Saturday, April 30, 2011

Matthew 27: Believe without Regrets

Matthew 27
1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.

11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.

15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.29 And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.36 And sitting down they watched him there;37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elijah.48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.64 Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.66 So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Observation:  Those who betrayed Christ, those who scorned Him, ridiculed Him, crucified Him, came to realize that  they had made a mistake in the actions they had taken but all they were left with were regrets.   Regrets they will have eternally.

Application:  Just accept Christ for what He says He is.  Don't allow your own thinking to get in the way of just believing Him or you too could end up with regrets of one kind or another.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Others May NOT Be There for You Like You Hope For, but Seek God for Yourself and He Will Take You Through

Matthew 26

1  And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

3  Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,4  And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

6  Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,7  There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.10  When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.11  For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.12  For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.13  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

14  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,15  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.16  And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

17  Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?18  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.19  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

20  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.21  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.22  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?23  And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.24  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.25  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.29  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

30  And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.31  Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.32  But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

33  Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.34  Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

36  Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.37  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.38  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.39  And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.40  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?41  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.42  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.43  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.44  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.45  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.46  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

47  And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.48  Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.49  And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.50  And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.51  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.52  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.53  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?54  But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

55  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.56  But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

57  And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.58  But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

59  Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;60  But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,61  And said, this fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

62  And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?63  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.64  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

65  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.66  What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.67  Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,68  Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

69  Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.70  But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.71  And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.72  And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.73  And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee.74  Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Scriptures:  verses 36-46

Observation: Jesus came to His disciples asking them if they would pray with Him, but they allowed the needs of their own lives (the tiredness of their flesh) to dominate what they did.  Jesus was alone with God in this temptation and it was the worst one He ever went through.  

Application: Sometimes the things that seem the hardest for us to face, we must face alone and go through with God alone.

Prayer:  Lord, help me when things are really tough and I'm all alone, to cast myself upon You as many times as it takes for me to know that I can face what is ahead.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More than Anything, I Want to Make It

Matthew 25
Mat 25:1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

14  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.15  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.16  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.17  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.20  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.22  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.23  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.24  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed:25  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.26  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed:27  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.28  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.29  For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

31  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35  For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:42  For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Scripture:  verse 34   Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

Observation:   God has prepared a place for those who serve Him.  He prepared it before He created the world.

Application:   There is nothing greater this world could offer me than what God has prepared for me if I stay true to Him.  I do not want to miss that kingdom that will be where He is present.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to live always with eternity in mind.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Be Vigilant to Stay Up-to-date in Spiritual Areas

Matthew 24

1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25Behold, I have told you before.

26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Scripture: 43-44 If the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broker up.  Therefore, be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Observation:  Be vigilant to always be ready for the coming of Christ because He could come at any time

Application:  Don't get so involved in the things of life that you neglect the spiritual side of your life.  Stay ready.  You will never know when your end may come.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to ever be mindful of those things that would take my focus away from my soul.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jesus Gave Opportunity

Matthew 23
1  Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.4  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.5  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,6  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

13  But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!17  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?18  And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.19  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift 20  Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.21  And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.22  And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.24  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 

 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.26  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

29  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous,30  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.31  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.32  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

33  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:35  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zechariah son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.36  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

38  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.39  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Scripture:   v. 37   "how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not"

Observation:  Jesus' desired that all men come to the truth of the gospel and be saved and He did what He could to give them that opportunity in every way.  But He could not take away their choice.  Regardless of the good we do, we can't make people be saved.

Application:  Jesus knew that all He could do was give opportunity.  He gave out the message.  He did good works among men.   That's all we can do.  After that it's up to the person to choose what they will do with what they have been given.  Some just will not accept it.

Prayer:  Help me to keep a heart to serve (v. 11) and not ever give up doing what I can to give people opportunity to be saved.  Help me to NOT get discouraged and disheartened by those who reject the gospel.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Knowing What the Word Teaches Helps Us Reach Out for God's Power when We Need It

Matthew 22
1  And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.3  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.5  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:6  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.7  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14  For many are called, but few are chosen.

15  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.16  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.17  Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?18  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?19  Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.20  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?21  They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.22  When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way.

23  The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,24  Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.25  Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:26  Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.27  And last of all the woman died also.28  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

29  Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.30  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.31  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,32  I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

33  And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.34  But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.35  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.38  This is the first and great commandment.39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

41  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,42  Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.43  He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,44  The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?45  If David then call him, Lord, how is he his son?46  And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Scripture:  Ye do err, not knowing the scripture nor the power of God.  Matt 22:29

Observation:  These two things cause many people to "err".  Number one.  They don't know the scriptures.  They read a verse here or there but they don't read the whole gospel and "hear" what it says.   And they haven't experienced the power of God in their lives.   That power comes with the new birth.   But it must be accompanied with the knowledge that it is there, because temptations are strong and sometimes long and if we do not have the knowledge that we cannot give in and be saved, then people tend to take the easy way out, which causes them to lose the power.

Application:  It's important to know what God's word teaches.   Right teaching enables us to take hold of God's power in tough situations.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to apply your word to my life and experience your power for every difficulty I face.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Word of Righteousness Teaches Us How to Discern Good and Evil

Hebrews 5
1  For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2  Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3  And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4  And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

5  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. 7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10  Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. 11  Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.13  For every one that useth milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Scripture:   verse 12-14

Observation:  When we are babes in Christ we are "unskillful in the word of righteousness" but when we are of "full age" we should be skillful in the the word of righteousness because we have exercised ourselves to discern both good and evil.

Application:  We must exercise ourselves in applying the word of righteousness and by so doing we can learn the difference between good and evil.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be so familiar with your word that it is not hard for you to help me discern  good and evil.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Using Wisdom When Answering Those Who Pick

Matthew 21
1  And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2  Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3  And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

6  And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

10  And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11  And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

12  And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

14  And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

15  And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, 16  And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise 17  And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

18  Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20  And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21  Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

23  And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?24  And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25  The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26  But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27  And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

28  But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.29  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.31  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

33  Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? 43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

45  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

Scriptures:  verses 23 and 24   Answering those who question us

Observation:  Jesus didn't always answer those who questioned Him.  He knew that they were just looking for a way to bring Him down.  So He used wisdom in how he responded.

Application:  Don't feel like you have to answer the questions of those who you know are just trying to bring you down.  Jesus set the example more than one time of answering questions with a question.  That can be a good way to circumvent some of the problems that would come with a direct answer.

Prayer:  Lord, give me the wisdom I need when religious people  or those filled with unbelief are asking questions just to bring me down so that I can answer in the way that Jesus would have.

Friday, April 22, 2011

God Treats ALL Choices to Labor for Him Equally--whether We Can Do Little or Much

Matthew 20
1  For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,4  And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.6  And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?7  They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

8  So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.9  And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.10  But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.11  And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,12  Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.13  But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?14  Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.15  Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?16  So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

17  And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18  Behold, we go up to Jerusalem: and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,19  And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

20  Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.21  And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.22  But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.23  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

24  And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.25  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.26  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;27  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

29  And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.30  And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.31  And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.32  And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?33  They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.34  So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

Scripture:  Everyone who labored received the same pay.

Observation:   God "pays" everyone the same when they enter into labor with Him.  Whether you have been able to do much or have only been able to do little.  He sees from a different perspective of  what is "fair" than we do.  He doesn't judge by quantity.  He judges by choices and by decisions to do what we can.  When we do that, we get paid the same as someone who may be able to do more, either because they've been saved longer or have greater abilities.

Application:  Don't think because you have little to give that it is not valued by God.  He sees what you do as just as important as that which others do as long as it is all that  you can do.  The price we pay is the same.  Each of us gives up all.  The reward is the same.

Prayer:  Help me to apply myself to the labor in whatever way that I can and then to accept that even though I am not as good or cannot do as much as someone else that what I do is acceptable and not feel down on myself because I'm not as good or don't do as much as someone else.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Can't Hold Back Any Part of Me or My Life and Be A Part of God's Kingdom

Matthew 19
1  And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan;2  And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

3  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away8  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.11  But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.12  For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

13  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.15  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

16  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?17  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19  Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.24  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.25  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.29  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.30  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Scripture:  v 21  If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor... and come and follow me.  

Observation:  The religious world in general feels they are in good shape because they have a list of things that they have done that gives them confidence in their goodness.  They come to Christ and expect to be commended.  Instead, He's honest with them.   It's not enough just to do this and that.  All that you are, all that you have, all that you want, everything about you has to be given to me.  You can no longer be your own to decide what is going to be okay in your life.  Whatever you are, do, or say must be filtered through me.   That's too much for most folks.  They don't mind doing a few things, but they want to keep control of the reins.

Application:  Don't hold back any part of your life from Christ.  If there's something that you are not willing to give up, that is the thing that will cause you to walk away sorrowfully.

Prayer:  Help me to examine myself and be sure that there is not one thing in my life that I want more than I want to please you-- no possession, no feeling, no attitude, no way that I handle myself in life, nothing I do for entertainment, nothing I do period... nothing about me that I am NOT willing to filter through You and be sure that it's okay for it to be the way it is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Will Be Held Accountable for How Our Actions Affect Others.

Matthew 18
1  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.4  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7  Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!8  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.9  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.12  How think ye? if a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?13  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.14  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

18  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.25  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.27  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.28  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.32  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

 Scripture:  Woe to those who cause offenses (occasions for others to stumble).

Observaton:  We are not free to just say, do, act any old way we want to.  We have to take into account how our words and actions are affecting others.

Application:  I'm "forthright" and say things quickly sometimes.  I need to be sure that the things I say and do would not cause someone who is trying to serve God to stumble.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to filter what I think, do, and say through You.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Commitment of Fasting and Prayer

Matthew 17

1  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.3  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.4  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.5  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.6  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.7  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.9  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

10  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come 11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things.12  But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.13  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

14  And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,15  Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.16  And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.17  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.18  And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

19  Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?20  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.21  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

22  And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:23  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

24  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?25  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?26  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.27  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Scripture  Verses 19-21  The healing of the lunatic required prayer AND fasting.

Observation:  Jesus chastised them for their unbelief, asking how long would be "suffer" them because the faith of a grain of mustard seed would be all they'd need , but he followed that comment by saying, Howebeit this kind goeth not out by fasting and prayer.   So there are some situations that require a greater commitment in order to get the answer that we desire.

Application:  Work to NOT be one that Jesus would have to "suffer" because you lack faith but also remember that not everything comes as easily as other things do.  This man was bound by the devil and devils don't leave a situation easily.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to discern when I need to go the extra mile to get the answer I desire for situations that need that extra commitment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jesus Is the Christ and He Has Been Given Power over All

Matthew 16
1  The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.2  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.3  And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?4  A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed.

5  And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.7  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.8  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?9  Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?10  Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?11  How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?12  Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

13  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.19  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.20  Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

21  From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.22  Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.23  But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

:24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.25  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?27  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.28  Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Scripture:  Whom do men say that I am?  Whom say ye that I am?

Observation:  What men say about Jesus and what is revealed about Him through the Holy Ghost are totally different things.   Religious people make him just another man, another prophet.  He has no power.  But divine revelation teaches us that Jesus is the Christ and He has power over all power of the enemy.

Application:  Do not lose sight of the truth that Jesus Christ has all power to keep you in every situation of life.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to not get so caught up in a life situation with its problems that I forget that you can give me whatever I need to get me through that situation with victory over sin, flesh, and the devil.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jesus IS God's Son, He Has All Power to Take Care of Every Need

Matthew 15
1  Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.3  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?4  For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;6  And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.7  Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

10  And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:11  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

12  Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?13  But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.14  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

15  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.16  And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?17  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

21  Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.22  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.23  But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.24  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.25  Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.26  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.27  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.28  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

29  And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.30  And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:31  Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

32  Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.33  And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?34  And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.35  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.36  And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and broke them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.37  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.38  And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

39  And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

Scripture:  They brought the maimed, the blind,  the dumb, the lame and cast them down at Jesus' feet and healed them all and the people who saw these things gave God the glory.

Observation:  Jesus had power to take care of every need or problem that men had.  He healed every disease, he calmed storms, he created wine.   He showed Himself to be the Son of God

Application:  If I'm going to accept the word of God as being truth for my life then I must accept that Jesus Christ can-- and is willing to--take care of every need I have.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to get beyond human reasoning and just accept you as you are and believe in the benefits that are mine through your power.