Every Day With Jesus

Daily Devotionals from Pastor Quintin Stieff

The Sins of Judas

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 22:3-6 (NIV) 
 

3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 
4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 
5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 
6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. 

 

Today's Message

 

the sins of judas

 

Of all the tragic stories from the Bible, perhaps none can surpass the tragedy of a man named Judas. Think of all his privileges and opportunities:

  • He lived during the time Jesus walked on earth.
  • He was chosen to be one of his very own apostles. One of just twelve men chosen to spend three years of intensive fellowship, discipleship, and ministry with the Lord himself.
  • He heard all of Jesus' messages.
  • He saw Jesus perfect life and all his tremendous miracles.
  • He was on the receiving end of Jesus' compassion and love.
  • He spent time with eleven other men of God for three years.

What did he do with all these privileges and opportunities? He wasted them completely! Worse than that, he gave his heart over to evil. "Satan entered him" are the chilling words of the Bible.

And what happened then? From these few words, we begin to see his very life unravel. Look at the sin he begins to descend into...

  • He discusses with Jesus' most bitter enemies how he might betray him.
  • He sees their delight and his heart is hard.
  • He agrees to betray Jesus for money.
  • He then returned to Jesus and spent time with him, all the while looking for an opportunity to hand him over to his enemies when no crowd was present.

Was there ever a man who had so many opportunities and yet failed to take advantage of them? Was there anyone ever in such close proximity to God himself who rebelled and turned against him with such duplicity and hatred?

The old saying is that, "The same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay." The tragic life of Judas serves as a solemn reminder for all of us to never allow our hearts to be led astray and to become hard toward the Lord.

Change my heart, O God!

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Until he Comes

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 21:20-38 
 

20 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 
21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 
22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 
23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 
24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 
25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 
26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 
27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 
28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 
29 He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 
30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 
31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 
32 "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 
34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 
35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 
36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." 
37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 
38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. 

 

Today's Message

 

until he comes

 

The details and timing of the last days and of Christ's return are largely unknown to us. What is perfectly clear is the kind of people we should be in the interim between now and his final return.

Traits we should develop until he comes again:

1.  Preparedness for days of difficulty, great trial and persecution.

2.  Joyful anticipation of his return and the final redemption of our lives.

3. Confidence in the absolute reliability of Jesus' words.

4.  Carefulness about the integrity and purity of our lives in the face of temptation to be led astray.

5.  Watchful and prayerful so that we are always ready for his return.

No one knows when the last day will be. But we can be focused on developing the character and spirit that endures and perseveres for Christ no matter what.

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Monday, April 22, 2019

Amount or Sacrifice?

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 21:1-19
 

1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 
2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 
3 "Truly I tell you," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 
4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 
6 "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."
7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"
8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. 
9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."
10 Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 
11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
12 "But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 
13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 
14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.
15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 
16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 
17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 
18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 
19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

 

Today's Message

 

amount or sacrifice?

 

It would appear that the rich gave way more to the temple treasury than the poor widow. They threw in lots of cash! Impressive. Huge amounts!

But Jesus says that the widow, who gave only two copper coins, "put in more than all the others." How can that be?  

It's simply because God does not look at the amount of the gifts but at the sacrifice involved. Sure, the rich guys had lots of zeroes behind their gift totals. But they could afford to do it (by the way, Jesus does not condemn them for doing so. He just notes that the widow gave more). The widow showed tremendous sacrifice because she put in her last two coins. That's just amazing!

In your own giving to the Lord, do you sacrifice? The measure of love is not the dollar figure you give, but the sacrifice you make. It's a sad but true fact that as people increase in income, they generally give less and less percentage-wise to the Lord's work. There are exceptions of course, but the norm is that as people enjoy more wealth, they actually sacrifice less for the Lord. Statistically, poor people give a much higher percentage of their income. 

What happens to us when we prosper? Sometimes, we subtly and slowly forget who is the Source of all our abilities and all our blessings. We drift away.

Moses warned of this tendency in Deuteronomy 8:

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. .... You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth...."

Lord, help me never to forget you! Make me a sacrificial and thankful giver!

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Sunday, April 21, 2019

Looking Good, Being Bad

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 20:45-47 
 

45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 
46 "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 
47 They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely." 

 

Today's Message

 

looking good, being bad

 

The most respected leaders of Jesus day were the teachers of the law. They had nearly everyone's respect. But Jesus saw through their spiritual costumes into hearts that were filled with evil.

No doubt, they looked good. They dressed the part, and loved the attention and admiration they received from adoring fans. These guys were the rock stars of first century Israel. And with it, they enjoyed - really enjoyed - the perks that came with the job. They got the top seats of honor at the synagogue. At banquets, they were always at the head table. 

But underneath the glam there was darkness. They took advantage of defenseless widows and stole from them. They acted like they were praying to God with fervency, but in reality it was all theater. Nothing was sincere. It was all a show. But Jesus wasn't clapping. 

What a solemn warning for all of us! We too are tempted to "look good" rather than be sincere followers. We crave the attention and the applause of the crowd. But God is our most important audience. He sees the heart.

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Saturday, April 20, 2019

Whose Image?

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 20:20-26 
 

20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 
21 So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 
22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 
23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 
24 "Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?" "Caesar's," they replied. 
25 He said to them, "Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 
26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent. 

 

Today's Message

 

whose image?

 

Jesus' enemies thought they had him in an inescapable trap. If he says, "Don't pay taxes to Caesar" then he can be accused of rebellion against the authorities. If he says, "Pay taxes to Caesar" then he is an ungodly Roman collaborator. Either way, they have him - or so they think.

But Jesus sees right through their duplicity. And he confounds them entirely. His answer is basically, "Whose image is stamped on the coin?" Since it's Caesar's image, Jesus can command them to give Caesar his coin back. But who is made in the image of God? That would be none other than every human being God made. His image is stamped on each on of us. So, we as his image bearers are compelled to give ourselves back to God.

That's profound. And it's simple.

And it completely surprised Jesus' enemies. If only they had listened to his counsel rather than simply try to capture him in his words.

The coin is made in Caesar's image. Caesar wants his coin back. Give it to him.

But people are made in God's image. And God wants his people back. Give yourself back to him!

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Friday, April 19, 2019