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

    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.

    Believing

    I smiled when I saw the few seconds of the scene, the little boy who didn’t believe and then

    Believed again.

    The child who was intrigued enough to board the big train and then challenged with whether he’d stay on board. “The Polar Express”, I love its many lessons story!

    Satan has been using some things to silence my story. I can barely conjure up the magnificence of my hopeful plan of before. Circumstances and choices make disbelief make more sense than believing.

    Blinders have been placed on my eyes and my heart seems a little muffled to the miraculous now.

    I’ve noticed I’m no longer noticing like before.

    Restore my ability to see you, Lord.

    I wrote it down, I believe God loves it when I pray this way,

    He knows it’s really me.

    Restore the woman filled with wonder, filled with hope, filled with ideas and the idea that possibly it could be.

    Set my feet back to following and my footfall a happy little bounce with intention.

    This Lord, is my request.

    Like the little boy who believed, help my unbelief. The child almost yanked from the top of the perilously traveling train, show me the same.

    The same joy that comes from believing, the same confirmation that the seemingly crazy trip’s worth traveling.

    To arrive back at the place of wonder and to find a treasure like the bell he thought he’d lost in his pocket.

    Yes, show me that believing makes all the difference!

    Be my conductor, Heavenly Father.

    Get me back to the safest destination, the place of believing!

    “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.””

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Yes, I believe!

    Christmas, Still Seeking

    May we never lose our wonder.

    “And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    If you try, you can imagine yourself a wise man or perhaps, the wife of one of them or maybe a child, hearing the whispers of your mother, where has father gone…something about a miracle, a baby who would be a Savior?

    They heard of a baby about to be born. A young man, a pregnant young woman traveling across the vast and empty country side.

    No place to lie, no place to rest. They settled on a barn knowing they couldn’t go on for very much more.

    I’m not much of a historian, the scene and situation not really relatable.

    But the feeling of heaviness round the bottom of my belly and the pressure of being unable to go on, of my walk being a waddle and my fatigue being a sort of settled endurance, a requirement, go on.

    Only getting through as long as I continued to go on.

    I think of the wise men, intrigued in a way as a challenge, they learned to believe when logic made no difference at all.

    The wise men who sought him, I kinda relate to their need to continue on.

    Just now I read a little saying…

    Wise men still seek him.

    And I paused to think how true, how so very true like a familiar old song.

    I added magnolia leaves to my tree, reminiscent of nature next to glory.

    Glorious blue, natural coppers and twine. Reminds me of heaven meeting earth. Earth changed by its brilliance.

    It is so.

    Christmas, a time to think of a baby born to give us heaven and of our soiled souls, earthly tainted lives.

    Yet, we seek Him.

    We long for Him.

    We glance towards the winter black sky dotted randomly bright white and maybe think of the traveling couple, the shepherds, the wise men.

    We’re seeking.

    We seek Him.

    May we never ever lose the wonder of seeking, of seeking to know Him more.

    The gloriously miraculous wonder of Jesus.