Hey, there! I’ve been studying the bible with Women Living Well for over a year now, and it’s been such a blessing to me. Why not pay it forward? I’m planning on creating 2 blog posts per book of the bible that we work through in order to share what I’m learning…and hopefully spread some encouragement! Let’s check out some takeaways from Luke 13-24
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God welcomes us back, no matter how we got lost
In Luke 15, we can find the story of the prodigal son. I’ve heard so many songs and stories regarding this part of the bible, but if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I actually knew the whole story or what it meant exactly. A VERY summarized version (I encourage you to go read Luke 15 if you haven’t already)…a man had two sons. The younger son took his share of the family property and recklessly used it, while the older son stayed with the father to work the land. When the younger son had basically fallen flat on his face and had no where else to turn, he decided to go back to the father and ask for forgiveness. His father ran to him as he approached, welcomed him with open arms, and greatly celebrated the return of his son. It was as if no time or hurt had passed between the two of them. Only compassion and grace.
Luke 15:20-21 – “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still along way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
That is how our heavenly father treats us when we return to him after being lost. His love is patient, constant, and welcoming. No matter how long we were gone or why we became lost. It’s easy to start to feel discouraged or too far gone when we realize that our suffering is self-inflicted. We begin to think that there is no way that God could forgive someone who has done what we have done.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
” ‘It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ ” – Luke 15:32
God welcomes us time and time again just as the father welcomed his lost son in the parable. He celebrates each lost soul that finds his/her way back to Him. You are never too far gone. It has never been too long. And now is the perfect time to run back to your father.
Prayer is One of the Most Powerful Things We Can Do
One of the things I loved most about reading the second half of Luke was being able to read about Jesus praying. I don’t know about you, but at times, I can start to wonder if my prayers are even doing anything. I know that prayer is powerful, but this little voice in my head that tells me to “do more” takes over. I start to lose track of just how powerful prayer really is.
Luke 22:31-32 – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
What did Jesus do when Simon (Peter) was being tempted by Satan? He prayed.
Prayer is not an empty action. It is not some fleeting thing that makes us feel better but doesn’t actually accomplish anything. Prayer is powerful. When we pray, we are lifting up our concerns to the Almighty God who loves us. We are submitting our thoughts and feelings to the ONLY One who is in charge. It is the most powerful thing that we can do in times of trouble.
It Won’t Be Easy, But There is Hope
There is a TON of encouragement to be found in the bible, but that doesn’t mean that we are promised an “easy” life. In fact, the bible tells us many times that things are going to be downright hard. Luke 21 is no exception to that.
“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” – Luke 21:17-19
So much goodness here. Verse 17 says that we will be hated because of our faith in God. Verse 18 tells that, even though we will be persecuted, not even one part of our being will die. Then in verse 19, we are promised eternal life for our steadfast faith. We will be hated and persecuted, but it will not defeat us, and we will inherit eternal life.
We only need to read the rest of Luke 21 to see other examples of Jesus warning us that things are going to get tough. God doesn’t promise a carefree, easy, no-bumps-along-the-way kind of road. He is straightforward with us in telling us of the hardship that belongs to us as believers. However, that’s not the end of the story. The ending involves living forever, and meeting God in Heaven one day. That eternal life begins the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There is no need to live as if we are bogged down by the hardships. We can live joyfully knowing that our eternal life has already started!
God was in control of Jesus’ Death
As I was nearing the end of Luke, I kept feeling like the whole thing was a little unfair. I found myself thinking it wasn’t right that Jesus had to die. If we lose sight of the fact that God is always in control, it can start to seem as if things got a little out of hand. As if a couple of mistakes led to more mistakes and somehow Jesus ended up on that cross for our sins.
That’s not how it happened, though.
God has known from the beginning of time that He would send Jesus to Earth to pay for our sins. That deep, unconditional love for us has always been there. It’s not a cover up for a really big thing gone wrong. Jesus dying on the cross was always the plan. If we leave it at death, it remains a horrible event with no hope. But when we move past the death to the resurrection and the hope we have for eternal life with Christ, we can see the true beauty of it all. If we realize that the underlying motivation for all of it was love, we will see that God has been in control (and always will be) the entire time. Because He has loved us from the moment He breathed us into existence.
Below are some of my favorite resources for studying the bible and just growing in faith in general!
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Let’s discuss! Are you reading along in the book of Luke? What is your biggest takeaway so far?