Wednesday, October 31, 2018



We have a couple of challenges to our schedule this next month. First, we are trying to put together a year-long devotional book to be published by December. Second, we are moving to a new apartment, an opportunity we could not pass up because it is completely power-chair accessible. Praise the Lord!  However, this means we will have limited time to post to our blogs. Our plan is to put a “Thanksgiving” devotion post up each Thursday in November on and resume posting on the other two blogs in December. We appreciate your prayers as we take this brief break from blogging to take care of other necessary business!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


LUKE 16:14-18

Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

Susie: In the last lesson we saw that money itself is amoral, neither good nor bad. The scripture says the LOVE of money is the problem (1 Timothy 6:10). Let’s look at our current verse in a new translation we enjoy found at

Luke 16:14 (Berean Literal Bible) Now the Pharisees, being lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were ridiculing Him.

Susan: The Pharisees loved money, which means they did not give God the higher place He deserves. They were attempting to serve two masters. They were satisfied straddling the fence.

Susie: Obviously, that is a position that cannot be maintained. As Jesus taught in the previous lesson, it is impossible to completely serve two masters (Luke 16:13).

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Susan: Jesus being all-knowing called the Pharisees out on their self-righteousness. Everything they did was to keep up outward appearances. It was not for the sake of God and His kingdom. Their good works were for their own elitist gain in the sight of the people.

Susie: Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees on numerous occasions. They made a big production of their giving to the poor rather than doing so quietly.

Matthew 6:2-4 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Susan: On the outside, the Pharisees looked well put together, more righteous than others; but on the inside their spirits were as black as coal.

Matthew 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Susie: The Pharisees made an outward show of following the minutia of the Law and the rabbis’ traditions (Matthew 23:23) but inwardly they did not follow the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40). However, God sees beyond the outside and looks within.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Susan: I am thankful the Lord does not judge me by my earth-suit but sees the righteousness of Christ covering me. I am humbled to have the awesome privilege to serve God in whatever way He chooses to use me.

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Susie: John the Baptist ushered in the preaching of the Gospel and was the first to present Jesus as the Messiah, the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29).

Susan: I love John’s name for Jesus: The Lamb of God. Twila Paris has a beautiful song about Him:

Susan: The Pharisees totally missed the point that Jesus fulfilled the Law. They were indeed lead heads or osmium heads (denser than lead). However, the people the Pharisees gave the label sinners—the tax collectors, the harlots, the Samaritans—were “pressing” into the Gospel. The common people clamored, jockeyed for position in a crowd, to be the nearest to Jesus and possibly even be able to touch Him. The picture is like people fighting their way into a colosseum to see the Beetles or Elvis. Oops, showing my age. Perhaps they crowd in to see Taylor Swift today.

Susie: While the self-righteous Pharisees missed the boat, the humble sinners were welcomed aboard.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Susie: As I stated before, Jesus did not want them to think that the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith did away with the Law. When we place our trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit writes God’s law on our hearts and enables us to obey Him out of love and not for outward show or in trying to earn His love. God loves us first. Then He enables us to love and obey Him.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Susie: As an example of the fact that the moral excellence of the Law had not passed away, Jesus taught on divorce. This was a law the Pharisees liked to bend, saying a man could divorce his wife for any reason.

Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Susan: Jesus came to give explanation, greater understanding, and application of the Law rather than to abolish it.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Susie: The Pharisees were so busy trying to look good to others, that they missed the total point that the Law and Prophets pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. They were blinded by their own self-righteousness to the point that most of them missed the Redeemer, the truly Righteous One.

Susan: They were blinded by their own hypocrisy.

Ponder this and Apply it: God sees the motives behind our actions in a way that no human being can. We need to examine ourselves, perform a heart-check, periodically to be sure we are not just putting on a show for others but are serving God with all we have and all we are from a pure heart of love for Him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


LUKE 16:10-13

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Susan: If a person is diligent and honest when given a small task or amount to manage, it follows that he will be the same way when entrusted with more.

Susie: Jesus made that same point in the parable about the man who left three servants in charge of portions of his money. Two wisely invested it, and the third just buried it. Those who were wise were rewarded for their integrity and diligence by being given more to manage:

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Luke 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Susie: Several times in the New Testament we see Jesus indicating that the way we use the resources God gives us on earth will be rewarded with treasure in Heaven.  The true riches are spiritual, the truths the Holy Spirit infuses in us as we follow Christ.

Susan: True riches have eternal significance—relationships with fellow believers, those we have introduced to Jesus, etc. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to exhort people who had worldly wealth to be wise, generous, and responsible with their God given abundance.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Susie: Many of the wealthiest Christians I have known, did not in any way flaunt their riches. In fact, most people did not know their net worth. What I found true about most of them was that they quietly helped others, opened their large homes for fellowships and Bible studies, and were faithful givers to their local church. They were living out Paul’s admonishment to use their earthly abundance to further the kingdom of God.

Susan: What I have noticed about the well-off Christians I know is that they socialize with all socio-economic classes of people. They are not snobbish.

Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

Susie: Stewards were managers of their master’s money and estate. We are stewards of another “man’s” wealth. However, our master is the Lord God Himself. Here on earth we manage what He graciously allows us to use.

Susan: At God’s appointed time, we who trust in Jesus will be given an inheritance that will not diminish, that is eternal. The greatest of these blessings will be communing with Jesus face to face, in His physical presence.

1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. . .

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Susie: Money in and of itself is neither good nor evil.

Susan: It is a tool of exchange. Where the good or evil comes in is in how a person views wealth, and the attitude of their heart, whether it is focused on the world or on honoring the Lord.

Susie: Wealth can lead to evil if we begin to worship riches rather than worshipping the God who provides them. Wealth used to meet our needs, the needs of others, and to further God’s kingdom is being used wisely.

Susan: Wealth that is hoarded is not being put to its best use. None of us can take the earthly wealth we’ve been given into the next life.

Susie: Money does not necessarily guarantee happiness. Many rich people are not content, continually striving like a baby crying, “More! More! More!” The things entrusted to us by our Master, our Father, are to be held lightly in order to be available for His purposes. Our devotion must be focused on our Redeemer and not on the gifts He gives us. They are merely tools to be used to further His kingdom.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Ponder this and Apply it: God provides all we need. We are stewards of the blessings He bestows. He does not call everyone to sell everything to follow Him, but He does require us to use what He has given us wisely. We need to evaluate our finances in light of kingdom goals and hold onto things loosely. Not always easy to do (in fact, very difficult at times) but will be richly rewarded with peace now and treasure in Heaven.

Monday, October 8, 2018


LUKE 16:1-9

Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

Susan: Let’s start by explaining the function of a steward in the time of Christ.

This steward was a freeman, had full charge of his master's affairs and could use them to his own advantage if he chose, was fully accountable to his master and had to render an account when called upon. If unfaithful he was usually discharged at once.

Susie: Back in Luke 12:42, Jesus spoke of another steward. We saw that we as Christians are to be wise stewards of all the Lord has given to us. In the present verse, Jesus speaks of a steward who, in the best case was simply unwise with his master’s assets; and in the worst case, had been caught embezzling or deliberately wasting what belonged to the master.

Luke 16:2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

Susan: The Lord does not say who exposed the steward’s improper dealings with the master’s goods . . .

Susie: . . . but it is clear, that someone ratted him out. Nevertheless, sin that people think is well hidden is always exposed to God.

Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.

Susan: The master needed to see how much damage had been done and required the steward to give a full reckoning of all accounts, all transactions.

Susie: He was to bring all books up to date and give a full report to the master before his termination date.

Luke 16:3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

Susan: The steward says to himself, “Oh no! What am I going to do? I’m not capable of strenuous labor. What’s going to become of me when my position is gone?”

Susie: He had to admit to himself that he had too much pride to become a beggar. What I find interesting in this is that he never considers finding another job! Of course, he would never get a good letter of recommendation from his master.

Luke 16:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

Susie: The steward knew he would never work in a trusted supervisory position again. Therefore, he concocts a devious plan to ingratiate his master’s debtors to himself.

Susan: His plan was to “forgive” a portion of what each person owed his master.

Susie: As steward, he had that power; but that was with the assumption that the master approved. He did this behind his master’s back.

Luke 16:5-6 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

Susie: He called in every man that owed his master money or goods. The first man’s debt, he reduced by half, telling him to quickly cross out 100 and write 50.

Susan: The operative word here is “quickly” as in before anyone sees you. He had to accomplish these agreements before they came to the master’s knowledge.

Susie: The steward’s urgency and clandestine approach to writing off these debts should have raised concern with the debtors. By agreeing to his plan, they were complicit to his actions. 

Luke 16:7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

Susie: He reduced the second man’s bill by twenty percent. No reason is given for the differing percentages. Some commentators say he may have just written off his own commission. Others believe his master had grossly overcharged the people in the first place. Either of those theories imply there would be no true net loss to the master.

Susan: However, the gain to the debtors would be significant and would make them feel indebted and obligated to the steward. They would be so ingratiated toward him that he felt he could count on them to come to his aid in whatever way he asked them once he was out of a job.

Luke 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

Susie: The master is not praising the steward’s underhanded dealings with goods that were not his own but belonging to the master. He is praising his worldly wisdom, his shrewdness or cunning in using the situation to his advantage. John MacArthur gives a good explanation of this verse:

MacArthur Study Bible

16:8 the master commended the unjust steward. Outwitted, he applauded the man’s cunning. His admiration for the evil steward’s criminal genius shows that he, too, was a wicked man. It is the natural tendency of fallen hearts to admire a villain’s craftiness (Ps. 49:18). Note that all the characters in this parable are unjust, unscrupulous, and corrupt. More shrewd, i.e., most unbelievers are wiser in the ways of the world than some believers (“sons of light,” cf. John 12:36; Eph. 5:18) are toward the things of God.

Luke 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Susie: Jesus teaches that we are to be like sheep in this world, not participating in sordid gain. However, we are to be wise to the ways of the world, not to be tread on by it.

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Susie: This unjust, shrewd servant was using his wily ways to prepare a future for himself. As stewards in the kingdom of God, we should use our means and all our blessings to share Jesus with others. Those who come to know Christ are truly a treasure of friends we will have in the Kingdom of God, both here on earth and in our forever home with Him. Benevolence toward others in Jesus’s name is one way we store up treasure for our future.

Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Ponder this and Apply it: Money in and of itself is not evil. It is the love of, the coveting of riches, the selfish used of it, that can be sinful. As wise stewards of all the Lord has given us, we should be laying up treasure in Heaven. Believers should be characterized by generosity. I had a pastor who said a man’s checkbook can be quite revealing regarding his relationship to the Lord. These days, it might be a man’s online transactions. At any rate, would a close look into your finances reveal your heart for God?

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


LUKE 15:25-32

Luke 15:25-26 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

Susie: The older brother must have been terribly confused. He comes home from a hard day’s work and hears dancing music.  He had not been there when his brother returned and was, in essence, restored to full sonship by their father.  There were certain times for dancing and making merry; and as far as he knew this day was not one of them. It’s not a feast day or a full moon, so why the party?

Ecclesiastes 3:4 . . . A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .

Susan: He calls over one of the household servants and asks what is all the merriment about?

Luke 15:27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

Susan: This staff member assumes that he is delivering good news to the older brother. Wrong! As we will see, the news makes him boiling hot and bothered.

Susie: The servant informed him that the calf fattened up for a feast day had been slaughtered to celebrate the younger brother’s return home.

Luke 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore, came his father out, and intreated him.

Susie: The elder brother was angry. In the next few verses we will see that he felt himself wronged because of his hard work to earn his father’s favor. He was jealous that the son who had abdicated his responsibilities to the family was being celebrated while he, who had obeyed in order to receive reward, felt neglected.

Susan: The father, the host of this magnificent soiree, left the party to go out and persuade the older son to come celebrate with them.

Susie: But the older son would not be convinced.

Luke 15:29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

Susan: The older son’s obedience wasn’t founded on respect or reverence for his father. His motivation and intention was what he would get by being the “good son.” He saw himself as blameless.

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Susie: Many commentators compare the elder son with the Pharisees who thought their good works and exacting obedience to the Law put them in favor with God. The younger son is the tax collectors and sinners with whom Jesus associated, those who because of their humility in admitting their sin, benefited from the free gift of His grace. In reality, there are Pharisaical people in all ages who think themselves better than others. However, it is those who humbly admit their sin and unworthiness and come to Christ by faith who receive the reward of Heaven.

Susan: The older son complains that the father never even let him throw a backyard barbeque featuring young goat for his friends. He callously compares that type of party to the joyous celebration his father is having over a lost son, a lost soul, returning home.

Susie: Note that he does not refer to the prodigal as “my brother” but as “thy son.” He no longer claims relationship with his younger brother and points out his reckless and sinful living to the father.

Susan: It’s like a mother telling her husband, “Your son did such and such.”

Susie: Again, this is similar to how the Pharisees pointed out the sins of those following Jesus, thinking them unworthy of being accepted by God.

Luke 15:31-32 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Susie: The father points out that the elder son has been enjoying the comfort of his father’s home, the service of his father’s workers, and the joy of his father’s presence. The father has constantly shared with the older son, so why should he be jealous.

Susan: The father freely gave of himself to the elder son, not only the comforts of home but the benefit of his wisdom. The son had obeyed out of obligation rather than the heart, and had missed seeing the love in his father’s heart for him. God does not desire our obligatory obedience. He desires our hearts, a greater depth of obedience out of love.

Susie: The father tries to help the older brother see that for all intents and purposes, the younger son had been dead. Now he has returned home alive which is ample cause for celebration.  We, too, were dead in our trespasses and sins, and the point of these three parables—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son—is that God our Father celebrates when we come into His kingdom by humbly relying on Jesus’s work on the cross to redeem us.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ponder this and Apply it: God created us, knit each of us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13). However, we are all sinners, prodigals, until the Holy Spirit quickens us, makes us alive to understand God’s grace and surrender our lives to Him. Then Heaven rejoices over our repentance and adoption into God’s family. Have you experienced the joy of being received into our Heavenly Father’s kingdom? If not, approach Him humbly, acknowledging your sin like the prodigal son. God is merciful and gracious and wants to welcome you home. Then Heaven will throw a party!