Discerning truth and foundations? – 1-11-22

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:28-29 NKJV

Jesus, the creator, has the authority. So when He teaches, He teaches with authority. He gave me authority to share His word and my witness, knowledge and understanding – but I can only share under His authority with nothing added or taken away and I strive to do my best.  But when we read the Bible, which is the Word (and Jesus is the Word), it is the authority of Christ. The Bible is over me (and you). So no matter who is preaching or sharing the word – refer back to the Bible which is over them and is the authority on the subject. Which is especially important to remember when we are reading words that are a little difficult to understand.

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 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Do Not Judge

“Judge[a] not, that you be not judged. For with what [b]judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow Way

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [c]Because narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Build on the Rock

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 7:1 Condemn
  2. bMatthew 7:2 Condemnation
  3. cMatthew 7:14 NU, M How narrow . . . !
  4. dMatthew 7:14 confined

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:

Today, it is important to be open to the Spirit and what He wants to do in us – which we know is give us more life, understanding, wisdom, and help us draw closer to God. God only disciplines those he loves – any correction or issue you feel rise up, check and see if you are loved and God is trying to cleanse you of something so you two can be closer.

He starts with judging each other. This is a concept that is misunderstood. I hear people over and over quote this when they feel convicted and called out – out of context. You see we most definitely can tell a brother or sister when they are wrong and we can also tell someone of the world if they are wrong. To determine if they are wrong, in a since we judge them.
Let us insert the “Judge not..” back into the passage… where a couple verses later in verse 5 it says we can judge and help out brother out of sin. Furthermore verse 13 to the end of the chapter teach us how to judge our self (and therefore we would be able to assist other in judging themselves the sale way). It also tells us how to judge a false teacher! All in the same chapter that begins with the words: Judge not.

How did we get ourselves into this confusion? It seems to contradict yet we know there is no contradiction in Christ.  So what is really being said and what are we really to do?

I was in a church service a couple weeks ago and I knew something evil was there in attendance. I know witches and demons come to church all the time, but this was different.  The pastor seemed to know as well, and he step off this message and started chit-chatting and rambling about different spirits – and when he said “the spirit of religion” a couple people stood up and started heckling him loudly.  I thought – there it is! And I started praying. How do you pray when an evil spirit manifests? I just pray in the spirit, because I know He knows best. But if you cannot pray in the spirit, yet, then pray for protection over the people in the room and anointing for the person in charge.  The pastor had to make a judgment call and do so quickly.  He responded to the person to see if… it didn’t matter it was a wall, no receptiveness. The person was not there in a spiritual sense – they could not be reached at that moment.  So the pastor had them removed.  (Don’t worry about the end of the story – it’s not our business, it is God’s business.)   

Our business today, among other things, is to understand the word “judge” – synonyms in English are: critic, reviewer, evaluator, and arbiter. We also interchange it, in the church, with the word “discern” – whose synonyms are: distinguish, separate, differentiate, determine, detect, and recognize. Neither have each other in common.
In the Bible, in this verse, the word “judge” is κρίνετε (krinete) which means to decide by implication, or to try, condemn, or punish.
Condemn. Hum, don’t I quote a verse about “condemn” quite often? Oh yeah:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” Rom 8:1 NKJV

In Christ there is no condemnation. There is conviction which is love showing you an area to correct. But only the enemy but you in bondage with putting you on trial, condemning you, and threatening punishment. These things rob, kill and destroy! It is a subtle difference in heart but it make all the difference between life and death… and in relation to dealing with your brother or sister in the Lord it is the difference between maintaining a friendship and condemning it to failure.

If you ever think you are in the position of verse 5 that says after you have removed the plank from your eye, you can help your brother… then proceed with caution or don’t and let God handle it. Because the relationship between two believers is a holy thing – yes… look at the next verse. So do not give it over to the dogs or let the swine trample it. Be tender, cautious and loving.

Keeping with the comparison of people who act in love verses people who act evil Jesus tells us to keep knocking and seeking… seeking Him become a repeated theme and we repeat it here often as well. It is the point of this. It is NOT that He is hiding. He is not. He is working. Like I said yesterday, don’t ask him to move when He already is… seek it out and join it. It is NOT our will be done – but instead His will be done!

So, without condemning or putting someone on trial – how do we discern, distinguish, separate, differentiate, determine, detect, and recognize someone else’s heart? Especially if (verse 13-14) narrow is the way and few find it?

You will know them by their fruits.  But, before we slip into judging others… look at the fruit in your own life. Are you a vine with grapes? A fig tree with figs? Or do you have thorns and thistles? Are you a lion or a wolf? (Funny I was watching that conversation on Facebook today! A friend explaining to someone who commented that a wolf is not a good thing when compared a lion – The Lion!)

Now, let us pause and ask for the spirit of revelation to really bring some clarity here as we look at the next few verses:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matt 7:21-23
So, we call Him Lord, we do signs and wonders, miracles and lives saved – but then some of us get cast off!!! How can this be? And if you believe once saved always saved – you better be questioning right now. I mean, let’s all hope that you are right but many have given their lives to Christ and walked away and only few continue to serve Him, or have come back. I hope in the always saved for my son and my sister’s sake!!! BUT… that is not what my eyes see here. But it does require the Holy Spirit bears witness to you of its meaning and not human – including me.

I see that we can be deceived into thinking we are right with the Lord when we are not. We can start to think the voice of the enemy is the Lord’s voice and start to follow it. We can start to speak out of flesh and not holy love.

I was raised in the church by a parent who did not come to the Lord until I was 5. She was taught doctrine on top of a corrupted foundation which was a mix bag of a few forms of Christianity and horoscopes (and who knows what else). Others in the church influenced my growth built on a mixed foundation as well… and we all wondered why many of us from my generation slipped away from a while. We had built our foundations on all this corruption, legalism, and lies mixed with the spirit of religion.  We bought so many lies as they were handed to us as NOT just truth, but foundational truth!! We were deceived into thinking we are ok, when we weren’t.

I have talked with many of them who have come back and they all had the same experience I had… Everything was ripped down including the foundation, right back to the original seed and rebuilt, tenderly in love. Ask my sister – she will never come back to “the lies and fear based fairytales of Christianity” and I pray she never does!!! I do hope she will come back to the “way the truth and the life!”

This foundation is critical for our survival. But as I just proved, if there is a faulty brink God and break it out and replace it with solid doctrine. Ask, seek and knock… it will happen. If like me, the whole thing had to go… He can just send a storm… then move me onto the ROCK and rebuild me. This is why this chapter is concluded with the solid rock foundation!

We can also stand in the gap for our friends, family, and church family in asking God to shake out any corruption in our foundations and rebuild us together! In unity! Hallelujah!!

**I do need to add a disclaimer. Not all of the people in my church, growing up, were strongly corrupted – there is always a remnant.  This is why so many of us have come back. We had a few with solid doctrine. If they were our only influence we would have been alright. They, unfortunately were not even our strongest influence – but I thank God for the amount of influence they did have!! It gave us enough bricks to begin our foundational rebuilds! 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!

Do you believe? – 1-10-22

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV

Jesus says to pray this way, Jesus also prayed daily – so this is a daily prayer. It is simple and covers all the basis. There are hundreds of study guides to teach you to pray this way and all the things that fall into the different categories when this pray is broken up into section.
Personally I like to prayerfully quote this (sometimes interrupting myself when I have something heavy on my heart) – but then in addition – I just talk with God. Sometimes I just pray in the spirit. Sometimes I just cry and weep and get a bit fervent.  I’ll admit, sometimes I have a grievance with God and I take that to him as well.  Prayer – it is how we talk to God.

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 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Do Good to Please God

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you [a]openly.

The Model Prayer

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the [b]hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [c]openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
[d]For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Fasting to Be Seen Only by God

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the [e]hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [f]openly.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Lamp of the Body

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is [g]good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is [h]bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

You Cannot Serve God and Riches

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [i]mammon.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [j]cubit to his [k]stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [l]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 6:4 NU omits openly
  2. bMatthew 6:5 pretenders
  3. cMatthew 6:6 NU omits openly
  4. dMatthew 6:13 NU omits the rest of v. 13.
  5. eMatthew 6:16 pretenders
  6. fMatthew 6:18 NU, M omit openly
  7. gMatthew 6:22 Clear, or healthy
  8. hMatthew 6:23 Evil, or unhealthy
  9. iMatthew 6:24 Lit., in Aram., riches
  10. jMatthew 6:27 About 18 inches
  11. kMatthew 6:27 height
  12. lMatthew 6:29 dressed

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:

The first half, or so, of today’s reading is a repetitive lesson – multiple examples all pointing to the same common, core-concept.  
We do not enter into a relationship with the Lord, to become Christians. We do so to have a relationship with God. And like a relationship with a friend or spouse, here on earth, we do things for them not to have it photographed and placed on Instagram with a humble-brag – instead we do things so the other person feels love.  It is a love language to do for someone, so is spending time.  God is very clear that it is one of His love languages… He knows we love him when we talk to him, spend time with him, and do things for him – just giving of ourselves to Him (not to Instagram, not to show off for our friends, and not to be seen). In exchange He shows love the same way, as well as giving us good things.

I was at an all-night prayer meeting last night and with each prayer point, the pastor came to the pulpit and read a verse and gave us the topic we were to agree in prayer for, and everyone prayed at the same time out loud, for 45 minutes on that point, then we sang a song and got the next prayer point.
There was no taking turns to pray – no one could pray to be seen or heard. No one could pray off topic and if they did it was drown out by the droning sound of hymnful agreement in prayer. Most prayed in the spirit, some in song with melody and harmony, it literally sounded like what incents smoke looks like it sound like raising up to the heavenliest. No one’s prayers were sermons reprimanding other. No one was spouting off about things they should have dealt with privately with God and not in corporate prayer. These are the kinds of prayer meetings I remember – these are the prayer meetings I would fight hell NOT to miss.

During one section of Bible reading – a passage I am passionate about and reference here often – something profound occurred to me. It was a subtle shift, like most profound revelations.  I love the verse because it is powerful and I believe it… but to hear it preached, to hear audience erroneously grab only the blessing part and pull it out of context… and the preacher neatly slid it back into context – this is when I realized, people do not really believe. Seriously. The verses say we already have this particular blessing, this is why I am so excited. But if other also believed it…  I mean, God is already moving, so asking for a move is not smart. He is moving, you need to step into his move. I mean, stop asking for more anointing when you aren’t using the anointing he gave you – you are already equipped with EVERYTHING you need. I mean, if we really believe this stuff… things would look different.

Think about it. Even stuff in my own life, where my own believe fall short. None of us are exempt. If you are, then you must be a world renowned preacher, casting out demons, healing the sick, lame, blind, deaf and making many disciples – like Peter and Paul! And thank you for reading my humble little study! (But even when Peter and Paul self-reflected they admitted they too could do better. None of us believe perfectly.)

Then this I was reading in Mark chapter 6…
“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” Mark 6:5-6 NKJV

It stood out to me: ‘their unbelief’.  Herein is the pandemic! Herein is the fear and the struggles and the lack!  Where is the blessing?

Well, if you believe you do not need to see your blessings to live in it. And how does that make sense? Take me for example: lost my job, struggling with a business startup and it isn’t supporting me yet, multiple things broke down, not to mention so many other things …. What we see with our eyes is some terrible luck. Thank God I do not believe in luck! Maybe it is a Book of Job season? Maybe it is an attack from the enemy? I do not care what it is, because I am safe and sound inside my Father’s Arms completely provided for. My debt is decreasing not increasing as I pay things off. My bills are all paid on time. I have food in my kitchen. I have clothes and heat and shelter. And repairs are slowing happening. I am blessed! There are people without these things. I am blessed in my belief.

Jesus’s solution to unbelief? Teaching.  I like teaching the Bible. I like giving the salvation message and evangelizing.  We are called to go and make disciples… so we need to do a little of both. Which I try to do with this blog.  But I do not know how to teach to increase your faith. I do not know that I can do anything to your mind. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) so I will keep teaching and trust that the Holy Spirit does the rest. Because I cannot cause you to believe this but He can.

Anyway – the core of the beginning of today’s reading is: do you actually believe God is real and you have a relationship with Him? If you do, you will do things for Him and if you do not really believe you will do things to be seen by others.
And if you don’t think the core of it is belief – let’s look at the rest of the chapter which also addresses belief!

Verses 19-21 “Lay Up Treasures in Heaven” – Seriously, if you believe this, then what good are things of this time and place? Can I bring a fancy new comfy sofa to heaven? Can I bring a luxury car? I mean, a car that worked consistently would be nice – but when my car has been broken down my relationship with others are strengthened by the extra few minutes with them. People – they are eternal – store up riches there. You can take them to heaven with you!!! What you treasure will show others your unbelief or belief.

Do you believe this stuff – I mean actually believewith all abandonment of reason, even though it is all quite reasonable in hindsight! This lack of belief will darken you – rob you of the joy – even deceive you into believing it is light – seriously look at verse 23: “…therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”   Unbelief will show in your eyes.

Your unbelief will show in your management and pursuit of riches.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt. 6:24

And finally – your unbelief will expose you in your worry. With a new variant weekly, lately, and all the declarations of overwhelmed hospitals and dying people… Did you know in American the majority is unvaxxed or had only one and never went back?! That is right – most people are NOT buying this!  Do you know that the ones who have taken the vax are the majority who are sick and dying? Yes, more vaccinated people are sick and dying then unvaccinated! Did you know that the greatest number of new cases came days after a vaccine?
OK – so the truth isn’t out there for everyone – I mean we do not all have access to it. But regardless of the fact that the truth says we are safer then we realize, Psalm 91 says no plague will touch you. Do we believe? If it does touch you, I am not saying you are unrighteous or unsaved or unloved by the father – listen in love to the fact that GOD HAS YOU if you submit to him. It is his perfect will to permit certain things that will bring you into the secret place – for you to dwell and not worry. To be free and not in bondage. Get your eyes off the nonsense or trying to punch holes in and make an argument – that is your unbelieve exposing you. Do you believe the word of God? Then stop fighting it! And stop worrying!

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matt 6:25-27

I live in a small city. We take out garbage out to the curb, or edge of our property and the street, once a week at night and some time very early in the morning the garbage men come and take it away. It is a nice service. I once lived in a place where we hard to bring the garbage to the dump. With this experience, I learned to be cautious with my waste to clean things so they will not attract animals and bugs. Anyway, they moved garbage night due to New Year’s Eve and I missed the announcement as well as most of the people on my street. A friend told me at the last minute and I did not put out my garbage on the usual garbage night. The next day as I drove down a street, which was covered in garbage and ripped up bags, this verse came to me. God fed the stray cats, skunks, raccoons, possums, AND the birds.  They all started the New Year with quite a feast by the looks of things! Boy did they party!  Not just what they needed… but exceedingly abundant.

How do we then look at this and not believe?  God’s goodness is amazing – we just aren’t always in the spirit to see His ways or we do not believe. I mean aren’t you more valuable to God than a skunk? If he provided a New Year’s Eve feast for the skunk can he not keep you from getting a cold?  Yes the world is getting dark – but we are called to live in the light. DO we believe this stuff or don’t we?  Ok, you caught the cold – now call on the elders of the church to lay hand on you and you’ll be healed! Come on – do we believe this stuff or don’t we?!  Don’t tell me it isn’t wise… because Jesus laid hands of the leper and it is MORE UNWISE to DISOBEY the SCRIPTURES! You hear me?!  Do we believe? Or don’t we?

I think it is time we believe.

“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

 ***

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 – 1-9-22

Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.” Proverbs 4:14-15 NKJV
Today’s reading is titled, in the Bible, as: ‘Security in Wisdom’. Over on Facebook and Instagram I am doing a mini teaching on some of the basics of social media security, because we are called to be wise. So pop over there, like and follow if you do not already and check out the series it started on Friday and ends this coming Friday (8 mini internet safety lessons – with a Christian perspective). Enjoy and be blessed.

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 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Security in Wisdom

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding;
For I give you good doctrine:
Do not forsake my law.
When I was my father’s son,
Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
He also taught me, and said to me:
“Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.
Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life.

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not walk in the way of evil.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil;
And their sleep is [a]taken away unless they make someone fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the just is like the shining [b]sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
24 Put away from you a [c]deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.

Footnotes

  1. aProverbs 4:16 Lit. robbed
  2. bProverbs 4:18 Lit. light
  3. cProverbs 4:24 devious

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 – 1-8-22

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; Proverbs 3:13 NKJV

On the weekend we are reading the wisdom books – because haven’t we all at some point wanted godly advice and wisdom. The point is to get it in our hearts and minds so we can refer back to it.  
Proverbs is written as an advice letter to a son. There is LOTS of great godly advice in here but do not mistake these for promises of God. Some are cause and effect patterns and principles but just because you do everything right does not mean you will get the desired outcome (look at Job). So, read this with understanding that these are not commands or promises but incredibly great advice and we should absolutely follow it (and not be in bondage to it). Following this advice will make you wise and that is what we are seeking, we are seeking God and His wisdom.
We want to have a relationship with God (see below) – but what would be the point of it if we could not receive love, wisdom and help in time of need?

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 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Guidance for the Young

My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and [a]high esteem
In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall [b]direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your [c]flesh,
And strength[d] to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who [e]retain her.

19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.

21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.

27 Do not withhold good from [f]those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,
When you have it with you.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.
33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just.
34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

Footnotes

  1. aProverbs 3:4 Lit. good understanding
  2. bProverbs 3:6 Or make smooth or straight
  3. cProverbs 3:8 Body, lit. navel
  4. dProverbs 3:8 Lit. drink
  5. eProverbs 3:18 hold her fast
  6. fProverbs 3:27 Lit. its owners

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 Heart of the Matter – 1-7-22

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17 NKJV

Pull out your red letter editions my friends! These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. And even those who agree Jesus said this, can be heard saying that they are not under law, but under grace.  As if grace and law are opposites distorting and confusing the heart of the gospel. We live in a time where Jesus fulfilled atonement law (which was grace!) and should not behave as if Christ’s sacrifice was worthless! That is what Paul meant when he told the new followers not to go back under the law. 
I mean when you look at things – it seems to be nothing but grace that God would make a way through atonement law.  But as humans failed at even that He poured out mercy on us and sacrificed His son. So if anything, we are not under mercy and should not take it for granted.

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 5 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).

The Beatitudes

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the [a]earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Believers Are Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one [b]jot or one [c]tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those [d]of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother [e]without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’[f] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, [g]‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of [h]hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

Adultery in the Heart

27 “You have heard that it was said [i]to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to [j]sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to [k]sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Marriage Is Sacred and Binding

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except [l]sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Jesus Forbids Oaths

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [m]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [n]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Go the Second Mile

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 [o]But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your [p]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [q]tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Footnotes

a.Matthew 5:5 Or land

b.Matthew 5:18 Gr. iota, Heb. yod, the smallest letter

c.Matthew 5:18 The smallest stroke in a Heb. letter

d.Matthew 5:21 in ancient times

e.Matthew 5:22 NU omits without a cause

f.Matthew 5:22 Lit., in Aram., Empty head

g.Matthew 5:22 Gr. More

h.Matthew 5:22 Gr. Gehenna

i.Matthew 5:27 NU, M omit to those of old

j.Matthew 5:29 Lit. stumble or offend

k.Matthew 5:30 Lit. stumble or offend

l.Matthew 5:32 Or fornication

m.Matthew 5:33 ancient times

n.Matthew 5:37 Lit. your word be yes yes

o.Matthew 5:44 NU But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

p.Matthew 5:47 M friends

q.Matthew 5:47 NU Gentiles

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

We have LOTS of footnotes today and an almost unending list of cross references – because Jesus spoke the word! We could stay here all week! But, instead I have searched every verse for a common theme so we can get to the heart of it.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV

Let me propose that Jesus’s ministry, His being, and most specifically, this Sermon on the Mount, are the fulfillment of this verse from Ezekiel.  Why do I say this? Because the heart of each section of the sermon is to create a new heart – to fix your heart – to set your heart right.
(Side note – when we read Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah and Daniel, I said how these things were playing out as we were reading them… they are still rolling out and I strongly encourage extra reading in those books.)

The Beatitudes – Sunday school teaches the children that these are the attitudes to be – aka The Be Attitudes.  How does one be these things? Only by God changing our hearts!
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12 NKJV

Lord, help change our hearts. As we read through this chapter help preserve the softness of the areas that are soft and soften the areas that are not soft. In the name of Jesus we ask that you change us today! ~amen

And let us not forget there is a blessing (or 9 or more) in all of this as well!! And this year has been declared the year of the double blessing as well (multiple preachers are saying they heard this from God – so either they all are getting the same download or all listening to each other). But God does like to play with letters and numbers and 2022 seems like a double if you ask me!!! So get your heart right and BE the right ATTITUDE, and go ahead and accept the blessing and accept it twice if you’d like. At worse you won’t get double – but at least you’ll get the original blessing!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the [a]earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matt. 5:3-12

So how else do we need to get our hearts right? Believers are Salt (fresh and in season preserving the soft heart) and believers are Light (be on fire. On fire for Christ is having the passion of your first love, when you first fell in love with Him! See? Love aka a heart issue!)

In verses 17 through 20 the passage discusses that Christ fulfills the law. And less than 10 years, and repeatedly telling this sermon to each other, they (the early church) still hardened their hearts and turned back to go under the law… so Paul, and other apostles wrote letter after letter telling people this just to have them corrupt that so now a days they justify sin by the sacrifice, by His death. Woe. How can my savior’s death justify your sin – shine light on that in this dark world!

Next the passage gives two physical examples of a hardened heart causing sin – Murder Begins in the Heart and Adultery is in the Heart! All sin begins there in your heart.  Let’s explain this concept in a New Year’s Resolution terms, for fun! So let us say you started a diet on the 1st day of January (and for ease of the example let us say you live alone). The diet says you must not have any simple sugars (aka cookies). So, many people will say having cookies in your cupboards isn’t breaking the diet. But Jesus is saying, it is! Ya see, Jesus knows us better than we know us. He knows you will get into those cookies at some point or another and no one will see, you’ve kept them in secret and then you eventual act on it. AND even if you were somehow strong enough NOT to get into them… you still have not changed your mindset if you are keeping them and not tossing them – No mindset change means the diet will not be sustained.  God isn’t about works – He is about heart. Yes, in revelations He judges your works… the works you were compelled to do as you heart softened and became in line with His heart.

So from the adultery example – he had to speak to the sacredness of marriage. As the Jews were being colonized by Rome and influence by the rise of humanism, it was the beginning of the end of holding marriage as sacred. Today you are the odd ball if you do not believe in divorce, but what about taking it a step further… what about it being sacred. Do our modern minds even grasp what this word meant to people back when Jesus said this?
I know a man who’s wife left him and divorced him many years ago. As we all age and he is alone, handsome and established many women have tried to catch his eye. And when asked why he doesn’t date or remarry and when offered lectures on grace – his response always blows me away.  He says we are looking at the superficial.  Marriage is sacred and God likens us to the bride and Jesus is the groom.  Would we want our groom to divorce us? Put us away for someone else? He made a vow to God not to his ex-wife that he would hold up the sanctity of marriage. – He understands the deep things.  He is also open to God’s will and timing, if God willed he remarry – it won’t be to one of these women throwing themselves at him! But he put it out of his mind and focuses on God.

Continuing on the deep things of the heart – why does Jesus forbid oaths? Because in verse 33-37 it opens the door, or gives a foothold, to lies – and who is the father of lies?! So even with pure intentions, outside forces can act upon you giving your word, and ruin your “word” – your testimony is also your word and we recently read in Revelations that we overcome by a few things including the “Word of Our Testimony”! If our heart has an opening for a lie what else might come from it?

It is with a deeper love, like Jesus loves that should compel us to Go the Second Mile, but if we are not yet compelled – Jesus flat out tells us to. We can do it out of obedience… but I think that would be missing the point, which is that our hearts should become so soft and Christ-like, we do it naturally right along with loving our enemies.

The whole sermon is about removing the heart of stone and giving us a new heart – His heart! Press into your relationship with Him and spend so much time with Him you begin to act like Him naturally!

***

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!

Wilderness Times – 1-6-22

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2 NKJV
Jesus came to seek and save the lost – He came to help us – He came to restore us to a relationship with God… But first, he had to be a baby and a child and a teen and a young adult… and He didn’t get baptized and wander into the dessert (to start His ministry) until he was 30 years old – which was a very old man for his time. Then once The Father revealed Him – Announced “This is MY SON” – once this happened, His ministry can begin. Right?
Once pharaoh let Moses and the Israelites go – were they instantly in the promise land? No they had their backs up against the red sea! Then they had to wander in the wilderness – then wander some more because they did not pass the wilderness test the first time. Same in the pattern and Jesus fasts 40 days symbolic of well, 40 days and wander the wilderness until he passed the test.

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 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not [a]tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, [b]“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [c]is at hand.”

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Jesus Heals a Great Multitude

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then [d]His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from [e]Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

Footnotes

a Matthew 4:7 test
b
Matthew 4:10 M Get behind Me
c
Matthew 4:17 has drawn near
d
Matthew 4:24 Lit. the report of Him
e
Matthew 4:25 Lit. Ten Cities

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

Jesus, also known as the Word, used the Word, also known as the sword, to defeat the devil. I know I get so excited about this concept that I jump up and down! Let this become real to you and excite you because herein is the “secret” – not so secret, it is literally written out here.

So you and I came to a knowledge of God while we were still slaves to sin… we know God, but need deliverance. Then we have break through (and sometimes many) and we are free… but trapped by a red sea! Then we get the beginning of the promise – God announces us! And then we find ourselves in a wilderness and wonder why – and like Job’s friends our ‘friends’ say ‘you must have sinned’, ‘you must be in the wrong’, and or ‘God removed his blessings and help because you must be hiding sin’.  We’re pressing in and need the breakthrough… but we are wandering in the wilderness. Time to fast and memorize the word… because we are coming up on the test and we better know the word – having a personal relationship with the word as well as able to quote him!

Went the test came to Jesus, satan quoted scriptures. He quoted them correctly but out of context. Of course Jesus passed that test and knew the difference. But do we? Are we able to find the subtle hint of a twist that moves it from right to wrong? This is why we must learn the bible. Learn it better than me (I am hardly the most knowledgeable)! Learn it as well as Jesus knows it! Learn it as well as satan knows it – cause he knows it well enough to twist it.

When Jesus fought off satan, he was not yelling and screaming – His power is not in the very human concept of Loud is strong. No, in the spirit, weak is strong.
Jesus did not struggle in conversations drawn out because He needed his name, needed to know if there were more and needed to know what the enemy knew…. The enemy lies – NONE of that matters.
Jesus did not bind and rebuke and cast out all willy-nilly.
Jesus didn’t puff himself up tell satan to get under his feet with declaring He is more powerful and putting on a pride performance.

Jesus simply answered with the correct verse in context.  

I see lots of preachers casting out demons, successfully and it takes hours and hours of prayer for the release. I am afraid I do not have that level of attention span and if that is what it takes it won’t happen. But I have seen the late Preacher Derek Prince calming quote a verse and tell demons to leave and they did. He said it started off with the drama and a show – but once he realized that the show was the demon trying to spread fear, he forbade it, shut it down. All it actually takes is the right verse to pierce and cut it free and then calmly tell it to leave.  Some are so easy, they do not even need a verse. 

I once prayed for a man to be released – I could see the fight above his head oppressing him. During the prayer I saw it move under his feet. I ended the prayer and in my spirit I saw him pick it back up. There was not show and ‘feeling’ of release, so he picked it back up and submitted to it. I was like, dude, it was under your feet, stomp on it and walk away. People are such strange creatures, like the evil they have become bent toward, they want the drama and show.  This is not meant for entertainment.  

After Jesus passed the test he was ministered to by angels and went and got into position and
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 4:17

Yes! I am over here singing praises and dancing and thanking God as this chapter has another one of my favorite biblical concepts in it – REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!! I heard a pastor say, the other day that Repentance is the beginning, then comes redemption, restoration, and renewal.  And I must respectfully disagree. Because that makes repentance a one-time thing. BUT Jesus said to repent and ask forgiveness daily!! And redemption is a one-time thing that happened by grace through the experience and process of the cross and resurrection – which I can access when I humble dwell in a repentant state. Restoration and renewal are the very existence of salvation if you are repentant and not continuing in sin.  

Verses 18-22 the calling of the 4 fishermen – would make a great study on the timeliness of obedience. Jesus says come and they immediately come and if we were to dig out Old Testament verses to cross reference we would pull out the calling of Noah, of Moses, Samuel, of David, of Elijah and Elisha, and so on and so forth through all the major and minor prophets. And I pattern would appear… a pattern of obedience. Few to no questions asked, obedience.

We end today, seeing Jesus ministry began with healing and casting out demons. Began. Sometimes we are still in the wilderness and wonder where the signs and wonders are… well, if you aren’t Moses, they aren’t coming. Jesus had no signs and wonders while he wandered. 

God’s ways are not our ways.  Being in the wilderness is still in God’s will and plan.  So it the trials and test like Jesus and Job. Relax and enjoy the process. Ask God hat lessons He wants us to learn in wilderness times.
Yes these are wilderness times – times of covid and fear, times of desperation and inflation, time when people are tried and tested… But it was in the wilderness that Moses wrote Psalm 91. It was in the wilderness that Jesus fasted and quoted scriptures to win. It was in the wilderness that Joshua and Caleb were raised up to be valiant men of God.

Ask for his help. Look up the scriptures for yourself – Ask Him to reveal it. You seek God for you.  Don’t trust me and others… learn the word it is your sword and your life. Learn the word He is your best friend and vehicle of Grace.

***

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!

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord – 1-5-22

“and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Matthew 3:2 NKJV

Did any of you, who have followed me for a while, think that I would let this verse sneak by without attention?! If the kingdom of heaven was at hand 2000 years ago, how much more so is it true these days?! The kingdom of heaven is talked about being preached at least 6 times in the New Testament, by my count (maybe more).

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 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’ ”

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [a]and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John Baptizes Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [b]He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Footnotes
a. Matthew 3:11 M omits and fire
b. Matthew 3:16 Or he

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

Why am I always so hung up on being humble and repenting? Well, we are ALL sinners but we are not all good repent’ers. I heard a Pastor preach this past week on the fact that he isn’t perfect, and of course we do not want to participate in reoccurring sins, and he went on to talk about deliverance and overcoming – and moreover he spoke of being good at meaningful repentance.  Not tears and drama and flare (although you may cry). But God is not moved by our tears but He is moved by the secret motivations of our hearts. It is so nice to hear others carry on about repentance like the Apostles and prophets did.

Back to the kingdom part – It is about tearing down MY KINGDOM and my plans (yours too if you personalize it) – and the KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD – and letting heaven set up a kingdom inside of us that will never be destroyed.
“In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will shatter all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself stand forever.” Dan 2:44

But the Kingdom of Heaven cannot be established in the heart of a man, woman or child who cannot repent well, as necessary, and under authority with the ability to do it on behalf of others.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” Ezekiel 18:21-23

Wow today’s reading starts off dynamic and already has my heart strings and we haven’t even reached the third verse!! (good thin it is a short reading!)

So, verse 3 says that John fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah – let’s take a look and see. Turn to Isaiah chapter 40 and let me strongly suggest you read it as it is comfort and helps you understand John and his ministry more.

The focus for us, though, is verse three, which is quoted almost word for word in verse 3 of Matthew. The fact that they are both verse 3, is fun.  For more fun: Mark also referenced this verse at Mark 1:3!!! John quotes it at John 1:23 (there is still a three, but just not as much fun). (And Luke, being a gentile, seems to not understand the significance of John the Baptist and referenced Elijah and doesn’t make it the third sentence, and… well… Luke was a gentile.)

In Hebrews Numerology 3 – Shelosh [f.], sheloshah [m.] Seeds to tree to fruit can also mean revelation and resurrection. Just let us look at the symbolism of 3 in the Bible and draw conclusions on repeating patterns: trinity of the God head (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), Trees (seeds to trees to fruit) were created on the third day, three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) were the seeds of the nations, three ply cord (which is why it is sometimes connected to unity and strength), Jesus was in the grave for 3 days (the word is Jesus and the word is like a seed).  The third Hebrew letter, Gimel (with a value of three), resembles ripening, reward, and more. So is John the Baptist like the seed being planted so Jesus can come and harvest?!

This is not reading through the Bible but I have to admit this is fun!

Ok so verse 4 referenced the leather girdle and eating locus and honey – like Elijah (2 Kings 1:8).

So I am going to slip ahead because the next few verses reference things we have already discussed including repentance. But I will stop to discuss “Brood of Vipers” Ah this brood!
If you have ever studied it before I am sure you heard someone explain this was a common saying, slang term, and considered vulgar as well. There were also variation of this slang – like calling someone serpents, or a generation of vipers, which we will see in other places of the New Testament.
I would almost say it wouldn’t be wrong if we swapped it out for vulgar slang terms of our day if… that is a big if which actually prevents me from saying it – IF it wasn’t for the fact that the symbol of a viper or snake is so suited for the story line. Ya see:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Gen 3:15
(another 3 – the seed.. oh yes the seed of woman aka Jesus!)
The Pharisees and the Sadducees are the serpent – they are the struggle – they are the ones who rallied the cry: “Crucify Him!”  (Oh geesh! I am sorry to anyone new here who doesn’t know – Spoiler alert, Jesus Dies. I mean I think I breeze over it in the relationship section, and again when speaking of 3’s and I am sorry – but it is a good things as he comes back to life after 3 days – and there is that three! And statistically speaking, people only remember thing they hear 3 times and since it is the third time I said something today, there is a high chance you are starting to have questions about it.)

We are only up to verse 8.  Maybe these chapters are too long! Lol But we planted the seeds of repentance (so to speak) so what about the fruit? Matthew, the king of referring to the old scriptures also refers to one here!
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17
So if you were a Jew and reading this, you would not assume, as many modern gentiles assume, that you can repent and continue in the sin and keep repenting saying we care covered by grace.  The book of Isaiah is neither law nor grace – it is prophets. Therefore, it is not a matter of living under law or grace… but living justly, free, empowered and with compassion – which can only happen if sin is stopped.
(On a side note, I love the TV series “The Chosen” and it’s portrayal of these characters. Like everyone says it really brings them to life. I like how they play Matthew as possibly being high functioning Asperger’s – having them myself I see a lot of myself in him. BUT they also portray Matthew as NOT knowing the old scriptures. And from what I can see, where every verse references an old scripture, that is not the case. Matthew a more of a Bible geek than me!)

Let’s skip ahead in my review of today’s reading. Verse 16-17!  When the heavens open and Jesus is there in flesh – the spirit is there like a dove and the Voice of God is there… All three (again with the three!) and all manifested!!! Is there ANY place else in the Bible where all three manifest together at the same time?! Like, wow! This is a point in Biblical history to wish you could stand there and see!

“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;” Isaiah 11:2

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:1

“As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” Isaiah 59:21

***

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!

I Want Wisdom like the Wise Men – 1-4-22

saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 NKJV
I have often wondered, who were these wise men and how did they know the prophecies were fulfilled? Did these men have a relationship with God? How did they know to follow a star, when starts do not actually move? How did they know to believe the dream not to return to Herod? How were these men so in tune with God?

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 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

 Wise Men from the East

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, [a]wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the [b]wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

The Flight into Egypt

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Massacre of the Innocents

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

The Home in Nazareth

19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 2:1 Gr. magoi
  2. Matthew 2:7 Gr. magoi

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:

As we have discussed in the past, Matthew wrote his version of the gospel to the Jews explaining how Jesus fulfilled multiple prophecies. Interestingly enough – Herod sought out old Jewish prophecy, and believed it, so that he killed all the children under the age of two. Herod was an educated man and ruler – and there was enough evidence to convince him.  Matthew’s goal was to convince the Jews that Jesus was who He said He was, and is.  

You and I are not as familiar with Jewish stories and prophecy as Matthew and the Jews he is writing to. So we will have to accept some of this by faith, like these wise men.  The Bible calls them the Greek word for wise, so we call them wise men, but the word also mean magician. The Bible never says there were three… we can infer there were at least 2 because of the plural use of words, but the number of them are unknown to recorded biblical history. It is believed that we laid claim to it being 3 because there were 3 gifts and we assume one gift came from each person. But all the gifts could have come from one person. Anyway, their names and where they were from we assumptions and embellishments added to the story without any recorded history to verify or corroborate.   It is assumed they were astrologers, and therefore saw and followed the new star. But all the Bible says is that they were foreigners and they came to worship Jesus.
These men did not arrive on Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas.  They also did not come to a stable. Based on the dates of when Herod was killing babies – We can determine that Jesus was probable 18 to 24 months old when the wise men arrived. (And they were not kings – there is not reference in the bible to them being kings. Possibly priests of foreign religions but not kings.)

I bought my son a nativity set to play with as a child. Everything was plastic. Did I want a nice sculpted set? Maybe – but it was so nice to use them as a teaching lesion.  Each of the four Sundays of advent we would read the nativity story from many of his children’s books on it. We would talk about how far away from Bethlehem Mary and Joseph were and e would place them all over the house so maybe the shepherds were in a field on the dining room table while Mary and Joseph were traveling under the Christmas tree. And they all converged on Christmas… except for those men. We placed them in the western part of the house so they could see the star in the east… but no small child was going to hold his attention to this story if it took these wise men 18 to 14 months to walk across the house. So, I found adopting the 12 days of Christmas and Three Kings Day – Epiphany – as a date to finish the nativity scene and clean up from Christmas.  

So men who are wise and hear from our God – when it was not the Jews who came and not you and me who understand – kind of humbles us. Maybe we should seek wisdom and knowledge of the Old prophecies That Matthew refers to?

Matthew 2:5-6 (“So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:”) refers to an old Prophecy and cross references: 1 Chronicles 5:2, Ezra 2:21, Micah 5:2, and more. And the book of John also references this prophecy in John 7:42 and John 21:16.  And these are later referenced in Hebrews 7:14 and Revelation 7:17.

Matthew 2:11, And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Did anyone ever tell you that this too, fulfills prophecy? Let’s looks at:
Song of Solomon 3:6, Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, scented with myrrh and frankincense from all the spices of the merchant?”
And
Isaiah 60:6, Caravans of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah, and all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Matthew 2:15, “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Where was this spoken? Well here are three places:
Exodus 4:22, Then tell Pharaoh that this is what the LORD says: ‘Israel is My firstborn son”
Numbers 24:8, God brought him out of Egypt with strength like a wild ox, to devour hostile nations and crush their bones, to pierce them with arrows.
Hosea 11:1, When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”

Matthew 2:17, “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying..”
Jeremiah 31:15, “Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

And the last verse of Matthew chapter 2 – Verse 23, “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
For those of you who read the Bible through with me last year and those who have also read the Bible through… anyone know where is says that He will be a Nazarene?  All four gospels and the book of Acts refer to this prophecy, yet I have never once read it in the books of prophecy, and I know you haven’t either. Go ahead – search cross references and you will see only New Testament references. So now, where did this come from?
Some believe, (and it is the most easily explainable explanation – so I tend to give it more credence than the rest), that the name of the city of Nazareth is derived from one of the Hebrew words for ‘branch’, (ne·ṣer) and alludes to the prophetic, messianic words in Isaiah 11:1, ‘from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit’. And somehow, we get to Jesus being from Nazareth out of this.

There must be more to this, so I took the opportunity today to do some research on it in the interest and the other theories are more far reaching in making a connection between the New Testament prophecy and anything recorded in the Old Testament. The Jewish people had other books they studied from, besides (in addition) the once in my Old Testament, and maybe there is a reference in one of them?
It is however a stark reminder that we only know in part and prophesy in part (1 Cor. 13:9) – and keeps us humble as we seek wisdom and knowledge. Because no matter how much we study – our mind will only get in our way and we need to walk in the Spirit and in Truth. Taking captive every thought, and guarding our hearts, while renewing our minds in the work of God. So It is good to study and to know. It only helps us have a closer relationship (or walk) with God.

***

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!

Give and Receive – 1-3-22

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23 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 Matthew chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

The book of the genealogy[a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.

David the king begot Solomon by her [b]who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot [c]Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot [d]Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot [e]Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

Christ Born of Mary

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being [f]a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is [g]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [h]Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and [i]did not know her till she had brought forth her[j] firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 1:1 Lit. generation
  2. Matthew 1:6 Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Greek.
  3. Matthew 1:7 NU Asaph
  4. Matthew 1:10 NU Amos
  5. Matthew 1:11 Or Coniah or Jehoiachin
  6. Matthew 1:19 an upright
  7. Matthew 1:20 Lit. begotten
  8. Matthew 1:21 Lit. Savior
  9. Matthew 1:25 Kept her a virgin
  10. Matthew 1:25 NU a Son

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

We start this year with the greatest gift ever – the gift of Jesus Christ!
I reviewed the Old Testament stories associated with the genealogy of Christ. That was a lot more than I anticipated and I am not going to lay all of that out for you – it spans the entire Old Testament.

But as we get to Mary and Joseph we can look back to Isaiah:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14 NKJV

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV

Give and receive stands out to me.  It is the bones of the gospel. God loves us so much that He gave his son to pay the price for our sins so we can clean up (get right with God) and restore the ability to have a relationship with Him. So we need to receive. Then we give all back to God out of our growing love for Him, giving obedience and submission.
There is always faith – you have to believe this stuff. And ironically, people receive Christ without having enough faith to believe it all.  It is beautiful! And hopefully their faith grows.

But what if you believe it and asked to receive – but you do not know how to receive?

I this thought came to me a week or so before the New Year and it keeps mulling around in my head. Why don’t some people receive? Are our receiver’s broken?  They ask for the promises and the blessings, they ask for the goodness, they ask for the healings – but they do not seem to know how to receive it.
And I am not talking about those whose blessings have been delayed until later or those under attack. I am talking about the little old lady from church who has been praying for healing since her children were children and now she has adult grandchildren older than she was when she first started asking for healing. Why isn’t she healed? Why can’t she receive it?

Mary, when the angel came to her (in Luke chapter 1 starting in verse 30), had to receive the words and the blessing and the baby – she needed to receive.

I came up with 3 reasons someone can’t receive – based on the things I have seen the last few days – meaning this is NOT an exhaustive list and not taken from a passage of scripture, although there are plenty of scriptures to back up these ideas.

One is not submitted areas of your life. And to use a silly sounding example – let us say that we ask Jesus to come live with us but he cannot open the one closet, because it is full of Halloween decorations and spiders and witches and evil things. And Jesus agrees, because he never forces himself on anyone. Then we say to Jesus, I heard you came with healing – where is that healing? And he says, you didn’t receive it because I needed a closet to put it in and I made you with a closet for it – but you would rather keep your Halloween stuff there.  You see, it may not be just healing we are missing out on – we could be missing unmeasurable blessings, all because they belong in an area of our life that we haven’t surrendered. (Verses to consider: Mat. 16:24, Proverbs 3:5-6, and all of Joshua chapter 24 along with every story where God asks for all of us, committed fully to him.)

Another thing that prohibits receiving is doubt.  That little old lady I mentioned earlier? I know that is a stereotype at many churches and in the stereotype – Even I doubt there will be healing. They can call in any of the great faith healers and the blind woman on her left will see and the deaf person on her right will hear and the lame behind her will be up dancing and the oppressed in front of her will be delivered – but she will refuse to receive it and say – “look! Jesus can’t heal me.”
A real healing feels like real love, with responsibility and decision. Pity feels like love, but doesn’t have responsibility of decision!! Doubt turns into a pity party and pity becomes a replacement for powerful transforming love. (Verses to consider: Proverbs 3:5-8, Mark 11:23, Isaiah 41:10, and Jeremiah 29:12-13)

And finally, for today at least, maybe you did not realize you needed to ask for it and accept it. It is so simple, it is easily overlooked. God has let me, recently, go through a spell of neediness – well, since I started this blog there has actually been a lot of that. So I learned to be less prideful, so I learned to be more dependent on him and so I learn to receive. And with that came a lesson in giving as well…. Like when I went to the food pantry for food. Take a box and keep moving. It doesn’t matter if you want it, or if you are allergic to it, or if you hate it, you get a prepacked box and then you must move out of the way, leave! Then the line goes to the next parking lot and they sort the food. All the receivers sort it. I was embarrassed to even have to need it and I did not want to prolong the experience but my car had broken down and I was at the mercy of these seasoned food pantry recipients.  To my surprise they gave each other the food they didn’t want and received the food they did or none, it did not matter, because it was better to give it to someone who will use it than waste it. They truly knew how to give in need and receive whatever was available to them – I felt like I was the only one there with any greed and they challenged me to let that go. I offered up my food.  Then I received more food, because people did not know how to cook of prepare some of it. So, I find myself cooking and giving food to others. (No one trusts my pork chili any more – although it taste fine, they hate that it is made from scary canned pork.)
It is the simple things I always overlook and forget about. I can spend hours in prayer asking for things for other and lifting people up to God, and telling God all my troubles and telling Him how much I need Him and rely on Him… But do I always remember to actually ask for help? No – I forget. DO I ask for the blessing and promises – no I just remind him they are there.  Do I surrender and give them to God to handle – no I hang on and keep talking about them. Sometimes we don’t have help, because we did not even ask let alone accept it!

I should always mention that there is pride. God hate’s pride. Hates – so if pride is the issue, maybe you are receiving because he isn’t giving!

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 ESV

“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Prov. 29:23 ESV

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 ESV

Action –  give all to God, surrender all, fight off doubt, ask, and remember to HUMBLY receive! Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you!

***

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 – 1-2-22

My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding” Proverbs 2:1-2 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 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Value of Wisdom

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

10 When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice in doing evil,
And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
15 Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths;
16 To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
18 For her house [a]leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;
19 None who go to her return,
Nor do they [b]regain the paths of life—
20 So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.
21 For the upright will dwell in the land,
And the blameless will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be [c]cut off from the [d]earth,
And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 2:18 sinks
  2. Proverbs 2:19 Lit. reach
  3. Proverbs 2:22 destroyed
  4. Proverbs 2:22 land

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!