WEEKEND READING – 7-31-22

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!” Psalm 150:3-5 NKJV

Have you ever noticed that God’s commands and descriptions of praise (a form of worship) in the Bible, is always loud? When was the last time you got Loud for Jesus? Just a thought.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Psalms chapters 148-150 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

Praise to the Lord from Creation

148 Praise[a] the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
14 And He has exalted the [b]horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.

[c]Praise the Lord!

Praise to God for His Salvation and Judgment

149 Praise[d] the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise in the assembly of saints.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the [e]humble with salvation.

Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the written judgment—
This honor have all His saints.

[f]Praise the Lord!

Let All Things Praise the Lord

150 Praise[g] the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty [h]firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the [i]trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

[j]Praise the Lord!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 148:1 Heb. Hallelujah
  2. Psalm 148:14 Strength or dominion
  3. Psalm 148:14 Heb. Hallelujah
  4. Psalm 149:1 Heb. Hallelujah
  5. Psalm 149:4 meek
  6. Psalm 149:9 Heb. Hallelujah
  7. Psalm 150:1 Heb. Hallelujah
  8. Psalm 150:1 expanse of heaven
  9. Psalm 150:3 cornet
  10. Psalm 150:6 Heb. Hallelujah

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2 –

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 7-30-22

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” Psalm 145:18-19 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Psalms chapters 145-147 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

A Song of God’s Majesty and Love

A Praise of David.

145 I will [a]extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is [b]unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
[c]I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And [d]on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall [e]utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.

10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all [f]generations.

14 The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.

The Happiness of Those Whose Help Is the Lord

146 Praise[g] the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in [h]a son of man, in whom there is no [i]help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He [j]turns upside down.

10 The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

Praise to God for His Word and Providence

147 Praise[k] the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their [l]wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who prepares rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens that cry.

10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders,
And fills you with [m]the finest wheat.

15 He sends out His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes;
17 He casts out His hail like [n]morsels;
Who can stand before His cold?
18 He sends out His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.

[o]Praise the Lord!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 145:1 praise
  2. Psalm 145:3 Beyond our understanding
  3. Psalm 145:5 So with MT, Tg.; DSS, LXX, Syr., Vg. They
  4. Psalm 145:5 Lit. on the words of Your wondrous works
  5. Psalm 145:7 eagerly utter, lit. bubble forth
  6. Psalm 145:13 So with MT, Tg.; DSS, LXX, Syr., Vg. add The Lord is faithful in all His words, And holy in all His works
  7. Psalm 146:1 Heb. Hallelujah
  8. Psalm 146:3 A human being
  9. Psalm 146:3 salvation
  10. Psalm 146:9 Lit. makes crooked
  11. Psalm 147:1 Heb. Hallelujah
  12. Psalm 147:3 Lit. sorrows
  13. Psalm 147:14 Lit. fat of wheat
  14. Psalm 147:17 fragments of food
  15. Psalm 147:20 Heb. Hallelujah

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2 –

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Prophecy and Mites – 7-29-22

“Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.” Luke 21:14-15 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 21 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Widow’s Two Mites

21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.[a] So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings [b]for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple

Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was [c]adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ [d]Therefore do not [e]go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will [f]answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or [g]resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

The Destruction of Jerusalem

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

The Parable of the Fig Tree

29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

The Importance of Watching

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with [h]carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may [i]be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 21:2 Gr. lepta, very small copper coins
  2. Luke 21:4 NU omits for God
  3. Luke 21:5 decorated
  4. Luke 21:8 NU omits Therefore
  5. Luke 21:8 follow
  6. Luke 21:14 say in defense
  7. Luke 21:15 withstand
  8. Luke 21:34 dissipation
  9. Luke 21:36 NU have strength to

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

We are still in Passion Week, with today’s reading and it is still full of some of Jesus’s strongest most difficult teachings – and today, prophecies. We have heard some of these in part earlier in the book and now they are expanded on and if God repeats it, then it must be important.
And today is FULL of extremely important passages!

Some have argued that the widow’s mites, story should not be grouped together with these other extremely important prophecies. However, if we look back at the series of teaching where “The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…” we see that a poor widow, generous giving, pouring yourself out to God, and trusting God for your provisions without worry (because you know He cares for you) are many of the things Jesus said make up the kingdom of heaven.
And Passion Week is one of the times in the history of the world where heaven and earth collide and the earth manifests in God’s glory!
Prophecy also often over laps earth and heaven. So it is fitting and powerful to have this poor widow listed with the prophecies Jesus speaks.

1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

It is the end of the week as well, and time to start thinking about the fact that this weekend we will be going into the house of the Lord and receiving a word from God and giving to Him in worship.  I know I need to receive from God greater things than just a word. I am praying for BIG things! Big things! God be glorified, kind of things – Things that will have eternal impact and transform lives forever, kind of big things. As we studied, if we want God to be generous with us, we must be generous with Him. Not because we have to, and not because we are doing it out of duty, AND not because we are expecting.
Do not tithe as a financial insurance policy. I recently heard a few preachers call it that. And I am not mad at them for grabbing part of this concept but not the whole. Yes, if you tithe there is a blessing that is promised and God never lies. It is true. But the word is very clear that we should give out of love – our love should compel us to worship in giving.
God has shown us over and over the amount that we give means nothing to him – he has all the silver and gold. He can take it. The percentage of our offering like here with the widow and the lady with the alabaster box of oil – he takes note of because where your treasure is, there is your heart. These women gave from their hearts!

Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,”

First of all, when we read the word Temple – we can immediately pull all temple passages together into this. As well as the tabernacle.  In Jesus’s day it was the second temple, not as magnificent as Salomon’s Temple. But it is was still adorned with beauty and art work. I say this because as a Christian women, I dress modestly and NOT with and obsession of the styles and cares of this world. However, I am the temple – you and I are temples. If God adorn and made beautiful the first (the Garden of Eden) and the second (the tabernacle), and Solomon’s Temple and the temple of Jesus’s day, and the temple in Ezekiel…  AND IF, Jesus clothes the lilies and fields with beauty and splendor – how much more should we care for and make our bodies beautiful for Him. Not in vanity, but in worship. And finished with a warning: NOT IN VANITY or you will be distracted and miss the deep things of God – ONLY in WORSHIP!

Moreover, the modern church building is a symbol of God’s temple and we come into it to worship Him. We care for it and used to adorn it – although more and more sanctuaries are painted black and more and more darkness creeps in. And more people are showing up “as they are” – which is great if you are just coming to the Lord… But if you are entering into worship the Bible says to clean yourself. If you are entering into worship, dress for the Lord out of respect for Him. I was told it is an old fashion concept. But it is Biblically sound. We disrespect the house of the Lord – both the church building and our bodies and expect that God will accept our worship of cries and vain words and money?! He wants our Love and respect.
And if we do not give it to Him, after grace abounding and multiple chances for us to get it right, HE WILL TAKE DOWN THE TEMPLE. If it is the glorious one Solomon built, lost to time by the Lord’s hand in the siege by the Babylonians – or if it is the loss of the temple of Jesus’s day, destroyed by Rome in the year 70.  Even our local churches – disrespect God long enough and not repent, God will take them down. It might be in the people, it might be the building. But God will not let you disrespect Him forever and call yourself His church. And finally – we are the temple, but if we also disrespect God and fail to love Him but get carried away with other things – He’ll take us down as well. Pride and sin do come before a fall and death.

“These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

So Jesus prophesies the destruction of the temple, because Jerusalem rejected Him. And the final symbol of the temple is Jesus Christ, Himself. As he said you tear it down, He will rebuild it – and He did, He rebuild it in us – who believe.
In Lot’s time God said He would spare the city if he found a handful of righteous people. There were a handful of righteous people in Jerusalem when Jesus prophesied this, when he died AND when Rome tore it down and conquered the city.
Something the United States of American should consider, if they think God will spare American based on a repentant remnant, maybe they should read the scriptures more carefully. The USA was raised up once as the church to the world, sending out missionaries, feeding the poor and spreading the kingdom of heaven. No church, not in right standing with God, will stand through the judgments and shaking that God is performing. Those of us who believe must pray more fervently and with fasting. 
And all of us around the globe must pray for the USA – its fall will impact the world (if the world likes it or not). Now we know there is no USA in the end time wars and prophecies and we know it will fall eventually. But so many lives are still unreached – let us pray and hold back the evil one and pray for ALL nations.

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
And He said: 
“Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”
10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.”

And every last one of those has come to pass. Jesus never said it would be immediately after these thing – but He just said after. He said back then we were in the end time, and it is so much later now. But is it the end of the age? No, much still needs to happen.
Are we close to the Rapture? In Thessalonians we read about the righteous being caught up by Jesus in the sky and we call it the rapture. And since no man know the day or hour of that we are always very close to it and should be ready.
Be ready – because verse 16 says: some of us will be put to death. 10 disciples were put to death. John was boiled in oil, but did not die – later died of old age. (and Judas killed himself). That makes a track record of 100% died for Him.  Paul also died for him – they did not touch a hair on his head, but they removed his head.
You and I may not die for Him – lucky, aren’t we? But dying for Him IS WHAT WE ARE SIGNING UP FOR. How quickly we forget in our world of psychological attacks and lacking in physical attacks. Despite the growing violence.
I am not ignorant – I see you all peaking at this blog and in some of your countries – Christians are already getting killed for the gospel. It is sadly not often spoke of. I see you – you are in my prayers. And I beseech all of you to also pray fervently for our brothers and sisters in the Lord, suffering and struggling everywhere. It often seem so silly that I type out my struggles in finances and obedience comfortably from my living room, blessed with a laptop and internet, so I can reach you – while some of you struggle for your life. God forgive me when I whine about my struggles – they are nothing compared to what is coming over the earth.

Now this next section is specific to the year 70 and Jerusalem – but also specific to the end of the age and Israel. Neither of which is where we are at. Israel is surrounded by enemies and the armies are mobilizing and starting to get into position. We are either close or the enemy is trying to scare us.

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Next Jesus speaks on His second Coming. Obviously we are reading about the first time He arrived. The rapture is not considered a coming. Some believe the rapture it will happen before the tribulation discussed in Revelations. Some believe it will happen during. Some believe the rapture will happen with the second coming.

25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

At risk of confusing you all, I did try to give you an overview of some of the believed timelines.
The truth is, that over and over in history the enemy has tried to reproduce these signs to get us as Christians to give up, because it was the end. We are to occupy until He comes. So it doesn’t matter if the end is now or if it is later. If we are ready, and we are doing His will – that is all that matters.

Let’s take another look at these signs – they are happening. Men are so fragile that just with the unknown of covid and locking us all down, man’s hearts failed and they killed themselves. So I ask God, How can man handle worse, without you? And he is said and shows us – man cannot. We must tell people about Jesus! We must! How will they know there is a way to endure?

29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

Which generation? Here is a point of much contention among theologians and believers. The disciple’s generation saw all of it except Jesus’s return. But they thought they would see His return so they had an urgency and a zeal. Sadly, we do not think we will see the return of our king and we are complacent.
Don’t we know we could be the generation? Many thought it would be the generation who survived the holocaust – well, they have not all died yet. But again – people also speak of the second coming as if it is the rapture. And they are two events – which may happen together or separate.
So much to consider.  But the second coming is after the Anti-Christ reign, that we know for sure. So we know we have time before the second coming.

But the rapture? We could be raptured today – are you ready? Have you told your family and neighbors? Are you watching and studying and looking for Jesus?! Are you seeking first the kingdom of God in both obedience and watching for these things?

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.”

Today we have some soul searching to do. Are we willing to die for Jesus? If not yet, Lord make us ready! And are we worthy to stand before the Son of Man? Oh Lord these are hard words. Because to become worthy, we must be counted worthy by our repentance, humility, and love for Him which is shown through our faith. (Back to Roman’s one – where our righteousness is counted to us by our faith!)

Let us think on these things and Jesus’s words over the weekend.

This weekend please join me for the last wisdom readings from Psalms (yes, we finish reading through the Psalms this weekend)! And I’ll be back with commentary of the Book of Luke on Monday – if the Lord tarries.  We will jump right in with the last supper and finish the book of Luke next week!

Have a blessed weekend.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Some of the Last Insights from Christ – 7-28-22

Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’?
Whoever falls on that stone will be
 broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Luke 20:17-18 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 20 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus’ Authority Questioned

20 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”

But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why [a]then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it was from.

And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to [b]vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 Now at [c]vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.

13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.”

And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”

17 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:

‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone’?

18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they [d]feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?

20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, [e]“Why do you test Me? 24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”

They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”

25 And He said to them, “Render[f] therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

The Sadducees: What About the Resurrection?

27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second [g]took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven [h]also; and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”

34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” 40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.

Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord?

41 And He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’

44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

Beware of the Scribes

45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 20:5 NU, M omit then
  2. Luke 20:9 tenant farmers
  3. Luke 20:10 Lit. the season
  4. Luke 20:19 M were afraid—for
  5. Luke 20:23 NU omits Why do you test Me?
  6. Luke 20:25 Pay
  7. Luke 20:30 NU omits the rest of v. 30.
  8. Luke 20:31 NU, M also left no children

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Passion Week is full of some of Jesus’s strongest most difficult teachings. Also, some passages that have been the most corrupted in people’s minds over the years, as the enemy attacks and tried to diminish the power of these words.

Speaking of diminishing the Word. The Bible apps are prone to hacking and at some point I am sure the words we get from the internet will be corrupt. This is one reason I promote memorizing. But also for spiritual warfare we should also be able to quote the word.
But my point is, I am copying the word from one internet site to here. Be the double check and make sure it lines up with your paper Bible. If you do not have a paper Bible – you need to get one soon.

Once the word is corrupted in our lives, by false teachers, hacked apps, and people who just do not know it – then the authority of Jesus comes under question and Christianity is attacked.

1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Jesus’s authority has been questioned since the beginning.
It never diminishes His power or the power of His name – what it does is add doubt to muck up faith. Jesus uses a parable (His own words, which we have access to and can use as well) as well as the old Holy Scriptures to defend His authority. And you and I need to learn to use the word, when we are in a conflict, or trying to be tricked, or under questioning.
The word, the pure word is sharper than any two edged sword. Watch:

Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.”

So, first Jesus uses his own words (we cannot do that, our words are not as powerful. Jesus IS the WORD).  This is my least favorite parable, I am sure I have said before. Probably because we are the vinedressers and the vinedressers are killed in the end after acting foolishly. It is a warning, to take heed to. Like I have said before we must walk out our walk daily, with humility and prayer and repentance, or else, like Paul before he was saved, we may be deceived into thinking we are serving God while grieving Him.
As much as people did not understand the parables, they did understand the spirit of the lesson! As we see when we finish reading verse 16:

16b And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”
17 Then He looked at them and said, 
“What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’? 18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.”

We must remember, it looks like the chief priests and scribes were out to get Jesus. You may wonder why Jesus did not just avoid them. But look past the people to see the enemy was using them and Jesus was still trying to save them. He gave them the word even though he knew they would reject it. It is a spiritual battle. We battle NOT against flesh and blood.

So, we should give the salvation message to others even if we think they will reject it. And when they do, do not count it as a waste of time – even Jesus spent the time telling his enemies that He was there to save them. Yes, we must tell them. And if they accept Jesus, then slide away, we should tell them the salvation message again in all hope that this time they stay. Not holding it against them that they slipped away once before. But that is a message for another day>

Onto those tricky snakes trying to trip up Jesus:

20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? 24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”
They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”
25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.”

I love watching prideful people try to trip up someone who is humble and wise. Pride gets in the way of wisdom, so prideful people seldom see the truth bomb coming their way. It is the Mic Drop moment. Right there.  Another reason to work on being humble. Pride messes you all up.

27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”

Speaking of lacking wisdom. The Sadducees did not believe in life after death – it was a point of contention and they could not seem to get past it. They interjected themselves at Paul’s first trial and it worked for his advantage and made them look stupid. And here they are trying to help the Pharisees and again they just look like bumbling idiots and a record player caught in a loop. Enough about the afterlife fools.

34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”
39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” 40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.”

Jesus’s answer is literally saying they have asked the wrong question – because that is not how it is and that is not what any of this is about. Jesus does take the time to answer so that for the rest of time people understand the spirit world is not like this one and we have our eyes fixed on the wrong things.
It brings me back to the passage of the seed and the cares of this world distract us – distract us from the moment we are born and are hungry. Our care at that moment is food, not Jesus. And we begin to choke out the seeds of spirit immediately and are then taught and grow in an environment that is distracted by this physical world. The problem is – the physical world is not as real as the spirit.

Even Jesus takes today’s reading and pulls back the curtain between the physical and spiritual and shows us some spiritual truths:

41 And He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms:
‘The 
Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

Go ahead and meditate on that in prayer today.

45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Beware of becoming like these scribes. Yeah we need to beware of them, but prideful people really are a turn off and we tend to avoid them anyway.  Beware of becoming like them.

Now, I would like to circle back to verse 36. The reason is entire doctrines have been built on this one lonely verse. The point of the passage is to tell us we are not thinking of heaven like we should – that heave in spirit world and NOT full of the curse, deceptions and lies that our physical world holds.

About the time the scrolls were found and translated, there was the pride of old king James interjecting himself AND the human race had LESS of a command over language than the Greeks. This is why we often take verses back to the Greek and look at every word that word could be translated into.

36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”

If you want to take the word ANGELS in this sentence back to Greek, you cannot. The original manuscript does NOT say angels, nor does it say equal to the angels.  Other translations say “like angels”. Which might be closer.

“like [the] angels” = ἰσάγγελοι (isangeloi) Adjective – Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong’s 2465: Equal to or like the angels. From isos and aggelos; like an angel, i.e. Angelic.
AND when we look up “aggelos” – Strong’s 32: a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication, a pastor:–angel, messenger. And when looked up in a Greek Dictionary it add a critical piece of info: First, it means messenger/servant. Second, it means someone who announces. And third, it means, heavenly being or spirit.

So, verse 36 is NOT saying we become angels, and our loved ones do not either. We become heavenly beings – spirits. We live in heaven and serve God. Like the angels. Not literally but in simile, and similar representation.
I do think this is an important distinction. Because God painstakingly made each creature after its own kind, but humans He made in His image. And before we go down that rabbit hole we must note that the angels are singing “Holy. Holy. Holy.”  And in billions of years (or however long it has been) they keep singing the same song and never tire of it. And in Revelations it says when the redeemed of the Lord arrive, the redeemed will sing a new song and the angels cannot sing it, they do not know it, they have never experienced redemption.
Angels have fallen and sinned – and there is NO redemption plan for them. Only for us. If we become like angels we are no longer able to be redeemed and we will be thrown into the pit of hell. Therefore it is a rather important foundational point. We are carefully made and planned out. God did not put this much work into us to have us morph into something else.
We should be careful not to read something and not study it. So go ahead and add a note in your Bible that we become spiritual beings.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Give Yourself Generously to Jesus – 7-27-22

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:9-10 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 19 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House

19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up [a]and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, [b]make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he [c]made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all [d]complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The Parable of the Minas

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten [e]minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are [f]an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”

The Triumphal Entry

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to [g]Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who [h]bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house [i]is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 19:5 NU omits and saw him
  2. Luke 19:5 hurry
  3. Luke 19:6 hurried
  4. Luke 19:7 grumbled
  5. Luke 19:13 Gr. mna, same as Heb. minah, each worth about three months’ salary
  6. Luke 19:21 a severe
  7. Luke 19:29 M Bethsphage
  8. Luke 19:45 NU were selling, saying
  9. Luke 19:46 NU shall be

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.”

I love this! I love this so much. This man would be happy to just see Jesus, to just put his eyes on Jesus, nothing more. But Jesus invited himself to come over to his house and stay with Him.

I have been telling my testimony more and more lately – we overcome by the word of our testimony.  So as I think back to my childhood in the church – I was just happy to be there, to see what there was to see.  Quickly Jesus became real and invited himself into my life. Even though I was a sinner, even though I was a child. Then offenses happened and people pushed me out. And a lot of bad things happened to me. But this is not about my testimony – it is about Jesus, picking out the least likely and inviting himself in. Because over and over, Jesus picked me.

Now I am all grown up in the Lord, not yet where I will be, but not where I was. And every day I still seek to see Jesus. I run ahead to my Bible and I sit down and pour through it. I write notes and thoughts, I look up other things. I look up cross references. I double check my dates and my verses. And a few hours later I am still mulling it over in my mine and going back to it. And even after more hours I am chewing on a verse or two. And when my friends say – what are you thinking about? Out rattles a sermon or Bible study. Because even though Jesus has invited himself in, I still seek him in His word daily! And with the same zeal of short little Zacchaeus, running ahead as to NOT miss Him.

Are you excited when it is time to read?

But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Immediately the attack comes. The puppy wants to play, the neighbors are outside screaming, the phone rings. And more often than not it is ‘words’ that come to distract from The Word. Like actions come to distract from actions. For example, I get sick when I need to go do something.

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

But there is ONE action that breaks all distractions and breaks through – HUMILITY.
Yes, it is here again today. Zacchaeus repented in the most pure and humble way he could think of, he paid restitution. He gave unto God by giving to the poor and back to those he took too much from.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

It is the whole if you give, then you receive principle. Finances, talents, spiritual things, and salvation – they really are all the same with God. And there is SO MUCH to receive if you are generous with God.  

Luke made that connection and set the parable of the minas (‘talents’ in Matthew) next to the salvation of the generous tax collector. It’s all about giving of yourself generously and completely to God.

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’
15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’
20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”

We could dig around in here for a while.

First, did you know I have never read the word ‘minas’ before? Nope. I am MOST familiar with King James Version and it says “pounds” (how very English of Him!). I use many versions of the Bible for study but decided to use New King James for the Bible readings here. Strange to read the Bible and find a new word. Last year I think I used NKJV here but I was reading my paper Bible in King James – so I apparently missed it.

The wicked servant did not want this man to rule over him. He buried his share because it kept it out of his mind and he could pretend he was not ruled by him while he was gone away. Jesus needs our surrender. Surrender to His service and His will. He makes the interest grow or the profits grow, or the seed multiply. We merely need to be humbly repentant and submitted to Him.

Verse 26 obviously doesn’t mean all who have something, because the wicked servant had a mina. It means that if you are humble and generous with God, He is generous with you. And I you withhold yourself from God he withholds Himself from you.

This humble servitude and surrender is something He not only asks us for – it is something He practices.

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”
32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”
34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.”

In a time when kings arrived in gilded chariots with a parade of armed forced surrounding them and bands and singing and all sorts of show. Our king rode a colt, a donkey, or a jackass – whatever you call it… it’s pretty humble.

His parade was a bunch of disciples who were traveling with him and were travel dirty. They laid their clothes on the donkey, miss-matched mayhem, instead of fine purple cloth of the royalty of the day. It is fitting for a king who was born in a barn and laid in a feed troth, whose parent’s ripped apart their clothes to make a swaddle to wrap Him in.  Humility. It is key.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:
“ 
‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

At least they sang and worshiped. Our King doesn’t need fancy worship, fog machines and light shows. Our God needs truth. Just be honest with Him and love Him. Worship is giving to God from a right state of the heart and not just singing. You can worship in giving of tithes and offerings too. Again being generous with God.

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”
40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Oh yes, prophecy must be fulfilled – even if it is stones who cry out. You see Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem at this time fulfills prophesy. He had already been there, but now it is different. This is the beginning of Passion Week. 7 days later He will be rising from the grave. Yes, Jesus knows this. He has tried to talk to the goofballs he is teaching but they think this is the start of some militant of governmental takeover – they still have not put the pieces together.

The Bible does not say if Jesus and His disciples visited Jerusalem during the 3 years of His ministry. Jewish men were supposed to go for the feasts and holidays (some when they could while other were required), yet this is the first Passover that we see Him showing up in the city for.  It would seem by the reactions of the disciples, they had not been to the city either.

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

If our years begin at the Birth of Christ, then this is the year 33 (assuming Jesus started His ministry at 30 and was in ministry for 3 years). 40 years from Jesus speaking this (more or less) Rome overthrows Jerusalem and tears down the temple because they failed to know the time of their visitation. SO much was about to happen to that beautiful place in 40 years and it would be physically and spiritually unrecognizable after the changes. God would give His all for us, and Jerusalem would give her all. Let us know the time we are in that we will not fail – and let us surrender to His will.

45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ 

Jesus had been in the temple before. He was dedicated there as a baby. He got lost there, teaching, when he was 12 years old. And I am sure He was there when it was first build – when Nehemiah built walls with a sword in one hand. Or when Ezra was the Priest. I am sure He was there when Solomon built the first one and when David drafted the plans.
I cannot even imagine what he was feeling. These are big emotions even for us humans.

After Jesus cleaned it out, he set up camp there – yep, He came back daily and taught. The people were hungry. Hungry like the little guy Zacchaeus.

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.

Luke sets up a structure in His writing comparing those who gave all with those who didn’t. We’ve been reading it for a few days now.  We see that pouring out our oil and surrendering all, reaps earthly rewards and well as spiritual. And that loving things of this world and ourselves gets in the way and we lose everything in the end – Something these chief priests, scribes and leaders were about to learn.  Let’s reread verse 27:

27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Leaving All – 7-26-22

Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” Luke 18:28 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 18 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor [a]regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, [b]‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will [c]avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be [d]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus Blesses Little Children

15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler

18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

With God All Things Are Possible

24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.”

26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”

27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left [e]all and followed You.”

29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection

31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be [f]accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.

A Blind Man Receives His Sight

35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 18:2 respect
  2. Luke 18:3 Avenge me on
  3. Luke 18:5 vindicate
  4. Luke 18:14 put down
  5. Luke 18:28 NU our own
  6. Luke 18:31 fulfilled

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,”

Let us have ears to hear and eyes to see – let us humbly accept understanding and revelation.  The battle has been great over my life lately – but I know I am NOT alone. I know many of you are in the refiner’s fire, or being pruned, or you’re going through the wilderness. Like David we must slay our lion and bear before we get to Goliath and even after Goliath, some of us will spend a season running for our lives before we get to sit still and rule (like David AND Paul)! The point is we are not to lose heart. So Jesus spoke to those of us battle weary soldiers with a parable of the Persistent Widow.

I have referenced it recently – and if you are seeing or hearing it other places as well, maybe God is trying to encourage you not to lose heart.

saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, they say. When you leave it all behind, all you have are your prayers.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16b NKJV
God doesn’t want us to annoy Him – He wants to teach us fervency.

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

The question is not whether God will hear and answer our prayers – The question is will He find faith on earth.  This is a HUGE question. It implies that humanity is at risk of becoming faithless. And we already see such little exercised faith in the church.
If God isn’t responding, maybe the answer is “no”. Are we so faithless we cannot hear our master’s voice? I say as a general rule, people do not hear the voice of the Lord in any of its forms. Lord, help us!
Are we persisting for something that is outside of His will and therefore a sign that our faith is askew? You cannot ask to add to your lusts and flesh.
We can persist for any and every promise in the Word, persist for the breakthrough, persist for the salvation of love ones, and persist for revival and events.

Events? This is a good one. There is a revival event happing in Upstate New York mid-August. This even has already had spiritual warfare so great the venue has had to change a few times and above all else they are praying for protection! Woe to them who are distracted – Lord be merciful and get them back on track!  May lives be saved in that community! Prepare hearts, bring in ONLY the right people, AND thank you Lord for sending reinforcements into my battle field!
But protection is also wise as threats have been made. So, ALL of you, my blessings, please persist in prayer, be fervent in prayer for this event. The principalities in NY are a unique monster. When the world felt the shift with Roe v. Wade, New York felt a mild heaviness, a little more oppression, a tightening of the chains. This monster thinks he cannot be shaken as God is shaking the rest of the country and the world. So let us all persist asking for the chains to be broken!

There is one more thing that is taught here that people often miss or overlook the significance of: The widow cry out to him. She was in his face. She was in his presence.
How often we fail to get into God’s presence – get our heart right, ask to be washed incase sin snuck in, and worship Him in His glory before we ask, persist, or even war and engage the enemy. STOP IT! Get in His presence first.

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:”

Jesus did not just encourage those of us who are battle weary with how to pray. He also had words for those of us who think we are righteous. If you are saying you are NOT a Pharisee – make sure to examine yourself. Be confident of who you are IN HIM – But be humble before Him, knowing it is only by His grace and you are still human and are capable of falling – capable of buying the lie and being deceived into thinking you are ok.

10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

God resists the proud (James 4:6) so the Lord is resisting the Pharisee.
I think now is a good time for me to just order myself a shirt that says “REPENT AND GET HUMBLE” and then in small font every single reference to humility – that we find day after day – that compels me to say it over and over! (Just the references. If I write out the verses I might as well wear the whole Bible!)
It is the humble who don’t proudly hold things up as more important than God. The Humble have poured themselves out to Him.

15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Oh – if we could just be like little children? So simple. Stop complicating it. Stop being distracted by the attacks of the enemy. If only we can let joy be our powerhouse strength and love shine through us. If we just do as Jesus says, the world will be transformed. Oh and to pray and believe like children – Yes, please!

18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 So Jesus said to him, 
“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”

Let us pause for a moment. You can I want to a talk about humility. This right here is so important, Jesus was even careful with it. We must be humble enough to NEVER accept words describing only God as ours. Good is one of those words. If we were good, we would not need a savior to die for our sins. It is the core of rebellion in a contradictory LIE opposing the fundamental truth that has grieved God since the original sin!

20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ 
21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, 
“You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”

Let’s first say, Jesus does not want us impoverished. Did any of the 12 disciples have lack? Didn’t God always provide? Paul had some rough moments in jail and after shipwrecks when his funds were scarce – but didn’t God always provide? Didn’t we just read that he clothes the lilies and cares for the sparrow and how much more he will do for us?
Jesus was not trying to bankrupt the man. Jesus knew His heart and exposed his idol – his wealth was more important to him than the kingdom of heaven. God wants us to pour ourselves out and surrender all. Then He refills and blesses. Then He anoints us and works through us.

“24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.”
26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”

Isn’t that a mindset?! We are so used to rich people buying their way into places it is easy to think that if a rich man can’t get into heaven, then who can?!

27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

Here is another verse often separated from the chapter and quoted out of context! Admittedly even I love to quote this verse, even I it does not cleanly apply.
Jesus is saying that it seems impossible to get to heaven (especially when you start to separate out those verses on getting there and see how narrow the path is – it is enough to put doubt into most people’s minds about where they will spend eternity – and the whole point is that once we accept the free gift of salvation we spend the rest of our lives fighting to keep it and letting it change us and compel us to become what God wants us to be.

28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”

It even dropped a hint of doubt in Peter’s mind causing him to defend himself and the disciples.

29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

And if I was Jesus – I would have said: shut up, Peter – this is not about you! But Jesus is so much more patient than me. And Jesus knows that at least Peter is making personal applications of these lessons and trying to walk this thing out.

31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.”

Jesus then foretells his death, again, showing by example how he too will leave it all behind and pour himself out, knowing that they would not understand. I am sure He did it so when they look back they will understand.
It is like the first time I took my son on a trail in the state woods. Every time we passed a tree with a marker I told my son to take notice – look at it soon, on his own he was looking for them. When we got as far as we were going I said to his – I lead you here, you lead me back. He said he did not know the way, but quickly re remembered and started looking for the markers and led us back.

35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, 
“What do you want Me to do for you?”
He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”
42 Then Jesus said to him, 
“Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

The blind man had nothing left to give up. Sometimes when we get desperate that is when our miracles happen. They tried to hush him. But they had no “or else” to threaten him with.  This blind man realized this opportunity and he went ALL IN. He had nothing, but he left that nothing behind and gained his sight as well as an experience with Grace. And we all know that grace leaves us transformed.

Let’s continue to examine ourselves. If there is something hindering the call of the Lord in your life – something standing in your way of accomplishing the things He has asked you to do – let us pray today that God reveals it to us and removes it – or helps us do what we need to do to remove it. It may be a fast, or an apology, or a forgiveness, or completing a task he asked us to do. It might just need some time in worship and prayer.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Actionable Faith – 7-25-22

And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 17 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus Warns of Offenses

17 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no [a]offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should [b]offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins [c]against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns [d]to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Faith and Duty

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded [e]him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

Ten Lepers Cleansed

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, [f]‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is [g]within you.”

22 Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, [h]‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. 24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his [i]goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two [j]men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 [k]Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?”

So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 17:1 stumbling blocks
  2. Luke 17:2 cause one of these little ones to stumble
  3. Luke 17:3 NU omits against you
  4. Luke 17:4 M omits to you
  5. Luke 17:9 NU omits the rest of v. 9; M omits him
  6. Luke 17:21 NU reverses here and there
  7. Luke 17:21 in your midst
  8. Luke 17:23 NU reverses here and there
  9. Luke 17:31 possessions
  10. Luke 17:34 Or people
  11. Luke 17:36 NU, M omit v. 36.

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Welcome back and I hope you had a blessed weekend. We are picking back up going line-by-line through the book of Luke (or as close to it as we can with our limited time together – I do try to keep these reasonable).
Update on the podcast – well, it looks like I need some equipment as well as programs. Praying for provisions to follow the vision! Also praying for health because I have been feeling a bit under the weather. If you are a prayer warrior – please agree in prayer for my complete healing. I have an autoimmune disease and it seems having covid a few times has made it weak and now I seem to catch everything – AND I REBUKE IT! ALL of it! Praying for complete healing of EVERYTHING even the autoimmune disease. It is hard to write these, study, pray and share the Lord while sick – so this hindrance MUST go in the name of Jesus.

I sometimes with I was super human and had it all together – but the struggle while growing and managing through the fiery darts of the enemy is hard – and sometimes I feel weak and beat down. But I am reminded of Paul’s declaration that when we are weak, HE is strong through us. It is the best way to be out of God’s way and let Him do what I cannot, so HE can be glorified. It would be nice not to have to encourage myself in the Lord, so often. But Paul told us to, and I am starting to see why.

So without a smooth transition – onto today’s reading. And it is so relevant for today’s world.

1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”

What is crazy, is that we can offend people without meaning to. All of us can. Oh if we can learn to control our tongue (or our fingers on the keyboard)! Lord help guard our words!
And what is even crazier is that there is an entire generation coming up who are offended by everything – even things that are not offensive. So we cannot stop offenses from coming. It is such a trap the enemy has devised against us. Because NOT only is it a woe to him through whom it comes… BUT:

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

There is a BIGGER woe to anyone who offends the young!
How do we protect ourselves from this curse? We guard our words and ways, and if we offend we pray for forgiveness and go to them as ask for forgiveness. AND for those offenses that we do not know we committed? We ask God for revelation so we can take care of it – while praying for forgiveness for all unknown offenses.
Jesus went right from talking out offending to forgiveness just as fast:

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

FYI – rebuking someone often leads to THEM being offended! Then you have to ask forgiveness for offending them! Same with us when we are rebuked – we often take it as offense instead of as sweet and tender love from God! Like David said:
“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.” Psalm 141:5 NKJV
Ya see David knew this principle – yet Jesus still had to say it in a more clear fashion. It doesn’t matter if someone who sinned against you gets right with God, you still have to do your part and get yourself right with God and with man.

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
So the Lord said, 
“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” 

Marine biologists have found mountains and volcanos under the oceans and seas. And in Matthew, Jesus was quoted as saying mountain and not mulberry tree. So I keep watching documentaries to see when they discover a mulberry tree growing underwater so I can praise the Lord for some very literal chap who moved it there! Yes – I am sure that someone in the last 2000 plus years tried it and God said, “sure, why not”! Then, when discovered a remnant group of radical believers who take this stuff literal – like you and I – will rejoice and have our faith inspired.
But Jesus isn’t making that point – nor the point that all it takes is a small amount of faith. He is telling us that we already have a small amount of faith and we aren’t using it. This is a rebuke.
Lord, give us more faith, more anointing, and more of our gifting. We pray.
And Jesus is saying: “Why? You aren’t using what you have!”
Serious moment here to examine ourselves.
With guidance from a mentor, I am activing trying to use what the Lord has given me according to the Bible. Are you actively sharing the gospel, laying hands on the sick, and making disciples? Are you growing to the point where you can cast out demons and raise the dead? AND IF YOU ARE… oh yes, even you, are you a good steward of these thing and using them to the fullest?
When Jesus speaks of stewarding money – I usually speak to it as literally money and encourage you to tithe and give generously above and beyond that, even when you have little. I apply it to money because most preachers will not be direct and when they preach it; instead they remind us that we can apply this to being good stewards of our talents and gifts. This is also true. And we all can be blinded by pride and miss that we are NOT fully using what God has for us. AND do not argue with me; instead humble yourself and ask Jesus. Because if you were using what God gave you and signs and wonders followed you – you’d be flogged by mobs needing healing and deliverance!

A couple years ago I told you all how when I came back to God I needed deliverance. I was addicted to smoking and alcohol and had all sorts of sins that enslaved me. I searched for a pastor – any pastor who was willing to anoint me with oil and pray for my deliverance. And I found NONE. SO I searched for a friend, a foe, ANYONE who was willing to obey the word of the Lord and anoint my head and pray for my deliverance and I found none! So, I searched the internet and I found video tape footage of, a now deceased, preacher who specialized in mass deliverance and I watched all the videos I could find and read the books. And one by one I eventually overcame. God used a dead man – because there was no living man willing to do the job that I could find. So, I know we are not all using ALL that the Lord gave us. (Including me! I have not yet raised a dead person in the name of Jesus. – because it is written that we should do greater things than Jesus did!)

The last thing you and I should do is get caught up in a theological debate on if Jesus said Mountain or Mulberry bush. The discrepancy speaks not volumes than it both accounts were the same. Jesus intentionally is letting us know we should NOT get caught up on what we are throwing into the sea – we can throw our house, our problems, our flesh, or anything into the sea! It is about learning to steward our faith – not about what we apply our faith to. Let us apply our faith to everything!

And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

HUMILITY! Again, humility is the key. Jesus continues the rebuke with telling us we are barely fulfilling our duty. We think we have done above and beyond – but we have not. Not even close. We are servants and if we are barely doing all the little things required of us – how can He give us bigger things? How can we be honored to sit at the table and eat with Him?
AND there is the TABLE again. If not for grace we’d never see that table. We are not worthy of sitting at it. But we are servants, who are adopted – and as children, we may join the table. Moreover we are servants who are so honored we’ve become the bride to the Son and the table is set on our behalf!
And regardless of our lack of worthiness – let us study, practice and actually do this Christianity stuff and at least try to become worthy – not because it gives us any gain, but because we love Him whom we serve. If not, what is the point and why are we even here?

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, 
“Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 
16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, 
“Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Although I was originally taught that the other nine were not healed because they did not come back, we really do not know. We only know that for sure one was healed because of His faith. And the 5 lessons of gratitude that are often preached from this passage – it was not gratitude that healed him. It was faith. It clearly says so.
And of the ten lesson from the ten lepers – the strongest lesson is that faith is actionable.
That even in offense, faith actionably forgives others.
That in our own sin, faith actionable repents.
That in our small faith, faith actionably throws mountains and trees into the sea!
That in our dutiful service, faith is actionable to compel us to do more in love.
That in our healing, faith is actionable to make us go and give Glory and praise to God.
And that in His Kingdom come, faith is actionable to find us co-laborers building the kingdom.

Yes – faith is in action.

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
22 Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. 24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”

After reading so many parable about the Kingdom of Heaven – Jesus is again, clear, today. The Kingdom of Heaven is within each of us. Each soul won and surrendered to God is another brick in the wall (so to speak – interesting how secular music tried to make that out to be a bad thing). Anyway…

In the end times – which we are in:

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

The goal is to be the one who ends up in the arms of Jesus! In the Greek it says one is received and one is sent. Then it make more sense why they disciple said “where” in this next verse:

37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?”
So He said to them, 
“Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

Ok so that is a little unclear. Let’s try the Berean Literal Bible Translation:
And answering, they say to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered together.”

Oh.

We all have a life or death decision to follow Jesus or not. We all have the faith we can use to believe this. We also have the faith to do this. If not, what is the point?
Faith is actionable. So let us all take action today.  And seek God as to what action He wants us to take.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 7-24-22

Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, And in Your righteousness. Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no one living is righteous.” Psalm 143:1-2 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Psalms chapters 141-144 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

Prayer for Safekeeping from Wickedness

A Psalm of David.

141 Lord, I cry out to You;
Make haste to me!
Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.
Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.

For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the [a]cliff,
And they hear my words, for they are sweet.
Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave,
As when one plows and breaks up the earth.

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
[b]Do not leave my soul destitute.
Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.

A Plea for Relief from Persecutors

A Contemplation[c] of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.

142 I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

When my spirit [d]was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
[e]Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

An Earnest Appeal for Guidance and Deliverance

A Psalm of David.

143 Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in [f]darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
[g]muse on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah

Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I [h]be like those who [i]go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
[j]In You I take shelter.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.

11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 In Your mercy cut[k] off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.

A Song to the Lord Who Preserves and Prospers His People

A Psalm of David.

144 Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues [l]my people under me.

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?
Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

Bow down Your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them.
Stretch out Your hand from above;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
From the hand of foreigners,
Whose mouth speaks [m]lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

I will sing a new song to You, O God;
On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
10 The One who gives [n]salvation to kings,
Who delivers David His servant
From the deadly sword.

11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners,
Whose mouth speaks lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood—
12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as [o]pillars,
Sculptured in palace style;
13 That our barns may be full,
Supplying all kinds of produce;
That our sheep may bring forth thousands
And ten thousands in our fields;
14 That our oxen may be well laden;
That there be no [p]breaking in or going out;
That there be no outcry in our streets.
15 Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 141:6 rock
  2. Psalm 141:8 Lit. Do not make my soul bare
  3. Psalm 142:1 Heb. Maschil
  4. Psalm 142:3 Lit. fainted
  5. Psalm 142:6 Give heed
  6. Psalm 143:3 dark places
  7. Psalm 143:5 ponder
  8. Psalm 143:7 become
  9. Psalm 143:7 Die
  10. Psalm 143:9 LXX, Vg. To You I flee
  11. Psalm 143:12 put an end to
  12. Psalm 144:2 So with MT, LXX, Vg.; Syr., Tg. the peoples (cf. 18:47)
  13. Psalm 144:8 empty or worthless
  14. Psalm 144:10 deliverance
  15. Psalm 144:12 corner pillars
  16. Psalm 144:14 Lit. breach

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2 –

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 7-23-22

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men, Who have purposed to make my steps stumble.” Psalm 140:4 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Psalms chapters 137-140 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

Longing for Zion in a Foreign Land

137 By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Who said, [a]“Raze it, raze it,
To its very foundation!”

O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,
Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!
Happy the one who takes and dashes
Your little ones against the rock!

The Lord’s Goodness to the Faithful

A Psalm of David.

138 I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will [b]perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You [c]comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have [d]hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [e]hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall [f]fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness [g]shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You [h]covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for [i]I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My [j]frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you [k]bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
[l]Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with [m]perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Prayer for Deliverance from Evil Men

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

140 Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who plan evil things in their hearts;
They continually gather together for war.
They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips. Selah

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who have purposed to make my steps stumble.
The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set traps for me. Selah

I said to the Lord: “You are my God;
Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.
O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have [n]covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
Do not further his wicked scheme,
Lest they be exalted. Selah

As for the head of those who surround me,
Let the evil of their lips cover them;
10 Let burning coals fall upon them;
Let them be cast into the fire,
Into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
11 Let not a slanderer be established in the earth;
Let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him.

12 I know that the Lord will maintain
The cause of the afflicted,
And justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name;
The upright shall dwell in Your presence.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 137:7 Lit. Make bare
  2. Psalm 138:8 complete
  3. Psalm 139:3 Lit. winnow
  4. Psalm 139:5 enclosed
  5. Psalm 139:8 Or Sheol
  6. Psalm 139:11 Vg., Symmachus cover
  7. Psalm 139:12 Lit. is not dark
  8. Psalm 139:13 wove
  9. Psalm 139:14 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr., Vg. You are fearfully wonderful
  10. Psalm 139:15 Lit. bones were
  11. Psalm 139:19 Lit. men of bloodshed
  12. Psalm 139:20 LXX, Vg. They take Your cities in vain
  13. Psalm 139:22 complete
  14. Psalm 140:7 sheltered

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2 –

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

God Esteems Our Hearts – 7-22-22

And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 16 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Parable of the Unjust Steward

16 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was [a]wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’

“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred [b]measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred [c]measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous [d]mammon, that when [e]you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Law, the Prophets, and the Kingdom

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they [f]derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one [g]tittle of the law to fail.

18 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and [h]fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with [i]the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 16:1 squandering
  2. Luke 16:6 Gr. batos, same as Heb. bath; 8 or 9 gallons each
  3. Luke 16:7 Gr. koros, same as Heb. kor; 10 or 12 bushels each
  4. Luke 16:9 Lit., in Aram., wealth
  5. Luke 16:9 NU it fails
  6. Luke 16:14 Lit. turned up their nose at
  7. Luke 16:17 The smallest stroke in a Heb. letter
  8. Luke 16:19 lived in luxury
  9. Luke 16:21 NU what fell

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

We are still in Jesus Story Time (aka Parables) as we finish up our week. Most parables I receive easily and understand the nuances. I can even find symbols that lead me to other passages and a deeper overall meaning of the concepts. I also know that understanding and application come ONLY from God. So when teaching parables, I am careful not to add or take away from the word.

Today we come to the parable of the unjust steward. I have studied it before AND I have been taught it. And I have been taught it with preachers adding their thoughts on what is going on – and it makes this confusing.
So here are some things it says to clean it up – let’s make sure today we do not add to this: Jesus is talking to His disciples. There is no real life steward that he speaks of.

16 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’”

So to follow the story – the unjust steward seems to be accused of waste (which could mean embezzlement, or fraud, or maybe he is just bad at managing money – but we quickly see he is screwed, and not bad at managing money).

“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’”

So he makes deals with his debtors in order to make the books balance. Now, I have worked in finance and I wonder how reducing the bills of the debtors balances thing. Because if he was stealing, then he needs the debtors to pay more to cover it.  How did the debtors get forgiveness of parts of their debt AND the steward was shrewd.
I heard one preacher say that the steward was making deals with the debtors in hopes that one of them would want to hire him when he gets fired. But I would not want to hire someone who’s forgiving debts – generosity is not a wise (of this world) business practice. So it is possible the shrewdness comes from him building relationships – but it would have been a better business practice to build relationship all along.

So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”

Well now, that conclusion is even more confusing. Because it seems Jesus is saying that his disciples must be more shrewd with money.  I know we often associate shrewdness with clever, crafty manipulations and evil greed. But it is not evil to be a good businessman. And it is not evil to make wide associations through money and business dealings.

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

Not being wise business men would prove disastrous in the beginning of Acts. They thought while they traveled with Jesus that they had all things in common – they thought it was socialism that worked. They failed to see it was Jesus providing the whole time. Without shrewd business skills, the disciples collected and redistributed the money and went bankrupt. Compounded by a local famine – Paul ended up taking up an offering for them – which took almost 50 years to collect and return to them – just in time for the Christians in Jerusalem to flee as Rome tore down the temple and overturned the city.

Since I started my own business I have learned a lot about money. I have worked for myself in the past – but this time God is first in business, and my relationship with money is filtered through Him. He is teaching me to be shrewd in a worldly system.

So I am sure there is more to this and a cleaner study of this that will come in the future.
But right now I still remain confuse at how a story of a self-serving, unjust steward can get praised for his disloyalty (with trying to serve others) and Jesus can conclude the whole thing with you can’t serve God and Money.

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

I mean I get it – but I think there is more. I think I am missing something profound. And as I grow in this new understanding of money and business – I am sure it will click someday.

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
18 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

Verses 16, 17 and 18 do not seem to fit here. At first glance. But Jesus knows the heart and his point is that we should be His bride, chased and pure and that the love of money and earthly things is adultery, we are cheating on him.

Do not chase rewards here on earth – but rewards in heaven, eternal. And if you do a good deed in private and God exposes it and gives you glory, you receive double – a reward in heaven and on earth. But let’s not get off course.

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

Let’s make sure we do not forget this is a story. Nowhere else is heaven described as being curled up in Abraham’s chest and being comforted. That is a type of heaven I would not enjoy. I suppose it is better than eternal torture, but lazy and cuddly are not how I am usually described. Being with Jesus, working, ruling and reigning with Him is much more appealing.
So it appears that for the sake of storytelling, Jesus used some creative license.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

 And there it is – Jesus predicts His resurrection again along with predicting they would reject it.

Being wise with money seems to play into all of these parables. Let’s be a shrewd bride of Christ. As we discuss money it might be another great time to make a shrewd move and plan another generous love offering to Jesus. Soon, the pastor in your church will wonder why you’ve become so generous – more over the fruits of the spirit will become more and more evident in your life. I am praying for a gift to give, as well.

Have a blessed weekend, and join us for some wisdom reading from the book of Psalms and we will return to Luke (with discussion) on Monday.

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Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!