Blessed are the Readers

Today’s reading is Luke 11.

As Jesus was talking about replacing the spirits (which we discussed yesterday), a woman was moved to exclaim, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Certainly, this is a wonderful and true claim for Mary (see Luke 1:45). However, this woman is actually expressing her own longing. It’s as if she is saying, “I wish you were my son. Wouldn’t that be the greatest blessing?” Jesus’s response is essentially, “You can be just as blessed as My mother and more so if you listen to My Word and follow it.” Do not miss that Luke reveals this blessing just after Jesus’s instruction to replace the evil spirits. Luke is not indicating that the Holy Spirit equals the Word of God or that the only way the Holy Spirit works is through the Word of God. However, he is pointing out that one thing we have control over that grants us access to the Holy Spirit and His guidance is how we react to the Word of God. If we want to replace the evil spirits, the bad habits, the sins in our lives with God’s Holy Spirit, we don’t just sit around hoping the Holy Spirit will take us over. No, we pursue that blessing by opening up the Word of God and drinking it in. That is one of the reasons having a Bible reading plan like this one is so important. I’m glad you are here. Keep reading with us. It is doing us more good than we can possibly know, but only if we are listening to it.

Today’s reading is Luke 11.

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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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In Heavenly Places

Today’s reading is Ephesians 1.

As we read¬†Ephesians,¬†stay tuned to “power.” It’s a competition. There are powers attacking us. But there is Power for us. The attacking powers were demonstrated when Jesus was hung on the cross and executed. But God’s power was demonstrated when He raised Jesus from the dead and enthroned Him in the heavenly places far above every other rule and power. Whatever comes at us, remember the Power that is for us. He is the one who provides blessings in the heavenly places.

Monday’s reading is Ephesians 2.

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Blessing, Harmony, Peace, and Honor

Today’s reading is Romans 12.

I imagine you are reading this on the same device you access social media. When you move from this post to Facebook (or you may be reading it there), Twitter, Instagram, or whatever other platform you socialize virtually on, please remember today’s reading. Bless those who persecute and curse you. Don’t curse them in return. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but at least communicate with harmony. Don’t repay evil for evil, give good instead. Honor others and do what is honorable. Be at peace as much as it depends on you. Sure, there are plenty of people who are going to do bad, evil things. Don’t respond in kind. Overcome evil with good. One of the true life-changing differences the gospel makes is not how we treat the people most like us and whom we most like. It is in how we treat people who don’t like us, are not like us, and whom we don’t like all that much. And what better place to start that gospel life change than right now while you are online? After all, Jesus didn’t die for a bunch of people who were nice to Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 13.

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Blessed are the Poor

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

One of the big mistakes we make when we get to the Beatitudes in Luke’s account of the gospel is to immediately jump back to Matthew’s version of them, decide what they mean there, and then just read it into Luke. Whether these are records of two different teaching events where Jesus said something similar or whether they are two versions of the same event, Jesus clearly didn’t mean contradictory things. However, Matthew and Luke are using them to make distinct, but complementary, points. Matthew focuses on spiritual humility, but Luke really is focusing on financial poverty. However, notice Luke’s good news for the poor, the hungry, the mourning, the despised. His good news is not, as so many try to make it today, a better life now. His good news is not, “Turn to me and I will give you sumptuous meals, fine clothes, the house on the hill, and leisurely retirements.” Rather, it is “Turn to me and I will give you the kingdom of God and your reward in heaven will be great.” In fact, the very thing many today make out to be the reward is what Jesus says the rich, well-fed, merry, honored people have now, and it is all the reward they are going to get. That is not a good thing. Why would we want to make that the great blessing of turning to Jesus. No, this doesn’t mean we ignore helping those around us in need. That is covered when Jesus teaches us to do good and give expecting nothing in return. However, let’s understand what the good news really is. It is so much better than social justice, benevolence, and equity. It is eternal life. It is the kingdom. It is the very presence of God throughout all eternity. The true good news is unsurpassed. And I am unashamed. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 7.

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Blessed

Today’s reading is Revelation 14.

Here is why the enemy can’t win. What is the worst He can do to us? He attacks, he harms, he torments, he persecutes, and ultimately he kills. And all that does is bring us face to face with our greatest blessing. Never lose sight of that. In the darkest days, when the enemy martyrs and executes, he does nothing more than allow us to die in the Lord which is actually a great blessing and leads us to a great blessing. It brings us fully into the presence of the One we want to be with most. No matter how dark it gets, hang on to the Lord. Whether He delivers us from persecution or through persecution, we will be with Him forever. Even dying with and for Him is a blessing. Hang on to Jesus. He always wins!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 15.

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Hang On for God’s Blessing

Today’s reading is Matthew 15.

Jesus’s interaction with the Canaanite woman continues to amaze me. Even though I’ve read it dozens of times, it shocks me. And yet, it mirrors how many people feel God is treating them. Many believe God is ignoring them, forgetting them, even ill treating them. Yet, how does this Canaanite woman react? Does she decide Jesus must not exist because He isn’t responding the way she wants? Does she decide He isn’t worth her time because His first response is negative, even harsh? No. She knows He is the source of blessing. There is no other. She hangs on. And she receives the blessing. I don’t know what you are going through. I don’t know how Satan is using it to try to turn you away from God. But may I remind you Yahweh God, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, is the only source of blessing. Don’t abandon Him because He isn’t responding the way you want. Hang on to Him, you will receive His blessing when it is best and most blessed.

Monday’s reading is Matthew 16.

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