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

Found and Found Again

Chapter 15 is a collection of parables. One, well known and no more relatable than the others, just more often told.

Jesus told the tax collectors and the Pharisees, a captive but cynical audience, three stories about loving lost things, maybe hoping they’d all see themselves, realizing they may be caught in a similar story.

They were condescending and doubtful, remarking that he’s the one who welcomes sinners, has dinner with them.

Jesus had their attention. He told of a man who had a hundred sheep and lost one and how he refused to stop looking until that sheep was back in the fold. He told of a woman frantic over losing one coin of her ten, how she swept every corner of her home way into the night until she found it, found that lost coin.

He used both parables to compare God’s joy when one person, just one comes to Him, or decides it is time to come back to Him.

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He told about a brother, one of two, who squandered his share of the father’s riches. That father longed for his son’s return and when he returned, the father ran to him. He ran to him!

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Every morning, I return to my morning place. I wait for a moment sometimes or I might just sit. I find Him there quite often.

In the way a word from one book or an email will correlate, complement another.

I wait. I listen to His voice through His Spirit in me.

I sometimes find my eyes wet with tears, others I have to let sink in, the important true lessons for the progression of my faith.

I’m awakened and I’m humbled gently over changes I should make.

It’s a good space, my quiet spot.

I’m found here by Him.

Found and found again.

May you find Jesus this Christmas or may you return to one who’s looking for you, arms wide open saying, “Come back home.”

We are all “the one”.

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

The Time of Becoming

Advent: arrival, appearance, emergence or occurrence, the arrival of a notable person or thing.

What are you waiting for, still?

What is the light at the end of the way that you keep pursuing, going towards?

Like the shepherds followed a star, is there a possibility you hope to see still?

My word for 2018 has been “still”. In the beginning, it represented a courageous decision to pursue a certain writing goal.

That I could still, it wasn’t too late.

I’m still writing; but, changes came my way and my book idea will never be the same.

I’m in the phase of stillness, resting and listening to know, which way God, do you want me to go?”

Tell me what to say, Lord.

Continuing in the Book of Luke today, another chapter full of guidance and illustration, historical retelling of what Jesus did before he died.

My spirit has been a little weary, thoughts around trauma trying to take over. I’m recalling today that this is the year I, with the help of some strong therapy, decided I could live healed, that I could let go and be healed.

The year it became my choice to forgive.

My friend said yesterday, that evil still comes back to try to play.

I think she’s quite right, it’s Advent, the season of light and peace, it’s only natural evil creeps in, shows up even louder, harder, mean and determined.

Has to, it is harder now than before to take my peace away. I’m no longer disabled.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Able to seek light and freedom, to not revisit the darkness.

To God be the glory for my emergence year, still.

Becoming me.

I’m linking up with others here at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Still”.

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

Late getting home yesterday, I caught just a glimpse as I turned the sharp curve at the top of the hill and I asked in a whisper to no one at all.

To me, “Have you seen the crescent?”

Closer to our driveway, it was unavoidable, the way its placement rested above the turn into my home.

My eyes get moist and there’s a shift in the breath in my lungs, I call to mind me as a little girl. Im in the little tan station wagon and we’re going back home.

They tell me I’m wrong and I refuse to not believe it, I know the moon is following me home.

I know I can count on it to be there.

As a child, I was a seeker and still today, I seek it, am enthralled by it, all the places of light that tell me to keep going, keep seeking, you’ve only seen just a tiny bit of what is to be, what is still there.

Jesus told of someone who needed help and was ignored. He told of how this person refused to stop seeking, refused to give up, believed there was help on the side of the unopened door. And there was eventually, there was help and hope for the one who kept knocking on the door, seeking.

“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The shepherds followed a brilliant star to the place it illuminated the manger.

Last night, the crescent moon and the star I call “Mama”, they were waiting for me to see.

I know I’ll see again.

I am a seeker.

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

    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.