Archive for the ‘Luke’ Category


Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

It might never seem that we could ever be like the Pharisee in our life or walk with the Lord but the reality is that this is how we perceive ourselves because we look at our lives in the mirror of our sinful minds and it conveniently misses showing us our brokenness. Before accepting Christ, we live in a comfortable belief that we are “NOT SO BAD” people but after accepting Christ, that realization changes 360 degrees because we are able to look at ourselves through the mirror of God, the perfect mirror that hides nothing from us. For you, if you are not in a relationship with Christ, the answer is simple. It’s a matter of choice of whether you choose to live in the peace and oblivion of your sin and not worry about your future or you choose to reflect on your brokenness and ask Jesus to be your savior and forgive your sins, cleanse you by his shed blood on the cross, clothe you in his righteousness, make you a new creation, fill you with the holy spirit to direct you and live for his glory now here on earth and in heaven in his glorious presence. What if you are saved? What is his message for you today?

One of the greatest challenges we face in life is pride. Most people suffer from it because we are always trying to look out for ourselves, our needs and recognition and therefore pride is a stumbling block we never seem to get over. However, in God’s kingdom, pride has no place in our lives. The very fact that we call ourselves believers is an admission to the fact that we fell short of God’s goodness and nothing can change that. However, our minds convince us that we know enough about the Lord and now that we are saved we don’t need to do anything, or, we get busy living that we forget spending time with the Lord, or, we get so caught up in studying God’s word for intellectual purposes that we forget to apply it in our daily lives, etc. All of this causes us to see the unsaved people around us with distorted eyes. We try to differentiate ourselves from them and feel like we are better off. However, today we are warned that we like them are sinners saved by God’s grace and nothing we do can make us good. We need to look at others through the merciful eyes of our Lord and love them. What is the greatest commandment Jesus taught us (Matthew 22:37-39)?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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A Rough But Certain Path


Luke 17:11-19
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

What a sight it must’ve been for those traveling with Jesus when ten lepers called out to him for healing as he passed them by. Over and over again in the gospels, we hear the plea of the poor, the suffering, the dying, the mourning and what is interesting about them is that they are not ashamed to call out to Jesus for help. What is even more amazing is that this is what the Lord appreciated and responded to with healing and the basis was their faith in him and his ability to heal them. In this passage above, it is the record of another great miracle but the response from those who were healed is what is most important for us today.

Last evening, we were visiting with dear friends who are better called family considering the relationship we share. They shared something from times past when they lived in Dubai that I would like us to do. Every Christmas, each person in their fellowship would bring in a list of prayer needs for the following year and these would be individually sealed in envelopes and stored by a custodian. The following Christmas, the envelope would be opened and the individuals would share the way the Lord worked in their lives. It would be outstanding to see how God answered prayers and people would express their gratitude to God for his manifold blessings. We need to know that God will answer our prayers if it is what he wants for us and we ask in faith. However, when God answers, what is our response? Have you been grateful to God for his countless blessings in your life? Have you thanked him and been grateful for his goodness? Lets be people of gratitude for what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. Let’s not be the 9 healed lepers who forgot but rather like the one who was sincerely grateful.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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A Natural Canopy


Luke 16:25-31
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Over and over again, Jesus keeps warning us about worldly riches and it’s effect on our lives. The issues are not about having or accumulating wealth but rather understanding the purpose of it. In the passage above, we see the end result of the lives of the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus. On earth, the rich man lived a life of luxury that the world envied and in death he lived a life of pain and disaster. On the flip side was the poor man Lazarus who lived a life of pain and longing for his basic needs but in death he lived in the presence of God by the side of Abraham. What is the Lord asking of us today? Are we expected to live lives of beggars or rich men and what is the outcome of our lives?

Several people mentioned in the Bible grew in wealth, became prosperous and were spoken highly about including King David, Abraham, Job, among many others. Therefore Jesus is not condoning prosperity. At the same time Jesus tells the rich young ruler that to attain salvation, over and above living a life of perfect adherence to the law, he needed to sell his riches and give it to the poor. So what then are we expected to do? The issue being highlighted by Jesus here was not the riches that the rich man had but obviously his lack of understanding as to why God blessed him with much. Jesus came to give his own life for our salvation and that is the greatest sacrifice known to man. He does not expect us to sacrifice our lives but to share what he has blessed us with so that we can help share his love in a real and physical way. Jesus said earlier in this chapter that those who can be trusted with little shall be given more and I hope this Christmastime, you are again encouraged to share your joy with those less fortunate without an expectation back and he will bless you with more in his time and ways that you can use for his glory more and more!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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The Lord's Resources


Luke 15:25-32
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

If we have lost anything that is of any value to us, we really feel the hurt of losing it and try all that we can to find it. There is no major realization there because everyone of us have lost many things dear to us at different points in our lives and have tried hard to find it and we know the joy of finding it. This is the very same feeling God and the hosts of heaven have every time a sinner returns to Christ. This is the same joy the father of the prodigal son had when he saw his lost son return. However, in the brother of the prodigal son, we have a lesson to learn and that is what the Lord is reminding us of today. I’m sure like me, you feel for him when he retorted to his Dad that he never permitted him to take some their resources (A lamb in those times) and party with his friends but here he was burning up far more than just a small sum to celebrate his lost son’s arrival. Was this not partial?

In another parable in the Bible, Jesus talks about laborers and their wages and he explains that whatever the length of time the laborer spends on the fields, they would get the same pay and this is also unfair in the world’s eyes. The issue here is not that God’s scales are tilted, rather it’s our understanding. To God, it did not matter the depravity of our sinfulness and therefore he measured out a perfect sin offering to atone for our sins. However big or small our sins are, he sacrificed his perfect and only son for us to have an eternity with him. What would Jesus say to this? Why should he suffer for us when he was God’s loved son? Isn’t the whole perspective different in God’s eyes? Jesus said to his disciples when they argued who would sit on his right and left that the first would be last and the last first. In God’s eyes, the paradigm is inverted and we need to realize and accept that. Our joy should be in sharing God’s love and not trying to weigh our benefit. We need to focus our eyes on the Cross and follow Jesus as he leads.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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A Narrow Path


Luke 14:12-14
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus was certainly ruffling feathers of the holy men during his ministry and it was not because he was doing it to offend them but because they were so unbelieving. They were so blinded by their belief that they did not see how they were robbing people of any connection with God through their rituals and laws. God was not looked at as someone who loved us but instead it was pressure that pushed people to follow God. What a tragedy because God is love and we have no right to change that nature of God! In the above passage about the banquet, it is something I would find very hard to follow. How could I not invite my own or those that are dear to me for a special occasion where I want to share my joy with them? How can I focus my energy and resources on those less fortunate than me and what good would that be to me? Would this be a lost networking opportunity or a smart PR strategy?

In today’s world, we are so focussed on doing good for public perception and there is seldom a business or famous person who does not support some cause or give to the needy but that’s never done without making a big deal about it. Jesus is not telling us to do things to get approval of man. Our focus should be on serving those less fortunate without expecting anything back. My grandmother has a thanksgiving dinner every year on the occasion of my grandfather’s passing away and one of the things they do is to invite all the less fortunate people in the community for a meal. There are over 100 people who are brought in, fed and sent home with love and what strikes me most is that this is done without any expectation of anything in return. These people cannot give anything back materially but Christ is shared and they receive willingly. What is your Christmas plan this year? Are you giving those who have lots or those who have nothing? Can we find someone in our areas of influence who is in need and share the joy of this special season? Can we give them some love that God shared with us who were once lost?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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God's Wondrous Creation


Luke 13:18-21
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Last evening, my family and I watched a movie called Fireproof and it was such a treat to see how God’s people when brought together through the Holy Spirit could put together a work of beauty that commercial movies today cannot compare to. The story, the values and the essence of Christ preached was incredible and I can’t wait to see the 2 other movies created by the same Church (www.sherwoodbaptist.net). Is this what the kingdom of God is like? Is this what Jesus is referring to when he talks about planting a mustard seed in our gardens or adding a very small bit of yeast into our dough? Is Jesus referring to agriculture or wealth or something else? Obviously it is spiritual fruit because that is what endures and produces good fruit that multiplies manyfold.

Over the last many weeks, it seems that the world media has nothing better to report than the broken life of the world-famous golfer, Tiger Woods. I do believe it is a terrible sin that has been revealed and Jesus himself reminds us that nothing we do on the sly will remain hidden but will be revealed. Before this incident, he was a role model to kids and adults and people who knew nothing of the game were enthralled by him. However, with his admission to failure comes the wrath of men, some who may have committed the same if not many other sins but using this opportunity to tear down his life. I hope we are planting the right spiritual seeds in our lives that cause us to bless others rather than curse them. What type of fruit is the mustard seed of God’s salvation blossoming in your life? All mankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and we need to help the lost find their Shepherd, Jesus the Christ, who is the only one who can provide them a redemption for their sins and the assurance of eternity with God in heaven.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Our 1st Snowfall


Luke 12:22-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Parable after parable, Jesus was teaching his significant following what God’s will for man was and is. Wealth was an area he spoke often about and it might seem depressing to most of us. Most of us devote our lives to providing well for us and our families and some of us are successful at it. To many, the safety in having wealth stored is more than the security of knowing we serve a loving savior. Wealth is measured in terms of money, possessions, jewelry, land, cattle and many other ways. Is the Lord saying that the pursuit of money is wrong then? Can we not build safety nets for ourselves here on earth to safeguard us and our families against difficult times like economic recessions?

In the verses prior to our passage today, we are reminded that if we put our trust in any wealth that is not scriptural, we may never be able to enjoy the fruits of it. Death may rob us of the chance of enjoying it’s protection and provision and our loved ones also may not get it. However, when we focus our lives on serving the Lord, we build for ourselves wealth in eternity and that is never perishing just as we are not when we are saved by God’s grace. Today the Lord reminds us that we are not to worry about our lives, our food, our physical health or clothes because he will provide and has been providing better than he does to even the birds of the air. We are considered God’s own children when we take his yoke upon our shoulders and we can rest in knowing that he has our best in mind. Now the pursuit of wealth is a joy because it is spiritual and all other wealth we acquire is from him and for his glory. Lets refocus our lives to serving him faithfully and building our treasures in heaven.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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What's Your Destination?