Archive for : March, 2019

03/31/19 – Luke 9:7-27; Psalm 72:1-20; Proverbs 12:8-9

In the passages from Luke there is one very short statement that speaks to me 0f  the overwhelming extent of Jesus’s ministry at this point:

Luke 9Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

Jesus ministry, His teachings and His miracles had attracted the attention of the ruler of Galilee and Perea, Herod (Antipas.)  So much so that Herod “tried to see Jesus.”

We are blessed with the complete and inspired Word of God.  Do we retain the desire to continue to see and be with Jesus via our reading of the inspired word?

03/30/19 – Luke 8:40-9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; Proverbs 12:5-7

Luke 8:  4While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”  50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

Did you notice the very first words Jesus spoke to Jairus when informed of the the death of his daughter ?  It was not “have faith,” “pray,” or “I will come with you.”

No, the very first words of assurance Jesus offered was “do not fear.” You may already know that this is the most commonly repeated phrase in the entire Bible.  And as I read today’s reading from Psalm 71 I see why we should not fear — God will always be in a believer’s life:

Psalm 71

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.

 

03/29/19 – Luke 8:22-39; Psalm 70:1-6; Proverbs 12:4

There are occasions in our lives when we really, really want to do things our way.  We make reservations, change our schedules, & look forward to that day of accomplishment.  But sometimes our plans must be changed for any number of reasons.  — The challenge is to then continue to do God’s will in the new situation.  We see Paul excel at this.  And in today’s reading we see another man, a former demoniac, accept a change in plans and contribute greatly to the spread of the Good News.

Luke:8  38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

 

03/28/19 — Luke 8:4-21; Psalm 69:19-36; Proverbs 12:2-3

Luke 8: 1“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 

How can you read this verse and not think of the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine?”  And when I think of the lyrics to this song several thoughts come to mind.  First, Jesus is the source of this “light of mine.”  Secondly, as the lyrics to the song state, I will have to work and have the determination, dedication and loyalty to keep this light glowing.

This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Oh, this little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m going to let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m going to let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.
Don’t let Satan [blow] it out!
I’m going to let it shine
Don’t let Satan [blow] it out!
I’m going to let it shine
Don’t let Satan [blow] it out!
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine
Songwriters: Daniel Allan Jr Carlin / Dp
This Little Light of Mine lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

03/27/19 – Luke 7:36-8:3; Psalm 69:1-18; Proverbs 12:1

Have you ever met someone who has a fear of water — a fear of drowning?  In some cases they will never board a boat and even crossing over water via a bridge is stressful.  This fear is called aquaphobia. 

I raise this concept because as I read Psalm 69 I could envision from David’s word-picture how desperately someone with aquaphobia would seek a way out of water.  His words reminded me, again, of how urgently David “sought God’s heart.”

Psalm 69:

Save me, O God,  for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,  looking for my God.

03/26/19 – Luke 7:11-35; Psalm 68:19-35; Proverbs 11:29-31

Many thoughts and emotions are evident when we read of Jesus’s raising of the dead — think of Jairus’s daughter and Lazarus.  And, yet as I read of the healing of the widow’s son a new thought entered my mind.

Luke 7: 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Did you note that Jesus touched the coffin (bier?)   This would have made Jesus “unclean” by Jewish religious law.  But note what Coffman aptly writes in his commentary.

Jesus defied the ceremonial defilement forbidding such a thing; because the dead could not defile him, but conversely he raised the dead!

 

03/25/19 – Luke 6:39-7:10; Psalm 68:1-18; Proverbs 11:28

Luke 7: The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”  So Jesus went with them.

When I read the above phrase the first thing that popped into my mind was “did the centurion earn the healing of his servant based upon the “works” he had done?  That in some way would imply that we need to “earn” our salvation.

But read further and we see the real reason Jesus granted his plea — FAITH!

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

03/24/19 – Luke 6:12-38; Psalm 67:1-7; Proverbs 11:23

Psalm 67: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you The land yields its harvest;   God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Note the highlighted expressions in this Psalm. What do they tell you?

They speak loudly to me that the Psalmist recognized that God’s grace was to extend beyond the nation of Israel to all nations, all peoples and all the ends of the earth.

And we are among those who are recipients of this graces, and we are blessed …

 

03/23/19 — Luke 5:29-6:11; Psalm 66:1-20; Proverbs 11:24-26

Sometimes when we re-read any book a new thought will capture our attention.

Luke 5: 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

The thought that captured me this time — who else could Matthew have invited to dinner?  With his position as a tax collector he was shunned & hated by his “people,” the Jews.  And yet, his social position did not prevent him from inviting others that he did know to hear the words of the Lord.

A point to ponder — do we limit ourselves in witnessing to others based on class, position, and status?

03/22/19 – Luke 5:12-28; Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 11:23

As I read about the healing of the leper I was taken by three actions that demonstrated his faith:

Luke 5:  12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.  When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”  13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean! And immediately the leprosy left him.

The three actions:  (1) He came  (2) He asked, knowing that Jesus had the power (3) He received an answer

The same applies to us and our faith.  We must first come to know the Lord; we must, then ask knowing that our prayers will be answered; and, finally, we need to be alert for the answer we are given.

But just as importantly we must realize that the answer will come on God’s timetable, not ours — this is the essence of faith.

03/21/19 – Luke 4:31-5:11; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 11:22

Have you ever considered the similarities between “faith” and “obedience?”  One aspect that came to me from today’s reading in Luke is that they both require action!

James states that faith without action (works) is dead (James 2:14-17.)  And how can you be obedient without taking the actions directed?

We see a perfect example of the combination of faith and obedience in today’s reading from Luke:

Luke 5: When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.

Peter’s faith lead to obedience … our faith will do the same.

03/20/19 – Luke 4:1-30; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs:11:20-21

Scripture tells us that David was a man “after Gods own heart” (Acts 13:22.)  And I found that today’s verses beautifully express the depth of David’s longing.  Before you read the following verse think of a time when you were truly thirsty.  Water was all you craved.  No barrier, no other priority, no other person could keep you away from a sip of cool, clear water:

Psalm 63:

You, God, are my God,  earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

In seeking our own personal relationship with God can you say you have even a “smidgen” of this desire?   Let us never stop seeking …

03/19/19 – Luke 3:23-38; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 11:18-19

At the end of Chapter 3 we see Luke trace the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam.   When reading these verses we may tend to read through them quickly and the ask ourselves “why are all these ‘sons of’ important?”

I think the website “Enduring Word” makes several excellent points:

  • The fact that Luke could give Jesus’ genealogical history was not unusual. Josephus (the often quoted Jewish historian) traced his own genealogy from “the public records.”
  • Luke traced his genealogy all the way back to Adam, to show that Jesus belonged to all mankind, not only to the Jewish people.

    A genealogy may not seem like much, but it exactly established Jesus’ credentials as a member of the human race. A Bible translator to a distant tribe saved the genealogies for last because he thought them the least important part of the gospels. But when he finally finished them last of all, the tribesmen were astounded – they told the translator, “You mean to tell us that this Jesus was a real person, with real ancestors? We had no idea!”

03/18/19 — Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 61:1-8; Proverbs 11:16-17

Matthew and Luke recorded the most details on John the Baptist teachings in preparation for the arrival of Jesus.  I found one unique detail recorded in Luke’s record.  The other gospels record that “crowds” came to John to repent and be baptized.  But Luke tells us a bit more about the types of people who were coming & the effectiveness of John’s mission.

Luke 3: 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Just like Jesus, John’s message was not directed to just the “religious” but included all categories of people, including the hated “enemies” of the Jews, tax collectors and soldiers

The lesson to me — like John our message is not to be exclusive of any people but is to be shared freely and without judgement with all.

03/17/19 – Luke 2:36-52, Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 11:15

As you know while there multiple conjectures and assumptions regarding the childhood of Jesus (entire movies have even been made.)  But the inspired Word of God gives us few details. Today’s reading has two verses:

Luke 2: 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Luke 2: 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. 

I agree with the way this reality is described in the “Got Questions” website:

Evidently, this is all God determined that we needed to know. There are some extra-Biblical writings which contain stories of Jesus’ youth (the Gospel of Thomas, for example). But we have no way of knowing whether any of these stories are true and reliable. God chose not to tell us much about Jesus’ childhood – so we have to just trust Him that nothing occurred which we need to know about.

 

03/16/19 – Luke 2:1-35; Psalm 59:1-17; Proverbs 11:14

Last year as we read through the Old and New Testaments we saw the “thread” of the Holy Spirit continually moving throughout the nation of Israel and the Body of Believers.  Today’s reading from Luke is a perfect example:

Luke 225 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,

Like Simeon, as believers we are blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  My question — do we allow ourselves to be “moved” by the Spirit and to then to act, as Simeon did?

03/15/19 – Luke 1:57-80, Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 11:12-13

Maybe, like me, you find yourself sometimes “skimming” through familiar passages, particularly those that say they are someone’s “song” (e.g., “Mary’s Song” in Luke 1:46-55.)

One of my goals this year is to not”skim” but to focus on these scriptures.  And today I was blessed when I read “Zachariah’s Song.”  Because what I read in Luke 1:76-79 is a four verse prophecy of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’s ministries.

Luke 2: 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

03/14/19 – Luke 1:26-56; Psalm 57:1-11; Proverbs 11:9-11

From Miriam-Webster online dictionary:  nothing (pronoun)    1 : not any thing : no thing (ex: leaves nothing to the imagination)

 

So, I guess today’s Blog is about “nothing.”   But why?  — It starts with a verse from the New Kings James version of Luke 1 as Gabriel answers a very good question from Mary.

Luke 1:  34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.

The literal Greek expression is even more explicit — “for not shall be impossible with God any thing.”  (from Berry’s Interlinear Greek-English New Testament.)

I am reassured by Gabriel’s response — not only is the virgin birth of Jesus possible — with God all things are possible. And due to His grace and love we are His children and are recipients of this promise.

 

03/13/19 – Luke 1:1-25; Psalm 56:1-13; Proverb 11:8

Just a few personal notes as we begin our readings in Luke.  All scripture is “God breathed” but we certainly see different types of writing styles & backgrounds of the earthly authors.  Mark’s gospel is a record of “Jesus’s action’s;” John’s is a literary work of beauty, and Matthew and Luke pen many details in a narrative format — Matthew directed more to Jewish readers and Luke more to the Gentiles.  For example:

Luke 1:Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke investigated, Luke recorded & we are blessed with the details in his inspired writings.

03/12/19 – Mark 16:1-20; Psalm 55:1-23; Proverbs 11:7

During Bible classes and other teaching opportunities  we have explored the depression, the feeling of emptiness, the futility that can be felt by non-believers during time of sadness, such as the death of a loved one.  And in today’s reading from Proverbs we see the inspired Word of God very succinctly address the topic.

Proverbs 11: Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
    all the promise of their power comes to nothing.

As believers we do not just have”hope” we have an eternal promise of an everlasting life experienced in the presence of the Lord God, Almighty.