October 27, 2021

Peacemaker

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  Matthew 5:9

Imagine you were sent to this world to make peace.  Not with other people, but to connect other people with God.  An ambassador.  That’s what Jesus did.  The angels proclaimed His peace the night He was born into the Earth.  They said “Peace on Earth and goodness toward men” They were talking about peace with God.  Jesus came so that people of the world could be brought back to God through peace in the sacrifice of Jesus.

This is still our ministry today, but we don’t have to be the same sacrifice that Jesus was.  Our sacrifice is to give our life to show the world that they too can have peace with God, and be reconciled to Him. After we have first received salvation and a right relationship with Him, we fulfill the calling all of us were given to tell the world about His peace.

We bring the peace of God’s goodness, and we bring the peace of God’s grace.  We proclaim the message of the creator’s love and His desire to have all people in His family.  He created us to be people connected to each other and connected to Him.

In John 17:22-23 Jesus prayed: “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  God’s planned for us to be connected to each other in unity, each of us doing our part in the ministry of being a peacemaker in the world.

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18) What truly makes us part of God’s family, His children, is when we represent His mission and His cause in the world.  We bring His message of peace and Salvation to all so that they can make the choice to become a peacemaker, too.

Today I want to encourage you to be a peacemaker.  Share the message of God’s peace brought into the world through His Son, Jesus.  Keep your focus on the One who gives you peace and don’t let the stress and anxiety of the world steal it from you.  Instead, give peace to the world by loving people in a way that best shows how your Father in heaven loves them.  We are called the children of God, because we are one of His voices in the earth.  Be the voice of peace into every conversation you enter today and bring with you the unity that Jesus prayed so earnestly for.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:3-12

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

October 26, 2021

Pure in heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Matthew 5:8

The pure in heart, the innocent?  Remember when you were?  Probably a very long time ago, but still today you always look for the best in others.  You expect good things are going to happen and you have hope for tomorrow.  That sounds pretty innocent and even naive.  The world around you always looks to the bad news.  Everywhere you go people report what is going wrong?

This is quite a dilemma!  How do you keep yourself from being jaded by the gloom of our culture?  The latest gossip and the current world crisis?  Fear, anxiety and even panic threaten at first, but you quickly turn back to the innocence of your faith.  The unwavering belief that you have in your faithful Father.  The undeniable conviction of His unconditional love for you and the unfailing promises to keep you from harm.  This is where your pureness is.

James 1:27 tells us: True spirituality that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans,  and widows in their troubles, and to refuse to be contaminated by the world’s corruption.  Yes, this is where you find your pureness of heart in keeping clean before your Lord reaching out to help and encourage others.

This comes back to the importance of the time you spend with Him the time you commit all to Him and the time you determine to go and do what He leads you to, through His Spirit.  The time you commit to your relationship with God will, in fact, make His presence real to you.  You will see God in all the circumstances surrounding you.  Even when the outside world is falling apart around you, you see God in the love He gives you in a Savior, the peace He gives you through His Sprit and the joy He gives you in His protection and provision.  James says it this way: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)   When you press in and get close to God, He will get close to you. The closer you get to Him, the closer He gets to you.  By talking and listening with Him, reading His Word and getting to know Him better through His Word, you are drawing near to Him.  You are the one who purifies your heart by replacing your worldly habits with ministry and God time.  The more you hang out with God, the less of the world you will have inside of you.  Now you can see Him.

Today I want to encourage you to purify your heart by replacing all the activities that take your attention away from you Father.  I’m not talking about your family time, your family is your ministry, but I am talking about the things you give your attention to when you do have some down time.  Don’t fill up with news, social media and movies, instead fill up with the Word, with messages and quiet time talking things out with Him.  He wants us to be pure in heart, but we are the ones that make it happen.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:3-12

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

October 25, 2021

 Have mercy!

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Matthew 5:7

Ooo!  This is a tough one.  We live in probably the most unmerciful world of all time.  There is very little grace to be seen these days in our society.  People are angry, hurt and unforgiving and will fight for the right to be that way.  Grace, compassion and empathy are seldom seen when you look around.  Seriously, next time you are out in a public place, just stop and listen to the conversations going on around you.  People are proud of who they got the best of, who the were able to put in their place and even more pleased when they stood up to an authority figure.  The popular thing today is to fight for the right to be right and then make sure everyone knows about how right you were.

You are thought to be weak or backward if you forgive others when they were obviously wrong, to love others when they are unlovable or to give to someone who has made, in your opinion, bad choices.  Jesus said you are blessed/happy and satisfied in life when you show mercy.

So what exactly is mercy?  Mercy can be defined as compassionate, or kindness shown toward an offender, enemy or undesirable.  It is also said that mercy is not giving someone what they deserve such as punishment or judgement.  Hmm, this sounds like what God does for all people including myself.  He doesn’t punish me when I sin, and He doesn’t condemn me when I deserve His judgement.  On the other hand, He does give me grace that I don’t deserve.  He is kind to me and never holds my mistakes and intentional deception against me.  He is merciful!  Scripture tells us that even when we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.  Jesus didn’t die for saved, born again people, He died for sinners!  You can’t get any more merciful than that!

Now we understand why Jesus told His disciples that those who are merciful are the blessed ones, not those who are right and not those who are proud.  Compassion reaches to those who are compassionate, and mercy is only given to those who show mercy. (see Matthew 18)

Today I want to encourage you to be merciful to all people.  Jesus said in verse 44 of this chapter to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who use and persecute you.  That is a great description of being merciful.  Then you will be shown mercy when you do not quite get it right.  No matter how hard you try or how much effort you put in, you will always come up short sometimes.  Put yourself in the position to receive His mercy by being merciful to others every chance you get!

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:3-12

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 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.

October 24, 2021

What are you Hungry for?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

This has always been my favorite verse in this passage.  It makes me ask the questions: What am I hungering for? What am I pursuing that my life depends on?  What am I so thirsty for that my very soul craves it?  Is it things I can buy in the world?  Is it pleasures and experiences that make me happy for a moment?  Maybe it is attention from important people, popularity and fame?

In this verse, Jesus says you are blessed/happy and content when you hunger and thirst for His righteousness.  He was not talking about doing good works or acting super spiritual.  He was talking about being made righteous in Him.  Walking in a right relationship with the Father in heaven through Jesus’ payment for all sin.  Because we live in a sinful world, and not the sinless world God created for us, He made the provision to save us from being consumed by the evilness of the world.  He didn’t take us out of the world, but He sent His Son to rescue us here and then keeps us here to display His love for the world.  This is true righteousness and what Jesus told us we are to hunger and thirst after continually.

He concludes this statement with a promise to fill those who are hungry, but they are filled up with what they are pursuing.  When you hunger and thirst for your relationship with your heavenly Father to be in right standing with Him and not separated, you are giving time and attention to that relationship.  Not just any time, but you are giving that relationship priority in your life and that starts on a daily basis.  You are so hungry to be filled up with His goodness in your life that you run to Him first thing each morning to receive His renewed mercies and love in your day.  You don’t wait until the end of the day when you have been filled up with all the sin and evil around you.  You don’t fill your heart and eyes with the passions and pleasures of the world and then right before you go to sleep each night read a quick scripture and give a short prayer.  That is not hungering and thirsting for His righteousness.  To hunger and thirst for your relationship with Him, you crave Him in the morning, you desire His presence throughout the day, and you take refuge in Him in the evening, then you will see His goodness show up everywhere you go.  Psalms 34:8 says Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Lastly, the promise of chasing after His righteousness is, you will be filled.  This not only means you will be filled with His Spirit and His fruit: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, patience.  You will also be filled with complete satisfaction and victory over every struggle you come up against.  Now that’s a promise worth running after.

Today I want to encourage you to hunger and thirst for His righteousness.  Don’t fill up with the cares, concerns and pleasures this world has to offer.  Instead, fill up with His goodness and learn of Him.  Set aside special time for Him each morning to bask in His presence then take Him with you all day long by calling on Him to walk with you through your day.  Find your rest and accomplishments in your time filling up with His Word and His love for you, then display that love and satisfaction to all those around you as you live your life here in this world as His minister of grace.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:3-12

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

October 22, 2021

Meek not weak

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Matthew 5:5

Many people think that the way to be meek is to be weak, but it just isn’t the case.  A meek person honors other above themselves.  They recognize that all people are valuable and they ad value to everyone that they come into contact with.  Meek people can see the big picture and recognize that what is going on around them is temporary and will soon fade away.  Philippians 2:3 says that we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vanity, but in humility value others above yourself.  This is a great description of meekness. 

Jesus displayed meekness and everything He did when He was in the world.  He was the ultimate example of putting others first.  He dedicated His life to serving others even unto the end.  At the last supper with His disciples, He demonstrated how they were to serve one another by washing their feet. (The lowest job of a servant in their day.)

There are some things you can do each day to live your life in an attitude of meekness.  First, have a repentant heart.  Each morning before your day begins, get along with your heavenly Father and surrender the intent of your heart for the day.  Don’t keep anything hidden from Him and anything that is trying to stay in the dark places of your life, exposed them by keeping the light of His Word on them.  Be strong enough to say cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Next, keep your heart open for direction and instruction from the Holy Spirit.  Meekness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so be sensitive to His leading you through it.  Lastly, after you know what the Spirit is leading you to, be responsive to the prompts He gives you.

Of course, the reward of living a meek life is an inheritance in the earth.  This doesn’t mean wealth and riches, although you may have those.  What that inheritance is in your life is security/protection, perspective and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Today I want to encourage you to walk out the rest of your days in this world with a meek and submitted heart.  Always be ready to add value to those around you.  Look for every opportunity to serve others and follow every leading of the Spirit of the living God.  Living a meek life means living a life fully surrendered to the Spirit of God and walking out the full plan He leads you to each day.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:1-12

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

October 21, 2021

When you have a bad day

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

This is a tough one.  Why would Jesus say those who mourn are blessed?  Obviously they are mourning because of a lose or hurt of some kind.  How can we expect to be blessed or happy when we have a bad day?

The answer to these questions is in the second part of the verse.  We are comforted.  When we have bad days, and we all do at times, we are blessed because we know that we can take our grief and sorrow to our Savior, and He has promised to comfort us.  In the presence of His comfort, we can have peace and even contentment. 

In contrast, those who are without a Savior do not know they can go to God when they are hurting.  They do not know that hope is available.  This reminds me of a scripture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that says we as children of the King do not sorrow as those who have no hope.  We have the hope of His salvation, and we have the hope of being comforted.

We also know that later on, we will be able to help others who go through similar problems.  We can tell them about the comfort that we received when we were in that situation.  Ultimately, your suffering can result in bringing someone close to God in their suffering. So the next time you are having a bad day, don’t try to figure out where you went wrong, just turn to your Father and let Him comfort you with the comfort with which you can be comforted.

Today I want to encourage you no matter what you are up against.  Whether it is a lose of some kind, a betrayal or maybe something as simple as a missed opportunity, take it to your Savior and be comforted with the comfort that only He can give. Then watch for others that are suffering and offer them the hope that comforted you in your struggle. Jesus said “in the world you will have trouble, but cheer up, I will get you through them all.”

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:1-12

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 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.

October 20,2021

Poor in spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

This is Jesus first public message.  The passage says that He sat with His disciples to teach them, but it also says there were multitudes close by.  Verses 3-11 are the introduction to His sermon on the mount.  They are commonly known as the Beatitudes, but I believe Jesus was showing His disciples the heart of the coming Kingdom He had been talking about.  These attitudes do not save you, but as a child of God, these are the actions that represent one who is operating in His Kingdom principles.

Each day I will write briefly about the nine attitudes that Jesus explains in this text.  First of all, I want to talk about the word blessed.  It is a word defined as happy, but it is the kind of happiness that comes from the spirit of a person, not from external things or circumstances.  It can also mean successful in attaining wholeness and contentment.

So, now we understand that Jesus was teaching His disciples where true joy and satisfaction come from in life.  By living your life being poor in your spirit, you can walk out your days in peace, joy and contentment.

Jesus starts by saying, the person who is poor in spirit is happy, content and satisfied in life.  He doesn’t say those who are poor in external things and lacking in physical needs.  He is talking about having a bankrupt spirit that recognizes it’s need for a Savior. When you come to the place in life that you recognize all you are and all you have is because of a God and Savior loving you, you become determined to trust Him for every breath you take and every move you make.  You understand that you have been given life to complete an assignment here in this world. You also know that God has given you all the resources you need to fulfill that mission.  You no longer believe that you worked hard all your life to accomplish the things you have done.  You know that all that you are is because of your heavenly Father that loves you and has led you every step of the way.

The verse goes on to say when you are poor in spirit, you belong to the kingdom of Heaven and that is where your citizenship and home truly is.  Even though you are in this world called Earth, you have dual citizenship because you have only been sent here to work for a few years.  Your life is led by the heart of God and His way of living successfully.

Today, I want to encourage you to become poor in spirit.  Take some time to talk to your heavenly Father about what He has brought you through in your life so far.  Thank Him for all He has given you and all He has led you through.  Let Him know that you recognize His hand is the reason for all you have become so far.  Then spend some time talking to Him about what He will lead you to next and thank Him for always being involved in your life even the times when you didn’t realize He was looking.  Take some time to meditate what it means to be a citizen of heaven right now in this world even though you are not there yet. Then, tell Him you trust Him to provide all you need to finish the course He has you on today.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:1-12

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 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.

October 19, 2021

Follow Me

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19

Can you imagine walking up to someone and saying, “Follow me!”  Forget about the making of fishers of men part for a second and just think about it.  Where would they follow you and what would they learn if they were following you.  Maybe you have some followers if you have a business, lead a team or ministry somewhere.  Are they following your example, or do they only do what you tell them to do regardless of what your behavior?

So, Jesus told Simon and Andrew to follow Him. To them this meant that they would leave their business of fishing, leave their homes to travel with Jesus and leave behind all the relationships they had up until that point.  There is no indication from scripture that they struggled with this calling.  The passage says immediately they left what they were doing to follow Him.  They believed they met the Messiah and that they would be part of His liberation of Israel from Roman oppression.  It didn’t take long, however for them to realize there wasn’t going to be a revolt, Jesus was showing them how to gather up people into the Kingdom of heaven.  He said: Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.

It is interesting that He said I will MAKE you fishers of men and not I will show you how to be fishers of men.  As we read further down the passage, we see that as they followed Jesus and served in His ministry, they were close to all the miracles and wonders He was doing wherever He went.  It didn’t happen overnight, but the more time they spent with Jesus, the more they became gatherers of people.  Finally, after Jesus’ resurrection, on the day of Pentecost, the disciples gathered more in one day than they had the entire three years that they were with Jesus.  Because of the time they spent with Him and obeying His command to go and wait until the Holy Spirit filled them with His power, they truly became fishers of men and turned the world upside down with their witness. (see Acts 17)

Jesus gives the same call to us today.  He wants us to follow the leading of His Spirit and fill up with His power to gather up the people of our day.  Those that we work with, those in our neighborhoods and those throughout our communities.  The closer we walk with Him the more effective we will be.  It will require setting aside some quiet time with Him each day to press in and grow your relationship with Him.  Learn to hear His voice and direction and He will lead you in demonstration of His power.  Soon you will be gathering up people all over the entire world.

Today I want to encourage you to follow Him.  Press into Him each day and learn what mission He has for you to follow Him in.  Ask Him about who He would have you to reach out to each day.  Whether to encourage, pray with or simply sit with and let them know the love God has for them.  Follow Him in your daily walk and His presence will MAKE you fishers of people.

Today’s scripture reading:  Matthew 4:18-25

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. 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 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 Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

October 18, 2021

Who’s next

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:12-17

Here we go!  Jesus begins His public ministry and surprisingly, His message is the same as John the Baptist’s was.  Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is coming.  I like the wording of this scripture in the NJKV because it says the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Jesus was telling the people of His day that the kingdom of God was within their reach.  When Jesus finished His ministry here in the world, he passed the torch to the disciples who also preached the kingdom of heaven.

So, what exactly is the kingdom of heaven that John, Jesus and those after them were talking about?  Were they talking about the place where God lives in Heaven beyond this world and universe?  Where they talking about when Jesus will set up His kingdom here on the earth?  No, the kingdom of heaven that they were talking about is kingdom principals that govern the life of a person submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is why they taught the people that kingdom living was available right here in this world.  Sure, sin is still here and will continue, but within the body of Christ, the people of God, there is a different kingdom.  The kingdom of light.  So now we have the light right in the middle of the darkness.  We live in the dark world, but the kingdom of heaven, the Light, lives in us.  When we live our lives the way Jesus lived His life, we are the light that this dark world is desperately needing.

We are the light by loving the lost and hurting people of the world, but we also have the same message that Jesus had.  We tell others about the life of repentance and walking in the kingdom of light so that when we are gone, they can continue the work that Jesus started thousands of years ago.

Today I want to encourage you to be the light wherever you go.  Don’t gossip and complain like those without a Savior do.  Instead, be kind, loving and generous to all who are outside so that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)  Then teach them how to share the message of repentance and to love others the kingdom of heaven way, so that they will continue this work long after you are gone from this world.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 4:12-17

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 is at hand.”

October 17, 2021

The Sword of the Sprit

“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.’ ”  Matthew 4:4 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’  Matthew 4:7  Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”   Matthew 4:10-11

These verses in Matthew were taken from the passage when Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  I wanted to highlight Jesus’ responses because He responded with divine wisdom, but not beyond what we can do.  He is our ultimate example, and if we follow what He did in His life we can be successful in our life.

So, in this passage, He gives us such a clear path to follow when we face temptation.  First of all, if Jesus was tempted, we know it isn’t sinful to be tempted.  It is only sin when you yield to temptation.  Next, Jesus is clear on how to resist it.  He doesn’t argue with Satan, He doesn’t ignore or avoid the temptation.  He pulls out His Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Eph. 6) Each response He gives to all of Satan’s temptations are quotes from God’s Word.  That is why the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:13 that with temptation, we always have a “way of escape”.  That “way” is the Word of God!

When you read this passage in full, notice that Satan also quoted Psalms 91 (He will give His angels charge) to Jesus to try to trick Him.  But the power of God’s Word was only released when spoken in faith from the mouth of Him who believed it.  Jesus. God’s Word has that same potential for power when we speak it in faith, but we have to believe it.  We know that faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of God according to Romans 10:17.  That is why it needs to be spoken out loud.  So, we continually “hear” it to grow our belief and faith.  The verse doesn’t say faith comes from reading and reading the Word of God, we must hear it.

Today I encourage you to start overcoming temptation by speaking God’s Words every day, then believe what you hear.  The difference is speaking in faith and believing, not simply knowing what God said!  Follow the example Jesus gave us and draw your Sword of the Spirit to take down temptation as soon as it comes.  Speak the truth of God’s Word to the enemy’s lies and defeat him every time!

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 4:1-11

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 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.’ ” 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 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.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 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, “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.