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Showing posts from March, 2019

“Did They Understand or Not…”

BIBLE READING: Luke 17-21 DISCUSSION As we prepare to enter next week’s reading of the impending death of Jesus on the cross, I think it important to mention something Jesus noted in Luke 18.31-34.This is the third time in Luke’s account that Jesus has specifically warned His disciples about His upcoming death.It is also interesting to note that He is very specific concerning the events that are about to take place, yet they still do not understand why?How is it possible for these men to soak up everything that Jesus tells them and shows them as He goes about His daily ministry, yet totally ignore the words He mentions about His death.The text also says that “they understood none of these things.This saying was hidden form them, and they did not grasp what He said” (Luke 18.34).I guess it is possible that they just didn’t understand, or that they chose to not understand.However, maybe this passage means that God blinded them so that they would not understand.Just imagine, if they did un…

“Watch Yourselves”

BIBLE READING: Luke 21 DISCUSSION It isn’t quite April 15th yet, but many people are already doing their due diligence to get their taxes ready.Tax day is one of those days that slowly creeps up on us, isn’t it?We know it is coming, we even know the day that it will come.Yet millions of people will continue to put it off until the last minute, or worse, file an extension so they can wait until October to do them.Why do we put off what we know has to be done?I think we get so bogged down by life that we allow ourselves to get distracted in the here and now, that we are blinded by anything that happens past today.Our Lord warns us against allowing ourselves to get distracted by the day to day cares of this life. “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21.31).It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to figure out that Jesus isn’t talking about Tax Day.My point is, if we…

“The Parable of the Tenants”

BIBLE READING: Luke 20 DISCUSSION All throughout Jesus’ ministry, there were those that were challenging His authority.Although we understand Him to be the Son of God, most of the religious world saw Jesus as a false teacher and a threat.To help them understand who He was and where His authority came from, He would often speak to them in parables; such is the case with Luke 20.In this parable, a man plants a vineyard and opened it up for people to use.The man who planted the vineyard had to move off to another country for a long period of time, while the tenants continued to enjoy its fruit.Sometime later, the owner sends one of his servants to gather some fruit from the vineyard, but the tenants beat him and sent him away with nothing.The owner then sent another servant to collect some fruit, but they treated him the same way.Then he sent another, and as you can imagine, they beat him as well and sent him away empty handed.As a last resort the owner sends his son to collect some of the…

“If We Don’t Praise Him…”

BIBLE READING: Luke 19 DISCUSSION As Jesus prepares to enter Jerusalem for the last time before His death, the people are beginning to accept that He was not just another prophet.As He enters the city, even His method of transportation is different… “a colt” or a young donkey. It wasn’t just the method that was unique, the path was somewhat different as well.The people were taking off their cloaks and laying them down on the ground in front of the colt, so the feet of the colt did not have to touch the ground.The royal treatment did not stop there. The people shouted “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” (Luke 19.36).Finally, they were treating Him as He deserved to be treated.However, not everyone shared in their excitement.Some of the Pharisees rebuked Jesus, commanding that He make the people stop acting in such a way.Jesus responds, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”Although that sounds like…

“Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up!”

BIBLE READING: Luke 18 DISCUSSION It doesn’t matter how many times I listen to Coach Jim Valvano’s speech at the ESPYS, I still get emotional.His message was not just for those that are struggling with cancer or some other debilitating medical condition, it was for anyone that is living a life that is against incredible odds.It probably doesn’t surprise you, but that message of persistence was given centuries before Coach Valvano.In Luke 18, Jesus tells us the parable of the persistent widow.This widow had been wronged in some situation.She had solicited help from a judge, pleading with him to do the right thing and grant her justice.Repeatedly the judge refused, until one day, to keep her from bothering him, he grants her wish.The lesson for us, Jesus says, is don’t ever give up asking for the things that you feel you need from the Father.The more you ask, the more likely He is to answer that prayer.That isn’t to say that we need to ask for a new boat, new car or anything else that is …

“Keep Studying My Friend”

BIBLE READING: Luke 17 DISCUSSION I want to commend you and thank you for using our “Home Devo”. We believe it is an easy way to study the Scripture and we hope it only whets your appetite for a deeper study.The “Home Devo” is one of many tools that you can use to grow closer to God.In today’s world, many believe that is harder to study with so many distractions, but there are also so many more opportunities provided for us as well.You don’t have to go far to find devotionals, websites, blogs and podcasts all available at the touch of your fingers.In our reading for the day, the apostles, after hearing Jesus, discuss how sin and temptations were interested in growing the faith.They ask Jesus simply “Increase our faith!” in Luke 17.5.Jesus’ reply is very interesting “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Our Lord is saying a little faith goes a long way; but I do not believe the Lo…

“The Rich Man & Lazarus”

BIBLE READING: Luke 12-16 DISCUSSION One of the most interesting stories contained in the book of Luke is found in the story of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16.19-31.In this story, Jesus tells us about two men.One, a rich man who had everything he ever dreamed of having in this life and Lazarus, a poor man who had virtually nothing.Every day Lazarus lay at the rich man’s gate desiring to have just the crumbs that were left over from the rich man’s table, and every day the rich man passed him by.As time passes, they both die.Lazarus is carried to Paradise, while the rich man is carried into torment.While in torment, the Rich man can see Lazarus afar off receiving the blessings of Paradise.Of course, he wants to know why Lazarus is being blessed while he is being tormented.Abraham explains to him, that while they were alive, the rich man had ignored Lazarus on countless occasions.He is being punished for not doing the right thing and reaching out to help Lazarus.The rich man begs Abra…

“Little Things”

BIBLE READING: Luke 16 DISCUSSION The legendary coach John Wooden once said, “It’s the little details that are vital.Little things make the big things happen”.It sounds like Coach Wooden has read His Bible a few times.In Luke 16 Jesus says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in very much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in very much.” (Luke 16.10).God knows life is hard for us as Christians.He also knows that we are going to make some really big mistakes.We must understand that every day is a new gift from God, and along with new gift, He offers us small opportunities to serve Him.The more we take advantage of these small opportunities, the less likely those big mistakes will happen.In God’s eyes, a sin is a sin.Whether it is a white lie or committing adultery, to Him it is just sin.Although the consequences might be vastly different, the sin is still just a sin.The good news is that the same is true when it comes to good deeds.It might be t…

“The Lost Chapter”

BIBLE READING: Luke 15 DISCUSSION As you look through your Bibles, there are some chapters that are so widely known, you associated them by name and not chapters.For instance, Matthew 5 is known for “The Beatitudes”, Proverbs 31 is “The virtuous Woman” and Psalms 23 is “The Lord is My Shepherd”.Today’s reading just happens to be one of those chapters; Luke 15 is “The Lost Chapter”.It isn’t called “The Lost Chapter” because it has been missing something, but because it contains three parables that have something that has been lost; the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.In the end all three parables, the lost things are found and there is a celebration that ensues.The application for us today is this: it doesn’t matter how many people are saved, God is still concerned about the ones that are lost.If our Lord is so concerned about the lost, shouldn’t we be concerned about them as well?Too many times we become so comfortable with what is happening in our churches, that we forget wh…

“Blow-out in Boston”

BIBLE READING: Luke 14 DISCUSSION Boston Globe's account in June 1990 of a most unusual wedding banquet… Accompanied by her fiancé, a woman went to the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Boston and ordered the meal. The two of them poured over the menu, made selections of china and silver, and pointed to pictures of the flower arrangements they liked. They both had expensive taste, and the bill came to $13,000. After leaving a check for half that amount as down payment, the couple went home to flip through books of wedding announcements. The day the announcements were supposed to hit the mailbox, the groom got cold feet. "I'm just not sure," he said. "It's a big commitment. Let's think about this a little longer." When his angry fiancé returned to the Hyatt to cancel the banquet, the manager could not have been more understanding. However, concerning the refund, she had bad news. "The contract is binding. You're only entitled to $1,300 back. You have two…

“Balance”

BIBLE READING: Luke 13 DISCUSSION I believe that we can separate our preachers into three main categories.First, you have what I like to call “Fluffy Preachers”.These men love to preach the “Fluffy” news of the Gospel.Their sermons, for the most part, are full of love, mercy, tolerance and grace.Next, you have the “Hell-Fire and Brimstone Preachers”.These men are considered more old school preachers; they like to step on our toes and warn us about the judgement that is to come. Finally, you have the “Middle of the Road Preachers”.These men strive to have a good mix of both. Now understand, there is nothing wrong with teaching about the love of Jesus and His grace towards us.There is also nothing wrong with teaching about conviction, judgement and Hell.However, there is something wrong with not preaching some of both.In our reading for today we see Jesus illustrating His love, mercy and grace as He heals the woman who had the disabling spirit.However, He then quickly becomes very critica…

“Panic Attacks”

BIBLE READING: Luke 12 DISCUSSION According to WebMD, approximately six million people will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder this year.Last year, I became one of those statistics.I woke up in the middle of the night from what I thought was a dead sleep, with my heart feeling like it was about to jump out of my chest.I checked my heart rate using my Apple watch and noticed my heart was beating at 128 beats a minute.The more I thought about it, the worse the attack became.I felt so worried about myself, I drove myself to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack.While there, the on-call doctor gave me some meds to calm me down and began asking me about my stress level.It was the week before VBS and yes, for those of you that don’t know, VBS week is one of the most stressful times for those in ministry.I followed up with my local doctor the next day attempting to get to the bottom of what happened.His explanation was for me to rest and slow down (HAHAHAHAHA) and be prepared be…

“Keep the Word”

BIBLE READING: Luke 7-11 DISCUSSION No matter what Jesus did, He made an impact on people.  It didn’t matter if you were for Him or against Him, you were forced to respond in some manner.  Some thought He was a demon, some thought a false teacher, while others accepted Him for who He really was, the Son of God.   On one occasion, in Luke 11, there was a woman who shouts out among the crowd, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breast at which you nursed.” Her comments were meant to be considered a compliment to Mary and how God had chosen her among all women to bear the Son of God.  I am sure it must have been a blessing for Mary, after all, she has a very unique perspective of God’s plan.  Just try to imagine what it must have been like to raise the Son of God and to care for Him while He was a child.  That must have been a true blessing.  However, Jesus responds to her statement in an unexpected way.  One might have expected Jesus to agree with her comment or maybe even say som…

“Teach Us To Pray”

BIBLE READING: Luke 11 DISCUSSION                  “Lord, teach us to pray…” I wish I knew who it was that made this simple request.  Could it have been Andrew?  Andrew had originally been a disciple of John the Baptist and had seen how John had prayed; I suppose it could have been Andrew.  Maybe it was Matthew, who was a Levite and had even been trained to pray as a Levite making pleas for the people of God; Yet had now become a tax collector and maybe was seeking how he could restore that relationship he had once had with the Father.  I suppose it could have been Matthew.  Maybe it was John, who although he was called one of the sons of Thunder, had a softer side and just desired the same type of relationship that Jesus had with the Father.  I suppose it could have been John.  Maybe it was even Judas Iscariot, who had already been tempted to take some of the money out of their treasury for himself.  Maybe Judas was feeling somewhat guilty and wanted to know he might restore a relation…

“Distractions, Distractions”

BIBLE READING: Luke 10 DISCUSSION                 We have all been there!  At some point in time we have all adjusted the volume of our radio, checked the status of a quick text message or even dropped part of the burrito we are trying to eat while driving onto our pants.  All it takes is just one quick glance off the road to make a small adjustment and then before we know it, we have run off the road, or worse, have had an accident.  In today’s world of having technology at our fingertips, it is very easy for us to get distracted while we are driving.  In fact, we even see warnings on billboards and hear commercials on our radios to help prevent us from falling into that trap. Yet, in most cases we continually ignore those warnings thinking we can handle it.  In our story today, we find Martha being distracted by all the work that needed to be done around the house while Jesus was there.  She had food to cook, things to clean and people to serve, yet she was so caught up in all those n…

“Let Them Sink IN….”

BIBLE READING: Luke 9 DISCUSSION             As a parent, I feel that I am constantly having to remind my children of certain things like, clean your room, put up your clothes, and make sure you have on clean underwear.  It is very frustrating to feel like I am having to repeat myself over and over. I wonder if Jesus felt the same type of frustration?  Over and over in the Scripture we find Jesus having to remind His disciples of His coming death, yet repeatedly they let it go in one ear and out the other. In Luke 9.44 Jesus is once again giving insight to His disciples concerning His upcoming death. Just listen to the words of Jesus and see if you can feel His frustration, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men”. I can almost imagine Jesus grabbing Peter by the ears and speaking as slow as possible in hopes that it would finally register with them.  Yet, much like my children, they soon forget moments after it is said.  As Ch…

“Master, the Tempest”

BIBLE READING: Luke 8 DISCUSSION I will have to admit, if I had been in the boat with the disciples when the winds and waves picked up, I would have been terrified.  Just seeing the power of the wind and the water as it began to fill up the boat, I don’t know how I would have been able to control my emotions.  That is why I feel like I can empathize with them as they shouted out to Jesus “Master…we are perishing!”.  I can imagine the impatience that they must have displayed as the sought to rouse Jesus up from His sleep.  Then how that impatience quickly turned into astonishment when they witness His power as the winds and the waves obey His voice.  Shame could have been the next emotion expressed by the disciples as they hear the words of Jesus in His rebuke of them “Where is your faith?”  How is it possible that they had forgotten just who it was that was in that boat with them?  We know that they had already seen the power of God displayed through Him as they had witnessed His other …

“Just say the Word…”

BIBLE READING: Luke 7 DISCUSSION The expression “just say the word” typically is used to indicate one’s willingness to be ready to help someone else on command.However, in our reading for the day it us used to express something else, faith.Luke records the story of a centurion who had a servant that was at the point of death.When he hears about the power of Jesus, he sends word asking for the elders of the Jews to seek out Jesus to help him. Upon hearing that Jesus is on His way to heal his servant, the centurion sent out his friends to meet Jesus before He arrived.Their message was clear, “just say the word…”.The centurion knew that all Jesus had to do was say the word and his servant would recover.Jesus praises this man’s faith saying not even among His own people had He seen such faith.That is the kind of faith that Christ wants out of us; a faith that doesn’t demand signs, miracles or wonders, but a faith that says, “just say the Word”.Those words are not just the expression of grea…

“The Heart of the Sermon on the Mount”

BIBLE READING: Luke 2-6
DISCUSSION

                The reading this week contains Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount.  Although much smaller than Matthew’s account in Matthew 5-7, it still has some of the same foundation points; the Beatitudes, His comments on loving your enemy, Judging based on appearances and a tree is known for its fruit.  In summary, Jesus is wanting us to understand that His message is not a new law, but a fulfillment of the old one.  He is revealing to us that a true love for Him revolves around our behavior towards others.  In Luke’s account, Jesus is reminding us that love is shown in our actions.  Our love towards one another will separate us from the rest of the world.  The late TB Larimore (founder of Mars Hill Bible School) used to say, “We will love each other, and love will rule the school.”  That is exactly what the sermon on the mount is all about, allowing love to rule our lives.  Wouldn’t our homes, our churches and our country be a better place…

“A Flood of Temptation”

BIBLE READING: Luke 6
DISCUSSION
                As you read this devotional for the day, chances are it is raining; if it isn’t it will be soon.  I say that tongue in cheek because our area has seen more rain in the last several weeks than it has even seen on record.  It has rained so much that they had to open every spill way possible of our local dam just to keep our area from flooding.  It was said that the water passing through those spill ways was a million gallons of water per second.  There was so much water that several roads collapsed due to erosion that the flooding had caused.  Automobiles were being carried off by the power of the flood waters and several homes were either destroyed or damage due to flooding.  In our area we were lucky because it could have easily been worse.  Our Lord knew the power that lies behind a flood.  After all, He destroyed the world using a flood in the days of Noah.  I wonder if those images were playing over and over in His mind as He teaches t…

“A Tax Collectors Faith”

BIBLE READING: Luke 5
DISCUSSION
Of all the jobs that a person could take, tax collector was not at the top of anyone’s list.  In the first century, to become a tax collector was to become a traitor to you own people.  You see, the Jews were forced to live under Roman rule, meaning that even though they were considered a free nation, they were still bound by Roman laws.  The most hated of all Roman law, may still be the most hated of modern-day law, taxes.  To collect their taxes on the Jews, the Romans would select a Jew to do their dirty work for them.  They would then require that Jewish man to collect a certain amount of taxes from his own people.  He was required a specific amount but was able to collect more to pay his own salary.  For instance, in today’s world he would be required to collect $100 from each person.  However, he would ask for $110 from each person clearing a profit of $10 per person.  The Jews hated tax collectors and viewed them as greedy, selfish and dishonest m…

“Dealing With Rejection”

BIBLE READING: Luke 4
DISCUSSION
As Luke records Jesus beginning His ministry, he takes him back to His home town to make himself known to his people.You can imagine the people oohing and ahhing as they saw the once little boy Jesus stand up to read in the synagogue now a grown man. It hasn’t been that long ago that they watched His mother hold him as a child, they must have thought.As they carefully and nostalgically watched Jesus find His place within the scroll, there may have been a collective sigh as to how fast time had flown by, knowing the child is now a man.However, that sigh was quickly turned into a gasp as Jesus has now (in their minds) done the unthinkable.After completing the reading Jesus had now used this opportunity to reveal Himself as the Messiah to his hometown.Of course, this did not go very well.The once sentimental worshippers had now turned into an angry mob ready to kill Jesus.Try to imagine what it must have been like for Jesus emotionally.I understand that He …

“Doing What You Do”

BIBLE READING: Luke 3
DISCUSSION
Imagine that you are standing on the banks of the Jordan River, when you see a large man wearing a coat of camel hair wade into to water. “Repent!” He says in a loud obnoxious tone. “Repent! Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”.  The more he talks, the louder and more animated he becomes. You stand in awe of not only how he looks, but with what passion he is shouting to you and to anyone that will listen.  You can’t help but stare, even though you know that it’s rude.  You watch his mannerisms, you hear his words, and you are captivated by His message. You physically can’t take your eyes off him.  Whether you believed in what John said, or whether you didn’t, he was impossible to ignore!  In the eyes of God…Mission Accomplished! John was just fulfilling what he was called to do “preparing the way of the Lord, making His paths straight” (Luke 3.4).   There are a lot of things that John is not; he wasn’t a fisherman, or a tentmaker, or a tax collecto…

“The Childhood of Jesus”

BIBLE READING: Luke 2
DISCUSSION
The Bible gives us everything we need to know about the life of Christ, yet there is a great deal about His life that we do not know.It reminds me of John’s concluding remarks in his Gospel “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31).Even though I fully understand that I have everything I need to know about Jesus, what I do not know has always intrigued me. For instance, we really have nothing mentioned about the childhood of Jesus except for the story of Jesus in the Temple recorded in Luke 2.41-51. That story would place Jesus about twelve years old, but after that there is nothing mentioned until His baptism when He was about 30 years old.In my opinion, some of the most difficult years that people face as they go on their journey of faith …

“Examples”

BIBLE READING: Mark 13- Luke 1 DISCUSSION This past week we have read of some great examples in the bible.We read in Mark 13 about us being ready and being prepared for when Jesus returns.We need to all stay awake!In Mark 14 we read of one action having such an impact.How this woman gave her very best to Jesus because of her love for Him.In Mark 15 we read of Pontius Pilate and his desire to keep his power.He loved his power and did not want to give it up even if that meant sending an innocent man to be crucified.In Mark 16 we see the love and devotion that three women had for Jesus.In Luke 1 we see of a man named Zechariah that never gave up.He remained faithful to God, working for the Lord and praying to God for a child.It amazes me at all the examples we have in just these 5 chapters.I always look for examples of people when I do my bible studies.It is what I connect with.The people and their situations.How they handled things, what they did for Jesus.But of course, there is no great…