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July 15, 2017: The Lawyer and the Good Samaritan

Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 6-7, Psalm 140, Luke 10:25-37, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-10 Luke 10:25-37: A religious lawyer comes up to Jesus and asks him a question to test him. These experts in the Mosaic law had by and large not bought into the message of Jesus, nor the preparatory message of John the Baptist (Luke 7:30). Evidently, this lawyer is not being entirely sincere. He is asking Jesus a question “to test him” (10:25). Note there is nothing wrong with asking God questions. The Psalms model openness of communication with God. But there is a difference between asking a question to find out the truth, and asking a question to hide the truth. The lawyer is trying to find a loophole in Jesus’ understanding of the Old Testament law. He is testing him. Jesus, wisely, asks the lawyer a question in return (10:26)! This is the common tactic of Jesus when put to the...

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July 14, 2017: Rejoice!

Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 3-5, Psalm 139, Luke 10:17-24, 1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 Luke 10:17-24: They come back rejoicing (10:17)! It has been an amazing season of ministry. They are in particular rejoicing at the spiritual victories they have seen: even the demons submit to them in Jesus’ name. This is no small thing. Note the power of the name of Jesus: at his name demons flee and fail. The devil is a lion roaring around looking to devour us; but resist him, standing firm in the faith, and he will flee. The name of Jesus, such power. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are saved. Jesus too is rejoicing with them (10:18). The impact of their ministry has been so great that Satan himself is being disabused of the notion that he has any real power against the Servants of the Most High. The...

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July 13, 2017: The 72

Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 1-2, Psalm 138, Luke 10:1-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-6 Luke 10:1-16: This passage is worth studying closely for important and relevant principles related to Christian ministry. 1.  The importance of teamwork. Jesus did not send them out alone, but in pairs: “two by two” (10:1). Rarely we will be called to some work without God also providing a team for us to work with and to be supported by. 2. The importance of preparation. Jesus sent them ahead of where he was going. They were his advance men. In many ways that is what we all are: preparing the way for Jesus. They went into “every town and place where he himself was about to go” (10:1). 3. The importance of the harvest and workers’ principle. Jesus knew that the harvest was plentiful. We often think that there is no harvest. But the harvest is plentiful. The limiting factor is not the harvest but the workers....

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July 12, 2017: Don’t Look Back

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 29, Psalm 137, Luke 9:51-62, 1 Thessalonians 2:10-21 Luke 9:51-62: Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51, 53). This is his purpose and goal, and the time has come for him to go in that direction. It is good to have a goal, for without a goal you cannot accomplish much. But while it is good to have a goal, it is no good to have a wrong goal; there is nothing to be gained by efficiently moving in the wrong direction. Jesus has a goal, but it is more than an example of a model of focus and commitment to an end point to plan your life. This shows us that at the heart of Jesus’ ministry is the cross. So many people want to make Jesus merely the good teacher, or the wise philosopher, or the miracle worker; but above all Jesus is the crucified one....

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July 11, 2017: Faithful

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 26-28, Psalm 136, Luke 9:37-50, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-9 Luke 9:37-50: Jesus comes down from the mountain and is immediately met by needs. We go to the mountain not to stay there but to come down again and minister to human needs all around us. But that does not prevent the shock of returning to earth with a bump. This boy was in serious trouble (9:39). But the disciples could not help him (9:40). Jesus exclaims, “O faithless and twisted generation”! It is rebuke to us many times that we do less than we could for Christ because we lack faith. Think of it: even the disciples are so rebuked. We too are “faithless” too often. May we today trust Christ with our sufferings, with our brokenness, with our joys, with our leadership decisions, with our families and with our work. All things are possible for the one believes: all things that...

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July 10, 2017: Eyewitnesses of His Majesty

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 23-25, Psalm 135, Luke 9:28-36, 1 Thessalonians 1 Luke 9:28-36: The transfiguration was one of the most extraordinary events yet to have occurred and prefigured and previewed the coming glory of Christ, at the cross, in the resurrection, and in his return in glory. Peter was influenced by this vision throughout his life (2 Peter 1:26), being “eyewitnesses of his majesty.”  Note that Jesus has gone to pray. If Jesus prayed, so must we. Let us be diligent in prayer, rejoicing in prayer, seeking God in prayer. It is as he was praying that he was transfigured (9:29). We have a wonderful privilege of being able to draw near to God with confidence in prayer; let us make the most of that, and our lives will increasingly be changed from one degree of glory to another as we behold him with unveiled faces. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. Moses for...

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July 9, 2017: Christ Crucified

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 20-22, Psalm 133-134, Luke 9:18-27, Colossians 4:10-18 Luke 9:18-27: (v18-20). Peter’s great confession. Peter certainly had his faults—we will read of his denial of Jesus a little later in this story. He was no paragon of virtue, perfect, or without the tendency to open mouth and insert foot. But Peter did, by God’s inspiration, see the truth: Jesus is “the Christ of God.” Would you today ask God for his Holy Spirit to reveal to you (perhaps for the first time, or if not, afresh) that Jesus is the Christ of God? That he is the most important person in all of history? What matters is my response to him? That when all others let me down, Jesus will never let me down. People today, as then, still have many different opinions about Jesus. But what about you? Who do you say he is? (v21-22). Now, again, Jesus tells them not...

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July 8, 2017: Proclaiming the Kingdom of God

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 17-19, Psalm 132, Luke 9:1-17, Colossians 4:1-9, Luke 9:1-17:   (v1-6) Jesus’ instructions to the twelve are particular and specific because they are instructions to the apostles, previous to Jesus’ death and resurrection, for a specific mission. But nonetheless they hold important principles for our witness and mission today. They are not to go with so many provisions that they do not need to rely on the generosity of God and the realities of the local situation. Too many of us are so encumbered with possessions that half of our time and energy is spent merely looking after our “toys,” and it limits our ability to have an impact for God. Then, they are to stay in the house where they first go. If they are welcomed, and if there is opportunity, they are not to go from one house to another, seeking better dinner or lodgings...

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July 7, 2017: Child, Arise

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 15-16, Psalm 130-131, Luke 8:40-56, Colossians 3:15-25 Luke 8:40-56: More amazing miracles, and amazing compassion on the part of Jesus too. Jesus returns and the crowd welcomes him, for they have been waiting for him. How good it is to wait with eagerness to hear from Jesus. Let us get up each morning, open our Bibles, and sit before Jesus eagerly expecting to hear from him. Jairus, a synagogue ruler, has a twelve-year-old daughter who is dying. Note that high achievement in religion, and attainment of religious position, is no barrier against painful and personal suffering. At least Jairus goes to Jesus for help. He has some faith at work within him. Jesus makes the journey, and Luke tells the story masterfully. The crowd is pressing on him. It’s like a football game crowd longing to see, and if possible touch, their hero. People are everywhere. Jesus is making his way to...

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July 6, 2017: Declare How Much God Has Done for You

Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 12-14, Psalm 129, Luke 8:26-39, Colossians 3:1-14 Luke 8:26-39: Jesus now goes to the Gerasenes, which is “opposite Galilee” (8:26). Jesus has not just gone on a sailing trip, but has arrived to deal with the demoniac. This man was being tortured and traumatized by demon possession. Note again that the New Testament does make a distinction between demon possession and illness. This man was not merely ill, though we are sure that his demonic possession made him sick; there was at root a devilish cause to his circumstances and behavior. The demon on seeing Jesus recognized him and begged to not be tormented. How is it that someone who has so tormented a poor human being can itself beg for clemency? What trickery is this! For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man, and the unclean spirit is as it were “playing for time,”...

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