Saturday, September 29: Acts 1 - Faithfulness rather than applause.

I found myself thinking about ‘Team Jesus,’ particularly the many people who followed Jesus faithfully yet never have their names mentioned in the New Testament. The 12 get most of the press. Mary, Martha and Lazarus are given a few props. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimethea and a couple of Marys are also mentioned by name. Often I am left with the impression that these named people are pretty much the total of Jesus’ entourage, but as I listen more closely there were many more.

The Seventy Two are sent out in (Luke 10), women and children are mentioned in a few places also. One hundred and twenty gather as disciples in the upper room (15). And when they choose Judas’ successor, they do so from a pool of men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us (21-22).

I found myself wondering about all these unnamed disciples. Few disciples are named in the New Testament, most live faithfully under the radar of notoriety and recognition.

The same is true today and yet if I am correct about my understanding of 1Corinthians 12, each disciple, named or unnamed, is essential to the body, the church.

This in turn caused me to ponder my living as a disciple… faithfulness not applause or recognition should be my motivation. Following, laboring, loving, serving, because I have pledged myself to Jesus and are known to Him…

Jesus, it is an honor to follow, labor, love and serve You. Thank You for calling and inviting me to this journey of faith. … Amen.


Friday, September 28: Luke 24- Grasping revolutionary concepts can take a while..

I love it when I come to Resurrection day… in the yearly Easter celebration or as today in my reading!

I found myself marveling at the entire account. Women discovering the tomb was empty and then telling others. Some of the men, probably disbelieving the women, run to the tomb and find what the women said is true. More disbelief and bewilderment.

Two folk wander home and along the way meet Jesus, but it takes several hours for Jesus’ identity to be revealed and understood. They race back to the others and explain what just happened to them and how they saw and spoke with Jesus. No mention of the group’s reaction but amazement, coupled with confusion and doubt, is likely.

Grasping revolutionary concepts can take awhile.

While the Lukan account seems to indicate everything happening in one day, some amount of time passes before the last word of the chapter but we are given no reference point. (Elsewhere in the NT we learn the ascension happens 50 days after the resurrection.  The passage of time could be between the final 2 paragraphs.)

Anyway Jesus appears to the disciples gathered somewhere in Jerusalem. They really don’t get it until Jesus opens their minds. Next thing, we read Jesus leaves them, ascending into heaven.

It is fun to recount the story. It is amazing, so amazing in fact, that for those first believers it was beyond instant belief, which connects with me. A story like this takes time… time to digest and ponder, at least for most of us time to believe. Somewhere along the road to belief, Jesus enters and helps us to believe.

This is helpful for me to ponder as I meet and share Jesus with others. Instant belief isn’t the norm. Like Jesus, I need to walk with friends along the journey from unbelief toward belief, praying for Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) to encounter them and open their minds.

Before I closed my Bible this morning, I looked one last time at the result of belief…

Jesus told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

 Time won’t allow me to pen the many things I saw in these words… I leave that to you to ponder.

Father, the door for repentance and forgiveness is open through Jesus… thank You. Bless You… may I be granted the privilege of walking with many through that door. Amen.



Thursday, September 27: Luke 23 - The mess of life.

I found myself intrigued by Jesus’ Word to the women, and particularly His last sentence. Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'  Then "'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (28-31).

I am not sure what Jesus is saying in verse 31. I am not attempting to exegete this text but to sit with it, ponder it and see how God might use it to instruct me in my walk with Jesus.

It seems Jesus is saying if the days are bad now, there are worse days coming… days when men will be worse and will act worse toward others.

I am not a doom and gloom person, but it seems obvious to me that the world is not getting kinder and gentler. There are sparks of goodness, but wildfires of rage and meanness. Maybe it has always been like this… but the human heart I see is often broken, hurting and hurtful.

Luke says in a number of ways that Jesus was innocent of the charges, yet the system put him to death, announcing that for the system a single innocent human life is of little value.

Is Jesus saying, through verse 31, that it will get worse… maybe that multiple innocent human lives will come have no value?

The world of the 20th and 21st century seem to buy into that… the Holocaust, death of the Armenians, Biafra, multiple ethnic cleansings, wanton abortion, WMDs… I could go on.

No amount of education or technological advancements has made us safer or gentler.

I leapt from this thought to that of original sin.  We humans are broken and corrupted on the inside. We have this ever-present ability to take good things and warp & pervert. Art degrades to pornography; atom splitting into bombs; computer codes becomes viruses…

The chapter in one way makes so much sense.  We need a Savior, one who will pay the penalty for our sin and give us of God’s Spirit so that we might live through God’s power, not human often corrupted power.

My morning ends with a huge THANKS to God for Jesus –Savior and Lord- for all He did to help me overcome my vile human nature, as imperfect as my overcoming continues to be…

Thank You, Jesus. Thank and bless You! Amen.


Wednesday, September 26: Luke 22- Some deep wonderings.

I found myself wondering, how is it that I think my life should be cushy and I should experience as little disappointment and pain as possible? Where does that come from?

I call myself a Christ-follower… one who follows Jesus right?

I grew sad as I watched the path Jesus walked in Luke 22.

He and His closest band celebrate sacred moments, which ended with arguments of who was the greatest. That must have been pretty disappointing for Jesus.

When He needed prayer support… they all fell asleep.

He was betrayed by one of His closest followers and then Jesus watches as one of His inner circle of super close followers denied Him three times.

Soldiers mocked and beat Him.  The high priest grilled Him. It was horrible reading what happened to Jesus, physically and emotionally this one evening…

I drifted back to my initial thought.  How is it that I think my life should be cushy and with as little disappointment and pain as possible? Where does that come from? Am I so privileged that I believe I deserve better than Jesus?

No answers today, just wonderings… musings and lots of thinking about the cost of following Jesus.

Oh, God, may I be willing to pay whatever cost You ask of me to be a faith follower of Jesus. Amen.


Tuesday, September 25: Luke 21 - Man on a mission.

Verses 37-38: Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.

Jesus was a man bent on His mission. He taught and He recharged. He taught and He recharged and people were drawn to him.

Two observations circled as I pondered this account.

First I noticed how Jesus recharged… the Mount of Olives was just outside the city. At the bottom was a small garden called Gethsemane. Maybe He spent time in the garden, maybe He opted for a favorite place on the mount, we are sure. We do know He didn’t go into a city and apparently didn’t stay with a friend. He went to the mount. Whenever Jesus went away from the crowds, He found alone space to recharge by being with His Father.

There is a lesson in this for me. When I am busy and hurried, when my to do list is filled and overflowing, I need to make room to spiritually recharge! Thank you, Jesus, for your example.

Number 2: People can be fickle. Luke says all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. Here the people are hanging on His every Word. They couldn’t get enough of Him. In a very short while the people of Jerusalem will shout, “crucify Him” at His trial before Pilate.

Fickle, we humans are fickle especially when we are en-mass.

My thought is that I need to hold onto my core values and beliefs especially when I am in a group and most subject to the pressure of the group.

So much to think about and ponder in living for Jesus…

Lord, help me to grow to be a most faithful follower of Jesus.… Amen.



Monday, September 24: Luke 20- Questions to ask oneself.

Throughout the chapter Jesus has been sparring with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. It begins when the religions leaders take a jab at Jesus, questioning His authority. He counters by telling the parable of the tenants. The religious leaders try a sucker punch…..Jesus with the taxes question followed by the resurrection question. Jesus ends the sparring session with a question of His own followed by a public rebuke of the teachers of the law. While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely” (45-47).  

The scene presents a strong warning to people with religious authority; as one, I took notice.

What am I teaching? Is it faithful to Jesus and God’s complete revelation, the Old and New Testament Scriptures?

How am I living? Is my life a fair and honest representation of what scripture teaches?

These and similar questions are worth pondering by all of us who consider ourselves Christ-followers. Think about it…

Lord, help me to spend time with these questions and not to avoid them running off to the ‘other things” I must do today. Amen.



Saturday, September 22: Luke 19 -If the end is near.

The lead in for the parable about the servant with the 10 minas goes like this, While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once (11).

Many people it seems concentrate on knowing when Jesus will return. Is this the last days? Is the end near? About a year ago, one man had a huge media campaign because he was announcing the actual date of Jesus’ return. Admittedly, I am not moved by most of this speculation. Verse 11 reinforced my gut reaction…

When faced with people who thought the kingdom was near, Jesus told a parable, not about analyzing the signs of the times, instead, He told a parable about diligently working for kingdom growth and kingdom advance…

If I am hearing Jesus correctly, His emphasis teaches me that God wants to find us laboring for the Kingdom.  So if you think God is returning soon, all the more reason to be working for Kingdom advance! You don’t want to be found squandering what God has given.   You want to be faithfully employing and multiplying the gifts God has given.

After having this inspiration, my natural reaction was to ponder.  Am I more like the men with 10 or 5 minas or the person with 1 mina? How am I living my life in light of Jesus’ return? And you…?

Lord, may my efforts be effective in advancing Your Kingdom. Through Jesus my Lord, I pray. Amen.



Friday, September 21: Luke 18- What is your stumbling block?.

Cut to the heart… that is my first thought as I read Jesus’ exchange with the certain ruler who was wealthy, verse 18-29. Specifically it was verse 22, which got to me: When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

Jesus could see this man’s stumbling block. For him it was money. And Jesus asked him to move the stumbling block out of the way and then to follow Him.  Jesus knew the man maybe better than the man knew himself. Money, riches and perks that come with them were his stumbling block. They were the prime roadblock between this man and deep abiding faith in God. They were the one thing this man could not easily or immediately surrender.  The story suggests he might never be willing to surrender these. How sad.

Almost immediately I turned the story into a mirror.  What is it for me that I struggle to surrender to Jesus? Is it my money? My family? My health? My…???

Thankfully God’s grace has allowed me to enter God’s kingdom.  However, where/what am I holding back??? Is there any aspect of my life in which I am acting like this ‘certain ruler?’

Search me and know me, Lord. Check every corner of my life. Turn on your search light and probe me, Oh Holy Spirit, that I might be Yours lock, stock and barrel. Amen.


Thursday, September 20: Luke 17 - .

These teaching chapters have so much, any of Luke’s sections are worthy of further meditation. Even within one section there are multiple consideration points.

Jesus’ opening message grabs, challenges and even frightens me. It seems harsh and graceless…

I enjoyed watching the Olympics; athletes putting everything they have into event after event. Coaches one moment pushing them for that extra ounce of effort, the next embracing them in a victory hug or a moment of consolation following defeat. Some coaches seem harsh and austere, others connected and encouraging. Both styles produce winners and losers. Every world class athlete… no every athlete… needs both the stern push to get better and the embrace of love following competition.

This is one of Jesus’ stern push moments. It isn’t Jesus’ only word, but it is an important word. This is a good time to re-read verse 1-10. I will just post the final 4 of those verses.

"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty'" (7-10).

You can do more. You can work harder. SO far you have only done your duty.  Give it that 10% extra you have held in reserve…

Kingdom living is not ‘do the minimum and skate in.’ It is all or nothing. Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, mind, soul, and strength… remember! This is one of Jesus’ ‘give it your all’ speeches.

It causes me to think… what is some of ‘the more’ I could be doing???

Oh, God, it is so easy for me to slide into a liaise faire living… I do a lot, I can take it easy…. Blah, blah, blah. Forgive me. It is part of my self-centeredness rearing its faithless head. Forgive me, Lord, and help me to hear and respond to Your message and to push myself for kingdom sake. Amen.


Wednesday, September 19: Luke 16- A window into our interior.

This is one of the most troubling chapters in the Gospels. I struggle with the first parable, although my trouble is lessened greatly if the steward’s bill-reductions reflect the giving up of his commissions rather than cheating his master out of further revenue.

Still, this chapter is troublesome because it deals with very personal issue of how I handle finances and resources, which in turn is a mirror into my interior life and my selfish bents.  Jesus’ sentence, You cannot serve both God and Money (13), strikes an uncomfortable chord in my life.

I wonder sometimes what I would do if I won one of those mega lotteries. I’d like to think that it wouldn’t change me, but the stories of most winners suggests otherwise. Money often has an insidious affect on a person. And I cannot assume I would be immune to money’s dark pull.

This chapter raises many of those interior questions and personal wrestling about my use of the money and resources that I have been given… and this I suspect is why the chapter is so troubling for me.

Lor,d I am not immune from money’s dark pull. I can be deeply selfish.  The psalmist is so right, Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Ps 51:5). God, as best I can, I surrender my selfish self to You for redemption and cleansing. In Jesus’ name I pray and surrender. Amen.


Tuesday, September 18: Luke 15 - Lost and found.

The entire chapter revolves around the idea of a lost item being found. Looking, searching, hoping, finding and then rejoicing, repeated themes in each of the three stories.

The setting is Jesus’ consistent behavior of spending time with people the religious establishment considered ‘persona-non-grata’, sinners and tax collectors!

The message seems to be that Jesus is looking for the lost to bring them home… to bring them back to the Father where they can be reconnected with the One who has never stopped loving them.

By extension it is a message about the kind of heart we, as Christ-followers & Christ imitators, are supposed to exhibit.

Question is…am I (are you) looking, searching, hoping finding people who are far from God and bringing them to the Father? Am I (are you) the kind of people who rejoices when sinners turn in faith to God and receive God’s unreserved forgiveness?  Or do we harden and pout like the older brother of the third story?

Think about it…

Lord, give me the mentality of the coastguard who will risk their lives to find lost people at sea, who will hope and labor and search until every last shred of hope and possibility has  been exhausted. Lord, give me Jesus’ heart for the lost… Amen.    


Monday, September 17: Luke 14- Setup.

Chapter 14 begins, One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away (1-4). Reading this I have the sense that Jesus is being set up.

It got me thinking about how much Jesus was scrutinized. People and religious leaders watched His every move and He performed flawlessly. At times He confronted them, like He did in today’s reading. Other times He allowed them to make the first move.

Certainly not with the scrutiny of Jesus, yet we are also being watched. People who know us are watching to see if our behavior matches our profession of faith…

The Spirit’s whisper came simply, “How are you doing with this, Bill? Does your behavior match your profession?”

I sat and pondered this.  How about you?

Lord, even when people aren’t watching, You are. May my life be lived to You and for You and through the strength You give… To You be the glory. Amen.


Saturday, September 15: Luke 13 - Two opposite thoughts.

As I began reading, I was immediately drawn into the first account. After reading the punch line, 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down' (8-9), I thought ‘ah-ha’, the Lord is a God of second chances. And my heart began to bless and thank the Lord for the many second chances He has given me.

I kept reading.  The scene and message shifted. "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from' (24-25). Now Jesus’ message was,‘Make your choice’.There will be a day and time when it is too late. So, I thought…There will be a time after which there are no more second chances?

I sat for a while in the tension…

I cannot honestly say I have resolved the tension either.

I feel very comfortable knowing the time of the closed door has not yet come.  When it will come, I do not know. Therefore, right now the door is open and God invites us to make an effort to enter. Faith does require responsibility and effort! Not only, if/when I slip up, God is still offering second chance options. Thank You, Lord!

But in the back of my head I also heard the warning, “Don’t take these days for granted. Act now. Put your faith in Jesus while the door is open…”

Have you confessed Jesus to be your Savior and Lord? Are you making every effort to live a life that pleases Him?

Think about it, while you still have time…

Lord God, thank You for Jesus,  for His gift of forgiveness and redemption on the cross. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me…




Friday, September 14: Luke 12 - OMG.

Wow… following Jesus is anything but simple or easy.

Right out of the shoot, Jesus drops a shattering statement. Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be 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 (1-2).

I have heard and read this before but the veracity of these words hit me; nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. My mind carried those words as I read the remainder of the chapter and with each succeeding major point I heard those words in the background… nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

Acknowledging Jesus… nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

Use of money and greed… nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

Worry; treatment of the poor… nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart!

I have so much more to think on… How about you???

Lord, every word, every action, every motive scrutinized and disclosed. It is frightening. All I can do is fall before You and plead for mercy, covering myself in the blood of Jesus.  Forgive me, Lord. I am a sinner, sinful from birth. Redeem me and place in me a right heart.  I pray through my Savior, Jesus... Amen.



Thursday, September 13: Luke 11 - Boldness in prayer.

It is always a delight when I see something new in the Scriptures. It amazes me that after reading the Bible so many times God still has new and fresh things for me to see and learn in His Word.

This morning it was boldness in prayer.  After the giving of what we have come to call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, Jesus continues to teach on prayer, saying, Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. "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. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (5-10).

The word ‘boldness’ stopped me in my reading for a few moments. I know Jesus wants us to show persistence in prayer… but boldness adds another dimension to our prayers.

The setting is The Lord’s Prayer, where we are instructed to pray for God’s Kingdom to come & will be done, for daily needs (not wants mind you, but actual needs), for forgiveness of sins –even as we are to forgive others…

These are the prayers that should be bold! Pray boldly that God’s will is done and kingdom is advanced! Pray boldly when you when you have a basic need. Pray boldly, believing God will forgive you when you seek His forgiveness and boldly extend forgiveness to a brother or sister who has sinned against you.

These are prayers that we can and should pray with boldness, believing the Father in Heaven will provide!!!

Lord, I pray for Your kingdom to advance. Specifically Lord, I pray for Nigeria. Deepen the church there, give her a heart to change the world for Jesus. Send out missionaries from there, all across the continent, that Africa might be won for Jesus! Lord, hold back any forces of evil that would seek to derail from Your Kingdom advancement. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, September 12: Luke 10- A new level of followership .

Where to meditate and comment today? Luke’s chapters are so rich.

The first words seemed to be my meditation spot for the morning. After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

After what I wondered, I scanned chapter 9. It started with Jesus appointing the twelve and concluded with a teaching on the cost of discipleship. My thought was that Jesus was expanding His ranks, bringing more followers into the world of workers.

It is one thing to follow someone. It takes commitment.  ‘Follow me’ was an invitation Jesus offered freely. This appointment of 72 seems to indicate a new level of ‘followership’. These 72 not only watch and listen to Jesus, they now go out into the world as workers sent by Jesus to do the things He was doing. Yep, that qualifies as a new level of ‘followership’!

As I meditate on this, I am thinking that Jesus’ goal was that all of His followers would graduate to the rank of worker… helping extend Jesus’ ministry to all corners of the world.

So if you are reading along with me today… are you a follower of Jesus Christ? I pray so.

And if you are a follower, have you entered the ranks of the workers who are being sent out in Jesus name?

Lord, I pray that we all hear Your voice calling and appointing us to take and demonstrate Your message into the harvest field. In Jesus’ name and for the sake of His Kingdom’s advancement, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, September 11: Luke 9 - Welcoming.

Thanks in large part to my church and the generosity of many people, I have the opportunity to spend 3-weeks teaching each summer in Nigeria, Africa. Among the many joys and blessings I gain from the trip is the incredible friendliness and welcoming I feel from the Nigerian people. Despite their many hardships, they are gracious and friendly people who always greet you with a smile, a hello and concern for you and your family. You cannot have a conversation without beginning with how life is going. Even emails usually begin with a greeting and warm welcome to one’s family.

Maybe it is this experience that cued me to see in the text what I noticed this morning… the welcoming nature of Jesus.

It first popped up in verse 11. Jesus has been on the move, teaching and healing. People were clamoring to see Him. One day a crowd found Him and Luke opens the account like this: but 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. The fact that Jesus welcomed them, caught my attention.

Then later in the chapter, on a very different occasion, we find Jesus using a moment with a child as a teachable moment. Verses 47-48: Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then 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." Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes this little child”… He could have said ‘whoever receives’ or “whoever helps’ but He said ‘welcomes’.

Anyway, my wheels were turning… welcoming people.

Life, I thought, isn’t just ‘get down to business and do what you came to do’. It is about doing what you came to do, in the context of relationship, and relationships begin with welcoming and connecting.

Each of us somewhere inside crave relationships. We crave being known, being greeted –really greeted. We want to be more than a number; we want to be recognized as a person.

Jesus took time to welcome the crowd before He taught and healed…

I have much to learn from Jesus and friends in Nigeria

Lord, open my closed get things done personality to understanding the importance of knowing and welcoming others who have dignity and wonder because they been made in Your image. Amen. 



Monday, September 10: Luke 8- Scattering seed.

Modern farming techniques don’t equate to the story of the farmer in chapter 8. To get the story, we modern folk have to step away from how we do things and simply enter the story.

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. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. … This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. (5-8, 11)

This farmer liberally spreads his seed on the land he has, whether it is rocky or good or a path. The farmer spreads seed. Now the seed is God’s Word.

Jesus’ message; spread God’s Word liberally and let what happens, happen. Some hearts will accept it and flourish. Some will accept it but later shrink away or get chocked out by weeds.

The point is to liberally spread the Word about Jesus and Grace and the Gospel. Don’t’ worry so much about what you think of the soil; just spread the Word.

We never know who will receive the faith and stick with it and who won’t. When I try to predict, I generally talk myself out of spreading the Word.

God’s message to me today… spread the Word. Don’t think so much about it. Don’t over analyze.  Just do it and leave the results to God.

God, spreading Your Word is not a strength of mine. Help me grow better and bolder for You and the Gospel’s sake. Amen.



Saturday, September 8: Luke 7 - Seizing a teachable moment.

Oh, there were so many stopping points for me in this chapter. This morning was one of those days in the Word where every paragraph or story spoke to me in some way or another. I love days like this…

The one I chose to linger with was early in the chapter. After healing the centurion’s servant Luke notes, When 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 (9). It was Jesus’ action to turn and face the crowd and speak that caught my attention.

How often do I come across teachable moments and miss the opportunity to teach? I briefly scanned my life as a dad, a boss, a pastor and a person.

Do I seize teachable moments as they happen and share a pearl of wisdom in the moment? Jesus did.

He took a few seconds, no more than a minute, and gave the crowd, who has witnessed the entire exchange, a one-sentence teaching. This moment impacted someone so greatly that when Luke was researching his ‘life of Jesus’, the story was remembered some thirty years later and told to him.

That’s the power of a teachable moment.

Lord God, help me take advantage of any and all teachable moments that You bring my way today. In and for Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Friday, September 7: Luke 6 - Who can do this.

I found myself thinking. Who can do this? Who can possibly live out all that Jesus teaches today? I am overwhelmed.

My thoughts today were not drawn to a particular verse or set of verses but rather the whole. And I sit overwhelmed by the way I should live. Love those who hate me, do not judge, pray for people who mistreat me.

So much growth. I have so many areas of my life that still need maturity!

Lord God, I cannot possibly do this on my own. I have not the strength or the courage or the ability. First, Lord, forgive me for my many shortcomings and sin-attitudes. And second, Lord, please supply me with Your strength to gain victory in some of the areas with which I struggle daily. I thank You and praise You, in advance, for Your blessings, which are new every morning. Through Jesus, I make this petition. Amen.


Thursday, September 6: Luke 5 - Power to heal.

My heart seemed to latch on to verse 17, One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.

I hear Luke suggesting that some days the power to heal was present with Jesus and some days not. I’m chewing on this.

Maybe this is Luke’s way of saying that some days Jesus healed and some he didn’t. Clearly Jesus didn’t heal every sick person whose paths He crossed.

I am just wondering about this. I know Jesus was fully God but also fully human.  I also know that Luke, more than any gospel writer, presents Jesus as the Spirit empowered man –which, by the way, is a great encouragement to me, since God sent the Holy Spirit to be upon us –Jesus followers- at Pentecost.

I wonder if I am attracted to this verse because I have been called by someone to have a time of healing prayer with them later today.  Could be, and if so, I pray that today the power to heal in Jesus’ name is with me as I pray for this person.

Lord, that is my prayer today.  I pray that as I pray with this person, that Your power to heal and make whole is powerfully present through me and the others with whom I will be praying. By Your Spirit, Oh God, give us wisdom and insight to bring to bear the power of the cross to any and all of their needs. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, September 5: Luke 4 - Do you have a special place?.

Luke chronicles an incredibe beginning of ministry. Jesus preaches and almost gets killed. He moves on and heals people. Jesus is a man of action. Then as the chapter draws to a close, verse 42 pops up.  At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. ...

I was captivated by that simple comment. Despite His busy schedule, Jesus found time to be alone. Elsewhere we learn this was solitary time for prayer (see 5:16 as an example).

Jesus took time to be alone and Jesus took time to pray.

I ponder this for a while. How important it is to take time to be with the Father(!)? That’s my lesson for the day.

Lord, thank You for this gentle reminder of how important it is to spend time with You. And it is particularly important when I am most busy. Thank You, too, that You are always available and present to be with me (us). Amen.



Tuesday, September 4: Luke 3 - John pointer to Jesus.

I don’t normally spend much time considering John the Baptist. He shows up in the Gospels but disappears quickly, mainly because he is imprisoned for righteous preaching and then beheaded. Luke, in this chapter, gives some rich detail to John’s life.  John was quite a man, passionate and willing to speak truth directly, boldly and fearlessly. His words to those who asked, ‘what should I do?’, are refreshingly, direct and honest!

I am glad I have spent some time with John this morning.

I found verse 3 particularly interesting: He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Yom Kippor is the Jewish Day of Atonement, yet here John is, preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. I wonder what religious leaders thought of this? And it was a repentance that didn’t require sacrifice at the temple. The more I thought about this, the more I realized how radical John’s preaching truly was.

John truly was a path straightener for Jesus! It is no surprise that John’s followers gravitated to Jesus when Jesus came on the scene.

I wonder if I point to Jesus as well as John did?

How about you???

God, I pray that I have the fearlessness of John to speak truth and to point  people to Jesus. Jesus is the one who can and will save. Lord, may my life be a herald for You. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, September 3: Luke 2 - Jesus grew.

The Bible has only a handful of stories about Jesus’ childhood. This chapter has most of them. Not much. I do appreciate these stories because I can see Jesus as a real person, an honest to goodness child growing up in his family’s home.

Luke puts it so simply… And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him (40). The later he notes: Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. … And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (51-52).

So Jesus grew -in wisdom and in stature- and He was obedient. That’s what children and teens do; they grow.

I enjoyed a delightful morning thinking about Jesus growing like normal children do. He wasn’t instantly wise or instantly mature, He grew. When Scripture says He became a man (Philippians 2) and was tempted as we are, yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15)... I say, ‘Yes’, I can see a glimpse of it in the way Jesus grew!

Jesus, thank You for being born, for growing up like all of us grew up. Thank You for three years of ministry and all You taught. Thank You, Jesus, for dying on the cross for me and my sins and for the sins of the world. Thank You, Jesus, for leaving the throne of grace and coming into our world to save us. Praise be to You, Lord Christ…. Praise be to You. Amen.



Saturday, September 1: Luke 1 - Righteous but not blessed.

Sometimes people in the church, myself included, can adopt the notion that if we are truly righteous (we live rightly before God), then we will be materially blessed. Things will go well with us… we will have that good job, nice things, etc… As I began today’s reading, verse 6-7 caught me by surprise. Both of them [Zechariah and Elizabeth] were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.

This couple was blameless and upright… they were good people. In fact they were exemplary people and yet the one thing that showed a Jewish couple to be blessed of God, they didn’t have. They had no children.

I thought about that. Most of their earthly life was lived under the pawl ‘not blessed’ and yet they continued to live faithfully, uprightly, blamelessly.

The Spirit whispered a lesson to me. God deserves my best, my faithfulness, my devotion, my love and service, no matter what blessings He chooses or does not choose to send my way. Who knows what He is planning?

A second whisper came, Don’t judge someone’s apparent faithfulness by material blessings… spiritual character and manner of life are the truest indicator of spiritual maturity!

Lord God, help me to be a Zechariah… a man who lives faithfully before You no matter what! Yes, Lord, that is my prayer for today and by Your grace, every day. Amen.