Good morning friends,
Incredible weather we are having...I don't remember such a long consecutive number of days above 30 degrees, with full sunshine...It's Hot!!! Is the Lord trying to say something. Today's reading starts like this, quoting The Message: "I’ve come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now!" (vs. 49) Wow! Did that prayer just get answered!
Jesus goes on to say, "I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up—how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront!" (vss. 50-51) Has following Jesus rocked your world? Does it feel like everything is turned upside down? If not, why not? Those I know who are truly following Jesus, have left many things, including family; have been called to go to school to study to fulfill their life calling; have left all to go to a mission field across the world; have experienced rejection, persecution, and slander. Following Jesus is not easy - it will feel like you are in a fire.
“When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, ‘Storm’s coming’—and you’re right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, ‘This’ll be a hot one’—and you’re right. Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now." (vss. 54-56) Following Jesus requires discernment. "Hypocrites" discern the superficial, like storm clouds, and wind, but true followers discern the times. Friends, what time are we in? The world is crazy...God is up to something! There is indeed a spiritual storm brewing, with the winds of Holy Spirit trying to lead a people into the purposes of God. We are in a God season! It is time to seek Him for direction!
Jesus' first admonition, advice, thing to do - settle your disputes; get right with people, and with God. Be reconciled! Friends, if we want to be in God's will during this season, and led by Holy Spirit into God's purposes, we need to deal with relational issues. Unforgiveness and bitterness will cripple us. Let's throw off the shackles and get ready to go where God leads. This is the heart of the Gospel - loving God and loving people. “You don’t have to be a genius to understand these things. Just use your common sense, the kind you’d use if, while being taken to court, you decided to settle up with your accuser on the way, knowing that if the case went to the judge you’d probably go to jail and pay every last penny of the fine. That’s the kind of decision I’m asking you to make.” (vss.57-59)
During this long teaching in Luke 12, some asked Jesus about a couple of incidences, probably prompted by His teaching on judgement (Luke 13:1-5). People believed, and still do, that catastrophes happen to people because of their sins, as a judgment for their behavior. In good ole Jesus fashion, He ignores their theological query and puts it back on them, "Unless you turn to God (repent), you, too, will die." Repentance is turning from the world back to God - a complete change of heart & mind. As believers, followers of Jesus have eternal life - We are not destined to "perish". This is our destiny Jesus said, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32) Do you see what Jesus is doing? He is teaching His disciples (us also) 4 things to be ready for the times we are in:
Jesus closes off this long teaching with the parable of an unfruitful tree (vss. 6-9). Here is the application: God, in His mercy, is giving people one more season to produce fruit. He is pruning, fertilizing, and removing the junk from around the bottom of the tree (vs. 8). I don't know about you, but I sure see this as a sign of God's patience and grace. We are destined to produce fruit...that's why He chose us. Could these crazy world events be the beginning of the end? Is God giving us one more chance to be fruitful? Is He disrupting and confronting you with truth? Are you feeling uncomfortable? GOOD! God is getting you ready for the final act! The fire is burning, the storm is brewing - but a storm always produces wind. The wind of Holy Spirit is blowing through His church, preparing a people for a harvest! Will we allow God to shape us for this season? This could be the greatest season ever for the Church of Jesus Christ! Are we ready!
Be blessed and encouraged!
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