Tag Archives: Luke

My Delight is the Lord, December 31

Listen More

December 31, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 27:1-28:31

The centurion cannot be accused of not hearing different viewpoints when he had to decide if the ship would winter in Fair Havens. He heard the thinking of Paul, the pilot, the ship’s owner, and apparently others on board. He “paid more attention” to those who thought they should go ahead and set sail, than to what Paul said (27:10-11). Several voices were heard; that of experience (the pilot of the ship), that of vested interest (the ship’s owner), the majority, and an imprisoned preacher (Paul). On the surface it seems some of these opinions should carry more weight than others. But only one was correct and that was Paul’s. This is such a critical lesson, we must be very careful about whom we listen to more than others.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Was Paul’s advice inspired? (27:9-10)
  • What made them think they had made the right decision? (27:13)
  • Who spoke to Paul in the night? (27:23)
  • Did all the shipwreck’s victims make it safely in the same way? (27:43-44)

My Delight is the Lord, December 30

Principled Lives

December 30, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 25:13-26:32

The Romans were a principled people when it came to their judiciary. As Festus explained, “it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him” (Acts 25:16). Had such noble principles of justice governed Paul’s trial, it would have turned out quite differently. The problem is that those principles must be exercised by people and sometimes people are less than noble; Festus and Felix for instance. So it is also with God’s word, it is true and right. The trouble comes when people fail to embrace what is true or practice what is right. As serious as we should be about identifying timeless principles and eternal truths, we must be no less so about living them.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did Festus summarize Paul’s charges to Agrippa? (25:19)
  • Why do you think Paul resisted a change of venue back to Jerusalem? (25:20-21)
  • Of whom was Paul’s audience comprised? (25:23)
  • Why did Paul believe Agrippa was aware of what he said? (v. 26)

My Delight is the Lord, December 28

Transitions

December 28, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-11

What started at Bethlehem ended on Mount Olivet. Jesus entered the world in the presence of Mary and Joseph and left it in the viewing of 11 apostles. The Son of God taking on flesh and living among men marked a planned-for and necessary transition in God’s eternal plan. Jesus’ ascension was no less a transition. From this time on His followers’ existence would be lived in light of what He had accomplished and so should be dominated by two realities; one, communicating His message “to the end of the earth” (v. 8), and the other, to anticipate the next great transition–His return (v. 11)! As critical as it is to know and understand the Savior and His message, so also is it to be busy fulfilling the Master’s will in the time in which we live.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What did Jesus talk about between His resurrection and ascension? (v. 3)
  • What was the “promise of the Father”? (vv. 4-5)
  • About what were the disciples concerned? (v. 6)
  • What is associated with the Holy Spirit’s coming? (v. 8)

My Delight is the Lord, December 24

The Way

December 24, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 24:1-25:12

Paul’s accusers referred to followers of Jesus as “the sect of the Nazarenes” (24:5). On the other hand, Paul called that which he believed (along with those who believed the same) as “the Way” (24:14). It’s no wonder that enemies of the faith used terms like “sect,” which implies divisiveness, and “Nazarene,” a town of less than honorable reputation (see Jn. 1:46), to describe Paul and his ilk. Of more interest is Paul’s terminology. While “Christianity” dominates modern vocabulary, Paul uses the very expressive, “the Way.” It’s not a segmented portion of the larger body of Jews identified by their adherence to Jesus (such as “sect” suggests). Rather, this is everything that God has worked toward and for through the long history of his involvement with Abraham’s heirs. It’s that to which the Law and prophets all pointed. It truly is the Way.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What accusations were made against Paul? (24:5-6)
  • Of what was Paul always very careful? (24:16)
  • What interesting insight do we get about Felix in 24:22?
  • What was the real reason Felix kept Paul in custody? (24:26)

My Delight is the Lord, December 23

Take a Stand?

December 23, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 22:30-23:35

The wisdom of Paul was on full display in his initial trial before the Sanhedrin. Following his arrest by the Romans, Claudius Lysias wanted to know what charges the Jews had against Paul. The apostle, though, realized the impossibility of a fair hearing and therefore used the diverse makeup of the Council (comprised of both Pharisees and Sadducees) to his advantage. Positioning his case as a question of the resurrection the assembly quickly descended into chaos. Paul did not win anything this day. He didn’t even attempt, in this setting, to take a stand. Maybe he saw this as a “pearls before pigs” situation (Matt. 7:6). What he did do was survive to preach and teach and defend himself another day. Not every battle is worth fighting. Not every challenge is worthy of an answer. God, please give us the wisdom to know when to take a stand.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who called the Jewish council into meeting? (22:30)
  • Does our conscience have limitations? (23:1)
  • What were some key elements of the Sadducees theology? (23:8)
  • Who informed Paul of the plot to kill him? (23:16)

My Delight is the Lord, December 16

Corrective Scripture

December 16, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 18:24-20:38

Do you ever feel the corrective power of Scripture? If not, the Bible is not doing in your life what God intends. It should teach, reprove, correct, and train (2 Tim. 3:16). Each of those is fixing what is either lacking, in error, off track, or otherwise deficient in us. If we cannot see that happening in our lives, then we’re misusing Scripture. Case in point; the account of Paul’s teaching in Ephesus summarizes his preaching in the synagogue as three months devoted to speaking “boldly, reasoning, and persuading them about the kingdom of God” (19: 8). Has the kingdom played as prominent a role as it should in my thinking, teaching, and preaching? I stand reproved.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What positive things are said about Apollos? (18:24-28)
  • Is it always best to stand up and fight? (19:9)
  • What motivated the silversmiths to oppose Paul? (19:23-27)
  • What was the town clerk’s argument? (19:40)

My Delight is the Lord, December 10

Where to Begin?

December 10, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 17:16-18:23

The Bible certainly affirms what Greek poets said, that all of humanity is the family, or “offspring,” of God (17:28-29). What is to be drawn from or understood by that point is where a great difference of thought emerges. Paul does not entertain the notion that this is a concluding point in man’s relationship with God. That is, being in the family of man does not mean that a person is in good standing with God. The apostle says that this reality ought to compel men to “seek God” and “feel their way toward him and find him”  because “In him we live and move and have our being” (17:27-28). Paul does not start with Scripture in talking to the Athenians, instead it’s the created order and arrangement made by God. This is another example of working with people starting where they are.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What provoked Paul’s spirit? (17:16)
  • How did some perceive the subject of Paul’s preaching? (17:18)
  • What prompted some people to mock? (17:32)
  • What message did Paul testify to the Jews? (18:5)

My Delight is the Lord, November 30

Guided by God’s Word

November 30, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-49

The two disciples on the Emmaus road were sad because of all the “things that had happened” (v. 14). Jesus’ crucifixion was not the outcome they had anticipated from the one “we had hoped…to redeem Israel” (v. 21). Think about this, they were sad because what Jesus said was going to happen surprised them when it did happen (see Matt. 16:21). Not only that, but it was the very things about which “Moses and the prophets” had spoken (v. 27). Jesus’ own words and the words of Scripture had not sufficiently shaped the ideas and thinking of these disciples so as to overcome their mistaken notions of the Messiah and what He would accomplish. What a sobering lesson to be learned about the great care needed to allow our own thoughts and ideas to be genuinely guided by God’s word.

Questions to Ponder:

  • On what day did these events happen? (v. 13)
  • How did Cleopas describe Jesus? (v. 19)
  • What was meant by “to redeem Israel”? (v. 21)
  • What is the significance of Jesus eating? (v. 43)

My Delight is the Lord, November 22

Pray Always

November 22, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Luke 18:1-8

Jesus wants His disciples to pray always and not lose heart in doing so. That’s the explicit statement of v. 1. But why might a person lose heart with regard to prayer? Is it not because the anticipated response fails to materialize? This parable shows two things. One is that persistence in prayer is vitally important. The poor widow and her constant petitions are our example. The other is that we’re not appealing to an unrighteous, uncaring judge (as was the widow). Our petitions are coming to righteous God who could not care for or love us any more than He does. So pray, Jesus says, and do so always. Though God may not respond in the way or at the time we want, don’t get discouraged and quit praying. Remember, His interest is only, and always, for our good.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was the character of this judge? (v. 2)
  • What recourse did this widow have? (v. 3)
  • Why did the judge relent to the widow’s request? (v. 5)
  • What does Jesus mean by “faith”? (v. 8)

My Delight is the Lord, November 15

Jesus’ Battles

November 15, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14

Jesus fought battles on two fronts. One was to help people get past themselves, their own prejudices and selfish pride, to give themselves over in full submission to God. The other was against entrenched, misguided, and misdirected religion. Here, for instance, Jesus addresses the second of these in the form of ones who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt” (v. 9). Before we brush aside the brunt of what Jesus says because, “I’m not a Pharisee,” we would be better served to allow His stinging words to settle in. Is my trust in what I do, have done, and don’t do? Is my attitude toward ones who don’t do as I do, contemptuous? Pharisees may no longer be around, but their attitudes and disposition are alive and well. 

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did Jesus choose these two characters for His parable? (v. 10)
  • How does one trust in himself? (vv. 11-12)
  • Was the Pharisee “right” in what he said of himself? (vv. 11-12)
  • On what basis did the tax collector approach God? (v. 13)