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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

More than money


Luke 15:8-10…

Because Jesus receives sinners as if they were family, they grumble against Him, thinking that He obviously was not from God. Yet it is they who are exposed as having no concept of the heart of God. They have no interest in the joy of God, or what brings celebration to Heaven.

Jesus was bringing the self-righteous into the story, using the dirty (shepherds) and the disrespected (woman) as instruments of illustration. If lesser beings are concerned with lost things, so too, is the Messiah, and so too, should they be.

The woman in the story was on a mission. The monetary loss was terrible, but the possible sentimental value would have made this even worse. It called for a passionate search. Finding the coin was cause for great celebration, not just for this lady or her household, but for all of her friends. How much more valuable are the people around us! Christians must celebrate when salvation’s light reaches the dark and lost soul. Our mission is greater than money.

Unlike the religious leaders, God doesn’t mind being compared to a woman. It is God in Christ who is that woman seeking the lost sinner hidden in the dark and dirty world of sin. He did that for us, and He is the one who places the value in us. When we truly understand that we will truly change, because we treat others like we think God treats us (Romans 15:7). 

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The lost sheep


Luke 15:1-7…

When we lose or misplace something, we trace our steps, we ask other people, and we ponder where we have been and where it could be. We don’t give up until we find it, whatever it is. The more valuable the thing is to us, the harder and longer we try to recover it. If and when we do, we celebrate, it is a huge relief.  Everyone is this way.

Jesus was saying the same to the crowd gathered to hear Him. The crowd was a mix of the religious leaders, the hated tax collectors, and the despised “lowlife sinners”. The Pharisees and scribes were grumbling that Jesus would keep company with “lesser” people.

What they failed to realize is that compared to Jesus, we are all lowlife’s. The people who can really get something from Jesus’ teaching are the ones who know they are lost and need help finding the way, not those who think they are already walking right along in the first place.  Yes we advance in the faith, but we never advance beyond repentance. Jesus wants people to remember where they came from, that all need rescuing. 
   

Jesus’ short story tells us about the Father’s love for the lost, but it also tells us what our attitude toward the lost should be as well. We need to be confident in what God’s grace can do for any person; especially those who we think are “lost causes”. Jesus specializes in them, and truthfully, that’s all of us (Isaiah 53:6). After we have received Christ as our Savior, a mark of our walk is that we become humbly grateful not grumbly hateful.

When people find the way of hope in God through the knowledge of Jesus, we should rejoice. That’s what heaven does, and that’s where we are going. In fact, that’s also a good test to see if you are really going there. 

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Following or fooling


Luke 14:25-35…

There were a bunch of people following Jesus, but He wanted them to realize what following Him really meant. They were following along physically but if they really wanted to follow it would have to be spiritually. Jesus tells them about the bumps in the road that might cause those who are only fooling themselves to turn back.

When it comes to committing your life, you don’t continue to follow something unless you hope or trust in it. Jesus was not putting conditions on God’s love for us. He was teaching us that while many may seem to start out on the path, most are not willing to walk in the way when the reality of that walk is tested. Jesus is showing us how our walk will be made manifest. Are we really following or only fooling?

Jesus says that we cannot be a disciple, in other words, we will fail to really follow, if we are not willing to put the relationship with Christ above all others. God is not against the family, He invented it, and He’s all for it. But He is not for it over and against the allegiance to Jesus. God wants you to bring your family closer to Jesus, not to let your family pull you away from Jesus (Matthew 10:37, 15:4).

Jesus says that we will fail to really follow if we are not willing to suffer for His name. Taking up our cross means we must be ready to bear up under the afflictions God sends our way as discipline to conform us to the image of Christ. Your cross to carry is not the sin; it is giving it up and having to feel the pain. Some presume that if we walk by faith, we will be removed from all problems, but that’s not the truth (Philippians 1:29 / 2 Timothy 3:12).

Jesus says that we will fail to really follow if we are not willing to lose everything we have. Following Jesus means going all out, and you can’t go all out unless you are all in (Philippians 3:7-10). It is not that you will have to live beaten, bare, burdened, and broke, but would you be willing to (Matthew 10:28)? The answer is provided in the tests along the way.

Following or fooling it is not about how well but how willing. If we are willing to put even good things aside for Christ, then we will be a disciple. We will learn to trust and to treasure Him above all else. Otherwise, the obstacles along the way will stop us in our tracks, and our walk will only be talk at that point. Direction always determines where we end up.

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