Sunday Devotional: Luke 24:44-49

“Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)

These words from Jesus are the last ones recorded of Him speaking in the book of Luke.  They were said to the disciples around the time of Jesus’ ascension.  He was returning to the Father but before He did, Jesus did two things.

One, he taught them.  He “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”  He helped them to understand and relate those passages in the Old Testament (Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms) and how they relate to Jesus.  And not only that, how Jesus fulfilled those promises and prophesies.

Two, he instructed them.  He told them that he would be sending them someone that the Father promised.  That someone is the Holy Spirit.  They were to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes to empower them in sharing the Gospel in which they were witnesses.

We have that same message and we have that same Spirit inside of us.  We have the Scriptures are able to understand them through the Holy Spirit.  And because of that same Holy Spirit, we are able to go and share the message with others.  This week, let us be about that.  There is a world out there that needs some good news.  We have that good news in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Flash and Trying to Outrun Pain

The-Flash

One of my favorite new TV shows is The Flash.  I’m a huge fan of the comic book character and I am really enjoying the TV show.  It tells the story of Barry Allen, a scientist who works for the Central City Police Department.  He gets struck by lightning and the mix of the lightning, chemicals and a blast from a particle accelerator grant him the ability of super speed.  He uses his new found abilities to fight crime in the city.  He also is dealing with the death of his mother as a child and his father being wrongfully accused of the death.

In one of the first few episodes of the show he made the following statement:  “I thought being the fastest man alive would make my life easier.  That I could outrun anything.  Turns out, no one can outrun pain.”  Through the course of the episode he was trying to “outrun” or not deal with pain which included still wrestling with the loss of his mother.  But by the end of the episode he realizes that even the ‘fastest man alive’ can’t outrun pain.

We all want to outrun pain.  We all have something or someone that hurts us.  And we want to run away from the pain and not deal with it.  But like Barry Allen, we can’t outrun pain.  It’s there and it’s something that we have to deal with.  But the good news is we don’t have to deal with the pain alone.  God knows this and He’s right there with us.  He sends the Holy Spirit to us.  Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to comfort us, to be with us when we are hurting.

We may not have super speed like Barry Allen.  But we do know what it feels like to deal with pain, whether it’s physical or emotional.  And we know that we can’t outrun pain.  But it’s great to know someone who understands pain.  Someone who has dealt with pain and who can sympathize and empathize with us.  And we know that we are not alone and have to deal with the pain by ourselves.  We have Jesus with us.  There’s no pain and no problem that can get ahead of Him.

Keeping Tough While Being Soft

One Bible verse that I’ve been kind of thinking about lately is Matthew 10:16:  “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  The context of this verse being Jesus is talking to His disciples and is preparing them to go out to share about the Kingdom of God.  This story I’ve heard and read numerous times over the years.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is I guess another take on it.  And that take is this.  We are to be tough while still being soft.  What does that mean?  Well, circumstances can be rough sometimes.  People will say and do things to hurt you.  Events will happen beyond your control.  We live in a fallen world.  Toughness will develop as we go through the storms of life.  In the meantime, we are called to love one another.  We are to be soft with warm hearts to those in need around us.  To see the world as Jesus sees the world, with love and compassion.

It is hard to remain tough while being soft.  But that’s where the Holy Spirit comes into play.  He is there to comfort during the hard times and help us through those storms.  He is the one who helps us remain tough.  At the same time, He is there to keep us soft to the needs of those around us.

Keeping tough while being soft.  It is not easy, but thankful that God has the grace and mercy to continue to work in and through me to make that happen.

Miley and The Importance of Thinking

Let me go on record by saying I did not watch the MTV Video Music Awards this year (by the way, I find it funny that MTV, which does not show music videos, would still have a Video Music Awards show).  I have not watched the replays.  I say this to say that the only thing I know about what happened at that event is because A) twitter blew up about it & B) so did the rest of the internet and TV.

Yes, I’m talking about Miley Cyrus’ “performance” (to put the term loosely) that night.  I think I can safely say that the majority of people thought unfavorably about it.  Let’s just call it what it was, it was horrible.  It was a train wreck.  It was every kind of analogy to bad you can throw out there.  There was no word that I heard after the fact saying that anyone liked it.

So on Tuesday, I saw that Miley was interviewed for the first time after the event.  One would hope that with all the negative feedback that maybe she would feel bad about what she did or how she acted.  Unfortunately, that would be not the case.  Miley in her interview said the following:  “We’re three days later and people are still talking about it. They’re overthinking it. You’re thinking about it more than I thought about it when I did it. Like, I didn’t even think about it ’cause that’s just me.”

When I saw this quote, my first immediate thought was “That is the problem.  You didn’t think.  If you had thought about it, you wouldn’t have done what you did.”  Unfortunately, this is the point where Miley is at now.  She doesn’t think about what she does, she just does it.  On top of that, the people around her let her do it.

I shared that quote with my friend Marty and he brought up a point as well.  He said “It seems to me that the problem is that her behavior doesn’t even cross her mind. It’s not even a blip on her radar,…you become calloused to sin.”. It’s not like Miley just woke up that morning and was like “I’m going to perform out there in a horrible manner.” She has been on this path for awhile now. She has gotten more provocative and risque until she’s at the point now where it’s just disgusting pretty much.

But you know what?  That’s how all of us can be when it comes to sin.  We can start down a path and before too long get to a point that we don’t even recognize where we are or how we got there.  One good thing (among many) as followers of Jesus is that we have the Holy Spirit with us.  He is there to console us when we are hurting but He is also there to convict us when sin is involved.  He also is there to warn us when temptation comes.  We also have fellow believers that we can turn to when we’re struggling and encourage one another to good works.

Unlike what Miley said, it is important to think.  It is important to think through your actions.  It matters.