What’s important is not to know facts and information, but to be known by God. Knowledge, without being connected to the person of God, is worth nothing, and actually prevents one from knowing him.

But if someone loves God, he is known by God.
1 Corinthians 8:3 NET

Knowledge about God is essential to know God, but more than mere knowledge is needed. Love is the connector. Continue reading

Whatever your condition in life, you can still be a Christian. Whether Jew, Gentile, married, single, slave, or free — even a Lakers fan. We don’t have to become something different than what we are in order to follow Jesus. That is good news.

In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God.
1 Corinthians 7:24 NET

Some Jews wanted to force Gentiles to become like themselves. Paul refused to give in. Must one be married, or remain single? It doesn’t matter, says the apostle, and it depends on the situation.

What isn’t in view here is repentance from sin. The convert to Christ must repent and leave off adultery, greed, lying, and any other sin in which he is involved. This change must be made.

But, besides repentance, we can continue our normal life, for God has called us to take his truth with us in the midst of where we live. Even to Lakers fans.

The earthquake and tsunami gave no warning to Japan. Accidents happen without possibility of preparation. Thieves break in and steal when we least expect it.

Life is full of surprises, and unpleasant ones at that.

The End will also surprise many, but it needn’t be so.

34 “But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will overtake all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36, NET

Here are three reasons, within the text and larger context of Luke 21, why it’s important to “be on your guard.” Continue reading

Preparing the Quick Bible Truths tweet for this morning, which lately has been following the daily NT reading schedule, I wanted a submission really upbeat and positive. Well, Luke 20 isn’t one of those chapters for cheery thoughts. It presents the conflict between Jesus and the authorities in its final, hottest moment, before his betrayal.

After Jesus cleanses the temple, they challenge his authority (1-8). Not every question is a simple request for information. Questions are used for many purposes, with a variety of motivations. Theirs, like the later question on taxes, was designed “to take advantage of what he might say so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor” (v. 20). One would think that “teaching … and proclaiming the gospel” (v. 1) would be innocent and harmless activities, but the Lord invaded their territory “in the temple courts.” As well, he was teaching “the people,” where the priests, scribes, and elders (probably indicating the Sanhedrin) exerted their influence. Everything Jesus did was wrong, in their mind. Continue reading

The Son of Man entered Jerusalem as the One who had come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:1-10). On the back of a colt, he came as the Prince of Peace. The people saw this and proclaimed:

As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38 NET).

Peace in heaven. God has conquered contrary forces and brought peace. Now he will blanket the earth with peace. So they thought. Jesus says they know nothing of what brings peace. As the city lies beneath him in his descent to the gates, he says, Continue reading

Luke 15 is the scheduled New Testament reading for today. Below, I’ve translated the Portuguese devotional thought based on the chapter, or one verse of it.

But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:2 NET

If your only concern is personal purity, and not purification for others, you’ll side with the Pharisees who criticized Jesus.

If, however, you share the same spirit of Christ, the desire to rescue the impure and transport them back to the presence of the Father, you will do as he did: search out the lost wherever they are. Continue reading

Here are five introductory points for tomorrow’s lesson on “How to Beat Hypocrisy,” from Luke 12:1-12. I include them here and now, since I don’t know if I’ll get the whole outline translated or not.

  1. Some days ago an American actor admited his hypocrisy, since he campaigned against polluting the earth and rode in his private, polluting jet. Generally, people tend to point out hypocrisy in others, but Jesus wants us to confess our own and repent of it.
  2. The text of Luke 12:1-2 is divided, according to the markers (“speak,” “say”), in three paragraphs: verses 1-3, verses 4-7, and verses 8-10. (NET, NRSV, ESV e NKJV follow this division exactly.) Continue reading

Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 10:25 NET

The ultimate test is getting the right answer to this question. The expert, above all people and more than all issues, should have had the answer on the tip of his tongue. He wanted, however, to harm Jesus. Our Lord wanted to bless him with life through this question.

Only the “honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15) will find eternal life, and not the one who wants to justify himself (Luke 10:29).

When, like the expert, you stand up, let it be to get eternal life, rather than escaping the responsibility to confess Jesus as Lord and obey him in everything. Let it be to love God totally, and your neighbor as yourself.

Translated from the Portuguese-language devotional “Deus Conosco”, following the 2011 New Testament reading schedule. Join us!

But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves by refusing to be immersed by John.
Luke 7:30

The Jewish leaders’ refusal to be immersed by John signaled their rejection of God’s purpose for them.

John had been “sent from God” (John 1:6) to prepare the way for Jesus. His message included a change a life and immersion in water so that sins might be forgiven. Although his baptism was preparatory and temporary (see Acts 19:1ff), during that period it was part of God’s purpose as a concrete sign of repentance and to bring about God’s forgiveness. Continue reading