Category Archives: Matthew

Making evil palatable

“The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’  So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.” Matthew 27:6-7.

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

The evil of the chief priests is blatant.

They were the ones who had spent money to get someone killed.  Now, instead of agonizing over their part in the eventual death of Jesus, they concern themselves with the money part of it.

The chief priests even expressed concern over a law violation!

How easy for us to justify evil.  An innocent mistake?  Generally, we know something is wrong.  Admitting it, and turning away, is often embarrassing and troublesome.

The chief priests were so intent on getting Jesus that to them the end would justify their means.  That’s why their concern about the Judas money is so hypocritical.

“Lord, forgive me for frequently justifying wrong behavior in myself and in those I favor.  Wrong is wrong.  I must be Godly in EVERYTHING I do.  I need to be near to You.  I need Your Guidance from the get-go.  Prick my conscience when I am messing things up so that I can repent and return to You.  I need Your help.  Guide me.  Direct me. Correct me, I beg.”

I don’t know where you are politically, but do you rationalize the wrongs that your side commits?  Do you praise the good that the opposition does?  Can’t do it?  Neither could the chief priests in Jesus’ day.

 

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Can God trust you or are you like His disciples?

“But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’  And all the other disciples said the same.”  Matthew 26:35.

“’But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” Matthew 26:56.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Samuel 17, Psalm 71, and Matthew 26.

With friends like this, who needs enemies!

Those closest to Jesus talk the talk but in crunch time don’t walk the walk.

Oh, so much like us!  How many times a day do we desert Him with our thoughts and actions?  It’s many but do we realize it?

So often we imagine ourselves on God’s “varsity,” but so often we perform as if we’re not even on the team.  We go our own ways.  We aren’t disciplined.  It’s an ugly picture.

Yet Jesus proceeds on and dies for such as you and I.  We don’t deserve it.  We get loose from Him so often.  What amazing love.  What amazing grace.

My life must be lived filled with Him.  I dare not boast of what I will do. Apart from a full attachment to Him, I will end up in situations (Think David/Bathsheba) that will truly reveal my sinfulness.

“Lord, You know all about me.  I get bits and pieces of my sinfulness from time to time.  You see the whole sorry mess.  I am unworthy of You.  You, however, have born with me and loved me.  Fill me with You.  Take me over.  Cleanse me, I beg, and direct my path this day.”

They followed the Leader until trouble came.  Kind of like you and me?

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I played it safe and You weren’t happy

“’Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error.  I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ The master was furious.”  Matthew 25:24-26 (The Message).

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Samuel 15-16, Psalm 32, and Matthew 25.

Playing it safe.  Not stepping out.

Seems like a decent way to go, doesn’t it?  Don’t want to mess things up.

And the master was furious!

This is a warning for all of us reticent believers. God is not pleased with our hesitancy.

Does that mean we go off underprepared?  Certainly not.  But we can only nurse that “unprepared” thing for so long.  There’s a point where we reach the, “ready or not, here we come!” level.

I haven’t said much about witnessing lately.  I still want to do it, but my trend is toward reticent.  That isn’t pleasing to God, I suspect.  My eyes and ears need to be open for opportunities.  I had one this morning, beautifully set up, and didn’t go in the conversation where I could have gone.  I praise God for the opportunity, though.  Can He trust me to witness for Him?  I want more “setups.”

“Lord, You have expectations of believers.  We are to be productive.  You have given us every good gift.  We must use those gifts, those opportunities, to spread the Good News.  Help me, Father, to be so filled with You that there will be a natural overflow, not a contrived one, and I will be able to speak of You as You want me to.  I love You, Father.  Guide me, this day, I beg.”

If our goal is to please God then we can no longer be closet believers.  Take that thought where you need to take it!

 

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Will we be fooled?

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you ahead of time.”  Matthew 24:24-25.

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

Can I handle this?

I’m being warned that in the future there will be those who are trying to deceive me.  They will seem to be something they aren’t.  They will perform some amazing things.  BUT they aren’t of God.

I’m supposed to know the difference.  How?  Not seeing them in action (yet) I can’t be sure of what will give their authenticity away.  I suspect that they will direct me away from the God of the Bible.  They will try to disparage the God of the Bible.

I don’t think that I can relax and assume that I will accurately sort out what’s going on.  Over and over, I insist that my life must be lived in tight relationship with God.  I must seek Him in His Word and I must seek Him in my prayers.  I must know Him.  As Jesus said, “My sheep will know my voice.”  A shallow relationship with Him will leave me open to “other” voices.

“Lord, take every inch of me over, right now.  I need You not only this day but, after reading today’s verses, in the future as well.  Protect me from deception, I beg.  Prick my conscience when I am off course.  I want to please You.  I want to get it right, now and in the future.  Help me, I plead.”

I will NOT be able to handle the future with a loose relationship to God.  Too much deception coming.

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This is why you’re messed 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; 2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 19-20, Psalm 20, and Matthew 22.

How smart are we?

We study the Bible.  We pray.  We go to church regularly.  But we know little.

The folks Jesus is talking to were all of the above, including the last part.  They thought that they knew plenty, but Jesus sees them differently.

The point, for me, is that I must have God’s direction in my life.  I cannot go it alone.  And this applies to everything, including reading/understanding Scripture.

I am reading the Bible regularly and have now done it for over seven years.  What excites me is that, instead of Scripture becoming familiar and been-there-done-it, I regularly find things that I had previously missed.  I pray before I read, and I pray before I write.  I want to “know” the Scriptures and I certainly can’t be in that direction in one swallow!  It takes time and persistence.  Lord, help me!

“Lord, I know that I know little about You.  I beg for insights.  I now call them God-sights because I want to have a clearer view of You every time I read Scripture.  I am weak.  You are strong.  Help me, Father.  Guide me, Father.  I love You, Lord.”

How smart we aren’t when it comes to God things!

 

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More folks becoming indignant

“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 21:15.

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

Yesterday it was the ten disciples.  Today it is the chief priests and teachers.  All of them are indignant.

The cause yesterday was the attempt by two of the disciples to move to the head of the “rewards” line.

The offended, in today’s verse, cannot understand why the honor and admiration they are used to getting is being given to someone else.

To protect their position, they must frown on the works of Jesus and to the acclaim He is getting.

And they do a very good job of perpetually attempting to discredit Jesus. Sounds like progressives and conservatives in our political day.

I think that once again being “indignant” tells us plenty about those in that condition.  They don’t realize that it is they who are missing something.

The ten disciples should have relished the fact that they would be lesser because Jesus had taught that this was the way His followers should be.

In today’s situation, the offended should have recognized that they were wrong, and that Jesus was Who He claimed to be………and joined the celebration!

We so much need to be led by God.  Both the ten disciples and today’s “offended” had great intentions but they were misguided.  None of us is immune to falling into the same problem.

We need to take every step with Him.  We need to be open to correction.  We need to be willing to take a lesser position.

“So much in today’s Scripture for me.  Too often I plow my way into trouble by running ahead of You.  For deciding and then inviting You to bless me!  What folly.  Forgive me, Father.  I love You, Lord.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

What gets you indignant?  How does God figure into it?

 

 

 

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Who’s worse?

“When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.” Matthews 20:24.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17, Psalm 2, and Matthew 20.

This was pretty ugly stuff!

The mother of James and John requests that her boys get special seating in heaven.  What is she thinking?

The boys don’t try to stop her, so they’re complicit.

And then to make matter worse, the other ten disciples hear about what’s going on and they’re upset.

In the Old Testament, God was so angry with the Israelites that He wanted to eliminate them and start over with Moses.  Could Jesus have been having similar thoughts regarding the disciples on this occasion?

The mother’s request is troubling but even more so (to me) is the reaction of the other ten disciples.

Think of why they would have been “indignant.”  Think of how a Godly person should react in such a situation.

The “other ten” come across as selfish.  Why would they resent what James/John were doing?  Probably had designs on special seating for themselves but hadn’t asked.  J/J tried to jump to the front of the “line” and get ahead of them!

Jesus put all twelve in their rightful places when He said, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”  There was no head of the line to think about, instead they should have been thinking about the back of the line.

Will I accept a lesser role?  Am I begging for commendation?  How do I react when someone else is better than I am?  My reactions reveal where I want to be placed in the “line.”

“Shame on me for being jealous of others.  I am grateful to be included in Your after-life kingdom.  I am totally unworthy of being there, yet through no part of my own, You have granted me an after-life with You.  What a Savior!  Prick my conscience when I trying to advance myself apart from You.  I love You, Lord.”

Are you a front-of-the-line type?  Most of us are………unfortunately.

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