2022.) Luke 10:25-37

January 31, 2017

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

Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.

This may have been a sincere question.

“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Biblical understanding of eternal life doesn’t necessarily refer to duration of life, because every person is immortal and we believe in life after death. It doesn’t refer to a life that begins only when we die. Eternal life is a particular quality of life; a life that comes from God, and a life we can have right now.

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

“You are the lawyer,” Jesus says. “Tell me what the Law says.”

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.'”

He knows the right answer: Love God, and love your neighbor.

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?”

The lawyer measured himself against both commands. He figured that he obeyed the first command well enough, but his keeping of the second commandment depended on how one defined “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, then 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; even more so in our daily living.

His second mistake was in thinking that he could fulfill the commandment to love God with all he had separate from loving 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 4:202-21).

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 fulfilled it in an imperfect way. It all depends on how broad the definition 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.

“The Good Samaritan” by He Qi

Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 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.”



HERE  is the story, retold —


And here is the story, again —

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. I have lived in Georgia for more than a decade, and I love how he transposed the story from far away over there to right here.

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!”



HERE  is a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi, “Make me a channel of your peace,” sung by Susan Boyle. “Get going and start living like that!”


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.    http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Luk-10,25_Parable_Good_Samaritan_Bon_Samaritain/20%20DE%20SAUSSURE%20LE%20SAMARITAIN%2001.jpg
He Qi.  http://www.heqiart.com/uploads/2/3/5/9/23595908/s463025724710779803_p69_i54_w600.jpeg
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/2017/01/82b4d-good-samaritan.gif
Good Samaritan at the inn.   http://media.freebibleimages.org/stories/FB_Parable_Good_Samaritan/overview_images/024-parable-good-samaritan.jpg?1441363243

2021.) Luke 10:1-24

January 30, 2017
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)

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 (NIV)

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-two

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others

This reminds us that there was a larger group of interested followers of Jesus beyond the Twelve He chose as disciples and apostles.

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.

Jesus commanded them to pray; the work before them was great and could not be accomplished without much prayer. Specifically, they were to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. This speaks powerfully to:

· The need for prayer in the work of evangelism (therefore pray)

· The maker of the harvest (the Lord of the harvest)

· The need for workers in the work of evangelism (laborers)

· The calling of God for the work of the harvest (to send out)

· The nature of harvest participation, work (laborers)

· The need to recognize Whom the harvest belongs to (His harvest)

–David Guzik

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.



“So Send I You” has been called the greatest missionary hymn of the 20th century. It was first published in 1954 after having been written sixteen years earlier by a Canadian school teacher, Margaret Clarkson.

Margaret Clarkson, born in 1915, was a teacher in a gold-mining camp in northern Ontario, Canada, far from her home. It was a lonely life for her, but she also knew that this is where God wanted her to serve Him. She had a great desire to be a missionary on a foreign field but because of her health was unable to go. One day she was considering the loneliness of her situation and read again the verse John 20:21, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” While meditating on this verse she wrote the words to a hymn that has become a favorite, “So Send I You.”

HERE  it is, sung by Dick Anthony’s 16 Singing Men. Lyrics follow.

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.

So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.


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.

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

Satan’s fall was God’s immediate judgment upon that rebellious spirit (though not complete judgment, which still awaits). Every time the kingdom of Jesus is presented in truth and power, it is like another judgment upon Satan and all who share his rebellious spirit. “So, where the gospel is preached with divine power, Satan comes down from his throne, in human hearts and human minds, as rapidly as the lightning-flash falls from heaven; and when we see his kingdom shaken, then, like Jesus, we rejoice in spirit.” (Spurgeon)

–David Guzik

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

“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."

“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 (NLT)

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.

How blessed we are to see Jesus in the Scriptures, full of grace and truth!



HERE  is “Open my eyes that I might see . . . ”  Written by Clara H. Scott in 1895. I remember this song from my childhood.

1 Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

(Ref) Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit Divine!

2 Open my ears that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

3 Open my mouth and let me bear
Tidings of mercy everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.

4 Open my mind that I may read
More of Thy love in word and deed;
What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
Only for light from Thee I plead.


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

Images courtesy of:
world map.    http://i459.photobucket.com/albums/qq317/pauljorg31/World_map_blank_black_lines_4500px.gif
Peace to this house.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/10-peace-to-this-house.jpg 
apple of my eye.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/47/09/5f/47095f7d6d11e5199673dbf123277f3f.jpg
child of God.    http://imagecache5.art.com/p/LRG/9/954/W59K000Z/stephanie-marrott-i-am-a-child-of-god.jpg
eyes.   http://wallup.net/face-eyes-freckles-2/

2020.) Luke 9:28-62

January 27, 2017

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

Matthew 5:17 (ESV)

“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.

The end isn’t the cross. The end is the glory of God.

–David Guzik



To see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, to follow Thee more nearly —  HERE  is “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell, 1970.


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.

Wow! Jesus had just revealed His glory in two pretty spectacular ways—the transfiguration and the casting out of a difficult demon. Yet, He reminds His disciples, His mission has not changed; He has still come to die on the cross for our sins.

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.”

It’s almost laughable! The obvious response to their question, “Who is the greatest among us?” is for Jesus to say, “Well, Me, of course.” But instead He shows them a child and teaches them about humility.

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

Philippians 3:20   (NLT)

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

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.”


from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary (1706):

Let us not try to join the profession of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God.

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.”



Hosea 10:12 (NLT)

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.’

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.”

Remember how Jesus lived this way. always set to do what lay before Him without longing backward glances! Verse 51 reminds us: Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 


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

Images courtesy of:
Armstrong.    http://www.leicestergalleries.com/art-and-antiques/detail/10442
Colette.     http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-19,13_Blessing_Children_Enfants_Benediction/21%20COLETTE%20ISABELLA%20BB%20JESUS%20ET%20LES%20ENFANTS.jpg
homeless guy.   http://feedfivethousand.com/images/homeless_guy.jpg
graveside.    https://s3.amazonaws.com/CFSV2/siteimages/dfm/158019-graveside.jpg
draft horse plowing.   https://img1.etsystatic.com/005/0/5929390/il_fullxfull.364949305_q96y.jpg

2019.) Luke 9:1-27

January 26, 2017

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. 3He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.

There was a rule among the rabbis of the day that you could not enter the temple area with a staff, shoes, or a moneybag, because you wanted to avoid even the appearance of being engaged in any other business than the service of the Lord. The disciples are engaged in such holy work (preaching the gospel and bringing God’s healing) that they can’t give the impression that they have any other motive.

–David Guzik

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 (NLT)

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.

What we have in ourselves to give others is insignificant, but when we put it in Jesus’ hands, He can do great things with our gifts and talents to touch the lives of others.

–David Guzik

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

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 (NLT)

. . . 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.



HERE  is “Lord, I lift your name on high,” sung by the Maranatha Singers.


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.”

An important word here is must. This isn’t just a plan or an idea or a prediction; this is the fulfillment of what was planned before the world began for our salvation (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). But the resurrection was as much a must as any other aspect of His suffering; Jesus had to rise from the dead.

–David Guzik

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 are 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.”


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://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/the%20disciples%20chosen%20and%20sent%20out.jpg
Bonnell.    http://render.fineartamerica.com/images/rendered/medium/greeting-card/images-medium-5/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.elizabethwoodson.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Take-Up-Cross.jpg

2018.) Luke 8:26-56

January 25, 2017
In honor of the story in our text today, might I suggest that for lunch you have a "deviled ham" sandwich? :)

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)

Jesus shows himself master over demons, disease, and death!

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 friends who go to India 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 (NLT)

“I am the Lord who heals you.”

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.”

In 2013, twelve-year-old Philadelphia sixth-grader Laporshia Massey had an asthma attack at school and died later that day.

Devastating — the death of a young daughter. Here is only one example:  In 2013, twelve-year-old Philadelphia sixth-grader Laporshia Massey had an asthma attack at school and died later that day.

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

Lamentations 3:57 (NASB)

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.



HERE  is an eternal truth for the demon-possessed man, for the woman with the hemorrhage, for the little girl — and for all of us. “O the deep, deep love of Jesus,” sung by Audry Assad and Fernando Ortega.


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

Images courtesy of:
deviled ham sandwich.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/7018d-deviliedhamsandwich1500.jpg
pigs.    http://www.jesus-story.net/8-pigs.jpeg
pig drawing.   http://www.cowboyclipart.net/animals/pig7.gif
Signed. Sealed. Delivered.    http://newbeginningslutheranchurch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/signed.jpg
she touches the hem of his garment.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/Jesus%20touches%20bleeding%20woman/stella_pearl/Christian/Hem_of_Garment_panel.jpg
Laporshia Massey.   http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/philadelphia-student-dies-of-asthma.jpg
Ong.   https://history.lds.org/bc/content/images/museum/exhibits/miracles-of-christ/raising-the-daughter-of-jairus-wilson-ong-451894.jpg

2017.) Luke 8:1-25

January 24, 2017

“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

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

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 (NLT)

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.

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.



HERE  is a cute re-telling of this story! “Four Little Seeds” — the parable of the Sower.


A Lamp on a Stand


Matthew 5:16   (CEV)

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

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.”

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

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 (NKJV)

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.”

We know what it is like to be buffeted. We know what it is like to have no control. We know situations where only the divine can intervene. We still cry, ‘Lord, save us!

And Jesus still says, “Peace, be still,” and brings us through the storms.



Music for a stormy time!  HERE  is Anne Murray and “Put Your Hand in the Hand (of the Man who stilled the water).”


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://bluemoonacres.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/soil_photo1.jpg
chicken cartoon.    http://www.savagechickens.com/images/chickenpatience.jpg
light shining.   http://adl-lightbulbs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/light-bulb-2014.png
He Qi.    http://artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-08,23-He%20calms%20a%20storm_Il%20calme%20une%20tempete/21%20HE%20QI%20NATIVITY%20PEACE%20BE%20STILL.jpg

2016.) Luke 7:36-50

January 23, 2017

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”  –Isaiah 30:18

Luke 7:36-50   (NIV)

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Simon the Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a prophet because he thought that Jesus was unable to see this woman’s heart. But Jesus has no problem seeing hearts—He tells Simon the Pharisee exactly what is on his heart.

–David Guzik

40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?

What do we see as we look at people? Here, Simon the Pharisee did not see the woman as she was (a humble sinner seeking forgiveness, pouring out love for Jesus) for he was looking at her as she had been (a notorious sinner). Oh, may we have Christ-like eyes and see the good in people!

I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Of the works done in this chapter, this is the greatest. Sickness that is healed (as in the centurion’s servant), or life that is restored (as in the widow’s son) are not permanent works of healing, because those bodies will one day die again. But sins that are forgiven are forgiven forever.

–David Guzik



HERE  Ken Medema sings his beautiful arrangement of one of my favorite hymns, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul.” Imagine how wonderful for this woman to receive from Jesus a love that was real and true! This song was originally written by Charles Wesley, a prolific hymn writer, who also wrote “Ye Servants of God, your Master Proclaim,” “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” “O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” and  “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”


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

Images courtesy of:
woman at Jesus’ feet.   http://dailytimewithgod.com/http://dailytimewithgod.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/2012/10/woman.jpg
woman with jar.    http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Luke7_47.jpg

2015.) Luke 7:1-35

January 20, 2017

Luke 7:1-35   (NIV)

The Faith of the Centurion

1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6So Jesus went with them.

The centurion had an unusual attitude towards his slave. Under Roman law, a master had the right to kill his slave, and it was expected that he would do so if the slave became ill or injured to the point where he could not work.

–David Guzik

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

Psalm 146:5 (NLT)

Joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.

9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

“Christ Raising the Dead” watercolor by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford (Tate Collection, London)

11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Psalm 142:3   (NRSV)

When my spirit is faint, you know my way.

14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Psalm 30:11 (NLT)

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing!

16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus and John the Baptist

18John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

20When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ ”

Why does John ask this question, especially after all the miraculous signs that would demonstrate this to him? Weren’t all the prophecies through his father Zacharias (Luke 1:13-17 and 1:67-80) and the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism (Luke 3:21-22) enough proof?

Matthew tells us that John asked this question from prison (Matthew 11:2-3). Even John the Baptist probably had some misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission, and thought: “If He really is who I thought He is, why am I in prison?” John probably asked this question because of discouragement in prison.

“John was already in prison, and things began to appear incomprehensible to him. He had expected that Christ would speedily destroy the powers of darkness and judge the unrighteous. But instead of doing this, He leaves him, His forerunner, helpless in prison.” (Geldenhuys)

It is often the same with us. Our discouraging circumstances often cause us to forget or doubt who Jesus is.

–David Guzik

21At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 23Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”


from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
–Luke 7:23   (King James Version)

All of us are sometimes troubled by questions. Why is the secret of healing not opened more fully? Why is that key not put into wise and loving hands? Why does He whose touch has not lost its ancient power not come immediately and touch and heal? Why have the wicked such awful power? Why are we ourselves sometimes like the little ship on the sea of Galilee beaten by the winds? And even after we have heard our dear Lord’s Peace, be still, why is it that there is not always instantly a great calm, a lasting calm? Why do the winds return again?

We could go on forever, piling question on question. Why? Why? Why?

But faith is not “trusting God when we understand his ways” — there is no need for faith then. Faith is trusting when nothing is explained. Faith rests under the Unexplained. Faith enters into the deep places of our Lord’s words, And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. Faith, having entered into those deep places, stays there in peace.

24After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27This is the one about whom it is written:
” ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
” ‘We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ 35But wisdom is proved right by all her children.

Reflections on wisdom:

Wisdom is not proven by argument or debate.  Wisdom is proven over time.
–Henry T. Blackaby

There are four kinds of people:
Those who know not, and know not that they know not.  These are foolish, and should be avoided.
Those who know not, and know they know not.  These are the simple, and should be instructed.
Those who know, and know not that they know.  These are asleep; wake them.

Those who know, and know they know.  These are the wise; listen to them.
–Arab proverb

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
–Psalm 111:10 (NLT)



HERE  is “Faith Is the Victory,” sung by the Fountainview Academy Choir, from British Columbia, Canada.


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

Images courtesy of:
Faith.   https://redeeminggod.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/faith-570×387.jpg
centurion.   http://www.legionxxiv.org/centurionpage/centurion_025.jpg
Waterford.     http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=15979&searchid=4754&tabview=image
John baptizing Jesus.    https://joykidsbiblelessons.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/19_john_baptist_jpeg_1024.jpg
Faith.   https://beahealthnuttoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/faith.jpg

2014.) Luke 6:27-49

January 19, 2017


Luke 6:27-49  (NIV)

Love for Enemies

27“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Luke 6:28 —  Pray for them which despitefully use you.

Are there any who are making your burdens heavier than they need be? Sometimes very small things can make our burdens feel heavier. The temptation always is to resent this, and feel ruffled.

The Lord Jesus says to us, “Pray for those who compel you to carry burdens.” Don’t talk about them to others, unless that talk will bear the scrutiny of the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t talk about them to yourself. Look up to your Father for them. Pray that their burdens may be lightened. (Perhaps they have some of which you know nothing.) Pray, and as you pray, love will flow into your heart for them.

29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Proverbs 20:22 (CEV)

Don’t try to get even.

Trust the LORD,

and he will help you.

32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Psalm 141:4 (NLT)

Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.

Judging Others

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.



How to produce good fruit:  HERE  is Don Francisco and “Steeple Song.”


The Wise and Foolish Builders

46“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Hosea 4:1 (ESV)

Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land.

47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

A Secure Foundation

Faithful God,

Your greatest desire for me is for me to be happy and holy, and the only way to realize your dream for my life is to build it on a secure foundation.

A house built upon the sand will quickly fall to the ground. I could easily reduce religion to an external facade, empty actions that have no meaning, simply trying to be good. But this falls far short of true religion, which is a living relationship with you through Jesus Christ. If I build my life on any foundation other than that of your unconditional love graciously received in your Son, I build on sand.

Jesus is a rock, a sure foundation, upon which to build a life worth living. If I entrust my life to him, then I will want to do your will, I will strive to fulfill the law of love in all things, I will reflect his humility in my relationships with others, I will seek to be patient, gentle, and meek, and I will find the capacity to love you with all my heart.

So I ask myself, in prayer this day, upon which foundation an I building my life? Have I built upon the foundation of simply believing the right things, acting the right ways, doing good works, attending the right church? Oh, these are the least part of the religion of Jesus Christ!

Or am I building my life on a dynamic and living relationship with you? Here is the foundation that will stand the test of time! Add meekness of wisdom and contentment to my seriousness. Enable me to love the sinner while speaking the truth in love. Remove worldly desires for wealth, honors, and pleasures from my heart. Empower me to love my neighbor just as I love myself and to be merciful and kind to everyone I meet. Purify my heart and create a welcoming space there for you to reign forever. Amen.

–from Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit, by Paul Chilcote


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

Images courtesy of:
John 14:15.   http://knowing-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/John-14-15-In-You-Love-Me-You-Will-Keep-My-Commandments-gold-copy.jpg
man carrying a burden.    http://irregulartimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/burden.jpg
forgive stone.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3025/2653504363_c90fd97195.jpg
log in eye cartoon.    http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_jun2004/EyeSpeck.jpg
figs and grapes.  http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/elvinphoto/elvinphoto0909/elvinphoto090900181/5626162.jpg

2013.) Luke 6:1-26

January 18, 2017

Jeremiah 8:21-22 (NRSV) For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?

Luke 6:1-26  (NIV)

Lord of the Sabbath

1One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

3Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

There was nothing wrong with what the disciples did. Their gleaning was not considered stealing, according to Deuteronomy 23:25.

The problem was with the day on which they did it. The Rabbis made an elaborate list of “do” and “don’t” items relevant to the Sabbath and this violated one of the items on this list. When the disciples did what they did, in the eyes of the religious leaders they were guilty of reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing food. Four violations of the Sabbath in one mouthful!

–David Guzik

6On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

9Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

10He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

luke6-withered-handHe did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The lesson is:  human need is more important than religious ritual.

Oh, to love our God and our neighbors more than we love the forms of “religion!” What God really wants is mercy before sacrifice (Hosea 6:6)! Love for others is more important than Sunday morning rituals (Isaiah 58:1-9)! The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; these, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17).

The Twelve Apostles

Greek Orthodox icon of the twelve apostles

12One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

What is an apostle? The idea behind the ancient Greek word for apostle is “ambassador.” It describes someone who represents another, someone who is sent carrying a message from the sender.

Blessings and Woes

17He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, 19and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.


21Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.


Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.


Christians in the state of Orissa, India, have had their homes and churches destroyed in anti-Christian violence.

Christians in the state of Orissa, India, have had their homes and churches destroyed in anti-Christian violence.

22Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.


23“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.


24“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.


25Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.


Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.


26Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.



HERE  is the Ken Burton arrangement of “There Is A Balm,” for Jesus comes bringing healing and peace and instructions for how to live a life worth living.


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

Images courtesy of:
physician with child.    http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Third_Party_Photo/2008/10/27/physician__1225737999_3389.jpg
withered hand.   http://celebrationpublications.org/sites/default/files/blogart/patmarrin/withered%20hand_0.jpg?1421852642
Twelve apostles.  http://faithseekingknowledge.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/12apostles.jpg
street person sleeping.    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/4111599.jpg
hungry child.   http://www.cuisineandhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/good.jpg?x41269
weeping man.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/mourning.jpg
burned home.   http://www.asianews.it/files/img/india_orissa_donna_%28400_x_267%29.jpg
fancy house and car.   http://financialjuneteenth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/eddy-curry-house-foreclosure.jpg
fat man.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/46/1a/6f/461a6f162df7c03efcc9bce7202892ba.jpg
women laughing.    https://www.walkerslegacy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/4-women-laughing-black-and-white-800×600.jpg
people applauding.   http://www.everesttraining.com/PeopleApplaudingHRAGD.jpg