Day #55: The Real Blessing of Hearing the Word

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 11:27-28, NIV


You can almost see the woman in this passage. She has heard the great teachings of Jesus. She has likely seen and heard many of the wonderful deeds He has done. And, like so many of our own sweet mothers, recognized how blessed the mother of Jesus must have been to have had a son like Him. So she was moved just to "call out" about how blessed Jesus' mother must have been. It would be like one of us complimenting a parent today by saying how proud the child must be making their mother or father. I think it was the most natural thing in the world, and it was a beautiful moment that God saw worthy of recording in His Word for all time.


But it was Jesus' response to this comment that should really grab out attention. He said that the ones who are truly blessed are those who hear God's Word and then obey it. In the book of James we see a similar theme when, through inspiration, he said,

"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22-23, NIV).


It's a basic, but important lesson and one that is at heart of why we are reading. Reading the Bible and knowing what it says is vital. But more vital, still, is doing what it says. I believe that this is the point that Jesus was making when He revealed that it was obeying the word that would lead to the true blessing.


Today's reading is Luke 11. We will truly be blessed if we will read it with the attention that the Word of God deserves, and then do what it says.

Day #54: Choosing the Good Part

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42, NASB


I love this story. I think that it shows one of the most human situations of Jesus' ministry. It involves two sisters who have invited Jesus to their home for a meal. One is busy trying to get everything just right for the meal, the other is seated at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him teach. We are told that the one who is doing all the work was distracted due to all of the preparations that went into the meal, while the other, according to Jesus Himself, chose what was better.


Now if that were you or I doing the work, we would have been on Martha's side! Why wasn't Mary helping? Why was she commended for doing nothing but sitting around and listening to Jesus speak? Hopefully, the reason that Jesus gave is sufficient: Mary chose the better part. But why?


Understanding this point will greatly assist us in understanding one of the key teachings of the Bible. So, what is that point?


The spiritual is more important than the physical.


Please don't misunderstand - we do have physical chores that must be done, otherwise everyone will go hungry. Still, we do tend to get worried and upset over the small things, while often missing out on the most important. In this case, the most important was taking the time to listen to Jesus. After that everything else will still get done, but when you have the opportunity to actually hear what Jesus has to say, you should take it. In many ways this event is a lesson in putting first things first.


Today's reading is from Luke chapter 10. It's a wonderful chapter, and we will all greatly benefit from its message, if we will only take the time to listen.

Day #53: He Who Dies with the Most Toys... Is Still Dead!

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:25, ESV


Was there ever a better coined phrase than, "The Rat Race"? It is amazing how many people fight and claw their way to the top, only to leave this world having fallen short of their purpose. One of the reasons we see so many people unsatisfied, though they may have wealth and power, is that this pursuit of wealth and power is not what we were put here for. We were put here to serve God! Those that figure this out will receive the greatest reward ever: The opportunity to serve God for all eternity!


Yet most men will never do that. Jesus pointed out in Matthew 7 that many would follow the wide road that leads to destruction, but only a few would take the narrow path that leads to life. Why is that? I believe it's because most people buy into the lie that success is based on what you can get, and if getting a little is good, then getting more is better. Because of this, most people spend their lives in pursuit of the things that do not accrue to eternal life. So at the end of this "rat race" they are left with what all rats are left with... a bunch of moldy cheese that does not satisfy.


Are you working for things eternal, or for the things of this world. Jesus made His point clear when He asked what good it would be for a man should he indeed gain the whole world, but in the end forfeit his very soul. What are you working towards? The reason that we are reading the Bible is to find out what the Creator wants us to do with this life, in order that we might have the privilege of serving Him for all eternity.


This is what we are here for!


Today's reading is from Luke chapter 9. It's a dandy! 

Day #52: How Are We Doing So Far?

And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

Luke 8:14, RSV


Perhaps of all the situations Jesus describes in the parable of the sower, the circumstance of the seed sown among the weeds may be the one we relate to best, for we all struggle with various aspects of our lives choking out the good seed.


Just think about the past twelve months: From a pandemic that has changed the way people live and work and go to school, to an election where our politicians may have achieved their ultimate goal of separating the masses in order to better control them, to a week of weather so cold that it paralyzed about 2/3rds of the United States. Add to that the everyday distractions that we always deal with, and we can end up with a lot of weeds growing in our hearts, if we are not careful.


The reason Jesus used such parables as the one we find in Luke 8, was to get us to think about what we are doing here and where we are going. Too many people go through days, weeks, and even longer without a single serious thought as to their eternal destination. They are, indeed, choked out by the cares and pleasures of this life, and by doing so, they are keeping the Word of God from being productive.


How about you? How are you doing so far?


Today's reading is from Luke chapter 8. It tells us what we can do to avoid being unproductive in our service to God.

Day 51: God Has Come to Help

They were all filled with awe and praised God. " A great prophet has appeared among us," they said, "God has come to help His people."

Luke 7:16, NIV


"God has come to help His people." Perhaps there is no better description of why God sent Jesus to this earth. The events preceding this passage are worthy of remembering. Jesus has just come into a town and found a widow whose only son had died. Those of us who have not experienced such sorrow cannot know the depth of grief that this dear woman was experiencing. She had first lost her husband, and now her child.


And then Jesus came to help! Sent into this world to redeem His people from their sins, God also allowed Jesus to perform many miracles which would not only help us to believe in His power and authority, but which would also help His people.


Can you imagine? What must it have been like for this woman to receive her son back from the dead? This woman who was likely completely bereft of hope for a good life, has now been given hope and joy and peace beyond anything that she could have dreamed she would ever experience again. She who was shattered was made whole, because God sent Jesus to help His people.


Now, we know that Jesus has died for our sins in order to give us hope and joy and peace at the prospect of serving Him and living with Him forever, but we also know there are certain things that He no longer can do. His ministry on earth is over. He has fulfilled that part of God's eternal purpose. But, though He no longer raises those who have died physically to return to live in this physical world, He promises that all who serve Him will be raised from physical death unto life eternal.


And that is even better!


This hope, in part, is why we are reading! To see the help that God still has for His people!


Today's reading is from Luke 7. Just as it did 2,000 years ago, it has the power to give you joy and peace and hope!