Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Luke 12:13-21

v. 13-21 Someone asked Jesus to divide the inheritance between him and his brother.  Jesus gave this warning "Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  Jesus goes on to tell a parable of a rich man who produced a good crop.  He thought to himself  "I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store up all my grain and my goods.  You (saying to himself) have plenty of good things laid up for many years.  Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."  Then God said, "You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded from you.  Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"  Jesus says "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." 

In the United States our society is geared toward having it all and having as much as possible no matter the cost.  The world's value system is not in line with the bible.  We are to be on guard for the lure of money.  Advertisers spend millions trying to convince us that we need things that we really don't need at all.  People buy things thinking that it will fill a need in their life.  When they get it home it is often another matter.  It is good to plan ahead, but there is a difference in that and trying to store up as much as you can get your hands on.  How do you respond to the constant pressure to buy?

This rich man was wasteful.  His barns were not big enough so he wanted to tear them down and build bigger ones.  Sometimes when I hear the ridiculous amount of money that rich people spend on things it makes me sad.  There are children in our own country that are going without a meal tonight, yet someone can spend $20,000 on a birthday party for their child.  Some want to look good to their friends or neighbors.  Having a huge house, new cars, designer brands, etc.  Most of the time people don't really care what you have.  If they do, then why would you want to impress someone like that in the first place?  I have heard that many millionaires are very thrifty.  Warren Buffet still lives in the same house that he has had for decades and it's not a mansion.  That is a man who is smart with his money and is determined to make wise decisions and not waste it.  Bill Gates walked away from his job at Microsoft to run a charity.  I think many thought he was crazy to leave that job for charity work.  I have read that the Gates have endowed over $21 billion to the Foundation that Bill and his wife started. 

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having things.  I don't feel jealous when I see giant homes I just think I would not want to clean one.  Yes, I realize that they probably have people to come in to clean them.  That is just very foreign to me.  We live in a very rich county in Tennessee, where singers and actors live.  There are some unbelievable houses here that seem more like a museum than a home.  I do not know how much these people give to charities, but it makes me think not enough.  I know that seems judgmental, but I have no ill will towards the rich.  I hope that if you can afford a house priced at $5,000,000 then I also hope that you are giving a LARGE sum to those less fortunate.  Not just a few hundred a year at a charity event and spending thousands on clothes and shoes for that same event.  I think that our society feeds off of the desires of the wealthy and forgets about the needy.  There is a reason why we are to tithe. 

Is the money you spend out of proportion to the amount you give back to God? 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quote - Francis de Sales

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.  Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Song - The Proof of Your Love

They rocked "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" a few weeks back.  This is one on my favorite songs.  The words are a "soul check."  Not just a great song, one that has depths waiting to be looked at, if only we will choose to do so. 

The Proof of Your Love by For King & Country

If I sing but don't have love
I waste my breathe with every song
I bring, an empty voice
A hollow noise

If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don't have love
I leave a bitter taste
With every word I say

So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You
And what You're made of
How you lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love

If I give to a needy soul
But don't have love then who is poor
It seems all the poverty
Is found in me


Ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
When it's all said and done
Ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
When we sing our final song

Only love remains
Only love remains

(Some version's don't have this part)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)


To hear a sample go to:

Luke 12:1-12

v. 1-2 "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."  Jesus told this to the disciples.  There are those who appear to be Christians, yet speak and act like they have no love in their hearts.  When yeast is mixed into the bread dough it is all throughout the dough.  It can not be separated after being mixed.  Beware that you do not let others incorporate you into the world. 

Hypocrisy is:
  • knowing the truth but not obeying it
  • living a self-serving life
  • reduces faith to rigid rules
  • outward conformity without inner reality
NIV notes

You could be someone who tithes, but are rude to a waiter in a restaurant.  We are to follow what Jesus does since He is our example.  If He was right next to you, would you act differently?  Since the Holy Spirit is in those who believe He is in fact right next to you.  Many people choose to stay away from God because of the "Christians" they have encountered.  Be kind and show compassion so they can see that no all Christians are the same.  On the other hand we should not worry about those who think we are hypocrites.  If you know your heart is right then don't concern yourself with trying to defend yourself.  The enemy is trying to keep other from entering the kingdom. 

v. 4-5 Do not fear man because after death they can do no harm.  We are to fear God because He is the one who has the ability to alter our eternal place.  Many fear what men can do instead of the creator of everything.

v. 8-9 "I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns Me before men will be disowned before the angels of God."  Such a simple statement, you either accept Him or disown Him.  Whatever you choose to do will also be done to you. 

Do you do any of these:
  • hope no one would think you are a Christian
  • decide not to speak up for what is right
  • are silent about our relationship with God
  • blend into society
  • accept our culture's non-Christian values
NIV notes

What we should be doing:
  • live moral, upright Christ-honoring lives
  • look for opportunities to share our faith with others
  • help others in need
  • take a stand for justice
  • love others
  • acknowledge our loyalty to Christ
  • use our lives and resources to carry out His desires rather than our own
NIV notes

v. 10 "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."  This one has confused me for awhile.  What is seems like to me is that those that speak against Jesus can be forgiven, yet those that blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not ever be forgiven.  Blaspheme means: to speak impiously or irreverently of (God or sacred things), to speak evil of, slander, to show contempt or disrespect for (God, a divine being, or sacred things), to utter profanities, curses, or impious expressions.  I believe the demons who do this will never be forgiven.  I believe there are few people that fall into this category.  Anyone who fears that having committed it shows, by his or her way very concerned, that they have not sinned in this way. 

v. 11-12 Do not worry about what you will say to defend God or your beliefs.  Pray that the Holy Spirit guides you to what to say.  Sometimes Jesus said nothing to defend Himself.  Not all times are we supposed to argue with others.  The truth does not need to be defended, it just is. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quote - Desmond Tutu

"Do your little bit of good where you are. It's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."

Photo - Flame Nebula


The Flame Nebula

The Flame Nebula sits on the eastern hip of Orion the Hunter, a constellation most easily visible in the northern hemisphere during winter evenings. This image shows a vast cloud of gas and dust where new stars are being born.  The Flame Nebula is the brightest and largest in the image. It is lit by a star inside it that is 20 times the mass of the sun and would be as bright to our eyes as the other stars in Orion's belt if it weren't for all the surrounding dust, which makes it appear 4 billion times dimmer than it actually is.

I am amazed at the images that NASA takes.  Sure there is technical things like above.  What I see is a beautiful image that God has made.  It looks as if it's a guardian angel reaching out to someone.  I love to see the images that are in space.  They have been there for all time yet we only get to see them now due to technology.  Just like there is as spirit realm that we can not see unless He gives us the ability to truly see it.  We are so small indeed.  Makes me think that the cares and concerns I have are not at big as I think them to be.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Luke 11:29-54

v. 29-30 Jesus warns against unbelief.  He said "This is a wicked generation.  It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah."  I can only imagine He would say the same thing to us today as He did back then.  We love to hear of miracles yet God does not use them the most.  I believe that He uses people all over the world to do His work.  Jonah went to preach in Nineveh after a slight detour of being in a large fish for three days.  He decided it would be best to go and tell the people about God so they could repent.  It is amazing to me when people get so excited to see Jesus in a piece of toast or on a water tower, yet are they that excited to repent? 

v. 31-32 Jesus said "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.  The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here."  The Queen of the South and the Ninevites turned to God with far less evidence than Jesus was giving the people of that time period.  Today we have access to the bible and know the stories and the history so we have much more information than they did back then.  Our response should be even greater because of it. 

v. 33-36 "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl.  Instead he puts it on it's stand so that those who come in may see the light.  Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness."  The lamp is Jesus, the eye is spiritual understanding and insight.  If you have a hard time seeing God at work in the world, check your vision.  Is there anything blinding you?  We are to be lights for all the world to see.  Unfortunately many Christians are dim most of the time.

v. 37-41 Jesus was invited to a Pharisee's house to eat.  He did not wash His hands first before sitting down, they were surprised.  Jesus said "You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  Give what is inside the dish to the poor and everything will be clean for you."  They did not wash there hands because of health reasons.  They did so as a symbol of washing away anything that was unclean.  The Pharisees had everyone do this which was originally meant only for the priests.  They thought themselves clean because of all their rules, but they did not care for the poor and have hearts for God.  Your generosity reveals how you much purity is in your heart.

v. 42 Jesus is warning the leaders that their hearts have become cold.  The meaning of woe is grievous distress, affliction, distress or trouble.  Here Jesus says it five times in the section.  How important do you think we should pay attention to this section as well?  "Woe, to you Pharisee's, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.  You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."  Don't think just because you give to your church that your done and have to do no more.  If there is a need then we are supposed to fill it, we do not need to go and pray and wait to receive a sign before we help others.  Tithing is important, but do not stop there. 

v. 43 "Woe, to you Pharisee's, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplace."  Are you the type of person that must have the closest parking spot or the best chair at dinner?  My son always likes to be the first to get on the school bus.  The kids take turns and when there are other kids waiting for the school bus I like them to let them go on first sometimes.  If you are always thinking of your self then that is all the reward you will get, but if you place yourself last then you will get your reward in heaven.  How much better is that!

v. 44-46 "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.  Woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."  The Old Testament said that a person who touched a grave was unclean.  Jesus said they were making others unclean by their spiritual rottenness.  They corrupted everyone who came into contact with them.  The burdens were man made laws added to God's laws.  They added to the commandment - Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  They added how far a person could walk, which kinds of knots could be tied, and how much weight could be carried.  Healing a person was unlawful, but rescuing a trapped animal was ok.  How insane is that! 

v. 50 "This generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world."  The people were rejecting the Messiah himself so that is why they were held accountable for all the blood shed from the beginning until then. 

v. 52 "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge.  You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who are entering."  They gave a legalistic view of scripture to the people and added their own rules.  I have read that there were more than 600 rules that they made up.  That sounds so stressful having to keep up with all the rules.  They made God's truth hard to understand and put into practice.  They had closed the door of God's love and thrown away the key.  Those in a position of influence need to beware, you will be judged for your actions of keeping others away from God.  I know that some other beliefs have you going through religious leaders to get to God.  When you are a Christian it is a personal one on one relationship with God.  You do not have to go through anyone else to get to Him.  We need church leadership in our lives but they are not going to be beside us on Judgment Day.  We stand on our actions, our thoughts, our beliefs, what we did and nothing else.

Jesus addressed these problems:
  • they washed the outsides, not the insides
  • remembered to give a tenth, but neglected justice
  • loved praise and attention
  • loaded the people down with burdensome demands
  • would not accept the truth about Jesus
  • prevented others from seeing the truth 
NIV notes
We are to focus on the inner condition of the heart, not on the outward appearances.  People may fool others to thinking they are holy, but only God can see the inner life and He will judge based on this alone. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Luke 11:14-28

The Pharisees accused Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub (prince of demons).  The Pharisees also drove out demons so they were in fact saying that they were also driving out demons from demonic power. 

v. 17 Jesus said "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.  If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand?"  Why would Satan want to drive out his own demons?  He would not, there would be no profit in it if he did.  A house divided will also fall.  The divorce rate in America and probably around the world is that half of all marriages end in divorce.  Whether it is a kingdom, government, marriage or business they all will fall if they are divided and can not come to an agreement. 

v. 23 Jesus said "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters."  There is no neutral ground here.  You are either for God or the devil.  I know that many would think that they are not believers but that they are not for the devil either.  For those that do not like this you must bring it up with Jesus, since He is the one who said it!  Since we know that God is the winning side (see Revelations).  Why would we want to be on the losing side?

v. 24-26 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.'  When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.  And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."  The bible is full of stories of people doing this, they come to God then turn away.  Then when enemies were coming against them they came back to God.  It is not enough to be emptied of evil, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit and keep watch against the enemy.

When I was a teen I gave my life to Jesus.  No one ever mentioned that when this happened the devil would attack with such fierceness that it sent me adrift in an ocean of darkness for may years.  When you give your life to God beware for the devil is roaming the earth to seek someone to devour.  He knows that if he can get you right after you give your life over then it will be so much easier to pull you away.  Your roots are not set in solid ground yet at this point.  Do not let the devil in once you have turned to God, for he may over stay his welcome for decades to come. 

v. 27-28 A woman called out "blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."  Jesus responded "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."  The family line was extremely important in that time period.  There ancestors proved that they were part of God's chosen people.  A man's value came from his ancestors and a woman's value came from the sons she bore.  Jesus showed that was not the case anymore.  A person's obedience to God was more important than where they were on the family tree. 

Many here God's word, but how many truly obey Him? 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Luke 11:1-13

v. 2-4 The disciples asked Jesus how to pray.  The prayer in Matt. 6:9-13 and here in Luke 11:2-4 differ a bit.  This shows that there is not just one correct way to pray, although this is the guide line that we can follow. 
"Father, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation."

Father, first Jesus praises God and establishes His place as Father.  We are to come to God as a child.
If you do not recognize His Holiness then your prayers might just turn into a checklist as if it is nothing special. 
The next part is focused on today, not yesterday or tomorrow.  God gave the Israelites enough manna in the wilderness for that day.  What happened when they took more than they needed for that day?  It turned into rotten food.  He gives us what we need for today and no other.  We are to rely upon Him daily. 
Forgiveness - Something that is last on our list yet we want it first from God.  It is so important to forgive.  Would you like it if God held forgiveness from you like you hold forgiveness from others?  I can not stress enough how important this is.  I believe prayer if blocked if you have unforgiveness.  Matt. 5:24 "Leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."
Last, God can keep us from temptation.  God will allow us to be tested, but we can pray for guidance and to be kept from many tempting situations.  He will give you a way out.  The Holy Spirit is here to help us pray.  If I feel the Holy Spirit leads me to pray for something then I pray it and I also believe it even if it doesn't seem to make sense or seems impossible. 

Even though we sin daily it is a comfort to know that we are encouraged to come before God and pray.  We do not always like the outcome, but He will never return void.  I do not believe in unanswered prayers.  I believe they are always answered.  Yes, it may take decades before you see it, but they are answered. 

v. 5-8 Jesus tells of a man that came to a friend's house late at night in search of some bread to feed some friends.  The man was persistent and bold so he received his request.  We are to be the same with God.  I don't think people are bold enough in their prayers.  Just in the last several years my prayers are getting bolder that ever. 

v. 9-13 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone that asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."  We can ask for anything yet we might not get it if it's not in God's will.  Sure it would be great to win the lottery but it just may not be in His plans for you.  I believe these verses heavily lean toward our basic needs and things like wisdom, patience, etc; not material things.  It says that even though we make mistakes we can still give our children good things.  Then how much more will God give to those that ask Him!

Prayer is underestimated in our world.  There are some that think it's quaint or completely useless.  Prayer is more powerful than we know, it is part of our armor.  It is a weapon to be used in the battle against evil. 

What if we prayed boldly and had the faith to back it up?  He is waiting to work in our life, we only need to ask.  God works through people and circumstances.  How many angels sit waiting to get the call for work and no call comes?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Luke 10:38-42

This is not just for women, men can also have these traits.

v. 38-42 Jesus and the disciples went to the home of Mary and Martha.  Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet while Martha was busy getting everything ready.  Martha was distracted by everything she had to do.  Martha came up to Jesus and asked "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"  Jesus answered "Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Our world is very busy.  I know many moms out there that say yes to every church, school or social event and then are stressed about making 5 dozen cupcakes the day of an event.  When Jesus has to say your name twice, really listen up.  Martha was a people pleaser, her to do list must have been a mile long.  Sometimes when you focus on the details you miss out on the most important one.  Please learn to say no to things that God is not wanting for you.  We are not called to do everything all the time.   Just think if we did everything then there is no room for others to step up and help.  God does not want us to say yes to everyone else, but no to spending time with Him.  There is nothing more important than that.  I am more of a Mary.  I believe Mary was one that looked at the flowers while walking by a field while Martha was too busy to notice.  She also probably didn't care too much for having a spotless house.  I make sure I spend time with God, some days all I get in are my prayers but most days I spend a good amount of time reading the bible and making notes.  Although, I tend to put off things like cleaning when I really should be doing something.  So I think we are to be a balance of both women.

You are the only one to make your schedule.

Mary was at Jesus' feet, not beside Him or sitting above Him.  We should readily come to His feet and dwell in His peace.  Sitting still we can grasp the full knowledge He is sharing with us, yet when we are busy there is no real time for this. 

"This posture benefits me when I think of what I was, what I am, what I must be, what my Lord is, and what He is to me"                                                                                            Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

"Oh, to be more with Jesus! This is true life.
Oh, to hear Jesus more!  This is true service.
Oh, to love Jesus more!  This is true treasure."
                                                                                                                         Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

"The greater the submission, the more grace.  If there be one hollow in the valley lower than another, there the waters gather."  Bishop Hall

Luke 10:25-37

v. 25-29 One of the religious leaders asked Jesus "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus had him repeat what was written in the law.  We are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.  We are also to love our neighbor.  The man asked "And who is my neighbor?" 

v. 30-35 Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan.  "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper.  Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have." 

At any point the Samaritan could have stopped: he showed compassion by stopping, bandaged the man's wounds, pouring on oil and giving him wine, put him on his donkey and took him to an inn, the next day he gave the inn keeper coins to take care of the man while he was away, then he was going to come back and pay for any additional expenses that the inn keeper had for taking care of the man.  He went above and beyond what most of us would do.  Most of us do not have the time to do all of these.  I ask all of us, what do you have time to do?  There are many ways to help people with whatever time, money, and energy you have.  Do what you can and God can have others help as well.

This is a very familiar story for most people.  Looking deeper into each role in the story is very interesting.

To the religious leader asking the question............the wounded man was a subject to discuss.
To the robbers.........................................................the wounded man was someone to use & exploit.
To the religious man that walked by......................the wounded man was a problem to be avoided.
To the innkeeper.....................................................the wounded man was a customer to serve for a fee.
To the Samaritian...................................................the wounded man was a human being worth being cared for and loved.
To Jesus......................................................................all of them and all of us were worth dying for.
                                                                                                                                               NIV notes
Three principles of loving your neighbor:
  • Lack of love is often easy to justify, even though it is never right
  • Our neighbor is anyone of any race, creed, or social background who is in need
  • Love means acting to meet the person's need.                                                            NIV notes
v. 36-37 Jesus asked the religious leader "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"  The man replied "The one who had mercy on him."  Did you notice that the leader could not even say the word Samaritan?  Since there was such hatred between the two groups, this is a strong example for us to love all no matter what. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Being truly thankful

Thankfulness to God can become stagnant if you don't apply the Bible to your life.  If you don't start to change your problem areas with His resources you will be stuck for years or decades in the same rut.  Transform your thankfulness into action by taking an issue and digging into the Word, then move on to the next area.  Look at the Concordance in the back of the bible or and type in what you are having problems with (anger, jealously, gossip, pride, etc.)  They don't have to be completely fixed just not consumed with your time and mind so you can move on to better things.  What we focus on determines our words, our actions and our path.

Luke 10:1-24

v. 2 Jesus told all the 72 disciples "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send our workers into His harvest field."  We are not only to spread the Good News we are to pray for others to do the same.  There is no unemployment in God's service.  There is work for everyone.  Every corner of the world needs workers. 

v. 3 "Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves"  We are to be extremely careful because we will meet opposition from many people.  The ones that are the closest can cause the most harm.  We are to be alert at all times and face enemies with love and compassion instead of aggression.

v. 8-9 "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, The kingdom of God is near you."  We are to be gracious to others and tell people about God to help heal their hearts.

v. 12-15 Jesus is giving warning to those who choose to turn away from Him.  He compares those towns to Sodom a very wicked town that God destroyed, but the towns that turn away from Jesus will suffer more that Sodom did.

v. 16 "He who listens to you listens to Me; he who rejects you rejects Me; but he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me."  We are not to take it personally that others don't want to follow God.  We are workers and the harvest is all around us. 

v. 17-20 The 72 disciples came back and said that the demons submitted to them.  Jesus gave a warning that pride would not get in their way.  "Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."  What ever you do on earth will not be as important as the fact that your name is written in the Book of Life.  No matter what gifts we are given, we need to remember who gave them to us. 

v. 21 Jesus said "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."  His truth is for all.  Many rewards on earth go to the elite, but in God's kingdom rewards are for all regardless of position or abilities. 

v. 22 The world can not truly see Jesus.  He reveals Himself to those who will heed the call. 

v. 24 Jesus said "For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."  There are many unfortunately that are in the public eye that seem to be all noise and no substance.  We are to compare everything with God's word so we know who to be listening to in the first place.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Luke 9:28-62

v. 28-30 Jesus took some of the disciples up a mountain and Moses and Elijah appeared.  Moses represented the law and Elijah the prophets. 

v. 35 A voice from above said "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him."  We should test all things we hear against the Word so that we know what is truth and not be led astray. 

v. 37 The next day they came down from the mountain.  I would think that after seeing what happened on the mountain they wouldn't want to come down.  When you are in the pure peace of God you do not want to leave for anything that this world has to offer.  Although if we stay on the mountain top we limit our ability to help others in the valley.  We need time for renewal but we always have to come back down. 

v. 38-41 The disciples tried to heal the boy and could not even with the power Jesus gave them.  Did they doubt that they could do it?  I don't know.  What I do know is that there are things we will never be able to do in this world that is why it is so important to turn toward God. 

v. 44-46 Right after Jesus told the disciples that He was going to be betrayed into the hands of men they started arguing which one of them is the greatest!  It seems like this entire time they were not listening to what Jesus had to say, they were only doing what most of us would do today. 

v. 47-48 Jesus took a child and had him stand next to Him and said "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the one who sent Me.  For he who is least among you all-he is the greatest."  This is a world view 180.  They apparently needed a child like lesson.  Caring for others is a measure of our greatness in the Kingdom. 

v. 49-50 The disciples pointed out that someone not in their group was driving out demons in Jesus' name and that they tried to stop him, he is not one of us.  This must have been devastating to their pride.  The NIV notes say that 9 of the disciples had not been able to remove demons.  Here is this man doing what they could not and he wasn't even a disciple.  Do not let jealous take hold, it's roots go to the deepest parts and cling on for dear life.  There is no room for jealousy in God's kingdom.  Not all of us are gifted in the same areas even if we want to be.  God gave each of us a gift.  If you do not know yours yet you just haven't found it.   

v. 51-55 Jesus set out for Jerusalem and went to a Samaritan village and they rejected Him since He was on the way to Jerusalem.  The Jews and Samaritans hated each other.  Jewish travelers usually went out of their way to avoid Samaritan towns while Jesus just went right on through.  The disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy the town.  Jesus rebuked them and they just went to another town.  Jesus did not come to destroy, He came to bring life.  Judgment is for God alone.  When you are given a course of action, you have to move steadily toward your destination regardless of the hazards that you may encounter. 

v. 59-62 Jesus says to a man "Follow Me."  The man replied "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."  Right away there was an excuse.  Was it a good reason?  Worldly yes, Kingdom no.  Jesus responded "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."  This is one of the most interesting things for me in the bible.  When I was first learning about the bible things seemed so harsh including this one.  We only know one side of death and we grieve for loved ones which is only natural.  There is another side and how it pertains to the entire Kingdom I do no know but I believe that it is a small part on that side.  It is only the beginning of eternity.  Jesus says "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."  Today we do not have to physically leave our home and families most of the time.  It is our choice to pick our priority while here on earth.  God wants 100%, what percentage will you offer Him?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quote - Chad Beadles

"It is not the limitations of the potential we are created with that defines our success, it is the degree to which we insist upon achieving it."

Father of a boy who knew nothing about football, never had seen a game, has ADHD and is now an outstanding defensive lineman.

Luke 9:1-27

Jesus is sending out the disciples to preach the Kingdom of God, cure diseases and drive out demons.  He tells them that they are not to take anything with them so they have to rely on others. 

v. 5 Jesus says "If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them" Pious Jews would do this after passing through Gentile cities to show their separation form Gentile practices.  If the disciples did this in a Jewish town it would show their separation from Jews who rejected the Messiah.  It also showed that they were not responsible for how people responded to their message.  If the message is rejected by all, we are not to blame if we presented it correctly.  We must move on to others who may be open to the Word.  Do not let people get you down.

v. 10-11 There was large crowd that had been listening to Jesus speak and it was getting late in the day.  They had followed Him and instead of Jesus telling them to go away He welcomed them.  How do we treat people who interrupt us; as a nuisance or a reason for our ministry/life?  This is something I need to work on.  The disciples suggested that the people go to the town to get food and lodging.  Jesus said "You give them something to eat."  That must have seemed like an unusual request.  They were supposed to feed at least 5,000 people with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.    Jesus offered what appeared to be an impossible task.  They responded with what they did not have, food or money. 

v. 18-20 Jesus asked the disciples who the people thought He was.  Then he asked Peter "Who do you say I am?"  Jesus wants each of us to take a stand in our belief and say who He is. 

v. 23-24 "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it."  To take up our cross today is to put aside selfish desires and follow Him.  If your present life is the most important to you, you will do anything to protect it.   

v. 26 "If anyone is ashamed of Me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."  Ouch!  This seems harsh but is only the truth.  Those that deny Him now, He will deny in the end.

How do you respond to Jesus, with what you don't have or what you will do?  Don't let your lack of resources blind you from your potential. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Luke 8:40-56

v. 43-48 Jesus was walking through a crowd and someone had touched him and He stopped.  The crowd was almost crushing Him so why did He stop?  He felt power leave Him.  Jesus asked "Who touched me?"  Jesus knew who had touched His cloak.  He wants us to come forward and not shy away.  The people all denied they had touched Him until a woman stepped up and fell to His feet.  The woman told why she had touched Jesus' cloak and said that she had been healed.  It is interesting to me that Jesus was in such a large crowd that many people must have bumped into Him, although no power left Him until someone with faith came to Him.  I don't think He will release His power until someone is brave enough to come up to Him and ask.  Jewish law prohibited men from being near women who were unclean.  This woman had been "unclean" for 12 years so she must have been alone for all those years.  Jesus showed that women did not make Him unclean and they were no longer second class citizens. 

v. 49-56 Jesus had been on His way to heal a young girl.  He delayed to find out who had touched His cloak.  We are to be faithful in our waiting even when it looks bleak.  Do not lose hope.  He was told the girl had died and told the father "Don't be afraid; just believe and she will be healed."  Jesus told the crowd that the girl was only sleeping, not dead and they laughed at Him.  Jesus spoke "My child, get up!" and her spirit returned and she at once stood up.  The father was brave to come to Jesus since he was the ruler of a synagogue and could have lost his position.  When tragedy occurs we then may fall away from our preconceived notions to find where we should have been the entire time.

"Jesus never disappoints those who wait for Him.  Jesus never refuses those who welcome Him.  Jesus is near us now: will you not open the doors of your hearts to receive Him?" Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

" When the inhabitants of Mentone desired a visit from the Prince of Savoy they made a way for him over the mountains, hills were tunneled and valleys bridged.   If we would really welcome the Lord Jesus, we must make a road for Him by abasing our pride, elevating our thoughts, removing our evil habits and preparing our hearts.  Never did a  soul cast up a highway for the Lord, and then fail to enjoy His company"  Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Luke 8:26-39

v. 27 Jesus was met be a demon possessed man.  This man had been living in the tombs, he was an outcast. 
v. 28 When the man saw Jesus he cried out and fell to Jesus' feet.  The man said to Jesus "I beg you, don't torture me."  Torture to a demon must be love and compassion.
v. 29 The people in the town had put the man in chains, they probably feared him.  He kept breaking free and the demons made him go to solitary places.  The devil wants you to think that you are all alone and wants to get you away from anyone that could be of help.  When you feel like you are alone then it's easier for him to work. 
v. 30-31 Jesus asked what the man's name is and he said his name was Legion because many demons had gone into him.  Names were very important back then.  Now we name children what we think sounds good.  They had meaning behind each name.  A legion was a unit of 3,000-6,000 men in the Roman army.  The demons begged Jesus not to order them to go into the Abyss.  The Abyss is mentioned in Revelation 9:1 & 20:1-9.  The demons knew about the Abyss and did not want to go there.  Why did Jesus not send them there when He had the power?  I think that He knew what His mission was and it did not include banishing demons at that moment to the Abyss.  God's timing is impossible for us to understand. 
v. 32-33 The demons begged Jesus to put them into a herd of pigs and He did.  When that happened the pigs rushed over a steep bank and went into the lake and drowned. 
v. 35-39 The man was now at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind.  The people were afraid to see such a massive change in this man that they were scared of what Jesus could do.  The man begged Jesus to go with Him but Jesus told him to "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."  Those people knew how the man was before Jesus came so they were amazed at his transformation. 

The worse off we are and the more profound transformation the more likely we are to affect other people so they see that it is not us but God that made the changes.