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

Luke 8

Read Luke 8 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” – Luke 8:16

This verse is a great reminder of how we should live each day of our lives. We live in a dark world that seems to get darker every day. Over the past couple of years, we have seen so much rioting, hate, and fear. As children of God and believers in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. We do not have to succumb to the negativity in this world. Instead, we have the power to spread light.

Picture a single candle with its flame glowing. We can use the wick on that candle to light another candle. Then we can use those two candles to light two more candles. Now we have four candles, flames glowing. We can continue to multiply light to those around us in a similar way. We can be a positive influence on those around us. And hopefully, in turn, those people will also positively influence others.

I love the prayer by St. Francis of Assisi. It is a beautiful reminder of how we can spread light to those we encounter today and every day.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
—St. Francis of Assisi

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 79 of 100. I hope you have been enjoying the challenge!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 7

Read Luke 7 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

When I was reading Luke 7, I found a key theme among the verses. That theme is Faith. In verses 1-10 we see the great faith of the Centurion who knew that all Jesus had to do was say the word and the Centurion’s servant would be healed. In verses 11-17, Jesus’ act of raising someone from the dead likely caused the witnesses faith to grow. In verses 36-50 we also see the sinful woman whose faith saved her.

We can see throughout this chapter how important faith is. Our faith should be the center or our lives. We shouldn’t try to work faith into our lives. Everything we do in life should revolve around our faith.

Even the story of John the Baptist questioning Jesus, found in verses 18-35 touches on faith. But it might seem a little odd to us that John the Baptist’s faith seems to waver here. Everything we already know about this man screams of his great faith. So why did he question Jesus at this point? Well, at this time John was in prison. Things in his life and environment were bleak. It can be easy for our faith to falter when it is not properly fed. So this shows us the importance of feeding our faith, no matter what we are going through in our lives. If we don’t feed it, it will deteriorate. Whatever we feed in our hearts will grow. We can feed our faith or we can feed our doubt. We have a choice.

But there is something else I want to point out about this story. John questioned Jesus, and Jesus reassured John. When our faith does waver, there are times when we will recognize that our faith is not what it ought to be. And we might realize we want to have more faith and less doubt. During these times, we can reach out to the Lord and tell Him how we are feeling. We can ask Him to help strengthen our faith and He will be there every time to encourage us and restore us. Remember that Jesus walked this earth and understands everything we are going through. He is caring and compassionate and will see you through your doubts, if you reach out to Him.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 78 of 100. We are getting there! I hope you will find much to be thankful for today!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

Luke 6

Read Luke 6 in your Bible. Or you can also read it here.

It was tough for me to pick what to talk about in this chapter because there were a number of passages that I loved.

Verses 27-31 speak about loving your enemies. The words in these verses can be hard to swallow from a human perspective.

And verses 43-45 talk about the fact that we are recognized by our fruit, telling us that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Ouch. That can be very humbling. In the Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, Dr. Stanley wrote, “Your speech says a lot about you. Is your conversation tainted by complaining and cursing? Or is it characterized by praise for the Lord and sound wisdom? This shows what is stored in your heart, and if it is negative, you should reevaluate what you’ve been focusing on. Set your heart on God because then good, helpful speech will flow from you.”

And this leads to where I intended to go with this post. Another verse from Luke 6 that spoke to me was verse 12: “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

The secret to being able to walk out the things that Jesus mentions in this chapter (loving your enemies and having a heart and mouth overflowing with good things) is our relationship with the Lord. I love how Jesus spent time with God quietly. We see often in the gospels where it says that Jesus withdrew to a quiet place to pray. And the words I shared above from Dr. Stanley agree, as he encouraged us to set our hearts on God.

I do want to point out that the next three verses (13-16) we see that Jesus chose His twelve disciples immediately after this night in prayer. So in this case, He was making a big decision. And we too should turn to the Lord when we are facing a big decision. The Holy Spirit will guide us, if we take the time to listen.

But seeking God should be a daily habit, no matter what we are facing. Spending time in the Bible, praying, and sitting in His presence are vital to our walk and well-being. Then we will have the power of the Holy Spirit flowing inside of us. Then we will be able to follow the words of Jesus. We will be able to love our enemies, we will display good fruit to those around us, and the words of our mouths will be a reflection of a pure heart.

If you are also participating in the Gratitude Challenge, today is day 77 of 100. Don’t forget to record your blessings today!

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© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas