Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

If, then, following Jesus is the more demanding command, why order the rich man sell and give? Because this was the concrete incarnate way this particular man was to follow Jesus; it was his particular cross. Paul says of the meaning of the Cross: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich”(II Cor. 8:9) Isn’t that what he asked of this man? Isn’t that what he asks of us, each in our own way? And since comparative material wellbeing is the lot of most of us, will not our cross of sacrificial love involve, in part, sacrificial giving to the poor as well?

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Praying Grace for Others – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Praying Grace for Others – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

When I pray these short prayers…I find that the wellbeing of every person becomes important to me. I find I treat each person I meet better–less as a “thing” or a “tool” for my benefit, and more as a real person to love and to cherish…Perhaps this practice may seem artificial to you. I would suggest it is not…If we pray for someone when we meet them and as we leave them, everything in between will be bathed in our love and, we can be sure, God’s grace. What could be better?

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A Faith that Saves – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

A Faith that Saves – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Jesus says that it is this faith which made him well. The word used here comes from the word sozo, which can also mean ‘to save’. There can be no doubt that this is what is implied here, for he had already been healed. The physical healing he received from Jesus was an immense grace and a foretaste of the complete wholeness and salvation Jesus came to bring him and the other lepers. But it was only a foretaste. Only through faith—a constant living into that healing through obedience, trust and gratitude expressed in worship—could he be made completely well, could he be saved.

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All for One – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

All for One – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

At the heart of the gospel is the great affirmation that “we are members of the body of Christ and individually members one of another”. That is, as the Three Musketeers would say, it is “All for one and one for all”. This is how we are to live and this is how we are to serve. The fact that we all let each other down in this, sometimes severely, does not change this fact at all. That is why the foundational ideals of the church are love, loyalty, and mutual service but the practical virtues that express this are patience, forbearance, and forgiveness.

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Extravagant Mercy – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Extravagant Mercy – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The message is clear: we can either be driven by our devotion to mammon—that is acquiring, storing up material possessions, which will ultimately fail—or we can store for ourselves treasures that do not fail in “the eternal habitations” by giving freely giving of our possessions to those in desperate need for mercy. In neither case are the possessions ever really ours. They are entrusted to our care and our stewardship them is a mark of our faithfulness to the Master and our trust in his mercy.

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Running The Race – Studies in 2 Timothy

Running The Race – Studies in 2 Timothy

Just this past weekend the Catholic Church canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta…Her ministry was the ministry of little things…many little acts of love performed especially for the poorest of the poor for love of them and Jesus. No one doubts she ran her race with perseverance right through the finish line….All of us are called to this little way of love and service no matter what else we may be asked to do. A hundred times a day we have the opportunity to give a smile, to lend a hand, to praise, to thank, to visit, to help. Often we have the opportunity to say a good word about Jesus. And we have these opportunities to the very end.

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Bearing Christ’s Burden – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Bearing Christ’s Burden – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…in this, of course, we begin to see echoes of the cross where, in fact, the one who was the Good Shepherd bore on his shoulders every sin by which his flock had been lost and isolated from him, so that they might be restored to him. But if we do not also see our own stake in the care for the rest of the flock—especially those that are loss—and our own call to bear that burden with him, then we have missed the point of the parable entirely. This parable is not just about God’s love for sinners and the lost, but also about our call to care for, love, seek out and even bear the burden of helping those who are lost be restored the community for which they were made: they community that is founded and fed on the love and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Like a Rock in a Torrent – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Like a Rock in a Torrent – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

“Certainly the pressures upon us to conform are colossal, not only from the direct challenge to traditional beliefs and morals, but also – and more – from the insidious and pervasive atmosphere of secularism which even seeps into the church. Many give in, often without realizing what they are doing. But again and again the word of God addresses us, calling us not to be moved. We are not to be like a ‘reed shaken by the wind’, feebly bowing down before it from whatever direction it may blow. Rather, like a rock in a mountain torrent, we are to stand firm.” John Stott, II Timothy, p. 92)

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No Greater Love – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

No Greater Love – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

It is only by loving God above all things and all people that we can not only be opened to His love, but also formed by it, and so become more perfect instruments of that same love to the people in our lives and around us. Sometimes this will mean sometimes loving them in ways that are challenging and difficult to understand, but it is always rooted in the sure hope and confidence that God’s love for them is infinitely greater than our own. For he is the one who is Love, and his is the love of the cross.

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Confidence in Distressing Times – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Confidence in Distressing Times – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

We need to know…that until Christ’s return there will be distressing times when the forces of evil rage most furiously or seduce most deceptively and we are going to be caught right in the middle of them…We may not wish them, but we are ready for them.

“’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” (J.R.R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring)

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