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.

Continue reading “Believe Enough”

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.

Continue reading “King of the World”

Fear! No Fear!

Today’s reading is Luke 1.

Mary praises God saying, “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50). Zechariah, on the other hand, says, “We, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (Luke 1:74). Which is it? Does He have mercy on those who fear or can we serve Him without fear? Yes! I admit, it is possible Zechariah is referring to a fear of the enemies. That is, he might be saying that because we are delivered from our enemies, we can serve God without fearing them. That is a lot like the prayer we hear so often in worship assemblies today saying, “Thank you for letting us gather here without fear of persecution.” My struggle with that is when Christianity started, that is exactly what all Christians faced. Perhaps we can read this as we have no reason to fear our ultimate enemy, Satan. There is definitely truth to that. I can worship God without fear that Satan is going to win. However, I think this struggle we have between scriptural commands to fear God and scriptural promises that we don’t need to fear God comes down to a very simple principle. It was one I was taught back in my college days when I was trained as a trim carpenter. A table saw is a powerful thing. One wrong move, and a finger is gone or an artery cut, and you’re bleeding out on the wood (my boss was always more concerned about blood getting on the wood than leaving my body). However, when you recognize the power and fear it–not a paralyzing terror, but a healthy fear–then you take the proper precautions. When you take the proper precautions, you don’t have to fear the saw. Another illustration comes to mind. When driving, if I fear getting a speeding ticket, I drive the speed limit. When I drive the speed limit, I don’t have to fear a speeding ticket. As odd as it sounds, my fear removes the need for my fear. God has mercy on those who fear Him. Because of that, we have no need to fear Him. Today, because you fear God, go forth without fear.

Next week’s reading is Luke 2.

Continue reading “Fear! No Fear!”

Walk In Truth and Love

Today’s reading is 2 John 1.

If John is interested in anything in this very brief letter, it is clearly 1) Truth and 2) Love. He loves the “elect lady” in truth. So do all who know the truth because truth abides in us. He rejoiced because some of her children walk in truth. He asked her to follow the old commandment to love one another. Of course, loving one another means walking according to the commandments. The reason truth and love are important is because deceivers have gone into the world. Don’t greet these deceivers otherwise you have become a partaker in their lack of truth and love. Truth and love. Love and truth. They go together. In fact, they cannot be separated. If you aren’t walking in love, it isn’t truth. If you aren’t walking in truth, it isn’t love. How will you walk today?

Tomorrow’s reading is 3 John 1.

Continue reading “Walk In Truth and Love”

On Rules and Relationship

Today’s reading is John 14.

We hear people today say, “It’s not about rules its about relationship.” And, in some ways I get that. However, I wonder what Jesus would say to that. “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” Today, make it about your relationship with the Father. Today, live so the world will know you actually love the Father. Today, keep His commandments. Because asserting that you aren’t going to worry about His commandments because you are more about your relationship with God than the rules of God simply doesn’t make biblical sense. Love God today.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 15.

Continue reading “On Rules and Relationship”

Listen to Jesus

Today’s reading is John 13.

Poor Peter. He just didn’t get it. But I completely understand why he did what he did. I can almost imagine as Jesus was washing feet that Peter thought this was a test. He was sure that because Jesus was the Christ, He shouldn’t act like a servant and wash feet. When Jesus got to him, he wasn’t going to stand for it. But Jesus was patient. He explained this wasn’t a test. If Peter wouldn’t allow the foot washing, he had no part in Jesus. So then Peter went the other way, “I want a huge share in you. Wash not only my feet, but my head and hands as well.” But he still didn’t get it. And this is the struggle when we try to intuit what Jesus wants instead of just listening to what He says and watching what He does. We are supposed to judge with a right judgment (John 7:24). Not everything gets spelled out. Some things are implied. We can draw some conclusions based on those implications. However, we need to realize that just because some judgment seems logical to us, doesn’t make it so. We need to trust that Jesus knows what He is about. Rushing ahead of Him in our haste and in our judgment is dangerous business. Trust Jesus. Listen to Him. Don’t get ahead of Him. Just follow Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 14.

Continue reading “Listen to Jesus”

God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters

Today’s reading is John 7.

Why does the issue of authority matter? Is it because we have to prove we are better at keeping rules? Is it because if we don’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is we’ll go to hell? Is it because we have to earn our way into heaven by following the pattern? No. None of these things is the reason. The reason authority matters is because God’s glory matters. When I act on my own authority, I’m seeking my own glory. When I’m seeking God’s glory, I act on His authority. It’s just that simple. Whose glory are you seeking? How can you tell?

Tomorrow’s reading is John 8

Continue reading “God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters”