Monday, March 15, Luke 13
Jesus teaches about entering the kingdom (22-28). How does Jesus decide who will make it and who won’t? If God wants all kinds of people to know him, why isn’t the door wider (29)? Who are the ones outside (11:23, 11:37-53, 12:9, 12:21, 12:45-46, 13:1)? Why isn’t eating and drinking with Jesus enough? Do you think only a few, or many, or all will be saved? Why? Do you know whether you are inside or outside the kingdom? How do you get in (11:9, 12:31-32)? Recommit your life to Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, March 16, Luke 14
Jesus advises people not to rush in for the best seats (7-14); he wants us to look for a place to serve. How does Jesus’ view of honor differ from the view held by others? What does this teach you about kingdom values versus social values, and their application in our lives? How does status and culture get in the way of loving Jesus? In 25-34, we are reminded about the cost of being a disciple. The word “hate” here does not refer to mental or emotional dislike of family members or of one’s own life, but rather a rejection of anything or anyone blocking our absolute commitment to Christ (see Matthew 10:21, 10:34-39). How do each of the three parables in this passage relate to the necessity of giving our primary love and loyalty to Jesus? When did you realize that following Jesus would be costly? Do you ever wonder if it’s worth it? What keeps you going? Pray about struggles in your life, and leave them at the foot of the cross.
Wednesday, March 17, Luke 15
This chapter brings together three great parables revealing the depth of God’s love and the extent he goes to in finding his own. God loves his children, right down to the last one. He shows us, through Jesus, how far he will go in seeking his misplaced children. What is Jesus’ point with the parable of the lost son (11-31)? What does this parable teach about sin, repentance, and God’s love? What does Jesus want to teach the Pharisees in 25-31? Why doesn’t Jesus tell us how the older brother responded to his father’s plea? Which brother are you like? Have you ever been resentful of God’s lavishness to “less deserving” people? Why? When have you experienced God being like this father? Pray that God would allow you a heart that not only forgives, but also a heart that encourages and supports.
Thursday, March 18, Luke 16
Luke 16:13 reminds us that we cannot serve God and money. It should be used to establish relationships with people and to help others, not to accumulate things! How do you view your money: “it’s mine, keep your hands off;” or, “it’s my creditors;” or, “it’s God’s and I just manage it?” How do you deal with an “it’s mine” mind in an “it’s God’s” commitment to Christ? The Pharisees considered wealth to be proof of righteousness (19-31). How do the lives of the rich man and Lazarus compare on earth (19-21)? After death (22-24)? From this story (30-31), what is the determining factor for entering heaven? Why is it so hard for us to make choices that God wants us to make? Does your life reflect the rich man or Lazarus? How do you move closer to God’s model? Our attitude toward God, revealed in the actions of this life, determines our condition in the life to come. Pray for a heart that serves God, not money.
Friday, March 19, Luke 17
Focus on verses 20-37. In response to the Pharisees, what does Jesus say about the kingdom? Does he view the kingdom within people’s spirits? How does it differ from an earthly kingdom? What did Jesus mean when he said, “one of these days of the Son of Man”? How will those days be like those of Noah and Lot? As you and I live in the kingdom, waiting for the Son of Man to come, what do you see here that you should apply to 32-33? Pray that God will keep you ready and growing in your journey of faith.
Saturday, March 20, Luke 18
Many Roman judges accepted bribes. What was the widow’s bribe, or weapon (1-8)? What was the point in this parable? In your prayer life, are you more likely to give up or hang tough? Why? In 9-14, we compare the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector. In today’s terms, who would be the Pharisee? The tax collector? How do both parables demonstrate faith? What do they teach about God? Jesus warns us about hypocrisy in prayer (see Matthew 6:5-8). Pride keeps prayer from achieving its purpose, while humility leads to open communication with God. God counts humble confession as righteousness. Have you been like the Pharisee? The tax collector? What accounts for the difference? Jesus welcomed the children because they have the kind of faith and trust needed to enter the kingdom of God (15-17; see also Matthew 19:13-15). Are you coming to Jesus like a child filled with faith and trust, or are you still trying to earn the kingdom? Pray Psalm 51:17.
Sunday, March 21, Psalm 101
This psalm is a prayer for help in living a holy life. In order to live a life of integrity, both our efforts and God’s help are necessary. Verse 2 talks about needing God’s help in our homes. Why might this be true? How do you feel about the standard of ethics in our government? Where do your ethics need a boost? In the Living Bible, verse 6 says, “I will make the godly of the land my heroes.” How are David’s heroes in this psalm different from the heroes of our culture today? This psalm is about a godly leader, but we are all leaders in some arena. What makes an effective leader? What did Jesus say about leadership in Luke 22:24-26? Read this psalm as if it were your creed, and ask God to help you apply it to your daily life.