Category Archives: Devotional

Why The HECK Should We Pray Anyways?

Let’s read through Luke 18 together.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” ‭‭Luke‬ 18:1

Always pray. Don’t give up praying. That is the meaning of the parable Jesus is about to tell us. We don’t even need to read it to find the meaning. It’s clear.

When we do read it we find the parable of the unjust judge who provides justice for the widow because she is a persistent (maybe even annoying) person. Jesus is saying to us, if that is what an unjust, powerful official does for their subjects, God will surely bring justice to his chosen ones. 

He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18: 2-8

A little while after this parable we come to the story of the rich young ruler. A man who would not give up his great wealth and follow Jesus to earn his salvation.

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Luke 18:18-26

I feel for the rich young ruler. Immediately after I read this I hesitated to pray, ‘Lord take my riches if that’s what it takes for me to be a true follower of you.’ Clearly – there is still room for sanctification to happen in my heart. But Jesus tells us, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27), so there’s hope for me yet.

In fact Jesus goes on to promise us that those who leave everything to follow him will get more than that in this age… and in the age to come. That means in this life and the next! What a promise!? It just takes some trust. 

2“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30

At the end of this chapter we see a little bit of a call back to the parable of the unjust judge. A blind man yells at Jesus as he is walking by and continues to call out to him despite others telling him to stop and to be quiet. The blind man is persistent. Jesus hears him. Asks him how he can help. And then gives him sight.

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35-43

Conclusion

Always pray. Don’t give up praying. Our just God will hear you. 

Why Do You Look For The Living Among The Dead?

The other day I was reading the last chapter in Luke and a verse struck me. It is a quote from one of the angels talking to the women looking for Jesus in the empty tomb.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5b

I think it’s a particular stunning verse, and in the context of the Luke’s narrative it is the turning point. Preceding this moment we have a close friend’s betrayal, unjust trials, torture, and the crucifixion of an innocent man. Let us sit in that for a second. Imagine yourself a witness to these moments:

A friend’s betrayal

Unfair, unorthodox, & unjust trials

Torture – flogging and mockery

Crucifixion, a humiliating and painful execution of state sponsered asphyxiation

Death of an innocent man

Then BAM! These ten words nearly jump off the page and bring a sudden stop to the terror.

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Jesus is alive!

Can you feel the power in this verse? Do you see how the whole world pivots from this moment? Can you put yourself in the shoes of the women that day? Can we have the humility to put ourselves under the same scrutiny?

Why do I look for life among the dead?

I have sought to find life and salvation in relationships with women. I have looked for pleasure in the grave of porn sites. I have fought and sought to be approved and impressive to others who themselves are seeking life in the cemeteries of this world.

Even now I search for comfort among the cushions of the couch instead of in the God of the universe. I search for appreciation and value for the deeds I do in my house, at work, and in my friend group instead of doing great things out of the confidence that God has already declared my value infinite. I search for happiness and joy within my life without going to the source of happiness and joy. I search for comfort, appreciation, approval, happiness, & joy in a world that has no idea how to acquire them while the Creator of these blessings offers them in abundance.

Why do I look for life among dead?

I do this because I have not convinced myself of the full goodness of God.

A Prayer

Father, please change my heart. Make me into a new being. Inspire me to be a man who seeks after You. Win my heart over. Convince me of Your love and goodness. You are so kind, so gracious, so loving. Help me believe that you are the source of life and not this world. I love you. Your will be done. Amen.

I know I’m not the only one. What about you?