After encountering the angel Gabriel, Mary did not focus on her poverty, her obscurity, her weakness, or her impending unwed pregnancy and social rejection. She focused on the Lord and His promise and her heart was filled with joy. Our focus determines our joy. When we focus on ourselves, our misery is compounded. But when we focus on our Savior, His limitless joy becomes ours to the praise of His glorious grace.
Among the arsenal of spiritual weapons at our disposal through the blood of Christ, Paul saves the most powerful for last: prayer to our Father in heaven. With clarity and simplicity, he shows us how to pray, how to ask for prayer, and how to follow-up on prayer requests in a way that strengthens the Church and brings glory to our Savior.
When rebellious Jonah is rescued from the sea by a giant fish, he confesses that salvation is of the Lord, implying that God delivers people from trouble as he pleases. As we study Jonah’s prayer more closely, we will find both encouragement and correction for our own prayers in the midst of distress, especially as we consider the One whose cry for help went unanswered for our sakes.
The onslaught of our spiritual battle is fierce and never-ending. Attacks come from many directions and the fog of war often leaves us disoriented and seemingly alone. But God has provided us with impenetrable spiritual armor through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our Savior, we may resist every evil attack and stand firm through the strength of the One who first stood firm for us.
In the last sermon, we saw that the time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven had drawn near, so he resolutely set out for Jerusalem (9:51). While many events and teaching opportunities occurred in the intervening time (9:52-19:1), we will look at several key episodes in Jesus’ life as he approaches and enters Jerusalem during Passion Week. These incidents will again highlight important themes characteristic of Luke’s portrait of Jesus the Messiah.
The end of Ephesians tells us we’re in the fight of our lives; a fight so fierce that no unaided Christian can prevail. But God has provided a sure defense through the shielding blood of Christ. Against such divine armor no attack can succeed. We take our battle stations by faith, resting in the strength of the One who forever triumphed on the cross.
How can you serve the Lord in a miserable situation? Whether in bondage to a slave master, an overbearing boss, or a difficult home circumstance, we find true freedom only in the One who forsook His freedom for us. Becoming Christ’s slave is actually the most liberating thing there is as we discover the hope, purpose, and power of serving the Master who set us free.
After an extended period of ministry in Galilee, Luke tells us that ‘As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.’ This is an important change in Luke’s narrative, and there are a number of important teachings packed into this event.
Parents and children have experienced tension since the very first parents and children! Sin disrupts all of our relationships, especially among those with whom we share close quarters. Thankfully, our perfectly wise Father is in the process of redeeming family relations through the grace of His perfectly obedient Son, Jesus Christ.