Category Archives: Luke

Exodus 25-27; Luke 24

When my wife and I are with friends, we noticed how we have great conversation, great food, and have a long night of being together. What gets us is that at the door, with everything ready to go, we spend another 30 minutes or even more, talking some more. We were at one time embarrassed by that, but then rested in it because those 30 minutes were some of the more intimate moments of conversation that we did not have around the dining room table or in the living room. I see that a little bit in how my alone time with God has been looking. I spend time and then I want to linger. So I love the story of the two on the road to Emmaus.

 And so they strongly urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. – Luke 24:29 NASB

Is it not true? When I spend time with Jesus, I do not want to let go. I am starving for truth, for love, for conversation that takes me to a place where I am more than who I am. I have boldness, courage, strength, faith to move mountains. Is it true that faith comes from hearing the Word? It must be, because Jesus is the Word and when He speaks my life compeletely changes. Here the two men “strongly urged” Him to stay with them because they wanted to spend as much time as they could with this experience, this feeling, this life changing conversation. I keep forgetting that they just came from Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified a few days ago.

And then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. – Luke 24:31 NASB

This is crazy right? They did not see Him, recognize Him – not at all? How many times have I not prayed for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes as I read the Word? How can I possibly forget to invite Him into my world to change me, to give me an experience with Him that I will never forget? I tell you what, if I had just spent a long journey with someone who changed my life, then found out it was Jesus, the lover of my soul, and then see Him vanish before my eyes, I too would have ran back to Jerusalem to tell everyone He is indeed was risen from the dead.

I am reminded again how important the Old Testament was to Jesus. I love that we look at the Word from both an Old Testament (larger reading portion because there are more books) and from a New Testament lens every day. Each day is an adventure as to how the Holy Spirit will speak to me and from which portion of the Word.

May the time we spend together in Your presence nourish our hearts and minds; may it strengthen our relationship with You, and renew our commitment to live in this world as Your faithful disciples.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Exodus, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, reading plan

Exodus 19-21; Luke 22

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you should labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 ESV

My pastor asked this question on Sunday, “Am I working for rest? Or am I working from rest?” More often than not, I am working for rest. But, when I take a Sabbath, I am energized to do the work that God has called me to do. When I quiet my heart and mind before Him, I remember that I’m not in control. I don’t have to frantically live my life and worry that I am falling behind. “Rest. in His strength to do it, Rest in His ways above ours, Rest in Him who is with you, in you & is 100% for you.” (Ann Voskamp)

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:1 ESV

Am I resting in His care for me?

“And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Luke 22:15-18 ESV

When I take communion, I reflect on what God did for me. That He paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sins, because He loves me that much. It strengthens my faith, knowing that His promises will be fulfilled.

Thank you Father for your faithfulness. Thank you that your law is for my protection, because you know what is best for me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I love you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Exodus, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 15-18; Luke21

The first time I heard this song, What if I gave all by Ray Boltz, likely a new release at the time, it resonated deeply and still does. That penetrating question it asks repeatedly: “What if I gave all?” My daughter just shared with me the song, “Available” by Elevation with a similar message.

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 ESV

My giving to church is often too comfortable. I would likely fall more into the category of the “rich” in this scenario than the poor widow. I live on far more than a dollar a day, and I am tempted to hold too tightly to my time, talents, and treasure. I rarely have to sacrifice a meal let alone my entire bank balance to still give generously to my church and other ministries.

Two convictions weave their way through my thoughts as I read these two passages:

  • I often invest too heavily in temporary treasure
  • I undervalue all that God has done for me

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Luke 21:34 ESV

I appreciate the clarity the Amplified bible brings to that verse:

“But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Dissipation is defined as a squandering. The poor widow had nothing to squander. Likely, she was on the alert, looking for the Messiah, definitely not weighed down by earthly possessions. Yet, when God asked her to give all she could have easily replied, “But I have so little already.” Instead she simply said, “Yes.”

The nation of Israel squandered their time post-Egypt. Instead of marveling at how God had preserved them and protected them, they grumbled about not enough water or meat or comfort. After generations of fighting to survive as slaves, they did not know how to shift their thinking and trust God.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
    the earth swallowed them.
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
    you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

Exodus 15:11-13 ESV

They could sing truth, and live a grumbling life. I can do the same. Worship God with outstretched arms on Sunday and worship my own agenda and comfort the rest of the week. What if I gave all? Every day of the week to him? He has saved me from a life of slavery to sin. He has brought me into a life of complete love and forgiveness, and I worry about an increased cost of living. He secured eternal life for me, and I spend my time and energy on temporary trimmings for this life.

What if I gave all?

Lord God, keep trimming away those items that tempt me to look away from you, to find security and comfort in anything aside from you. Continually bring to mind your blessings lest I invest in the wrong things, lest I lose my grateful heart. You are so good. May I hold nothing back as my gratitude overflows in complete trust for your plan. I love you, Lord. Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Exodus 2-4; Luke 17; Psalm 88

Exodus 2-4. Pharaoh’s daughter knew that Moses was a Hebrew child. She allowed her maidens to seek out the Hebrew mother to nurse the child. Pharaoh’s daughter even paid the mother of Moses to care for him. Moses was then educated to be an Egyptian prince and lived a life of luxury among royalty before the moment when his eyes were open to the shameful treatment of his Hebrew brethren. Moses fled Egypt, not because God sent him away, but because he murdered an Egyptian and Pharaoh sought to kill him. Moses seemed content afterward, relieved to live among the Midianites, herding sheep and raising a family. But then the burning bush appeared.

Just when you think your life is moving along smoothly, God may call you to experience the unimaginable. Maybe even call you back to your Egypt. When you are called, do you answer, “Here am I, Lord?” Or after learning what may be required, do you plead as Moses did, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send”? (My emphasis in italics.) I, too, am faced with ‘going around the mountain’ again, re-experiencing challenges that I thought were past. I am not sure that I want to go there again.

That thought causes me to ask myself, how well am I listening to God? Will I argue as Moses did and merit God’s anger? For like a parent instructing an unruly child or like a boss chastising an uninspired employee, God had to command Moses – “Now you shall speak; I will teach you what you shall do; And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.” (My emphasis in italics.) Whew! God could not be clearer than that. And like Moses, I would have shut my mouth at that point and did what I was told. But do I believe that God is with me now, and am I ready to do His bidding?

Luke 17. Jesus loves me. Many Scriptures describe that unfathomable love. However, Jesus also instructed His disciples through parables and analysis of events in their journeys, often employing negatives or consequences of wrong thinking. For example, Jesus warned that judgment awaited false teachers and those who harbor unforgiveness. He debunked discrimination by healing other people hated by the Jews. He tied faith and duty to humility, refuting any expectation for reward and honor. Jesus also warned that the coming of the Son of Man will be a stark reality of judgment.

If I take on these tasks that God has called me to complete, am I ready to have my biases and opinions challenged? Christ will have no other way than to follow Him precisely as He commands. Can I do so wholeheartedly? Thankfully, I am assured that I am not alone in this. I have the words of Christ, His compassion and understanding, and His Holy Spirit guiding me into all truth. He will keep me focused and clear out the old man thoughts and behaviors. Christ will create a clean heart in me.

Psalm 88. If the Old and New Testament Scriptures in today’s reading end with Heman’s song in Psalm 88, I might faulter in my hope that all will be well with my soul. Let’s say that I genuinely want to follow God’s plan even if the plan takes me back to my Egypt. I am not so foolish to think that the road will be smooth or that I will not be brought through challenging experiences. ‘This isn’t my first rodeo,’ as my Texas buddies would say. Yet, Heman’s laments point out that the darkness can grow so deep as to nearly snuff out the light. He even asks God, “Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?”

What I know about this depth of despair is the same as Heman proclaims. But my hope is not shattered by the circumstances of past, present, or future tragedy. Rather, I confess my faith in God’s saving goodness. I cry out with Heman, “O Lord, God of my salvation…”

I recently watched a movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ. Most of the movie was dark and disparaging. The Christians were being fed to the lions in Nero’s “circus.” Paul was in prison, often beaten or whipped. Some Christians were led into taking revenge, killing Roamn soldiers. Even the muted lighting during most of the movie indicated despair, hiding, and fearfulness. Yet, the Apostle Paul interjects truths into that darkness, such as, “If Christ had not risen from the dead, then our preaching is useless, and so is our faith.” My favorite line from the movie spoken by Paul is this: “It is Christ himself that looks upon you and shatters your defenses and, in that moment, you will understand that you are completely known by God…and you are completely loved. I will pray that moment comes to you.”

Prayer. Whatever works created beforehand that I shall walk through, I pray to be completely known by You, my God. Your love, Your presence, and Your promises are all that matters. That is my declaration of trust and faith in knowing Your goodness. Calm my soul, give me the courage to continue this journey with You here on earth. I wait for You, my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

jansuwilkinson

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Genesis 44-47; Luke 14

I want to spend some alone time with God because I love Him. It reminds me of my granddaughter, who, sitting on Nana’s lap whispered in her ear as we were to take her home with us for a couple of days – “Nana, let’s go now, I need some alone time with you and Papa.”

When I think of the story of Joseph there are a few points that I can relate to.

Look at Joseph’s ability to forgive. Was not the miracle of grace obvious to his relationship with God? It was beautiful. When I spend time alone with God, do I not want to connect with others by praying that God would move heaven and earth in favour of those I am praying for? I can only imagine what Joseph’s prayer life looked like as he spent time with God, but something tells me his family was a key component and by doing so he was never really separated from them.

So now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the boy is not with us—since our father’s life is so attached to the boy’s life— when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die. So your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant, our father, down to Sheol in sorrow.  For your servant accepted responsibility for the boy from my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then my father can let me take the blame forever.’  So now, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers.  For how shall I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear that I may see the evil that would overtake my father.” – Genesis 44:30-34 NASB

Look at the miracle speech of the brothers, so different than it was with Joseph. Somehow they too felt the power of Joseph’s prayers and each of them, especially Judah, found a way to get back to being right, leaving behind the life he once had.

And Joseph responds with affection and gives them an invitation to approach.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold to Egypt. – Genesis 45:4 NASB

While I spend time alone with God, what wonderful miracles take place when I am surrounded by those I have been praying for. The invitation to come.

I am truly saddened by how many people, including the majority of them who call themselves Christians, who are looking for meaning and purpose in the lives. They fail to see that the answer to that question is God. My purpose is not to make more money, become more powerful, sell or buy more things, do more things, travel more places, or whatever it is that I might think I am waiting for in this life. My life purposes are found in God alone.

Father, thank You for the miracles that come from being alone with You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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