“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Dec 2, 2022 – Luke 019

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+019

 

Luke 19 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Our churches are centers for many good things, but is prayer an overriding concern or simply a nice extra? Is it the heart and soul of the body of believers who meet there?  It is the people who are the temple of God in the New Testament; it is us who are the house of prayer.  But how much of a house of prayer are we?  Are we full of buying and selling?  Are we a place where spiritual greed, theft, and religious manipulation are firmly lodged?  Jesus probably felt without prayer – communion with God the Father – nothing else would make any difference, the lost would not be found, the enslaved would not be freed.
  2. Do you share that same passion for prayer in yourself – “a temple of the Holy Spirit within you”(1 Cor 6:19)? Do you believe it is so critical, so essential that everything else is at risk without it?
  3. Use our church’s Weekly Prayer Guide to pray for church, different ministries, people’s needs, missionaries, and other matters. May you become a true “house of prayer”.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, please teach me how to pray because many times I do not know how to pray. My prayers often lack depth and only ask You for things that are not good for my growth in life. Lord, cleanse my heart from filth, greed, pride, and lies like driving out those who do business in the temple. May the Lord live in the temple of my heart, sit on the throne of my life, and let me worship You in spirit and in truth, pray to You constantly, and strive to live a holy life. Please help me make prayer the core of my faith, listen to Your will in prayer, and put it into action to do my best for the ministry of the church and the needs of my brothers and sisters. Amen!

 

HYMN:

Sweet Hour of Prayer youtu.be/Sh8BDRPzL2g

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Dec 1, 2022 – Luke 018

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+018

 

Luke 18 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. This Pharisee (vv9-13) went to the temple not to pray to God but to show off his own good conduct. On the other hand, the tax collector went to confess and to ask for mercy. Which person’s prayer is more like your prayer?
  2. Repentance does not happen on our own. It is a gift from God and He delights to give to all who ask. We pray this sinner’s prayer (v13) constantly to ask for the grace of repentance. This is the prayer of tears. It will lead us to receive God’s gift of forgiveness, cleansing and healing.
  3. This sinner’s prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner” is widely known as the Eastern Orthodox spiritual tradition. In fact, the prayer itself doesn’t have any magic power. However, asking God’s mercy shows our poverty and helplessness. This is a stark contrast to our modern thinking that we are self-sufficient and satisfied.  Therefore, we don’t feel the need for God’s mercy.  We’ve lost the hunger and humility for God.  Yet, this prayer reminds us that we desperately need God’s mercy for our lives.
  4. To conclude the QT today, pray this short prayer repeatedly. Practice to pray this prayer often for a spirit of repentance in your heart.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, please have mercy on me, a poor sinner! I am determined to follow You, but I am often attracted by the things of the world, rather than the things of the kingdom of heaven. Please forgive me for my hidden, self-righteous sin. Lord Jesus, today I want to deeply examine my service in the church and see how many motives are mixed in it to boast my good deeds and virtues, and to seek praise from others? Lord, Your Word is more powerful than a sharp sword. Please use Your Word to split my soul and joints, and reveal the most secret darkness in my heart. I ask You to refine my life with holy fire, and make it a piece of pure gold, with the splendor of your meekness and humility. Please make me yearn for You often, and give me Your grace to repent and let me have a more abundant life. Amen!

 

HYMN:

Have mercy on Me – youtu.be/5hd45Dhpfxc

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 30, 2022 – Luke 017

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+017

 

Luke 17 English Standard Version (ESV)

Temptations to Sin

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Increase Our Faith

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Unworthy Servants

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Here Jesus shows us that we are to rebuke one another when one of us sins, but be quick to forgive when he or she repents. Each of us is to accept responsibility to care about one another’s walk with God.  In the community of faith each is to find forgiveness and support to live a godly life.
  2. Jesus commanded his disciples to confront, to accept someone when he repents, and to forgive. Responding to a command isn’t a matter of faith, it is a matter of obedience.
  3. How many times have you held back, wishing you had more faith to do something you knew God wanted you to do (v5)? How many times have you pleaded for more faith in your inadequacy?  And how many times has the longing for more faith simply masked the fact that you have been unwilling to obey?
  4. Allow the questions to speak to your heart. Continue this quiet time with God.  If the Holy Spirit is rebuking you right now, confess it and ask for God’s forgiveness.  Pray for mercy to obey God willingly.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me not to stumble or be stumbled by others through today’s scriptures. We are all human beings, we are willing to strive to be Your disciples, but we are also often weak and rebellious, and we fell and fail. Thank You for walking with me, helping me up from my falls again and again, comforting me, encouraging me, and leading me to continue to follow You. Lord, please wake me up, and make me try to learn sincere repentance after I fall, and forgiveness and compassion after others fall, so that I will not stumble and be stumbled. I pray that my Lord will increase my faith, and that the Holy Spirit will always speak in my heart, teach me how to be a good servant, and make me and my brothers and sisters love each other even more. Amen!

HYMN:

Trust and Obey – youtu.be/4dh02OnJpIE

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 29, 2022 – Luke 016

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+016

 

Luke 16 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

REFLECTION:

  1. On a scale of one (the rich man and his brothers, being in Hades, or on the way there) to ten (Lazarus, with Abraham, and God), where do you stand? Why do you place yourself there?  In the context of this story, there is no “in between”.  There is only either where the rich man is, or where Lazarus is.  How does this make you feel? How does this reflect your understanding/belief of Hell?
  2. The problem of the rich man and his brothers is not lack of knowledge of God’s word, for they have Moses and the Prophets’ teachings. Part of their problem lies in unbelief.  They would not respond to the Word of God, “to Moses and the Prophets”.  They simply would not be convinced.  Do you have that tendency?
  3. Meditate on v31, read it over a couple of times. What about you? Do you listen to God’s word?  Are you convinced of it?  Do you show your faith by your obedience?
  4. Does this story inspire you to be concerned of your unbelieving family members and friends? Write their names down and pray for them one by one that they would be willing to hear the gospel and accept Jesus as their Lord and saviour.  (You may use the prayer for unbelievers in yesterday’s reflection as a guide.)

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing me to be saved and born again to share in the glory of the kingdom of heaven. Although I recognize You as Lord, my heart is often unwilling to obey You, and even rebel against You. Through today’s scriptures, I ask the Lord to help me to reflect myself. Am I near or far from you now? Lord, forgive me for my sin of disobedience and rebellion, and make me wholeheartedly Your disciple to please You. Lord, warn me not to fall into the snares of the devil and be cut off from You like the rich man, tormented in flames. May the Lord lead me on the path of righteousness, pull me close to You, and walk with You. I pray that the Lord will also give me more zeal to share the gospel to more relatives and friends who don’t know You, lest they also perish like the rich man. Amen!

 

HYMN:

In Christ Alone – youtu.be/rn9-UNer6MQ

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 28, 2022 – Luke 015

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+015

 

Luke 15 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Jesus portrayed a picture of God who is like the shepherd searching for his lost sheep so God searches for His lost ones, “for the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (19:10).
  2. What is your picture of God? How do you view the “sinners” around you?  Is your attitude that of seeking the lost, the way Jesus did, or standing aloof and casting a disparaging glance, the way the religious leaders did?

 

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the picture of you searching for the lost sheep.  Help me to relate your true picture to those I come in contact with: your love, not indifference, your grace, not judgement, your kindness, not criticism.  I pray especially for ……………………. (someone who does not know the Lord).

Prayer for unbelievers

  • Lord, I pray that you draw ___________ to yourself.
  • I ask you, Lord, to prevent Satan from blinding ___________ to the truth.
  • Holy Spirit, I ask you to convict ___________ of sin and the need for Christ’s redemption.
  • I ask that you send someone who will share the gospel with ___________.
  • Lord, I pray that ___________ will confess Jesus as Lord, grow in faith, and bear fruit for your glory. Amen.

 

HYMN:

Reckless Love – youtu.be/7GGJ8cyYNzQ

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 25, 2022 – Luke 014

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+014

 

Luke 14 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. At a banquet, Jesus commented on the behaviour of the guests, who competed with each other for “a place of honour”. The scrambling for position reflected the heart attitude of the guests. As Jesus pointed out, it was also foolish, as it exposed a person to the danger of embarrassment if asked to go down lower later. Jesus also had advice for His host. Don’t use the dinners for social advantage, or to seek a favour. God’s kingdom is open to everyone, especially those who can never return the favour.  God will repay us in eternity.
  2. How do things like customs and status get in the way of you loving others in family, church, workplace, or community?
  3. What does it mean today for you to throw a party for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind”? Who would you invite?  What would it be like?
  4. Talk with Jesus about this idea and share the insights with a few close friends. Make plans to do it.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your teaching, which makes me understand that at the feast of the kingdom of God, the rank and position are completely different from those of the earth. He who humbles himself will be exalted, and he who is last will be first. I ask the Lord to grant me an extraordinary vision and a humble and meek heart to strive to live out the values of the kingdom of heaven in my earthly life. May the Lord strengthen my resolve, so that I will not envy the wealth and power of the world, and will not cling to the people of power, lest You will be ashamed and I will lose my place at the feast of the kingdom of heaven. I ask the Lord to set my eyes on the lowly, poor and needy people around me, and let me try to help their difficulties, and prepare a heavenly banquet for them, pass on the heavenly blessings to them, and rejoice on the salvation of their souls. Amen!

 

HYMN:

Love God Love People – youtu.be/-02YbfojiLU

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 24, 2022 – Luke 013

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+013

 

Luke 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

A Woman with a Disabling Spirit

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. The synagogue ruler was indignant because Jesus broke the rule of Sabbath. Yet he could not see through the law and understand that it is out of compassion that Jesus healed the woman.  This shows how little he understood what grace was and how little he desired of it.  The woman who experienced grace praised God.  But the synagogue ruler rebuked Jesus for helping her.  Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy that they would easily release an animal in order to care for them, but wouldn’t rejoice for a person released from Satan’s bondage.
  2. In their fervour to keep all of their rules and regulations, the Pharisees ended up neglecting to love others. We can also take the rules literally in order to rationalize our lack of concern for others (i.e. insisting on tithing but refusing to help the needy; insisting on attending worship on time but refusing to pick up someone out of the way).
  3. Do you make excuses for neglecting to do good? Pay close attention to God’s whispering in your heart.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, Your words today reminded me and made me understand that all the ministry I have done, all the rules and regulations set by the church, if they are not from the perspective of loving and edifying others, they are all in vain. Lord Jesus, please enable me not only to abide by the rules of faith in the church and in my daily life, but also to implement Your command to “love your neighbor as yourself” and live out Your glorious life. Today, I also especially pray for the pastoral staff and leaders of the church, asking the Lord to make them all have a pastoral heart, put the spiritual growth and needs of brothers and sisters first, and lead our church to become a family where everyone loves each other, attracts more people to our church and bears a good testimony for You. Amen!

 

HYMN:

Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly – youtu.be/wb77GaGNNzw

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 23, 2022 – Luke 012

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+012

 

Luke 12 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool!

This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. The challenge of this story of the rich farmer is this: Why pile up wealth here on earth? Why work to gather more than you will ever need?  This rich farmer rejected the word of God and based his life on the pursuit of earthly treasure.  Christ said, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
  2. We all make value decisions that shape our lives. Jesus asks us to remember that those decisions shape our life here and in eternity.
  3. What decisions are you facing? What value do you base your decisions on?  Will Jesus call you a fool?  Or a good and faithful servant?   How is God calling you to change your attitude toward your money and possessions?

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching me to store up treasures in heaven. It also makes me reflect deeply. Have all my actions so far followed Your teachings? Lord Jesus, I have often been weak in heart and have built my peace on earthly things. I beg You to strengthen my faith, to have an extraordinary vision to see the glory of Your heavenly kingdom in this troubled and fallen world, to be determined to pursue the eternal value of life, and to store up only the treasures in heaven, because that will not change with time and will not be corrupted by fire and water. Please also grant me a heart of love and wisdom to properly manage and utilize my possessions on earth, instead of using them to satisfy my own desires and pleasures, I will help the poor and needy people. Amen!

 

HYMN: 

My Worth Is not In What I Own – youtu.be/mZs55kp2vi8

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 22, 2022 – Luke 011

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+011

 

Luke 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. When eating at the home of a Pharisee, Jesus identified six common sins of the “religious” of His day that kept them from seeing the light. The Pharisees and experts in the law were furious and attacked Jesus.  Reading these verses should not cause us to criticize the Pharisee then.  Rather, they should draw us to examine ourselves.
  2. With a humble heart, go through the following questions and ask: “God, do I……?”
  • Do you spend more time trying to look holy, or seeking to be holy? (vv39-41)
  • Do your priorities reflect God’s? (v42)
  • Do you treasure the approval of others, or the approval of God? (vv43-44)
  • Do you make living a Christian life harder for people by your expectations, or do you encourage and help them? (v46)
  • Do you resist God’s word brought by His ministers, or are you open and teachable? (vv47-51)
  • Do you distort the gospel by a legalistic attitude and approach to Christian faith? (v52)

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for making me reflect deeply through today’s scriptures, am I also a modern Pharisee who is often guilty of hypocrisy? Do I have an appearance of godliness but lack a holy heart? Holy Spirit, please enlighten me at this moment, let me examine my heart carefully to see how much darkness and filth there is? Lord Jesus, I would like to come before You with a broken and contrite spirit and ask You to cleanse my heart from all filth and forgive me of all my sins and transgressions. Grant me a good conscience and a sincere faith, to be Your faithful disciple, not to do things to please people, but to please You, to follow You every day with clean hands and pure heart, and to give all glory to You. Amen!

 
HYMN:
Create in me a clean heart – youtu.be/FZVCYgwFcRo

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Nov 21, 2022 – Luke 010

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Luke+010

 

Luke 10 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. The legal expert asked a good question. Just who is it we are to love as ourselves? To answer, Jesus told of a man who beaten and robbed. Two fellow Jews, a priest and a Levite, saw him lying there, and left him. The Samaritan, on the other hand, “when he saw him, he had compassion”. He helped him, and even paid for his care while he recovered.
  2. With whom do you most identify with in this story? Why?
  3. Who has been a Good Samaritan in your life? What was the situation?  How did that person help you?  What impact this has on you?
  4. Listen to Jesus’ calling to you, “go and do likewise.” To whom do you need to be a Good Samaritan this week?  Write down his/her name and needs.  Pray for this person.  Plan a practical way to offer needed help.  Decide on the date and write down specific things you will do for him/her.  Make plan to accomplish it.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for teaching me how to love through today’s scriptures. I know that to love my neighbor as myself is not an empty phrase, but Your command to me, which I want to practice in my daily life. My Lord, I sometimes feel that I lack the ability to love people, especially the ability to love people when I have to pay a cost, and I understand that this is because my life is not fully mature. Please continue to walk with me, accompany me to grow, and make me more and more capable of loving people. I also especially thank You for placing “Good Samaritans” in my life to inspire me, help me, and make me feel Your love in them. Please let me be such a person too, to pass on Your love to those around me who need help. Amen!

 

HYMN:

Lifesong – youtu.be/jLroNUqADz4