Luke 22

Read Luke 22 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. – Luke 22:42-44

In this part of the story, Jesus’ death is approaching. I can only imagine the torment that He went through, knowing what He was facing. Yet, for several reasons, I am also inspired by the verses above.

1 – Jesus knew full well that He was up against terrible pain and torture. However, He still was able to say in essence, “Thy will be done.” Seeing Jesus’ attitude in this moment can help us to face life’s difficulties differently. Many of us tend to gripe over much smaller matters, myself included. But no matter what we are facing, we too can say, “Thy will be done.” When we have a close relationship with Almighty God, we know there is no safer place to be, and we can trust Him. As it says in Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” And even in the midst of difficult circumstances, when we have this attitude, we can even embrace the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:6).

2 – I appreciate the fact that Jesus prayed when He was facing an unbearable situation. When we are dealing with painful circumstances, turning to God in prayer is vital. We are not merely praying to seek His help, but we are seeking His presence and His comfort. When we pray, and place our troubles in the Lord’s hands, we are acknowledging that our God is bigger than the mountain in front of us.

3 – I also want to point out that it says, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” When we turn to the Lord, He will be faithful to comfort us and strengthen us.

No matter what trials you are facing in your life, I encourage you to seek God. He will be your safe place. He will comfort you and strengthen you. He will bring you peace.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 93 of 100. Continue to write down ten things you are grateful for today!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 21

Read Luke 21 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4

Christmastime is about giving. People seem to be more generous around this holiday than any other time throughout the year. We give our loved ones gifts. We support charities and slip some bills in The Salvation Army’s red kettle. We make sacrifices for things that we might not normally consider during the rest of the year. We freely give, just as Christ freely gave His life for us.

I pray we can keep this Christmas spirit in our hearts all year. But giving is not just about money or gifts. We can give of our time, our help, a listening ear, and our attention. The miraculous thing about giving is that it not only blesses the recipient, but it also blesses us as well. We feel so good about helping someone.

I love this story in Luke 21 about the widow’s offering. Jesus saw her heart in what she gave, and that’s what it’s all about. The heart.

In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Paul wrote, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

What an encouraging word to help us remember to give generously! Throughout the coming year, let’s look for unique ways we can give. You can give to your spouse by cooking their favorite meal. You can give to your child by taking time to play a board game together. You can give to a coworker by helping them with a difficult project. Call someone on the phone and just listen. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee. Surprise a friend with a small gift. The possibilities are endless. When we give out of love, whether it’s money or time or anything else, we are reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us. And giving will also bring joy to our own hearts.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 92 of 100. Keep going! The finish line is in view!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 20

Read Luke 20 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

In Luke 20 we see different instances where the people tried to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. These people were from an influential group during that time, yet they often disagreed with Jesus and His views. They should have been a group that was respected, but Jesus warns us against them.

In verse 20 it says, “Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere.”

And in verses 46-47, Jesus said, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

Although we are living over two thousand years later, we too have to be careful. Some people who appear to be highly religious and influential might not be sincere. Some people throw around Bible verses and they think this makes them appear like a devout Christian. But we must remember that even satan quoted Scripture. See Luke 4:1-13. (And this is also something to keep in mind in spiritual battles as well, because satan will distort scripture at times and try to get us to see things from the wrong angle.)

This might make us fearful when we realize that we have to stay on guard and keep our eyes open for wolves in sheep’s clothing. How do you know who to trust and who to believe? Honestly, there are so many things in this world that can make us fearful, and we might worry that we cannot navigate our way around the unknowns.

But as Christians, we don’t have to fear. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and He helps us to have discernment. In John 14:16-17 (AMP), Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.” Look at all the ways the Holy Spirit is described here – Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby, the Spirit of Truth. What joy this brings our hearts to know that God has planted this very same Holy Spirit inside you and me and all of His children.

What a precious gift we have. We have an amazing Friend who is with us every single day. He can help us in every area of our lives. And when we have a strong relationship with the Lord, we will know His voice well. We will be able to recognize a certain feeling in our core when He speaks to us and directs us. How comforting it is to know that we have this loving Friend with us at all times.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 91 of 100. Have you felt happier over that last couple of months?

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 19

Read Luke 19 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

In Luke 19:28-44, we read about Jesus arriving in Jerusalem. When I read about Jesus’ life and get to this point in the story, it makes me sad because I know the end is near. The events that happened on this day are what we now observe as Palm Sunday, one week before Easter Sunday.

Perhaps I should be glad to read how the people praised God and said, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

But I have to wonder if some of these people are the same ones who later demanded that Jesus be crucified.

The people in Jesus’ time had such a special gift. They had The Messiah right there in their presence. But they failed to see what was right in front of them. And in verse 44, Jesus said, “…you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

I also have to wonder if we are much different? How much does our world miss out on, when it comes to the Lord and His presence? Even God’s own children are preoccupied and don’t always see Him working in their lives. It’s important to be intentional about humbly seeking the Lord, every day. The more we train ourselves to stay in tune with Him, the more we will see how many miracles there are all around us. I am convinced that God does so much in our lives, every single day. But we don’t always notice, because we aren’t looking.

Jesus has many names, such as Prince of Peace and Lamb of God. I especially love that Jesus is referred to as Emmanuel (also spelled Immanuel) because the meaning of this name is “God with us.” How beautiful is that? This is something we should keep in mind on a daily basis. God is with us, every moment of every day. No matter what we are facing, He is there. Let us take comfort in that.

And may this truth also encourage us to be more aware of His presence. May we fix our hearts on Him and seek Him in all of our daily actions. May we be more mindful of all the ways He is working in our lives. May our eyes remain open to His goodness and His love, every day.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 90 of 100. Almost there!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

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