More than Enough

Today’s reading is Luke 9.

I’ve never made the connection before. However, did you notice that Jesus sent the apostles out on what we often call the Limited Commission, telling them to take no supplies. They were simply to trust God would provide for them on the way. When they came back, they went out to a desolate place but the crowds followed them. Then Jesus fed the crowds miraculously from five loaves and two fish. When the miracle was over, the apostles picked up the leftovers and gathered a basket full of food for each one of them. What a message for the apostles. Through Jesus Christ, there is more than enough. I’ll be honest. I find it easier to live with a scarcity mindset than an abundance mindset. I find it easier to be anxious and worry about how I’m going to survive than trusting Jesus will provide. When I’m being honest, my real fear is not that Jesus won’t provide, but simply that He won’t continue providing the standard of living to which I’ve become accustomed. We need to see the lesson Jesus taught the apostles. Jesus didn’t promise life in the lap of luxury. He didn’t promise upper class living or even middle class living. He did, however, demonstrate He will provide more than enough. We can live without anxiety. We can live generously. He will provide.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 9.

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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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But I’m Just a Sinner

Today’s reading is Luke 5.

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” That was Peter’s reaction to the great catch of fish. He knew this was no natural occurrence. It was not that Jesus could merely see where the fish were when Peter couldn’t. Peter recognized this great haul meant Jesus was someone special, someone more. He was Lord. In that moment, he recognized how completely unworthy he was to even be in the presence of Jesus. On the one hand, Peter’s reaction was absolutely correct. He did not deserve to be in the presence of Jesus. Jesus is holy above all. Peter’s sin did not deserve to be in God’s presence. However, on the other, Peter’s response was completely wrong. His response does not take into account Jesus’s mercy or mission. Jesus had not come to condemn sinners, but to save them. While it is true Peter did not deserve to be in Jesus’s presence, Jesus wanted Peter in His presence. Jesus had a job for Peter, yes, even for a sinner like Peter. I understand Peter’s feeling. How about you? “But I’m just a sinner!” I want to cry. Yet, Jesus responds, “Don’t fear, I have a place for you. I have a job for you. Stay with me.” Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 5

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Bread and Fish

Today’s reading is John 6.

Okay. I’m going to share something shocking. It goes against everything you are hearing today, not only from the world, but even from many people in church. Why did Jesus multiply the bread and fish? Not to feed the hungry. Not to serve the community. Not to love the crowd to the point of listening to Him. The key comes in John 6:14. When Jesus miraculously fed the people, they claimed him to be “The Prophet who is to come into the world.” The people correctly understood the reference of the miracle. Jesus is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-19; He is the Prophet like Moses who was to come into the world. But they, like so many today, missed the point of the miracle.They thought the point was to feed them. So they wanted to make Him king so He would keep on feeding them. Nope. Go back and read the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.* The purpose of the prophecy was to show who the people were supposed to listen to. But when He taught them. They didn’t like it. The didn’t listen. They left. Like so many today, they misunderstood what the mission of the Prophet and His Church really is. Neither Jesus’s goal nor the goal of His church is to feed people hungry for bread. Jesus is not like Moses; He is greater than Moses. Jesus doesn’t give bread, He is bread. Even though Jesus was actually greater than what they were expecting, He didn’t measure up to what they were expecting. They were willing to settle for a Messiah/King who would feed them. So they rejected the Messiah/King who would teach them. In fact, the only ones who staid were the ones who realized Jesus’s gift of life doesn’t come through any bread He might give, but through the Words He teaches. People today are no different. Many are attracted to churches who think their mission is to feed the hungry. Few are attracted to churches who think their mission is to teach the lost. Don’t be ashamed to be part of a church that won’t cave to the societal pressures to offer the mediocre service of filling physical needs. Yes, the world loves us when we do that. Yes, the community will be upset if our doors close if that is how we view or try to accomplish our mission. But that isn’t our mission. Be thankful to be part of a church that will offer the true service of passing on Jesus and His words of life. Yes, the world will despise us for it. Yes, most will reject it and us. Yes, the great majority will abandon us, even more so they will try to shut us down, and will throw a party if our doors close. But we will be walking in the footsteps of our Savior. And do not think we are to use the former (community benevolence and service) to get an opportunity to do the latter (share the gospel). That isn’t what Jesus was doing. And if it was, it failed. Why do we think it will work for us? Be unashamed of the gospel. Be unashamed to be part of a church that sees proclaiming the gospel as its mission.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 7

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God Has Time

Today’s reading is Mark 6.

He was tired. He had just learned about the death of His cousin John. His closest disciples needed to be refreshed. So, He had taken them into a desolate place in order to recharge, refresh, renew. But the needy people followed Him. What did He do? “Get out of here. Give Me a break. Can’t you see I need some time alone?” No. He felt compassion. He taught them. He cared for them. Keep that in mind. God has time for you today. Talk to Him. Lean on Him. Walk with Him. He has time.

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 7.

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Sinners Welcome

Today’s reading is Luke 5.

This one might be shocking considering yesterday’s reading. Jesus is sinless. When you find that out, you might react as Peter did after Jesus engineered a huge haul of fish, “Depart from me, I’m sinful!” But what did Jesus say? “Oh, I didn’t realize, get away scum.” No. He said, “Fear not, from now on you’ll be catching men.” Because Jesus is sinless, He doesn’t toss sinners away, rather He draws us in so He can make something better out of us. Sin isn’t a reason to abandon Jesus, it is the reason to draw closer. That’s why it is called good news.

Monday’s reading is Luke 6.

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Fishing for Men

Today’s reading is Luke 5.

Do you ever feel like Peter? “Lord, get away from me, I’m a sinner.” I know I do. And yet, Jesus picked him to fish for men. Jesus picked Peter to make disciples. Guess what that means about you and me. Despite our past, we can make disciples, we can fish for people. We can share the gospel and draw folks into the family of God. Don’t think you’ve been too bad to share the gospel. Share it and watch what God does with it.

Monday’s reading is Luke 6.

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