This week I have read through the entire Gospel of Luke and have be recharged with the miracle of Christmas and the teachings of Jesus. I have to confess that sometimes I feel distant with my prayer life and with my walk only to realize that there is more at play than meets the eye. Luke Chapter 1 & 2 gives us the setting and story of the Birth of Jesus and John the Baptist, along with Jesus as a boy in his Father's house. Luke 3 & 4 tells about John the Baptist in the Wilderness and the lineage of Jesus along with the devil tempting our Lord Jesus (yeah, good luck with that one :)). Luke 5 through 22 tells us about his teachings and fulfilling of prophecies along with life lessons for you and I.
I cannot even begin to tell you how I am really looking forward to Christmas Day with my family. I will admit that this year has been a very bittersweet year for me. My mother died in March and my wife's 100+ grandmother just died as well. On the very night that we were at the wake, our friend called me to tell us that she found our dog dead on the kitchen floor. We left the wake early to tell our kids about our dog Sammy dying and to allow them to say their goodbyes to him. Needless to say, my heart aches.
The good news here is Jesus - he makes things new everyday. I am amazed that a God would love us this much to send His only son for us to die on a cross and to take our sin away. The beautiful thing for me this week was reading through the entire Gospel of Luke. I am renewed and refreshed with some more things to share along the way.
Are you willing to be a true disciple of Christ - no matter the cost? In Luke 14:26 Jesus gives us clear understanding that when we choose to follow Him we may have to decide to choose Him over family members and even more so over our self. That is, are we willing to die to us and live for Him no matter the cost. One thing that struck me as profound is when Jesus was watching the rich give tithes of their abundance but watched the widow give all that she had (two copper coins). She gave out of her comfort zone while others only give what they are willing to lose. How much more should we, as disciples be willing to give up? I read a "tweet" this week that made me laugh hard. It said, "I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible more as they get older, then I realized: They are cramming for finals!"
What makes me wonder the most these days is when we get to Heaven (and the Judgement Seat of Christ), how many Christians will realize that they got this life wrong. They could have done more? They should have gave more! They should have thought of self less and others more. Pure religion in the eyes of the Father is that which takes care of widows and orphans and avoids the ways of this world (paraphrasing James 1:27).
This Christmas, I want to wrap my arms around Luke Chapter 2 and spread the gospel to my family, friends and community more. I want my life to be that light that says Jesus is the only way.