Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 31 Bible Reading: Acts 1:4-5, 7-8; 9:4-6, 11-12, 15-16; 18:9-10; 20:35; 23:11; 26:14-18

When we think of Jesus’ words and where to find them in the New Testament, it is obviously to the Gospels that we turn.  But we do find several instances of Jesus’ words being quoted and even statements from Jesus after He had left earth.  Consequently, several quotes from Jesus are found in the pages of Acts.  So our reading today—the last of two months of readings about the life and ministry of Jesus—is a collection of His own statements recorded in Acts.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For August week 5 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For August’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

A Valuable Lesson

Devotional Text: Acts 9:4

Have you ever had a life-changing day?  A day that, based on its events, would leave your life forever different?  Maybe the day you met your spouse or got married or your first child was born.  Maybe the day you made a decision or had an accident or someone died or were introduced to Jesus or whatever.

Let’s go with that last one for a moment.  That was the day Saul of Tarsus had.  The day he met Jesus radically and permanently changed him and everything about his life.  Given who he was, what he had become, and what he was doing—especially to the degree and intensity—his conversion is rightly seen as a primary evidence, second only to Jesus’ resurrection, for the validity of Christianity.

With all of that in mind, consider two of the great lessons learned that day by Saul.  First, the fervor and passion with which we believe we serve God is no verification of God’s acceptance of what we’re doing.  Unquestionably Saul exceeded all others in his zeal to fight these followers of Jesus whom he believed opposed God (see Gal. 1:13; Acts 9:21; 26:10-11; 1 Tim. 1:13).  Also unquestionable is that Saul was absolutely wrong about this.

Second, Saul learned that how one treats God’s people, the church, is how they treat Him.  The question that stopped Saul in his tracks on the Damascus road was, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4).  What Saul was doing to Christians he was doing to Jesus.  We would do well to remember this in our dealings with brethren.

What we learn from our encounters with Jesus should, as with Paul, change us forever.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

August 30 Bible Reading: Luke 23-24

Luke, like all of the Gospels, conveys the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in brief fashion.  How much more could be said about the murder of God’s sinless Son.  Luke is the one responsible for relating the conversation between Jesus and one of the thieves crucified with Him.  It’s also Luke who tells the poignant story of the two disciples traveling to Emmaus and who unknowingly converse with the resurrected Son of God.  Luke also records briefly here, but more fully in Acts 1, an account of Jesus’ ascension.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For August week 5 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For August’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Would You Like to See Him?

Devotional Text: Luke 23:8

Put Herod in the very long line of people who wanted to see Jesus.  There were lots of them weren’t there?  Zahcchaeus (Luke 19:2-3), Nicodemus (John 3:1-2), the sinful woman (Luke 7:37), Jairus (Mark 5:22), Greeks (John 12:21), many, many others, as well as numerous large ever-present multitudes.

Herod was not alone.  Lot’s of people, even today, would like to see Jesus; and I’m one of them.

Not everyone wanted—or wants—to see Him for the same reason.  Herod’s motivation was curiosity.  At Jesus’ trial “he was hoping to see some sign done by him” (Luke 23:8).  Needless to say, Jesus wasn’t very accommodating.  Though Herod asked lots of questions, Jesus said nothing (Luke 23:9).

I’m sure it’s no different today.  People are still curious.  They’d like to see the man who has had a greater impact on humanity and human history than any other person.  They’d like to see the one who is the focal point of the greatest, best selling, most translated and widely distributed book of all time.  Who wouldn’t want to look upon the one who reportedly raised the dead, walked on water, and calmed the storm?

But why?

Is it because He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68)?  Is it because those who labor and are heavy laden seek for rest (Matt. 11:28)?  Is it because those stumbling in darkness are looking for light (John 8:12)?  Is it because the harassed and helpless desperately want a shepherd (Matt. 9:36)? Is it because the thirsty and hungry want the living water and bread of life (John 4:10; 6:35)?  Is it because the lost desire to be found and the dead want life (Luke 15:32)?

Do you seek Jesus?  Why?

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

August 29 Bible Reading: Luke 22

The plans of the religious authorities to eliminate Jesus finally come to fruition, thanks primarily to the cooperation of Judas.  Knowing full well what was about to transpire, Jesus went about His business of making His own final preparations, speaking plainly to the apostles about matters He felt critical at this late hour.

After being betrayed, arrested, and denied His trial begins.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For August week 5 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For August’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

What is Jesus to You?

Devotional Text: Luke 22:11

What is your favorite title/name/designation for Jesus?  There are so many in Scripture: Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Savior, Good Shepherd, Great Physician, King, Bridegroom, Bread of Life, Light of the World, Lamb of God, etc.  Some are more prevalent than others, but it certainly isn’t that one is more important, necessarily.  They all go together to help round out and complete our understanding of who Jesus is.

An interesting one is found in Jesus’ instructions to the disciples whom He sent into Jerusalem to make preparations for the Passover meal they would eat together.  He told them to look for a particular man and tell him, “The Teacher says to you…” (Luke 22:11).  There it is, “The Teacher.”  That sufficiently identified Jesus to this person.  It’s also how He was also designated on other occasions as well (see Luke 8:49; John 11:28; 13:14).

Perhaps this is best understood in connection with a disciple.  We’re familiar with that designation of followers of Jesus.  Literally disciple means “learner”.  A learner needs a teacher. For all of Jesus’ disciples He was “the Teacher”.

Is He for me?  Am I actually instructed and guided and informed by Him?  Is my thinking shaped by what He says?  Or is Jesus “only” a loving, caring, compassionate, and, yes, powerful personality in my life?  If I’m a disciple I must be a learner.  If I’m a learner, I must have a teacher, that being Jesus.

Does calling Jesus “the Teacher” have any real meaning for me?

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

August Week 5 Supplemental Reading Introduction

August Week 5: Supplemental Reading
August 29-31

We will use the first two of the three days of supplemental reading for August to complete our reading of Luke.  The last day is a collection of further quotations from Jesus not found in the Gospels.

For August’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

August 28 Bible Reading: Catch Up Day

Today is the regularly scheduled “Catch Up” day for the fourth week of August.  If needed use it to go back and cover some readings where you may have fallen behind—it happens.  Otherwise, below are some thoughts for your consideration for today from this week’s readings.

1. Two of Jesus’ best loved parables were covered in this week’s reading; the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.  Surely these are so well-loved because we can relate so well to them. Whether it as one who may have received kindness and goodness from an unexpected source (as with the Good Samaritan) or who have experienced the sheer joy of restored relationships and much need forgiveness, these stories show Jesus’ masterful use of parables.

2. One of the truly beautiful features of Luke’s Gospel is the character studies we find in His encounters with people.  Think about the Savior’s interaction with Mary and Martha, the rich young ruler, and Zacchaeus.  Not to mention the personalities in His parables; the prodigal, father and elder brother, the rich man and Lazarus, the praying Pharisee and  tax collector.  the persistent widow, and  so on. It is difficult to not find ourselves many places in the experiences and teaching of Jesus.

3. Jesus’ parables of the lost coin, lost sheep, and prodigal son (or lost boy) were all given in response to the grumbling of the Pharisees and Scribes to Jesus’ association with “tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 15:1).  Their accusation was that Jesus “receives sinners and eats with them.”  In our own efforts to exercise care in keeping ourselves “unstained from the world” (Jas. 1:27), we must not so isolate ourselves that we have no association and interaction with those like whom Jesus associated.  We may all to easily become more like Jesus’ accusers and not like Him.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For August week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For August’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Reason to Rejoice

Devotional Text: Luke 10:20

Wouldn’t being an apostle have been marvelous?  To live and travel with Jesus day in and day out?  To listen to Him teach, to watch Him interact with people, to witness His great miracles, to see massive crowds follow Him everywhere, to just be in His presence?

And what about being endued with power from Him?  That would have been remarkable!

I think it would have been challenging to not have become spiritually smug in this position.  No one was at greater advantage.  No one had more opportunity.  No one could claim greater closeness.  No one was nearer to the great creative and sustaining power of the universe.  No one.

The excitement of the seventy whom Jesus sent out to preach and two whom He gave authority “over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19) is not in the least surprising.  (It is true that these seventy were not all apostles, but some were).  Can’t you just hear it? “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name” (Luke 10:17).

Jesus, though, provided perspective.  He knew the danger present for one who possessed power and authority and abilities that others did not.  “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this…but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

The greatest reason to rejoice is not the exclusive opportunity of the select few, but blessed privilege—potentially—of every one.  My name written in heaven is far greater than any talent, ability, opportunity, association or knowledge I may otherwise possess.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Jesus’ Accounting Method

Devotional Text: Luke 21:3

The saying is common and memorable because it sounds nonsensical; less is more.  But more is also more, too, isn’t it?

When Jesus sat and watched people in the temple place their monetary offerings into the receptacles of the treasury designed for such, he drew attention to the person who contributed the smallest amount of money.  That, of course, was the poor widow and her two small copper coins—“mites” the KJV calls them (Luke 21:1-4).

Jesus said she “put in more than all of them.”  The “them” were the rich, who, according to Mark’s account, gave “large sums.”  On what planet are two small copper coins more than large sums?  It’s all a matter of how one measures the amount.  The most obvious way is based on the face value to the money.  That’s simple enough.  In that instance, more is more.

That’s not the accounting method Jesus used.  He wasn’t keeping books; He was measuring hearts.  The measure taken wasn’t the face value of what was given, but amount that one kept back.  The widow held back nothing.  She gave it all to the Lord.  The “worth” of it is immaterial.  The value of it is measured by the generosity of the giver.  Though the amount was less by comparison, the gift was far greater. Her “less” was much more.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE