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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people — cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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Illustration of Luke 18:9-14 NLT — "Two men went to the Temple to pray."

Key Thought

The difference between these two men was vast, but not for the reason the Pharisee thought. No, the difference between these two men was not their outward actions or words, but their hearts. One of these men, the tax collector, knew he was sinful and needed mercy, forgiveness, and grace. The other, the outwardly religious guy, thought he deserved to be honored by God. In fact, only one of these men knew about grace; that was the humble and forgiven man. Jesus reminds us that our faith isn’t about religiously pretentious games, but about our humble response to the God who has given us everything in Christ.

Today’s Prayer

Father, forgive me for I am a sinner. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

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Today’s Verse: Colossians 2:15

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

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Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Crucifixion was so hideous, so inhumane and vile, that the word “crucify” was not considered appropriate in polite speech in Greek culture. Crucifixion was reserved for the scum of society who were considered a threat to the government. Jesus endured this hideous death. But what Satan had intended for the humiliation of God, Jesus turned into the humiliation of Satan and his evil angels. He made a public spectacle of them. He turned their torture stick of shame into an altar of glory. He transformed the gory fury of hell into a sacrifice of forgiveness. He redirected evil’s power to kill and made it a place to heal. While we deplore the unspeakable sacrifice and shame that Jesus bore on the cross for us, we also rejoice that the evil one and his hoards of hate are broken. Their apparent victory is turned into their defeat. What was supposed to be God’s greatest shame becomes his greatest grace, which ransoms us from Satan’s grasp.

My Prayer…

No words, holy and righteous Father, can ever express my appreciation for your plan, your sacrifice, and your salvation. No song of praise, no heartfelt poem, no letter of love can ever express the thanks I have, dear Jesus, for your loving and powerful sacrifice. Thank you for saving me from sin, death, and a life without meaning. To you, dear Father, and to you, Lord Jesus, I offer my life as my gift of thanks and praise. Amen.

Illustration

Illustration of Colossians 2:15 — And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

The Quest for Answers

How does a person meditate on God’s Word?

Verse: Psalms 119:15

Meditation is a combination of reviewing, repeating, reflecting, thinking, analyzing, feeling and even enjoying. It is a physical, intellectual and emotional activity—it involves our whole being.

In some ways, meditation doesn’t easily fit into Western culture. We value action and busyness more than stopping and considering. The author of this psalm was from another time and culture, one with a tradition that valued meditation. As a result, meditation came more naturally for him and others with his Middle Eastern background. We have to overcome some cultural obstacles to learn to meditate.

There are many ways to meditate on God’s Word. Some possibilities include: (1) Take time to read a verse or passage over and over. (2) Begin to memorize all or part of it. (3) Listen—quiet your heart to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through God’s Word. (4) Consider how it fits with the rest of the Bible and life in general. (5) Become emotionally involved—allow yourself to feel what God feels, his desires expressed through his words. (6) Move from meditation to application—connect your thoughts to action. Consider how the truth and power of the Word of God should affect your behavior.

This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission