Acts 12–Herod’s Persecution of the Church

Now Paul was converted, his mission set, and with Barnabus at his side, it seemed as though the church entered a time of peace.  Sadly, that would not be the case.  Herod, the Jewish king, decided to persecute the church and its leadership.  He had James, John’s brother, arrested and killed. Next, he tracked down and arrested Peter.  Herod’s goal was to repeat the scene Pilate played out with Jesus. Herod would wait until Passover, and then parade Peter out before the people and kill the Apostle. 

As the Bible has demonstrated many times, however, that would not be the case this time.  God literally sent an angel to enter the jail, free Peter, and march him out from among His captors, right under their noses.  This was neither no small feat, nor was it a dream or vision.  The churches prayer vigil to save Peter was literally interrupted by Peter’s return. The guards charged with Peter’s oversight were executed for failing their duty.  Peter was then secreted away to safety and ultimately, Herod died of vanity and narcissism! 

God will not be mocked.  He will execute His plan for our lives.  That plan may have some trials, bumps, and difficult circumstances, but in the end, nothing escapes God’s sight or understanding.  We simply need to remember that whatever the outcome, this is not our home.  We are in route to our home, Heaven. Heaven is where we will spend eternity with God and others whom God has redeemed.  In the meanwhile, we must remain ready to honor God with all that we have, and all that we do,  following His lead in our lives.  If we will, He will bless us, use us, and give us a full, meaningful, and abundant life.

God Bless You


About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Peter Is Rescued

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.”[a] Then he departed and went to another place.

Luke 24 Part 2–The Walk to Emmaus

Jesus was back! He had suffered and died for our sins. But just as the prophets had predicted, He rose on the third day.  News was starting to spread of the crucifixion of the Lord. Two men were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. During the walk, Jesus joined them.  the Lord acted as though He had not heard the news.  The men explained the week’s events and the furor those events caused.  Then Jesus spent the journey telling the men the prophetic signs and how the father let people know what was to come.

Jesus then stayed and joined them for dinner and when the Lord had broken bread and gave it to them, He revealed Himself and promptly disappeared.  They were amazed, informed, and now ready to face whatever and tell the world that Jesus was alive.  The men ran to the eleven and told them what had happened, all that Jesus said, and His breaking bread.  The eleven were amazed. Once again as amazing as it was, it was only the beginning.

Jesus’ resurrection changed the course of History. But at its beginning, those whom God planned to use, needed to see He was real, and His resurrection was also real. In the days that followed, Jesus would appear to more than 500 folks. I Corinthians 15:6. Jesus then ascended and sent His Holy Spirit in His place.  His Spirit indwells us and reminds us that He is with us, moment by moment.  If we will walk by faith, as the men did that day, we will see Jesus revealed in our lives.  That will be the most amazing journey of all.

God Bless You


13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke 22 Part 3–The End of the Beginning

Luke looks at Christ’s sacrifice from a great number of angles.  He looks at Pilate’s desperation as he longs to free Jesus, but, at the end of the day, caves to the pressure and hands the Messiah over for crucifixion. Next, Luke looks at the crowd.  The people that cheered only week before were hurling demands for their Hero’s death as if He had personally injured their families.  He showed the soldier’s disdain as they gathered a stranger to assist the Savior as his body had been beaten and bruised to the point of death.

Then Luke looks at the crowd, mourners for whom Jesus has pity. The thieves on either side of the cross.  The Jewish leaders and guards that mocked him with taunts and signs and finally Jesus’ followers that stayed back and watched with horror as their beloved teacher was being killed. Finally, we even see the grief of God as He makes the land dark and rips the temple vail.

In all of that, we also see Jesus. He is pleading for forgiveness of those that are mocking and killing Him. He is mourning for His mourners. He is granting life to the thief that recognized his innocence.  He is making one last effort in His role of human to be humane. 

Interestingly, Christ’s death would be the victory over the very ones that demanded it.  It would signify the end of sacrificial atonement of animals. It would destroy the theocracy then enjoyed by Jewish leaders of the day.  It would finally end Satan’s hold on the hearts of people. We who are yet sinners would now have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with God.

In life and in death, Jesus rose above the holds of humanity and demonstrated God’s unique love and unique character.  Then at the perfect hour, Jesus said it Himself–IT IS FINISHED! just as the modern Christian song says, that was the end of the beginning.

God Bless You


Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
    and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[b]

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Luke 16 Part 2–The Short or Long Game

After talking about choosing between God and money, Jesus tells a cautionary parable.  The parable illustrates the result of choosing the wrong master.  The rich man had a great life and Lazarus was a beggar.  In their lives, the rich man had no incentive or desire to assist Lazarus and literally watched the beggar die at his doorstep.  Then, the rich man also dies and ends up in Hades; where it is all torment, all the time.  In contrast, Lazarus is resting in Heaven with Father Abraham. 

Now, the Rich man is reaching out and begging for relief.  Abraham sadly, but firmly says no.  He tells the rich man that he made a choice on earth and is bearing the consequence of that choice.  What is more, there is no crossing over–that has been made impossible.  

Then, a more chilling answer.  The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his family of the cost of the rich man’s choice so that they might avoid the torment he was experiencing.  Sadly, Abraham tells the once rich man, that they have been warned by Moses and the prophets.  If they would not listen to that, they would not even listen to one raised from the dead.

In our lives, we are faced daily with the choice of serving God or serving ourselves and the world.  The choice takes on various forms and states, but in the end, it is still the choice of serving God or serving the world.  Both choices yield results. Often serving oneself is easier and more comforting in the short term.  From an eternal perspective, however, rejecting God’s plan for our lives leaves us separated and lost. 

Conversely, if we will trust God, in all circumstance, realize that He is faithful to supply all our needs, follow Him in all our ways–then the Lord will lead us through this brief journey and take us home to be with Him for eternity. 

It is our daily choice to play the short or the long game.  There is no doubt which choice is easier.  There is also no doubt which choice is better.  It takes us back to Joshua at his final address to Israel as they entered and took the promised land, “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:15.

God Bless You


“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Luke 12 Part 3–Do not Sweat the Small Stuff (It’s all Small Stuff)

Jesus knew it was time to focus His chosen on the important things in life.  So many of us have hearts that long to be like Christ. Unfortunately, we are distracted by the things and worries of this world.  Especially when one has others that depend upon them–families, employees, parishioners, patients, students all draw upon our energy and wisdom to make their daily journey.  Jesus pulled the apostles aside and reminded them that God knows their concerns and has prepared to address them.  Luke 12:31 matches Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and God will give you everything you need!”  

Sometimes we are simply distracted from this universal truth.  We seek all the things of the world–money, power, security, favor, love, and peace.  Sadly, the world will never give any of those things.  Oh, it will promise them all but, in the end, like the flowers in the field it will wilt and die.

  God, on the other hand, grants the fruit of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  Ask what you will, but that is what makes our lives complete.  That is why Jesus said time and again–Seek God, He will give you the stuff you need to live and what is more He will give you the peace to be full and complete on the journey. 

Paul sums it up quite nicely in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving bring your requests to God.  Then the peace of God that passes all human comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!”

God Bless You


Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

2 Corinthians 12:9–Thanks Jeff JonesBut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Luke 11 Part 1–Praying Made Perfect

Prayer is not the preparation for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.  Jesus was praying and His disciples were confused.  So, they asked for direction.  Seems fair, He was, after all, the great Rabbi.  So, Jesus broke it down for them.

First, He made it personal.  Father, not “Oh Great and Mighty One that inhabits the Heavenlies!”  Jesus wanted His chosen to understand that their relationship with God was personal. 

Next Jesus helped the guys to see that God was not a cosmic piggy bank.  He started by showing God respect and speaking words of adoration and reverence.  He acknowledged God’s kingdom and will–were supreme. 

Next Jesus acknowledged that it was God that meets one’s physical and spiritual needs.  Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespass, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE that have wronged us.

Finally, Jesus closes with asking for direction–in the Matthew version, He also closes with a renewed acknowledgement that God was large and IN-Charge!

The magic really happens after the prayer, though.  Jesus imparts some of the most critical wisdom after the prayer.  In short, He helps His disciples to understand Who God really is.  What decent person when asked for something won’t respond just to get you off their back!–BE Tenacious.  What dad when you ask for something you need; would give you something harmful?  Jesus wanted these men to know that God is a Father filled with a desire to make them their best; but, also, to love and care for them unconditionally.

These men were going to change the world, but they had to trust God and see their relationship with Him as personal, not national. So, do we! Jesus’ model prayer was designed to show them and us our relationship and power–if we follow God.  I learned many years ago about the ACTS prayer model.  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  First, we acknowledge God’s greatness and supremacy.  Next, we must acknowledge we miss the mark and need God’s forgiveness. Then, we need to look at what God has done and simply thank Him for that.  Finally, with the right heart, we need to tenaciously ask God for what we need–big and small, as we would any loving father.  We need to be confident that God loves us and wants the best for us.

Prayer is so much more about our attitude than our words.  It is talking to God as a Father, and not as an aloof cosmic being.  His entire reason for creating us and sacrificing the Lord, was to be in personal relationship and fellowship with us. Let’s make 2021 the year we embrace that and follow Him closely, humbly, and believing He has this life under control!

God Bless You


 One 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.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“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. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If 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!”

Luke 10 Part 1–Sending out the Teams

Jesus’s ministry was growing.  He sent out 36 teams to prepare for his visits.  He taught then the importance of walking by faith.  Take no food and make no arrangements in advance.  The disciples were to experience ministry on the front line.  Jesus knew they would be rejected by some.  Jesus wanted to teach His folks that rejection of them was more accurately rejection of the Lord.  They need not give it a second thought.  So as Jesus sent them out, He armed them with peace and courage. 

Now, these thousands of years later, He is still sending us out.  He is still arming us with peace and courage.  Jesus is still reminding us that when our message is rejected it is at Jesus and not us that rejection is aimed.  He also still wants His chosen to remember He is with us always.  He is faithful to supply all our needs.  We are His workmanship, and we need to follow Him closely.  If we will; this journey will have purpose and make sense.  Otherwise, we will wander aimlessly to an empty conclusion.

God Bless You


After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He 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. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

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

Luke 9 Part 1–Now It Is Your Turn

It is difficult to grasp the enormity of what Jesus accomplished when He sent out the apostles to minister.  Remember, Jesus came to do several things.  He came to give folks a clearer picture of God– His heart, and His desire to have a personal relationship with people.  He also came to demonstrate the difference between being religious and being in relationship with God. Finally, He came to redeem our souls through His sacrifice and resurrection.

Today’s passage was His first real demonstration of God’s desire to make the relationship personal.  Jesus sent out the 12 to do what he had been doing.  The message to His guys was simple, “Go do what I am doing and do not take anything with you.  Let the people provide; and, if the reject you, shake the dust from your sandals.   Jesus wanted His disciples to know they were being prepared for something great. 

As they traveled through the countryside, they were healing and changing the world.  It was a miracle; it was a confirmation that Jesus was and is who He said He was.  Not only was He saving and changing lives, those that He appointed were also doing the same.  

As His chosen, we are called to do the same. We are told to go and make disciples of all nations.  We are told to be Christ’s ambassadors.  We are told to be content with our lives and know that we can do all things through Christ–who is faithful to supply all our needs. Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:20, Philippians 4:11-13. 19.  In short, we are to walk and live by faith as Christ and His disciples also lived.  We are to walk without fear.  We are to pray, seek and trust God to use us as He sees fit.  We are also to live in a way that is confident in His plan and His desire to prepare, protect, and provide for our needs.

He has been teaching His chosen that for millennia!

God Bless You

_____________________________________________


When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Luke 8 Part 1–The Parable of the Sower

Of the messages from the Lord, the parable of the sower is both one of the most convicting and freeing messages Jesus shared.  In a sense it is very convicting.  When we realize we are to be sharing God’s message, it is a very daunting reality that many will hear the message but not be changed.  Life happens, and people reject the message, fail to grow because there is no follow-up, or simply allow life to choke out their walk with God.  Still, as we are faithful, with His message, God draws people into the kingdom, and they draw others until the Gospel wins the day.

So, while it is important that we share the Gospel, it is equally important to realize once sown, we do not control what happens to the message.  Sure, we need to follow up and disciple those who we know have received Christ, but we cannot stop people’s personal choices and life’s incredible attack.  That is God’s job through His Spirit in men’s lives.  Jesus was making clear that the message gets out there. God makes sure of that.  What men do with that message is all over the board.  We, as His chosen, need to share boldly and love unconditionally as we minister.  We are not the judges, we are the planters, crop caretakers, and harvesters of the message.  We allow the Lord to do the work and change lives. As Paul reminded us in Romans1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe!”

God Bless You


Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.

Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed

One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they look, they won’t really see.
    When they hear, they won’t understand.’[b]

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

Luke 7 Part 3–John, and the Crisis of Faith

Clearly, the crowds had moved on.  For a time, John the Baptist was the Rockstar.  People came from everywhere to see and be baptized by this man of God.  He spoke with authority and preached repentance to a world that had abandoned their faith.  He was rough and burley.  He was so different from the norm, that people would come to see him simply because of his oddity.  But, when they heard him speak of Messiah–well then hope was restored.  

Then, the day came when Jesus started his ministry.  John announced Jesus and baptized him.  John knew Jesus was Messiah–he had known it from the time they met in their Mom’s wombs!  Still as Jesus grew in popularity, John’s following dissipated.  His disapproval of Herod’s behavior landed John in jail awaiting execution.  John’s faithful team kept him up to date about what was happening and the growing popularity of Jesus.  There in the jail, John questioned his purpose and his call.  John sent his guys to confront Jesus–Are You the one?

Jesus, as he had with so many others, sent back a message of comfort and peace.  “Tell John what you have seen–the healing, the opening of eyes, the casting out of demons and the raising folks from the Dead.  In a word, Jesus assured His cousin that while His ministry was different, their purpose was the same.  Jesus was changing the world and Its picture of the Heavenly Father.  Jesus was not mad.  He did not take offense at John’s crisis of faith.  Instead, Jesus reminded all that were there–a large crowd, to say the least, that John was a superHero.  He changed the course of many lives and prepared the way for Messiah.  Still, compared to God’s chosen, Jesus reminded the people that even rockstars pale in comparison.We, as His people, are children of God. 

We will stand with the Lord for eternity.  When life gets hard and circumstances seem hopeless, we must take our hope from that promise! John knew and we must cling to the fact that Jesus Christ is enough. He must be enough in both good times and bad.  He must be our sufficiency whether we are hungry or well fed.  He has to be the center of our faith.  Jesus comforted His friend because sometimes it is hard to see the miracle that is sitting in front of us.  Because of Jesus, we are able to be in a personal relationship with God, Our Heavenly Father.  That is a great gift.

God Bless You


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

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

21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So 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[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If 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. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[b]

28 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. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)