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!

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