Luke 18

Read Luke 18 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

I really appreciate the story found in Luke 18:1-8. And I truly love the way it starts off by saying that “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (v 1). If you have been following my blog this year, then you know I wrote a lot about prayer this past spring. (If you missed those posts, you can find them all here.)

I learned so much about prayer through those posts. And one thing in particular is the sense of peace that we get when we cling to God in prayer.

Some people give up on prayer too easily. They complain that God isn’t listening or answering. And yes the truth is that our prayers might not always be answered the way we want or as quickly as we want.

However, when we stay anchored to God in prayer, we feel peace because we know that the One and Only Almighty God is on the other end of our prayer line. He is listening, so Don’t Give Up! And that is what Jesus is trying to tell us in Luke 18.

Pastor Robert Morris has an encouraging and amazing book entitled, Why Keep Praying. I highly recommend it. It is not a long book. So even those who don’t like to read can digest it. In this book he says about Luke 18:1-8: “Jesus was saying, ‘Dear friends, I want to encourage you to pray and to keep praying. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t become weary or tired. Don’t give in to despair. Keep seeking God because (unlike the cranky old judge in the story) He cares deeply about you and will certainly hear and respond.’”

Prayer is vital in our walk with God. Staying in connection with Him, every day, affects all areas of our life. Our relationship with God will strengthen. God will guide us down the right path. Our character will develop in a beautiful way, as we become more like Jesus. And we will experience God’s love like never before. May we remember to pray, every day, and never give up.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 89 of 100. Don’t forget to write down today’s blessings.

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 17

Read Luke 17 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

In this chapter, Jesus talks a bit about forgiveness. In verse 4 it says, “Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

It can be difficult to offer up this level of forgiveness, especially when we are relying on our own strength. Our pride will want to hold onto a grudge when someone hurts us. But the truth is that when we hold onto unforgiveness, we are harming ourselves. Bitterness grows in our hearts and turns us into a sour person.

Forgiving others isn’t easy. But as children of God, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. When we tap into that power, we can reach new heights and achieve things we can’t achieve on our own. Including forgiving others.

When forgiving other people, it also helps to remember how much God has forgiven us. We do not deserve the free gift of forgiveness. Yet it is handed to us anyway. We don’t have to do anything to earn it. When we keep this in mind, it helps us to also forgive other people who do not deserve it either.

If forgiveness is something you need to work on, check out these two posts: Forgiveness – Part 1 and Forgiveness – Part 2.

I know just saying “you need to forgive” is a lot easier said than done. When people hurt us, it cuts deep. But it is important to remember that forgiveness helps our hearts to heal. It helps us to move on and let go, because we are freeing ourselves from a heavy burden. If you need to forgive someone today, perhaps taking time to pray about it will help you on the road to freedom.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 88 of 100. Keep up the good work!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 16

Read Luke 16 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10

This verse reminds me to be a good steward. Often when we hear this phrase, it is in reference to money. But I think we should aim to be good stewards of more than money. We can be good stewards of our time, our relationships, our health, our resources, our talents, and so much more. We have countless opportunities to show God that we can be trusted with the things He places into our care.

Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This is such a great verse to keep in mind on a daily basis. Whatever task we are doing, whether at work, at home, or anywhere else – if we do it for Jesus, we will do our best. We will show God that we are faithful and can be trusted with little or with much.

Dr. Charles Stanley puts it this way, “Faithfulness in the small assignments the Lord gives us qualifies us for the opportunity to serve in greater and more influential ways. Be obedient and faithful where God plants you and watch what awesome things He does through your life.”

Let us take time today to evaluate different areas of our lives. Are we being good stewards? Are we showing God that we can be trusted with little and with much? If not, how can we make changes to show God that we are faithful and taking good care of the resources He has given us?

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 87 of 100. I hope the challenge has helped you to see God’s goodness in your life.

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 15

Read Luke 15 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

This entire chapter is a heartwarming one. In the three parables that are shared we can see how much God loves us. I especially love the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost son. In the parable of the lost sheep, in verse 4, Jesus says, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

This is a beautiful picture of our Father’s love. At one point or another, each of us was that lost sheep. God left the ninety-nine to go after us. He loved us so much that He wanted to bring us back home where we belong. Can’t you just picture a shepherd worried and searching for His lost sheep? He will not rest until the sheep is back in the field.

I also love the parable of the lost son. I especially love verse 20 where it says, “But while [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” When I read this, my heart overflows. In my mind, I can see our Heavenly Father running down a dusty road to greet us. It is so beautiful to know that is how God sees each of us. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done, He just wants us to come home. We are always welcome, as long as we believe. Some people think they are too far gone for God to forgive them, but that is never true. God sees our hearts and if we are sincere, He will welcome us with open arms.

Take a moment to thank God for His immeasurable and unfailingly love. Let us remember that no one will ever love us as much as He does. Take some time today to rest in His arms and feel His love for you.

Additional Resource: Pastor Jentezen Franklin recently preached on this chapter of Luke. Check out his sermon, How to Finish Stronger Than You Started.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 86 of 100. Not much further to go!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 14

Read Luke 14 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

“In the same way, those who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” – Luke 14:33

I fear there are many people out there who just want to have a casual relationship with God. They just want to squeeze Him in when it’s convenient. They just want to pull certain Bible verses that work for them, and discard the rest. Perhaps they just want to meet up on Sunday for an hour. But the remaining 167 hours in the week? Well, God is off limits. They don’t want Him to point out the things that need to change. They don’t want to hear about anything they need to give up. They don’t want to be put in uncomfortable conversations. They want to play it safe and not get too close. They have one foot in and one foot out.

For the people who live like this, I have to wonder if one day they will hear Jesus say, “I never knew you.” (See Matthew 7:21-23.) This is heartbreaking to think about it.

But shouldn’t we want to live for Jesus? Think about all that He has done for us, all that He gave for us. Why wouldn’t our salvation alone compel us to give God our whole heart?

Yes, we might have to change or give some things up. As Kyle Idleman, pastor and author of Not a Fan said, “There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life. Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs something.” (Side note, the book Not a Fan will completely change your walk with God. I highly recommend it.)

But when our hearts are completely committed to Him, we don’t mind changing for Him. We don’t mind giving up things for Him. We learn that He always has our best interest at heart. So if He asks us to let go of something, then we know it is for our good. And we happily comply. And we will never have any regrets when we place our lives in His loving hands.

I invite you to pray this prayer with me…

Dear Jesus, You made a huge sacrifice for me, by taking on my sin and dying on the cross. You paid a debt that I could never pay. I am so very thankful. I know I cannot repay You, but I want to live my life for You. I want to give You my whole heart. Please help me to let go of anything that is holding me back. Please reveal to me anything that is standing in the way of my relationship with. Thank You. It is in Your beautiful name I pray, Amen.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, there are only 15 days left. You can do it! Continue to record 10 “gifts” in your life.

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 13

Read Luke 13 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” – Luke 13:24

If you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you can look forward to spending eternity in heaven with Him. Jesus is the narrow door. As Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the only way to salvation. And Jesus will accept anyone who accepts Him. As it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” See that one word in there that says “whoever.” That means you and me. If we believe in Him, we shall not perish, but have eternal life.

You might get stuck on the words in this verse that say, “many … will try to enter and will not be able to.” This might make us worry and wonder if we will not be able to enter. But Jesus knows who is sincere and who truly believes in Him, versus who is putting on appearances. The Lord can see our hearts. If you have sincerely accepted the Lord, then you have nothing to fear.

(If you have not accepted Jesus yet, but you are ready to take that step, go here. This will be the best decision of your life.)

I feel this verse in Luke is also a reminder of how we should live our lives. The world will lead us down a broad road. But we are called to a higher purpose. We will make choices in our lives that the world will ridicule. Sometimes we might be ignored and overlooked. But it is important to remember that being left out is a good thing. The world is not our home. We are temporarily passing through. Heaven is our true home. Take a look around at the chaos of the world we are living in. Fitting in will only mean that we are heading down the wrong path. Let us remember to choose the best path. Every day we will make choices in our lives. When making choices, if we keep Jesus in mind, we will have no regrets.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 84 of 100. Let me know how you are doing!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 12

Read Luke 12 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here. We are already halfway through the book of Luke!

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:6-7

Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you? Sometimes life is just plain hard and we assume God is nowhere to be found. But the truth is that, as children of the Most High God, we are never forgotten. And when we have thoughts that tell us we are forgotten, we have to remind ourselves that the enemy is the one who wants us to think that way.

The verse above is such a heartwarming one, especially when we are facing something difficult. If God sees each and every sparrow, how much more does He see us? If God knows how many hairs are on our heads, then how could He possibly overlook us? Even when we are on a city street, surrounded by millions of other people, His eyes never lose sight of us.

In his book, The Devotions, Tauren Wells puts it this way, “I love what my father-in-law, Rev. Ron Macey, once said in a message he was preaching. He mentioned that Luke 12 tells us that God has numbered the hairs on our heads. He pointed out that not only does God know the sum of the hairs on your head but that He’s also gone so far as to have a number for each one! He knows that hair #674, #223, and #62 came out in your comb this morning. He knows that #112, #332, #27, #96, and #705 are a little grayer than they used to be. I had never really thought about it, and at first it struck me as humorous. Then I felt the full weight and reality of the implied truth of that verse. God sees, investigates, and keeps track of every… single… detail… about His children. Not a freckle, scar, hurt, moment, or detail about our lives is overlooked. Considering this profound truth, my heart echoes David’s, realizing that the eyes of the Master are upon him, asking, ‘Who am I that you are mindful of me?’ Amazing. Can you wrap your heart around that?”

Keep this awesome truth in mind today. And remember that Jesus Himself said that you are worth more than the sparrows. Don’t let discouragement bring you down. Remind yourself that God is there, He sees you and He hears you. When you reach out to Him, He will always be there.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 83 of 100. I hope you have seen the results of practicing gratitude in your life!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 11

Read Luke 11 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10

Perhaps some of you recall that in 2019 my word for the year was “seek.” And I still hold this word near and dear to my heart. I have made it my life’s mission to seek God wholeheartedly. And it truly is a lifelong journey. We can never fully grasp all of the Lord on this side of heaven. But we can continue to learn more about Him and grow closer to Him every day.

I often feel like there is more of God that I can get in my life. But I also know that a big piece of why I don’t have more of Him is because of my own roadblocks. I know that in every single day, there is more I can do to seek Him. I can spend more time with Him in prayer. I can spend more time reading my Bible. When I am driving home from work, I can choose to turn off the radio and listen for His voice instead. I can choose to turn off the television and read a devotional instead. There are so many choices we can make in our day to choose Him. And with each choice we make, our hearts will be more tightly tethered to the Lord.

May verses 9-10 remind us to ask for more of God, to seek God, and to knock on God’s door. He will give us Himself, we will find Him, and He will answer the door.

Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Isn’t that beautiful? God will not forsake those who seek Him. What is one thing you can do today to seek the Lord?

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 82 of 100. We are so close!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 10

Read Luke 10 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

I was hesitant to share on the Martha and Mary story, found in Luke 10:38-42, because I know it’s a story that has been tackled a lot. But when mulling over the different stories shared in Luke 10, this one kept jumping out at me. The truth is that, even though this story has been written about many times, we still need to hear it. And these days, in our society, I feel that we need to hear it even more. And actually, this story resonates with part of the reason why we are doing this study in the first place.

Martha and Mary were sisters, and Jesus was visiting their home on one particular occasion. Martha was running around tending to preparations while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Martha complained about her sister not helping. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (v 41-42).

What a shame that Martha missed out on time with the Savior because she was “distracted,” as it says in verse 40. But honestly, are we any different? We all have things that pull our attention away from God. Life keeps us busy and we can’t seem to find the time to sit with the Lord. Some days we feel like we don’t even have time to catch our breath.

The past two years have changed us all, in some way. The pandemic has taught us to reevaluate our lives. We have learned more about ourselves and what is most important in life. And hopefully we all came out the other side with a clearer vision.

If you have ever had a garden, then you know the importance of removing weeds from the garden. The weeds will take nutrients away from your other plants. And the plants that you intended to grow will wither because they aren’t getting what they need.

Our lives are not much different. When our time and attention is focused on the wrong areas, the good things in life will wither. Many of us these days are constantly busy and in a hurry. During the pandemic we were forced to slow down. And I hope that we all can hang onto that mindset. When we stay busy, our lives pass us by. Do we miss out on the important things in life because we are too busy?

As Christian scholar Dallas Willard once said, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”1

We each have to decide what the most important things in our own personal lives are, and we have to choose to make those things a priority. May we learn to let go of the things in our lives that suck our time and attention away from the important things. May we learn to make space for the best things in life. The things that will bring us closer to the Lord and the things that will provide our souls with nourishment.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 81 of 100. Write down at least 10 blessings from your day!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

1 Quote pulled from Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg

Luke 9

Read Luke 9 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

On one particular day, Jesus was speaking to a large crowd about the kingdom of God. It was getting late and His disciples mentioned that they should send the crowd away, so that they could get something to eat. But Jesus probably stunned them when He said, “You give them something to eat.” (v 13)

Can you picture the disciples faces? Their jaws dropped, as they scratched their heads. They only had five loaves of bread and two fish. How in the world could they feed five thousand men with that?

You know how the story goes. Jesus gave thanks, broke apart the food, and had the disciples distribute it. Everyone in the crowd ate, and there was even twelve baskets of food left over.

This story reminds me that the Lord might ask us to do things that seem impossible, as well. But He will provide the way. We might not be able accomplish it on our own, but we are guaranteed to have His help. He just asks for a willing heart.

Dr. Charles Stanley put it this way, “The Lord will never command us to do something without also providing whatever is required to obey Him.“

Is God asking you to do something that seems scary, difficult, or even unfeasible? Have you completely dismissed whatever it is, because it seems so far out of reach? Maybe it’s something big, or maybe it’s something not so big in the grand scheme of things. Day in and day out we will all have different things we have to face that we feel inadequate to handle. But we don’t have to face any of it alone. As children of God, we have the Lord with us through it all. So place your trust in Him as you face each situation.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 80 of 100. Keep up the good work!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas