Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Luke 12:1-3; yeast

Jesus must have been amazing. He went straight from the house of a Pharisee filled with Pharisees and experts in the law to speaking in front of thousands. Though the crowds could not have been more different, the message was the same to both . . . only in one case it had a little more bite to it.

The yeast of the Pharisees was his concern. Yeast looks insignificant. Its a little thing that fits in a spoon or packet today. Sprinkled into dough, the entire nature of the dough is altered. It radically grows inside its host to change it forever.

Hypocrisy might seem insignificant but growing in the heart, one's entire nature is changed forever. Jesus' words of warning call me to look for the spoonful of yeast before the rest of me is affected. It maybe tedious work but the results are of eternal significance.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lamp; Luke 11:33-36

Your eye is the lamp of your body. What a concept. We know it to be true but often try to ignore it. When the movie is not good for me, I pretend its not true. When the article is filling my head with inferior thoughts, I pretend its not true. When the item on sale is filling my heart with selfish feelings, I pretend its not true.

What would life be like if all of us truly took care of our eyes? How much brighter would Christianity shine in a selfish, cruel and immoral world?

Today, my goal will be to filter out that which is not light. To let me gaze linger only upon that which is positive, uplifting and good. Today, only light.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Luke 11:24-26; final condition

Jesus had just talked about a house protected by a strong man and that it was secure. Then this paragraph takes up the opposite theme. What a about a house that is unprotected? What about a heart that is not watched? What happens to a person's soul if the person is not vigilant?

Life often seems to be a problem market, i.e., we exchange one situation with its set of problems for another. The issue in this case is that the second or last set of problems is by far worse than the first. What a shame to go to the trouble of cleaning the heart only to have a worse condition in the end.

It makes me wonder how protective am I of my heart? After working to clean out bad habits and sinful conditions, have I occupied the heart and cared for it in such a way that it is protected? Does Satan look at my heart as occupied by a strong man or empty? Truly, good is not the absence of evil; good is proactive but an evil condition is the absence of good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two sides; Luke 11:23

When accused of driving out demons by the power of Satan, Jesus responded bluntly. In the process, he narrowed down the focus of the spiritual activity to "for me or against me." Just two sides.

We often think of being a Christian as simply not being evil. Jesus, however, did not leave it at that. He clarified that his side is in the process of gathering. Like Jesus, his disciples bring people into the kingdom of God. They draw people closer to Jesus and not just passively. This is an active spiritual work.

So do my actions demonstrate that I am a gatherer to God? Or do I believe the delusion that good is the absence of evil?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Prayer; Luke 11:1-13

They asked for a lesson in prayer. As is typical for Jesus, he responded in ways they probably never expected.

First he prays very simply and straightforward. No fluff or beauty here, just clear communication.

Then he puts a line in the middle of the prayer that placed responsibility back on us. "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us." I would have preferred just "forgive us our sins". The second part of the sentence clearly places responsibility on me for my own actions.

At the end of it all he concludes with giving the Holy Spirit to those who petition. My initial reaction is "where did that come from?" Yet perhaps it is not an "add on" at the end but rather the central theme all along.

Prayer, true heart level prayer, is about a relationship. It is about connecting my spirit with the Spirit of God. It is intertwined with my daily life and actions (forgiveness). But above all, it is the goal of piety and prayer.