Love Your Enemies

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

I’m going to go off the beaten path for this blog and daily devo. You have probably already seen this, but today I just want us to think about loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, praying for those who abuse us. Today I want us to think about being merciful as our Father in heaven is. I don’t think I can add anything to the great example set recently in the public news. Even if you’ve already seen it, watch the video below to see a stellar example by a brother in Christ.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.

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#Blessed

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

Everyone of my kids at one time or another has come up to me and said, “Dad, I hate you.” Then when I started to get upset has replied, “Opposite day!” and they laugh like they just pulled off a great joke. In Luke 6:20-26, I half expect Jesus to shout, “Opposite day!” Honestly, I don’t completely know what to do with Jesus’s lists here. I simply know I tend to see it in the exact opposite light. I tend to see Jesus’s blessings as woes and vice versa. I’m not completely sure what to say. I’ve rewritten this post about 4 times now. So, I will leave it there. What I see today is that, as always, I’ve got a long way to grow. And I need to wrestle with this passage where Jesus seems to say the opposite of how I feel. What about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.

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Twisted Scripture

Today’s reading is Luke 4.

“But it’s in the Bible,” Satan says as he offers the third temptation. What a subtle and cunning enemy the devil is. He will use anything to get us to turn from God and turn on God. He will even use the Bible. He will pull verses out of context, strip them of their meaning, and then say, “But the Bible says.” There is only one way to combat this kind of temptation. Know God’s Word. If we pluck a sentence here or a verse there, we can make the Bible support just about anything. Jesus explained He would trust in the Father’s care and protection. He didn’t have to test it. He wouldn’t test it. He knew it would be there when it was truly needed; the Father’s Word said so. Yes, that very Word by which Jesus claimed He received life had promised God’s protection. How could He rely on it for life, if He wouldn’t trust it’s promises. The same is true for us. God is our Father. He will take care of us when that is needed, we don’t need to purposefully test it. We just need to purposefully rely on it no matter what Satan says to us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 4.

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King of the World

Today’s reading is Luke 4.

Satan tempts Jesus to worship Him, but Jesus is not tempted by worshiping Satan. There is nothing about worshiping Satan that by itself is tempting. No, Satan tempts Jesus with the kingdoms of the world. However, the temptation was not actually being king of the world. God has already promised that to Jesus (see Psalm 2). The temptation is becoming king of the world, but avoiding God’s pathway. I don’t think Satan understood the plan of God. I don’t think he had foreseen the crucifixion. But he saw Jesus had left the throne of God and come into the world. He could see God’s way to the throne was awful for Jesus. Satan was supposedly offering Jesus a ticket back to the throne room of God. Whatever God’s plans for Jesus might be, Satan was saying he would give up without a fight and Jesus could bypass anymore hardship. He would just hand over the nations of Jesus would worship him. He could quit this whole incarnation and any other terrible thing God had planned for Jesus if He would just bow down. What a temptation! And isn’t that just how Satan does it. He offers us the easy way. He promises life, joy, peace if we will just take the shortcut. But Jesus knew better. The shortcut wasn’t worth it if it meant worshiping someone other than God. The same is true for us. The shortcut isn’t worth it if it means surrendering to someone other than God. Sure, Satan was probably lying. He always does. Sure, he promises the moon, but only gives dirt. That, however, is really beside the point in this story. Jesus chose the hard path because it was God’s path. God is the only one to be feared, reverenced, obeyed, and worshiped. Oh, how sad it makes me to think of the times I have failed at this even after learning better. But Jesus shows us the way to victory. No matter the past, follow His way today. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 4.

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Not By Bread Alone

Today’s reading is Luke 4.

As Luke tells the story, Satan first asks Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus’s response explains what this temptation is all about. “Man shall not live by bread alone,” quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. As God had sustained Israel for 40 years in the wilderness, He has sustained Jesus for 40 days. He gave Israel manna to assuage their hunger. He sustained Jesus’s life, but let Him be hungry. Doesn’t this hit at life’s situation Satan often uses to tempt us. God was sustaining Jesus, but that sustenance didn’t make Jesus feel physically satisfied the whole 40 days. Here we are today, alive, but perhaps not as comfortable as we want. He is providing for us, but not at the standard of living to which we would like to be accustomed. There is discomfort, pain, annoyance, frustration, even a sense that we haven’t been completely provided for. After all, we’re alive, but hungry. Then Satan says, “Quit relying on God. Take matters into your own hand. You’re a child of God after all. If you were really His child, surely He would provide everything you want to the degree you want it.” But Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” That is, “I choose to rely on God. My life comes from God. I depend on Him. His grace is sufficient for Me.” That is, God is enough for me. Whatever God provides is enough for me. Satan wants us to believe if we do not pursue whatever he is offering, we’re going to die. However, the only true source of life is God. Not bread. Not water. Not even oxygen. God. Don’t let go of life. Don’t let go of God no matter what Satan offers.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 4.

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Baptism of Repentance

Today’s reading is Luke 3.

When John baptized people for the forgiveness of their sins, it was not so they could live however they pleased. Rather, it was a baptism of repentance. They were to follow their baptism up with fruit in keeping with the repentance their baptism proclaimed. The crowds were to learn to share with those who had less. The tax collectors were to learn not to take more than they were authorized. The soldiers were to learn not to extort money, but be content with their wages. Ours is also a baptism of repentance for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). We do not receive the remission of our sins in order to live however we please. We are to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. As the practical application of this was different for each person at John’s baptism, it will be different for each of us. What does fruit of repentance mean for you? Does it have to do with material contentment? Submission to authority? Humility? Morality? Spiritual focus? What fruit of repentance can you work on today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 3.

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Diotrephes & Demetrius

Today’s reading is 3 John 1.

As First John seems to be somewhat a commentary on John’s gospel. Second John seems to summarize First John. And then Third John provides an illustration of Second John. According to Second John, we are not supposed to greet (which means more than just saying, “Hi,” but is a greeting with acceptance) those who do not walk in truth. However, Diotrephes, who longed to have pre-eminence in his congregation, refused to greet even the apostles let along the faithful brethren who submitted to the apostles teaching. On the other hand, Demetrius was a faithful brother who should be greeted and accepted by the brethren. I pray that I live in such a way that an apostle would give me such a commendation. I pray that you will do the same. And notice ultimately from where that commendation came. Yes, he received a good testimony from “everyone,” but more importantly, he received a good testimony from the truth. When we walk in truth and love, we will obtain a good testimony. How will you walk today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 1.

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