Friday, January 31, 2014

Luke 21:14-15

Luke 21:14-15 - But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to contradict.

Before Jesus says this He warns us that there will be persecutions in our lives. We will face trials and troubles because of Him. Then He tells us this. Jesus knows that it is common for us to worry. Especially when we know something is coming; we want to make sure we are ready. Sometimes we spend hours or even days trying to play out the situation in our minds, so that when it comes we are prepared and have the “right things” to say.
In this passage Jesus doesn't just tell us not to worry, He says “make up your mind not to worry.” It’s a conscious decision. We have to make a choice, “No matter what happens I will not worry.” Then comes the promise. Jesus doesn't stop at, “Don’t worry.” He goes on to give us reason why we do not have to worry, “I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to contradict.” Basically we are promised words that no one will be able to argue with. 
Your situations will be like those of Jesus. When the Pharisee’s would approach Jesus, looking to trap Him in His words, they would be left dumbfounded. They would ask Him a trick question, He would answer, and the bible says, “they were amazed at His wisdom and did not ask Him anymore questions.” That is how it will be for us.
We do need to realize that it is not our words or wisdom that will stop people in their tracks, it will be God’s wisdom through us. That is why we do not need to worry beforehand. No matter how much time or effort we put into our preparation, we could never come close to matching the wisdom of God. So, make your preparation in the Word of God and prayer and then trust Him to speak through you when the time comes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Luke 20:38

Luke 20:38 - He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.

This passage makes me think of the story of Jairus, the synagogue ruler from Mark chapter 5. Jairus came to Jesus because his daughter is sick and is dying. He thinks that if Jesus can get to her before she dies He can lay hands on her and heal her. Unfortunately, before they could reach the place where his daughter was, she died. A messenger came to Jairus and told them it was too late and they didn't need Jesus anymore.
Ignoring this message Jesus looks at Jairus and say, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” Nothing elaborate or long winded, just simple and to the point. When they got to the house everyone there was crying and wailing loudly. Jesus said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? This child is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at Him and ridiculed Him for saying this because they all “knew” she was dead. So Jesus put them all out of the house and turned to the girl. “Talitha Koum!” Jesus said to her, which means, “little girl, I say to you, get up!” She then proceeds to get out of bed and walk around as if she had just been sleeping.
Here in Luke where we see Jesus tell us that our God “is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.” It brings a different twist to this story of Jairus. We realize that Jesus wasn't just speaking in faith when He said when He said she is not dead, but merely sleeping. He actually meant it. To God all are alive. Her spirit was never dead, her body had just fallen asleep and Jesus was there to wake it up.
In the same way our earthly bodies may “fail” or fall asleep, but that is not who we are. Our bodies are just a shell to house our spirit while we are here on earth. Who we are is on the inside, in your heart. Proverbs says, “As water reflect a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” God created us as eternal beings, in His image, so when we pass on from this life we don’t die, our bodies just go to sleep. Our bodies are fragile, but our spirits are eternal. 
When you begin to see things in the eternal perspective as Jesus saw them, it will be much easier for you to have faith for miracles. All the miracles Jesus performed where already a reality in heaven and He was just bringing heaven to earth, one “miracle” after another. Now it is our place to bring heaven to earth through our actions. Even to the point of waking the “dead” if needed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Luke 19:38-40

Luke 19:38-40 - “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet the stones will cry out.”

All creation cries out praise to God. That is what Jesus is saying here. The Pharisees were upset because Jesus disciples were praising Him and proclaiming His place as King and that He comes the name of God. They didn’t think it was right and they wanted them to stop. 
I like Jesus response here. He never really answers them to say whether He will stop them or not. They were probably expecting something like, “you’re right, they shouldn’t be doing this. I’ll make them stop.,” or even, “No, they speak the truth, I will not tell them to be quiet.” Instead Jesus tells them, “I tell you, if they keep quiet the stones will cry out.” Basically Jesus tells them that it doesn’t matter if they are quiet or not because everything around them will cry out; the rocks; the trees. All creation cries out praises to God. Creation always sings praises to it’s creator.
Think about a painter. He paints a masterpiece and everyone who sees it looks on in awe. I have never heard anyone say, “Look at that picture, it sure did a good job painting itself!” No, instead, the painting sings praise to it’s creator and those who see it are in awe of how good he is at painting. Really, you can see a piece of the painter in his painting. 
It’s the same with creation. The world is God’s canvas and all creation is His masterpiece. That is what Jesus is talking about when He says, “the stones will cry out.” If you take a moment and just reflect on all you see around you, you can’t help but see the creator in it. It’s breath taking. Creation is crying out praise to God and we as created beings ought to be doing the same.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Luke 18:16-17

Luke 18:16-17 - But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

  Our mindset today isn't that much different than what it was in Jesus day regarding our children. Sure, you hear people saying, “children are our future,” and “invest your time in your children,” but when it comes right down to it, is that what we are doing? When we have gatherings we often separate our kids away from the adults. There will be a ‘kids’ table and an ‘adult’ table. Or we will set up the back playroom for our children and tell them to stay back there and play. Then if that doesn't work we will start a movie to try to appease them and keep them busy, so we don’t have too.
Don’t get me wrong, I think ‘adult’ time is important. We all need some time with our peers to build and strengthen each other in the Lord, but we need to be careful. This seems to happen way too much and we don’t make time to “let the little children come to us.” Sometimes I think Jesus would have preferred the ‘kids’ table.
We can see in this passage of scripture that Jesus made time for the children when no one else would. Even His disciples were trying to drive them away, but Jesus stopped them because He wanted to see the children. He wants us to understand the value of our children and the power of childlike faith. In fact He says if we don’t receive the kingdom like a child we will never enter it. How does a child receive the kingdom? With open arms. There is no doubt or questioning, but complete faith.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Luke 17:20-21

Luke 17:20-21 – Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or There it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you.”

Before Jesus came people had the idea that with His first coming the kingdom of God was going to come with force and overthrow all other kingdoms. That was a misconception. When Jesus was teaching us to pray in the passage of scripture commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” He instructed us to pray for the kingdom of God to come “on earth as it is in heaven.” Often, I think, we pray this without fully understanding what it means. As we look at this passage we can get a little clearer picture of how God’s kingdom will come to earth.
We are not praying that God’s kingdom come and overthrow all other authority on earth. That will come in due time. What we are praying for is that the kingdom of God be revealed in us. As we see in this passage Jesus explains that you will not “see” the kingdom coming. It’s not like an army that is advancing its ranks against a stronghold. God’s kingdom comes through the hearts of those who Love Him. There is power for sure, but God’s kingdom doesn’t advance through violence but through Love. It spreads by us Loving those around us and sharing all that God has done for us.
So, to answer the question, “When will the kingdom of God come?” I say it is already here. It came with Jesus and has been spreading ever since. Now it is just waiting to be revealed through us as we Love God and Love people.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Luke 16:10

Luke 16:10 – “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

In order to fully understand what Jesus is saying here we need to come to the realization that what we have is not ours. All we have has been given to us by God to watch over and use to bring Him glory. We are merely stewards. Our earnings are not our own, even our talents and abilities have been entrusted to us for His glory. Once we understand this it will be easier to understand how this verse applies to us. If we remain in the mindset that everything we have is ours to do with as we please, we will not understand what Jesus means when He says that we have been “trusted” with what we have.
Jesus tells us here that the amount we have been given isn't going to change how we act with it. Some say, “If I only had more I would start tithing and giving to others.” But I tell you, if you are not generous now, getting more will not change that. We see in this verse that the only thing that will happen when you get more is that you will be stingy with more. We need to learn how to be trustworthy with what we now have, whatever it is, so that when it increases we will be ready.
So, we are stewards with what we have and we need to learn how to be generous in all circumstances. Part of this is tithing, but part of it goes beyond that, and it’s not all about money either. Generosity includes whatever you have to give. If you see someone in need, figure out how you can help fill that need. Use your talents and abilities, kind words, things you already have and then also your money if you can. Proverbs tells us that the generous man will himself be blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. We should all desire to be on the blessing end of that verse, but we have to learn generosity. You ask God for more, but can He trust you with what you already have?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Luke 15:31-32

Luke 15:31-32 – “’My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

This passage comes out of the story of the prodigal son. We’ve all heard it. It is a story of a father and his two sons. One of the sons comes before his father and asks for his inheritance early. He wants to get it while he is young and can enjoy it. Once he gets it he takes off to spend his money and “enjoy” his life. The other son stays home and works the land and follows in his father’s footsteps. After squandering his wealth the first son finally returns home, humbled and humiliated, seeking forgiveness. When his father sees him he runs to greet him. Then he killed the fattened calf and throws a huge party to rejoice in the fact that his lost son has returned home.  In seeing this, the other son who has been faithful, becomes indignant, because he has been there all along and his father never threw a party like this for him.
We can all relate to both of these sons at times, but as Christians we are now more in the position of the second son. As we live our lives and are faithful to what God has called us to, we see people getting saved all around us. Sometimes we forget how amazing this is when a lost soul returns to God. We see miracles happening all around us and people rejoicing and getting touched by God; all the focus is on those who are new to the kingdom. This is where we need to be careful not to take the position of this second son. We have been faithfully serving and we may feel we should have more recognition and that nobody notices all we have been doing. Then there’s the thing about the miracles. They are happening all around us, why do we not see them in our own life.
In this passage of scripture we get our answer, “You are always with me; everything I have is yours.” We tend to forget that God has brought us in as sons and opened his kingdom to us. We have been given the same authorities in heaven and earth as Jesus had. He told us that all things are possible for him who believes. So if you want a party, have one. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice! If you want a miracle, receive it in Jesus name. Everything going on around you is already yours. All you have to do is ask.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Luke 14:11

Luke 14:11 – For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

It is in our human nature to try and put ourselves above others. We want to not only do our best, but we want to be the best. This is not all bad, but when our sole purpose is lifting ourselves up it becomes a problem. We often do this at the expense of others and end up trying to make them look bad, just so we can look good. Don’t get me wrong, we should try to excel and do our best in all we do, but as we do we should be helping others do the same. When we start to tear others down in our pursuit for success it becomes a problem.
We also need to watch our words. When we are good at something it is natural to want to let everyone know. Too often this comes in the form of bragging and in doing so we attempt to exalt ourselves. You can see this passage of scripture true in this situation. There is always going to be someone that is better than you at something. In bragging we make ourselves look like the best, then when that person comes along and does better we find ourselves humbled and humiliated in front of those we were just bragging too.
Instead, we ought to be confident, but humble. Don’t get this confused with pride. Proverbs tells us that pride comes before destruction, and we don’t want that. Confidence and pride are two different things. Sometimes confidence can lead to pride, but it doesn’t start out that way. Confidence is knowing you can do something well; pride is thinking you can do something better than everyone else. We need to be careful to not let our confidence turn into pride. Instead, take the road of humility, knowing there are some better than you, and let your actions speak for themselves.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Luke 13:18-19

Luke 13:18-19 - Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in His garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air came and perched in its branches.”

When we are saved we are taken out of the world and brought into the kingdom of God. It’s easy to say, but what does that mean? Every time someone comes to know Jesus the kingdom spreads a little more. Jesus came, not to conquer the world we live in, but to bring the kingdom of God into it. We see this desire also as He teaches us to pray: “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So we are taught to pray that God’s kingdom comes to earth.
Now, in this passage, Jesus is giving us a picture of what that kingdom looks like and how we are to bring it to earth. He says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Jesus takes the smallest of seeds as a starting place for the kingdom. He says it starts out small, just a little thought or a word planted in someone’s heart, but it grows into something large. We are instructed to bring His kingdom to earth, but we must understand it is not our job to make it grow. All we must do is throw the seed and then we can watch God work in people’s lives. That is the amazing part, but God cannot work until the seed is planted. He will work and grow the seed, but we must do our part by sharing the message of His grace in our lives..

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Luke 12:22-23

Luke 12:22-23 - Then Jesus said to His disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes.”

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, living from one day to the next. We begin to worry about food and clothes, because those are our basic needs. Food is our nourishment, without it our bodies cannot survive, and clothes are our way of covering ourselves to keep warm and protected. These are the essentials to live. That is why Jesus brings them up in this passage, because they are often at the forefront of our minds. We think, “If I could just get some nice clothes and good food I’ll be doing pretty well.” If we are not careful we will begin to focus on these things and the desire for food and material things will consume us.
That is why Jesus reminds us, “Life is more than food and the body more than clothes.” It seems so obvious when you just come out and say it, but step back and take a look at your life. What have you been striving for? Is it material satisfaction? Our life is worth more than that. God created us for a purpose, and it is not to worry about these things. He says that we are to seek Him and His kingdom and all these things will be added as well. There is nothing that God can’t provide, and He wants to provide for you, but He wants your focus. We need to take our eyes off of these “things” and put them on Him.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Luke 11:9-10

Luke 11:9-10 - “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Jesus lays it out for us here in this passage of scripture. “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” There are so many times in life we do not have what want. Sometimes it seems to be just out of our reach. Then we make excuses saying, “God must not want me to have that” or “It looks like God closed the door on that opportunity.” But let me ask you this: Have you asked God for it? Have you sought after it?  Have you knocked?
Too many times we write off an opportunity because it doesn't just fall into our laps. We seem to think that everything that God has for us is going to be easy. That is not true. Just because it doesn't easily happen for us doesn't mean God doesn't want us to have it. Jesus does not say that we can just sit around and wait for opportunity to come knocking. No, He says we have to do something. We need to get up and go after it. Sure, there are times when things just “fall” into place and that’s great, but most of the time it is going to take work!
So, in obedience to what Jesus says we first need to take it to God. Jesus tells us first to “Ask” for a reason. Often times we do not have what we want because we do not ask. In all we do we need God, so go to Him, ask Him for whatever it is. Then get up and go after it. Jesus next command is “seek”; that means active looking. When playing the kids game of “Hide & Seek” you will never find someone if you are just sitting around at the starting point. You have to go and look for them. Now Jesus tells us to “knock”. If something gets in your way, don’t give up. Maybe that’s the “door” Jesus was talking about and all you have to do is knock. There is nowhere that it says God is going to close doors in front of you; it says that He will open them for you. Don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking on your door, you go and knock on the door of opportunity.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Luke 10:2

Luke 10:2 - He (Jesus) told them. “ The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” As we look around us at the world going by we can see this to be true. There are lost and hurting people right in front of us, but we are often too calloused to even notice. These people are empty and searching for something to fill the emptiness. As Jesus said, “They are like sheep without a shepherd. We have the answer. There was a time when we too were looking, but now we have found the Truth. There is only one thing that can fill the void in our lives. Jesus found us. He brought us out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. By the grace of God we now have hope to keep going, and faith to make that hope reality. We have found God through Jesus Christ, but there are still so many that have not discovered that hope, so many who are still searching for the answer. Jesus instructs us here to pray that God send out workers into His harvest field. These workers are people like you and me that already know the Truth and are willing to share it, that some may come to know Him. Now this doesn’t mean that prayer is all you have to do. It starts with prayer, for certain, but it can’t end there. God is also calling you to be one of the workers. After Jesus says this He sends out 72 people to share the Gospel and what God has done for them. So, we need to pray, everything we do needs to begin with prayer, but then we need to go. We have a responsibility to share the message that has been entrusted to us. There are plenty out there waiting to hear what God has done in your life. Let your words and deeds speak Love to those around you. Share your heart with people, but also share your possessions and skills. If we want an effective ministry we have to invest our time and money to meet the needs of the lost and hurting that are around us. That will open doors that your words will not. Now go out and start bringing in the harvest.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Luke 9:23

Luke 9:23 - Then He (Jesus) said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Many were called, but few made the choice to follow. People thought it would be easy and fun. If they followed Jesus they would see all kinds of miracles and hear amazing things. It would be mind blowing and exciting, or so it seemed. Jesus warned them otherwise. It is definitely fun and exciting to follow Him, but it goes deeper than that. Jesus warned that it would not be easy, it fact it would be quite the opposite. They wanted to follow Him because it would make them feel good, but Jesus said, “You must deny yourself.” 
He was telling them that if they followed Him it would not be an easy road. This scared many away, but those who remained were not there for just an emotional high. Today we have the same choice to make. We can deny ourselves and follow Jesus or we can live for ourselves. Following Jesus has many rewards, but it also has many sacrifices. We were designed to live as He lived and reflect the glory of God, but there will be trials. 
If we follow we must first deny our own wants and needs and put His life ahead of ours. It sounds drastic, “Take up your cross,” but Jesus is not asking anything that He didn’t already do for us. He lived a selfless life and went to the cross for you and me. Jesus denied His place next to God in heaven and experienced separation from Him so that He could rescue us. Now He asks us to live that same selfless life, so that we can bring others to know Him.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Luke 8:15

Luke 8:15 - But the good soil stands for those with a noble heart, who hear the word, retain it and by persevering produce a crop.

In this passage Jesus is alone with His disciples explaining to them a parable He had just finished teaching to the crowd. In this story Jesus spoke of seed that was sown in the field. As it was scattered, the seed landed on one of four different types of soil. First, Jesus speaks of seed falling on the path, which is eaten by the birds. Then He goes on to the rocky soil. Here the plants sprouted, but quickly dried up because they had no root. Next is the thorns. As the seed landed here, plants grew, but were choked out by the weeds. And lastly Jesus speaks of the good soil. Here the seed landed and took root and produced a crop. 
Once alone the disciples ask Jesus to explain this story to them because they did not understand it. As He begins to tell them the meaning of His story He tells them that the seed represents the Word of God and the soils represent mens hearts. Each soil type compares to a man’s heart and how they react when they hear the Word of God. Some men hear the Word, but the devil immediately steals it away before it can take root. Other’s hear it and get excited, but it’s not rooted, so once a test or trial comes they fall away. Then He explains the seed among the thorns. These people hear the word, but the worries and stresses of life end up “choking” it away. Lastly, Jesus speaks of the seed that fell on good soil. This soil represents “those with a noble and good heart.” 
That should be our goal. We should desire our heart to be like the good soil. Our goal should be to produce a crop. Only God can mold and shape our hearts so that we are ready to receive the Word, but it is our choice to let Him. He won’t do anything without us asking Him to. It is our decision to open ourselves up to God, so that He can work in us. In the Psalms David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart.” While Jesus has already created a new heart in us when we received Him, we should still ask that He purify our heart, due to the sin we sometimes let in. That should be our prayer everyday as we seek to know God more and strive to reflect His glory in all we do.
Now comes the hard part. Jesus didn’t say that the good soil automatically produced a crop. Once our hearts are ready, we receive the Word and it grows in us. In order to produce a crop, though, Jesus says we have to persevere. So we know that it will not always be easy. There will be trials and hard times that we will have to push through. We do not have to do it alone, though. Thank God for Jesus, who will always be with us to give us the strength we need to make it, no matter the circumstance.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Luke 7:47

Luke 7:47 – “Therefore. I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she Loved much. But he who been forgiven little Loves little.” Jesus says this to a Pharisee after they shared a meal together. In this story Jesus was invited over to the home of the Pharisee for a meal. As He was eating a woman came to Him and began crying at His feet. She didn’t come to eat with them; she just wanted to see Jesus. This woman was known for her sinful life and many did not associate with her because of this. When she came to Him she didn’t say a word, there were no questions, no asking for anything, just tears. As she was crying her tears wet Jesus feet so much that she used her hair to dry them off. After this she kissed them and poured perfume on them. While all this was happening the Pharisee was thinking to himself, “If this man (Jesus) were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner.” Jesus then proceeded to tell a story of two men who owed someone money. One owed five hundred and the other fifty. Neither one could repay the debt. Because of this the lender decided to cancel both of them. Now neither of the men owed the money any more. They come to the conclusion that the one forgiven more will Love more, because he realizes how far down in the “hole” he was. Jesus relates this to our sins that have been forgiven. Those who have been forgiven more will Love Him more. Now in reality the Pharisee and the “sinful” woman were no different. They both had sin and both needed forgiveness. The woman, however, had come to realize her sin and how detrimental it was. She knew that it separated her from God and knew that it was only through Jesus that she could come back to Him. The Pharisee thought that he was already righteous based on his “good” life. In truth all sin is the same in God’s eyes because it separates us from Him. For us we know that we have been forgiven, but there are different levels of understanding on what that truly means. It’s easy to say it, but do we truly understand that if justice is served we would deserve death and eternal separation from God. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. But through Christ we have been rescued from this fate and brought in to God’s kingdom. We are now told to walk in Love. “Love God; and Love people,” Jesus summed it up in those two commands. In order to do this and walk in Love as Jesus did we must realize how bad our sin truly is and how know that God has forgiven all of it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Luke 6:37-38

Luke 6:37-38 – “Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured out into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Over the years I have heard the second part of this passage used in regards to the giving of tithes and offerings. People love to say, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” They want to get us excited about giving, which is good, but we don’t want to forget the importance of the rest of this passage.
“Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” This goes with the end just as much as the “give” part. It all goes together and we need to understand what it means for us. First, “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” So if you do judge someone else you will be judged yourself, to the same extent that you used in judging that person. The same thing goes with condemnation. If you condemn another because of their actions, you too will be condemned based on what you do.
Now if we take a step back to verses 27-31 of this chapter we have a better understanding why it is so important to Love our enemies and do good to those who hurt us. We must walk in Love toward all people because the moment we judge or condemn someone, the same happens to us. And it will be done in the same measure we used.
Next we come to forgiveness. Unforgiveness hurts you way more than it hurts the one who hurt you. If you hold a grudge against someone, even if they “deserve” it, you need to let it go. If you don’t you cannot be forgiven. Again, in the same way you forgive, you will be forgiven. In the Lord ’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray, “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Take notice which comes first.
In all these things we must understand that in whatever measure we use, it will be measured back to us. When we understand this we can use it to our advantage and control much of what happens to us in our lives. We need to let go of the hurt and walk in Love toward others and give to those who are in need, otherwise it will be to our detriment.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Luke 5:31

Luke 5:31 – Jesus answered them; “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” It seems like wherever Jesus went, everything that He did was questioned. There was always someone who had a problem with it. Most often it seemed to be the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees and Sadducees. They felt threatened by Him because many of the people were looking to Jesus for guidance instead of them. In their eyes this was bad, first because they wanted the attention, and second because He did not fit into their “religious” mold of what a spiritual leader looked like. Often times, like in this particular passage, they wouldn't even confront Jesus. They would either mumble under their breath or talk to His disciples. Every time they did this Jesus would confront them and answer their questions. He would answer their questions, even when they didn't actually ask them. In this passage of scripture Jesus is hanging out with tax collectors and sinners, the “scum” of the earth. The Pharisees and Sadducees did not like this, so they went to His disciples. Before His disciples had a chance to answer, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Jesus puts it in relate-able terms. We all know that you do not need a doctor if you are not sick. In the same way, Jesus says if you are already righteous, your relationship with God is healthy. It is Jesus who makes us righteous and if we have already accepted Him and are living for Him, there is no point in trying to “save” us a second time. If it’s already been done, there is no changing it. It is those who have not answered the call who still need Him. This is why it is so important for us as the church; the body of Christ; to get out of our building and into the world. Don’t get me wrong, the church is important. Jesus setup the church to strengthen and build up the believers, but most of all, the church was setup to equip the saints. It is designed to get us ready to go out into the world. If you are not venturing out of the “safety” of the church to minister and serve the lost and hurting of the world you are missing an important part of the gospel. That is our mission and Jesus’ last command: “Go into all the world and make disciples!” Get out there and Love on some people! That is what Jesus did and we are to follow His example!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Luke 4:18-19

Luke 4:18-19 – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus was reading in the temple and they handed Him the scroll of Isaiah, the prophet. He turns to this passage and begins reading, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me…..” All eyes are on Him as He finishes the passage because they are anxious to hear His interpretation.  Everyone has been amazed at His teaching because it is always full of wisdom and insight, and they expect no different here as they wait in eager anticipation. You could hear a pin drop as Jesus starts to speak by saying, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus told the people that at that very moment He was in the process of fulfilling prophecy.  He was starting a movement, in a sense, because He was the first. Then it was His disciples and continues on all the way to and through us. Because of Christ and all He did we now also have the Spirit of the Lord on us.
All these things that Isaiah prophesied: preaching the Good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind, releasing the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the God’s favor; these things are now our responsibility. It is now our mission, our goal, to speak out all that Jesus has spoken to us. We are His mouthpiece to the nations. Make it a point today to live God through your actions and words.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Luke 3:21-22

Luke 3:21-22 – When the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as He was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I Love; with You I am well pleased.” We are children of God and were created in His image. Therefore, some of our characteristics (other than our sin) are like God. Ephesians says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly Loved children. So we know that we ought to act like God. This is no different in our role as a father. Do you want to know how to treat your children? Let’s take a look at how God acts toward Jesus. In this passage, Jesus is getting baptized. This is what He needs to do to fulfill scripture and to show us that it is right. It is also in obedience to His Father, God. As He is doing this there are people all around. We know that because Jesus went to John to be baptized, and there were hundreds who had come to see John. God took this as an opportunity to publicly exhort and affirm His Son. We see heaven opening up and the Holy Spirit coming down on Him in the form of a dove. Then God speaks, “You are my Son, whom I Love; with you I am well pleased.” God not only professes His Love for Jesus, but also tells Him that He is pleased with Him. Every child needs to hear this. God set an example and showed us how to treat our children. They need our Love and affirmation. It needs to be verbal, not just “assumed”. Take every opportunity to tell your kids that you Love them and are proud of them. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Luke 2:10-11

Luke 2:10-11 – But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”
Jesus was born alone. Mary and Joseph were far from home, with no family or friends to support them or rejoice with them. They were in Bethlehem and they did not know anybody. Everyone was busy and tired, having traveled many miles to register for the census.
When you have a baby, while it is nice for a little bit of alone time, you really want to share it with others. You want to proclaim it to everyone you know and let them share in your excitement. I know when I had my kids I called people and told them the good news over the phone. Others actually came and visited us in the hospital. There were people around to rejoice with and to brag a little too. Joseph and Mary had no one.
God knew this wasn't right. His Son had just been born and there was no one there to join in the celebration. He had to announce it. Today, we use phone calls, texting or facebook, God used a choir of angels. Just like any proud father wanting to announce the coming of His child. He sent His angels to a nearby field of shepherds, which was fitting, since Jesus would be the Shepherd of His people. God knew these shepherds would rejoice with Him.
Imagine Joseph and Mary when the shepherds showed up. “Who are you?” they probably asked. “Oh, we’re just some local shepherds. We were over on the hillside watching our sheep when angels appeared to tell us of Jesus birth. We just had to come see this miracle for ourselves.” The angels didn't tell them to go to see the baby Jesus; they were just announcing His birth. It was the shepherds who decided to go and visit them in the manger. Now Mary and Joseph had people to share in their joy.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Luke 1:37

Luke 1:37 - For nothing is impossible with God.

Such a simple statement, yet so profound. “Nothing is impossible with God.” We see our situation and “know” how the world works, so we assume we just have to accept it. This verse is spoken by an angel after he had prophesied over two separate women.
First, Elizabeth, who was “well along in years”, is told that she is going to have a child. It doesn't give us an actual age for her, we just know that she is well beyond “natural” child bearing years. We know that she has been crying out to God for a child for many years because the angel speaks to her saying, “Your cry has been heard, you will have a son.” Despite what everyone around her would say, she believed God and the impossible happened. She gave birth to a son, who would be called a prophet, despite the “natural” circumstance of old age.
Next we go to Mary. She young, pledged to be married, and is a virgin. She know’s she’s never been with a man and there is no “natural” way she could get pregnant, yet the angel tells her she will give birth to a Son. This child will be called the Son of God. Despite the “impossible” circumstances in her life, Mary chose to believe God and through Him achieved what is not humanly possible.
These two situations involved giving birth in impossible circumstances, but God doesn’t stop there. There is nothing that is impossible with God. What is your situation? Does it feel overwhelming with no way through? If you are with God there is nothing you cannot do.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mark 16:17-18

Mark 16:17-18 - And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.

If Jesus said these things will accompany those who believe, why do we not see them more in the church today? Why do we not see the sick healed, demons cast out, or even speaking in new tongues? We have the Spirit of God in us, why are we not seeing the signs that are “supposed” to come with it? There are many different ways people try to explain this away.
Some say that this was a “bible” thing. That it was something that the disciples could do, but once they all left the earth, so did the miracles. Others say that God only selects a few to carry out His miracles on earth. These are both misconceptions. They are excuses to explain away why we can’t see these things in our lives. That is human nature. We don’t see them in our lives, so we try to point the finger at something else, instead of looking at ourselves.
Jesus said that if you believe you will have these signs accompany you. He puts no limits on it. All it takes is Faith. If you are not seeing these things in your life it’s time to start looking at yourself. Stop pointing fingers elsewhere and start working on your faith. The bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”. Get in the Word, that’s where we should begin. Saturate yourself with the Truth and Power of God's Word. Then pray. Pray and ask God to help your unbelief. These signs will accompany you, you just have to believe it amd let God's power flow through you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mark 15:31-32

Mark 15:31-32 - In the same way the chief priests and teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves, “ He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself! Let this Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him. The ultimate act of humility. In Philippians Paul writes it like this, “Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” This had to be hard for Jesus. They mocked Him thinking He couldn't come down off the cross, but He knew that He could. All it would take is one Word from Him and they would all be proved wrong in their accusations. Jesus could have come off the cross, but He didn't. He could prove everyone that was there wrong, but that was not the victory He was looking for. Jesus victory was in letting Himself be beaten and bruised, insulted and ridiculed, and not standing up for Himself. His purpose was to go to His death. This would be really hard. It’s hard enough when people mock you or hit you, and you can’t do anything about it. When someone hurls an insult at me it is instinct to throw something back, something “witty” to make myself look like the “better” man. But Jesus said nothing. If someone tries to hit me, I will try and defend myself. But Jesus did not. Jesus let it all happen, and not for some great victory He could claim for Himself. It was all for a great victory He could claim for you. He endured the cross. Took all the insults and beating. He did this all for you and me. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, committed the biggest act of humility, so that He could be with us for eternity.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mark 14:38

Mark 14:38 - “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” As Jesus was nearing His final hour here on earth all He could do was pray. He wanted to get His Spirit in line with God, so that He would have the strength to pull off the greatest rescue plan ever. His disciples didn’t understand the importance of this moment. They did not know what was coming and how hard it was going to be. Jesus had already told them, but they did not fully understand. As Jesus left His disciples that night so He could be alone, He told them to stay alert and pray. Each time He returned to check on them He found them sleeping. Jesus gave them these instructions, “Watch and Pray, so that you will not fall into temptation.” Temptation was coming and Jesus wanted them to be ready. Soon they would be facing all kinds of troubles, hardships and persecutions and they would need help. Jesus knew their spirits needed strengthening, that is why He instructed them to pray. Prayer strengthens your spirit and gets it in line with God’s Spirit. When you pray you open a direct line of communication between God and yourself. It allows Him to come in and strengthen you. Think about it as a secret weapon, or a life-line to our Heavenly Father. Just as Jesus was telling His disciples to “Watch and Pray,” He tells us the same. Be aware of what is going on around you and pray so that you will not fall away to temptation. “Watch and Pray.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mark 13:31

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

In this chapter Jesus begins telling His disciples about the end times and what things to look for to know it is coming. He lays it out for them and tells them to keep watch. Of course this message applies to us as well since we are also His disciples. We, as disciples and followers of Christ must keep watch. No one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return except God Himself and we need to be ready.
What I want to point out in this passage is that right in the middle of Jesus telling us about all the negative and bad things that are coming He gives us hope, something to hold onto. He’s telling us how the only way we are going to survive the bad is that He will cut it short and come for us. Then He goes on to say, “Heaven and earth will pass away. So all we know and have worked for in the natural will be gone.
Then Jesus gives us a “but”. Anytime anything bad happens God “buts” in with something good. These are going to be trying times, “but my Words will never pass away” Jesus says. All else in heaven and and earth will be gone, but His words will never pass away. We have a hope to cling to. Everything that Jesus has said is true. Every Word He spoke, every promise that was made, they will never change. We know that our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His Words are the same as well. What He said yesterday is still true today. It will still be true tomorrow, and till the end of time. So, we know that trouble is coming and we need to prepare for it. Hang onto the one thing that will never change, God’s Word. It is truth and will last forever.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mark 12:30

Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

There are 10 commandments and hundreds of other laws in the Old testament that tell us what do. When Jesus is asked what the greatest is He throws this at them; Love God, Love people. In two commandments He sums up every other one that was ever written.
Love is the ultimate command. If you Love God then you will honor Him, respect Him, and listen to His Words. When you Love someone you want to make them happy, you want to do the things they ask. As we learn to Love God more we will want to follow His commands, instead following them because we have to. We've had the rules, but with Love we have the relationship that makes the rules worth following.
The second command is very similar, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Most the commands and rules are set up for either honoring and respecting God and making Him number one in our lives, or honoring and respecting people and treating them as God treats them. When we have Love for someone, it gives us the fuel we need to obey these commands. Instead of a chore it becomes easy. When you walk in the Love of God you no longer have to think about treating others well, you just do, because you Love them.