Tuesday, September 30, 2014

John 1:12-13

John 1:12-13 – Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

        Believe. That is all it takes. When you are born into the world it is based on the decision and actions of two individuals. Then your lineage is determined by your father and his father and so on.
        When you are born again it is not dependent on anyone else. It doesn’t matter what your father or mother believe, it is up to you. You have to make a decision; you have to decide what you believe. When you believe in Christ your life is transformed and made new, hence the term ‘born again.’ Being ‘Born Again’ is a spiritual birth into the kingdom of God.
        So let’s go back a few steps and look at how this new birth is even possible. Christ paved the way and made it possible, in fact, He is the Way. To sum it up, He came to earth, lived as a man, never sinned, was crucified and buried and then on the third day rose again to conquer sin, death and the grave. Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon Himself. Now it is done, it is finished.
       All that’s left is for you to receive Him and believe in what He did. After that we become God’s children. To truly understand what Christ did for us we must look at how this verse is worded. Notice that it does not say we have the ‘privilege’ of becoming children of God. Once we believe in Christ it becomes our right. We are entitled to it and no one can take it away.
       If you have not made the decision to accept Christ, do it now. Go to Christ. Receive Him and believe in His name and take your rightful place as a child of God.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Luke 24:45

Luke 24:45 – Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

       Jesus had been teaching His disciples from the day He first called them. He was teaching them scriptures and telling them of things that were to come. Some of it they got, but most they did not fully understand.
       Take Jesus death, for instance; Jesus had been telling them that He would die and after three days He would rise again. He even told them why He had to die, but they weren't getting it. After His death they thought it was over.  When they would meet together they would lock the doors for fear of the Jews. They did not understand.
       Then Jesus came back. This caused them to remember some of what He said, but they still didn't fully understand it. Now, in this verse we see Jesus opening their minds to the scriptures.
       Have you ever been reading a passage of scripture that you've read so many times before and all of a sudden you receive new revelation about it? Nothing is different about the words on the page, but something changes in your heart and mind. It’s like a light bulb turns on and you understand it in a way that you never did before. It’s the same scripture, but now it has new meaning.
       That’s what happened to the disciples in this moment. All of a sudden they understood all of what Jesus had been telling them. Jesus wants to do this for you every time you read the Word of God. It is a Living Word and He wants it to come to life in you.
       As you read the Word pray that God opens your mind to understand all that you are reading. It makes reading the Word so much more exciting. Ask for revelation and He will give it to you.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Luke 23:34a

Luke 23:34a – Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

        It was right in the middle of persecution. While these men were mocking Him, ridiculing Him, beating Him and ultimately killing Him, Jesus could look past it and see the broken, hurting people inside. It was for these very men that Jesus was enduring the cross. As they were nailing Him to the cross Jesus saw them through the eyes of Love and had compassion for them.
        Jesus told us we are to Love our enemies and right here we see Him doing exactly that. This prayer Jesus prayed really shows His heart and the heart of God for us. It still amazes me how God could look through all of the sin in our lives and Love us. Each one of us has sinned, we have all fallen short, but God still sees us as His children.
        Think about when someone wrongs you or does something to hurt you. First of all it doesn't feel good, sometimes it hurts physically, but mostly emotionally. And second, you want to protect yourself from it ever happening again. God is not like that. He does feel the pain every time we sin, but once we receive His forgiveness He never holds it against us again.
        As we look at Jesus example of forgiveness to those who were killing Him, we can know that He will forgive us for all we've done. Go to God; receive forgiveness for all you've done and allow Jesus to make your heart pure. Don’t wait another day to come to Him; know that He will not condemn you. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Luke 22:27

Luke 22:27 – For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

        Jesus asks His disciples what seems like an easy question, “Who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?” In society you always have your ‘important’ people at the table and the servants wait on them. Jesus asked the question knowing full well what their answer would be. He even goes so far as to answer it with another question, “Is it not the one who is at the table?”
        I’m sure now the disciples are nodding their heads in agreement, as I’m sure we would be also if we didn't know better. Now Jesus makes a comment that defies all they had been taught all their lives. He doesn't really answer the question, but instead challenges their way of thinking. Jesus puts Himself in the place of the servant. “But I am among you as one who serves,” He said.
        So what does that mean? Either Jesus is saying that those He is serving are greater than Him, or that the servant is greater than the one He serves. We know the former cannot be true because the Bible says that God lifted Jesus to the highest place and that His name is above all names.
        In the Word of God we also see Jesus telling us that the ‘first will be last and the last will be first.’ So we know that just because something is done one way on earth doesn't mean that it will be the same in heaven, in fact often times it seems it will be opposite.
        What can we take from this? To lead you must serve. We must follow Jesus example and help those around us. Influence people by serving them and taking care of their needs. That is what Jesus did and that is what we must do also.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Luke 21:3-4

Luke 21:3-4 “I tell you the truth,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in everything she had to live on.”

        Tithing and giving are subjects that often cause a lot of dispute. Some people don’t want to do it and make all kinds of excuses why they don’t. Others try to say that you cannot be saved unless you tithe. In every issue there are extremes and this one can get heated because money is so close to our hearts. So instead of going into all the excuses or reasons why people believe one way or the other I will tell you my thoughts on tithing and giving and I believe it is biblical.
        First off I will talk about tithing. We have been commanded to tithe, which is giving ten percent of all we make. We see examples of this starting with Abraham and continuing on into the New Testament. Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
        I believe that all we have is God’s and we are just stewards of it. He asks for ten percent and I gladly give it. That being said, God will not Love you any less if you don’t tithe, and tithing has nothing to do with salvation. Tithing is about putting God first and honoring Him above your money. It is also has to do with obedience and entering into the financial blessings that God has for you.
        One of the amazing things about God, though, is that He will meet you where you are at. If you are not giving ten percent, it's alright. Start with where you are and work up from there. God Loves a cheerful giver. If you are giving grudgingly then you might as well not give, because there is no reward in it. God looks at your heart.
        That being said it may never make sense to give. If you do your budget and you don’t see a way that you can give don’t let that stop you. You must give in Faith and your tithe should be the first thing that you have in your budget. In my life I have done this and then everything is provided for, even when it doesn't make sense. There is blessing in obedience.
        Now let’s talk about giving. Again, this must come from the heart. God asks that you give above your tithe. Give to those in need. Bless those around you. Do it out of Love and compassion. Giving is very satisfying when you can look past your own wants and needs and look to meet the needs of others.
        This story about the poor widow who gave everything she had is about her heart towards giving. She didn't have much, but she wanted God to use it to bless others, and it did. Even today, thousands of years later we are still blessed and convicted by this woman’s story.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Luke 20:26

Luke 20:26 – They were unable to trap Him in what He had said there in public. And astonished by His answer, they became silent.

         As Jesus taught He gained more popularity with the people. They were following Him and listening to everything He said. This made the religious leaders jealous. They wanted the popularity; the people were supposed to listen to them. Everyday more and more people began looking to Jesus and so, every day, the leaders grew madder and madder.
         They thought that maybe if they discredited Him the people would come back to them. In their attempt to do this they would ask Him questions, but these were not just any questions. These questions were designed to trick Him into saying something that He didn’t mean.
         Jesus, however, was not easily tricked. Jesus had the wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit to guide Him in what to say and do. Every time they tried to trick Him He answered in such a way that would leave them speechless.
         So what does that mean for us? Well, we have the same Spirit on the inside of us, and we have access to the same wisdom. If you have a habit of saying something before you think about it, slow down. Think before you say; let the Spirit of God guide you in wisdom and direct your words.
         Sometimes being quiet is the best way, but then other times saying something is necessary. So whether you are in the habit of saying too much or not saying anything at all you need to change your ways. Be sensitive and obedient to the Spirit and speak when you need to and shut up when you don’t.
         James says that if you can tame the tongue you will be a perfect person. Jesus had control of what He said, speaking wisdom at the right times. If we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit we too will be able to control our tongues.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Luke 19:8

Luke 19:8 – But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

         Zacchaeus was a shrewd man. He had gained wealth by dishonest tax collecting. Basically, He made a living off of cheating people. Because of this he did not have any friends. Most people who knew who he was didn't like him.
         As Jesus came into town all the people went to see Him and just like all of them Zacchaeus also wanted to see this man. Some went out of curiosity; some went because they had seen Jesus before. It wasn't long before a large crowd had formed.
         Now Zacchaeus was no different than all of the others, but he was alone. He had burnt so many bridges that no one would help him or let him through to see Jesus. And to top it all off he was short and could not see over the crowd. But Zacchaeus had an idea.
         Based on the route Jesus was taking through town, there was a tree that he could climb. This tree should give him a good vantage point where he could see Jesus. As the crowd approached, Zacchaeus discovered that he was right. He could see Jesus just fine, but then an amazing thing happened: Jesus walked right up to him and talked to him.
         Jesus told Zacchaeus that they would eat lunch together that day. So we see them go to the tax collectors house to eat lunch. About half way through the meal conviction came upon Zacchaeus and he stood to his feet and made this statement.
         Jesus never told him that he was a sinner or that he needed to pay back the money he had stolen. All Jesus did was Love this little man. That’s all it takes.
         You don’t have to point out people’s sin. They already know it is there. All you have to do is Love them in spite of their sin. When we do this it softens their heart. You act in Love and allow the Spirit to correct and rebuke when needed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Luke 18:17

Luke 18:17 – “I tell you the truth, anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

“Receive the kingdom of God like a little child,” Jesus tells us. It seems simple enough, but what exactly does it mean? How do you receive God’s kingdom like a child when you are a grown adult? Really it comes down to faith. We must have faith like a child.
Think about how a child receives what you tell them and they believe it. That is how we are to receive God’s kingdom. A child has innocence. They are not yet hardened by the world. As adults we have become accustomed to people telling us lies and trying to trick us. It conditions us to take everything at face value and not to believe beyond that, especially when it is something that seems too good to be true.
That’s the thing about God’s kingdom that is so amazing. It’s a kingdom with no pain and suffering and everything is done out of Love. Death, sickness and disease, lies and deceit; they are all gone.
As adults we look at the picture of heaven and a God that Loves us despite our shortcomings and we find it hard to believe. A child has not yet been conditioned to doubt everything they are told so they receive it with open arms. That is how we need to receive the kingdom of God; with open arms.
It is easy for a child to believe in the supernatural. Take my son Logan for instance. There was a time when we had gone over to someone’s house to drop something off. When we got back into the car, it wouldn't start. I looked under the hood and tried to fiddle with a few things to no avail.
Finally I gave up and decided to pray. Then, when I turned the key the car fired right up. Of course in my mind I try to reason it out as coincidence. In Logan’s mind it was a miracle. A couple of weeks later Logan asked me if I remembered the time when God started our car. That is the faith of a child.
In the area of faith we must revert back to our childhood and get rid of the doubt and unbelief. Open your mind and receive the kingdom of God like a child.

Monday, September 22, 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.”

       “When will the kingdom of God come,” the Pharisees asked. They thought that when God’s kingdom came to earth it would be seen by all. If an earthly kingdom came to take over rule of another kingdom it would be done by force and the change in leadership would not be subtle.
       This is how the Pharisees imagined that the kingdom of God would come, but they were wrong. Jesus told them that they cannot sit around and watch for it to come; because they will not see it. God’s kingdom comes through the hearts of those who are in it. That means you and me.
       Christ made a way for us to enter the God’s kingdom and that kingdom comes into our hearts when we accept Him as Savior. So how does the kingdom advance? It advances through you.
       When Jesus taught His disciples He told them to pray to God saying, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” You are the answer to that prayer. God moves on earth through those who put their trust in Him. That means that everywhere you go you are taking the kingdom with you. And if you want it to spread you must spread it.
       Let your life be a reflection of God and let your actions show His Love. That is how you will advance His kingdom. It will be done subtly, through Love and relationship. That’s why no one will see it coming. So don’t sit back and watch for it, get out there and be one of the ones God uses to bring it to earth.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Luke 16:15

Luke 16:15 – He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”

“No servant can serve two masters,” Jesus told the people, “You cannot serve both God and money.” Jesus was using money as an example here, but really this applies to anything that we might put before God. What we must realize that it is not about the object itself, but about your attitude toward it.
If you have put anything before God it becomes detestable in His sight. Jesus uses the example of money, but you know what it is in your life. It could be cars, or houses, or friends, or your spouse or even the church. All these things are good in and of themselves, but the moment you put them in front if God they become sin in your life.
In this passage Jesus talks about how people justify themselves in the eyes of men. Men can view only outward appearance. So what Jesus is saying is that just because you do look good on the outside does not mean you are good.
You can do all the ‘right’ things, but do them for the wrong reasons, and those ‘right’ things will be wrong. Sometimes it is hard to understand how this all works. It’s not so much about the action itself, but the heart behind it.
Really what it comes down to is that God wants your heart. He wants you to put Him before everything else in your life. When you do this all of your actions will be pure because they will be based out of Love for God. You cannot serve two masters. It is time to make a choice. Who will you serve?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Luke 15:31

Luke 15:31 – “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”

This verse comes from the story of the ‘Prodigal son.’ We all know this story. You see a father and his two boys. While the older boy is faithfully working the land and helping the father, the younger leaves and squanders his wealth. Because he is gone so long the father is afraid he may have lost his boy, but he always has his eye on the horizon, waiting, just in case.
Finally the boy returns and his father rejoices and throws a huge party. Meanwhile the older son is still out working the fields. When he returns and sees his brother home and the party that was thrown for him he grows angry.
Now the father goes outside to see what is wrong with his older son. The boy tells him that he is upset because he never got a party like the one thrown for his brother. This verse captures his father’s response, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Basically the father told his oldest son that he could have had a party anytime he wanted.
Sometimes I think we fall into this way of thinking. We have accepted Christ and are welcomed into the kingdom of God as His children. Then we see others walking in the blessings of God and we cry out, “Why not me God?”
We wonder why we are not seeing the blessings in our life. If that’s you, and we've all been there, this verse is for you. God is telling you, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” As God’s children we have access to all that God has. We just need to receive it by faith.
Think of it this way. You could be in foreclosure on your house and have a million dollars in your bank account. That million will not do you any good until you withdraw it and use it. The same is true with the promises of God. They will not do you any good until you access them through faith.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Luke 14:23

Luke 14:23 – “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.’”

       “The kingdom of God is like a man preparing a banquet,” Jesus tells us. It is prepared for specific people in mind, but they all have other things they would rather do. Now that the banquet is prepared this man does not want to waste it. He sends his servants out to get whoever they can find. His house must be full. “Go everywhere, and make them come in,” he tells his servants.
       This is a picture of God preparing heaven for His children. God has called everyone to Him, but many people have been making excuses why they can’t come. Sometimes they are too busy, or they have something else going on or they just don’t think God fits into their life.
       Now, as those who have already entered His kingdom, we are to take the place of the servants in the story. We are told to, “Go into all the world.” “Make them come in,” Jesus says.
It is God’s desire for all men to come to know Him. He wants His house full and right now it is up to us to let His Spirit work through us to make that happen.
This is not going to happen by just sitting in church or the comfort of your home. We must ‘go out to the roads and country lanes.” Get off your butt and get out there to where the people are. There are so many who are lost and hurting. They need the hope that we have inside of us. Go out and Love people; make them come in. That is your mission.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Luke 13:16

Luke 13:16 - Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

When Jesus would heal on the Sabbath He would always run into opposition. There would always be someone there who would be caught up in the rules and regulations of the law and not the spirit of the law.
This time it was the synagogue ruler. He actually went as far as to ask the people not to come to Jesus on the Sabbath. “There are six days for work,” he said, “So come and be healed on those days, not the Sabbath.”
In reading this it seems crazy that they would purposefully try to keep people from receiving healing from Jesus. Jesus would never stop people from coming to Him.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” He doesn't give us a time limit or specify certain hours when He is available.
We must understand that the law is setup for us. It is a guide for us to live by, but we need to see the heart behind it. Take the law of the Sabbath for instance. “Work six days and on the seventh day rest.” If you make a habit of working seven days a week and never rest you will wear yourself out and make yourself sick. It is not good and your body cannot handle too much of it.
Jesus wants us to honor the spirit behind the law. He wants us to obey out of Love, not obligation. Jesus Loved God and Loved people. Therefore, when He saw a person suffering on the Sabbath He couldn't stand by and let them suffer. He let Love guide Him to do the right thing. Let Love be your motivator as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Luke 12:29-31

Luke 12:29-31 - And do not set your heart on what you will eat and drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well.

We need food; we need clothes; we need a roof over our head. There are so many things in the world that fall into the ‘need’ category. It is easy to put our focus on these things and take it off of what is important. To clarify, I’m not saying these things are not important, but to focus on them makes for a meaningless life. Life is about so much more than our ‘basic’ needs. It’s true, when we don’t have them life can be harder, but the more we focus on what we do not have, the more we become discontent with what we do have. There is a better way.
Paul says, “I've learned the secret of being content in every situation.” What’s the secret? This verse right here gives it to us plainly. “Seek first the kingdom and all these things will be given to you as well.” That is the key.
Seek God; focus on Him. When you do He becomes bigger in your life and all these other things take a back seat. Then, while you are busy focusing on God, He is taking care of all these other needs.
Our mind would have us think otherwise, but the reality of it is this: the more we focus on taking care of our own needs, the less we will be taken care of. The opposite is also true: the more we focus on God and meeting the needs of others, the more our needs will be taken care of.

Tuesday, September 16, 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.”

Ask, seek and knock. Seems simple enough, right? Then why do so many of us go through life without the things God has promised in His Word? It is because we don’t ask for it.
God has given us free will. We have a choice to make. It starts with choosing Jesus and receiving our salvation, but that is not the end. There is so much more that God wants to give you, but you have to exercise your faith.
Faith is believing in what you cannot see. It is also an action word, just like ask, seek and knock. James tells us that faith without works is dead, so until you put your faith to action it will do you no good. Faith for salvation is good, but until you repent from your sins and turn from them, there will be no fruit.
In the Bible we are also promised health and wholeness, but until we seek God for it we may never receive it. God promises that all our needs will be met, but if we never ask HIm we may never see our needs filled.
There are two ways we can look at this. First we must understand that just by being in the kingdom of God does not mean that we will receive all the benefits of the kingdom. It’s not a free ride, in a sense. On the other hand, it is a free ride, because all you have to do is ask, seek and knock.
There are no restrictions or limitations with God. Jesus says ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. Put your focus on God and seek Him to meet your needs. Don’t focus on the problem, with God all things are possible.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Luke 10:41-42

Luke 10:41-42 – “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

So much to do; so little time. Our schedules are always so busy. There are so many times I've thought, “Once we get through this ‘thing’ life will slow down. Then I can make time to do ‘that’.” It’s a nice thought, but as far as I have experienced, life never actually slows down.
Once you get through one busy time something else comes up to make you busy again. Being busy is not necessarily a bad thing, though, as long as you don’t let it take away from the important things.
In this story of Mary and Martha we see two different perspectives. We see Martha, who wants to make sure everything is perfect. She has Jesus in her home and she wants to make sure everything goes according to plan. It’s got to be perfect for Jesus, right? I know that if Jesus was coming to my house I would want to make sure my house was in order, so I can relate to Martha in that sense.
Then there’s Mary. It’s possible that Mary worked with Martha before Jesus got there to get things ready, we don’t really know for sure. All we know is that once Jesus got there she was done working. She just wanted to spend as much time as possible with Him.
This is where we ought to be. Jesus doesn't care if you have everything perfect, He just wants you. Go to Him, spend time in His presence. There will always be things to do, but if you don’t make time for Jesus now, you never will. Let it go. Give Him your worries and cares and rest in Him.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Luke 9:58

Luke 9:58 – Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”

As Jesus taught He amazed those around Him. He taught as one with authority and there were miracles happening to back up His teaching. It was exciting. There were many people that were getting caught up in the moment. With all the excitement these people said they would follow Jesus wherever He went. They made claims that they could not commit to.
When you make a commitment to follow Jesus you have to understand that it is going to cost you. As the people are making these claims Jesus takes them a step back with reality. He says that animals have homes, but He is not like the animals. “The Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
Jesus was telling the people that He was not going to be established in any one place. His home was in heaven and while He was on earth He would not call any place home.
As we take this verse and apply it in our own lives we need to understand that there is a cost to follow Jesus. Now, to get this straight, we must realize that salvation is free to all who come to Him, but Jesus calls us to something beyond that.
Jesus has called you to live a life like He did. It’s ok to make a home for yourself, but don’t get too comfortable. Sometime in the future He may call you to leave that place. You never know, but one thing we can be sure of is that Jesus has called us to live different. Your life needs to be a reflection of Him. You are to be His witness everywhere you go.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Luke 8:21

Luke 8:21 – He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.”

       Jesus words were so powerful and intriguing that many people wanted to hear Him. Unlike their other teachers, He taught as one with authority. They liked it so much that they would sit for hours listening to His teaching, and the crowds got bigger and bigger.
One such day, when Jesus was teaching, His mother and brothers happened to be close by and they wanted to see Him. Since the crowd was so large, there was no way they could get near Him.  They passed a message through the crowd that eventually made it all the way to Him, “Your mother and brothers are outside, wanting to see you.”
Now, I’m sure that Jesus wanted to see His family, but He also saw this as a teaching opportunity. This verse was His response, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.”
       Jesus was not trying to disrespect His family with this statement, but He was trying to make a point. He wanted us to understand that by obedience we are all brought into God’s family. Just because someone is not your brother by birth does not mean he is not your brother.
God’s Word says to believe in Christ and you will be called children of God. So obedience to this makes us family. That’s the first step. After that it only gets better. You are in God’s family; you are a brother or sister of Jesus.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Luke 7:47

Luke 7:47 - “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins are forgiven - for she Loved much. But he who has been forgiven little Loves little.”

Think about it this way. Say you owe money to two different people. To one you owe five dollars; to the other you owe five hundred dollars. Now you have fallen on hard times and have been unable to pay any of it back. These men see this and they have compassion on you, so they tell you that you do not have to pay them any of the money you owe.
Now, in your situation, you were unable to satisfy either of the debts, but to which will you show more appreciation? You will have more gratitude to the one who forgave the larger debt. If both of these men were calling for help you would go to this one first because he forgave more.
Now look at your relationship with God. We have all been forgiven of all our sins. As Jesus says here, though, there are different appreciation levels for this forgiveness. ‘The one who has been forgiven much Loves much and the one who has been forgiven little Loves little.’
In reality we must realize that all sin is equal and all sin deserves death, so we all have been forgiven the same debt. But we don’t all see it this way. In our minds we see some sin as not being as bad as other sin. We think that the little ‘white’ lie we told isn't as bad as the guy who killed someone. From the human perspective this is true, but from the eternal perspective and in God’s eyes these are equal. Both deserve death; but both will be forgiven if you come to Him.
So when Jesus is speaking to His disciples here, why is He talking about different levels of Love? It is because we Love to the extent we realize we have been forgiven. If you think your sin really isn't that bad, you won’t appreciate God’s forgiveness as much as the one who realizes that his sin deserved death.
We will not be able to Love God to the extent we are called to, until we realize how devastating our sin really is. When we realize how bad our sin is and how much God has truly forgiven we will actually be able to Love Him more.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Luke 6:32-33

Luke 6:32-33 - “If you Love those who Love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ Love those who Love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.”

It is easy to Love your friends. These are the people you hit it off with. You form a relationship and start to build trust with them. They Love you and you Love them.
When they need help, you help them. Then when you need help, they help you. You can lend them your things and know that they will return them. There is a mutual trust between you and your friends. These relationships are natural. They are good and everyone needs them in their life.
Jesus, however, also calls us to something different; something greater. Now keep in mind that Jesus never says these kind of relationships are bad or that we shouldn't have them.What Jesus says here is that these relationships are normal and will not set you apart from the crowd.
Loving your friends is something both unbelievers and believers have in common. Jesus says we need to be different. In fact, the bible says that ‘they’ will know we are Christians by our Love. If we Love in the same way as the world, how will they know we are Christians? They won’t. That’s the point.
Jesus calls us to a higher standard of Love. He says, ‘Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.’ We ought to Love those who don’t Love us, be good to those who are not good to us, and lend to those who will not return. That is the kind of Love that will stand out. That is the Love we are called to have.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Luke 5:10b

Luke 5:10b – Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

       Simon saw a glimpse of who Jesus was through a miracle of fish. He and his partners had been fishing all day to no avail. Then Jesus told them to throw their nets once more. Going against the evidence of not having caught anything all day, they obeyed. When they did, they caught so many fish their nets couldn't hold them all.
       Simon Peter saw this and received a revelation of who Jesus was. He fell down before Him and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” Fear swept over him because he saw how righteous Jesus was and it showed him the sin in his own life.
       Jesus, however, was not done with Simon Peter. Peters life was about to change. Jesus gave him the miracle of fish and then told him, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”
       I like how Jesus made the connection between what Peter was doing now to what he was called to do. Jesus does that for us as well. He will take what we now know and do, and incorporate it into the plan God has for us.
       Let’s also look at this story in the literal sense. All day long these men had been fishing and had caught nothing. Jesus shows up, they hang out for a while, and then Jesus tells them to cast out one more time. They obey Him and the result is overwhelming.
       Like the disciples, there are things in your life that you have been trying to do in your own ability. Despite all you've tried, you have not succeeded. You are getting discouraged. It is time to turn to Jesus.
Hang out with Him for a while. Pray, worship and just spend time listening. Maybe He will direct you to do something else, or He might tell you to try one more time. Listen to His leading and obey. If you are obedient to what Jesus tells you I promise the result will be better than you can imagine.