January 5, 2023

The Choice is up to You

“Because the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Have you ever felt invisible in this life or like no one even knows you exist?  Maybe you feel like you slip in and out of crowds unnoticed most of the time.  Maybe you even live your life like you are the only one who knows what you are doing.  The truth is that most people do live that way.  Most people think whatever they are going through in private, no one else knows about it.  No one sees them hurting and no one sees them alone.

Today’s reading is about Zacchaeus.  He was a tax collector, and he was not invisible to most people.  In fact, tax collectors were despised by the Hebrew people and called out when they walked through villages because they were Jewish but working for Rome.  They were also thieves most of them over charged the people so that they could put it into their own pockets and become very rich.  Zacchaeus was not just any ordinary tax collector; he was a chief of tax collectors which meant that he made some money from all the other tax collectors in the region.  He was extremely wealthy and powerful, but not invisible.

When Jesus came to town, Zacchaeus wanted to see him but because he was short, there was no way the crowd would let him get close to Jesus.  He thought that he could climb a tree and be unnoticed by Jesus when he passed by.  Instead, Jesus called him out.  He not only saw Zacchaeus, but He knew who he was and why he was in the tree.  Jesus never addressed any issues such as Zacchaeus being a tax collector or why he was in a tree, He just told Zacchaeus that He was going to His house for dinner.

Needless to say, this changed Zacchaeus life forever.  He returned all that he had stolen from the people x 4 and gave half of what he owned to the poor.  Jesus affirmed Zacchaeus decision and told him that he got saved that day.  He concludes His conversation with Zacchaeus by saying that the reason He came to the world was to save people that are lost.

Jesus is still in the saving business today and if you think that you are invisible and no one sees you, you are wrong.  Jesus does and more than that He loves you.  He came to the world that He created to rescue His created people from His enemy, and He made that available to all by paying the penalty of sin that each one of us own.  Now the choice is yours to receive His payment or reject it.  No matter what you choose, you cannot change the reality that He sees you and He loves you.  Wherever you are in life today, He is there waiting for you to turn and look to Him. His salvation is available to you just like it was for Zacchaeus, but it is up to you to choose it.

Today I want to encourage you to turn in God’s direction.  Reach out to Him with your cares and pain.  He already rescued you 2000 years ago when He took your sin penalty.  Now it is up to you to receive that salvation He so dearly paid for.  The choice is up to you.  Receive His salvation today by praying this prayer from your heart!  Jesus will come into your heart and change your life forever.

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 today.  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 accomplish the things You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 19:1-10

1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 

2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 

3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 

4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 

5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 

6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 

7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 

10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

January 4, 2023

He is calling you

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,  Luke 18:40

Have you ever cried out to God in a time of trouble and weren’t sure if He was listening or even hearing you?  Maybe you weren’t seeing any change in your circumstances, or you weren’t feeling any relief in your pain?  What about calling out to Him for a lost loved one or unbelieving friend?  Has it ever seemed to you that no matter how long you prayed or what you said, still nothing seemed to change?

In today’s reading, there was a man like this.  He was sitting beside the road and even though he was blind, he knew Jesus was nearby.  He began to call out to Him for help.  The people that were close by told him to be quiet and don’t bother Jesus, but that only encouraged the blind man to cry louder.  When Jesus heard his cries, He stopped everything that he was doing and called for the man to be brought to Him.  When the blind man knew that Jesus had heard him calling out to Him, he got up and went to Jesus. He was no longer begging for food like he had in days past.  He knew that now he had the attention of the One that could change anything and everything in His life. When Jesus asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?” The man boldly asked for his sight to be restored and received it immediately.

 Jesus still hears our cried today and He is always listening.  You don’t have to yell loudly or beg and plead for Him to see you, He sees and knows you right where you are.  In fact, He is calling you to come to Him, right where you are today.  His call is always beckoning in your heart, but you have to respond by setting aside some time sitting quietly with Him to hear it.  He is always ready to answer you and He always wants to help, but the reason you don’t always hear or see results is because you are not taking the time to shut out the noise of the world for a few moment and hear His answer and direction to you.

Today I want to encourage you to keep calling out to Him!  Don’t be discouraged or disappointed when you don’t see immediate changes in your situation, just continue to sit closely with Him and listen to any direction He may give to your heart or through His Word.  When you sense that He is calling you to take that step of faith toward your answer, quickly follow the instructions you believe He is giving.  He is always calling you closer, so be ready to spend the time that it takes to press into all that He has for you.  You will get your answers and you will get results, but you will also be required to listen for your part of getting to the place where your answer is. Start today, the choice is totally up to you.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:35-43

35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 

36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 

38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 

41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 

43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

January 3, 2023

A Place Prepared

They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” Luke 18:33

Today’s reading makes it oh so clear that Jesus was not the one calling the shots when He was here in this world.  First, He tells His disciples that He was going up to Jerusalem to be betrayed and condemned to death.  Not His idea, but He also tells them at that time that He will come back from the grave after three days to let them know there will be a happy ending.

The point is that Jesus did not make the plan for His life.  It was already established for Him before He was born.  In Matthew’s account of this discussion, it is followed by the request of James and John to be given a specific place next to Him in heaven. Jesus plainly told them at that point: “I don’t make the plans, I just execute them.”  He told them that each place and position in heaven is prepared ahead of time.  When you get there, you will already have a place waiting for you.  Nobody decides what their place will be, God the Father has a plan

It is the same for us today.  We are not the ones who even are expected to make our life decisions about the assignments we will accomplish here in the world.  The plan is already made, but it is up to each individual to seek out that mission and decide to step into that calling with the Holy Spirits empowerment.  It isn’t difficult, when you simply acknowledge Him in all your ways and each step you take, He will direct your path and make plain the road designed for you life.  However, if you determine that you are going to make your purpose to be about your own desires and dreams, you will have a harder time discerning His direction when it comes. It will make more sense to your natural thoughts to find success in the way the world defines it.

Today I want to encourage you to press in for your part of His plan.  Ask your Father in Heaven to make His plans and purposes for your life to be loud and clear.  Ask Him to lead you to scripture that confirms that direction and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit within you to be a blessing to others.  We are here in this world to serve those around us, not ourselves.  

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:31-34

31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 

32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 

33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.

January 2, 2023

Hard, not impossible

And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! Luke 18:24

Today I want to focus on God’s blessings and how they can fill our lives with great joy.  God is not against us having things and riches, He is against things and riches having us.  He knows that being consumed with the things of this world can lead to destruction.  Instead fill up with God and let Him pour His blessings on you!

In today’s verse, Jesus told His disciples that is it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, but it is not impossible.  God wants our faith and trust to be in Him.  He doesn’t want us to put our security in things and money because they are not able to give us a satisfying life and they are temporary.  However, if we don’t have these things, we cannot financially support God’s kingdom, bless others, and reach others that have needs. 

The things here are very necessary for the time we spend on earth.  God wants us to enjoy our time here, and He is the one who gave us the things and the ability to acquire them.  Yet, the reason is for eternal purposes not for temporary pleasures.  God’s not after your things, He’s after your heart.

Today I encourage you to be thankful for the blessings that the Lord has given to you.  Thank Him that He adds no sorrow with them.  Reach out to others with the resources that you have been so richly blessed with and show others the love of God through the things He has given.  Don’t worry about replenishing them.  God will always take care and provide for you especially if you are using the blessings He has given you to bless others with.   Be a blessing to all those around and share His love when you do.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:24-30

24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 

25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”

27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”

29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 

30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

January 1 2023

What do you Lack?

So, when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  Luke 18:22

Happy New year!  I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating as we said goodbye to 2022 and welcomed in 2023! 

This is the time to reflect back on 2022 and ask the questions:  Did I accomplish everything or even anything I set out to do last year?  How did I do with the goals I set at the beginning of 2022?  What areas can I do better in this year?

This is also the time to set new goal for the coming year.  Goals such as: Spend quiet time with God each day.  Get physically fit/healthier.  Make a conscience effort to connect with family and friends more.  Get out of debt and start saving some money. Even learn a new skill or language.  The possibilities are endless.

In today’s reading, Jesus has a conversation with a young man that is wealthy and important.  The man asked Jesus what he needed to do to receive eternal life.  Even though this young man had material wealth and position, he knew there was something missing and that his life was not complete.  Jesus responded to the man with a list of commandments to keep and the young man confessed that he has already done all of them.  So Jesus takes it a step further and invites the man to become one of His disciples and the “follow Him.” However, there was one stipulation and that was to sell all that he had and give it to the poor, only then could the man understand what was really important in life and have that complete feeling that only following God’s path can give.

This was what the young man was lacking.  Not that it was wrong to have things, but this young man was deceived into thinking that financial success was the most important thing in life and he was looking to his riches to bring him joy. Jesus gave the man three step to turn his life around and point him in a new direction, lacking nothing.  He said:

  1. Separate from the things that were holding him back – possessions
  2. Give to others
  3. Make God’s ministry his priority by following Jesus

These three steps can help us still today.  1. When we separate from the world and the things that are holding us back from the plans God has for us, we are turning around and heading back to God’s love and priorities. 2. When we give to others who are needing and hurting along the way, we are beginning a new lifestyle where we consider other’s needs above our own. 3. When we turn in that new direction of following God’s path and plan instead of making our own way, we will step into a place of contentment, satisfaction and real joy.  We will begin to understand what life is truly about and how to accomplish the mission that has been set before us, rather than trying to reach a goal that will provide no lasting joy when we get there.

Today I want to encourage you to start 2023 with the decision to make your heavenly Father your priority in all that you do. Start by scheduling a quiet time with Him each day and making it your priority to get any assignment He has for you to accomplish each day.  Praise and worship Him in your quiet time, read a passage of His Word and talk to Him about the events of the day that are about to take place.  This will put you in the position and right frame of mind so that when opportunities come to help others, you will be ready and know that this is the reason you were given breath today.  Next, make intentional space for people that you love.  Don’t busy your life up with things that are not people focused.  Make others your second priority instead of yourself.  Trust me, God will take care of you and all your hearts desires.  Because you did not lack that one thing that makes you whole, your life will be full of His joy and contentment this year like never before.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:18-23

18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 

20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

December 31, 2022

He Blessed Them

But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Luke 18:16

This is one of the Jesus moments I have never really thought too much about.  I take this at face value that Jesus loves children too.  However, As I considered what this situation may have looked like in my imagination, there seems to be much more to it.

First of all, we read a lot about the people that came to Jesus for healing or deliverance of some kind, but in this case, people were bringing their children to receive a blessing from Jesus.  This is a good thing or so I would think.  Apparently, the disciples did not think it was good, nor were they going to let those with children get close enough to Jesus to receive that blessing.  It doesn’t say for sure what the disciples said to the people, but I imagine it was something like: “Jesus is too busy to be bothered with your children” or “Jesus does not have time for kids’ stuff.”

Jesus, on the other hand took time for everyone that came to Him, whether for a blessing, a healing or a casting out.  It didn’t matter what people came to Him for, He always had a plan to get them what they wanted to receive.

He does the same think today.  Mostly, we all need salvation from paying the penalty of our own sin and from the eternal separation from our Father after we leave this world.  Jesus is always ready to rescue us from this world’s hold on our lives.  He is also always ready to answer other requests we have too.  Just like He did for the people that followed Him in His days here in this earth, He still answers our cries now that His is at home with His Father in heaven.  I am so thankful that His is!  As a parent, I often bring my children to Him for His blessing.  I want nothing else for them.  His blessing covers it all!  Their health, their well-being, their peace and their longevity.

You can go to Him with anything you are facing today, too.  Whether you are going through a personal crisis or want to have His blessing on your children, you can receive simply by asking.  The only differences from then and now is that He is in heaven and His disciples are not here to stop you from getting to Him.  You have complete access to Him anywhere and anytime.  When you call out to Him in faith, He will always respond.

Today I want to encourage you to call out to Jesus as the answer to all your struggles. If you are not currently going through anything, call out to Him for His blessing.  Then bless others by calling on Him in their behalf.  You can bless others as Jesus did, simply by taking them before the Lord in prayer and asking Him.  It is what intercession is all about!  Blessing others by bringing them before the Lord each day.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:15-17

15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 

16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 

17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

December 30, 2022

Humble yourself

I tell you; this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:14

So, what does it even look like to be humble?  Well, one of the easiest ways is by being the type of person that does for others before yourself.  Another way is to always consider other people and their feelings first before considering your own.

Jesus gives an example in today reading.  He told a story about two people.  A Pharisee and a tax collector.  These two individuals were on opposite sides of the spectrum.  Most would have thought that Jesus would have approved of the Pharisee because he looked like he was doing everything right.  When the Pharisee prayed, he listed the bad things that he doesn’t do that others are doing and then he told God the good things he does on a regular basis.  The tax collector takes the complete opposite stance.  He will not look up and he falls on the mercy of God and comes clean.  He didn’t try to convince God that he should be justified, he just asked God to do what God does when we humble ourselves before Him. Jesus finished this example by saying anyone who lifts himself up will be put down and the person who humbles himself by putting other first will be exalted and praised.

Being humble will look differently for all people, but mostly it shows up in kindness to others and always putting other people first.  It is not thinking less of yourself by any means, it is simply thinking of yourself less than you think of other people.  As in the case of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the Pharisee was only thinking about how deserving he was.  He gave no mention to how others were doing good or how he was helping them.  The tax collector on the other hand did not compare himself to others.  He simply knew he was a sinner and needed saving.

Jesus is all about people and this is the way He showed His humility.  He preferred others first and not well behaving clean people, He always found a way to make the hurting, lame, blind and poor people feel special and loved.  His mission was to think about the needs of others and then help them to get whatever it was that they needed to be made whole.

Today I want to encourage you to humble yourself by putting others first.  If you have thought in the past that being humble was putting yourself down and not giving attention to what you do well, that just isn’t the case.  In doing that, you still are keeping the focus on you, but in a bad way.  This is just being prideful about the negative instead of the positive.  Stop that today and begin taking the focus off of yourself completely and make other people’s needs your priority.  Start lifting others up in the place of honor instead of plotting how to make yourself look good.  That is when God will exalt and honor you and when others will see the wonderful works of God in how you love people. The best part is that when you humble yourself and receive the blessings of being there for people, the result will be that you no longer care about being in the spot light. Your greatest joy will be in seeing people draw closer to God because of how you gave them priority.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:9-14

9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 

10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 

12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 

13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

December 29, 2022

Don’t give up!

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart Luke 18:1

Most people only see things from a natural point of view.  If they have seen or heard something is possible, then they can believe maybe it could happen for them.  However, if they have never seen it before, then it is just plain impossible.  To even try to talk about faith or a miracle, they would just claim to be realistic and that anything beyond their understanding is simply fantasy.  Even if they started out hoping for something new, when time passes and they don’t see anything change, they quickly give up because it just isn’t working to believe for something beyond what can be seen.

As God’s people, we always have hope and even Jesus said in today’s verse that we should always pray first and not to give up on that prayer.  All of us probably have something right now that needs a big turn around in life.  Maybe a financial problem, a health issue or even a family crisis?  It is easy to settle into a place of no expectation.  As time passes, we can all fall into the trap of talking about the situation just the way it is and believe that is the way it is always going to be.  But that just isn’t the case.  Prayer can change things and always does.  When you pray about the predicament, you are opening the door of heaven and bringing God’s supernatural power on to the scene.  You may not see thing happening immediately, but something is going on the moment you turn that circumstance over to God and ask for Him to touch the dilemma and bring the unseen answer into the seen world.

I was recently reminded of this when I was talking to a friend about a concern of mine.  I began to speak my expectation of failed results because that is what had been happening every time I tried to impact the situation on my own.  In an instant I heard on the inside of me to talk about how it would be different this time because God is working on it.  I felt impressed to believe that things were changing even at the time of the conversation about the situation, so I began to talk about the hope that things are different now and that God has made things new.  Nothing had changed yet, but I felt a spark of hope in my heart, and I knew it was the Holy Spirit reminding me that I had been praying about this thing and it was turning in a new direction way better than even I could think of.  Instead of losing heart, my heart was encouraged because I continued to pray and put all into God’s hands.  He is so good, and all things are made beautiful when entrusted to Him.

Today’s reading is about a woman who went to a judge for justice and even though the judge did not care about her or her circumstances, eventually he granted her request because she would not let it go.  The judge responded because he was weary of hearing from the woman.  The point is that as we keep things in prayer before the LORD, He will take care of them.  Not because He is tired of hearing about it, but because of our relentless faith to believe that He is the only hope for the mess.  He loves us and He wants to be a part of what we are facing each day. Therefore, He will come in at just the right time and remove that obstruction and turn things around once and for all.

Today I want to encourage you to pray always.  Whatever it is that you are up against, take it to your loving heavenly Father.  Don’t give up and don’t lose hope, trust your Savior to make something good of every detail you commit to Him.  He is not doing evil to you and does not want bad to roll over you.  He has good plans for you, and He has a good future in mind, but it is up to you to keep Him involved in your every day life by taking Him with you where ever you go and talking to Him about what ever you have going on.  Once you do pray, things are happening that you cannot even see right now, but don’t let the seen determine your outcome.  Put pressure on that problem by opening the window of heaven and release the power of the Holy One to bring the results that are good for all those involved.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 18:1-8

1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 

2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 

3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 

4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 

5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 

7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 

8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

December 28, 2022

Lose your life

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

Have you ever wondered in your lifetime why certain activities didn’t bring you the satisfaction that you expected it to?  Have you ever thought about why the new job or new home didn’t fill the void that you felt inside?  In today’s reading, Jesus tells us how to find that fulfillment in life that we all seek that some people never find.  It is in losing yourself in Him.

Sometimes life feels like we are chasing after the next big event or new accessory.  Somehow in life many of us have gotten the idea that some material thing or grand experience can fill the emptiness that each person has on the inside.  The problem with that is our Heavenly Father created that spot inside of every person for Him to fill.  That is why when we get that new relationship or new car, it fills the gap for a little while, but the newness quickly wears off leaving you longing for the next new thing.

Thank goodness the Lord’s mercies are renewed every morning and His lovingkindness continues for ever (Lamentations 3:22).  He can bring joy into each day we are alive in this world simply by putting His plans and agenda before your own.  In fact, the verse today says that we must lose our lives in Him so we can find it.  When we put away the things and desires that we think will bring happiness, and instead, seek after who God has in His heart for us to be, we will live a life of total satisfaction.  The reason is because He created us to accomplish the purpose that was in His heart when He made us.

Today I want to encourage you to spend some quiet time with your Heavenly Father before you start your day.  Get alone with Him and ask Him to fill up your heart with the things He made you to accomplish today, this week and your lifetime.  Then make a habit every morning to get your assignment and soon you will be walking out the good mission He created you to do.  Then and only then will you find joy, satisfaction and fulfillment that you never have had before.  Lose your life today so you can find what life is really all about.  Then the Kingdom of heaven will truly be within you.

Today’s scripture reading:  Luke 17:20-37

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 

21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

22 Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 

23 And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. 

24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. 

25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 

27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 

28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 

29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 

30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 

32 Remember Lot’s wife. 

33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 

34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 

35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 

36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

December 26, 2022

Finish the Test

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. He was a Samaritan.  Luke 17:15-16

We all go through many different kinds of test and trials. Let’s face it, in this world, there is going to be pain and suffering.  It’s not what God had in mind for His people, so He helps us when we turn to Him.

In today’s reading, ten lepers came to Jesus for healing.  They cried out to Him with their problem and desire to be healed.  Jesus didn’t ask them any questions about why this thing had happened to them or what they were doing to be better people to get rid of the problem.  Because they asked of Him, He simply told them to go show themselves to the priests to decide that they have been made clean and allowed them to go back living in society. This was a necessary step for anyone who had been pronounced as “unclean.”  They were required to be redeemed by inspection of the priest and a sacrifice made at the temple. This meant that there was a journey involved for most of them to the temple in Jerusalem.

In this passage, the lepers were cleansed as they began to follow the instruction that Jesus gave them.  If they had just stayed where they were waiting for their healing to show up, they may not have gotten the same results.  We know this because when the one Samaritan leper came back to thank Jesus, he was told that his faith made him well. 

The struggles you go through in life can also be looked at as tests.  Everything you face each day that isn’t ideal gives you the opportunity to make the choice of how you will handle your problem.  You can try to come up with a solution to solve your own issue, you can sit and pout about it and complain about how unfair life is.  You can even ignore that this is a dilemma and pretend like everything is fine.  The most effective way to handle difficulties is to bring them to Jesus asap.  He wants to help, and He is waiting for you to call on Him. This is the first step in passing the tests you take in life.  The second part is just as important and worth 50% of the results.  It is to be thankful and glorify Him.  When you take the time to come back and praise and honor Him after the situation is resolved, it will serve as a reminder so if that test comes around again, you will know how to pass it every time!  Passing the tests, you are going through day to day helps you to move on to the nest things in life that God has planned on the path you are traveling.  If you let a trial derail you, you can be stuck in the ruts of the same predicament for years at a time.

Today I want to encourage you to take the steps necessary to past the current obstacles you are up against.  First take it to Jesus and second be thankful.  Even if you haven’t seen the results yet of turning your problems over to Him, start the thanksgiving part immediately.  You know He has heard your request and you know that His answer is on the way.  Begin your “journey to the temple” by making your sacrifice of praise before you even leave your initial plea stance.  Then continue in the praise until you pass that test with flying colors.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 17:11-19

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 

12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 

13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 

16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 

18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 

19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”