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Devotional Jesus

Preparedness: Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:35–40

““Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.””

Luke 12:35–40, NIV

Toilet tissue. Hand sanitizer. Bottled water.

These are probably the first things that come to your mind when I mention “preparedness” in this time of pandemic. Preparedness is the state of being ready for what’s to come. It can give you peace of mind and confidence. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, a prepared person rejoices about the future. (“Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25)

For the follower of Jesus, what does it mean to be prepared? In reading the Gospels, particularly in Luke, we read what Jesus taught on this topic.

In going through my Bible survey course, I am in the book of Luke. A major theme in Luke is preparedness. We see Jesus contrast earthly preparedness with heavenly preparedness. He teaches in parables at times about the relative importance of each. In the story of the rich man who built storehouses, Jesus emphasizes that we can’t effectively prepare for earthly calamities. Why not? We can’t know what is coming. Other examples about the futility of worry continue the teaching of Jesus in this area.

Conversely, Jesus makes it clear that preparing for his return is something that we can control and should work towards, like the wise virgins who kept their lamps burning. Jesus wants us to focus on heavenly preparedness. Any other focus is dangerous to our soul’s eternity.

There is one future event we can be certain of. That is our death. You will die, I will die. The main question of our lives should be preparing for this certainty according to Jesus.Will Jesus greet you with “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) or will you cast away as a goat from the sheep? (Matthew 25:31-46)

Why should we not be concerned about the future? Because that’s God’s job. He knows the end from the beginning. We are free to pursue the Kingdom of God by living in obedience. We don’t want our hearts and minds to have a misplaced focus when Jesus returns or calls us home.

Will you commit to dedicating your life to the most important preparedness of all and teach others to do the same?

Lord, Help us to keep our focus on serving you and getting ready for your return. Show us how to teach the truth of heavenly preparedness to others, starting with our families. You are a holy God, worthy to be praised and we seek to glorify you in all that we do. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Let God take care of your future while you focus on living in obedience to God today. Victoria Carrington

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Devotional Jesus

How Many Hairs Do You Have? :Jesus Over Faith Series, Luke 12:6-7

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7, NIV)

God wants you to choose faith in Him over fear of being forgotten. In this passage, Jesus teaches his listeners about God’s attention to detail to dispel fear. To do this, Jesus makes an argument in a familiar pattern illustrating his skill as a master teacher.

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Devotional Jesus

Who Should I Fear?: Jesus Over Fear Series, Day 1, Luke 12:4–5

““I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Luke 12:4–5, NIV

Who do you fear?

Do you fear that which brings death and disease?

Is your mind often filled with “what ifs”?

Do you have the proper perspective on death?

Jesus wants you to take your thoughts off of people (or by extension things) that could kill you. Instead, he wants to fear Almighty God, the only One who has the authority to “throw you into hell”.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is needed as we face risk from a disease that can be deadly. A sense of God’s sovereignty and holiness is important as we navigate unfamiliar, stormy waters.

If you are a born-again child of God, you no longer need to fear death. Jesus died on the cross that you could be reconciled to our holy God and spend all eternity in heaven.

Psalm 27:1 says it this way-

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

Jesus is our light and salvation. Trust in him today.

Prayer

Lord, free me from the fear of man, disease, accidents or any cause of death. Help me to put all my faith and trust in you. Amen.


Read, pray and then meditate on this word throughout the day.

For more background and context on this passage, consult an online commentary, study Bible or app using Bible Hub, Logos or Bible Gateway.

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Devotional Encouragement

Faith of a baby robin

Sitting outside before the snow came back last week, I saw an amazing sight more close up than ever before. Newly hatched baby robins were in the nest with their mouths open to the sky, eagerly stretching to eat. A few thoughts came to my mind about how I should be like that baby robin.

What I noticed about the baby robins:

  1. Trust- mom will be back. Do I trust God even when he doesn’t seem immediately present?
  2. Eager- to eat nourishment- do I hunger and thirst after righteousness?
  3. Accepting- of what mom gave. Am I accepting of all that God gives me even if it isn’t what I asked for?
  4. Always hungry- mouths wide open, unashamed. Do I continue to want to grow in Christ and be fed from his Word often?
  5. Still- waiting patiently in the nest, waiting to receive. Have I taken time to be still and know that God is?
  6. The nest shakes as the branch sways but the baby birds don’t run off out of fear of falling. They don’t seem scared at all-only hungry lol. When the circumstances of my life get shaken up and things seem unstable, do I hold on to God?
  7. They don’t fear the hungry cats below- Do I fear my enemies or do I always remember that evil is defeated and God has not given me a spirit of fear?

I love how God speaks through his creation.

Dear Lord, make me more like the baby robin. Help me to fully trust you and seek you always. Amen.

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Devotional Jesus

Christian Response in Times of Fear- Part Two

The Commandments of Jesus

Spreading fear on social media or anywhere else puts you in direct contradiction with the commands of Jesus.

Do Not Fear

We are not to have a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) so we definitely shouldn’t be sharing ideas about the future that cause fear. We are not to fear politicians, billionaires or experts who “may” do terrible things to us, restrict our freedom, or persecute us. We are to only fear “the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

Do Not Worry

Fearful posts are fueled by worry. What if…. or Let me warn you….. Worry is a sin. Jesus said do not worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)
Jesus said we change nothing by worrying.
He wants you to trust in his love and care. He said
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Once you obey and stop worrying, you can encourage others to do the same. In this way you fulfill the Great Commission, teaching others to obey the commands of Jesus. (Matthew 28:20)

Love

Jesus said love ❤️ your neighbor. “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”” Mark 12:31
18% of the population, about 40 million adults, have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Many more suffer without being diagnosed. It is almost certain that someone reading your posts will already be quite anxious. Are you being a Good Samaritan, helping to heal their wounds or soothe their anxiety? Or are you spreading anxious perspectives with little thought of how the vulnerable may be affected?

Encourage One Another

The Bible has much to say as it addressed the early church about how believers were to help one another.

For every verse posted about fearing a possible future situation, how many have you posted to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ?

You can share posts that encourage others to:

  • pray without ceasing
  • think on things that are lovely and true
  • keep their hearts 💕 and mind focused on Jesus
  • be content in all things
  • remember that God works all things together for good for those who love him
  • pray and ask God’s help in all things, with gratitude.

Prayer

Lord, help us resist the temptation to spread fear in this time of uncertainty and heightened anxiety. Guide us is spreading our knowledge of you and encouraging others to love 💗, know and obey you. Help us take our eyes off of the future and fear and to focus on you and love ❤️ you with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Amen.

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Devotional Jesus

Christian Response in Times of Fear: Part One

This is the beginning of a series the Lord laid on my heart. How can Christians use times of fear to draw people to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Let’s start with a brief overview and reminder of who we are in Christ.

We are called to:

-Show the world we are different because all our faith and hope is in Jesus (Hebrews 6:17-20) and eternal rewards.

-A life of sacrifice and taking up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). We are not to pursue our comfort here on earth. We are to witness to the power of Jesus, the love of God and the importance of giving over every part of our lives to God.

-Remember we were created by God for good works and to walk worthy of our calling. (Ephesians 2:10 , Colossians 1:10 ) God’s Word is clear that spreading fear is NOT a good work because a spirit of fear doesn’t come from God. ( 2 Timothy 1:7)

-To let our light shine so we will give glory to God. (Matthew 5:16) Times of fear are times are darkness and the world is more desperate than ever to see the light of Jesus through his people.

-To be a peculiar people (obviously distinct from the world), a royal priesthood for Jesus. (1 Peter 2:9) In this time when many are fearful and spreading fear it is good for us to be different and use our opportunity as peculiar people to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” as Peter tells us.

-To make it clear that earth is not our home (Hebrews 13:14) so people will ask about the hope we have within us (1 Peter 3:15). That hope within us is Jesus and in him alone we trust.

Conclusion: Who we are in Christ compels us to dispel fear instead of spreading it.

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Bible Verse

How to Live, How to Die and How to Live Forever

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Bible Verse

Jesus and Salvation

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Bible Verse

Your Dwelling Place

Read: Psalm 23:6

David has had quite a life by the time he wrote Psalm 23. He states that “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. What David? Do you not remember all the hardship, betrayals, your own sin with it’s painful consequences? How can David say that goodness and mercy SHALL follow him all the days of his life? He can make such a bold statement because he knows the presence of God. He knows that it was due to the presence of God in his life that he was not utterly destroyed. Yes, he was knocked down but the Lord picked him up. Why? Not because of who David was but because of who God is. God is goodness and mercy and it is his presence in David’s life that preserves him. David further goes on with godly confidence to say that he will dwell with the Lord forever. Once his earthly ministry is finished, God is still not done with him. He will dwell with his precious Lord and Savior into all eternity.

God was David’s dwelling place because David knew that no matter the obstacle, sin or enemy, he could run to God for refuge and strength to overcome. You have the same dwelling place. Jesus promised his presence will be with you always. You can always turn to him in any situation.

You will dwell with Jesus forever, into eternity, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for you.

God never leaves your presence but you can get distracted and forget you are in his presence. How can you maintain a remembrance of God’s presence? Bible reading, prayer and fellowship with other believers is the best place to start. May you dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

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Bible Verse

It is Finished- Jesus, Fulfilled the Scriptures from Beginning to End,the Alpha and Omega

Easter Series- Confronting Jesus

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30 (NIV)

Background

Seven is the number of perfection in the Bible and the number of the sayings of as he hung on the cross for the sin of the world.

Jesus’ sixth saying was “It is finished.” This is the final saying recorded in the book of John. Luke’s Gospel includes the 7th- “Into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46.

Finished

A form of the word “finished” is repeated three times. “Finished” in verse 28 is exactly the same Greek word as verse 30. “Fulfilled” in verse 28 is a different word from verses 28 and 30 but from the same root meaning to complete or accomplish.

Importantly for us today, the verb tense of the word “finished” in Greek means “continuous”. It was finished then and it is still finished now. The meaning of “finished’ is more than “survived”. Jesus was victorious in accomplishing what he set out to do.

What Did Jesus Mean?

What did Jesus accomplish that he set out to do? The will of his father. Jesus demonstrated for us how to rightly focus our actions. Our greatest desire, our strongest hunger, should be to do the will of our Heavenly Father. (John 4:34)

In what ways did Jesus do the will of his Father?

If you want to be saved from the bondage of sin and forgiven, look to the cross. Jesus did it all. Jesus paid it all. There is nothing left for you to do but believe.

Won’t you believe in Jesus and all he did for you today?