Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day three)
“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me…” Is it wrong to haggle with God? Would we even consider an “if-you-do-this-I’ll-do-that” arrangement? Have we decided to place ourselves above such dealings? Do we believe it would even make any difference? It’s interesting to consider that from the Old Testament to the New Testament, from people to demons and back to people, such conversations with the Lord have been common: Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, Legion (!), Peter, Paul. Maybe we would see the power of God more if we would tell him what we want. That’s not the same as demanding what we want. Even the demons knew that. God will take care of his own responses to us. Just speak to him.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day two)
For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. vs. 27
How many of us have this scripture somewhere in our house? Hanging in our kids room perhaps, or in a picture frame on a shelf. Hannah is our clear example of preparing for our children. Not only does she pray for a child, but she commits him to the Lord. What an act of faith! Knowing our children are a blessing is generally accepted, but committing them to the service of the Lord takes a heart that is certain of the Lord’s promises. No matter what we have planned for our kids, the Lord has more. We will spend years training, teaching, encouraging, and correcting them when necessary, but to what end? We are not in this for vocational training. We are stewards of the next line of defense for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Be encouraged and courageous. Even if you have no children of your own, you can invest in this journey with others.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day one)
“I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.”–v 15.
“When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.”–Hudson Taylor.
Not all prayers are equal. Hannah’s experience proves it. “Saying your prayers” and “pouring your heart out to the Lord” are very different experiences. Somehow, and this by the grace of God, we reach the end of our own strength, inhibitions are cast aside and real prayer begins.
James 5:16-18 describes a similar moment. “The energized (energeo) prayer of a righteous man accomplishes (energeo) much! Elijah was a man just like us but he prayed (proseuchomai) with prayer (proseuche) and the Lord answered him!” He prayed with prayer! (really prayed)
Prayer does not equip for a greater work–prayer is the greater work.–Oswald Chambers.
God’s goal for us is real prayer. Like Hannah. Like Elijah.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day seven)
We all know the Great Commission. As Matthew records Jesus’s words in chapter 28 they are sweeping and grand. Jesus empowers the church to go and disciple all. It is beautiful, but it does not tell you what the disciples taught baptizing throngs of people. Surely, they taught Jesus Christ and Him crucified, but there was a highly specific reason Jesus went to the cross that must be conveyed.
Hear Luke’s version of the Great Commission: and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:47.
The content is to repent. The message is Christ crucified, our response is repentance. The power of the cross is that we can now be reoriented back to God. Our lives have strayed many miles away from God’s intention. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we can come back and be made right before our Heavenly Father once again. When we knell before God in confession the cross is glorified and all is made right in our world.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day six)
They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32
Let me ask you, does your heart ever burn when you read the Bible? Do those words fill you with hope and anticipation? Do they move you to praise and thanksgiving? Those words, on that page, do they lead you to repentance or even joy? Do they burn? If not, it may help to ask. We aren’t meant to read the Scriptures as if they are only ink to paper, but rather the very words of God! Jesus was very willing to open the Scriptures to two grief stricken disciples, surely he is equally willing to open them for you.
So, get into the habit of asking. Ask Jesus to make your hearts burn.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day five)
There are several times mentioned that the disciples were scared, troubled, afraid, and confused. However, the most terrifying thought comes at the end of this passage in verse 45 (Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures). These were not new converts or people mildly interested in Jesus and His teaching. These were the close followers, the ones who didn’t drift away, the ones who left their nets. Yet, they still had not understood the scriptures and words of Jesus, even after three years of watching, listening, and walking with Jesus.
If their understanding was lacking and needed supernatural help and encouragement, then our own faith and understanding probably does too. Each and every time we read the scriptures, hear a sermon, or pray, we must ask and beg the Lord through the Holy Spirit to help us understand and apply the truth(s) God would have us realize and practice. “A humble and prayerful spirit will find a thousand things in the Bible which the proud self-conceited student will utterly fail to discern”- J.C Ryle
Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day four)
The angels spoke to the women at the tomb…”Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,“ In verse 8 it says, “And they remembered His words.” On the road to Emmaus, Jesus spoke to the two men. Verse 27 says, “He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” These are exactly what the Holy Spirit does for us today. The Spirit causes us to recall the words of Jesus. With divine timing, we are reminded of things Jesus has said. The Spirit also explains the words of Scripture to us. Our eyes are opened and we see new truths in the pages of Scripture. Verse 45 says, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Just as the followers of Christ received peace from the words of the angels and from Jesus, we have peace when hear from the Spirit. Thank you Lord for the gift of the Spirit and the truth of the Word.
Re:Verse reading- Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day three)
“They did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Did people back in the (ancient) day more readily believe claims of supernatural occurrences than people now? Is the Bible full of the accounts of gullible people? Thank God for the doubters. Peter and his peers-and later the wider Greek culture-had to burrow their way through doubt and skepticism in order to arrive at a faith strong enough to face suffering death. If you’re using your energy running away from doubts rather than facing the questions that doubt raises, how will you grow strong enough to stand?
Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day two)
While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” vs. 41
I am constantly amazed at how much God cares about details, and how the writers of the Gospels were able to capture the small nuances that helped relate those details to us. Whether it be what the rich man was wearing, the kind of robe they placed upon Jesus and how it was divided, or simply that he was hungry after the resurrection-details matter. They matter because they are the small things that we can get our minds around. We may struggle with the the hows and whys of God’s plan, but we understand small symbols that add up to the tapestry God is weaving. Jesus knew that. That is why he told stories. That is why he used bread and wine. Jesus’ hunger was another sign that this walking miracle was alive. Re-read his stories. Marvel at the small things and how they point to the big ones.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 24:1-12, 33-49 (day one)
“Two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing. . .’Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee?’ “–v 4-5
It was a mild rebuke, an expression of the amazement and frustration angels often have with us. Why don’t humans listen to Christ? Why don’t we trust Him? These angels remembered exactly where Jesus was when He said the words. How could the disciples have missed it?
The Bible speaks often of the careful attention angels give humans. “We have become a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.”–1 Corinthians 4:9. Part of God’s purpose in the church is to demonstrate His wisdom to “principalities and powers in heavenly places.“–Ephesians 3:10.
It is one more reason for me to be brave. At all moments, all choices and opportunities, angels are watching.