Crosswalk Daily Inspirations

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Today's Devotionals
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Crosswalk the Devotional
Free Radicals
by Shawn McEvoy
"Woe to you when all men speak well of you..."
Luke 6:26
The biggest reason I've not yet written the book I've got jangling around in my brain is that deep down I still actually believe a complete impossibility: that hidden between my mind and my keyboard are the magic, just-right words that will get everyone to agree. On everything. Or at least, on everything as I have interpreted it. The words that will get Christians to start treating sinners as they treat themselves, and sinners to stop sinning. Phrases that will be so beautifully turned that neither liberal nor conservative will have aught to say about them. A book that will bring everyone together, and that, most importantly, will not cause anyone to write me nasty letters, claim I am deluded, or call me an idiot.
The irony, of course, is that my goal is already shot. The idea itself is delusional, and pure idiocy. And as the saying goes, if you want everyone to like you, nobody will.
So what should be the goal? Well, truth, sure. And being obedient to simply be the vehicle through which God wants to impart a particular take on His Truth.
But why is that so hard?
I think it could be that we continually re-invent Jesus, who is both uncomplicated and difficult to parse, who already lived here before me, whose words are already recorded for anyone to read. The Lord called Himself 'the Truth' while giving us a version of how to walk on this planet that is so contrary, so impractical, so frustratingly (if I hope to be honest about it) radical.
Referring back to what I already admitted at the top of this devotional, bear with me as I turn Christ's Great Sermon from Luke 6 into something of a dialogue...
Jesus (vs. 26): Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.
Me: Ew. Cut to the chase about what I'm going through, why don't you? So I've set myself on the path of the false prophet, have I? Swell; I knew I couldn't trust myself. But Lord, anything else I say or write or do is going to lead to having enemies, people who are upset with me. What do I do about that?
Jesus (vs. 27-28): Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Me: Oh... so it's an action thing instead of an avoidance thing. Pretty mind-boggling concepts. I can't help but notice you didn't say, "bash those jerks' heads in with rightness." Because that feels more natural, Lord. But assuming you're on to something, what does that look like in practice?
Jesus (vs. 29-30): Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Me: Ooh, yeah, ya see, the thing is, Lord... there's a lot of people who might take advantage of that. And what in the world are you saying: there might be people who want to hit me in the face?! Is that what I signed up for in following you? I gotta be honest, it doesn't sound like a very comfortable, or practical, way of living in this day and age, this country, this world. Can't you simplify it for me?
Jesus (vs. 31-33): Just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Me: Wow, that just blows my mind, Lord. Of course you're right... what is there to separate me at all from anyone else, even the most vile of unrepentant sinners, except how I react to situations and treat people? But don't you know how hard this would be? What am I saying... of course you do..., but... please forgive me for saying so, it just feels like giving some bully my coat, shirt, or other cheek is somehow crazier, tougher, more insane in 21st-century America than first-century Jerusalem. I hate asking, but if I'm gonna commit to this, I gotta know... what's in it for me?
Jesus (vs. 35, 37-38): Love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men... Do not judge and you will not be judged... pardon, and you will be pardoned... Give, and it will be given to you.
Me: Man... and here I was thinking that I was the one who needed to come up with the words that helped us treat sinners as ourselves, and to what ends. You truly have covered all things and lived all things, Lord. Now, I just wonder if I can really do this, Lord, even for the rewards you promise.
Jesus (vs. 46): Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord" and do not do what I say?
Me: Because it's so contrary, upside-down, and radical that it's seriously hard to trust... even to trust you, Lord. Although, if it were easy I guess it wouldn't be called 'trust.' It just seems like there's so much to lose. Help me to be free. Help me to take this risk, to think not of myself, my safety, my comfort first, to love people as you love them. If I may be so bold, it's almost like you were… blessed to be unattached and to have no place to lay your head? Still, despite my handicaps, I want to try, Lord... I want to try.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Now here's a challenge -- but it's straight from the mouth of Christ: the next time you are wronged, hurt, or had something taken from you... can you give the person responsible even more of what they took? And believe you'll somehow be blessed for it? And if not, why not?
Further Reading
John 12:25
Radical Gratitude: Grateful in Tough Times
Someone Worth Losing Everything For
Are You a Radical?
Check out fantastic resources on FaithFamily, and Fun at!
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Fwd: “Out with the New; the Old is Better!” (Luke 5:39)

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Date: Mon, May 27, 2019, 6:50 AM
Subject: "Out with the New; the Old is Better!" (Luke 5:39)
To: Rick Livermore

Monday with Mounce
Bill Mounce's picture


Why do some people resist the new, and why do others think the new is better than the old? Jesus' teaching is the new wine, and the purveyors of the old will almost always fight it, asserting their old forms of thinking are good enough or actually better. Why is it so hard to evaluate the new and decide whether or not it should replace our old? Let's think through Luke 5:39.
In explaining why his disciples don't fast, Jesus tells the parable of the wine skins. "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old garment. If he does, he both tears the new, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. Rather, new wine is to be put into new wineskins" (Luke 5:36–38).
And then in typical fashion Jesus tacks on a final comment. "No one drinking the old desires the new; for he says, 'The old is good (χρηστός)'" (Luke 5:39).
The general meaning of the parable is clear. Jesus's message is the new wine, and the old forms of Jewish religion can't hold it. Things have to change, but what does v 39 mean?
At one level, it is a "no dah" sentence. Of course, as a general rule, the longer wine ages the better it is and the statement runs the risk of seeming tautological. But in the parable, since the new wine is Jesus, something else must be happening in the verse.
"Good" is a translation of χρηστός, the positive form of the adjective that means (among other things) "meeting a relatively high standard of value, fine." BDAG gives the example of "fine wine." So some translations read, "The old is good" (ESV, NRSV).
The NIV's translation "The old is better" views χρηστός as a comparative (also CSB, KJV). Technically, the comparative form is κρείττων, but the clear-cut divisions between the three forms of adjectives has breaken down in the Koine period, and though rare the positive can be used as a comparative (see Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 297).
The distinction here is significant. Jesus is saying that his theological opponents believe that the old forms of Jewish religion are actually better than the new wine he is bringing.
Other translations feel the awkwardness of saying that old wine is "good" and translate according to the needs of the context. The NASB says "good enough, the italics indicating that they are adding the word to convey the meaning of the verse. The NET says the same but without italics.
This gives a different meaning, almost an acquiescence to Jesus's teaching. It doesn't pass judgment on Jesus but with complacency says that they are okay with what they have.
Depending on voice inflection, using "good" can mean the same thing. This would be almost impossible to convey in writing, which is why you should aways read your translation out loud to see what role voice inflection might play. You can say, "It's good," perhaps with a shrug of your shoulders, and mean "good enough." Or you could say "It's good" with a sternness in your voice, which means it is better.
I suspect "good enough" said with a militant tone of voice is what Jesus means, which becomes a prophetic statement predicting Judaism's overall rejection of the Messiah.
I have been impressed as of late with how resilient the old, established forms of anything are. Churches that stick to old forms, preferring to shut their doors rather than ask how to reach the people in their area. Seminaries that can't conceive of any other way of educating their people despite the fact that educational cost have risen exponentially more than the cost of living over the past twenty years, and despite the fact that it is generally acknowledged that seminary graduates are not adequately prepared for ministry (just ask your pastor). People who keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. The old can have a fierce grip on people.
But at the same time, there can be wisdom in tried and true ways of thinking, and just because something is new doesn't mean it is better. Expository preaching — preaching the biblical author's intended meaning — that starts with people's felt needs and concludes with Jesus's new wine, will always be better than any other form of preaching. After all, that is exactly what Jesus did.
But Jesus's ways are new, and they are better, and they will always be meet with opposition from the old. A word to the wise: never under-estimate the power of someone saying, "but we've never done it that way," and watch them dig in their heels until the doors of their church or school are permanently shut.
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Disappointment bible study

I gave myself a project using platinum collection of logos bible software resources. I paid for the resources I quote. The following research is in preparation for the step study in Celebrate Recovery on discouragement. I actually shared a little of this research two years ago with my step study at Sun Valley in Gilbert.
Lesson 1
question 6
To counter disappointment try encouragement 
And let us constantly be giving careful attention to one another for the purpose of stimulating one another to divine and self-sacrificial love and good works,  Hebrews 10:24
The New Testament,  an expanded translation
Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul.

1 Sa 23:16
Now at that time, David was in the stronghold, and a garrison of the Philistines was in Bethlehem at that same time. David said longingly, "Oh that someone would bring me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem that is at the gate." So three of the mighty warriors broke into the camp of the Philistines, and they drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was at the gate, and they carried it and brought it to David.

Lesson 2
matthew 5:3
Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation (Mt 5:1–12). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

5:3 Blessed The Greek word used here, makarios (meaning "happy" or "fortunate), often indicates someone who is favored by God.

poor in spirit Refers to those in Jesus' day who recognize and bear their desperate plight, and who long for God's restoration through the Messiah.

kingdom of heaven The crowd was already familiar with this terminology through John the Baptist's proclamation; they anticipated a time of restoration. See note on Matt 3:2.


Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mt 5:3–4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Blessed are the poor in spirit—All familiar with Old Testament phraseology know how frequently God's true people are styled "the poor" (the "oppressed," "afflicted," "miserable") or "the needy"—or both together (as in Ps 40:17; Is 41:17). The explanation of this lies in the fact that it is generally "the poor of this world" who are "rich in faith" (Jam 2:5; compare 2 Co 6:10; Rev 2:9); while it is often "the ungodly" who "prosper in the world" (Ps 73:12). Accordingly, in Lu 6:20, 21, it seems to be this class—the literally "poor" and "hungry"—that are specially addressed. But since God's people are in so many places styled "the poor" and "the needy," with no evident reference to their temporal circumstances (as in Ps 68:10; 69:29–33; 132:15; Is 61:1; 66:2), it is plainly a frame of mind which those terms are meant to express. Accordingly, our translators sometimes render such words "the humble" (Ps 10:12, 17), "the meek" (Ps 22:26), "the lowly" (Pr 3:34), as having no reference to outward circumstances. But here the explanatory words, "in spirit," fix the sense to "those who in their deepest consciousness realize their entire need" (compare the Greek of Lu 10:21; Jn 11:33; 13:21; Ac 20:22; Ro 12:11; 1 Co 5:3; Php 3:3). This self-emptying conviction, that "before God we are void of everything," lies at the foundation of all spiritual excellence, according to the teaching of Scripture. Without it we are inaccessible to the riches of Christ; with it we are in the fitting state for receiving all spiritual supplies (Rev 3:17, 18; Mt 9:12, 13).

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven—(See on Mt 3:2). The poor in spirit not only shall have—they already have—the kingdom. The very sense of their poverty is begun riches. While others "walk in a vain show"—"in a shadow," "an image"—in an unreal world, taking a false view of themselves and all around them—the poor in spirit are rich in the knowledge of their real case. Having courage to look this in the face, and own it guilelessly, they feel strong in the assurance that "unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness" (Ps 112:4); and soon it breaks forth as the morning. God wants nothing from us as the price of His saving gifts; we have but to feel our universal destitution, and cast ourselves upon His compassion (Job 33:27, 28; 1 Jn 1:9). So the poor in spirit are enriched with the fulness of Christ, which is the kingdom in substance; and when He shall say to them from His great white throne, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you," He will invite them merely to the full enjoyment of an already possessed inheritance.

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Citizens (1–12). We enter the kingdom through the new birth (John 3:1–16), but we enjoy the kingdom by living for those things that please God the most (6:33). The world (and worldly believers) would disagree with Christ's description of a blessed (happy) person, but the description is true just the same. God majors on character, and so should we.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1991). With the Word Bible Commentary (Mt 5:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Matthew 5:3

ASV 1901 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
RSV "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
NKJV "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
NA27 w/o morphology Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

             Preaching Themes: Giving, Poverty

It is better to make three middling shirts, with which you may clothe both yourself and the poor of Christ, than if you were to make one of very precious materials for yourself. And it is better to have simple food prepared, by which you may entertain a number of the needy at your table, than if you were to spend a large sum of money on delicious food, and live riotously with your own family, while the poor of Christ were suffering and perishing with cold and nakedness in your presence.


Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.                    

Do Not Be Afraid of Others' Opinions
Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12; John 21:22–23
        Preaching Themes: Faith, Fear, Humility, Poverty

Fear not to appear little and contemptible, or to be called by men fools and madmen; but announce penance in simplicity, trusting in Him who overcame the world by humility; it is He that will speak in you by His Spirit. Let us take care that we do not lose the kingdom of heaven for any temporal interest, and that we never despise those who live otherwise than we do. God is their master, as he is ours, and he can call them to himself by other ways.


Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Matthew 5:3 (WUESTNT)

    1–12            And having seen the multitudes, He went up into the mountain. And when He had seated Himself, His pupils came to Him. And having opened His mouth He went to teaching them, saying, Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Spiritually prosperous are those who are mourning, because they themselves shall be encouraged and strengthened by consolation. Spiritually prosperous are those who are meek, because they themselves shall inherit the earth. Spiritually prosperous are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, because they themselves shall be filled so as to be completely satisfied. Spiritually prosperous are those who are merciful, because they themselves shall be the objects of mercy. Spiritually prosperous are those who are pure in the sphere of the heart, because they themselves shall see God. Spiritually prosperous are those who make peace, because they themselves shall be called sons of God. Spiritually prosperous are those who have been persecuted on account of righteousness, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Spiritually prosperous are you whenever they shall revile you and persecute you and say every pernicious thing against you, speaking deliberate falsehoods on account of me. Be rejoicing and exult exceedingly, because your reward is great in heaven. For in this manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3 (WUESTNT)

  Christ's sermon on the mount, 1, 2. Who are blessed, 3–12; the salt of the earth, 13; the light of the world, 14–16. He came to fulfil the law, 17–20. What it is to kill, 21–26; to commit adultery, 27–32; to swear, 33–37. He exhorts to suffer wrong, 38–42; to love our enemies, 43–47; and to labour after perfection, 48.

3 Blessed. ver. 4–11; ch. 11:6; 13:16; 24:46. Ps. 1:1; 2:12; 32:1, 2; 41:1; 84:12; 112:1; 119:1, 2; 128:1; 146:5. Pr. 8:32. Is. 30:18. Lu. 6:20, 21, etc.; 11:28. Jno. 20:29. Ro. 4:6–9. Ja. 1:12. Re. 19:9; 22:14. the poor. ch. 11:25; 18:1–3. Le. 26:41, 42. De. 8:2. 2 Ch. 7:14; 33:12, 19, 23; 34:27. Job 42:6. Ps. 34:18; 51:17. Pr. 16:19; 29:23. Is. 57:15; 61:1; 66:2. Je. 31:18–20. Da. 5:21, 22. Mi. 6:8. Lu. 4:18; 6:20; 18:14. Ja. 1:10; 4:9, 10. for. ch. 3:2; 8:11. Mar. 10:14. Ja. 2:5.

Blayney, B., Scott, T., & Torrey, R. A. with Canne, J., Browne. (n.d.). The Treasury of Scripture knowledge (Vol. 2, p. 3). London: Samuel Bagster and Sons.

      Luke 6:20   And he lifted up his eyes       on his disciples,       and said,       Blessed are ye poor:             for yours is the kingdom of God. 

Burton, E. D. (1917). A Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels for Historical and Critical Study (Mk 4:21 
Lk 6:20). New York; Chicago; Boston: Charles Scribner's Sons.


Fwd: Exclusive Savings on the MacArthur Study Bible with NKJV

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