Manna for Today

 

We Have a Decision to Make (Luke 12:49-13:9)

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

13            Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

Learn it:

            This section of Scripture is intense.  This is a side of Jesus that some people like to ignore.  We see that Jesus came to bring division because when a person decides to follow him it may mean that they will be rejected by their family (12:49-53).  He knows they can predict the weather and now they have to look at his ministry and decide is he the Son of God or just a teacher (12:54-56)?  He then goes on to warn them that they are all indebted to God and we have to come clean to God one way or another (12:57-59).  We can either accept the offer of Jesus Christ as our Savior or there will be punishment.

            In chapter 13 he makes it clear that life is brief, and we do not know when we will die.  People who die young did not die because of their sin but because it was their time (13:1-5).  There is an urgency to the decision we have to make on who Christ is, otherwise, we will be cut down like the fig tree (13:6-7).  Even though there is urgency God is patient with us but someday his patience will stop (13:8-9).      

Live it:

            As a follower of Christ, this section makes me think about the decision I made to follow Christ.  Did I lose relationships because of my decision?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  What about the people I know that do not believe in Jesus Christ?  This section should put a burden on me to tell them about Christ.  They need to know there is a loving, merciful God who loves them and wants to be in a relationship with them.  God wants to spare them from being separated from him for eternity.  Pray that God would use you and he would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. 


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Are You Ready for the Return?  (Luke 12:35-48)

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:35-48)

Learn it:  

In this passage Jesus is giving a warning to all people that we have to be ready. We must be dressed for service and always have our lights on. The first parable is about how we do now know when Jesus will return so we have to be ready at any moment for his return. We have to be like the people waiting for the master to return at any moment. We cannot slack off. As Christians, we never stop doing Kingdom work. We always look for ways to serve and give glory to God. Just like a good babysitter who is expecting the parents to return at any time. They want to be caught doing something good and not bad. We must live our lives the same way.

The second half of the passage talks to us about not getting lazy. We have to continue to love God’s people. The way we live our lives now will affect our eternity. We could enter heaven with just ourselves our there is a possibility of entering in with rewards. It is all about how we will live our lives now.

Live it:

Do you live your life expecting that Jesus could come back at any moment? It is a hard to keep your mind with that kind of focus. It is so easy to think, “It’s been 2000 years since he left, what are the odds he will return today?” We assume he won’t be back today so we live the way we want to and say, “I’ll do better tomorrow.” We cannot think like that. We must live our lives expecting Jesus to come back right now. How do you want Jesus to catch you living your life? No one wants him to come back in the midst of sinning. How can you make serving God the priority in your life?


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Don’t Worry, Be Generous (Luke 12:22-34)

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Luke 12:22-34)

Learn it:

            In the section before these Jesus taught a parable that warned against storing up wealth.  He now begins to address the topic more head-on.  He begins by telling his disciples not to worry about material things in their lives.  They should not worry about food, physical appearances, or what we will wear.  God will provide for us in every way that we need.  We should not worry ourselves to death making sure we have enough.  We must trust that God will get us through because all of that worrying will do nothing positive for us. 

            Jesus bases God’s goodness on nature.  He provides food for the ravens.  The lilies are considered beautiful and they are that way naturally.  Since God cares so much for animals and nature, how much more will he care for humans who are made in his image?  It should be the unbelievers who are pursuing material things because they do not know there is something much better waiting for us.  In response to trusting that God is going to provide for us, we should live a generous life.  Knowing that the things we have are from God and so we should us them how God wants us too.  That is to take care of the widows and the poor.  Knowing our true treasure is in heaven.

Live it:

            This is one of those passages that is nice to read but it difficult to live out.  It is in our nature to want to store up and make sure we have secure financially.  As a husband, and new father, I want to make sure my family will not go hungry and will have a place to live.  It can be hard to be generous when we do not have a large budget to live on.  Yet that is exactly what Jesus calls us to do.  He wants us to be generous with the things we have.  The only way we can be generous is if we truly believe that Jesus will provide for us.  This is an area that God has been working on me the most as an adult.  Being generous with my money.  Knowing that my true treasure is in heaven.  Nothing I by here will ever compare to being with Jesus in heaven.  How are you being generous?  Are you generous at work?  With your neighbors?  Are you tithing?  If you look at how you spend your money, where does it say your treasure is?   


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Our Attitudes Concerning Wealth (Luke 12:13-21)

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”  (Luke 12:13-21)

Learn it:

            Jesus and the disciples are still among a crowd when someone shared a dispute that is going on between him and his brother.  Jesus does not want to be forced to pick sides and decides to teach on the heart of the issue, greed.  He teaches on this issue by using a parable.  In this parable, a farmer happens to have a good year with his harvest.  He then focuses on how he can keep it all for himself.  Notice in the story how many times the word “my” is used.  “My” crops, “my” barns, “my” grain, “my” goods.  He is really focused on himself. 

            Jesus brings his point home in verse 20 when he calls the man a “fool!”  Then he offers up the challenge of if you died tonight, “who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”  The answer is someone besides you will get it.  The point is, you do not get to keep it with you when you die.  Jesus wants people to be generous with their money and use it to build up the Kingdom of God.  He often encourages people to bless the widows and the poor with their money.  Help those who are less fortunate than you. 

Live it:

            I want to point out that this story is not condemning wealth.  The man-made gained his wealth through hard work.  But it was God that really produced the good harvest through the weather.  The thing Jesus was condemning was the man’s attitude toward wealth.  It was all about him and how comfortable he could be.  Jesus teaches we need to be generous with our wealth.  We have to use it for God’s glory and not our own.

 

            We are all going to be held accountable someday before God about how we use our money.  It’s an area in my life God’s had to work on because I want to have financial security, pay bills, and get groceries.  But often, I was holding on the more cash then I needed and wasn’t giving properly to a local church.  God has grown me in that, and I still have a ways to go.  I encourage you to look at your own life.  How are you managing your finances?  It takes a leap of faith to give sacrificially of your money.  But God is trustworthy and the times I’ve been generous with my money God always makes sure I have enough to survive on.  


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Pastor’s Corner