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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The Father’s compassion!

Scripture reading for March 23rd: Luke 15

Key Scriptures: Luke 15:18-24 “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

Jesus gave a series of parables about lost things. There was the lost sheep, one out of a hundred. There was the lost coin, one out of ten silver coins. In each of these parables, there was great rejoicing as the lost was found. Jesus said these represented the joy in heaven over a sinner who repents. And then there was the story of the lost son, one of two, who chose to take his inheritance from his father and wasted it in the far country. This son was reduced to feeding pigs and at that point came to himself. He decided to go home and beg his father for mercy. The father was watching, and saw the returning son. He ran to greet him, hugging and kissing him. When the son confessed and asked for a slaves job, the father restored him to sonship and threw a party! Lessons on our Father’s heart abound in this amazing story!

Luke 15:7 “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing our Father’s great compassion and heart to restore what as sinners we foolishly wasted. May the joy of heaven be increased through my life and sharing of this Good News!

Psalm 86:15But You, O Lord are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

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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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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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