God is cleansing my heart of my past failures and helping me grow in my confidence of His love and grace towards me.
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
By Pam Livingston, Journey Care Ministry Assistant
“In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a person be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’” (John 3:3-4)
Nicodemus, a Pharisee who was a prominent and respected teacher in the Jewish community, met with Jesus in the middle of the night when none of his colleagues were around to see him. Nicodemus tells Jesus what he has heard about Him, and then in verse 3 Jesus gets to what is really on Nicodemus’ heart by saying, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” This statement shakes everything that Nicodemus’ knows about a Jewish way of life. Nicodemus asked “How can a man be born when he is old?…Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (v. 4)
Jesus is trying to help Nicodemus understand that seeing the kingdom of God (or heaven) doesn’t depend on what he knows or his religious actions, but it depends on a “rebirth” of his heart that brings a transformation of his actions.
Nicodemus reminds me of myself when I was asking questions about my belief in God. I thought going to church and acknowledging there was a God was enough to have a one way ticket to heaven. I had memorized prayers and thought that was how you talked with God. I didn’t realize that He wanted a change (rebirth) of my heart. A heart that would respond to His words written in the Bible to help me know more about His character and promises. Through the Bible, God is cleansing my heart of my past failures and helping me grow in my confidence of His love and grace towards me. He leads me to live a life full of joy, peace, and an assurance of eternity spent in heaven with Him.
”Thank you God for taking my hard-hearted thinking that I was fine just knowing about you and giving me a chance to surrender my heart and purpose to You. Thanks for helping me to know more about you each day through the Bible, which is alive and active in my life. Help me, Lord, to share my story with others around me and to make ‘Your Story’ available to those in every nation of the world. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.