The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19–31

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         Whether Jesus is stating an actual event or delivering another parable is unknown. We note that this is the only story of Jesus’ where a person is named, and here Lazarus, a name based on Hebrew meaning “God is his help.”

2.         A rich man (In the KJV is the word Dives), whether a Pharisee or a Sadducee is unknown, but he was very wealthy wearing a costly linen under garment and over it a highly costly purple robe. And he lived the high life.

3.         Lazarus, likely unable to walk, covered with nasty sores (not a leper), and perhaps near naked, was deposited every day by some unknowns, could barely keep himself alive. His only relief was death, and when he did die, this resulted in his arriving in heaven, here known as Abraham’s side, or bosom.

4.         Most commentators state our account is a parable what with someone in hades being able to speak to someone in heaven, but the rich man wants relief by means of Lazarus, but the “great chasm” prevents this.

5.         Again, the rich man wants Father Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers so they would not end up in eternal torment. Here he is, still wanting Lazarus to help him despite the fact that he never lifted a finger to relieve Lazarus misery when he easily could have.

6.         Jesus says that due to the fact the five brothers did not listen to Moses and the Prophets, even a resurrection would fail.

Parable of the Dishonest Manager & The Law and the Kingdom of God

The Gospel Meditation

Luke 16:1–17

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         The parable has been variously understood by Biblical scholars down through the centuries. For instance, was the manager trying to cover his dishonesty, or was he cheating his boss and hoping that those whom he reduced their debt would help him when he ran out of money?

2.         Also, it is thought that perhaps Jesus was teaching His disciples about dealing with money and possessions. He wanted them to live honestly and to be generous with money.

3.         A great lesson is stated in verse 10: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” And then in verse 13 is a statement that goes directly to the point, “You cannot serve God and money.” And Paul echoes this in 1 Timothy 6:10 when he states that the love of money is the root of all evil.

4.         Here is the call to integrity, to being faithful with other people’s money and as well with one’s own.

5.         The follower of Jesus is called to live an open and honest life thereby not having to struggle with a guilty conscience and having to lie and cheat.

6.         Jesus, in the second section, knew that the religious leaders, the Pharisees in particular, were “lovers of money.” And hearing what Jesus said, they “ridiculed Him.” But the God who knew their hearts would one day bring them into judgment.

Jesus Be Busy

Here is about 650 words that has to do with the Jesus Calling series of books, begun by Sarah Young

One wonders how Jesus is able to call all those who do as Sarah Young, of the Jesus Calling book series, is doing? She is talking to Jesus almost daily, and so, it would seem, are others who have embraced Young’s methods.

Is it fair to ask, just how many Jesuses are out there? It would have to be a ton, when you consider that the Jesus Calling books have for years ranked on best seller lists, both Christian and non-Christian alike. There are no group calls, just Jesus and the listener on the line. One wonders how Jesus is able fit it all in timewise. Got to be busy!

One must also ask, just what is it that Sarah Young is doing? Is she listening to Jesus, talking with Jesus, and writing down, or “journaling” what Jesus tells her? Or is it something else?

Brenna E. Scott, in her book, Christian Journaling or Psychic Channeling? A Critical Comparison of the Jesus Calling Series with Occult Training Literature, studiously and carefully makes a strong case that what Sarah Young is doing is channeling Jesus, or really, is channeling a spirit being who identifies itself as Jesus. And this is common fare in our occult-oriented psychic culture today. (You can verify this yourself, dear reader, by doing a search using the words medium, channeller, shaman, or psychic.)

Let me ask, where in Scripture does it say that Jesus will talk to us, I mean verbally, word by word, sentence by sentence? We pray to our Lord, read the inspired word from Genesis to Revelation, and think and meditate on this. But nowhere is there anything that says that Jesus will “call” us.

Brenna’s book so clearly presents the psychic channeling that Sarah Young is evangelizing and exposes it for what it is ­– demonically empowered deception. I do not think that Sarah Young is attempting to mislead readers; rather, she hears a voice that she believes is Jesus. This has been practiced in the occult world throughout history. It is so tangible and seemingly physical, in real time, and who would not be tricked.

In 1973, Zondervan Publishing House published a ThM thesis I wrote titled A Manual of Demonology and the Occult. It was the only book I wrote that actually made me some money. The result, however, was that people from all over the country, even foreign countries, showed up in Marin County, California, hoping to have demons cast out of them. And there were hundreds of these, and though the stream has trickled down considerably, it is still going on. The need was so great that we developed twelve teams of us who did this work and saw first-hand that one of the demonic kingdom’s means of seducing others, and I mean invading their being, is via the psychic practices of channeling.

It is fair to ask if I am saying that the Jesus Calling process opens one up to being possessed by a demon?

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

Brenna E. Scott has made herself a target with the publication of her book. As soon as I read it, I did my best to secure more copies. I urge those who read this little piece of mine to get a copy of her book, read it, and pass it along to others. It is no small undertaking.

At the heart of it is the mystery of who the “Jesus” is who is calling Sarah and all those who have been enticed into the practice through Sarah Young’s books. It will be a challenge for Christians as well as non-Christians to investigate what is at the heart of the Jesus Calling books.

By going to https://www.spiritjournaling.com/ you can click on the book image and read it

 or click on “Purchase” and buy it.

Kent Philpott, pastor of Miller Avenue Baptist Church in Mill Valley, CA, now in his 39th year. By going to milleravenuechurch.org you can find out more.

The Parable of the Lost Son

Gospel Meditation

Luke 15:11–32

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1. Here is the third of the “lost” parables and this time what is lost is a human being not a sheep or a coin.

2. The youngest of two sons asks his father for his share of the family’s property, which was a practice in that day.

3. The father does so, giving him, according to Deuteronomy 21, one third of what would become his inheritance, the oldest son receiving two thirds.

4. The wild young man, driven by sinful desires, soon squanders all and becomes desperate, even to the point of tending pigs, which would be most repugnant for a Jew.

5. Nearing a point of desperation of even life itself, the young son knows he must return to his father. Nearing home, his father sees him from a distance, runs to embrace his son, and welcomes him back home.

6. Out of pleasure and gratitude, the father throws a big dinner party, sparing no expense.

7. The older son, hearing the sounds of celebration, comes upon the festive gathering and complains to his father that he had never received such attention, and even speaks badly of his younger brother.

8. The father however tells his older son that he was always special to him, but that his younger brother who was as good as dead is now alive, indeed he who was lost is now found.

Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin

Gospel Meditation

Luke 15:1–10

Parable of the Lost Coin

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

1.         Here are the first two of three parables having to do with something lost, now the lost sheep and the lost coin. Next week’s meditation will focus on the third, the lost son, which is by far the longest of the three.

2.         Jesus is motivated to present the parables because the religious types caught Him spending time with tax collectors (the worst of the worst) and other various sorts of sinners, and they “grumbled” about it, likely saying unkind things about a man who did not keep himself from such unclean people.

3.         First the lost sheep. Only one sheep out of one hundred is lost yet the owner seeks after that sheep until it is found, then he puts the lame sheep over his shoulders and takes it home, whereupon the shepard rejoices in the find and makes it know to his neighbors.

4.         Then a woman loses a coin, a drachma or denarius, worth a day’s wages, thus, not much money. But it would seem the woman is poor, she needs to light a lamp (poor people’s homes often would have no windows or only a small one) and she searches diligently for the coin and finds it.

5.         Upon the finding of the lost coin, she lets all her friends and neighbors know of the joyous event.

6.         Coming up then next week is the parable about a lost son.

Jesus Calling & Sarah Young

The Jesus Calling series by Sarah Young is bringing thousands of Christians into the psychic world of channeling. Young’s books are some of the best-selling books in the Christian world, even top evangelical publishers present her work.

I challenge you to investigate for yourself this material. Jesus calling, yes, one can act as a medium or channeller or psychic, and Jesus will speak words to you. This is of course far from biblical. As followers of Jesus we pray to our Lord and find His words in our Scripture.

Psychics, for long centuries, go into their trans states, and get words and messages and prophecies – but the speaker is a demon, and in this case, the Jesus Calling series, is imitating Jesus.

Two persons in the church I pastor, Miller Avenue Baptist Church in Mill Valley, in my 39 years there as pastor, became involved with the Jesus Calling series and have now repented of it. Interestingly enough, both thought there was something wrong with it and laid the books aside, but spoke to me of their experiences when I happened to mention Sarah Young’s series on Jesus Calling in a sermon recently.

I felt it incumbent upon me to present this to my Facebook friends, and to those who receive my blog.

I suggest Chris Lawson’s Spiritual Research Network on this issue. And also find a way to get Brenna E. Scott’s book, Christian Journaling or Psychic Channeling?: A Critical Comparison of the Jesus Calling Series with Occult Training Literature.

I close with 1 Peter 5:8: “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seek someone to devour.”

The Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:25–35

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         At this point, Jesus with His disciples, are heading toward Jerusalem, and “great” crowds of people are accompanying them. Verses 26 to 35 are addressed to the “crowds.”

2.         The word “hate” as in “does not hate” his own family members is shocking, and if one where to take it literally, is Jesus saying that in order to be one of His disciples, a person must “hate” his or her family?

3.         We know that Jesus often says that we are to love others, especially family members, including enemies. Thus most commentators do not take the word “hate” literally, nor do I. It is a way of speaking to dramatize what is at stake to be a follower of Jesus.

4.         There is a cost that a Christian will pay, and Jesus was about to pay the highest price; indeed, the cross is looming ahead, and all but one of His appointed apostles would be killed at the hands of those who hate Jesus.

5.         This is “full disclosure” on Jesus’ part. He told them the truth about what it would mean to claim Him as the Messiah of Israel.

6.         Christian history collaborates what Jesus said. And even now, in our own day, we find it to be so, not necessarily in our America, but in lands where Christianity is not valued it is apparent.

7.         Yet as some say, “the times they are a changing.”

Jesus Presented at the Temple & The Return to Nazareth

Luke 2:22–40

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         Joseph and Mary follow the directions given in the Law of Moses for the child Jesus and mother Mary.

2.         While at the Temple the family meets Simeon who was waiting for the fulfillment of the promises regarding the Messiah found in the Hebrew Bible.

3.         By direction of the Holy Spirit, he locates the little family, takes baby Jesus in his arms, and issues the last of the “songs” in Luke, the Nunc Dimittus, meaning ‘mission now completed.’

4.         In the first part of the song, he knows his mission is complete as he has seen the Lord’s salvation, which is Jesus.

5.         This salvation will be for not only the Jews but for Gentiles as well. Then Simeon describes the ministry of Jesus, it will be for the “fall and rising of many,” and for a “sign that is opposed.”  This see this being fulfilled now.

6.         Then he speaks about a “sword” that will pierce through Mary as well, an indication of what will happen to baby Jesus, thus the crucifixion and death of Mary’s son.

7.         Then as a second testimony there is Anna, a devout woman 84 years old, who provides another witness to Joseph and Mary, and all who witnessed the event, that the child Jesus was the “redemption of Jerusalem,” another way of referring to the coming Messiah and His ministry.

8.         Now then the little family heads back home to Nazareth where baby Jesus will grow and become strong.

The Christmas Story

Genesis 3:14–16; Psalm 22:14–18; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6–7; Gal. 4:1-6

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture.

God addressing the Serpent, who had deceived Adam and Eve, states, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heal.”

  1. The woman’s offspring, as the historic drama in Scripture makes plain is Mary’s son Jesus, who defeats the serpent while the serpent is only able to do minor or temporary damage.
  2. In Psalm 22 then is a portrayal of the damage the serpent does, all under the authority of the Creator. The Psalmist, David depicts a man dying on a cross hundreds of years before the invention of this horrible instrument of execution is invented.
  3. Isaiah the prophet speaks of a virgin giving birth to “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” Then this virgin born son is “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (If you look carefully you will see the Trinity.)
  4. Further along in Isaiah we find this Immanuel as the suffering servant of Israel. The prophet speaks of a person despised and rejected, but who is “wounded for our iniquities” and upon whom is laid all of our sin.
  5. Isaiah goes on to say that this despised one’s dying is an “offering for sin” yet his days will be prolonged, even that “the will of the LORD prosper in his hand.” This is clearly about Jesus’ resurrection. (see Isaiah 53)

In the first century CE a former Jewish Rabbi, the Apostle Paul, in writing to a Gentile audience, sums up the ultimate intention of God in this manner: When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5

Mary

Gospel Meditation

Mark 3:31–35; Luke 1:26–56; John 2:1–11; 19:16-27;

Acts 1:12—14

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Her name appears 51 times in the New Testament. It is thought the name means “bitterness” or “sorrow,” and indeed she had much sorrow as well as joy.

Why was Mary chosen to give birth to the Messiah? She was of no account, was poor, and lived in a small village with no reputation. Indeed, Nathaniel asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)

What a wonderful mother she was. Besides giving birth to Jesus she gave birth to four boys, two of which became authors of New Testament books, James and Jude. And she bore at least two girls as well, maybe more, and who are unnamed in Scripture.

At one point her family questioned Jesus’ activities, thought He might be mad, yet she supported her son despite the opposition He faced. She was present at the crucifixion, and at one-point Jesus her son, while dying, commended her to the care of the Apostle John, the only disciple present at the cross. Legend has it that he cared for her until her death. At some point, they lived in Ephesus.

Mary became a widow as Joseph disappears fairly early on in the life of Jesus. Mary then raised a rather large family and with good result.

It is probable that you have at least one family member in your remembrance who has the name Mary or a derivative thereof.

She will always be honored as the woman who gave birth to our Lord Jesus Christ.