really live

Luke Chapter 16 – I read from the message version again today. I always love the imagery that is painted. The chapter opens up with the story of the crooked manager (1-9). Other versions call this story the parable of the shrewed or dishonest manager. I like the amplified’s description: the unjust steward. Don’t be that guy.

The following verses need no explanation: “Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way – but for what is right – using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.” 8-9

I love the next section how God sees through appearances: “Jesus went on to make these comments: If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. If you’re not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store? No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second or adore the first and despise the second. You can’t serve both God and the bank.” 10-13

Yikes! Don’t want these next words ever said about me:

When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing Him as hopelessly out of touch. So Jesus spoke to them: “You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others, but God knows what’s behind the appearance. What society sees and calls monumental, God sees through and calls monstrous. God’s Law and the Prophets climaxed in John; Now it’s all kingdom of God – the glad news and compelling invitation to every man and woman. The sky will disintegrate and the earth dissolve before a single letter of God’s Law wears out. Using the legalities of divorce as a cover for lust is adultery; using the legalities of marriage as a cover for lust is adultery.” 14-18

The chapter ends with a rich man in hell wanting the beggar Lazarus to go warn his 5 brothers. The response is they have Moses and the prophets. The man says but they are not listening but surely would listen to someone coming back from the dead.

“We have access to The Word. It takes faith to believe. Would those brothers have faith to hear and receive what Lazarus had to say or would they think they had just been dreaming or it was the late night pizza talking?” RG

Share your faith so others in your life receive God’s gift of salvation before heading to eternity and are given the opportunity to really live.


Jesus’ parables should make us think

Luke Chapter 15 – Again, the Pharisees are upset with who Christ is hanging around with rather than rejoicing with those who are being healed and saved.


Jesus of course knowing what they are saying tells the story of the lost sheep (there’s more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than 99 ‘good’ people in no need of rescue 7),

the lost coin (God’s angels throw a party every time one lost soul turns to God 10),

and the lost son (a huge feast given in his honor as he was thought to be dead but found alive 24).

Bam! Come on Pharisees and Sadducee. Trust God. Adhere to His commands. Learn from each story above and if ever the case may be, remind yourself how you are so much more valuable to our Heavenly Father then a lost sheep or lost coin. And if you ever become prodigal, humbly return.

heaven is waiting

Luke Chapter 14 – Jesus was controversial then and still is nowadays. The Pharisees were watching. They wouldn’t say a word about it any longer as Jesus just kept on healing on the sabbath. He even asked this: “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” (5)

He told where to sit at a banquet to save embarrassment and to be given honor (7-11) and who to invite to parties (12-14) which led into the parable of the banquet (15-24).

Did those listening get what He was saying?

Did you see how God desires His house to be full (23) and that those invited that did not come will not eat at all (24).

Don’t miss the party that is coming in Heaven one day soon.

Verses 25-33 Jesus explains the cost of being a disciple. My thought is what can I do with time I have left this side of heaven. We are not guaranteed tomorrow so live today boldly, loudly, purposefully.

I like how the message version ends the chapter: “Are you listening to this? Real listening?”

I sure hope so and that you have Jesus in your heart so you can…


bear fruit

Luke Chapter 13 is a relatively short chapter, but packed with truths and wisdom. The amplified version gives strong clarity to verse 3: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways and live changed lives], you will all likewise perish.” And it is repeated again in verse 5 so we must pay close attention.

The story of mercy to the fig tree makes me think how God wants us to bear fruit and gives mercy (6-9).

Again, we see healing on the sabbath is an issue for the Pharisees (10-17). I hope I never am that pompous, ignorant, or miss seeing the miracles as they did.

“It is amazing that these Pharisees were giving Him grief for doing GOOD and WONDERFUL deeds on the sabbath. Should we be so legalistic that we don’t help one another in times of need regardless of the context around us? Doesn’t sound right to me.” RG

I have always loved the imagery of verse 34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones [to death] those [messengers] who are sent to her [by God]! How often I have wanted to gather your children together [around Me], just as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Be willing to go the extra mile so you can shine bright as you…


trust God with all things

Luke Chapter 12

Today I choose to read the chapter in the amplified version. It is a good idea to switch versions or use multiple ones during your study time.

Verse 2: “But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known.” This reminds me of parenting and how I would randomly discover stolen things or find things out and then be able to discipline with the revealed information. We are to stand in awe of God and fear Him (5) knowing He has the power to cast us into hell. Of course, God desires none to perish, so we must be sincerely accepting of His forgiveness and desire to fulfill His purpose in our lives. We can be sure we are not forgotten (6) and God cares more about you then about the sparrows yet He still cares for them too. Don’t you just love that!

I often use verse 7. It says: “Indeed the very hairs of your head are numbered.”

First, I wonder how often Jesus said this since 2 of the 4 gospels include it. (If you care to be more scholarly or impress your church friends, it is found here in Luke and in Matthew 10.30.).

Second, God knows more about us then we know ourselves.

Third, this fact should give us confidence to trust God with big things if He knows even the smallest details about us like how many hairs are on our heads!

Reading this version I understood the following more clearly: “I say to you, whoever declares openly and confesses Me before men [speaking freely of Me as his Lord], the Son of Man also will declare openly and confess him [as one of His own] before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit [that is, whoever intentionally discredits the Holy Spirit by attributing the authenticating miracles done by Me to Satan], it will not be forgiven him [for him there is no forgiveness].” 8-10

What sticks out to you? I love how reading The Word is always fresh and how there is always a new angle that perhaps we didn’t see before. Pause and ponder The Word. Don’t just bulldoze your way to get ‘er done.

The story of the farmer and his storehouses (16-34) reminds me how we need to build our relationship with God. So many times we can get caught up in building our lives here on earth and forget our time here is just a vapor. This section is reminiscent of Matthew 6 (which is my favorite passage). No need for us to worry as God will take care of us. If you have anxiety, go back and read this passage or Matthew 6, be compassionate, give to the poor, and know where your heart is there your treasure will also be (34).

Through Luke 35-49, we are reminded to be ready for Christ’s return.

I laughed out loud reading verse 54 on thinking about meteorologists. The profession where you are dead wrong at least 50% of the time, but still get paid well. May we be found faithful being about things that matter eternally.

The chapter ends talking about settling things outside of court if possible. Forgiving has its place always especially when dealing with those in our lives that are non-believers.

When we extend grace, yield our rights, and offer forgiveness, we will shine bright as we strive to…


how should we pray

Chapter 11 – I thought it interesting that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray just as John taught his disciples. Jesus then shares the Lord’s Prayer and further goes on talking about waking up a neighbor at night and how we should be persistent in our prayers.

Jesus goes on to heal a mute man and the people declare He is casting out demons by the name of beelzebub. So, Christ talks about a kingdom divided against itself. Makes so much sense but I wondered did all hearing what was said that day understand?

Then: “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” 27-28 NIV

Even way back then, Mary was already getting worshipped. Don’t you just love Jesus’ not so subtle reply saying “No, not that – this is the way.”

He talks about the sign of Jonah (29-32). Did the people listening understand when He said: “…now something greater than Jonah is here.” (32)?

This next section speaks for itself and bears repeating. “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” 33-36 NIV


I imagine the ‘woe to you Pharisees’ section (37-54) made those men to be seething. No one wants to be called out for the bad they do especially when they think they have covered themselves. So, what do they try to do? Trap Him in the badgering questions they besiege on Him. But, it was not quite that time yet.

I leave you with this: Don’t be pompous, dishonest, don’t neglect justice or the love of God (42). Don’t be like a Pharisee.


rules for the road

Luke Chapter 10 – This chapter opens up with ancient day canvassing as Jesus sends out 72 ahead two by two into towns He will be eventually making His way to (1). Some churches still do this today. We have done this in the inner city to let others know an event is happening and on mission trips. It also reminds me of billboards or other advertising announcing a band or event coming to town. Never really thought about these humble beginnings. Have you?

The next 16 verses are ‘rules for the road.’ Reminds me how God is a god of order and we should run things orderly. Some of it is also repetitive so that tells me to pay closer attention as I previously said in this post:

The disciples tell Jesus: “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”17

This is faith building but, Jesus tells them to rejoice instead that their names are written in heaven (20). I do pray yours is too.

The well known Good Samaritan story (25-37) reminds us to ask ourselves: Who is my neighbor (29)?

Of course, this was asked with ill intention wanting to justify himself (29). But, I think the joke was on that ‘expert’ of the law as he was not expecting to have to give mercy to everyone (37).

The chapter ends with the much talked about Martha and Mary story (38-42). Martha wanted help. She went to the Lord to ask for it. She was hoping He would tell Mary to come help. Instead, I believe He gently showed her the error of her ways.

Did she feel chastised?

Did she understand what the Lord was telling her?

Did she walk away from all that she was caught up in with the preparations and join Mary to take in the Lord’s teachings?

The account doesn’t tell us. What do you think?

I do know that sometimes we get so caught up serving the Lord that we forget to listen to the Lord, as in the case of Martha. Be a Mary.

And when you are, you will…


be all in and sold out

Luke Chapter 9 – first verse we hit the ground running – did you catch what was said? Jesus gave the disciples His authority and power to heal and cast out demons (1). He told them to go and proclaim the kingdom of God (2). My take away is if I call myself a disciple of Christ then I have that power and responsibility to proclaim and heal as well. Another thought is: We must be all in and sold out Christians. Don’t let lukewarm be a word to describe you.

The next verses (3-5) explain how they were not to take anything with them and what to do if they were not welcomed. God was teaching them of His provision.

Verse 6 I am sure I have just flew past before but I was stopped in my tracks. “So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.” NIV

‘THEY’ set out. Not Jesus, but the disciples with His power and authority. The same power that’s available for us. Exciting stuff. Let’s read on.

I have always loved the story of feeding the crowds. This one was 5,000 men not including women or children who were fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish. I don’t think it was coincidence that 12 basketfuls of broken pieces were collected. Perhaps one for each of the 12 disciples. Agree?

Jesus told the disciples not to tell others He was the Messiah. I love the conversation that Jesus starts with His disciples when He says: “Who do people say I am?”

A friend said this: “I think this is so representative of the time we live in. People have all types of thoughts of who Jesus was. But His followers have had a different experience with Him. And so, who His followers say He is is vastly different. Love that. And love the power of our testimony.” AS

Jesus also told His disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” 22 NIV

When this indeed happened, did they remember what He told them?

So the chapter opened with Jesus sending the disciples out and they did proclaim the good news and healed the sick. But, now a man with a demon possessed son comes to Jesus because the disciples couldn’t help (37-43). What disciples was the man referring to? The ones traveling with Jesus or random people from the town? A littler further down in the chapter (49+50) we see the disciples telling Jesus they were stopping others from casting out demons which makes me think the disciples referred to above were not some of the 12. What do you think?

I leave you with a question. What do you think this verse means: “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” 62 NIV

In addition to my thoughts here’s some more from a friend: at home we all have different Bibles, so we were able to look at this differently through each reading.

When reading about feeding the 5,000 the words “we only have” stuck out. As in alone, we can only do so much. But with Christ we can do immeasurably more. Don’t you just love that.

Jesus appearance is changed when He is with God. Every time I am with God – my visual appearance is changed immediately. I stand a little taller, I am more peaceful and ready to serve others.

The line about the plow stayed with me. I’m a visual person, so I imagined working a plow. Once you get that thing started, it would take a lot of energy to actually stop it. The thought of someone starting work for the Lord and then stopping suddenly broke my heart.

Let it break yours too. And for the love of God, never, ever let that be you. For how can you…


if you are not plowing through and working for our King.

Never stop working! Stay all in and sold out!

Jesus honored women

Luke Chapter 8 – I like that women are including as travel companions with the Lord and the disciples (2-3). They had been healed of their physical afflictions and now I imagine growing spiritually daily as they journeyed together with Jesus. What a privilege to be included. I am so grateful that God is accepting of all and that Jesus honored women.

And how did these women show their gratitude? Well, by supporting Jesus and the disciples out of their own means (3)!

I have always loved the imagery in the parable of the sower. The verse that stood out to me today was 15: “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Here it is in the Message version: “But the seed in the good earth – these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.”

A good suggestion when doing any kind of Bible study is to compare several versions for a deeper understanding of a verse or passage.

When Jesus was teaching and was told his mother and brothers were there, his response always baffled me: “But He replied to them, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear and do the word of God.” 21 HCSB

I get others could be brothers, but mother? What are your thoughts on this?*

And after all the miracles the disciples had seen, when Jesus calms the sea and they ask: “Who can this be? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey Him! ” 25 HCSB

Wouldn’t they have already figured out He was God?

The next story (26-39) has a few things to ponder:

  • Why did the demons want to go into the pigs?
  • What did the owners think when they heard their herd all jumped off a cliff and drowned?
  • Why would the people be afraid when the man was in his right mind after Jesus healed him?

And because of that fear, all the people asked Him to leave. They should have been seeking His healing and love! Perhaps it was so that man could be used mightily in the area telling all what Jesus has done for him. Tell your story. Let others know what Jesus has done.

The next two stories you have probably heard if you have spent any significant amount of time reading the Word or attending church. The woman with the issue of blood and Jarius’ daughter (40-56).

First we have a desperate woman. She has spent all she has on trying to get well and has faith that if she just touches Jesus she will be healed. I am certain she was not expecting to be discovered or called out. I also imagine it was hard to say what she needed healing for, but there she was thrusted before the crowd trembling and in fear. Jesus sees and knows it all and says this: “‘Daughter,’ He said to her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’” 48

How beautiful!

Don’t you just love that. Don’t you want to have that kind of faith. Don’t you want to hear Jesus say to you: Go in peace! Love love love this.

And the next healing: As Jesus stopped to interact and heal this women, was it the time needed to allow the daughter to die so Christ could do an even greater miracle?

(Not that there really is degrees in miracles mind you. Kind of like sin: Sin is sin from a white lie to a murder, you need forgiveness. Same with miracles, you need faith.)

So, was it intently on Jesus’ part to be delayed? Why did He only take Peter, John, and James with Him into the room? (51) I think it odd that all who were crying started laughing when Jesus said: “Stop crying, she is not dead but asleep (52).” I also wonder why Jesus told the parents not to tell anyone of the healing. “Her parents were astonished, but He ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” 56

*some thoughts from a friend in regards to the mother’s question: I look at/my aim is to view all women in the church as mothers, sisters, or daughters. I get that from 1 Timothy 5:2. Agree?

the sites Jesus passed by

If you don’t know, I am opening this year with what many ended last year wirh – reading through the book of Luke. One week in so Chapter 7 here we come.

This chapter opens up as a continuation of 6. You do know when the Bible was originally written there were no chapter or verse markings, right? That came much later in ‘modern’ times when printed copies became available in the 16th century and needed a way of communicating where one was reading.

Reading this chapter makes me want to get out a map and see where Capernaum (1), Nain (11), and Judea as well as the surrounding countries (17) are as the word spread about Jesus and these were places He stopped and performed miracles.

The first story of this chapter I just love (1-10).

A centurion sends word to Jesus for Him to just say the word knowing if He does, his servant would be healed. And that is exactly what happens. Jesus says: “I tell you, I have not found such great faith in all of Israel.”

The centurion didn’t need to physically go to Christ as he trusted in His authority because of his job (8).

He didn’t want Jesus to come to his house because he felt he was undeserving (6).

He also didn’t feel worthy to come to Christ (7), but knew Jesus could heal.

Have you ever felt undeserving or unworthy? We all have fallen short of the glory of God. The centurion recognized this yet knew Christ was the answer to his problem and believed the healing would come. We need to have more of that kind of faith in our lives.

Something else to consider a friend observed was that the servant was not just a servant to the Centurion. The Centurion was not asking Jesus to heal him, not his wife, not his child, or his mother. Nope – his unselfish act of love from one human being who cared for his servant’s well-being. I say you go care for others too and take to heart the verse that says: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2.3

The next story (11-27) is another faith builder as Jesus brings the only son of a widow back to life. What stood out was how the Lord had compassion on her: “When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” 13

I also loved how the crowd was filled with awe and praised God and said: “God has come to help His people.” 16

Another detail not to overlook is Jesus spoke and the servant was healed and this miracle He just touched the bier (coffin) (14). My take a way: We can’t put God in a box or expect prayers to be answered in the same ways.

The next section is about John the Baptist (18-35). I thought it was odd that John sent some of his helpers to ask Jesus if He was the one they should expect (19). They observed many miracles and Jesus told them to go back and report what they saw to John. (21-23)

Wouldn’t John have already known these things since his mom and Mary were related and knew they both were born for a Godly purpose?

Did John send his disciples to build their faith?

How often do we think about the fact that each of us is born with a Godly purpose? It is our responsibility to seek it and live it out.

I love that again Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking and talking about in regards to the sinful woman with the alabaster box so He tells a parable and ends with telling her her sins are forgiven (48) but He further qualifies this by saying: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 50

May I be found with such faith and peace. May the miraculous stories in this chapter fill my heart with trust. May you see it too and…