DAILY DEVOTIONALS

Luke 8

Luke 8 by Pastor David Groendyk Today’s chapter could be neatly broken down into two halves: Jesus teaches parables (vv. 1–21) and Jesus performs miracles (vv. 22–56). The two parables in the first half of this chapter are instructive for us in how to understand every other parable in the Gospels. The parable of the sower shows that the Word of God, when it goes out and is preached, is always coming into conflict with…

Luke 6

Luke 6 by Pastor Mark Hudson If you believe that Christ was sent from heaven to correct, judge, love, and reach the lost, wouldn’t you expect tension between the Messiah and a religion that had strayed and abandoned the faith?  Tension is not always bad.  The acrimony between our Lord and the religious leaders started in Luke 1:51ff when Mary praises God by stating that “He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their…

Luke 4

Luke 4 by Pastor David Groendyk Chapter 4 continues the theme of confirming that Jesus is the Son of God filled with the Holy Spirit. The phrase “Son of God” (or something similar) is mentioned another four times (vv. 3, 9, 34, 41) in this chapter, while the Holy Spirit is also mentioned another four times (vv. 1, 14, 18). Each of the sections in Luke 1–4 are absolutely crucial to understanding Jesus before getting…

Luke 3

Luke 3 by Pastor David Groendyk “Is this truly the Son of God?” That’s the question that Luke 3–4 seek to answer. Remember that the angel Gabriel had emphasized to Mary that the son who would be born to her was the “Son of the Most High” and the “Son of God” (Luke 1:32–35). That was the title he was given right off the bat. Everything from John the Baptist’s ministry to Jesus’ baptism to…

Luke 2

Luke 2 by Pastor David Groendyk Nearly everything in our chapter today is unique to Luke, meaning that no other Gospel records the events of Luke 2. Except for Matthew telling us about Jesus’ family fleeing to Egypt and the visit of the magi, this is all the information we have about Jesus’ childhood: he was born in Bethlehem, shepherds came to visit him as a baby, he was circumcised at eight days old, his…

Luke 1

Luke 1 Devotional by Pastor Mark Hudson Instead of a devotional on chapter 1 of Luke’s gospel (only 80 verses), I would like to offer a brief introduction to the only gospel (or only book in the Bible) written by a Gentile (at least Luke could be a Gentile).  We cannot state this categorically.  First the author, Luke was not only the author of Luke but also of Acts.  That Luke is the author has…

Ezra 10

Ezra 10 Devotional  by Pastor Mark Hudson Ezra 10 is a complicated chapter.   We find Ezra praying and weeping with a great assembly of all ages doing the same thing.  He is genuine in his confession of sins.  Then Shecaniah in v. 2 begins to act.  His father is listed in v 26 and those who married foreign women.  So Shecaniah takes this personally since this has happened in his own family. In verse 3,…

Ezra 9

Ezra 9 Devotional by Pastor Mark Hudson Ezra 9, while slightly disturbing, is a great example of a prayer of repentance.  Granted the reason for the prayer is slightly alarming but the contrition, honesty, and God-centeredness is refreshing.  In verses 1-4, Ezra receives an update on the spiritual condition of not just the people but also the priests.  The report was not good.  It is possible that Ezra had already been discussing this and other…

Ezra 8

Ezra 8 by Pastor David Groendyk Here we read about Ezra’s actual journey back to Israel. The rest of the book shifts to Ezra’s first-person perspective, and we read everything from his point of view. As with the previous chapter, “God’s good hand” is the leading theme of Ezra 8. This time we see God’s good hand upon his people in the form of Ezra making good decisions with great wisdom. In verses 1–20, we…

Ezra 7

Ezra 7 by Pastor David Groendyk Chapter 7 fast forwards approximately 60 years after the temple is finished being built and dedicated in chapter 6. Ezra, who is a priest in the lineage of Aaron the great first priest of Israel, leads another wave of Jews back to Jerusalem. More than just going back, though, Ezra has actually been charged by King Artaxerxes, a pagan king, to go back to Jerusalem and establish the Law…

Ezra 6

Ezra 6 Devotional by Pastor Mark Hudson In Ezra 6, as we said yesterday, we need to consider chapters 5-6 as one unit.  So, we will focus on chapter 6 as part two in this devotion of this 2-chapter section.  We ended with Tattenai asking for a search to verify the words of the Jews who claimed they were sent by Cyrus.  So, a search is made by Darius.  They do find a decree in…

Ezra 5

Ezra 5 by Pastor Mark Hudson In Ezra 5, we need to consider chapters 5-6 as one unit. But we will focus on chapter 5 as part one in this devotion of this 2-chapter section. We see a restart in v. 1. “Now the prophets, Haggai, and Zechariah . . . prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem….” The word of God initiates the work as we saw in 1:1, “the word…

Ezra 4

Ezra 4 by Pastor Mark Hudson If this work of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem was not hard enough, now the opposition comes. Remember, these 42,000 thousand pioneers had left the land of Babylon that they knew all or most of their lives. They had built homes, started businesses, married their sons and daughters, and sought the welfare of Babylon as Jer. 29:5ff tells them to do. After learning to speak Persian (or Aramaic), setting…

Ezra 3

Ezra 3 by Pastor David Groendyk In many ways, chapter 3 is an encapsulation of the entire book Ezra. It demonstrates to Israel and to us how God has been faithful to his covenant, and it reinforces our need to love God and do what he commands. God’s faithfulness is evident throughout. Zerubbabel (the king figure and a descendant of David) and Jeshua (the priest) are the ones leading this charge to rebuild the altar…

Ezra 2

Ezra 2 Devotional by Pastor Lawrence Israel’s return to the Promised Land from their captivity in Babylon is considered to be a second exodus patterned after the Exodus from Egypt in the Biblical narrative that actually points us to a third exodus in Christ Jesus for God’s people out of Satan’s dark domain. And just as the initial generation of Israelites were called upon to construct a tabernacle of God at Mt. Sinai, the succeeding…

Ezra 1

Ezra 1 Devotional by Pastor Mark Hudson This is a rather unusual book because a foreign ruler commissions Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and gives them back their things a previous ruler stole from them.  And the book offers more surprises.  So, let’s put this book in context.  We find Jews in Babylon as they are returning to Jerusalem.  They are there because God kicked them out of the land because of their…

Psalm 133

Psalm 133 by Pastor Mark Hudson In just three verses, this Psalm provides insight into one of the most fragile, most important, and not often attained attributes of any organization.  Unity is not always present in governments, businesses, school, families, or even churches.  If this Psalm was sung by the Pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem, they were all coming to worship but coming from different backgrounds and various parts of the land of Israel. We may…

Psalm 132

Psalm 132 by Pastor David Groendyk This psalm reflects heavily on the covenant that God made with King David in 2 Samuel 7:6–14. Despite the first five verses focusing on David’s intention to build the temple, the attention quickly switches to God’s intentions. The Davidic covenant was where God promised that David’s offspring would reign on the throne of Israel forever and that God would give them rest from all their enemies. However, it is…

Psalm 131

Psalm 131 Devotional by Pastor Lawrence This is now the twelfth psalm of ascent, and this one transitions from the theme of forgiveness to that of child-like trust. A believer who knows something of the love and forgiveness of the Lord is also learning much of the wisdom and faithfulness of the Lord to do him good in every situation. Unexpectedly, the more a Christian grows in spiritual maturity, the more child-like she becomes. In…

Psalm 130

Psalm 130 by Pastor Mark Hudson Psalm 130, though a short Psalm, has been an important Psalm in music, as well as Catholic and Reformation theology.  This song of ascent begins on a low note and end on a high note.  Maybe the perfect Psalm of ascent.  This is a much richer Psalm then it may first appear. This is called a penitential psalm; one of seven: 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 143.  This may…

Psalm 129

Psalm 129 Devotional by Pastor Lawrence In another psalm of ascent for God’s people on their way to Zion, the psalmist is leading Israel to consider all that they have suffered at the hands of their persecutors over the years. When speaking of the affliction of “my youth” the psalmist is not referring to an individual’s youth but to the very beginnings of the nation of Israel in the land of Egypt in how they…