Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. A I tell you, every kind of sin and slander be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. – Matt 12:30-32
Here are two seemingly unrelated things stuck in the same paragraph, but they truly are related. Either we are All-In with Jesus or we are against Him. God believes in absolutes. You have to be bought; lock, stock and barrel with Jesus’ blood, else we stand against Him. This means when we claim to be in and don’t live for Him we are in danger of the fire.
Being All-In is more than just a pronouncement from the mouth but it is living what is true. When it talks about the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, it is talking about proclaiming one things but living another, it is also about calling what is good evil and what is evil good. That is why we have to take God at His Word and not try to twist the Truth.
We have to process everything we receive from the world through God’s Word. If God is good with it, it is good. However, if the Word speaks against it, then we cannot accept it. And today, when I see parents turning their children into something they are not, it proves the point what God said, either you are for me or against me.
Finally, if we accept what the world teaches over the Word, we are in danger of the fire. When the world stands against the Word and calls it out dated; when the world tells us that there is more than one way to salvation; when the world tells us that we are just intolerant and backward thinkers and we begin to accept their interpretation, we cannot listen We have to take a strong stance for the Word and for the Truth of God lest we call what is evil good or what is good evil and are in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
So, to encourage you today, get in the Word of God. Remember that it is THE WORD OF GOD, there is no other but Jesus that can save. There is not other that can take you from the troubles of this world but God alone. And there is no truth but HIS TRUTH. Take a stand today for what is Good and be All-In for Jesus.
God Be with You,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matt 11:28-30
Most of us enjoy taking it easy and doing the things we love to do. We like being able to do things at our own pace and to find leisure in our lives. This is why families take vacations and why people want to get away from it all. Here in Matt 11, we have Jesus telling us this very thing and we take it for granted and many of us do not listen.
Take my yoke upon you. To do this, you have to remove the previous yoke, you cannot have two yokes on at the same time. You first have to put off your own yoke to take Jesus yoke upon you. This means you have to lay all your troubles, worries, sin and guilt down at Jesus’ feet. This is the only way to pick up the light yoke.
Laying my yoke down can be easy some times. Sometimes I am just so worn out and weary that it just kinda falls off when I bow to pray. However, there are those other times, when I just feel like my work is too easy and so I go on around and pick that yoke back up. See that is the hard part of it all, leaving that yoke where it belongs, with Jesus.
When we learn the secret though, that is when we find rest for our souls. Realizing that the burden of life was never ours to bear, especially when we are in Christ. He said He would take that on, if only we lay those things down and stop picking them back up.
Distraction from My Sin
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds. – Matt 11:18-19
When we are in sin, there is nothing anyone can really tell us to get out of sin or to accept what is truth. For John came with nothing and Jesus came with all wisdom and they called them both demon possessed. The people did not want to face reality and, so they blame shifted and diverted the attention from their sins.
So, next time I go to justifying sin in my life, I must ask myself, “Am I diverting attention from my sin by saying look over there or am I just denying the truth of God?” We must constantly be self-analyzing, ensuring we are following the will of God and not the will of self.
When people are ready to hear and see, they will be convicted. It is a choice they must make in their own hearts. All of chapters 10 and 11 are about that, the choice. Many will choose not to see or hear and will find hell in the end.
But blessed are those of us who keep our ears and eyes open to the truth of God. We must be about what is true and have to keep being about what is true, lest we slip into the lies of the Devil. So do not be distracted by a world that calls our Savior, intolerant and bigoted. Instead focus on what His truth has said. “In claiming to be wise they are really fools.” (Rom 1:22, paraphrase.)
Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. – Matt 10:21-23
“Hated for my name’s sake.” Just let that set in for a moment. We as Christians will be hated for Jesus’ name’s sake. The reason for this is the problem with the world. They do not want to be told about their sin. Look at what they say, “don’t judge me”; “You do You,” “Why can’t we all just get along.” Everyone wants it their own way.
Even in the Church, we see people becoming more and more accepting of sin because it is easier to do than to hold people accountable. We don’t want them to leave because we are bringing something up in their life, so we just go on ignoring what we know to be wrong.
Well in case we missed it, Jesus tells us “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate an broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”(Matt 7:13) Not everyone is going to like Jesus or His message. He was hung on the cross for His message, lest we forget that too. Being in Church is not all about feeling good and being on a high, no it is about truth.
Truth will make a lot of people mad. Truth says you cannot live like this or that and that just doesn’t sit well with the humanist population, as it is today. So yes, many people will hate us for our message of Truth. But the few, that is who we are after. The few who will accept His Good News of Grace find its joys and then become seekers of His will. Stay steadfast, even when people will hate you for it.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,
Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. – Matt 10:11-14
OK, so a lot is said in chapter 10 of Matthew. However, this is Jesus commissioning the 12 disciples. It is also Jesus, as we know now, commissioning every believer to the mission of Christ. Here we see Jesus give a pretty straight forward mission. If people will hear and accept your message, bless them and stay with them. If not dismiss yourself and shake the dust off your feet. (Which by the way was a form of insult to the Jewish people)
What this means is that we are to SEARCH out non-believers. First and foremost, we have to go looking for people, not just sit in our Church buildings and home and hope people show up. No, we have to go and be Christ to the people where they are; that is what the word search means. The word is an action verb and requires movement.
Secondly, we cannot take rejection personally. Most of us don’t share Christ for two reasons, fear of confrontation and fear of rejection. The rejection is not yours. Let me say that again, THE REJECTION IS NOT YOURS. They are rejecting Christ not you. All you have to do is walk away, no hard feelings. Stop taking on what does not belong to you.
Finally, when they do accept the Word, give those people your blessing. That means your time energy and effort. Be real with them, actually listen to them and make sure they know before you leave that you love them. Leaving them with your peace, just simple means leaving them with a kind word from the Word of God, for Jesus is the prince of peace.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,
While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before Him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her and she will live.” – Matt 18
As I read this verse this morning, I find a new perspective on this situation. What I realized is this is about salvation. The man comes to Christ after the girl is dead and asks for Him to make her alive. Then the man goes with Christ, meaning he bring Jesus to the dead. Wow, praise the Spirit for revealed truths in the Scripture. For it is only Christ who can make people alive when they are dead and not man, but it is man that brings that message of life.
So, my question for myself this morning is, am I crying out to Jesus for the lost or am I just sitting back and hoping things happen? It isn’t too far down in 9 that we find Jesus talking about the harvest and how the workers are few. We must work the harvest we are given. We have to pray to Jesus that He will reach down and resurrect the lost of the World.
Doing this accomplishes two tasks, first, it generates the need for workers and for the lost to be saved. Too many times I see myself walking around in a sea of dead people, like a zombie afraid to talk and ask people about Jesus. I know I am not alone in this. We have to be willing to pray for the dead and then go out and seek them. The man did not just come to Jesus and ask; no, he went with Him and brought Christ to the girl. That is our job people, bringing Christ to people that they may become alive.
Second, it switches my focus from me to them. My mission becomes successful because it is not about me, but about the lost. I am already saved, I have nothing to fear, I have won the victory. But too many people in this world have not. Too many people in this world still need Jesus Christ as their savior and it is getting worse, not better.
So, lets be about the mission of Christ today. Let’s cry to Christ for the lost and then lets bring Jesus to those who need Him. Start the conversation today with someone, tell them about Christ and let them know they can be alive in Him.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,
Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place lay his head. Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” - Matt 8:19-22
What is the cost of following Christ? This is a good question and one I often here. People tell me, I am just having too much fun and don’t want to give that up for Jesus. If it makes me happy then I should have to give it up, is what I hear a lot too. But in the end, Jesus’ own words tell us, He wants ALL of us, not just the bits and pieces we have left over.
With Jesus, He wants all of you and not your distractions. He was not being harsh with these men, only honest. Have you ever had someone say they would help you, only to quit when things got really tough? Jesus did not need that kind of disappointment in His ministry and He definitely did not need distractions. This is why we must give Him everything.
Jesus wants all of you because He can handle all of you. He needs you to start letting go of this world. We were never bound for this broken place and the broken things in it. What we need is to lay more at the foot of the cross. This is where we lay our burdens and troubles and sin.
And when He heals, He really heals. He can give such peace and comfort. This world is full of so much toil and trouble, but with Christ it is peace and comfort. I now worry about almost nothing, almost. In Christ, I have found that when I lay my sins at His feet for real, the temptation often goes with it. That’s not to say it doesn’t come back around sometimes, but rebuking in Christ name gives strength to my resolve and the Devil flees. This is the peace and comfort of our Savior Jesus Christ when we give Him everything.
Let us Not Worry
24“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
An interesting observation here. In most Bibles between verses 24 and 25 they put a section break. This would queue most of our minds that a transition has happened and that one has nothing to do with the other. But I want to point out a key literary component here that ties verse 24 to 25-34 and that is the word “Therefore.” This is a word tying these two sections together.
If we take into consideration the “therefore,” we can then see that worrying is tied to the love of money, or whatever sin you want to put in its place. This love for the other master, that which is not God, causes us to worry and sin. It takes attention away from God and it takes our focus off from the great provider. If it is money, then we worry about what food we have and clothes we will wear.
When we focus on the stuff and not God we commit the sin of idolatry. We are so focused on “providing” for our families that we miss out on the real provider. In ministry, if it is one thing I have learned, God definitely provides for those who trust in Him. I am not bragging but telling the truth. My family and I have never done without, we have always had plenty to eat and plenty to wear. It may not be brand named or the “good” stuff, but we have never done without. If anything, I have been blessed to overabundance in my life, praise God.
So, we must trust in him, we do this by serving and focusing on Him only. When we do this, the worry slips away and the world comes into perspective, this tiny little speck in the universe that God has created. If He can control the whole universe, then don’t you think He can make sure I have something to eat and clothes to wear?
God Bless and Merry Christmas,
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ Will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Matthew 5 is probably one of the most important chapters of the Bible. Here we see Jesus turn all of Judaism on its head by changing the status quo of the scriptures. He called out the religious and pious of the day. He was trying to tell them that following the letter of the Law was never the intent, but what really matters is the attitude of the heart.
When I give my prayer up to God in the morning and at night, if I am angry with my brother or sister, I am guilty of sin because I have not loved them enough to confront them. If I lay myself bear before the Lord but have not reconciled my family life, I have given an awful stench of an offering to God. It is because my heart is solely focused on me and not on love or God.
This is what Jesus is saying in all of Matthew 5, it is about love. You cannot truly love God, yourself or others until you are willing to let go of yourself. Your heart’s attitude has to change from all about me; to all about them and Him. James tell us not to think to highly of ourselves and to think of others as better. This is the key to the Kingdom of heaven.
Love your brother and sister enough to go directly to them and speak with them. Get all the stuff out of the basement. I cannot promise it will be OK, but at the very least you have followed the command of God and that is where it all starts. God will make things OK, not as you would see it, but as God sees it. You may lose much, but in the end you have gained eternity.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,
“So that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” Luke 2:35
This was spoken about Jesus at his consecration at the temple in Jerusalem. A man who had been promised to see the Lord, before he died, was prophesying about Jesus and the life He would live and the lives He would change. He would see straight through to the heart of men.
I know that this is true for my own life. Jesus has pierced me and seen through to the heart of me. He knows. He knows my thoughts and my hopes in life. He knows my sin as well as my love for Him. He convicted me, through His words, to follow Him in the first place.
And now His words are still doing the same thing they did two thousand years ago, they are convicting people’s hearts and minds. Some will turn to Him and accept Him, others will turn away. This is who Jesus is, either you love Him or hate Him. He spoke of this when He said that no one can serve two masters.
This is why the world is so upset with Christians, from bakers to pizza place owners to pastors that speak the truth. It is because the Word of God convicts us; it sees through to the very heart of us and tells us that we are wicked and dead.
The flip side to the coin, as it is in my case, the Word of God through convicting our hearts, causes change. His change brings life and peace to our lives. He brings comfort and hope that is beyond understanding; beyond belief, but it is true and He has been proven to be trustworthy.
So, in the end I thank God for His convicting Word. I thank God, my heart has been changed. Mostly I thank God that I am alive and now I get to spread that same Word to others with the hope that they too will come to life, come to Jesus Christ.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,