Retaliation has its appeal. But Jesus has a better idea.

John 13 records the events of the final night before Jesus' death. He and his followers had gathered in the Upper Room for Passover. John begins his narrative with a lofty statement: "Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God" (John 13:3 NLT).

Jesus knew the who and why of his life. Who was he? God's Son. Why was he on earth? To serve the Father. Jesus knew his identity and authority, "so he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him" (John 13:4–5 NLT).

Jesus -- CEO, head coach, king of the world, sovereign of the seas -- washed feet.

Even Judas. The lying, conniving, greedy rat who sold Jesus down the river for a pocket of cash. Jesus won't wash his feet, will he? Sure hope not. If he washes the feet of his Judas, you will have to wash the feet of yours. Your betrayer. That ne'er-do-well, that good-for-nothing villain. Jesus' Judas walked away with thirty pieces of silver. Your Judas walked away with your virginity, security, spouse, job, childhood, retirement, investments.

You expect me to wash his feet and let him go?

Most people don't want to. They use the villain’s photo as a dart target. Their Vesuvius blows up every now and again, sending hate airborne, polluting and stinking the world. Most people keep a pot of anger on low boil.

But you aren't "most people." Grace has happened to you. Look at your feet. They are wet, grace soaked. Your toes and arches and heels have felt the cool basin of God's grace. Jesus has washed the grimiest parts of your life. He didn't bypass you and carry the basin toward someone else. If grace were a wheat field, he's bequeathed you the state of Kansas. Can't you share your grace with others?

"Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you" (John 13:14–15 NLT).

To accept grace is to accept the vow to give it.

Today's devotional is drawn from Max Lucado's Next Door Savior

Copyright 2013 Max Lucado. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

"Week of God’s Promises"

Written by Margaret D. Mitchell

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done." -Philippians 4:6

Over coffee recently, I had the great pleasure of listening to a young woman’s story of how she met her husband-to-be at her workplace. The only problem was…he hadn’t proposed yet.

Now a year-and-a-half into their relationship, she still has a promise from God, which she received some time ago, that this man would be her husband.

So why the wait?

Promises…

God’s promises are yes and amen. He is not a man that He would lie (Num 23:19). He always fulfills His promises. And so goes God’s Word to deliver in due time while my friend offers up thanksgiving and praise…and while He prepares her for the marathon and ministry of marriage.

She understands that the burden is on God, not on her husband-to-be.

At this point, she doesn’t know how long her wait will be, only that it will happen in “due time,” in His “appointed time,” according to what He has revealed thus far during prayer.

Therefore, she keeps her eyes on God and continues to believe with expectation.

Preparation…

I’ve heard it said that many women spend more time planning their wedding than preparing for their marriage—certainly something to ponder.

I love that this young woman has come to realize that her wait is divinely purposed. God is giving her the luxury of an alert and of time to dig deeper into His treasury of scriptures on the topic of marriage and for Him to establish Himself more intimately as her First Husband (Is 54:5)…because she will need it.

James 4:8 tells us that as we come near to God, He comes near to us. What a wonderful invitation of intimacy with Him in a very special calling.

As she yields her will to His wait, He will equip her soul and establish her to lean upon Him for everything she needs in her marriage-to-be. He knows she will need this discipline in the years to come. And He loves her (and her husband-to-be) enough to provide them with a righteous foundation.

I love that she is seeing her new journey God’s way and is choosing to trust Him at His Word, beyond her current circumstances. There is nothing like faith strengthened, fertile for a harvest.

Practical…

There is also peace in preparation—both in the spiritual and in the practical. How wonderful to have the advantage of keeping it all in God’s perspective.

This time alone with God also allows my friend the luxury of lifting up wedding ideas to Him. She understands that God orders her steps and that He cares about details. What better wedding planner than The Holy Spirit?!

Interestingly enough, as I drove home from our coffee meeting, two billboards caught my attention along the highway—one advertising a bridal show in town for the following month, and one advertising wedding rings. Yes, God is on the move!

 Fulfillment…

And while God is moving in my friend’s life, He’s moving in her future husband’s…by His grace. God knows just how to work in him, when to prompt him and where to position him to fulfill the promise in His appointed time.

Isn’t God amazing?

He really does have a plan to prosper our lives in every area. Jeremiah 29:10-14 tells us…

"'...I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,' declares The Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord..."

For You…

What has God promised you? Do you realize He has not forgotten you, that He is always preparing you for the fulfillment of His promises on earth as it is in heaven? He will reveal them to you incrementally as you live out your life for Him. Coming to know Him in this way and exploring His treasures are two of Christianity’s greatest adventures.

It’s all for His Kingdom…building us to build for Him.

Thank you Jesus for Your love!

 

Used with permission.

"Striking the Mark"

These Jewish leaders heard this story that Jesus told. They knew that this story was about them. So they wanted to find a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid of the people. So the Jewish leaders left Jesus and went away. — Mark 12:12 (ERV)

Key Thought:

Sadly, rather than repenting when they heard Jesus' story, the leaders resolved more intently to kill Jesus. Their problem, however, was that Jesus was incredibly well liked among the people. So they left Jesus and went away. How sad! Salvation, redemption, love, grace, and power were within their grasp and they turned away. Unfortunately many people do the same thing today.

Today's Prayer:

God, my Abba Father, please help me to never leave Jesus. Please help me to never move away from him because I don't want to change my lifestyle, my basic beliefs, or my comforts to follow him. Give me a heart that seeks after you and your truth no matter the costs. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

 
Used with Premission  - Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware.

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager