And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
Hebrews 10:18 NLT
Write this verse out several times. You may want to play with the font and create a lettering design, but spend time writing this verse over and over. Let your fingers work through this thought as you meditate on the verse today.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
John 10:14-16 NLT
Write a paragraph or two to describe Jesus as the good shepherd from a sheep’s perspective. What does the sheep know about Jesus from following his lead? What characteristics does the sheep appreciate about Jesus? What makes Jesus such a good shepherd compared to other shepherds?
This is what the Lord says – the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.
Jeremiah 33:2-3 NLT
“Go ahead, ask me.” God repeatedly tells his people to ask, and he will give us incredible things when our hearts are in tune with his: knowledge, wisdom, daily bread, grace, the desires of our hearts… What do you want to ask God? What remarkable things would you like to learn? Write down five “interview” questions you have for God.
One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?” Jesus responded, “Do wedding quests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Luke 5:33-35 NLT
Jesus is the bridegroom of the church, and in this passage, he alludes to his role as the groom. While Jesus was present with his disciples, they didn’t fast; they celebrated his presence. When we are in the presence of Jesus at the wedding feast of the Lamb, we will no longer fast. Imagine what the feast table will look like, and write a paragraph or two to describe the scene.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
Revelation 19:7-8 NLT
We the Church are the bride of Christ, and the bride’s dress at the wedding feast of the Lamb is made of pure white linen that represents the good deeds of the church. Draw a dress that you imagine the bride of Christ would be wearing on the wedding day. How would you represent the good deeds done by the church?
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
Romans 4:1-5 NLT
We learn through the law and scripture that it is not humanly possible to work our way to righteousness in God’s eyes. We can be counted as righteous and holy only because of our faith in Jesus who forgives us. Look at yourself through the filter of God’s forgiveness. Who are you in Christ? List three attributes you have in Christ. Use those three things to write a poem of thanksgiving for God’s mercy.
Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace.”
Zechariah 8:18-19 NLT
The Lord promised the people of Judah that their periods of fasting and mourning would be transformed into celebrations. That’s the promise of the resurrection we are preparing our hearts for. We know that God sent hope for the world in the form of a human Jesus to be sacrificed for our sins. We also know that the darkness of his crucifixion was obliterated three days later when he rose from the dead and conquered death forever. Find a few images that symbolize darkness and light and make a collage showing the change from darkness to light we celebrate at Easter.
They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.
Psalm 112:9 NLT
When you have time, read this whole Psalm (It’s only 10 verses – you can do it!). I count at least four references to the longevity of those who obey God – two of those say our good deeds will last forever. We know God prepared us for good works (Ephesians 2:10), and he promises us that obedience is eternal! Mankind has long tried to achieve eternal glory by recording their feats in paintings, carvings, hieroglyphs, epic poems, and more. Imagine your good deeds as a panel of hieroglyphs, and sketch several of them as a record of God’s faithfulness.
Dress yourselves in burlap and weep, you priests! Wail, you who serve before the altar! Come, spend the night in burlap, you ministers of my God. For there is no grain or wine to offer at the Temple of your God. Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring the leaders and all the people of the land into the Temple of the Lord your God, and cry out to him there. The day of the Lord is near, the day when destruction comes from the Almighty. How terrible that day will be!
Joel 1:13-15 NLT
In the Old Testament, fasting was often an act of penance to beg for God’s mercy. Here in Joel, the priests and ministers are called to action first. As a follower of Christ, you are a spiritual leader in the world and are called to act first before the rest of the world is held to account. As you look at the world around you, where do you see our culture and country running headlong into sin? How is it manifested on a local level? Where do you see its impact directly on your life? What can you do as a leader to act in love and confront the sin? Start with yourself at the smallest action level and work outwards. List 10 ways you can lead within your sphere of influence and beyond.
But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Luke 5:15-16 NLT
Jesus knew that no matter how important his ministry of preaching and healing was, spending time alone with God in prayer was even more important. Luke tells us that he often retreated for prayer. Do you have a special place where you can withdraw from your daily work and spend time with God? Go there now and sketch the view while you sit quietly and listen for Jesus to speak to your heart.