Archive for August, 2012

August 31.12 ethot

Luke 4:36 (31–37) “What is this message?”

Again Mark (1:21–28) mentions this story as well and in both accounts what interested me was the question made by those present.

As Jesus was sitting and teaching in the synagogue a man stood up and started shouting, being under the control of a demon (former angels who followed Lucifer rather than the God who made them). The message he shouted was that he recognized Jesus as the Son of God and His mission.

Jesus told him to be quiet because He wants men to look at His work and compare it with the prophecies of the Bible and come to their own conclusion. But, even with the help of a demon the people didn’t believe. They sat there and tried to figure out what this incident meant not hearing the clear message of the demon, that Jesus is the Son of God and His authority to say and do anything is that of God Himself.

Attentiveness involves looking, listening and learning the will of God, the way of God and the commands of God.

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Luke 4:21 (14–30) “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Mark also talks about this incident and points out that although the people of Jesus hometown had heard of His wonders they were already offended, instead of overjoyed, perhaps because He had not started there, making them famous (Mark 6:1–6).

Although Jesus grew up as a construction worker, somewhere in His life He had earned the teachers shawl, because when He entered the synagogue He was recognized as a teacher; like Paul who was a tent maker and a teacher.

It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t finish the quote from Isaiah 61:2. The passage (Isaiah 61:1 & 2) spoke of the two aspects of the work of the Messiah and Jesus here claimed to be fulfilling the first part; proclaiming the good news, that salvation was being made available to all (Jew and Gentile alike). The second part will be the day of vengeance, which is still to come.

Let’s not become so complacent with the first part of the prophecy that we forget the second part. Jesus is coming again and the question is, will He find us complaining or serving?

Courage involves learning that my words and actions when based on the authority of Scripture please God.

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Luke 4:1 & 2 (1–13) “Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”

Something else I think we should notice about Jesus’ temptation experience, He was lead by the Holy Spirit into it. Matthew, Mark and Luke use the same word for tempt (peirazo), which means to prove. The Greek word can be used in the sense of to see if a person is ready for a task or in the sense of to attract away from a task.

It is a matter of perspective. From Satan’s point of view he is always trying to get us to fail in our job of representing our Lord wherever we are. But, from God’s perspective He is insuring that we are ready to go on to the next step, 2 Peter 1:5–8. James uses the same word when he warns believers to always look at their situation as a test that is moving us along on a path towards readiness.

What I’m trying to point out is that we won’t always know whether the problems of life we face are of our own making or of God. When faced with a problem the best thing we can do is assume it is a test and respond accordingly (4:2) rather then react to God and assume the ridiculous (which is what Satan wants you to do).

Joyfulness involves looking past present difficulties to what God might be doing.

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Luke 4:12 (1–13) “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Luke records three temptations: bread (my natural appetites), possessions (the accumulation of stuff) and fame (the desire to be somebody). John points out these same human weaknesses in 1John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.’” Here, I think, Luke helps us see how even Satan recognized that Jesus was a man. He waited until Jesus was at His weakest physically and then attacked Him on those human terms.

Did you notice too that Satan’s attacks were carefully crafted for Jesus alone? First he tried to get Jesus to exercise His power as God to meet a physical need that is to do whatever it takes. Second he tried to get Jesus to by pass the plan in favor of a quicker less painful plan, that is the easy way out. And finally, he tried to appeal to His vanity by pointing out that, as the Messiah He deserved special consideration.

Since, Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted in all things as we are; do you think we would be treated any differently by Satan today? What we should notice is that throughout this experience, Jesus maintained His focus. He knew that Satan was trying to stop Him from fulfilling His mission.

What’s your God given mission that Satan is trying to stop you from fulfilling?

Endurance involves staying focused on our God given objectives in spite of all the distractions Satan will throw our way.

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August 27.12 ethot

Luke 3:23 (23–38) “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,”

In comparing the genealogies of Matthew with that of Luke we can see that Matthew stresses Jesus Jewish heritage, because he starts with Abraham and at the same time establishing Jesus right to the throne of David. Luke stresses Jesus humanity by going back to His connection with Adam. In a sense those who came before Him made everything Jesus did or could do possible.

My brother tried establishing a genealogy for our family years ago and it was interesting (we even went to Puerto Rico to search some church for records). I have no idea where all that stuff is now and neither does he. In Biblical times a record was kept to prove property ownership.

Back when I was in the Second grade my name was attached to the genealogy of Christ. Everything I’ve done for the Lord has been made possible through her. For me it is a proof of ownership, I belong to Him. Have you ever tried to establish your spiritual genealogy?

Humility involves redirecting the credit for my successes to the God and His agents who produced them.

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Luke 3:8 (1–22) “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance,

How many of you remember who the President of your country was when you got married; or the governor of the state or mayor of the city? Luke gives a lot of detail to ground us in the fact the story he is telling is verifiable History.

In this passage we also see how John was turning the hearts of even those he disliked back to the God they said they were loyal to. He tells them all to show proof of their words of repentance, 3:8. Then he told them what the fruit should look like. That those who have are to share with those that don’t have (it is not, necessarily, the governments responsibility), don’t cheat just because you can, and don’t complain about your job (where would todays unions be), just do it.

Don’t these sound like the same kinds of fruit we, believers, should be showing as well today; so that all will feel our impact in life and in History?

Responsibility involves doing the job you have taken on to do.

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Luke 2:49 (39–52) “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?

I guess you can say that it’s kind of funny how time seems to erase even the most important things of life. In twelve years Mary and Joseph had forgotten what the angel had told both of them about their unusual child and what He would mean to the world.

Just like in the “Home Alone” movie no one noticed that Jesus wasn’t with the group returning to Nazareth (over 90 miles north of Jerusalem). We’re not told how long it took, on that journey for them to realize Jesus wasn’t with them, but I can only imagine Mary screaming, just like in the movie.

In hindsight there should have been a lot of pride by these parents because all the facts Jesus had in His head came from them, there was no magic. Good parenting involves the physical and mental health of the child, but it also includes developing a right relationship with both God and others around you, 2:40 & 52. Then you can be sure that even if you forget you kids God will watch them for you, 2:40.

Responsibility involves doing the job you have taken on to do.

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Luke 2:32 (21–38) “A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.

I found it interesting that Simeon points out that part of Jesus ministry was to the Gentiles, Isaiah 9:1-2, Acts 13:47. John then came to the Jews to prepare them for the coming of their Messiah; John spoke to Jews. But Jesus message was not just to Jew but Gentile as well.

I’ve mentioned this before, the problem with Israel is that they have forgotten their mission on this earth to be a light for all mankind to find their one and only GOD. But, they failed in that duty.

The church now has taken on that responsibility. It is precisely because we are not a nation that the churches witness has continued to shine, although at times not very well, throughout it’s history. Our job won’t be done until our Lord says so, and He hasn’t, yet.

Availability involves getting and staying busy with God given priorities and getting rid of those things that would get in the way.

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Luke 2:19 (1–20) “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

One of Luke’s purposes is to show us that Jesus is the Christ by way of the multitude of the facts that verify this assertion. So he doesn’t spend much time on each event other than to establish the facts.

This census was probably conducted for the purpose of insuring that the taxes were being collected accurately. But, it is just as likely that it was to show off how big the empire had become. Yet, in the middle of all the confusion over the census Luke does point out that Mary was aware of all the things that were happening to her and Joseph and now her little son.

Because it’s been more than 2,000 years since these events it can be easy for us to just forget. But what Mary was thinking about was what was just happening to her in the moment. Sometime we too easily forget the things God is doing for us in the moment, how He is showing Himself to us and giving us direction for our lives, which reminds us that our presence has meaning and purpose. Don’t forget who you are in Christ.

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention to opportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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Luke 1:76 (57–80) “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

I noticed this verse because normally the blessing of the father towards his child was given before the death of the father. In the Old Testament we see Isaac and Jacob doing this with their children.

This, of course, emphasizes the importance of the ministry that John would eventually have. John’s ministry was to turn the hearts of the people of Israel back to their God, Jehovah. And, that is what he did. But, the most important thing that work involved was to announce the presence of the Salvation of Israel, Jesus.

One note here about John’s name. I feel that it is important that we choose our children’s names carefully, that we ask God to help us choose a name that will help our kids focus on their God and not forget Him. John means, “God is gracious.”

John was really preparing the people for the return of their rightful King and with Him the re-establishment of their kingdom. But, as we will see, the people will reject Him as their personal Savior, which is the first step.

Enthusiasm involves discovering how your life can motivate others to praise God and change.

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