School friends often gathered at Jeffrey’s house on Saturday mornings. His father knew that some of the boys came from troubled homes and did his best to serve as a role model for them.
On one Saturday, Jeffrey had yard work to finish, but the early crowd was already forming. In an effort to teach responsibility, Jeffrey’s father reminded him to finish his chores before he could play. Jeffrey called to his friends, “Hey, help me out, will you? Grab a rake and the trash bags.” A few minutes later, with the yard looking nice, the boys went off to play basketball. Both Jeffrey and his friends had learned a lesson in responsibility.
Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” (Luke 12:41).
Jesus was teaching His disciples and the crowd of thousands that had gathered to hear Him. Peter asked his question, and Jesus kept right on talking. The answer was obvious. The truths He was teaching were for everyone to hear.
Challenge for Today: Allow God to use you as a role model for others.
Quicklook: Luke 12:35–41
Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the point of suffering? Questions like these abound when facing turmoil, trouble, and trials. And such things, at one time or another, are a part of every believer’s life. But these do not last forever, and God uses difficulties to develop the endurance of the faithful.
Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel (2 Samuel 5:12).
The years of fleeing Saul were over. David had persevered, holding onto the promises of God. The Jebusites mocked David, saying he could never capture their fortress. But they were wrong. He did, and the fortress became the City of David. Hiram sent carpenters and stonemasons and building materials and built a palace worthy of a king. It was then that David understood that God had established him as king over Israel. He was ready to rule! Overcoming difficulties prepares the child of God for greater acts of service.
Thought for Today: God has a purpose for every trial we face.
Quicklook: 2 Samuel 5:6–12
Jesus was addressing the crowds, and afterwards a certain Pharisee invited Him to a meal. Others joined them. At least one of those sitting at the table was a member of a sect of the Pharisees known as scribes. These public teachers of the law were religious lawyers of a sort.
When the host marveled at Jesus’ failure to wash according to the ritual the Pharisees followed, Jesus had harsh words for those gathered. Jesus described those present as full of greed and wickedness. They had washed outwardly and presented themselves as clean, but Jesus addressed their hidden uncleanness. His rebuke was received as an insult.
“But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you” (Luke 11:41).
Jesus told them to stop condemning the poor and to elevate the needy with generosity. When He finished speaking, He went outside. He had said everything necessary. Once God has spoken concerning a matter, it is the responsibility of the hearers to act.
Prayer Suggestion: When corrected, please give me wisdom to respond rightly.
Quicklook: Luke 11:37–41
After twenty-eight years of marriage, Dan’s life was changed forever on a beautiful summer day. As the sun was setting, Dan and his wife went to the backyard to see how the tomatoes were growing. Dan’s wife collapsed on the patio. After a frantic 911 call and a trip to the ER, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Fifty-four days later, Dan’s wife passed into the presence of God.
David and his men suffered the loss of everyone most dear to them. Their sorrow turned to anger and the men talked of stoning David. In his distress, David turned to God.
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6).
Dan did the same thing. He turned to God in his distress. God was his comfort. Dan grieved, but not as the world grieves. He knew he would see his love again.
Challenge for Today: In times of loss, seek God’s strength.
Quicklook: 1 Samuel 30:1–8
Once a month, Joyce’s church scheduled a potluck that followed the Sunday morning service. Everyone looked forward to it. Some of the members took on the tasks of setting up tables and chairs, making coffee, setting out the plates and silverware, and prepping the food.
After service, Joyce and a few others continued seeking God at the altar. They were not interested in physical food—only spiritual nourishment. The potluck organizers were disappointed; some were even offended.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).
When Joyce finally made it to the potluck, most everyone else had finished eating. She felt a twinge of guilt for not helping set up. Had she made the right choice? Jesus would probably say yes. Nothing is more important than spending time in His presence.
Thought for Today: Time spent with Jesus will satisfy a hungry heart.
Quicklook: Luke 10:38–42
What is the most important resource for any endeavor? The right people: the people who know how to focus on the task to accomplish the purpose and attain the goal. But for every good endeavor, every deed with eternal purpose, an opposition always arises. The kingdom of God never advances without a fight.
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. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:2–3).
In this parable, the harvest is souls. Many labor after the pursuits of the world, but few labor to share the good news. God’s chosen field hands are described as lambs, and the harvest field of souls is peppered with wolves. How can a little lamb defend itself from a big, bad wolf? It cannot. It can only look to the Good Shepherd. No enemy can prevail against the commission of God.
Thought for Today: God champions our battles. He is our great defense.
Quicklook: Luke 10:1–9