Friday, May 7, 2021

He Always Cares...

"But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him." - Luke 22:51
Would you ask a grieving widow who just lost her husband yesterday to drive you to a doctor appointment? Or would you ask someone who just lost their home in a tornado to make an encouraging  nursing home visit? In most cases the answer to both questions would be an emphatic no. Moments of personal pain and sorrow are rarely occasions to show concern for others.

As you read this passage in Luke 22, take time to consider the Lord's emotions and personal trauma. He has been betrayed, turned over to be beaten and crucified, soon to be completely abandoned by His closest friends. And yet, He stops everything to reach out and heal a servant's injured ear. Nothing in His life would deter Him from caring for others.

Have you ever refrained from pouring your heart out to the Lord my friend? Did you think that He might be too busy or that your problem was much too insignificant for His involvement? Learn from this event in the passion of our Lord that there is never a day or hour that He doesn't tremendously care for you and every problem in your life.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Give Thanks...

"And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, 'Take this, and divide it among yourselves... And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'" - Luke 22:17, 19
   We are inundated with ways to find happiness. The path to "good times" is wide and well traveled by more than one can count. When any occasion comes to express gratitude most people focus in on the bounty and blessings of life. Rarely is thanksgiving given for stressful and sorrowful days.

   Jesus knew the path that He was taking and the suffering that He was about to experience. The pain would be excruciating and the darkness would be overwhelming. Yet, recognizing the approaching cross, He lifted the cup and bread and gave thanks. Our Lord knew the way to the crown passed through the cross, and He was grateful for both.

   What are you grateful for today my friend? Can you only find happiness in sunshine and lollipops? Or have you found joy in Jesus as you experience the "good and the bad and the ugly"? Does your faith identify with God's orchestrating every event in life for your good? Isn't that what we embrace with the words of Romans 8:28? "And we know that for those who love God ALL THINGS work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  Maybe this was on Paul's mind when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Prepare for the Unexpected...

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” - Luke 21:34-36
I always had fun with my Dad. He was one of those guys that would let life so preoccupy him that he walked around in his own world. How could I pass up the opportunities to jump out of his closet or from behind a bush in the garden and scare the daylights out of him? Thankfully, he would just laugh it off and drift back into his world of thought. Dad was always unprepared for the unexpected.

The Lord will come for his Church and then after a time of world-wide judgment he will return to set up his kingdom. Both occasions will occur unexpectedly for most. When people become preoccupied with the pleasures and anxieties of life, they tend to drift into their own little world. Thoughts of the Lord's coming slip away and they're unprepared for the unexpected.

In truth, the Lord's return is expected. The time of his coming is unknown, therefore unexpected. Are you living in light of his return? Or have you allowed the pursuits of this life to lead you into your own little world? Even a believer can drift and be embarrassed when the Lord returns. "Be always on the watch" and pray for the daily strength to be prepared for the unexpected.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Give out of Love...

"And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." - Luke 21:3-4
In the competitive world of politics every candidate is put under the magnifying glass. Whenever an election year rolls around the public suddenly becomes concerned with integrity, morality and charitable generosity. One area of interest is the pattern of church donations made by such wealthy personalities. When their abundance is carefully considered, the size of their gifts often seems to fade.

Jesus gives us a clear lesson on sincere, selfless, spiritual stewardship. The gift is only as significant as the the heart that gives. It's not how much we share as how much we sacrifice. Giving should never be about appeasing our conscience, it should always be about loving the Lord.

The IRS received an anonymous check some years ago with a note that read: "Enclosed is ten dollars of back taxes I failed to pay; if I still can't sleep, I'll send you the rest". Do you give to the Lord so you can sleep at night my friend? Try giving because you love Him with a heart of gratitude. Yes, your giving will go up till it hurts, but your joy will be even greater and God's blessings will be overwhelming... read Malachi 3:10 

Monday, May 3, 2021

All are alive...

"But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” - Luke 20:37-38
While speaking at a funeral service for a deceased church deacon, the preacher wanted to emphasize the departure of the soul from the body. He said, "Only the shell remains, but the nut is gone". He meant one thing, but said something else as well. Life after death is a timeless truth found throughout the Bible. It is stated overtly by Jesus and subtly by Moses, but either way, to God... all are alive.

There will be a resurrection and Jesus spoke of this coming event regularly. Some have said that this doctrine is strictly found in the New Testament. But what we find in this passage is a clear reference by Jesus to the Old Testament belief in this truth. Moses meant one thing, but he said something else as well. We believe in the God of the living, and to him... all are alive.

There are two thoughts to consider today. Every soul will exist eternally. The question is; will you live eternally in heaven with Jesus, or will you live eternally in hell alone? The choice is yours to make, but only in this life. The second thought concerns your loved one who knew the Lord and has stepped into eternity ahead of you. You may be assured and comforted in the words of Paul in Philippians 1:23, "I desire to depart and be with Christ". Yes, they are with the Lord, because to him... all are alive. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Citizenship 101...

"He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” - Luke 20:25
Throughout history battles have been waged between religious communities and governments. America was founded by those who sought freedom to worship without state intervention. In our own day countries in the Middle East are torn apart because of religious differences with national leadership. Does the Bible have an answer for this timeless dilemma?

The answer to the above concern is a definitive yes. Jesus gave us a wise and irrefutable word of counsel in the above passage. While Caesar was a tyrant and madman, Jesus called for taxes to paid and respect given. The state was to be acknowledged with responsible citizenship. Yet, at the same time God was receive faithful worship and service from His people.

In your frustration with the government, are you still a responsible citizen my friend? Along with the above words, give careful thought to Romans 13:1-2"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." Honor God by being a good citizen and faithful believer.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Do you weep?

"And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it," - Luke 19:41
There isn't a week that goes by, when a tear-jerking video shows up on Facebook. You might see a soldier returning home, surprising a child in some family reunion. Or you might see the amazing rehabilitation of a badly injured young person. And then there are those sad moments when a loyal dog is laying beside the grave it's master. While stories of surprise, courage or grief may bring tears, will we weep over the unseen?

Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem and wept. What was it that He saw? He saw the lost souls of people. He saw the blind and selfish hearts that rejected God's grace. He saw the coming judgment with all the pain and anguish. Jesus saw the unseen opportunity for peace slip away from His people and He wept.

How consumed are you with the work of Christ and the souls of people my friend? Do you see their lost condition, blind hearts and impending judgment? Do you see the promise of peace slipping away as they reject the Savior? Do your eyes see the unseen plight of a harassed and helpless crowd (Matthew 9:36)? Never become so ministry conditioned that you no longer weep over the souls of people.