Category Archives: Luke

Just believe

Luke 8:50

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”  NIV

Of course Jairus was worried!  Verse 42 says, “his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.” NIV

Jairus has come to Jesus, thrown himself at the Master’s feet, and begged for help.  As Jesus is on his way to the man’s house, they are met by a member of his household, who tells them that the girl is dead.

It is at that point that Jesus tells Jairus not to be afraid.  He says, “just believe, and she will be healed.”

Just believe.

The rest of the story is a true miracle … Jesus raises the child … it is also complex for those of us reading it in 2010 who have experienced the loss of loved ones.

Why wasn’t our loved one saved?

I don’t have an answer to that question, except for this — as my friend lay dying, she had given up an internal organ, her ability to speak or to breathe on her own and her mobility.  But, she never forsook her Savior.  When she died, she passed into heaven and it is there that she was truly healed.  No more pain, no more suffering – perfect communion with God our Father.

Over the last year, I’ve grown to see the wisdom in the first part of what Jesus tells Jairus … “Just believe.”

Things will not make sense in this world — they can’t — we don’t have the full picture.

God has a plan, His word is true.  And, while my individual circumstances or those of people I love dearly might become quite uncomfortable, even to the point of death, it doesn’t change the basic facts:

  • God made the earth and everything in it.
  • He made me, He sent his son to die for me and He has a plan for my life.
  • His plans for others may or may not meet with my approval, but they don’t have to.
  • I am not in charge.

My job is to just believe.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Let me know how I can help!

Luke 5: 10b

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men.” NIV

This is a wonderful story.  In my NIV Bible, it is titled, “The Calling of the First Disciples.”

Jesus already has begun to teach.  On this day, he finds himself at the water’s edge, with people crowding around him to hear what he has to say.

He sees two boats that have been left there by the fishermen, and he gets into one of them, which, it turns out belongs to Simon.  He asks Simon to put out a little from the shore and then he teaches for a while from the boat.

When he’s done speaking, he asks Simon to take the boat to deeper water and let down the nets.  Simon answers him in verse 9, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But, because you say so, I will let down the nets.” NIV

Because you say so.

And, here’s the miracle.  When they pull up the nets, they are so full of fish that they begin to tear.  Simon has to signal his friends from the second boat to come and help, and, verse 7 says that the catch filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

I have a dear friend who runs a very successful business.  I had the privilege of visiting with her this week.  In the midst of the conversation, she paused and told me a little of her story.

She said that early on, she prayed and prayed, “God, help me be successful, help me build my business.”  While things moved forward, it was not at the rate she would have wanted.  Then, she said, she realized that she was putting herself in the center.  She changed her focus.  Her prayer basically became, “God, use this business to do whatever it is that you need done and let me know how I can help.”  That’s when things really took off.

We all want to be successful.  Simon wanted to be successful.  But, on his own, it wasn’t happening.

But, look what happened when he did as he was instructed.

In the rest of the story, Simon becomes overwhelmed with the holiness of Christ.  James and John, his fishing buddies, also were astonished.

Then Jesus says to him, “don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men.”

Do as I say … Don’t be afraid … I’ve got plans for you.

Let me know how I can help!

That’s my prayer today.


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He’s coming back

Luke 2: 9-11

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” NIV

As I continue to work my way through the listings of the word, “fear” in my King James concordance, looking for synonyms for worry, I have come to this passage, which is one of my very favorites.

Each year, on Christmas Eve when we were little, and, even now on Christmases when are blessed to be together, my family would gather beside the lighted Christmas tree just before bedtime, and my father would read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Each time he reads it, I feel the fear and the wonder that the shepherds must have felt at the arrival of the angel.  And, each year, I experience again the thrill of the good news that shall be for all people — Christ was born.

As I’ve walked this path over the last seven months or so, looking for reminders not to worry, this simple fact is the biggest reason of all.  Christ came … and He is coming again.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Choose wisely

Luke 1: 37

“For nothing is impossible with God.” NIV

These are the last words that the angel, Gabriel, spoke to Mary before leaving her, after telling her that she would be the mother of Christ.

Nothing is impossible.

That’s a real reminder not to worry.

God can accomplish absolutely anything He wants.  He conceived it all, He designed it all, He built it all, and He has ultimate dominion over it … all of it.

As a human being, I have the choice to either acknowledge that, or not.

I can give my whole heart to Him and work to serve Him and others to the best of my ability, or, I can go about my appointed days here gaining things for myself and experiencing things selfishly.

But, why would I or anyone choose to live a life apart from God?

With Him, all things are possible … nothing is impossible with God.  Presumably, the opposite is also true.

I choose Him.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Do your part

Luke 1: 28-30

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.”  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God.” NIV

It’s been about six months since Gabriel visited Zechariah to tell him that he and his wife will be the parents to John the Baptist, and now he is with Mary, giving her the great news that she will be the mother of Jesus.

Mary is understandably frightened by both his appearance and his words.  The Message translates verse 30, “Mary, you have nothing to fear.  God has a surprise for you.” MSG

And, what a surprise!  What a gift!

God has an amazing plan, and Mary has been chosen to play a pivotal role in it.

Whether our roles are large, like Mary’s, or very small, we are all called to play a part in achieving God’s will.  We don’t have to worry about the end game, God has that all figured out.  We just need to fulfill our part with grace and steadfastness … Mary provides a great example of that.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Your prayer has been heard

Luke 1: 13-14

But the angel said to him:  “Do not be afraid, Zechariah: your prayer has been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.  He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.” NIV

Zechariah is a priest.  He and his wife, Elizabeth, are both well along in years.  They have presumably been married for quite some time, yet they have no children.  They are both direct descendants of Aaron, whose family was charged with being the priests for the people.  On this particular day, Zechariah has been chosen.  The Message says in verse 9, “It came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense.” MSG

His one turn.  Apparently, he would go in once, and then no more.  And, it looks like the choice of who goes on which day is random.  The NIV translates verse 9, “he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood.” NIV

So, he enters the sanctuary, for what will be his one and only time, chosen, he thinks randomly, to perform an important ritual, and there, he is met by the angel, Gabriel.  Verse 12 says, “When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.” NIV

So, when Gabriel says in verse 13, “do not be afraid,” he is likely not talking about worry, but more trying to calm poor Zechariah’s nerves. However, he immediately adds the reminder that this verse contains, “your prayer has been heard.”

I think that this story is interesting on many levels.

Zechariah has worries.  He has no children.  No heir to continue his branch of the lineage of Aaron … and now, Gabriel appears and tells him that they are to have a son.

Yet, Zechariah doubts the angel.  “How can I be sure of this?” he asks in verse 18, “I am an old man,” and, just to make his point, he adds that Elizabeth is pretty old, too.

Gabriel basically tells him God sent Gabriel to deliver this message and that since Zechariah doesn’t trust God’s messenger, he will be struck mute until the baby comes.

So, Zechariah goes home, literally speechless, and Elizabeth, as predicted, gets pregnant.  In verse 25 she says, “The Lord has done this for me … in these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” NIV

Elizabeth has been terribly worried.  Her lack of ability to bear a child for Zechariah has caused her shame in her culture.

In response to this worry and shame, she and her husband have done what we are all called to do.  They have taken their worries to God in prayer.  Zechariah and Elizabeth have likely been begging God for a child for many years.

“Your prayer has been heard.”

I love that.  I love that God intervened to ensure that Zechariah would be chosen to enter the sanctuary.  I love that he sent Gabriel to announce John’s coming.  I love that John would be the one to proclaim Jesus’s arrival.  Everything lined up … in God’s perfect time.

My prayers are heard.  God does not ignore me.  His timing is perfect and, if my desires are in line with His will, ultimately, my prayers will be answered.

But, whether my prayers are answered such that the things that I so desperately want are provided to me, or whether they are answered, “no,” or “not now,” I needn’t worry, because my prayers are always, always heard.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Why worry about the rest?

Luke 12: 25 & 26

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why worry about the rest? NIV

Well, here I am at the half-way point in my project.  This is reminder 183.  I have already found 182, and I have 182 left to find.

As I look back over the last six months, I am nothing less than amazed.

At the beginning of 2010, my mother, my sister and I each independently came to the conclusion that this was a year that we would each need to trust God.  As we began this year, and even in February, when I began this project, none of us could really see what that meant.  Now, as Fall approaches, we are all trusting God for what comes next.

And, I’m a different person than I was when I began this project.  Gradually, I’m learning the lesson that Jesus so eloquently expresses here.  Worry isn’t helpful, it doesn’t change anything, and it just upsets and distracts me from what I need to be doing.

So, today, I am trusting God.

As my sister’s children start school today in a new place, I am trusting God that they will love their teachers and that they will find new friends quickly.  As I work to complete two projects for the clients of my new little business, I am trusting God that the work will be of value and that more clients and more work will come.  As my mom calls the doctor to take the next steps in learning about what is making her sick, I am trusting God that the specialist will be wise and caring and will immediately understand her problem, and will be able to provide answers and solutions.

Today, I am trusting God. Why worry about the rest?

That’s what I’ll think about today.


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A short reminder

Luke 23:43

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” NIV

I have a busy day ahead of me.  As I was driving home late last night, I planned this morning.  I briefly considered whether I would have time for my quiet time this morning.  When the alarm went off, as I was thanking God for the opportunities that today holds, I thought … “I need a short verse this morning God.”

With no time to go through two concordances, I went straight to Bible  As I perused the listings of the word, “worry,” in The Message, the length of this verse caught my eye.

And then when I read it … I was overwhelmed.

This is, indeed, a short verse and an obvious reminder not to worry.  The Message translates it, “He said, ‘Don’t worry.  I will.  Today you will join me in paradise.'”MSG

These are among the last words my savior spoke before dying on the cross.  “Don’t worry.” How powerful!

As he reassured the thief dying next to him of his future, so he reassures me.  There is nothing to fear.  Should this be my last day here, or whatever my last day will be, on that day, I will be with HIM in paradise.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


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Luke 12:22-24

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!”  NIV

I am so thankful that Luke wrote this down.  Matthew recorded it, too, but, I think it is significant that more than one disciple thought to write out this advice.  I, for one, can stand to hear it more than once.

When I looked at these verses in The Message translation this morning, I was surprised by what I found there in verse 24, “Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree  in the care of God.” MSG

Where I live, one’s job description is pretty important.  Everyone, it seems, defines themselves by what they get paid to do.  And yet, God sees me as more than my job description, I am His child and I am valuable to Him.  I will trust in Him and praise Him, and He will ensure that I am cared for.

I don’t need to worry — it isn’t in my job description.

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Luke 10:41-42

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” NIV

I love this story.  Mary and Martha are sisters.  Martha has opened her house to Jesus and his disciples.  As a good hostess, she has a ton of work to do.  Her sister, Mary, however, isn’t helping.  Instead, Mary is sitting at Jesus’s feet listening to what he’s saying.

Mary is living in the moment, and communing with her Lord and Savior.

Martha is busying herself with worldly distractions, and then, she get’s angry with her sister and goes to Jesus to complain.  In the verse just before this, Martha says, “don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me?  Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Message

The Lord’s reply is timeless … he lovingly tells her that she is wrong and that Mary has it right.

A good friend once told me that the Bible is a book of examples left for us to follow.  I want to follow Mary’s example … today and always.

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