I am changing my color scheme for January, even though it’s still December 31st as I write this.
As the New Year comes on, I am thanking the Lord for His mercy.
Boy, have I needed it! In the last few months, I have been forced to take a long look at the contents of my heart. I know that this work is not done, but the Spirit of God is already at work breaking up some gnarly bits of encrustation. I will say a little more about this below.
I have recently begun working on a new Scripture memory passage. It is Luke 6:20-49. So far, I have learned vv. 20-36, but I do not yet have them down cold. I will type them here from memory and then say a few words of comment at the end.
And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say,
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way, their fathers used to treat the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold you shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those who lend to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
“But love you enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as you Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:20-36
That is what I have for now. (I had to peek once. :-)) I plan to memorize through the end of the chapter (v.49) soon. This is what I want in my heart, as I head into the new year.
Luke says that there was a whole crowd of people present to hear the Lord Jesus say this, but He turned His gaze to His disciples when He said it. Those of us who would be His disciples must listen carefully as He says — to us! — both “Blessed are you…” and “Woe to you…”
As I think back over the last two and a half years or so, I realize that I have not really walked as the Lord’s disciple in some very key ways. It has hurt me and many of those whom I love. It is very hard to face up to these things. But I am praying that I will become the sort of man whose life exudes the kind of discipleship the Lord describes in Luke 6. There is no hope, of course, unless God Himself does this work in me by His Spirit. But I purpose to seek Him in this way.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” — II Thessalonians 3:16
Have a blessed New Year!