chronological day 294 :)

Lots to read today – you can do it!  I love these favorite passages, but let me encourage you again to take your time 🙂 Don’t allow the Word to become common because it is familiar. Please read Luke 18:9-14, Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, and Luke 18:18-30.  Come on back and let’s visit-  what’s your take-a-way today? 

Luke 18:9-14 – I notice that the Pharisee is busy about the things of God, but not busy about pursuing God’s presence or character.  This is such an important distinction for us to make –  we can be busy doing good things and still miss the point, like the Pharisee did.

“Then Peter said, ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’ So He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.’ ” Luke 18:28-30

The disciples left ALL knowing that God would provide ALL.  God still provides all.  There is no reason to operate out of a scarcity mentality because there is never lack in God. Once we are confident of this truth, we can be free to care for others without worrying that we will go without ourselves.  If one was convinced of abundance, one would not worry about giving!

Matthew 19:14-15 is a favorite of course, as Jesus blesses children and encourages the adults to operate in child-like faith. Lord, let us operate in child-like faith today!

 

chronological day 293 :)

Today, we are reading John 11:38-57, Luke 17:11-37and Luke 18:1-8 . I have a few highlights today, but it’s hard to keep these little entries short sometimes! 

Luke 17:11-19 – the ten lepers were cleansed (healed) AS they went: as/while they were obedient.  Their healing came hand in hand with their obedience.

Luke 17:19-37 (I like 17:37 in the MSG: “where the body is, there the eagles will be”).  I think that means that as a carcass would draw vultures, the unrepentant will draw God’s judgement. In any case, “the action will begin around” the body of Christ. I wish we had time to stay here for a little bit together – what do you think?

In Luke 18, I think that Jesus is teaching us that persistence in prayer creates purity in prayer. If a man could be worn down, wouldn’t God desire to work on our behalf even more? After getting this far, haven’t we seen the persistence of God, how He pursues HIs creation?  Ask and persist after godliness.

I like that Jesus prayed aloud in John 11. Hearing Jesus say this out loud must have been powerful:

Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me” John 11:41-42

In this way, Jesus made sure that people connected the prayer to Lazarus’ resurrection. 

Now we are already at the plot to kill Jesus:

“So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer walked openly” John 11:53-54

Does anyone feel the same way I feel?  How are we at the plot to kill Jesus already, we only just got Him.  

A little p.s. this morning: I find it so sad that Jesus could no longer walk openly.  It wasn’t out of fear (Jesus was not afraid to fulfill His destiny), it was out of making sure everything happened in order and at the right time.  It also makes me think about today: if I we are not displaying Jesus openly in our lives, what is the reason?  I’ll help: we do not have time to hide our faith – be ready to share Jesus now!

 

chronological day 292 :)

Today, continuing with Jesus’ ministry and the New Testament.  Let’s read Luke 14:25-35, Luke 15, 16, 17:1-10, and John 11:1-37.  Remembering back to the Old Testament, do you see any qualities of God the Father in Jesus the Son?  Oh, I hope that we can stop differentiating between the “God of the Old Testament” and the “God of the New Testament” – they are the same! Let’s read and come back together, share some highlights.  Here we go:

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” Luke 14:28 NKJV

The entire passage of Luke 14:25-35 is about following Jesus, being His disciple.  Jesus encourages His listeners to consider the necessary commitment and then make a decision to be His disciple.  He may not ask us to leave all we have, but we must be willing to leave all we have.  Our devotion to Christ must be first.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:4-5 NKJV

Jesus is relentless in His pursuit, the Shepherd that the Old Testament talked about, one who would care and heal and bind up the broken.  He wants us all to make it! It’s not wrong to leave the 99 – they had their community, they had their singular purpose – let’s bring back the one who needs us and bring that one back to the fold.  What a beautiful visual.

We all love the parable of the prodigal son, of course. In this parable, the father represents God the Father – and its the only time in Scripture that he is described as running (Luke 15:20). Oh, how I love the visual that this brings to mind! Oh how He loves us!  As He always did, from the original sin to the prodigal son to  sending of a Savior, God always wants His children back.  He always wants us restored.  He always wants us to come home. 

p.s. do you notice that the father does not ask where the prodigal came from?  Did you notice that the shepherd did not ask the one sheep why he left or what he was doing?  It is the same with us and God.  There is no judgement, it doesn’t matter to Him where we came from or what we have done – He wants us to come home!  He always wants us back.  Only love. ❤

 

chronological day 291 :)

Just  a couple of chapters today: John 10, Luke 13:22-35, and Luke 14:1-24.  Jesus is such a master teacher – what are you learning today?  Let’s read and visit!

“strive to enter through the narrow gate” Luke 13:24 NKJV

Look at it in the Message translation:

“A bystander said, ‘Master, will only a few be saved?’ Jesus said, ‘Whether few or many is none of your business. Put your mind on your life with God. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires your total attention. A lot of you are going to assume that you’ll sit down to God’s salvation banquet just because you’ve been hanging around the neighborhood all your lives’ ” Luke 13:23-24 

Even if it’s harder, do more than you have to do, do more than the minimum. Draw close to the Lord. 

“On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, ‘Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ And He said to them, ‘Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following’ ” Luke 13:31-33 NKJV

When Jesus called Herod a fox, it made me think of Song 2:15 – the fox wanted to destroy the tender grapes, before they’d had a chance to meet their purpose. Jesus had not reached His purpose at this point yet.

In Luke 14:1-6, Jesus makes the point about not leaving an animal over the Sabbath – an easy example to understand and straight to the point, as Jesus always was.  What a great Teacher!

chronological day 290 :)

 Today we are reading Luke 12:35-39, Luke 13:1-21, and John 9.  Though I always recommend the book of John to someone who feels “new” to the Bible and to Jesus, I love the detail that Luke the physician gives to us.  The Word is so rich!  What’s your highlight today?  Come on back and let’s chat!

“Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. It doesn’t matter what time of the night he arrives; they’re awake—and so blessed! You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn’t have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. So don’t you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don’t expect him, the Son of Man will show up.” Luke 12:35-39 MSG

That couldn’t be more clear, could it? We should be ready at all times.  Live as if there are no secrets.  Live as if someone is watching at all times.  Let the person you are in private match the person you are in public.

In Luke 13:10-13, I notice that Jesus wasn’t ashamed of the woman and her infirmity. He wasn’t ashamed to call her in front of the synagogue, not ashamed of her or her weaknesses, not ashamed to tend to her needs on the Sabbath or any other day.  (Jesus isn’t ashamed of your infirmities or weaknesses either – allow Him to take care of you!). When the ruler of the synagogue was upset because Jesus was “working” on the Sabbath, I love Jesus’ response:

“The Lord then answered him and said, Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?  So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’  And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.” Luke 13:15-17

The law is not to be made more important than seeing people’s needs be met.  Love is the more excellent way!

chronological day 289 :)

All in Luke today, not too bad! 🙂 Please read Luke 11:14-54 and Luke 12:1-34. Everything Jesus has to say is so valuable – it’s hard to highlight only one or two! What were your take-a-ways? Did you and I highlight any of the same things?  Read and come on back – let’s visit!

“Jesus commented, ‘Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!’ ” Luke 11:28 MSG

There is a blessing in keeping the Word of God. We must KNOW the Word, keep it in our hearts, treat it as precious.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 NKJV

We are so valuable to God.  When someone loves you so much, it ought to inspire love in return ❤ (I tried to go MSG with that verse, but it’s too familiar! I love the NKJV!)

Luke 12:8-12 – Jesus warns again of offenses. Offenses will stop your spiritual growth.  Offense, anger, bitterness – they’re so heavy, and you are moving too fast for that! Let it go!

Luke 12:16-21 makes it seems as if searching for worldly riches and searching for spiritual riches is an either/or proposition. If we concentrate on spiritual richness, God will provide our physical needs. Don’t be distracted by physical needs to the point of losing spiritual focus. 

chronological day 288 :)

Today, we are reading John 8:21-59, Luke 10, and Luke 11:1-13.  What stands out to you? 

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ”John 8:31-32

Please don’t overlook the conditions: If you keep His Word, you are his disciples. If you know the truth, you will be set free.  If you are not staying true to Jesus’ direction, you are not truly following Him or representing Him well in the world. If you do not know the truth, you do not know how to access the benefits available to you through salvation.  It seems backwards to us, but the way to true personal freedom is submission to the Lord.

“When he [Satan] speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” John 8:44

Satan has a condition too – he lives and speaks out of his limited resources. It is not necessary for you to accept the enemy’s lies – read the Word and find out what Jesus has to say about you!

So many favorites today – its so hard to pick out one or two!  The parable of the good samaritan in Luke 10 is such a powerful story – Jesus knows how to get to the heart of the matter every time: who was this man’s neighbor? The one who showed mercy.  Let’s be generous in mercy to the people in our sphere of influence…

“one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part” Luke 10:42

We can’t finish today without at least mentioning Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Martha’s preparations had to be made, but these distracted her to the point of losing her focus.  One thing was (and still is) essential: worshipping Jesus.

p.s. I’m out of time, but can we go ahead and highlight ALL of Luke 11:1-13?  Jesus teaching us to pray, how to persist, how to trust…. precious ❤

 

chronological day 287 :)

Today, we’ll read John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-53, and John 8:1-20.  We are busy here in the New Testament – 

Look at the boldness that Jesus encourages:

“This isn’t My time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose.” John 7:6 MSG

Jesus’ brothers are wanting Him to “go public”, but Jesus know it is not His time.  I think the words He gives His brothers could apply to us right now: it is always our time.  It is always time to bring Jesus into our conversations, integrate Him so completely into our lives that the world would have a witness of Christ even by our every day living.

I love the account of Jesus and the adulterous woman.  She was surrounded by accusers, BUT Jesus…. 

“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ ” John 8:10-11

 He does not condemn her, but He did teach her right from wrong.  Guilt can lead us to forgiveness and temptation – condemnation from the enemy only pushes you further away. Jesus didn’t take on the anger of the crowd, but He loved the woman herself. The point is always restoration.  The point is always right relationship.  The point is always love.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ‘ John 8:12 NKJV

The goal is always restoration.  The goal is always right relationship.  The goal is always love. What the enemy meant to drive this dear one further into darkness, Jesus used to lead her to the light of life.  Do you notice: Jesus was not concerned with her circumstances or her sin – He was concerned with her soul and restoration.  It doesn’t matter where we are, what choices we have made – God wants us closer.

What would it look like if we adopted Jesus’ goals as our own?

chronological day 286 :)

Please read Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43, Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43-45, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-6, Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:38-41, Luke 9:49-50, Mark 9:42-50, and Matthew 18:7-35.  So much is happening today, not possible to hit it all in a short post…. Though much will be familiar, take your time and take it in!  What did you underline today?  What do you want to remember and apply to life today?

Mark 9:22-23, “if you have compassion” and “if you can believe” – we have to partner with Jesus in the reality of all things being possible. We have a part to play.

In Matthew 17:21, Jesus reminds the disciples that some things only come out by prayer and fasting.  Fasting is such an important discipline, not be overlooked.

Matthew 9:49-50 – salt without taste is worthless, amen.  Simple and straightforward.

I like Matthew 18:7: “offenses must come, but woe to the man by whom the offense comes”. Don’t be the reason someone else is offended, and don’t take up offense yourself. It reminds me of Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (sorry – I memorized that one so long ago, it was King James!). Jesus always agrees with the Word of God.

chronological day 285 :)

Today, we’ll read Mark 8:22-30, Matthew 16:13-20, Luke 9:18-20, Mark 8:31-38, Mark 9:1, Matthew 16:21-28, Luke 9:21-27, Mark 9:2-13, Matthew 17:1-13, and Luke 9:28-36.  It’s a hard day for me – it seems as if we only got Jesus just now, spent so much time in the Old Testament, and now He is teaching and performing miracles and telling His disciples what will happen next….. What stands out to you today?

Unknown-1 copy“He then began explaining things to them: ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.’ He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.” Mark 8:31-32 MSG

In the midst of performing miracles, Jesus is helping His disciples understand that the crucifixion and resurrection are coming.  They won’t understand it, of course – how could they?  They protest now, but they’ll remember His words later.  Like a child – they don’t always understand instruction given, but they remember their parents’ words when instruction and experience meet.

I like how Jesus asks Peter, in the hearing of others, “Who do you say I am?” (Luke 9:21, Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:29).  Say it again, say it out loud, tuck it in a pocket close to your heart and remember it when darker days come:

“You are the Christ, the Messiah.” Mark 8:29

“You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

“The Messiah of God.” Luke 9:21

And confirmed by the Father Himself:

“Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: ‘This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to Him.’ The next minute the disciples were looking around, rubbing their eyes, seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus.” Mark 9:7-8

Seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus.  Let’s tuck this in our pockets today, so we remember in these dark times, rubbing our eyes and looking around at the upside-down-ness of the world. Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus is our great Intercessor.  Jesus never leaves us.

Nothing but Jesus, only Jesus. ❤