Devotions

Category Archives: Countdown

Road to Emmaus • Devotion #6: Expectations

Have you ever gone somewhere or experienced an event and it was nothing like you expected? I am going to guess that you have and that you are thinking of that moment right now. What type of response did you have? Was it way better than you anticipated or was it a total bummer?

I hate to admit this, but oftentimes I get these ideas in my head or have high expectations, just to find myself working through disappointment shortly after, needing to remind myself of all the beauty that still surrounds me.

This reminds me of the disciples walking along the road to Emmaus. Please read Luke 24:13-35.

A couple of disciples are walking along discussing all of the events that just surrounded the crucifixion of Jesus. Scripture says their faces are downcast. They have been told about His goodness and have placed their hope in Him, but at this moment, things are not going quite as they have expected though they have been told the truth.

I have had to learn over the last several years that my feelings and emotions do not equal truth. I must tell myself this statement over and over. My expectations almost never match God’s plan! However, His ideas are always way better than mine! Oh, how quickly I forget as I walk along my “road to Emmaus.”

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Our mind (God’s truth) needs to take charge of our emotions and not vice versa. All too often our expectations are based on things around us (what the world approves) as opposed to God’s promises.

Let these disciples be a reminder to us to stand on God’s truth and put our hope in Him no matter what.

Road to Emmaus • Devotion #5: Beside Yourself

When I was in college, I took both psychology and sociology courses which opened a new perspective on viewing interactions of those around me. I learned about body language, physical nuances when people get nervous, mental stress when others are watching you perform tasks, and other interesting reactions to certain situations. All of these, with many other variables, are what make everyone unique in perspective and responsiveness in everyday life.

When we are walking down the road of life as an unbeliever, we find ourselves living a carefree and sin-filled way. I never cared to get an accountability partner to help with any of my struggles. Also, being a “macho” early twenties male, I thought I did not need any help from anyone and I could find my own way. We, as broken and sinful people, cannot do it alone. We need to invite God into our lives like Cleopas invited Jesus into their home in Luke chapter 24. Only He can give us comfort and peace and deliver us from sin.

Once you have invited Jesus into your life, repentance and transformation need to begin. All of the expectations that you had for your life need to be surrendered to Him and He will make the way for your life. Your vision in the days, months, and years ahead is nothing compared to the knowledge and provision of God. He has your greatest story already written and He will lead the way for your life if you let Him.

One of the most difficult, yet most important, parts of letting God into your life is seeking His perspective on your life. Referencing my psychology and sociology bit at the beginning of this devotional, this could be one of the most daunting and frightening tasks. Putting your pride aside, find yourself an accountability partner to help you overcome addictions and struggles. While you are living your life, always seek God’s counsel and be meaningful in your prayers. He is always watching your thoughts and actions. Knowing that helps keep your focus on God and not on the flesh.

The hardest lesson that I have learned in my walk with God is trusting His timing. In today’s society, instant gratification is the norm and with every other aspect of my life, if I want it, I just go get it. I have learned that with patience and persistence, God provides something so much better. Submit to God’s will and timing in your life and He will be faithful to His Word. 

When you are living your life and have a moment of temptation or need provision on whatever it is you may be struggling with, look beside you. God is always there and yearns for your reliance on Him. He yearns for your heart and soul to be with Him for eternity. He yearns to walk beside you for the rest of the days of your life both here on Earth and in Heaven.

Road to Emmaus • Devotion #4: WDYSTIA

In the 1990s, WWJD bracelets became a very popular accessory for many people claiming to be Christians. It was a contemporary grassroots movement that was brought to life by a youth leader at Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. Janie Tinklenberg was challenging teenagers faced with decisions (moral or spiritual) in their lives to ask themselves the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Although there is not anything wrong with asking that question, I believe there is a question that Jesus asked that is way more important to have an answer to, “Who Do You Say That I Am?”

In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They respond in verse 14, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus desires to hear the disciples’ opinion of who He is. In their answer, they do not say who they think He is, just what others say. So He presents the question to them again but makes it more personal. In verse 15, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’”Peter blurts out quickly in verse 16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Luke chapter 24 recounts a similar occurrence after Jesus’ resurrection. In verses 13-17, the Bible says, “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. And He said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk? And they stood still, looking sad.’”Without actually asking the same question He had asked Peter previously, He was still looking for them to tell Him Who they were referring to. Although they were kept from recognizing Him earlier, Jesus reveals His true identity to them in verse 31, “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.”

Everyone will be asked this question that is a moral imperative, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The answers vary from a good man, prophet, teacher, and magician to the Son of God. Do you believe He is everything He claimed? Jesus is quoted in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me!” In Revelation 22:13, He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” In John 11:25, He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” This list could go on and on.

In Romans 10:9, the Bible says, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In other words, if we confess with our mouths exactly who Jesus is to us, and believe that God did literally raise Him from the dead, we receive life with Him for eternity.

So is it a bad thing to ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do” when faced with important life choices? My answer is a conditional, “No.” It is good as long as you first ask yourself the question, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Then, you will have a better chance of knowing what Jesus would actually do. This is because you will know Him personally and He will not hide Himself or the truth from you. Luke 8:17 adds, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

So, what is the correct response when asking ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” I believe Jesus Himself answers it in John 8:31-32 where it says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”

Road to Emmaus • Devotion #3: Communion

Here in Luke 24:13-35, we see two disciples returning to Emmaus. As they are walking, Jesus appears and starts walking with them. They have no clue that this man is Jesus, so they continue along and shoot the breeze as they travel. They eventually get to their location and invite Jesus in to stay the night with them. It is then that they realize who He is. There are two moments here that I want to point out. Jesus uses these moments to share with us how we can encounter Jesus every day. 

Luke 24:27says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

These two disciples had just explained their sadness and confusion with Jesus dying on the cross and then the news of the tomb being empty. Obviously, these men knew the biblical prophecies but they missed one giant point – Jesus’ suffering was His path to glory. It was His path to save you and me. So Jesus took them to Scripture here in verse 27 and explained to them what was said in Scripture concerning Himself. (Sidebar, this must have been the most immersive, crazy cool Bible study ever from Jesus Himself. You cannot beat that!) Jesus led them to encounter Himself through the scriptures.

Luke 24:30-31adds, “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.”

After their long walk, they finally arrived and they invited this man, aka Jesus, in to stay with them since the day was over. So, naturally, they had to eat dinner. Jesus did what He does best and broke bread and blessed it and began to give it to them. It was at that moment that they realized who this man was. Imagine the embarrassment they must have felt. (They even mentioned some of that in verse 32.) They were walking with Jesus the whole time – not recognizing who He was. All it took was a little communion to remember who Jesus was. Just like today, when we take communion, we use it as a way to remember everything Jesus did for you and for me.

Reading and studying the Bible and taking communion are two of the ways we can encounter Jesus today. Jesus will continue to reveal Himself to us as we study the Word and as we break bread together. I love how sometimes I will read a part of the Bible 100 times, and on the 101st time, I will see something different. That is Jesus revealing Himself to me through the Holy Spirit and the reading of the Word. If you want to experience Jesus, make sure you are doing these things on a regular basis.

Road to Emmaus • Devotion #2: What if God Showed Up?

Throughout all of history, the world has been eagerly waiting for God to reveal Himself. I try to imagine what it was like in Eden when God would come and walk with Adam in the evenings (Genesis 3:8-9). Eden, in its pre-fall state, certainly would have been breathtaking but could not possibly compare with a person-to-person relationship with Yahweh, the Creator God. In Exodus 33:18-19, Moses begged God to show him His glory. Like a truly loving Father, knowing that Moses needed the confirmation and encouragement, God covered him with His hand while allowing a brief glimpse as He walked past. Elijah called on God to reveal His power to the nation of Israel when the worshipers of Baal were persecuting him and seemed to have the upper hand. God responded in dramatic fashion with a consuming fire from Heaven and the people repented (1 Kings 18:20-39).

Generation after generation, faithful believers had looked forward in hope to the revealing of the Messiah (Hebrews 11:13-14, 38-39). He would be their Savior and free them from their slavery to the Law. Jesus Christ, the long-awaited One, came and fulfilled the perfect requirements of the Law by dying the sacrificial death to pay for sin (Hebrews 10:10-18). He was raised back to life, making a way for all who would believe (Romans 8:2-4). Even Jesus’ eleven disciples, after spending three years with Him, asked Jesus to show them the Father in order to prove Himself to them (John 14).

In the aftermath of His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to different disciples and followers. In these situations, they badly needed encouragement that their belief was not in vain. God (Jesus), only days prior, had been walking with them and now Eden had been ripped away again. Persecution was just beginning and the forces of evil seemed to be gaining the upper hand. Jesus, knowing what they were about to face, came to them to provide confirmation of their faith and in-person proof of the Gospel message (John 1:1-4).

There are times in our Christian walk that, from our finite perspective, God is missing or is far away. One day we are skipping across mountaintops with Jesus and the next we are languishing in a dry desert, yearning for God (Psalm 63:1). These experiences can cause confusion, doubt, and a desperate need for confirmation. Just like the generations before us, we can get bogged down or dissolute waiting for God to show up and prove Himself. 

However, God has not gone anywhere. Like on the road to Emmaus, He has been walking beside you and me the entire time, whether or not we recognize Him. In John 16:7-15, Jesus tells His disciples that it is betterfor them that He leaves. How can it possibly be to their advantage for Jesus to leave and ascend to Heaven? It is because as He explained, He would send His Spirit throughout the world to encourage and help all believers. We have been given the Spirit of Christ to live inside of us! His mission is to reveal the truth about God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) and give confirmation of our adoption into our Heavenly Father’s family (Romans 8:16). The very same Creator God who walked in Eden and walked the road to Emmaus walks with us!

We, as believers, need to recognize our Companion (The Holy Spirit) for who He is and step out confidently in His strength (Galatians 5:16). Instead of passively staring up into the sky (Acts 1:11) waiting for Jesus to return, we need to obey what He commanded: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB). 

May we be among the blessed; those who our Savior praises in John 20:29 for believing with unseeing faith. May we boldly live for His glory alone, trusting that, although we do not see Him now, we can feel His presence and power in our lives and one day go and see Him face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13:12) and walk with Him for eternity.



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