week 9

Luke 20:20-47

If you are familiar with The Hunger Games series, you probably know a little about what it looks like to be trapped, tricked, or deceived.  All throughout the movie, Snow attempts, and sometimes succeeds, in his trickery towards Katniss, Peeta, and the Districts.  Often his attacks would come in different forms because he was determined that everyone would play by the ‘rules of the capitol.’ 

 

You see the same way Snow attempted to use psychological games to deceive Katniss and the Districts, the spies and Sadducees attempted to do the same with Jesus.  They were so desperate to find any accusations against Him, that they stooped to the level of deception.  I wonder how often do we stoop to this level as followers of Christ, or simply as students.  How often do we lie, cheat, or manipulate others in order for a situation to go in our favor? 

 

In Luke 20:20-47, we learn that many of these attempts are short lived.  Throughout scripture we constantly see religious leaders trying to trap Jesus, but then we see how Jesus ever so quickly ‘shuts them down.’  Why?!  Because they are going about it all the wrong way.  Just like the spiritual leaders in these verses, we often believe that we can handle some situations in our own strength when in reality, Jesus can do a much better job!!

 

Daily Challenge:  Take a moment and think about this past week.  Have you used any type of manipulation, or deception, in order for a situation to lean in your favor?  Take a few moments and pray.  Thank God for his grace, but also seek repentance for your actions. 

Luke 21:1-19

Throughout life, we are often given rules and instructions to follow in order to help us succeed.  Think about it.  Before you could even get your drivers permit, you had to read the SC Drivers Manual; a book dedicated to instructing you on all the rules of the road.  Then once you start learning to drive with your parents at your side,  they start giving you instructions.  And if you don’t follow through perfectly, they freakout and yell them louder.  So by the time you get your license at the age of 17, you never want to hear, or follow, another set of rules, instructions, or guidelines for the rest of your life.

 

When I was younger, I would constantly hear people say the BIBLE could also be referred to as the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  Even now when I think about it, my mind is blown because it’s so true.  Day to day we struggle to find answers to questions like what’s next, where to go in life, how much to spend, will things get any easier, etc., when that doesn’t have to be the case.  In this passage, Jesus reminds us of how we must give our all to Him; even if it seems small to others, you should give everything you’ve got.  When you are betrayed, bullied, picked on, or even persecuted because of your faith, remember you have to stay with it (v. 16-19 MSG).  Romans 5:3-5 reminds us, “that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (ESV). 

 

Isn’t it so humbling that Christ, even while away, would leave us a book of instructions on how to live life.  He cared so deeply for us before we were born to leave us guidelines on how, and why to persevere and on what things are good and bad for us; He evens teaches us how to love so He is glorified in everything!!  What an amazing Father we serve daily!!

 

Daily Challenge:  Think about how the Lord had guided your day.  Thank Him, then pray asking him to continue to guide your days and decisions in order to help make is name famous on the earth.

Luke 21:20-38

Something that I’ve learned in my lifetime is:  People love to watch football.  People love to watch baseball.  And people just love to watch sports!!  How interesting is it that we now live in a culture where visual stimulation is deemed a priority.  As college students we constantly walk around with our phones checking Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, because we want to ‘see’ what’s going on; even if it’s not important, we’ve got to know.  Often times the determining factor of whether we revisit a church is by how long our attention can be kept.  If there’s not enough ‘pomp and circumstance’ then we tell ourselves that we aren’t going back.  Why is that?!  I think maybe because a culture has been created where things are all about us.

 

When reading these verses from Luke, the question comes to mind:  Are we ready for what’s to come?  Are we watching for the various signs so we aren’t caught off guard?

There are so many things that are pulling for our attention.  We’ve got social media, classwork, friendships, alcohol, drugs, work, and so much more.  There are so many things we have to keep up with, it makes sense of why there’s a struggle to spend time in the Word.  Even though these things pull at our attention, we have to intentionally pull back.  Luke 21:34 reminds us that we have to be watchful.  We have to be careful to not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of college life so we don’t miss anything.  These distractions can cause us to miss our personal growth, gospel opportunities, or even divine appointments with others.  The truth is that Jesus wants to use you to help reach others, but you have to be ready, watching for when it’s time for you to take hold of the God opportunity.

 

 

Daily Challenge:  Pay attention to the amount of time you seek entertainment during the day.  Consider taking that same amount of time and seeking out the Lord through prayer, worship, or reading the word.

Luke 22:1-30

Disappointment is something that we begin to experience at such a young age.  At first we tend to let it go, especially if someone closest to us is the cause of it.  And as much as we may try to avoid it happening, there’s no way to stop it. 

 

In Luke 22:1-30 we begin to read about the events that lead up to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.  We learn that Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to prepare the Passover supper and room.  We later read that Jesus knows the person who will betray him is sitting in the same room.  Wow!!  Talk about being able to put personal feelings aside.  If I were in that position, I don’t think I could show that much restraint, portraying love and grace, like Jesus did.

 

Just imagine how different this world would be if we resembled Christ in this manner.  If we were able to understand the value of grace, defined as obtaining what we don’t deserve, I believe we would show it more often.  Jesus’ life exemplified grace.  Ephesians 2:8-9 starts off by saying, “For it is by grace you have been saved…”  In case you missed that, Paul is saying that Grace = Jesus = Salvation.  In learning this, my heart is so thankful that Jesus showed restraint that day.  All Glory Be To His Name!!

 

Daily Challenge:  Thank the Father for constantly showing you grace.  Pray that you would be shown the places where you can begin to extend more grace.

Luke 22:31-53

Every Sunday morning I have the privilege of serving in the preschool ministry at church.  I get to love on babies and help the two through five year olds learn about Jesus on their level.  On the Sunday’s that I volunteer in the toddlers room, I find myself lending a hand to multiple babies that have fallen because they are learning to walk.  The pattern while playing is they fall then get helped back up, fall then get helped back up, fall then get helped back up, and so forth.

 

Just like babies, I’m sure we all have fallen in life; whether it’s literal or metaphoric, we all are guilty.  I would dare to say that many of us have even fallen within our relationship with the Lord.  Sadly, our college campuses are filled with opportunities that will pull us away from the things of Christ and into the temptations of the world.  We get mixed up with the wrong group and it just doesn’t end well.  But take heart my friend, there is a way to defeat that problem!!  Luke 22:39-46 reminds us that we must pray in order to be strengthened.  And if we fall short, we must get back up and start again.  Jesus knew that once he left, each day would get harder for the disciples; He wanted them to be strong enough, so they could help strengthen others. 

 

Connecting to Christ through prayer, supplication, worship, and godly community is what helps us to resist temptation; it is what keeps us in the fight when the struggle comes.  Just like Jesus wanted for the disciples, He desires for us to be ready when the attacks of the enemy comes our way.

 

Daily Challenge:  Where do you go to find strength