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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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

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.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The guest of honor

Luke 14:15-24…

Jesus was still dining in the home of the Pharisee when someone spoke up about how blessed it will be to dine in the kingdom of God. The man was speaking as if he knew he would be there. Jesus used this moment to tell a story that was directed to the pride of the guests.

In the story, the guests who were invited to a great feast started making excuses why they couldn’t come. The first man’s excuse is a lie. In those days, no one bought a field without examining it thoroughly. The second man’s excuse is an insult. It was like saying you can’t make it to the big event that was planned weeks ago because you just bought a ticket for a movie that night. The third man’s excuse is just arrogant. The man had already accepted an invitation, and the feast would not have been scheduled on the same day as the wedding. The only real reason the people didn’t want to come to the feast was because they weren’t hungry in humility.

You see, in the story God is the host, the feast is the kingdom of God, the invited guests were the Jewish leaders, and the poor and crippled and blind and lame were the Gentiles. Jesus was saying, “You proud people won’t repent of your evil ways. You are continually trying to excuse yourself with reasons why I am not the Messiah. You refuse my invitations to the kingdom and reject me any way you can. So I will gather up the hurting, and discard you, the haughty. You who were first invited but who make excuses are not going to be eating with me.”

Let the proud of this world have their cake and eat it too. You don’t want it. Remember, they don’t serve devil’s food in heaven. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

By invitation only

Luke 14:7-14…

Jesus was using this dinner among the Pharisees to illustrate spiritual truths. He spoke about being a guest, and then, about being a host. This was easy to understand in a literal, practical way. But the lessons are much broader in scope than just being invited or inviting others to events. The truth about humility and grace is timeless.

Jesus noticed how the guests were maneuvering for positions at the table. As He waited, the only position left would have been the seat of least honor. He told them that they should avoid selfishly seeking honor, because they set themselves up for humiliation. The way up is down (Proverbs 27:2, 29:23 / Matthew 23:12 / James 4:6, 10 / 1 Peter 5:5-6).

Jesus taught that the host can also reveal a lack of humility. When planning a party, the temptation is to invite those who promote our standing, those most likely to do us some good in return. We are tempted to give in order to get. Jesus taught that this practice should not only be revised, but reversed.

The way of the world is to invite people in order to gain from their reciprocal invitations and hospitality. The way of the Word is to be gracious to the helpless and to those who cannot pay us back. Doing so assures us of God’s blessings in heaven.

You invite the blessing of God by investing your blessing in others. This is part of what Jesus means when He says we are to store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).