Category Archives: Luke

Genesis 27-28; Luke 8; Psalm 4

Jacob and Esau. God’s purposes bring to light what’s in the heart.

Jesus speaks of seeds and light:

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest (Luke 8:11-15, NLT).

Jesus heals a man possessed by a legion of demons, yet the area people beg Jesus to leave out of fear.

40 On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him (Luke 8:40, NLT).

There, a woman reaches out and touches the hem of his garment. A daughter is healed.

The full reading illustrates contrasts–worldly focus against kingdom focus. One son burns with resentment; the disciples are terrified by the storm; a town is fearful of supernatural power–in contrast to seeking God’s will even when everything feels upended; trusting in God’s protection in the storm (and nothing reveals that protection quite like the storm); a crowd welcoming and waiting on an opposite shore.

You can be sure of this:
    The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
    The Lord will answer when I call to him (Psalm 4:3, NLT).

Lord, thank you for impressing upon me a kingdom focus. Thank you for reminding me again and again to focus on you.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe (Psalm 4:8, NLT).

Thank you for loving me. You call me yours. You are there when I call to you. You keep me safe.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 24-26; Luke 7; Psalm 6

When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” Luke 7:9 ESV

When I was a child, prayer was the easiest thing ever. It just made sense. If something is wrong, if you need something, if you’re feeling lonely, just pray. But the older I grew, the more I understood what was going on around me and the more the world began to affect my perspective. Faith became harder. As an adult, it’s so much “easier” to take matters into my own hands – to have faith in myself more than faith in God – and therefore, to act more like Esau than Eleizer; to act more like an outsider than an insider.

I can’t help but notice a consistent contrast in today’s readings – how, in Genesis 24, Eleizer showed great faith in asking God to provide the right woman for him to bring back to his master. He was specific in his prayer, and showed determination to wait. But in chapter 25, we see Esau’s impulsive nature and unwillingness to wait when he traded his birthright for a simple bowl of food.

Eleizer was a servant; an outsider. But Esau was part of the family, the oldest son, the one who should have had the most faith in God and was in the best position to see and experience God at work in his life. And yet Eleizer is the one who actually got to experience God, while Esau showed that he despised the opportunity God had given him.

Fast forward to Luke 7, and again we see amazing faith from an unlikely source – the Roman officer who believed all Jesus needed to do was say the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus marveled at this – not even the Jews had such faith!

The greatest examples of faith came from the outsiders, not the insiders. The “insiders,” the ones who should have immediately believed because they had the promise, instead doubted and questioned and tried to take matters into their own hands.

Luke 7:36-50 shows the result of living out our faith in Christ versus living by faith in ourselves. When we struggle with control, when we try to figure things out for ourselves, and when we live based on what we can see, it’s easy to become bitter – to become, ultimately, a Pharisee. In my life, the quickest way for me to tell when things have gotten off-track is by my attitude toward others. When I become frustrated, impatient, and skeptical of others, it’s a sign that I’m living with a self-centered mindset instead of a Christ-centered mindset.

But when I am attempting to live my life based on faith in Christ, in his power, ability,and promises, my attitudes and actions change dramatically. Rather than a Pharisee, I begin to act more like the woman whose sins had been forgiven. Out of the overflow of her grateful heart, she sacrificed something very precious. Because Jesus was worth it.

My goal is to be more like the woman who poured out what she had at Jesus’ feet; I want to be one who loves much because she’s been forgiven much. I want to be one who trusts what God can do more than what I can do. I want to believe that it just takes a word, and Jesus can make it happen – and I want that belief to move me to wait expectantly.

Father, thank you for loving me enough to show me when I’ve gotten off-track and become self-consumed and trusting in what I can do instead of what you can do. Open my eyes anew to who you are and what you have done for me, and help me to live out of the overflow of a grateful heart. Help me to love much; help me to pray in faith; and help me to wait in hope and confidence that you are at work even when I can’t initially see it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Bethany (drgnfly1010)

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Genesis 17-19; Luke 5; Psalm 3

“I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.” Genesis 17:1 (NASB)

When one comes face to face with the almighty God of the universe, that encounter demands a response. And, our response will often show the condition of our heart. Abraham fell on his face. Simon fell on his face, eventually. Lot, well, Lot is too busy scrambling to smooth out wrinkles in his less than ideal situation.

Let’s look at a quick summary of these interviews:

God showed up (Genesis 17), Abram fell on his face, God promised great blessing, humanly impossible blessing.

  • God appears again and hangs around long enough for Abraham to prepare him a meal and promises a son within the next year

Side note, Sarah’s response is also noteworthy as she becomes defensive when God points out the truth of her heart – she denies laughing out of fear.

Immediately after this rendezvous, comes the revelation of the judgment of Sodom.

Lot tried to get family members out of the condemned city, but it seemed like he was joking to his sons-in-law (the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing – I Cor 1:18 NIV).

What an incredible contrast – Abraham that seeks after God, falls on his face in worship when given a command – walk before me. And, Lot – city is destroyed, wife turned to salt, he impregnates his daughters while inebriated. And yet, God brings two nations from this – Moab and Ammon.

Jump to Luke 5 –

Simon has a middle of the road response – are you serious? (v. 5) But, then he obeys. And then, he responds the same way Abraham did – on his face.

They left everything and followed him.

Then, Psalm 3 pulls it all together with absolutely beautiful imagery.

Psalm 3:3 (NASB) — But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

Whether I respond like Abraham, Sarah, Lot, Simon, or some other way entirely, God continues to love. He is my shield; He lifts up my head. Such a sweet, tender response.

Can you picture it? A father, gently lifting the face toward his with a finger under the chin. Eyes shining with love.

We humble ourselves out of respect for His majesty, but then we get to savor His relationship as well.

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Genesis 5-8; Luke 2

I have a friend and we enjoy a lunch at least once a month.  Our lunch is always filled with stories of what our life has been experiencing and catching up on how and what needs to be put in the front burner of our prayer life.  After lunch, we walk. It does not matter where, we just walk.  When we walk, we talk non-stop. Crazy for two men to be talking so much but we both love Jesus and we both take time to bring Jesus into our discussions that we had over lunch. Sometimes I think that is what Jesus did too.  I know He walks with us.

I loved the story of Enoch walking with God.

Enoch walked with God[b] after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.Enoch walked with God, and he was not,[c] for God took him.       Genesis 5:22-24  ESV

I am challenged more than I thought I would be on Noah’s walk with God. There is no way Noah could have done what he had to do if he did not. I loved how the Genesis author wrote this verse —

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. – Genesis 6:8  ESV

Noah was not alone, the favour of God was on him.  That is the prayer my friend and I pray often.  I know that I cannot do what God wants me to do without His favour.

As the Christmas season has just passed, I pushed through to the last portion of Luke 2 to rediscover some truths about Jesus’ childhood.

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. – Luke 2:39-40  ESV

As a disciple of Jesus, I pray that I may look for and find lessons as to how I can learn and grow in spiritual maturity too.   This is my prayer —

Father, the testimonies of Enoch and Noah have inspired me once again.  I loved the encouragement to walk with You and I want to walk with You. Both Noah and Jesus have the added words that Your favour was upon them. I ask humbly, that as I walk with You, may Your favour be upon me as well. May I find myself being filled with wisdom and walking with confidence and strength in my faith in You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 1-4; Luke 1

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God.  It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!  But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born.  For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” Luke 1:18-20 NLT

Zechariah’s response takes me back to a time in my life when I was having trouble having a baby.  After two miscarriages I went to doctor after doctor to find out what was wrong.  The wait seemed so long. Scientific answers  were found.  But, to this day, I wonder if it was God’s timing all along.  I couldn’t imagine life without the four children he has blessed us with.

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary.  She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, you will name him Jesus…Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Luke 1:26-34 NLT

Mary was confused, but she responded in faith and not fear.  Will I be able to look back at this new year and remember all the times I did something afraid?  Will I be able to say that I was stretched out of my comfort zone, but trusted that God was with me? Recounting the mighty ways that he showed up in my life?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good.  Then he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”  And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5 NLT

This passage is so familiar that I can lose the wonder of it.  And the way he can be so interactly involved in my life, but so powerful at the same time.

Help me Lord, not to lose my awe of you.  Thank you for new beginnings and fresh starts.  A new year to see how you will work in my life.  I pray that I never lose sight of you.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Judges 12-16; Psalm 146; Luke 24

Whenever I start feeling that God no longer sees me and from time to time, hears me, I love the stories of the Old Testament that show God has a long-term plan in place.  Samson is such a story.

“A prophet who looked like an angel of God came and talked to me. I was so frightened, that I didn’t even ask where he was from. He didn’t tell me his name,  but he did say that I’m going to have a baby boy. I’m not supposed to drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God’s laws. Our son will belong to God for as long as he lives.” – Judges 13:6-7  CEV

I know that God has an agenda – He wants to love people and bring them to Him – I know that because He loved me right into His Kingdom.

The Lord sets prisoners free
    and heals blind eyes.
    He gives a helping hand
    to everyone who falls.
The Lord loves good people
    and looks after strangers.
He defends the rights
of orphans and widows,
    but destroys the wicked. – Psalm 146:7-9  CEV

Why else would He send Jesus, His Son, to die for me?  And so when those doubts cross my mind, like they find a way to do and I feel that I am not seen or heard, I remember Jesus and what He did for me. More importantly, I remember that He rose from the dead and that His Spirit is in me and I am never left alone.

But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt?  Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.” – Luke 24:38-39

Lord, I know You see me and hear me – always.  I have no idea why such doubt crosses my mind from time to time but I am thankful they do not take complete control over me.  Thank you for Your Word – it always changes me and brings me to a place of healing and holds me safe.  I love You for loving me so much. 

evanlaar

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Judges 9-11; Psalms 17; Luke 23

“The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.” The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!” But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said,”We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.” Judges 10:9-16 NLT

What other gods am I following? Sometimes good things can turn into idols if I am not careful.  Before I know it my focus is on them and off of the one who graciously gives them to me.

“As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women.” Luke 23:26-27 NLT

I reflect on the things in my life that have over-shadowed the cross.

“But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.” Luke 23:49 NLT

The women followed Jesus all the way to the cross.  “The more we follow Jesus, the more we fall in love with Him, want to obey Him, experience life with Him, and become a beacon of light to others through Him.  Will following Him be inconvenient? Maybe.  Will it cost us in ways that stretch us? Sometimes.  Does it force us to live life with a less self-centered outlook? Yes.  Does living to follow Jesus at every turn bring joy that we can’t get any other way? Absolutely.  Following Him is the very thing our souls were created to do.  And it is the most daily way to discover our purpose in life.” (Embraced Devotional, Lysa TerKeurst)

“As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed.” Luke 23:55 NLT

They wanted to be near him.

“I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 17:4-8 NLT

Dear Father, please forgive me for putting other things before you. Thank you for your grace and mercy. For your presence.  To you be the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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