"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Status
Not open for further replies.

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

Proclaiming Provision

Day 17

Before You Begin

Read Luke 4:14-21

Stop and Consider

He began by saying to them, "Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled" (v. 21).


What have you been living with (or living without)---not fully comprehending all that Christ has come to be and to do in you?


We all face inevitable suffering and difficulty in life. How can we square this with the reality that Christ has called us to thrive, not merely survive?


I was a mess before the Savior set me free. That's why my dearest life passages are the ones found in Isaiah 61:1-2 and quoted again in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus went to His home synagogue in Nazareth and declared both the fact and the nature of His call and ministry---to preach good news to the poor.....to heal the brokenhearted.....to proclaim freedom for the prisoners....sight for the blind...to release the oppressed....and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Luke 4: 18-19). Let's briefly discuss each part of that description:

1.) "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor" (Luke 4:18). Christ didn't mean the financially destitue. The Greek word for "poor' is ptochos, indicating "utter helplessness, complete destitution, afflicted, distressed," I think God is far too faithful to let anyone make it through life without confronting seasons of utter helplessness. Sooner or later, any healthy individual discovers that autonomy doesn't cut it. Like beggars we go from person to person with our empty cup, crying, "Can't you add anything to my life?" They might throw in a coin or two. But when we shake the cup, the tinny echo reminds us how empty we remain. Until we allow Jesus to fill our cups daily, we simply subsist. Sooner or later, God will make sure we confront the poverty of living on the alms of others so that we may learn to feast on Him.

2.) "To heal the brokenhearted" (Luke 4:18). Some New Testament translations include this phrase, while others don't. Either way, it is worthy of our consideration. The original word for "brokenhearted" is suntribo, meaning "to break, strike against something....to break the strength or power of someone." The Greek word for "heal" is iaomai meaning "to heal, cure, restore." I love the Hebrew word translated "heal" in Exodus 15:26 when God introduced Himself by a new title: "I am the Lord who heals you." The word raphah means "to mend (by stitching), repair thoroughly, make whole." I picture God focusing steadily on the object of repair. One stitch follows another. It takes time. I picture painful penetrations of the healing needle. I don't know about you, but I'm quite sure if my healing processes had been painless, I would have relapsed.

3.) "To proclaim freedom for the prisoners: (v. 18). Long after my salvation, I was in many ways like a prsioner in Psalm 107:10-16, 20, suffering "in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God" (vv. 10-11). Many people sincerely love God, but I don't think anyone stands to appreciate the unfailing love of God like the believer finally set free from failure. I know this captive can undoubtedly testify: He sent forth His Word and healed me. Stitch by stitch. But please notice that Christ proclaimed freedom. He didn't impose it. It remains an offer.

4.) "Recovery of sight for the blind" (v18) Although Christ would heal many from physical blindness, I believe His intent here was a far more serious kind of blindness. Second Corinthians 4:4 says, "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

I find the original word for "blind" in both Luke's Gospel and Paul's second letter to the Corinthians to be so interesting. Tuphlos means "to envelop with smoke, to be unable to see clearly." Perhaps none of the enemy's attempts to cloud our vision compare to our fiery trials. His job is to keep us blinded to the One who walks with us through the fire. Oh, believer, God is there whether our spiritual eyes discern Him or not.

5.) "To release the oppressed" (v.18) I looked up every definition for "oppressed" in the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries. A half dozen original words are translated in the Bible with our single word "oppressed," and all but one have the word "break" in the definition. I'm becoming more and more convinced that heavy-duty oppression is Satan's counterfeit for biblical brokenness.

At times I've fought back the tears as I've heard testimonies of people who had been utterly unable to function, describing themselves as broken by God. I don't think God's brand of brokenness is total emotional wreckage. God's intent in breaking us is to bend our stiff knees so that we will submit to His authority and take on His yoke. His aim is our abundant and effective life. Being totally unable to function because the mind and emotions are in shambles is Satan's counterfeit. Praise God, Christ can certainly use Satan's counterfeit brokenness to bring us to a place of accepting His own.

6.) "To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (v. 19). Those who gathered that year in the Nazarene synagogue were staring in the face of the Lord's favor---His blessed gift of grace, Jesus Christ. The word "year" can be translated as "any definite time." God places before each of us a defintive period of time to accept the Lord's favor. He wills for non to perish but all to come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). The world has until His return. The individual has a definitive period of time known by God alone. I am not past begging people not to wait too long for salvation, because eternal life in heaven is at stake. Neither am I beyond begging them to embrace His freedom, because abundant life on earth is at stake. He longs to be your champion now.


What do you find most precious and personal in these descriptions of Jesus?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, You have said to the prisoners, "Come out!" And to those who are in darkness, "Be free!" Therefore, because of Your grace and power, we will feed along the pathways and find pasture even on the barren heights. We will no longer hunger or thirst, and the scorching heat of the sun will not strike us, for our compassionate One will guide us and will lead us to springs of wter (Isa. 49:9-10). In Jesus name we pray.....AMEN


A Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me :amen::jesus-sign::bow:​
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

Shooting Stars

Day 18

Before You Begin

Read Luke 4:22-30

Stop and Consider

They were all speaking well of Him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said, "Isn't this Joseph's son?" (v. 22).


Why do people in the religious world make idols, stars, and celebrities out of Christian singers and speakers?

In what regular situations do you face the adult version of "peer pressure," having to make the choice between being yourself and being who others want you to be?



The translation "spoke well of" in Luke 4:22 comes from the Greek word martureo, meaning "to be a witness, bear witness...to be able or ready to testify." "Amazed" is the Greek word thaumazo, meaning "struck wth admiration." Either of these words could be used by spectators after attending any rock concert and being impressed by a talent. The wording suggests that they were impressed by Christ's delivery----not so much what He said, but how He said it.

Let me draw on my experience and offer a possible explanation. After delivering a message, nothing hits me like cold water more than someone saying, "You are a great speaker." First of all, I know better than that. I have a thick accent and use tons of country colloquialisms. Far more importantly, though, if someone makes a statement like that, I know either I failed miserably or the person didn't get it. In the case of Jesus' teaching, we know He can't fail, so obviously, they didn't get it. In Jesus' seemingly harsh words (vv.24-27), He may have been responding to their grading His speech rather than receiving His message.

Notice also a second consideration: the velocity of the crowd's change of mood. The crowd's mood went from admiration to a murderous rage in the moments of Christ's confrontation. Luke describes them as furious (v. 28). The word in the text for "furious" comes from the word thuo, meaning, "to move impetuously, particularly as the air or wind, a violent motion or passion of the mind." The north wind of their admiration suddenly reversed into a south wind of tornado proportions. When a mood can change in a matter of moments from admiration to murdeous fury, something is amiss.

The types of crowds Christ encountered two thousand years ago still fill many churches today. Many congregations want to hear impressive A+ messages, but the messenger better keep his confrontational thoughts to himself. The same committee that throws out the red carpet to a new preacher may eventually roll him out the door in it! Meanness at church sometimes exceeds anything that occurs in secular surroundings. As James 3:10 says, "My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (kjv).

Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, as we see You driven by the angry mobs to the edge of town, threatened with death by those who once gave you flattery and praise, we are reminded that You suffered outside the gate so that You might sanctify us by Your blood. Therefore, we come to You outside the gate, bearing Your disgrace. For here we do not have an enduring city; instead, we seek the one to come (Heb. 13:12-14). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

The Enemy's True Colors

Day 19

Before You Begin

Read Luke 4:31-37

Stop and Consider

In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean demonic spirit who cried out with a loud voice, "Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus---Nazarene" (vv.33-34).


Have you ever observed clear demonic activity? What were its most noticeable indications and characteristics?


What are som things you know about Satan from the Scripture? (If nothing comes to mind, read Ezekiel 28:11-17, Isaiah 14:12-15, and Revelation 12:3-12).


Christ's earthly ministry had hardly been launched before the demonic world confronted him---in a synagogue, no less. Thank goodness, Christ isn't spooked by the demonic world. No matter what authority Satan and his subjects have been temporarily allowed in this world system, Christ can pull rank any time He wants. On that day in Capernaum, He wasted no time. A demon-possessed man shouted loudly and declared Jesus to be the Holy One of God.

The demon appeared to desire attention. We can assume the demon was loud because Christ adamantly told him to "Be quiet!" I'm certain not suggesting that all demonic activity is loud. I am asking you to consider that when allowed to penetrate a place meant for practices of devotion to God, one of the chief tactics of demons is to divert attention.

I've seen this tactic. At a recent conference a woman began to shriek right after someone prayed and before I was to speak. The wise and godly woman leading the conference immediately went to the micophone and dealt graciously but firmly with the outburst. Although I've not often observed that type of behavior, the few times I've experienced it, I discerned a tactic of the demonic world to divert attention.

Note that the demon seemed to be telling some semblance of truth, but we see a distortion or misuse of the truth in the demonic testimony. He was acting as a counterfeit preacher of sorts. He could not stop the truth so he hoped to disqualify the message by the instability or insanity of the apparent messenger.

Some years ago, a strange thing happened at our church. Each Sunday, for six or seven weeks, a man who appeared to be mentally ill would stand outside the main doors and "preach" to us using a megaphone as we left the building after worship. Some of the the statements he made was technically scriptural, but his appearance and his approach demonstrated such instability that he did nore to distract people from the truth than attract. The typical listener's tendency would be to disbelieve anything he said simply because he was the one saying it.

Noise and distraction. These remain some of the enemy's stock-in-trade.

Praying God's Word Today

Father, I am thankful to You for exposing Satan as the liar and deceiver he truly is. I know we must expect his noise and distraction for now as he desperately (and unsuccessfully) tries to avoid his fate. But I hear another noise---the sound of uproar from the city! A voice from the temple---the voice of the Lord, paying back Your enemies what they deserve (Isa. 66:6). Oh, how I long to see that day! In Jesus name we pray....AMEN
Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 
Thank you sis for working so hard on these. This study is amazing, and so wonderful for young and mature christians. I appreciate you time and effort on posting such a great study!
PurpleCrossGlitter.gif
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

House Calls

Day 20

Before You Begin

Read Mark 1:29-34

Stop and Consider

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew's house with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told Him about her at once (vv. 29-30).

How present is Jesus in the everyday routine of your household? How much of your relationship wth Him takes place within your home and within the interaction of your family?


What would it be like if meeting with Jesus always required going to another place, leaving our homes to go out looking for Him?


What a relief to know that God doesn't just go to church, He goes to our homes! When I was a little girl, I was fairly certain God lived in our church baptistry. My vivid imagination turned dressing-room doors into secret passages that led into the mysterious dwelling of the divine boogie man. I am happy to report, though, that God doesn't live in the baptistry. He lives in the hearts of those who trust Him and in the homes of those who provide Him room.

Sometimes, though, we don't bother to invite Jesus Christ into our homes until we are overwhelmed by threatening circumstances.

Do you have a sense of Christ's activity in your home? I've a good reason for asking you this question. Almost every spiritual marker of Christ's heightened activity in my home came as a direct result of some threatening situation. Right now both my daughters are walking with God. But I assure you this did not simply happen in the natural evolution of their lives. I watched their relationships grow over the years they shared our home, through situations in which some threat convinced them to cleave closer to Christ.

When Jesus went to help Simon's mother-in-law, Luke 4:39 tells us He "bent over her." I don't think I'm reading too much into the picture to imagine a close encounter suggesting deep concern. I always reacted in a similar way any time one of my children was sick. I didn't remain upright and stoic, checking off a list of symptoms. I bent over them and drew close. I had learned from my mother that I could better gauge a temperature with my cheek on their foreheads than with a thermometer. I could not keep my distance from a sick child, even if her malady was contagious.

Christ could have healed Simon's mother-in-law from the front porch. He didn't. He came to her and drew down close. After all, she was in no position to seek help for herself. He involved Himself one-on-one with those He helped.

Our homes today are threatened by fevers of all sorts---far beyond the physiological: unresolved conflict, unforgiveness, unfaithfulness, compromising media communications, pornography, and more. We need Jesus in our homes.

Praying God's Word Today

Who is like You, Lord God---the One enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? You raised the poor from the dust, and You lift the needy from the garbage pile in order to seat us with nobles (Ps. 113:5-8). You have come into our lives and into our homes. Make Yourself welcome, I pray, in Jesus name....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Jesus In the Morning,
Jesus In the Evening

Day 21

Before You Begin

Read Mark 1:35-39


Stop and Consider

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there (v.35).

Is there a certain time of day when you find your time with the Lord particularly sweet and tangible? Describe what makes it that way.


What thoughts or activities interrupt your ability to escape the way Jesus did, intent on spending time with the Father, desiring Him more than anything else?


Two times a day; two fascinating looks at our Jesus---the One and Only.
Luke 4:40 tells us that the sick and suffering came out to Jesus "when the sun was setting." To those of us who are Gentiles, the reason for this is not so obvious. Christ had previously left the synagogue when He went to the home of Simon, meaning it was the Sabbath day. Remember, at this point Chtist primarily had been ministering in various synagogues to Jews. It was unlawful for them to carry the sick on Sabbbath. But God-fearing people counted the moments until the sun set over the Sea of Galilee, marking the close of day. So as the darkness fell, they bundled their sick and brought them to the Light. The thought almost makes me cry. It was as if they watched the clock of the law tick until it finally struck grace....and they raced to Him with their need. How blessed we are to live in the liberty of a completed Calvary! The pharmacy dispensing God's grace is open 24/7.

But a second snapshot of time also appears in our passage. Early the next morning, Jesus rose and went out to pray (Mark 1:35). I wish I had words to express the feelings such scriptural moments stir in me. The thought of Christ ducking out the door while it was still dark to find a place to be by Himself with God floods my soul with emotion. I love every glimpse of the unique relationship Father and Son shared while Christ was on earth and His Father was in heaven. Never before had such a bridge connected the celestial and the terrestrial. I always wonder what Christ said to His Father and what He heard in those intimate moments. Did God the Father speak audibly to Him? Or did He speak in His heart like He does to you and me through His Word? I can't wait to find out someday in glory.

We have no idea how often Jesus got to steal away with His Father, but Scripture says He was soon interrupted by his disciples, excitedly shouting, "Everyone is looking for you!" (v. 37). I'm convinced we don't give enough thought to how challenging Jesus' prison of flesh must have felt to Him. Prior to His advent, He was completely unencumbered by the natural laws governing the human body. Suddenly He experienced for Himself the pull to be in many places at once and the challenge to prioritize not just the good but the goal: proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. "That is why I have come" (v.38).
Praying God's Word Today

Father, we know that Your hand is gracious to all who seek You, but that Your anger burns against all who abandon You (Ezra 8:22). May we, like Your people throughout history---and like Jesus when He walked on the earth---seek You while You may be found and call to You while You are near. Let us abandon our wicked, sinful thoughts, and let us return to You, Lord, so that we may know Your heart and receive Your compassion (Isa. 55:6-7). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Fighting for First Place

Day 22

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 4:23-25

Stop and Consider

Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (v23).


What worthy activities or pursuits often lure you away from your main priorities?


What answer could you give to those who think you're being lazy or indifferent by not sharing the same zeal they possess for some cause or ministry or emphasis?



Luke's recap of this same event in chapter 4 concludes with a definitive statement: "He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea" (v. 44). He kept on--no matter how many directions He felt pulled. No matter how many needs remained in each town. No matter what others prioritized for Him---"He kept on." Why? Because every other need humanity possessed was secondary to the need to hear and receive the gospel. Not unimportant, mind you. Just secondary. Physical healing affects this life alone, but the kingdom is forever.

Then why did Christ spend time and energy performing miracles of healing on such temporal bodies? Probably for three primary reasons:

1. Because He could - He can do whatever He wants. Before that fact makes you nervous, remember: what He wants is always consistent with who He is. Among many other wonderful things, He is the healer. In one way or another, He heals every single person who comes to Him by faith.

2. Because He is compassionate - beyond anything we can imagine

3. Because the miracles helped authenticate the messenger.

Preaching the good news of the kingdom of God was Christ's absolute priority. One of the biggest temptations even mature believers face is being sidetracked by the urgent. Many situations need our attention. They tempt us to let them steal our focus. Christ may have faced the same temptation when the people came to Him and tried to "keep him from leaving them" (Luke 4:42). The people's attemts to hold onto Christ may not have been limited to just the vocal and emotional. They may have hung onto Him physically too. How His heart must have broken for them. Yet He knew the best thing He could do for them was to stay true to His mission.

Can you imagine how Jesus longed for the time when His work would be accomplished and He could dwell within the hearts of all who would receive Him, never to leave them? Until then, He had a job to do. Christ ignored neither the urgent need nor the ultimate goal--but He never allowed the former to hinder the latter.

Praying God's Word Today


Lord, please help us pay careful attention to our life's walk--not as unwise people but as wise---making the most of the time. I realize that the days are evil and filled with temptations, which not only entice us to sin but also to make activity for purpose. So help us not to be foolish but to understand what Your will is (Eph. 5:15-17). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Lessons from a Fish Tale

Day 23


Before You Begin

Read Luke 5:1-11


Stop and Consider

He and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, and so were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's partners (vv. 9-10).


When was the last time you were "amazed" at something Jesus did through you, knowing there was no other explanation for it?


Think about the subtle difference between working "for" Jesus and working "with" Him. What does working "with" Jesus look like in real life?

Today we celebrate a fact that continually staggers my imagination: Christ calls mere mortals to join Him in His work. Trust me, He doesn't need our help. Christ could save the world through dreams and visions if He chose to . But He doesn't. He delights in asking us to join Him. I am convinced that every believer is summoned by Christ to work with Him here on earth. In fact, we learn a lot about how and why He does it by observing this encounter between Jesus and Peter on the lake in Luke 5:

1.) Christ knows more about our jobs than we do. - Jesus told Peter how to fish. Now, had Peter not already known Christ, he might have thought: "Me fisherman, You carpenter. I won't tell You how to build, and You don't tell me how to fish." Instead, he submitted with only one brief disclaimer: "We've done this all night and caught nothing."

One of the most critical reasons believers experience defeat is because we categorize only a few areas of our lives as Christ's arena. Many Christians think Christ's jurisdiction doesn't extend into certain areas. So, as if to save Him the extra trouble of dealing with things that don't concern Him, they leave Christ at church to deal with areas related to His expertise.

Satan is greatly defeated when we start living the truth that every area is Christ's specialty. Whether you're a homemaker, steeelworker, or CEO, Christ knows every detail associated with your job. Jesus knows accounting, movie-theater managing, banking, drafting, engineering, nursing, real-estate brokering, and anything else we could do. For crying out loud, the One who knows the numbers of hairs on your head could also style them if He wanted. Not one of us does anything for a living that He can't do better.

2.) Christ honors our submission even when our only motivation is obedience - If there was one phrase I wasn't going to say as a parent, it was "Because I said so.," I heard those words from my Army captain dad more times than I could count. I wasn't about to repeat them. After all, I had studied child development. I vowed to explain things to my children as it they were little adults. I almost got away with it too. Then I had Melissa---the proverbial "But, why?" child. One day she pushed me too far, and something in me snapped. I suddenly exploded, "Because I said so!" Not just once. I screamed it over and over like a mad bull on a rampage. I even screamed it at the dog. Four-year-old Melissa shrugged her shoulders, said "OK!" and skipped off happily.

I called my dad and thanked him. Sometimes God allows us to explore the "whys" of His instructions. Other times He wants us to obey "because He said so." Then wait on the Lord to bless your act of obedience, no matter how long it takes. He is faithful.

3.) The same job subjected to Christ's authority can yield entirely different results. Peter surely had fished in every level of water in the lake. The key to his enormous catch was not the deep water Jesus had instructed him to fish in. It was simply the authority of Christ. Beloved, if your job has grown stale, you may not need a new occupation. You may just need a new partner. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Col. 3:23-24).

Every hour you do your job as working for the Lord gets punched on a time clock in heaven. You get paid by God Himself for the hours you work as unto the Lord. I'm not being cheesy. Our future inheritance is real, and it far exceeds minimum wage. As you partner with Christ at your job, you will be more efficient. No matter whether your new efficiency increases your earthly dividends or not, it most definitely will increase your eternal dividends, where moth and rust cannot destroy or thieves break in and steal (see Matt. 6:19).

4.) Christ's willingness to empower us can overwhelm us. Simon Peter already knew Jesus possessed extraordinary power, but he felt the real impact of Christ's power when that authority worked through his own hands. Suddenly the fisherman fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man" (Luke 5:8).

What blessed condescension that the God of glory would use us! And what humility this realization should bring! Peter was not prepared to received his call until he had been confronted by his sin.

I have assuredly faced moments of such stark realization of my own sin that I felt unbearable pain. Interestingly, those moments did not come during times of rebellion, but rather, they came during close encounters with God when I drew close enough to get an eyeful of myself. Those realizations were both harrowing and liberating. The surrender resulting from the realization of my own innate unholiness did more to activate the holiness of God in me than anythings I've ever experienced. How like God! Even our painful realizations of sinfulness are to mortify us to new life.



Recall an encounter you've had with Jesus that shed a harrowing and liberating light on you and your sinfulness. What brought this event about? How did it change you and your perspective on your relationship with Him?


Praying God's Word Today


O Father, You have told us in Your Word that if we search for You, we will find You--if we search for You with all of our heart and soul (Deut. 4:29). So, today, we ask to be used in Your service, knowing that everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door to Your presence will be opened (Matt. 7:7-8). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Healing for All the Right Reasons

Day 24

Before You Begin

Read Luke 5:12-16

Stop and Consider

A man was there who had a serious skin disease all over him. He saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged Him: "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean" (v. 12).


When you need a miracle, are you afraid to ask, not sure if it's God's will? Or do you feel confident asking Him to minister healing, trusting He will act according to His own plan and timing? How do you square these conflicts and questions in your mind and heart?


In what areas do you (or someone close to you) need His supernatural touch right now?

This miracle from Luke 5 reveals a great deal of insight into God and His complex ways, helping us grapple with some challenging issues that question the hearts of men---questions we shouldn't be afraid of exploring as good students of the Word.

In essence, the leper was saying, "Lord, I know You possess the power to heal me. And if You in Your wisdom and plan see purpose in it, then please do it.." So first, we see that the diseased man humbly approached Christ in absolute belief. Although he suffered from a horribly debilitating skin ailment, he did not suffer from a lack of faith. He believed Jesus could heal him. He just didn't know if he would.

This brings us, then, to a second consideration: was it in God's will to perform this miracle that the leper was asking for?

I believe with all my heart that the central issue involved in whether or not God heals a believing (see Matt. 9:28) and requesting (see James 4:2) Christian's physical illness is found in His eternal purpose. Although I don't pretend to understand how or why, some illnesses may serve more eternal purpose than healing would, while other healings serve more purpose than illnesses do.

Try as I might, I cannot imagine what purpose some illnesses and premature deaths serve. But after years of loving and seeking my God, I trust who His is, even when I have no idea what He's doing. Above all things, I believe God always has purpose in every decision He makes. Jesus healed people many times, but His healings were always with purpose and intent.

How much like the leper are you? Are you convinced (first of all) that Christ can do absolutely anything? And secondly, are you also seeking His purposes in everything? Are you more desirous of His work and will being done through your life than you are to be healed of your hardship or handicap? If so, don't lose courage. As long as this remains the desire of your heart, come to Christ as the leper did---humbly making your request while seeking His purpose for your life.

Praying God's Word Today

Lord God, as deeply as I desire Your health and healing---and believe in Your ability to provide it---I desire even more an abundance of Your peace and truth (Jer. 33:6). So hear my voice when I call. Be gracious to me and answer me. In Your behalf my heart says, "Seek My Face." Your face, Lord, I will seek (Ps. 27:7-8). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::bow::jesus-sign::amen:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Forgiveness Accepted

Day 25

Before You Begin

Read Luke 5:17-26

Stop and Consider

"But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"---He told the paralyzed man---"I tell you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home: (v. 24).


What have you found to be the worst side--effects of sin, and what does Christ's forgiveness insert in their place?


Do you have a hard time accepting forgiveness---either God's or anyone else's? What do you believe is the source of your difficulty?

Jesus came as the Son of Man to rescue us from the great plight of man: we have a sin problem, and we are powerless to help ourselves. Given the right set of circumstances and the wrong state of mind, each of us is capable of just about anything. Even if we could get our external lives under perfect and legalistic control, we'd probably rot on the inside with the heinous sin of pride. Let's face it, we're all hopeless---except that Jesus came as the "Son of Man" with the "authority on earth to forgive sins."

I can remember being so devastated over a sin I had allowed to ensnare me that I repeatedly begged God to forgive me. I confessed my sin with great sorrow and turned radically from it. Still I continued to plead for forgiveness. Then one day in my Bible reading, God revealed these Scriptures to me from Luke 5. He spoke to my heart and said: "Beth, My child, you have an authority problem. You think you can do your part, which is repent. You just don't think I can do My part, which is forgive."

I was stunned. I began to realize that my sin of unbelief was as serious as my prior sin of rebellion. I wept and repented for my failure to credit Him with the authority He possessed to forgive my sins. It was eye-opening!

In his book I Should Forgive, But..., Dr. Chuck Lynch says when we keep confessing the same sin over and over, "each subsequent time the sin is confessed, rather than the confession bringing relief, it only reinforces the false belief that it has not been forgiven. Double, or re-confession, only deepens the false belief that we have not been forgiven." I know he's right, because my constant re-confessions did not bring me relief. They only made me more miserable and self-loathing. Relief came only when I decided to take God at His Word.

If you have truly repented---which means you have experienced godly sorrow and a subsequent detour from the sin---bathe yourself in the river of God's forgiveness. The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins right here on earth. You don't have to wait until heaven. You can experience the freedom of complete forgiveness right here. Right now. Fall under Christ's authority and accept His grace.


Praying God's Word Today

Lord God, I behold Your face today with a shout of joy, knowing that You have restored Your righteousness in me. I can now tell others, "I have sinned and perverted what is right, yet I did not get what I deserved. For the Lord redeemed my soul from going down to the Pit, and I continue to see His light" (Job 33:26-28). In Jesus name we Pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore

Godbe4me :bow::bow::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Sitting By and Finding Fault

Day 26

Before You Begin

Read Luke 6:1-11

Stop and Consider

The scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely, to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a charge against Him (v. 7).


What are the fruits of a critical spirit, and why does it come so much easier to us than openness and a desire to seek understanding?


True, we are commanded to be discerning. But what do we risk by being overly cautious and careful in our acceptance of Christian teaching? How do we draw the lines here?


Back in Luke 5:17, the Pharisees and doctors of the law were seen "sitting by" while Jesus was teaching (kjv). Matthew Henry wrote: "How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the Word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent them; they are willing that we should preach before them, but not that we should preach to them."

Can you recall a time when you attended a Bible study or church service that profoundly affected a few of the people you were with, while others in attendance were completely unmoved? Like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, sometimes the unaffected can be the most "religious" people in the room. Could the difference be that they were sitting by rather than sitting under God's Word?

One of the stories in today's passage is proof positive of this.
On the Sabbath day, Jesus encountered a man with a withered right hand. Think of all the jobs that would have been difficult if not impossible for this man. A shepherd had to be adept at using a rod and a staff. A farmer needed both hands to plow. A carpenter had to hold a hammer in one hand and a nail in the other. A merchant would have had a difficult time securing and displaying goods with only one hand. Even a tax collector needed his right hand! So in the context of this event from Jesus' like, in which He would give a discourse on the issue of rest versus work, I don't think it was a coincidence that the man involved had lived a humiliating life of unwelcome "rest" from effective labor. Christ granted him rest on this day from his incapacity and futility. The One who created the Sabbath used it to bring restoration to a man weary of uselessness.

Meanwhile, however, the Pharisees and teachers of the law were "sitting by," watching Jesus, just looking for some basis to condemn Him. Their primary reason for attending was to see if Jesus would heal.

(By the way, I love the fact that they were convinced Christ would heal if He encountered someone in need---even on the Sabbath. What a healer He is! No amount of laws could keep Him from being Himself! The Pharisees and teachers of the law caught Christ in the act of being God. (Hallelujah!!!)

But by coming with the expressed intent of finding fault with Jesus, they proved that the most merciful people are those who have been sitting under the faucet of God's mercy instead of sitting by with a critical eye. Please note this sad fact, which was emphasized by the events following the Pharisees' and teachers speculations: those who look for reasons to accuse will undoubtedly find some. They quickly found basis to accuse Jesus.

In my own life and ministry, I've accepted the fact that anyone looking hard enought to condemn will sooner or later be accommodated. I really do believe that more people in the body of Christ are generally accepting than accusing, but one mean-spirited person is practically enough to ruin anyone's day. Francis Frangipane wrote something so powerful on this subject, I immediately committed it to memory. He said of the Lord:
To inoculate me from the praise of man,
He baptized me in the criticizm of man,
until I died to the control of man.

Beloved, one thing I know for sure on this subject: nothing will squelch our efforts to seek the approval of others like not receiving it! Furthermore, those who approve of us one day can be the same ones who accuse us the next. I encourage you to break free from the traps set by approval and accusation. We are called to live our lives above reproach but to expect reproach anyway. Christ was blameless yet was blamed continually. I think you can trust me on this one: blameless people are rarely those who cast blame.

When the man with the shriveled hand stood before Him on the Sabbath, Jesus knew the Pharisees and teachers of the law were looking to accuse Him. But He did not allow Himself to be controlled by potential accusations nor even by the law that He Himself instituted. He was indeed the Lord of the Sabbath.

His public question to His accusers made them look terribly foolish: "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?" (v. 9).
Picture the scene described in verse 10 as Jesus "looked around at them all." Eye to eye. Just waiting for someone to give Him an answer. They were struck dumb. Or maybe dumber. Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he did. Right there in front of all those perfect and pious-looking people, the man who all his life had probably hidden his handicap under the sleeve of his garment stretched forth his humiliating infirmity---and was healed. It was enough to make those who were sitting by to be "filled with rage," off to their own little corners to discuss "what they might do to Jesus" (v.11).

It's a question we must answer every time we hear or read a message from His Word. What will we do with Jesus? Will we sit under His teachings? Or just sit by?


What are some practical ways to engage yourself in hearing and reading God's Word?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, I pray for the boldness of Peter and John who, knowing the threats being leveled against them, ask that You would grant them the power to speak Your message with boldness, while You stretched out Your hand for healings, signs, and wonders to be perfomed through the name of Jesus. Shake our assemblies, Lord God, and fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might both speak and receive Your message with boldness (Acts 4:29-31).


Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Even God Was Amazed

Day 27

Before You Begin

Read Luke 7:1-10

Stop and Consider

Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, and turning tot he crowd followong Him, He said, "I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel" (v.9)


Name something that has pleasantly surprised you lately. What makes amazement one of life's sheerest joys?


How often do you think God is pleased with what He sees in His people?


Jesus almost seems delightfully shocked in this encounter with the centurion, as though He was caught off guard by such faith. I'm so glad God purposed for Christ to know all things yet also to know the thrill of sudden amazement.

Perhaps you've bought into the "wretched worm that I am" mentality enough to be uncomfortable thinking about Christ being impressed by anything wretched man can do. But since we're attempting to develop God's taste in us---to love what He loves, hate what He hates, and marvel at what He finds marvelous---perhaps we could all use a little adjustment in our perception of the divine.

A word God used in Isaiah 66:2 blows my mind. The verse says, "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." The word esteem means to "regard with pleasure,....have respect." God is clearly saying that He respects certain people.

Our difficulty imagining that God could have respect for a mortal is because we confuse attitudes of respect with feelings of inferiority. We tend to view respect as a feeling we have for those we perceive as being superior to us. And on our best day, we are so inferior to Christ that, if not for the Lord's great love (see Lam. 3:22), we would be consumed by holy fire.

If we're to have a balanced perception of all this, however, we must keep in mind that God created us. We are His "workmanship" (Eph. 2:10). He loves us. At times, He actually delights in us. God could have created us void of weakness and with a complete inability to sin. He didn't. He purposely created us with free will and affections so that we could choose Him and love Him in the midst of many options and much opposition.

God didn't create robots. He created humans. So when God sees humans cooperate with His good work and fulfill what they were created to be, He seees something very good. Perfect? No. But respectable Yes. When the Father sees a human who is prone to selfishness, pride, and arrogance humble himself or herself and tremble at His Word, He esteems that person. Hallelujah! Oh, how I want to be someone God could respect!


Praying God's Word Today

Who, Lord, may ascend into Your presence? Who may stand in Your holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. Therefore, we receive Your blessing. We receive righteousness from You, and God of our salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek You, who seek the face of the God of Jacob (Ps. 24:3-6). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study by: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Compassion without Restraint

Day 28

Before You Begin

Read Luke 7:11-17

Stop and Consider

When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, "Don't cry" (v. 13).


Compassion. Who and what stirs it up in you? What does it look like when it happens?


When you hold compassion back, when you pass by and don't stop to help, what are your reasons for doing so?

How hard must it have been for Christ to possess all authority but stick to a kingdom plan requiring its timely exercise? Even now, He could sneeze on Satan and blow him to oblivion, but that's not the plan. Satan's prompt demise would spare us trouble, but it would also spare us growth resulting in many rewards. So until the right time for Satan's disposal, Christ restrains Himself.

Other areas of restraint must have also been challenging for Jesus as He walked on this pavement. For example, imagine the thoughts this funeral procession must have provoked in the mind of the author of life.

I think the very lordship of Christ overwhelmed Him at that moment in Nain. No one else in the crowd could do anything about the widow's plight. They possessed no power. Christ was the only one present who had lordship over the living and the dead. His heart went out to her. He felt deeply. He spoke only two words to her: "Don't cry." We've all said those two words to someone who was brokenhearted, but I believe Christ probably meant something a little different.

I don't know about you, but most of the time when I've said to someone, "Don't cry," my heart was saying, "Please stop crying. I can't bear to see you in so much pain!" Usually the words come from one who can't stand to see the hurt because she is powerless to help. Christ, on the other hand, is never helpless. When He said, "Don't cry," He meant, "Not only do I hurt for you, but I'm also going to do something about the cause of your hurt."

Verse 14 records Jesus' initial action: "He went up and touched the coffin." Picture the structure more like a stretcher than our Western concept of a coffin. The body was placed on a board and shrouded with burial linens. Now imagine Christ walking up and touching this burial slate.

The first thing we read after Christ touched the bier is that the ones who were carrying stood still. They probably stood there bug-eyed. You see, for anyone unnecessary to the interment process to risk touching the dead body was a serious no-no. Jesus was ritually defiling Himself. What they couldn't have realized is that the Son of God could not be defiled no matter what He touched. One day soon He would literally take on the sins of the entire world while still remaining the perfect Lamb without spot or blemish.

We've already seen that Christ did not need to touch to heal. He didn't even need to be present. He seemed to touch because it came natural to Him. I'm anxious to share with you what "touched" means in today's context. The word is haptomai, from the word hapto, meaning "to connect, bind." Haptomai means "to apply oneself to, to touch." The word "refers to such handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon it." Christ Jesus literally connected Himself to the situation. We apply all sorts of medication to hurts. Christ took one look at this woman's grief and applied Himself.

I hope you'll also be blessed by the Greek antonym or opposite term for "touched"----egkrateuomai. You will find the English translation of this word listed at the very end of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. The word is "self-control."

In today's text, imagine Christ acting out of exactly the opposite of self-control. Stick with me here until you grasp the meaning. When Christ saw the woman in such agony and faced with such hopelessness, I'm suggesting He literally cast off self-restraint and reacted! The difference between Jesus and us is that He doesn't sin even when He casts off self-control! Christ does not depart from the Spirit whether He responds or reacts.

Herein lies the most profound difference between the miracle in Nain and the previous miracle of the centurion's servant in Capernaum. In the widow's case, the only prerequisite was her pain. Unlike the centurion, she made no request. She exhibited no faith. In fact, we have no idea if the grieving mom even realized Christ existed. She was probably too enveloped in her own agony to notice. He awaited no conditions nor apparently had any intentions of using the moment for instructional purposes.

Jesus ran into a woman in hopeless despair and just reacted with what came most naturally to Him---healing mercy. Oh, how I praise Him! I believe we possibly have a small glimpse into what Christ would do in every one of our despairing situations if a greater plan was not at stake. I believe what comes most naturally to Christ every time He encounters need is to instantly fix it. Is it possible He exercises great restraint to work any other way in the face of devastation? I think so.

A plan of profound importance exists that sometimes overrides the miracle we desperately desire. But I am comforted to know that instantaneous healing and resurrection power come even more naturally to our Christ than waiting and working through long but necessary processes. The biggest reason why I can trust in the sovereignty of God is because I am so utterly convinced of the sweetness of God.


How about you? Are you convinced God is sovereign? Are you convinced He is kind, even sweet? Why or why not?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord God, when You worked through Elisha to restore life to the son of the Shunemite woman (2 Kings 4:8-37)---just on the other side of the hill from Nain--he had to lay on the boy until the dead body grew warm. But Jesus, You simply spoke and said, "Young man, I tell you, get up!" (Luke 7:14). What a great gulf exists between our power and Yours, between our compassion and Yours. Thank You for bearing such mighty strength on Your shoulders and such deep love in Your Heart. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study by: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Faith and Doubt inside the Four Walls

Day 29

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 11:2-5


Stop and Consider

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent a message by his disciples and asked Him, "Are You the One who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" (vv. 2-3)


Is your life marked by frequent periods of doubt? If so, what are some of the most common things you find yourself feeling suspicious about?

What's the most common way that your doubts are alleviated? What thoughts cross your mind as you feel yourself shaking free from them?


People who seem to live out the faith almost flawlessly inspire me; but I am also moved to meditation by those who grapple and wrestle with it. I find that rather than give me "permission" to doubt, their stories usually give me permission to move through my doubt to a place of spacious faith. May God use today's reading toward such an end.

Both Luke and Matthew tell us that John the Baptizer sent messengers to Jesus asking if He was the Messiah. Jesus told them to return to John and tell him just what they had seen: "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor" (Luke 7:22).

Matthew, however, gives us one additional piece of information about the situation. John sent his disciples, all right....from his prison cell (Matt. 11:2). Mark 6:17-18 tells us that John was there because he confronted King Herod about his adultery. Do you suppose John's location may have influenced the question he sent his disciples to ask Jesus?

My heart is awash with compassion for a man who sat in prison two thousand years ago. Four walls closing in surely must limit your vision. The facts to support Christ's messiahship were all there. I'm pretty certain John knew it. Furthermore, the baptizer knew Jesus was the Messiah the moment he saw Him at the Jordan River. But time and circumstances can dull the image on your faith perception, and leave you feeling not sure what you believe.

I don't think John's sudden bout with doubt had anything to do with public merit. It was a private matter. John had heard the wonders Christ had done for others. I think maybe his faith was shaken because he could have used a wonder for himself, and he didn't appear to be getting it. John knew with his head that Jesus was the Messiah. Sitting in that prison cell, I think he was having a little trouble knowing it with his heart.

We don't have trouble relating here. Have you known Christ long enough to witness His marvelous works? Have you heard testimonies of His interverning power? Even after such evidence, has your faith ever been greatly shaken because of something He didn't do for you personally? Like John, have you ever found yourself waiting and waiting on Christ to come through? Have you ever endured long stretches of suffering on a certain matter while hearing all sorts of wondrous works He was doing elsewhere?

It hurts, doesn't it? We can be believers in Jesus for years, literally seeking Him, finding Him, and serving Him---then suddenly have a staggering bout with doubt. Overwhelmed with guilt and fear, we'll think, "How in the world could I be doubting after all this time?" It's a horrible feeling.

I'd like to suggest, however, that these kinds of doubts are probably not coming from our heads. They're coming from our hearts. Our feelings. Our emotions. Our hurts.

John was not like "a reed swayed by the wind" (Luke 7:24). Rather, he was a man of absolute conviction. That's exactly what faith means. Pistis, the Greek word translated "faith," means "firm persuasion, conviction." For our purposes today, "firm persuasion" or "conviction" represents head-faith! Perhaps John had questions, but they weren't enough to sway the reed! If John had truly harbored deeply embedded questions about Christ's authenticity, I don't believe Jesus would have hesitated to rebuke him. He certainly didn't hesitate with some others. Yet Christ was very gentle with John. He simply reminded him that He was fulfilling His job description to the letter.

I believe the root of John's question was, "Why am I sitting in prison while Jesus is going about His business all over the countryside?" Surely John was wondering how he was supposed to "prepare the way" for Him from prison. If Jesus were meeting all the criteria of messiahship, He was supposed to be proclaiming freedom for the prisoners (see Luke 4:18). And John knew a prison who could use a little freedom.

John's ministry had lasted only about a year. The baptizer could not have imagined that his purposes had been so quickly fulfilled. John couldnt have foreseen that he was a shooting star leading the way in the night until the dawn would rise.

Our discussion raises an important question: If a real difference exists between head-doubt and heart-doubt, is heart-doubt "no big deal?" When our emotions begin to override what our minds know is true, can we just surrender to our heart-doubts? I don't thinks so. Our heart-doubts can be very dangerous if we remain in them. But, if we wrestle through them with the Lord Jesus, when we get to the other side of our crisis, we will find ourselves spilled into a place of spacious faith!


How would you describe the difference between "head-doubt" and "heart-doubt"? Which is the most dangerous and hardest to overcome? Who are some people you know who struggle mightily with this, and need your prayer and encouragement?

Praying God's Word Today


Lord, I am grateful that Your Word says to have mercy on those who doubt (Jude 22), but also that you admonish us to be people of faith, not like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6). I pray, Lord, for Your steadying strength of mind and heart. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::jesus-sign::bow::jesus-sign::amen:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Falling Forward

Day 30

Before You Begin

Read Luke 7:23-30

Stop and Consider

Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me
(v. 23 niv).


What are the greatest dangers of doubt? What problems does it cause, both to the doubter and to those who are nearby enough to listen and observe?


What is Jesus' response to doubt in His children? In what ways does He deal with us when we have honest questions?


It is a real challenge to work through our doubts and not let them imprison us like John's were threatening to imprison him! Christ stated the biggest risk of doubt in verse 23: "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

The original word for "blessed" is makarios. Revel in this definition of the term: "Biblically, one is pronounced blessed when God is present and involved in his life. The Hand of God is at work directing all his affairs for a divine purpose, and thus, in a sense, such a person lives coram Deo, before the face of God." Luke 7:23 tells us these words apply to the person who doesn't fall away on account of Christ.

What does "falling away" means? The Greek word, skandalon, means "a cause of stumbling." Add the meanings of these two definitions and we arrive at the following sum total in Luke 7:23: "The Hand of God is at work directing divine purpose, or blessing, in all the affairs of the one who doesn't let the perceived activity or inactivity of Christ trap him or make him stumble." It's a mouthful, but chew on it awhile!

I don't think Luke 7:23 is talking about falling away from Christ. It's talking about falling over a stumbling block into a trap. One of Satan's most effective devices for causing a devout believer to stumble is to trap him over a matter of faith. Satan even tries to use Christ Himself against us. The most effective faith-trap Satan could set for a Christian is to tempt him or her to doubt the goodness, rightness, or mightiness of Christ.

Note that Christ held John in highest esteem even after being questioned. John was under a terrible strain, and his martyrdom was imminent. Christ knew that! He could handle John's questions because He knew the heart and mind from which they came. After proclaiming that no one born of women was greater than John, Jesus said the "least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" (v. 28).

Please understand that this statement in no way diminished John. Christ simply meant that a new era was unfolding in the kingdom calendar, and to be a part of it would be greater than being a prophet under the old Covenant. Thank God every day that you live this side of Calvary!

Praying God' Word Today

Lord Jesus, I pray that you will continue equipping us to live in a manner worthy of Your gospel---standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith, and not being frightened in any way by our opponents. For it has been given to us on Your behalf not only to believe in You but also to suffer for You (Phil 1:27-29). May we do so with perserverance, humility, and eternal gratitude. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

At Home in a Pharisee's House

Day 31

Before You Begin

Read Luke 7:36-38

Stop and Consider

Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table (v. 36).

What types of people would you least enjoy spending an evening with? What is it about them that makes them so hard to be around?


How does a desire to be Christlike affect this feeling of yours? What would be different about your life if every wave of prejudice was silenced?


Our scene unfolds in the dining area of one of the more prestigious homes in the village. The Pharisee's home was large enough to accommodate Jesus and an undisclosed number of other guests. The Pharisee's wife and any other women involved probably ate separately. They would not have considered this a slight since the men customarily practiced segregated fellowship in many social settings. Incidentally, their manly discussions often turned into passionate theological debates that they thoroughly enjoyed. Such conflict tends to make me nervous, so I would happily have stayed in the kitchen with the dessert and coffee.

Do you have difficulty picturing Christ in this scene? Do you imagine Him never fitting into a Pharisee's home? I think God desires to broaden our understanding and fine-tune some of our mental footage of Christ. The more I study His earthly life, the more I'm grasping that He could fit in anywhere...and nowhere.

Remember, Christ is void of all prejudice. He was no more likely to stereotype all Pharisees than He was to stereotype all who were poor, blind, or ill. Furthermore, He was just as anxious to save them from their sins. The obvious difference was how anxious the individual was to be saved.

Before we are too harsh in our view of the Pharisees, we are wise to remember that their negative tendencies resemble those of anyone---even someone in our day and age, someone you could name without thinking twice---who values religion and ritual over relationship with the Savior. Interestingly, in the Gospels not once do we see a Pharisee who is confronted in the stronghold of legalism and self-righteousness ever admits to seeing it in himself. My point is that no one is likely to see him or herself as Pharisaical without an honest and courageous look inside. In fact, our story never indicates that Christ's host received the message delivered to him through these events.

But it doesn't mean that Jesus would automatically thumb his nose at an invitation just because of what this man stood for. Jesus is willing to reach into anyone's life, no matter how sinful they are or how sinless they think themselves to be.

Praying God's Word Today

Father, I earnestly desire to hold my faith in Christ without showing favoritism, because I know that when I show favoritism, I sin against You and am convicted by the law as a transgressor. Help me, please, to speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom (James 2:1, 9). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN
Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::amen::amen:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Talking To Ourselves

Day 32

Before You Begin

Read Luke 7:39-48

Stop and Consider

When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself,
"This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind
of woman this is who is touching Him--she's a sinner" (v. 39).


Most of us would be terrified for our thoughts to be heard and broadcast like this. How liberating would it be, though, if we were pure enough inside not to be ashamed?

In very practical terms, what could you do to improve the quality of your thought life?


I am learning so much in my journey with Christ Jesus---lessons I wish I had learned long ago. I am learning that my heart and mind are of greater importance to Him than my words and deeds. Our innermost places desperately need daily purification. Part of the process is recognizing and confessing judgmental, impure, or critical thoughts before they can make their way to our mouths and our actions. But God really can change our negative thought processes, attitudes, and motives. The process takes time and cooperation, however, because these thought patterns are just as much habitual sin as the transgressions of the woman of ill repute.

We certainly see how deep-seated this tendency is by hearing the Pharisee talking "to himself." This phrase and Christ's response have great importance because they force us to realize that He holds us responsible for the things we say to ourselves. (Ouch) Yes, He reads our minds. And sometimes, our minds need a viewer rating.

Don't overlook the fact that Christ's willingness to allow the woman to wash His feet caused the Pharisee to question whether or not Jesus was a prophet. The Pharisee implied that Jesus obviously did not know what kind of woman she was. The original wording is quite interesting. The English "what kind" is derived from two Greek words: poios, meaning "what," and dapedon, meaning "soil." The Pharisee's comment that Christ did not know where she came from literally meant "He has no idea the dirt she comes from."

You know what, beloved? Dirt is dirt, and we've all got it no matter where we come from. I'm not sure Christ sees one kind of dirt as dirtier than another. One thing is for sure: His blood is able to bleach any stain left by any kind of dirt. Oh, thank You, Lord.

I like the King James Version of Christ's first response after He read the Pharisee's thoughts: "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee" (v. 40). Lest you think I'm feeling pious in my deep compassion for the habitual sinner, please know I'm presently shuddering over the times Christ has had "somewhat" to say unto me! I also love the King James Version response of the Pharisee: "Master, say on (v.40) makes me grin. I wonder what he was expecting the Master to "say on"? I have a feeling it wasn't what Christ said.

Christ told a parable of canceled debts. Two men owed money to a moneylender. One owed much, the other only a little, but neither had the money to pay what he owed, so the moneylender canceled the debts of both. Then Jesus asked Simon to summarize which debtor loved the moneylender most. The answer was obvious, but Simon's words "I suppose" revealed his reluctance to acknowledge it. After Simon pinpointed the one with the bigger debt canceled, Christ said, "You have judged correctly" (v. 43). Interestingly, Simon had been judging throughout the whole ordeal. It was just the first time he had judged correctly.

Christ then brought the parable to life. He compared the way Simon and the sinful woman had responded to Him. All three times Christ's description of the Pharisee's actions began with the unsettling words, "You did not." How poignant. You see, one of the surest signs of an ancient or modern-day "Pharisee" is a life characterized far more by what he or she does not do than what he or she does. "No, Simon. You did not sleep around. You did not take bribes. You did not externalize your depravity. But as well, you did not give Me any water for My feet. You did not give Me a kiss. You did not put oil on My head. You did not see yourself as a sinner, and you did not receive My gift of grace---but she did."

He packs the punch into the living parable in verse 47: "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven---for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Not because that's the way it has to be, but because that's the reality of our human tendency.

A couple of additional truths strike a chord in me. First, I see that Christ never down-played nor minimized her sin. Human sympathy makes excuses like, "What you did wasn't that bad" or "After all you've been through, no wonder...." But Christ never calls sin less than it is. To picture Christ minimizing the woman's sinful past is to miss the entire point of the encounter. The point is that even though her sins had been many, heinous, and habitual, she had been forgiven, saved, and liberated to love lavishly. Of all the commandments the Pharisee had kept, she (rather than he) had observed the most important one. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

The exquisite beauty of loving Christ is that it makes it impossible to keep only one commandment. The Word tells us that the person who truly loves God will pursue the obedient life (see John 14:21) and be far more likely to persevere in trials (see James 1:12). Loving Gods is the vital lifeline to all the other commandments.

Christ never preached the annihilation of affection. Instead He taught the redirection of affection. Human affection first directed to God and filtered through His hands returns to us far healthier and fit for others.


What does it mean to love God "with all your mind"?


Praying God's Word Today

O Lord, I want to be wise about what is good, yet innocent about what is evil (Rom.16:19). I want to wash myself clean from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, making my sanctification complete in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1). Yet my life has proven again and again that desire is not enough. Help me, Lord, for I need You desperately. In Jesus name we pray.....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Go in Peace

Day 33

Before You Begin

Read Luke 7:49-50

Stop and Consider

He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace" (v. 50).

I don't know what you have been saved from. But I know what I have---and I know what these words say to me: "Go in peace." What do they say to you?


What is Satan perhaps using in your life right now to stop your "going" and to bottle up your "peace"?




During the writing of my book "Breaking Free," the enemy used every trick in the book to break me. He is our accuser (see Rev. 12:10) and a shameless opportunist (see Luke 4:13). He knew that Breaking Free necessitated very deep scrutiny of my history because the study is based on my journey to liberty. My whole life has forever been laid bare before God, but it had never been so vividly laid bare before me. At the taunting of the enemy, I found myself at one point so grieved over the "yuck" in my history that I could not imagine how God could possibly use me, I literally questioned my own calling.

During this painful time, I had a speaking engagement in Louisiana. Customarily someone from the host church delivers a devotional to the team before the conference begins. That day a woman who did not know me, had never heard me speak, had never read a single word I'd written, walked in the door and pulled up a chair in front of me. The entire group could hear her, but the devotional she delivered was for me.

She sat only inches away and never took her eyes off mine. With obvious anointing, she told the story of the sinful woman in the Luke 7 passage, then she said, "I don't know you, Beth. I have no idea why God sent me with such a message to give you, but He told me clearly to say these words to you: "Tell her that her many sins have been forgiven---for she loved much." I cannot describe my feelings then or my feelings now.

This Scripture is the only one framed on my desk. It sits only inches from my computer. As I sit at my desk, I stare at the reminder of God's unreasonable grace, and I'm reminded that I'm forgiven. Indeed, how could someone like me not love Him much?

Perhaps, as it did for me, this passage causes you to picture yourself in this sinful woman's place. If you, too, have been in this scene with Jesus, perhaps you know the inner struggle of a sinful past. Oh, how I would love to be for you today what that woman in Louisiana was to me during that difficult time. Allow me to pull up my chair right in front of you, look you in the eye, and tell you what He told me to say: "Your many sins have been forgiven---for you love much." Go in peace.

Praying God's Word Today

I think back to Hannah, Lord, a woman with a broken heart, crying out of Eli who had overheard her wailing prayer, "Don't think of me as a wicked woman; I've been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment." Eli responded, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the petition you've requested of Him" (I Sam. 1:15-17). My petition is that You would help me realize the power and purity of Your indwelling righteousness, for it is the only thing I can rely on---and I know it is more than enough, even for me. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore

Godbe4me:bow::amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Sowing Lessons

Day 34

Before You Begin

Read Luke 8:4-15

Stop and Consider

He said, "The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables" (v. 10)

Think of one thing you've learned recently, simply from being in and hearing the Word.

What has Satan done to try snatching it away from you? How has He attempted to make you doubt it or diso**** it?


The parable of the sower helps us understand the obstacles that limit us and the elements that would free the Spirit to teach us the deep things of God. But before we look at the differences in each type of "soil" let's address a critical common denominator: all four heard the Word, yet only one produced a harvest.

It is not enough to hear the Word! We have just stumbled on my greatest burden for the body of Christ. How many people sit in church services where Scripture is never taught? They're not even hearing the Word of God! Furthermore, what masses of believers hear the Word but continue to live in defeat because they don't apply it?

I was one of them. I desperately wanted to change. I was miserable in my captivity. I just didn't understand that the power to be transformed was in the authentic application of Scripture. Our obedience is not to make God feel like the boss. Trust me. He's the boss and He knows it. Our obedience to apply the Word of God is so we can live victorious lives that glorify our Father in heaven. Hearing it is simply not enough.

Now let's consider each of the types of soil the seed of God's Word fell on.

1.) The seed along the path. Luke 8:12 tells us Satan possesses the ability to come and take away the word from a hearer's heart, although not the believing hearer's heart. Once we've received the Word, it's out of his reach. He can try to distort our understanding of it, but he cannot steal it. As we'll soon see, however, we can give it up by our own volition..

The Greek word for "take away" gives the image of an owl swooping down, snatching its prey in its claw, and soaring back victoriously to its perch. Scripture implies countless reasons why Satan desires to snatch the Word from us before we've internalized it. Imagine the evil nature of one who seeks to keep people from being saved.

2.) The seed on the rock. The rocky soil doesn't just receive the Word. It receives the Word with joy! How eye-opening to realize that we can hear the Word and receive it joyfully, yet never let it penetrate the depths. Listen, some of the words of God are hard! I think He'd rather see us receive a Word, wrestling over it with tears and letting it take root, than to jump up and down with ecstatic joy for only a while. The shallow hearer only believes until the "time of testing" v(13). What a shame! We miss one of life's most awesome experiences if we don't see God's Word stand up under trial. He wants to show us it works. He wants to show us He works! If we stop believing, we will never know the power and faithfullness of God.

3.) The seed that fell among thorns. These hearers are defeated by the distractions of the world: worries, riches, and pleasures. You don't have to be rich to be distracted by riches. You don't have to have much to want more. Working ourselves into the ground to afford more things is symptomatic of this.

The word "pleasures" is hedone, from which we get our term "hedonism." Hedonism views "pleasure, gratification, and enjoyment" as the chief goals in life. Please take caution before you view all forms of pleasure as an enemy of the faithful believer. Few things frustrate me more than people who picture the Christian life as entirely sacrificial and for martyrs only. Walking with Christ is the greatest pleasure of my life. But even this sacred pleasure cannot be my goal. Knowing and pleasing Christ must be my goal. Luke 8:14 says they also don't "mature," which is far more than unfortunate. It's a tragedy. The word "mature" comes from two Greek words: telos, meaning "end, goal, perfection," and phero, meaning "to bring, bear." The hearers of the Word who are distracted by the constant call of the world will never fulfill God's awesome plan for their lives. According to 1 Corinthians 2:9, distracted individuals miss life's greatest treasure. No mind has even conceived "what God has prepared for those who love Him."

4.) The seed on good soil. The good soil reprsents the one who hears the Word and retains it. "Retains" pictures chewing the Word up and swallowing it until it occupies a place in us. When God's Word is deliberately internalized, it will be authentically externalized because it's no longer what we do---it's part of who we are.

Isaiah 55:11 declares that God's Word will not return void or empty. It will accomplish the purposes for which He sent it. That's a fact. But I want it to accomplish and achieve in me, don't you? When this generation asks who Christ's brothers and sisters are, I want Him to point us out joyfully. For our kinship to be obvious, we've got to hear God's Word and do it. When He sends forth His Word, may He find fertile soil in each of us.

Then, when we've reached our lives' intended goals, we will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and hills will burst into song before us, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Persevere, doer of the Word. A harvest is coming



What are some of the key ingredients of fertile "soil?" What few things have kept you most open to retaining, germinating, and bearing fruit with the implanted Word?

Praying God's Word Today

Father, I am encouraged by the example of Isaac, who sowed seed in the land of promise and reaped a hundred times what was sown. You bless Him, Lord, and he became rich--and kept getting richer until he was very wealthy (Gen 26:12-13). May Your investment of Your Word in me produce similar bounty, making me fruitful in all things and a pleasure before Your eyes. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:amen::jesus-sign:
 

godbe4me

Unavailable
Staff Member on LOA
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Family Matters

Day 35

Before You Begin

Read Luke 8:1-3, 19-21

Stop and Consider

He replied to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear and do the word of God" (v. 21).


How do you think Mary processed these words of Jesus? How about His brothers?


When Scripture seems offensive to us, when God's way seems harsh and insensitive, what does that tell us about Him? And what does it tell about us?


One of my chief goals in this journey is for us to feel as if our feet have felt the warmth of the sand in every place where Jesus stood. In Luke 8, we have a fresh opportunity to adjust our mental images to include a few new people on the scene. In addition to the Twelve, Jesus had other companions. "Women who had been cure of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna...Susanna, and many others" followed Him (v.2).

Whether or not these received a verbal invitation the way the Twelve had, a powerful force drew them. After everything Christ had done for them, these women could not help but follow Him. You don't have to talk many freed captives into serving Christ. Like Paul in 2 Cor. 5:14, the love of Christ compels them.

But it didn't seem to compel some of those who might have seemed most suited to cling to Him---His physical family. When His mother and brothers came to see Him but could not get to Him because of the crowd, Jesus had some strong words for them.

But Jesus was not rejecting His family as much as He was redefining it. His statement reflected inclusion more than exclusion. Christ's family probably came to take Him home to keep Him from appearing foolish. They surely weren't there to encourage Him. John tells us "even his own brothers did not believe in him" at this time (John 7:5).

Of course, we know that Mary certainly believed Jesus was the Son of God, but the pressure of family members can be quite forceful. Perhaps her other sons were intent on confronting Jesus, and she came along to act as a peacemaker. Sound familiar, moms? You don't have to be a mother to imagine how she felt in her present position.

Christ's revolutionary words that redefined His family dynamics are as critical for us today as they were for those who heard them then. Don't miss the profound importance of God's Word. According to Luke 8:21, our kinship to Jesus Christ is directly revealed through what we do with the Word of God. What you are doing right now---studying His Word---is not just a good idea. It is the very warmth and vitality of the family bloodline-proof that we are family to Jesus Christ.

Praying God's Word Today

O Lord, may we be doers of Your Word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts---this person will be blessed in what he does (James 1:22-25). May this be spoken of me as You continue transforming my heart. In Jesus name we Pray.....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


Godbe4me:bow::jesus-sign::bow::jesus-sign:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top