CSR Daily Devotion

Good morning Friends! I pray you are finding peace and your family and friends are remaining healthy and engaged in these challenging times. This is such a moment of great paradox. For millions around the world, COVID-19 has attacked, putting many in critical health conditions and claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands. For millions more, they have been put into isolation, their financial and social norms completely changed. For many, this is a time of great anxiety and fear. But it could be, and should be, a time of great revival. Never have many had this much time at home to reconnect to God and spend time reading the Word. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste! This storm is about to pass, life will return to some form of normal. I hope your spiritual health is forever changed!

Yesterday, Elevation Church released the new single I shared, and finally put their Easter service on YouTube. If you have time today, watch this amazing Word.

Last Friday, Bethel Music released an amazing new album. I was too busy posting Resurrection songs that I haven’t had time to mention it. It’s a beautiful, peaceful collection. They poured a lot of emotion and heart into these new covers of some of their most popular worship songs. And then, Elevation Worship released “RATTLE” and amped up the atmosphere, so Bethel’s beautiful album seems out of place when we are shouting “LIVE!” to everyone around the world. But, if you need some inspiring music to get you through these challenging times that is not as energized as “RATTLE,” check out this playlist here.

April 16

5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.  6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’  8The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sounds, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

Today we are looking at Jesus, as he is teaching Nicodemus, a Pharisee and teacher of Jewish law and faith.  It is from this conversation that the most famous lines of scripture (John 3:16) come from, so I thought it only appropriate that we look at some of the early parts of this exchange between Jesus and one of Jerusalem’s most important teachers.  Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night to ask Him about being born again. For Nicodemus, the thought of being born again is of body and physical form, but Jesus explains that His teachings of being born a second time is in reference to a person’s spirit, or soul.  Jesus specifically instructs that “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” As we have studied every month, water baptism is a crucial step to being born again. I have brought it up every month for a reason, and now we see clearly that Jesus, Himself, instructs a well-respected teacher of the Jewish Law how important water baptism is.  I marked 2020 as a year to be washed clean in the waters and emerge physically “born again.” Now that COVID has grabbed a hold of this world and shaken us to our foundation, we need baptisms like never before. Get with your local church, get baptized, take the first step. This is the first step because “being born again” in spirit requires a life change. To be born again in spirit means you are commiting your life to Jesus and that is where rebirth comes from.  The old you is dead, the new is born. How beautiful is that thought, that no matter how old you are, no matter how much of your life has been lived in sin, no matter how deep of a hole your sin was, none of that matters when you give your life to Christ. It is all forgiven, that old you is dead, and the new you is born fresh. There is no better second chance in this world.

Jesus closes this part of scripture by describing the Holy Spirit like wind, invisible to the eye, but moving from person to person, a wind you can feel in your soul like the coolness of an autumn breeze.  Next time you are standing in a park, or the woods and you feel a strong wind blow, look up to the heavens, watch the top leaves dance in the breeze, then close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the Spirit in.  I do it often, and I feel my soul moving every time.

Reading plan:  John 13

Deeper reading plan:  2 Kings 23, 24, 25

Prayer and meditation:  Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones.  Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet.  And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much.

Fitness challenge:  Distance running day, 28 minutes of fresh air and pounding the pavement.

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