Archive for the ‘Gospel of Luke’ Category

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Safety Plan for Dollar Bills – Luke 18:24

March 9, 2020

“And Jesus took notice of him and said, “How difficult it is for those who possess wealth to enter into the kingdom of God!”

I was reading this article 25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America .

I know some who work in these jobs.  They wake every morning and prepare for another day of earning a wage, not considering it might be the last. No one expects to get hurt or killed.  Those who work in the most dangerous of jobs have safety plans, safety supervisors, and even a governmental safety agency.  All these elements exist to keep those in the most dangerous of jobs safe from the complacency of normal.

We are at most risk when danger becomes normal and no longer feared.

Yet, do you know what is most dangerous for your soul?

We get up most mornings as Believers, oblivious to the dangerous cares that ensare. I think a case can be made for the dollar (for those in the US) as being the most dangerous tool in the Christian’s  toolbox.  The Bible speaks often to warnings about money.  Yet, I fear that we are at most risk because the danger of money has become normal and no longer feared.

Money, in the hands of a Believer, is like a chainsaw in the hands of a logger.  You can clear away a lot of brush and branches and fall the tallest of obstacles. Yet, you have the risk in all that good of losing a limb and bleeding out.

Money, in the proximity of a Believer, is like a trench laborer at the bucket end of an excavator.  You can get to the depth of core needs and dig through the hardest obstacles. Yet, you have the risk in all that good of being crushed by the power of a misplaced love.

God knows the risks to residing in a world ruled by money.  It is dangerous to our soul.  Therefore:

  • We need a safety plan.  What are you going to do to make sure you handle money safely? What is your plan?
  • We need a safety supervisor.  Who are you going to be accountable to regarding how you handle money?  Do they have permission to make your money their business?
  • We need a safety agency.  What is your authority regarding your money?  Does the Bible establish the basis of how you are to value and steward your money? Will you obey it?

In my opinion, these are the essential elements for every Christian engaged in activities, which wield the dangerous tools of money.

My meditation for the day is money as a tool, not a purpose.

https://ref.ly/Lk18.24 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Remove the Toxic, Just Not Me – Luke 17:3–4

March 7, 2020

““Be concerned about yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times he returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him”

I don’t like toxic people.  They make me feel bad.  They frustrate me.  They disrupt my emotional well-being.

Afterall, they would stop being so…toxic…to me…if they were REALLY sorry.

Don’t they know that I am a delicate flower, easily wilted by the negativity of a world, which refuses to treat me with the respect and consideration of which every person is entitled.

Surely, someone who sins against me every 3-1/2 hours, lies to me, cheats me, yells at me, insults me, is bad for me.  What about me?  They are toxic and I should banish them from my presence.  Everyone will surely agree…

But God…there is always the “but God” clause for a world focused on “me”.

I don’t know how often I sin against God. It probably is more than once every 3-1/2 hours when you consider that I am asleep for 8 hours.  However, I can make a case that my subconscious assumes my sinning ways if my dreams are a revelation of my hidden toxicity. So, it is probably worse than I care to believe.

How can I not be toxic to God?

I don’t do what He says to do.  I do what He says not to do. 

I don’t acknowledge Him.  I claim the glory belonging to Him.

How can I not be toxic to God?

I don’t understand the grace He has shown me.  The countless times He has forgiven me.  The toxic presence that He continues to wash clean.

So, what about me?

How can I not forgive in a manner that I am continually being forgiven?

I was never called to be a delicate flower.  I was called to the strong tower.  I was called to take up my cross and share in the suffering caused by the lost.  

TOXIC people cause suffering of the redeemed…this should not be a surprise.

Let’s just count it all joy for suffering like our Lord and stop whining about serving the toxic like we will never receive a reward.

https://babylonbee.com/news/god-decides-cut-toxic-people-life-7-5-billion-dead/
https://ref.ly/Lk17.3-4 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Ruled by Energy Reserves – Luke 14:12–14

March 4, 2020

“And he also said to the one who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or wealthy neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But whenever you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they are not able to repay you. For it will be paid back to you at the resurrection of the righteous.””

Let’s get together…someday.  The preferred response for delay.

We should socialize more, but not today.  It has been a long week of words, energy spent without much in return. I need time to recharge without a demand for more.

We should get together…without a ready reply. Sure, let’s keep it small; friends, family, and the neighbors down the way.

They won’t demand much, no conversations to carry, no drama to parry, no wary expectations.  It will be fun; no energy debt to pay, but actually a possible repayment, long delayed.

But what about the treasure in my righteousness bank?  There’s no banquet deposit from this type of party.

There is no spiritual value in yielding to the rule of one’s energy reserves.  If you want to be like Jesus, you might have to spend those reserves, without hope of like-currency return.  Deficit spending might need to be the norm.

Yet, we are not in a net-neutral world.  We have a limitless power reserve, which allows us to expend with nothing in return.  God created the world. Yet, He can’t give me an extra energy advance?

So, let’s get together, all you energy petitioners. Let’s have a banquet with the emotionally poor, disabled by drama, blind to truth, lame to norms.  It will be a long night at the end of a long week. 

Yet, it will be the most fruitful of walks by Faith when welcomes are exchanged in the boosted power of the Spirit rather than the puny reserves of an introverted nerd.

https://ref.ly/Lk14.12-14 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Smells Bad- Luke 13:8–9

March 2, 2020

“But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put manure on it. And if indeed it produces fruit in the coming year, so much the better, but if not, you can cut it down.’ ””

Have you ever considered that the “manure” you have gone through or are currently dealing with contains the essential nutrients of future righteousness?

God gives us what we need, when we need it, even when it doesn’t smell good!  He is serious about fruit production.

That smell you smell…That smells like righteousness!

My meditation for the day is gratitude for the “manure” in my life.
https://ref.ly/Lk13.8-9 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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You Got to Fear Something – Luke 12:4–7

March 1, 2020

““And I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after these things do not have anything more to do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell! 

Yes, I tell you, fear this one! 

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered! Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.  While a great political speech, it is completely untrue.

We all have something to fear. Actually, we have someone to fear. We are to fear the One who can throw us into hell!  Too many people punch out at this and lose the context of how to live with that fear.

Here is the good news, the One who can throw us in hell is also the One who values us more than many sparrows. (I’ve always wondered if this is an example of Biblical understatement. I hope so, otherwise it is not much of a compliment😁)

We all need to remember the order of the fear and fear not.  Just because we are valued by God doesn’t mean He has relinquished His authority to punish.  The fear of falling into the hands of an angry God underlies the gloriousness of the fear not.  

We cheapen the cross when we stop appreciating the fearfulness of God.  We steal the glory of grace.

A world that doesn’t fear the One who can throw them into hell is a world that has something to fear that is way more dangerous than fear itself.  The only way to escape the fearful One is to flee to the merciful One, who is the same One.

My meditation for the day will be the wrath of God.

https://ref.ly/Lk12.4-7 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Ain’t Nobody Ain’t Got Time for This – Luke 11:2–4

February 27, 2020

“And he said to them, “When you pray, say,
“Father, may your name be treated as holy.
May your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation.””

Do you pray? I don’t pray like I want…like I should.

Pray without ceasing implies something preceding.  Praying without an end, no amen, necessitates a prayer with a ‘Good morning Father, it’s me again’.

Yet, sometimes we cannot find the time to begin again.  

Really?  How do we not have time to pray the prayer that we have been taught to pray?

The frequency of pray is not reflective of the faithfulness of the hearer but rather the faithfulness of the pray-er.

If you don’t know what to pray, then pray the prayer we have been given.  The best way to pray without ceasing is to begin and then begin again.  Let your prayer life have more introduction then conclusions and you’ll be well on your way to the best of run-on prayers.

We all have got time for that!

https://ref.ly/Lk11.2-4 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Know Your Why – Luke 10:20

February 26, 2020

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are inscribed in heaven.””

There are numerous benefits to being born again. Let me begin to enumerate.

1.  I am a child of God…if a child of God, then an heir. An heir of God and co-heir with Christ.

End of enumeration.  

If that is not enough, then I must reconsider all my motivations.  Take away all that you cherish from being a Christian with only reason #1 as the benefit, do you continue to follow Jesus?

If not, then you are not worthy of Reason #1.

My meditation for today is Jesus is my treasure.

https://ref.ly/Lk10.20 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Underestimating Power – Luke 8:45–46

February 24, 2020

“And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched me?” And when the all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pressing you hard and crowding you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, because I know power has gone out from me.””

I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand the mystery associated with the power of God.  What I do know is that it is real.  The power of God is not metaphysical; it is not some abstract theory with no basis in reality.

If Jesus could feel it move, then it is tangible, corporeal, physical, real.  The power of God changes things; it removes disease, resuscitate organs, transforms matter, alters weather, grows tissue, blinds eyes, holds celestial bodies, and that is just a sample off the top of my head.  Please feel free to add to the list!

My guess is that our existence on this planet called Earth is sustained far more by the power of God then we’ve ever imagined.

My meditation for the day is the power of God.  A power that I am too quickly to forget to call upon and too slow to be grateful for.

https://ref.ly/Lk8.45-46 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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THE LURKING BEAST OF A WEIGHED-DOWN HEART – April 19

April 19, 2014

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36

 

20 on explore on Sunday, July 1, 2007There is a beast that roams my small acreage.

I have never seen its shape for it comes out only after I yield to sleep. Yet, the evidence of its presence confronts me at sunrise every morning. I walk into my field and shutter at the thought of an unwanted presence having recently crossed the very path of my footsteps.

I know what it hunts. I see the numerous holes it has dug in pursuit of its prey – gophers. I do not object to that pursuit. However, I wish that it would get its own. This beast has found that it is easier to steal from me. It has discovered that at the bottom of the fluttering location flags is a gopher trap that often, by the time of darkness, contains a dead gopher. It then absconds with the gopher and my trap. I have lost two traps to this beast.

I can tolerate the presence of this beast lurking in the darkness since we have a common nemesis – gophers. However, I know there is a danger that goes beyond the thief of traps and the annoyance of hole digging (this beast does not have the common courtesy of backfilling its holes).

English: Badger hole This large hole was in th...My concern is for my chickens. I know that it is just a matter of time before this beast finds that a roosting chicken is about as easy to catch as a trapped gopher – and much more satisfying. Therefore, this beast has become my enemy before I lose something I value more than a dead gopher.

I am not sure of my success. Therefore, I must stay vigilant to the unseen dangers.

IMAG0018There is a danger to our souls that lurks in the darkness. Our danger is that the day of judgment will come upon us unaware, when we do not expect it, and when we are not prepared for it. The danger is that we are called to meet our Lord, and He is the furthest thing from our hearts and low on the list of that which we love.

We are most vulnerable to this danger when we are unconscious to its presence. That is why we are encouraged to stay awake. We are to stay vigilant against the beast of a heart that is weighted down. We are to watch ourselves from becoming satiated with an inordinate pursuit of the good things of this world and an over-indulgence of the appetites of the body.

Many of us live in an amicable truce with the cares of the world. We fall asleep and allow the beast of our cravings to roam free because we consider them a normal course of our existence. We live with competing loves because it does not appear that they are having an effect upon our spiritual lives beyond an occasional thief of joy and the annoyance of our disrupted façade.

I believe that the danger of a weighed-down heart is far greater than we realize. A weighed-down heart is evidence of misplaced love. Misplaced loves have to be killed before they can burden our hearts, steal our fruitfulness, and even cause us to give up.

From my experience, I rarely get a clean shot at my misplaced loves. They grow in the hidden crevasses of the normal course of my life. I can become so accustomed to these cares, that I fall asleep to their danger.

I have to go to their lair and smoke them out.

There is only one way to smoke out misplaced love. It is by the work of the Spirit in our lives that affections are set upon God and God alone and misplaced love is killed. We have to come to the Spirit in pray and ask the Lord to examine our hearts for anything that we love more than Him. When we feel weighed down by the cares of this world, we must yield all to the Lord and set our eyes upon the things of the Spirit.

We mustn’t fall asleep to the danger. We must not accept a beast prowling in the darkness of our hearts as normal. The danger of a weighed-down heart is nothing to ignore.

PRAYER: Father, I do not want my love to be misplaced.  I do not want to love anything more than you.  Lord, examine my heart.  Show me where I am being weighed down by the cares of this world.  Show me the good things that I pursue more than you.  Show me where my appetites are out of control.  Help me give to you those loves that I have allowed to become too elevated.  Help me keep my eyes on you.  Help me stay awake to that which I am setting my mind upon.  Keep me in your steadfast love.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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APPRECIATING THE PHENOMIAL – April 16

April 16, 2014

“As he was drawing near – already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”” Luke 19:37-38

 “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself,
but talent instantly recognizes genius.” 
~ Arthur Conan Doyle

It is easy to become a critic in our culture of entertainment. Genius is streamed in from the far reaches of the world as critics assume their roles upon couches and in recliners before countless televisions.

We lament our team’s quarterback, who struggles to identify a safety blitz.
We cringe at the singer whose high note is a bit flat.
We cannot comprehend how a referee can miss a call.
We smirk at the actor who portrays the same character in every role.
We bemoan the sophomore slump which fails to live up to the standards of an artist’s debut.
We expect world class performances but often excellence is lost upon those being entertained.

Most of us live in the world of the mediocre. That fact is reflected by our application of the words genius and exceptional upon those who are typically neither. We apply those terms to acquaintances of our daily lives who are exceptional, in comparison to ourselves, but rarely are they world class. Our direct experience is rarely much higher than ourselves.

It is when we move from entertainment to participation that we begin to truly recognize and appreciate the truly phenomenal.

57536-largest_2012KonaTop15run4I was perusing the results of the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Sebastian Kienle won the event with 1:19/100 meter swim pace, 25.81 mph bike pace, and a 5:42/mile run pace. Since I am participating in triathlons, I can compare my best to those times. I recognize just how crazy fast those times actually are. I can better appreciate Sebastian Kienle’s excellence unlike someone who is not swimming, bicycling, or running.

I wonder if this is the principle at play in many churches. Many professing Christians live their lives absent the awe for the excellence of Jesus Christ. Their faith resides in the tidy compartment of their balanced and structured existence but absent any real passion. In many ways, they have assumed the role of critic in a church culture of entertainment. Week in and week out, many churches press for little more than Sunday morning attendance. It should not be surprising that those who come for entertainment fail to appreciate the majesty of our God who redeems.

A dynamic faith requires participation. We cannot sit complacently in our pews of mediocrity knowing nothing higher than our experience and those around us.

When we are striving for obedience, the sinless nature of Christ becomes astounding.

When we try to love our neighbors, God loving a world by sacrificing His Son for us while we were yet sinners is beyond comprehension.

When we suffer, Christ’s acceptance of the cross when a legion of angels awaited His call is a marvel.

When we struggle to forgive, the total forgiveness and condemnation of our sin will boggle the mind.

When we are walking in the Spirit, the gifts of the fruit of the Spirit attest to the phenomenal goodness of a God who cares for His own.

Those who accompanied Jesus during the triumphant entry were eye-witnesses to the excellence of Christ. Based on their experience, they acknowledged the majesty of the King of kings. We can have that same experience but we have to have a faith that is participating with the Spirit. It is when we participate with the Spirit by setting our eyes on the things of the Spirit that we will begin to truly recognize and appreciate the phenomenal nature of the Son of God. It is then that the dynamic faith of a child of God will join in the praise, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

There is no better time to renew our awe in the majesty of the Cross than during Easter. May we join with our brothers and sisters of old in praise of our Savior, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

PRAYER: Father, forgive me of my often lackadaisical attitude to your majesty. Forgive me for not appreciating what you have done for me. Lord, renew a spirit of awe within my soul. Open my eyes to the phenomenal nature of your Son. Help my grateful heart put words to praise. Blessed is the King who has come in the name of the Lord and with return. Come quickly, my Lord; Come and establish here on earth the peace that is in heaven and glory that is in the highest. I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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