1042.) Luke 11:1-28

April 30, 2013

“Le Pater Noster” watercolor by James Tissot, 1890 (Brooklyn Museum, New York)

Luke 11:1-28  (NIV)

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

“It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfillment, the kingdom for its coming, the glory of God for its full revelation . . . Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray. He did not speak much of what was needed to preach well, but much of praying well. To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man. Not power with men, but power with God is the first thing. Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.”

–Andrew Murray

2He said to them, “When you pray, say:

” ‘Father,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come.

3Give us each day our daily bread.

L11 Sandwich

4Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

And lead us not into temptation.’ “

_________________________

Music:

The Lord’s Prayer in a song called “Millennium Prayer” sung by British Christian artist and rock star Sir Cliff Richard.

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I do not say that I understand everything the poet is saying — but what I do understand makes me long to pray more — beside the manger, at the foot of the cross, at the open door of the empty tomb.  Each is a place where we can pray. . .

The Wise Men

by G. K. Chesterton.

Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray,
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore,
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know the labyrinthine lore,
We are the three Wise Men of yore,
And we know all things but the truth.

We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And serve the made gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil
Of visions and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly… it has hailed and snowed…
With voices low and lanterns lit,
So very simple is the road,
That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun—
(… We need but walk a little way …
We need but see a latch undone …)
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,
The old strange house that is our own,
Where tricks of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
And Honor is as hard as stone.

Go humbly; humble are the skies,
And low and large and fierce the Star,
So very near the Manger lies
That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain,
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes
For God himself is born again
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.

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5Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

7“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

“The Insistant Friend”  from “Vie de Jesus MAFA”

9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Psalm 105:4   (NRSV)

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.

Sermons I have heard have indicated that all three verbs here are continuous: Jesus is instructing us to keep on asking and seeking and knocking.

11“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus and Beelzebub

14Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15But some of them said, “By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

17Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

–from an address given by Abraham Lincoln (who would later become President of the United States) on June 16, 1858, in Springfield, Illinois, upon accepting the Illinois Republican party’s nomination as that state’s United States senator.  He lost the race to Stephen Douglas.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

18If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. 19Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

21“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.

23“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.

24“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

27As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

28He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Psalm 119:57 (New International Version)

You are my portion, O LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Tissot.    http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/4531/The_Lords_Prayer_%28Le_Pater_Noster%29/image/9304/overall
Names of Jesus.   http://www.carvedfish.com/images/inspirational/names_of_jesus.jpg
kingdom come.     http://www.poemcards.biz/your%20kingdom%20come.jpg
croissant sandwich.    http://realmomkitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Simple-Chicken-Salad-Croissant-Sandwich.jpg
crown of thorns.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PryrfBBCQHs/T1Dy0qM0cXI/AAAAAAAAB2k/JGtRBTnHVro/s1600/thorn_crown.jpg
temptation cartoon.   http://pdbb.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/temptation.jpg
“Insistent Friend.”    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_BmgZBuucUjs/RwtlmEUGM0I/AAAAAAAAAGs/S-kPmfhgag4/s400/Unknown+Illustrator+of+Vie+de+J%C3%A9sus+Mafa,+The+Insistent+Friend.jpg
Abraham Lincoln.    http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/Abe_Lincoln_young.jpg/180px-Abe_Lincoln_young.jpg
Trust and obey.    http://www.wonderfulway.net/trust_and_obey_jr.gif
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1041.) Luke 10:25-42

April 29, 2013

“The Good Samaritan” by Vincent van Gogh, 1890 (Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo,  Netherlands)

Luke 10:25-42 (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

His first and perhaps greatest mistake was in assuming that he had fulfilled the first commandment. When we really consider what the words mean, who among us has loved God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind? It is easy for us to be distracted in any one of these areas even when we worship God, much less in our daily living.

His second mistake was in thinking that he could fulfill the commandment to love God with all he had and still possibly not fulfill the command to love his neighbor. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also (1 John 4:20-21).

His third mistake was in the way that he wanted to narrowly define “neighbor.” If only our friends and those who are easy to love are our neighbors, then perhaps this man fulfills it. It all depends on how broad the definition is. The Jews in Jesus’ day did believe that you had to love your neighbor; but they also taught that it was a duty before God to hate your enemy. It all depends on who your neighbor is and who your enemy is.

–David Guzik

“The Good Samaritan”  by Eric de Saussure, 1968

30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.

The wine, containing alcohol, had an antiseptic effect on the man’s wounds. The oil would help to soothe the wounds, easing the pain. To set him on his own animal means that the Samaritan himself walked.

“The Good Samaritan” by He Qi

35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“The Good Samaritan”  by Rembrandt, 1630 (Wallace Collection, London)

36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Let it never be forgotten that what the law demands of us
the gospel really produces in us.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

from The Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts, by Clarence Jordan (1969).

Dr. Jordan (1912 – 1969) founded Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia, a pioneering interracial farming community in the deep South.  He held a B.S. in agriculture and a Ph.D. in New Testament Greek.

One day a teacher of an adult Bible class got up and tested him with this question: “Doctor, what does one do to be saved?”

Jesus replied, “What does the Bible say? How do you interpret it?”

The teacher answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your physical strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”

“That is correct,” answered Jesus. “Make a habit of this and you’ll be saved.”

But the Sunday school teacher, trying to save face, asked, “But … er … but … just who is my neighbor?”


Then Jesus laid into him and said, “A man was going from Atlanta to Albany and some gangsters held him up. When they had robbed him of his wallet and brand-new suit, they beat him up and drove off in his car, leaving him unconscious on the shoulder of the highway.

“Now it just so happened that a white preacher was going down that same highway. When he saw the fellow, he stepped on the gas and went scooting by.

“Shortly afterwards a white Gospel song leader came down the road, and when he saw what had happened, he too stepped on the gas.

“Then a black man traveling that way came upon the fellow, and what he saw moved him to tears. He stopped and bound up his wounds as best he could, drew some water from his water-jug to wipe away the blood and then laid him on the back seat.

He drove on into Albany and took him to the hospital and said to the nurse, ‘You all take good care of this white man I found on the highway. Here’s the only two dollars I got, but you all keep account of what he owes, and if he can’t pay it, I’ll settle up with you when I make a pay-day.’

“Now if you had been the man held up by the gangsters, which of these three—the white preacher, the white song leader, or the black man—would you consider to have been your neighbor?”

The teacher of the adult Bible class said, “Why, of course, the nig—I mean, er … well, er … the one who treated me kindly.”

Jesus said, “Well, then, you get going and start living like that!”

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Music:

The story of the Good Samaritan has an unexpected twist to it.  It starts off to answer the question “Who is my neighbor?”  But it ends by posing the question “To whom do you prove yourself a neighbor?”

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At the Home of Martha and Mary

“Martha Preparing Dinner for Jesus” by Pieter Aertsen

38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Martha was cumbered about much serving.”
— Luke x. 40

Her fault was not that she served:  the condition of a servant well becomes every Christian.  Nor was the fault that she had “much serving.”  We cannot do too much.  Let us do all that we possibly can; let head, and heart, and hands, be engaged in the Master’s service.  It was no fault of hers that she was busy preparing a feast for the Master.  Happy Martha, to have an opportunity of entertaining so blessed a guest; and happy, too, to have the spirit to throw her whole soul so heartily into the engagement.  Her fault was that she grew “cumbered with much serving,” so that she forgot Him, and only remembered the service.  She allowed service to override communion, and so presented one duty stained with the blood of another.

We ought to be Martha and Mary in one:  we should do much service, and have much communion at the same time.  For this we need great grace.  It is easier to serve than to commune.  Joshua never grew weary in fighting with the Amalekites; but Moses, on the top of the mountain in prayer, needed two helpers to sustain his hands.  The more spiritual the exercise, the sooner we tire in it.

Beloved, while we do not neglect external things, we ought also to see to it that we enjoy living, personal fellowship with Jesus.  See to it that sitting at the Saviour’s feet is not neglected, even though it be under the specious pretext of doing Him service.  The first thing for our soul’s health, the first thing for His glory, and the first thing for our own usefulness, is to keep ourselves in perpetual communion with the Lord Jesus, and to see that the vital spirituality of our religion is maintained over and above everything else in the world.

41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Psalm 27:4 (English Standard Version)

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Van Gogh.    http://www.abcgallery.com/V/vangogh/vangogh56.html
de Saussure.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/10-de-saussure-le-samaritain1.jpg
He Qi.  http://www.heqigallery.com/gallery/gallery3/images/5-GoodSamaritan.jpg
Rembrandt.   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f1/Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_033.jpg
Cotton Patch book cover.     http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513253ZSE0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg
Good Samaritan in black and white.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/10-goodsamariatn-bw.gif
Good Samaritan sketch.    http://static.squidoo.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/draft_lens7241282module59822662photo_1258238877goodsamaritan.jpg
Aertsen.  http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/73581/marthapreparingdinnerforjesus
the number 1.    http://www.hcsb.k12.fl.us/ees/images/stories/ClipArt/one.jpg

1040.) Luke 10:1-24

April 26, 2013

And Jesus said, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” — John 4:35 (English Standard Version)

Luke 10:1-24 (New International Version)

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-two

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

1 Chronicles 22:16   (NRSV)

Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.

4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.

L10 peace house

7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.

They were to trust that God would provide for them through the generosity of others, and they were to thankfully receive what was offered to them.  Jesus told them to regard the support given to them not as charity, but as justified payment for their work on behalf of God’s kingdom.

–David Guzik

Do not move around from house to house.

8“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.

16“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Zechariah 2:8  (NRSV)

One who touches you touches the apple of my eye.

The Seventy-two Return

17The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

AM I CONVINCED BY CHRIST?

“Nothwithstanding in this rejoice not . . . , but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
–Luke x. 19,20.

Jesus Christ says, in effect, Don’t rejoice in successful service, but rejoice because you are rightly related to Me.  The snare in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service, to rejoice in the fact that God has used you.  You never can measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ.  Keep your relationship right with Him, then whatever circumstances you are in, and whoever you meet day by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it is of His mercy that He does not let you know it.

The tendency today is to put the emphasis on service.  Beware of the people who make usefulness their ground of appeal.  If you make usefulness the test, then Jesus Christ was the greatest failure that ever lived.  The lodestar of the saint is God Himself, not estimated usefulness.  It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him.  All that Our Lord heeds in a person’s life is the relationship of worth to His Father.  Jesus is bringing many sons and daughters to glory.

21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

22“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

“Open my eyes, Lord.  I want to see Jesus.”

23Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

1 Peter 1:10-12 (New Living Translation)

This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you.  They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

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Music:

HERE  is Hillsong singing “You Said”  by Reuben Morgan.  Oh, to be utterly grounded and directed by what You said!

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How we go forth with the gospel.

1. The harvest is great: We do the work knowing how big the job is.

2. The laborers are few: We do the work knowing that we have a key job.

3. Pray the Lord of the harvest: We do the work with a lot of prayer.

4. Go your way: We are to actually go and do the work.

5. Like lambs among wolves: We do the work making ourselves vulnerable, letting God be our strength.

6. Carry neither: We do the work without reliance upon anything except the gospel and power of God.

7. Greet no one: We do the work not allowing social obligations to hinder our work.

8. Whatever house you enter: We do the work expecting that God will bring help and provision.

9. Eating and drinking such things as they give: We do the work not being hung up on minor points.

10. Heal the sick: We do the work looking to minister to the whole person with the power of God.

11. Say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you”: We do the work preaching that the King and His kingdom are here.

12. But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets: As we do the work, we don’t waste our time on those who are rejecting the gospel.

13. He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me: We do the work remembering whom we represent.

14. The seventy returned with joy: We do the work expecting God to do more than we expect.

15. Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit: We do the work knowing that Jesus has so much joy when we do His work.

–David Guzik

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
world map.    http://igcministries.org/images/WorldMap.gif
Peace to this house.    http://www.gardenhouseflags.com/images/JNE_022.jpg
apple of my eye.    http://help.com/user-avatars/a6/user-photo-111509-726198.jpg
child of God.    http://imagecache5.art.com/p/LRG/9/954/W59K000Z/stephanie-marrott-i-am-a-child-of-god.jpg
eyes.   http://beaut.ie/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/eyes.jpg

1039.) Luke 9:28-62

April 25, 2013

“Transfiguration” by British Surrealist John Armstrong, 1947

Luke 9:28-62  (NIV)

The Transfiguration

28About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

This was not a new miracle, but the temporary pause of an ongoing miracle. The real miracle was that Jesus, most of the time, could keep from displaying His glory.

–David Guzik

30Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.

Matthew 5:17 (English Standard Version)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Moses was the great law-giver.  Elijah was the great prophet.  Christ is the full meaning of all that they spoke of.

They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

34While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

But the event left a lasting impression on these men. Peter relates what happened in 2 Peter 1:16-18, how the voice from God saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” was still ringing in his ears, confirming who Jesus was.

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Music:

“To see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, to follow Thee more nearly” —  HERE  is an interesting presentation of  “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell.

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The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit

37The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

41“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

42Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Who Will Be the Greatest

“Do as the Children!” by Isabella Colette

46An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

49“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

50“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Samaritan Opposition

51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they went to another village.

_________________________

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

James and John were called the “Sons of Thunder.”  When they discovered a Samaritan village that would not receive Jesus, they were fully prepared to call down fire to consume the entire community!  Perhaps they felt that through such a show of power, their gospel message might be enhanced.  The two brothers were willing to sacrifice the lives of the villagers in order to further the cause of the gospel.  Jesus rebuked them.

Later, the apostles heard that Samaria had responded to the gospel (Acts 8:14).  Who was commissioned to go and help them receive the Holy Spirit but Peter and John!  God’s purpose had not been to destroy those people but to save them.  God chose not to rain down fire on the village, but to shower it with His Holy Spirit.  What must have gone through John’s mind as he saw these same people, now rejoicing in their salvation?  How grateful he must have been that Jesus had prevented him from carrying out his plans!

What an enormous difference between man’s thinking and God’s!  Man’s thinking would have resulted in the destruction of an entire village.  God’s plan brought salvation to it.  People will benefit far more from what God wants to give them than from your best plans.

_________________________

The Cost of Following Jesus

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

L9 graveside

59He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

62Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

L9 plowing

Hosea 10:12 (New Living Translation)

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
for now is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come
and shower righteousness upon you.’

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Armstrong.    http://www.leicestergalleries.com/art-and-antiques/detail/10442
Colette.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/9-colette1.jpg
homeless guy.   http://feedfivethousand.com/images/homeless_guy.jpg
graveside.    http://www.wilbert.com/assets/1/7/MainFCKEditorDimension/185_Wilbert.jpg
plowing then . . .     http://possumjimandelizabeth.com/adjusted_images/travel_plow7.jpg

1038.) Luke 9:1-27

April 24, 2013

Luke 9:1-27   (NIV)

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

1When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

John 20:21 (ESV)

Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

3He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” 6So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Psalm 73:28 (New Living Translation)

But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

7Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

“The Feeding of the 5000” by contemporary American artist Daniel Bonnell

10When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

12Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

13He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14(About five thousand men were there.)

But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. 16Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. 17They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (New American Standard Bible)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Peter’s Confession of Christ

18Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

19They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

20“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Philippians 2:10-11 (New Living Translation)

. . . that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

_________________________

Music:

The Christ of God.  Jesus, my Savior.  Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.  Lord of all.  Join in and praise His name!  “Lord, I lift your name on high.”

_________________________

21Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 143:10 — Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee, for Thou art my God:  let Thy loving Spirit lead me forth into the land of righteousness.

If we are to please our Lord in everything we must put Him first in everything.  There must be an honest acceptance of whatever this means.  It means a life with no private reserves, no self-choices — not one.  If we are to win souls we must be prepared for what it costs to win them.  It cost our Lord Jesus Calvary.  It will cost us as much as we’re able to bear of what the cross means in daily life.  The cross means a daily dying to self and all the claims of self.

Read what out Lord said in Luke 9:23 — If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself (refuse the voice that urges yielding to anything less than His supreme call to offer all), and take up his cross daily (not in one great act of renunciation, but in a thousand unseen and perhaps very small daily acts), and follow Me.

Isn’t it a comfort to be able to rely on the daily leading of His loving Spirit?

24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

You don’t lose a seed when you plant it, though it seems dead and buried. In truth, you set it free to be what it was always intended to be.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
“Jesus.”     http://media.photobucket.com/image/jesus%20name%20above%20all%20names/erby523/Jesus.jpg
disciples chosen and sent out.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/The_disciples_chosen_and_sent_out.jpg
Bonnell.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/the-feeding-of-the-5000-daniel-bonnell.jpg
five loaves and two fish.   http://5l2f.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/5000_loaves_fish_432x4322.jpg
Take up your cross.    http://www.franklincirclechurch.org/photogallery/take-up-your-cross.jpg

1037.) Luke 8:26-56

April 23, 2013

In honor of the story in our text today, might I suggest that for lunch you have a “deviled ham” sandwich? 🙂

Luke 8:26-56 (NIV)

The Healing of a Demon-possessed Man

26They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

30Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside.

The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. 33When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

They preferred their swine . . . to the Savior . . .

38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

_________________________

I have missionary friends who go to a nation in Asia twice a year and teach pastors and others to tell the stories of the Bible by heart.  Then the pastors tell those stories over and over again, to anyone who is interested.  Of course, a good story is hard to resist — and the power of the Lord is revealed!  Here is one account from one of their pastors.

Only One Word
By Sangram

Last January I went to conduct training at an adult education center in a village. A sister named Sunita, who had been telling the Bible stories there had asked me to come because a family there had a lot of problems. Every year this family had done many pujas [all-day idol worship ceremonies] in their home. They had a lot of idols that they would sacrifice to at least twice a year. They were spending 20,000 to 25,000 rupees each year on those sacrifices. As a result, that family was going through many financial problems. In fact on the day I went there, that woman was possessed by demons (they said she even had power to levitate people).

When I got there many people came and sat together and I shared the stories with them starting from Genesis. I told them about Jesus and why He came into this world. I said to them, “If you want to be delivered from the devil, then you have to believe on Jesus Christ.”

Then I started to pray for the woman. But when I began to pray, she got up and started dancing in front of the idols where they sacrificed in their home.

So I began to pray, saying, “In Jesus’ Name, go out from her!” The people were amazed that even hearing that one word, the demons left her. And the people could see the power of Jesus, that even by one word that demon went out from her.

After getting relief from the demon, all the people who were there stayed for prayer. They realized, “The idol that we trusted in could do nothing.” So that very day they started gathering their idols together and they threw them out. We put them all into a sack and threw it in the river.

Since then the storytelling lady has kept telling them stories from the Bible. Now all the people in that family have come to Christ, and services are being held regularly where she is telling the stories.

_________________________

A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman

40Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Exodus 15:26 (New Living Translation)

“I am the Lord who heals you.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  Steven Curtis Chapman sings a song that I think would have made this woman cry tears of joy.  “When Love Takes You In.”  Lyrics follow.

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

_________________________

49While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.”

We sometimes think that God has waited too long, and that things are beyond fixing. But God always knows what He is doing.

50Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

Lamentations 3:57 (New American Standard Bible)

You drew near when I called on You;
You said, “Do not fear!”

51When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

“Daughter of Jairus”  by Wilson Ong, 1996.  What a beautiful girl!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:

deviled ham sandwiches.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3554/3399743799_c2218d0c13.jpg
pigs.    http://www.suffolktouristguide.com/Pigs_1.jpeg
pig drawing.   http://www.cowboyclipart.net/animals/pig7.gif
she touches the hem of his garment.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/Jesus%20touches%20bleeding%20woman/stella_pearl/Christian/Hem_of_Garment_panel.jpg
Ong.   http://www.bible-topten.com/images/daughter_of_jairusOngWilson.jpg

1036.) Luke 8:1-25

April 22, 2013

“The Sower: Outskirts of Arles in the Background” by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888 (The Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles)

Luke 8:1-25   (NIV)

The Parable of the Sower

IMHO, this story should really be called the parable of the soils. The sower/farmer throws the seed upon the ground.  The difference is never the farmer’s technique of sowing, or the type of seed, but rather the kind of soil the seed lands on.

1After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others.

Why does Luke specifically mention the women who followed and served Jesus? Because in that day, rabbis generally refused to teach women and almost always gave them an inferior place.  But not Jesus.

These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

We see the true humble nature of Jesus, who was willing to make Himself dependent upon others.  Many of us are too proud to receive help from others. But sometimes the ability to humbly receive is a better measure of Jesus in our lives than the ability to give. Giving often puts us in a higher place, but receiving may put us in a lower place.

4While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

9His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
” ‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’

Lord, let my heart be good soil.

11“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

Proverbs 30:5 (New Living Translation)

Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.

12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

These four categories apply to those who hear the gospel of salvation, but they also apply to those who are already saved who continually hear the word of God. How do you hear it?

Do you let Satan take it right away?
Do you take it but then immediately ignore it?
Do you allow the cares of this world to make your hearing of the word of no effect?
Do you keep the word and see it bear fruit in your life?

–David Guzik

from Edges of His Ways, by Amy Carmichael:

And bring forth fruit with patience.   —Luke 8:15

The words of our Lord are rich, and out of these words one evening another meaning came to me which I had not understood before.  It seemed to me that we are all continually being given chances to bring forth fruit with patience.  Those who are ill long to be fit and in full work; and yet to long impatiently only hinders and depresses, whereas in patience is continued fruitfulness.  All soul-winners and soul-tenders are given this same opportunity as they give themselves to help others, for souls cannot be hustled.  When you feel as if you had come to the end of your patience do not scourge yourself.  Patience never came that way.  Go to the One Who is the God of patience and consolation, and He will renew you in patience.

_________________________

Music:

“Four Little Seeds” — the parable of the Sower.  (You may have to turn up your volume.)

_________________________

A Lamp on a Stand

Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.  –Matthew 5:16

16“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

It’s like momentum.  You are going up, up, up, or down, down, down.  If you are hungry for the Word of God, you will find it and learn it and find more and learn more. 

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

19Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

"Peace, Be Still"  by He Qi

“Peace, Be Still” by He Qi

22One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

Psalm 71:3 (New King James Version)

Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

What??  Did they think the story of Jesus would end with him drowning?  To us it seems so obvious!

But o, my soul, where am I faithless?  Where am I putting my fears above the clear promises of the Lord?  Where am I carelessly thinking that I have been left on my own?  Lord Jesus, forgive me.

_________________________

Music:

Storm music!  LISTEN  to the first two minutes of this youtube clip to hear Perpetuum Jazzile, an accapella jazz choir from Slovenia, simulate a thunderstorm with their hands — very cool!  Then the choir sings the 80’s pop classic “Africa” and you will probably enjoy that, too!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Van Gogh.    http://www.vangoghgallery.com/catalog/Painting/505/Sower:-Outskirts-of-Arles-in-the-Background,-The.html
hands holding a seedling.    http://ecowatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/f16.jpg
chicken cartoon.    http://www.savagechickens.com/images/chickenpatience.jpg
lamp.    http://www.robthurman.com/weblog/archives/lamp.jpg
He Qi.    http://www.heqigallery.com/gallery/gallery2/images/7-PeaceBeStill.jpg