Category: Gospels

Promise, power, preaching!

Scripture reading for April 5th: Luke 24

Key Scriptures: Luke 24: 44-49 “Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

While He was with His disciples, Jesus Christ had repeatedly explained the Scriptures and plainly told them of His coming death, burial, and resurrection on the third day. Now, after the resurrection, on the evening of the third day, Jesus met with His disciples and showed them His glorified body of flesh and bones. They were full of joy and amazement but struggled to believe it was really Him. Jesus then again explained everything about Himself from the Law and Prophets, opening their minds to understand. He explained the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins that was for all nations and peoples, beginning with the Jews in Jerusalem. He declared them “witnesses” and told them to wait in Jerusalem until the “Promise of My Father” came upon them. This would clothe them with the power needed to fulfill His mission of reaching the lost world.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for fulfilling all the Scriptures, which are Truth. Thank You for Your amazing plan to reach the whole world with Your appointed “witnesses”. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit and power to do Your will on earth as in heaven! I open my mind and heart today to better know You through the Scriptures.

Acts 2:38-39 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.””

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“Today, in Paradise!”

Scripture reading for April 2nd: Luke 23

Key Scriptures: Luke 23:38-43 “There was also an inscription over Him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

In our calendar, today, this Friday, is “Good Friday.” We call it that because our “Good” Savior and King, Jesus Christ, willingly gave His life on the cross of Calvary to atone for the sins of all mankind. He was crucified between two known criminals. His “crime” was claiming to be God’s Son and a King with a kingdom. Pilate had placed on His cross, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals, along with the crowd and the soldiers, mocked Jesus for His claims. The other criminal had heard the same taunts but evidently had heard Jesus’ prayer for those who were crucifying Him: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He rebuked the first criminal and asked Jesus humbly for mercy, confessing that he believed Jesus was innocent and a King with a kingdom. Jesus’ response brought joy to the suffering sinner and brings joy to all in desperate need of God’s grace! “Today, with Me, in Paradise!” Make that your daily prayer, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

1st Timothy 1:15 “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, my Savior and King, thank You for Your amazing gift of salvation for sinners like me. What “Good News” for the hopelessly lost that You hear the faintest of cry from the dying and condemned. May You empower me and others to proclaim this powerful truth! Today, with Jesus in Paradise!

Luke 23:50-53 “Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid Him in a tomb cut in stone where no one had yet been laid.”

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Serve now, recline later!

Scripture reading for April 1st: Luke 22

Key Scriptures: Luke 22:24-30 “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the One who serves. You are those who have stayed with Me in My trials, and I assign to you, as My Father assigned to Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Jesus’ disciples argued with each other about who would have the greatest honor and place of authority in the coming kingdom of God. They assumed a soon-to-be revealed physical kingdom. Jesus admonished them that although greatness in this world is associated with being served, it is those who serve now who will enjoy the greatest honor in the coming kingdom. By humbly serving God and other, we gain opportunity to share the Gospel and kingdom of God with them. Jesus Himself set an example of serving and those following Him must have that attitude. The greatest honor in future kingdom of God will be for those serving Jesus in this life with zeal and humility. It’s God’s Word!

Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great example of serving others by giving Your time on earth and life to obeying the Father and serving others. Help me learn from You daily that greatness in Your kingdom is serving God and others. As we give service to others, Lord, open their hearts to Jesus Christ, our Master Servant!

Proverbs 21:25-26 “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.”

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Pray for strength to stand!

Scripture reading for March 31st: Luke 21

Key Scriptures: Luke 21:33-36 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” And every day He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.”

Jesus was plain in warning His disciples and those who would follow their message concerning the final judgment before the Son of Man. This world has many attractions and diversions that capture men and hold them in a state of unpreparedness for this judgment. Man operates from his heart–the inner man and God sees each heart. When hearts are weighed down and hardened by sins and even the cares and troubles of life, preparations for this judgment are put off and those so burdened are lulled into a dangerous lack of perception. They neglect to remember that life here is short and that following this life, all must give an account before God. Jesus urgently pleaded with all who would listen to stay awake and guard their hearts through prayer and faith. He wanted all to stand and none to be caught in the sudden trap of a heavy heart! He was also warning these disciples of the coming battle in the Garden of Gethsemane where they would sleep while He wrestled in prayer, sweating great drops of blood.

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your loving warning of future accounting. I want to stand without shame or condemnation. Give me wisdom today to fulfil Your Word and will and avoid the traps of this world. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit empowering me to pray and stand as evil increases in these last days.

Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

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Falling on the Cornerstone

Scripture reading for March 30th: Luke 20

Key Scriptures: Luke 20:13-18 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: perhaps they will respect him.; But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘ This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” But He looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

Jesus told the parable of the vineyard and the wicked tenants to help the scheming religious leaders understand that their plot to kill Him would ultimately bring their destruction. The religious leaders had judged Jesus to be an imposter, not God’s Son. They had schemed, because of jealousy, to kill Him and remove His memory for their own gain and power. Jesus told them plainly what would happen when they rejected Him. He pointed them to Psalm 118:22 which refers to the stone that was rejected, becoming the cornerstone! If they wanted to save themselves, they must fall on that stone asking for mercy. Otherwise, the stone would fall on them and crush them. Nothing like plain speaking, looking directly at those plotting His death!

Luke 20:19 “The scribes and chief priests sought to lay hands on Him at that very hour, for they perceived that He had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for speaking plainly in love, even to Your enemies. You are the Cornerstone and I fall on You alone for mercy for those still plotting against You and Your people. Bring conviction by the Holy Spirit revealing Your great mercy and restoration.

Psalm 118:22-24 “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Hosanna!) (Lord, save us!)

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Ignorance is not bliss!

Scripture reading for March 29th: Luke 19

Key Scriptures: Luke 19:41-44 “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He stopped to weep over the city and His own people. He had taught and demonstrated the kingdom of God in healing, forgiving sins, casting out demons, and teaching with authority. He revealed God His Father and His heart for the lost sons and daughters through kindness and compassion and demonstrating God’s love. But His own people refused to receive Him and gain true peace with God. Instead, they would charge Him falsely, beat Him, crucify Him and denounce Him as an imposter. Jesus wept over the city and its people, prophetically pronouncing the coming darkness of judgment and scattering that would result from their blind ignorance and refusal to believe. The Light of the World was hidden from those who refused to see. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth by those who will miss His coming again!

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

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I weep with You over those who are lost and missing the time of visitation and grace. Give me grace and compassion to seek them out and share Your Word. Open their eyes by the Holy Spirit today, before its too late!

Jeremiah 9:1 “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”

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Follow Jesus? or Money?

Scripture reading for March 26th: Luke 18

Key Scriptures: Luke 18:18-24 “And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments? ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow Me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

Mankind is always looking for a formula or some form of human effort that they can use to earn favor with God. The rich ruler flattered Jesus, calling Him ‘good’ and appeared sincere in his quest for eternal life. Jesus called his attention to the revealed Word of God, the ten commandments, quoting five of them. The ruler sincerely stated that he had kept them from his youth. Knowing his love of money, Jesus went deeper to expose a breaking of the first commandment–idolatry. When asked to give up all his possessions and follow Jesus, he became sad and could not freely comply. He was wrestling in his heart with the cost of obtaining what he had stated he wanted and giving up the money now. Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom–not impossible! With God’s grace and our humility to listen and receive, all things are possible.

Luke 18:29-30 “And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your grace, enabling my salvation! I wanted this world’s riches, but was bankrupt until You revealed the Way of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Help me to clearly present the Good News of laying my desires down and following You to eternal riches.

Proverbs 11:28Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.”

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Remember Lot’s wife

Scripture reading for March 25th: Luke 17

Key Scriptures: Luke 17:28-32 “Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot–they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all-so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.”

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was going to come. Jesus responded that the coming kingdom was not visible, but would be an inside job, within each person. He then proceeded to instruct His disciples on the time when the kingdom of God would be revealed. He likened it to the days of Noah, when all mankind, except for Noah and his family, would be going about their normal lives and then suddenly the flood came and swept them all away. He then used Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah as another example of His sudden return and the destruction of the wicked and the saving of Lot and his family. Lot’s wife, however, looked back at the burning city, ignoring God’s instructions. She was turned into a pillar of salt in judgment on her lack of steadfast faith with her heart still in Sodom.

Genesis 19:15-17, 26 “As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside of the city. And as they brought them out, one said, ‘Escape with your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills lest you be swept away.” . . . “But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Your Word is truth and life to those who will hear. Help me to remember the lessons You taught about perseverance and faith. Thank You for Your mercy for me and the lost of this world.

Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept My Word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.”

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Who is your master?

Scripture reading for March 24th: Luke 16

Key Scriptures: Luke 16:10-14 One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him.”

Jesus had just told his disciples and those listening, including some Pharisees, the parable of the dishonest manager. The Pharisees who were given management in God’s house were lovers of money. They made fun of Jesus because He was not rich and had no possessions. They viewed money as a measure of God’s blessing for obedience. Jesus spoke plainly of our stewardship of money and possessions as “very little” that demanded faithfulness. How we manage the little determines if we can be given more. All we have here belongs to God and He is keeping an account. He is our Master, not the money! We serve Him alone in how we steward His money.

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

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are my Lord and Master, not the money or possessions You have blessed me with. Help me to be the faithful steward of “very little” so that I can bless You and Your kingdom.

Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”

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Count the cost!

Scripture reading for March 22nd: Luke 14

Key Scriptures: Luke 14:25-30 “Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers ad sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”

Salvation and forgiveness of sins is a free gift for all who repent and believe on Jesus Christ. That is the first step of a journey that is to last the rest of our earthly lives and continues for eternity. According to Jesus, following Him definitely has a cost. First, all other interests, people, and priorities must be put behind our love for Jesus. We can’t put marriage, family, or even our own life ahead of Him. This is symbolized by His call to “bear his own cross” and come after Him as He modeled for us carrying His cross and loving not His own life unto death on our behalf. Following Him should not just be an emotional decision based on a momentary whim or pressure from a friend. These costs must be weighed, and if paid, must be followed through to completion.

Luke 14:33 “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank You for purchasing the free gift of salvation and eternal life through Your sacrifice on the cross. I desire to be Your disciple and sometimes struggle with taking up my cross and fully following You. Show me daily what this looks like for me. Give me more grace.

Psalm 49:7-9 “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”

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