Tag Archives: Luke 23:34

A Fine Line

Thank You for our talk this morning, Father. I needed that time of quiet interaction. May I be sensitive to Your presence throughout all the many tasks of this day. Amen.

Matthew 5:7-12 (<<click the green)

Lord, as I read through these verses it is no surprise whatsoever that though You spoke them two thousand years ago, they are so applicable today in the here and now. The world in which I live today is so divisive! It’s so defensive! Anymore it doesn’t take much tip people over into a fit of rage over almost anything.

What bothers me most is the fact that even those who follow You follow the same track. Where is mercy? If we are truly people “whose hearts are pure” wouldn’t we also be those “who work for peace”?

Is it any wonder we struggle to find Your blessing? We surely don’t deserve it…

I totally understand that we are called to firmly stand for what is right, that we should hold up the cause of the downtrodden. And here is where we must walk a fine line. We are to stand strong but why must we pair it with hatred? Why do we despise those who are in opposition to what we hold to be true?

When I read verse 11 the beginning of verse 12 slaps me in the face.

11“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12Be happy about it! Be very glad!”

Our world is in opposition to Your Church and Your kingdom seemingly more than it ever has been. Your Church is mocked. Your Church is persecuted. Your Church is lied about. People say all sorts of evil things against Your bride. …and are we happy about it? Are we glad? …I don’t think so…

We are livid! We are angry! We are retaliatory!

Where is the love? Where is the mercy? Where is compassion? Where is grace? Where are the tears for those who are lost? Where is the “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”? (Luke 23:34)

Lord, I pray for Your hand to fall heavily upon Your Church. May we take to heart the life You lived before us. May we take upon ourselves Your humility. Make us merciful…and pure…and those who work for peace. May we do what is right in Your eyes, not our own. Amen.

Oct 11th, Wed, 8:37 am

A Priest in God’s Kingdom

I would ask that Your hand be upon my shoulder this day, Father, as I prepare for our worship services Sunday. Help me to be attentive to detail and most importantly to listen as You guide and direct me. Amen.

Revelation 1:6 (<<click green)

So what does it mean to be a priest in Your Kingdom, Lord? The idea of Your people being “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” goes all the way back to the beginnings of the nation of Israel. (Exodus 19:6 NIV) There were individuals who carried out certain tasks for worship but Your intent from the start was for us all to priests – not just the person standing behind the pulpit.

While poking around in regards to this verse I came across an article that Dr. Kelly Kapic had written for Ligonier Ministries. He makes some excellent points pertaining to our responsibilities as priests. Here is a majority of what he had to share,

“When God called Abraham, He made it clear that from this man a great nation would arise… the goal was gracious inclusion rather than hard-hearted exclusion… God’s people are never to forget that they are blessed in order to be a blessing (Genesis 12:1–2).”

All believers carry out two vital ministries as part of the royal priesthood.

First, in our priestly role, all Christians are to live sacrificially for others. We are people of the cross. Jesus laid down His life for sinners in desperate need of grace and love. As imitators of the crucified Lord, we now offer ourselves to Christ through sacrificial acts of love done in behalf of our neighbors, even the neighbors who consider us their enemies. We can be truly “honorable” through our works of grace and mercy, hoping that these very people may one day “glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). We do not make atonement for others, but through our lives, we point them to the Lamb of God who alone can bring reconciliation between a holy God and sinful humanity (v. 21).

Second, we are faithful in our priestly role as we offer intercession on behalf of others. Paul makes a similar point when he urges Timothy to offer “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” for ”all people, for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1–2a). Part of living as the chosen people and a holy nation is that we are set apart to be instruments of God’s grace and reconciliation in this world. And this begins with prayers. We pray not just for those we love, nor even just for God’s people, but for the world, including dangerous emperors (1 Peter 2:16–17). How do we love our neighbor? We intercede for them, asking for the light of God’s mercy to overcome the looming darkness. Jesus did this even as He hung on the cross (Luke 23:34). You and I cannot change or save our neighbor, but the triune God can.

Jesus is the perfect Mediator who makes intercession on our behalf, offering Himself as the perfect and final sacrifice so that we might enjoy peace with God. We who have received mercy (1 Peter 2: 10) are now His chosen vessels to be instruments of His grace and love to the world. This is what it means to live as part of the royal priesthood.”

June 8th, Thurs, 8:45 pm

Hate: Stumbling in the Dark

Father, what a day of emotions yesterday was – up and down and all around! I’m so glad You were along for the ride and continue to help me keep things in perspective. You are bigger than them all and all I have to do is to look up into Your face and know that we’ll get through it together.

1 John 2:9-11 (<<click here)

Lord, “hate” is a very potent word and in the next chapter, John even equates “[hating] another brother or sister”, i.e. a fellow believer, with murder. (1 John 3:15) From a very early age, it was drilled into me to not hate others. We might strongly dislike the actions of someone but we were never to hate them. It may seem like I am splitting hairs but even at my age I still feel that there is a big difference between the two. In Romans 12:9 Paul tells us,

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”

When we “hate a fellow believer” we are “still living and walking in darkness” and hate coupled with darkness is always misleading. If we were to have to navigate someone else’s home in the dark there would be many stubbed toes, banged shins and probably some broken things as well as we stumbled about trying to find our way through the maze of the unknown.

Hate is just as blinding. The emotion skews our view of the circumstances. When we see the person we hate our perception is distorted. But again, as I referred to last week, You stated from the cross in regards to those who had nailed You there, in regards to those who were hurling insults upon You, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Hate is debilitating. When it factors in we hurt ourselves and we hurt others. We are not the only ones stumbling about but we can “cause others to stumble”, too.

Lord, the culture in which we live is a breeding ground for hate. Hate speech is everywhere! Help me to avoid feeling that way when I think of fellow believers who don’t agree with me, especially when we disagree strongly or when they lash out and hurt me. May I be like You. May my love be unconditional. Amen.

Apr 11h, Tues, 5:23 am

The Essence of Our Entirety

It’s one of those quiet evening times where I get myself to settle down and write (or type as the case may be). Father, there is no greater companion than You. Today has not been a crazy day by any means but through it all, we have been together. Thank You for Your comforting presence.

1 John 2:3-6 (<<click here)

Lord, if I tried to put the essence of your entirety into one single word, it would have to be the word LOVE. The Apostle John himself a few verses later in this epistle states that You are love. 1 John 4:8

He is also the apostle that, in his Gospel, quotes You as saying,

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. John 15:12

Here in this passage he says,

3And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Lord, the life You lived on this old earth was a life of love from the moment You chose to come to live amongst us to the moment You were taken up into heaven following the forty days You encouraged the disciples after Your resurrection. Why can’t we get it? It is so simple, Youloveus! Every interaction with every single individual of Your creation was full of love. Even Your sternness with the religious leaders of Your day was tough love. You want no one to perish. John 3:16

So…if we claim to “know God” we should obey You. If we say that we “live in God” then we “should live [our] lives as Jesus did.” We must love the lovable and those who are not.

In fact, we must not just love the unlovable but we must love the hateful, as well. What were some of Your final words from the cross?

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”   Luke 23:34

May others be able to put the essence of our entirety into one single word as well – LOVE. Amen!

Apr 6th, Thurs, 8:18 pm