This Can’t Be the End

Luke 23

Luke 23 38 NIV
What is it about cliffhangers that people enjoy so much? Writers of television series, movies and series of books know the power that a good story with a delayed ending has on an audience.
Several years ago I went to go see the movie “Catching Fire” the second story of the Hunger Games trilogy. At the conclusion of the very last scene, as the screen went to black, the lady that I was sitting next to exclaimed, “What!?! That’s it?!?” Even though I had read the books, I had forgotten how this particular book ended and I admit that I was also taken aback. So much so, that the next day one of my students was reading the book and I had to borrow it to reread the last chapter to confirm that the movie held true to the book.
Equally shocking was the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War”. How was the universe going to function after The Snap? I would have to wait an entire year to see how the story would come together in the final installment of the Avengers series in Endgame.
Neither of these experiences compares to the reality that people who knew and followed Jesus would have gone through at the time of his death. Was this it? What about the promised Kingdom? What about his anticipated rule and reign over all the earth? This couldn’t be it! But if we stop reading at the end of Luke chapter 23, then we put ourselves in the same position as those first believers.
But hang on just a minute. A really good story teller hides in his or her stories hints and clues of what’s to come. In “Infinity War,” Dr. Strange states that there is one scenario in which Thanos can be beat. It’s this single line that gives viewers a teeny tiny glimpse into what could come next.
Jesus is NOT that obtuse. Thank goodness!!! In fact, Jesus makes it crystal clear what will happen and the order in which it is to happen. In his conversations with his disciples Jesus plainly tells his disciples that he has to go, but that he will return for them. In John 14 Jesus reassures his men that what might seem like the end, is definitely not the end.
So when we read in Luke 23 verses 50-56 of Joseph of Arimathea claiming the body of Jesus and the women who had traveled from Galilee to prepare Jesus’ body for burial, we can take confidence that while it was a very dark day, the Light will shine once more, because Jesus really is KING of all.
Bethany Ligon

Remember Jesus

Luke 22

Luke 22 19 NIV
If you’re Facebook friends with my dad, Joe Myers, the chances are very high that you will see a post on Christmas morning about our family’s traditional Christmas brunch – steak and eggs, cheesy hash brown casserole, English muffins, and homemade Orange Julius. It’s a meal that my parents started enjoying the first Christmas that they were married, waaaaaay back in 1972. And almost every December 25th since, it’s what we have on our plates. There was one year that our family drove from Georgia up to North Carolina on Christmas morning to visit my uncle and cousins and so we ended up eating at Waffle House and it just wasn’t the same…

In Luke 22 we read about another meal that holds significance for all of us. The Passover meal was prepared every year as a way to remember the Great Egyptian Escape. In Exodus 12, God had very specific instructions for the food that the Israelites were to eat and how it was to be prepared and served. And it is this meal that Jesus and his disciples are eating in Luke 22.
Only now, Jesus is adding the New Testament significance to this meal. Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Accepting this bread means we will never go spiritually hungry. And the wine for this meal represents the blood of Jesus poured out on the cross for the atonement of our sins. Accepting this drink means that we can have a right relationship with God because our sins have been paid for in full.
Jesus instructs his followers to prepare this meal regularly in order to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. And so that is what we do. We remember Jesus’ life. We remember Jesus’ death and resurrection. And we remember the promise that was made – that one day, we’ll sit at a table with Jesus and eat a meal. What a wonderful thing to look forward to.
Bethany Ligon

Resolving Sin

Luke 20

Luke 20 26 niv
Hey, my name is Jacob and I like playing basketball and I am going to college for computer science. I love being a part of the Blood River Church.
In Luke chapter 20 Jesus is encountered by chief priests, scribes, and some Sadducees all of whom are trying to entrap him into mispronouncing God. Through their futile attempts Jesus is able to counter each of their questions with a response of his own which cause them to ponder, this eventually leads to the dismissal of their question at the conclusion of their answers to Jesus’ question. This is mainly due to the reflection of their own question and how they begin to question God when they know the answer.
In life we sin and make mistakes that we are not aware of, these mistakes and sins have the possibility to snowball into something bigger that becomes a profound issue. From this it takes recognition and reflection through yourself and others to understand what has happened and what has come from something so minor. Similar to how me make mistakes in life the chief priest, scribes, and the Sadducees made mistakes and it took the help of Jesus and reflection to understand what they were doing. From this came correction where they dismissed their question which inherently solved their mistake.
Now solving issues, mistakes, or sins will not always be the easiest thing to do, and its okay to admit, you do not have to experience these struggles by yourself. Find a parent, relative, friend, or even someone in your community to lean on, to help comfort and assist you in your resolution. Sometimes these resolutions will not be instant and will take time, but that is okay because it means you are growing. Growth is what has led you to who you are today, and it is also what will make you in the future.
(Editor’s Note:  Thank you to the Blood River youth for preparing devotions for us this week!  Keep reading and searching God’s Word – and sharing it with others!)

Serving with Your Gifts

Luke 19

Luke 19_3a
(This devotion was accidentally sent out earlier this week, but here it it again – on the day we are “supposed” to be reading Luke 19. )
Hey my name is Jesse Allen I am the Youth Pastor at Blood River Church of God in Springfield Louisiana. I am so impressed with our next 7 devotions for the FUEL Bible reading! These next devotions come from Students of the Blood River Church of God Youth Group. The devotions are on Luke 14-20. We are so glad you are able to read them and I pray you may be blessed by them!
 
Hey I am Brian and I love playing football, going fishing and riding atvs.  I’m glad to have an opportunity to talk to you about Luke 19:1-10 As football season started this year, I earned the spot of quarterback. I was excited and knew that it would be a good year. Through a series of unfortunate events, I had to move away for four weeks rights in the middle of the season. When I returned, I was a little like Zacchaeus (and not because I am short – I’m not) because I had to find a way to stand out and earn back the position that had been given to someone else. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree to stand out above the crowd. I had to work harder than everyone else to prove that I deserved the position for the rest of the season. Bryan
 
Hey I am Olivia, I have a younger sister and brother and an older brother. I was born in Indiana but moved to Louisiana in the 3rd grade. I love animals and want to be a vet. I enjoy sports and being active, I am a proud member of the Blood River Church of God family. 
Last summer I got the chance to go on a mission trip to Panama. While I was there we had a VBS program going for the kids. Before the trip I didn’t see how being good with kids could help me serve God and glorify him. As we went through the week more and more kids started coming and that led to more chances to spread and share the Gospel with them. Luke 19:16-19 Is the parable of the Minas and servants. In this parable the Servants use their gifts to increase their minas and they prosper but the one who did nothing got his mina taken away and it was given to the one who had the most. This story focuses on why we should use our gifts to increase God’s kingdom and to serve others so God may be glorified. What are you doing with your gifts to glorify God?  

Call Out to Jesus

Luke 18

Luke 18 38 NIV

Here again from the Blood River youth . . .
In Luke 18 there is the parable of the blind man who receives sight. The man calls out to Jesus as he passes through, many scoffed at him but Jesus asked him what he would like. The man requested sight to which Jesus said, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”” Luke‬ ‭18:42‬ ‭
All the man did was call out to Jesus and believe he could heal him, since he had faith his problem was fixed. The same happens with us, we tend to deal with our problems, let them drain us and drag us down, then we call out to Jesus. In reality Jesus should be the first person we ask for help. By having faith that he can help us he will. It may not mean the problem is automatically fixed but he will provide answers or lead us in the right direction. We are never alone when we have faith, we have a savior who wants us to rely on him so he can help us. So instead of trying to do it all on our own we should call on him to help relieve our issues.
Tabby 

What God Sees

Luke 16

Luke 16 15 b

Luke 16 has a few parables on wealth and the value of giving but what stood out to me the most were verses 14 & 15:  “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” (‭Luke‬ ‭16:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬)   The Pharisees felt targeted because they loved money, and valued it highly. They looked at others and put them down to make themselves feel better. We can not look at ourselves like this, if we do compare ourselves it should be to Jesus, in an attempt to see what we can do to better ourselves, not to make ourselves feel better. Jesus tells them, “God knows your heart,” we can act how we like and put on a mask, but God knows the truth. Faith is not about who seems like the best Christian but about truly being a follower of God. Anyone can act good but we are called to be good followers in the depths of our heart. So we must have pure intentions and be doing what we do for God, not to look better.
Blair

More from Luke

luke 14 27

Luke 14 & 15

(My apologies for sending out the wrong chapter yesterday.  I was getting ahead of myself.  So, here today we have the youth of Blood River Church with Luke 14 & 15 to help us get caught up.)

Luke 14
Hey My name is Colten. I love hunting and fishing. I am currently serving in the Navy. I grew up in Indiana and Louisiana. I can’t wait to dive into Luke 14 with you 
Luke 14:13-14
“Instead, invite the poor, the lame, and the blind. Then at the Resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
We are called to spread the word and the love of Christ around the world right? But why do you do it? Is it because he asks us to? Or is it because you can have a spot in the kingdom for it?
In this verse it tells us we will be rewarded for inviting those who could not pay, but would you do it if there was no reward? That is the big question! You see almost everyone nowadays expects something from everything! But how much do you think the world would change if we did something expecting nothing as Pastor John said in his thanksgiving sermon in 2018. So how about the rest of 2019 we do something for nothing? I am willing to accept the challege, but are you?
Luke 15
Hi, my name is Russell, and i’m from Springfield, LA. Im 16, and I play Baseball for my school as well as track. I love hunting, and fishing. I love my family and my church. 
Read:
Luke 15:6
Luke 15:9
Luke 15:32
Imagine this, a boy goes to Home Depot with his father to purchase some lumber. While moving the boards from the rack to the cart the boy puts his phone down on a nearby stack of boards. So the father and boy check out.  After loading the boards in the truck the boy rushes into the store because he couldn’t find his phone.  He searched and searched  and when he found it he rejoiced and was glad for he had found his phone. That boy was me.
I rejoiced in the same way that the man found his sheep, the woman her coin and the father his son. Always rejoice when you find something you have lost no matter how small it is.