All posts by JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 16/260: Read Luke 16

“What’s in a name?” There is value in a name. We are identified by our name, and we want people to think good things when they hear our name.

What was the name of the rich man in Luke 16? That information is lost to history. He was important in this world while he lived, as he “was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.” But in death, Jesus did not deem it important to tell us the rich man’s name.

What about the beggar? Jesus wasn’t shy about naming him. Lazarus desired to eat the rich man’s scraps, whatever was left over after the rich man was full. He received evil things while living, but upon his death, Lazarus “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.”

The rich man will be tormented forever, but Lazarus will be comforted. The rich man’s name no longer matters, but Lazarus stands as a testimony of what awaits the faithful who endure the hardships of humanity.

Do not place your hope in the riches of life. One day those things will be no more, but your soul lasts forever. One day you will be either tormented or comforted. What you do now affects where you spend eternity.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Pray

Pray that you may not be deceived by the temporary riches of life. Pray that you may be given opportunity to lay treasures up in heaven.

Comfort from God (Isaiah 40:1-11)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

Comfort from God (Isaiah 40:1-11)

  • 40:1-2 – Assurance of pardon
    • “Comfort, yes, comfort My people”
    • Comfort in the New Testament (Matthew 5:4; Romans 15:4-5; 1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:18)
    • Comfort through companionship with God (1 John 1:6-7; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
    • Outline for remainder of Isaiah
      • Isaiah 40-48 – “her warfare is ended”
      • Isaiah 49-57 – “her iniquity is pardoned”
      • Isaiah 58-66 – “she hath received…double for all her sins”
  • 40:3-5 – Preparation for the Lord
    • Common practice for ancient Near East rulers
    • Prophecy of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23)
    • Preparation through repentance (Luke 3:3, 10-14; Matthew 25:31-45; James 2:14-17; Luke 19:8; Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 6:5-9)
  • 40:6-8 – The endurance of God’s Word
    • Brevity of life (James 1:9-11; cf. Matthew 6:19-21)
    • Man’s inability to save himself (1 Peter 1:22-25)
  • 40:9-11 – Shout the good news
    • The message goes forth out of Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3; Acts 1:8; Acts 8:1,4)
    • The Messiah is God’s “arm” (Isaiah 51:4-5; 52:7-10; 53:1; Luke 1:51)
    • The Good Shepherd (John 10:14)
    • Characterized by strength and tenderness (Matthew 11:29)

Discussion Questions

1. Why is it important to proclaim comfort to the people of God?

2. What is meant by the phrase, “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God”? What obstacles are hindering your heart from fully living for God?

3. How frail is human life? Why is it important to note this when discussing spiritual matters?

4. What are the good tidings brought by Zion and Jerusalem?

5. How is the symbol of a shepherd appropriate for Christ as it relates to God’s children?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 15/260: Read Luke 15

How should we respond to one who repents? With doubt? With suspicion? With bitterness? No! Such attitudes are shameful when someone comes to the truth and expresses a desire to live as God commands.

Jesus tells three parables here about sinners. In the first, He tells us “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” In the second, He says “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In the third parable, however, we see the improper attitude in the prodigal son’s older brother. He heard the music and discovered the occasion was the prodigal’s return home. “But he was angry and would not go in.” He was upset that his father was rejoicing because the prodigal had “devoured your livelihood with harlots.” The elder son believed he had been slighted, but the father corrected him.

“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”

We are so blessed when we are in Christ! Shouldn’t we be excited to share those blessings with the penitent?

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Luke 12:15, And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Pray

Pray for your erring brethren, that they may repent, and for a proper attitude toward them when those prayers are answered!

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 14/260: Read Luke 14

In a moving sermon about the frailty of life, brother Don Blackwell quoted Don McWhorter, who wrote, “Woe to the man or woman whose life on this earth is so pleasant that he forgets about heaven.”

We find it far too easy to give excuses instead of doing what God asks. Time and again we are distracted by the affairs of this life: property, possessions, and people. When we ask the Lord to take a backseat to the matters of this world, whether they are pleasant or not, we have lost sight of heaven.

There are many in this world that are starving for spiritual matters. Those who recognize their spiritual condition, “the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind,” they will feast on God’s blessings whenever the opportunity is presented.

On the other hand, there are people who are so rich with material things they do not realize their need for God. They are like the church in Laodicea, unaware that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

Have you taken God’s blessings for granted? Have you neglected His Word because you of the distractions of this life? Repent and refocus your eyes on Jesus. “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Luke 12:15, And He said to them, “Take heed and ________ of covetousness, for one’s ____________ does not consist in the ____________________ of the things he possesses.”

Pray

Pray for a stronger faith that will help you to look beyond the temporary things of this world to the eternal blessings of God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 13/260: Read Luke 13

There will come a day that the opportunity for salvation has passed. If you are reading these words, that opportunity is still available. We should do all we can in this life to obey the words of Jesus: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” Once we pass from this life, then “the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door.”

Jesus shows two potential destinies after that door is closed: one may be inside the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets, or one may find himself outside the door weeping and gnashing his teeth. It is entirely up to you where you will spend time without end, but that decision must be made before you reach eternity.

Notice that it is not enough to simply be in the presence of the Lord, or to hear His teachings. Jesus calls these folks “workers of iniquity.” They were doing things contrary to the teachings they had heard. One must actively live in such a way that glorifies the Father, putting His teachings into action.

Take a moment to evaluate your life. Are you just going through the motions, or are you actually living the Christian life? If your life ended right now, would you be weeping and gnashing your teeth, or would you be forever in the kingdom of God?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Luke 12:15, And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of ____________________, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the ____________________ he possesses.”

Pray

Pray that God will give you opportunities to shine your light for Him today, that you can encourage others to live for Him.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 12/260: Read Luke 12

How many warnings can be found in the New Testament about the dangers of covetousness? To covet is to want a thing so badly that you are consumed by that desire.

The apostle Paul exhorted the church at Colosse to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). When we elevate something to a place of inordinate desire and make it more important than God, that becomes our idol. It may be something expensive like our car or our house, or it could be something relatively inexpensive like a particular brand of clothing, cell phone, or collectible. The object itself is not necessarily sinful, but the act of coveting the thing is sin.

Jesus says that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” You may have seen the bumper sticker, “The one with the most toys wins.” Sadly, there are many Christians who live that bumper sticker rather than the words of our Lord.

Where are your priorities? Are you being a good steward with God’s blessings?

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Luke 12:15, And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Pray

Pray for the strength to resist covetousness in this overly materialistic world, recognizing that God’s blessings should be used for His glory rather than feeding our appetites.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 11/260: Read Luke 11

How impressive was Solomon’s wisdom? Jesus said that the queen of Sheba “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.”

She was floored by what she heard and told the king, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard” (1 Kings 10:6-7).

How much more impressive is Jesus’ wisdom? And yet, how often do we disregard His counsel? If an important leader was willing to travel many miles to hear Solomon, how much more willing should we be to go to great lengths to learn and apply the teachings of the Lord?

Throughout the New Testament, we learn how Jesus is superior to all those who came before Him. Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Elijah all had weaknesses, but Jesus is the perfect, sinless Son of God. There is no weakness in Christ, only strength. We should turn to Him and learn from Him above all others who came before or since.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Luke 12:15, And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Pray

Pray for wisdom and for strength in learning from Christ’s wisdom. Pray that you may always rely on God’s Word as the final word on any subject.

The Highway of Holiness (Isaiah 35:1-10)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

The Highway of Holiness (Isaiah 35:1-10)

  • 35:1-2 – Transformation of the wilderness
    • Contrast with the destruction of Isaiah 34
    • Nature rejoices with man at repentance
  • 35:3-4 – Encouragement for the weak
    • Everyone needs encouragement at times (Luke 22:32; Romans 15:1-2; Gal. 6:1-2; Acts 14:21-22)
    • Paraphrased in Hebrews 12:12-13
    • “Do not be afraid!” (Genesis 15:1; Exodus 14:13; Deuteronomy 20:1-3; Joshua 1:9; 2 Kings 1:15; Nehemiah 4:14; etc.)
    • New Testament encouragement (Philippians 4:6; 2 Timothy 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9)
  • 35:5-7 – Physical and spiritual healing
    • Jesus’ answer to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:3-5)
    • Spiritual application (Revelation 22:17)
  • 35:8-10 – The Highway of Holiness
    • The way is narrow and difficult (Matthew 7:13-14)
    • Jesus is the ONLY way (John 14:6)
    • “The Way” is the church (Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22; cf. Acts 16:17, 18:25-26)
    • “Fool” refers to one who is evil, not just uneducated (Proverbs 1:7; 24:7; 10:8,10; 14:3; 12:15; 15:5; 20:3; 27:22; 29:9; Isaiah 19:11; Jeremiah 4:22; Hosea 9:7; Micah 2:11)
    • The redeemed and the ransomed obtain “joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Acts 2:41,46; 8:8,39; 16:34)

Discussion Questions

1. What are some of the contrasts laid out in this chapter?

2. Why is encouragement of the weak needed?

3. What connotation does the word “fool” bring with it in the Old Testament?

4. Since “no lion…nor…ravenous beast” will be on the Highway of Holiness, does that mean the Christian will not face difficulty in life?

5. Who will experience the “joy and gladness” of verse 10?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 10/260: Read Luke 10

The young man, well-versed in the Scriptures, summed up the requirements of the Law in two ways: (1) love for God, and (2) love for your neighbor. Not quite satisfied, he asked Jesus one more question: “Who is my neighbor?”

How would you summarize the Lord’s answer to this man? Your neighbor is not just the person who lives next door, or your friend on your street. Your neighbor is not just the fellow who sits in front of you while you worship. Your neighbor is not just the man who looks like you, talks like you, and dresses like you.

Your neighbor is every man. Regardless of your personal relationship. Regardless of how he treats you. What is this parable usually called? “The Good Samaritan.” The Jews viewed Samaritans as dogs, less than people.

Yet, this Samaritan helped a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, who never would have considered helping him if the roles were reversed. Jesus says they were neighbors.

How have you treated your neighbors at school or at work? How have you treated those who have mistreated you? How should you treat them?

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Luke 6:45. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and en evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Pray

Pray for opportunities to be a good neighbor to someone who has treated you poorly. Pray that the love of Christ might shine through your actions so that He is seen and glorified.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 9/260: Read Luke 9

The heroes of faith in Scripture are many, but three stand out above the rest. Moses, through whom the Old Law was given to Israel; Elijah, representative of the divine prophecies; and Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. How blessed were Peter, James, and John to witness all three at the mount of transfiguration!

Peter made the suggestion that tabernacles should be erected to honor these three, putting all on equal footing. No doubt, Peter meant well, but good intentions don’t always result in right actions.

God said, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Moses and Elijah were suddenly gone; only Jesus remained.

We live under a new covenant, a better covenant than the Jews. We are no longer burdened by “the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us” (Colossians 2:14). Jesus nailed that old covenant that Moses delivered to the cross. We now answer to Him, and Him alone.

Do not turn to the Old Testament to justify your practices. The Mosaic Law is no longer in effect. Yet, we do still have a law—under law toward Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21)! It is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25)!

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Luke 6:45. “A good man out of the good ______________ of his ______________ brings forth good; and en evil man out of the evil ______________ of his ______________ brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his ______________ speaks.”

Pray

Pray for wisdom to seek God’s will through the covenant we have in Christ, rather than the Old Law.