Glorify God – 1-21-22

Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” Matthew 15:29-31 NKJV

Thank you for bearing with me. Next week, the Lord willing, we will resume our regular studies. Until then, I am giving God all the glory. I am praising Him! He is good – no matter what our eyes see. Please join with me in agreement of how good God is and give him all the glory.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 15 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Defilement Comes from Within

15 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father [a]or mother.’ Thus you have made the [b]commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

‘These people [c]draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a 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 unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

A Gentile Shows Her Faith

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

23 But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Jesus Heals Great Multitudes

29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, [d]maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the [e]maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

Feeding the Four Thousand

32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

33 Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?”

34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”

And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”

35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. 37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. 38 Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of [f]Magdala.

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 15:6 NU omits or mother
  2. bMatthew 15:6 NU word
  3. cMatthew 15:8 NU omits draw near to Me with their mouth, And
  4. dMatthew 15:30 crippled
  5. eMatthew 15:31 crippled
  6. fMatthew 15:39 NU Magadan

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Reach out and touch Him – 1-20-22

When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.” Matthew 14:34-36 NKJV

Today I am spending the day seeking God. Not even working on my business. Just pressing in to reach out and maybe just touch the edge of his garment. I need. Help me Lord Jesus, I have need! So today I must seek Him. Please read today’s reading and let the Holy Spirit speak to you about it.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 14 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

John the Baptist Beheaded

14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.

So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.”

And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Feeding the Five Thousand

13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”

16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Sea

22 Immediately Jesus [a]made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now [b]in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, [c]“Be of good cheer! [d]It is I; do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw [e]that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 Then those who were in the boat [f]came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Many Touch Him and Are Made Well

34 When they had crossed over, they came [g]to the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 14:22 invited, strongly urged
  2. bMatthew 14:24 NU many furlongs away from the land
  3. cMatthew 14:27 Take courage
  4. dMatthew 14:27 Lit. I am
  5. eMatthew 14:30 NU brackets that and boisterous as disputed.
  6. fMatthew 14:33 NU omits came and
  7. gMatthew 14:34 NU to land at

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… – 1-19-22

But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.Matthew 13:16-17 NKJV

Every day I pray that our eyes can see, our ears can hear and our understanding will be opened. And we are blessed that we can ready and understand the word of God!! But I am counted among the many who read a wonder how amazing it would have been to be among the disciples! To actually hear these words come out of the mouth of Jesus and to see him myself and hug him!

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 13 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Parable of the Sower

13 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Purpose of Parables

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the [a]mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I [b]should heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

The Parable of the Leaven

33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three [c]measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

Prophecy and the Parables

34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

The Parable of the Tares Explained

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Dragnet

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

51 [d]Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?”

They said to Him, “Yes, [e]Lord.”

52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every [f]scribe instructed [g]concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, [h]Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Footnotes

  1. a.Matthew 13:11 secret or hidden truths
  2. b.Matthew 13:15 NU, M would
  3. c.Matthew 13:33 Gr. sata, same as a Heb. seah; approximately 2 pecks in all
  4. d.Matthew 13:51 NU omits Jesus said to them
  5. e.Matthew 13:51 NU omits Lord
  6. f.Matthew 13:52 A scholar of the Old Testament
  7. g.Matthew 13:52 Or for
  8. h.Matthew 13:55 NU Joseph

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

I just got myself distracted and went down a rabbit hole of “Seeing Jesus”. Maybe it is because I am still sick (believing in faith I am healed), but man, He could come right now! I know I have a list of people I am praying for, but I’d love to fly up and be with Him! To live is Christ and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21)

Ok – back to the work of the harvest. Jesus begins his ministry of parables. His disciples come to him and say: Dude, this isn’t working. We aren’t getting converts and no one knows what you are trying to say.
Jesus came for His chosen people, the Jews. But at this point they had rejected Him. So the teachings no longer belong to them.

Preachers often see something like this start to happen in their messages when the congregation has hardened its heart.  The stand up to preach thinking it is exciting and spirit filled and it is moving – but the audience sits there deaf. And the preacher often thinks they need to change their style. No. Stay obedient to God. It is not the job of the preacher to MAKE them listen and learn. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. This is why, every day I ask God to speak to you and God to open your ears and eyes and understanding.

Sometimes God asks me to share some very strange spiritual images and idea or even a brief phrase – and I think they are so clear. And I watch their faces as they miss it. Sometimes it moves into the spirit and only if you can see in the spirit (walk in the spirit) can you understand because there are no human words for so much of that. And it is God’s job to reveal it.

So it is YOUR job to prepare your heart to receive and to actually receive what God is saying to you. AND it is YOUR job to then take the seed you received, grow it into fruit, harvest the seed and go plant it – just toss it out there. If it is the wrong person, wrong time… not your business. If it is the right person and right time and they receive it… Still NOT your business!! That is between them and God. Stay in your lane. You grow seeds and distribute them! When other follow, teach them to grow seeds and distribute them.

What about when the bad seed gets mixed in? That is not your business. You have your orders – stay in your lane. God will expose good wheat from Tares. You just keep growing seed and flinging it out there.

You see – we all were given seed. We all sit here for this lesson and receive a seed.

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Matt 13:11-12

But if you do not take it, receive it, hear it, see it, understand it… then you don’t leave with it. And then you will be like the one with lack. But if you are hungry and you ask to receive and learn how to receive, you meditate on it, you take it as food, and oxygen, as essential for life… then you plant this seed inside you and it multiplies into more seeds and you can sow and it will grow into more seeds and so on to abundance!  

You see the kingdom of heaven is like: abundance and multiplication. This applies to spiritual, physical, health, wealth, all areas where you receive it and do not limit God. Like the tiniest seed growing into a huge tree to care for many.  Or like a dusting of leaven, raising ALL the meal!!!

Remember when reading parables that they are often life 3 part sermon. Sometime more than 3 sometimes less. But you cannot separate them from each other and get hung up on details – when you put all three together it make a point. Ironically, Rabbis’ have taught in moral story telling with three stories to make one point for years and years… And this was not a new style created by Jesus.  He used their own methods of teaching and learning, and their ears were stopped up.  And notice – even the disciples had to ask for understanding. Be wise enough to ask God to give you the meanings! He gave the meaning to the disciples and He will give them to you and I as well.

The next three parables also go together the hidden treasure in the field, the great pearl and the dragnet – which continue with the original theme. The kingdom of heaven is like abundant multiplication! At least up until a very sobering reminder at the end of the dragnet. The reminder that if you do not seek understanding, you may find yourself without the abundance and cast into the fire.

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt 13:49-50

Today’s reading concludes with Jesus being rejected in Nazareth. After reading the Old Testament, I would think Jewish people would understand that is someone is supernaturally wise and does mighty works AND IS REJECTED then they are the Lord’s anointed prophet. Jesus is MORE than a prophet, but is in the same pattern as Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc…

When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Matt 13:54

Lord, please grant us wisdom and mighty works as we seek you in 2022. Our family and friends may not accept this supernatural transformation of us – but we accept and receive the transformation. Make all things new in us. And give us the wisdom on how you want us to grow and multiple. We receive the Kingdom of heaven! In the Name of Jesus – Amen

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Why do we make things so complicated? – 1-18-22

Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” Matthew 12:18-21 NKJV

Matthew refers to Isaiah here. He is always searching for the old prophecies that Jesus fulfilled which include the gentiles so that the Jews could understand what is happening. Remember their temple and city was just destroyed, the Jewish people in mass are rejecting Jesus, and those who are not are see the signs and wonders and works happening in the gentiles! God’s ways are not our ways – but Matthew keeps trying to show them that they were foretold and God is still in control.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 12 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple [a]profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord [b]even of the Sabbath.”

Healing on the Sabbath

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.

11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

Behold, My Servant

15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great [c]multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

A House Divided Cannot Stand

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the [d]blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by [e]Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood[f] of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure [g]of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

An Unclean Spirit Returns

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Send for Him

46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Footnotes

  1. a.Matthew 12:5 desecrate
  2. b.Matthew 12:8 NU, M omit even
  3. c.Matthew 12:15 NU brackets multitudes as disputed.
  4. d.Matthew 12:22 NU omits blind and
  5. e.Matthew 12:24 NU, M Beelzebul, a Philistine deity
  6. f.Matthew 12:34 Offspring
  7. g.Matthew 12:35 NU, M omit of his heart

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Well – there is a LOT in today’s reading. Matthew really packed it in there! So let us just right in.

We start with Jesus’s disciples picking grain and eating it – then Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath. You may ask what is wrong with that. Let us look back ward.  God created a covenant with the Jews (not Gentiles) were one of His rules to the covenant was not to work on the Sabbath but to keep it Holy.
“‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” Lev. 23:3 NKJV

This gives me so many questions God – These are farmers, that is there job. Do they NOT feed the animals? Do they NOT clean the pens? Do they NOT rescue the stray? If I lion or bear comes for their flock, do they not fight it off because it is the Sabbath? Don’t the women work, cooking up a Sabbath meal? And clean? And if someone in the family is bedridden and sick, do they NOT tend to them? 

Here is the GOD AWFUL TRUTH: God is simple and freeing and man is complicated and binding. Because man is under the curse until saved… and even then sometimes man holds on to complicated and oppressing practices. (Many are calling this the spirit of religion.) You see God meant, take a day to show hospitality and sing and enjoy your family and friends. He meant relax a little.  The Sadducees and Pharisees added Rabbinical Law to the Levitical Law. Man making it more restrictive and more impossible to follow. Jesus NEVER broke Levitical Law! Never. He was perfect. He DID blatantly break the restrictive and ungodly law of man. Jesus cam to fulfil the Atonement Laws not to break the covenant God had with His people. So Jews must continue to observe the Sabbath. I am a gentile and I am under a new covenant – speaking of man adding restrictions: I hear people tell me I cannot work on the Sabbath. But Besides this blog, I own my on business and it is a new business and I need to.  I am under NO obligation to God to take Saturday off. Besides as a gentile I go to church on the resurrection day not the Sabbath. I also understand the principle behind a day of rest and I do schedule in rest.  But it is more restful to spend an hour every day preparing my marketing for the next, then to sit down and do it all for the week. And someone has to write this blog, it doesn’t write itself. Lol

“Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matt 12:6-8

Jesus says so many profound things in these simple sentences. We couple cross reference the Temple and spend all day here. But one point would be that under the new covenant with the Jews and Gentiles – WE are the temple of the Holy Spirit and He is greater than the temple!
Then the “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” is so commonly confused. Like we understand He is saying to have mercy – but where does the sacrifice come in? See – this IS the new covenant! He is saying HE fulfills the Atonement Law.  I mean he still requires sacrifice which is now obedience. We sacrifice our own will and obediently follow His will. He is not speaking of obedience. He is speaking of temple sacrifices. Again, He did start the passage with the temple.  I get so frustrated with people tell me my obedience (when there is self-sacrifice) preaching is ungodly and then quote this verse. Stop taking it out of context. God is absolutely asking us to lay our lived down on an altar before him and surrender!

This chapter really reveals how stupid mankind is. First we complicate and confuse things and when Jesus tries to clarify things and give freedom and life – the Pharisees choose death and bondage to impossible rules. Next Mankind can easily believe the devil has the ability to perform signs and wonders but fails to believe Jesus can. Seriously!  

“Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” Matt. 12:24

Jesus knew their thoughts and straightened them out.  

One day a lady was sick, I laid hands on her and she felt the presence of the Lord and was healed. She then said I was a witch and it was witchcraft! Because God could not do that?! I mean, you said you felt the Lord! She changed her story to say she felt just ‘energy’ and ‘witchcraft’. You see in our modern world witches do healings and so it is not a kingdom divided in man’s shallow eyes.  They do not see that the healing from a witch is death, not life, and we cannot recognize God, or the Power of Jesus, any more now than the Pharisees of Jesus’s time. We have given the enemy too much credit and forgotten how big our God is.

We go up to a fig tree and pluck a ripe and poisonous apple and see nothing wrong with it. But if the fig tree has figs we think it is of the devil.  How can we even begin to explain parables of knowing a tree by its fruits hen we are no better than these Pharisees who accused Jesus, Our Creator, of being the devil!

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matt 12:34 

So, let’s get this straight. Jesus is not evil and can do more than the enemy? Ok, ok – do a trick for me and prove it!

We all read this and think, well, I wouldn’t – but then we have a burst of faith and suddenly we are asking to heap it upon our lusts and not to heap it upon our needs and not upon our ability to bless others. Suddenly when we start to get Jesus back into His proper position He start to ask of Him to perform circus tricks or to be our genie in a bottle! And that is exactly what happens next in today’s reading!  The scribes and Pharisees ask for a sign. It was amazing – Jesus not only foretells His own death and resurrection in extreme accuracy; but he also pull in an old story of the whale vomit boy, Jonah. It is really unfortunate that they did not see the forest through the trees. This is so profound. I can’t imagine being like – ‘what? They say he rose from the dead? Man, I heard him prophecy this with they asked him for a sign! Wow! This must be the Messiah! What an amazing sign!’ But – nope.

We need to Discuss these last two section due to the fact that they are often misunderstood and made more complicated than need be.

Matthew seems to randomly throw in a teaching about what happens when we cast out a spirit. I had a discussion with a lady the other day who said, I rebuke it.
But to rebuke is to correct or forbid. Why not cast it out?
And she said where do I cast it to?
I said that is not our job. Not our business. God takes care of what happens next.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” Matt 12:43-45

I had a discussion with a Pastor who said we can’t cast out demons, except in certain specific situations, because if the person doesn’t turn to God we have created a situation 7 times worse. And I thought this is the most face palm statement I ever heard!  You mean, you have a means to give me deliverance and YOU are judging me unworthy of that deliverance?! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THAT MEANS!
Let’s clear it up and stop restricting and complicating it. Jesus said to cast them out! Always offer the person the opportunity to receive Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit to fill those places that were occupied by the unclean spirit. That is what we should learn for this. Not that we shouldn’t do it. I mean, if seven more come back, we can fast and pray and cast them out as well. And if a legion comes in to them, we can cast them all out too. Do not withhold deliverance – especially if the person came asking for it!

Finally in today’s jam packed word – Jesus is NOT a cold hearted man towards his own family! Let’s talk briefly about who are my mother and brothers.
Someone one speculated and taught me that His mother and brothers had come for Him to stop Him.  I see NO scriptural basis for that. Apparently, it’s a thing lots of people believe – because how else do you explain something that in our culture seems to cold.
All biblical and historical evidence says that Jesus loved his ee-mah and respected her. She followed His ministry and was always there for Him. And since Matthew did NOT break things up into chapters, let me argue that this goes with tomorrow’s reading, which begins with “On that same day…”

The point of all scripture is simply “Jesus” and “Obedience”. Therefore Jesus was NOT making a negative statement about His ee-mah. (Why do we always try to apply scriptures to someone else instead of pointing them at ourselves?) The statement he as making is, if we want to be His family we must love Him first and more than anything else and do His will! Then we see a short break in the narrative until later that day when we pick back up in the next chapter. I will gladly go on record speculating that Jesus ended that teaching and ran out to greet His mother with hugs and kisses and visited with them for a moment.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

If you are willing to receive it – 1-17-22

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:12-15 NKJV

I am tired of the violence, tired of the game, timed of the enemy’s tactics, tired of falling for some, tired of laughing at how obvious other tactics are, tired of whatever the heck always feels like it is oppressing me and tethering me!!! It is probable God, Himself – Because I am the violent who takes by force! I declare and decree the word and blood over my life and over this blog and over the lives of those reading! I won’t go down without a fight! It is the days of Elijah – we will call down fire from heaven – but ALSO let us call down those latter rains! Let us build the kingdom like Nehemiah, with sword in one hand while the other hand works diligently! This happens every time the enemy wears me down… I swing harder! It’s a tiresome game.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 11 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus

11 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he [a]sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying:

‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not [b]lament.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a [c]winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her [d]children.”

Woe to the Impenitent Cities

20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who[e] are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

Jesus Gives True Rest

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [f]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Footnotes

  1. a.Matthew 11:2 NU sent by his
  2. b.Matthew 11:17 Lit. beat your breast
  3. c.Matthew 11:19 wine drinker
  4. d.Matthew 11:19 NU works
  5. e.Matthew 11:23 NU will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be
  6. f.Matthew 11:29 meek

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Just look at this amazingly beautiful chapter! May God give you the understanding! Always been one of my favorites – from the first moment I read it and said – what? This makes no sense. It is true – it seems this whole chapter is upside down or out of place or from some alternate universe!

But before I get too far into things – I want to thank whoever prayed for me last week when I requested prayer for my sinuses. I learned I was exposed to covid and had to take another test and I am waiting the results with this stupid sinus headache. I started taking my allergy meds and it has helps but Thursday – I felt amazingly healthy! It did not stick, but I am speaking in faith and life – I am healed and God is pulling it out of me and closing the door – so even the allergies cannot return! And if it is covid it is healed as well. 
In early 2020 I shared with you all a dream I had that I got covid and was very sick, but God said he needed it so I would build natural immunity. I rebuked that dream and continued to believe God would be my shield.  I mean, Psalm 91 says that if I abide in the secret place and we studied it and learned how to get there and how to abide… well, abiding is hard. We all know that. Careless moments of flesh knock us off our game.  I believe Psalm 91 and stand by it. But I will tell you last week I really struggled to praise, worship, pray or enter in – always a distraction always a careless mind. So here I am, believing this is sinus allergies – knowing… well, let us speak life… I know My God HEALS! Please continue to keep me in prayer and give me more grace with my spelling and typing – lol.

So speaking of life – in which life does John the Baptist NOT know who Jesus truly is? I mean, he is the first to recognize him: when Mary said she was pregnant John leaped in the womb.  They were cousins and he grew up aware of the prophecies, and the prophecies over his own life. AND he baptized Jesus, heard GOD speak and say “This is my beloved son” and saw the Holy Spirit descend on Him.  In this chapter Jesus also describes John as: there is not one greater.  So obviously John is not in some self-doubt breakdown.  So why does John send his disciples to ask Jesus who he is.

I, myself, think it is so his disciples can see and hear for themselves, since John was in prison and would soon die. He was preparing them to follow Jesus.

Another very logical explanation is cultural understanding kind of writing style combined with Matthew, who was bilingual in Hebrew and Greek may have jumbled his words.  It is feasible. The Jewish learning style and custom is to pose a question, and then argue it. Some may play “devil’s advocate” (as they say) when posing the question to be debated. A slight shift in our understanding of John’s question would then show he sent his disciples to argue this point for better understanding.  Which also, gives you and I some beautiful understanding of Christ and John’s ministry (which often gets lost by people debating why John asked a stupid question).

Elijah prepared the way of the Lord – John prepared the way of the Lord – and now we are closing out the day and soon is the day of the Lord… so this is prophecy for us today!

One has come with FIRE and JOY – who is coming with the latter rains… it is raining! I keep saying, like Elijah’s servant, it is raining! You may see only a hand sized cloud – I see a flood, I see waves, I see water! Like the water that cleansed the earth in the days of Noah, but this time the rain will cleanse the people and like the water of baptism people will go under and come back out and a harvest – oh! We shall bring in the sheaves during torrential rains!  

I am sorry, I try to avoid the prophetic and stick with the tried and true word – but dream after dream of the church splitting down the middle and people falling away and the LIGHT floods down and a title wave overcomes the sanctuary and those who stand – they are shaken, there foundation have been or are being rebuild on the rock and those who stand – Stand therefore Stand! Oh Lord – those who stand start grabbing those being washed away, start grabbing those in the world, Start grabbing those who are broken, needy, impoverished – we are blessed to be a blessing and we all want the blessing… BUT spend it wisely!  

OK – back to the passage – which is prophetic so it is so hard to stay on track.  But next Jesus curses the cities – which seem a reflection of the Pharisees as well as a reflection of the modern church (global whole). We are then cross reference Revelations and the 7 churches… I guess we aren’t getting e away from prophecy today!

Ok back to today’s passage so I can go rest.

AND. THERE. IT. IS!

Can you imagine if the vail between the spirit and earth was lifted in Jesus’s time? I bet no angels had time to run around measuring or preparing… it was war time. I bet the spirit quaked all around – like a Sunday sermon in my church. Lol
John must have been exhausted – accusing kings is a tiring job. Because John as NOT accusing a king as we see in the flesh – but fighting a spiritual battle preparing the way for Jesus. What was the battle? Apparently, none of our business, other than this passage showing it. Then Jesus telling us, when we are battle weary, His work is rest. Keep going. I suppose we need to get into that secret place and dwell there. Walk in the Spirit as Paul said. Stay in His perfect will. I suppose if I did I would not have been exposed to covid – I do not believe (even with my dream) that any sickness is His perfect will. Sickness is a result of the curse of death on the earth. God will use it for His goodness, because that is what God does. God is good. So good. Even with my sinus headache and booger brains – I can declare the Lord is Good! And He loves me so very much.  

Please meditate on today’s verses. There is so much more in here and something specific for each of us. Let the anointing of the Scripture work in your mind and heart – There is so much here for us, “if you are willing to receive it”.

My goodness, today covers fire & water and receiving… it is just missing “Repent, and approach God humbly – for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” These key words that keep coming up! I am just going to start listing them daily! lol

Be blessed by God’s words today.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 1-16-22

“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Proverbs chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Dangerous Promises

My son, if you become [a]surety for your friend,
If you have [b]shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, and deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend:
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
And like a bird from the hand of the [c]fowler.

The Folly of Indolence

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no [d]captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her [e]supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you [f]slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

The Wicked Man

12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
Walks with a perverse mouth;
13 He winks with his eyes,
He [g]shuffles his feet,
He points with his fingers;
14 Perversity is in his heart,
He devises evil continually,
He sows discord.
15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly;
Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to [h]Him:
17 A[i] proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Beware of Adultery

20 My son, keep your father’s command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother.
21 Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
22 When you roam, [j]they will lead you;
When you sleep, they will keep you;
And when you awake, they will speak with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
24 To keep you from the evil woman,
From the flattering tongue of a seductress.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a harlot
A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
And [k]an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.

30 People do not despise a thief
If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury;
Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will [l]accept no recompense,
Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

Footnotes

  1. a.Proverbs 6:1 guaranty or collateral
  2. b.Proverbs 6:1 Lit. struck
  3. c.Proverbs 6:5 One who catches birds in a trap or snare
  4. d.Proverbs 6:7 Lit. leader
  5. e.Proverbs 6:8 Lit. bread
  6. f.Proverbs 6:9 Lit. lie down
  7. g.Proverbs 6:13 gives signals, lit. scrapes
  8. h.Proverbs 6:16 Lit. His soul
  9. i.Proverbs 6:17 Lit. Haughty eyes
  10. j.Proverbs 6:22 Lit. it
  11. k.Proverbs 6:26 Wife of another, lit. a man’s wife
  12. l.Proverbs 6:35 Lit. lift up the face of any

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 1-15-22

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding,” Proverbs 5:1 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Proverbs chapter 5 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Peril of Adultery

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
[a]Lend your ear to my understanding,
That you may [b]preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of [c]an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of [d]hell.
Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.

Therefore hear me now, my children,
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Remove your way far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house,
Lest you give your [e]honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
10 Lest aliens be filled with your [f]wealth,
And your labors go to the house of a foreigner;
11 And you mourn at last,
When your flesh and your body are consumed,
12 And say:
“How I have hated instruction,
And my heart despised correction!
13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!
14 I was on the verge of total ruin,
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
[g]Streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be [h]enraptured with her love.
20 For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?

21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He [i]ponders all his paths.
22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man,
And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
23 He shall die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

Footnotes

  1. a.Proverbs 5:1 Lit. Bow
  2. b.Proverbs 5:2 appreciate good judgment
  3. c.Proverbs 5:3 Lit. a strange
  4. d.Proverbs 5:5 Or Sheol
  5. e.Proverbs 5:9 vigor
  6. f.Proverbs 5:10 Lit. strength
  7. g.Proverbs 5:16 Channels
  8. h.Proverbs 5:19 Lit. intoxicated
  9. i.Proverbs 5:21 observes, lit. weighs

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Go! Preach. Heal. Cleanse. Raise. Cast out. And Give. – 1-14-22

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV

Today we have directions on being evangelists, aka harvesters, aka witnesses, aka soul winners. Today we get marching orders which have been given to us many times before. Today will we finally take action and intentionally seek and obey opportunity to share Jesus?

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 10 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Twelve Apostles

10 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and [a]Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the [b]Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Sending Out the Twelve

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven [c]is at hand.’ Heal the sick, [d]cleanse the lepers, [e]raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

Persecutions Are Coming

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless[f] as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house [g]Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Jesus Teaches the Fear of God

27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in [h]hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a [i]copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Confess Christ Before Men

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

Christ Brings Division

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set[j] a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

A Cup of Cold Water

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

Footnotes

  1. a Matthew 10:3 NU omits Lebbaeus, whose surname was
  2. b Matthew 10:4 NU Cananaean
  3. c Matthew 10:7 has drawn near
  4. d Matthew 10:8 NU raise the dead, cleanse the lepers
  5. e Matthew 10:8 M omits raise the dead
  6. f Matthew 10:16 innocent
  7. g Matthew 10:25 NU, M Beelzebul; a Philistine deity, 2 Kin. 1:23
  8. h Matthew 10:28 Gr. Gehenna
  9. i Matthew 10:29 Gr. assarion, a coin worth about 1⁄16 of a denarius
  10. j Matthew 10:35 alienate a man from

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

I’m going to rewind, as I realized we haven’t discussed the book of Matthew completely as a whole. We know who Matthew is, he is the tax collector who became one of the twelve. He and John were the only two disciples to write a gospel (that we have today and included in our Bible).  I did talk about how he is a Jew and was writing to Jews and concerned with arguing and showing proof that Jesus is the Messiah and fulfilled the prophecies. I looked back to last year and I do not see where I discussed his audience further (maybe I did).  Matthew wrote this AFTER Mark wrote his gospel. And it seems to have the layout and exact words of Mark laying under, as the structure of the book with Matthew adding his own experience in as well as the genealogy and birth of Christ. Since it is so similar, why did Matthew write it? Mark had a successful ministry and many came to believe on Mark’s gospel, it did not seem to need changing. This book was also written before Paul’s letters as Paul refers to it and John refers to Matthew in revelations.  So that places the writing of this book somewhere between 70 ad and 100 ad.  Matthew was writing to the Jews and still trying to convert them and the Jews were being scattered because of the great 911 moment of their time… the destruction of the temple and part of the city. The romans took the spoils from the Holy Temple and even some of its brinks (architectural elements) and used it to build the colosseum (a huge blight on the city and nation spiritually yet still one of the first things we think of when we think of Rome).  The colosseum held the games – where Jews were killed just for entertainment. The Christian were killed there because of their defiance in collecting offering to fund their missions trips, support each other, pay for lawyers for legal trials, etc.  (It was against Roman law for anyone to collect money except Rome and the agreement with the Jews that the temple could. They were also different and their lives brought conviction and their signs and wonders were unexplainable and frightening. The Romans were civilized, so they could not just do a witch hunt. Once they had legal reason to persecute the Christians, them collecting money, they went overboard and over-reached quite a bit. They were legally held for giving or receiving – kind of makes you think of why the giving messages were so important. And how the enemy oppressed the desire for the amazing spiritual blessing of giving.) Anyway, these were scared people leaving Jerusalem and the area and fleeing for their lives and Matthew is still trying to reach them for Jesus.  Matthews argument is: Jesus is the Messiah because he fulfilled prophecy, gentiles have always been in the plans, but the Jews hardened their hearts more and more over the course of Jesus’s ministry so Jesus started preaching more and more in parables so only those who believed could understand. And then Jesus mourns over the city and predicts its destruction and basically the Israelites face an “in the wilderness” moment of Jesus saying this generation doesn’t get the Promised Land – the Warrior Jesus. But Matthew makes sure we understand that it is all ok, because there is a next generation! Jesus will return for them and restore the temple!

Well, let us not get too far ahead of ourselves today. Today is the second major sermon in the book of Matthew formally known as the Mission Discourse.  Basically Jesus call the twelve and lets everyone listen in as He lays out the ground work and structure of HOW to evangelize. Step one is grossly missing from US churches – When was the last time the pastor called us to the altar and anointed us specifically to go out Monday through Saturday and reminded: “He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” Verse 1. 

To have the anointing and told to: go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, praise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Verses 7-8

So Jesus, gives them the rules of what to bring and do and act and to let their peace fall (what, their peace – ok so we better get us some of that before we go) and so on with the little rules.  

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Verse 16

Then Jesus prophecies the future of the Apostles about being delivered to councils to be scoured and dragged before governors and kings. What have we said about prophecy – it is always outside of time. The past bears witness and confirms it, but it was for the Apostles including Paul who was not there. It was for Stephen who was stoned. It was for other members of the early church and those who were dragged to the colosseum.  And it is for all who speak of Him through all ages, to various degrees. We discussed last year that some of the letters about brotherly love was because church members were turning each other in, literally to die.  And that has not stopped in our world. There has always been somewhere where someone is being martyred.

I have heard about this in future tense and watch families divide even now – the Vaccine is NOT the mark of the beast and many including myself have said repeatedly that this is just a trial run – and so many of us filed.
Ya see many are saying this is a trial run by the enemy, trying to set up his kingdom. BUT what if it is God showing us IF we are strong and able to truly withstand.
When you fail, do not say it wasn’t a fair test, because you knew it was a test and took the poison because nothing shall harm you because lying to yourself is still lying. The student is not wiser than the teacher. So repent of it and your pride. The truth is you trust poison that flat out said it can kill and harm you over the word of our precious Lord, in order to continue to reap provisions from earthly labor not seeking the provider – but the comfort of provision. Will you endure? Or take the easy way like you did with this last test? I love you, but you need to hear the uncomfortable truth. There was a reason there was a check in your spirit – get back to listening and obeying it. Let me have Jesus himself explain it:

Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Verses 26-31

Jesus was radical and controversial. They would label him conspiracy theorist today. And unlike the Mama bears the FBI is picking up at the PTA, He actually made a difference and radicalized many. It is too bad a few spiritually blind people of Jesus’s time failed to see He came as a warrior/savior even then. Yes, Jesus do not bring peace, as the crowds yelled loudly to crucify him. There was no peace in the town when Stephen was stoned. Jesus spoke of spiritual peace – but he did not bring the hippy dippy peace we have become accustom to thinking of. Maybe it is the flawless glowing painting of the perfect man of every time period, which lulled us to sleep. Rise. Wake up.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Verse 34.  And if we make the connections Jesus is the word, the word is the sword, Jesus is the sword. And now that he has reminded you there is a real battle, and need of sword – there is also a price to pay – they price is your life. Jesus never sugar coated it.

Therein is the Mission Discourse. Go, you’ll probably die when you do not conform to this world and have inner peace about it. Oh wait, let me give you a blessing to take with you… If they receive you, they receive me and so on and so forth they will be blessed according. (So the blessing is on those who receive and those who are sent will surely die?

Imagine a pastor in a small local church in Comfortville saying Jesus has called you and it will be difficult and you’ll probably die – but others will be blessed. Go!

But it is what Jesus said. And here I am, going. You are here, are you also going? Are you asking Him for more opportunity to share Him? But are you even being obedient in the opportunities you have? Here I am Lord, help me serve you. Please help me be obedient to your will. Help me, I am willing to go.

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV

Repent, get humble, the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

 ***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Harvesting and Healing – 1-13-22

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38 NKJV

Therefore pray the Lord send out laborers.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 9 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic

So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house.

Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled[a] and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

Matthew the Tax Collector

As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, [b]to repentance.”

Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting

14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [c]often, but Your disciples do not fast?”

15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the [d]friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for [e]the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins [f]break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

18 While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19 So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.

20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25 But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went out into all that land.

Two Blind Men Healed

27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31 But when they had departed, they [g]spread the news about Him in all that [h]country.

A Mute Man Speaks

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. 33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!”

34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”

The Compassion of Jesus

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease [i]among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were [j]weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 9:8 NU were afraid
  2. bMatthew 9:13 NU omits to repentance
  3. cMatthew 9:14 NU brackets often as disputed.
  4. dMatthew 9:15 Lit. sons of the bridechamber
  5. eMatthew 9:16 Lit. that which is put on
  6. fMatthew 9:17 burst
  7. gMatthew 9:31 Lit. made Him known
  8. hMatthew 9:31 Lit. land
  9. iMatthew 9:35 NU omits among the people
  10. jMatthew 9:36 NU, M harassed

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Yesterday, we read about what a wild night and following day Jesus and his disciples had. Still processing all of it, their clothes aren’t even all the way dry having no time to hang them in the sun, they jump back in the boat that almost killed them and they returned. And the crowds were there waiting, needing, anticipating. Many did not know Jesus, but they had heard of Him. Some were just sightseeing, not really believing just wanted to be entertained. So the next few days Jesus is pressed by people.

Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic. Jesus calls Matthew the Tax Collector, and has a dinner party. Then the next day (or so) runs into John the Baptist, or maybe just his disciples and they get hungry about fasting (see what I did there? Little play of words, lol). Then Jesus heals a woman of an issue of blood, because she reached out to him, and then brought a little girl back to life. As he leaves the little girl, he heals two overly chatty blind men. And just as he think he is done for the day, he wraps it up with casting out a demon and causing a mute to speak.

Phew that is a lot. 5 major healings written down and uncountable miracles and wonders done that were not written down. Everywhere Jesus looked he saw need.

Lord, please give us eyes like Jesus to see the needs, the broken, and the hurting.

Not too long ago, saved and sharing the gospel, I still felt like I was doing it wrong (so to speak) something was off.  I wasn’t laying hands on. I wasn’t doing good. I have never raised the dead. I wasn’t busy like Jesus. I was busy like the world: I need, I want, I have to, I, I, I.
I thought other countries have more needy people and more sick people and more hopelessness. The truth is I am surrounded by just as much as Jesus was – if not more. I fail to see it. I fail to plant the seed of action in my faith. I fail to plant healings so I can harvest healings.

We fail to truly understand the harvest. That is why Jesus doesn’t say – go out and harvest! No! He says to pray that God sends people.  Harvester must see. They must understand. They must know what is ready and what just needs some tlc and left for the next person. Harvesters, plant seeds along the way so there will always be a harvest. Harvester must be trained.

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38 NKJV

You see it is about the souls and the people. It is about making disciples. It is about being a good disciple so you can say, “here I am, send me!”

I’ll keep it short today. Pray for me: my allergies are acting up (this is my normal season for it) and I have a terrible headache from sinus pressure. My ears are ringing, my ears, nose and eyes are draining. I don’t have covid – broken healthcare system will give me a test but not look at my sinuses to see they are probably infected, even when I ask. Thankfully God has them draining out. But I am tired and struggling. So pray for me – practice being a harvester (notice healing is part of harvesting).  So we are ready, in good health and ready spiritually for when God calls us into the game. Thanks.  

There is nothing like trying to study and write on healing while feeling under the weather. I am sure there is some amazing insight in this irony since there are no coincidences with Christ. I just can’t see it at the moment. Maybe after a nap.

 ***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Cost and Giving – 1-12-22

And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Matthew 8:2 NKJV

It is said that none of the gospels tell Jesus’s life in chronological order, although Matthew does begin before the beginning and ends with the resurrection. But when it comes to the ministry, somethings are either in order, or everyone tells it that way while the majority of the ministry of Christ are groupings by type of happening or by the point the writer is trying to make (or a little of both).  Although there are lots of gems we love to extract and look at in an isolated sermon – honestly these piece fit together to make a point – same with the parables. So, be extra cautious about keeping the gospels in context.  Some of the corrupted doctrine I was taught as a child came from people taking pieces of the gospel out of context – Let’s not deceive ourselves into something we shouldn’t. At the same time – let us try to look at things with fresh eyes – hoping to see how they fit together so we get clean unadulterated truth to build upon.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 8 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed

14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served [a]them.

Many Healed in the Evening

16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.”

The Cost of Discipleship

18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”

20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Wind and Wave Obey Jesus

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, [b]“Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed

28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the [c]Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, [d]permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”

32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.

33 Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 8:15 NU, M Him
  2. bMatthew 8:27 Lit. What sort of man is this
  3. cMatthew 8:28 NU Gadarenes
  4. dMatthew 8:31 NU send us into

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

It is a style of making an argument, or a lesson, which is still used today – in modern terms we call it the 3 point sermon.  There are various substyles of it is well. The basic is to say the same thing a minimum of 3 different ways to make a point. Another is to say everything but the point, so you get the point by not. Some people do a 3 point sermon by making 3 separate unrelated points to tell a story, but not make one point, but to make a few points (taking the 3 pint thing literally). As well as others. 
Hebrew Rabbi’s and Hebrew Scriptures and the prophets used the “say the same thing 3 or more ways”, style of teaching. So Matthew’s readers would look for 3s and connect them together to find out what He was saying. We too will look for 3s. Sometimes 4 or 5 grouped together as well.

Like: healing of the leper, healing of a Centurion’s servant, healing of Peter’s mother in law, and the healing of many in the evening.  Four, in a row. I have heard entire sermons on each one separately about the willingness of Jesus to heal (obviously, He healed millions) and about authority to heal (another eye roll of a sermon – Jesus is the creator, of course he can create healing) and about being willing to serve God once healed (definitely pulled WAY out of context because our healing have NOTHING to do with our works) and about how healing and other signs and wonders all go together.
Up to this point in the book – Matthew said Jesus healed many (using other phasing each time but never specifically described the healing) like he said here about the evening. So why is Matthew sharing the details of these first three? AND right after he talks about how we can easily be deceived into believing the wrong things?
Yes they are connected. Matthew did not write in chapter and verse – it is all one scroll!
So after explaining we can be misled, and how much so, he brings us back to the basics: Jesus heals and delivers. The outcast and incurable, the gentile- wealthy and slave, family, and many. It all comes back to heart condition – and a heart for people.  He is Lord of relationships.
(Side note – leprosy is highly contagious and was incurable, so lepers lived in dirty desolation. So not only would they be spiritually unclean – but a HUGE health risk to touch.  This is NOT the only leper Jesus touched. As a matter of fact, His followers also laid hands on lepers and they were healed. This is not wisdom as our world sees it. So as we search for wisdom this year be wise enough to understand. Jesus would not have taken the covid vaccine because He is the cure and doesn’t need a prevention. Jesus and his disciples could hold one of these evening rallies, like verse 16, where He “healed all who were sick”.)

So Matthew is saying – not to be deceived about all of this. This is about having a relationship with God, through Jesus, because you need healing and deliverance and then sharing it because everyone needs healing and deliverance. And every single one who needs it can have it. BUT… Jesus never sugar coated it, and neither did Matthew. You see, serving Jesus doesn’t take away your problems or make everything perfect.
I don’t know about you – but I came back to Jesus because I made a mess of my life and I needed supernatural fixes. I said to God – I need a powerful and living God who can actually effect this stuff, who can actually make a difference.  Years later and NOT ONE thing on my prayer list that I came back to Jesus to receive, have I received. NONE of those prayers saw a release or an affirmative “Yes”.  And with the exception of the prayers for unsaved loved ones… not one of those things even matter anymore. God moved me out of my story for me, out of my will for my life, and into His will and His grace. And those things (original prayer requests) are not in this place.
I went from desperate and depressed to full of joy and confident in whom I serve with peace, BUT I also when from having a literal witch as a boss, causing problems with my job (pre-coming back) to jobless (after coming back) to God setting me up in my own business. That is just one example. God did not bless me over there… because I was not supposed to be over there! I was supposed to be over here! Hello?! Can I have an amen?! So the old prayers became irrelevant and serving Christ cost me my job.
Was I fired for being a Christian? No… But if cost me my job because God needed to move me from over there to over here. Because I had to give up that old stuff and take this new stuff. Because there is a cost in following Jesus. NOT only that… He let trials and tribulation teardown my old rickety foundation so I had no choice but to press in and in faith relearn the right way. I kept saying to my accountability partner that I thought my faith was bigger than this, why is this a struggle? But in hindsight that wasn’t even remotely the right perspective. It wasn’t that my faith was small or big – it was corrupt and needed to be taken apart and put back together correctly. Because through it all, Like Job, I never cursed God nor did I think for one minute that He wasn’t working out a plan in me. Even though it hurt and was difficult and I had some very raw moments (it is ok to be honest and raw with Jesus – He is safe. Not only is He safe, but God also draws close to the broken hearted AND they have also provided the Holy Spirit as the comforter! Comfort!) 

So – another message of 3.  The first is stated clearly: this is going to cost. All valuable things are expensive and there is nothing more valuable. Even more valuable than your family. Jesus first – then relationships. Nothing is more important than relationships, but Jesus.

Next they almost die, while Jesus peacefully sleeps. Here the point is repeated without being said… I want you to catch it.  Imagine you are a follower of Jesus, besides the 12 there were uncounted many who followed him.  You were just told this was going to cost you. You saw others give up and leave. Then you get in a boat and the storm is literally deadly. Let me repeat: Jesus just said this was going to cost you a lot.  If they aren’t thinking this is it – this is what He meant, and we are going to die, even with faith – it looks as if this is his will, especially since he is sleeping through it. Come on, really? On those old boats, there is no way he was so tired he was asleep! I mean, from what is not said here I can’t blame them for thinking it is the end… I mean, this is going to cost them.

Verse 26:
“But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

What is not said and still happened – these men who followed Jesus, they had to choose to do so daily.  After they land on shore, after being told it was going to cost, and then being rebuked by him for some natural fear, and as if healings and deliverances were not enough to blow your mind to see the sea and sky bow to their maker… would you step off them boat and stay with him? You have a home and a job and friends and family… if today you were called to follow literally putting your life at risk, would you?
You and I know Jesus needed 12 to become the Apostles and start the early church. 12 most of whom would die as martyrs. He need men who would choose to risk their lives. We are never told how many in total followed. How many joined each day? How many left each day?
But tell me this storm is not about the cost of following! Go ahead…. While we move on to what they encountered as they arrived.

Their hair and clothes aren’t even dry and with no time to process all of this… two demoniacs come at them. Two scripturally unclean (living in tombs) other versions speak to them cutting themselves there for there is unclean blood as well – stuff of nightmares. And as I read it from my mildly uncomfortable situation with government oppression, can I fully understand the depths of their experience?
In our modern world there are demon possessed people all around us. I think there are more now than back in Jesus’s time.  I have had the pleasure of them manifesting just because I was there (not everyone and not every time, but it has happened a few times).  If some are caused to manifest by the Jesus IN me – how much more and greater is the manifestation because Jesus himself has docked on the shore of the graveyard they haunt.  These poor disciples!!

There is a brief exchange. Jesus never humored much conversation with demons and always shut down their attempts to scare away the disciple with frightening manifestations. It was always shut up and come out. In this case, he let them go into the pigs and off they went into the water and perished. Such a great cost. That was the economy for that region – literally their pork belly stocks crashed!!!  That area did not care for the two souls saved, it cost them everything! Without a pig to trade or butcher, can they even afford to buy two pigs to breed and start again?

Jesus says he will provide all our needs – He is concerned with souls. He gave no thought to crashing the economy – He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50) – The gold and silver is his (Haggai 2:8)! If they knew who he was they would not have sent Him away.

Or maybe they would, because there is a cost to following Jesus. If you are not paying it, then maybe take a closer look at yourself and prayerfully ask God if you have been deceived into a false since of salvation. What did you give up for Him?

In the world I was who I was… and I thought it was just how it was, until I chose to give it up to be who God said I am. And now my bank statement reflects my sacrifice. I pray that God gives me opportunity each day, so my days reflect my sacrifice. My sleep pattern definitely reflects my sacrifice. My study time means I have to give up doing other things.  Fasting is a sacrifice. There are ample sacrifices if you ask God to show them to you…. But if you are willing to pay the price you are probably looking at them and considering them opportunities to give. There is a cost, but those whose stony heart has been replaced with beatitudes and love see if as a gift and a blessing to give.

 ***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!