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  • 15 hours ago
    Posted by Dion Todd
    The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things wer...
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    Posted by Dion Todd
    When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters were taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voice and wept until they had no more power to weep. David's two wives were taken captive, Ahinoa...
  • Jan 23
    Posted by Dion Todd
    The Sword from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo. We often get emails and comments about how timely a particular devotional is for them. Sometimes, they feel as if it was written especially for them. One man told me that the Word was so relevant for a week that it was like I had a microphone in...
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  • John 3:4- How can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!

    John 3:7-8- You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. 

    Nicodemus was a man of the law. He was devoted to God and he was so high up that he was on the Jewish ruling council (Sanhedrin). He was a pharisee which means that he was well educated, wealthy, and very knowledgeable in the law. He was much like Saul before his conversion to Paul. 

    The Sanhedrin did not have any authority of Greek law, with regard to capital punishment, but their focus was primarily on eliminating false prophets and law breakers under Jewish law. 

    Nicodemus must have seen hundreds if not more who were calling themselves prophets, or saviors, and he must have dismissed them all. Yet Jesus was different, and he was the one who went to Him to discuss it. Nicodemus even referred to Jesus as Rabbi, giving Him respect as a teacher. So Nicodemus comes to Him at night, and so Jesus goes on to explain to him the truth. This is where we have the most quoted scripture of all time. Jesus is talking directly to Nicodemus at the time when He declares that we will all have eternal life through Him by our heavenly Father, that whoever believes in Jesus will have that eternal life and not perish (John 3:16). Jesus is looking eye to eye at what we would see today as one of the justices on the supreme court. In their conversation, Nicodemus cannot understand what it means to be reborn, and is almost making fun of the idea as if to be literal in his understanding of a rebirth. 

    Nicodemus is important, because I believe there are a lot of Christians who are the embodiment of Nicodemus. We see the miraculous, and we have the respect for Jesus, and yet we don’t understand fully of who He is in our lives. We want to believe, but if we do, we must give up our way of living which is filled with self-achievement and self-righteousness. It is difficult to comprehend the idea of being of the spirit when all we know is the flesh. Letting go of judgment and condemnation is not as easy as it may appear. That is the trade off when we are reborn into the Spirit. We lay down our self-righteousness, judgement, and works, for believing that it is completed in the works of Jesus. What I mean is that when we are in between the law and grace (through Jesus) we still want to live right before we believe right. We stop smoking, drinking, all of God's top 10 list of don't -do's and then expect others to want to become believers. Because if they don't change their ways, they're going to hell. That is not the truth. Nicodemus, while he was there with Jesus, came at night which is why Jesus said in John 3:20- Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deed will be exposed. Just prior to that, Jesus says in 19- This the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds WERE evil. Why does Jesus use a past tense there? Because it doesn't matter what their deeds were when we believe in Him. They were, and no longer are. He is telling this to Nicodemus to expose the very fact that he (Nicodemus) came to Him at night, because Nicodemus did not want to be exposed as a believer in Jesus, thus losing his standing before man. The same is true later on when Nicodemus joins Joseph of Arimathea who was also a disciple who feared man, and so Joseph and Nicodemus dealt with the crucified Jesus. There is no mention of Nicodemus after Jesus' resurrection. My point is, that when we are in that in-between state where we believe in Jesus and fear man, we see a dead Jesus only, we are still dealing with the customs of the law. Look at John 19:40- Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. What they did was a wonderful thing, and yet it is their motivation that is what I am speaking about. They did this out of Jewish custom and law. They were there, they believed in Jesus, and yet they clung to their right standing before man. When we get to a place that is rebirth in the Spirit, it does not matter what man thinks. It does not matter how righteous we are by man’s standards. It does not matter about anything other than who Jesus is in our lives this second, alive, resurrected, the truth, the way, and the life. We are called to be full disciples of Jesus, and when we are, our lives will be transformed in the Spirit which will change for the better in the natural. The Spirit moves inward out, and no amount of this world can transform our lives from the outside in. Trust in Jesus, and let go of the world, be reborn in the Spirit with fresh eyes on Jesus. When we are of the Spirit, we will not become consumed by where we come from or where we are going like Nicodemus. Because with Jesus, it doesn't matter, it will always end up better than what we can do from the flesh.

    Father, thank You for Your love and for Jesus and His sacrifice.  Thank You for helping us to be reborn in Jesus today.  Help us to be reborn in the Holy Spirit and consumed with a fire for You Lord.  In Jesus name, amen.

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Lorna Smetak
Lorna Smetakedited: April 7, 2016 I agree with the flesh and still believing in Jesus. When i was working my daughter got me to start listening to Christian music. I became intrigue with the music and was shocked that it is not the same as it was when i was in church. I got diagnosed with my illness and had to quit work. But I started reading the bible and walking in the light (i am not perfect by no means, i still have my share). My daughter and I went to a Christian concert and she returned to work and people gave her a hard time about going to a Christian concert. It broke my heart hearing this. Once this happened she would listened to the Christian music off and on. Pretty soon it became nothing, no one else listened to that music. Once in awhile i told her that i would buy a cd of a artist that she liked and she is happy then i asked did u listened to it. She said no, i dont have a cd player, i said well you have a lap top. When i go to town with her she would play the Christian channel. There is a concert coming to Gaylord (which i am just pumped about) and i asked her if she would come with me because it is easier for her, having a babysitter for her kids. She said, I can't. I said it is my aniversary and birthday present wrapped all in one and i would like you to be there to celebrate my birthday and enjoy the time off of work. (My husband is her boss, so i know it would be approved). But my husband is coming with and i am hoping for the best, since he is in the same enviroment as she is ( of the world and the flesh).
April 7, 2016
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Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith Keep planting seeds Lorna. I really hope you enjoy that concert! 
April 7, 2016