The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John

November 2020



Dr. Kevin Calhoun

November 2-6 | Mark 13-16

Luke 1


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Dr. Craig Bowers

November 9-13 | Luke 2-6


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Rev. JT Overby

November 16-20| Luke 7-11


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Jonathan Norton

November 23-27 | Luke 12-16

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Dr. Kevin Calhoun

November 30Luke 17


  • November 2, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Mark 13

     

    Last month I shared a devotional with you from Matthew 24. I reminded us that in the days to come we must beware of deception, be prepared for persecution, and be found faithful to our Lord. Today’s Scripture reading reminds us of these same thoughts with two additional words of exhortation.

     

    First, we should be bold and faithful in our testimony to others. As we are persecuted for our faith in Jesus, we are challenged to maintain confidence that God will provide for us in our time of need. “And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit,” (vs. 11).

     

    Secondly, we can have confidence to continue the spread of the gospel message because it “. . .  must first be preached to all nations,” (vs. 10).  As we read in  Revelation, there will be “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb . . . saying ‘salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,” (Revelation 7:9-10).

     

    Let us not be anxious about the end of the ages. Rather, let us maintain our confidence and hope in Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

     

    Application:

    List any occasions where God gave you the words to speak at just the right time.  

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    How does your faith in Jesus encourage you in times of stress and anxiety?  ________________________________________________________________


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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, as I expectantly await Your return, may I be bold in my witness even in times of ridicule.  Amen!

     


  • November 3, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Mark 14

     

    Of the many prayers of Jesus recorded for us (Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13; High Priestly Prayer, John 17; among others), His prayer in Gethsemane (Mark 14:36) may be the most challenging and beautiful of all. Notice with me several truths in this passage.

     

    First, Jesus begins, “Abba! Father!  All things are possible for Thee.”  The term “Abba” which is also used in the Lord’s Prayer is a term of endearment. Jesus begins both of these prayers acknowledging the grace and love of our Father in Heaven.  He also  expresses confidence in God’s wisdom and will by saying “all things are possible for Thee.” When we approach God in prayer, do we demonstrate similar thoughts of love and trust in His goodness?

     

    Secondly, we see the honesty of Jesus when He states, “remove this cup from Me.” Jesus, being fully God and fully human at the same time, honestly expressed His desire in the prayer. Are we equally honest with God when we turn to Him for healing, comfort, and help? Or do we couch our requests in “false humility?”

     

    Lastly, Jesus submitted His life (and death) to the will of His Father.  “Yet, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” I know I am sometimes guilty of turning to God in prayer, expressing the needs I am facing, and then trying to tell God how best to answer my requests. When we pray, we need to trust God’s will to be done in every way. 

     

     

    Application:

    Describe a difficulty you are facing at this time in your life.  
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    Are you willing to trust God to answer in accordance with His good will and pleasure?  

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    Prayer:

    Almighty God, this day belongs to You.  I will trust You in all ways.  Amen!


  • November 4, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Mark 15


                Notice with me the many characters mentioned in these verses today.

     

    The chief priests, the elders, the scribes and the whole Council (vs. 1) were the ones who were opposed to Jesus and wanted to see Him killed.

     

    Pilate (vss. 1-5) knew the charges against Jesus were false and exaggerated, Pilate was more interested in appeasing the crowd than seeking truth.

     

    Barabbas (vs. 6) was a true criminal convicted of crimes he committed.

     

    The soldiers (vss. 16-20) were mocking Jesus and abusing Him physically as well as emotionally.

     

    Simon of Cyrene (vs. 21) was selected to carry the cross for Jesus.

     

    The two thieves crucified with Jesus (vs. 27) were justly condemned for their offenses. 

     

    The centurion at the cross (vs. 39) realized Jesus was the Son of God when Jesus died.

     

    The ladies standing by the cross (vs. 40) were praised for being with Jesus until His death.

     

    Joseph of Arimathea (vs. 43) asked for the body of Jesus so he could properly bury Him.

     

    As you consider each of the persons mentioned, where do you fit in the mix? Have you turned to God by faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus? 

     

    Application:

    As you read about the crucifixion of Jesus, what are your thoughts about His love for you?  
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    How can you share your faith in Jesus with those you encounter today?  
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    Prayer:
    Lord Jesus, I turn to You by faith today trusting in Your life, death, burial, and resurrection.  You, and You alone are able to save me from my sin.  Lead me today in the way everlasting!


  • November 5, 2020
                                                                                                         

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Mark 16

     

    As we come to the end of Mark’s gospel, look with me at the final two verses in the passage: 

     

    “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed,” (Mark 16:19-20).

     

    Notice first of all where Jesus went when His work on earth was complete. He sat down at the right hand of God. He is not idle, but neither is He worried. There He remains interceding for all who turn to God by faith in Him. 

     

    We live in a world full of evil. We often find ourselves troubled and anxious due to circumstances around us. We struggle with illness and fragility. But we have the promise that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God praying constantly for us (Hebrews 7:25).

     

    Let us also notice the joy we experience as we serve Jesus faithfully each day.  As we go forth in the name of Jesus we have the promise that God will work many signs and wonders according to His perfect will.  J.C. Ryle has written, “Let us believe that no one shall ever work faithfully for Christ and find at last that his work has been altogether without profit,” (Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark).

     

    Application:

    Describe various circumstances that often cause anxiety for you. 

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    How has God comforted you in the past during these difficult times?  

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    Prayer:

    Almighty God, thank You for the cross of Jesus. Thank You for the victory He has won over sin and Satan. Thank You for Your daily strength.  Amen!


  • November 6, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Luke 1


    Today we begin our walk through the Gospel of Luke with a passage usually enjoyed during Christmas. As we look at this chapter, what can we learn?

     

    Let us begin in verses 26-33 with Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will bear a son. The message is three-fold: Mary is honored by God, God’s presence is with her, and God’s blessing is upon her. There is no need for her to be disturbed by the message – she will bear a son, and she will call his name Jesus.  In this announcement we learn that God is not an absentee God.  He is still very much involved in our lives.

     

    Notice also Mary’s reaction. She is confused because she is a virgin. How can she have a child? Gabriel responds to her question by saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; . . . for nothing will be impossible with God,” (vss. 35, 37).

     

    The chapter concludes with Mary’s statement of faith and submission unto God.  Not only is she willing to serve God, but she desires His will to be done in and through her life. To be sure, there are many things Mary would not enjoy. The flight to Egypt would be filled with danger. Jesus leaving home to preach would be hard on her as a mother. But watching Jesus die on a cross would bring excruciating pain to Mary. But she was willing to be used of God for His purposes.

     

    Application:

    Describe a time when God has surprised you with a challenging situation. 

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    How did you respond to this challenge?  
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    Prayer:

    Lord, give me courage today to trust You and follow You in all ways.  Amen!


  • November 9, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Luke 2


    There were two ceremonies in which all Jewish parents participated. The first one took place 8 days after the birth of a male child at which time the child was circumcised. 40 days later, the mother offered sacrifice for her purification. It is at this second ceremony that they encountered Simeon.

        

    At this time in history, Israel was apostate and hypocritical. William Hendrickson writes, "To be sure, conditions were bad, very bad, in Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Think of loss of political independence, cruel King Herod, externalization of religion, legalistic scribes and Pharisees and their many followers, worldly-minded Sadducees, the silence of the voice of the prophets. And in the midst of all this darkness, degradation and despair, there were men who were hopefully looking forward to and earnestly expecting the consolation of Israel.”

     

    Simeon looked to the future hope. His concern was for the people of Israel to be saved as noted in verse 25, “looking for the consolation of Israel.” He was looking for Messiah. Simeon’s hope was for a great awakening to take place in Israel.

     

    At some point in the past, God had spoken to Simeon and revealed that he would live to see Messiah. As time passed, Simeon didn’t waver. He waited.

     

    We do not know if Messiah will come back before we die. None of us have that promise. But we do have the promise that He IS coming back. Hopefully, that truth will motivate us to long for a great awakening to take place in our communities.

     

    In the most unlikely time and place, Simeon comes face to face with God! We live in such days! Let’s be like Simeon and crave the salvation of our family and friends.


  • November 10, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Luke 3

     

    The baptism of Jesus raises and answers some important questions! Since Jesus was perfect and baptism was a sign of public repentance, why was He baptized?

     

    The context teaches us that immediately after His baptism, Jesus began His public ministry. Baptism is His first public act. It is here that the Father speaks and the Spirit descends to affirm Jesus. Without question, His baptism is a public announcement that He is following the Father’s purpose for His life. While His very birth and life up to this point was a fulfillment of the Father’s purpose, His baptism shifted everything to the public eye.

     

    Our baptism is essentially the same as our Lord’s. When we are publically baptized, we openly, publically declare that we are now following the Father’s purpose for our lives.

     

    Jesus was also baptized to identify with us. Baptism is always symbolic. After Jesus was baptized He was tempted by the devil. The writer of Hebrews teaches us that while Jesus was tempted just like us, He was without sin. But that temptation gave Him a better understanding of our weakness (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus identifies with us in His baptism, which is seen in the fact that the enemy immediately attacks Him.

     

    Every person is to follow the biblical instruction to be baptized. That baptism is to take place after you have taken a step of faith in trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Why? Because baptism is a public declaration that you have repented of your sins and turned to Jesus!

     

    Baptism marks your submission to His mission for your life. What is that mission? To glorify God by loving Him, obeying Him, and sharing Him with others.

     

    Fulfill your mission today!


  • November 11, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Luke 4

     

    Jesus declared the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2. As a Christ follower, you are now fulfilling His ministry. The six actions in verses 16-20 are to be true in your life:

     

    First, verse 18 teaches us that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. If Jesus needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s mission, certainly we do as well. For the Holy Spirit to rule your life, you must get off the throne. You must submit to Him every moment of the day.

     

    Second, Jesus proclaimed the Gospel to the poor. The word “poor” is best understood to mean those who shrink back into the shadows because of their shame. Christ  follower, you are to share the message of HOPE and salvation with those who are filled with shame… those who are trying to stay in the shadows. Share the good news of Jesus with them.

     

    Third, Jesus proclaimed release to the captives! Praise God. You were once captive to sin. You were in bondage and hopeless. But the message of forgiveness and redemption was shared with you. Please share with others the freedom you have found in Christ.

     

    Fourth, Jesus gave sight to the blind. While Jesus healed those who were physically blind, we are commissioned to intercede for those who have been blinded spiritually by the god of this world (satan).

     

    Fifth, Jesus brings wholeness to a broken life. Those whose lives have been broken into a thousand pieces by the harshness of the world and the severe consequences of sin have hope in the restorative power of Jesus. The sad children’s story of Humpty Dumpty who could not be put back together is not the story of the Gospel. Regardless of how far you have fallen, God is powerful enough to put you back together again!

     

    Sixth, Jesus proclaimed the favorable year of the Lord. Those who lived in that day saw it! We proclaim the RETURN of the Lord. He is coming back.

     

    Throughout your life, fulfill these six actions!


  • November 12, 2020

     

    by  Craig Bowers

     

    Read  Luke 5

     

    Jesus calls us to a radical way of living – beginning with the way we think. Think about these verses:

                     

    37 "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 "But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 "And no one, after  drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough.'"

     

    In this context Jesus is being criticized. "Why do you eat and drink with the tax-gatherers and sinners?" Jesus did associate with sinners. That’s the context of the wineskin story.

     

    Jesus doesn’t care about wineskins! He cares about you. So, what is He teaching YOU? Darrel Bock helps us understand wineskins:


    Wineskins were usually made from sheepskin or goatskin, and the neck area of the animal became the neck of the container. The … hide was treated to prevent the skin from changing the taste of the contents. Finally, it was sewn together. Over time the skin of such a container would age and become brittle.”

     

    The fallen world’s influence on mapping our minds is often underestimated. When we became Christ followers, we brought the world’s way of thinking into our walk. However, here’s what will happen. When you mix the world’s values, worldview, beliefs (OLD wineskin) with the Lord’s (NEW wineskin) both will be lost! You cannot mix the two.

     

    Too many of us are trying to walk a tightrope – we want to maintain this balance between the fallen and the redeemed – it is impossible. The fallout is an unproductive life! You cannot have it both ways. Your thinking must become radical. Yes, you must adopt the radical mind of Jesus Christ. Quite frankly, too many Christ followers think we can have it both ways! It is disastrous. Think about it. You may be surprised as to how much the world has shaped your mind compared to the living Lord Jesus


  • November 13, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

    Read Luke 6

     

    The problem isn’t what you think it is! That’s often our problem. We see things from our perspective – which is often limited, biased, and faulty. Our focus is always on the log when we read the words of Jesus, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (verse 41). That’s certainly legitimate. But it is illegitimate to stop there.

     

    We tend to stop reading scripture at the point that makes us feel good. For example, the woman caught in adultery that the legalist wanted to stone. We quote Jesus saying, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” We stop there. But Jesus didn’t stop there! He said to the women, “Go and sin no more!”

     

    In our passage today, we stop with the “log.” But Jesus didn’t stop there. He went on to say this, “first take the log out of your own eye, AND THEN you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

     

    When a gnat gets in your eye, you want someone who can see good enough to take it out! Dear friends, God helps us to realize we are to live holy, righteous lives. When we do, our goal will NOT be to ambitiously try to remove the “LOG” from other people’s eyes. Rather our goal is to ambitiously love others enough to help them see! Jesus is dealing with the attitude of the heart - the “WHY”! Why do we want to remove the log from someone’s eye?! Hypocrites want to do it because it makes THEM feel better! They proved their point. They are right. But the Spirit of Christ in a person seeks to remove the log for the benefit of the other person. The heart is humble and cognizant of the fact that all of us need help.


  • November 16, 2020

     

    By JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 7


    Luke 7:36-50 is really the story of two sinners in need of God’s grace. It’s focus on the sinful woman, but at closer reading I find myself to be more like the Pharisee. Sure, I know verses like Romans 6:23, and know that my sin earns me death, but when I look at the world around me, and even the people in the church, it is so easy for me to think on how little I have sinned in comparison. I’m not that bad.


    How lost I would be were it not for the grace of Jesus. In my pride, haughtiness, self-centeredness, self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, I become so dull to the realities of the wonders of the love and grace of Jesus. God is holy, perfect, and good in every way. And even a single sin against a God that good is worthy of an eternity in hell. In my fleshly sinfulness I downplay my sinfulness and the glory of God.


    Yet, Jesus invites the Pharisee and the prostitute to come worship at His feet and find salvation there. What happens when God comes to save? He sees who are completely worthy and deserving of His wrath, and He looks them in the face and loves them and forgives them. He restores their humanity. He brings them up out of the dead selfishness that makes us less than human. He lifts us up to see Him.


    Oh, how I long to see Him and leave all this sin behind. That day is coming. It is coming because I have heard the Savior say that I am forgiven, here and now. One day the risen Savior will return in glory, and there we can finally see face to face the one who died and was raised for us.


  • November 17, 2020

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 8

     

    Women were certainly not equals with men in the culture in which Jesus lived. In Luke 7, we see the way Jesus looked at the sinful woman who had given herself over to sin, to be treated as an object, but was looked at by Jesus, face to face, and was loved and forgiven and restored by the power of His word. Now in chapter 8, we see women are given acknowledgement for their service of Jesus, and the dedication with which they followed Him. We need to pause and think on how marvelous this would have been.


    In Genesis 1, God created mankind in His image, male and female He created them. Male and female were created to reflect the glories and beauties of the one true God. Yet, in our sinfulness, the created order has been marred and distorted. We treat   people as objects, devaluing them, or worshiping them. Women were certainly objectified, used as objects, but not in the ethics of God’s Kingdom. Praise God!


    The world says people are good based on how useful they are. Those who are weak have as much value as the powerful say they have. In relation to the perfect Son of God, all of us are weak! Yet, Jesus looks as the weakest of the weak, the neediest, the hopeless, and He loves them and invites them into His life. Scripture testifies to this. God exalts the humble but casts out the prideful.


    Some of us need to hear the love of Jesus because we’ve been treated as less than. Jesus loves you. Some of us need to hear the warning in exalting ourselves. We must all come weak and needy if we hope to find life in Jesus. He died for the weak and needy (Romans 5:6-8).


  • November 18, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 9

     

    Jesus certainly didn’t take marketing classes. If He was trying to make His ministry appealing, He did a poor job of that! He starts off well by giving free food to the thousands, but then He starts talking about crosses, what is going to happen to Him, and what it means to truly follow Him. I’ve heard it said by a pastor recently that the church needs to stop focusing its efforts getting people to stay, and instead focus its efforts on taking people deeper into Jesus. I think that is exactly what Jesus is doing in Luke 9.


    It would be cruel for Jesus to come and call people to follow Him, but not tell them what it will be like. Sure, if He wanted greater numbers He could avoid these hard teachings, but if He didn’t tell them how to follow Him, they wouldn’t follow Him. The Christian life is true life. We are being led by our Savior into the glories of God! We are being led to experience for all eternity what Peter, James, and John got a mere taste of on the mount. We are being led to God, but that path is one of death to self.


    Who is sufficient for these things? Who can take up their cross daily and follow him? Who can put their hand to the plow and never turn back? Who can set aside the flesh at every turn in order to follow Jesus?


    In Luke’s account, we see Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah about His exodus (v.31). Jesus is about to accomplish the true Exodus, where He will lead His people out of what truly enslaves, and He will lead us into life.


    Jesus is sufficient for these things. By His grace we will follow Him. The more we see His beauties and glories, the more we will die to self to get more of Him.


  • November 19, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 10

     

    What an invitation from Jesus. “Come and no longer be anxious and troubled and sit at my feet.” We live in such troubling times. We are haunted by sickness, death, pain and sorrow. We feel angry, frustrated, and confused. We feel lonely, depressed, and anxious. The world is chaotic and we live in it, have been discipled by the chaos, and struggle our way through life because of it.


    This is the result of the fall in Genesis 3. In Genesis 2, we were invited into God’s good rest. In Genesis 3, we chose to find our greatest good apart from God. We chose the path that led to what we see and experience today.


    Jesus came to reverse the effects of the fall. He came to bring about a New Creation. He came to bring restoration. We will experience all of that most fully when Jesus  returns, but until that time, what are we to do?


    We have an invitation to enjoy that rest now. We have the choice before us to take all our burdens and anxieties and worries and concerns and frustrations to the feet of Jesus. “Come to me, all who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We have the choice to come take of the good portion that Mary took—Jesus.


    This doesn’t mean we ignore or try and forget about our problems. No! We take them all to Jesus. He takes our burden and we take His yoke of kindness upon us. We come and partake of Jesus. We come and find life, true life, true peace and rest, all at the feet of Jesus.


    The temptation is for us to work to get rid of our anxiety. May we come rest at the feet of our Savior and King.


  • November 20, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 11

     

    Don’t we resonate with the disciples in Luke 11. We come to Jesus and plead, “Lord, teach us to pray!” How gracious is our God that He doesn’t sit high and lofty above us and coldly say, “I’m God, you figure it out and them come to Me. You should know better.” We’d give up in an instant. Instead, we have a God who apparently loves to hear the question and delights to answer. Our God wants us to pray, and wants to teach us how! 


    The prayer of Jesus is centered around the reality of the Trinity, and specifically the Father. Jesus invites us—we who are orphaned in our sin—to come and call God our Father. What an astounding invitation. It should shock us and make us uncomfortable, were it not for our dullness of heart. We get to call the perfect and holy God, Father. We who have sinned and rebelled against Him, we get to call him Father. All of our prayers are based on this reality.


    How is this possible? Because of Jesus the Son. We have no right to come to God. Yet, the Son makes a way to the Father. He takes our sin that orphaned us, and removes it from us, cleanses us, and pays our debt. We now come freely, with boldness, with confidence to the Holy, Holy, Holy God and we call him Father. The Father now hears our prayers as we are His children.


    Is He a good Father? He’s the kind of Father who sees us lost and separated from Him because of what we did, and He delights to send his Son to come and save us. He’s a good Father. And we get to pray to Him.


     


  • November 23, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Luke 12

     

    As Jesus continued His journey to Jerusalem here in Chapter 12, He provides many warnings to His disciples and to the thousands of people that were gathering around Him. In this long chapter we read warnings against hypocrisy (vs. 1-12), worldly materialism (vs. 13-21), unfaithfulness (vs. 35-48), complacency (vs. 49-53), unpreparedness (vs. 54-56) and division (vs. 57-59). All of these warnings are great lessons for all Christians, but let’s focus in on Hypocrisy today.


    Luke opens this chapter with Jesus teaching that Hypocrisy is like leaven, in that it only takes a just little bit of it to affect a lot in a negative way. A little bit of hypocrisy can be like a little bit of fire. Jesus was speaking to the disciples because the temptation to hypocrisy is often strongest to those who enjoy some measure of outward success. Because of this temptation, some Christians think that the only way to avoid being a hypocrite is to never aspire to a higher standard. That kind of thinking is dangerous both for ourselves and for society. We should always aspire to a high standard, and still be honest about our difficulty in reaching excellence.

     

    The art of being a hypocrite depends on concealment, but the Bible tells us that one day all will be revealed. We can only be hypocrites before people on earth, but never before God. He sees through our masks. The text reminds us that nothing can be covered up. Every word we whisper, and everything we do in the dark or behind closed doors will be exposed. God knows all and sees all. So we must repent and confess any time we have sinned. We cannot hide it. And guess what? That is okay! We must get real and be transparent with each other. None of us have it all together. We all sin. Jesus challenges us here in Luke that our sin is compounded when we are hypocrites and try to cover it up.     


  • November 24, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Luke 13


    Go to the last two verses in this chapter to see the incredible heart of God. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (v. 34). Jesus spoke with special emphasis and depth. When God repeats a name twice, it is to display deep emotion and divine compassion (as in “Martha, Martha” in Luke 10:41 and “Saul, Saul” in Acts 9:4). In today’s scripture, He is weeping over the city as He approaches it one last time. This deep love Jesus had for Jerusalem was with full knowledge of the city’s sins, but  despite all of that, He still pleaded with the city to turn from the destruction that would come upon it.

     

    What a sincere and tender picture as Jesus wanted to protect, nourish, and cherish His people even as a hen protects her chicks under her wings. This image of a hen (bird) protecting its young is used in the Old Testament for God’s protection of His people (Psalm 17:8; 91:4; Isaiah 31:5).  If Jesus has this type of love for those that rejected Him, just stop and think how much He provides us protection, and the depth of emotion He has for us who follow Him.

     

    Bible Scholar Matthew Henry reveals that this image of a hen and her brood shows us what Jesus still wants to do for even those who rejected Him:

     

    He wants to make them safe.

     

    He wants to make them happy.

     

    He wants to bless their community.

     

    He wants them to grow.

     

    He wants to them to know and feel His love.


    All these things can only happen if we come to Him when He calls. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” is a quote from Psalm 118:26. Are you coming to the Lord daily? Are listening when He calls?


  • November 25, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Luke 14

     

    Most of us are familiar with the Great Commission for Christians, given to us in Matthew 28:20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”. In Luke 14:25-33, we read about the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. We see that Jesus makes it clear that when it comes to personal discipleship, He is more interested in quality than quantity. 

     

    In verse 25, we come to understand that the goal of Jesus was not to attract big crowds, but to make true disciples. He knew that most of those in the crowd were more interested in miracles, the feeding of the hungry or overthrowing Rome, more so than their own spiritual wellbeing. Jesus never changed or adapted His message to tickle the ears of the large crowds. He always declared the truth of God’s Word and reminded those listening what it meant to follow Him.

     

    Then in verses 28-33, we see that only those willing to carefully assess the cost and invest all they had in His Kingdom were worthy to be His disciple. Jesus was not just talking about our material possessions; He was speaking of absolute surrender to His Lordship. As a disciple, we are not allowed to retain any special privileges or make any demands of God. We cannot hold on to any cherished worldly treasures or cling to our secret self-indulgences. Our commitment to Him must be without reservation.    

     

    A “disciple” is a life-long learner. It is a person who attaches themselves to a teacher to learn a trade or subject. The word “disciple” was the common name for followers of Jesus and is used 264 times in the Gospels and the book of Acts. So, being a disciple of Jesus is obviously important. We must understand that to “Go make disciples of all nations”, we must first become a disciple ourselves. Are you a true and faithful  disciple of Jesus today?  


  • November 26, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Luke 15

     

    If this chapter had a title, I think it would be the “The Joy of Salvation”. Three words really sum up this chapter: Lost, Found and Rejoice. It is important to note that Jesus attracted sinners while the religious leaders (Pharisees) alienated them. This causes me to stop and ask what are we, the church, doing today? Lost sinners came to Jesus not because He catered to their lifestyle or compromised His message. They came because He loved and cared for them. He knew their needs and tried to help them rather than criticize them and keep His distance.

     

    When reading and studying this chapter I came across a beautifully written piece from Pastor Charles Swindoll that was a powerful reminder that we were that lost sinner at some point.


    Swindoll says:

    “The sinful nature in humans is not a sickness, it is living in death. It is unashamed and unrepentant evil. We are all born with it. Just because you and I may not have murdered anyone or robbed a bank does not mean we do not have a sinful nature… Like King David, we can lust (2 Samuel 11-12). Like King Solomon, we can pursue a life of vanity and emptiness instead of a life with God (Ecclesiastes). Like Jonah, we can run from God and what He has called us to do (Jonah). Like the Prodigal Son, we can rebel against the Father and waste away our lives… All of us carry the same ugliness inside that is our sinful nature. The question is how could God know the depth of this nature and still forgive us? The answer is His Grace, Love and Mercy”.       

     

    What an incredible reminder of the darkness of our sin nature, but the power of God’s love that prevails! Read Luke 15:10 again.  Jesus says: “I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents”. Wow! What a heavenly picture of when you got saved. Take a minute to dwell on that and give thanks for His powerful Grace, Love and Mercy.         


  • November 30, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Luke 17

     

    When I was growing up, my parents taught me many things. Always be on time, practice good manners, be true to your word, and look people in the eye when you speak to them are a few of the lessons they instilled in me. Another lesson they taught me, and this may be one of the most important, is to always give proper thanks to people. Ingratitude was inexcusable.

     

    In today’s scripture we read about ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, but only one came back to give thanks. It seems inconceivable to me that a person could be healed of a disease as hideous and painful as leprosy and not be grateful. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul writes, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Also, Leviticus 3:1-17 and Leviticus 7:11-36 describe offerings designed to remind God’s people to be thankful. 

     

    Gratitude should be connected to every aspect of the believer’s life.  This includes the difficult days as well as the good, no matter what the situation or trial. There is always a reason to give thanks to God.

     

    Take a moment this morning to read Philippians 4:4-13. The best way for us to  maintain an attitude of thankfulness is to be content with who we are in Christ, to be content with what God has given us, and to be content with the circumstances in which we live. There is always a place for gratitude.

     

    Application:

    Make a list of blessings God has given you and your family.  
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    Take a moment today to write a Thank You note to someone who has blessed you.
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    Prayer:

    Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life and for the joy I have in Jesus! Amen!


  • November 27, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Luke 16


    As we read this chapter, we are reminded that as Christians, we should invest our lives to the needs of others and to the glory of God. Life is a stewardship, and we must be faithful, whether God “gives us much or little” (v.10). One day we must give an account to the Lord of what we have done with all He has given to us, so we should listen to what Jesus says in this chapter about the right and wrong use of money.  

     

    A Steward is someone who manages another’s money. He/she does not own that money, but they have the privilege of enjoying it and using it for the profit of the  master. The most important thing about a steward is that they serve the master faithfully (1 Corinthians 4:2). Christian stewardship goes beyond paying God our tithe of our income and then using what is left as we please. True stewardship means that we thank God for all we have (Deuteronomy 8:11-18), and we use all of it as He     directs. God should control what we do with the 90 percent as well. And what we do with all our money should Honor and Glorify Him.

     

    It has been said that “Money makes a great Servant, but a Terrible Master”.  If God is our Master, then money will be our servant, and we will use our resources to the glory and will of God. May we learn today not to be like the Pharisees in verses 14-31 where God was not their Master, and they became the servants of money. For with their lips, they honored the Lord, but with their money they lived like the world. 

     

    After reading this, what changes in your finances might the Holy Spirit be laying on your heart?  
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