Your Mina

Today’s reading is Luke 19.

“Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.” Did you catch that? The servant didn’t say, “Hey Lord; look what I did with your mina.” As far as the servant was concerned, the mina did the work. This explains the fatal flaw of the third servant. The servant’s problem was not that he didn’t believe in himself. The problem was he didn’t believe in the Lord’s mina. He thought the success of the business depended on himself. So, he did nothing. The other two believed the success depended on the Lord’s mina. I know I have a lot to learn from these servants. How about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 19.

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Have Mercy On Me

Today’s reading is Luke 18.

In Jesus’s story of the Pharisee and the tax collector, we met a character who was certain he was doing enough and a character who begged for mercy. As the chapter continues, we meet a man who was certain he was doing enough and a man who begs for mercy. The rich ruler may have thought there was something lacking, but when he heard what it was, he went away sad (instead of justified). Then we meet the blind man who begs twice for mercy from Jesus. Can Luke be any clearer in the connections between Jesus’s parable and these actual men? When we read a contrived story, it may be hard to make real life applications. What would these situations look like in real life? We saw the Pharisee’s real life counterpart in the rich ruler. It looks like someone who thinks Jesus is a great teacher, but not great enough to actually obey when He says something really, really hard. Then we meet one of the counterparts with the tax collector in the blind man who cries out to Jesus despite the crowd trying to shush him, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” It looks like someone going against the crowd. It looks like enough faith to seek Jesus even when people are telling you to be quiet. And isn’t this another parallel to the children we read about after Jesus’s story? Just as folks tried to hinder the children, folks tried to hinder the blind man. Here is childlike humility and trust. His story in Luke ends by following Jesus and being a reason for the crowds to glorify God. And finally, if we can draw one more connection to earlier passages in Luke. Jesus says to the blind man, “Your faith has made you well.” This is the exact same phrase Jesus said to the sinful woman in Simon the Pharisee’s house in Luke 7:50 and to the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:48. Almost all miracle stories are salvation pictures. This is no exception. Without Jesus we are blind. But if we turn to Him for mercy no matter what the crowds say, we will find mercy, salvation, and justification. Praise the Lord!

Monday’s reading is Luke 19.

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Like Children?

Today’s reading is Luke 18.

We find another one of those events in Jesus’s life that we have gotten so used to, we can miss how shocking it is. We love the passage about Jesus letting the little children come to Him. It is so sweet and cuddly. We think about how great it is that Jesus took toddlers into His arms. It is a Kodak moment custom made for a wonderful Hallmark movie. But are you catching how counter-cultural what Jesus says actually is? It wasn’t only counter-cultural in the ancient days, it is counter-cultural today. It isn’t counter-cultural because an adult is accepting children. It is counter-cultural because He is saying we need to b e like children to get into His kingdom. Who wants to do that? You want me to accept your kingdom like a child? You want me to just have faith in You and accept everything You say without question? You want me to be the subservient one who just does what I’m told because I don’t seem to know any better? Don’t we warn children to steer clear of people who say things like this? Can you understand why many mature, grown up adults would have a problem with this? The fact is if anyone else were saying what Jesus says here, it would be awful. If anyone else were saying this, we should run as fast and as far away as we could. But this is Jesus. This is God in the flesh. And we have a good God who has our best interests at heart, which He proved by dying on the cross for us. When He says it, it is amazing and comforting and incredible. I’m not saying we check our reason at the door. I’m not saying just blindly accept that Jesus is who He says He is. However, I am saying, having recognized that the evidence is in Jesus’s favor, if you are going to live your “Christian” life constantly second-guessing Him, wondering if His way really works or if you might have a better plan at least just in this one instance, then Jesus isn’t going to do you any good. There are very few people who are going to say, “Yep, I’m a little child. I’ll accept Jesus like that.” Most people will think that is infantile, naive, immature, and foolish. And most people will miss out on the kingdom. In fact, someone somewhere is reading this post and saying, “See, those Christians are so dumb. Not only are they weak, helpless sheep. They are naive, ignorant little children.” But it is sheep and children that Jesus saves, and I’m okay with that. How about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 18.

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Faith has Saved You

Today’s reading is Luke 8.

When Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, He said, “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.” What is fascinating is in Luke 7:50, when Jesus had demonstrated the forgiveness of the sinful woman, He said, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” We don’t see it in English, but in the original Greek, these are both the exact same sentence. This clarifies salvation. We often think of salvation as what happens at the end. That is, saved equals going to heaven. That is not true. Saved means being healed, being delivered from the sickness of sin. Certainly, those who are saved will go to heaven. But saved means having our sin sickness conquered. When I understand this, I recognize saved doesn’t mean going to heaven despite lingering in sin. I understand that saved means having victory over sin which leads to heaven. Certainly, the Bible demonstrates this is a growth process. However, let’s rejoice that God is not leaving us in our sins. He has healed us. He is healing us. He will heal us. Put your faith in Jesus, He heals, He saves. Praise the Lord!

Monday’s reading is Luke 9.

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Today’s reading is Luke 7.

The soldier understood. He had heard about Jesus. Perhaps he had heard about His teaching. No doubt, he had heard about the miracles. But he got it. The centurion was a man who had been placed under authority. Not in authority, but under it. He recognized how the chain of command worked. Because he was in a chain of command that led up to the emperor of Rome, he knew he could tell a soldier what to do and he would do it. He saw that same chain of command in Jesus. Jesus was under authority, but under what authority? Under what chain of command? The chain of command that could demand whatever powers, spirits, ministering beings existed to remove illness from a man even though he was miles away. This is chain of command that only exists when one is under the authority of the Most High, when one is in the chain of command that reaches its height in God. The centurion got it; he understood. The Jews believed he was worthy to have a miracle performed because he loved them and built their synagogue. Jesus performed the miracle because of the man’s faith. Jesus is under the authority of God. He is authorized by God. All authority is in Him. He is Lord. Let us believe like the centurion. Let us do what He says when He says it. After all, as we learned in the last chapter, when we do, our house will stand in the storm.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 7.

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Believe Enough

Today’s reading is Luke 5.

I vacillate on Peter’s faith in the account of the great catch of fish. Sometimes, I think Peter is demonstrating great faith in Jesus. Other times, I think it is just barely any faith. After all, he does what Jesus says, but not without first having to make sure Jesus knows he thinks it is pointless. But, he did what Jesus said. That is the key I always end up getting back to. Whether he had great faith or small faith, he had enough faith. He had enough faith to do what Jesus said. That is how much faith I need to have. I may struggle with my faith. I may not understand why Jesus has asked what He has. I may even complain about it and think it is pointless. In the end, I need to believe enough to do what Jesus says. Today, my goal is to believe enough.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 5.

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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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