The Rock

The Rock


Have you ever chased a storm? 

Luke 6:46-49

I don’t understand storm chasers. Storms will come in our lives without chasing after them. 

 

‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 

 

But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great. 

 

There is a unique quality that is seen in every true believer of Christ. They go beyond the acknowledgment of God’s existence and beyond a verbal confession of the Lord to a place of simple obedience. Of course, our obedience is by no means perfect. Somedays, we feel like we have been fairly obedient and other days, not so much. We go through seasons of faithfulness and seasons of unfaithfulness. Our levels of obedience ebb and flow. 

 

But there is always within us a yearning to do what is right in the sight of God. The process of growing in Christ as new creations in Him begins with a yearning toward obedience. 

 

The Rock 

 

In this passage in Luke, Jesus immediately acknowledges the unique quality of obedience in His followers in two ways: one in a negative light and the other, positive. 

 

Negative Manner: ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 

 

Positive Manner: Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and acts on them … 

 

Jesus goes on to explain the eternal importance of building our lives on the rock. Notice, He doesn’t say that building our lives on our own obedience is the key. No, because our spiritual growth in the area of obedience varies person by person. Religious individuals who have not personally received Christ by faith can and do live moral lives. But we must ask the question, ‘what is the foundation of their moral living?’ The foundation is the key! 

 

The foundation of our lives is not our own actions; the foundation of our lives must be Jesus, the ROCK of our salvation! 

 

There’s an old hymn that reflects this truth beautifully: 

 

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. 

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. 

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. 

 

When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace, in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. 

 

His oath, His covenant, His blood, supports me in the overwhelming flood, when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. 

 

The Storms will Come 

 

Let’s be prepared, the storms will come. 

 

Another question we should ask is this: what exactly is the storm that Jesus is referring to? 

It seems that Jesus is referring to the coming judgment seat of God. In Corinthians 3, Paul speaks of the foundation as being Jesus Christ and that some build upon the foundation with gold, silver, and precious stones. But others build upon it with wood, hay, and straw. Paul then says that THE DAY (referring to judgment day) will test it with fire. Our hope in that DAY is nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness. 

 

Jesus is our ROCK during the final judgment. But the Lord is also our rock day-by-day in the troubles we face on this earth. In response to God’s sustaining power over his enemies, King David lifted up praise to God when He said; 

 

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge. 2 Samuel 22 

 

Also, Psalms 46 says; 

 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea. 

 

Lord God, the storms will most definitely come. Thank you that haven’t left us on our own to withstand the storms in our own strength. Even when the wind is fierce and the waves are crashing on the outside, all is calm inside the cleft of the rock of our salvation. Keep us close to You throughout the storms of this life and well prepared for the fire of the final judgment. At that time on the DAY of judgment, may You simply say to us, ‘well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. Amen! 

 

 

 


One-on-One with Jesus, Part 6: Advice from Jesus!

One-on-One with Jesus, part 6: Advice from Jesus!


Luke 6:39-45 

 

Have you ever felt a check in your spirit about the character of a certain spiritual leader?

How to pick a leader! 

 

Following the leadership of a trusted pastor, minister, priest or other spiritual leader, can be the most inspiring and encouraging relationship one can have in life? Conversely, following a spiritual leader who turns out to be untrustworthy and self-serving, can be a painful and distressing experience.  

 

Personally, I have experienced the extremes of both situations. Extreme in that I have had relationships with pastors who have given me much joy; men who have encouraged me and challenged me with pure love and sincerity of heart. Consequently, I have encountered pastors who have been extremely untrustworthy and whose motives are selfish and self-serving. Such leaders have caused much pain. 

 

What about you? 

 

Here in Luke 6, Jesus is having a sit-down mentoring session with His newly appointed disciples. These are the special men who will eventually become trusted leaders and carry on Jesus’ ministry after He ascends back to heaven. Jesus is giving some serious advice about leadership…especially, advice about leaders who should be identified as untrustworthy. 

 

I am now, after many years of experience, a much better judge of character than I was when I was younger. When younger, I would often be enamored with the zeal and charisma of a spiritual leader and overlook the personal character flaws of the ‘bigger than life’ pastor.  

 

Jesus is warning his disciples about the character or false teachers! 

 

Jesus uses five brief analogies: 

  • The futility of the blind leading the blind 
  • A pupil is only as good as his teacher 
  • A speck and log in the eye: beware of a judgmental attitude  
  • A tree is known by its fruit 
  • Spoken words reveal the heart 

 

It’s no secret. Even a casual reader of the gospels understands that Jesus taught extensively about the dangers of the religious elite of His day. He not only taught his disciples to resist them but Jesus also confronted the Pharisees head-on without mincing words. Jesus has nothing but compassion for sinners who come before Him in humility and repentance. But arrogant, self-righteous sinners, such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, did not find compassion from Jesus. Instead, He condemned their self-righteous arrogance and condemning attitude toward the people. 

 

Jesus warns about false teachers. He warns us because they can be deceiving! They can be tricky; they can seem good when they are actually bad; they can seem spiritual when they are actually evil; and they can appear like sheep but actually be wolves. 

 

They are blind! 

 

If you fall into the trap of following a false teacher, you will first be following a man or woman who portrays visions of God but actually is blind. To be blind and not realize or acknowledge your blindness, and then to lead others in your blindness, is the worst kind of blindness. 

Isaiah wrote about the dangers of false teachers in his day: 

For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion. 9:16. 

 

They are limited 

 

Another danger of following false spiritual leaders is that they cannot lead you beyond who they are. Jesus said, a pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. Luke 7:40. 

 

Why do you follow a spiritual leader? Certainly, it is because you hope they will lead you closer to God and help you grow, mature, and improve yourself. But false teachers cannot take you where you want to go because they are not able. The old saying is true; you leaned your ladder against the wall and after climbing to the top, you realized you leaned it against the wrong wall. 

 

They are hypocrites 

 

The very essence of being self-righteous is that they see themselves as superior. Beware of those who quickly point out the sins and flaws of others. They have 20/20 vision when looking at the speck in others but they are blind to the log in their own lives. 

 

They are rotten to the core 

 

It’s disgusting to cut open a piece of fruit and find rot hidden in the core. False teachers can’t hide who they really are. Jesus said, for there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. Luke 6:43. 

 

Be wise and peel back the outer layers of your spiritual leaders. If they are true, they will accept your inquiries and questions about their true intentions and purposes of their ministries. If they are false, they’ll scold you for your doubts and ridicule your appeal for sincerity and transparency. Be wise, be discerning and be aware. 

 

Father God, we ask for your wisdom and your guidance in the area of spiritual leaders. Who we follow determines our destiny. May we follow with wisdom, discernment and humility. Be our guide in this most critical area. Amen

 


Conversations with God

Conversations with God


Are you ready to go deeper with God and meet with him daily?

Conversations with God

Are you ready to go deeper with God and meet with him daily? 

Have you ever developed a positive habit?

I hope you will join me on a quest to live out our faith daily and find our purpose and passion in God’s written word.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time but I began this journey into a deeper walk with God in December 2015 when my pastor challenged me to take my faith to the next level and spend dedicated time EVERY DAY with God. My schedule was extremely busy at this time. But he challenged me hard and I agreed to text him each morning and share a sentence or two about my devotions. This accountability helped me develop a positive habit.

It would be an honor for you to join me on a daily walk toward a dynamic relationship with God. It is my daily prayer that I can help you on your journey by providing a foundation of faith resulting in a more energized life filled with joy, purpose and meaning. Daily conversations with God will move you in the right direction.

Take the first step

The Journey to live out your faith daily begins with a prayer and a pledge. Use your own words but I encourage you to pray along this pattern:

Father, by faith I want to take a step forward toward a closer walk with you. I ask that you help me move beyond having a faith that is relegated to only certain aspects of my life. Move me toward a genuine faith that is fully integrated with all aspects of my life, personal and professional. Grant me the grace to grow my faith in You one day at a time. Amen!

In I Samuel 12, Jonathan made a pledge to David. Verse 16 says, “So Jonathan made this agreement with David and his family, and he asked the Lord to hold them responsible for keeping it.”

Once again, with God’s help, use your own words but I encourage you to make a pledge along this pattern: 

With God’s help, I commend myself to God to make progress daily toward a closer walk with Him. My walk will be strengthened as I take in a little of God’s Word daily, share my learnings with close Christian friends/family, and apply my biblical insights to daily living and decisions.

Dig In 

Now you are ready to take your next steps in this journey of Living Scripture Daily. Your journey encompasses three key elements:

  1. Daily Time with God
  2. Daily accountability with friends/family
  3. Making better decisions Daily

Reminder: Doing this “daily” is a worthwhile goal but it is not an exercise in legalism. Doing it ‘daily’ is an aspiration, not a requirement. You may want to begin with a goal of 3 to 5 days a week and build it from there.

 

  • Daily Time with God

  • Once you have made the decision to spend time daily with God, I encourage you to follow the pattern of READ, REFLECT, and WRITE. You can follow the 3Rs in a 10-15-minute timeframe or up to an hour or more. I started out at 20 minutes and now spend 45-60 minutes daily.
  • Read – Pick a Bible book and determine to read through it little by little each day. Switching between Psalms and Proverbs is a good approach. Also, the gospel of John is good as well as one of the shorter epistles of Paul. Don’t rush it. Take it slow and think more in terms of reading paragraphs or sections rather than reading chapters. Reading slowly through Bible books is better than just haphazardly picking verses.
  • After you have read a section, now focus some time on Reflection. This is time to prayerfully ask God for wisdom and insight; ask and reflect on what the key message is? What does this teach us about mankind and/or what about the nature of God? Does it call us to act or think differently? What should we learn? Be prayerful and reflective.
  • Finally, write something down. For many years I would read and reflect only. But it wasn’t until I disciplined myself to write daily, that the Word of God took on a deeper meaning than ever before. There are no rules about what to write. Just start writing, even if you feel you have nothing to say. Ask questions, make observations, write out applications, etc. I have found that writing opens me up to insights that I didn’t get by just reading and reflecting. This is a very powerful and impactful step

Daily Accountability Partner

  • Who is a reliable Christian friend or family member that you can partner with? Ask them if you can text them after you have your daily time with God with just a sentence or two about what you wrote down.
  • I followed this texting process with my Pastor in 2015 when I began and continued for 6 months until it was a habit. I expanded it to include my wife, a few close friends, and my men’s Bible Study group. Now I have a small but growing blog following.

Daily decisions and actions

  • It is very easy to have a wonderful time alone with God in the morning and then not think of Him all day.
  • Give yourself triggers or reminders throughout the day so that you can keep what you learned in the morning at the forefront of your mind throughout the day.
  • Record actions or decisions you made that are related to what you are learning from God’s Word.

 

You are now ready to begin the journey of a lifetime. Together, let’s meet with God daily and God bless you as you Live out Scripture Daily!

Father, there is no higher calling or greater privilege than to spend time with You. Through Your Spirit, we can actually enter into Your holy place and kneel before Your throne of grace. I can envision You reaching out, taking my hand and raising me up with your words of love, encouragement and hope. May we meet you daily in our quiet time with You and then go through the day mindful of Your presence with us always. Amen! 

 


One on One With Jesus, Part 5

One on One With Jesus, Part 5

Actions of a Kingdom citizen


How to treat sinners 

Has it ever been said of you, ‘you’re quick to judge’? 

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.  

We use the phrase ‘judge not lest you be judged’ broadly and loosely. In this context, it is not used toward fellow believers; it used toward the unsaved. This is the person who has not yet received a new heart to love God, a new mind to know God, and a new will to obey God. 

It’s easy to view sinners with disgust and with disdain. Especially the ones that so clearly dress like sinners, act like sinners, and talk like sinners. Their faces are angry, their attitudes defiant and actions outrageous. Perhaps you can picture such a person right now. 

Such a person may simply walk by you on the street and immediately your mind might go to a place of judgment. All they did was walk by you. You can’t help but judge.  

 

But let’s take it a little further… 

In the context of this mentoring session in Luke 6 that Jesus is having with his newly minted disciples, he is training them on how to treat sinners. Specifically, sinners who take harmful action against them. 

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27, 28 

Jesus is giving us a clear reminder of the divisions of responsibilities. Specifically, what we are NOT responsible for. 

 

God’s Responsibilities toward sinners include: 

  • Judge – judgment is ultimately God’s responsibility. 
  • Condemner – Romans 8:34 
  • Forgiver – Romans 8:1 

 

Our Responsibilities toward sinners include: 

  • Share the gospel in word and deed 
  • It’s OK to point out that there is a Judge, but it’s not you. 
  • It’s OK to point out that they are a sinner, just like us. We all have a sin problem that ends badly 
  • God sent Jesus to save us by grace – there is no condemnation for those in Christ, Romans 8:1 
  • Receive Jesus by faith in humility – Ephesian 2:8,9 

It’s not easy to refrain from judgment of sinful non-Christians. Especially when non-believers in our lives are doing or saying something that hurts us or our loved ones. It’s really, really difficult to not judge them or condemn them. However, it is not our job. It’s not what we are called to do. 

As we close, prayerfully reflect on the apostle Paul’s commentary of Jesus’ teachings.  

 

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head, (hopefully the conviction upon them will draw them to Jesus). Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21. 

 

Father, you have called us to be agents of reconciliation and not the ministry of judgment and certainly not condemnation. Cause us to guard our hearts and minds against disgust and disdain for non-believers. Instead, give us a heart to love them, and share the hope of Christ and the free gift of eternal life through Jesus, our Lord. Amen! 


One on One With Jesus, Part 4

One on One With Jesus, Part 4

Actions of a Kingdom citizen


How to treat ungrateful and evil people!

In our one-on-one time with Jesus, He affirms our attitude of humility toward Him before he guides us on how to act in this world: 

At some point in our story of finding Jesus (or Jesus finding us), we realized we have no capacity to save ourselves and earn our way to righteousness. We wept and mourned over our pitiful spiritual state before a righteous God. All we can say is, ‘Lord, save me, a sinner.’  

Hopefully, you have fallen before Jesus and confessed your spiritual poverty and asked Him to save you; that is the attitude of a kingdom citizen. Blessed are you who are poor (in your own spirituality.) 

… He saves us, not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy … Titus 3:5. 

Be saved my friends. Don’t allow your heart to be hardened one more moment. Be like the tax collector who stood on the hill, beating his chest before God and crying, be merciful to me a sinner. He came down the hill saved. You can cry before God and be saved right now too. 

Now, back to our one-on-one with Jesus today.  Jesus is discipling us today. He is guiding us and mentoring us on how we should live in this world. Jesus moves from dealing with the attitude of our humble hearts to how we should act as citizens of His kingdom while living on earth. Attitude to Action. 

 

We are to be different! 

I find these following words to be one of the most difficult lessons Jesus ever taught.  

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 

Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 

In our society, it is virtuous to stand up for yourself, to defend yourself, and to gain revenge for yourself. So, we must ask, is Jesus being literal or not?  

I believe these words apply to encounters of personal hostility we may encounter in daily life. This doesn’t diminish the self-defense mechanisms in place in our society to protect our families and private property. Governments, through the military, national guard, law enforcement, are set up to protect us. Additionally, citizens can certainly protect themselves from law-breakers, thieves, and criminals. In Luke 22:36, Jesus actually advised the disciples to carry a sword for self-defense. 

In this one-on-one with Jesus, He is speaking to the personal mistreatment we sometimes face, especially for our faith. The disciples listened to these words under the clear reality that they were going to become true to them. They would literally experience fists to the face, the stripping of their coats and clothes, imprisonment, and ultimately, martyrdom. 

Most likely, we do not currently experience, as they did, the tyranny and oppression of the Roman government and the hatred of the Pharisee and religious elite of their day. 

Extreme mistreatment may not happen to us. So, we have to apply these principles in practical ways in our daily lives.

 

What if? 

  • Another mom in your community is promoting her child as better than all others and better than yours (in sports, academics, music, etc.). She is sucking up to people of influence and is often taking liberties unethically to give her child opportunities above others. What’s your response? What lesson should you teach your child? 
  • A co-worker is subtly sabotaging your work and reputation in order to ‘promote’ themselves as better than you. What’s your response? 
  • What if you loan someone money, they promise to pay you back, but they never do? What’s your response? 

Now, let’s consider the words of Jesus: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…pray for those who mistreat you. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  

These are difficult words. This is teaching that goes directly against our natural bent to defend ourselves and destroy our enemies. The ultimate purpose, I believe, is to show love for our enemies the way that God loves ungrateful and evil people. When believers love unbelievers like God does, they show forth the transforming power of salvation. Like God, let us be compassionate, kind, merciful, forgiving, and humble. 

This is a hard teaching. If we go back to Jesus’ opening words of this session, he begins by saying, But I say to you who hear … love your enemies… My question to you is ‘are you willing to hear these words of Jesus? By being different than everyone else … loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, giving to those who don’t give back … you reveal yourself to others as a true child of God; saved, sanctified, and redeemed by Jesus. 

 

Jesus, give us the grace and strength to be kind to all people, even those who are against us. Amen! 


One on One With Jesus, Part 3

One on One With Jesus, Part 3


Have you ever heard someone say, ‘You are really thriving in this environment’?  

Are you thriving in the Kingdom of God?

Luke 6:20-38

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.

Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.

 

Those who thrive in the realm of God’s Kingdom are strange people. Strange indeed. They physically live on earth but their heads are somewhere else. This world is not their home. They are sojourners in a foreign land; visitors, ambassadors, ex-pats. 

Jesus has chosen the twelve and is now fixing His gaze upon them to lay down the ground rules for thriving in His kingdom. These Kingdom principles are quite different from anything the disciples have ever heard before.  

Jesus has chosen you as well and He is about to guide you toward success in His Kingdom. You can thrive in the kingdom of Jesus. But it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Are you ready?  

Jesus is about to teach us about the attitudes and actions of a Kingdom citizen. First, how to be saved and then how to act. Our good actions and acts do not save us. We are saved by faith when we humble ourselves before God. He teaches this lesson in verses 20-26. Then He will give practical rules for Kingdom living (while here on earth) in verses 27-38. 

 

Be Blessed 

The Bible is clear that the blessings of life on earth come from the Lord and He imparts them first, according to the attitude of our heart. Then what follows is our calling of obedience. 

First, Jesus gives four blessings and four corresponding woes.

 

What is a woe? It is an exclamation of denouncement. It’s a pronouncement of warning of pending doom. It’s not good. Not good at all. 

Okay, so let’s avoid the attitudes and actions that cause the woes. Got it? Good. What about the blessings?  

 

Blessed: to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity (the ability to produce, to produce abundance), longevity, etc. One who is blessed is given a rich and abundant life. 

When we say we are blessed, we are saying we are living a rich and abundant life far beyond what we deserve. Being blessed is good. Let’s pursue the attitudes and actions that bring about the blessings of God. OK?  

 

Here are the four blessings and the four woes. 

  • Blessed are the poor. Woe are the rich.  
  • Blessed are the hungry. Woe to those who are well-fed now. 
  • Blessed are you who weep now. Woe to you who laugh now.  
  • Blessed are you when men hate you. Woe to you when men speak well of you. 

 

A little strange, huh? These first three blessings and woes are dealing with the heart of a person. The clearest reference to the first three blessings and the first three woes is the story Jesus tells in Luke 18:10-14. The tax-collector was spiritually poor, hungry, and sorrowful. The pharisee was religiously rich, well-fed, and happy with himself. 

 

And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 

The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: God, I thank You that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.   

But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner! I tell you; this man went to his house justified rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. 

 

Entrance into the kingdom (salvation) is for those who acknowledge the poverty of their spiritual lives and their need of a Savior. Once saved, the Kingdom citizen remains humble and acknowledges that everything they have comes from God. These are the blessed ones. 

Entrance is denied to those who trust in their own righteousness or the righteousness of religious activities. Woe is upon them…unless they turn their heart to God in humility and surrender. 

 

Be blessed, my friends. Acknowledge your spiritual poverty, mourn over your sin, and hunger for the fulness of Jesus. 

 

Father, you not only give life in salvation but you also enrich our lives here on earth. In this life, we will have difficulty. But you have overcome the world and in spite of the challenges we face, You have promised peace, joy and sustaining grace to those who love You and obey Your Word. Give us our minds and hearts to understand the joy of being (spiritually) poor and hungry and mournful. Help us also know the joy of suffering as you suffered when others hate us for our faith in You. In all these things, we surrender ourselves to Your will and Your guidance of our lives. Amen! 


One on One With Jesus, Part 2

One on One With Jesus, Part 2


Luke 6:20-38

I hope that your personal relationship with Jesus is the most important part of the story of your life.  

Our relationship with Jesus is multi-faceted: 

  • It is a love relationship based upon His unconditional love 
  • It is a disciplinary relationship of admonishing and correcting 
  • It is a mentoring relationship of care, nurturing, mentoring and discipline 

 

I wish the story of Jesus in my life was steady and consistent. It’s not. It’s a two-party relationship; one of us is steady and consistent and one of us is not.  

Fortunately, the story of my salvation in Christ is set and secure. Why? Because He saved me, He keeps me and He will never let me go. My security in salvation is all about Him. However, the story of my daily life and walk with Jesus is a different issue? It can be volatile; it ebbs and flows, it has its ups and downs. Jesus is always there, steady and sure, but I tend to have different and varying emotions each day. Therefore, the emotions fluctuate each day as I meet daily with Jesus. 

Some days, when I meet with Jesus, I am feeling especially weak. On those days, we have a one-on-one of affectionate love, hugs, and pure warmth. Sometimes, I just need that. These are times when He carries me through the storm and whispers intimate words of kindness; promises of peace with visions of joy to come.

These tender rendezvous sustain me.  

Other days, Jesus meets with me with firmness and strength. He doesn’t mess around. He lets me know exactly how He feels about my attitudes, actions, and arrogance. He first reminds me that His covenant of salvation with me is set and firm and unmoving. It is secure because it is fully dependent upon Him. I am His child. His love is unconditional. Heaven is secure. But then, He quickly reminds me that my life on earth carries with it a set of responsibilities that I am called to live up to. It is to be lived for Him and His glory — not for my own purposes of success, accomplishments, and dreams. He reminds me that I am nothing without Him and I have been called to take up my cross daily and follow Him.

These meetings keep me grounded. 

 

Other times, Jesus sits with me in my daily one-on-one and does a reset. He gives me a check-up, a pulse-check, a stress-test. These face-to-face encounters can be described as a power-talk of discipleship. Jesus sets His gaze upon me with a motive to care, nurture, mentor, and disciple.

These encounters give me a clear path with defined boundaries. 

 

Back to Luke 6. Jesus has a power-talk of mentoring with His disciples right after He announced that they are the chosen twelve. We call it the Sermon on the Mount. There were crowds nearby, but Jesus spoke these words directly to the twelve. 

Let’s consider the words Jesus spoke to the disciples in Luke 6 as the same words He would speak to us in our one-on-one with Him today.  

 

Jesus has found a rock to sit on and is ready to speak. I advise you to find a flat spot on the ground near His feet and listen up. Read Luke 6:20-38. 

Ok, you’re across from Jesus and reveling in His presence. This can stir up a myriad of emotions. But I’d encourage you to engage your mind today as well as your emotions. This is a Jesus-initiated power-talk. These words are challenging and your mind needs to process them in order to be prepared to live them out from the heart. 

His gaze upon you. Just like the twelve, you are a chosen disciple of His. You have received Christ as your Lord and Savior. Now it is time for some good ole’ fashion discipleship by the Savior Himself. 

 

Read Luke 6:20-38. We’ll dig into the meaning of it all next time.  

 

Father, you not only give life in salvation but you also enrich our lives here on earth. In this life, we will have difficulty. But in spite of the challenges we face, You have promised peace, joy, and sustaining grace to those who love You and obey Your Word. In all these things, we surrender ourselves to Your will and Your guidance of our lives. Amen! 


One on One

One on One


Luke 6:20-38

What if Jesus were to spend 30 minutes with you tomorrow morning? What would He say?

What if … tomorrow morning, Jesus were to appear in the flesh (His new body, of course) in your home and sit down with you during your devotions. Let’s say He only has 30 minutes. 

  • First, you get to choose if you’re going to ask Him questions or if you’re going to let Him lead the conversation. I recommended closing your mouth and letting Him lead. 
  • What Story would He tell you? 
  • What principle would He teach you? 
  • What question would He ask you? 
  • What admonition might He give you? 
  • What words of love and encouragement might He give you? 

 

With that context, consider our text:

 

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say … Luke 6:20a. 

 

What did Jesus say to His chosen disciples? What would He say to you? 

In our text, (Luke 6) Jesus has just chosen the twelve and He is going to spend some concentrated time with them. For those of you in Christ, Jesus has chosen you as well. Jesus is with you. And Jesus has something to say to you.

 

During your time with Jesus, you can count on one thing for sure; He is going to look at you like you are the only person in the world. He is going to fix His gaze on you. His gaze upon you means His eyes are fixed on you, His mind is focused on you, and His heart is fused to your heart. 

 

  • His Eyes are fixed – on you 
  • His Mind is focused – on you 
  • His Heart is fused– to your heart 

 

In our text, Jesus speaks and the disciples listen. Do they have ears to hear? I mean, really hear, listen and comprehend? In this case, Jesus speaks and His words turn the traditional religious views of the world, upside down. Jesus teaches divine principles that are diametrically opposed to the views of this world.  

The disciples don’t really get it at first. But we should get it. It’s 2000 + years after the time of Christ, and we have a lot more advantages for understanding Jesus than the disciples did. May the Holy Spirit enlighten and refresh your soul with understanding — because what Jesus teaches is diametrically opposed to the ways of this world. 

This might be a good time for you to acknowledge to Jesus that you are more influenced by the way the world thinks than you ought to be. Lord, forgive me that I allow too much of this earthly mindset to influence my way of thinking. 

Jesus is speaking and teaching and explaining to His newly chosen disciples a whole new and different way to live life on earth. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if what He is explaining to them are the same words He would speak to us in our 30 minutes of one-on-one devotions with Jesus. 

 

He would tell you:

  • You are mine. I have chosen you. You are now different than everyone else in this world. 
  • Because You are mine and I now live inside you, you will think differently than everyone else. You are a new creation in mind, heart and will. 
  • Therefore, you will act differently than everyone else. 
  • People will wonder and be bewildered by your behavior. 

 

These words are for you as well. We are intrigued by the thought of personal time with Jesus in the flesh. Yes, it would be amazing. But the fact is, we aren’t missing out on anything. Through the power of the Spirit and the fullness of God’s word, we have all we need to know Jesus. His gaze is upon us. He’s ready to change our lives, our hearts, and our behavior. More on His message to us next time. 

 

Lord Jesus, come and speak to me and help me to listen. Help me to listen with new ears to hear, a new mind to understand, a new heart to love and a new will to obey. I hear Your kind and gentle knock on the door of my heart. Come be with me, speak to me, teach me, love me and I will, by Your grace and Your power, follow and obey You. Amen! 


The Chosen

The Chosen


Luke 6:12-19

Have you ever wanted to be chosen? Have you ever wanted to be appointed? Have you ever wanted to be promoted? 

Have you ever wanted to be called out among others and be recognized and acknowledged?

Oh, to be chosen. Oh, to be selected for a position of honor. The phone rings, you answer routinely, with little thought. The person on the line gives you an unexpected and overwhelming surprise. You have been chosen for something special.  

 

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles. Luke 6:12, 13 

 

Jesus had a tribe of followers. His followers were men and women who had decided to physically follow Him as he traveled the regions of Galilee and ultimately into Jerusalem. We know of the twelve but there were dozens of others. At one point, we know that He paired up 70 of His followers and sent them out to minister and preach.  

 

Some of His followers were all in and would end up giving their lives for Jesus. Others were intrigued with his words, others in awe of his miracles and healing and others simply had nowhere else to go. However, they all had one thing in common: they hoped He would be the predicted Messiah; the long-awaited King; the Lord of Lords. 

 

From this band of rag-tag followers, Jesus would choose twelve (knowing one would betray Him), whom he would endow with unique authority and uncommon courage. These twelve, minus one, would define His legacy and carry forward His mission after His death, resurrection and ascension. Were they important? Absolutely. Were they worthy? Not in the least. Will they ultimately prevail in their mission? Without a doubt. 

 

After praying all night, Jesus called and chose twelve men: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew; brothers James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew, the tax-collector and Thomas, the doubter; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot; Judas, son of James and Judas Iscariot, the traitor. 

 

Common, ordinary men. Chosen by the One who was currently famous in Israel. The multitudes were following the great prophet sent by God; and this One has chosen them, the twelve. They were the special twelve with the inner connection to Jesus. Jesus would escape the crowds but would always keep the twelve nearby. They would get private meetings. They would be privately mentored and have special insights into what Jesus was thinking and planning.  

 

These twelve-ordinary men of simple means, average intelligence and little education had no idea what they were in for. They could not have imagined what was in store for them. They didn’t comprehend the pain, suffering and humility they would endure.  

 

But for now, they have been chosen and it feels good. They felt special. Especially because after their calling, they walked with Jesus as the crowds gathered to be close to the most famous Man in the land.  

 

Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all. 

 

Jesus was the rock star of Israel and the twelve were the groupies; the insiders who were drafting on the fame and popularity of Jesus. How will this specialness affect the twelve? No doubt, pride will be their greatest temptation. Humility will be their hardest lesson. Jesus’ private school of humility training is now in session for the disciples. In His first sermon after choosing the disciple, Jesus preaches to the multitudes. But most likely, the message of humility and sacrifice was more directed toward his selected tribe than the multitudes. We’ll look at this sermon next time. 

 

Jesus, just like you chose the twelve, minus one, you chose us to be Your followers and to endow us with the blessings of greatness, even though we are nobodies. Just like the twelve, we are ordinary people who have been blessed with power and grace far beyond what we deserve. It can tempt us to be proud, to be arrogant and even complacent. But just like the disciples, you have a plan to teach us, develop us and cause us to be Your humble servants. We don’t know all that is ahead of us but we do know Who leads us – and by Your grace, may we follow You wherever you lead us. We are yours. Amen!