Was Jesus recommending a passive and unthinking approach to life and the future? Absolutely not. He used dramatic rhetoric to highlight the inconsistency of claiming faith in God while remaining anxious about daily needs. Jesus’ advice to sell one’s possession and give to the poor in Luke 12:33 fits into this context. It is not an absolute command but an illustration of the kind of faith that trusts God more than worldly security.
Commentary from the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible, pg. 1539.
The amount of money we have is not so important as the way we use it. Rich people can be generous or stingy – and so can those with less money. What is your attitude toward your possessions? Do you hoard them selfishly, or do you use them to bless others?
Commentary from the One Year NIV Devotional NT, July 8. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2003.
God’s Spirit indwells believers at salvation, which means His power is available from that moment (Eph. 1:13). God created a simple way for us to access that strength every single day.
First, we must accept the truth that in and of ourselves, we are powerless to live out God’s will. No matter how capable we may be, our own strength and wisdom are insufficient. Sometimes Christians become prideful about the good they have done or the number of years they’ve been saved. Imagine how much more we could serve the Lord if we would humbly get out of God’s way and let Him work through us.
Second, we surrender our entire life to the guidance and governing of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we choose to conduct our spiritual walk – as well as our vocation, finances, family, and relationships – as God desires. His Spirit is not going to release supernatural power into a life that is continuing in rebellion.
Third, we exercise faith, which means demonstrating belief and trust in the Lord. Faith is the “switch” that releases the Spirit’s power. It’s like saying, “I believe You’ve got a plan, God, so I’m going to trust You to give me what I need in order to do Your will.” Then He will move heaven and earth to provide for your need, whatever it may be.
Merely memorizing and reviewing the steps isn’t enough. Instead, commit to these principles as a way of life. Get used to thinking, I can’t but God can – I’ll submit to His will because His plans are for my good and His glory. That’s the kind of life that overflows with the Holy Spirit.
Commentary from the In Touch devotional, by Charles Stanley, June 30, 2017.
Christ’s return at an unexpected time is not a trap, a trick by which God hopes to catch us off guard. In fact, God is delaying His return so more will have an opportunity to follow Jesus. During this time before His return, we have the opportunity to live out our beliefs and to reflect Jesus’ love as we relate to others.
People who are ready for their Lord’s return are 1. not hypocritical, but sincere; 2. not fearful, but ready to witness; 3. not anxious, but trusting; 4. not greedy, but generous; 5. not lazy, but diligent. Are you delaying?
Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, June 25. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2003.
God doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep. Randy Alcorn
Two sisters were busy preparing for Jesus’ visit. Upon His arrival, Mary turned her attention to the Lord. Meanwhile, Martha was distracted by the preparations (Luke 10:40) and became agitated that her sister was no longer helping. We may be thinking Martha was right-if there was still work to be done, her sister should not have been sitting down. Then we hear Jesus’ perspective. Observing that Martha was worried and upset about many things when only one thing was needed, He said Mary had chosen what was better (Luke 10:42).
There are some important lessons to be learned from this story. First, to have fellowship with Jesus, we may have to leave some things undone. Jesus knew how hard the women had been working and how much Martha longed to finish the tasks. But their greatest need was to spend time with Him. The sisters’ focus was to be on listening, learning, and interacting with Him.
The second lesson is that our choice to forgo an activity may be misunderstood. Martha certainly didn’t comprehend her sister’s decision. What’s more, if we fail to take time with the Lord, there may be unpleasant consequences. We see this in the way Martha’s distraction led to worry and agitation. Jesus invited her to choose the better way-namely, to be with Him.
Establishing a habit of communing with God is essential to our spiritual health. Even in our daily work, we can learn how to maintain an awareness of Him. So aim to choose the better way, as Mary did. Connecting with Jesus regularly will sharpen your focus on what is most important and help you distinguish what is good from what is truly the Lord’s best.
Commentary from In Touch Devotional Magazine by Charles Stanley, May 3, 2017.
4And I say to you, My friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5 But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the One to fear! 6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.
What is this fear?
I wrote a little about that in a previous post titled Unseen.
Finally, there is this:
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
turning people from the snares of death.
I can attest that Proverbs 14:27 is true from personal experience, my life being completely changed by Jesus, and from many, many others I have spoken with that were heading down the wrong path.
Just some things to ponder.
She gave birth to a son,
a male child,
who will rule all the nations
with an iron scepter.
And her child was snatched up to God
and to His throne.
Many people go through the motions of the holidays, buying gifts, baking cookies, and sending Christmas cards; but after it is all said and done, they are left with a longing in their heart, a vast emptiness that was not filled by all the merriment of the season. December becomes a month in which credit cards and stress levels are maxed out. And though precious memories are made on Christmas morning, there is no lasting meaning for the celebration.
For Christians however, Christmas is a time to celebrate and rejoice that Jesus came down in the form of a baby and brought salvation to an undeserving world. Today, focus your thoughts on the only true and lasting meaning of Christmas, that Christ came down from heaven to bring us gifts that remain even after the day is over: hope, peace, and love.
Wishing each of you the merriest Christmas this year!
Portions of commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, December 25.