54,427 Fans   3109 Followers  

Reflections from Luke {Living, Leading and Loving Like Jesus}…

1383735_10152023656485917_1324325768_n

“God interrupt whatever we are doing so that we can join You in what You’re doing.” ~ Francis Chan

I sat across the table from my sixty-something year-old neighbor this morning, pumpkin spice latte in hand.  We had talked about meeting for coffee for ages, wanting to catch up, since for some reason – even though we share a back yard - we can hardly catch each other coming and going.

She travels by air across the nation regularly for her job, rubbing shoulders with influential people in the science world.  I travel by minivan across town multiple times a week, taxi-ing children to and from activities, rubbing shoulders with other mom friends just like me.

Two different generations.  Two different stages of life. Two passionate Jesus lovers.

We talked about the falling leaves in our yards, our families, and how drastically technology has changed life today.  And how, even with the best of intentions, great neighbors can go weeks without really connecting.

And because the Gospel drives us and unites us, we landed here:

What if our fast-paced, technology-ridden, independent-living society is hindering the spread of the Gospel more than ever before?

We could point our fingers at other people all day long, but the truth is, on most days, I can’t even make it fifty feet across the property line onto my sweet neighbor’s front step, and into her life.  And we really, really like each other.  Let alone make time for someone whose needs – spiritual and otherwise - go far beyond easy fixes like some down time and a latte.  A better question?

What if the life I  lead is hindering the Gospel?

You know, the comfortable life that encourages me to associate with people who really look and act just like me.  The very full, blessed life that, on most days, keeps me too busy and too distracted to see beyond my to-do list.

But as much as I fight the pull of this world, Luke tells me of a different Gospel-centered way of living.

I’ve been challenged to live like Jesus.  Laying down my life, loosing my comfort and pride, for the sole purpose of the Gospel.

I’ve been challenged to lead like Jesus.  Fixing my eyes on the eternal, remaining faithful even in the midst of temptation and rejection.

I’ve been challenged to love like Jesus.   Unconditionally, sacrificially, loving even my enemies by His power because He first loved me.

God forbid that as Christ-followers, we make a name for ourselves for loving our agendas, our possessions, our political parties or our reputations far more than we love people.

What if we stretched ourselves in and beyond the comfort of our homes, our cubicles and our carpool lines and reached out and loved radically for the sake of the Gospel?  Oh, how we could impact the world if we intentionally spent our days living, leading and loving like Jesus!

Then he said to them all:

‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves

and take up their cross daily and follow me.  

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,

but whoever loses their life for me will save it.’”

~ Luke 9:23-24

At His feet,

LET’S TALK: How has our time in Luke challenged you to live, lead and love like Jesus where God has placed you? 

Christ’s Ministry Continues

NT-223

I don’t like cliff hangers and I don’t like stories that leave me feeling depressed and sad at the end. My favorite stories are the ones where everything is tied up with a nice shiny bow. I love happy endings and that is how I feel Luke ends his book, with a very happy ending.

Luke loved order and his purpose in writing about Jesus was to give an orderly account of the things he witnessed and heard regarding Jesus. So Luke decides to finish his book with the beautiful account of the ascension which ends Christ’s ministry on earth. Interestingly his second book (Acts) begins where he left off, namely with the ascension.

We pick up with Jesus hanging out with the remaining 11 disciples. He is blessing them, telling them that the Holy Spirit will come to give them power (Acts 1:8). As he is blessing them he begins to ascend and a cloud carries him away (Lk. 24: 51; Acts 1:9).

There are two things that I learned from studying this passage

1. The Cloud

This cloud that took Jesus away was the Shekina glory, a visible representation of the presence of God seen throughout Scripture.

- It was the same cloud that lead the Israelites by day and it appeared as a pillar of fire at night.

- Moses saw it when he encountered God on Mt. Sinai

- This could filled the temple and was seen over the tabernacle

- Ezekiel saw this visible manifestation of God as it left the east gate

- It surrounded Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration

Now the visible glory of God is with Jesus as he ascends into heaven to take his rightful place at the right hand of God (Lk. 22:69)

2. Christ’s Ministry

While the ascension marks the end of his earthly ministry it also marks the beginning of his heavenly ministry as our High Priest.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20

The good news just keep coming, doesn’t it! He doesn’t just forgive us of our sins, but also takes the just punishment on himself. He lives a perfect life so he can clothe us in his righteousness. Through his resurrection from the dead he gives us power to live godly lives and strength to overcome sin. He sends the Holy Spirit to teach, convict, comfort and train, and he becomes our High Priest so that while in heaven he continues to minister to us.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

He has not forgotten what it’s like to be tempted,  to suffer and to face death. Therefore he identifies with our afflictions. He has perfect sympathy for us, in our stumbling and weakness, in our illnesses and sadness. He knows first hand the feelings of loneliness as well as joy. Because he is our personal High Priest we can approach him at any time and pour out our hearts to him knowing with full confidence that he understands better than we do, and will give us help in our time of temptation, doubt, and suffering.

This study has really been a study in getting to know our Savior better. To see all the things he accomplished for us, to see his passion for the honor of God and his love for the people he created. Luke shows a Prince going through great lengths to  redeem and rescue his Bride. He now is preparing a home where he will dwell with her in perfect love, honor and happiness.

I pray that we are left loving him more than when we first started this study.

Looking to Jesus,

jen-sig

___________________________________________________

Good Morning Girls Thanksgiving Study

Thank you for joining us for the completion of our year long study in the book of Luke! What an amazing year it has been digging into God’s Word with you!

Though we will not have a “formal” enrollment period for our upcoming Thanksgiving and Advent studies, we encourage you to reach out to those around you and invite your friends to join you in our next studies.

Our upcoming Thanksgiving study starts on November 11th and runs for two weeks. We would LOVE for you to join us, again!

A Love Worth Dying For

Luke23c

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two  Luke 23:44-45

The time for the death of Jesus had come. Christ had been tortured, beaten, nailed to a piece of wood, made fun of and spit on.

“No manner of execution was ever devised that was more cruel and agonizing then to be nailed to a cross and hung up to die like a piece of meat. It was horrible. You would not have been able to watch it. Not without screaming, pulling at your hair and tearing your clothes. You probably would have vomited.” John Piper

The Darkness

All of a sudden the sun stopped shining and for 3 hours this supernatural darkness covered the land and fulfilled Amos 8:9,10

“And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight
I will turn your feasts into mourning and
all your songs into lamentation.
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.

This darkness was a cosmic sign of mourning. The whole earth was weeping over the death of the Son of God. In those three black hours, sin was poured on Christ’s soul until he became sin. The physical pain Christ experienced was nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the agony he went through during those 3 hours of darkness.

“On the cross Christ was robed in all that is heinous and hateful as the mass of our corruption poured over him. With horror Christ found his entire being to be sin in the Father’s sight. Wave after wave of our sin was poured over Christ’s sinless soul. Again and again during those three hours his soul recoiled and convulsed as all our lies, infidelity, hatreds, jealousies, murders, and pride were poured upon his purity.” Kent Hughes

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’ ” (Galatians 3:13)

The Curtain

At the same time as this horrendous event was happening something beautiful was taking place inside the temple. There were thirteen curtains in the temple and the grandest and most majestic of those thirteen was located right in front of the Holy of Holies. It was as thick as a man’s hand but God tore it from top to bottom removing forever the need for a human mediator because Christ had become the only mediator needed between God and man.

No longer did the people need priests to intercede for them because Christ had become our true High Priest (Heb. 5 and 8) and no longer was the blood of animals required to make atonement for sin because the spotless and pure blood of Jesus accomplish atonement once and for all!

Paul tells us that we are to boast in this bloody spectacle. It is to be our dearest treasure, the only thing we put our trust in and we are to make it our greatest joy. ( Gal. 6:14)

The cross reveals the seriousness of our sin, the depths of God’s love, and the grace of salvation. We cannot add to our salvation and we can’t take anything away from it. Christ has done it all.

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is history, but it is more than one man’s death. It is the God-man’s death for sinners. It is Christ’s death for me. And over his death we mourn for our sins, while rejoicing in our redemption.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

Repent and Teach Your Children to Repent

repent and teach your children

 

For hours leading up to the crucifixion, Jesus was silent. But now he speaks.  As he is bloodied from the beatings and thirsty from the long walk to Golgatha, He speaks to the women who are weeping and says:

Luke 23: 28-31

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ 31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

He tells them:

1.) Do not weep for me. Jesus did not want them to look on him with pity. He knew the work He must accomplish on the cross.

2.) Weep for yourselves and for your children.  He wanted them to weep over their own sin that was sending Him to the cross. Weep in sorrow, remorse and repentance. He wanted them to see that it was their people who shouted “crucify Him” and if their children had the same hard hearts as their forefathers, doom awaited them.

3.) He told them there would come a day when those who were childless would be considered blessed.  This was such a contradicting message to the women of that day.  In their culture, to be childless was a disgrace.

4.) He prophecies of a day when people will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”

In Hosea 10:8 we see this same prophecy:  ”The high places of wickedness will be destroyed– it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

And in Revelation 6:15-17 we see the same prophecy given:

15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?

We live in a culture that emphasizes God’s love. And yes – God is love as I John 4:8 states.

But God is equally just and a God of wrath as we see in Jesus’ final words to the women.

As he bore the cross on his back out of love for the women he was dying for – he spoke to them – and He did not say – “I love you” but rather he warned them of coming judgement.

Oh it’s so uncomfortable to “warn” people of coming judgement. You know those hell, fire and brimstone preachers are unwelcome these days.  The message of grace and love is trumpeted and yes – God is full of grace and love…but look again at Jesus’ final words to the women of Jerusalem.

They are not easy words.

Telling people the truth – is not always easy to speak or to receive. But I believe Jesus spoke these words to them BECAUSE He loved them!  He wanted them to get a proper perspective on their weeping.  That they should not look at him and weep over Him but rather weep over their own sin in their own lives.

And so I pause here…

I know dear reader – your day is SO full.  Some of you have just one minute to read this blog post and then you need to get back to work, or tending to your children, or to your water boiling on the stove.

But if you would just for 15 seconds – stop–

reflect –

Is there something in your life you need to repent of?

Maybe you sinned this morning already?

Or yesterday, was a hard day –you failed to trust God, or to keep your word, or you gossiped, complained or lost your temper.

Whatever it is – take these 5 seconds left before you close up this post –

–and repent.

Now go – and teach your children to repent also.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

My newly released book is now available in most bookstores
and on-line at Amazon.com
3D wlwbook cover

 

Jesus Shed His Blood For You {Luke 23 – Week 7}

Luke 23 Header
This week is a special week of study.  As we read day by day in chapter 23 of Luke, we will follow Jesus through his final moments – on trial,the crucifixion, His death and His burial.

And I come to this week’s passage wide eyed. I feel like no amount of words I have, can do justice to this MAGNIFICENT chapter in Luke!

As I read over it and study it and read commentaries – I just want to fall to my knees in adoration and praise. I just want to simply thank Jesus for shedding His blood for me.  I am so unworthy.

I am honestly speechless.

Many of you know that I write *a lot* .  I blog regularly over at WomenLivingWell.org and I just released my first book on October 1st (only 13 days ago!).  For 5 years, I have been pumping out content on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis.

I rarely face writers block and all I can figure is this is a gift from God that he continually gives me words to write.

But honestly – in the hub bub of the book launch and the webcasts and radio interviews and real life homeschooling and sports and and and—

*breathe*

I came to this passage of scripture and

–no words.

Writers

block.

I mean –it’s such a familiar passage what could I possibly add?

And dare I take away or distract from the original intent of such a profound passage of scripture.  And I’ve been running hard these last few months, promoting my book and I feel like I’ve come to a place of holy ground. (Exodus 3:5)

Luke 23 has quieted my soul – and brought me back to the heart of why I write.

Because he shed His blood for me and He shed His blood for you.  And I ask myself, am I living a life worthy of my calling (Ephesians 4:1)?

This video below I made a few months ago- when I was less speechless – but it reflects my heart on Christ’s crucifixion.

(If you cannot see the video - click here)

And so as I read of Jesus going before Pilate and Herod – I am simply still – in awe of how Jesus stood before his persecutors –heading to the cross to die
–for me.

And as I read of how the soldiers ridiculed and mocked Jesus – I hang my head that he had to endure this
–for me.

And then as I read of the crowds that shouted “crucify him!”, and I think of how he could have escaped this situation but he stayed there
–for me.

And then as I read of the creator of the universe’s hands being nailed to a wooden cross – as if he were a criminal and he died there
–for me.

I am stilled –
for me.

Because I need to stop the pace of my crazy full calendar and life to simply worship the King of Kings for being nailed to a cross
–for me.

Week 7 Challenge:

Be still and worship God.  It is a challenge in our culture to simply stop and not ask God for anything in our prayers but just give Him thanks.  Reflect on the pain and suffering Jesus endured for you.  He shed His blood for YOU!  Sing a song of worship. Read a Psalm of praise. Write out a prayer of thanksgiving. Get on your knees, humble yourself before your King and give him glory and honor.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

Week 7 Reading Plan

 

Weekly Reading Plan Wk 7

 

Week 7 Memory VerseMemoryVerse-07

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Hide me
Sign up below to receive free study materials!
Enter your email address:
Show me