Category: Gospels

Clothed with power and compassion!

Scripture reading for April 13th: Judges 12-16, Psalm 146, Luke 24

Luke 24: 45-51 “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.”

Although the disciples had walked with Jesus for three years, they still needed Jesus to open their minds to understand the Scriptures. The fact of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection for the sins of the world was the call for men everywhere to repent had been hidden from them. The would also need God’s clothing to accomplish this mission of preaching and being a witnesses to all nations. The Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father would be sent at the appointed time. The Father’s heart of love and compassion would cover them like clothing and empower them to defeat spiritual foes and set captives free!

Psalm 146:8-9 “The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for opening my mind to understand the Scriptures. It is an ongoing revelation of Your grace and glory that empowers me to share the Good News in Word and deed to the lost, widow, orphan, and sojourners. Fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit and love to do spiritual exploits and bring Good News to the lost.

Judges 15:14-15 “When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off of his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it and with it he struck 1,000 men.”

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Extravagant mercy for the asking!

Scripture reading for April 12th: Judges 9-11, Psalm 17, Luke 23

Luke 23:39-43 “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.””

Jesus was crucified, an innocent man, to pay for the sins of all mankind. On His right and left, were two guilty criminals receiving what was due them under Roman law. As they hung there knowing death was immanent, one of the criminals mocked Jesus, ridiculing His claim to be Christ. The other criminal simply called out to Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, indicating that he believed Jesus was a king and would be receiving a kingdom. Jesus gave an amazing response: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” This response gives hope to all lost sinners. If we will come in faith believing in Jesus, He will give mercy in abundance, just for the asking!

Psalm 17:1-2 “Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From Your presence let my vindication come! Let Your eyes behold the right.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your abundant mercy. We can trust You to forgive, heal, and deliver if we simply ask. You have done everything necessary for our salvation. Help me to simply ask and rest in Your provision and trust You to do whatever seems good to You. Open doors to share this simple truth and good news with those under the sentence of death.

Judges 10:13-16 “Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to You. Only please deliver us this day.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and He became impatient over the misery of Israel.”

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You will lack nothing!

Scripture reading for April 11th: Judges 7-8, Luke 22

Luke 22: 35-38 “And He said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about Me has its fulfilment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.””

Jesus was always aware of Scripture that must be fulfilled. He knew the concerns of His disciples about their own welfare and how they might care for themselves. He challenged them to remember being sent out without any visible support to minister and how they had lacked nothing! God had cared for them! It would be no different now. However, Jesus allowed them to take a moneybag and knapsack this time. But why does Jesus tell them to sell their cloak to buy a sword? I believe Jesus was thinking of the Scripture being fulfilled concerning being ‘numbered with the transgressors.’ It was not that they would have to use the sword, but that they would look the part of ‘transgressors.’ Later, at the arrest in the Garden, Jesus rebuked Peter for using the sword and healed the man whose ear had been cut off!

Luke 22:48-51 “. .but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around Him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!” And He touched his ear and healed him.””

Prayer: Father God, I thank You that Your Presence with us is sufficient for every need we will face as we walk through the trials and tests of this journey. Thank You for Your amazing provision and empowerment by the Holy Spirit, the ‘torch in our jar!’ Empower me to ‘blow the trumpet’ of the Gospel to announce Your victory over death, hell, sin and the grave! The only ‘sword’ I need is Your Word!

Judges 7:16-18 “And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.'”

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Look up–don’t fear the shaking!

Scripture reading for April 8th: Judges 4-6, Luke 21

Luke 21:25-28 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Jesus taught His disciples plainly about the coming of the Son of Man to earth at the end of time. The earth will be filled with signs in the heavens and great distress among the peoples. Fear and confusion will reign among the earth’s inhabitants. Jesus warned His followers to guard their hearts against the fear and resulting worldly use of alcohol and drugs and materialism that lost people use as distractions. Believers are to stay awake and alert and pray for strength to endure and overcome. Jesus is coming! Lift up your heads in joyful expectation! You will stand before the Son of Man!

Luke 21:34-36 “”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 strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.””

Prayer: Father God, thank You for revealing Your plans for the future through Jesus Christ and the prophets of old. Thank You that Your Word is true and gives us encouragement and hope. Prompt me by Your Holy Spirit to stay awake and guard my heart during these last trying times and lead me in true holiness that I may stand before the Son of Man, Jesus Christ my Lord.

Judges 5:4-5 “”Lord, when You went out from Seir, when you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, yes the clouds dropped water. The mountains quaked before the Lord, even Sinai before the Lord, the God of Israel.”

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Setting a trap!

Scripture reading for April 7th: Judges 1-3, Psalm 16, Luke 20

Luke 20: 19-25 “The scribes and the 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. So they watched Him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch Him in something He said, so as to deliver Him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked Him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.””

The scribes and chief priests thought that they were the very picture of righteousness. Their pride in their knowledge of Scripture and position of authority caused them to be puffed up. They viewed Jesus as a threat to their power and position and felt they must do something to expose Him and do away with Him. Notice that they ‘feared the people.’ The fear of man is a snare. (Proverbs 29:25) The people loved Jesus and were following Him and listening to His teachings. They sent spies, who ‘pretended to be sincere.’ They were bent on trapping Jesus in some act of rebellion against the government. They questioned Jesus about giving tribute to Caesar. Jesus in turn asked them a question–who’s inscription was on the coin? As they answered, Jesus told them to render to Caesar the things that were his, and to God likewise! Jesus answered with wisdom and avoided their trap.

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Prayer: Father, Thank You for making known to me the path of life, in Jesus Christ our Lord. I give to God praise, honor and worship as well as my body as a living sacrifice. Keep me from the fear of man and from pretense and deception. Open my ears to Your truth and prompt me to obedience through the Holy Spirit. Help me to pass each test of my devotion and love for Jesus through faith and grace!

Judges 2:21-23 “I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.”

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Pay attention to peace!

Scripture reading for April 6th: Joshua 22-24, Psalm 116, Luke 19

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. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus was going to enter Jerusalem, the City of Peace, on a prophetic final mission. He told His disciples where to find a colt and mounted it and rode into the city thronged by crowds of people shouting praises and ‘Hosanna’, a greeting of salvation. They blessed the “King Who came in the Name of the Lord.” As Jesus drew near, seeing the city more clearly, He began to weep over it and lament over it’s inhabitants and the coming judgment that would befall them and their city as a result of unbelief. They missed the time of their visitation. They failed to understand the Prince of Peace and to receive the salvation He was offering. What a tragedy!

Joshua 24:20-21 “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank you for interceding over Jerusalem and interceding for all mankind on Your Cross at Calvary. We have all sinned and failed to serve You and promised that we would. Our only rest is in Your mercy. Jesus is our rest! He has delivered our soul from death, our eyes from tears, and will keep our feet from stumbling! I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living through Him!

Psalm 116:7-9 “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

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Don’t lose heart!

Scripture reading for April 5th: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18

Luke 18:1-8 “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Many times in our world it looks like the ‘bad guys’ always win. The circumstances of life are stacked against us. We look for an advocate, but they are few and far between. The woman in this parable of Jesus’ may have felt that way, but her faith caused her to appeal to the ‘unjust’ judge. She did this again and again and got his attention. The ‘unjust’ judge finally granted her justice just to get some peace. Now Jesus turned this parable around for us. God is not ‘unjust’ but the all-powerful Just and True Judge. We have been given access through prayer to His throne. Like the woman, we should be crying out day and night in faith, not fainting under the load of fear or trouble. Jesus promises a speedy answer! Why not believe Him and begin asking in faith?

Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . .”

Prayer: Father God, the times we live in are filled with injustice and Your people are often mistreated. Give us more grace to pray instead of fainting. Help us to live by faith, despite hostile circumstances and persecution. We desire a ‘full inheritance’ and want to be found with faith when You return.

Joshua 19:49-50 “When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.”

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The kingdom in our midst!

Scripture reading for April 4th: Joshua 14-17, Luke 17

Luke 17:15-19 “Then one of them (the 10 lepers), when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no on found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

The Jews thought that their Jewish blood made them citizens of God’s kingdom. They were the ‘chosen’ people through Abraham. In this story, Jesus healed ten lepers who came to him. One of the ten, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks and praise God. The others, presumably Jews, did not. Jesus honored the Samaritan’s faith and granted healing–he was ‘made well!’ The Pharisees asked Jesus after this, when the kingdom would come. Jesus answered them with a puzzling statement. No one can actually observe the kingdom of heaven now, because it is within each person possessing faith in the Son of God. It is not what we eat or drink, healing, or miracles; it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! (Romans 14:17)

Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great salvation! Like the ten lepers, I was unclean and in need of a miracle. You touched me and I was cleansed and given the kingdom of heaven in place of my filthy rags. I know righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Like Caleb of old, my strength is renewed each day and I trust You to give me my full inheritance!

Joshua 14:11-12 “And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me: my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”

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Are you faithful in the ‘very little?’

Scripture reading for April 1st: Joshua 9-13, Luke 16

Luke 16:10-13 “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 with 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.”

Faithfulness is the first requirement of a good steward. Jesus said that what we have to manage here on earth is a test of our faithfulness and He considers all earthly wealth as ‘very little.’ Earthly wealth is also ‘unrighteous’ and fleeting. When we leave this earth, nothing will go with us. Scripture also teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil and this might be why Jesus called it ‘unrighteous.’ As a steward we actually serve God, Who owns it all. (The earth is the Lord’s!) The Pharisees were lovers of money and justified themselves concerning their use of it. Jesus reminded them that God knows all hearts and what we justify that’s sinful is an abomination in God’s sight. Not one person can serve both God and money!

Luke 16:14-15 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And He said to them, “You 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.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the stewardship that you have given me. Forgive me for not always being faithful in the little. Help me to use the money and resources You give me to manage in ways that further Your kingdom. I realize that like the tribe of Levi, You are my priceless Inheritance, my Portion, and my eternal Reward!

Joshua 13:32-33 “These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho. But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as He said to them.”

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Pigs food and the ‘Far country’

Scripture reading for March 31st: Joshua 5-8, Psalm 14, Luke 15

Luke 15:11-16 “And He said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey to a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into the field to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.”

Sin is a universal problem. There are none righteous for all have sinned like the prodigal son in Luke’s Gospel and the nation of Israel in Joshua’s day. Sin, although fun for a season, always takes us to the ‘far country’ of famine, lack, want and slavery. The prodigal son was so hungry that he wanted ‘pig food!’ Israel’s sin brought defeat by their enemies. God sees it all and knows what has gone on! Like the father of the prodigal, He is watching and desiring our return to Him. He often allows the famines and pig food to bring His children to repentance and restoration. If you are eating ‘slop’ today, why not return to Father with humility and faith.

Joshua 7:11-12 “Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies.”

Prayer: Father God, I too have gone astray and gone to the far country. There I came to my senses and returned to You and confessed my sin. Your mercy and restoration won my heart! I gave my heart and life to You as an act of worship and received the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Send me to those in the ‘far country’ who need Good News of a God Who freely gives forgiveness and restoration!

Psalm 14:2-3 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

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