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Category Archives: Luke

My God is…Clothing You Luke 12:27-28

wild White lily under sunlight

Luke 12:27-28 – Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!

Consider the lilies, how they grow:they neither toil nor spin

Many people feel that being out in nature is their favorite way to connect with God. At our church we’re blessed to have an outdoor worship area that we use during the beautiful Oregon summers. When we’re outside many of us feel closer to God. Maybe it’s because we can see the care and perfection in the world He created (even better than the most beautiful church).

St. Paul Lutheran's Outdoor worship area Sherwood Oregon - with the VBS kids

St. Paul’s Outdoor worship area – with the VBS kids

In our outdoor worship area we have these magnificent trees that some of the school children (some 50 years ago or so) planted. They reach majestically up into the sky. Aside from the occasional trimming I don’t believe the trees are hard to grow. We don’t have to worry about them. God has helped them to grow and become amazing trees. Like the Lilies in our Bible verse, they don’t do anything themselves to make their lives better. The Lord provides for all of their needs.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, how much more will he clothe you!

Do you believe that God would provide for you even if you didn’t do anything to deserve it? Inevitably someone is thinking to themselves, “But I need to take responsibility and provide for my family.” The verses following the one selected may help clear that part up.

29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.31 Instead, strive for his[f] kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Strive for His Kingdom

I believe that if you are truly keeping God as your central focus, your needs will be provided. Over the past four years, I have sadly seen many of my friends struggle while out of work. As they went in debt and were as frugal as possible, it would have been easy for them to give up and turn their back on God. I was witness to the miracle of faith in their lives. In both instances the families trusted that the Lord would provide. Were they tested? Yes, some even for years and years. They struggled, but at the core they trusted that God would provide. They didn’t lose their house or their car (out of work for 5 years and didn’t lose their house – a true miracle). Would I say every moment was rosy during those times? Now both families have jobs again and still have their homes. They kept their focus when it was truly a challenge to do so. No one had much hope to give outside of trusting God, and He came through.

We need to keep our focus on the Lord. He can and will provide for us and supply our every need. (As I write this I’m praying that I never have to go through what they went through – I am blessed by their strength). His timing may not be our timing, but He will provide.

His clothing

What is God clothing us with? Robes of righteousness given to us by the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to take away our sin. We are wearing the team uniform. We represent the one who sent us. We represent each other too. As we are clothed with His righteousness, provided for as we keep our focus on Him, we grow. We grow, not because of anything we’re doing (just like those trees), but because of what the Lord is doing in us. Like coffee stunts growth (is that true?), so does a lack of faith. Trusting when others feel there is no reason, and seeing the Lord come through certainly creates growth. Growth isn’t always in our lives, but it may also be in those who are watching our stories unfold. Growth isn’t always comfortable (in fact it rarely is), but it is necessary, because without growth, we are dead; dead to sin, faithless, lifeless.

 

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Luke, My God is clothing you

 

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My God is…feeding Luke 12:23-25

Luke 12:23-25 – For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not girl-hand-on-stomachsow 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 your life?

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

I don’t know about you, but I like my food and my clothes. I am not happy when I don’t have the right food or the right clothes. How many of us are working to put food on the table and clothes on our children’s backs. We feel it is our responsibility as parents and spouses to provide and contribute to our households. And it is, but sometimes that desire to provide moves our focus onto money, things and food and off of the most important thing in our lives…Jesus Christ.

We worry.

The devil not only wants us to put our trust in money, position and food, but he will be satisfied to make us worry about them. To try to get us not to trust God for all our needs. The devil wants us to doubt that the Lord will actually provide actual money when we need it. He wants us to think that we can’t trust the Lord with our bills, bodies or our clothing.

Provided for

Many times throughout my life, my parents, who are very faithful followers of the Lord have found themselves in situations where we didn’t know how we were going to pay for things. The Lord gave my mother amazing shopping skills, a keen perception for finding ways to make money stretch, but even those gifts were not always enough. Sometimes there just wasn’t any money for what we needed. But then there would be. The one time I remember most clearly (though I’m quite sure I have vague memories of more) was when we were feeling particularly in a bind, because of this bill or that and in the mail we received a check from a company my mom had worked for a year or more before. She had no idea that there was any money out there, but the Lord provided it the moment we needed it.

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.

This part of the verse is very interesting to me. And truth be told this may get some of your backs up. I think we often do too much. Maybe this is wishful thinking from a slightly lazy woman. I think sometimes the Lord would prefer that we spent our days focused on Him and less focused on work, cleaning our cars or our house, or even paying the bills. I know those things in themselves are not bad things, but I believe that the Lord can provide for us even when we aren’t doing “enough” to get by in life. I know that this year my husband and I have reduced our income by over $10,000. But by the grace of God, we have barely noticed (at least beyond the first few months). We have been blessed by support of our family and friends, not always monetarily (though my parent’s are very generous with their help), but with their time and talents as well. God may not always provide in the way we want or the way we expect, but we have what we need if we allow the Lord to reveal it to us.

Are you content with what the Lord provides? 

Sometimes it is more about being content with what He provides than whether or not He provided. When we lived in St. Louis, I thought to myself, maybe I should join a gym, then I’m sure I would be motivated to work out. We didn’t have the money for a gym membership (especially when my enthusiasm waxes and wains so). I began to think about how the Lord provides for my every need. I thought to myself, what am I missing. God wants me to be fit, I believe. So how has he provided what I need. At the time we lived on the back of a large park with wonderful walking trails. In our apartment complex there was a small gym (yep – already had one at my disposal). In my own home there were two flights of stairs, numerous workout tapes and plenty of opportunity to work out. I didn’t like those options as much as going to a shiny gym with lots of classes, but truth was, I had everything I needed within walking distance of my couch (which is where I had spent most of my time).

How much more valuable you are than birds!

You are the Lord’s greatest possession. He loves you so much. 1 Peter 2:8-10 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” He loved us so much He sent His son to die for us that we might live eternally with Him in Heaven. If He has such amazing plans for you in Heaven, why would he want you to be unprovided for here on earth? He doesn’t.

He has provided all you need. 

Outside of our physical needs, God has provided all we need for eternity. He has provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him. He has given His life so we may be forgiven. Our past is forgotten, and only our future with the Lord is in effect. We have hope, peace and a future. When we believe that Jesus, Son of God, died and rose again to save us from our sins, we have all we need. Our future is secure.

Do you have what you need?

 

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My God is…A Gift Giver Luke 11:11-13

Luke 11:11-13 Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

My Cousin is a great gift giver!

My cousin Rob is one of the best gift givers I know. I’ve been given a lot of great gifts in my day, but some of my most memorable came from my cousin Rob. We didn’t even exchange presents with him very often, but he sure did make the most of each opportunity. Rob puts a lot of thought and creativity into his gifts. My favorite? When I was in high school, I received a birthday (or was it graduation) card in the mail from Rob. Inside? A blank check. What???? That’s right, a blank check. Unless you’ve received a blank check from someone, you may not know the conflict this brings with it. On the one hand it showed that he valued me, a lot. That was extremely meaningful. Then I had to decide what amount to put on the check. How much did I value me? I’ll leave you to guess how much I put on there.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?

Suppose your dad is dishing out ice cream, and he offers you chocolate or vanilla. You ask for vanilla, and he gives you vanilla. He doesn’t give you chocolate or strawberry. He gives you what you requested. Most parents really want to give kids what they want. God is no different.

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

The Holy Spirit is the ultimate gift. Like the blank check that my cousin gave me, God giving me His Holy Spirit shows me how much He values me. He’s given me His Holy Spirit, through whom I am given even more gifts, like faith. If God values me enough to give me His Holy Spirit, now I’m faced with a dilemma. How much do I value myself. Do I value myself enough to ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that I want?

In 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11, we’re shown a look at some of the gifts of the Spirit.  “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

If we ask for the Holy Spirit, God promises to give it to us.

Have you asked for the Holy Spirit? In our verse from Luke 11, God promises to give it to all who ask for it. Maybe you were given the Holy Spirit in your Baptism, maybe you were given the Holy Spirit through the Word of God in scriptures, or maybe the Lord came when you asked. Some might say if you can ask you already had the Holy Spirit. And that might be true too, but we can be sure from this scripture that if you do ask, he won’t refuse you.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Luke, My God is a Gift Giver

 

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God is a Miracle Worker Luke 7:20-23

Luke 7:20-23 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

God is a Miracle Worker!

This is good news for me today. As I face many battles ahead, challenges that currently seem insurmountable, I am reminded of all that God can do. He can heal, restore, change and save. These are all the things I need Him to do in my life today.

Living Miracles

Imagine receiving site after being blind from birth. When I first got glasses, I was amazed at the details I could now see. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for one who is cured of blindness. I pray I soon will though. I want to be cured of the blindness of seeing who God sees me to be. He knows that though I am weak and frail, He, who is perfect and strong, can work through me so that others may know Him more fully.

Facing addictions

As I face my addiction to food, I’m coming to realize the true problem with addictions is that they get in the way of upholding the two main commandments God gives to us. To love Him above all else and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I need to get the focus off myself and my wants and needs in the moment, and focus on what the Lord is calling me to do. He wants me to be freed to be used by Him in the lives of others. That I might be blessed by being in service to others. May the Lord help me to think of Him more and me and my food a bit less.

When do we need miracles?

Do those who have their life together need a miracle? I don’t know, but I think it is true that the broken, those in pain, those struggling and weak need a miracle. I need a miracle. So who is blessed most? Those who have their life together but never get to experience a miracle, or those who struggle in this world, but are changed and  healed by the love of God. Those who experience a miracle after going through the worst time of their lives may be the most blessed people of all. How can they walk away unchanged? Can they help but share the love they have experienced in the miracle?

Do you need a miracle? Do you believe they can happen? Have you experienced a miracle?

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in God is a Miracle Worker, Luke

 

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