"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

No More Mr. Strong Man

Day 56

Before You Begin

Read Luke 11:14-23

Stop and Consider

When a strong man, fully armed, guard his estate, his possessions are secure. But when one stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, he takes from him all his weapons he trusted in, and divides up his plunder (vv. 21-22).


What has Satan stolen from you? What have you lost along the way that you know the Lord will one day reclaim for you?


What are some of the "weapons" Satan has trusted in as he's battled against you? How could you use this knowledge to shield yourself from his attacks?


Just as God is possessive over His holy house, you can be sure Satan is possessive over his unholy house. Therefore, we can't help but deal with the reality of Luke 11:21, assuming that he is the "strong man" in Jesus' parable. But thank God we have verse 22 to follow it up, where we learn some valuable things about our Jesus, our One and Only:

1) Satan may be strong, but Christ is "stronger." We are wise neither to overestimate nor underestimate Satan's power. But even though we are no match for him, he is no match for God. We may be at war with a very powerful enemy, but we who are in Christ are at peace with a far more powerful God. As Paul taught, we can now take our stand against the enemy because we are "strong in the Lord and in his mighty power" (Eph. 6:10).

2) Christ will attack and overcome Satan. Satan is a defeated foe. The defeating blows actually came through a hammer on the nails of the cross. Christ finished the work when He willingly gave His life for our sins. So God is now biding His time until His kingdom calendar has been accomplished and all who will receive His salvation are redeemed. Then one day, God's finger is going to point right at the strong man, and Satan is going to wish he'd never existed.

3) Our someone stronger is going to take away Satan's armor and divide up the spoils. Do you know what this means to us? Jesus Christ is going to take back what Satan has stolen from us! And not all the spoils have to wait until we're in heaven!

I can readily cite a personal example. Even though Satan stole many things from me through my childhoold victimization, I am finally ready to say that God has given me back more than my enenmy took. The enemy has fought against me with his weapons of shame, secrecy, and deception, but the plunder my Lord has won back for me has finally tipped the scale. Through the many response letters I've received from my book Breaking free: Making Liverty in Christ a Reality in Life, I believe I can now say that the grace gift of seeing others helped through the power of the Holy Spirit has begun to outweigh the many years of pain that resulted from the abuse. The strong man may have put up a good fight, but his fight was no match for my stronger Man's muscle.

Praying God's Word Today


O Lord, because of You, even the captives of the mighty man will be taken, and the prey of the tyrant will be delivered. For You will contend with the one who contends with us, and You will save Your children from his grasp. Then all flesh will know that You are the Lord, our Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob" (Isa. 49:25-26). How I praise You for such limitless power and faithful, convenant love. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore



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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Filled, Not Just Fixed

Day 57

Before You Begin

Read Luke 11:24-28

Stop and Consider

When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it roams through waterless places looking for rest, and not finding rest, it then says: "I'll go back to my house where I came from" (v. 24).


What has the Lord delivered you from in the past? What sins and stronholds have you actually experienced His victory over?

Has Satan been trying anything lately to lure you back in? Have you experienced times of significant relapse? What have those periods been like?


Satan is a lot of things, but creative is not often one of them He ordinarily sticks to what has worked in the past. I've experienced this personally when he has attempted to return to an area in my life where he held a precious stronghold---even though he's already been forced to leave.

Beloved, listen carefully. We were created by God to be inhabited by His Spirit. We were not created to be empty. The vacuum in every human life does not yearn to be fixed. It yearns to be filled. God can deliver us from a terribly oppressive stronghold, but if we don't fill the void with Him, we are terribly susceptible to a relapse.

My Sunday school class has what we call VIPs---Victors in Process. Every quarter, members who need extra prayer and accountability come before our class for special notice. Throughout the quarter, they can hardly get through the door without lots of hugs and direct questions about how they're doing. One of our recent VIPs was a beautiful young woman recovering from a fierce cocaine addiction. How wise she was to realize that she couldn't just "get clean." If she was going to be safe, she had to fill the cavernous void left behind by cocaine with the satisfying, liberating filling of the Holy Spirit.

I'm telling you, a second round of the same demonic stronghold can be more powerful than the first. What a frightening prospect for someone who isn't sealed by the Holy Spirit (see Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Sure, most of us are at higher risk of oppression than possession, but the principle still applies: once we've been delivered from a stronghold, if we make ourselves vulnerable to it again, our second encounter may be far worse.

This is because Satan hates to lose. If he was defeated once, given the opportunity, he'll try harder the next time. Furthermore, a second onslaught can cause such discouragement and feelings of hopelessness within the victim, she feels weaker than ever. Satan also knows that the empty space---if left uninhabited by Christ---leaves the victim with a voracious appetite. So let's repeat this concept until it's engraved in our cranium: victory is not determined as much by what we've been delivered from as by what we've been delivered to. It's not enough to be swept clean and put in order. We must be filled full of God.

Praying God's Word Today

I pray, Lord, that You would grant us, according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in our inner man, and that Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith. Being rooted and firmly established in love, may we be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of Your love---even though it surpasses knowledge---that we may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:16-19). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

His Treasure, Your Treasure


Day 58

Before You Begin

Read Luke 12:1-34

Stop and Consider

The Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you" (vv. 30-31).


In what ways is your life unlike that of the ordinary unbeliever? In what ways, though, is it almost indistinquishable, nearly impossible to tell you apart?

What's the difference between what an unbeliever feels about herself and what you feel about yourself as a redeemed child of God?




If we truly believe what God says about our value to Him, our lives will be dramatically altered. Based on this long segment of Scripture from Luke 12, which includes a wide mix of teachings and parables and different kinds of audiences, I want to suggest five ways such a belief makes a difference.

1) Believing our great value to God frees us from much hypocrisy. Christ opened His bold declarations in Luke 12 with a warning against hypocrisy. The primary meaning of the word is "pretending." Please give special attention to His specific audience. Although He was surrounded by crowds of unbelievers and religious leaders, Jesus began to speak "first to his disciples" (Luke 12:1). True disciples who follow Christ and lead others to do likewise face great temptation to be hypocritical. Christ warned, "Be on your guard" (v. 1). In other words, if we're going to live free of hypocrisy, we must procactively guard against it. The bottom line of hypocrisy is the need for people to think more highly of us than we really are. Let's face it. It's easier to act than to clean up our act.

Hypocrisy has so much to prove. Ironically, it seeks to prove that which is not even true. But when we accept our real value to God, we don't have anything left to prove. We can be real because we are of great value to the only True Judge.

2) Believing our great value to God frees us from unnecessary fear. Luke 12:4 comes like a shock wave to our systems: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more." Why do we have such difficulty grasping Jesus' point of view? Because we are far more convinced of the "here and now" than the "after that." Eternity is a far greater reality than this short breath of time. If we are in His fold and are called His friends, Christ's words to us is, "Don't be afraid; you are worth more."

Keith and I keep a bird feeder on the back porch. I watch the sparrows scatter the seed and flutter their wings. They are not beautiful like other birds that grace our yard. They are plain and ordinary. But I love knowing that God never forgets a single one of them. When fear seeks to assail me, I go to the window and am reminded again---if He cares for them, He most assuredly cherishes me. After this short breath is a long "after that."

3) Believing our great value to God frees us to acknowledge Him shamelessly. Verse 8 assures us that Christ Jesus can hardly wait to acknowledge us before the very "angels of God"--even after all our frailties and failures! (Check out Jude 24.) If He is unashamed of us in all our imperfections, how can we be ashamed of Him, our Redeemer and our Deliver?

Yet at one time or another, all of us have faced the temptation to shrink away from openly acknowledging Christ. I've learned one of the best ways to get over these attacks of shame. Do it over and over until it loses its intimidation! Just be honest with Him and tell Him you're afraid. Tell Him all the reasons why. Then ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon you and make you a powerful witness (see Acts 1:8). He will!
Then one day, He'll acknowledge you before the angels!

4) Believing our great value to God frees us from the need for riches. In verse 15, Christ warns us to also "be on (our) guard" against all kinds of greed. Then He reminds us of a powerful truth: "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Aren't you thankful for that? I'm reminded of a friend's statement: "We act out what we believe, not what we know." If we believe our value to God and believe our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions, why then do we have such and abundance of possessions? Perhaps we know Luke 12:15 with our heads, but we really don't believe it with our hearts.

James 1:17 tells us our Father is the giver of all good gifts. Throughout all of eternity, we will be lavished in the limitless wealth of the CEO of the universe. Until then, we show ourselves to be sons and daughters of the one true God when we give, give, and give. Let's keep shoving that abundance out the door to help others in need, and God will lay up treasures for us in His own divine storage lot.

5) Believing our great value to God frees us from much worry. "Life is more than food" (v. 23). I need a needlepoint of that for my kitchen! How about you? The issue of food, however, is not the point. The point is worry. I'm not sure many things compare to the challenge of ceasing to worry. Maybe one reason why is because we have so many prime opportunities to practice it! But you know what? We're never going to overcome worry by eliminating reasons to worry. Rest assured, life isn't going to suddenly fix itself. God wills that we overcome worry even when overwhelmed by reasons to worry.

Christ summed up the futility of worry in verses 25 and 26. We can't add a minute to our life by worrying. Simply put, worry is useless--even when we're worrying about the lives of our children. I am prone to worry somewhat about myself but endlessly over them. Yet all our worry, even when done in the name of love, can accomplish absolutely nothing. When will we learn to turn our worry effort into prayer?


The prescription for worry is trust---taking God at His Word. Make a list of all your reasons to worry, then write the word TRUST in big, bold letter on top of your list.

Praying God's Word Today

Father, I'm reminded that You said to the children of Israel, "You are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth" (Deut. 7:6). I know this applies to Your children today, as well. I will never understand Your reasons for loving us this way, but I rest in it at this moment. May it not only comfort me but also change me, making me secure enough to serve You with abandon.


Study by: Beth Moore


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I can say that Jesus more than saves, He heals,He loves, and I have had all of what He gives to us, He has even spoken to me, just like someone standing beside you.

He is the only one who I can trust with my life.
My heart is all for Him
Praise God for His Son Jesus is His Name

 

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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Leave the Light On

Day 59

Before You Begin

Read Luke 12:35-40

Stop and Consider

You must be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once (v.36)


What keeps you most distracted from awaiting Christ's return?


What are some very practical things you could be doing to constantly remind yourself to be scanning the skies, looking forward to His appearing?


Jesus told the disciples a set of interlaced parables in Luke 12 about being ready for His return. We'll look at the first one today. The point of each dealt with watchfulness and doing what Christ assigns us to do. Christ wants His people to be ready and waiting. No matter whether you're a pretribulationalist, a post -tribulationalist, an amillennialist, a dispensationalist, or have no clue what any of these terms even mean, Christ is coming back. Every eye will see Him.

Some things about God's ways make me grin....like the way He knows our tendency to play amateur prophet. He puts all of us in our date-setting places by basically saying, "The only thing I'll tell you about My next visit is that you won't be expecting Me." The urgency is to be ready at all times. "Keep your lamps burning" (Luke 12:35).

Our version of keeping our lamps burning is leaving a light on at night for someone out late. One of the shocks of the empty nest is no longer having someone to "wait up for." Those of us who have older children have experienced the late-night difficulty of falling into a deep sleep before they get home. We can doze perhaps, but we don't fully sleep until they're safe inside. Even though waiting up is exhausting, it's a reminder of close family relationships and responsibility. At this particular season in my life, my heart is encouraged to know that we still have Someone for whom to "leave the light on."

Several years ago a precious friend of mine lost her only son, a young adult. Five years later she lost her husband. I have ached for her aloneness. But I am so grateful that those of us in Christ always have Someone for whom we can wait expectantly at all times. Christ calls on us to be watching for Him when He returns---not inactively, mind you, but as servants (v.37). Luke 12:38 tells us, "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night."

Christ's desire is that we live in such close involvement with Him that all we lack is seeing Him face-to-face. Oh, that God would create in each of us such an acute awareness and belief of His presence that we won't be caught off guard! That our faith will simply be made sight! That we'll be gloriously shocked but unashamed!


Praying God's Word Today

O Lord, may I never be like those who doubt or scoff at Your Word, who are tempted to say, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have since the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:4). I know that with You, Lord, one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day (2 Peter 3:8). Create in me, therefore, an expectant longing for Your appearing. May my lamps be ever burning. In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Service While you Wait

Day 60

Before You Begin

Read Luke 12:41-48

Stop and Consider

That slave who knew his master's will and didn't prepare himself or do it will be severely beaten (v. 47).

Is it fair for God to hold spiritual leaders to a highter level of accountability than others? How would you agree or disagree with that statement?


What have you been given by God in terms of teaching, ability, and heritage that He will hold you accountable for using in His service?



For those with a knowledge of God, the cost of wickedness during our wait for Jesus' return is astronomical. I'm not sure we ever hear stronger words out of His mouth than these: "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers" (v. 46).

I believe Christ was most likely addressing His remarks to the people He described in Luke 11:52: "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." I'd like to suggest that the picture of the head servant beating the maenservants and maidservants while the master was away (Luke 12:45) could easily represent spiritual abuse at the hands of religious leader. God will hold those of us who are leaders responsible for this.

I can think of many examples, but one instantly raises its ugly head in my mind---the preacher who beats and bangs hellfire and damnation on his pulpit, piously condemning his flock for all manner of evil, while abusing his wife and children at home. I wish I could tell you that I've only heard such a testimony once or twice. Let me stres that I still believe the far greater population of Christians resist that kind of hypocrisy, but spiritual abuse of this nature exists far more than we want to believe.

Another form of spiritual abuse is using Scripture or the name of God to manipulate others. I have very little doubt we will be called to account for the times we have used God's names to get what we want. Christ despises all forms of human oppression. A huge penalty awaits those who possess a knowledge of God yet persist in meanness and self-indulgence. Forgive me if my temperature on this mater is showing. If not for the authentic examples of godliness, I would despair over all the abuse I've seen in the religious community.

But I also know the future punishment of the unfaithful will be fair: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded" (v. 48). That's fair. But that's serious. I have been given so much. I must accept the fact that much is also required. Here is our joy and security in the midst of much required: Christ is never the author of spiritual abuse. Every single thing required of us will be amply rewarded far beyond our imagination.

Praying God's Word Today


Lord, remind me afresh today that it is already the hour for us to wake up from our sleep, for our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near. So inspire us to discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Help us to walk in decency, as in the daylight, not in all kinds of sinful behavior. Lead us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no plans to satisfy our fleshly desires (Rom. 13:11-14). In Jesus name we Pray...AMEN



Study by: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Sure Thing

Day 61

Before You Begin

Read Luke 13:31-33

Stop and Consider

He said to them, "Go tell that fox, 'Look! I'm driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work" (v. 32).


Was Jesus being rude? Are there times in life when directness like this is not just allowed but is actually what the Lord would like to see from you?


What "Herods" are after you today, seeking to kill what God has started in you?

I love Christ's last five words in verse 32: "I will complete My work."
  • Not "I will complete My work if all the conditions are right."
  • Not "I will complete My work if you cooperate with me."
  • Not "I will complet My work if I'm still alive."
"I will complete My work." It's that simple. The New International Version renders His statement, "I will reach My goal." No ifs, ands, or buts.

"I will." Period.

Beloved, find security in the fact that nothing is haphazard about the activity of God. He has a goal, and He has a definitive plan that is to be executed precisely according to His will.

You no doubt noticed Christ's symbolic phraseology in this verse, as well. In a sense, Christ spoke in the style of a parable. When He spoke of the miracle activity He would be doing "today and tomorrow," followed by "the third day," He spoke not in the immediate sense but in a future tense. Because of our hindsight advantage, we hear the unmistakable hint of the three days beginning with the cross and ending with His resurrection. In essence, Christ said, "I have a goal. I have work to do today toward that goal. I have work to do tomorrow toward that goal. But very soon that goal will be accomplished."

Perhaps Christ's use of the words "today," tomorrow," and "the third day" suggest three segments of time in our lives as well. Today is our now. The third day could represent the ultimate fulfillment of God's goals for our lives. And tomorrow could represent every moment between now and then. He will complete His work in us, too.

Christ's return message to Herod emphasized that nothing could turn Him from His goal. Neither Herod nor any other power posed a threat to the plan. They would be used only as puppets to fulfill it. When we live our lives according to God's will, no Herod in the world can thwart our efforts at reaching God's goal. Not a Herod of sickness nor a Herod of crisis. Not even a Herod that seems to hand us over to death.


Praying God's Word Today

Lord God, I pray that we would be delivered from wicked and evil men, from those who do not have faith. For You are faithful, and You will strengthen and guard us from the evil one (2 Thess. 3:3). We put our full and total trust in You--the One who is faithful and who also will do it (1 Thess. 5:24). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN




Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Spiritual Immunity

Day 62

Before You Begin


Read Luke 13:34-35


Stop and Consider

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing (v.34).

At times when you feel the most unworthy and unacceptable by God, what surprises you the most about His willingness to renew and restore?


Who's someone in your life who needs to know this really badly today?

I want us to look today at a spiritual principle I call immunity---meaning, shelter from all evil imposition of God's plan. One dramatic example of this principle is found in the account of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. The elements of immunity in their experience are easy to identify:

1) The witnesses get their power from God (v.3).
2) When they are opposed, God dramatically defends them (v.5).
3) When they have finished their testimony, the beast kills them (v.7).

But....notice that the two witnesses cannot be killed until they have finished their testimony. And even at that, their deaths are by no means a tragic end to the story. God raises them from the dead and makes a mockery of their enemy (see Rev. 11:11-12).

Although the prophecy of the two witnesses is far more dramatic than the story of our lives, they illustrate a principle God applies to us as well. When we live under the umbrella of God's authority and seek to obey His commands, the enemy may oppose us and even oppress us, but he cannot thwart the fulfillment of God's plan for us. Any permission he receives to oppose us will be issued only for the greater victory of God. Death cannot come to the obedient children of God until they have finished their testimony. When we surrender our wills to the will of the Father, we find a place of blessed immunity. Strengthened by His power and shielded by His protection, we are assured of reaching our goal.

This principle is beautifully illustrated in Luke 13:34, where we see the heart of God on display as His Son cires out for the citizens of Jerusalem to come under His sheltering wings of protection. The Old Testament paints a similar portrait in Psalm 91. These words fall around us like a down comforter from heaven. The psalmist wrote: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1). The implication of this verse is that a place of safety---a certain level of immunity from evil onslaughts---exists for those who choose to dwell there. The concept of dwelling in Psalm 91:1 is virtually synonymous with the concept of obeying or remaining in John 15:10, where Jesus tells us we abide or remain in Him and His love through our obedience.

Obedience to our Father's commands is the key to immunity from the enemy. Obedience is what positions us in the shadow of the Almighty. When we are living in obedience, any evil that comes against us will have to go through God first. Christ lived for one purpose: to do the will of the One who sent Him (see John 6:38). And because He was entirely surrendered to the will of His Father, Herod's threat in Luke 13:31 had no power over Him. When the time came, the rulers and the chief priests could be used only as puppets by God in His pursuit of greater glory.

I am convinced the same is true for us. We gain the place of immunity through obedience to His will. This explains why Christ longed to gather the children of Israel into His arms the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but He did not. Why? Because they weren't willing. They chose their own will over Christ's, forfeiting the shelter of His wings. The result was desolation and defeat (see Luke 13:35; 19:43).

The same unwillingness can have similar results in our lives today. As believers in Christ, two different forms of immunity apply to us. All who personally receive the grace gift of God have the first kind of immunity: protection from eternal judgment. We stand in the shadow of the cross. The judgment that should have come to us came to Christ instead.

But the second kind of immunity does not come automatically upon our salvation. It results only when we surrender our will to the Father's will. When we bow to His authority, we become immune to defeat and all other threats to the plan of God for our personal lives. I don't mean we're immune from trouble, tribulation, or even a certain amount of oppression, but they won't be able to defeat us. Through obedience, we will possess and practice the God-given power to overcome them, and God's plan will be uninterrupted.

I know these principles are true because I've experienced them. I have complete assurance of my salvation. I am convinced that the cross has immunized me against all judgment for sin. However, I have without a doubt been temporarily defeated by the enemy and done things that were not part of God's plan for my life. By surrendering to my own will in certain seasons, I have stepped outside the shelter of the Most High. And although the enemy could not overtake me, he certainly had a field day with me.

Today, I am a living, breathing, grace-filled Plan B. But I'm a Plan B who has learned some painful lessons that have changed my practices. I presently jump out of bed with one primary plan of attack for the day: ducking under the sheltering wing of the Most High so the enemy will have to get through Him to get to me.

He yearns to lavish us with His possessive, protective love---to cover us from so many unnecessary harms. There is a secret place. Go, beloved, and hide.


Why is this different from saying that our "good works" somehow earn God's favor? Why does God only extend His promise of protection to those of His children whose wills are submitted to Him, whose hearts are obedient to Him?


Praying God's Word Today

I call on You, God, because I know You will answer me. I pray that You---the Savior of all who seek refuge from those who rebel against Your right hand---will guard me as the apple of Your eye. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings from the wicked who treat me violently, and from the deadly enemies that surround me (Ps. 17:7-9). Lord of all, be my shelter of safety as I follow Your Word, for I put my hope in Your promise of immunity. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

When God Runs

Day 63

Before You Begin

Read Luke 15:11-32

Stop and Consider

While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion.


In what ways have you walked out from beneath the Father's protection?


What would have happened to you if God had allowed your sinful wanderings to be cost-free? What kind of additional problems would that have caused?



At times I've descended from the place of appropriate repentance where I was sorry for my sins, to the place of inappropriate self-loathing where I was sorry Christ was "forced" (as if He could be) to save me. I'd find myself wishing I had been a nicer sinner. More pleasant to save.

Emotion washes over me today as I remember again: Christ came for sinners like me. He wanted to save me. He didn't come for the pious and perfect. Our Savior came to seek and to save the lost. The hopeless. The foolish. The weak. The depraved. In His own words: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32).

I have no idea how many times I've read and even taught the story of the prodigal son, yet it still brings me to tears. I am such a product of this kind of father love. Perhaps you are too. I've watched God take a young woman I love very much and restore her to the right road after a prodigal detour. She has cried out to me, "When will all these painful repercussions end?"

I have answered her, "Not until the very idea of straying causes you such painful flashbacks that you're hardly ever tempted to depart His will again." God wants to whisper to our hearts, "Are you sure you want to go back there again?" and hear us say, "No way do I want that kind of pain!"

Luke 5:17 tells us that the son considered the abundance of his father's hired hands and realized the insanity of starving to death. He waited to go home until his desperation exceeded his pride. That the prodigal planned what he would say hints at the difficulty of his return. I wonder if the son was pacing. And pacing. And pacing. He could see his home in the distance, but perhaps he could not bring himself to walk that last mile. He looked at his father's vast estate and glanced down at his own poor estate. His clothes were worn and filthy. Dirt under every nail. His hair long and matted or shorn to the skin to defend against lice. All at once, he became aware of his own foul smell. He was destitute. Degraded.

But the prodigal's father was looking for his so in the distance. I imagine that every day since his son's departure, his father had studied the horizon in search of his son's silhouette. Just as the starving son had longed for food, his father had yearned for him. His was a yearning so deep that no amount of work could assuage it. Family members could not replace it. No distraction could soothe it. Oh, friend, can you glimpse the heart of God? Do you realize that when you run from Him, He yearns for you every minute and cannot be distracted from His thoughts of you?

When God sees our poor estate and the ravaging effects of our foolish decisions, He doesn't just sit back and say, "She got what she deserved." He is filled with compassion and longs to bring us back home. Yes, we face consequences, but those consequences are a loving summons back to the Father.

In one of the most moving moments in all of Scripture, Luke 15:20 records that the father "ran" to his son. Scripture often employs anthropomorphisms--descriptions of God as if He had a human body. We sometimes read that God walked (in the midst of His people) or that He rode (on the clouds like chariots), but this is the only time in the entire Word of God when He is described as running.

What makes God run? A prodigal child turning his face toward home! How can we resist Him? How can we not reciprocate such lavish love?

When was the last time you saw an older man, the father of adult children, run? Would you picture it now? Can you feel his heart pounding in his chest? Can you hear him catching his breath? Nothing could keep him from his son.

When he reached the son, the son tried his best to give the speech he had planned, but to no avail. In all his talk of unworthiness, he didn't realize he was unworthy even before he left. He was a son not because he earned the right to be, but because he was born of his father. He could exceed the realm of his father's shield, but he could not exceed the reach of his father's love. "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (vv. 22-24). The father literally kissed the son's past away.

Merciful Savior! Graceful God! You have kissed this prodigal's past into forgetfulness! Though mockers may accuse me, though gossipers may make sport of me, though brothers may jealously despise me, I will celebrate! Let all hear music and dancing! For I once was dead and now I'm alive again. I once was lost and now I am found.


What are your usual reactions and responses to the prodigals you know? Do they receive your love and fervent prayer? Or is there resistance in your eyes? What would you like them to know about the love of God, and how could you show it to them?

Praying God's Word Today


Lord, when we were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of our flesh, You made us alive with You and forgave us all our sins. You erased our certificate of debt, with all its obligations--everything that was against us and opposed to us. You have taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:13-14). While we were still sinners, You died for us (Rom. 5:8). May I never grow too familiar with this truth not to recognize its enormity. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study by: Beth Moore


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Whose Fault Is It?

Day 64

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 18:1-9

Stop and Consider

Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses must come, but owe to that man by whom the offense comes. (v. 7)


What relationships or activities in your life are least conducive to holy living? In which ones do you find yourself most likely to be compromised or taken advantage of?


What are your best defenses against being manipulated or lured into sin?


Let's state a serious fact based on Matthew 18: events or situations can actually cause people to sin. Before we attempt to interpret Christ's statements, let's make sure we understand what He didn't mean. Christ didn't mean that in some cases people have no choice but to sin. He didn't absolve the one who sins from the responsibility to repent. He did mean, however, that conditions can exist and things can happen that so greatly increase the tendency toward sin that a terrible woe is due the responsible party.

What are these offenses or "things that cause people to sin?" (Luke 17:1). The Greek word is skandalon. The idea of our English word "scandal" is present in the meaning. Skandalon is "the trigger of a trap on which the bait is placed, and which, when touched by the animal, springs and cause it to close, causing entrapment. It always denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question."

If you apply this concept to Jesus' words, you see that the declaration of "woe" would apply to the one who set the trap or (figuratively speaking) became the trigger of the trap. But to be liberated we must not shift all responsiblilty to the trapper, because the truth remains that we did take the bait. To live consistently outside a trap, we must recognize our own responsibility in at least three ways. We are responsible for"

1) repenting of the sin of taking the bait;
2) learning why we took the bait;
3) asking God to mend and fortify the weak places in the fabric of our heart, soul, and mind so we will not continue life as a victim.

A critical part of my own personal freedom in Christ has been asking God to help me search my heart, soul, and mind for vulnerabilities to foolish decisions. Taking responsibility in these areas produced one of the greatest harvests of my life. I learned to willingly lay my heart bare before Him, to invite Him to reveal my weaknesses and handicaps, and to be unashamed. I also developed daily dependency upon Him because my old vulnerabilities had become such habits, practices, and ways of life.

This doesn't minimize, of course, the sin of the trapper. The ramifications of this are so great that he becomes the object of "woe," meaning "disaster, calamity." Christ issued a woe to anyone who causes another person to sin, but He pronounced a particular indictment against anyone who causes "one of these little ones" to sin (v.6).

The word Jesus used to refer to "little ones" certainly includes literal children, because He actually "called a little child and had him stand among them" (Matt. 18:2). However, careful attention to the word suggests additional meaning. I believe Christ includes those who are childlike or inferior to the trapper in knowledge, experience, authority, or power---anyone of whom it might be easy to take advantage. A sixteen-year-old may have the body of an adult, but he or she most assuredly is not grown up. Seduction by an adult is entrapment even if the young person "sinned" in any level of willing participation. Similarly, in adult life, one person often wields authority over another in much the same way through rank or position.

That Christ holds the trapper greatly responsible is a gross understatement! He appears to be saying, "if you have entrapped a weaker, more vulnerable person in sin, you're going to wish you had drowned in the deepest sea rather than deal with Me."

Most of us have asked, "Why do these things happen?" Matthew 18:7 tells us that these attrocities "must come." "But why?" we ask. The original word for "must" means "compelling force, as opposed to willingness. As a result of the depravity and wickedness of men, there is a moral inevitability that offenses should come." Add the kingdom of darkness to the depravity of humans, and you have a formula for exactly the evil we see in our world. But a day of reckoning is coming. No trapper gets away with entrapment forever---either of the human kind or the spirit kind. Neither can escape the eyes of El Roi, the God who sees.

Most of us are not naive enough to think that these kinds of offenses never happen in church going families. I'd like to highlight one area that doesn't get much press but where people are at great rishk for offense in the church: New believers are so impressionable. Sometimes their zeal far exceeds their knowledge. They sometimes believe virtually anything a more experienced Christian tells them. Biblical doctrines can be twisted into false teaching to entrap immature believers in all sorts of sins. If God would judge those outside His own household, I think we can rest assured He would discipline His own.

Let's not start feeling guilty for some atrocity we may not have committed, but by all means let's be on our guard never to cause another person to sin. The Word is clear we have that potential.


Is if possible that you're creating an environment---at home, at work, at church, in your friendships--that is causing another person to sin? How could you put a stop to this?

Praying God's Word Today


O Father, I know that I must be careful not to become a stumbling block to others, for when I sin against my brothers and sisters and wound their consciences, I am really sinning against You (I Cor. 8:9,12). Protect me, Lord, from either willingly or unwillingly harming even one of Your children. I desire to be a blessing, not an obstacle. In Jesus name we Pray....AMEN



Study By: Beth Moore


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The Fine Art of Forgiveness

Day 65

Before You Begin

Read Luke 17:3-4


Stop and Consider

If he sins against you seven times a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, "I repent," you must forgive him (v.4).

Why did Jesus make forgiveness such a strong command, even when human logic would tell you than "seven times a day" is an impossible directive to follow?

Are we biblically allowed to put some "teeth" in our forgiveness? Is forgiveness anything other than a total, free pass?


After dealing with the subject we talked about yesterday---things that cause people to sin---Christ suddenly switched to a subject that seems to have no relationship to this. I'd like to suggest, however, a powerful connection between the two. Few things cause people to sin like unforgiveness. Difficult-to-forgive circumstances can set a trap. And Satan is very adept at using unforgiveness as bait to entrap us in sin (2 Cor. 2:10-11).

Please note that Christ's specific prescriptive in Luke 17:3-4 is to fellow believers when we sin against one another. Someone might ask, "Does this mean I have to forgive only other Christians?" No, indeed. Luke 11:4 clearly tells us we are to forgive "everyone" who sins against us. The difference may not be in the forgiveness but in the rebuke. I believe Christ suggest a different method of dealing with a brother's or sister's sin. He issued a directive to "rebuke" a fellow believer (v.3). When dealing with the unsaved, we are still called to forgive---but not necessarily to rebuke.

We were called to be different in the body of Christ. If we are functioning as a healthy body, ideally we should be able to bring issues that affect us to the table with one another to dialogue and, when appropriate, even to rebuke or recieve a rebuke. This type of approach demands the maturity expressed by Ephesians 4:14-15. Paul told us we are no longer to be infants but are to "speak the truth in love" to one another.

Needless to say, a tremendous burden of responsibility falls on the one giving the rebuke. An appropriate rebuke is speaking the truth in love "with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Tim. 4:2). We may not be off base in concluding that a rebuke which invites anger and bitterness might fall under the category of entrapment to sin. Obviously, a huge responsibility also falls on the recipient to rightly accept the rebuke. I am learning that an important part of maturing as a believer is knowing how to receive a rebuke.

If we would learn the art of giving and receiving an appropriate rebuke in the early stages of wrongdoing, we would guard ourselves more effectively against offenses of "millstone" magnitude (Luke 17:2). I don't know about you, but I'll be chewing on this lesson long into the night.


Praying God's Word Today

Lord, You teach us very early in Your Word, "You must not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor directly, and you will not incur guilt because of him. Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev. 19:17-18). As One who has received such immeasurable forgiveness through the blood of Christ, may I be more than willing to forgive those who sin against me---and to care enough about them to lead them to life. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore



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Return to Glory

Day 66

Before You Begin

Read Luke 17:11-19

Stop and Consider

Jesus said, "Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine?
Didn't any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?" (vv. 17-18).


How have you worn shame wrapped around your shoulders? It may not be as obvious as the way these lepers carried themselves in tatters. But do you feel "unclean" nonetheless?


What would deliverance and healing look like on you?


While I ministered in India, I was often stunned by what God empowered me to do. He seemed to raise me above my fleshly senses and allow me to minister in extreme circumstances. Only one thing was I unable to do, and it has haunted me ever since. I had confidently planned to minister in a leper colony. The opportunity didn't readily arise, but after passing very close to several colonies, I deliberately did not pursue it.

The reason was not unconcern. Rather, I feared I would dishonor them by becoming physically ill. I almost became ill just passing by. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight or the smell. I had been in one squalid village after another without hindrance, but the smell of diseased and decaying flesh was more than I could handle.

I don't know if God was upset with me, but I was definitely upset with myself. My experience helps me to appreciate this story. Let's highlight several significant pieces of information shared about the lepers in Luke 17

1) The lepers were outside the city gate. What could be worse than forced isolation? I can hardly stand the thought of the emotional results of this dreadful disease, especially in an ancient society. The law of Moses said, "As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp" (Lev. 13:46).

Try to imagine what this was like. Oh, beloved, I'm so grateful we never have to stand at a distance from Christ. Not only is He capable of catching our "disease," He is never reluctant to embrace us. Who could be more brokenhearted, more crushed in spirit, than these outcasts? Yet in the words of Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." He drew near them with His soothing balm.

2) The lepers cried out in a loud voice. Don't miss the fact that every word attributed to the lepers is in a "loud voice (vv. 13, 15). The distance explains their initail volume, but why did the one who returned and fell at Jesus' feet also cry out in a loud voice?

I'd like to suggest that they were accustomed to having to shout. Leviticus 13:45 is probably as hard for you to read as it is for me: "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!"

Because of the nature of this ministry and my own testimony, I encounter many people who live like the ten lepers. They are in bondage either to sin or to the aftereffects of sin. Their voices may be silent, but their expressions cry out: "Unclean! Unclean!" They feel excluded from the pretty part of the body of Christ. Yet they feel their shame is displayed for all to see. My heart breaks every time. They needed someone to change their lives, and Jesus was the One and Only who could.

3) The common condition of the lepers eclipsed their differences. The lepers had to have been a mix of Samaritans and Jews. Christ never would have commented that only a "foreigner" returned with thanks if none of the then had been Jews. Yet the tragic plight of the lepers gave them far more in common with each other than their differences as Jews and Gentiles. Aren't we the same way? Before we are redeemed, not one of us is better than the other. We are all in the same sad state---lepers outside the city gate. Lost and isolated. Marred and unclean---whether we've lied or cheated, devalued another human being, or committed adultery. Lost is lost. Furthermore, found is found. All of us in Christ have received the free gift of salvation in one way only: grace. When we judge a brother's or sister's sin as so much worse than our own, we are like lepers counting spots.

4) The lepers were cleansed during their faith--walk to the priest. I love the way Scripture refers to their healing as being made clean (v. 14). Oh, dear sister or brother, that's what healing has meant to me. Being made clean! Do you know why I recognize those who wear shame like a cloak? Scarlet letters on their chest? Because I did. But I don't anymore. Acts 10:15 tells us so clearly, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

You can be fairly certain the village priest had never practiced the purification ritual to pronounce a leper clean. I can almost picture him reading the instruction in Leviticus 14 step by unfamiliar step--like we read a new recipe. What a story he had for the Mrs. that night! Then again, it wouldn't have been like a woman to miss the parade of ten former lepers dancing their way down Main Street. Finally, note the punch line of the event:

5) One Leper returned to give praise to God. I wonder if he tried to get the other nine to come with him. Or if he suddenly stopped in his tracks realizing he hadn't said thanks, then darted impulsively from their presence to find Christ. The point is, his healing made him think of his healer, not just himself. Sadly, the rest of them never knew Christ except from a distance. When the one returnd, he was unrestrained--falling at Christ's feet and thanking Him.

Just one last thought, I wonder if he was the one with the most spots?


Gratitude is more than just words, of course. What are a handful of ways you could "say" thanks to Him without speaking a syllable?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, You have given us confidence to declare that nothing can separate us from Your love (Rom. 8:39). You have given us the bold assurance that we will not be ashamed before You at Your coming (1 John 2:28). You have said, in fact, that we have been cleansed already through the Word that You have spoken to us (John 15:3). May we truly take You at Your Word, and respond to You with lives of loving gratitude. In Jesus name we Pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Too Good for your Own Good?

Day 67

Before You Begin

Read Luke 18:18-21

Stop and Consider

"I have kept all these from my youth," he said (v.21).


Did you live a fairly straight-laced childhood? How much stock do you think you've put in that fact whenever you've measured yourself on the "goodness" meter?


There's certainly nothing the least bit disrespectable about a holy, separated life. It sure beats the alternative! But how do you keep it from becoming a pride issue?


Consider the abbreviated list of commandments Christ mentioned--each of which concerned man's relationship with man---and then let's play a game together. Take a look at each command the ruler claimed to have kept since boyhood. Give each a mental check mark for his probable obedience, or a mental X for those that seem a little less probable.
  • "Do not commit adultery." Okay, this one may have been a pretty easy check mark--that is, if he knew nothing about lust being the same thing as committing adultery in his heart (Matt.5:27-28). Let's give him a check mark here.
  • "Do not murder." Of course, there's that little "anger" issue that Christ discussed in Matthew 5:21-22, but let's go ahead and give him a check mark on this one, too.
  • "Do not steal." Maybe we've never mugged someone on the street or even swiped candy from the convenience store, but did we ever secretly defraud or steal anything of a less tangible nature from another person? Perhaps so. I'm still willing to give him a check mark but let me just say I'm impressed!
  • "Do not give false testimony." This command is simple: never tell anything false or untrue. Any exaggeration would fall under the category of false testimony. Picture us at age seventeen, talking to our friends on the telephone, giving our version of this story and that. The rich young ruler's protection may have been that he had never been a seventeen-year-old girl nor owned a phone. Hopefully he never had time to fish either. We can give him a check mark if he insists, but you better give me an X.
  • "Honor your father and mother." Let's see. I hardly ever dishonored mine to their faces, but does it count if, behind their backs, I did a few things they told me not to do? Oops. Go ahead and give the wonder boy a check mark, but I get another X.
How did you fare? Shall we call you perfection personified? Or is your halo slipping a bit? As for me, am I thankful for a Savior! The rich young ruler needed one too. His good track record had certainly fogged up his mirror. Don't get me wrong, I like him. I'm even impressed with him, but I'd rather be saved than be like him!

Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, I know that You created me for good works, which You prepared ahead of time so that I would walk in them. But I am more aware than ever each day this it is by Your grace I have been saved through faith---not from works, so that I have no reason to boast (Eph. 2:8-10). May I never boast in anything except the cross of Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal. 6:14). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Money Troubles

Day 68

Before You Begin

Read Luke 18:22-30

Stop and Consider

When Jesus heard this, He told him, "You still lack one thing:
sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will
have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me" (v. 22).

How many ways can money work its way into your affections?

Which of these have been the most acute in your own life? Which ones have required the most effort on your part to maintain victory over their seductive tendencies?


If this were a game show, the bell indicating the mention of the secret world would have just sounded. Eternal life with God demands perfection. Someone has to be perfect. Either us or someone who stands in for us. This man wanted so badly for it to be him. But as good as he had been and as hard as he had tried, he was still lacking. Christ then stuck a pin in a rich young ruler's Achilles' heel: his possessions.

One of the primary purposes of this divine pinprick was to show the man he wasn't perfect nor would he ever be. I really believe a second purpose may have been to offer an authentic invitation for the searching young man to follow Him. Remember, Jesus didn't have only twelve disciples. He had twelve apostles among the greater number of disciples. If the rich young ruler had done what Christ suggested, could he have followed Him? Certainly! He simply needed to lighten his load and be free of wealth's encumbrances. A truckful of possessions would have proved cumbersome.

I also believe Christ had a purely benevolent purpose for the seemingly harsh demand. Jesus looked at this young man and saw a prisoner. The man wasn't really the ruler, his possessions were. Jesus pointed him to the only path to freedom. Sometimes when our possessions have us, we have to get rid of them to be free.

Of course, Christ knew in advance what the young man would choose. When it comes right down it, we all follow our "god." The ironic part about this story, however, is that the rich young ruler was grief stricken over his own choice. He walked away very sad or in Greek, perilupos: "severly grieved, very sorrowful." Unless his heart changed somewhere along the way, he lived the rest of his life with all that wealth and an empty heart. The question would have haunted him forever: "What do I still lack?" (Matt. 19:20).

Perfection or a perfect substitute. He had neither. He lacked Jesus.

I wonder if the man stuck around long enough to hear the rest of the conversation between Christ and His disciples (vv. 24-30). Jesus said something like: "Yes, an eternal inheritance involves sacrifice here on earth, but whatever you lay down here for My sake, you will recieve a hundred times as much in eternity." How sad to believe anything else.

Praying God's Word Today

Father, please help me guard against setting my hopes on the uncertainty of wealth, but rather on You, who richly provide us with all things to enjoy. Help me to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, storing up for myself a good foundation for the days to come, so that I may take hold of life that is real (1 Tim. 6:17-19). In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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Little Man Makes Big News

Day 69

Before You Begin

Read Luke 19:1-10

Stop and Consider

When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him,
"Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house" (v. 5).

How many times does Jesus have to call before you respond to His invitation? What makes a person more willing to move quickly when His Word is proclaimed?


What has He been inviting you to do with Him lately?


Can you imagine what the title of the next day's headline would have been if there had been a newspaper called The Jericho Chronicle? As a means of creative exploration, let's try to capture a few of the newsiest statements that might have appeared in their morning editions. The lead story might have read:
  • The Renowned Jesus of Nazareth Passes through Jericho. Jesus couldn't seem to pass through anywhere without getting involved. He seemed to attrack the dust of every village in His sandals no matter how resolved He was to reach Jerusalem. I wonder if His disciples were ever frustrated that He couldn't go anywhere without encountering one commotion after another. I'm sure His followers were thrilled and amazed by all He did, but I'm also sure they were often tired, hungry, and famished--- and wouldn't have minded going unnoticed every once in a while.
  • Chief Tax Collector Seen Scurrying Up Tree. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so badly, he went to considerable lengths for a grown man. Picture him running ahead of the parade of people, looking for a tree with a view. Did he have to jump to reach a sturdy branch, or did the sycamore spare him a nice, low rung? Can you hear him huffing and puffing his way up that tree? Clad in a robe, no less? Nothing like climbing a tree in a long dress. How long has it been since you climbed your last tree?
  • Traveling Man Requests Chief Publican's Hospitality. I can almost picture Christ working His way through the crowd as if totally oblivious to the short man in a tall tree. He suddenly looked up with complete familiarity. "Zacchaeus," He said. How in the world did Jesus know his name? Maybe the same way He knew Nathaniel's a few years earlier. "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today" (Luke 19:5). Why must He? Perhaps because the Son lived to do the will of His Father, and His Father simply could not resist a display of interest in His Son. The Father and Son have an unparalleled mutual admiration society. That day Zacchaeus may have had a pair of skinned knees and elbows that endeared a special dose of the Father's affections.
Luke 19:6 says, "So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly." At once. I'm not sure God honors anything more in a man than a timely response to His Son. No doubt the chief tax collector had many regrets in life, but among them wasn't the time he wasted between Christ's invitation and his welcome.
  • Chief Publican Caught in the Act of Rejoicing. I don't think we're off base to imagine that his sudden display of glee was slightly out of character. The Word doesn't paint tax collectors as campus favorites. Don't you love how Christ can change an entire personality? Not only can He make the blind man see, but He can also perform a much greater feat: He can make a grump rejoice! Our church pews might not have so many empty seats if we'd invite Him to display such a feat in us! The good news coming from people in a bad mood undermines the message a tad.
Don't you think Christ delights in our glad responses, when we rejoice to obey Him? Let me be clear that God honors obedience even when we're kicking and screaming. But can you imagine how blessed He is when we're eager to do His will?
  • Noted Preacher Goes to Dinner with Sinner. I think you'll enjoy the definition of the Greek word for "guest" in Luke 19:7. The word means "to loose or unloose what was before bound or fastened. To refresh oneself, to lodge or be a guest. It properly refers to travelers loosening their own burdens or those of their animals when they stayed at a house on a journey." In effect, Zacchaeus's hospitality said to Jesus: "Come to my house and take a load off. Lay Your burden down and be refreshed. I'd be honored to have You." What an awesome thought that at the same time, Christ was saying to Zacchaeus: "Let Me come into your house and take your load. Lay your burden down and be refreshed. I'd be honored to have you."
  • Jericho's Richest Resident Gives Half His Possessions to the Poor: Also Repays Debts with Heavy Interest. Luke 19:8 says Zacchaeus stood up and said, "Look! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Here and now! The moment the Holy Spirit moves, I often sense a greater empowerment to respond generously. The more time I allow to pass, the more my selfishness is apt to well up.
One short man had never stood taller than he did on this day. I don't hear a single shred of resistance, do you? He almost seemed anxious to get rid of some things. Perhaps the wealth had been less a blessing and more a curse. Proverbs 15:27 tells us, "A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live." Maybe Zacchaeus had come to see the trouble of valuing wealth over God

Either way, it was a big news day in Jericho....and for the little guy in the headlines.

What is the most marked difference Jesus Christ has made in your life, whether in your overall demeanor or in a specific life practice?


Praying God's Word Today


Father, how grateful I am that when we come to our senses--when we repent and petition you, saying "We have sinned and done wrong; we have been wicked"---when we return to You with our whole mind and heart in the land where the enemy has taken us captive---when we pray to You---You hear us in heaven, Your dwelling place. you uphold our cause and forgive our sins. For we are Your people and Your inheritance (1 Kings 8:47-51). How can we praise You enough for such love and compassion? In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study by: Beth Moore


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The Choice to Change

Day 70

Before You Begin

Read Hebrews 10:32-39

Stop and Consider

We are not those who draw back and are destroyed,
but those who have faith and obtain life" (v. 39).

What were the real differences between these two men we've looked at lately: Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler?

Quickly profile an example of someone you know who hasn't drawn back from following, even against significant obstacles. What do you love most about this person's testimony?


I don't remember a whole lot about my life before salvation, because I was very young. But I can tell you that Christ's authority over my life has dramatically changed both my demeanor and life practices. I was once overly sensitive and very fearful. I would ten times rather have watched television than studied His Word. My character showed it too. Oh, I have a long way to go; but change is not only possible, it's also gloriously inevitable, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you (and in me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6).

I have waited until now to ask you to reflect on some words of Jesus from a previous story we read of the rich young man, so that we can compare this guy with Zacchaeus. Please observe Luke 18:24-25: "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

A rich young ruler. A chief publican. Both wealthy men. One walked away lost, while salvation lodged at the other's home. Salvation was not impossible for either one of these rich men. Both had the Son of God standing right there in front of them...willing and able to deliver. The difference was that one saw how much he had to lose. The other saw how much he had to gain.

Notice, Christ did not ask Zaccaeus to sell everything he had and give to the poor, as He did to the young man. Maybe because once Zacchaeus regarded Christ as life's true treasure, his wealth didn't mean nearly as much to him---which I believe is probably God's primary point to the rich.

A cynic might say, "Why did he only give away half to the poor?" Maybe because it took every other shekel to pay back all the folks he had cheated! Anyway, God isn't looking to take away our possessions. He is looking to make His Son our greatest possession.

"My righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him" (Heb. 10:38). If you're facing a choice right now between pressing forward and drawing back, look at these two men. Which one do you want to be more like?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord God, I'm inspired by the life of Your servant Moses, who chose to live with (even to suffer with) the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin. For he considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, because his attention was on his reward (Heb. 11:25-26). When my endurance fails, Lord, would you help me keep focusing on the great reward of Your favor and eternal promises? I don't want to slow down or lose sight. I want to keep going. Please help me, Lord. In Jesus name I pray...AMEN


Study by: Beth Moore



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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Unmistakable

Day 71

Before You Begin

Read Luke 21:5-28

Stop and Consider

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near! (v. 28).


What are some of your biggest questions about Christ's Second Coming? What would you love to know the answer to?

Is it fair to ask questions like these---even if we may never receive the answer? Is it possible for a person to ask in curiosity and believe in faith all at the same time?


I love eschatology---a fancy word for end-time events. Few subjects are more exciting to study than the glorious future awaiting us. Just don't lose your head over it! Bible topics are not meant to become our focus--- not even critical themes like holiness and service. Jesus is our focus. Remember, the enemy's primary goal is to disconnect us from the Head. Colossians 2:19 describes the kind of person who becomes more interested in spiritual things than the Spirit of Christ: "He has lost connection with the Head." That's why we must be very careful when dealing with exciting subjects like eschatology.

Among the many facts we know about Christ's return, the one that is most clear is this one: It will be unmistakable. Luke 21:27 tells us that people "will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

Revelation 1:7 also makes it clear that Christ's return to this earth will be impossible to miss: "Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! AMEN."

If you carefully compare Luke 21:7 with Matthew 24:3, you will see that the disciples asked about Jesus about two events. I believe the disciples thought they were asking only one question. In reality they asked about two events separated by millennia---the destruction of the temple and the return of Christ. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. We await Jesus' return today.

I confess that I would like to shake those disciples and tell them to ask better questions. Parts of Jesus' discourse fit the events surrounding the destruction of the temple. Some of His words can apply only to the Second Coming. Some leave us wondering. Why do you suppose Jesus didn't choose to be more clear about these events? Wouldn't you like to have a clearer road map or timetable?

But whether or not we can answer all the questions that come to our mind, you and I can be sure we are living in an era on the kingdom calendar that will climax with the visible return of Jesus Christ. It's unmistakable.


Praying God's Word Today

Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, I know that You are coming quickly, and that Your reward is with You to repay each person according to what he has done (Rev. 22:12-13). This I know. And for this, I worship You....and wait for You. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Things To Watch For

Day 72

Before You Begin

Read Luke 17:20-36

Stop and Consider

As the lightning flashes from horizon to horizon and lights up the sky, so the Son of Man will be in His day (v. 24).


What troubles you the most about the direction of our world and society?

What claims have you heard people proclaiming or broadcashing about the "end times" and the "latter days" that you just know are not based on God's Word?


Let's emphasize a few facts concerning the end of the age and Christ's return:

1) Christians will long for Christ's return before the world ever see it. Luke 17:22 says that one of the signs of His return will be a heightened longing. Christ is most assuredly returning, but not as soon as believers may hope as they look upon the tragic state of the earth. I experience that longing every time I watch a documentary on a starving, suffering people group or hear a horrific report of violence and victimization. My only answer is to pray, "O, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" I don't doubt that you also have overwhelming moments when you deeply long for Christ to return and right all wrongs.

2) Many will come claiming to be Christ. In Luke 17:23, Jesus warned that as the end of time hastens, the incidence of false-messiah claims will increase. But the sheer visibility of Christ's return is enough reason why believers should never be susceptible to this kind of deception. When Christ returns, people won't have to read about it in the paper. Every eye will see Him. Any rumor of His return is automatically false. When He comes back, the whole world will know it.

3) The world will display dramatic increases in depravity. One key word characterizing the hastening conclusion of this age is increase. God's Word describes end-time events like birth pains (see Matthew 24:8), meaning the evidences increase in frequency and strength. Matthew's version plainly characterizes the end of the age as marked by the increase of wickedness. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (Matt. 24:12).

Luke 17:25-28 states that the time of Christ's return will be like that of Noah or Lot. The Old Testament lends some important insight into the condition of the societies surrounding both of these men. I believe the end of time will parallel the days of Noah and Lot in many ways, but among them will be dramatic increase in perversity. Can anyone deny that we are living at a time of dramatic escalation in sexual sin? I believe our society is presently being sexually assaulted by the devil. I am convinced based on multiple characteristics of the last days that they have already begun. However, I'm certainly not date-setting Christ return. Luke 12:40 makes it plain that forecasting a time of Christ's return is a waste of time. Jesus said, "the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." So if we're going to be, like Noah, righteous people surrounded by a sea of unrighteousness, we have no other recourse than to radically refuse to cooperate and proactively choose to fight back. If we're going to be victorious in a latter-day society, we must become far more defensive and offensive in our warfare.

4) The latter days will show a notable increase in violence and cataclysmic events. Luke 21:10 tells us "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Luke 21:12, 16 and Matthew 24:9 warn of the escalation in the persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Those of us who live in the United States like to think persecution and martyrdom are not characteristic of our generation of believers, but we are mistaken. Parts of our body are suffering terribly in many areas of the world.

Had enough bad news for now?
Me too! There's good news, too!

5) The worldwide witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ will increase. Ours is such a God of mercy! He will not judge the wickedness of the earth until the testimony of His Son has reached every nation. Jesus said, "The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14).

What kind of simultaneous increase does this prophecy necessitate? An increase in missionaries! Dr. Jerry Rankin of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board told me that the number of people surrendering to foreign missions is increasing so dramatically, it can be explained no other way than as God fulfilling prophecy. Rejoice in the fact that there will be a soul harvest that no man can count of every tribe, tongue, and nation (see Rev. 7:9).

6) The activity of the Holy Spirit will increase. Acts 2:17 proclaims, "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." I believe God was hinting at an insatiable appetite to know and share God's Word! beloved, your love for Scripture is evidence of that harvest. We haven't simply "wised up" in this generation by getting into God's Word. It's the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Unprecedented numbers of people are becoming armed with the sword of the Spirit because we're entering an unprecedented spiritual war!

I'm so grateful to live during this awesome season on the kingdom calendar. In some ways we live in the worst of times to date. But in other ways we live in the best of times. The winds of true worship are blowing. The Spirit ofGod is moving. I don't want to hold on to my church pew and sing, "I shall not be moved." I want to move with Him!

Don't you?

Pick one of these six points from today's devotional reading that really registered with you. What examples of it have you seen around you to prove God's Word is absolutely true?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, I assure You---as Paul instructed us---that I am "encouraged" by the fact that You Yourself will one day descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel's voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise. Then those who are alive will be caught up together with them to meet You in the air; and so we will always be with You---all of us (1 Thess. 4:16-18). Lord, even though we haven't yet seen that great day, we know we are already safe within Your covenant love. Even so----come, Lord Jesus. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN



Study by: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Beginning of the End

Day 73

Before You Begin

Read Luke 19:28-48

Stop and Consider

Every day He was teaching in the temple complex. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to destroy Him (v. 47).

Try to describe the emotions that flood your soul---after having spent these first seventy days getting to know our One and Only---now seeing Him marked for a torturous death?


What could you do to keep the reality of His suffering and the high cost of your atonement from ever becoming old hat and unmoving to you?


We have arrived at the most critical juncture in our journey. Having accelerated through the parables, we now slow to a crawl, with magnifying glass in hand, to move through the final three chapters of Luke's Gospel. We will spend every remaining moment attempting to become eyewitnesses to the events at the conclusion of his account.

Luke 9:51 records that "Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." He performed many miracles and delivered vital messages along the way. But Luke 19:28-48 indicates that Christ's presence was finally becoming more than His opposition could stand. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His cleansing of the temple. To the religious establishment, these were the proverbial straws that broke the camel's back.

I wish we could all sit together on the Mount of Olives and look at the Holy City for a while. Picture it in your mind. The garden where Christ retreated was on the hill directly across from the altar of sacrifice on the temple mount. Jesus taught at the temple during the day, then at night He retreated to the Mount of Olives, which overlooked the temple.

Not long ago, I sat near this place where Jesus retreated. I couldn't help wondering what went through His mind during those days. On that temple mount God had provided that substitutionary offering for Isaac (see Gen. 22:1-19; see also 2 Chron. 3:1). Paul wrote that through Abraham, God had provided an "advance" showing of the gospel of grace (Gal. 3:8). Fast forward, now, two thousand years to the scene where Christ was camped on the mountain parallel to the place of sacrifice at the temple. He resolved to fulfill the gospel that had been preached to Abraham. The time was imminent.

And, oh, by the way---"The Passover was approaching" (Luke 22:1). God's timing is never coincidental, but it was perhaps never more deliberate than in the events that unfolded in the opening lines of Luke 22. A new year on Israel's sacred calendar had just begun. The most sacred and critical year in all of human history was beginning---"the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:19). The age of the completed redemptive work of God was unfolding. Can you imagine the anticipation in the unseen places? The kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness were rising to a climatic point on the divine calendar.

Praying God's Word Today


Lord Jesus, how I praise You again for reconciling us by Your physical body through Your death, in order to present us holy, faultless, and blameless before You---if indeed we remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel we have heard and experienced (Col. 1:22-23). Please keep this reality before my eyes at all times, as I seek to worship You more fully each day. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

JUDAS

Day 74

Before You Begin

Read Luke 22:1-6

Stop and Consider

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was numbered among the Twelve. He went away and discussed with the chief priests and temple police how he could hand Him over to them (vv. 3-4).


Many people discount the work of Satan as the stuff of imagination and fairy tales. Why are you certain their doubts are misplaced?


What attention do you pay to him in your own life? How sure are you of his presence? How sure are you of Christ's victory over him?



I wonder if Judas knew he was inhabited by Satan the moment it happened. Perhaps the entrance of the unholy spirit has counterfeit similarities to the entrance of the Holy Spirit. Most of us do not remember "feeling" the Holy Spirit take up residency within us the moment we trusted Christ as our Savior, yet He soon bore some sign of witness through the fruit in our lives. We have no way of knowing if Judas "felt" the unholy spirit take up residence within him, but it certainly wasn't long until the fruit of wickedness was revealed.

If you are new to the study of Scripture, the thought that Satan could enter a disciple might be terrifying. Please understand that just because a person appears to follow Christ doesn't necessarily mean he has placed saving faith in Him. Keep in mind that Satan entered Judas as opposed to Peter, James, or John, even though at times each of them had certainly revealed weakness of character. Satan was able to enter Judas because he was available. Judas followed Christ for several years without ever giving his heart to Him. The authentic faith of the others protected them from demon possession, albeit not oppression, just as it protects us. Judas proved to be a fraud, whether or not his tenure began with better intentions.

The evil one methodically seeks to work in your life and mine. Satan's planning counterfeits the awesome work of God. Just as our God has a holy plan that He executes in an orderly fashion.

Satan is not stupid. When I recall the technical procedures he's enacted in my life, I am stunned at his working knowledge of my fairly well-disguised vulnerabilities--even those I didn't know I had. He possesses a surprising amount of patience to weave seemingly harmless events into disasters, while his subject often never sees it coming.

What is our defense? The Word tells us not to be ignorant! Wising up to what the Word has to say about Christ's authoirty and the devil's schemes has empowerd me to throw some holy kinks into Satan's unholy plans for my life.

Praying God's Word Today

O Father, may I realize my need today for putting on Your full armor so that I can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For I know my battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. But in You, I am strengthened by Your vast strength (Eph. 6:10-12). Praise the awesome and mighty name of the Lord! In Jesus name we pray...AMEN


Study By: Beth Moore


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