"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

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godbe4me

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"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

You and Whose Army?

Day 36

Before You Begin

Read Luke 8:26-39

Stop and Consider

When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What do You have to do with me, Jesus, You Son of the Most High God" (v. 28).


These accounts of demon possession can be disturbing and confusing, even though they do reveal Christ's delivering power. What questions do they bring to mind in you?

We're going to talk about some of the things we can learn from these passages. But before we start, what do you find most encouraging about Christ's victory over demons?


After rebuking the waves-and a boatload of disciples---Jesus arrived in the territory of the Gerasenes where they promptly encountered a memorable individual. The man they met was naked, lived among the tombs, possessed superhuman strength, and did I mention provided rent-free housing for a legion of demons. This demon-possessed man not only had the power to break ropes and chains; he also supernaturally recognized Jesus as the Son of God. We want to consider several points coming from the encounter.

1) Our God is even God over the godless. The second that Christ stepped His foot on their "turf," the demons knew He carried His authority with Him. As hard as the demonic world tries to keep Him out, no one can keep Christ out of any place He is determined to go. Verse 28 tells us that when the demoniac saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet. While I certainly wouldn't confuse the demoniac's trip to His knees with worship, it defintely was a sign of the demon's acknowledgment that Christ was the Son of the Most High God.

2) The demons may have anticipated Christ's coming. Even my most conservative commentaries entertained the idea that the storm on the way could have been an attempt by the kingdom of darkness to discourage Christ's arrival. We see a hint toward the possibility of this idea in the way Christ rebuked the wind and waters as if they were disobedient. Could they have been temporarily acting under the instruction of the god of the air (see Eph. 2:2)? Just food for thought, but it would help to explain why the demoniac met Christ on the shore, knowing for certain who He was.

3) The demons know their time is limited. Luke focused on only one of the demoniacs, but Matthew tells us that there were actually two. He also tells us that they begged Jesus not to torture them "before the appointed time" (Matt. 8:29). The demons knew something we may sometimes forget. Satan, too, is filled with fury because he know that "his time is short" (Rev.12:12).

I don't believe the plan for the Son of God to come to earth was any secret. I believe Satan knew what was going to happen. I just don't think he knew when. Seeing the Word wrapped in flesh reminded him that his time allotment was getting shorter and shorter. In the same way, the demons controlling the man on the Gerasene shore knew a day of reckoning had been appointed for them.

4) Demons can enact supernatural strength. Matthew tells us that "they were so violent that no one could pass that way" (Matt. 8:28). Luke tells us that the demons enabled the man to break chains (see Luke 8:29). I feel the need to stress something about supernatural power: not all of it comes from God! I have felt chills run down my spine when I've heard someone say: "It had to be God! It was totally supernatual!" At times Satan is able to display signs and wonders. But remember, our is the Prince of Peace. All conflict He ordains is for the ultimate purpose of peace under His righteous rule. Oh, for the government that will be on His shoulders! (see Isa. 9:6-7).

5) Solitary places can be used by God or Satan. This man "had been driven by the demon into solitary places" (v.29). Jesus also valued solitary places. In Mark 6:31, He said to the disciples, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." We all need times of solitude to spend with God. But our times of isolation can be used by the enemy as well. If we isolate ourselves from the support of others, Satan can have a field day.

Only Christ can defeat demonic powers. Without Christ, a "legion" of humans cannot take authority over a single demon. However, Jesus the One and Only can instantly take authority over legions of demons. The climactic point of the story reveals an almost laughable irony. The demons begged to be cast into the swine rather than into the abyss. (If you think I'm going to say a word about deviled ham, you're mistaken!)

The villagers came out of the woodwork only to find the talk of the region sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind. The people allowed fear to eclipse the life-changing facts, and they begged Jesus to leave. He could have healed them, saved them, taught them, sanctified them, and, for heaven's sake, delighted them. But all they wanted Him to do was to leave them.

Jesus left the Gerasenes, all right. But not without a vivid reminder of who He was and what He could do. Long after they recovered from the swine-at-sea incident, there would still be a man about town with a restored mind and real dignity who couldn't seem to hush. Christ told him "Return home and tell how much God has done for you" (v. 39). How long do you think it had been since he had been home? Not back to the tombs, but home. Clothes on his back. Roof over his head. Soundness in his mind. A message on his tongue. So the man went and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. All the demons in the air couldn't stop him, for his knees had bowed to a new authority.


Have you ever been afraid of Christ's presence in your life, the way these citizens were? What causes us to fear His nearness?

Praying God's Word Today

Truly, Lord, even the winds and the waves obey You (Luke 8:25). I know that You can do anything, and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back any words of doubt or unbelief, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:1, 5-6). You are indeed the Son of the Most High God! In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study by: Beth Moore



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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Desperation

Day 37


Before You Begin

Read Luke 8:40-42a, 49-56


Stop and Consider

Just then, a man named Jairus came. He was a leader of the synagogue.
He fell down at Jesus' feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house (v. 41).

When have you been deperate for Jesus' help? What has the power to bring you to your knees, pleading?


How do you feel when you approach Him with a deep, preswing, please-do-something-now need? Welcome? Unworthy? A bother?



I long to sit at Jesus' feet in heaven and hear Him descibe personally His earthly experience. I want to hear all the missing details. I want to hear what He was thinking when certain things happen. And when I do, I think He'll have plenty to say about the text we're observing today.

Upon Jesus' return from across the lake, a crowd greeted Him. Luke 8:40 says they were all expecting Him. (I do dearly love surprise encounters with Jesus, but I think He is quite pleased when we live our lives in expectancy). Verse 41, however, introduces us to a major player who didn't come just to welcome Jesus. He came desperate for Jesus. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue, but this day no ritual dignity stood in his way. His daughter lay dying, and he threw himself at the feet of Jesus pleading for her life.

Jim Cymbala, in his book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire," wrote, "I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can't resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him." This certainly described Jairus on this day. Jairus also reminds me of the centurion in Luke 7. He seemed to understand the concept of authority because of his authoritative position. He seemed to grasp that one ruler existed before whom all others should bow, even if one of those "others" was a ruler of the synagogue.

If you were to ask any set of parents how much they focus on their child when he or she is sick or in some kind of serious danger or destress, they'd tell you they can hardly focus on anything else. This was certainly the case with Jairus. Jesus was his last hope. Who else could heal his little girl from the throes of death?

Whom do you know that is possibly down to his or her very last hope? Perhaps, like me, you even know several. Think of these people and keep them in your peripheral vision today, as well as tomorrow when we look at the story this passage is sandwiched around---Jesus' healing of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. He is there for the desperate. He specializes in the hopeless. Every time you think of those who are suffering, think of Jesus, who know the path through dire need.

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, I pray for those today who would say with David, "God, deliver me. Hurry to help me, Lord. I am afflicted and needy; hurry to me, God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay" (Ps. 70:1, 5). I bring them before You by name and need.....In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

More than Enough

Day 38

Before You Begin

Read Luke 8:42b-48

Stop and Consider

In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was instantly cured (v.47).


Describe what makes the lessons learned during long seasons of chronic difficulty unique from those that are learned in emergency situations.


Compare the difference between those who suffer bitterly and those who suffer well.


We read in verser 42 that the crowd pressed so closely to Jesus they were almost crushing Him. Yet a woman behind Him touched only the edge of His cloak, and He discerned the difference. Please keep in mind, she never even touched His skin. Amazing! Noticed, too, that when Christ asked, "Who touched me?" they all denied it. Odd, isn't it? The people were so close they were nearly crushing Him, but no one admitted to touching Him. Their response reminds me of children too afraid of getting into trouble to admit to something. Did they not realize. He wanted few things more than for them to reach out to Him?

When the woman realized she could not go unnoticed, she "came trembling and fell at his feet" (v. 47). Beloved, no one goes unnoticed by Christ---least of all a person acting on faith. I love the fact that the woman came trembling, even though she had exercised enough faith to draw forth the healing power of Jesus. It's good to know that the faithful still come trembling. In fact, their reverence is a critical part of their faith. The truly believing will most certainly also be the bowing.

Why do you think Christ asked her to identify herself? I think one reason might have been so that she could enjoy the healing she had received. Most modern Bible translation don't record one phrase found in the King James Version of verse 48: "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." In this way I believe Christ was saying, "Do not go forth as someone who feels like they have stolen a gift! Be of good cheer! I freely give it to you!"

Verse 42 also tells us Jesus was on His way to heal the dying child of Jairus when the woman in the crowd touched the edge of His cloak. Christ Himself described what happened: "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me" (v. 46). The primary point I want to make is that Christ released enough power to heal a woman of a twelve-year hemorrhage, but still had plenty to raise Jairus's daughter from the dead! Let that sink in! I know that you know it with your head, but I want you to receive it in your heart. Christ's power supply is limitless. He's not the Wizard of Oz with a limited number of wishes to grant. His power and mercy are infinite. He can take you much farther than Kansas, Dorothy.

One night at Bible study, I asked the entire group to come to their feet for a time of intercessory prayer. I then asked anyone with an "overwhelming need" that seemed absolutely "insumountable" to sit down. I don't mind telling you, few people were left standing. And based on their tears, I don't think they were just being dramatic. I had anticipated having enough intercessors left standing to lay hands on all those who sat down. Boy, was I mistaken! For a split second I didn't know how to proceed. Then the Spirit of God seemed to speak to my heart. What joy flooded my soul that very moment as God called upon me to come boldly before His throne and ask for a miracle for every life because He had plenty of power to go around. That's exactly what I did. The testimonies written to me the next week were unforgettable. Virtually everyone witnessed some type of wonder that week.

Now hear this: Jesus has more than enough power! Does He seem to be on His way to another need, one that you perceive may be more important than yours? More a matter of life and death? No problem! Reach out and grab that hem! You are not going unnoticed--not even if He's on His way to raise the dead!

Oh, friend, would you dare to believe that He is completely able? If He doesn't grant you what you ask in faith, it is never because He lacks the power. I believe it's because He wants to release an all-surpassing power and reveal an even greater glory through another answer. Will we laugh at the thought like the foolish mourners outside Jairus's home? Or will we be invited into the house to behold a miracle?


I'm giving you more room than usual, beloved, because I want you to identify your greatest need, the deepest desire of your heart. Write it down. Two or three? Write them all. Don't tell me how trivial they seem in comparison to what others are facing! Write them! Then after you've written them all, I want you to consider your list carefully. Now I want you to say out loud: "Jesus, You have enough power."

Praying God's Word Today


Lord Jesus, I marvel at stories about those who, like John, could testify to having seen You with their eyes, observed, and touched You with their hands---the Word of life--and who now testify and declare to us also what they have seen and heard (1 John 1:1, 3). Today, I reach out to You myself, so grateful for the privilege of having fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore


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Called to What?
Or
Called to Who?

Day 39

Before You Begin

Read Luke 9:1-6

Stop and Consider

So they went out and traveled from village to village,
proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere (v. 6).


What kinds of emotions do you think the disciples experienced after Christ told them what He was equipping them to do?


What have you felt Him calling you to lately? How are you responding to this? What are your biggest questions as you grapple to discern His voice and will?


I find it interesting that Christ's instruction to His disciples to go and minister was for a specific mission or task. I believe the concepts of calling and task are often confused in the body of Christ. I know that confused the concepts in the early years of my surrender to ministry.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my wonderful ministry mentor, Marge Caldwell, helped me to see that God had equipped me with some of the speaking gifts. Once I began to exercise those gifts, I assumed that speaking was my calling. God soon made very clear, however, that my calling was to surrender my life every day to His will, to be His woman, and to do what He asked, whatever that was. I remember sensing Him speak to my heart saying, "Beth, I do not want you surrendered to an assignment. I want you surrendered to Me." I realized that God did not want me "hung up" on the kind of assignment He would give me. He didn't want it to matter to me whether He asked me to teach the Word of God to a hundred people or to rock one baby in the church nursery. My calling was to be abondoned to Him.

The Twelve were called to be Christ's learners or pupils. They also were desiginated apostles, meaning they would be sent forth. What would His pupils be sent forth to do? Whatever He told them. In our human need for the security of sameness, we tend to want one job assignment from God that we can do for the rest of our lives. He's far more creative than that!

You may ask, "Isn't it possible for God to assign a lifelong task such as preaching at one church for forty years?" Absolutely! But we are wise not to make assumptions by surrendering to the assignment! Our calling is to surrender to God. Think of the pitfalls we could avoid if we were more abandoned to God than to a particular kind of service.

Remember the meaning of disciple: pupil, learner! We can't keep skipping class---our time with God in the Scripture and in prayer---and expect to know when He's scheduled a field trip!


Praying God's Word Today


Lord, what we will be has not yet been completely revealed to us, but we know that we are Your children! And we know that when You appear, we will be like You, because we will see You as You really are. With this hope in us, we purify ourselves just as You are pure (1 John 3:2-3), and we make ourselves ready for You to employ us in Your service... in whatever way You choose to use us. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore



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You Want Us to What?

Day 40

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 10:5-10

Stop and Consider

You have received free of charge; give free of charge (v.8).


What are some ministries and blessings you wish you could share with others a little more freely than you do now, or at least more freely than you have in the past?


What tends to bottle up the freedom of our generosity with others? What do we routinely stumble over in our efforts to be Christ's disciples and servants in the world?


Up until now, the Twelve had watched Christ at work and had witnessed His miracles, but they had not yet been empowered to exercise those wonders. I don't imagine the disciples expected to do anything but watch. But they were about to receive a very special welcome to the wild world of Jesus Christ. Jesus called the disciples together and gave them "power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases" (Luke 9:1). Then He sent them out to preach and heal. He told them to take along no provisions but to stay where the people welcomed them.

Wouldn't you love to have eavesdropped on the conversations between the disciples as they prepared to go out? Like us, I'm not sure they had a clue what they had been given. They had the privilege to be the closest earthly companions to the Son of God. They were chosen to witness the most remarkable phenomenon in all human history: the Word made flesh and dwelling among us. They broke bread with Him, laughed with Him, and talked Scripture with Him. They knew the sound of His breathing when He slept. They knew His favorite foods. They watched Him heal the sick, deliver the demon-possessed, and raise the dead. If they had never received another thing, they had been granted a privilege beyond all others. But Christ didn't stop there. He also gave them power and authority.

Christ's words in Matthew 10:8 should inspire us to pour out our lives like drink offerings for the rest of our days. "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." The word for "freely" is dorean, meaning "freely, gratis, as a free gift." I think you might be very interested to see another way this same Greek word is translated into English.

In John 15:25 Jesus said, "They hated me without reason." The phrase "for no reason" is translated from the same word, dorean. What does that tell you about the things we've received from Christ? Unreasonable grace! Nothings is reasonable about the love of God or the gifts He so freely gives! Like me, I know you've received from God in ways you can't begin to count, but has that unreasonable grace caused you to freely give of yourself to others recently?

Praying God's Word Today


Lord, I know we have not received the spirit of the world but Your Spirit, in order that we may know what You have freely given us in Christ. I pray that we will also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by Your Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). We desire to give freely, Lord, out of the abundance we have received. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study by: Beth Moore


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Dinner on the Grounds

Day # 41

Before You Begin

Read Luke 9:10-17

Stop and Consider

"We have no more than five loaves and two fish," they said, "unless we go and buy food for all these people" (v. 13).


What have been some of your "unless" responses lately---those short-sighted answers that seem to be the only way God can pull your problem out of the fire?


When was the last time you went ahead and took an "unless" action, only to find out later that if you'd have only waited, God had another "unless" in mind?


Any of us who have ever been exhausted by an intense time of ministry can deeply appreciate the opening scene in Luke 9:10. The apostles returned from their preaching and healing mission. Mark pictures the Twelve gathered around Jesus reporting all they had done and taught. What affection floods this setting! We can assume He omnisciently knew everything they had done and taught, yet I love how He celebrated their news with the same excitement as someone at a surprise party.

Sometimes I'll be busy telling God every detail of something exciting that happened, a thousand words a minute, when suddenly I will stop and say, "But I guess You already knew that." Every single time I sense Him saying, "Don't let that stop you, child! Tell on!" Beloved, I so much hope that you feel free to talk to Him with the excitement of a friend.

But Christ not only sees our excitement, He sees our exhaustion. I love the way the King James Version says it: "They had no leisure so much as to eat" (Mark 6:31). He saw their need for leisure over a refreshing meal. His invitation to them is so warm and intimate that my affection for Him swells every time I read it: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

Wouldn't you know it? In the middle of their private getaway, the public showed up. Yet Christ's response to the crowd touches me: "He welcomed them" (Luke 9:11). "They were like sheep without a shepherd" (Mark 6:34). Desperate, vulnerable, without direction, without protection, and He had compassion on them. According to Matthew 14:21, we are safe to picture at least ten thousand people gathering all over the countryside. Christ "healed those who needed healing" (Luke 9:11). The day wore on, and the sun rested again on a western hill. Then about that time, some interesting things began to happen. Consider the following observations with me:

1) Christ sometimes provokes a question so that He can be the answer. I love how John's version tells us Christ prompted the question to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" (John 6:5). Verse 6 tells us, "He asked this only to test him." I think Christ might have been testing His disciples to surface what they had learned or, like me, what they had yet to learn! Think of the miracles they had seen Christ perform by this time. Yet they couldn't imagine how they were going to feed all these hungry people. I think Jesus may have been testing them to see if they were beginning to think in a "faith mode." Their response proved they still practiced fragmented faith. While they had seen Christ cast out demons and heal the sick, it had not yet occurred to them He could feed the masses. They still had much to learn about Christ's complete jurisdiction. He can meet our spiritual needs, our emotional needs, and our physical needs. He is both deeply spiritual and entirely practical. Christ was teaching them to see Him, His power, and His authority in every area of life.

2) Christ wants us to be open to what He can do through us. I love the way He tossed the responsibility for feeding the crowd right into His disciples' laps. "You give them something to eat" (Luke 9:13). Mind you, you had received power and authority to heal the sick and cast our demons, yet they looked helplessly at two fish and five loaves as the totality of their resources. I believe Christ was saying, "Think bigger, boys!"--not only about what He could do, but also what they could do in His name. Where the disciples were concerned, I believe this event was all about stretching their thinking. His words are entirely absent of rebuke. Don't miss the fact that He used the disciples to distribute the meal. He wanted them to feel the weight of the baskets and see the hands of those reaching to be fed. Real power. In real forms. In real life.

3) Christ can perform astounding wonders when we bring Him all we have. Matthew 14:17 records the disciples saying, "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish." Christ responded, "Bring them here to me." Beloved, I want you to hear something loud and clear: no matter what your "only" is, when you bring all of your "only" to Jesus, it's huge! When we bring Him everything we have, He multiplies it beyond our wildest imagination. On the other hand, we can surrender Him "some" of our lot, and it can swindle to virtually nothing.

4) Christ saved a basket-load of leftovers for each disciple. The disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. I just can't make myself think that was a coincidence. I'm no mathematician, but the numbers work for me. The people were fed. The disciples each wound up with a basketful of leftovers. That's what happens when you take part in God's provision.


Think bigger! You choose the issue that's pressing on you right now---the one that seems impossible to solve or work your way out of. How different might it look if you knew your problem had a "bigger" answer, a "bigger" reason for being there?


Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, You have said in Your Word, "Whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him" (Matt. 13:12). I don't have much, but I want You to have it all. I don't want my "some" to become nothing that You can use. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Leftovers you'll Actually Like

Day 42

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 14:19-21

Stop and Consider

Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces (v. 20).

If you're not sensing the approval of God today, would you do some honest soul-searching to see if there's anything that's keeping your fellowship strained and distant?


What would you do if you knew God was smiling on you today? How would it change everything?


I just have to share another thought with you about this astounding miracle of Jesus, this feeding of the five thousand with His disciples' mere fishes and loaves.

At the age of twenty, my older daughter was asked to speak to a group of teenage girls in Oklahoma. Of my two children she is the shy one. With horror on her face, she told me she was certain God was telling her to say yes. I cannot express to you how far outside her comfort zone this was at the time.

The butterflies never left her stomach from the time of the invitation until the day of the conference. What emotion flooded my heart as I put her on that plane to go speak-instead of the other way around. Contrary to her worst fears, she lived through it! And the young women received a sound message from the Word...even if the voice was a little shaky here and there.

The next morning she called me with such a tender heart, her voice cracking, and said, "Mom, I just had my time with the Lord....and He was so....sweet."

I knew exactly what she was talking about. I said, "Oh, my precious child, you have just experienced that which would be worth selling all your earthly possessions to gain, and yet it's a gift of grace: divine approval. The smiling nod of God. Nothing like it."

With the slightest whisper, my very humble, gentle child said, "Yes."
I'm fighting back tears at the thought. You see, this act of obedience was terribly difficult for her. She could have provided a list of other students, but she didn't. In effect she said, "All I have is this pitiful handful of fish and loaves," and Jesus said, "Bring them to me." When all was said and done, she wasn't sure what the girls had received, but God had given her bread from His Word and she had distributed it the best she knew how.

Amanda was glad to have survived...but imagine her surprise when she didn't just survive. The next morning as she sat before the Lord, He handed her a basketful of leftovers. She had been willing to be a disciple. A learner. A novice. He would not have dreamed of leaving her empty-handed.

You either, my friend. It's not His style.
Praying God's Word Today

Father, You have multiplied Your grace and peace to us through the knowledge of You and of Jesus our Lord. For Your divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness. By Your own glory and goodness, You have given us very great and precious promises, so that through them we may share in Your divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires (2 Peter 1:2-4). Hallelujah, praise the Lamb! In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Hot and Cold

Day 43

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 16:13-23

Stop and Consider

Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him,
"Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You" (v. 22).


What are some things about Jesus' teaching that you sometimes find very, very difficult to swallow? How have you reacted to these things throughout your life with Him?

Why did Jesus choose for His way to be frequently offensive to our natural inclinations


Try to picture Peter saying something like, "Jesus, can I see You just a minute right over here? Excuse me, brothers. We'll be right back," then commencing his rebuke of the "Son of the living God." In my opinion, Peter the rock was pretty fortunate he didn't get thrown into the nearest lake! A couple of thoughts surface as I look at this interchange:

1) One minute we can be so "on target" and the next minute so "off." Without a doubt, some of my better moments preceded my worst disasters. How about you? I mean, one moment Peter made a statement that Christ said could only have been revealed to him by the Father. The next thing we know he's made a statement Christ attributed to the devil. One minute a rock--the next minute a stumbling block. Whew! What a frightening thought! How on guard we must be.

I keep looking at Peter's words: "This shall never happen to you!" (Matt. 16:22). I wonder, based on Christ's response to him, if in Peter's heart he might have been thinking: "This shall never happen to me! I've given up everything to follow You! You can't go dying on us here! We've got a kingdom to build!" Peter didn't understand that Christ's suffering and death were the means by which He would indeed secure the kingdom.

2) All Satan needs to have momentary victory over a disciple is for us to have in mind the things of men. Satan doesn't have to get us blatantly thinking satanic thoughts to have victory over us. All he needs is to get us looking at life from man's perspective rather than God's. But if we surrender our minds to the things of God, we are safe! We don't have to constantly look out for our own best interest, because He's constantly looking out for them. What Peter didn't understand is that what may have seemed best in the short run would have been disastrous in the long run. Had Jesus saved His disciples the anxiety of His betrayal, trials, and death, He wouldn't have saved them at all.

On this earth I don't know that we will ever perpetually have in mind the things of God rather than the things of man. But if we don't make the deliberate choice to have in mind the things of God when faced with our biggest challenges, most of us will probably default back to our natural instinct---the things of man.

Praying God's Word Today

O Lord, You have warned us in Your Word, "Whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). Help me remember that my ways will always lead me toward danger and death, but Your ways will lead to life and peace. Truly, as heaven is highter than the earth, so are Your ways higher than our ways and Your thoughts than our thoughts (Isa. 55:9).


Study By: Beth Moore



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Daily Denial

Day 44

Before You Begin

Read Luke 9:23-27

Stop and Consider

He said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me,
he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (v.23).


What are some of the "daily" things in your life that need to be denied---over and over again---if you're going to be able to follow Christ?


Why does He require such "daily" obedience? What would be different about Christianity if all we were asked to do was to "set it and forget it"?


Don't miss the fact that Peter was invited to "follow" Jesus even after the horrible faux pas of rebuking His Master. I am intrigued that Peter actually heard this invitation three times before Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father: once in Matthew 4:19, again in this passage, and finally in John 21:19. It's almost as if he were getting a crash course in Follow 101, Follow 202, and Follow 303. The first one was to follow Him as a disciple. The second one was to follow Him with a cross. The third one was to follow Him to death. Not coincidentally, tradition teaches that Peter indeed ended up following Christ to the death....on a cross.

In Christ's invitation I see two key concepts: denying self and taking up the cross daily. Those who accept this invitation are called to deny themselves. I don't believe Christ was talking about the things we typically consider self-denial. The issue here wasn't fasting from food, nor was it denying self a single extra. It wasn't about self-loathing either, because Christ commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. I believe the primary issue involved in this kind of self-denial is denying our right to be our own authority.

This passage brings us to the sobering realization that what we might think of as being under our own authority---having in mind the things of men---could easily be transferred to Satan's authority. I've learned the hard way that denying my right to be my own boss is what keeps me from getting slaughtered by Satan in warfare. Let's face it: this "by-your-own-boss" stuff is nothing but a myth.

But the second concept is just as vital: the key to true "follow-ship" with Christ is the recommitment to take up the cross daily. One reason I am drawn to Luke's version of this invitation over Matthew's is because he includes that all-important word--daily.

In my opinion, Dr. Luke wrote the prescription for the victorious life, and he wrote it for all of us who would desire to become Christ disciple: live life one surrendered day at a time. Eyes to the East. hands to the cross. Feet to the path.

Praying God's Word Today

Lord God, it is written in Your Word, "Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered." And yet in all these things, we are more than victorious through You, the One who loves us (Rom. 8:36-37). Losing to gain. Thank You that none of our sacrifices are truly sacrificial when seen against the abundance of Your grace and sovereignty. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Who Is This Man?

Day 45

Before You Begin

Read Luke 9:28-36

Stop and Consider

Peter and those who were with him were in a deep sleep,
and when they became fully awake, they saw His glory (v. 32)


Why would Jesus choose a mountain as the ideal spot for Him to reveal His glory to His closest friends?


At what points and places in your life has He made His glory know to you...in ways that were indescribably real and inforgettable?


God has often chosen to unveil His glory on the top of a mountain. In Exodus, He beckoned His servant Moses to climb the mount and see His glory. Elijah also had a mountaintop view of the greatness of God. So when Christ summoned Peter, James, and John to the top of a certain mountain, there was precedent for it, yet they could never have imagined what awaited them. I think we can rest assured, though, that it was worth the climb.

They saw His glory!

When was the last time you saw Christ transfigured before you? We grow comfortable with the Christ we know. Then suddenly He shatters the box we've put Him in, leaving us asking, "Who is this man?" Christ reserves the right to bring us to places that force us to ask that question again. At those times, if we're willing, Christ will show us a glimpse of His glory, and we will be changed as He transfigures Himself before us.

Jesus regularly seeks to readjust our vision of Him. And I believe the more we are willing to receive from Him, the more He is willing to reveal to us. I think the reason Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountain was because they were willing to receive greater revelation. How blessed we truly are when we have eyes that are willing to see and ears that are willing to hear. In the words of Jesus: "Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him" (Matt. 13:12).

How blessed we are when we want to see Him. How blessed we are when we begin to make our chief cry to Him, "Lord, I want to know You. I want to know the reality of You. I want to know who You really are. Shatter my present perspective and show me the reality of You."

We are a direct by-product of who we believe and who we see Christ to be. I believe He blesses the prayer, "Father, daily show me the reality, the greater reality of Your Son Jesus Christ. Transfigure Him before my very eyes, and then give me the courage to adjust my life to what I see."
Praying God's Word Today

O Lord my God, You are very great, clothed with majesty and splendor. You wrap Yourself in light as if it were a robe, spreading out the sky like a canopy, laying the beams of Your palace on the waters above, making the clouds Your chariot, walking on the wings of the wind, and making the wind Your messengers, flames of fire Your servants (Ps. 104:1-4). O my soul, praise the Lord! In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Assurance of Mystery

Day 46

Before You Begin

Read Colossians 2:1-7

Stop and Consider

I wnat their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love,
so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding,
and have the knowledge of God's mystery--Christ (v.2).


What are some things you absolutely know about Jesus?

But what are some things about Him that are still shrouded in "mystery"?

I want you to consider two words for "knowledge" in these verses from Paul's letter to the Colossians. They help us learn something very significant about Christ and about our relationship with Him. The word "knowledge" in verse 2 comes from a wonderful word in the Greek language, epiginostos. It means a recognition of who Christ is, with particular emphasis on how this relationship requires participation on the part of the learner. It defines somewhat the security that's found in relationship with Him. Paul saying, "I want these people to be secure, to have full assurance in their knowledge of Christ."

Now let me point you to the second word for "knowledge," which appears in verse 3: "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." This word for "knowledge" is a different word entirely. It is a word that means "present and fragmentary knowledge." Now hang with me a second, because I think this will thrill you. What Paul is saying is that God is the fullness of all security and mystery. He meets all our emotional needs as well as all our mental needs.

Something in each of us just loves a relationship that is both secure and mysterious all at the same time. Let me give you a very personal example:

My relationship with Keith is my most personal earthly relationship. I love knowing that I have security--full assurance---in my relationship with my husband. I believe I can tell you, after many, many years of marriage, that I know this man.

But I remember a time when a friend of mine saw my husband having lunch with another woman. She saw that Keith was fairly affectionate with her. He often toucher her in a tender way. He even put his arm around her as they walked out of the restaurant.

Well, this sight troubled my friend. But when I found out from her that she had seen him with another woman, I said, "I want to tell you something. I don't know what the explanation is, but I can tell you right now, it isn't what you're thinking."

How fun it was for me when Keith came in later that day and said, "You know who I had lunch with today? Tina. We had the neatest time together."
(Tina, by the way, is my husband's little sister.)

Now I'm not telling you that something bad could never happen to my marriage. However, I have assurance in him and our relationship. For Keith to cheat on me would be so out of character for him, it would never enter my mind.

In fact, I don't know how in the world I could be this blessed, but I don't think I have lived a day of my married life that my husband hasn't told me at least once---maybe even two or three times---how much he loves me. He'll pck up the phone in the course of a very busy, very difficult day and say, "I love you," even if he only has fifteen seconds and then hangs up the phone without saying good-bye. I know at this point in my life that I have security in my relationship with my husband.

Yet not too long ago, I was sitting in the company of some of our friends, and my husband began telling them a story. I watched his almost childlike face. He was so animated! It was a story about a fish fry he had given for his fraternity in college. (We had gone to the same school together; that's where we met and fell in love.)

In recalling this event, Keith said, "I told them all that I was going to have a big fish fry and that we'd have all the fish we could eat." But he ran out of time before he could go out fishing. So he went to the federal game reserve on that campus---which was very well guarded---and did his fishing there.

Now I realize this was illegal, but it was twenty-two years ago and fortunately the statue of limitations has expired.

I want to tell you something, though. As I was watching Keith reminisce that story, I just fell in love with him all over again. When we got in the car to drive home, I laughed and said, "I've never heard that story before!" It was so cute hearing him tell it.

You know what thrills me? Even after all these years, I am still discovering things about my man. I have security in him---yes---but if I had security and no mystery, that wouldn't be any fun, would it? And if all I had was mystery, where would the security be? But in my husband, I have both security and mystery.

Don't you just love how Jesus meets our emotional and mental needs? He said, "You have knowledge of Me with security, with full assurance, in relationship with who I am. But you also have constant mystery as I give You these little fragments of knowledge one at a time to open your eyes to My greatness."

Jesus has taught us so much about Himself. There is so much we can be absolutely sure of. But we will never learn it all while we're here. No matter how often we seek Him, we will always be stunned by His greatness.


What would relationship with Christ be like without security? What would it be like without mystery? How glad are you that He has chosen to give us both?

Praying God's Word Today

I consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing You, Jesus, as my Lord (Phil. 3:8). This is eternal life: that I may know You (John 17:3). May You even today surprise me with something I've never known about You before, not so I can gloat or experience some thrill. I just want to know You better and love You more. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Out of your Element

Day 47

Before you Begin

REad Mark 7:31-36

Stop and Consider

They brought to Him a deaf man who also had a speech difficulty, and begged Jesus to lay His hand on him. So He took him away from the crowd privately (vv. 32-33).

Has the Lord ever rearranged your surroundings on you, taking you away from where you've been? A move? A new job? A new circumstance you didn't ask for?

What do you think His purpose was in doing that? What was He trying to teach you?

Sometimes when Jesus is about to do something really special in our lives, He will rearrange our surroundings. He will take us out of our element, just as He took this deaf man "away from the crowd" to give him a new perspective on God's glory and power.

This reminds me of a time when our daughter Amanda had begun dating a young man. They were just getting to know one another. It was that exciting stage of dating life when everything about this other person is fresh and new and interesting.

They were walking through a shopping mall together, and he turned to her and said, "I want so much to know you, Amanda. And I want you to know me. I want you to know what I love." He began describing to her how much he enjoyed mountain climbing and camping, just being out in the wild---a whole world away from anything that's the norm of everyday life. He went on and on about what it meant to him to be out in the middle of nowhere and to sense nature all around him.

"I'd say that's my element," he concluded. "What's yours?" She looked around the mall and motioned to the lights, sounds, and stores that enveloped her. "This is my element." She was dead serious. When she told me about it later, I had to go to my room, shut the door, and fall on the bed laughing. I thought, "Yep, that's her element, all right. She got it honest. Her mother raised her in it."

It's true. I remember how disappointed I was when I figured out that my spiritual gift wasn't shopping at the mall, as I had originally thought. After becoming a serious believer and trying to recognize what my gifts were, I discovered that "fashion" wasn't even on the list of biblical attributes. My theory was blown.

Instead, the Lord was calling me out of my element, growing in me the spiritual gift of love for the body of Christ. But to do that, He needed me in a new set of surroundings, out where He could show me that even if we speak with the tongues of angels, if we don't have love, we may as well be clanging brass.

Until He has us out of our element---and into His---we will never see his glory. We will always be deaf to what He was trying to say.

Praying God's Word Today


Lord, I pray that You would help me learn to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Phil. 4:12). For if I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me (Ps. 139:9-10). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore



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We Tried, But We Couldn't

Day 48

Before You Begin

Read Mark 9:14-18

Stop and Consider

I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn't (v. 18).


When you find yourself unable to accomplish much---spiritually speaking---what do you identify as the usual suspects, the usual reasons why?


If you could be as victorious and consistent as you'd like to be, what would you most like to accomplish for the kingdom?

We are often empowered to do far more than we exercise. In Luke 9:1 we read that Jesus gave the disciples "power and authority to drive out all demons." Had He taken it back? No, they still possessed the power but were unable to exercise it for some reason. What in the world happen to disable them? Let's explore a couple of possibilities.

1) Their most positive influences were absent. Keep in mind that not only was Christ out of sight, but so were the three leaders of the disciples. In moments like these, we learn where our confidence is. If we have boldness when certain empowered believers are close by, but we lose it in their absence, could it be that we've been sipping out of their power shaker of faith instead of filling our own? We'll never discover our strength in the power of God if we keep drawing off another's.

2) Their strongest negative influences were present. The presence of the teachers of the law must have been terribly intimidating to these comparatively uneducated men. You and I aren't always surrounded by faith-encouragers either. But we can't afford to wait for all the atmospheric conditions to be right before we act on the power of God. In fact, I think God is teaching us that the worst conditions can often provide the best atmosphere to act in faith. He doesn't want our confidence regulated by our audience. If faith-discouragers can shake our confidence badly enough to disable us, our confidence may be in ourselves instead of God.

I remember a time when a critical letter from a seminary graduate shook my confidence. As I read the list of mistakes she was pointing out, I started thinking, "She's right! What in the world do I think I'm doing? I have no formal theological education. I shouldn't even be doing this!" But God reminded me during the following days that I was exactly right: I shouldn't be doing this. This ministry is God's. If my confidence is in myself, I'm in big trouble. God also assured me that I will always make mistakes, but they will serve as reminders to my readers never to think more highly of this teacher than they ought. Only One can be taken as His every word.


Praying God's Word Today


Lord, I know we carry the treasure of Your presence in clay jars, in order that whatever power dwells within us will be seen to be Yours, not ours (2 Cor. 4:7). So thank You, Lord Jesus, for choosing to be powerful in us. You were crucified in weakness, but You live by God's power. We also are weak in You, and yet we live by Your power as we serve others in Your name (2 Cor. 13:3-4). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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If I Can?

Day 49

Before You Begin

Read Mark 9:19-29

Stop and Consider

Many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destory him.
But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us (v. 22).


Few of us would be so bold as to ask Christ to His face "if" He was able to do something. But how do we say the same thing to Him with our actions and attitudes?


What do you think Jesus does with our "if you can" questions?



After nearly four decades of knowing Christ, I am only beginning to realize the magnitude of the sin of unbelief. The word "unbelieving" in vers 19 means "not worthy of confidence, untrustworthy." This definition implies that when we are faithless, we are concluding that Christ is not worthy of our confidence, that He is... (I can hardly bring myself to write the word)....untrustworthy. The disciples' unbelief was their willingness to let the temperature of their faith rise and fall according to their surrounding dynamics rather than God's steadfast Word. The characteristic cause of all spiritual failure is lack of faith in God.

But the disciples weren't the only ones having a crisis of faith here. The boy's father had been through a lot watching his son suffer. He frequently feared for his son's life. We can sympathize with the despair he felt. But unfortunately, like many people, he was far more familiar with the power of the devil than the power of the Son of God.

Even in our churches, many are learning more about the power of the devil than the omnipotence of the living God! Like the father in this passage, many do not understand that surrounding dynamics, like the length and depth of defeat, have absolutely no bearing on Christ's ability to perform a miracle. Hear it again: no bearing.

Consider the dynamics of length and depth in our text today. We know from the father's response to Jesus' question that his son has suffered since childhood (Mark 9:21). Now, the reason Jesus asked how long the boy had been in his present state wasn't because the answer had a bearing on Christ's ability to free him. He asked the question for the purpose of framing a miracle against the backdrop of hopelessness. Then the father, after stating the hopelessness of the boy's condition, made a statement that probably provokes a host of emotions in each of us: "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us" (Mark 9:22). I'd like to break down this phrase into several pieces, then consider Christ's response.
  • "But..." This one little word suggests the tiniest mustard seed of faith in the father--- a seed Christ compassiontely watered. I am continually moved by Christ's willingness not just to meet us halfway but, like the father of the prodigal, to run the entire distance once we take the first step in His direction. The Word of God is filled with accounts of hopeless situations followed by that wonderful little word: "but..."! Because of His great compassion, sometimes that little whisper is all the invitation Jesus needs to show His power.
  • "If You can." Christ took exception to the father's use of the word "if," because when an action is consistent with the Word of God, the question is never if He can. It may be if He wills, but never if He can. When those who have access to Christ experience long-term defeat in their lives, it is often wrapped up in a continued "if You can" mentality. We who know Christ must always answer with a resounding: "Nothing is too hard for Him!"
In at least one way, you and I can't claim the ignorance of the father in this story. We assume he didn't know Christ personally. So Jesus didn't reprove the father the same way He reproved the disciples. Like them, you and I know Christ Jesus as far more than a teacher rumored to possess supernatural power. We call Him Lord. Consider the irony of addressing Him as Master of the universe, then asking Him to come to our aid---if He can. Notice the next words from the distraught dad:
  • "If You can do anything." Constrast the two words from mark 9 for a moment: "anything: (v.22) and "everything" (v.23). Dear one, Christ can't just do anything. Christ can do everything! Stop wondering if Christ can do "anything" in your situation, and start believing Him to do "everything" glorious!
Immediately the father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief" (v. 24). I can't descibe the encouragement this father's honesty has given me through the years. First he cried out, "I do believe!" Then he confessed his unbelief. I believe the father changed his tune because he was looking straight into the face of truth. The closer we get to Jesus, the more difficult it is to stretch the truth.

The wonderful part of the father's exclamation is his realization that, although he lacked faith, he wanted to believe! Then he did exactly what he should have done: he asked for help to overcome his unbelief.

I can't count the times I've imitated this father's actions. In my earlier days with God, I viewed faith as my willingness to make a believing statement with my mouth rather than face the questions of my heart. If only I had understood how Romans 10:10 reverses that order: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

It's time for a dramatic change of approach. If we don't have bold faith, let's start asking boldly for the faith we lack. Imagine the love of a God who says, "It's true that without faith it is impossible to please Me. But I am so anxious to reward you with blessing, I'm even willing to supply the faith you lack. ASK ME, MY CHILD! ASK ME for what you lack! I am the only One who can help you overcome your unbelief!"

What do You need His help believing Him for today?


Praying God's Word Today


Lord Jesus, I love You, even though I haven't seen You. And though not seeing You now, I choose to believe in You, rejoicing with inexpressible and glorious joy because I know I am receiving the goal of my faith, the salvation of my soul (I Peter 1:8-10). Therefore, may I--like Moses---leave Egypt behind and persevere as one who sees Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study By: Beth Moore


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Great Questions

Day 50

Before You Begin

Read Luke 9:46-48

Stop and Consider

An argument started among them about who would be the greatest of them (v. 46).

Is it a good thing or a bod thing to have a desire for greatness within us? Should we be suspicious of its mere presence?

Why does it not seem to be enough for us to achieve success unless we're outdistancing someone else's success?


The latter part of Luke 9 contains several seemingly disjointed snapshots of the disciples. First we see Jesus attempting to penetrate their thick skulls with the message of His soon-coming suffering and death. "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men" (v.44). Hard to make it much clearer than that, wouldn't you say? But we read that the Twelve didn't understand, and that they were afraid to ask Jesus what He meant. Instead, an argument broke out among them about which of them would be greatest. Can you imagine?

Of course we can. We are not much unlike Christ's original disciples. They thought their argument had been a private matter, but Christ knew their thoughts, just as He does ours. We may never have argued with someone openly about our own greatness, but Christ knows our hearts, as well as the attitudes that inhabit them. He knows our society thrives on ambition. And He knows that if we're not extremely discerning, we will bring these same ambitions into the church. He knows our bigger hindrance to greatness as Christains is our desire to be great.

Don't miss the contrast of Christ and His disciples at this point in His earthly tenure. Christ was on the road to greatness, but His road would take Him through betrayal, rejection, suffering, and death. Philippians 2:6-8 tells us Jesus "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness....He humbled himself and became obedient to death---even death on a cross."

How different this is from our own chosen path to greatness. And yet the Scripture uses Christ's model to urge us not to grow weary and lose heart, since Jesus "endured the cross, scorning its shame" for the "joy set before him" (Heb. 12:2-3). He "tasted death" on our behalf. God the Father chose to "make the author of (our) salvation perfect through suffering" (Heb. 2:9-10).

Don't be confused by the idea that the "author of our salvation" became perfect through suffering. He was always perfect in terms of sinlessness. The word "perfect" in this verse is teleioo, meaning "to complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal." Christ reached the goal (our salvation and His exaltation) through suffering. His road to greatness was a rocky one. A painful one. He knew it in advance, and yet He set His face resolutely toward the goal and accomplished it for all time. Simply put, we were worth it to Him.

And no matter how resistant we may be to this call, our road to true greatness will be the same as His---the highway of humility. At times it too will involve suffering, rejection, betrayal, and, yes, even death---to self. The question becomes, "Is He worth it to us?"

Without a doubt, one of the primary works God has sought to accomplish in me is to help me get over myself. The process has been excruciating and will no doubt be lifelong, but I have never been more thankful for any work in my life. I know no other way to say it: God finally got me to a place where I made myself sick. Oh, I still get plenty of glances of my self-centeredness, but never without a good wave of nausea. God and I now have a term for it in our prayer time. Don't expect something deeply intellectual or theological. We just call it my "self-stuff." Almost every day I ask God to help me address any active "self-stuff" and nail it to the cross. I literally name anything He brings to mind and look it straight in the face, even if it makes me cry. The following terms fall under the category of "self-stuff." Give them a good look:
  • self-exaltation, self-protection,
  • self-righteousness, self-will,
  • self-loathing, self-worship,
  • self-serving, self-promotion,
  • self-indulgence, self-absorption,
  • self-delusion, self-pity, self-sufficiency.
Did I leave anything out? Is that some stuff, or what? If you think of others, by all means, add them to my list. Self, self, self! May it be enough to make a "self" sick! Here's the big lie: Satan has convinced us that putting down our self-stuff is some huge sacrifice. Oh, beloved, what deception! Our self-stuff is what makes us most miserable! What an albatross our self-absorption is.

I cannot stress strongly enough that getting over the self-stuff is a daily challenge. As long as we inhabit this tent of flesh, it will rise up in us. We must choose to "deny (ourselves) and take up (our) cross daily" (Luke 9:23). The challenge demands total honesty before God. Remember He never convicts us to condemn us. He wants to liberate us. Oh, God, so deal with self in each of us that when You read our thoughts, You will find stronger and stronger evidences of Your own.



Define a biblical view of greatness. How should it look on you? What must it be sure not to consist of?


Praying God's Word Today

Lord, You have told us in Your Word to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another, because You resist the proud but give grace to the humble. Help me then, I pray, to humble myself under Your mighty hand, so that You may exalt me in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Blasted Unbelievers

Day 51

Before You Begin

Read Luke 9:51-56

Stop and Consider

When the disciples James and John saw this,they said, "Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" (v.54).

Try to describe spiritual pride in its most awful terms. What does it look like in others? What does it look like in you?


Gauge your heart right now for the lost and unbelieving. What would it take to quicken in you an urgency for sharing Christ and grieving over others' souls?


James and John remind me of two little boys holding their popguns, jumping up and down, pleading: "Let me shoot! Let me! Let me!" The difference is, this was no game. They wanted to call down the fire of God. They were eagerly asking for permission to be agents of massive, irreversible destruction.

Nothing is more permanent or terrifying than the destruction of the lost. We ought to be scared to death to wish such a thing on anyone. Eternity is a long time. So even when punishment comes to the terribly wicked, we are wise to remember with deep sobriety, humility, and thankfulness that only grace saves us from a like sentence.

We know this world is filled with wickedness. As Christ's present-day disciples, we will no doubt be offended when people reject the Savior the way the Samaritan village did on this day. God's desire, however, is for us to pray for His mercy, for His Holy spirit's conviction, and for their repentance rather than their judgment. Christ said even of those who hammered the nails into His flesh, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

God is indeed the righteous Judge. When Christ returns, those who rejected Him will literally cry to the mountains, "Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'" (Luke 23:30). Judgment is coming, but may the thought of it cause us to weep, plead, and pray. Never boast about being saved while others are not. Only one thing stands between us and the lost: a blood-stained cross.

Dear one, I know this may be coming across to you as quite harsh. But please know that this message was written with such love. I have been the worst of transgressors in so many ways. No matter how common these attitudes are, they are terribly offensive to Christ. May we humble ourselves before Him, repent, and daily choose to lay down the albatross of our own egos.

Oh, God, give us a longing---not for the sin of this world to be judged---but for the sinners of this world to be forgiven.


Praying God's Word Today
O Lord, help me have a righteous fear of You as I read Your Word that says, "Do not judge, so that you won't be judged" (Matt. 7:1). Instead, may I (as Paul did) feel the pains of childbirth for others until Christ is formed in them (Gal. 4:19). May I walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the time. May my speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer each person (Col. 4:5-6). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study By: Beth Moore


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Hey, It's Not Me

Day 52

Before You Begin

Read Luke 10:1-16

Stop and Consider

Whoever listens to you listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me.
And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who send Me (v. 16).


In what ways do you experience rejection or disapproval because of your relationship with Jesus Christ?


What are some of the hardest parts of this to deal with? Why is being misunderstood such a normal place for Christians to be?

This concept Jesus taught in verse 16 is something else I love so much about Him. In many ways, He says to those who belongs to Him and who seek to do His will: "Don't take rejection personally. Let me take it for you."

We see this principle at work in Acts 9. Saul set out to persecute Christians, but Jesus came along and knocked him off his donkey. "Falling to the ground, (Saul) heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4). Beloved, can you accept that Christ takes very personally the unfair things that happen to you? Consider a couple of reasons why we are wise to let Christ assume our rejections:

1) Only Christ can take rejection without being personally incapacitated or hindered by it. Who can begin to estimate the mileage Satan gets from rejection? We have an overwhelming tendency to take it personally. From a bit of rejection Satan can get anything from a mile of discouragement to a thousand miles of despair. But Christ says to us, "Let Me take it personally for you. It can hurt Me, but it can't hinder Me." David had it right when he wrote, "Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid" (Ps. 35:1-2).

2) Only Christ can properly respond to rejection. We are often powerless to do anything about it. In fact, our attempts at responding to it often make the situation worse. We don't fully understand what lies at the heart of rejection. We cannot judge another person's intention or motive. But Romans 2:2 assures us that "God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth."

I love to hear Keith say, "Elizabeth, let me worry about that." In essence, Christ says the same thing to us. If we suffer rejection, let Him worry about it. Let Him take it personally so we don't have to. Besides, even Jesus has Someone to shield Him from the blow of rejection. Take one last look at Luke 10:16. "He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me, but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Trust His big shoulders, beloved , to be strong enough to take whatever others dish out.


Praying God's Word Today


Lord Jesus, as uncomfortable as it can sometimes be, I must take You at Your Word: I am blessed when people insult me and persecute me and falsely say every kind of evil against me because of You (Matt. 5:11). The person who rejects Your truth does not reject man, but You, Lord, who have given us Your Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 4:8). May I live with this understanding, even when it hurts. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study By: Beth Moore



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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Watch Me Dance

Day 53

Before You Begin

Read Luke 10:17-24

Stop and Consider

In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (v. 21).


How much fun is it to see Jesus enthusiastically worshiping with His disciples? How does that square with your view of Him and His public demeanor?


How much a part of your life is worship and spiritual celebration?


Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples to teach and heal, instructing them to "ask the Lord of the harvest....to send out workers" into His harvest field (Luke 10:2). He sent these disciples out "two by two." The original language phrase for this is ana duo.

I love the fact that Christ sanctions companionship in the work of the gospel! The point is not the magic number of "two" (as opposed to three or four). The point is simply togetherness. Exceptions to this exist, of course, when we are called to stand alone, but the standard rule of our lives in Christ is far more often the fellowship, protection, accountability, and double dividends of joint service.

I can hardly describe the joy my coworkers in the gospel bring me. My best friend and I met each other by serving together in Mother's Day Out over twenty years ago. God called us to work ana duo, and we've been a duo ever since! Few things can add to our lives like the fellowship of serving together. I didn't want you to miss that point in this passage.

But today, I want to look more carefully at what happened when the seventy-two returned, rejoicing with something that resembled amazement. In verse 17 they essentially said, "Wow! It happened just like You said it would. Jesus! Even the demons were subject to us in Your name! What a rush!"

Sandwiched between expressions of jubilation, Christ took a quick moment to remind them that they had a greater motivation for rejoicing than this: their names were written in heaven. So although we see Him celebrate their victories, we also see Him teaching them to base their joy on something far more reliable than accomplishments and abilities. He wanted them---and he wants us---to understand that the greatest cause we have for joy is not what we do but who we are. We are children of the eternal El Elyon. Our names are recorded in heaven. We are very wise to find our joy in who we are because of Him, rather than what we can do because of Him.

But now let's enjoy these two awesome moments of celebration. Verse 21 tells us Jesus was "full of joy through the Holy Spirit." Here's a place where the original language is so much fun. In verse 17, the word for the joy of the disciples is chara, meaning essentially what you'd assume: "rejoicing" and "gladness." The word switches in verse 21, however, to a far more intense original word. The word for Jesus' joy is agalliao, meaning "to exult, leap for joy, to show one's joy by leaping and skipping, denoting excessive or ecstatic joy and delight." In the Septuagint of the Psalm, this idea often spoke of "rejoicing with song and dance."

Someone may ask, "Do you expect me to believe Christ jumped up and down with ecstatic joy?" I don't have one bit of trouble believing it!

"Could the word simply mean He rejoiced in His heart?" Possibly, but the essence of the word agalliaois what happens when the word chara gets physical! You may apply it either way, but I prefer to jump up and down with Jesus. With all my heart, I believe Christ Jesus was and is demonstrative.

But what would cause Jesus to leap with ecstatic joy in this scene (whether physically or internally)? At least two catalysts for colossal joy appear in these verses:

1) Satan's defeat. "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (v. 18). According to Revelation 12:10-12, Satan was cast out of heaven for pride, rebellion, and his desire to usurp the Most High (see also Ezek. 28:16-17; Isa. 14:12-13). At the risk of oversimplification, Satan has attempted to get back at God ever since by targeting those He loves.

But we who are in Christ possess the power through God's Word and His Spirit to avoid being defeated by the evil one. Problem is, we don't always exercise that power. The disciples in Luke 10 did. They exercised the authority He had given them, and Christ was ecstatic! At the end of the contest, the scoreboard read: Believers 72, Satan 0. That was a score Jesus could have spilled His popcorn over! When was the last time you got excited over the defeat of the devil? Notice, too, the other side of the equation:

2) The servants' victory. "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and have revealed them to little children" (v. 21). You see, the wise and learned of this world are often too sophisticated to throw caution to the wind and believe they're capable of doing something they've never thought possible. If we stay in our neat little perimeters of safe sophistication where we walk by sight and not by faith, we'll never have room to leap and skip with Jesus in ecstatic joy.

Oh, beloved, give Him a chance to leap and dance over you! Dare to do what He's calling you to do! And don't always be so reasonable. I have a feeling there's one thing Christ likes better than leaping and skipping and dancing over you. How about with you? When you hear that victory music playing, get up out of that chair and shake a leg.


We all have things that get us excited. But are they the same things that get Jesus excited? What kind of kingdom celebrations should really jazz our spirits?


Praying God's Word Today

Lord, this Scripture passage helps me see so much of You in David, the "man after Your own heart," who danced before You with all His might (2 Sam. 6:14). My heart echoes his words today in celebrating "how happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!...Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart" (Ps. 32:1; 11). Hallelujah!!! In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore



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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Do you Really Want to Know?

Day 54

Before You Begin

Read Luke 10:25-37

Stop and Consider

Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (v. 25)


What are some of the religious questions you hear people asking today? What is most often misunderstood about the ways of Christ and the reality of faith in Him?


What would you say to someone who believes a good life is the true roadmap to heaven?



Scripture describes Jesus' questioner as an expert in the law. His job was to interpret the law of Moses the way modern lawyers interpret the constitution. He considered himself such an expert that he intended to make Jesus look foolish. The problem is, you can't find a subject on which Christ isn't the ultimate expert. The expert in the law didn't know that Christ knew the drill far better than he did.

So Jesus responded to him with a question that means little to us but was very familiar to the lawyer. He asked, "How do you read it?" This question was used constantly among scribes and lawyers. One would ask the other his interpretation on a certain matter. Before he would give his answer, he would say, "How do you read it?" This way, the one who asked the question ended up having to "go first."

(Of course, you and I know what the scribe didn't know. Christ not only wrote the law, He came to fulfill it. The resident expert in the law was way over his head when he threw a pop quiz at the author of the Book.)

Being forced to "go first," the legal mind delivered the correct answer according to Old Testament law: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27). The conversation could have stopped when Jesus said, "Do this and you will live" (v. 28). Instead, the lawyer had to ask one more question: "And who is my neighbor?" (v. 29).

Do you hear a change in tone? The man wanted to justify himself---to show himself righteous---but why? Who said he wasn't? Christ didn't say a single condemning word to him. Jesus simply told him his answer was correct and to go live his answer.

But the man couldn't let the matter go. In Christ's presence, the lawyer felt condemned by his own words. He knew God intended for His people to help those in need. So the lawyer attempted to justify himself by splitting hairs with his definition of a neighbor. His immediate defense mechanism was to try to start an argument. Not an unfamiliar tactic, is it? We've all been experts at that one?

Jesus answered the man's question with one of the most repeated storied in the New Testament, telling of a priest and a Levite on their way home to Jericho from Jerusalem who both ignored a man that had been beaten and robbed along the road. But the irony in their unwillingness to help would have been more obvious to the lawyer than to us. He would have quickly understood that they were on their way home from the most important life work they would ever do---performing their brief tenure of service in the temple. We would expect that at no time would they have been more humbled, grateful, or willing to meet someone's needs. But that's not what happened. In fact, both the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side.

The words of the law in Exodus 23 make the actions of the priest and Levite even more incriminating. Moses wrote, "If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it" (vv.4-5).

Don't you praise God, though, for the third passerby in the scene? Our common name for this parable would have been an oxymoron to many Jews of that era. Most would have believed there was no such thing as a "good" Samaritan. They were considered little more than mongrels. Half-breed dogs. That's precisely why Christ interjected the Samaritan into the play.

Scripture tells us the Samaritan saw the man and took pity on him. You would think that at least the priest and the Levite would have done the right thing because of their positions, even if they felt the wrong thing. In sharp contrast, the Samaritan came upon the scene with no obligation whatsoever, and everything within him was deeply moved with compassion. He didn't just do what was right. He felt it.

Sometimes good at its best is when the law of the heart eclipses the law of the land. Stepping across a boundary to help is sometimes our first introduction to the commonality of humanity on the other side. Offering help in a time of need can be the first step to overcoming God-dishonoring prejudice.

Don't forget the reason Jesus told the story. Whom did He say was our neighbor? I am reminded of an Old Testament verse that describes a neighbor at Passover. Because all of the lamb was required to be consumed at the Passover observance, Exodus 12 explains that a family was to share with their nearest neighbor if their household was too small for a whole lamb.

From Jesus' parable we can see that our neighbor is the person with a need---the broken one. In terms of Exodus 12, our neighbor is one with whom we can share the Lamb. As people who have been passed over by the angel of death, we are called to share the Lamb.



What justifications have you used to avoid caring for a particular person or class of people that you don't really like to be around?

Praying God's Word Today


Father, I hear again Your admonition that says, "When it is in your power, don't withhold good from the one to whom it is due. Don't say to your neighbor, 'Go away! Come back later. I'll give it tomorrow'--when it is there with you" (Prov. 3:27-28). May I not owe anyone anything except my love, for as You have said, "The one who loves another has fulfilled the law" (Rom. 13:8). This is the kind of person I want You to create in me. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study By: Beth Moore



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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Good and Best

Day 55

Before You Begin

Read Luke 10:38-42

Stop and Consider

The Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her" (vv. 41-42).


Are you the type of person who's often "worried and upset"? What preoccupations and obligations keep you feeling that way?


What would become of Marys if not for Marthas? And to Marthas if not for Marys?


This passage is not a contrast between good and bad. It's a contrast between good and better. Martha was a good woman. Jesus loved her very much, apron and all, as confirmed in John 11:5---"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." Her joy and satisfaction, however, were sacrificed on the altar of self-appointed service. Recognizing Martha's positives and negatives, let's explore some applications together.

1) Martha opened her home, but Mary opened her heart (vv. 38-39). Don't miss the fact that Martha opened her home to Jesus. Not Lazarus, the head of the house. Nor Mary, the depth of the house. It was the "hands" of the house that invited Jesus in. Otherwise, Mary wouldn't have had a set of feet at which to sit, nor would Lazarus have had a friend with which to recline. Martha's hospitality brought Him there. If only Martha had understood that Christ wanted her heart more than He wanted her home.

2) Distraction is the noble person's biggest hindrance to listening (vv. 39-40). Martha wasn't stopping her ears and refusing to listen. She was simply "distracted." In this way, we've all been Marthas! How many times have we reached the car after a church service only to realize that we missed half the message due to a distraction?

Now imagine that the church service was meeting in your den while you were preparing lunch! Talk about distracting? The Greek word for "distracted" in verse 40 is perispao, meaning "to draw different ways at the same time, hence to distract with cares and responsibilites." Can we relate? You see, our culture may be entirely different, but women have had the same challenges since the beginning of time.

3) Sometimes ministry can be the biggest distraction to the pursuit of true intimacy with God (v.40). I've heard the saying many times, "If Satan can't make us bad, he'll make us busy." Actually, he can't make us anything, but he gets a lot of cooperation. I am reminded of our study on the good Samaritan. How wise of our God to place these two accounts back-to-back in Scripture. First we saw an incriminating look at servants of God who ministered in the temple but refused to help a dying man. Now we catch a look at a servant who was so busy helping, she couldn't hear from the heart of God.

4) Martha forgot to keep the "pre" in preparation (v. 40). Understand that the preparation she made were not frivolous. They were important! By doing them, Martha served Christ appropriately and enhanced the atmosphere in which He taught. Very likely she served a meal and made sure all the arrangements were made for His comfort and the exercise of His own ministry. These preparations were important. They just weren't limited to the "pre." The issue is that she continued all her duties when the time came to sit at Christ's feet and listen.

I speak at many conferences during which the event's leadership either never makes it into the sanctuary or, when they do, they never lose that harried and distracted look. Recently, however, I spoke at a conference where the leadership was truly the most participatory, involved group during the Bible study. When I inquired later, they said, "Oh, we worked really hard in advance to get everything finished so we could relax when the time came." They made all the preparations, but when the time came, the men of the church and several hired caterers served while they attended. What wisdom we find in keeping the "pre" in preparation!

5) Those distracted by service are often those who miss how much Jesus cares (v.40). I have a feeling if someone had asked Mary at the end of the day if Christ cared about her, she would have answered affirmatively without hesitation. But Martha came to Christ and asked, "Don't You care?"

Beloved, Christ's love for us never changes. However, our sense of His loving care can change dramatically from time to time. And I believe the determining factor in whether we sense His love or not is our willingness to abide in Him, to seek to practice a relationship in which we develop a keener awareness of His presence.

Sometimes we are so shocked when a seasoned servant of God confess that he or she is struggling with belief and awareness of God's loving care. We might think, "You of all people! You are such a wonderful servant of God. How can you doubt for a moment how much He cares for you?" Could it be that somehow service has distracted them from abundant, life-giving intimacy? Don't neglect to give Him ample opportunities to lavish you with the love He always feels for you.

6) Many things are important, but only one thing is necessary (v. 42). In our fight for right priorities, many things vie for the top of the heap, but only one is necessary. Ultimately, our relationship with Christ is the one thing we cannot do without. Christ's message is not that we should neglect family and other responsibilities to pray and to study the Bible. His message is that many things are important, but one thing is essential: Him. Incidentally, Mary turned out to be one of the greatest servants of all, lavishing Christ with her most expensive offerings (see John 12). She learned. So can we.



What are the main choices standing between you and a more consistent experience of living by God's best priorities, not merely settling for good ones?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, You remind us in Your Word that the end of all things is near. Therefore, You exhort us to be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer, and above all to keep our love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins. And yes, You even tell us to be hospitable towards others, but without complaining (1 Pet. 4:7-9). So I pray for Your help in filling me with these godly attributes, in order that I may honor You with both my heart and actions, in order that I may know and express Your love in greater ways. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore



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