Monday, December 9, 2019

Isaiah 11:1-10

A fresh green shoot of growth will emerge from the stump of Jesse. There will be a new branch sprouting from the roots of King David’s family. 2 The Lord’s Spirit will be with him -- creating within him wisdom and understanding -- powerful leadership that knows and respects the Lord. 3 He’ll delight in honoring and obeying him because that’s where his heart is. This leader will be able to look beyond mere appearances and with deep insight will make decisions based on actual facts. 4 He’ll deliver justice to the poor and treat the disenfranchised fairly.

His words will strike down violent people and his breath will destroy the wicked. 5 His uniform -- which he’ll faithfully wear -- will be justice and integrity.

6 Picture a world in which enemies get along -- where the wolf and the lamb live together. Leopards will sleep next to baby goats and young lions will eat alongside calves. And if that were not enough, a young child will be leading them all about.

7 Cows and bears will graze together while their young nap alongside each other. Lions will become vegetarians -- forsaking ox meat to eat oxen food -- hay! 8 Nursing children will play near the snake’s hole, while toddlers will be sticking their hands right into the serpent’s den.

9 The peace emanating from my holy mountain will be so powerful that all of this will happen without harm or destruction within its realm. And just as water spans the globe, so will the world be covered with people who know and respect the Lord.

10 Oh, what a day! The root of Jesse will have an arm waving people back to the glorious dwelling of the Lord. Even the Gentile nations will pick up on the signal and seek out the Lord.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Luke 17:5-10

Upon hearing Jesus’ command to practice extreme forgiveness, some of his Authorized Messengers responded, “This is too much. We can’t do this. Give us more faith!”

6 The Boss replied, “Don’t sweat it. Even if you have faith the size of a teeny-tiny mustard seed you’ll be okay. With that small amount of faith you’ll be able to order a huge mulberry tree to pull up its roots and then to go jump in the lake. It would do as directed.

7 “Suppose” Jesus went on, “that one of you had a servant who had been tending sheep or plowing the field. Upon returning to the house, would you invite him to sit down for dinner? 8 Of course not, you’d have him fix your dinner, dress up and then serve your meal. After you’re done with coffee and dessert he could then finally take his meal at the servant’s table in the kitchen. 9 And you certainly wouldn’t make a big deal about how thankful you are that he did his job. 10 Think like that servant who isn’t expecting some kind of special trophy for simply doing his duty. In the same way, after you’ve done everything expected of you, just say, ‘Hey, no big deal. We’re servants doing our job.’”

Sunday, September 22, 2019

1 Timothy 2:1-7

The first thing I want you to do is to pray for everyone. Ask that God would help each one and pour out his favor on all of them. Thank God for all. 2 And make sure that you include the people with power in your prayers -- presidents, governors, legislators and such. Pray that they would allow you to live quiet and peaceful lives characterized by godliness and dignity. 3 This is the kind of praying that makes God our Savior happy. 4 He wants all people to experience his salvation and to be immersed in the truth.

5 There is but one God. Christ Jesus, who is fully human, is the only one who can reconnect us with God. 6 Christ paid the price that bought freedom for everyone. This message was revealed to us at just the right time. 7 And as an authorized messenger, I’ve been called to present this case which is totally true -- completely free of lies. I even teach it to the non-Jews trusting that they’ll come to faith.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Isaiah 52:7

Think about how beautiful it will be to look up onto the mountainside and to see messengers with good news running our way -- messengers shouting out "Peace! God is still on the throne. He has saved us!" 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Luke 12:13-21

Someone called out from the crowd which had formed around Jesus, saying to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to give me a share of the family inheritance.”

14 Jesus replied, “Friend, how is it that you want to suck me into your family squabble -- positioning me to be the arbitrator between you and your brother?”

15 Then Jesus said to them, “Watch out lest you give greed even a small foothold. After all, the significance of your life is not defined by what you own -- even if you own a lot!”

16 Jesus then told them a story to make his point: “There was once a rich and successful farmer whose land continually produced bumper crops. 17 The fruitfulness of the land created a problem that he noodled on day after day. ‘I have no place to store my harvest!’ 18 Finally, he came up with an idea, ‘If I tear down my barns I can build bigger ones. Then I’ll be able to store ALL my grain and goods. 19 With such capacity I’ll be solid for years to come -- take early retirement -- kick back -- eat, drink, and live the life.’

20 “But then God showed up with a different plan, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. Now who’s going to end up with all the stuff you’ve been saving for your future?’

21 “This is what happens to those who hoard riches to secure their own futures but who live impoverished lives in relation to God and the things which are important to him.”

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Luke 10:1-20

Later on, the Lord chose and commissioned seventy-two apprentices. He sent them out in pairs as advance teams to the places he was planning to travel. 2 He instructed them saying, “There is a huge harvest out there, but few harvesters. So, beg God, who is producing this bumper crop, to send out workers to bring it all in.

3 “Move out, but beware! I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves who are lying in wait to pounce. 4 Act with caution, moving under the radar. Leave the stuff which makes you a visible target at home -- wallets, backpacks, extra sandals -- leave it all behind. Don't get sucked into trivial conversations along the way. 5 And whenever you do enter a house, first say, ‘Peace be on this house.’ 6 If your blessing is well received that is an indicator that God’s peace rests there and it’s a good place to stay. If the people of the house seem hostile or even indifferent to the blessing, just move on to another house. 7 “If you do stay with a household, receive the hospitality of food and drink as it is offered. Think of it all as wages for being kingdom workers. But don't get carried away with the idea -- moving from house to house angling for more and better. 8 Whenever you’re welcomed into a town just say ‘thank you’ for the food they offer and enjoy that. 9 Extend healing to the sick there and declare, ‘God’s kingdom has come upon you.’

10-11 “However, whenever you enter a town and there is no welcome -- no hospitality -- as you’re leaving it make sure you leave behind even the dust from your feet. Then say, ‘God’s kingdom has come to you -- but you’ve rejected it.’ 12 And know that come Judgment Day the town will be worse off than ancient Sodom.

13 “Trouble awaits you quintessential Jewish towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida. You’re so hard-hearted that if the miracles done among you had been done in the ancient pagan towns of Tyre and Sidon, they would have turned to God in an instant. They’d have put on their mourning clothes and covered themselves with ashes. 14 Indeed, as bad as Tyre and Sidon were, they will be better off than you when judgment comes.

15 “O, and you, Capernaum, do you think you’re going to be welcomed with a parade up into heaven? Huh… you’re heading down the trash chute to hell. 16 “Those who listen to you, apprentices, are listening to me. Those who reject you are rejecting me. And whoever rejects me is rejecting God, the one who sent me.”

17 When the seventy-two apprentices returned to Jesus upon completion of their mission trips, they were ecstatic. “Lord, you should have seen it -- at the mere mention of your name even the demons obeyed.”

18 Jesus replied, “I’m not in the least bit surprised. I could see Satan knocked from his throne, dropping like a bolt of lightning from the sky. 19 Look, I have given you the power and authority to trample on snakes and scorpions -- total dominion over the enemy. Nothing can hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, don’t get all excited because you’re able to ride herd over a bunch of spirits. No, rejoice in the fact that God has recorded your names in his heavenly registry -- that you are recognized by him. That’s really worth getting excited about.”

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Luke 9:51-62

51 Now as it was getting closer for Jesus to be drawn up into the heaven-determined events of the cross and resurrection, he resolutely set his course for Jerusalem.

52 Jesus sent a vanguard of messengers to make arrangements for his stops along the way. They entered a certain Samaritan village 53 but the residents there were inhospitable toward the advance men because Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

This was a precursor of the rejection that would follow once he arrived there.

54 When the apprentices James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Boss, do you want us to summon fire from heaven to wipe them out -- like when Elijah called down fire in 2 Kings 1 to kill those soldiers who were disrespecting him?” 55 But Jesus rebuked the apprentices for their response to the insult.

56 So they just went on their way toward another village.

57 As Jesus and his apprentices walked along the road, someone volunteered to join him and his entourage, saying, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “If you’re going to follow me you need to understand that foxes have their dens and birds have their nests but Uberman is homeless.”

Then Jesus invited someone else to join him -- “Follow me.”

That man replied, “Boss, I need to wait a bit so that I can go fulfill my obligation and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let those who are dead take care of the dead. Your priority, however, is to go spread the news of God’s kingdom.”

61 Another person said to Jesus, “Boss, I’m ready to follow you, but first I need to go get my house in order.”

62 Jesus replied, “Don’t get distracted! Anyone who starts plowing but looks away -- even for a moment -- creates a crooked row. If you turn away you’re not helping God’s kingdom.”