Manna for Today

 

Teach Us How to Pray (Luke 11:1-13

5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

7 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  (Luke 10:5-13)

Learn it:

            The beginning of this section starts out with the disciples asking Jesus how to pray.  They have obviously seen Jesus taking the time to pray so they want to know to pray like him.  Jesus then shares with them the Lord’s prayer.  In essence, it is all about depending on God for everything we need in our lives.  From our mission in life to the food we eat and spiritual health.  Prayer is so important not only as an individual but to the health of the church as well.  After teaching how to pray he then tells them two parables about how God will respond to our prayer. 

            The first story is about a man who goes to his friend’s house to ask for food because a visitor came to him and he has no food to give him.  Hospitality was an important thing back then and if you did not have any food, no matter the hour, to give someone it would have been embarrassing.  The nerve it would have taken to go to someone’s house at midnight would be very bold.  The fact he went to someone’s house who had children would have been even crazier!  Who would want to wake up someone’s children in the middle of the night? 

            Yet, when the man is woken up he is willing to give his friend some bread, not because of their friendship but because he was bold enough to come to his house at this hour to ask of it.  This is how God responds to our prayer requests.  We just have to be bold enough to come before him and ask of him what we need.  There are three verbs Jesus uses “ask”, “seek”, and “knock”.  We have the responsibility of initiating these requests and God will respond in his perfect way.  Just like we know how to give good gifts, even though we are sinners, God will surely give us exactly what we need.   

Live it:

 

            Pray.  That is really all the application is from this story.  It should lead us to fall before the throne of God and enter into a deeper relationship with him.  His door is always open.  He will always hear us.  We just have to be willing to and remember to speak with him.  Take extra time today and pray to God.  Use the Lord’s prayer as a guide to help you think of different things to pray for.  Talk to your Father who is in heaven.  


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Service and Reflection (Luke 10:38-42)

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42)

Learn it:

Martha is a hard worker and always wants to do her best.  When Jesus came to her house, she wanted to make sure everything was perfect, and she cooked the best meal for him.  These are good intentions, but they go wrong when she begins to judge the actions of her sister Mary.  Mary is just sitting there listening and learning from Jesus.   Martha is shocked and wants Jesus to agree with her that Mary should be in the kitchen working with her.  Jesus does not side with Martha. 

Jesus tells Martha that she is worrying to much and right now, she needs to be focused on Him.  He is teaching them that there is a time to serve but there are also times to sit and reflect.  Sometimes work needs to stay unfinished.  We do not know how Martha received this news, but I am sure she may have been a little flustered, but I am sure she listened to Jesus.  We know this because these sisters show up in the Gospel of John as well. 

Live it:

            The lesson we learn from this little passage is one that goes against our cultural norms for most people.  We like to get things done and people who stay busy, accomplish a lot are given a lot of praise.  People who are “lazy” and “sit around” are looked down upon.  We have to be careful that we do not make our judgments about other people too quickly.  Martha thought Mary was just being lazy but really, she was at work building a relationship with Jesus.  Sometimes slowing our life down to focus more on Jesus is what we need. 

 

Now, if we are slowing our life down to watch more TV, then yeah that is not beneficial.  I’m talking about spending more time in prayer, more time meditating on the Bible.  When we spend time with God, we cannot just read a chapter one time through, say a quick prayer and move on.  Read the passage four or five times.  Soak it in and let the words wash over you.  Pray over the passage to God and thank Him for all he has done.  More often than not, that is the most important thing you can do in your day.    


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Who is Your Neighbor?  (Luke 10:25-37)

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  (Luke 10:25-29)

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:36-37)

Learn it:

            Today we are looking at a well-known parable of Jesus’ called the “Good Samaritan.”  I thought instead at looking at the parable we would look at the event that led to Jesus telling this story.  What happened was a lawyer wanted to test Jesus.  While testing Jesus he wanted to build himself up to make himself look smart as well.  The lawyer starts with an easy question about how someone can inherit eternal life.  Jesus answers the question with another one.  The lawyer knows how to answer the question by repeating Deuteronomy 6:5 which is called the Schema.  It is a verse that every good Jewish boy should know.  He knocks the question out of the park and gets a pat on the back from Jesus.

            The lawyer is not satisfied with that.  He really wants to go a step further and really justify his lifestyle.  He asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  He asks this because in some other Jewish writings that command them not to help people who are sinners.  If someone is not a Jew, then they are a sinner, and you are not to help them.  The lawyer is expecting Jesus to reply somewhere along those lines, and he will get another, good job.  Jesus has a story to tell him.  

             Jesus tells a story that would have been shocking to the community.  Traditionally Levite and priest would have been cast as the good guys and a Samaritan would be the bad guy.  Jesus flips the stereotypes and it would have greatly upset the lawyer.  That is why in verse 37 he is unable to say the ethnicity of the hero of the story.  He would only say, “the one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus tells him to go and do likewise. 

Live it:

 

            This is a classic story and its meaning has transcended time.  Jesus calls us to show love and mercy to all people.  There might be times where we want to limit it to certain people, but Jesus wants us to love all his creation.  I ask you, who is your neighbor?  Who has good put in your community that you might be able to love?  It’s easy to love those who are loveable, but Jesus has called us to something greater.  He has given us his Holy Spirit that gives us the power to love the unlovable.  How can you do that today?  Spend some time in prayer today asking God to open your eyes to who your neighbor is and how you can love them.  


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Ministry 101 (Luke 10:1-24)

    After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:1-3)

    8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11  ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.  (Luke 10:8-12)

    17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

    18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:17-20)

Learn it:

            I encourage you to read this whole passage, I have only included portions of the text because it is a long section.  In this passage, Jesus is expanding his ministry from just the disciples to sending out 72 people.  Jesus then gives them instructions on what to expect and how to minister to the world.  He first told them there is a lot of work to do and that it could be dangerous.  Not everyone is going to respond well to their message. 

            He gives clear instruction that if they are welcomed, to stay and eat with them.  Minster to their needs by healing them but then also share the news about the coming Kingdom of God.  But if they are not welcomed to leave and still tell them what is coming for them!  It can be a tough message to share with people. 

            I love that the Bible also includes how the 72 returned.  They came back joyful!  Of course, Jesus had to remind them where their true joy should be.  True joy is found in the confidence we have of eternal life not in the powers Jesus us.   

Live it:

            This is a powerful passage of Jesus wanting more and more people being sent out preaching the gospel and ministering to people.  We have this same call on our lives.  Now, we may not be sent overseas as missionaries, but Jesus has us in our own mission field.  We need to be serving and sharing the gospel with the people we know.  Sometimes it means sharing with them that there is an eternity and a decision we all have to make. 

            This can be an intimidating thing to do but it’s also cool that we are a part of something that is about 2000 years old!  This is the great commission that Jesus start so long ago, and we are playing a part of it.  He will give us the ability to share and serve through the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells all believers.  What part are you going to play? 


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Pastor’s Corner