On July 30, 1967, everything changed for Joni Eareckson Tada. She dove into shallow water and broke her neck, leaving her a quadriplegic—paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Joni became depressed and angry. She questioned her faith in Jesus. Joni overcame her emotional upheaval through an act of will and her faith in Jesus. She determined that she wanted to make the best of her situation.
Jesus happened upon a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6).
Not everyone wants to get well. Some people enjoy holding onto anger and resentment. But for those who want to be well, Jesus is ready to help. His help may be healing a broken body, or it may be using that brokenness to minister to others.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to have the desire to allow You to use my circumstances for Your glory.
Quicklook: John 5:1–8
Jesus sat at Jacob’s well and began visiting with a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water. They discussed local customs and prejudices, where true worshipers should worship, and when the foretold Messiah might arrive. When Jesus’ disciples returned from buying food in town, they wondered why He was talking with a Samaritan. The Jewish people generally did not think too highly of Samaritans. Jesus reminded the disciples that all individuals are part of God’s precious harvest.
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).
The time between planting and harvest was typically four months. Jesus applied this local proverb spiritually. He wanted His disciples to recognize the right time to gather people unto eternal life. Christians need to have this same discernment. The harvest is already ripe. We need only to open our spiritual eyes to see it.
Challenge for Today: Is there someone you can share the gospel with today?
Quicklook: John 4:27–36
When eating spicy food, most people develop a thirst for water. The burning in a person’s stomach can be like a fire that needs to be quenched. A person eating extremely spicy food may feel desperate for water. Most of the time water is available at mealtime, but sometimes the person has to hurry to find the water needed to put out the fire.
“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
Though the woman in Samaria came to the well for physical water, she did not know she had a larger thirst that needed to be quenched. As the Lord spoke with her, she realized a great emptiness within. The thirst was exposed by the Savior’s words, the glory of His person, and His love in taking time to meet her need.
The woman learned that Jesus is the source of satisfying truth to quench a person’s inward longing—the continual supply for a life lived for God.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, I rejoice that today You are my continual, inexhaustible supply.
Quicklook: John 4:7–14
The men of his command were shocked to see the commanding general humbly distributing bulletins to churchgoers. Every Sunday at the Air Force chapel in the Philippines, the general set aside his stars, large office, and uniform, and took a servant’s role.
“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).
In relation to the Savior, John the Baptist said he was like a friend to a bridegroom. His role was to wait for the groom, listen for his coming, then rejoice in the groom’s moment of glory at the wedding. The friend of the groom lived for the glory of another.
Our challenge is to allow ourselves to take a humble role and allow Christ to become greater and greater. This is often a struggle, as we typically want advancement, approval, and success. But the Lord has His own place of greatness and reward for us. We give our Lord the higher place, and yield to be His servant and the servant of others.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, search me and show me how I can take the humble role today for Your glory.
Quicklook: John 3:26–30
A visitor to China was puzzled by a gong that sounded near his lodging at night. At intervals the gong sounded back and forth in the street outside. The next morning he asked some local people what the gong was. They told him that the sound came from a hired neighborhood watchman who guarded the area from thieves.
The watchman’s gong told the neighborhood, “I am coming. I am watching.”
The four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God. They would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it (1 Chronicles 9:26–27).
We are watchmen for others and the work of God. It is our joy to serve children, grandchildren, and the needy. We can guard them, watch over them, and give to them for their highest good. Within the family of God, others watch out for us, and we in turn guard them.
Challenge for Today: Today mount your guard through prayer. Ask God to protect those who are vulnerable and those who are in need.
Quicklook: 1 Chronicles 9:22–27
I wouldn’t be caught dead telling anyone about my faith. My selfish thought as a young adult came because I didn’t want others to think I was a religious fanatic, and reject me. I wanted their good opinion. Their approval meant everything to me.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus (John 1:41–42).
When the Lord transformed my life, everything changed. I grew in the faith, studied the Bible every morning, and met with others for encouragement and growth. Step-by-step I learned how to present the truths about Christ’s saving work to others.
Jesus led me to my friend Jerry. We sat down on a bench, and I explained to him Christ’s payment for humanity’s sin. Despite my sweaty palms and trembling voice, Jerry accepted Christ as his Savior.
Like Andrew, each of us has a unique world to reach. We may reach one person, but maybe more.
Challenge for Today: Build a genuine relationship with a person who doesn’t know Christ.
Quicklook: John 1:35–42