BITE: Not a Call to Arms…

And He said to them, "When I sent you out with no purse or [provision] bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" They answered, "Nothing!" Then He said to them, "but now let him who has a purse take it, and also [his provision] bag; and let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy a sword.
 For I tell you that this Scripture must yet be fulfilled in Me: And He was counted and classed among the wicked (the outlaws, the criminals); for what is written about Me has its fulfillment [has reached its end and is finally settled]."
 And they said, Look, Lord! Here are two swords. And He said to them, "It is enough." Luke 22:35-38 [AMP]

I have had a wonderful time in thanksgiving these last several days with family and friends. We had a full house and broke bread together as we pondered all the Lord has done for and given us. I have had some quiet moments where I have sat down and opened God’s word but not necessarily time to document in Blog form. With being home with visiting family and time off from work, almost all of my free time has gone to them. However, I am coming back to something I read in Luke 22 that I spent a little time researching -> the passage above.

I know that there are many who regard this passage as Jesus endorsing the taking up of arms…however, after more careful reading, it is more a call to be ready for hard-ship and sacrifice to come -> Jesus’ statement is not to discourage trust in God’s provision but to alert the Twelve to the fact that a period of intense tribulation, introduced by ‘but now’, is underway. Jesus’ advice to buy a sword is not meant as a literal instruction for the disciples but as a general pointer of the strife to come. In short, the call to purchase a sword ‘is a call to be ready for hardship and self-sacrifice’.

When the disciples say “look here Lord, we have two swords”…<Ben’s Opinion>I think that Jesus is just trying to close off the conversation because His disciples have failed to grasp what it means for their Master to model the Suffering Servant which is His passion to give Himself up to be the ultimate sacrifice for all.</Ben’s Opinion>

Finally, I don’t see any issue with us defending our families, homes, and selves – I just want to stop short of seeing this passage as some sort of endorsement of building up a cache.

Some trust in and boast of chariots and some of horses, but we will trust in and boast of the name of the Lord our God.

Psalms 20:7 [AMP]

BITE: Servant Leadership…

..let him who is the greatest among you become like the youngest, and him who is the chief and leader like one who serves.  Luke 22:26 [AMP]

I have always considered myself a servant leader at work. This has become keenly apparent in the last 3 years where I have purposely over-indexed on this mentality. I ask a ton from my team, but I never ask them to do something I haven’t would not do myself.

In the context of my Christian walk I have more work to do here. The part of this verse that I am talking about is the first part – “let him who is the greatest among you become like the youngest”. Sometimes I find myself leaning too heavily on my age and experiences as vote of wisdom and care. However, wisdom on the act of service is powerful but I can find myself falling into a “I’ve paid my dues attitude” which gives a sense of entitlement. Jesus never operated this way. Today’s social norms of ‘seasoned wisdom’ is not always in alignment with obedience to Jesus. He calls us to be the least for the sake of the Kingdom; His Kingdom in which we are also heirs.

My countenance should always be to be humble and meek in spirit, serving ALL the people in my sphere of influence.

BITE: Breaking of Bread…

Luke 22:14-15 [AMP]
And when the hour came, [Jesus] reclined at table, and the apostles with Him.
And He said to them, I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

Luke’s capture of the last supper is so special. As I sit here and contemplate the coming time with family and friends to eat the meal of Thanksgiving, this passage takes on additional meeting. The amplified tells us that Jesus had been anticipating this time with His disciples for a long time. This time of eating and fellowship with these men He had selected and been with Him for His entire ministry, and this was an indicator of how close it was that He would be leaving them.

For us, Thanksgiving is all about focusing on what the Lord has done for us, through the giving of His Son for our sin; securing us a hope in eternity that we could never earn on our own. So, as I look forward to Thursday and sitting down with my family and friends over a dinner together, I will have new thoughts and gratitude based on this passage about how the Lord cared so much for his friends, and for the joy set before Him, He was willing to endure the cross, knowing that He would be reunited with them in heaven. In fact, He was thinking of all of us.

I pray that Thanksgiving for you will be a time spent in awe at the mercy and grace of our Savior, for what He was willing to do for each and every one of us.

BITE: Knowledge of All Things…

“Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”  They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?”  He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ​‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.”  And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. Luke 22:8-13 [ESV]

When I read passages like this and the one about Jesus telling the disciples in Matthew 21:2&3 to go get the donkey for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem on, we see the omniscience that Jesus had to see into all ‘states’ of life and ability to project outcomes and influence people. The person with the jar of water and anyone asking about taking the donkey; were going to go along with the foretelling of what Jesus said was going to happen. With all of this control, Jesus never swayed from His mission to carry out the will of the Father.

Not that it matters, but it is interesting to discuss -> was it Jesus saying what would happen because he already knew, or was it because the Father/Holy Spirit would make it so when the circumstances dictated it? Whatever the answer, it shows the divine nature of our Savior. When I think about Jesus as my intercessor in the throne room of Heaven, I have nothing to fear when I am following Him and my heart and motives are centered on the will of the Father. When I am following Jesus in obedience and leaning on Him for how I can be best used by Him, I can walk forward confidently understanding that my role in the building of His Kingdom will fall into place just in the way it should.

When I am not following Jesus in full heart, mind, soul, and strength, then I risk falling outside of the will of the Father and stand to lose out on being a vessel and instrument of His work. My mind and my heart must be aligned with His, in worship and obedience. When the Holy Spirit is active in my life, I rest assured that what God intends, will fall into place…what a freeing and amazingly safe place to be!

BITE: Pulling No Punches…They Still Come…

And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.  And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him. Luke 21:37-38 [ESV]

One of the things that Marianne and I were talking about today was the idea and execution of ‘Seeker Services’ at some churches. The heart of this I believe is genuine but the ‘de-controversializing’ of the Word of God for a service to ‘attract’ nonbelievers is not biblical (at least from my study of God’s Word). As I was finishing Luke 21 today, I felt like God was giving me a little affirmation of this stance. “All the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.” We know that Jesus had very controversial things to say, and He pulled no punches when it came to proclaiming truth and teaching those who came to listen.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:6-7 [ESV]

The Father calls those whom He wills to Himself. If we stay true to His Word (which is a tenant of Canyon Hills Community Church), then the Lord will bring them. The other risk these churches run is new believers never transitioning to deeper (more direct truth) services that church may offer. Making more and better disciples is the mission of our church, and everything we do is based on that premise. From our main services to the School of Discipleship, youth/men’s/women’s ministries, and even Life Groups. Based on John 14:7 above, we cannot understand the Father unless we know the Son. What the Son had to say never restrained from the full message.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:44 [ESV]

BITE: True Life for My Soul…

And you will be hated (despised) by everyone because [you bear] My name and for its sake.
  But not a hair of your head shall perish. By your steadfastness and patient endurance, you shall win the true life of your souls. Luke 21:17-19 [AMP]

Do we live in a crazy time or what?!? Most of Luke 21 focuses on the days leading up to and the signs of Jesus’ return. There is a good portion that feels like now and some that doesn’t seem to have happened yet. At first glance, verse 18 implies that we will not be physically harmed but verses 16 defeats that interpretation.

You will be delivered up and betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and [some] of you they will put to death.

Luke 21:16 [AMP]

The point here is that whatever happens, the bodies of the faithful will be restored at the resurrection – hair and all. This does not rule out the possibility of God’s providential protection; after all, Paul guarantees the proverbial hair of the sailors’ heads in Acts 27:34. But Jesus’ words encourage me to take the long view afforded by God’s resurrection power. In the meantime, Jesus tells the disciples’ that their participation in the future resurrection was not to be taken for granted; it depended on their persisting in endurance. Assurance of salvation follows not just from faith in the here and now, but also perseverance in the future.

BITE: A Comfort in Turmoil…

“Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”  And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, I am he!’ and, The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.  And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” Luke 21:7-9 [ESV]

I have always found this passage comforting even though it is scary. Jesus is essentially saying that the worse it gets the closer His coming is. I am so anxious for the coming of the Lord. The debauchery and decay of our society is just freaky, and I can only hope that Jesus will not tarry much longer. Until then, His commands are clear – love my God with all of my Heart, Mind, and Strength and Love on and invest in others until he comes. With the dependence on Him comes a calm in the Hope of Eternity to come.

Seeing Bella on the missions field and discipling my other children to withstand the culture and world outside is what keeps me motivated and rolling. Just looking at the people that God has put in my sphere of influence, it is clear that He has work for me to do. Stay strong and stay true.

BITE: Dependence is Key…

Luke 21:4[AMP]
For they all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but she has contributed out of her lack and her want, putting in all that she had on which to live.

Sacrificial giving is the key. “To whom much is given, much is required”. The widow gave everything she had; trusting God would provide her needs. That goes for the wealthy too. The relative giving of those with abundance did not correlate to a posture of dependence the widow had. This dependence is what pleases God. Ummm…I have a lot work to do in this arena.

Luke 21:5-6[AMP]
And as some were saying of the temple that it was decorated with handsome (shapely and magnificent) stones and consecrated offerings [laid up to be kept], He said,
As for all this that you [thoughtfully] look at, the time will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

The verse Psalms 27:4 comes to mind. Look this one up – our focus of admiring beauty should be one direction.

QTVOTD: A Warning…

And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Luke 20:45-47 [ESV]

Have you known church leaders like this? I have. As a church leader I have to constantly check the state of my heart in ministry. Asking myself “Why am I doing what I am doing?”. Am I participating in this prayer for healing and anointing with oil because it makes me feel and look important or because the Love I have in my heart for my fellow believers compels me to follow God’s Word (James 5:14) in obedience and awe at the opportunity I have to be a part of what God has called me to do? No one is immune from pride. Overseers are called to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2) and there should be no evidence that can be held against me that accuses me of pride and boasting in service to the King. The calling to leadership is ‘Noble Task’ because it requires you to forgo your own motives and operate solely on the leading of the Holy Spirit (not dismissing the gifts God has given me).

In regard to the devouring of widow’s houses refers to practices which resulted in detriment to widows, the most defenseless group in that day. No scribe was allowed to accept money for teaching. They had to make their knowledge available without charge. However, there was nothing to stop people giving gifts to teachers and this was seen as meritorious. Apparently, some of the scribes encouraged gullible widows to make gifts beyond their means. Another horrible practice was exorbitant commissions for handling widows’ needs.


One of the things I have corrected about my prayer life (especially in public spaces) is to not pre-think about the topics I will cover and ‘sound bites’ that aim to inspire. I now pre-pray that the Lord would lay on my heart the content of my prayer when I am about to pray openly. The result is some longer pauses as I let the Holy Spirit incite the dialog with the Throne room (where my focus should be). When I have this mindset, I have the propensity to become emotional because I sense the movement of the Spirit guiding my prayer, and that is powerful. I need to adopt this even further into my private prayer life where prayer becomes more a checklist across a prayer list. Not that a prayer list is bad in any way, just that I need to be listening for the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts to those who are in the most need at the moment. There is always a place for walking a prayer list as a way to keep the needs of those on it in the forefront of my mind…it just shouldn’t be a ‘praying for the sake of praying’ if you follow what I am saying.

BITE: No Marriage In Heaven…

Luke 20:35-36 [AMP]
But those who are considered worthy to gain that other world and that future age and to attain to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage;
For they cannot die again, but they are angel-like and equal to angels. And being sons of and sharers in the resurrection, they are sons of God.

Such an interesting passage of Jesus again shutting down the Pharisees. However, this also gives us insight into the heaven to come. In heaven the focus is God alone, He is the object of our attention and the groom of the bride; His church. No marriage is necessary in heaven.

I have to believe that we will know our born again spouses but marriage will not be ‘a thing‘ between inhabitants of the Kingdom of God. As a husband (saved by grace) here on earth, I feel that it is my duty to prepare my wife to one day see the face of her King. What a proud moment of an earthly husband and wife but to see God tell the other, “Well done My good and faithful servant.”