Tag Archives: Luke

Exodus 16; Luke 19; Job 34; 2 Corinthians 4

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, “who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

2 Corinthians 4 is a warm Spring breeze blowing through the open window of a house that has been closed up for the winter. It brings life and renewal, song and sunlight. There’s a new fragrance coming into the house that pushes away the stale air.

This gospel is not about me; it’s not about me clenching my jaw and willing myself to be good enough, effective enough and (the Lord knows) busy enough. This gospel is about Him and his goodness, his love. The gospel transforms the humble and broken; it brings them to life:  life in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I can breathe again.

Here’s my manna from heaven, what feeds my soul: God has deposited within me this eternal weight of glory. It is not of my making nor because I deserve it. It is God’s idea and by his good grace that he invites me to put aside my sorry attempts at self righteousness to be dressed in the very glory of his Son.

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

It’s been the Father’s desire that his people know and enjoy this glory throughout history. He wants us to know and enjoy the peace that only He can provide. In Exodus, God longs for the Israelites to be satisfied, but too often, like me they insist on having their way and refuse his command to honor his provision (they gather too much or too little manna) and don’t embrace his Sabbath rest. This human rebellion grieves Jesus so deeply that he weeps over Jerusalem saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!” Luke 19:42.  And then he enters the very city and ministers to those of us who are so insistent on our not needing him; we end up crucifying him.

But anything I throw at Christ has been conquered by his love for me. This is the love that breaks the power of sin and death over me. This is my eternal weight of glory.   When I accept his love for me and rest in it, I am changed. The peace that he longs for me to possess is mine.

O Lord, may I respond to your transforming love with a full and grateful heart. Help me to recognize on this day the things that make for peace. Thank you for your love and kindness towards me, an undeserving sinner who rejected you. But here I am, and you call me yours. You are my glory and joy forever.  Amen

Kathy

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Judges 7-8; Luke 22

There are battles in life that I can not win, yet I gather all my resources and plan to soldier on and do the best I can. Enter God. The Lord says to Gideon,

“You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'” Judges 7:2-3.

By the end of the day, Gideon’s fighting force is reduced from 32,000 to 300 fighting men. Their weapons are replaced by trumpets, torches and clay jars and the battle is won. It is clear who delivers Israel from her enemies.

What is it that God is asking me to put aside so I can watch Him win the battle? Money? Time? Physical and emotional safety? Expectations? What false hope am I relying on that keeps me seeing the reality of God’s hand at work?

Jesus, had access to all worldly and heavenly powers, yet in obedience refused to spare himself the agony of the death on a Cross. Through His resurrection, God defeated the ultimate enemy, death. In the end, I take nothing and no one with me, save for the righteousness of Christ, so why do I hang on to old crutches which will fail to safely deliver into the presence of the living God?

Lord, you are patient, gracious and long to save. You want to free from all that keeps me from knowing and loving you. Expose any false hopes within so that may I rest in your care and enjoy the beauty of your Presence. You alone are my deliverer. Amen.

Klueh

 

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Judges 1-3; Psalms 16; Luke 20

7The people of Israel served the Lord as long as Joshua was alive. They continued serving the Lord during the lifetimes of the elders who lived on after Joshua. These men had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel…
10After those people had died, their children grew up. They did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel. 11So they did evil and worshiped the Baal idols. They did what the Lord said was wrong. Judges 2:7; 10-11 (ICB)
Over the years, both on and off of the mission field, I have come to understand the importance of sharing testimonies. It is easy to get discouraged by attacks from the enemy, fiery darts thrown by people I thought cared, being blindsided by life not happening the way I expected, and even frustrated at the difference between what my idea of good timing versus God’s timing.
Testimonies keep me going, strengthening my faith, helping me trust that God’s holding me in his hand and has a good plan. It is vital to hear how God has moved in the past and hear how He is moving today, not just in others’ lives, but also in my own. Those stories of God’s goodness, propel me into the future with an extra measure of hope and help me put my eyes on Him in the midst of the ups and downs of life’s roller coaster.
It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and not think about the ways God is moving on my behalf, the ways He is protecting me and providing for me. It is good when I am reminded with 20/20, razor-sharp hindsight, that He is always there for me, especially when I don’t fully understand in the moment.
As I am leading my children on this journey with Jesus, I want to be certain that they don’t forget what He has done for them either. I want them to remember the sacrifice of the cross. I want them to remember the glory of His resurrection. I want them to remember His promises. And, I want them to remember the “little” things that He does for them, meaningful whispers of His love.
5No, the Lord is all I need.
He takes care of me.
6My share in life has been pleasant.
My part has been beautiful.
7I praise the Lord because he guides me.
Even at night, I feel his leading.
8I keep the Lord before me always.
Because he is close by my side
I will not be hurt. Psalm 16:5-8 (ICB)
Yesappa, Thank You for always being there for me, for never leaving nor forsaking me. Help me to remember Your goodness always. Give me more and more personal testimonies of Your love, grace, and mercy that will ever serve as reminders to my children and future generations, so they will never forget who You are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings,
Julie

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Deuteronomy 19-22; Luke 10

38While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. 39Martha had a sister named Mary. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. 40Martha became angry because she had so much work to do. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”
41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things. 42Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will never be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 (ICB)

The Martha and Mary conundrum…something I’ve struggled with throughout my Christian walk; not because I don’t want to sit at Jesus’ feet, but because I struggle with the balance of what I desire to do and everything else that “should” get done everyday.

When I was in ministry school, it was the students’ duty to help clean up after conferences and events. I was taught to work hard; so I jumped into the expected duties, despite wishing that the worship set wasn’t over, pressing through fatigue and the desire to crawl into bed after a long weekend of conference responsibilities.

But my attitude became sour when I would see some of my peers staying in the sanctuary well after the meetings were over. It felt like duties were being shirked and it was frustrating to me that I felt like I was pulling double duty.

There is no way for me to know what was going on in the others’ hearts; and I learned that it wasn’t my place to judge anothing but my own responses. In that season, I came to realize that my bad attitude was making me a “Martha”, when I wanted to be a “Mary” sitting at Jesus’ feet, not worrying about what needed to get done. When I shifted my focus off of the others and what they were or were not doing and put my focus back on Jesus, I got to complete my duties in the presence of God.

Many years have gone by since then and I find that I am once again struggling with the Martha/Mary paradigm. I want to spend time with Jesus like I was able to in the past, to spend hours in prayer and study, hear His voice clearly. But the demands of life with kids has made that nearly impossible.

There is no such thing as time to myself (I can’t even go to the bathroom without something being destroyed) and there is more work in and around the house than one woman can manage by herself. I have a hard time even thinking let alone praying (other than desperate pleas for “HELP!”) or deep meditation on the Word. Even on Sunday’s, I struggle to worship as I reign my kids in from disrupting everyone else’s chance to meet with God.

How can I live as Mary, while still having responsibilities to tend to? How do I stay on top of the endless to-do list and continue to grow my relationship with God? How do I maintain a right attitude and not succumb to Martha’s viewpoint?

I suppose this is part of the journey, part of the season I’m in; a chance to cling to God even when the struggle is there…

Yesappa, thank You for being there regardless of my struggle, for never leaving me and always meeting me where I am. Thank you for accepting me as I am in this jour eyes and for teaching me as I go. Help me learn how to balance my heart to be like Mary with my tendencies to be more like Martha. Help me keep my attitude in the right place and show me how to carve time throughout my day to focus on you in the midst of the craziness of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings, Julie

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Numbers 26-29; Luke 2

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go up to this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people.’ ” Numbers 27:12-13.

Moses knew that his time on earth was growing short as he looked over into the Promised Land that he would never enter. What did he feel? Sorrow? Remorse? Gratitude? Peace? I am not sure, but I imagine that he considered those long years of toil and duress, deliverance and wandering. God was making and molding his people all that time and all the while calling Moses into an intimacy with Him that terrified others. What did Moses treasure his last hours on earth? I think it was his friendship with God, his family and friends and his love for a stubborn people.

Luke gave us a peek into Mary’s head and heart:

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:19…51

The wonder of God made man, her son Jesus, must have filled her right up to her last days and carried her through the darkest of times. Jesus taught about treasures:

” Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

What I ponder, what I treasure defines me. It fills me, be it positive or negative. Painful times may come, as they did for Moses and Mary, but that which they treasured is what I remember them for.

Lord, capture my heart and attention so that you are my treasure. Cause me to “ponder” and wonder at who you are and how you move. Keep my affections from wandering off to places where they don’t belong. May I be filled with your joy and gratitude for what is real, what is true, You.

Klueh

 

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Judges 4-6; Luke 21

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Luke 21:1-4

I once heard a story about a young boy who thought he had nothing to put in the offering at a crusade. Though I can’t remember all of the details as it’s been years since I heard it, the gist of it is that a young boy was watching the offering baskets weave back and forth through the crowd, he was seeing all of the money given by the others, and he was getting sadder and sadder as they came closer to him. His pockets were empty; he had no money to give. He bowed his head in shame until he remembered he did have something that he could offer; and when the basket was handed to him, he laid it on the ground and stepped into it…”I give all of myself, Lord.”

I’ve never had a lot of money, as a matter of fact for most of my adult life I have lived below poverty level. It can be scary, literally some days not knowing where my next meal would come from, but the Lord has ALWAYS met my needs in some way – whether through the anticipated or {most of the time} through the completely mind-boggling unexpected.

In the beginning of my journey in faith, I felt guilty and full of shame because the small amount of money that I could afford to give for offerings never felt like enough. It felt meager and pitiful. As I continued, the Lord taught me truth through the story of the ‘widow’s mite’.

Giving isn’t about the dollar amount that is contributed. Sure, there are people in the world who are able to give thousands of dollars in one fell swoop, and that is amazing for the ministries and people who receive it; I can speak from personal experience that it means a lot when you’ve been given support in an area of need. However, the offering that God is hoping to receive is that of the best of what can be given with a heart of love, generosity, and willingness.

I may not be able to write a check for thousands, but I can give what I have – I can give my Bible to someone who, unbeknownst to me, had been praying for one the night before we met. I can serve someone in an area of need – cooking a meal, offering a ride, volunteering through a local ministry… I can give a hug, hold the door, help someone cross the street, and offer an ear to listen or a hand to hold.

As I listen…not to the voice of guilt that tries to make me feel inadequate because I don’t always have cash to give, but to the voice of Holy Spirit who shows me the ways that I can give my all to God. As I obey the promptings, some very easy and some that stretch my faith, I place myself in the proverbial offering basket.

Yesappa, Thank You for accepting the only offering I can give 100% of the time…myself. I pray that I am an incense pleasing to You. Show me how to give so that I can be a pipeline for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon.

Give us each day the food we need,

and forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Luke 11:2-4

I frequently joke around that right now my standard, catch-all prayer is “Help me, Jesus!” It’s short, sweet, and to the point, which is what I need as the mom of three children 4 years old and under, single parenting while my husband is overseas. Sometimes, in the midst of dealing with the shenanigans of my two very high spirited daughters, I also tack on prayers for more patience and self-control.

Today, I needed a quadruple dose of prayer, after coming into my girls room this morning to find a broken window (shattered from the blow of a thrown Princess Tiana dress-up shoe), poop smeared all over the floor, the wall, the area rug, the bed, the girls…, drops of blood in random places in the room from a cut finger, glass in the mouth of my 2 year old (fortunately she didn’t swallow any and didn’t shred her tongue). We continued the day with an over-turned table, a tipped over chair, food flung all over the floor (because my daughters were mad at me for only giving them water to drink at lunch), a broken ceramic bowl, a nearly smothered baby, a ripped library book, and tons and tons of crying (I’m not sure who cried the most today – me or my kids – come on Moms {and Dads}, we’ve all been there right).

In spite of my frustration throughout the day, for the most part, I kept my wits about me, and handled things with strength and mercy. But, it was in no way by my own power. As I walked through the day, pressing down the urges of violence I kept mulling over how Jesus told me to pray.

I grew up hearing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’; I memorized it in the Christian School I attended as a young girl. I’ve said it many times over my lifetime. But, today it took on some new meaning, especially as I read it in The Message:

“Father,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”

A friend of mine once shared with me that this simple prayer can be prayed just as it is written and be very effective and it can also be made into the back bone of a more personal prayer…

Oh Lord, I need You more than anything today! I need Your strength, because I’m feeling pretty weak and ineffective. I need Your kindness, because I am not feeling very nice right now. I need Your love, because I am having a hard time liking my kids today. Show me who You are. Remind me what You did for me, for my children. Remind me of Your goodness. Remind me of Your grace. Help me get our ‘world’ put back together; give me peace and reconnection after such a hard day. Keep me alive with what You’ve provided, the food I eat with my mouth, and everything else that I need to survive the day – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Keep forgiving me for the bad choices that I’ve made today in the midst of my trials; and help me forgive my children for theirs. Keep me safe from myself – the self-judgement, the self-doubt. And, help me have more self-control, especially when my children are testing my patience. Keep me safe from the assignments of the enemy against me, my peace, and my family’s harmony. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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