Category Archives: Matthew

Love NOW

“The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”  Matthew 26:11.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Psalm 125, and Matthew 26-27.

A woman poured a bottle of expensive perfume onto Jesus’ head and weren’t the disciples outraged!

Once again, the disciples are a day late and a dollar short!

Jesus was going to die.  He had predicted it, and everything was happening in tune with prophetic plans.

The woman was anointing the body of Jesus BEFORE He died.  An attempt by other women, after Jesus died, to do the same thing was foiled by a large stone in front of His tomb.

Her perfume was expensive.  One commentary informed me that it’s value would have been enough to feed the five thousand.

I must know that love can be a short-range thing.  I cannot budget my love handouts!

The poor will indeed always exist, and they will always need to be considered.  But in this case, they were not the “now” thing that needed consideration.

Showing Godliness in the “now’s” of my life must be a priority.  If I go through this day engulfed in God, I will get my dispensations of love done properly.  The disciples were in the rut of over-organizing and missed the forest for the trees.

“Lord, show me, I plead, what You want me to do NOW.  Forgive me for planning the “later” and missing the “now.”  I thank You for Your marvelous Word.  You have opened so many glorious truths to me.  I love You, Lord.”

My level of Godliness must be on display NOW.  Later may not happen.

 

 

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This is why I’m messing things up

“Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”  Matthew 22:29.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Matthew 20-22.

Jesus answers an attempt at trickery by the Sadducees with today’s selected verse.

It is surely a verse for me too.

Why am I regularly falling apart spiritually?

Why do I mess up opportunities to reflect Him by reflecting someone else?

Why am I confused over what to do and what not to do?

Why can’t I be an all-seasons’ follower?

So many questions that need answering and here today I find the answers: I misunderstand God’s Word and I have no clue about how awesome God is.

I read the Bible regularly and I am getting more and more comfortable with His Word BUT am I using my knowledge to change my life?  I know it but am I overtaken by it?  Not if I continue to mess things up with such regularity.

How powerful is God to me?  Is He just another person in my life or is He The Person?  Do I name-drop His presence?  Are my thoughts of Him?  Is He in me enough to be noticeable?  Not if I continue to mess things up with such regularity.

How easy to look at others and hope that they will figure things out.  I am the one who needs to “figure” things out.  That “blank” is in my eye!

If I live out God’s Word and function intentionally in His Power, my life would be transformed.  Would I never mess up again?  Not likely but the frequency would lessen considerably.

I am disappointed in me because, as I contemplate Thanksgiving, I am well aware that I have chosen to settle for less than God offers me.  Indeed, I am thankful for what He has given me, but I have failed to appropriate so much more that is available to me.  I have minimized what could be and have lost out on so much.  That needs to change…..NOW.

“Lord, forgive me missing out on You and messing up with You.  I need You running my life.  I cannot continue to stop and start in my relationship to You.  Forgive me for drawing away from You.  I know better.  Help me, Lord, to acclimate myself to what Your written Word wants from me and also help me to intentionally You full control of my life.  To You be the glory!”

Jesus just gave me two important solutions for my spiritual wobbliness.

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Reasoning with God

“The woman came and knelt before him, “Lord, help me!” she said.  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  Matthew 15:25-27.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Matthew 14-16.

The woman in this story reasoned with Jesus.

The woman wanted help, but Jesus gave her the reason He couldn’t help her.

The woman did not settle for the answer given.  She had a need and she knew that Jesus could help her.  She wouldn’t take “No” for an answer.

In the next chapter Peter tried to reason with Jesus.  Jesus said that He was going to go to the cross and Peter (selfishly?) told Him He shouldn’t.  Jesus called Peter “Satan” for that.

How were the two requests different?  The woman’s request was about seeking help for someone else.  It helped that the woman recognized that even outsiders could be part of God’s kingdom.

Peter’s request revolved around his wondering what would become of him if Jesus left.  His request was selfish and unreasonable.

I must be mindful of Who God is when I pray to Him.  Circumstances may present troubling scenarios, but God is well aware of them.  He has the capability to alter the unalterable.

My requests must bring glory to God?

“Lord, I need You every second.  I need to get my goals aligned with Your Will.  Help me, Lord.”

I can talk to God.  He listens.  He understands.  He is a great One to converse with.

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All in or all out

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”  Matthew 12:30.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Matthew 11-13.

Following Jesus is not a part-time arrangement.

No, this doesn’t mean to quit your family and job and head overseas somewhere!  That’s a false concept.

If I am committed to following Jesus, I will do it wherever I am located.

Each of us is at a specific location right now.  Our Godliness must be in full bloom where that is.  I cannot verbally abuse those in the household I’m in and then inform them that I am off to a nearby mall to witness.  My “witnessing” must be done where I am at.

That being said, I may feel led by God to go to the mall and witness.  However, I am all in here before I am all in there.

God knows my heart.  He knows my intentions.  He knows my fears.   I talk “all in,” but will I consciously live that way?  Not in my own strength!

Over and over again, I reference my need to be close to God.  Maybe a better way to put it would be that I need to be all in.  “Close” can have variations.  “All in” can’t.

“Lord, I commit to all in with You, Father.  There is no other arrangement I want.  Prick my conscience when I give You anything less.  Show me how to live all in.  I need to activate that lifestyle.  Help me, I beg.”

I must be all in with God.  The alternative is all out!

 

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Seeing better

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Matthew 8-10.

I need to read between the lines on this verse.

Jesus “sees” and then has compassion.

I can look at a crowd, but I can’t look at them the way Jesus did.  Why?  Jesus could see their lives.  I am not endowed with that gift.

I can, however, become aware of the neediness of folks.  How?  By getting to know them.  By listening to them.

Confiding in a total stranger is unlikely.  Confiding in someone who displays an interest in me is much more likely.

Too often I am full of myself.  I want others to know about me.  Yet am I willing, as Jesus was, to look at others.  To learn about others.

This really is something that I am badly qualified at: listening to acquire compassion.  I won’t be seeing and acquiring compassion, but I can listen and acquire………with God’s help.

“Lord, I want to get listening and acquiring compassion right.  I am desperate for Your Help.  Open my ears.  Open my listening skills.  Open my curiosity about other’s lives so that I can gain compassion for them.  Forgive me for being so “me” centered.  I beg for an awareness for the lives of others.  I beg for an overflow of Godliness that provides help for the needy.  Lord, I am weak.  You are strong.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

I must do a better job of “seeing” others.

 

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Lighten up

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:15.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Matthew 5-8.

I am at a place (today) where I am struggling.  What’s the issue?  My easy-to-do Christian walk doesn’t easily fit.  There is turmoil.  There is a pace that disrupts my usual routines.  I am out of sorts.

What to do?  Learn from what is happening.  I must be closer to God.  When I get into these situations the first thing I notice is how quickly things fall apart spiritually.  I often imagine myself like the Peter of the Bible, “Everyone may take off, but I’m going nowhere!”  How did that work out?

When my opinion of my relationship to God separates from reality, I am then due for a dose of reality.  And today I have it.  It makes me sad.

I cannot be the Godly center-stage guy in every setting.  This is not church.  God is of secondary importance here.  How do I proceed?  I have a tendency to over-organize.  “I’ll do this, they’ll respond this way.”  Unrealistic.  There is much Scripture about trusting God for words and deeds.  And be ready to be Godly at EVERY turn.  Be able to handle deserved criticism in a Godly way.

Another major need for me is to do what I do for good Godly reasons.  My behavior must have Godly reason to it.  My eating habits (nutritarian diet) come under heavy scrutiny here.  Why am I so inept at defending them?  I could prepare some better defenses.

I have visions of sharing my faith but am I anywhere near capable of doing it?  A lot of inadequacies have shown up today.  But God knows me as a work in progress.  Sometimes the length of the journey ahead is overwhelming.

“Lord, I have always needed You every second.  Today is certainly no exception.  Help me, Father.  I declare my dependence on You now.  Take me over, I plead.  I love You, Lord.”

God must be my God of all seasons.

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He will save

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Matthew 1-4.

The angel of the Lord explained to Joseph, and to us, why Jesus was given that name.  The name means, “the Lord saves.”

And that is exactly what Jesus is willing to do for each of us……..save us.

Many hear that line and wonder, “Save us from what?”

We are all sinners.  By the way, there aren’t various sizes of sinners.  We are all sinners.  We have broken His commands.  Ever taken something that didn’t belong to you?  You’re a sinner.  Ever tell a lie?  You’re a sinner.  Ever look at someone with lust?  You’re a sinner.  Have I covered everyone of this to include everyone reading this or do I have to go through the other seven of the Ten Commandments?

Because of our sinfulness we are not fit to spend our after-life with a sinless God.  He just won’t have us there.  So what we need most is to be “saved” from the consequences our sins have rightly earned; eternal separation from God.

And God has provided for our “saving.”  How, you ask?  By sending Jesus to take on Himself all our sins.  Think of it this way, if our sins are gone then our consequence for them is gone also.  We are okay with God because we are sinless.

When Jesus died (Good Friday) He took everyone’s sins with Him.  Because He was perfect He was the perfect sacrifice for them.  And we know that God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus because God raised Him from the dead (Easter) into a new life without those sins.  And since our sins are gone we also have a new life freed from sin’s consequences.  We are completely in the clear.

Sadly, there are those who either see themselves good enough for heaven on their own terms or they aren’t concerned about the after-life.  Also sadly, they are NOT saved from the consequences of their sins.  They are living according to their faulty beliefs and God will send them to eternal separation from Him.

The Gospel is really simple.  It’s good news: Your sin problem has been taken care of.  Believe that you have a sin problem and that God took care of it.  Then live accordingly.  You’re “saved” if you do this.  Do it, I beg!

“Lord, I thank You for ending my sin problem.  For eliminating the consequence I deserve.  For loving me enough to die in my place.  I love You, Lord.  Empower me to live as one who has new/clean life because of You.  You are my God.”

I have attempted to explain what “getting saved” means.  It requires steps on your part.  Get them done and be saved.

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