Angels watching

Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day one)

“Two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing. . .’Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen.  Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee?’ “–v 4-5

It was a mild rebuke, an expression of the amazement and frustration angels often have with us.  Why don’t humans listen to Christ?  Why don’t we trust Him?  These angels remembered  exactly where Jesus was when He said the words.  How could the disciples have missed it?

The Bible speaks often of the careful attention angels give humans.  “We have become a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.”–1 Corinthians 4:9.  Part of God’s purpose in the church is to demonstrate His wisdom to “principalities and powers in heavenly places.“–Ephesians 3:10.

It is one more reason for me to be brave.  At all moments, all choices and opportunities, angels are watching.

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Do Not Feed the Animals

Re:Verse reading–Luke 23:1-27, 32-49 (day seven)

This crowd is nonstop.  They begin by accusing Jesus with lies (v.2), and keep going through the whole chapter.  They insisted Jesus deserved death even though the officials called him innocent (v.5, 18, 23).  Vehemently they demanded Jesus pay, and when they didn’t get what they want they yelled louder.  The whole scene is infuriating.

The unjust hate makes you want to take a stand for Jesus, but never engage the enraged.  When people behave like animals they cannot reason.  If you inject yourself you will be bitten.  The best thing you can do is engage with Jesus like the thoughtful criminal at Jesus’s side.  You will know much more peace in life if you will engage with Jesus instead of engaging the mob.

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Darkness

lightstock_88262_medium_mikel“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land…” Luke 23:44

It was the great day of the Lord fallen on Jesus’ shoulders. That’s what Luke wants us to see in the darkness (Amos 8:9). This was much more than the noble death of an innocent man, but the wrath of God poured out; it was judgement day. Not just anyone’s judgment day, but everyone’s, yours and mine, with Jesus receiving the full brunt of sin’s reward.The grace we receive has never been free. Jesus died in the darkness, so we could live in the light.

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Hearts Ready to Respond

Re:Verse reading–Luke 23:1-27, 32-49 (day five) There is an interesting similarity and a dramatic contrast between Herod and the second thief on the cross. Both had heard the stories and testimonies of who Jesus was. Vs. 8 Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. Vs. 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” The words about Jesus had differing effects on their hearts. One’s heart was hardened and prideful, while the other’s was open and humbled. Jesus’ response to each of these men was drastically different. Silence to Herod. Salvation and promise to the thief.

As we engage and interact with our friends, neighbors, and others, we must look for hearts ready to respond to the testimony and gospel of Jesus. When we encounter those ready to respond, may we point them to the power and promises of salvation in Jesus Christ.

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He is God

Re:Verse reading–Luke 23:1-27, 32-49 (day four)

He was one of the primary players in our story…Pilate.  In his own mind, he was a man of importance and great authority.  As Rome’s representative, Pilate was responsible for maintaining order in Judea.  The truth of the matter was that Pilate was on shaky ground due to his mishandling of several prior incidents.  Tiberius Caesar would not tolerate another misstep.  Pilate was under great pressure to maintain order with the Jewish religious leaders.  He even addressed Jesus, telling Him that he (Pilate) had authority over His life.  Pilate was not in control…God had preordained the events in eternity and even the prophets had foretold the course of events.

How often do we try to take control of our lives?  Thinking that we can handle the outcome or control the direction of our lives?  There is a word…it is sovereignty.  God is sovereign over all things.  He has ordered our lives and history and we need to remember that He is God…and we are not!

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ACT

Re:Verse reading–Luke 23:1-27, 32-49 (day three) 

“If men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” It’s never the right moment, is it? You’ll wait till things settle down, till your courage wells up, till your money runs out, till your ship comes in. Are you allergic to now? You’re not going to trust him now, you won’t go with him into the unknown at this moment, you’re not ready to re-orient your confidence from the temporal to the eternal at once. That is your decision. But the present has a short shelf life. Your heart’s not getting any softer. Jesus is near now, not then; here, not there; to you, not to that other person you’re competing with. When this moment passes, hearts get hard, and doors close.

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Lent

Re:Verse reading–Luke 23:1-27, 32-49 (day two)  

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. vs. 33

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent. This word actually means “Spring” but is most closely associated with the days leading up to Easter. As with other “seasons” of the church, Lent is designed to help think about and to aid in telling the story of Jesus. When we consider Jesus’ life and ministry we are amazed at his wisdom, insight, integrity, and divinity. When you put that into the context of his suffering and the atonement we received as a result you get an even greater picture of the sovereignty of Jesus. As we prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter, I would like to encourage you to consider the cross. Consider this gentle lamb who willingly placed himself there for each of us. It is truly overwhelming, and it should be. Thanks be to God, however, the story doesn’t end there. Will you join me as we lead up to the resurrection and consider how we can love Jesus more?

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Criminal on a cross

Re:Verse reading–Luke 23:1-27, 32-49 (day one) 

“We are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”–v 41.

Traditionally we call him a thief.  The word actually means “evil doer, so murder, robbery or kidnapping are just as likely.  His story lifts up the grace of God.  Mercy “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23)  Patient God. Long-suffering.  Pursuing a man to the door of death.

Marvelous miracle!  In the chaos and pain of crucifixion, this man still has the perception ( gift from God) to perceive his own sinfulness and the perfection of Christ.  As God opened His eyes, he called out to Christ in saving faith.

The Puritans said of this death-bed conversion, “To keep us from despair there is one story in the Bible, but to keep us from presumption there is only one.”

I must not delay!  When He comes near, I must receive Him.  Today is the day.  Now is the moment.

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Affluence

Re: Verse reading–Luke 16:19-31 (day seven)

“One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. -Luke 18:22-23

“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” -Luke 18:25

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. -1 Timothy 6:10

A simple concept exceedingly complex in practice.  Amoral monies unwittingly transform us into nasty devils.  With $3 in our bank account we battle pride, greed, gluttony, and selfishness in a single second.  This whiff of independence causes most to fall, all the while Jesus whispers

Be on guard
affluence is steering you away
from your God.

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Listen

Re: Verse reading–Luke 16:19-31 (day six) 

The last books (chronologically) in the Old Testament where written about 400 years before Jesus was born. The books of Moses were written another 1100 years before that. That was old then, and it is old now. Antiquated. But listen to how Jesus spoke of these Scriptures, “Moses and the prophets,” as if their words weren’t antiquated at all. These weren’t archaic voices from the ancients, but God-breathed words put to paper meant to quicken the dead hearts of men and women until the end of time. God’s voice is as clear and relevant now, as it was when He first inspired Moses and the prophets to write them.

When we come to God’s Word, we are not coming to an old thing, but we are coming to words spoken by a person, to us NOW. Let’s not take them for granted like the rich man and his brothers.

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