Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Day 1669 A Heart Matter

Above all else,
guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

Day 1669: Religion law had some strict dietary rules and habits to follow. When Jesus made the comment of what goes into a person's mouth does not defile them I can imagine the collective gasp among the crowd.

Matthew 15:10-20
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

The heart is the only thing that matters; what you put into your heart and what comes from the heart. If your heart is good and Christ-like, your actions will flow from it and others will see Jesus in you.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Day 1668 Vain Religion

Day 1668: There is a big difference between faith and religion. I do not have religion, I have relationship ... faith. Jesus calls out the Pharisees on their man-made religion laws:

Matthew 15:1-9
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”

Religion is a robotic ritualistic worship in which you are not truly connected to Jesus, to God. Just as Jesus said, religion goes through the motions of honoring God but their hearts are not connected. "Their teachings are merely human rules." Be careful you do not fall into the religion trap. Connect to Jesus today, he is offering you relationship and not a religion. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Day 1667 Drowning Doubt

Day 1667: Yesterday we looked at Peter recognizing Jesus and believing Jesus will not let him sink when he took the first step out of the boat. Today we'll look at what happened ...

Matthew 14:28-31
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

The message is pretty simple -- if you take your eyes off Jesus in the life struggles, you're going to sink. If you are going through a something today remember who to focus on and don't allow doubt to pull you under.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Day 1666 Recognize and Believe

Day 1666: You've heard the story of the time Jesus walked on water before but today and tomorrow I am going to dive in the Scripture and look deep in the message.

Matthew 14:25-28
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost walking toward them on water but Jesus called out to them. Here is a question for you to think about; do you recognize Jesus in the life struggles?  

"Tell me to come to you on the water." Peter saw the miracles Jesus performed and he knew all things were possible. Peter believed Jesus would keep him from drowning so he took that first faith step out of the security of the boat and onto the water. 

Do you have that kind of faith to take the step out of the boat? Recognize Jesus in the life struggles and believe in Jesus to get you through them. There are times God is going to call you out of the boat, will you have the faith to step out and serve him?

2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we live by faith, not by sight." 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Day 1665 People Prioritizing

Day 1665: When Jesus heard of John the Baptist's beheading he was saddened. Jesus withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. [Matthew 14:13] Most likely you already know what it is like to lose someone you love, we just want to be alone for a little while, right? Listen to what happened next:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
[Matthew 14:14]

So here is Jesus who just lost someone he loves and wants time alone yet he has compassion for a crowd of people that came to him. Jesus put his needs aside and the needs of others before his own. As night approached the disciples recommended the people get on the road and into town for food. Jesus invited them all to stay -- the disciples quickly did that math; thousands of people to feed with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish ...

Jesus takes the fish and bread and blesses it in thanksgiving which resulted in baskets of leftovers.

Imagine the lives touched because Jesus put other's needs first. Jesus teaches us selflessness and putting others before us -- Jesus teaches us kindness.

When I read about this evening of Jesus' life I am taken back and humbled. If Jesus can forfeit the comfort of a home to walk the earth and share the gospel, if Jesus can place his mourning on hold to meet the needs of others, if Jesus can take my beating and my cross ... the least I can do is be kind and selfless helping others every chance I am given. How about you?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Day 1664 Uncomfortable Sin

Day 1664: Why defend the sin? People punish others in their life for their sin struggles, it's like the quick response of pointing the finger to everyone else but you. We will not be truly at peace with ourselves until we lay down the sin baggage at the foot of the cross and accept the redemption Christ offers. King Herod was not ready to let go of a sin and John the Baptist had to pay that price:

Matthew 14:1-12
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

Of course Herod was the type of man that was easily threatened by truth already but most people that live in sin denial are. Is there a sin you have that is a ticking bomb ready to explode when the truth makes you feel uncomfortable? Don't be foolish and allow sin to control you and your quick actions hurting those around you and yourself. God's hand is reaching out ready to help.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Day 1663 A Prophet Without Honor

Day 1663: I left my hometown at the age of eighteen and if you ask my mother she will be quick to reply I have not been back enough since she watched those tail lights leave her driveway. Leaving the home you've always known was bittersweet -- I was excited to leave and see what's out there and insecure because I am entering the unknown. Insert small town Mississippi girl into the big city of Baton Rouge, LA ...

My mind was blown. I grew up in the town where everyone knew everyone and everything (which was one of the reasons I couldn't wait to leave). I entered a foreign land and I didn't know how to meet people, didn't like the food (I didn't know how to cook either) and driving on 4-lane highways is much different than the unmarked country roads you pulled over to give tractors road space.

December 2016 I returned home for a little while during the process of moving and home remodel. I have to say, it was amazing running into and visiting old friends because we picked up right where we left off and everyone knew who I was and welcomed me with a warm hug and smile. That is one of the really cool things about small towns, everyone knows everyone ...

Jesus didn't receive such a warm response when he returned to his hometown. How crazy were those town people? Here comes Jesus, the guy people all over has heard about performing amazing miracles and delivering the wisdom of the Word of God. The townsfolk could not get past this is the same guy they watched grow up raised by a simple carpenter.

Matthew 13:55-58
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."

Remember when I mentioned one of the things I didn't miss about the small town was the everyone knows everything part? When Jesus returned the people in the town struggled to see who he really is, the Son of God. People today are guilty of seeing others from their past and past sins and not who they really are today. Those townsfolk missed an amazing opportunity not embracing Jesus with open arms -- don't make the same mistake as they did. Look at the heart of everyone you meet and not their past or who their family is; you'll never know what you'll be missing if you can't see the forest for the trees.