Acts 13 Part 3–If Anyone is In Christ…

God used Peter to establish His intention to not only restore the Jewish people to a right relationship with God, but to offer salvation to all that would believe.  Cornelius was the poster child for God’s intention to save the entire world.  One need not forget that God set Israel apart not to be a nation of warriors, but to be a nation of priests and ambassadors for Him.  While Paul and Barnabus were preaching the Gospel in the synagogues, many devout Jews were hearing the Gospel and being saved. Still, the religious leaders were not happy and stirred up opposition among the prominent families, to stop Paul and Barnabus from sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people in the area.  During one such event, Paul declared to the crowd that while God was committed to making salvation available to the Jewish nation, He always intended to be available to all people.

  
It is important to know that God truly desires that no one would perish.  The Father sacrificed all that was precious to Him so that we could enjoy a renewed and personal relationship with the Lord.  Paul says in Romans, in Corinthians, In Philippian’s and in Colossians, here there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, Barbarian or Scythian slave or free. The point God wants us to grasp is that if we are in Christ, we are citizens of Heaven.  our earthly origins and nationalities are of no consequence once we join the family of God.  Paul and Barnabus were simply the first of countless men and women that have marched around the globe presenting God’s message of salvation to all that would listen.  We must see the world from God’s perspective to grasp the enormity of the Gospel’s scope and freedom.  The Gospel is divisive because the enemy does not want to admit defeat and will fight against God’s message at each front.  But the message is truly the most unifying message of all time.  It is best said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” 


God Bless You


 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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 19 Part 1–Seeking and Saving that Which is Lost

The story of Zacchaeus has several great components.  First, we see the lost man’s desire to meet the Master.  Zacchaeus was one of the most hated and powerful men in his community.  As chief tax collector, Zacchaeus had the ear of the Romans and the wealth of the city.  Even with all that power and wealth, Zacchaeus was still empty.  He wanted to learn more about this Jesus that had changed so many lives. Sadly, he could not see Jesus over the crowd.  He had to climb a tree to catch a glimpse.  

Next, we see the perspective of the Lord.  As Jesus passed through, like the shepherd He saw the one sheep that was lost and called out to this man in the tree and told Zacchaeus he was the reason for Jesus being there that day.  It changed Zacchaeus’ Life.  In an instant, Zacchaeus became generous and sought to make amends to all he had wronged.  His heart was redeemed.  What a picture of the power of God. Jesus had truly sought and saved that which was lost.

Finally, there was the crowd.  They were incensed by Jesus’ choice of company that day.  In their minds, Zacchaeus was the least worthy person to be with Jesus. Still, after He met the Lord, Zacchaeus would become a benefactor and friend to those that despised him.  Sadly, the people that should embrace those that need Jesus, were the ones that cast Zacchaeus aside.

In our lives, we need to have Jesus’ heart and not the heart of the crowd.  Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree, and He knew Zacchaeus was the point of the journey.  The crowd only saw Zacchaeus sin.  We, as Jesus chosen, need also to seek and to save that which is lost.  We can never lose sight of our mission.  Many people search high and low for a way to be saved, but they cannot see over the crowd.  It is our job to reach out and bring them to Jesus. It is not our job to judge them.  

Finally, if You have tried to find peace through power, influence, money, or any other means, Like Zacchaeus, you will still be empty inside.  Jesus is uniquely suited to fill the void in your life.  Once you give your life to Him, you will be free from the void left in your heart by a world gone mad.  All Jesus asks is for you to accept His gift of salvation, and then trust the Lord to do a work in your heart–just like He did with Zacchaeus.

God Bless You

 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short, he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 18 Part 1–Tenacity and Humility

As Jesus continued to prepare His disciples for His departure, the Lord stepped back and addressed some basics.  In this discussion, Jesus focused on things that move God and on things that put barrier between us.  First Jesus discussed tenacity.  He told a parable of a heartless judge and a tenacious old woman. The woman hounded the judge day after day until the judge relented.  The judge that did not fear God or man, finally succumbed because the lady wore him out.  Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that they needed to be passionate and tenacious as they sought God.  He needed them to know that there were times when tenacity became more effective than might or craftiness.

Next Jesus addressed the issue of pride.  He told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  The Pharisee stood before God proud and smug that he had checked all the boxes and was one of the good ones.  He was so happy he had it all together.  He thought it only polite to drop by ad high 5 God, since the two of them were so much alike.  Meanwhile,  across the room, a sinful tax collector kneeled, in need of a touch from God.  This man knew he was far from perfect.  Infact, the tax collector knew God was his only hope.  Jesus wanted His guys to understand that both of those men were hopeless without a touch from God, but only the humble one was ready spiritually to receive God’s touch.

In our lives, we face a broken world each day.  We do our best to meet the daily challenges, and we seek the Lord’s mercy and provision.  As we do, we can never quit.  We must be as tenacious as the widow and as humble as the tax collector.  None of us has arrived, in fact, we are not even close.  We need to seek God with all our hearts, daily, in fact, continuously, as we recognize our own inability to manage this life without God and His grace.  We are not perfect, nor, have we somehow spiritually arrived.  David, Moses, Elijah, all men God adored were frail and defeated on their own.  Their greatness came as they humbly sought the Lord.

We can do the same–recognize our imperfection, seek God, and follow Him closely. Finally, we must never stop praying for the Lord’s blessing and direction!

God Bless You


Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 17 Part 3–When the Lord Returns

The topic of Christ’s return was and is a most difficult issue to tackle.  The apostles, the prophets, and other men of God throughout history have been watching and living in a way that indicates Christ’s return is eminent.  Jesus was clear, when He returns it will be as obvious as lightening flashing across the sky.  There will be no doubt it is the Lord that has returned, and our Lord will be large and in charge.  He also made it clear that it will be in an instant.  there will be no long warning siren or trumpet hailing a future arrival.

People will be doing life when Christ returns. People will be buying, selling, marrying, having kids, working, fighting like any other day.  Then in a flash Christ will have returned.  Knowing this, we must live as the disciples did.  We must live like the Lord is returning tomorrow.  We must never grow comfortable in our lives.  We must never give up or give in.  We must live our lives in a manner that is worthy of the gospel.  Fighting the spiritual battles that each day brings.  We never look back, but instead, press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of us.

In the end, whether Christ comes today or in a thousand years, our lives need to be lived with an eternal perspective.  We need to trust Him and follow closely to the end.  We can never lose sight of His power or of the Lord’s eminent return.

God Bless You


Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[h]

22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[i] 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[j]

Luke 15 Part 2–The Prodigal

Of all the parables, few are better known than the parable of the prodigal son.  It is the story of men’s frailty and the love of our Heavenly father.  As the story unfolds, an impetuous and selfish young son took his inheritance and left home. He squandered the money and then fell into poverty and despair. In a moment of lucidity, the prodigal decides to go back to his Father and work for Him.  When the prodigal returned, he was met by a Father that loved him, and forgave his sin, restored his life, and celebrated the return. 

Next, we see the prodigal had a brother that was left behind to pick up the pieces.  the brother watched the Father endure pain and worry caused by the prodigal’s departure and absence. In addition, the brother assisted the Father in the work of rebuilding and maintaining their home and business and he remained faithful.

When the prodigal returned and all seemed forgotten, the brother was bitter and felt abandoned. Hadn’t he been faithful, hadn’t he done everything he was supposed to?  Why then was the celebration for the brother that failed? As the brother sat alone in the garden sad and bitter; the Father came and loved on the elder brother.  The Father recognized the brother’s faithfulness and promised to reward it.  But, for this day, the celebration of the return and life of His brother was the right thing for both Father and brother.

God reveals several great truths in this story. 

First, God the Father loves us. whether faithful or fallen, He never gives up or turns away from those that seek Him. He adores His faithful ones, and all He has is theirs.  He also has plenty for those who fall completely on their face, but then repent and return.  That is what makes our Heavenly Father so amazing. God wipes the slate clean and allows a fresh and full start.

Second, when we fall away and fall apart, if we will confess and return, the Father will accept us back with open arms of love and forgiveness. He is the God of another chance.  He wants our devotion, and He will love us through any trial or temptation.  It is critical, however that we return.  We must recognize where we have fallen and return to the Father on His terms.

Finally, God never forgets His faithful ones.  He will celebrate the ones that return, and rightly so.  Remember, however, He never forgets those that stay and follow faithfully.  The Lord reminds them that all He has is theirs.  He reminds them, they need not fear, they too can celebrate repentance and restoration.

As we face this chaotic world, we need to pray for revival, and, as God answers that prayer, we must welcome back all that return and celebrate the victory with our Heavenly Father.

God Bless You


Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

More Luke 12–Being Prepared for His Return

Now Jesus begins to make it real.  Jesus was preparing the disciples for the transition.  The Lord knew His time was limited and He needed His guys to live and be ready.  Up to that point, they followed Jesus and stood in the background while He did amazing things.  Now, He was preparing them to take the lead and work on His behalf to build the church.  He knew He was going to die.  The Lord also knew He would rise and ascend to be with the Father. 

So, Jesus needed His guys to be ready for that day so that they could, in fact, change the world.  Jesus also wanted them to understand that they needed to prepare for His return.  They would neither know the date nor the hour of the Lord’s return, but they needed to live as if it were immanent.  So, Jesus said it straight out–“Be ready as if you were preparing for the return of the master from a long journey.  Be ready as if you were going to stop an invasion.  Be ready as if tomorrow would be the most important day ever. Be ready!!!

Such is the call for us today.  We are to live as if Jesus return was imminent.  Truth be known, it is.  We see the signs and know that the Lord may not tarry much longer.  We need to live lives of commitment and faith, because, even if we should die before he returns–He will return.  In that moment, like any good servant, we must be prepared to give an account of our lives and action.  What Jesus was teaching His chosen ones was to live for what is real and eternal.  We cannot say, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die!”  The world lives that way, and it has led to chaos. 

Live a life worthy of the Gospel.  Live as if Jesus will be back tomorrow.  If you will, you will enjoy peace and you will be prepared when that day finally comes.

God Bless You


35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

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 12 Part 1–Perspective and Persecution

It was a difficult day for the Lord.  The crowds were great, the pharisees had committed to getting rid of Jesus and so at every turn Jesus had to confront the pressure of the crowds and attacks of the pharisees.  Still during the chaos and craziness, Jesus stops to give perspective on what lay ahead.  First, Jesus warned His followers to be real and transparent.  He reminded them that the religious leaders looked great on the outside, but their hypocrisy is what pervaded their lives.  They lived as if it was all hidden, but God sees it all and will reveal it.

Next, Jesus gave them a stark perspective–they need not worry about those that would threaten death or injury, that is all they have.  The one to fear is the one that controls what comes after death.  In short, trust God that controls your eternity, not men that control this short present time.  Remember, Jesus said, God cares for grass and sparrows, how much more will He care for His chosen.  So, when you are persecuted, Jesus warned, do not be fearful–God’s spirit will encourage and direct you.  Jesus knew the time had come when the dynamic had changed from Rockstar to savior.  His mission was now to prepare the Disciples to change the world.  He was transparent, He wanted them to know that things were going to be difficult.  As such, they needed to be ready to face what was coming.

The same holds true today.  As a Church, we have enjoyed peaceful worship and unfettered access to God’s Word, His leadership, His community, and His protection.  The time is coming, however, where that will no longer be the case.  In this time, we see constant pushes to restrict worship and the free practice of our faith.  Jesus is reminding us, as He did His guys, we need not worry about persecution, all they can do is kill our bodies. 

We need to focus upon eternity, and on our walk with God–not on those who would deny us our right to worship freely.  It is no small thing to realize that the world hates people of faith.  As the world walks away from God, we must expect His withdrawing His hand of protection, and we must be ready to defend our faith with all we have and are.  In that, however, we can trust God to provide what we need at any given moment.  Look at the sparrows and the flowers–right?!!

God Bless You


Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Luke 10 Part 3–Who is My Neighbor

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a compelling story for all generations. Jesus is asked by a legal expert to give him the recipe to inherit eternal life.  Like most attorneys (including myself), once the recipe is given, he immediately begins to do a legal analysis.  So, he asks Jesus to define neighbor.  In the end, it becomes apparent that neighbors include everyone.  It is the heart and attitude of people and not proximity or ethnicity; that make the difference.

In the story, the most hated person in the Jewish community sacrifices for a Jewish man that would ignore or even treat Him awfully.  So, Jesus asks, inn that scenario who is the neighbor.  The answer is clear.  The man that gives his life for others.  That was the mission Jesus was trying to complete in His ministry.  Remember, God’s plan for Israel was to build a nation of priests, Not warriors.  His people were to carry God’s message of redemption to the world.

In our time, there is so much anger and division that we look a great deal like the people in Jesus story.  As in Jesus time, we are called to be the neighbor.  We are to love folks that we do not naturally even like.  We are called to lay our lives down for those that would ignore or even treat us awfully.  We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors.  We carry the message of hope and redemption to all that would listen.  That mission has never been easy and often is not returned favorably. Still, if we will trust God and follow His lead, He will bless and provide for all circumstances.

God Bless You


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

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

27 He 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’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]

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

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

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] 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.’

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

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

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”