CRITICS SEE EVERY DETAIL

Luke – Wide Open Doors!
 
“Everyone’s a critic” is a quote that comes to mind when I read our passage today about the Pharisees watching every move Jesus makes. I looked up the quote, wondering where it all began. The full quote is, “Everyone’s a critic: when you are doing something good, everybody wants to bring you down, and that’s something I’ve been told. People want to see you do good, but not too good.” –Roman Reigns
 
Luke 6 critics
The “quote” is a fact of life. Whenever we step up to do a task no one else in your group has stepped up to do, critics will be watching over you to tell you how to do it better. Whenever you express yourself as an artist, there will be critics who tell you how good you could or should be. Sometimes we live among critical people in our homes, places of work, and…at church among God’s people. Wait, what? Church?
 
Even Jesus Christ, Son of God, without sin…had critics.
 
Seriously though, are the Pharisees following Jesus around so closely that they actually see him snap off a few stocks of grain in the field? Apparently so. Being a former teacher, I can hear the tattletale whine in their voices. (Can you hear it? Nanana…you broke the law-ah.)
 
Luke 6, NLT
A Discussion about the Sabbath
 
Luke 6 grainsOne Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. 2 But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”
 
3 Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” 5 And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.”
 
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Luke 6 hand6 On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. 7 The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
 
8 But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. 9 Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?”
 
10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.
 
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
 
luke-6-be-like-jesus.jpg–The Pharisees “watched Jesus closely”. Jesus knew their thoughts. Jesus also knew the Word. He WAS the Word. He knew how to teach from the Word in a way that would challenge the critics to rethink, exposing how they had manipulated the Law of God for selfish reasons.
 
–Critics do not like to be exposed to Truth. Jesus is the Truth.
 
–When you are doing good, doing what God has invited you to do in Jesus Name, there will be critics. Always.
 
–Our enemy knows how to tempt us with thoughts of criticism through manipulation. He preys on our selfishness.
 
–Where two or three are gathered, Jesus will be in the midst, but so will critics.
 
–Critics don’t focus on the outcome if they were not a part of it. A man was healed and made whole! His life will be better with a good hand to make a living!
 
HOLY PAUSE…
–If we are the critic, why are we criticizing? Why are we judging? What is our motivation?
 
Jesus is Lord of all and we are not. But we do have the Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to tell us when to speak and when to be silent to critics. How do we respond to critics with baseless claims? Peter gives us the way to live and respond. Peter, who also watched every move Jesus made and learned from Him, later writes,
 
Luke 6 pray for enemies“If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.
 
Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:15, The Message)
 
“At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.” We cannot expect our enemies to suddenly come around to our way of thinking, but we still love them and pray for them as Jesus told us to do.
 
Mark 1 praying
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
You are an awesome God. You are Lord of all. Your Holy Spirit lives in us. We have Your power working through us to discern your Truth. May we always be focused on You, worshiping You alone so that we will not fall into the hands of the enemy’s way of thinking. Help us to combat our critics with kindness and Your Truth. Help us to not be critics of others who are doing what You have asked them to be and do.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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FASTING…SHOULD BE RENAMED

Luke – Doors Wide Open!
 
Luke 5 fastingI know I am going out on a limb here, so hang on for a few moments. People do not know what Biblical “fasting” really is. It is not just a matter of skipping a few meals for a day, it is stopping, bring life to a slow stop. It is leaving the normal routine to think only of God and what HE wants. It is leaving life’s everyday demands physically (meals), mentally (thinking), emotionally (feelings), and spiritually (faith) and putting all focus on God for a period of time.
 
Yes, “fasting” needs to renamed in our world of hurry, impatience and the desire for speed of instant results, for there is nothing “fast” about it. True fasting is a slow process. It is a daily activity. It is beginning each day with focus on growing in Christ by asking God what HE wants for us today as we prepare ourselves, mind, heart, body and soul for His return. (He IS coming back, you know.) So that we can understand the concept of finding focus on God, maybe “pausing” would be a better name for us today.
 
Luke 5 hunger for GodI “paused” a couple of days ago to stop the normal to ask God what He thought about people and situations that were affecting my life. I didn’t stop doing the needed tasks for that day but I paused to pray throughout the day. I did skip regular meals to feel physical hunger that reminded me of my spiritual hunger for God’s wisdom. I paused from media to tune my ears and mind to hearing God more clearly. I paused to be still in my mind before God so that HIS will would dissolve my will. I finally stopped thinking altogether and just listened. With all distractions gone, focus on God became much easier. I cannot just grab a little of God, here and there, and be living a life of extreme faith.
 
Jesus said in our next passage on fasting, ““Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” GOD, through His Son, Jesus, was standing right in front of them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If the scribes and Pharisees could not recognize God and focus on His glory then, how difficult it is for us it is now…IF we do not “pause” or “fast” to be with Him in Spirit each day.
 
Luke 5, NLT
A Discussion about Fasting
 
33 One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”
 
Luke 5 fasting spirutally34 Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. 35 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
 
36 Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.
 
37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”
 
PAUSE TO DIVE A LITTLE DEEPER…
 
The scribes and Pharisees were not only upset at the disciples’ friends, but also at their obvious joy as they fellowshipped with Jesus and the guests. We get the impression that the Pharisees experienced little if any joy in the practice of their religion (see Matt. 6:16; Luke 15:25–32).
Jesus was “a man of sorrows” (Isa. 53:3), but He was also filled with joy (Luke 10:21; John 15:11; 17:13).
 
Jewish weddings lasted a week and were times of great joy and celebration. By using this image, Jesus was saying to His critics, “I came to make life a wedding feast, not a funeral. If you know the Bridegroom, then you can share His joy.” He said that one day He would be “taken away,” which suggested rejection and death; but meanwhile, there was good reason for joy, for sinners were coming to repentance.
 
Fasting is found often in the Old Testament, but nowhere is it commanded in the New Testament. However, the example of the prophets and the early church is certainly significant for believers today. Our Lord’s words in Matthew 6:16–18 assume that we will fast (“when,” not “if”), and passages like Acts 13:1–3 and 14:23 indicate that fasting was a practice of the early church.
 
LUke 5 old patchesWhat about the “garment”? Jesus did not come to patch up the old; He came to give the new. The Pharisees would admit that Judaism was not all it could be, and perhaps they hoped that Jesus would work with them in reviving the old religion. But Jesus showed the foolishness of this approach by contrasting two garments, an old one and a new one. If you take a patch from a new garment and sew it to an old garment, you ruin both of them. The new garment has a hole in it, and the old garment has a patch that does not match and that will tear away when the garment is washed.
 
Luke 5 walk in the SpiritIn Scripture, garments are sometimes used to picture character and conduct (Col. 3:8–17). Isaiah wrote about a “robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10; see also 2 Cor. 5:21), and he warned against our trusting our own good works for salvation. Many people have a “patchwork” religion of their own making, instead of trusting Christ for the robe of salvation that He gives by grace.
 
This gives another reason to pause/fast/focus as we “get dressed” Spiritually each morning. What will the world see?
 
Will they see Christ in us?
 
Will they see the characteristics of Christ in our behavior?
 
Will our extreme faith in God be evident by our body language, speech and loving service to God and others?
 
Luke 5 wineskinsNow, about those wineskins...If unfermented wine is put into brittle old wineskins, the gas will burst the skins, and both the skins and the wine will be lost. The new life of the Spirit could not be forced into the old wineskins of Judaism. Jesus was revealing that the ancient Jewish religion was getting old and would soon be replaced (see Heb. 8:13).
 
The things in the ceremonial law were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, so there is no need today for sacrifices, priests, temples, and ceremonies. All of God’s people are priests who bring spiritual sacrifices to the Lord (1 Peter 2:5, 9). The tables of law have been replaced by the tables of the human heart, where God’s Spirit is writing the Word and making us like Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:1–3, 18).
 
Jesus Christ still offers “all things new” (Rev. 21:5). As the Physician, He offers sinners new life and spiritual health. As the Bridegroom, He brings new love and joy. He gives us the robe of righteousness and the wine of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18; see also Acts 2:13). Life is a feast, not a famine or a funeral, and Jesus Christ is the only one who can make that kind of a difference in our lives.
 
Luke 5 solitude with God
PAUSE/FAST/FOCUS on Christ right now. Renew your relationship daily. This is the way to know Christ and hear His Holy Spirit more intimately, with understanding, as you would anyone who you love deeply and long to be with consistently.
 
Luke 5 left everything
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your continued Holy Presence in our lives. We understand the need to pause, fasting from the thinking of this world, to be still, to listen, and to recognize Your Presence with gratefulness and praise. You are God and we are not. Your ways and thinking are higher, always, than ours. So help us to remember to fast/pause/focus daily until you come for your own. Keep us close to You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
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SICK OR HEALTHY?

Luke – Doors Wide Open!
 
Luke 5 doctor
In our way of life, a hospital is our last resort to fix whatever is wrong with us. Before going to the hospital, we try home remedies, suggested exercises to work out muscle or bone problems or we try to just relax. Before going to a doctor we do the same thing. In my home, we dread going to the doctor. We try everything else before going. We ask others if they have had similar problems and what they did to get well. And we try those methods. But there are times when we must go when all other efforts do not bring relief.
 
Great doctors will take a look at the whole person and then work to pinpoint the exact problem. Good doctors will probe, asking what you do in life in order to understand what led to your problems now. Caring doctors will bring all test results with the information taken from you together and diagnose the problem. Sick people, who cannot fix their own problems, for whatever reasons, need a doctor who knows exactly what they need to be well.
 
Luke 5, NLT
Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)
 
Luke 5 Matthew
27 Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
 
29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”
 
Luke 5 dinner
31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
 
This is more than just the calling of Matthew, a detested community tax collector. Jesus’ critics are appalled at WHO He is inviting into fellowship with Him. As I read this passage a few times, I am struck by who Jesus diagnoses as “sick”. The lost, those who don’t know Him and have never known Him, are deemed sick and need the Great Physician to save them from death’s door. They lost seem more ready to hear and follow Jesus.
 
luke 1 for allThe restored to health people are those who know and follow Him. It seems the health of the scribes and Pharisees are at risk and could use a shot in the arm with spiritual medicine to realize Who Jesus is, as the Messiah. The Messiah, whom they have read about, written about and waited for is right before their blinded eyes. But they don’t see Him as God’s Son. They only see themselves.
 
Luke 5 savedIt appears that those who think they are RIGHTeous and well, are in as much need of the Physician as those who know they are sick and need saving. Mm, if you think you are completely and perfectly well, then you probably won’t go to the Doctor, not even for check ups.
 
With Jesus, the door to salvation is wide open! Aren’t you glad He is for EVERYONE?
 
I don’t know where you are in your health, but I will be taking stock of where I am this morning. We all need check ups from time to time.
 
Do I judge others who I think are not as healthy as I am?
 
Do I look down on those struggling with the sickness of sin?
 
Do I think I am the only one who is “right”?
 
What am I doing to stay well in the eyes of the Lord?
 
Have I repented of all sin?
 
Have I given all of me to Him as a daily exercise? (See Romans 12)
 
luke-5-follow.pngDon’t let Jesus be your last resort but your first call! We could avoid many consequences of our sicknesses if we call on our Lord, first. Go to the Doctor!
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
It is always amazing how you cause us to stop and think about our own life and how we are living it as we read and reflect on Your Word. Your Word, coupled with Your Holy Spirit, is like a mirror so we see what needs to be of greater health in our living. Continue to treat our sicknesses with your saving mercy and grace. Thank you for loving us the way your do.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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GRIPPED IN AWE AND WONDER

Luke – Doors Wide Open!
 
LUke 5 wonderOur faith in God is tested daily in a world of unbelievers, those who are doing life only for themselves and no one else. Many live to please themselves first, then others. Some depend on what others think before moving forward in life. A few people have no regard or respect for other human beings so they aggressively push their way through life, always on the offense and easily offended.
 
What a sad and dearly place to reside. It is a weary place to be in life for we will never be satisfied, never be comfortable with who we are and will be eternally irritable when things don’t go our way or when people don’t respond they way we think they should to us and for us. This state of being leads to unhealthy thinking which leads to depression. It also leads to unhealthy bodies because attitudes like this can make us physically ill.
 
If you could trade all these feelings and attitudes for being deeply gripped with awe and wonder…would you?
 
Luke 5, NLT
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
 
luke-5-no-one-is-beyond-his-touch.jpg12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
 
13 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 14 Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
Luke 5 prayed.png
15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.
 
16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
17 One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
 
Luke 5 friends18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
 
21 But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
 
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
 
25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
 
GOING DEEPER…(With the help of Warren Wiersbe, Commentator)
 
Here was a man who needed to be changed, for he was a leper. Like sin, leprosy is deeper than the skin and cannot be helped by mere “surface” measures. Like sin, leprosy spreads (Lev. 13:7–8), and as it spreads, it defiles (Lev. 13:44–45). Because of his defilement, a leprous person had to be isolated outside the camp, as lost sinners one day will be isolated in hell. People with leprosy were looked on as “dead” (Num. 12:12), and garments infected with leprosy were fit only for the fire (Lev. 13:52). How important it is for lost sinners to trust Jesus Christ and get rid of their “leprosy”!
 
This man not only needed to be changed, but he wanted to be changed. Lepers were required to keep their distance, but he was so determined that he broke the law and approached the Lord Jesus personally. Throughout his gospel, Luke makes it clear that Jesus was the Friend of the outcast, and they could come to Him for help. The man humbled himself before the Lord and asked for mercy.
 
By the grace and power of God, this man was changed! In fact, Jesus even touched the man, which meant that He became unclean Himself. This is a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for lost sinners: He became sin for us that we might be made clean (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). Jesus is not only willing to save, but He is also able to save (Heb. 7:25), and He can do it now (2 Cor. 6:2).
 
luke-5-gripped-in-awe.jpgAre you ready to trade sorrow, sin, depression, death for life to the full in Jesus?
 
Jesus instructed the man not to reveal who had healed him, but the cleansed leper became an enthusiastic witness for the Lord. (Jesus commands us to tell everybody, and we keep quiet!) Because of this witness, great multitudes came to Jesus for help, and He graciously ministered to them. But Jesus was not impressed by these great crowds, for He knew that most of the people wanted only His healing power and not His salvation. He often left the crowds and slipped away into a quiet place to pray and seek the Father’s help.That’s a good example for all of God’s servants to follow.
 
THE OVERSEERS
Jesus returned to Capernaum, possibly to Peter’s house, and the crowd gathered to see Him heal and to hear Him teach. But a new element was added: some of the official religious leaders from Jerusalem were present to investigate what He was doing. They had every right to do this since it was the responsibility of the elders to prevent false prophets from leading the people astray (Deut. 13; 18:15–22). They had interrogated John the Baptist (John 1:19–34), and now they would examine Jesus of Nazareth.
Mark 15 religious
Since this is the first time the scribes and Pharisees are mentioned in Luke’s gospel, it would be good for us to get acquainted with them. The word Pharisee comes from a Hebrew word that means “to divide, to separate.” The scribes and Pharisees probably developed out of the ministry of Ezra, the priest, who taught the Jewish people to obey the law of Moses and be separate from the heathen nations around them (Ezra 9—10; Neh. 8—9). The great desire of the scribes and
Pharisees was to understand and magnify God’s law and apply it in their daily lives.
 
However, the movement soon became quite legalistic, and its leaders laid so many burdens on the people that it was impossible to “serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. 100:2). Furthermore, many of the Pharisees were hypocrites and did not practice what they preached (see Matt. 15:1–20; 23:1–36). In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5—7), Jesus exposed the shallowness of pharisaical religion. He explained that true righteousness is a matter of the heart and not external religious practices alone.
 
The scribes and Pharisees picked a good time to attend one of our Lord’s meetings, because God’s power was present in a special way and Jesus would heal a man with palsy. If leprosy illustrates the corruption and defilement of sin, then palsy is a picture of the paralysis that sin produces in a life. But Jesus would do more than heal the man; He would also forgive his sins and teach the crowd a lesson in forgiveness.
 
The paralytic was unable to come to Jesus himself, but he was fortunate enough to have four friends who were able to get him to Jesus. These four men are examples of how friends ought to minister to one another and help needy sinners come to the Savior.
 
Luke 5 with GodTo begin with, they had faith that Jesus would heal him (Luke 5:20), and it is faith that God honors. Their love for the man united them in their efforts so that nothing discouraged them, not even the crowd at the door.(How tragic it is when spectators stand in the way of people who want to meet Jesus. Zaccheus would have this problem. See Luke 19:3.) When they could not get in at the door, they went on the roof, removed the tiling, and lowered the man on his mat right in front of the Lord!
 
Jesus could have simply healed the man and sent him home, but instead, He used the opportunity to teach a lesson about sin and forgiveness. Certainly it was easier to say to the man, “Your sins be forgiven!” than it was to say, “Rise up and walk!” Why? Because nobody could prove whether or not his sins really were forgiven! Jesus took the harder approach and healed the man’s body, something everybody in the house could witness.
 
JESUS DECLARES HIS AUTHORITY…
Was the man’s affliction the result of his sin? We do not know, but it is probable (see John 5:1–14). The healing of his body was an outward evidence of the spiritual healing within. Jesus astounded the religious leaders by claiming to have authority both to heal the body and to forgive sins. The people had already acknowledged His authority to teach and to cast out demons (Luke 4:32, 36), but now He claimed authority to forgive sins as well. The scribes and Pharisees could not deny the miracle of healing, but they considered His claim to forgive sins nothing less than blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins. For making that kind of statement, Jesus could be stoned, because He was claiming to be God.
 
luke-5-awe-and-wonder-and-praise.jpg“SON OF MAN”
In Luke 5:24, we have the first recorded use of the title Son of man in Luke’s gospel, where it is found twenty-three times. Our Lord’s listeners were familiar with this title. It was used of the prophet Ezekiel over eighty times, and Daniel applied it to the Messiah (Dan. 7:13, 18).
 
“Son of man” was our Lord’s favorite name for Himself; this title is found at least eighty-two times in the gospel record. Occasionally He used the title “Son of God” (Matt. 27:43; Luke 22:70; John 5:25; 9:35; 10:36; 11:4), but “Son of man” was used more. Certainly the Jewish people caught the messianic character of this title, but it also identified Him with the people He came to save (Luke 19:10). Like Ezekiel, the Old Testament “son of man,” Jesus “sat where they sat” (Ezek. 3:15).
 
The healing was immediate and the people glorified God. But even more than receiving healing, the man experienced forgiveness and the start of a whole new life. Our Lord’s miracles not only demonstrated His deity and His compassion for needy people, but they also revealed important spiritual lessons about salvation. They were “object lessons” to teach spiritually blind people what God could do for them if only they would believe in His Son.
 
LUke 5 certain.pngREFLECT AND CONSIDER
 
What is the measure of our faith?
 
Are we only impressed with Jesus for what He does or Who He is?
 
Has our faith become complacent?
 
Have we become spiritually blind? There is a rapid remedy for this illness! Believe, repent and be saved!
 
Will we do whatever it takes to get our friends and family to Jesus?
 
Do people see Jesus in us?
 
Are we gripped in awe and wonder of our Savior and Lord?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,, Lord and Savior,
I am in awe of You this morning as I listen to Your Holy Spirit speak softly to my heart. Your love and compassion grips me with wonder! Your works in my world feel my heart, mind and soul with amazement! You are who you Say you are! You are God and I am not. To you be all glory, honor and praise. You heal the brokenhearted. You took away all our sin. For that alone we praise and thank you! Your Word keeps me focused on You. Thank you. Continue to do what you must in my life. I know you will be gentle but firm.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
And I’m singing…I Stand in Awe of You
 
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
 
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You…
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KNEE DEEP IN FISH

Luke – Doors Wide Open!
 
LUke 5 fishing with JesusGod shows up in our lives at just the right time. He also comes into our lives in majesty when we least expect Him. Can I get an amen?!
 
We become comfortable, maybe even complacent as we go about our “normal”, thinking this is all we will do for the rest of our lives. And that’s okay. Life is okay. We are fine with how life is because we are not thinking past today’s work. We are told to take one day at a time, so we do.
 
Luke 5 cast the netWe are surviving. We feel in control of our normal, everyday lives. We go to work, come home, get something to eat, go to bed so we can do the same thing tomorrow. We go to church, volunteer each Sunday and do our best to help others. We are trying to be obedient to God.
 
Because of our obedience, God shows up. He blesses us with a “new normal”, a new challenge to grow with Him. He does it in a way that amazes and scares us at the same time! We fall to our knees in awe of a God who works like this on our hearts, minds and souls while doing a new thing in our lives that we have never done before. And we praise Him. We are in awe of Him.
 
Luke 5 fishIs this what Peter is feeling as he and others pull in the biggest catch of his life as a fisherman?
 
Is this Jesus, who has just provided an income for his family and others, God in the flesh?
 
Is this why Peter is bowing, knee-deep in fish, praising Jesus, giving Him all the glory for the catch of a lifetime?
 
Is this why Peter, who is God-fearing, knows enough about God to be scared to be in His Presence as he remembers his sin and unworthiness?
 
Is this why Peter left the biggest catch of fish ever to follow Jesus with only an invitation of a few words? What does it mean to catch people? He doesn’t know…yet. But Peter knows that he must follow.
 
Is this what it feels like to follow Jesus today? (YES!)
We all, if you admit it out loud, feel unworthy, unclean, unfit, unskilled but yet we are in awe of a God who would ask us to join Him in HIS work to reconcile all people unto Him.
 
This is the beginning of the calling of the Apostles, The Twelve, who will walk with Jesus on a three year experiential journey where they will learn to help others find and follow Jesus. They will learn that through Jesus, all can finally be reconciled to God.
 
Luke 5, NLT
The First Disciples
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
 
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
 
Luke 5 go deeper5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
 
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
 
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
 
GOING DEEPER STILL…(knee deep!)
 
Jesus was concerned about individuals. He preached to great crowds, but His message was always to the individual, and He took time to help people personally. His purpose was to transform them and then send them out to share His message of forgiveness with others. Luke describes in this chapter our Lord’s meetings with four individuals and the changes they experienced because they trusted Him.
 
LUke 5 fishing.jpgIt is possible that at least seven of the disciples were fishermen (John 21:1–3). Consider the fact that fishermen generally have the qualities that make for success in serving the Lord. It takes courage and daring, patience and determination to work on the seas, and it also takes a great deal of faith. Fishermen must be willing to work together (they used nets, not hooks) and help one another. They must develop the skills necessary to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
 
If I had fished all night and caught nothing, I would probably be selling my nets, not washing them to get ready to go out again! But true fishermen don’t quit. Peter kept on working while Jesus used his ship as a platform from which to address the huge crowd on the shore.
 
But there was another side to this request: Peter was a “captive audience” as he sat in the ship listening to the Word of God. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17 nkjv). In a short time, Peter would have to exercise faith, and Jesus was preparing him. First He said, “Thrust out a little,” and then, when Peter was ready, He commanded, “Launch out into the deep.” If Peter had not obeyed the first seemingly insignificant command, he would never have participated in a miracle.
 
Peter must have been surprised when Jesus took command of the ship and its crew. After all, Jesus was a carpenter by trade (Mark 6:3), and what do carpenters know about fishing? It was a well-known fact that, in the Sea of Galilee, you caught fish at night in the shallow water, not in the daytime in the deep water. What Jesus asked Peter to do was contrary to all of his training and experience, but Peter obeyed.
 
Peter was willing to submit to the authority of Jesus, even though he did not understand all that the Lord was doing. And remember, a great crowd was watching from the shore. How people respond to success is one indication of their true character.
 
Luke 5 leftPeter’s obedience, although not enthusiastic at first, resulted in a miracle that he would never forget. Peter bowed before the Master of Creation, knee deep in fish. Fish were Peter’s normal way of life. With Jesus, He will experience a new normal, a new life in Christ, a new passion and a new joy unspeakable, though Peter will try to speak and behave abruptly at times because he is still Peter. Jesus will take this fisherman and his friends on the journey of a lifetime.
 
Later, Jesus will use Peter, “the rock” upon which God church will be built. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
 
Are we “knee deep” in our faith, in awe of the Master?
 
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Your Word drives us to our knees in awe of You as we remember all the times you have shown up in our lives to teach and lead us, to challenge and convict us, and to invite us to Your Work to help others know and follow you. You equip us at just the right time, with the right words, in the right Spirit if we obey your call. You amaze us with the results of our obedience. You amaze us…period. I may not be knee deep in fish, but I am knee deep in awe of You. Continue your work of salvation and reconciliation in all of us who believe and obey.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
luke-5-closer-to-jesus-we-see-our-sin.jpgExtra thoughts:
We will never out fish Jesus.
Jesus knows where the fish are to be caught.
Jesus invites the obedient to come alongside Him in His work.
Jesus is the One and Only who saves.
Jesus takes us into deep waters for the greatest results.
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WHY JESUS CAME

Luke – Doors Wide Open
luke-4-cares.jpg
Jesus was sent from God the Father to seek and to save the lost. The lost were without hope until He came. The lost were sick until the Great Physician healed all who came to Him. The lost were demon possessed until the One over all had the power to destroy their work and send them packing. The lost were poor and needy and He showed compassion on them. A few of the lost were rich and religious. Some believed. Some did not.
 
Where do we stand? Are we lost? Have you been found?
 
Luke 4, NLT
Jesus Heals Many People
 
luke-4-broken.jpg
38 After leaving the synagogue that day, Jesus went to Simon’s home, where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick with a high fever. “Please heal her,” everyone begged. 39 Standing at her bedside, he rebuked the fever, and it left her. And she got up at once and prepared a meal for them.
 
40 As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one. 41 Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak.
 
Jesus Continues to Preach
Luke 4 I came to save42 Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them. 43 But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” 44 So he continued to travel around, preaching in synagogues throughout Judea.
 
PRAYER DRIVES JESUS
The Lord must have been weary after such a demanding day, and yet He was up early the next morning to pray (Mark 1:35). It was in prayer that He found His strength and power for service, and so must we.
 
Luke 4 whyWhy do we serve God? We can only stay focused on the “why” of our God ordained purpose in this life if we do what Jesus did and ask the Father daily:
What is Your will?
–What do YOU want and where do YOU want me to go?
–What do you want me to say?
–What and how do you want me to do what you have asked?
Then pray for power “in Jesus Name”.
 
Prayer, communication with the Father, kept Jesus in focus on seeking the lost and telling them how to be found.
 
This is now our mission.
In Jesus Name.
Amen.
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WHY INTERFERE, JESUS?

Luke – Doors Wide Open
 
Luke 4 can
When life is going the way we want it to go, doing things our way, being totally self absorbed in work with enjoying recreation to our liking, we are thrown completely off balance when interference in our “norm” happens. We like being in control no matter who says what. Our focus is on what makes us happy. We will do anything to stay “happy” and in control of our destination. That is today’s worldview.
 
Sometimes I wonder if this is the new “demon possession” in lives of our current world who cannot think of anyone but themselves. We need Jesus. We need Jesus to “interfere”, come into lives and cast out the demons bent on destroying people God has created to love Him and worship Him alone.
 
Luke 4, NLT
Jesus Casts Out a Demon
 
Luke 4 Jesus heals31 Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue every Sabbath day. 32 There, too, the people were amazed at his teaching, for he spoke with authority.
 
33 Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon—an evil spirit—cried out, shouting, 34 “Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
 
35 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further.
 
Luke 4 Jesus has all authority36 Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!” 37 The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region.
 
GOING DEEPER…
 
Jesus left Nazareth and set up His headquarters in Capernaum (Matt. 4:13–16), the home of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. He taught regularly in the synagogue and astonished the people by the authority of His message (see Matt. 7:28–29). He further astonished them by His authority over the demons.
 
Why would a demonized man attend the synagogue? Did he know Jesus would be there? Our Lord did not want the demons to bear witness to Him, so He told them to be still and He cast them out. Of course, the demons know that Jesus is the Son of God (Luke 4:34, 41), and knowing this, they tremble (James 2:19). Jesus has obvious power over evil.
 
Luke 4 Jesus for everyoneWe don’t know why the possessed man came to church but we know he came to the right place…to Jesus. The demons might have sent him there to taunt Jesus, but Jesus “interferes” in this man’s life of demon control with “Come out!” The demons fled from the man and from the church gathered there. The demons know Jesus well. Jesus interferes with their work and sends them packing.
 
Friends, demons still try to do their best work through the lives of others. Be alert. Pray for your church. The demons might be more subtle these days, but they are there seeking lives to destroy. They also seek to destroy pastors and their families so that God’s church is weakened. The demons seek to work through busy people who do church but for all the wrong reasons, only for self gratification. BE the church. BE praying, in Jesus Name, for it is in Jesus Name and by His power, the demons will flee. Jesus said, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Jesus wins!
 
Demons have no real power over us…unless we let them. They cannot know our hearts. They cannot make us do anything we do not want to do. They only have one trick–lies. They tell us what is not true but so close that you might think it is true.
 
Luke 4 Satan is a Liar“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The first time Satan appears in the Bible in Genesis 3, the first words on his lips are suspicious of the truth (“Did God say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”). And the second words on his lips were a subtle falsehood (“You will not die”). John says that Satan “has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). We are dealing with the essence of falsehood and deception.
 
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). So he not only speaks what is false. He hides what is true. He keeps us from seeing the treasure of the gospel. He lets us see facts, even proofs, but not preciousness.
 
Luke 4 angel of liesIn 2 Corinthians 11:13–15, Paul says that some people are posing as apostles who are not. He explains like this: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
 
In other words, Satan has servants who profess enough truth to join the church, and from inside teach what Paul calls “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Jesus says they will be like wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). Acts 20:30 says they will not spare the flock, but will draw people away to destruction. Without God’s gift of discernment (Philippians 1:9), our love will be suckered into stupidity.
 
Luke 4 warfare“God intends that part of our preparation for heaven be a life of warfare with hell,” John Piper relates. The path to victory in this warfare is to hold fast to Christ who has already dealt the decisive blow.
 
So allow Jesus interfere in your life. Allow Jesus to give you a new life led by His Holy Spirit. Don’t be pushed around by thoughts and behavior driven by demon suggestions. That only leads to regret, humiliation and eventually death.
Let Jesus…bring life transformation with unconditional love and relentless joy…through good times and bad, through every storm and in every celebration.
 
“Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!”
 
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 The key to this daily battle is humility that takes the place of selfishness. Bow before God. Turn our eyes on Jesus. Pray in Jesus Name always.
 
Do not be outwitted by Satan. God sees behind enemy lines and tells us all we need to know to not be ignorant of Satan’s designs.
 
Luke 4 freeDear Heavenly Father,
Interfere in our lives always! The evil one works on the all of us in times when we least expect it. We do not have to be demon possessed to be led by evil’s schemes with thoughts that are not pleasing to You. We want what you want for us and that is life abundant here and forever there with you! We want to be led by you. We want to follow your guidance and teaching. We ask for your wisdom, insight and understanding in all life situations. We want to love like you love. We want to glorify you…only you. Help us, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
 
 
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