Friday, March 29, 2013
Read Luke 11:45-54 Jesus has just rebuked the Pharasees for being hypocrites and a lawyer challenges him. If I was that lawyer, I would have kept quiet. If he was looking for a fight he got silenced. To the lawyers Jesus had nothing good to say either. They were a different kind of hypocrite. They made laws that were so strict they couldn’t keep. He rebuked them for building the sepulchers for the prophets that their fathers killed. He was explaining that their fathers killed the prophets that God sent to show the people their sins and the lawyers put the words of the prophets in a nicely decorated box and honored them on the outside but rebelled against what they came to say. God was holding the lawyers responsible for their blood. He was holding them responsible for every godly person who had been murdered because they should have defended them, but instead sentenced them to die by not defending them. They were the ones who were blessed with knowledge of the law and instead they used it wrongly to punish the godly and let the ungodly go free. Jesus’ statements made the scribes, Pharasees and lawyers hate him even more and they devoted themselves to finding any way they could catch him in a lie or twist what he had to say. They wanted to find a case against him according to the law. They just didn’t know they were talking to the Word in the flesh. There was no way they would be able to win against the Word. Jesus was powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, able to divide their thoughts and the intents of their heart. We have this same word in us which is why Jesus told us not to worry when we are brought before the lawyers and Pharasees of the land because the Holy Spirit in us will tell us what to say. Lord, help us to stand on your Word and not worry about the power of the world because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Read Luke 11:37-44 It always takes me back when I see Jesus being invited by the Pharasees into their house to have a meal, but in truth, not all of the Pharasees hated Jesus. They recognized that he had a grasp on scripture that they only dreamed of having and Jesus was a Rabbi. He could have had position with them but chose to walk apart from the Sanhedran and picked his disciples from all walks of life instead of choosing the brightest pupils. Being educated, Jesus should know to wash his hands before he ate as a spiritual exercise. They washed their hands as an act of piety as if washing their hands made their whole body clean. Jesus had just explained that being enlightened had to do with the amount of light you had, not the amount of water you used. Jesus read the Pharasee’s mind and gave him a response. He explained that they, the Pharasees, were so meticulous about their external cleansing laws when they were full of sin on the inside. How could they think that cleansing the outside of anything would make them clean inside? Then he addressed what was inside. He told them to give compassion to the poor. He rebuked them for tithing herbs and neglecting God’s judgment and his love. They were more interested in their position with men instead of their position with God. Jesus compared them to graves that were hidden so people would accidentally walk over them and become unclean without knowing it. Their acts of piety and religion were contaminating the people just like the unmarked graves. It is easy to see the faults in the Pharasees but I wonder how many times we look more like the Pharasees than Jesus. We have our own religious markers that show us how we are “doing spiritually”. Like if we had our quiet time or read our Bible for the day. I don’t think any of that matters if we aren’t loving the unlovely or living out of a heart for God. Lord, help us to give of ourselves for your kingdom. We desire to be clean on the inside where only you can see.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Read Luke 11:29-36 Verse 29 says “when they had gathered thick together” which means Jesus waited till there was a big crowd and everyone could hear what he was about to say. Then he rebuked their generation and called them evil. Jesus was not a politician or a people pleaser; he was a God pleaser. He went on to explain why they were evil - because they sought signs to believe. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and is the evidence of things not seen. They wanted something they could see. They had the Saviour, THE Word, in plain sight and couldn’t believe him unless he did something miraculous. He told them the sign God was going to give them which was the same one he gave Jonah. Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites of judgment. His message was to repent or God would destroy them. That was Jesus’ message to them. He went on to remind them of the Queen of Sheba who traveled for miles to visit Solomon when she heard of his wisdom and riches. Jesus was much greater than Solomon yet they couldn’t “see” it. Nineveh heard and believed and the Queen of Sheba saw and believed. They both saw and heard and yet had doubts. Our eyes give information to our whole body just like a candle lights up the whole room and gives us information about what is in the room. If our eyes are clear and unblocked then we see clearly but if they are diseased then we don’t. There are 37 verses in the Bible that have both words heart and eyes in them. They go hand in hand. Jesus was trying to tell them that when you close your spiritual eyes you close your spirit also and vise versa. The Jews of that generation had hard hearts so it was hard for them to see what was right in front of them. Lord be a light to our hearts and let there be no darkness in us.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Read Luke 11:23-28 Jesus doesn’t give any room for middle ground: you are either with him or against him; gathering sheep or scattering them. Then he gives us a glimpse into the spirit world and what happens to a demon that is cast out of a person. It is sent out to walk among dry places - places not watered with the spirit. This unclean spirit is looking for a place to rest and make its home. When it doesn’t find one it returns to see if it can reenter - if there is room and the person is unprotected. If the person is then it will reenter with seven of its friends and the person will be worse off than before. So how do we keep from having that happen? None of us want unclean spirits, but if to cast it out means that we will end up with eight spirits, who wants to chance that? Here is the secret. When you send an evil spirit out of a person or yourself then you have to replace it with a clean one. For example: you want to cast out a spirit of unbelief. Then you replace it with the opposite which is faith. You fill your mind with scriptures on faith and you look for opportunities to step out in faith. Jesus taught about binding and loosing in Matt. 16:19. He said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” So when you bind something that is evil, you need to loose something that is godly. If you bind unbelief then you loose belief and faith and you act on it. That is what will fill your house so that when the spirit comes back he will find no room for him and leave. While he was teaching this concept a woman cried out of the crowd and wanted to give praise to Jesus’ mother. She was speaking from an unclean spirit whose aim was to take the attention away from Jesus and put them on an earthy vessel. How could he answer this without dishonoring his mother? Jesus always has an answer because he is the Word. His answer was to listen to the Word and keep it. That was his way of saying, “listen to me.” And that is what we fill ourselves with when we have empty spaces: the Word! Lord, may we always be filled with your spirit and your Word.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Read Luke 11:14-22 I laughed the first time I read this: “and he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb.” Aren’t all demons dumb? Then I read it again and realized that the devil was a spirit that took the man’s speech away. Lol! When Jesus cast it out, the man could talk and the people were in awe. Then had never seen anything like this happen and when it did they tried to figure it out. They decided that he was casting out this spirit through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils so Jesus had to give them a lesson on demonology 101. He explained that a kingdom whether it is God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom can not be divided against itself or it will not continue to rule. Then he explained that if they accused him of casting out demons by Beelzebub then how do they know their people haven’t been casting out devils by Beelzebub. Then Jesus said a profound statement: “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” That was the essence of the kingdom of God - that it was the supreme kingdom that was coming to overthrow the kingdom of the world - Satan’s kingdom. That is why Jesus was met with such opposition. He was drawing battle lines. Jesus went on to give a parable about a kingdom that lived in peace till a stronger kingdom came and pierced through its protective armor and divided all his goods. Jesus was the stronger power coming to break down Satan’s walls and give back everything he had stolen. I got to experience a little of that this week. I found a lump in both my breasts this week. I had just gotten a notice that it was time to have my yearly mammogram so I called immediately and told them what was up. Dave and I both prayed and believed that it was going to be OK. I had total peace, even when they told me I would have to stay and have an ultrasound. I sat in the waiting room with another lady who was waiting for the same thing. She was a Christian and she was proclaiming her healing also. A much younger lady came in and eventually we were alone. I could sense she was apprehensive so I asked her if she was afraid. She was and started crying. I was able to tell her that she was covered with the blood of Jesus and that she was going to be OK. She had 3 sons also. My tests came out perfectly OK and I know the other ladies did also. Lord, your kingdom has come to earth and I choose to live in it. May we not be afraid of Satan’s kingdom but realize we are here to spoil its power through You.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Read Luke 11:11-13 Jesus continues to drive in the subject of asking. He compares it to a son asking a father for bread. He will surely not give him a stone. Or if he asks for a fish, he will surely not give him a serpent. Or if he asks for an egg, he will not give his son a scorpion. So if we who are considered evil compared to God will give good things to our children, then won’t the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask? He went from tangible gifts to the Holy Spirit so there must be something spiritual in these earthly gifts. Let’s look at them again. The bread represents the revelation of the Word that feeds our spirit. The Commandments were written on stones and the law was not edible or life-giving. In fact it killed. So, if we as sons of God ask God for revelation will he give us the law which kills? No! He will give us the living bread. If we ask God for a fish - the character of Jesus. The fish has always been a symbol of a Christian and the serpent is a symbol of curse. So if we ask for a blessing, will he send us the curse? If we ask God for an egg - something that will burst forth life if nourished and warmed will he send us a scorpion which is the symbol of the lust of the flesh. No, of course not. God is our loving father who wants only good things for us - to prosper us and give us a future and a hope. He is on our side so who can come against us? He loves us with a love we can not comprehend. We only have the love of a father to a son to compare it to. He sent Jesus to die that he might give us the Holy Spirit so that we can walk in freedom and righteousness. Lord, the whole lesson is to point to the Holy Spirit who is the greatest gift of all. We ask for him to rule and lead our lives.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Read Luke 11:5-10 Jesus gave them a parable to explain more about prayer: If a friend came to you at midnight, got you out of your bed and gave you a story about needing 3 loaves of bread for his soon-to-arrive company what would you do? If you sent him away and he kept coming back waking you up, wouldn’t you just give him the bread to make him leave you alone? Sure you would. That is how Jesus explained the power of prayer. If you don’t ask, you won’t get - even if you think you are bothering God or you don’t deserve it. I can so relate with this parable because I feel like sometimes my prayers are just like that. I should have prepared beforehand and had the bread. I should just wait till the next day but I want to impress my guest today. I am impatient and selfish sometimes in my prayers. I often ask God to rescue me in something that I should have been better prepared and handled myself. But notice that Jesus never made a comment about any of this. He just wanted to tell them to ask, no matter what and God will give it to you. That goes for seeking and knocking too. I have asked God for answers I didn’t think I was suppose to know and he told me. Shock! I am no one he should reveal mysteries to but because I asked and sought it, he responded. I think God wants to give us more than we want to ask and he wants to reveal more than we want to seek. He wants to open doors we don’t even know are there. We just need to learn to ask, seek, and knock. Lord, help us to do just that no matter if we think we deserve your help or not - that is a no brainer!!!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Read Luke 11:4b The next thing Jesus taught us to say was “and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” James 1 says that, “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.” The word “lead” means to carry inward because temptation always starts from within. It is the little voice in our head giving us suggestions of how we should think. Mine usually come in accusations about how I messed up because I’m just not good enough or I sinned and deserve it. I try to catch these thoughts and stop them before they make a believer out of me. I have to remind myself that God loves me with all of my failures and the devil hates me because he hates God and I am His. If I don’t stop these thoughts then I am drawn away and robbed of the joy God has for me. If it continues then I will spiral down into a well of self-pity and depression. I consider both of these sin; they contradict the power of God. If I continue down this path it leads to death. To me it is more a death in my personal spirit but to some it can lead to suicide. The cure for me is to read the Psalms and let God’s Word renew my mind. “…But, deliver us from evil.” Another word for deliver is rescue. We are to pray that God rescues us and our family from evil. Evil means anything that is hurtful, or of evil influence, lewd, malicious, wicked, mischievous, brings us guilt, or the devil himself - the evil one. Never doubt the power of prayer. We are probably all the product of someone’s prayer. Prayer moves God’s hand and his heart. Lord, we pray that we comprehend this prayer. We pray that we will not be lead into temptation and that you would deliver us from the evil the devil has planned for us. We choose your plan.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Read Luke 11:4a Forgiveness is such a heavy topic. Jesus tells us to pray that our sins are forgiven. Then he assumes that we will forgive everyone who is indebted to us first. God always sides on the one who needs justice. To not forgive someone is to have pride. Do we believe that we have a right not to forgive? If Jesus could forgive the very ones who mocked him and persecuted him and finally gave him over to their enemies to crucify him, then there is no one we cannot forgive. Jesus came to forgive sins. We might think we can’t forgive, but Jesus in us can. We can’t afford to walk in unforgiveness. It will rob us of our very life and cause us great complications in our physical body and in our spirit. In Matthew’s writing of the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6:14.15) he adds “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. That is enough to make us want to forgive everyone. But what do you do if you can’t seem to forgive someone? We have all had those people in our lives who offend us to the core. I had a person in my life that I couldn’t hardly stand to be in the same room with because they had hurt me so bad but I hated what it did to me and truly wanted to be able to forgive them. I finally asked God to help me forgive and give me his heart for her. It took praying that over and over until one day it was totally gone! I now love that person and see her in God’s eyes. It is so freeing! To withhold forgiveness is to hold ourselves in a prison. It hurts the other person if they know it but if they don’t then it only hurts ourselves. The best analogy I have heard is this: holding an offense is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It robs us of our relationship with God and other people and eventually causes bitterness. Lord, help us to forgive those who have hurt us or used us. Help the people we have offended to forgive us. Thank you for your forgiveness!
Monday, March 18, 2013
Read Luke 11:1-3 The disciples had watched Jesus retreat for days to pray to his heavenly father and they also wanted to learn how to talk to God. Before, the people only prayed when they needed God to deliver them, but only the High Priest was believed to have an audience with God. So Jesus told them exactly what to say. He started with “Our Father” addressing who he was talking to. Once, David referred to God as his father but no one else had till Jesus showed up. God had always been seen as a consuming fire and someone to fear and revere. Jesus was making God personal and endearing. Then he gave his placement “which art in heaven”. He wanted them to know where God resides. “Hallowed be thy name. Hallowed means pure, consecrated and holy. “Thy kingdom come.” God’s kingdom means his royalty, rule, and realm. Jesus wanted them to pray this heavenly realm down to earth. He wanted them to pray that God’s will that is being carried out in heaven would come down and be carried out on earth. The only way that will happen is for us to allow the Holy Spirit to do that in us. We have to realize how it is in heaven. There is no sickness, sin, sorrow, or suffering in heaven, so it is God’s will that it not be here on earth. It is given to us to pray that. I know that James seems to contradict this, but this is what Jesus said we are to pray; the outcome is up to God. “Give us day by day our daily bread.” I love this one because God doesn’t expect us to have our lives all planned out. We are to live day by day depending on him. We need him daily and daily he is there for us. In John 6:32-33 Jesus told his disciples that the true bread had come down from heaven and this bread was Him. Jesus told the devil that his bread was every word that came from God. I am sure that if we eat this bread of Jesus and the Word then all our needs will be provided and then some. Lord, we acknowledge you as our loving Father who is holy and just. We pray that your realm will come to earth in a powerful way. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus to open to us your Word. May we dine with you daily.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Read Luke 10:38-42 Yesterday Jesus told the story of the man on the way to Jericho. Jericho means “place of His fragrance”. That is what we are to be - a place of His fragrance to Him and the world. The man who helped the wounded man lived in this place and his actions revealed it. Today we read about the much-preached story of Mary and Martha. We all know the story. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is in a tizzy trying to make Jesus comfortable and fed. Mary, on the other hand, is more interested in what Jesus carries and has to give her. I know that sounds a little selfish, but Jesus saw her heart. She was hungry for God and Martha was trying to feed God. He needs nothing we have to give which was Jesus’ point. All we need is in Jesus and Mary got that. We need planners and servers but we need to know timing. Mary realized that her Lord was here and she wanted to hear every word he had to say and just be near him. Martha wanted to gain his approval. We are all guilty of being “Martha’s” because that is the easiest for us. I comes natural to see what needs to be done and do it. Mary chose the good part which was sitting at Jesus’ feet. That is the only way we gain strength and intimacy with Jesus. That is what Jesus truly wants. He is looking for a bride that will want to be with him and know him. What if we spent our whole lives fixing Jesus peanut butter sandwiches only to find out he didn’t like p.b.j.’s? Intimacy with God means that we find out what is close to his heart and we adapt our lives to please his desires. Lord, draw us to your presence and show us what is important to you and how we should best spend our time.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Read Luke 10:29-37 This is the rest of the conversation with the lawyer. The lawyer has no doubt followed the law by the “t” and wants to further justify himself. Since he got Jesus’ approval on his first answer he decided to further his right standing by asking Jesus who his neighbor was. I’m sure he was not ready for Jesus’ answer. Jesus tells him the story of the man who traveled to Jericho. Along the way he got accosted, robbed, beaten almost to death and left on the side of the road. The first man to walk past him was a priest. If he helped the man he would get blood on himself and become unclean so he passed him. Next came a Levite who did the same. But the third man was a Samaritan who saw him and had compassion. He had no law to break by helping the man so he attended his wounds with medicine and sedatives and bandaged them up. Then he put him on his beast and walked beside it the whole way to the next inn and took further care of him. When he had to leave the next day, he left enough money for the inn keeper to care of the man and told him if he spent more, he would pay him back when he returned. Then Jesus asked, which of the three do you think was a neighbor to the man? The lawyer said, to the one that showed him mercy, to which Jesus said, “Go, and do the same.” Jesus took the word “neighbor” and transcended geography, race, and religion. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews yet Jesus made him the hero in the story. He was also trying to show them that their laws and priesthood had become so religious they had lost their real purpose. If we are going to reach our world for Jesus we are going to have to realize that our neighbor is anyone who needs help whether they are in Africa, another race or in a cult. To be a good neighbor we have the learn the secret of the next story… tomorrow. Lord, give us hearts of compassion and open our eyes to see the needs we are to meet.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Read Luke 10:21-28 Jesus had just given encouragement to the 70 disciples he sent out. Then he says a prayer to God out loud thanking him for choosing these people to hear the good news. These people weren’t the learned Torah scholars of the day but the plain citizens of the country that had hearts to believe what he said. Jesus referred to them lovingly as “babes” which is the connotation of a simple minded person. I can relate to that! Then he makes the statement in verse 22 that no one knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. Then he turns to his disciples and names them as the ones he reveals this mystery. He reminds them that the prophets and kings desired to see the Messiah come and didn’t, but they were privileged to live in the generation that did. To illustrate this we see an example of the man who didn’t have the privilege of being able to “see”. This man was a lawyer who came to Jesus to have an argument. He tempted Jesus by asking him how he could inherit eternal life. Instead of telling him to trust in him, he asked him what the law said. The man replied, to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind and his neighbor as himself. Jesus commended him on answering right and told him to go do that. Why didn’t Jesus tell him to believe in him? I think it was because he saw his heart and knew his heart was not softened to believe the truth. This man lived by the law so that is how Jesus met him. Tomorrow we will see how Jesus takes the law and brings it back to the spirit of the law. Lord, help us to know how to answer every man. Thank you that we are the babes you speak of who the Father chose to reveals the great mysteries of his kingdom. We are humbled and greatful!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Read Luke 10:17-20 The seventy that Jesus sent out came back rejoicing about what God was able to do through them. What surprised them the most was that the demons had to obey them. Jesus told them that the result of what they did caused Satan to fall like lightning from heaven. We forget that Satan has access to the skies. He can come and go from heaven and even approach the throne as in Job 1. He is our accuser but Jesus is our justifier. When we defeat him here on earth, he is defeated up in heaven. Then Jesus gave them additional instruction about the power they now possessed. He told them they could tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will be able to hurt them. Wow! That is the power we possess. If you look up the Greek for serpents you will find that the serpent is a picture of having sharp vision; sly and cunning; an awful malicious person - Satan. So we have power over powers that have more insight, and are more sly and more malicious than us. Scorpions are known as poisonous stingers but scorpion is also a word used to describe a whip with cut glass or rocks tied to the whip to tear. Jesus was scourged before he hung on the cross. These are the things they and we have power over if we exercise it. Power of life and death is in our tongues. We tread on serpents and scorpions by our declarations. We don’t fight people but the spirits controlling the people. Jesus brought it all into perspective when he told them that more important than having power over demons was the power of life that Jesus was about to die to give them. Because he died and was subject for a time to the power of the devil and the scorpion, we can have power over them and have our names written in his book in heaven. Jesus, thank you for what you did for us. We can never understand the pain and suffering you went through to take our sin, but we can only imagine and be forever grateful.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Read Luke 10:1-16 Jesus appointed 70 elders to go out to every city and bring in the harvest. Then he gave them specific instruction: they were not to bring money, any pouch for food, nor shoes because God was going to use the body to supply all they needed. When they got to the town they were going to minister to, they were to look for a house to stay in. When they entered it they were to proclaim peace over that house and stay there the entire time they were in that city. They were to eat what was set before them and usher in the kingdom of God by healing the sick. If that city didn’t receive them, they were to go into the streets and proclaim that they were wiping off the dust from that city from their feet. Their judgment will be worse than that of Sodom. Sodom was a town of sexual perversion and vile sin but it’s sin does not compare to having the light of the world right in their midst and rejecting it. Tyre and Sidon had been corrupted by commercial prosperity which will receive a lighter judgment than Chorazin and Bethsaida because the latter saw first hand the mighty miracles of Jesus and still rejected him. Mark 1:32-34 talks about all the mighty things Jesus did in Capernaum. Even after seeing them, the people had hard hearts. Then he summed it up with this: if they receive you, then you know they are receiving me but if they hate you then they hate me and God. That is a good test for us also. If we walk in the spirit then we either draw people of like hearts or we stir up the demons inside those who don’t have like hearts. What we have to remember is that it should have nothing to do with us. Jesus was rejected and a man of sorrows and we are asked to share in his sufferings so that one day we can share in his glory. Lord, help us to not allow the devil to trick us to thinking this life has to do with us and our popularity. We are here for your renown only.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Read Luke 9: 57-62 Along their way to Jerusalem Jesus and his disciples met many types of people. Today we read about 3 of them which stand for 3 type of people and their responses to Jesus. The first one wanted to follow Jesus no matter where he went. Jesus explained to him that even though it is natural to have a home, his was not here. If that man wanted to follow him he would have to gain eternal life and dwell with him in heaven because that was his home. I’m sure the man didn’t know what he was talking about and we don’t know what became of him. Jesus approached the second man and told him to follow him. The man told Jesus that he needed to bury his father first. Jesus replied that he needed to let the dead bury the dead; his job was to preach the kingdom of God. What he was trying to get across was to let people who aren’t interested in salvation - the spiritually dead - tend to the funeral and things pertaining to life and death, but he needed to follow him and learn of spiritual life so he wouldn’t die without eternal life. Then he could spread life to others so they wouldn’t die without eternal life. The last man said that he wanted to serve Jesus but first he wanted to say goodbye to those in his household. Jesus saw that this was just an excuse and told him if he was wanting to give up this soon he was not appropriate for the kingdom of God. Sometimes Jesus seemed a little abrupt but he could read hearts and he got straight to the point because this subject of life and death was so important. Lord, teach us to number our days that we see how important every day is.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Read Luke 9:51-56 Jesus knew it was time to ascend to heaven so he headed to Jerusalem. Some of his followers went ahead of him to plan his trip. They planned for him to stay in a Samaritan town but the Samaritans didn’t want him there. When James and John found this out they wanted Jesus to send down fire and destroy Samaria. At one time Samaria and Jerusalem were both capitals of Israel. At the time of Christ, Palestine was divided into 3 provinces: Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria lie in the middle of Palestine. It had some copies of the law and they had a worship system like the Hebrews with some differences. They seem to be the counterfeit. The devil looks a lot like God only he is a deceiver and a counterfeit. Samaria was one of his strongholds which would be greatly evangelized after Jesus’ death. Jesus actually taught in some of the Samarian towns and the woman at the well was a Samarian. She was instrumental in winning her city over to Jesus. But when Jesus sent out his 12 he told them not to go to the Samarian towns. After his death he specifically told them to go to Samaria and Judea after they had the power of the Holy Spirit. It would take that power to bring down the strongholds over the towns of Samaria and Judea. Back to today’s reading: Jesus response to the disciples desire for judgment on this Samaritan town was a rebuke. Jesus didn’t come to bring judgment but salvation. When he died his apostles went back to these Samaritan towns and built up churches because it was then time to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus came to the Jews so he was headed to die in their capital of Jerusalem.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Read Luke 9:46-50 Just after Jesus tells his disciples to let his sayings sink down into their heart they start wondering who among them will be the leader or the elder. He told them that he was going to be delivered into the hands of men so who is going to take his place here on earth. It doesn’t tell us that they talked about it but more like it was a wave of thought that came to all of them at the same time. Jesus perceived this hook of the devil’s and gave them an object lesson. He took a child and set him beside Jesus. Then he said, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me: and whoever receives me receives him that sent me: for he that is the least among you all, the same shall be great. So while they are wondering if they will be the next elder, he is using the youngest to show that leadership and position has nothing to do with age or worth, but heart. The devil is the epitome of pride and Jesus is the epitome of humility. Jesus is trying to get that into the hearts of his disciples. Then he gets another way to show them. John tells Jesus that he saw someone casting out devils in Jesus’ name and they told him he had to quit doing that because he wasn’t following Jesus like they were. Jesus rebuked them and told them that if he is not against us then he is on our side. Once again he kills the issue which is pride. They think that they are elite because they are walking with Jesus everyday and that anyone else is subordinate. It reminds me of Elijah’s complaint to God that he was the only prophet. God enlightened Elijah with the understanding that he had 300 prophets hidden to be used when he needed them. It is God’s will that is going to be done: with or without us. Lord, we want to be a part of what you are doing. Remind us that there are many other people doing what we are doing just in different ways and it all magnifies you. Let that be our goal. May You be Glorified!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Read Luke 9:37-45 The day before, Jesus had spoken to Moses and Elijah about his death. God had come down in a cloud and put his stamp of ownership on Jesus for the sake of his disciples. Every time Jesus goes up to spend time with God the devil manifests. So the next day, it is no wonder that the first person Jesus meets is a man’s son who is totally oppressed by the devil. He involuntarily screams, foams at the mouth, and is thrown down and bruised by the devil. Don’t you know the devil is trying to torment Jesus by showing him what happens when someone is given to him. He knows that he is soon his father will be handing him over to the devil to be tormented himself. The boy’s father tells Jesus that the disciples couldn’t help him so he was coming to ask Jesus if he could. Jesus doesn’t rebuke the disciples… he rebukes the whole generation. He calls them faithless and perverse. They have things backwards. They should not be afraid of the devil - he should be afraid of them. As Jesus approached the boy, the devil gave him one more threat and threw the boy down in a convulsion. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child and gave him back to his father. Then as the crowd was wondering how he could do this, he told them to remember this scene because he was going to repeat this when he is delivered to his enemies. They couldn’t comprehend it. Two fathers and two sons. The heavenly father is about to deliver his son to the devil for the sake of all the people. The earthly father has gone to all the people to help him deliver his son from the devil. The son of God is the answer to the earthly son and all the sons to come. Halleluah!!!
Monday, March 4, 2013
Read Luke 9:32-36 Peter, James, and John, had accompanied Jesus on to this mountain where Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah while they were in a deep sleep. When they woke up and saw what was happening they were amazed. When Moses and Elijah had left Peter spoke up and wanted to make 3 tabernacles for them so people could worship them. He didn’t understand yet that only Jesus was worthy of any worship. God answered his request by coming down in a cloud and engulfing them in his glory. Out of the cloud came the voice of God saying, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” What a revelation for us if we can hear it. We love idols and people we can look up to. Every Hebrew boy played being Moses parting the Red Sea or commanding plagues on the Egyptians, or Elijah commanding down fire on the altar of Baal, but they hardly knew this Jesus. He walked among them. Sure, he did miracles, but was he greater than Moses or Elijah? God wanted to make sure they knew he was. Sometimes the greatest blessings are right in plain view and we miss them because they don’t come in the package we thought they would. God is all around us speaking and wanting to release miracles through us. He is not looking for another Moses or Elijah, he is looking for a clean vessel he can use. He is actually looking for an army of clean vessels he can use. It doesn’t matter if the vessel is rough or smooth, ornate or ugly, old or new as long as it is clean and empty. He will fill it with his pure water which can water the nations. Lord, we want to be clean vessels that you fill with the water of your Word. Pour us out to all we meet.
Friday, March 1, 2013
Read Luke 9:28-31 I have always had so many questions about the transfiguration like how did they know it was Moses and Elijah?, and why did Jesus let them see this? I do find it interesting that both Moses and Elijah died on a mountain overlooking Jericho which was the first city the Israelites encountered when they entered the promise land. I wonder if Jesus didn’t transport the disciples to the very mountain and moment in time when these two men were standing on the mountain discussing their own death with God. Jesus is about to face his death and in verse 31 it says that they were discussing that. Hebrews 11:13-16 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. So many of the prophets had seen the promise of a saviour from a distance of time. The last 2 verses of that chapter in Hebrews reads, “39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” The righteous people of the Old Testament are not made perfect without us and our lives. We are the fulfillment of their words and their lives. We make their lives a life lived not in vain. That is why they are the crowd of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1 that cheer us on to the finish line. We are all connected as one body - one bride. We all have something to pass on to the next generation: mine is my love for studying the Word of God. Ask God what your mantle is that you will pass on to your scope of influence. Lord, put deep in our hearts the concept of eternity and our responsibility for our watch on earth. May we totally fulfill our destiny.