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Woe to you lawyers!

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With my favorite lawyer -- my brother, Dennis -- at our parents' graves.                                                                   Scripture: Luke 11:45   One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” 46 And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. 48 So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against th

They Thought They Were Doing the Right Thing

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Scripture: Luke 11:42   “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.” Observation: The emphasis for Jesus was always on the way in which people lived their lives. They were to reflect God’s love to the world around them. The Pharisee had invited Jesus to his home but Jesus had not practiced the ritual hand-washing. The Pharisee was offended, and Jesus knew it. Going on, Jesus spoke three woes to the Pharisees. The rituals and rules had become more important to them than living out the character of God among the people. While the people were admonished to tithe, they were tithing certain items did not need to be t

Show that Your Heart is Cleansed

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How would you caption this? Scripture: Luke 11:37   While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. 38 The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you. Observation: Luke had just finished Jesus’ preaching regarding the person filled with light. Probably because he wanted to look important, a Pharisee invitee Jesus home to dine with him. This meal was the mid-morning meal eaten after morning prayers. Jesus knew that he was being used for entertainment by this man. It was customary for very religious Jews to follow practices of ritual cleansing prior to eating, and also, sometimes throughout t

Filled with Light?

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Scripture: Luke 11:33   “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.” Observation: While this little passage may seem out of place, it really is not. Jesus is challenging the spiritual condition of those who call themselves God’s people. This has to do with the willful reception of God’s light into every aspect of the person’s life.   In the first century they didn’t understand how the eye functioned, as we do today. They believed that the light came out of the eyes, not into the eyes, and that what came out, reflected what was inside the person. There

What Kind of a Sign Would Make You Happy?

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Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury.  Scripture: Luke 11:29   When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 32 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! Observation: The people kept asking for different signs from Jesus. They didn’t want to see that his work was revealing the character of God. Love, forgiveness and physical healing were all works of a heavenly Father who wants his children to

A Beatitude for New Creation

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A beautiful spring day in Upstate, NY. Enjoying the new creation of the season. Scripture: Luke 11:27   While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” Observation: Luke includes the stories and feelings of women more than any other gospel writer. Here he refers to a woman in the crowd who has watched Jesus at work. Her response was beautiful, for as a woman she imagined what it must have been like to be the mother of this incredible young man. She envied Jesus’ mother.   Jesus’ response helps us see the conventional boundaries which he was bringing down. He didn’t disavow the feelings of this woman who believed that Mary was blessed to have given birth to Jesus. At the same time, his response let her know that it was more important for his mother to accept who he truly was by faith, and not just rejoice

What’s In Your Heart?

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A woman sweeping the sidewalks in Armenia. Scripture: Luke 11:24   “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Observation: Jesus had just exorcised a demon out of a man, but he realized that the people needed to learn more from this experience. To become a disciple was not just to walk away from a past, but to be filled with a new future. One could not just have the unclean spirit leave the person, but the person needed to have a new love or affection in their life. This great love of God so fills the life that there is no room for sin.   The problem comes when an individual has the demons swept from their life, but Christ