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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Read the Bible in a Year (31OCT19)

DAILY REMINDER – Today, October 31’s Bible reading is Luke 17-18.

NEXT DAY REMINDER – Tomorrow, November 1’s Bible reading is Luke 19-20. May God bless you with the reading of His WORD.

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LUKE MOMENT – (31OCT19) Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:11-14). During biblical times, there were no dermatologists to call on to help those who were afflicted with skin conditions. When the Bible uses the term “leprosy,” it can mean any number of skin ailments. Nevertheless, when one had such a condition, they were considered as being unclean and were not permitted to live amongst the general population in accordance to the laws of Moses. Therefore, when Jesus healed these ten lepers and told them to show themselves to the priests, that was in connection with the Mosaic laws where anyone who had such an illness must be first cleared by the priests before they could reenter society. But something happened after Jesus had healed the men. Nine of them went on their way and never returned, but one came back to thank Jesus for his healing. Jesus took notice of this and asked where were the other nine who had also been healed. Jesus gave the man His blessings and told him that his faith had made him well.

How many times do we stop to thank the Lord for His goodness? When you pray, do your prayers consist only of Lord will you, give me, allow me, or help me? Are your prayers only filled with pleas but fall short of any thanks? The Lord takes notice in not only what we ask for in our prayers, but the thanks that we do or do not give when we come to Him in prayer for what He has already done. The Bible says: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Therefore, let us remember that we are to be grateful to God for all the things that He has done for us as we make our requests known to Him. Something to ponder….

QUESTION OF THE DAY - (31OCT19) “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-29). Noah had preached over a hundred years that it was going to rain. During that time, no rain had ever showered down on the earth before and the vegetation had been watered with dew and moisture coming up from the ground. So, when Noah gave them the warning concerning what was to come, they ignored his message – thinking that it would never come to be. They went about their life as normal as if the world would continue as it had been with no consequences to their actions. Therefore, when the rain started and the flood waters came, it was too late to get inside the ark. Noah could not have opened the door if he wanted to because the Lord had closed the door Himself.

Then there was Lot and his family. God warned Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah was going to be destroyed. Abraham tried to intercede on behalf of the city, but God could not find even ten people who were worthy of saving the cities for. Therefore, the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness when they least expected it. Jesus said that it would be the same way upon His return.

People will be going about their lives with no spiritual cares in the world. They will be living their lives as normal and will be totally caught off guard when He returns. Unfortunately for them, it will be too late to try to enter the Ark of God. They will have had ample warnings to alert them to what was coming, but their rejection of God resulted in them blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What a sad day it will be for the wicked who will be unprepared for Jesus’ return.

Will you be ready when Jesus returns, or will you be found knocking on the door of the Ark? There will be no more chances to make things right with God. The Bible says: “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). No one will be able to make excuses as to why they did not submit to the Holy Spirit. Time is running out. Will you be ready? Something to ponder….

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LUKE MOMENT – (31OCT19) “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?” (Luke 18:7). Jesus gave the parable of a widow who was seeking justice from an unjust judge. The judge did not care for anyone, but the widow remained persistent in her desire for justice. The judge finally honored the widow’s request in receiving justice against her enemy for fear that she would continue to be a bother to him. Jesus gave this parable to say that we are to be just as persistent with God when asking Him for favor.

Have you prayed to God for something and you have not received an answer about it yet? Have you given up hope in that you will receive what you have been believing God for? Do not give up. Do not think that you are bothering God when you keep praying on a certain matter. God is oftentimes testing our faith to see if we will continue to believe even when our desires have not manifested. God loves persistence, for in so doing, it causes us to build our faith. Never give up in believing and be as humbly persistent in your request as the widow was with the judge. There are three answers that God will give to a request – yes, no, or wait. Only He can tell you which one is for you. The Bible says: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). Something to ponder….

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Read the Bible in a Year (30OCT19)

DAILY REMINDER – Today, October 30’s Bible reading is Luke 14-16.

NEXT DAY REMINDER – Tomorrow, October 31’s Bible reading is Luke 17-18. May God bless you with the reading of His WORD.

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LUKE MOMENT – (30OCT19) “All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (Luke 15:1-2). The Pharisees had a self-righteous attitude where they thought that they were better than the tax collectors and sinners. In so doing, they were sinners themselves. They believed that as long as they followed the laws of Moses that they were going to enter the kingdom of God. Their hypocrisy blinded them to their need of a Savior. They prayed long prayers, were experts of the law, and tithed of all their money, but they missed the most important things -- love, mercy, grace and compassion which is a repeated theme in many of Jesus’ parables. Therefore, when they saw Jesus sitting with the undesirables once again, they had a problem with Him.

Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep and how a shepherd would leave the ninety-nine to go find that one that was lost. Upon finding the sheep, he would celebrate with his friends and neighbors. This is how it is with God. We were all lost sheep at some point, but Jesus came and restored us back to the fold. When we sin, it separates us from God, but Jesus’ blood restores us to the Father. Therefore, Jesus wants us as believers to be just as compassionate with the lost so that they may find their way as He was with us.

So many Christians are like the Pharisees and when sinners are trying to draw close to God, they throw stones at them to circumvent their spiritual recovery. Yet, what did Jesus do with these types of hypocrites when the woman who was caught in adultery was brought before Jesus? “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). We will revisit this story when we get to the book of John. For now, let’s ensure that we do not place ourselves higher than the person whom we think is the worst of all sinners. Jesus said: “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). Something to ponder….

QUESTION OF THE DAY - (30OCT19) “Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11). Jesus gave the parable of a rich man who had an unfit manager. The manager was wasteful in his practices, so the rich man decided to fire him. The manager did not know how he would survive, so he went to his boss’ debtors and made arrangements for them to pay off their debt at a lower cost. He figured that if he could get in their good graces, they would help him in return. The rich man commended the manager for acting wisely. Jesus went on to say that if a person can be faithful with a little, they can be trusted to be faithful with much. The opposite is true if they are unfaithful with a little.

Sometimes, people wonder why God hasn’t blessed them to have more money, a job promotion, larger ministry, etc. They may, however, want to ask themselves the question: “Am I faithful with what God has already given to me?” If not, why would He increase your territory? God will not bless us with more if we are not being faithful with a little. If you want more money, faithfully budget what you already have. If you want a job promotion, ensure that you get to work on time and do well with the position you already have. If you want God to increase your ministry, be faithful with the handful of people He has already entrusted in your care. In other words, operate as you would if you had already been given what you are believing God for. Maybe then, in His timing and will, God may bless you with more. The Bible says: “Jabez was more honored than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called on Israel’s God: ‘If only you would greatly bless me and increase my territory. May your power go with me to keep me from trouble, so as not to cause me pain.’ And God granted his request” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). God granted Jabez’s request by increasing his territory because he was honorable at his current status. Something to ponder…..

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LUKE MOMENT – (30OCT19) “Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet!  Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:21-24). Jesus gave a parable about a son who wanted to receive his portion of his inheritance from his father. Upon receiving it, he went away and squandered all he had on foolishness. He found himself in a position that was less than the servants hired by his father, so he decided to return home and ask his father to become a servant. The father saw his son returning home from the distance and ran out to welcome him with a kiss and embrace. He threw his son a party to celebrate his return. The eldest son objected upon finding out, but the father let him know that his brother was dead, but now alive.

Jesus is the Good Father. We have all been like the prodigal son and went out into the world of darkness to live a life of sin. Yet, Jesus remained faithful and anxiously awaited our return with open arms. He kept looking, waiting, calling, pleading, and beckoning us to come back home. Some of us did, and He restored us to the family as if we never left. Then there are some who Jesus is still working on, but He can see them from the distance as they are coming back to Him. Let us not be like the eldest son who was unable to celebrate his brother’s return. When even one soul comes out of the enemy’s grasp, we should be the welcoming party to embrace that soul with open arms as the Father did with us. Something to ponder….