Fear that Leads to Knowledge
Digest and Links to Religious Subjects in the News for This Week

STEP UP Devotions for January 26-February 2

Luke 6:20-49

These thoughts come from the Sermon on the Mount from Luke's gospel. They are both a review of the sermon in Matthew 5-7 and another perspective. Our comments are brief here and designed to propel questions for digging deeper into the scripture passages.


January 26 - "(20 ) And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. (21) Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. (22 ) Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (23 ) Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (24 ) But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. (25 ) Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (26 ) Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets" It is a slightly different style and somewhat different list that the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. Furthermore, Jesus lists not only blessings, but also curses. The crux of it, however, is the same, namely that in God's new Kingdom, all the tables are turned. What seemed valuable before is now worthless. What was weak and discarded is now exalted. The Kingdom of God shapes our values. How is it shaping yours?


January 27 - "(27) But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, (28 ) Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (29 ) And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. (30 ) Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. (31 ) And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (32 ) For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. (33 ) And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. (34 ) And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. (35 ) But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (36) Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Kingdom people differ from other folks in the world not only because of their hope and their values, but also in how they treat people. Nothing evidences this more than how Christians are mandated to treat their enemies with love, mercy, and respect. What evidences in your life from how you treat people point to the reality that you are a kingdom citizen and follower of Jesus Christ?


January 28 - "(37 ) Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (38 ) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." God calls His people to live and love generously, to be generous in our love, forgiveness, and sharing with others and the be generous in our judgments. Jesus tells us that we set the standards by which we are assessed. How comfortable are you with the concept of being judged by the standards you use to evaluate other people? How comfortable are you with the idea of receiving blessings at the level which you bestow them?


January 29 - "(39 ) And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? (40 ) The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master." Are you walking blind through life and trying to lead others at the same time? Are you leading people astray or are you part of an ever unfolding process of growing in clarity and grace. Who are you following as you lead others? Are you daily acknowledging the Lord Jesus as the Master of your life or are you setting yourself above Him? Are you trying to master others without having mastered yourself? Perfection means completion. Are you moving in that direction? Leaders are people in whose lives there is a degree of mastery by themselves and by the Master of all. Such people are worth following.


January 30 - "(41 ) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's ye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (42 ) Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." If we are to be real, the opposite of hypocrites, we will have to admit that we have things in our eyes that blind us to complete reality and keep us from being as helpful to others as we might like to be. Trying to straighten out someone else's life without giving attention to our own vulnerabilities and flaws is not helpful to anyone and is not authentic. We must take personal responsibility for our own lives and then we can be more of a service to others. What areas of growth in your own life will you be working on this week?


January 31 - " (43 ) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (44 ) For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. (45 ) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." What and who you are will be revealed by the fruits of your life and the words of your mouth. Eventually, your character will show itself. It may be over time or it may be in crisis or it may be in something subtle, but you cannot hide your true self forever. However, you can, by the grace of God, change your inner person, your motives, and your driving values. God will help you. The Holy Spirit will perform a radical heart transplant in your life. If you are worried about someone finding out your real character, stop worrying. They will. But if you get real with God and be vulnerable with others, it won't be so bad. In fact, it will be liberating, especially as you are openly transformed, day by day and moment by moment into the image of Christ.


February 1 - "(46 ) And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (47 ) Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: (48 ) He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. (49 ) But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."What we do discloses what we really believe. How we act shows our commitment to truth. If we have heard and ignored truth, the foundation of our lives will crumble. If we have heard, internalized, and acted on truth, what we build will last. Are you built to last? Why or why not?