Day 68: An Opened Mind

Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled."

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

Luke 24:44-45, RSV

 

We talk a lot about having an open mind. Now having an open mind is important, but we do need to be careful that it is not so "open" that we accept every idea, no matter how ridiculous. There is a difference, however, between an open mind and an opened mind, and it is this that we want to look at today.

 

In the passage above, Jesus was explaining to His disciples about his death burial and resurrection, He revealed to them that everything that had happened to Him had already been foretold in the Scriptures and how these things had to be fulfilled in the exact way that the writers of the Old Testament had prophesied. Then, because prophesy is from God and can only been understood by those who had been enlightened, Jesus "opened their minds" to understand these Scriptures.

 

One of the results that we all hope to obtain by reading the Bible is that our minds may be opened. I'm not talking about having something miraculous happen to us as it did to the disciples when Jesus opened their minds, but I do believe that Scripture reveals we can understand everything that is necessary for our service to God and our salvation. The reason that we need to read with an "open mind" is so that we do not allow past prejudices and false understandings to prevent our minds from being "opened" by the truths that are plainly set forth in Scripture.

 

This is why we read!

 

Today's reading is the 24th chapter of Luke.

Day 67: The Corruptness of Politics

Okay, I know what you were probably thinking, but the corrupt politics I'm referring to in this article occurred 2,000 years ago. It seems some things never change, as is revealed in the following passage:

 

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.” So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd,

“I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

Luke 23:1-5, NIV

 

A wise man once said that while history does not always repeat itself, it does rhyme. I am amazed at how we fail to learn some of the most prominent lessons from history. This one in particular involves the framing of the one individual whom history reveals was truly innocent. In fact, everything about Jesus was good. Yet He was still seen as a threat to those in power... so they killed Him.

 

Even Pilate, who freely admitted that there was no basis for a charge against Jesus, took an active role in His death. In fact, it was Pilate who yielded to the pressure of other corrupt leaders in order to keep on their good side.

 

One of the reasons that this is such an important lesson is that if the corrupt politicians of Jesus' day would go to any length to falsely accuse, make up a crime and then frame Him for that made up crime, and then kill the Lord and Savior, then we shouldn't be surprised when they do the same thing in our day and age. Since this is the case, it would be good for all Christians to rely a little less on their favorite politicians, and start relying a lot more on their Lord and Savior.

 

The lesson for today is taken from Luke chapter 23. It helps to reveal the true nature of men, so that we can avoid being caught up in their schemes, and instead focus on what God has put us here for in the first place: To serve Him! 

Day 64 - 66: The Last Days of Jesus on Earth

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:41-44, KJV

 

By now, most are familiar with Jesus' final days here on earth. Beginning with the familiar theme of the leaders opposing everything He did, to the last supper, to His prayer in the garden, we see a series of events unfold that would ultimately lead Jesus to the cross. It must have been frustrating to Jesus to have the very ones He came to save working so hard to see that He didn't. It's not that the leaders didn't want to be saved, they just had a different plan in mind. 

 

I think there are times that we also have a different plan in mind.

 

That's why it is so important for us to read the Word. It is vital that we know the exact plan that God has for our salvation, just as it is vital for us to know exactly how He accomplished it. And it is critical that we understand the price that Jesus paid to make sure that we have that opportunity to be saved, lest we allow our own thoughts and plans to get in the way of our salvation.

 

The reading for the next three days consists of Luke chapters 20-22. They reveal the love that Jesus has for us, the commitment He had to make sure that we have that opportunity to be saved, and the depth of love that He and the Father have for us. It is an important story, and one that is worthy of our attention. It cost the Jesus' very life to tell it. Will we listen?

Day 63: What Will We Do In Heaven?

As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants he gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

Luke 19:11-17, ESV

 

This parable is a bit different from the more familiar parable of the talents, but it gives us some insight as to what may be awaiting us after this life is over. There are a number of things to glean from this parable, but it's the part where Jesus says, "You shall have authority over ten cities" that I want to draw to your attention.

 

You see, I believe many people have the wrong impression about heaven. That's alright, and partially understandable, because Scripture only provides a few glimpses of what awaits us in eternity, but what is not alright is this false idea that we will somehow be bored. I think that the non- Bible reading world has an idea that heaven will be boring, and that all we will do is sit around on clouds strumming on harps. The other end of the scale has people with the fanciful notion that we will be doing worldly activities like fishing, hunting and going to rodeos. I don't think that either notion is even close.

 

I think that's one of the reasons that Jesus told this parable. In it, we find two men hearing "well done", and then they are "given authority over cities". Now I don't know exactly what that means, but I do know that it gives us an indication that our eternity will consist of important, satisfying work. Whether that means we will have authority over literal cities or if Jesus is just giving us an idea of how vital our responsibility will be, we really cannot know for sure.

 

But we can know that heaven will not be boring, and we can hopefully also see that it will not be some sort of "recess" for adults. God has created us for important things, both here on earth and throughout eternity. Our duty (as always) is to serve Him to the best of our ability. And this service is interesting, important, and anything but boring.

 

Today's reading is from Luke 19.

 

  

 

Day 62: God Is Just

now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?

“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Luke 8:7-8, NASB

 

The text above reveals one of the greatest promises that has ever been given to man: God will not delay justice any longer than is necessary.

 

This promise follows a parable given by Jesus in which he tells of an unjust judge who finally brings about justice at the plea of a woman, for no other reason than she was so persistent in her pleas that she eventually wore the judge out. So that judge gave her the justice she sought, even though he was unrighteous and cared little about justice.

 

Jesus then contrasts this judge to our Father, who is neither unrighteous, nor unjust, He makes the point that God will not long delay justice when His faithful servants "cry to Him day and night". The reason that this is so important should be evident from the events that go on daily in this wicked world. In the last few weeks alone, we have seen the laws change in our own country to allow for more abortions being paid for with tax dollars, attempts at changing the laws to allow children to be abused by adults who want to "help" them change their gender, and laws to the reduce the prosecution of those who would abuse children in the most perverse and nightmarish ways imaginable.

 

Do you think that God is ignoring this suffering of the most innocent among us? I do not, but I do see where Jesus says that we need to be "crying to Him day and night" for the justice that is so desperately needed. This promise gives us hope at the assurance that God will not delay His justice, but this hope comes with responsibility. In short, we must ask God to interceded.

 

Are we doing that? Or does justice just not matter as much as it used to?

 

I for one (and I think that this is true of you as well) think that justice still matters to those who have a heart for God and for the innocent. That being the case, wouldn't it behoove us all to begin to "cry out" to God on behalf of those who need His justice the most?

 

The reading for today is from Luke 18. It reveals a number of truths about the nature of God that will allow us to take advantage of the blessings that He wants to give us, if we will just ask.