(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: John Ch. 16 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv.1-15) Beginning from chapter 14, Jesus told his disciples that He will go to the Father and away from them. In chapter 15, Jesus also said that the world will hate His disciples. They will be put out of the synagogues. Upon hearing these things, the disciples are filled with sorrow. Yet in this teaching, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit. Here are the Scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit:
John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”
John 16:7-8 “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
John 16:13-14 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The coming and power of the Holy Spirit were vitally important to the establishment and growth of the kingdom of God and the Church (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit is also called Helper or Counselor, alluding to an advocate in a court of law. He is sent by the Father. If Jesus were not to go away, then the Holy Spirit would not come down. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to testify about Jesus. On the one hand, He will convict the world concerning its sins, open the eyes of the world to the righteousness of Jesus, and become part of Jesus’ work of salvation. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit’s purpose is also to lead followers of Jesus in the Truth of God, to understand Truth. Therefore, the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, salvation through Jesus, and the repentance of Man are closely connected!
In verses 14-15, Jesus twice told of the Holy Spirit taking what belongs to Jesus and declaring it to the disciples. The purpose for the coming of the Holy Spirit is to allow people to see who Jesus is, all that He has done, and glorify Jesus, who is the Word that became flesh, full of grace and truth.
Today, do you have an accurate understanding of the Holy Spirit? If you are still not clear, please read the above Scriptures regarding the Holy Spirit, and ask the Spirit of Truth to help you to understand the truth!
(vv.16-24) Jesus said, “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” But his disciples could not make heads or tails of Jesus’ words. Until they saw Jesus’ death and resurrection, it was understandably difficult for the disciples to understand those words. While the disciples were asking amongst themselves, Jesus described how they would feel after the His crucifixion: “you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice.” And when they saw the Lord’s resurrection, those feelings would change: “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” Jesus used an analogy of a woman in labor. The sorrow of labor pain turns into joy with the arrival of her baby!
In general, most people face death with a mixture of grief and reluctance. But for believers, the sadness brought on by death can be turned into joy though eternal life in Christ. Why? For no other reasons than this: our Lord is the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:23). We can have faith and hope because of this very fact!
(vv.25-33) Here we see Jesus’ promise of prayers answered and peace. The omniscient and omnipotent God knows what we want to ask even before we pray. So why should we pray? Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The act of prayer is more about seeking the will of God and our obedience to His will. Prayer is us laying before God the subject of our prayers as we approach Him and put our faith in Him. In times when our hearts lack peace, we can seek the desires of God by continuously praying that His will be done. If we draw near to God in this way, our hearts will receive peace. I believe that many people share this similar experience. Jesus already told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” May we remain in the Lord and experience the peace of Jesus Christ!
During our church prayer meetings, I often encourage everyone to pray aloud. Now I invite you to try praying aloud when you are alone. Try it tonight – speak your prayer aloud and see if you experience something different and share that experience with your fellowship or quiet time partner!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)