Category Archives: Matthew

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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Jesus didn’t speak English

“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).”  Matthew 27:46.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading:  2 Samuel 18, Psalm 56, and Matthew 27.

The language Jesus spoke was Aramaic.

One of God’s capacities, that we forget, is that He understands ALL languages.  Picturing an interpreter nearby as He receives our prayers (in English) to Him just isn’t happening.  He is every-lingual!

I think that we read the Bible imagining that we would understand Jesus as He taught.  We wouldn’t BUT we are blessed that His Words are in our language.

I recall in my growing-up years learning about the endeavors of Bible translators in remote areas of the world.  The importance of their work resonates more now with me.  My understanding of God, and my connection to Him, would not have happened without His Word having been translated into English.

I love reading the Bible each day.  I look forward to it.  I add to my collective knowledge and more important I get to know God better.  I also find truths that I can apply to my life.

“Father, thank You for making Your Word available to me in English.  I would be lost, in more ways than one, without it.  You are a great God.  I love You.”

Pray to an every-lingual God.

St. Lucia

 

 

 

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End times

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”  Matthew 24:9-11.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 13-14, and Matthew 24.

We in the United States live a sheltered life.

In parts of the world there are Christians who would read today’s verses and tell us that it is already coming to pass.  We know little of it.

If being a Christian costs me something, would I still be one?

Would I sell out in crunch time?

I believe that Christians in the US, and I include myself, are soft.  When the going gets tough there is not telling what we would do to make things better for ourselves.

Today’s verses are talking about believers turning against, and turning in, other believers.  Things are going to be very bad.

I must prepare myself spiritually for the worst.  I must imagine that I no longer have a Bible.  That I no longer have a church and Bible studies that I can attend.  That I can no longer travel freely or communicate freely. That those that I thought loved me are now against me because of my beliefs.  It is not a pretty picture!

How can I prepare for this?  I must not assume that I have tomorrow.  I must be tight with God TODAY.  I must be clean before Him.  I must be a Godly light to those in my midst.  There may not be a tomorrow BUT I know that God oversees what does happen.  We win in the end.  I must cling to Him in the meantime.

“Lord, forgive me for gliding along in my walk with You.  I must take note of what is happening and will happen.  I must be in preparation mode.  I must begin to assume that there may be many “do-without’s” ahead.  I must know You better.  I must cling to You.  You are my God.”

Are you unfazed by the reality of the end times?  Trust the Word.  It’ll happen.

St. Lucia

 

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Blind rage

“The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.  BUT when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant.”  Matthew 21:14-15.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 8-9, 1 Chronicles 18-19, and Matthew 21.

Something good is happening but not everyone sees it that way.

There was excitement in the air; people were healed and children were shouting praises to the Healer.

Sounds like a time worthy of excitement but not to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.  They were “indignant.”

Why would happy children and healed folks be such a problem to them?  Their hatred of Jesus was so enormous that they refused to see the obviously good things that were being done by Jesus.

This attitude certainly relates to national politics.  One candidate wins and no matter what they do as an elected official, it is considered wrong by the friends of the unelected candidate.

I must be certain that my version of “wrong” is right.  I cannot cast away a form of worship because it is different or because someone not connected to my church does it.

To get right right, I must be tight with God.  I cannot assume that His Path goes a certain way and that I can figure it out on my own.  I need to be at His side.

It is embarrassing to read of the misguided rage of the Pharisees toward Jesus.  If only they had known.  These folks knew the Old Testament but they missed the Messiah in their midst.  I don’t want to be a Pharisee in my day.

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.  Help me to learn from reading/studying it.  Help me to understand Your Ways.  Forgive me for missing what You want me to do or not do.  I need closeness to You every second.  I love You, Lord.”

Do you have a dislike for someone that keeps them from ever doing anything good as far as you’re concerned?

St. Lucia

 

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Hearing 101

“When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.  They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life. ‘And the disciples were filled with grief.”  Matthew 17:22-23.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13, Psalm 68, and Matthew 17.

Jesus often said that people, including the disciples, did not understand what He told them.  Today’s verses reveal one such instance.

Jesus tells the disciples that He is going to be killed BUT He also tells them that He will come back to life.

The disciples heard the first part but ignored the second part.  Why?  His raising the dead, they had seen  but being raised from the dead Himself was incomprehensible to them.

We often limit God.  We assume that the situation we are in is off-limits to His intervention.  Think about the disciples; He feeds thousands from practically nothing but a short time later the disciples fear for their lives when they’re caught in a storm on the lake.  They don’t equate the Jesus of the feeding to the Jesus who controls the weather.  The “weather part” hadn’t been done before so they weren’t ready to trust Him to handle it.

I must be quick to admit that it is easy, in hindsight, to criticize the disciples.  Why didn’t they know?  BUT we’re worse than the disciples, because we have two thousand years of God’s interventions beyond theirs and yet we still doubt.

God is in charge.  He is unlimited.  We can trust Him to do the right thing in every situation.  Our task is to be in allegiance to Him.  He loves us.  He’ll take care of us in the best way possible.

“Lord, have Your Way with me.  Forgive me for doubting Your power by trusting other gods.  You are my God.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

God is NOT overwhelmed by your circumstances.  Trust Him for help.

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My inconsistencies are consistent

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”  Matthew 16:16.

“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’” Matthew 16:22.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 4-5, Psalm 139, and Matthew 16.

Same guy.  Same chapter.

In one verse, we have Peter presenting a perfect description of Jesus.  In the other verse, we have Peter telling Jesus what He should do.  Terribly inconsistent, don’t you think?

We are the same; consistently inconsistent.

We want to be perfect with God.  To do everything He wants us to do.  But then in the next moment we choose our own way.

Our prayers “send” God places: He’s omnipresent.  Why can’t we figure this out?

We read Scripture to the point of knowledge and yet don’t live on what we’ve learned.  Why read if you don’t heed?

What does a perfect relationship with God look like?  We must start with Him in charge and be willing to do whatever He wants us to do.  We’ll wait.  We’ll go full speed.  We’ll marvel at Him.  We’ll love Him.  I could go on……..

“Lord, forgive me for my inconsistencies.  I want my life to be as You want it to be.  Forgive me for going too fast and for going too slow.  Help me get Your pace right.  I am weak.  You are strong.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

The closer we are to God the more consistent our relationship to Him will be.

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Are you still trying to help God run things?

“Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?’”  Matthew 15:12.

“Jesus did not answer a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’” Matthew 15:23.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading:  2 Samuel 3, 1 Chronicle 12, and Matthew 15.

The disciples end up on the wrong end of these two situations.

In the first, the disciples suggest that Jesus is unaware that the Pharisees are upset by what He has been saying.

In the second, the disciples want Jesus to get rid of a persistent Gentile in their midst.

Often, we limit God.  We decide that there are problems that He needs our help in figuring out.  What are we, nuts!

God knows what will happen before it happens.

Jesus knew the Pharisees.  He knew their inconsistencies.  Yes, they would be offended by what He said but they needed to hear it.  The truth would help them (possibly) and the “Pharisees” who would follow them.

In the other story the disciples interrupted the conversation Jesus was having with the Canaanite woman.  She wanted help but Jesus wanted to test her faith in Him.  He said that He was ministering to Jews, not Gentiles.  Undeterred, she asked for whatever He could “spare” to restore her daughter.  The woman’s willingness to accept whatever Jesus would do for her, revealed that she had “great faith” in Him.  Instead of being sent away, her faith should be replicated in all of us.

How I love reading Scripture!  There is so much to be learned.  So many how-to-live truths get revealed.  O that the next step, application, would kick in too.

“Lord, You know what You’re doing.  How often I reveal my misconstrued understanding of You when I begin to suggest what You should do.  I need to trust You with every part of my life.  I need to start all decision-making connected to You.  Forgive me for failing to grasp Who You really are.  I love You, Lord.”

God knows what He is doing, act accordingly.

St. Lucia

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