The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

Seeking the Light

Not so long ago, I didn’t understand the Gospels, the separate but similar books written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

I read through them all confused over the lack of order, like a collection of short stories when I thought should be read like like a book with an understandable flow.

I thought it was just me who lacked in my grasping of meaning of the powerful recordings, the retelling of the life of Jesus from different perspectives. It confused me to read and then to turn to a new place and read again. I’m not a biblical scholar; but, I am literate, and was once called an “English honor”.

I thought I might never understand the Books of the Bible, the Book itself.

Until I was given my current Bible, four years ago, for Christmas.

In the back, each book and its writer has a description of their perspectives of the significant story of Jesus.

I’m not who I was back then.

Back then, I was thrilled to read about Martha, the sister who was pouty and pitiful and obsessed with her home being presentable.

Someone in the Bible who was just like me. I loved the account of their relationship. I still do. Me, the martyr of a mother, friend and sister, yes!

I’m more Mary now than then; but, still quite often, Martha.

“But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:40-41‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I know it is important to sit with Jesus.

And so, I do. I sit in the dim early morning light and I practice being quiet with Him.

Everyone morning, it is hard for me to leave, the corner on the couch dedicated to sitting before work or whatever. I worry people think I’m lazy and my husband has named me “late Lisa”. I simply long to linger, I long to know more.

Because, by evening I’m afraid, I’m more Martha again.

I don’t have words for my husband, or conversations for others. I rush to get my house back in order, the pillows fluffed, the bed just so, the kitchen counters wiped down and free of crumbs and the mail and newspapers neatly sorted and then tucked away.

Then, I can rest; but, surely not before.

Advent, is for slowing down, to look for meaning in the shuffle, to be focused enough on the birth of Jesus to see at least hints of His light.

Seeing more clearly what Christmas is for, for me, it seems to be speaking surrender, rest, quiet resignation to the light.

To see His light when exhaustion creeps in, when worries over money will not go away, when you’re rushing and reevaluating the gifts you bought, questioning, do my gifts amount to enough, is it ever enough and maybe, why is it that always I am the one who has to give more?

Martha was that way.

I bet she swept the kitchen floor for hours awaiting the visit of Jesus. Mary sat waiting, waiting for His arrival with a quiet expectation and a worshipful readying of her heart.

She was at peace.

Peace is what we need.

To stay there longer in the moments we know it or look for it amongst the clamor and see your change in demeanor, your sense of season. It is to glow.

I keep peeking around the corner, I want to see it again, my gumdrop tree. I keep going back to it, the light, the peace of it, the childlike joy.

The child in me, or maybe the Mary, revisited an old tradition, did a new thing and in the process I’m closer to Mary, close to the baby’s glow.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

To Be Satisfied

“And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:17 ESV‬‬

Jesus fed five thousand, multiplying a meager amount to more than enough. He was a mystery to many.

I read of his ways and wonder if there’s more, search for more, like needing evidence of what I already know.

I confuse staying humble with what is me being afraid, unwilling to let go.

Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Jesus Christ Luke 9:24

I hunger and thirst for attention when God is waiting to attend to my every need and to show me what my life could be.

What abundant life would be for me.

Someone said “Surprise me.” when I asked about the background color of a commission canvas.

I started bold magenta, now to a subtle rose, I think I was thinking love.

During these days before Christmas, I’m challenged to continue through Luke, each chapter growing more difficult to convey what is meaningful, what is like Christmas. What is typically written when it comes to Christmas.

The challenge is a parallel to my present transformation. I volley between an exhilarating yes to possible change and same old same no to staying the same.

It is not pleasant; but, it is good.

He is not safe. But, He is good. C.S. Lewis

Jesus sees fear of moving forward. He sees settled states of just enough.

He watches as we wither on our vines because we resist the pruning of the choking weeds, the choices we make over choosing Him and His ways.

Self-denial makes no sense today.

We have an abundance of ease, we gloss over wrong choices we make. We are permissive with ourselves and have learned to take advantage of grace.

I woke up aware of my need to be closer to God’s design of me. It is not a pleasant revelation, one that keeps coming back, revisiting me in the mornings.

I’d love to let it go, to consider it unhealthy guilt or a product of my background and shame.

Instead, I welcome its return, this stirring in my core that won’t let me go, this strong captor intent on drawing me closer, intent on being an agent of change.

Christmas is different for me this year.

There’s a change coming, a change that is determined to see me live more fully.

This pursuit of me growing more evident, it will not let go.

Jesus wants us involved in His miraculous ways!

Like the hungry people he fed after telling the disciples to “set the table”, He looked up to heaven and asked for multiplication of good and God answered and there was enough, abundantly more than enough!

When I think of the abundance I do not yet know, I’m intrigued, a little afraid but, enthused.

I have a new hunger that won’t let me go. I don’t fully understand, sometimes it’s a miserable feeling, knowing I’m not yet all I could be.

More often than before, it reminds me of a gift unexpected, a surprise when it’s finally opened.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

My Light is His Light

The house is empty and rain has not stopped falling. I’ll be in for most of the day, maybe all day.

I’m not rushing out the door. I believe it’s okay to stay home instead.

I’m doing better this year, happy with wrapping as I go, not anxious, not nearly as anxious as the years before.

This morning, I return to the Book of Luke. I could linger long and not decide which verses I love most, which I need the most and which ones I am beginning to truly understand.

Understanding God’s word cannot be rushed. It’s a beautiful and profoundly unexpected epiphany after epiphany.

I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Luke has me unable to share in a way this book is worthy of revealing here on this place I use to write.

I’ll hint here, hopefully compel others to read, the importance of Luke, Chapter 8.

  • Jesus welcomed women who had been used, harmed, or were otherwise damaged, labeled damaged goods.
  • Jesus was a fascinating and purposeful storyteller, he told stories to engage others, to draw them near through relatable commonalities.
  • Jesus convicts us and leads us to self-examination. What are you doing with your “seeds” the gifts you have that God who created you, gave you, gave you good things to share?
  • Are you wasting them, scattering occasionally and then forgetting you left them there? Are you losing sight of them, not caring for them and allowing your thorny choices and character flaws to choke them to the point of uselessness, maybe even death, never a difference at all.
  • What about your light? Do people know you’ve got the light of God’s love in you or do you just figure you’ll keep it to yourself, it’s not your business to be a show?
  • Jesus prioritized His calling, said all of humanity was meant to be His family, He took no opportunities to rest with his family, I suppose they knew it would be so.
  • Times will come that shake us. We should remember the storm and the boat and how Jesus slept through it only to be awakened by the terrified disciples. He then calmed them and the storm; but, questioned their faith, the faith that by now they all, we all should know!
  • He cared about the mentally ill, he healed a man overtaken by demons.
  • He was open to interruptions. He was not bothered by a change in his schedule. He’d been summoned to heal a little girl who was dying. He made his way towards the family through all the curious spectators. Something brushed against him. It was a woman who’d been having her period for twelve years, twelve years of being ashamed, of being a prisoner of her womanly calamity. It’s not a pleasant thought. I would have hidden at home too. But, she had heard. She heard of the women with infirmities who now sojourned with him, they’d been sinful and sorrowful women before; but, no more. She must’ve been hoping for that “no more”. Jesus felt her touch and she felt His. She was healed. Jesus said to her the same thing he wants to tell us all. It may be my favorite line. “And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke ‬ ‭8:48‬ ‭ESV‬‬
  • Do you have a Bible? Find the Book of Luke there or with an app on your phone.

    Luke was an intellect, a researcher, a writer who made sure of his story before he wrote it.

    Advent is teaching me, this thing I’ve called my Advent Experience is teaching me, comforting me, changing me.

    My Christmas gift to me, maybe.

    The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

    Jesus was born to bring peace.

    Go in peace, now.

    Go in peace.

    “And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    A Peace I Know

    Luke captured in Chapter 7, more healing.

    Healing based on faith, that comes from seeking.

    A noble man brought a servant of his to the attention of Jesus. This esteemed military officer, the centurion sent word to Jesus, requesting he come and heal the dying servant.

    Jesus changed his course and headed to the home of the centurion; but, was stopped. The man sent word to Jesus that he didn’t want to trouble him, he recognized he was not worthy to have Jesus in his home.

    He added, essentially, I know you have a lot on your plate. He could sort of relate.

    So, he requests of Jesus, healing for his servant, that Jesus would “say the word” and the man would live.

    He was at peace that the man would be healed, he believed Jesus was a healer.

    The Centurion understood faith, he knew it does not require us to see, to only believe.

    “When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.””

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    The servant was saved and the centurion was simply grateful, not seeking any special favors because of his position. He sought Jesus for his servant and humbly made a way.

    The seventh chapter ends with another story of someone who cared nothing about expectations, someone who simply sought Jesus and asked forgiveness of her sins.

    Jesus was invited to dine at the home of a Pharisee, the men around the table most likely planning to pick his brain, to question his presence and to see for themselves how all they were hearing could be possible.

    A woman known for her sinful behavior, heard of Jesus’ whereabouts and entered the home. Her desire to know Jesus made her courageous. Her courage to seek the one who would change her life, make it new led her to arrive at the place she was not welcome by the others but accepted by Him

    She bows at the feet of Jesus, weeping and with an expensive perfumed ointment she’d collected in an alabaster jar, she caresses His feet.

    The men, of course, were arrogant and astounded! This woman is a harlot. Surely you should know this Jesus, here’s the proof, you clearly are not a prophet.

    You have no understanding, no discretion at all.

    You clearly have a different perspective on who is worthy.

    Jesus told them, I came to your home and you gave me little to nothing at all. This woman, she came to me with intention and with humility and she gave everything.

    She surrendered all.

    “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.””

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:47-48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    The peace that knowing Jesus gives comes with no cost at all; yet it is the most valuable gift of all.

    It is surely a peace I know and will know and know again.

    “O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.”

    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

    Speaking of Light

    I read last night about a friend who saw the light.

    She stopped her car and ignored the speeding cars to stand on the side of the road because the sun going down could not go unnoticed.

    The same sun is now just a thin line gradually making its way up through the layered navy blue.

    My feet are bare and the ground is cold, I am pleased to find it at just the right second, I saw the light.

    Before sleep last night I read the seventh day’s Psalm. My mind must have been yearning for tomorrow.

    Now, I’m reading again to remember.

    Psalm 31, a psalm of David is a commitment to God.

    “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.”

    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    David asks for mercy, asks again to see the light.

    “Let your favor shine on your servant.”

    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:16‬ NLT

    He knew the light was not be taken for granted. He knew his feet failed him at times, ventured from the light.

    Jesus encouraged His disciples to be seekers. Seekers of good, seekers of satisfaction other than wealth, seekers of rewards and riches, not here on earth but in heaven.

    In Luke, Chapter 6, there’s a record of quite a lot.

    Jesus corrects the critical Pharisees, he heals a man with an unusable hand, he named his disciples, teaches a multitude of people, talks about the things we seek that leave us full but empty, talks about loving our enemies, strongly warns against judgment of others, tells us people will know we know Him by the fruit we produce and finally, tells us to build our house of hope on the solid rock of faith foundation.

    Jesus made it his mission to leave us not only, through His death to eternal salvation; but, through the recorded words of his time on earth, He left us light for our lives.

    His words lead us, convince us, challenge us.

    His words give us courage to express and invite.

    Last night, I surprised someone. I’d been thinking about it for some time.

    The church I attend has an exceptionally talented band. The drummer is very good. The guitarists, the singers, there’s not a member not talented, it is impressive.

    The music is not “easy listening” always. It challenges me to allow myself more freedom in worship.

    There’s a guy who’s a rocker in my boot camp class. He requests hard rock of the trainer every session. There’s an occasional obscene lyric, there might be references to party and drugs. The speakers are mounted just above the treadmill and last night I worked out next to him. I concentrated on my own feet, as his feet were pounding hard against the movement and with the bass and loud songs.

    It was just three of us at the end and I reached for my coat and water, deciding to ask him then.

    “Do you have a church?” I asked.

    Caught off guard, he asked me to ask again.

    I did and he answered no and so, I told him about mine and about the music and told him I hadn’t intended to catch him by surprise, it’s just that every time I hear the band I think of how I think he’d like to be there.

    He smiled, this same rough from life around the edges man who’d made me smile before when we were all discussing age and parents and I’d told them all that both of mine were dead.

    He looked over at me and said, “I know they must have been good people because you’re good, you’re a good person.”

    I’m thinking of it now, how he made me feel light, how his words brought light to my long day.

    Jesus did the same. He used His words.

    Words are light and love.

    Lord, tell me what to say.

    May my words come from my heart and may I not ignore your Spirit prompting me to speak.

    “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    May I be unafraid to speak of your light in my life.

    May I continue to seek it.

    The Book of Luke – 24 Days of Jesus, An Advent Experience

    Possible Impossibilities

    I wake to have my interest peaked as I scan my emails. Try, try again or consider those kind of doors closed?

    The idea of submission has captured me again.

    Lord, tell me what to say.

    Jesus had a captive audience. His presence caused men, women and children to be drawn towards him.

    He was a teacher enthused over his lesson plan, he wanted everyone who listened to learn, to be changed by their learning.

    He sat one day on the edge of a fishing boat, the fishermen must have called it a day and so Jesus perched himself on the edge and faced the crowd who had gathered on the shore.

    Big crowds must have followed him all around, maybe pausing to answer others’ curious questions.

    Where are you going?

    Who is this man named Jesus anyway?

    Why are you following him?

    Isn’t he just Joseph’s son?

    Do you really believe what they’re saying?

    Have you actually seen him do the things people are saying he can do?

    Could it be possible?

    Simon thought he knew more than Jesus. Jesus told him to let down the nets, to put the boat back in the water, to go and try again.

    Simon told Jesus we’ve tried all night and no luck, essentially “nary a bite” man!

    Jesus told him try again.

    “Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:3-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    I have a paperweight on my desk that says “something wonderful will happen today”, another that says “you haven’t failed until you give up” and a solid and smooth rock engraved with one word, “soar”.

    On occasion I notice them, rarely really.

    Instead I recall unexpected rescues, kindnesses that correct my budgetary mistakes, staff who encourage me, endure my negativity and cynicism.

    A family who supports my work, supports and stands by me.

    I see God coming through in ways that come from my keeping on, keeping an even keel.

    I know the bountiful catch is coming and I put down my net and maybe just wait. I do my part, I rest.

    I listen to sincere encouragement, I discern in the faces and reactions and even the decisions of others.

    Whether here or there or even anywhere, are the places I place my words and my art, the places I “let my net down” that came back empty before, now possibly to reap a joyful multiplication that will honor God, nudge others towards Him.

    Jesus, God’s son came to earth to use earthly objects and experiences to teach us to hope.

    Teachable moments like a burnt out and hopeless fisherman, expert at his trade who wasn’t having a good fishing day.

    Jesus suggested he try again.

    Advent, a time to prepare ourselves for the hope of Christmas.

    Jesus, the Messiah.

    He is our hope, the hope of all mankind.

    We must do these things we think we cannot do, we must believe again in the possible impossibilities.

    What will you try, try again that you thought you may as well give up?

    Big things have small beginnings and small things with repetition and resolve come through.

    Try. Try again.

    The Book of Luke – 24 Days of Jesus, an Advent Experience

    Lessons for the Learned

    At some point I must have been set on remembering the sermon.

    The margin of my Bible is marked with my interpretations and revelations from a passage.

    “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:17-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    The Spirit of the Lord is on me and if you believe in His birth, His death, His resurrection, on you, too.

    God has given us all opportunities to proclaim the good news to the poor.

    To proclaim liberty to those without purpose, those who are trapped in the bondage of sin, shame, doubt, fear, unbelief. To remind myself and others of the gracious rescue from these places.

    To those who are blind, we like Jesus are to help them see the light of the gospel, also known as “good news”.

    We need reminding, all distracted at times and unable to see, our eyes covered by the blinders of this crazy world.

    We are here now to tell our stories.

    Our stories of why we believe, why we know we’re better believing than not.

    It’s that simple. Life before Jesus was not what life with Jesus is and will be.

    Why we’re tempted not to believe at times and why we know we can’t return to that road or jump from that dangerous place again, taking advantage of the grace that will catch us in our fall.

    We’ve heard the Word, we read the accounts and like the crowd Luke wrote about, we are astounded by all the healing, we are now learned ones, for we have experienced salvation and healing and we continue to grow, we continue to be open to His lessons.

    Jesus was born to bring us salvation.

    For thirty some years he was a healer, a teacher, a speaker through parables, readable lessons.

    May I never stop learning, ever progressing towards Him, to be like Jesus. May I embrace the opportunities in front of me to more purposefully tell.

    Most of all, may what is said about me be more consistently true, more about Jesus than about me.

    I want to leave a legacy.

    “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”

    ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    My surrender is my story.