(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Luke Ch. 11 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-28) We begin by studying the first line of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples: “Our Father in heaven.” The prayer has a clear object. A while back, I led our brothers and sisters in the Believer’s Training Class’ Lesson on Prayer Life. I taught them how to approach God in prayer. I told them that when we close our eyes and bow our heads (of course, posture is secondary), we must remember that we are actually speaking to God – the one and only true God – the Lord of all things. When we acknowledge that God exists and is willing to hear our prayers, we will be more willing to humble our hearts before him! What Jesus is saying about the first line – “Our Father in Heaven” – is to inform us of the relationship between God and us. It can be such an intimate relationship, the father to child relationship. It will be easier to understand what Jesus meant as we read verses 11 to 13. Yes, fathers always know what their children need, and God will not give us anything other than his good and perfect gifts – not anything less nor anything mistaken.
Finally, in verses 27 and 28, there is a woman who thinks Mary, the mother of Jesus, is blessed! However, Jesus added, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” You might recall in the Bible, when someone told Jesus – “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you,” – Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:19-21) God wants to bless us and the way to receive his good gifts is by obeying His word. This is what He has repeatedly emphasized!
(vv. 29 -32) “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” This point can also be observed in this passage. The Queen of the South praised King Solomon for listening to Solomon’s wise words and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God!” (1 Kings 10:8-9; 2 Chronicles 9:7-8). The people in Nineveh also repented after listening to the preaching of Jonah. The emphasis here is “listening.” Listening to God’s word and comprehending his wisdom is the way to salvation and true blessing – not just seeing miracles. For those who only want miracles, Jesus said, “It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”
For those who have been reluctant to believe in Jesus and are still waiting for a miracle, I want to share my own feelings. When I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, all of the miracles mentioned in the Bible that were considered make-believe became believable! This is because Jesus is God, the omnipotent God. In fact, there are many miracles in the Bible. The key is whether there is a willingness to believe. If you are unwilling to believe, even if miracles are happening around you, you will only consider it a coincidence, or even ignore it.
(vv. 33-36) We now examine the importance of the eyes as it relates to the whole body. Our eyes are indeed easily attracted to many things, which in turn affect what we pay attention to and subsequently, what we value. Jesus once said: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) We really have to help these eyes to avoid seeing what they shouldn’t see!
Consider it from another perspective, the relationship between our “eyes and body” can be extended to the relationship between our “mind and life.” Whether our hearts are single-mindedly devoted to God determines the quality of our lives. A diversity of dazzling things in this world will distract our focus on God and keep us fixated on the flesh. We will, unknowingly, become trapped in spiritual darkness and not see the true light!
Jesus has shown the true light of the gospel to the world, and we should no longer be like those who demand to witness greater miracles. The problem is not that the light given by Jesus is not bright enough; it is that the spiritual eyes of those people are blinded!
(vv. 37-54) What is recorded here is that Jesus was invited to eat at the home of a Pharisee. The Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus did not wash his hands before the meal. We remember that the disciples of Jesus were also questioned in this way (Matthew 7:1-5). Because of this incident, Jesus pointed out the “Six Woes” of the Pharisees and experts in the law there. Oh, Lord Jesus, only you who have no sin can dare to directly accuse those who invite themselves to eat!
Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees had inverted values, had evil motives, and exuded degrading influence. Experts in the law should be worthy of respect, but not only did they fail to guide the people to understand God’s truth, but they also invented laws that bound people to falsehood. They themselves did not live out the true faith according to their laws. On the surface, they seemed to respect the prophets, but in their hearts, they did not repent according to the prophets’ words. Everything they had done actually turned people away from God. Jesus often bluntly and directly criticized them. It’s no wonder that one of the experts in the law said: “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.”
We know that many people like to listen to Jesus’ sermons and ask Jesus questions, but in the last two verses, we see that “the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” This is really surprising. They asked Jesus questions and listened to Jesus’ motives for answering questions, but in actuality, they wanted to eradicate Jesus’ words! This can be used as a reminder when we read and study the Bible. Let us encounter God’s word with more humility, surrender our hearts more deeply to Him, and become increasingly intimate with our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)