January 18, 2023

She gave it all

For all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:4

Have you ever felt so much love and admiration for God that you wanted to give all that you possessed?  What about just giving Him the things that are most precious to you.  Oh, I know God doesn’t require us to give Him all of our possessions, but has His love ever filled you up so greatly that you desired to lay it all at His feet?

In today’s reading, there was a poor widow woman that came to the temple to give.  She only had a little bit to offer, but she gave it all.  Even though there were many others there that were rich and gave large amounts of money, Jesus told His disciples that the widow gave more than all of them because she gave her whole livelihood.

This concept seems foolish to some people.  Why would you give your money away? And especially to the church?  This poor widow was giving at a time when it was obvious that the priests were getting rich off of the people’s giving.  Why would she give all that she had that they would never appreciate?  She knew something that they didn’t know.  She loved God and was giving her gift to Him, not to the leaders.  What they did with her gift was between them and God.  She gave because of God and what happened to the money after that was not her concern.  She knew that her offering was accepted in heaven at the throne because it was from her heart to the heart of God.

Maybe you are someone who gives tithes and offerings at the church or donations to ministries supporting the work of God in various places.  These are certainly worthy gifts, but if given out of duty or obligation, there is no love for God and His work being done in this world.  It is important to check your heart when giving and purpose that you want to love and honor God with all your giving. 

Proverbs 3:9 says: Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; and 2 Corinthians 9:7 says: So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  The instruction in these passages are clear, we are to give from every increase we receive and not just give, but to honor God by giving it to Him, not to an organization.  Also, to purpose or plan to give so you will not be compelled to give grudgingly.

Lastly, consider when giving to individuals in need.  Sure, if a friend or loved one comes to you and asks for help, you would certainly give willingly.  Probably not even considering that you are giving to God. But what about those on the street corner that are looking for their next meal?  Do you give willingly out of your account, or do you judge who it is and what they will do with your gift?  Proverbs 19:17 tells us that He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord.  It doesn’t tell us to consider and scrutinize what will be done with the funds, it just says that when you give you are giving to God. What a great promise and such freedom.  You no longer need to decide who is worthy to receive blessing and who will appreciate your sacrifice.  Instead, you can see these opportunities as an occasion to give to your Father in heaven and trust Him to see to how the substance is used.

Today I want to encourage you to give.  Give your tithes and give your offerings.  Very few things in this world are transferable into the spirit world but giving from your heart is seen and received by God.  Don’t worry about how God will provide for you if you give, just honor Him with your love and giving and His blessing will follow you in all the areas of your life.  Look for opportunities to bless others whether you know them or not and let God be the one who makes sure your gifts are used to reach the souls of others.  Remember, your love for Him is evident in what you are willing to release into His hands to reach those who are far from Him. Use your finances to reach the world with God’s love!

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 21:1-4

1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 

2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 

3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 

4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

January 17, 2023

His Enemies are His footstool

Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Luke 20:42

In the previous section of this chapter, Jesus had a discussion with the Sadducees about the resurrection.  By the end of that conversation, they didn’t want to question Him anymore.  It was safe to say that He shut them down. Then He went on to ask them if David calls the Messiah Lord, how can He (the Messiah) be David’s Son?  It almost sounds like a riddle.

I believe He wanted to let them know that the Messiah/Christ was indeed the Son of God and not just a man born from the line of David.  He was declaring His Lordship to them and letting them know that if they took the side with His enemies, they would be put under His feet.

This is contrasted with who we are today as Christians, believers and children of God.  Ephesians 2:6 says we sit together with Him in heavenly places.  We are not under His feet, but we are as His body under His head.  He is the Head of the church the body of the anointed Christ and His Head directs and moves the body to complete the mission we have been placed here to do.  We don’t always get it perfect, but the message has successfully survived for 2000 years as His Spirit has given utterance to spread the good news.

My encouragement for you today is if you are a part of His body, the body of believers in the world today, then get in line with His plans for the role you play in the days we are living.  Step away from the distractions of this world and begin to make His Word, His heart and worship your priority.  Join together with the rest of the body to lead the lost ones to the knowledge of salvation in Christ Jesus and use your gifts and talents to invest in your eternal future by serving others in love.  If you do not know Him personally, then start that conversation today.  Invite Jesus into your life and world by praying this short prayer right now from your heart:

God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new.  I know Your Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 20:41-47

41And He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? 

42Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,

43Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’

44Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

45Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 

46“Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 

47who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

January 15, 2023

He is the God of the Living!

For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” Luke 20:38

Some people, believe in God, but they think His love and grace is only for after you leave this world.  Others believe that God’s Salvation through Jesus is only to secure our future with Him after we die.  However, that is just not the case!  God is the God of right now.  He is the Father of those living in this world right now that have made a place for Him in their life.  In fact, when God spoke to Moses in the Old Testament from the burning bush, He told Moses “I am” to let Moses know that He is the God of right here and now, not the someday, far and away.

In today’s reading, the Sadducees brought a scenario to Jesus about what would happen to a person that was married after they died. This group of religious leaders did not even believe there was life after death, but because they wanted to trap Jesus into giving an answer that would condemn Himself, they posed the question to Him.  Jesus told them they were wrong, in fact He told them they were greatly wrong.  God is not the God of the dead, but for all of us living in the world right now.  When you die, you will go to be with Him in heaven if you know Him personally, but you will be made whole and live with Him for all eternity.

Here are just a few scriptures confirming that He is the God of the living.  The God of the right now and the God, you can trust your life to in these crazy, messed up days that we live in.

Psalm 91:15-16 – He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.”

Exodus 33:14 – And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Psalms 16:8 – I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Today I want to encourage you to press into the God of your salvation.  His presence is here right now and His Spirit lives on the inside of every born-again believer.  He wants you to know His goodness and He wants you to know He is with you always.  Trust Him today to empower you to overcome every obstacle that comes your way and follow in the direction that He is leading.  He is the God of those living right now and we can share His goodness wherever we are.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 20:27-39

27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 

28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 

29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 

30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. 

31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. 

32 Last of all the woman died also. 

33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”

34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 

35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 

36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 

37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 

38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” 

40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.

January 14, 2023

His Image Inside of You

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:25

Have you ever thought about the image that is inside of you?  We look in mirrors to see our outside appearance, but what is mirroring our inside.  Surprisingly, the answer is simple.  It is what we are taking in through our surroundings each day.  What are we looking at and listening to?  These are the things our inside (image) person/spirit are conforming to.

In today’s scripture, Jesus is answering a question the Pharisees asked to try, once again, to trap Him.  His answer is profound and goes so much deeper than they expected.  He said: “Your money has Caesar’s image on it, so it already belongs to him.  There is no dispute about giving it back to him if he requires it because it’s his.” Then Jesus went on with that thought and says, “but, the most important thing to consider is who God has put His image on belongs to God.  You should be more concerned with giving back to God what belongs to Him.”  I, like the Pharisees, have always been focused on the tax issue when reading this passage, but I realized that Jesus’ focus was different.   What is really important is what are we doing with the life God has given us?”  Most importantly, that would be ourselves and the image of God inside.

The image of God inside is the place to focus our growing efforts.  So how do we do that?  Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world (influenced to be like), but be transformed (changed from the world’s image to God’s image) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (accomplish God’s plan for your life in this world).”

So, how do you renew your mind to be transformed?  That’s where we come back around to what is influencing you.  What are you looking at and listening to?  It is not possible to be in the world and not hear and see what is going on around you.  It is possible to purposefully pour the things of God inside of you to wash out and override the thoughts, ideas and attitudes of the world.  You make the decision – does your life reflect God or the world? 

Today I want to encourage you to start fresh this year by growing the image of God on the inside of you.  Purpose to put the ways of God into your heart everyday by spending time reading and meditating on His Word.  Talk to Him about the plans and thoughts He has for you.  Make the decision to step up your walk with God and take a step away from the world’s way of thinking.  Make God’s image on the inside of you the #1 priority in your life and give yourself perfect vision for your future!

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 20:20-26

20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 

22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? 

24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” they answered and said, “Caesar’s.”

25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

January 12, 2023

What will you do with Jesus?

Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’? Luke 20:17

In today’s reading, Jesus told a story/parable about a wicked vinedresser.  The meaning was symbolic of God sending the prophets to the people and how they were rejected down through the generations.  Then when God sent His Son into the world to save the people, He (the Son) is rejected above all others and killed.  He concluded by saying that the One who has been rejected is the chief cornerstone/building block upon which the age of grace is being built.  He ended with a statement that the cornerstone cannot be destroy.  The priests and Pharisees knew what Jesus’ implication was and they were indignant.  They wanted to kill Him right then and there.  It was a “crossroad” so to speak for them.  They had a choice in that moment to receive Jesus as their Messiah or do to Him as the vinedressers did in the parable Jesus told them.

As we now know, they rejected Him and by the end of that week, crucified Him.  They didn’t take the opportunity they were given to receive and walk in their chosen heritage.  Today, we have been given the same opportunity to receive the gift of God’s Son.  However, now it is a greater gift because Jesus’ work here in the world has been completed.  We no longer have the ability to take hold of Him and kill Him.  We do have the power, though, to accept Him and all that He died to get back for us.

We have the power to become the children of God. (see John 1:12) We have the opportunity to accept the right relationship with God in heaven through salvation in the blood of Jesus and we have the authority to invite the LORD of all into our heart and life to rescue us from an eternity separated from the Father who loves and created us.

So, the question today is:  What will you do with Jesus?  Will you receive His love and the sacrifice He made to save us from this lost and dying world or will you reject the message of the good news and refuse to believe that it is true.  Maybe you think you can put it off until a better day, but I assure you, there is no better day than today to change your life forever.

Today I want to encourage you to receive God’s gift of salvation and accept Jesus into your heart and life.  He will change your life, He will change your circumstances and He will change your world.  It is the greatest decision you will ever make.  Pray this simple prayer today, Jesus will come in and turn the things your enemy meant for evil into good.

God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new.  I know Your Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 20:9-19

9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. 

10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 

11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 

12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.

13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 

14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 

15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 

16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”

17 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?

18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

January 11, 2023

Who’s Authority

They spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?” Luke 20:2

Authority is a big part of our society.  We have organizations such as government and public servants that have authority to enforce laws and regulations.  Although these authorities are far from perfect, it is still a good thing to have in place for structure and order.  Without authority, there would be chaos and confusion continually.  Crime would be rampant, and structure would be non-existent. 

God is the ultimate authority, and He is the true source of power in this world and this universe.  In today’s reading, Jesus was questioned about where He received the authority to do good works and miracles.  At first, it may look like Jesus is rebelling against authority, but it just isn’t the case.  Jesus submitted Himself to authority, just not the so called “religious” leaders of His day.  He was submitted to God first of all and God’s law to the point that He fulfilled it perfectly.  He submitted to government as indicated when He paid taxes.  He was submitted to His parents.  In fact, He didn’t even start doing miracles publicly until His mother asked Him to.  He submitted to John the Baptist who was the forerunner to His ministry, and He served His followers and many broken and hurting people along the way.  He was the greatest leader, but He wasn’t leading to gain followers, He was leading to be the example of God’s love for all people and to train up more to love others like Him.

We are also to submit to authority today.  Of course, our first allegiance is to God, but He has given us many scriptures in the New Testament that teach us to submit to the governing authorities and to pray for our governing leaders. (see Romans 13 & 1 Timothy 2) Ephesians 5:21 tells us to submit to one another in love and serve one another.  We do this to honor God and to display our submission to His Word.  Hopefully, we are submitted to a ministry (Church) where we can serve and work together in the body of Christ.  Where we come together regularly to worship God and serve one another.  The reality is, we were created to take care of each other and when we fulfill this purpose, that is where true joy and fulfillment come from.

Today I want to encourage you to access your own life.  Are you submitted to authority as God has set it up?  First of all, God and His Word?  Do you accept the Word of God as the ultimate authority on every subject and are you fully surrendered to the plan and purpose He has called you to in this world?  Have you found your place within the body of believers where you can come together and serve each week?  Lastly, consider the time you spend praying for those in authority over you.  Whether the government, your pastor and even your spouse or parents, are you praying God’s grace and protection on them daily?  Do you take time to lift them up to receive the wisdom of God each day?  I guarantee you it will make a difference.  Start today to submit to the authorities that God has placed you under and watch how the world begins to change around you as you faithfully lift them up to God each day.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 20:1-8

1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him 

2 and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”

3 But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: 

4 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”

5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 

6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” 

7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.

8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

January 10, 2023

Cleanse your Temple

Saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Luke 19:46

I wasn’t sure what to write about this passage.  How to make it relevant to life today.  In our society, we do not have money changers in our churches selling animal sacrifices at inflated cost to cheat the people coming in to offer their blood offering for sin.  Our sin has already been eradicated by the perfect sacrifice of the blood of the Lamb.

As I thought about it and prayed about it, I was impressed that our temple is not one made out of stone and mortar, but of flesh.  According to 1 Corinthians 6:19, now we as believers are the temple of God. When we receive His gift of salvation, His Spirit comes to live in us.  Suddenly, it all made sense to me.  My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God, and it is up to me to drive out what is unclean.  I am the one who keeps this temple clean.  Whether by removing sin from my life or by keeping my heart pure before my Father.  God intended for this temple to be a house of prayer for Him to dwell in.

I must daily examine my temple that has been given to me from God and guard against the darkness coming it.  It is very subtle and will try to slip in unnoticed, but as I walk closely with Him, I can quickly identify what needs to be kept out.  My house of prayer is my heart and as my earthly father taught me, I can stay in an attitude of prayer all day long.  I can walk with my Heavenly Father by allowing His Spirit to direct my steps and keep a running conversation going with Him at all times.  He will keep my feet from stumbling, and He will keep the unclean things out as I listen to His inner promptings to my heart.  He will teach me daily just as Jesus was in the temple daily teaching.  The outside world cannot get in to destroy me as long as I keep Him at the door.

So what does that look like in a natural sense?  I set a guard up by setting boundaries in my life.  I know the places and things I am tempted by, so I keep my heart with all diligence and do not let the evil in. I purposefully choose what I will look at, what I will listen too and even what I am putting into my temple for sustenance.  I am working with God’s Spirit inside me to keep this temple clean and if any corrupt thing starts to get close, I can quickly spot and purge it because I have the Holy Spirit pointing out what does not belong.

What about you?  How is your temple doing?  Are you keeping a guard against the unclean things?  Are you paying attention to what you should be driving out of your heart to keep it pure?  If not, you can start today by asking God’s Sprit to guide and instruct each step you take.  Keep in touch with Him throughout your day and ask Him to help you identify the things that need to be removed and the things that need to be added to keep your temple clean.

Today I want to encourage you to drive out the things in your life that are holding you back from completing the mission you have been assigned to in life.  Make your temple a house of prayer by talking with Him all day long.  Keep in touch often with the Spirit of God and allow Him to point out the places that need to be clean up.  Then let Him teach you daily in your temple and don’t let the destroyer keep you from completing, down to the last detail, your purpose in life.

Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 19:45-48

45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 

46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 

48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.

January 9, 2023

Point of No Return

saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Luke 19:42

What is important to you?  What really matters to you in this life?  I know we each would have a different answer to this question.  Some may say family, others might answer their faith.  Some would even say their career, wealth or their pet The bottom line is that most people would probably say it was a relationship of some kind.  A family member, friend, spouse or child?  When it get right down to top priorities, few people would name a thing or place over a personal relationship.

The scripture reading today is about Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem.  In other accounts of this event, it actually says that Jesus wept over the city.  The heading of the passage says: Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem.  Why?  Why was Jesus weeping over a city?  Well, to start to understand this passage, the first thing to point out is that Jesus was not crying about buildings and city street.  He was hurting for the people of the city.  In today’s reading, He is sorrowful because they did not have peace and there is none coming in their future at that time.  He knew that because of the prophecy that the city would be leveled by their enemies, not many years from that time.  His desire was that they would receive Him as their Messiah and things would have turned out differently for the people of Jerusalem.  This passage took place the week before His crucifixion, and He knew that they were about to come to the point of no return.

Even though, there was no change in the heart of the people of Jerusalem back then, there is hope for us today.  Yet how many of us weep over the souls of the people that we love that are lost, dying and on their way to eternal separation from a loving heavenly Father?  How much time have we spent on our knees praying for the right person to come into their life that will reach their soul.  How many hours praying for the wisdom of that person, regardless of if it is us or if we can be that person for someone else that is praying for their loved one to be reached. Are we even considering the part we play in someone’s eternal destiny? 

Today I want to encourage you to make a new commitment this year to add a few more minutes each week to your prayer time and specifically pray for your lost loved ones and those around you that you can encourage that someone is praying for.  It can only make things better.  At minimum it will make you more aware and more sensitive when God’s Spirit may be tapping you on the shoulder to let someone know He is ready to receive them into a personal relationship with Him.  Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers to your lost loved ones and then pray that you would be a laborer too.  Make a fresh start this year on your commitment to bringing people into God’s family and kingdom before we reach the point of no return in this age.  Then you will be working on what really matters in this life and that is rescuing perishing people of the world.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 19:41-44

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 

42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 

43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 

44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

January 8, 2023

The Lord has need of you

And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”Luke 19:31

I was there.  I walked down the “Palm Sunday” road.  Oh, it was nothing like it was in Jesus’ day.  A narrow alley with walls and buildings on either side of the road.  It is paved, but so tight it is scary when oncoming vehicles come around the corners.  It’s rough terrain and down the side of Mt. Olivet.  I was excited in the morning as we stood on top of the mount, but when we began our descent, I quickly realized this walk was not going to be a stroll in the park.  We stopped at a couple of historic points on the way down and by the time we were heading up the far side into the city, it was HOT!  Even though it was still before 12 noon, the heat of the day was already on us.  It is ironic that Jesus told the pharisees that if He stopped the people from praising Him, the stones would cry out because Israel is one of the stoniest countries probably in the entire world.  So much so that it is one of the most notable features among all the historic sights. 

Jesus rode into the city on the colt of a donkey on that same road, which in my opinion would have been an even more grueling journey.  He told His disciples to go into the village across the way and find the colt tied to a tree.  He said to bring it to Him and if anyone asked what they were doing taking their animal, to respond with “The Lord has need of it.”  The passage doesn’t actually say that the colt was returned, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was taken back to it’s owner and only borrowed for that specific purpose.  Jesus only needed it to fulfill His mission. 

Jesus has need of you too.  Jesus could have made His trip into the city on foot like everyone else did, but He was fulfilling a scripture that had been written long ago about that very day.  Now He is at work fulfilling all that needs to be done before He returns and it is written that many of these things would be done through the hands of His people, most importantly “Go into all the world and tell the good news.”  Since Jesus no longer lives in this world, He has delegated this part of the plan to His people that do still live here, namely you and me.  He has given each one of us gifts, talents and abilities with which to uniquely fulfill this calling.  He didn’t use His gifts and talents for His own use, agenda and profit, and He doesn’t expect us to either.

The Lord has need of us.  Not because He cannot do it Himself, but because that is the way He set it up so that He could partner with us through His Spirit.  In that way we can cover much more territory than one person could, and we get to walk closely with Him as we live out our mission.  It is a win/win scenario and one that I am honored to be a part of.  In His godly wisdom and design, my salvation does not only include escaping eternal torment and separation from God, but it also gives me the privilege of walking out this life as part of His Family working in the Family business.  Like the Palm Sunday ride, His business may be rough sometimes and there maybe detours and things in the way at other points, but the Lord still has need of you finishing the journey and keeping Him along with you until it is complete.

Today I want to encourage you to examine how you are carrying Him with you each day.  Do you say a quick prayer each morning and then never check in again the rest of the day or are you intentionally taking Him on your life journey every step of the way?  Recognize today that the Lord has need of you and walk into that purpose of carrying His message to the world around you using the gifts and abilities He has empowered you with.  Ensure that your life journey will be comprised of all the plans and details He created you for and when you come to the end of your time here in this world, you will step into eternity knowing that you have done well!

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 19:28-40

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 

29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 

30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 

31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 

33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 

35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 

36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 

38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

January 6, 2023

Your assignment

‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given more; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Luke 19:26

Have you ever been given an assignment either at school or at your place of employment?  Sure, you have, we all have at one time or another.  A task to do that was needed to complete a project or a report to write that required time and research.  I know everyone has been given the assignment at some point in life to study for a test.  So, how did that go for you?  In my case I’ve done some assignments very well, but others not so much.  I suspect that is the case with most people.  I think it is fair to say that it would be extremely difficult to find someone who has completed every assignment, in their lifetime, perfectly.

Today’s reading is again about a parable (a current relevant story that Jesus told with a heavenly principal that God established in this world). Jesus often talked to those who were with Him with these stories so that people could understand the way God set things up to work in the world we live in.  He told them about a man that was going to be traveling for a while to acquire a kingdom, so the master gave to each of his servants (employees) an assignment of minas.  They were each given an equal amount of mina to manage.  I’m not sure how much a mina represents, but in this case, I will just call that mina the servant’s assignment to be in charge of.  When the master returned, he found that two of his servants had increased their mina.  To which the master responded, “Well done good and faithful servant.” He was very pleased with their report, but when he got the report from one of the servants that had hid what was given to him so no one could take it or use it.  The master called this man a wicked and lazy servant and takes his assignment to watch over the mina and gives it to the one that has increased the most.

Here is another one of those kingdom of heaven principles that are guaranteed to be successful in this life.  Be faithful over little and you will be given more.  It is sad that there are some people and even Christian people out there in the world that do not want to increase in responsibilities and commitments.  Especially when it comes to serving others.  Many people are happy to live in their own little world with just “me and mine” and never step into the greater assignments in life because of hiding from their greater call.  Hopefully, no one reading this message falls into that category, but there is a warning in this passage if you do.  The master takes what was given to the servant that was afraid and selfish and gives it to the one who had increased the most.  He concluded this by saying whoever manages well will be given more but whoever hides, and hordes will have what he had taken away from him.  So sad that many never have a revelation of this heavenly principal and struggle their entire earthly life.

Today I want to encourage you to increase in your assignment to multiply your gifts and talents.  Wherever you can use them to serve others, take that step of faith.  Don’t worry about being compensated extra, do it because you are willing to go the extra mile to bless someone.  The Lord, who sees what you do in secret will bless you openly.  He will increase your opportunities and you will be able to continue to be a good and faithful servant of the Most High God.  If you have buried your gifts in the past, it is not too late to turn this thing around.  Surrender all that you have today over to your Heavenly Father and ask Him to help you use all your resources in a way that honors and blesses Him and serves others.  He will lead you to the next assignment and you will be able to begin increasing all that He has blessed you with.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 19:11-27

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 

12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 

13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 

14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 

16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 

17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 

18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 

19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 

21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 

22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 

23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 

25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 

26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 

27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”