The writers of are celebrating their fifteen year landmark by making their 365 daily devotional book, God Moments, available as a free digital download! A total of thirty-six GABC writers have faithfully captured “moments of God’s presence” in their lives to encourage your own spiritual journey. You can find God Moments on, iTunes, and

NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

It’s For Your Own Good: Day 1

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own… All this I have told you so that you will not go astray…I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you…    
John 15:18, 16:1, 4

Sometimes in reading the Bible we can be guilty of a shallow focus. We may be inspired by the emotionally stirring words or beautiful poetry of a particular verse or passage. But if we never go any deeper than what we find appealing for today, we will risk turning God’s plumb-line for eternal truth into a Hallmark card. And we know what happens to Hallmark cards: at best, they are put away in a drawer to be retrieved in a sentimental moment. At worst, they are read, displayed on the mantel for a few days and tossed in the trash.

Actually, something like this happened with the disciples. They had been present with Jesus throughout His ministry, witnessed the miracles, and heard His words. Convinced by the growing crowd size, they came to believe that He who would restore Israel’s former power and they, as His disciples, would enjoy positions of authority in His kingdom (Mark 10:35). Now, after the triumph of Palm Sunday and the intimate fellowship of the Passover meal, Jesus has something to tell them: He is going away, the kingdom of Israel’s former glory would not be restored at the present time and, as His followers, they needed to prepare themselves for persecution from His enemies.

Needless to say, they weren’t pleased with the exchange. The sermons, the promises, their new, expanded view of reality were –they had thought—intended for their best life now in a soon-to-be Messianic kingdom, not as needed preparation for tough times ahead.  

If this devotion has a theme, I propose filing it under “confusion and disappointment.” (If you feel either in five days, I guess I have done my job!) The truth is that life deals us both on a frequent basis. Our knee-jerk reaction is to smooth out the wrinkles and tuck in the corners so that things can get back to normal. But sometimes, God’s purpose in our situation is so life-changing and soul-enlarging that smoothing and tucking don’t make a dent. All we can do is hold tight to Him.

Nancy Shirah

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