve of his coat”

Life:  Noun

the existence of an individual human being or animal.

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Connection to Us

Notice this verse does not say we will SHARE the light of life; it says we will HAVE the light of life! This is HUGE!  If we all are honest, we would probably admit that sometimes we want God all for ourselves.  Each of us desires to have an INTIMATE relationship with Him.  We each want to know that we are special to God.  We long to know that He sees us among the huge crowd of people here on earth and that He LOVES each one of us, individually!  Sometimes we may feel a little bit hurt because we think since so many people worship and serve our God that we only receive a small portion of His goodness and love.  By reading this verse and reflecting on the fact that it says “have” not “share.”  We can realize that EACH and EVERY one of us can possess ALL of God’s LOVE and GOODNESS for our very own!

Let that thought sink in throughout your day today!

By accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, YOU CAN HAVE GOD’S GOODNESS AND LOVE FOR ALL OF ETERNITY!

WOW!

God loves each and every one of us SO much!

 

 

Friday

Soap Reflection

 

The Word of God should be savored not gulped.  The concepts given to us come from the Holy Spirit himself!  They are meant to guide us and change usbut it is up to us to actually allow that. In order to read God’s Word as intended, we must be intentional and take the needed time to MEDITATE on its concepts.

 

Each day this week we focused on a different word or words from-

John 8:12 (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

 

Today we will continue that process.

Here is your weekly SOAP assignment

 

Choose a word or words from these verses that stands out to you.  Look up the actual definition of that word.  REFLECT on it.  How does that word relate to the passage?  What is the Holy Spirit wanting you to learn about THAT WORD in your life? What insight are you gaining from this scripture in its entirety by focusing on a few words at a time?  Think about these questions today as you read our focus verse. Fill out the designated “boxes” given in the SOAP reflection format.

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Here is a poem to help you reflect

 

The One True Light ~

https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-one-true-light/

By deborah ann,  copyright 2014

Sometimes it’s impossible, to keep the lights on inside when there’s so much darkness lurking on the outside.

Sometimes the truth, doesn’t shine so very bright when there’s so much gloom that clouds up the sight.

Sometimes in the shadows, the way seems to disappear when there’s so much dread lurking close and near.

But, the One True Light, is always on ~ inside of us when there’s so much doubt in Jesus we can always trust!

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John 1:8-9 King James Version

“He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”