Category: Gospels

Repentance, digging, manure

Scripture reading for March 19: Luke 13

Key Scriptures: Luke 13:5-9 “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”

Jesus used the local news of the death of some Galileans by Herod’s forces and the accidental death of eighteen people in the fall of a tower to punctuate the need of all men to repent or they too would suddenly perish. He told a parable of a man who planted a fig tree in his vineyard. Each year, for three years, he came seeking fruit but found none. He ordered the vinedresser to cut it down as it was wasting valuable space in the vineyard. The vinedresser asked for more time. He would dig around it and put manure on it. Maybe it was lacking in water penetration or in nutrients from the rocky soil. If ultimately there was no fruit, it would be cut down. This parable shines light on each person and their need to repent and show fruit of repentance. God’s patience is amazing, but not unlimited!

Luke 11:32 “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, realizing that You greatly desire true fruit of repentance in my life, thank You for Your patience with me. Dig around in my life where necessary with Your Word and the Holy Spirit. Bring the ‘manure’ of life that will produce greater fruit, to Your glory.

Job 23:10-11 “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside.”

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God’s pleasure for seekers

Scripture reading for March 18th: Luke 12

Key Scriptures: Luke 12:27-32 “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Jesus instructed His disciples about fear and worry. They had no reason to be anxious about life and its many needs. Jesus called their attention to the ravens for food provision and the beautiful lilies for clothing. God takes care of creation and man, made in His image, is of even higher value. It is the world without knowledge of God that is fearful and striving for these material needs. But God’s children are to seek His kingdom and all these material needs will be taken care of as well as their eternal care and provision. God knows our needs better than we do! Seeking Him and His kingdom is our greatest need and brings the greatest reward! It is His pleasure to freely give those who believe in Jesus the eternal kingdom as a gift! Amen!

Luke 11:9 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this simple instruction on life’s fears and daily worries. I cast all these needs on You and my loving Father. I will ask and receive, seek and find, and knock persistently on the kingdom door until it is opened for me and my household. Jesus You are the Door!

Daniel 7:27 “And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; His kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

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Light and darkness of soul

Scripture reading for March 17th: Luke 11

Key Scriptures: Luke 11:33-36 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Jesus used light and darkness often in his teaching. Here he talked about the lighting of a lamp dispelling darkness. He stated that the eye is the lamp of our body and that when the eye is functioning properly, our whole being is flooded with light. When the eye ceases to function, darkness comes over us. Our eye takes light and reveals natural and spiritual truth. If the light coming in is really darkness, we have a big problem. Jesus was talking about deception that brings darkness to the soul from lying spirits of evil. A humble and teachable heart invites Jesus to bring true light into our souls and flood our being with pure light. The entrance of God’s Word brings true light, revealing spiritual truth and exposing deception.

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Faith confession and prayer: Thank You Jesus that the entrance of Your Word brings light to my soul. Help me to let Your light shine today through my life and testimony, illuminating the darkness of this world. Give me discernment to keep me from deception.

Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of Your Words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”

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The Lord of Harvest

Scripture reading for March 16th: Luke 10

Key Scriptures: Luke 10:1-3 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”

Jesus was intent on His mission to reach the world of lost people. His plan was to multiply ministers who would in turn raise up others. He hand-picked the Twelve and now sent a total of 72 out with authority. He first instructed them to pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers. The harvest was plentiful but few were available to work. As soon as they prayed, Jesus said to them “Go your way, behold I am sending you!” They would be sent out as lambs among wolves! They were to take nothing and go in faith. Whatever house they entered, they were to impart “peace”. If the people received the blessing and them, they were to stay and minister. If they were rejected, they were to leave, shaking the dust off and moving on.

Luke 10:17-18 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name!” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. . .”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing plan to reach the whole world with Your Gospel. Thank You for sending Your disciples to places where You are going too. Lord of the harvest, send out more laborers into the plentiful harvest! I offer myself to go as well, that the earth may yield its increase and God shall bless us!

Psalm 67:5-7 “Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear Him!”

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Jesus ashamed of me?

Scripture reading for March 15th: Luke 9

Key Scriptures: Luke 9:23-26 “And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Jesus was calling those to Himself who would be willing to lay down their lives to follow Him. In fact, those who would make the choice to follow Him, would necessarily take up a personal cross each day in doing so. The cross signifies a willingness to die to ourselves and to willingly give up our life. In doing this, His followers would actually receive their life back eternally. Those who were ashamed of Jesus and their cross signifying obedience to His Words would ultimately make Jesus ashamed of them when He comes in triumph and judgment of the wicked. How will Jesus react to me at His coming? Thankfully, today is a time to repent!

Luke 9:22 “. . . saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling Your followers to Your example. Unashamed You carried Your cross, beaten and bruised and suffered rejection and death for us. I will not be ashamed of You or Your Words as You empower me with Your amazing grace.

Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

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A diverse traveling mission

Scripture reading for March 12th: Luke 8

Key Scriptures: Luke 8:1-3 “Soon afterward He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the Good News of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”

Jesus Christ came to earth to reach lost people, beginning with those in Israel. He had been anointed by the Holy Spirit and was given instructions through prayer as to where to go and who to select as His disciples and followers. Great crowds of people gathered to receive His ministry of healing and deliverance and the Good News of the kingdom of God. We have names of several who had received healing and deliverance who traveled with Him and supported the ministry out of their personal finances. One was even a manager in Herod’s house! He acted in total obedience to His Father and His Word went forth and brought fruit for eternal life in the kingdom of God.

Luke 8:20-21 “And He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But He answered them, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am thankful that You called me to follow You and further the Good News of the King and kingdom of God. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and knowledge of Your will for my daily work and witness that I might hear and obey.

Nehemiah 4:6 “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”

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How much love do you have?

Scripture reading for March 11th: Luke 7

Key Scriptures: Luke 7:44-48 “Then turning toward the woman He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.””

Jesus was always teaching those He loved and came to save. The setting was the home of a Pharisee that had invited Him to dinner. At the meal, a woman came and anointed His feet with expensive ointment and washed them with her tears, wiping them off with her locks of hair. Simon, the Pharisee, was wondering if Jesus understood what kind of a person this woman was. He had judged her a “sinner”. Jesus addressed his thoughts with a parable of two debtors asking mercy from the lender and asking Simon which debtor would love the lender more? The bottom line was correctly reached by Simon–the one forgiven the most money. Does my love for Jesus match His great mercy for me a sinner?

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; . . .”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for forgiving my sins and transgressions. Forgive me for often taking this lightly and not showing love to You by obedience, worship and service. Increase my love level by revealing Your great mercy to me.

Psalm 103:11-12 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”

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Building on the Rock

Scripture reading for March 10th: Luke 6

Key Scriptures: Luke 6:46-49 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Jesus was plain in His teaching. He came to bring Truth and light to those in darkness. There were those who called Him ‘Lord’ but were not doing what He instructed them to do. He likened them to a builder of a house who neglected the foundation. When a flood came, the house fell immediately because of no foundation. Those who heard Jesus and did what He said were like builders whose foundation was on solid rock. When the flood hit that house, it stood strong on the solid rock of obedient faith. Do I want my house to stand or fall? Do I hear and obey or hear and stray?

Luke 6:27-29 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, I hear Your Word and some things are difficult for me. Give me grace to apply all Your Word, particularly in loving my enemies and those who hate me. I want to build on the unshakable Rock!

Proverbs 13:1 “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

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Calling all sinners!

Scripture reading for March 9th: Luke 5

Key Scriptures: Luke 5:27-31 “After this He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed Him. And Levi made Him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.””

Jesus prayerfully and carefully selected those He wanted to follow Him as disciples and whom He would appoint as apostles. His selections were not popular with the local religious folks. They particularly held their nose up at the call of Levi, a tax collector and the dinner party Jesus attended at his house afterwards. They asked His disciples why they were eating with the “deplorable” sinners like these tax collectors were judged by them to be. Jesus answered them Himself. He came to call sinners to repentance. Only those who are sick will admit their need of a “Physician”.

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.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for healing my sinful heart and inviting me to Your table for fellowship. Give me grace to call others in need of healing from the devastation caused by sin into fellowship with You.

Psalm 51:10, 12 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. . . .Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

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Christ’s main purpose

Scripture reading for March 8th: Luke 4

Key Scriptures: Luke 4:42-44 “And when it was day, He departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought Him and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them, but He said to them, “I must preach the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.: And He was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”

After returning from the 40 days of temptation by Satan, Jesus proclaimed the anointing of the Holy Spirit on His life in His home-town synagogue. He was to proclaim “Good News” to the poor, liberty to the captives and oppressed and recovery of sight to the blind, announcing the year of God’s favor. The people there tried to stone Him, but He passed by untouched. He went to Capernaum and began to teach and heal and cast out demons. He tried going to a deserted place to be alone with the Father, but the crowds found Him and pressed Him to stay. He then announced that He must go to other towns and preach the Good News. This was the purpose that God sent Him to earth for and He was set in His heart to fulfill God’s will. More preaching in other places followed!

Matthew 11:4-5 “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John (the Baptist) what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them.””

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for doing God’s will and preaching the Good News to the poor like me. I have been given liberty and sight and walk with You in sharing the “Good News” of a merciful Savior Who cares!

Psalm 136:23-24 “It is He Who remembered us in our low estate, for His steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for His steadfast love endures forever; . .”

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