Category Archives: Luke

Exodus 19-21; Luke 22

Lately, Jesus has been calling me to look at Him more than a Saviour, more than my Lord, more like He is my King and I am a servant in His kingdom.

I really enjoyed the Bible reading today – they seem to be calling me to keep on going along these lines of thinking.

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel. And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them. Exodus 19:4-6,9,22  ESV

The words from Exodus, God’s word to His people, are telling me that I need to listen to the words of Jesus. Jesus speaks for God just like God spoke to the Israelites.  This is my invitation from Him to come and have a new relationship.

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. – Luke 22:19  ESV

As I enter into the kingdom of God, I need to be aware that Satan is actively working against God’s purposes. Satan entered Judas. Satan is still not done – he wants to sift Peter as if he were wheat.  It would seem at the end of the chapter that the “power of darkness” is winning the day. But it is only the end of a chapter.

As I walk with Jesus this year, I can expect such days.  It is my acceptance of being with Him, walking with Him, spending time with Him, that will make the difference in what my day will be.

Father, I am Yours and You are mine. As I walk into Your kingdom, I can expect opposition.  You stand firm and ask me to stand with You. You invite me into relationship and You never leave me. With Your promises I enter this year knowing that there is nothing that separates me from Your love. I thank You for giving me such an amazing relationship with You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Exodus 15-18; Luke 21

“Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants.  Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.” Exodus 16:32 NLT

I picture the Israelites filling their jars with manna, so that they can remember how God provided for them. I have a journals of God’s past faithfulness, but also some really painful things that he has brought me through. What do I want future generations to know about my life? If I’m honest, I’d like to filter it. And only put in the good stuff.  And hide the rest.  I am encouraged by Moses’s vulnerability to his father-in-law.  He didn’t leave the struggles out.  

“Moses told his father-in-law everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel.  He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the Lord had rescued his people from all their troubles.  Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians.  “Praise the Lord,” Jethro said , “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharoah.  Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!  I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” Exodus 18:8-10 NLT

When sharing my story, there are parts I would rather hide. But, than I would be leaving out the ways that God has had the victory in my life.

“Than Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.  The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.  This is my God, and I will praise him-my father’s God, and I will exalt him! The Lord is a warrior; Yawheh is his name!” Exodus 15:1-3 NLT

Thank you Father that you are the true manna who meets my every need. Thank you for your healing, your faithfulness. For your words that speak life into my soul. Amen. 

“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” Luke 21:33 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 5-8; Luke 18

My friend for more than twenty-five years died the other week. I listened as his wife spoke in eulogy of his lifetime–told about this man I loved, and shared many things about him I never knew. He had delightful interests, so much talent, and his life story was full and generous and loving and adventurous. How I wished I’d had more time with him–he was truly like a father to me. His life, even in death, continues to inspire me: to live in purpose, on purpose.

The weight of grief, worry, strife and stress has felt oppressive in recent years–these things can take me off course, derail me from life and its purposes. I live in the woods, and find myself wishing I was deeper in the forest, averting my eyes and sometimes my heart from making contact—it feels an awful lot like despair.

I’m not sure if it’s circumstance or the things one tells himself or hears from others, but I hear it in Pharaoh’s voice as he tells Moses, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work (Exodus 5:4-5, NLT).”

I can get caught up in the task (of work or routine or stress or grief) at hand, that my focus is redirected into a worldly (small) view instead of a deeper calling and purpose. And whether one places it upon himself, or it’s the voices of those in his life, Kingdom work and purpose can become muddled and muted. Moses and Aaron weren’t distracting the people from their tasks–they were pointing them to it. The world gets it so very backwards, and I fall for it too. Too many hoops, too many tasks, too much people pleasing and accommodating that I neglect the very One who gives me strength, neglect the passions He’s put in my heart and compromise my focus and time until I am weary and worn out. It feels an awful lot like despair.

“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”

So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery (Exodus 6:6-9 NLT).

Lord, repeatedly I train myself to order my tasks but to keep my eyes on you. Again. Again. When my focus slips to what’s in front of me, I forget what’s inside of me and what’s ahead of me. The shrill of the ringtone, the chipping away at peace, when I lose sight of you, I become too discouraged too.

I set my thoughts on a Kingdom purpose, a Kingdom focus.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come (Luke 18:29-30, NLT).”

That rich man was disheartened because, perhaps, his (wealth/success/pride/ability) was his real focus, not the inheritance of eternal life he believed he wanted.

Lord, help me to do what I need to do, and let go of what needs to go. I want to walk in truth, and keep my eyes focused on you. Thank you for a friend like David, whose life spoke of intention and inclusion, generosity and love. Thank you for challenging me to see things in a new way, for revealing truths I didn’t see, and for reminding me to seek your Kingdom first.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 44-47; Luke 14

Scripture:

14:25-33, Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Observation:

Jesus is gathering a strong following. I believe he knew that many were following him for the wrong reasons. They wanted their stomachs full, they wanted to be healed and they enjoyed his teaching from a purely intellectual point of view. However, many did not understand that part of the way of Christ is one of suffering and hardship. Now Jesus wasn’t stating here that if you didn’t count the cost first you couldn’t follow him. He was stating that a wise person would do that. Salvation is always by faith alone, but it’s wise to count the cost before committing to something. I was listening to a dialogue between Bill Hybels and Dallas Willard and the topic of the lions came up. When a person in the first century was presented the claims of Christ, did they also have to know about the lions? You know, those animals that ate Christians in the Colosseum in Rome! Or did you let them find out about it afterwards? Dallas stated that they already knew about the lions. Christians were counting the cost and dying for their faith. Others contemplating Christianity knew that was a part of the deal. Jesus was telling the crowds it was time to count the cost. Many left him over that little talk.

Application:

It’s too late for many of us. We are already in. We have trusted Christ alone for our salvation. So we didn’t count the cost before joining God’s family. However, I need to count the cost every morning when I awake. I need to remember there are responsibilities that come along with my position in Christ. It’s not always easy and I need to realize that and plan my days accordingly. John Maxwell was quoted over the weekend as saying the closer we walk with God, the more he requires of us and the more friends we tend to lose because of the path he has us on. That very well could be true. Some reading this have lost relationships with family or close friends because of your faith. Others have been passed over for promotions and the resulting better life-style that brings because of your faith. We are counting the cost. There are brothers and sisters that are suffering greatly around the world today for their faith. That makes me feel less than adequate knowing my cost for following Christ is minuscule compared to them.

Prayer:

Father God thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me eternal life. I pray that every morning I would count the cost of following you and that I would not shy away from paying that price. Help me to be true to you and follow strong after your Son Jesus. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world today who are suffering beyond comprehension. Please be their portion. I pray these things in Jesus Name Amen.

Dave (dmbaldwin)

From the archives. Originally published on 66 Books in a Year on October 27, 2009.

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Genesis 41-43; Luke 13; Psalm 5

The truth comes out.

Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh (Genesis 41:9, NLT).

Joseph is brought to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.

Seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine, and all the years before that of hiding their deceit, Joseph’s brothers never truly escaped the truth.

21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

22 “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!” (Genesis 42:21-22, NLT)

Jesus cuts through the argument and gets straight to the heart.

14 But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. “There are six days of the week for working,” he said to the crowd. “Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”

15 But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? 16 This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?”

17 This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did (Luke 13:14-17, NLT).

Lord, you are the truth. I’m grateful that I can place my faith and my heart in your hands. Joseph couldn’t count on the cup-bearer to remember, or his brothers to look out for him before that. Even a daughter of Abraham was left in bondage by the religious. But you are truth, you see truth, you speak truth, you reveal truth. You set us free to walk in the truth–to follow you and walk with you.

Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
    I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
    or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.

My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
    Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
    Their tongues are filled with flattery.
10 O God, declare them guilty.
    Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
    you surround them with your shield of love. (Psalm 5:7-12, NLT)

Lead me in the right path, O Lord, make your way plain for me to follow. I only want to walk in truth.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 38-40; Luke 12; Psalm 7

As a teenager, the story of Joseph refusing the advances of someone else’s wife was key to my own walk with Jesus. It was a story that was instrumental in my decision that  pornography was not going to be the path I would take as I grew up to be a young man. I needed the strength to make the kind of decision that Joseph could make if I was going to live my life completely for Christ.

But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge.  He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” – Genesis 39:8-9  ESV

Now as an adult, I realise that Joseph was not just sticking to principles, those principles were going to cost him. I can imagine that it came close to being his life, but it still resulted in quite a few years in prison. The principal I learned as an adult follower of Jesus was that if it cost my life then I would choose to gladly give it. In my day, there were many stories coming out of Russia and China at the time, of incredible persecution, and how those who stood true to their walk with Jesus, died. Those testimonies were crucial in my own walk with Jesus. In fact, this promise gave me the context to give my life completely to Jesus —

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. – Luke 12:22-23  ESV

I find it liberating to trust Jesus to supply all of my needs.  I find it liberating that He guides and leads me to places of employment.  I find it completely liberating that I can trust Him to look after my wife and children. I find it liberating that I can trust Him completely.

Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me – Psalm 7:1  ESV

Father, I thank for the testimony of Joseph. I thank you that he gave you everything he was and You looked out for him. I thank You for Your promise to look out for me too. You have been so faithful that You set me free from any anxiety in my life. I thank you for David’s prayer to You. He trusted in You too and in his simplicity of faith, You answered his prayer and saved him. What a blessing to joy in You today. I enter today in Your rest and am thankful for it. 

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 35-37; Luke 11

“Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there.  Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”  So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing.  We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress.  He has been with me wherever I have gone.”  Genesis 35:1-3 NLT

Jacob’s family didn’t leave for Bethel until they threw away all of all their pagan idols.  I imagine Jacob telling them not to pack the idols and try to hide them.  What idols am I still holding onto? So many times I give them to God and take them back.  It hinders me from moving forward to what God has for me next.

Jacob knew that God would be with him, just like he was before. If only I could remember that more often.  I think that’s why it’s important to have “altars” in my life to remember all God has done. He was with me, even when I felt like he was far away.  He was working when I couldn’t see it.  It spurs on my faith for future unanswered prayers.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NLT

I was talking to a friend’s daughter who is in the process of looking for a college.  She wants to go to the same art college that I went to.  As I was telling her about my experience there, I was remembering all of God’s goodness.  It wasn’t the first college I went to. I transferred there from a Christian college.  I was planning on commuting, but I needed transportation.  God provided a car.   As I stood in the art store on one of my first days there, I met a girl who was involved in a small Christian group on campus.  God was showing me that I wasn’t alone. That he was intimately involved in my life.  Reciting his faithfulness, gives me the hope that he is not finished with me yet.  His plans are still good.

Fast forward 25 years or so later.  And I am still asking Him what it looks like for this 43 year old mom of four to use her gifts. Trying to discipline myself to make it a priority.  Sometimes it means becoming an intern at my church so that I catch up on skills that are foreign to me.  And trusting God in the process. Remembering when I stepped out of my comfort zone before, gives me the courage to do it again.

Thank you Father for always meeting me where I am.  Forgive me for when I doubt.  I pray that my weaknesses would bring me closer to you.  And that my faith would flourish (my one word this year). Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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