Archive | January 2015

Overcome and Be Strong

Luke 22:31-38New International Version (NIV)

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’[a]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.


 

Prayer

Father, satan asked permission to sift each of the disciple like wheat and You fave that permission but not without Jesus assuring Peter that his faith would not fail and that after repenting, he would strenghten his brothers. Lord, I learn from this passage that though You may allow satan to sift me, You make sure that when I repent, I will eventually overcome and emerge stronger to encourage my brethen. Help me to remain within Your will so that even when satan puts before me trials, persecutions or temptations, I can respond in godly way and claim the victory I have in you.

What is Greater

Luke 22:24-27New International Version (NIV)

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.


 

Prayer:

Father, the impeding arrest, suffering and death of Jesus was about to take place and the disciples were still arguing about their prestige in the Kingdom. They were so wrapped up on their own concerns that they failed to understand what He had been telling them about His death and resurrection. Lord, may I not make the same mistake of being so concerned about myself that I miss the next big event which is the return of Jesus. Instead, help me to keep my eyes on You as I go about enjoying Your presence and serving You while preparing for Christ’s return.

Being Watchfull

Luke 21:5-38New International Version (NIV)

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, it can be terrifying to see Your words about the sign of Your imminent return coming true. But for Your genuine followers, it is both exciting and wonderful because it means we will soon experience being with You face to face. And as we wait for the climactic event, You encourage us to be watchful and to live in faithfulness. Lord, each day brings me closer to that reality so I pray that I make each day count for eternity by sharing the gospel and living in obedience to You. As I serve You, my mind and my heart are set on the glorious future that  awaits me as You return to fetch Your church.

Talents That Given To Us

Luke 19:11-27 (NIV)

The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a] ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”


 

Prayer:

Father, You have given us excellent resources to build and expand Your Kingdom. You expect us to use these talents so that they multiply and Your Kingdom grows. Someday, Jesus will ask each of us to account for what we have done with Your gifts. Lord, while waiting for the glorious appearing of Christ, help me to faithfully use whatever resources and talents You have given me to further Your Kingdom. Let me not waste time for life is short and the message is urgent. I pray that when Christ returns, He will find me faithfully doing the work You have entrusted to me.

Sacrificial Giving

Luke 21:1-4New International Version (NIV)

The Widow’s Offering

21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
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Prayer:

Father, the poor widow who gave as an offering all she had to live on is in stark contrast to the way most of us handle money. When we consider ourselves generous in giving a small percentage of our income to You, we resemble those who gave a tiny part of their surplus. The widow exemplified generous and sacrificial giving – something that we should all learn to do. Lord, whether it’s money, talent or time, help me to give them to a point beyond convenience or comfort. For these resources are undeniably Yours, lent to me for a period of time and have no right to keep them for myself alone. You bless me so I can be a blessing to others. Let this truth be a constant reminder as I go about my daily life.

True Repentance

Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! 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.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”


Prayer:

Father, Zaccheus was a small man by stature but big in repentance and restitution. For when he realized how much of a sinner he was after associating with Jesus, he immediately offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and give back four times of what he has defrauded of anyone. True repentance does not stop at asking for forgiveness but taking action to make restitution. Lord, may my heart be as open to Your correction, as ready for repentance and as generous in restitution. For only a humble and contrite heart will enable me to really experience Your grace and reap benefits.

 

 

The Faith of the Blind Man

Luke 18:35-43 (NIV)

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, the blind beggar understood and accepted You to be the long awaited Messiah and he took hope in You. He shamelessly cried out for Your attention and You said that His faith allowed him to see. Lord, no matter how desperate my situation may seem, if I call out to You in faith, You will help me. Please turn what little faith I have into faith that sees You for who You really are in every area of my life – the One True God who is powerful and sovereign yet loving and gracious.