Category Archives: Daily Spark

Jesus’ Prayers – Wed – 23-02-08



What keeps you up at night? Do you worry about health? Do you toss and turn thinking about your finances or your job? Do you struggle over making the right choices? Do you find it hard to obey God? We’ve all lost sleep at one time or another. Did you know Jesus also lost sleep?

On the night before his death, Jesus agonized over following God’s will. He went to a garden outside Jerusalem and prayed. Matthew 26:39-42 says, ‘Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”’ (NIV 1984)

Following Jesus is not easy. Many agonize over obeying God’s will at some point in their lives. But Jesus shows us the way. In our prayers, we must express a desire to follow God’s will, not our own. The secret is to pray and obey.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Tue – 23-02-07



John 17 records Jesus’ longest prayer, given the night before his death. We don’t have time in two minutes to examine the entire prayer, but it contains three parts.

Verse 1 holds the beginning, ‘After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (NIV 1984) Jesus began his prayer by seeking what he needed to glorify God.

Next, he prayed for his apostles. In John 17:11 he said “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.” (NIV 1984) The following verses reveal Jesus requested spiritual protection from the evil one. A spiritual attack could destroy the apostles’ unity.

Then Jesus prayed for you, me and every follower of his. In John 17:20-21 he prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (NIV 1984) The reason we need unity is reveal two verses later, to let the world know Jesus was sent by God.

Today, pray God gives you what is needed to glorify him and to protect the unity of Christians so the world will know Jesus.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Mon – 23-02-06



Have you ever sat next to two other friends engaged in conversation? Don’t you enjoy it when they include you and speak with you? No one wants to sit there, forgotten or abandoned.

Have you thought about prayer in the same way? God is always present in our lives. Do we spontaneously pray to him as the occasion arises? Jesus did. In John 12, Jesus explained to the disciples that he would die like a seed, in order to produce more seeds. He commented on the subject of his death in verses 27-29, ‘“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.’ (NIV 1984)

In this passage, we usually marvel at the thunderous voice of God that replied to Jesus. Instead, focus on the way Jesus spoke a one sentence prayer. It fit naturally into the moment. He knew God was present and prayed that God would glorify his name.

Remember that God is always present in our lives. Let’s include him and listen to him. Try some one sentence prayers today.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Sun – 23-02-05



Do you remember learning a skill as a child? Maybe it was riding a bike, driving a nail or frying an egg. It didn’t help much for someone to tell you what to do. You learned when they showed you what to do. The same is true in our spiritual lives. We need examples to follow. Jesus is our prime example.

Jesus taught people to pray by explaining what to do and not to do.  But he also provided an example in the Lord’s Prayer. It is a model we can follow. However, this week the podcast will examine seven times Jesus prayed. We’ll examine the words of these other prayers as examples to follow.

The first is found in Luke 10:21-22, ‘At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (NIV 1984)

In this prayer, Jesus demonstrates praising God for working in his life and the lives of his followers. Take a moment now to praise God for working in your life.


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1 John 2 – Sat – 23-02-04



Have you heard about ROI? The acronym usually refers to return on investment, although I have also heard it used to indicate reliability of income.  Return on investment is an important concept for making investment decisions. A simple example is comparing the interest rates for different CDs or savings accounts. The higher the percentage rate, the better. In general, the greater the ROI, the faster your nest egg grows.

Financial advisors discuss with clients ROI, risks and other characteristics of different types of investments. They advise on allocating money to a mix of investments maximize ROI within acceptable risk tolerances. They also use sophisticated computer programs to model how long a client’s investments will last during retirement. If you retire without enough of the proper investments, you’ll run out of money.

However, I’m not here to offer you financial advice. But these financial concepts are helpful when considering 1 John 2:17, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (NIV)

This reminds us that chasing more money and things, or pursuing career above all else, or craving what the world offers is ultimately a defeat. But living the way God desires leads to eternal rewards. Don’t love the things of the world. Love God and keep his commandments. You cannot love both God and the world.


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1 John 2 – Fri – 23-02-03



Way back in time, I performed my own auto tune-ups. As a poor college student, I needed to stretch my pennies. I invested in a few tools, a timing light and the shop manual for my Japanese economy car. This was the era of points, plugs and condensers. The car would be an antique today. Besides tune-ups, I changed the oil and even checked my radiator fluid. I’d open the radiator, stick the hose of the tester in the fluid, squeeze the bulb and suck up liquid into the device. Little colored balls were used to determine what cold temperatures the anti-freeze would endure. The more balls that floated, the better.

Have you ever wanted a way to tune up your spiritual life? Or would a diagnostic tool to check how you are doing be useful? Unfortunately, we can’t suck a little of our heart into a device and see how many colored balls float. But we can look at 1 John 2:16, “For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.” (NIV)

This passage tells us to check for the pollutants of lust, self and stuff. If your heart is filled with them, the love of the Father is not in you. Today, check what fills your heart.


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1 John 2 – Thu – 23-02-02



I’m sure you have flipped a coin at one time or another, right? This method of random selection between two choices is used at the start of American-style football games to determine which team gets the ball first. It works because a coin can’t land as both heads and tails at the same time. They are mutually exclusive.

Many things in life are mutually exclusive. If you have $100 to spend, and all of your choices cost $50 or more, you can’t buy two things – only one. Location is another example. We usually say it as “you can’t be in two places at once.”

Or think of a drinking glass. You can fill the glass with many things. You can even mix different liquids, such as milk and chocolate syrup. But you can’t fill it with air at the same time you fill it with a liquid. The liquid displaces the air. One excludes the other.

In a similar way, we can’t fill our heart with two different loves. Listen to 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (NIV) John tells us that love of the world displaces the love of God. What fills your heart today? Are you craving things of this world or desiring to display your love of God by obeying him?


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1 John 2 – Wed – 23-02-01



Several years ago, my family toured a famous cave in southern Missouri. The outlaw Jesse James allegedly used the cave to escape pursuit and divide the loot with his gang, though that was in a hidden part of the cave. We entered through a large opening, with a gift shop inside. We crossed a dance floor in one large room installed in the 1890’s. In the days before air conditioning, summer dance parties were held in the cave’s cool, 60 degree room.

But nobody was dancing when we toured. We strolled through the cave with a guide, marveling at all the spectacular formations, some reaching nearly 70 feet in height. At one point, deep in the cave, the guide shut off the lights. Utter darkness surrounded us. I couldn’t see my finger touching my nose.

This experience helps me understand 1 John 2:9-11, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” (NIV)

Don’t live in darkness, hating people and ignoring the truth. Live in the light. Love others and nothing will make you stumble in following Jesus.


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1 John 2 – Tue – 23-01-31



Have you ever been confused when people tell you something. I’m sure it has happened to you, right? When it happens, we usually ask questions to clarify or confirm the message. I remember as a teen, I misunderstood the instructions of the farmer I worked for. I didn’t stop to clarify things either. That day I drove the tractor through the wrong part of the field. It sank into the mud. My boss was not happy.

Hearing 1 John 2:7-8 may confuse us. It says, “Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” (NIV)

What did John mean he wasn’t writing a new command, but then he said he was? Was he writing something new or something old? Are you confused? John posed a paradox as a literary device to focus attention. The command to love God and your neighbor was old, a part of the Mosaic Law. But the way Jesus loved was new, like light shining in the dark. Rather than loving someone like you love self, Jesus sacrificed his life. Today, remember to love others with the same love Jesus has shown you.


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1 John 2 – Mon – 23-01-30



I’ve known some interesting characters in my life. I was recently thinking of my Grandpa Fuller. He lived alone in an old school bus he converted into an RV and workshop. He traveled around a part of Kansas, sharpening tools and fishing. Grandpa had no teeth, one arm and walked with a limp. He usually wore an old seed cap, a t-shirt and a button shirt he never buttoned. He would stop at our house and eat with us, then say, “that tastes all right to my mouth,” or, “that taste morish.” I remember fishing for catfish with grandpa. He always caught more than I did. When I asked his secret, he told me it was all in the way he held his mouth.

I enjoyed knowing Grandpa, but I can’t say the experience transformed me. But knowing God is different. If you know God, you will change the way you act. That’s what 1 John 2:3-6 says, ‘We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (NIV)

Today, obey God and let his love complete its work in you.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


1 John 2 – Sun – 23-01-29



Letter writing is a lost art. Today, people fire off emoji-laden text messages. Business communications are usually email. The slower, more thoughtful process of handwriting a personal letter is as rare today as some endangered species. I appreciate the craft, though I’m not sure I’m very good at it. Oh, sure, back in the day I wrote letters to my fiancé. But that ended with our marriage. But my wife and her mother exchanged weekly letters for decades.

Several books in the New Testament were written as letters, including 1 John. The book has an intimate tone. Listen to 1 John 2:1-2, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (NIV)

In two verses, John gives his purpose in writing and a solution. The purpose was to encourage the readers to live right with God. But if they didn’t, he reminded them of the solution – Jesus. His death was the payment of penalty that accomplished forgiveness. That’s what the words “atoning sacrifice” mean. His death as God’s Son has the power to provide forgiveness to the whole world. What a wonderful thing to remember today.


How to leave a review: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/rate-and-review/

Visit Elmer Fuller’s author website at: https://www.elmerfuller.com/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.