Quick Thoughts From Luke

I’m reading the text in Luke and ran across this:

Luke 22:24-27 – 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Read more

Uncommon Love

love

Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.

Luke 6:31-32

In other words, it’s easy to love someone who loves you. Everybody’s doing that kind of love these days. The kind of love Jesus is talking about will draw people close to Him through you.

Its uncommon for anyone to love while being hated. Jesus loved even those who crucified Him because He asked His Father in heaven to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing to themselves. Show some uncommon love. It’s not as hard as you might think.

I Can Do This!

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

blackManHandsI’ve used this verse in situation where I needed to accomplish something, usually that something was a natural experience that needed a natural solution. I must testify that because of reciting the verse and claiming the victory over the natural problem, I was able to build more faith and do what needed to be done. This is a good verse to know when it seems you’re being overrun with situation after situation.

Recently, this week as a matter of fact, I had to call this verse up on something the complete opposite of a natural need. I had to recite it because I was having a problem with being able to apply this verse to a long-running situation:

 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. – Luke 6:28 (KJV)

The situation is involving a family member wherein my wife and I are taking on a responsibility that has been neglected. We’re doing it because first, we know it’s what God wants us to do. Second. To be used of the Lord to give hope in a hopeless situation. Taking on the responsibility isn’t what’s hard. It’s being lied on and lied to by the same people we’re trying to help.

We all have areas where the Lord is cutting away from us, or dealing with us in. This happens to be mine. So far so good and I am claiming victory over it. The normal reaction for people who don’t know the Lord and haven’t accepted Him as their Savior is to shut down, give someone a big chunk of their mind and walk away from the unappreciative spirit. But Jesus wants us to hang in there and do what needs to be done so one day, that person will recognize the love he/she saw and glorify God.

So Philippians 4:13 has been my verse to lean on because the only way I can bless the ones cursing me, and pray for the ones who despitefully use me, is through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Learning From Jesus – The Beattitudes

homeless man sleepingThe Sermon On the Mount was given on a hillside near Capernaum. It challenged the proud and legalistic teachings of the religious leaders of that day and directed the listeners back to sincere and deep-heart obedience to God and not rituals and rules of men. It set forth a blueprint for disciples and believers of Jesus in the way we are supposed to behave. It is a list of attributes that if followed, will lead to being blessed and favored of God. It isn’t superficial, but it resonates through every fiber of one who sincerely believes and want to please the Lord. And last, it is a contrast and contradiction of worldly values that Jesus doesn’t want us tangled and bound in.

The Beattiudes end with a message that let us know that following Jesus won’t always be easy and rewards that are promised in heaven. Jesus wants us to know that all the earthly material things we can obtain through our own efforts are nothing compared to the heavenly things that await us if we endure.

Matthew 5:3 (NIV) – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I remember when I taught the Beattitudes to a youth group at my church. The reaction I got was sort of humorous because the teenagers were like; “Why we gotta be poor.” And that was a good place to stop for clarification. God’s ways are not our ways and they are the complete opposite of the world’s values. So I had to quickly tell them that it didn’t have anything to do with money, cars and houses. It had to do with the spirit and how badly we should realize we need Him.

Being poor in spirit means we recognize that we need Jesus and His kingdom. Its when we realize our need for Him, that no one can ever be enough for us but Him, is when we are truly blessed and favored. Only those who depend on God will be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven. God delights in blessing His people. He frowns on those who feel they don’t need them because of their temporary surroundings.

Luke 6:20; Psalm 51:17; Proverbs 16:19, 29:23; Isaiah 57:15, 66:2

Learning From Jesus – Defensive Strategy Against Temptation

Matthew 4:1-4
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written:‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ’”

Unleavened wheat cake.The devil tried to tempt Jesus into worshiping him and to get Jesus out of the will of God. Now the devil was bold enough to step to Jesus and tempt Him, so don’t think he won’t come into your life and reek havoc. The devil started out by tempting Jesus through His hunger. The devil said; “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” This teaches us that Satan will tempt us through our need. Everybody has to eat and Jesus fasted for forty days, He didn’t eat for forty days. So the enemy tried tempting Jesus through a need.

We should always know that whatever need we have the devil will tempt us using that need. But Jesus supplies our needs. So if you have a need for money, watch and pray because you might be tempted to do something illegal or immoral to get it. If we lust for something or someone, temptation will definitely come in through our lust.

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. – James 1:13-15

Jesus wasn’t lusting for food, but He was hungry. So the devil tempted Him with turning stones into bread. We know Jesus could have did just that. Picture this. The stones in that area were rounded, so were the loaves of bread of that day. So the devil appears to plant a thought of satisfying that need in Jesus’ mind.

Jesus has shown us through this passage and throughout the Temptation In The Wilderness that we need to be able to verbalize what is written in the holy bible:

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

Jesus has set the standard on resisting temptation. It’s quite simple. Know what’s in the scriptures because whatever we’re faced with, Jesus has already been there and been tempted with it. But He overcame by first keeping His focus on the Father’s will, and second, knowing what to say to defeat Satan. This battle isn’t against a physical being, but it is against a spiritual being that has been around for thousands of years (Ephesians 6:12). You can’t defeat Satan on your own. You need Jesus and His words to claim victory.

Lord I pray that anyone who reads this will be helped and they ask for guidance through the rugged wilderness we’re in. Teach us how to overcome the many temptations in this world that are designed to draw us away from you and into the destructive clutches of our adversary. In Jesus’ name…Amen

Learning From Jesus – Just Do It

DSC_0017A few years ago, Nike™ had a catch phrase “Just Do It” in their advertisement campaign. The ad was planting a suggestion in the minds of consumers to go out and buy their products. It seems it was a successful campaign as Nike™ became one of the most prominent athletic product manufacturers in the world.

Jesus, His mother and disciples were at a wedding in Galilee. Weddings back then were very festive, much like today and to run out of wine during the celebration was considered disastrous. Mary, Jesus’ mother told Jesus the wine was gone. Jesus’ mother then told the servants; “Do whatever He tells you” – Matthew 2:1-12. The servants filled the water pots with water as Jesus told them to do and right after there was more wine for the festivities. In fact the host of the ceremony proclaimed the wine Jesus made from water was better than the wine everyone drank in the beginning.

Read more