The Redeemed Life

a Christian blog cultivating spiritual growth

Archive for October, 2013

23 October
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Luke 14:12-24 – Thanks God, But No Thanks…

Luke 14:7-11 – Listen

12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

Redeemed Mind – Learn

While dining with the Pharisees, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach his hearers about the coming Kingdom of God.  While the Jews He was eating with envisioned the Kingdom of God being a feast where only the super-saints were invited, Jesus rocks their long-standing view of God’s Kingdom by telling a parable that showed the exact opposite.

Those who were originally invited (the people of Israel) continually declined God’s gracious invitation to share in His Kingdom, so God extended the invitation to the “outcasts and outsiders.”  The problem was not with God’s invitation, but the hearts of those who were originally invited.  In God’s Kingdom, the least, the weak, and the meek, were those who were celebrated and honored.  Those who were originally invited rejected that heavenly reality and instead created their own vision on heaven where only the “super saints” would be in attendance.  Jesus (thankfully!) reveals the error of in their thinking.

Redeemed Heart – Worship

In the parable, those who were invited to the King’s feast presented a whole host of lame excuses for not being able to make the feast.  They had allowed the busyness of everyday life choke out their active participation in the Kingdom Jesus offered.  Their actions reveal the sad nature of their hearts: they rejected the claims of God and substituted the things of this world in its stead.  The parable labels these people the “unworthy.”  They will not share in God’s Kingdom and its blessings because they have turned their eyes on the things of this world.  In the truest sense possible, they crowded God out of their lives for worldly (note well: not evil) things.

Redeemed Life – Grow

Has the daily grind of life choked out the priority you once gave God?  Have your mind and heart wondered away from the God who

once captivated every fiber of your being?  Do you, like the invited guests, politely tell God “no thank you!  I’m a little busy for your right now… Maybe next time!”?

Jesus words were meant to rouse a sleeping world that had forgotten about God.  His words continue to challenge us today as we face more distractions than every… each thing competing with God for our time and energy.

What are you willing to do to make God your priority today?  What needs to come off your schedule in order to make room for God?  What it really boils down to is: do you believe its really important to make God a priority?  Your actions will most definitely speak louder than your words.

21 October
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Luke 14:7-11 – A Lesson in Humility

Luke 14:7-11 – Listen

7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”.

Redeemed Mind – Learn

In Jesus’ culture, seating arrangements directly correlated to a person’s social standing and reputation.  Those sitting closest to the host (at the head of the table) were considered of higher standing than those who were at the end of the table.  Jesus, while dining with the religious leaders, illustrates the potential humiliations and blessing that come through living and choosing humility.

If one chooses a seat of low honor, the only possible direction they could move is up!  But if one chooses to sit in the highest seat possible, there is a very real chance that they will be asked to give their seat to someone of higher social standing, and as a result, would take the long walk of shame toward the lower end of the table.

Jesus reveals that choosing a life of humility opens the doors for a person to be exalted by God and others.  The converse is also true: if a person thinks and acts like he is the most important person in the world, they’re in for a harsh wake up call – if not in this life, than the life to come.

Redeemed Heart – Worship

The beauty of this parable is that it is spoken by One who lived in accordance with what He taught.  Philippians 2:5-9 says,

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…” 

Jesus not only taught us the value of living humbly.  he modeled it in His life, death, resurrection, and exaltation.  He doesn’t give us empty words, but a new reality of His Kingdom here on earth.

Redeemed Life – Grow

What opportunities have you been given to practice this lesson in humility?  Where can you choose to become a servant so that God and others can exalt you?  Is it with your family?

Your work?

Perhaps your church?

Are you willing to give up the fight for respect and control?  Or will you live in a perpetual battle to be important in the eyes of others?

Give up the non-nonsensical battle, and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.  And in His time, he will exalt you (1Pet:5:6).