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.

Continue reading “Blessed are the Readers”

The Family of Jesus

Today’s reading is Luke 8.

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

“How quaint?” we think. But this is not quaint at all, it is revolutionary. Today, family is important, but it is not what it was in Jesus’s day. In Jesus’s day, family was your security net, your conscience, your identity, your belonging, your protection, your obligation, your public face, your reputation, your community, your everything. And Jesus says, “Who is my family? Not the woman who bore me. Not the siblings who grew up with me. The good soil is my family.” The phrase “Word of God” is used three times in Luke. Two of them are in this week’s chapter. It is the good seed and it is the charter that determines Jesus’s family. Jesus’s family is the good soil. Jesus’s security net is the Word of God. His conscience is the Word of God. His identity is the Word of God. His community, His public face, His obligation, His reputation is the community of those who let the seed of God’s Word dig deep in their heart and bear fruit some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold. You don’t have to be born of Mary to be part of Jesus’s family. You do, however, have to be born of the imperishable seed, the Word of God (cf. I Peter 1:22-25). And you can be. Keep reading. Keep studying. Keep following.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 8.

Continue reading “The Family of Jesus”

Our Household in God’s Household

Today’s reading is Titus 2.

Yesterday, we learned there were insubordinate, empty talking, deceivers who were upsetting whole families teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught. At the beginning of today’s reading, Paul turns that around on Titus. “No matter what anyone else is doing, Titus, you teach what accords with sound, healthy, faithful teaching. Those other guys are upsetting households, you settle them.” And then he talks about how everyone in a household should behave, whether male or female, whether old or young. But keep this in the context. Paul didn’t write this here so when we are preaching a series through Titus we could preach some lessons on the home. He is actually describing the battle in the vile culture of Crete. Please see, the battle isn’t won on Facebook. It isn’t won in a courthouse. It isn’t won on the floors of Congress. It is won in our households. Sure, it is great when laws get passed that support truth. But in the midst of Crete, Christians fight the good fight of faith not by conducting political battles but by living in their own households distinctly and differently, living soberly, steadfastly, lovingly, self-controlled, exemplary lives in a way that the ungodly are put to shame as they try to find some way to make an accusation against us. I think this may be a needed teaching for us today as well.

Tomorrow’s reading is Titus 3 .

Continue reading “Our Household in God’s Household”

Discipline is Hard

Today’s reading is Hebrews 12.

I want life to be easy. But where would an easy life lead? If every day were a walk in the park, would I understand how much I need God? Would I figure out how messed up I am in my heart and mind? Enter discipline. Doing whatever I want without facing consequences is fun and easy, but eventually it is destructive. Discipline is hard and painful. I don’t like it. But God puts me through it in the hope of saving my very soul. I often wish there was an easier softer way for me to grow, but I’ve come to realize I’m pretty dense and thick-headed. If God is going to get my attention, He has to get my attention where it hurts. I can cry, whine, moan, rebel, but God’s painful discipline is what trains me and gives me life. Who knew that discipline itself is really the grace of God? Let’s thank God for His discipline today.

Monday’s reading is Hebrews 13.

Continue reading “Discipline is Hard”

Why Judas?

Today’s reading is Mark 4.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked Judas as one of the twelve? He knew the future. He knew how it would end up. But He picked him anyway. Was Judas a bad guy and Jesus just needed a bad guy to make sure He got betrayed in the end? I don’t think so. Judas was apparently good enough that none of the rest had a problem with him being in charge of the money bag. He wasn’t an obviously bad, awful man filling a spot and biding time for Jesus. I suggest Judas was chosen because Judas was qualified. By God’s grace, he had everything he needed to be a great disciple of Jesus and a great apostle. However, at the same time, he also had everything he needed to be a betrayer. The fact is Judas is just like us. We have everything it takes to be a traitor, but by the grace of God we also have everything it takes to be great disciples and servants of Jesus. The question is which will we choose. Start today. Which will you choose today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 5.

Continue reading “Why Judas?”

How Will They Know We Love God?

Today’s reading is John 14.

Did you hear what Jesus said at the very end of today’s chapter? “I do as the Father has commanded me, because I always like to keep the rules.” Nope. “I do as the Father has commanded me to show I’m better than everyone else.” Nope. “I do as the Father has commanded me because deep down inside, I’m a Pharisee.” Nope. “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” Wow! Who knew? I thought keeping the commandments was about rules, regulations, and legalism. That stuff is for Pharisees. But Jesus says doing what God says was His way of letting the world know He had a real relationship with the Father. I wonder if that might work for us too. Since our Teacher took that path, perhaps we disciples should follow Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 15.

Continue reading “How Will They Know We Love God?”

The Real Family of Jesus

Today’s reading is Mark 3.

I doubt we in our modern, western, individualistic culture will ever fully appreciate what Jesus said when His mother and siblings came calling. “Who are my mother and brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” WOW!!! In that culture, family was everything. Belonging to a clan or tribe was paramount. And Jesus explained that His clan, His tribe, His family was not listed in the records of the genealogies. Rather, His family is recorded in heaven. Those who surrender to Yahweh as Father are Jesus’s siblings. We are His real family. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 4.

Continue reading “The Real Family of Jesus”