Friday, October 29, 2010

How Do We Know

Sometimes our hearts become fearful about our salvation. We ask ourselves, do we really belong to God? Has God accepted us into his kingdom? Are we fooling ourselves to think we belong to God?

When Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus replied, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mathew 16:13-17).

We can have confidence that we belong to God because we would not believe that Jesus was the Savior unless the Father himself revealed this to us. God does not play mind games. He does not reveal himself to those he does not want to be his.

The Holy Spirit reveals in this that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pharisaical Bread

The disciples forgot to bring food on one of their evangelistic trips. As they were about to go into the city to get something to eat, Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Mathew 16:5-6). The Disciples thought he was rebuking them for not bringing food. But Jesus was not talking about physical food at all. He was talking about the self righteous attitude of the political groups.

The Pharisees and Sadducees thought by following the law and traditions handed down for generations, that they were accepted by God (Mathew 16:12). We are saved by the mercy and grace of God. None of us can be holy enough to earn God’s favor. God’s favor is given to us as a gift. He changes us to make us pleasing to himself.

If you have failed, rejoice that He has forgiven you. Then do as he told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Know When to Walk Away

The Pharisees often asked for a sign from Jesus to prove he was the Christ. Jesus was frustrated with their unbelief and replied, “Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the skay, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shsall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then he walked away from them (Mathew 16:1-4).

There are times when people ask us question for no other reason but to attack us. They do not want to know the truth. They want to convince us of our error in believing in Christ. It is ok to follow Jesus’ example and refuse to fall into their mind games.

Sometimes it is best to simply walk away.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Our hearts are hidden from the world, but not for long. What we treasure in our hearts will come out our mouths (Mathew 15:10-20).
Thoughts lead to actions. If we mediate on it long enough, we will do it. It is human nature, a kind of law that you cannot stop any more than you can stop from coming back to earth when you jump into the air.

Therefore, if we mediate on the Word of God that if will influence our actions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cleanliness Next to Godliness

Jesus warned his disciples against the righteousness of the Pharisees. When we are living moral lives it is a temptation to think our behavior wins God’s favor. Jesus quoted Isaiah to the Pharisees, “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines he commandments of men” (Mathew 15:8-9).

Have you ever been surprised to find something you thought was in the Bible was actually a saying handed down from generation to generation? An example is the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” and “God helps those who help themselves.” Neither one of these are scripture.

Often when we are judging fellow believers, we are basing our judgment on our spiritual tradition and not on something that is actually in the Word of God. We need to be careful.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Respecting Parents

In some cultures when a couple is married they move in with the groom's parents. The matriarch of the family is the eldest female. She is in charge of designating all household chores and where things are placed. The eldest male is the patriarch and runs the family. However, in our society rebellion has become expected and almost traditional. Disrespect of elders begins at an early age and is completely out of hand by the teen years.

But the command of God to honor our parents has never changed. We will be held accountable for how we interact with our parents. This command is not only for children, but as adults we show respect to those who God used to bring us life.

Some parents do not deserve respect. In those cases, we are not to succumb to their abuse. However, when we set our boundaries with them we are careful not to be abuseive in return(1 Peter 2:21-23).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wash Your Hands

As a kid did you ever try to come to the table with dirty hands? If you mom was like mine, you had to leave the table, go and wash and come back to eat.

Scripture tells us the Pharisees criticized the disciples saying, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat bread (Mathew 15:1). If you look closely you will see they referred to the tradition of the elders. They were not talking about merely washing the dirt off your hands but a ritual ceremony to make themselves spiritually ready to eat.

Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy. “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and, ‘He who curses father or mother; let him be put to death,’ but you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” – then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your radiation.” (Mathew 15:3-6).

It is easy to get caught up in traditional spirituality not realizing we are actually following our traditions, things that are not in scripture. It is important that we do not judge our brothers and sisters in Christ who worship and serve God in a way we don’t understand.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Wind was Howling

The wind was howling. The waves were rocking the boat unmercifully. The disciples knew that these unpredictable storms had killed many unsuspecting sailors. Then they saw Jesus walking on the water toward them. Their fear escalated to panic. Then Jesus called to them over the rough seas, “Be of good cheer! It is I: do not be afraid.”

Peter filled with faith called back, “If it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” What was Jesus’ response? “Come”.

Peter got out of the boat. Set his feet on what was liquid but now felt like cement under his feet. Taking a few steps, he saw a huge swell moving toward him. He began to sink. “Lord, save me!” He screamed. Scripture says Jesus “stretched out his hand and caught him, and said o him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat the wind ceased.

Peter started out with great faith, but the storm distracted him from the Lord.

Often in the beginning of a trial we have faith that God will see us through. But as time wears on we begin to doubt. We see the swell and are sure we are going to drown. Though the Lord may rebuke us for lack of faith as he did Peter, he will never forsake us.

Be confident. He will catch you before you drown.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Storms that Bring Peace

Mathew gives us much more detail than John in telling about Jesus walking on water. It happened in the fourth watch of the night, which is the early morning hours. Evidently the disciples had been struggling against the wind nearly all night because John tells us the disciples had gone to the boats in the evening. He says they had rowed only three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the water (John 6:16-21; Mathew 14:22-33).

There are times when God allows us to struggle with the wind and the waves. But he allows it to teach us about himself and to cause us to trust in him.

None of us likes storms in our lives. But no storm is without purpose. It will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness when God's work for that storm is finished(Hebrews 12:11).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Miracle in 1970

While attending Bible School in 1970, I joined a singing group that toured the United States. We stayed in folks' homes and traveled during the day. On one particular occasion an elderly lady prepared a meal for a group of about 12 of the singers. I helped set the table and heat the food. The hostess opened one can of corn to serve all the guests and a small amount of potatoes, gravy and meat, enough to serve three guests at the most.

We all stole glances at one another, determining to take tiny portions to make the food last. To our surprise each person took a scoop of food but the amount in the bowl did not diminish. When the meal was finished every guest was full and we had as much food left over as what we began with. No one said anything to the woman but we were filled with chatter at the wonder we had just experienced when we drove away.

Jesus fed 5,000 hungry men not counting women and children with a small boys lunch, five barely loaves and two small fish (Mathew 14:16-21; John 6:4-14).

Do not fear, God is able to feed you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Compassion in Grief

Herodias had John the Baptist’s head. She didn’t care what happened to the rest of him. So John’s disciples came and buried their teacher’s body. When the news reached Jesus, he got into a boat and went to a deserted place to be by himself to grieve for John.

But Jesus was not allowed time to himself. The crowds followed him (Mathew 14:12-13). He knew that John the Baptist's disciples would now come to him. In spite of his own sorrow, he had compassion on the lost souls who came into the desert to be with him (Mathew 14:14).

Jesus never stopped ministering to any who were seeking for the truth. God always has compassion on honestly grieving hearts.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

High Priced Ticket

Herod had locked John the Baptist into prison intending to eventually kill him. But as he waited for the anger of the crowds to subside and for people to forget John, he became fascinated with John’s preaching. As much as Herod’s wife nagged him to kill John, Herod kept him as a kind of self indulging hobby.

But Herod’s birthday was about to change all that. He threw a huge party. Among the entertainment that day was the performance of a extremely seductive dance by his step-daughter. Herod’s passions were aroused to the point of swearing off half his kingdom to the young seductress. Herodias saw her chance. She instructed her daughter, “Ask for John the Baptist’s head on a silver platter.” Her daughter agreed.

It was time for Herod to pay the piper for his lust for power. The ruler grieved that he had made such a rash promise, but he knew to go back on his promise was to destroy his reputation among his guests. So within minutes, John the Baptist’s head was delivered on the silver tray (Mathew 14:1-11).

Pride is a high ticket item and will cost you the most when you expect it the least.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fascinated with the Truth

Herod had been appointed by the Romans to rule over the Jews. It was his job to keep the Hebrew people under the Roman thumb and to prevent uprisings. The Jews were an extremely religious group and riots could be easily started by rumors of violations of their religious codes. So when John the Baptist began publicly ridiculing Herod for stealing his brother’s wife and marrying her, he became extremely angry with John. His wife, Herodias, was angrier. She wanted John dead.

Herod was afraid it would be political suicide to kill John because he was a favorite of the crowds. But to quiet his wife’s nagging, Herod had John the Baptist arrested and thrown into prison. At first he hoped to kill John as soon as the crowds forgot him. However, John continued to preach, in prison and Herod became fascinated with his prisoner (Mathew 14:1-5; Mark 6:14-20).

Day after day Herod was drawn to hear John’s voice echoing across the brick walls. The words tore at his heart, but the prestige of his position was too costly to give up. Herod was not ready to believe.

Fascination with the Truth is not the same as believing the Truth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Winning our Family

When Jesus visited his home town, his ministry was very limited. He told his disciples, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house” (Mathew 13:57-58).

I knew a young man years ago who after becoming a Christians lead his entire family to the Lord. In the book of John we read about the nobleman whose son was sick to the point of death. When Jesus healed his son, the father and all of his house believed in Jesus (John 4:46-53). Sometimes when we read or hear of families coming to God, we start to feel like the responsibility to win our families to Christ lies at our door steps.

It is important to remember that people are born again, not from our efforts, but because the Holy Spirit does a work in them (John 1:10-13). Jesus was perfect, said everything and did everything perfectly, and yet his family did not believe until after his death.

Pray for your family, but do not be discouraged if God is not choosing to use you to win them to himself. He is still at work behind the scenes in ways you cannot understand.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Family Squabbles

Jesus had four brothers and more than one sister. His brothers names are given to us,James, Joses, Simon and Judas, but his sisters’ names do not appear. Jesus knew what it was like to grow up in a large family. As the oldest brother he had two strikes against him. First, because he was the oldest and often younger siblings resent the eldest. Secondly because he was the Son of God he was sinless. Siblings usually resent a “goodie two shows. (John 7:1-5).”

Our High Priest, Jesus of Nazareth,” knows all about family struggles (Hebrews 4:14-16). If you find yourself in the middle of family resentments, remember he experienced them as well and allow him to give you wisdom and to comfort you.