Re:Verse reading–Luke 1:1-38 (day four)
V.6 – “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.”
Wouldn’t that be a great verse to be said about you? To be obedient to God’s Word in every situation…to be recognized as being a faithful servant to God. Zacharias and Elizabeth had walked with the Lord for many years…they had established a reputation of faith. A reputation is not built in a short period of time, it is acquired over an extended period of time. God takes note of those who are faithful. He recognized Job’s faithfulness in all things, He saw in David a man after His own heart, and He saw this couple who walked blamelessly before Him. God rewarded their faithfulness by sending them a son…a son with a mission!
What does God see when He looks down upon you? Does He see one who walks blamelessly before Him in all the commandments? And not just every now and then, but always. Strive to build a reputation of righteousness in every situation!
Re:Verse reading–Luke 1:1-38 (day three)
“How can I be sure of this?” Doubt is a function of our finiteness: We don’t know everything, so we doubt. Rightly channeled, doubt can press us on to further investigation of mystery. In that way, doubt can lead us to deeper faith. Zechariah and Mary both express doubt to the angelic messenger. In Zechariah’s case, lifelong training in the theological and scriptural tenets of the priesthood and the high holy work of service to his people has welled up in his soul as…skepticism. It’s as if Zechariah’s posture is one of looking back at the priesthood’s storied past and asking, “Where’d all the glory go?” Conversely, Mary seems to look out at the future from where she stands and ask, “What glories are yet to be?” Doubt isn’t a bad place to start. But it’s a terrible place to end up.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 1:1-38 (day two) It seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. vs. 3-4
Aren’t you grateful for these four men who captured the life of Jesus in narrative form? Four different perspectives; some first hand accounts, some gathered through the testimony of others, and yet all in agreement about the person of Jesus. It was clear to Luke from the beginning that this account was to instruct, affirm, and clarify all that was being said about Jesus. Little did he know, perhaps, that this primer would serve as a key component in the gospel texts.
One of my favorite things about a book is reading it again. I always find something new. Sometimes I didn’t have enough life experience to really appreciate what the author was saying, and when I encounter it again I see with new eyes. Let’s read this story again and see how the Lord through Luke can tell us something new.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 1:1-38 (day one)
“And she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.”–v 29
“Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.”–Joseph Mohr
Sing it all you want, but it will not be the whole truth. When God touches the world, calls you to His purpose, it is not always calm. Not even close. When Mary told Luke the story of the angel visit she described it as upsetting. A crisis. Troubling.
But doubt didn’t delay her trust! Even with her old goals shattered (and probably some of her old friendships,too) Mary rested in God and His plans for her life. She had no expectation that truth was supposed to be comfortable.
Is it wonderful when God touches the world? Yes! Is it calm and convenient? Easy to understand or accomplish? Not always.
When God upsets your world, will you still trust Him?
Re:Verse reading–Acts 23:11, 25:12, 28:16-31 (day seven)
Who will listen to the Gospel? Our heart tells us that everyone everywhere will listen to the Gospel, but our experience in the world reveals very few who open their ears long enough to hear. Paul lived out his Christian walk with this very question defining his life. He worked hard to get his Jewish brethren to listen, and as they refused he sought out anyone else who might have an ear for the Kingdom of God. Paul’s priority of finding those people with open ears is miraculous. He never worried about getting run out of a city by an angry mob, he didn’t lose faith as his ship wrecked in Malta, he didn’t give up when he was bitten by a snake, he didn’t pout when he was chained to an armed guard, Paul saw these tragic moments as one more opportunity to find someone with open ears to the Kingdom of God.
May we never be demoralized by circumstances, but use those inevitable moments of life as one more chance to witness.
When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Acts 28:23 NASB
Re:Verse reading–Acts 23:11, 25:12, 28:16-31 (day six)
I have stood outside the small cathedral in Rome where Paul’s apartment has been enshrined. I have also been in his jail cell, and stood near the site he was martyred a few years after his initial house arrest. Church tradition tells us that Paul was released from house arrest, only to be arrested once again in Rome a year or two later and executed shortly thereafter.
Paul was a real man, who had a real encounter with Jesus, whose life was forever changed by the Gospel, who gave the rest of his life to spread the message of the Gospel to the known world at great cost to himself. He wasn’t a myth, a fabrication, or an exagerration. Paul was real because the Gospel is real; Jesus doesn’t leave people the same.
How has the real Gospel impacted you?
Re:Verse reading–Acts 23:11, 25:12, 28:16-31 (day five)
Acts 28:15 And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.
I spent time yesterday thanking the Lord for FBCSA. A place where the fellowship among the members and presence of the Lord is such an encouragement and joy to so many (including me).
Sing or say these words with me today…
“There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.”
Will look forward to gathering Sunday and finding the Lord and the encouragement His Spirit provides!
Re:Verse reading–Acts 23:11, 25:12, 28:16-31 (day four)
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering and come before Him; Worship the Lord in holy array. Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, The Lord reigns. Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord; For He is coming to judge the earth. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-34
I can’t think of a better reason to give thanks today! Happy Thanksgiving!
Re:Verse reading–Acts 23:11, 25:12, 28:16-31 (day three)
“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.” This situation looks like an old man who’s finally settled down after his nomadic ways and now spends his days regaling wide-eyed young hangers-on with war stories, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled. The man in this narrative is none other than Paul “Straining-Toward-What-Is-Ahead” the Apostle. In his welcoming guests to his home, he is wielding the shaping power for the future of the human race. In these “Rome sessions”, he’s teaching people, forming spirits, enlightening minds. He speaks not of the old days, but of new possibilities. He’s hasn’t “ended up”, but rather he presses on. We think aging means fading. Paul new the older he grew, the newer he became. And that’s what he showed the world.
Re:Verse reading–Acts 23:11; 25:12; 28:16-31 (day two)
Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 28:24
Here is Paul, arguably the greatest evangelist of the early church, and there were some who just wouldn’t buy what he was selling. If ever there were a thoroughly converted man convinced of his duty to spread the gospel, it was Paul. And yet some didn’t believe. Do you think it frustrated him? Do you think it altered his approach or his message? Probably not. Paul understood his role. He knew that there would be those who would reject this truth, but his part was to spread the Word without apology. Why do we lack that kind of conviction? Why are we so easily swayed from our task when things don’t go as we plan. Is our call from God? Do you know your assignment? Get to it. Finish the race. Keep true to the message. Some will not believe, but then again, some will.