Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Luke 5

I love how when Jesus called people, they "left everything and followed him". Oh, that we might be willing to do the same. Here we see Simon (also known as Peter) leave everything. And we also know from Chapter 4 that Simon was married (see Luke 4:38). So it wasn't like some bachelor guy who could easily drop everything. Can you imagine Simon as he walked into the house that night? We don't always see the inside scoop, but I suppose we can use our imagination. Maybe his wife was very willing, but what if she wasn't? Talk about stress.

Gotta love v. 16 "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed". Jesus knew that time with the Father was very important. If Christ needed that time, how much more do we?

I hadn't noticed before that v. 27-32 talks about the calling of Levi, and elsewhere it is the calling of Matthew..just interesting side note there.

The last section (v.33-39) of this chapter took me a bit to really figure out. But it finally made sense. Jesus was bringing the new "wineskin" and you can't just weave the old and new together. You have to embrace the new. I liked that. How often God has done that with me. I want to hold on to the things in the past and He has given me a new future. If I want to fully enjoy and live my future, I cannot hold on to my past, no matter how comfortable it may be.

Cool :)

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Luke 4

The temptation of Christ. For a long time I would read over this passage and kind of say to myself "that's nice". I had yet to comprehend (even a little bit) what it meant for Christ to be fully God and fully man. I would always say to myself...He was God..like that would be hard. But as I have begun to understand Christ as fully God and fully man I see the importance and the difficulty of these temptations.

Food

I don't know about you, but I can barely go four hours without a snack, let alone FORTY DAYS with no food! :) Seriously though. When I'm hungry, I'm grumpy, and if someone is shoving a hamburger in my face, it's gonna take more than my puny willpower to say no. Jesus was hungry. And He was human. And by the grace of God He was able to say no.

Power/Success/Stability

I think we look at the second temptation and say "yeah whatever". But let's stop for a minute and think about our lives. Satan is offering Jesus everything...all the power and all the success and all the money.. How does this correlate in our own lives? How often do we sacrifice our time, our energy, our families, to gain power in our company (looking for that next promotion), to be viewed as successful (the nicest car, the nicest house, the nicest clothes), to have a "stable" lifestyle and not have to "worry" about tomorrow. But I believe God has said, not to worry about what you'll wear or what you'll eat because He will take care of those needs. We don't even have to worry about tomorrow because God will take care of that too. We struggle with Satan dangling the power and success in front of our faces.

Prove Your Faith

Satan's last temptation (at least that we read about here) is for Jesus to prove that God does what He says He will do. Ouch. How often are we faced with questions from people who want proof that our God is real. Well "why doesn't he heal sickness?" or "why does he let innocent people suffer?" Questions that we can't answer, questions that seem to fly in the face of what God is about, questions that require faith and knowing God is in control and He has His reasons and whatever those reasons are they are right, true, and fair, because that is who He is. But it's difficult. We want God to prove it too. We want to see with our eyes and know His power.

The other thing that stuck out to me as I read this chapter, was that Christ countered each temptation with God's Word. With what has been said and promised already. It just brings home the fact that we need to know God's Word in an intimate way. It was exciting as I did Experiencing God, we had memory verses for each week, and I was amazed at how often the memory verse would apply to something that happened or be fitting in a conversation or was just brought to my mind in various situations. His Word is alive and very applicable to our lives.

BOOKS

I finished the second Harry Potter book. It was good. The books are a bit dark. Some of the scary parts are a bit gruesome and scary. I'm not sure I would be comfortable letting my grade school child read them. I'm not sure... I started the third book the other night and ran into a couple more curse words (d--- again). Again I was frustrated at the nonsense of it. Not necessary, not appropriate. Frustrating.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Luke 3

John is reprimanding the crowds who come to be baptized because they basically were wanting to avoid punishment from God so they thought getting baptized would be a good idea. They weren't ready to change their lives. I really liked verses 10-14...

The people asked John, "Then what should we do?" John answered, "If you have two shirts, share with the person who does not have one. If you have food, share that also." Even tax collectors came to John to be baptized. They said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?" John said to them, "Don't take more taxes from people than you have been ordered to take." The soldiers asked John, "What about us? What should we do?" John said to them, "Don't force people to give you money, and don't lie about them. Be satisfied with the pay you get." Luke 3:10-14 New Century Version

As I read that..I thought "How obvious!" "Duh!". But as I thought about it more, I realize how we still struggle with these same issues today. How many shirts are in my closet? How often have I gave away my clothes to someone else? How much food do I have in my fridge, but how often do I share it with others?

These people had allowed their culture to creep in and destroy their sense of right and wrong. Their values were influenced by what was "ok" in their society. As disciples of Christ, we have a higher authority that we must listen to and more and more his values and ways are the direct opposite of what our culture and our world feels is ok.

My brother asked if it was ok if he invited a woman to our Christmas Dinner. She has no family in the area, and won't be leaving to see her family until after the holidays because she's in the middle of a messy divorce. My mind hesitated and then I said, "Yeah, definitely." But my first thought, was I don't know this woman, I don't want to spend the day with her...It's Christmas after all! YEAH SHAWNA>>IT"S CHRISTMAS after all! We should open our hearts and homes to people..especially those in need. This woman is down and out and I'm thinking about how it will possibly inconvenience me. Then I read this Chapter in Luke today and had confirmation once more, that I need to be more giving. I need to realize that everything I have, everything I am, and everything I do, comes from God and I should be willing to freely share it with anyone and everyone. It's about life change. Mine being transformed by God and my willingness to join God as He changes other lives. God thanks for the reminder, thanks for humbling me once more.