Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6
Read the “1105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)
Years ago I had a friend that loved to eat Chinese food. The problem was that it would destroy his stomach whenever he ate it. He would get the worst heartburn every time. But do you think that kept him from eating it? No! He would feast at the Chinese restaurant every chance he got. Our passage today contains an account about a different kind of heartburn. Two of the disciples of the Lord are walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus which was about 7.5 miles from Jerusalem. All of a sudden the Lord draws near and begins walking with them but they do not recognize Him after His resurrection. They begin to tell this “stranger” about all of the events surrounding the crucifixion that had taken place in Jerusalem just three days ago. They also recount the fact that the Lord’s body is now apparently no longer in the tomb and some of the women have claimed that He has risen from the dead. Jesus then begins reciting passage after passage from the Old Testament Scriptures that foretold that all of these events would happen, and He rebukes these disciples for not believing the Word of God.
I found it interesting that twice in chapter 24 the Lord takes the Old Testament Scriptures and uses them to teach the disciples regarding Himself. He did not perform any miracles here. He just opens up their understanding to the Word of God. I got excited about that because that is exactly what I do. I open up the Scriptures and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I help people understand them. The disciples on the road to Emmaus stated that their hearts burned within them as he taught them the Scriptures. When was the last time your heart burned within you because of the Word of God? We almost act like God’s Word gives us the bad kind of heartburn, like my friend got when he ate Chinese food. We avoid reading and studying the Bible like it causes us pain. The Word of God is the most powerful tool that we have available to us today in the transformation of our own lives and in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, yet we seem to be using it less and less these days. Our sermons are getting shorter and shorter, and whole services and studies are being removed from the schedule. It just seems that in practice we do not recognize the power of God’s Word to transform lives. Jesus did. He quoted Scripture all the time: when tempted by Satan, and here He is quoting Scripture to help these disciples understand His death and resurrection. We need to place the same emphasis on the power of God’s Word in our lives. Let’s get back to reading, studying, and memorizing the Bible.
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 51
Read the “1103 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13)
The word “occupy” literally means to stay busy. In this parable the Lord gave each of his servants a unit of money called a pound and instructed them to occupy – to stay busy – to do something with the money that the He had given them so that when He returned He would receive a profit. Two of the servants had been diligent to invest the money wisely and when the Lord returned he received from both a substantial increase. However, one of the servants took the money and buried it, and gave it back to the Lord with no increase. The Lord rebuked him sharply and took the pound from him and gave it to the man who reaped the most profit.
The Lord has given each of us many things. He has given us talents and abilities; and He has also blessed us with material possession. We are to “occupy” with all of the gifts that the Lord has given us, meaning we are to stay busy, using them for His glory. We are not to waste the gifts he gives; we are not to keep them for ourselves; we are to bring them back to Him with an increase, a profit.
Christians today are very busy; they are “occupying”, but are they busy with the things that really matter? Soon the Lord is going to come back for His Bride, and the time for being busy here on the Earth will be over. I believe at that time we will regret what we were not busy doing with our gifts. Let’s get busy using the talents and tangibles that the Lord has given us. He’ll be back soon!
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “1101 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
In all three of the chapters that we have read this morning, there is a soul winning illustration. I understand that the proper interpretations of these passages does not primarily involve the church and winning people to Christ, but I think you will be able to see the practical application.
1 In chapter 14, I see the Compelling of the soul winner.
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)
I have noticed that we have gotten to the point in our soul winning presentations that we are almost apologizing for bothering people. If you got word that there was an explosive device about to detonate in your neighbors house, would you apologize for bothering them? No, you would compel them to leave the house immediately. We need to take our soul winning presentations up another notch. We need to go beyond mere bidding (inviting) and start compelling people to trust Christ. I think our problem is that we deep down inside really don’t believe it all, or we really don’t believe time is running out.
2 In Chapter 15, I see the Compassion of the soul winner.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
The father had the right attitude. He was longing for the return of the son. He was ready to receive him whenever he “came to himself.” The older brother, on the other hand, had the wrong attitude. He was not too excited about the reconciling of the younger brother to the father. He was perfectly content keeping the situation as it was. After all, the younger brother didn’t deserve another chance. He made his bed, and now he should have to sleep in it. Is that your attitude toward the lost soul that desperately needs Christ, or the wandering saint that needs to come back? We need to have compassion on people. We need to love them as Jesus loves them.
3 In chapter 16, I see the Consequences of not soul winning.
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house–for I have five brothers–so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27 & 28)
Now I cannot to be sure that the rich man had no man in his lifetime that attempted to reach him, but let’s assume that he did not. What a shame that not only this man, but also his five brothers will spend eternity in Hell because of a lack of soul winning. Let me remind you, they are without excuse. God’s law was written in their hearts; they could see God in creation, and there were synagogues on every corner just as there are churches on every corner today. But how much better were his chances for salvation had somebody had compassion on him and attempted to compel him to be saved.
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “1031 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” – (Luke 13:6-9)
I must confess that I am often a little bewildered as I try to understand these passages of Scripture. There are often several different levels of interpretation for consideration. For instance, this story of the fig tree can be studied on both a practical and a symbolic level. Symbolically, the fig tree represents Israel. You will find that to be true in other passages such as in Matthew 21 where Jesus curses the fig tree, again because there was no fruit on it. Israel was expected to be fruitful. There was no reason for them not to be fruitful. They were given all that they needed, yet they chose to reject their Messiah. However, we know that someday Israel will “look on [him] whom they have pierced” (John 19:34), ”and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” – (Zechariah 12:10). God is very patient with Israel, and someday Israel will turn back to Him. Really if you think about it, the process of digging about it and dunging the fig tree could very well be the Tribulation Period where God will be bringing Israel back to Himself.
On a practical level, however, I believe that we can safely say that not all Christians will produce the fruit that we might expect them to right away. We must be careful to be patient with new believers. God may have to dig about them and dung them as well. Don’t be so quick to write off people. I thank the Lord that He is patient with me; and I also thank Him for putting me through the training and trials that have been needed in order for Him to produce the fruit that He desires through me. And He is not finished with me yet. I am a long way away from where I need to be. So, as we appreciate and expect the Lord to be patient with us, let us also be patient with others. Put away your ax. God may not be finished with the tree just yet.
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “1030 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” (Luke 10:1 – 9)
Here in the first part of chapter ten, Jesus is sending out seventy of His disciples to represent him in the many towns and villages in Judaea, Galillee, and even outside of the borders of Israel.
Note – Between Luke 9:62 and Luke 10:1, there are several events that take place that are not discussed by Luke. They are, however, given to us by John:
- Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:11 – 53)
- Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1 – 11)
- Light of the World Discourse Ending with a Debate with the Pharisees (John 8:12 – 59)
- Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind (John 9:1 – 41)
- Good Shepherd Discourse (John 10:1 – 21)
Though these are all very important events, to expedite our study in Luke, we will not discuss them now. In Luke’s account, we see:
The Commissioning of the Seventy (vs. 1 – 3)
- Jesus chooses seventy disciples (v. 1).
An important point to make here is that Jesus had more disciples than just the twelve apostles. He obviously had spent a great deal of time with these men and had trained them sufficiently enough to send them out.
- Jesus calls them to pray for labourers (v. 2; also Matthew 9:37 – 38)
Matthew records the same words used by Jesus in a slightly context:
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)
There are many people that need to be reached, but very few that are willing and able to reach them.
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” (John 4:34-39)
We need to pray that the Lord will help us to be better labourers. We need to pray that God helps us to reach and train more laborers. The Lord seems to be telling us that the problem is not that people are not listening to His message of the gospel, it is that there are not enough laborers sharing that message. John’s Gospel tells us that the fields are already white and ready to be harvested. We need to be more faithful in sharing the message of Christ, and we need to do more in our churches to train, motivate, and provide opportunities for our members to do the same.
- Jesus Cautions Them (v. 3)
Though there will be many people who will rejoice and receive the message of the disciples, there will also be many that will reject the message and will rile up others to reject the messengers.
The Conditions for Submission in a City (vs. 4 – 9)
- The Care of Their Needs (vs. 4 – 8)
Here we see an urgency in the need for delivering the message. The disciples were not to worry about preparing for their journey. The underlying promise is that their needs will be met by the Lord through the people they minister to. They were not to get distracted by people along the way.
Practical Point – Oftentimes we get distracted from delivering the Lord’s message by well-meaning people along the way.
They were instructed to find someone within the city who would receive them, and remain there ministering to the city through the house that opened its doors to them.
- The Disciples Commitment to the Places That Receive Them (v. 9)
They were to heal the people physically, as well as help the people eternally through the message of the kingdom of God. While the Lord may not use His ambassadors in exactly the same way today, we can still be used of God to share the message of Christ with the people in our communities.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Passage – Luke 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
Read the “1029 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)
Matthew’s gospel contains a parallel passage and considers two out of the three people that are dealt with in Luke:
“And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:19-22)
In the verses above, Jesus addresses three individuals who all desire to be His disciple. However, they also all have stipulations that will hinder their ability to focus on the work. Jesus wants His servants to be singularly focused on the work that He has for them.
- There are Consideration Regarding Possessions (vs. 57 – 58)
- There are Considerations Regarding People (vs. 59 – 60)
- There are Considerations Regarding Priorities (vs. 61 – 62)
Jesus expects those who follow Him in discipleship to be fully committed and to stay committed until He brings them home to Heaven (See also Luke 14:25 – 33).
In the Old Testament, Elisha also considered the consequences and the price of service, and he made a decision that would keep him from going back to his old life:
“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.” (1 Kings 19:19-21)
Illustrate – from “How to Achieve Great Things by Burning Your Boats and Cutting-Off Your Retreat Routes,” by Mark Melton
The Story of Alexander the Great
On October 1, 331 BC, with an army of 35,000 men, Alexander the Great defeated Darius the king of Persia in one of the most decisive battles in history! Alexander’s army was greatly outnumbered by the Persian enemy. Historians agree that Darius’ army was made up of between 200,000 to 1,000,000 men. Yet in a series of dramatic and superior tactics, Alexander managed to defeat the Persians and route them.
Alexander was a military genius, and arguably the best military general that ever lived. However, something dramatic and decisive happened before this battle, which many historians believe may be responsible for this great victory.
Upon arriving the shores of Persia, Alexander and his army discovered that they were visibly outnumbered. Clearly at a disadvantage, his men lost heart and pleaded with their young leader (Alexander) to delay the attack. He was urged to go back and get more men and reinforcements. Alexander responded by ordering the men to burn their boats. As their only means of retreat went up in flames, legend has it that Alexander turned to his men and said, “We go home in Persian ships, or we die.”
This act of burning their boats sent a clear message among his army that to survive, they must win this war. They placed themselves in a “no retreat, no surrender situation.” Buoyed by this realization, Alexander’s and his men charged with a singular resolve, to win at all costs. It was with this same resolve that, at the battle of Issus, Alexander’s men forced Darius to flee, leaving the field and victory to Alexander and his army.
The Story of Hernán Cortés
In the 1519, a Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, set out with 600 Spaniards to conquer Mexico, which was rich in priceless treasures of gold, silver and precious Aztec jewels among others.
This daredevil, daring undertaking was made further insurmountable by the fact that for more than 600 years, superior conquerors with greater military hardware and human resources who attempted to colonize the same region had failed woefully.
Aware of this, Hernán Cortés decided to do it differently. After landing with his military force of 600 men, Cortés prepared his troops by long oratory and careful speeches. However, before embarking inland to face his enemies, he commanded his armies to burn all their boats! By this singular act, he and his men destroyed their only exit strategy! By these decisive three words – BURN THE BOATS – there was only one resolve within his camp: victory! For defeat meant a certain death. Owing to this singular act, Cortés became the first man to conquer Mexico in 600 years!
This is the attitude necessary for success! For a person to succeed at great things, that one must cut off all escape routes and any means of retreat. Often, many great projects are abandoned at the verge of success by retreating just prior to a breakthrough. Adversity is a tempting premise for retreat. However, having no means of retreat, but forging on despite great difficulties is the surest way to great accomplishments. (Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7830310)
We sing the song, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” but I often wonder if we really understand and mean what we are singing.
The following is an excerpt from a hymn history paper written by Jesse Johnson:
In the 1880’s a Welsh missionary who had endured severe persecution finally saw his first converts in a particularly brutal village in the Indian province of Assam. A husband and wife, with their two children, professed faith in Christ and were baptized. Their village leaders decided to make an example out of the husband. Arresting the family, they demanded that the father renounce Christ, or see his wife and children murdered. When he refused, his two children were executed by archers. Given another chance to recant, the man again refused, and his wife was similarly stuck down. Still refusing to recant, the man followed his family into glory.
Witnesses later told the story to the Welsh missionary. The reports said that when asked to recant or see his children murdered, the man said: “I have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.”
After seeing his children killed, he reportedly said, “The world can be behind me, but the cross is still before me.” And after seeing his wife pierced by the arrows, he said, “Though no one is here to go with me, still I will follow Jesus.”
According to this missionary, when he returned to the village, a revival had broken out, and those that had murdered the first converts and since come to faith themselves. The Welsh man passed along these reports to the famous Indian evangelist Sadhu Singh. Singh had risen to prominence in India because he was training foreign missionaries, and a theme in his teaching had been the necessity of avoiding the cultural trappings of Western Christianity. He insisted that the missionaries now pouring into India focus on the essentials of the gospel while allowing the now vibrant Indian Christian community to develop their own Christian customs.
The accounts of the family that had been martyred in Assam were so astonishing and widely circulated that most Indian believers were familiar with it. So Singh took the martyr’s last words, and put them to traditional Indian music in order to make one of the first uniquely Indian hymns. The song immediately became popular in Indian churches, and it remains a mainstay of worship music there to this day.
Eventually some of the American missionaries returned from India and they brought that song with them. Finally, it ended up with Canadian song writer George Beverley Shea, and he made it a staple at the Billy Graham crusades.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Read the “1028 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36)
Good morning. Who is your enemy? Who do you hate? Is it the stinking liberal Nazi-Commie-Socialist Democrats who are trying to take a free America and turn it into a country that Hitler or Lennon would be proud of? Is it the stupid lazy Republicans who did not support their President to keep America free and are only trying to save their “phony-balogna” jobs. How about HAMAS? Do you hate them? Do you see videos of them taking woman and children of Israel, and slaughtering them? Did somebody do you wrong? Do you hate them? Maybe you even call them Satan or devil. You are right in one thing: the devil is the cause of all your problems: even your hatred.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Peter 5:8-11)
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:9-12)
So what can we do? The devil hates all people, everything about us reminds him of God. Even the atheist, the idol worshiper, tree hugger, and the saved, all remind the devil of God: we all are created in God’s image. There is something we can do…
1) Love your enemies, and do good to them which hate you.
We were God’s enemy at one time…
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:4-10)
Before we got saved, we were in the world, part of the world and loving this world: we were God’s enemy. And yet…
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:8-11)
2) Bless them that curse you and pray for them that despitefully use you.
What did Jesus do?
“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:33-43)
Jesus asked His Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do. How will you show Jesus to those who curse you and despitefully use you?
3) Turn the other cheek.
I find this may be hard for me to do, but I have never been in this situation. King David on the other hand…
“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.” (2Samuel 16:5-13)
When you know that vengeance belongs to God, it seems easy to turn the other cheek and walk away: David relied on the Lord.
4) Give to every man that asketh of thee.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Do you have it? It could be that God has given it to you for such a time as this.
5) Do unto others.
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:31-35)
6) Show mercy.
Has God shown mercy on you? You need to show mercy to others. How else will they see Jesus?
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:21-35)
Hating is not good. If you do want to hate someone, hate the devil. He is the reason the world is in the mess that it’s in. Has some one sinned against you? Forgive them as Jesus has forgiven you and placed your sin in the depths of the sea, and as far away as the east is from west. It will all be over soon when the devil gets his due…
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)
Posted in Devotions, The Saturday Morning Post, Thoughts from Luke by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1
Read the “1025 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” (Luke 1:4)
I have always been fascinated by these first few verses in Luke’s gospel. He is writing to an individual by the name of Theophilus who we know very little about; and he is explaining to him, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, in detail, all that he knows about the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting when you think about it that Luke appears to be writing this entire book to one man. Now we know that God had other plans for the book, but on a human level it seems to be the most comprehensive gospel tract ever written. All for one man, Theophilus. The first thought that hits me is the concern that Luke must of had for this one man in order to go through this arduous task just so that Theophilus could be certain about what he already knew about the Lord. Luke is possibly the most diligent soul winner there ever was.
The second thought I have from this Scripture comes from the word “certainty”. Luke penned the Word of God so that the hearer could be certain about the Lord Jesus Christ. That reminds me of another verse that tells us that …faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) Practical application of this principle tells us that the more time we spend in the Word of God, the more we will be certain about the things of God; and the more certain we are in our faith, the greater our life and ministries will be also. We will be able to boldly plow forward through this dark and cold world with the gospel simply because we are sure of what we believe about God.
If you look at the faithless condition of America today, and consider how that Satan has been effective at both distorting the Word of God in most of our churches, and removing the Word of God from schools and many of the other public venues of our society, it is no wonder that the country is rapidly moving away from God. The answer is the Word. We in the church need to get strengthened ourselves through the certainty that comes through time spent in the Book; and then flood our churches, communities, families, neighborhoods, and workplaces with the Word of God. The more they hear the Word, the more they can be certain about the Lord.
Certainty is very important. Being certain about what you believe will get you through the trials of life with your faith intact. Be certain about your calling will keep you at your post until the Lord makes it clear that He wants you to do something else. Certainty comes from the Word of God, and it is strengthened as we continue to walk by faith. I want to demonstrate this certainty in my life as I minister to the people here in Galloway Township. I want them to be able to see that I really believe what I claim to know about the Lord; and I want them to see a consistency in my life and ministry in the years to come that will be the fruit of the certainty that I have received from the Lord.
How about you? Are you certain about what you claim to believe? Being sure about what you believe will dramatically change the way you live. I believe the reason why most of us struggle so much with our testimony is because we really don’t believe deep down what we say that we believe. Our faith needs to be increased. Ask God to bring you in closer, and give you a greater assurance about His Word and His will. As you meditate upon and study the Word of God, He will increase your certainty about the things of God.
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Read the “1104 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “This Is Just The Beginning”
“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
The verses above reference one of the greatest truths of the Bible: God sees and will reward all we do for him, whether anybody else sees it or not. This widow gave “all the living she had”, and she was probably unnoticed by everyone present, save the Lord. Had one of the rich men given all his living, it would have, no doubt, attracted a lot of attention; but here only God sees what was done.
You and I may not have a lot to offer the Lord. We may be very limited in the amount of treasure we have, or the talents we possess, but we can be sure that if we use what we have for the glory of God, we will be rewarded. We may not be rewarded or recognized here on this earth, but be sure that all that we do for the Lord will be remembered in eternity, and isn’t that where it really matters. You will notice that the passage gives no indication that the Lord said anything to the woman there at the temple. She may have lived out the rest of her earthly existence not thinking that she did anything special, but when she got to Heaven she found out that her love gift for the Lord was deeply appreciated by Him.
Christian, don’t worry about any notoriety here on this earth. The Lord sees what you give, and the Lord knows what you do. You do not have to let others know what you do, the Lord knows, and He is all that really matters. You do not have to settle for some cheap reward of recognition here, an “attaboy from other men and women. Just know that God will never forget anything that’s done for Him.
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “1030 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29)
In our reading passage today there are so many wonderful truths that we could meditate on, but I have decided to consider the “Good Samaritan” passage found in Luke 10:25 – 37. The actual story of the good Samaritan was actually an illustration used by the Lord Jesus in His discussion with a lawyer who had tempted Him with the question, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” As Jesus often did, He replied with a question of His own: He asks the man what His understanding of the Law taught regarding the subject. Now remember, this guy was “tempting” Jesus, he was not sincerely inquiring about going to Heaven, and he was also a lawyer, an expert in the Law. Notice the man’s reply, which was pulled from two Old Testament passages (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18):
“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10:27)
I guess this lawyer thought that he was impressing Jesus with his knowledge of the Law. Jesus replied that the man had answered well. He told the man that if He could perfectly love God and perfectly love his neighbor, both of which are impossible, then He could go to Heaven. The men then asks a question to clarify the definition of a neighbor. “Who is my neighbor?” That’s a good question. No doubt the lawyer would consider his neighbors to be only those from within the nation of Israel.
Jesus then tells the story about the good Samaritan who comes across a man from Israel who had been beaten and robbed; and then passed by by two upstanding, “Law” abiding citizens (neighbors), who could have and should have helped him, but didn’t. I guess they weren’t feeling neighborly that day. But along comes the Samaritan who although he was not an upstanding member of the Jewish community acted like a neighbor should by helping the man. By the way, this good Samaritan is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ who was willing to help some undesirable people like us.
Jesus’ story of the Samaritan explained to this lawyer that the word “neighbor” means everybody, not just the people you like. Remember what He said in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matthew 5:43-47)
By the way, Jesus was not teaching this man that if he would do these things that he would be saved, but rather he was proving to the man that he had already missed the mark, and that he was a long way away from being able to “justify himself” as he tried to do in Luke 10:29. But Jesus also let us know from this passage that our field of ministry includes all people, everywhere; not just a select few.
Have you loved a neighbor today? Think about some tangible way that you can demonstrate the love of Christ to someone today. You may just get the opportunity to share the gospel with them as well.
Posted in Thoughts from Luke by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.