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Christian Living

Immerse Yourself in the Bible

Meditate On God’s Word by Reading a Passage Over and Over

I advocate reading the Bible every day. To make the most out of it requires a plan, such as reading through the Bible in the year. I do this often, but sometimes I want to slow down and focus on a specific text. It’s an issue of quantity versus quality.

To meditate on God’s Word requires taking time and pursuing a quality approach over a quantity mindset. One way to do this is to read a passage over and over. This can occur in one sitting, or, even better, over multiple days. This is how we can immerse ourselves in the Bible.

1 John

I’ve been doing this with the book of 1 John for the past few weeks. Each time I go through John’s letter, I gain new insight. Often, I see something that seems so obvious and wonder why I never noticed it before. Such is the case with immersing myself in 1 John.

First John is a delightful book in the Bible that most people don't give enough attention to. Click To Tweet

So many people revere the gospel of John, and I’m surprised their affection for the apostle’s words don’t carry over to his three letters in the Bible. I hope to change that.

First John, I’m discovering, is a delightful book that most people don’t give enough attention to. It has many parallels with the gospel of John, which I covered in my book Living Water.

Love One Another

Now I’m working on the follow-up book, Love One Another, that covers 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. I’m really excited about the insights I’m seeing and can’t wait to share them with you.

As I immerse myself in the Bible—as I immerse myself in this passage of Scripture—I rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, which is another technique to meditate on the Bible.

I have my outline done for the book and have begun writing. You can follow my progress on my Coming Soon page. And, of course, once I publish the book, you’ll find it on my Books page. Look for Love One Another.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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New Book: A New Heaven and a New Earth

40 Practical Insights from John’s Book of Revelation

Gain insight into one of the most intriguing books of the Bible: Revelation

The end times. The second coming. When Jesus returns. No matter how you refer to the last book of the Bible, Revelation is an epic battle between good and evil. Through evocative imagery that sparks our imagination, the final book in the New Testament can both intrigue and confuse believers.

Stop spinning your wheels, trying to unlock the secret code of what might happen when, how, and where.

A New Heaven and a New Earth: 40 Practical Insights from John’s Book of Revelation

A New Heaven and a New Earth: 40 Practical Insights from John’s Book of Revelation will help you read Revelation and study it with the goal of applying it to your life today. Even if you’ve been in church your whole life, it will inspire you to hope in Christ’s return and the establishment of a new heaven and earth.

Through forty daily readings, you’ll discover how Revelation can best inform what we do, think, and believe today. A combination of Bible study teaching through a devotional style, you’ll discover practical and understandable insights you can apply to your life and spiritual journey right now.

In this Bible study devotional on Revelation, you’ll:

  • gain a fresh approach to the book of Revelation
  • explore how to apply it to your life in meaningful ways
  • gain a broader and more impactful view of John’s Revelation
  • hold on to hope that good will triumph over evil in the end
  • trust in a God who holds the past, present, and future in his hands

Join Peter DeHaan, a lifetime student of the Bible and founder of the A Bible a Day website, in this study on Revelation that will teach and encourage you. Through forty daily insights, you’ll gain practical application about the final book of the Bible and feel more confident in your understanding of this often-confusing book.

Through short readings, application questions, and additional biblical references, you’ll receive hope and assurance that God is in control over every future event. This book is ideal for individuals, small groups, and Bible studies.

If you’ve ever wondered how Revelation can apply to your life, then start with A New Heaven and a New Earth to discover what God’s final words can teach you.

Get your copy today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

God Gives Us Living Water

Living Water Flows from God’s Temple and Is for Our Benefit

In the Old Testament, the people perceived that God lived in the temple. They saw this as his residence on earth. To connect with him meant they had to go to the temple.

As Ezekiel winds down his lengthy prophecy, the man in his vision brings him to the doorway of the temple. And we go there with them. The man is about to reveal something extraordinary to Ezekiel—and to us: living water.

Water flows from the temple and produces a river. It’s wide and deep. Many trees grow along its banks, finding sustenance in its life-giving water. Living creatures thrive wherever the river goes. And not just a few.

Ezekiel says that swarms of God’s creation will make their home in this pure water that comes from him.

What’s more, God’s water has restorative properties. When it encounters saltwater, God’s flowing river will make the salty water fresh. Saltwater has little value. It can’t sustain human life. So, God will take something unusable and make it usable. That’s what he does.

When he makes salty water fresh, he redeems it to make it pure again, to make it good, and to make it capable of supporting life. That’s what God’s water does.

We also see this idea of life-giving water elsewhere in the Bible.

Living Water in the Beginning

During creation, God proclaims that the water will team with living creatures (Genesis 1:20). As part of God’s amazing creation, he places within it life-giving water.

Living Water at the End

In Revelation, we see Jesus sitting on his throne as a shepherd. He will lead us to springs of life-giving water (Revelation 7:17). In doing so he brings us back to God’s perfect, idyllic creation. To the world as he met it to be.

God’s living water gives us eternal life. Click To Tweet

Living Water through Jesus

Jesus—who was there at creation and will be there at the end—connects these two bookends. He says, “If you’re thirsty, come to me, and I will give you something to drink. If you believe in me, living water will flow from you” (John 7:38).

Imagine that. God’s living water flowing through us because we came to Jesus and believed in him.

And when Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at the well, he offers to give her a special kind of water (John 4:9-14). She—and everyone else—who drinks of Jesus’s water will never be thirsty again. A spring will well up inside her, and us, to produce eternal life.

God’s living water gives us eternal life.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Ezekiel 46-48, and today’s post is on Ezekiel 47:1-9.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Final Words of Jesus

Consider What Jesus Says Just Before He Ascends into Heaven

Jesus’s first recorded words in the Bible are when he’s twelve years old and disappears. His parents eventually find him in the temple. His perplexing answer explains he belongs in his Father’s house (Luke 2:49). With these as his first words, now let’s look at the final words of Jesus.

To be specific, we’ll look at the last words that Jesus speaks while on earth. Though the book of Revelation records many later words from Jesus, we’ll set these aside because they occur in a vision of the apostle John. In total Revelation records eight things Jesus says, with Revelation 2-3 being the longest passage.

Though we might think that Jesus’s seven last sayings on the cross give us Jesus’s last words in the Bible, this is incorrect. Instead, we’ll consider what Jesus says after he rises from the dead and before he ascends to heaven.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts all record passages to consider.

Matthew

The most familiar may be what many call the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Over the years I’ve heard many sermons on this inspiring charge from Jesus when he tells his followers to go out and make disciples. Though this is one of the last things Jesus says, it’s not his final words.

Mark

A parallel passage in Mark 16:15-18 repeats the same instructions, with more details included. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a message on this passage. Though it’s more comprehensive, the added text is problematic for many people, so they choose to dismiss it.

I have, however, heard some ministers who try to explain away the phrases in Mark’s account that makes them squirm, but they’re unsuccessful. (It’s worth noting that not all historical texts of Mark’s gospel have the last eleven verses, including this passage.)

John

In John’s account, Jesus’s last words are a discussion with Peter about what will happen to John. Jesus says, even if I want him to live until I return, what does it matter to you? (John 21:22).

Luke

The final words of Jesus recorded in Luke’s biography of Jesus is an explanation about the need for the Savior to die and rise from the dead. Jesus then says they’re to be his witnesses but to first wait until they receive Holy Spirit power (Luke 24:46-49).

Acts

In the book of Acts, which Luke also wrote and picks up where his gospel leaves off, we see a continuation of Jesus’s discussion about waiting for Holy Spirit power. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, his disciples are to be his witness throughout the whole world (Acts 1:4-8).

Immediately after he says this, Jesus ascends to heaven. This is the last thing he says before he leaves his disciples.

Many people overlook the essential element of having Holy Spirit power within them. Click To Tweet

Therefore, the final words of Jesus are “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV).

Though many people focus on the going part and being his witnesses, they often overlook the essential foundational element of having Holy Spirit power within them.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

What Are the End Times?

Discover What the Bible Says about the End of Time

Some Christians give a lot of attention to the end times. Others choose to ignore it. Interestingly, the phrase end times doesn’t appear in the Bible, at least not in the NIV. Though four subheadings, added later, do carry this phrase.

The End Times

These passages about the end times are Daniel 12, Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21:5-36. Surprisingly, John’s epic end-time prophecy in the book of Revelation doesn’t mention that phrase. This is despite containing most of the Bible’s text about the subject.

What does the end times refer to? We might think of it as the judgment day or Armageddon. Other understandings are the end of the world, the day of reckoning, or the Apocalypse.

The end time is nothing to dread for those who follow Jesus. Click To Tweet

The End of Time

If these things are the end of time, what happens after it? Do all things, including us, cease to exist?

This might be a logical conclusion, but it’s the wrong one.

When God created our world and the cosmos that surrounds it, he also created time. Remember that scientists teach that time and space exist on a continuum. This means we can’t have one without the other. So, if God created space, he had to have created time along with it.

This means that the end of time doesn’t signal the end of everything, just the end of our temporal existence and the space that surrounds it. We will live on in the spiritual realm.

Revelation ends with a glorious look at a new heaven and a new earth, ushered in when time as we understand it ends. Eternity awaits.

Eternal Life

To those who reject Jesus and don’t accept his gift of eternal life (John 3:14-17), they’ll encounter an unpleasant outcome. They had the chance. And they’ll have more chances.

According to the book of Revelation they’ll have multiple opportunities to repent of their wrongdoing and follow Jesus. But many won’t. They’ll receive an eternal reward instead—eternal punishment. This is something to fear.

Yet to those who follow Jesus (Luke 9:23), whose names appear written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 21:27), the end time is nothing to dread. We are on the winning side, and good will prevail over evil. We’ll spend eternity with Jesus.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

What is the Spirit of Truth?

John Teaches about The Holy Spirit

One of the things I enjoy when studying the Bible is to investigate words and phrases that are repeated throughout its pages. The phrase “Spirit of Truth” is one such example that jumps out at me and begs further investigation.

Interestingly, only John uses “Spirit of Truth” in his writing. Since John is a bit of a poet, it makes sense that he would use this intriguing phrase. These words appear three times in the Gospel of John (John 14:16-17, John 15:26, and John 16:12-13) and once in John’s first letter (1 John 4:6).

Though the precise meaning in 1 John is a bit confusing, in each instant in the book of John, he quotes Jesus.

In these contexts, Jesus is talking about sending an Advocate to help us and be with us forever. He speaks of the Holy Spirit. So the Spirit of Truth is a synonym for the Holy Spirit.

I actually prefer the label Spirit of Truth, as it better conveys who the Holy Spirit is and what he does: the Holy Spirit comes to reveal truth to us; he is the Spirit who brings us truth; he is the Spirit of Truth.

The Holy Spirit comes to reveal truth to us. He is the Spirit who brings us truth; he is the Spirit of Truth. Click To Tweet

In his first letter, John writes about distinguishing the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception. Though John is maybe alluding to something else, it makes sense to also understand this as the Holy Spirit, as that’s what John means the other three times he uses the phrase.

Though I doubt I’ll adjust my vocabulary to start calling the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the descriptive nature of Spirit of Truth is certainly worth remembering: the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to us.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is John 13-15, and today’s post is on John 14:16-17.]

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

The source of life, truth, and the way to Father God is through Jesus

The disciple Thomas wants to go where Jesus will go but doesn’t know how to proceed. He seeks clarification. Jesus gives him a five part answer, which another disciple John records for us.

Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6, NIV).

I Am

In the Old Testament God the Father effectively tells Moses to think of him as “I am.” When Jesus repeats this phrase in his concise answer we are reminded that Jesus also exists as God, in the form of God the Son.

The Way

Jesus is the path to God the Father. Jesus points us in the right direction and provides the means for us to get there.

The Truth

Jesus personifies truth. He exemplifies truth, proclaims truth, and models truth. We can rely on the words of Jesus as true.

The Life

Not only does Jesus give us life, he is life. As taking part in creation, he emerges as one with life eternal.

As God the Son, Jesus provides us with the path to God the Father. Click To Tweet

The Door to Father God

The first four parts of Jesus’s answer, culminate in his conclusion: it is through him that we are reconciled with God the Father.

Jesus is the way. He provides all that we need for our journey in this life and into the next.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is John 13-15, and today’s post is on John 14:5-6.]

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

God is the Great I Am

Characteristics of God

In the Bible, Jesus makes several declarations of who he is and his character. In the book of John alone, he says:

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).

I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7).

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” (John 15:1).

He also provided insight into his relationship with his Father and his followers:

I am in my Father” (John 14:20).

I am in you” (John 17:21).

I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:32).

May these verses better inform our view of Jesus, what he does for us, and his relationship with Father God, the Great I Am.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Does God Really Answer All Our Prayers?

We Can Believe That God Hears and Answers Our Requests

When you pray do you think God hears you? Does he answer your prayers? All of them? The Bible says so. Consider what Scripture teaches.

God Hears Our Prayers

First, we can have assurance that God does indeed hear our prayers.

John writes that we can be confident that God will hear everything we ask for, and we will receive it. The only requirement is that we must align our requests with his will (1 John 5:14-15).

The challenge for us then is to determine his perspective and pray according to his will. But this may not be as hard as what we think. Paul writes that we already have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Jesus Says God Answers Our Prayers

Jesus teaches that we can ask whatever we wish, and he will do it for us. There is, of course, the requirement that we maintain our focus on him and his word (John 15:7). But aside from that, he’ll do whatever we request.

Another time Jesus teaches that we can ask for anything in prayer. If we believe that we have received it, then we will (Mark 11:24).

Parents Give Their Children Good Gifts

These verses seem to say, that given some basic requirements, God does hear our prayers and will answer them. Yet, there are times when I haven’t received what I asked for, and other times he seemed to ignore my pleas. Have you ever felt that way?

The problem, however, isn’t that God didn’t answer our prayers. It’s that he didn’t answer them the way we wanted him to.

Consider a child asking their parents for something. A loving parent will do whatever they can to respond to the child’s requests. Yet a wise parent will sometimes say no because it’s not in their child’s best interest.

For example, if a child wanted a steady diet of candy, we would say no, instead providing a well-balanced and nutritious meal. Giving our kids junk food—even when it’s what they ask for—isn’t good for them. So we give them what’s best for them, even if that’s not what they want (Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13).

God does hear and will answer our prayers. Click To Tweet

God Provides What’s in Our Best Interest

Parents, however, sometimes make mistakes when it comes to raising their kids. God, however, doesn’t. He loves us fully and perfectly. As our loving Heavenly Father, he gives us exactly what we need, when we need it, to accomplish the best possible outcome for our lives.

We can be confident in him to do that. God does hear and will answer our prayers. Though the answer may not always be what we want, it’s always what’s best.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

What Is Your Path?

When we focus on other people, we may lose sight of our own calling

As Jesus wraps up his stint on earth, he spends some time with his disciples, the core group he trained for three years. They will need to carry on without him, and he wants to make sure they’re ready.

First, he must deal with Peter, who, a few days earlier, denied he even knew Jesus. Jesus is gentle but sure. To counter Peter’s three denials, Jesus has his wayward disciple give three affirmations of love. After each one, Jesus tells Peter to “Care for those who follow me.”

Then Jesus tells Peter what his future will entail. It ends with execution. But Jesus tells Peter to follow him, regardless.

Likely squirming and wanting to change the subject, Peter notices John and asks Jesus what the future holds for this disciple, “What are your plans for him?”

Jesus won’t play along. He basically says, “It doesn’t matter. You must do what I told you to do: follow me.”

God says, “It doesn’t matter what others do, you must follow me." Click To Tweet

It’s easy to become distracted by other people: People who seem to have more success, at least by the world’s standards; people who radiate God’s love in a way we fear we never will; or people who pray with a faith that eludes us.

Frustrated and discouraged, we may ask God, “What are your plans for them?”

To which God says, “It doesn’t matter what others do, you must follow me.” That is your path.

Look straight ahead and follow Jesus. We shouldn’t concern ourselves with what others are doing. Don’t look to the right or to the left, but look right at Jesus (Proverbs 4:25-27).

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is John 20-21 and today’s post is on John 21:20-22.]

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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