What Have You Done With What the Lord Has Given You?

Scripture: While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.  So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.  “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ ” ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’  “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’  “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’  “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’  “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’  “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ ” ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’  “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.  But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ ”  What have you done with what the Lord has given you?  Luke 17:11-27 NIV

Observation: Jesus tells us a parable to demonstrate how God wants us to use what he gives us to further his kingdom.

Application: I need to look at my life closely and identify all the Lord has done and given to me.   Am I taking full advantage of these blessings?   Have I turned them back to him with a marked return on his investment in me?  Have I kept it “safe,” afraid of risking for my savior? Maybe I think believing is enough.

Prayer: Father, most of the time I feel inadequate as your child.  Probably because I don’t invest enough time culivating what you have given me spiritually.  I have to know you in order to increase your investment in me.  Lord, I surrender my time and life to you.  Please help me to use all you have given me and to be diligant in knowing you more.  Amen

Laurie

The Rocks Cry Out

Scripture: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”  “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”  Luke 19:38-40 NIV

Observation: All creation will proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

Application: Our responsibility to Jesus is to acknowledge him before men. That’s our great commission.  “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'”  Mark 16:15 NIV.  Jesus is the good news. If we don’t tell the world about him, our trees and rocks will.

Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. Help me to boldly proclaim him before men. Amen

Doug

Share the Word

Scripture: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”  Luke 13:34 NIV

Observation: The Lord is admonishing those around him for not heeding the words of the prophets to their own detriment.

Application: We in this country today are very good at “shooting the messenger.” In many areas of life, social, community, politically, and especially faith the messenger is laughed at, mocked, and ignored. In Jesus’ time they literally “shot” or killed men sent of God. While Jesus wasn’t just a man sent of God, he was God, he was killed for his message. True, that was God’s plan to redeem the world, but the plan worked because men are evil and we would rather “kill the messenger” than accept the message and repent.  Our task for today is to embrace the message that Jesus died to bring to us.  We must be bold in our faith and willing to share Jesus–even if it means our message might be “shot.”

Prayer: Father, help us to bold in the face of opposition. Amen

Doug

Acknowledge the Lord

Scripture: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  Luke 12:8 NIV

Observation: God wants us to let the world know that we love Him and aren’t afraid to admit it.

Application: The hardest part of being a Christian is living as a Christian. We put off our old self and put on the new–except when we’re with this group or those peolpe. It’s been said that being a Christian is the easiest thing in the world and it’s the hardest thing. All we have to do is acknowledge that Christ is God, He died for our sins, and He rose three days later to reign from heaven–that’s the easy part. Now we have to live like we believe it–that’s the hard part. We have to love others just like He loves us. Love those who hate us and want to love them to Christ. This isn’t easy and we can’t do it alone. God knows that. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. He is our petitioner, our protector, and our guide. We have but to call on Him through prayer to give us the right attitude to be the Christian that we should be.  When all else fails, call on the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit as our protector and guide. You know that we can’t do Christianity alone. Thank you for providing a way that we can be strong when we are weak. Amen

Doug

Don’t be a Pharisee

Scripture: “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” Luke 11:43 NIV

Observation: Pomp and ceremony, the adoration of others, all of the best that could be had, those were the things that were important to the religious leaders of whom Jesus spoke.

Application: I don’t know what to write today without becoming offensive. I have many aspects, good and bad, of many congregations of today, flying around in my head. To call any one out could and would be hypocritical of me–me personally.  There are churches that are more interested in their appearance in their community than winning souls for Christ; more interested in carpet and stained glass than ministering to their neighborhoods. Who am I to criticize?  I am them–I am the church. I too have been given a great commission from the Lord. What have I done with my charge?  As I write this I realize that not until I started this daily devotion and sharing had I done much of anything to reach out to others for Christ. I’ve always been pretty content to set back and be a Pharisee, enjoy a little bit of church without having to put myself too far out there. I’d attend, I’d fix s thing or two, here and there, but I wouldn’t really try to do more, to become more involved, to go further out on a limb for the Lord.  I know that I’ll never be a Billy Graham, God doesn’t want me to be, He already has one of those. God wants me to be willing. Willing to listen to Him and share a truth now and then. Willing to go out on a limb for Him. The truth is if we aren’t careful we will all neglect our calling, our great commission, and we will become very much like the Pharisees.  I pray that I am no longer like a Pharisee.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for being a Pharisee. Put it on my heart to desire to reach out to others with your truth. Amen

Doug

Feed the World

Scripture: He replied, “You give them something to eat.”  Luke 9:13 NIV

Observation: Jesus’ words to the disciples are words to us as well.

Application: Jesus was literally telling his disciples to feed a multitude of townspeople.  His words to us are to figuratively feed, “therefore go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19a.  We are to share the word with those in our sphere of influence. We are to mentor young Christians as they grow in their faith.  We are to grow in our faith and as we grow we are to guide others to the Lord.  We are to lean on the Lord for our strength and teach others to do the same. We are to spread the word, the “good news” of Christ. Go feed the world.

Prayer: Father, help us to carry out our great commission. Help us to feed the world your gosple. Amen

Doug

God Knows

Scripture: For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Luke 8:17 NIV

Observation: God knows and sees all.  He knows before you even admit. He’s the ultimate lawyer–without the lying!

Application: Wow, how many times do I grumble, lust, act hatefully, or just plain hate, and then think “Oh how clever am I?, I can sin and get away with it. All I have to do is repent?”  God will not be mocked and my sin/repent, sin/repent act can wear a little thin.  God deserves better from me than a little worldliness here, a little God there.  This is difficult for me to write because that scripture convicts me.  I struggle with much sin in my life and always seem to sin knowing God will forgive–that’s dangerous!  I (we) must intentionally put God’s desire for my (our) life ahead of my (our) own worldly urges. James 4:7, “submit to God, RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you.”. That scripture must become part of my (our) being, my (our) character.  I (we) owe it to God and to myself (ourselves).

Prayer: Father, help me to put James 4:7 into my heart and help me to make it part of who I am. Forgive me for the sorry Christian that I truly am.  Amen

Doug

Love Your Enemies

Scripture: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.  Luke 6:32 NIV

Observation: We are to love our enemies.

Application: As I write this the local news is on. A story about the killing of Dr. Tiller has just run. This passage speaks to me of the hatred for his enemy which drove Reoder to murder being in direct contrast to the Lord’s teaching.  While abortion is wrong–the punishment for that crime is the Lord’s to give, not ours. Our responsibility is to pray for Tiller’s heart change, not ending his life.

Prayer: Father, help me to love those who hate you and me.  Amen

Doug