Looking Within not Without

Review of Luke Chapter 18

I am still in the book of Luke … ….I have been in other places and other scriptures (see my word press site) but in terms of teaching and expounding the scriptures. I am still in Luke looking at the messages our Father brought through parables and my roots are going down deep. My sincere apologies for those who have enjoyed and have been waiting…

The last chapter I reviewed was Luke chapter 17. Today I am looking at chapter 18 and trying to weave something of what the Lord is saying. I am using the New Spirit Filled Bible – NKJV as a backdrop and dipping into the editorial notes of Jack W Hayford to highlight what has been revealed in my own spirit. I have called this piece Looking Within not Without.

Luke 18 contrasts the type of individual that gains access to the things of the kingdom and those who will remain outside ie those who might miss it. Three characters are contrasted : The persistent widow , the Pharisee and the tax collector. The distinction being those who put their trust in themselves, their money , possessions , their titles and position and those who cried out from a penitent heart.

The widow was consistent with her request and she knew who was in charge (the earthly judge) and so she humbled herself, made herself small and I believe she made herself ‘an embarrassment’ by her just keeping on asking.

The Pharisee looked without and emphasized his works to God as the thing that was deserving of honor, the thing He thought that set him apart from others – his works, his world, his possession. The tax collector (though in a prominent but despised position at that time in culture) said very little He looked within and cried out to God for mercy.

In highlighting the parables we are shown by illumination that righteousness is a gift of God’s grace not by human achievement or effort. We see that not all prayers are genuine prayers and that God looks at and sees the heart.

We know we can all put on an outward show but God is judge of all and looking for the inward work. He looks for the heart that moves him.

In using the example of the widow He is showing us that if the earthly judge can respond, how much more will He who is our Father hear our steadfast prayer for a thing. How much more will He intervene that is, if it is ours by right, for our benefit and will bring us no harm. He is warning to not be snared by pride (how much we can do , how much we own and how we think God sees us). Neither must we be snared by religious tradition, our list of to do (even in prayers) as the substitute for God’s word.

We know we can all be snared as we grapple with the sin nature and default mode within us, which is to push ourselves, and point the finger. Push if we must, but let that push and effort be towards God – pull at His skirt.

We are encouraged to develop a devotion with God that addresses our own hearts state. We do this so that love of God can penetrate and soften our hearts towards Him and others and so that He might use us for his glory.

It is not wrong to practice our religion. The law and the commandments are holy just and good (Romans 7:12-20) but the higher law is love not works. Father is looking for devotion.

PRAYER

Father, first we ask for forgiveness

I myself know I have failed you time and time again with works rather than devotion

Even the gaps between chapters 17 – 18 which I have experienced shows how the enemy of soul can steal our time and our focus.

We can be busy but with the wrong things.

Thank you for your word today which helps us to examine our hearts and to continue to look to you for change, for dress and redress.

Lord, cover us like Boaz covered Ruth, when she was at the risk of being vulnerable as a widow. Adjudicate for us like the earthly judge did or does , for that widow and for that person who approaches with a claim. Our claim is and can only be Jesus. We gave himself as a ransome for our souls. Because of this sacrifice we have been given access to approach.

Father teach us how to pray

You are our righteous ABBA father. Help us to lay all our stuff, our head knowledge, even our prayer lists at your altar and come to you in humble supplication.

You listen to the gasps and beats of our heart.

You know what is genuine and what is feigned.

You see the tears that fall at night on our pillows.

Help us to love one another and see each other higher than we see ourselves.

Help us to see the cross, in all our affairs – even in our ministries.

Let us see always (and be) a king submitting in humility because of love – reaching out to others – to that one, because of love.

Lord, as I close , I hear the song that says ‘your steadfast love has never failed, your mercy knows no end , they are new every morning, new every morning, Great has been your faithfulness.

Evangelist Linda J UK

18/6/2020

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