Daily Word

Matthew 21

Read Matthew 21 – Joyful and triumphant – Beloved, this is the only time our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was recognized by the masses and honored. It is a beautiful scene to picture as the crowds carpeted the road with their cloaks and branches for Jesus.

I get excited by the missing information in :2-3…. Did Jesus have a conversation with the donkeys owner? Were these details worked out in heaven or on earth? Verse :4 says this was the fulfillment of prophecy…. And we know God works outside of time, so maybe all of these details came together way back then?

Heaven is an awesome thing to contemplate. Will it be a grand storytime where details come together in perpetual awe? Will we simply know in an instant? Wondering about it makes me feel like I did as a child counting down the days until Christmas!

Scripture soon changes from celebration to housekeeping as Jesus clears the Temple of those with corrupt purposes (:12-13). And he gives serious warnings about future housekeeping in the encounter with the fruitless fig tree and the wicked tenant parable.

And in between, people keep flocking to him in passionate need of healing. And our precious Savior healed them (:14). Beloved, can you imagine the teaching they would have heard just by being in his presence?

What captured your heart in Matthew 21?

Daily Word

Matthew 12

Read Matthew 12 – Legalism in practice is the craziest thing. My husband and I traveled to Israel in 2019 and had a peek at life under the law. As travelers, we stayed in very nice hotels, but on the Sabbath odd things happened. One of the strangest things to me was the elevator. It had a Shabbat mode where it operated without lights and stopped on every floor so that one would not be guilty of doing the work of pushing the elevator button.

In our chapter, the disciples got hungry, plucked and ate some heads of grain on the Sabbath. The Pharisees accused them of acting unlawfully because of this.

Jesus brings reasonableness to the law with Old Testament accounts of grace, and plainly states. “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” :7-8

The Pharisees took God’s good and perfect law and imposed ridiculous levels of legalism into it – while considering themselves above the law. What a discouraging way to live.

But the crowds sought Jesus for healing and he did heal ALL on the Sabbath. :15 (ALL is a very cool word in the bible…it doesn’t mean most or some or a few, all means all and that’s all that all means.) Their faith took the action of coming to Jesus believing he could heal them and he blessed their faith with healing. It was a spectacular day!

And that’s why we’re all here, reading the Word. We show up in faith to know real Jesus in truth and love. The world is like the Pharisees, pointing fingers and making accusations about Jesus. Yet here he is in Scripture, saving a wretch like me.

Daily Word

Matthew 10

Read Matthew 10 – Something big is happening. Yes, it is time to get to work. The twelve apostles have been present in Jesus’s ministry, watching him calm waves, heal the sick and lame, and raise the dead to life. They heard him teach with wisdom and authority far beyond anyone else. And now Jesus is empowering them to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (:1) He is sending them to the lost sheep of Israel with the message that the kingdom of heaven is near. (:5-7)

Pay attention and note that these men were ordinary, apart from Jesus. Perhaps you need to be reminded, Jesus does the extraordinary through ordinary people. He had great and specific work for the twelve, and he has work for you too. Listen and walk close to Jesus. You are important. There are things only you can do. There are people only you can reach.

But back to our passage, notice Jesus tells them to preach, to heal, raise from the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons and give freely as they have freely received. He tells them not to take provisions of any kind. These are unique instructions for this mission. Jesus warns them it will be perilous.

Jesus says some challenging things like verses :34-39. It is not time to be pleasant and sugar coat things regardless of the cost. “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” :39

This news would shake the Jewish culture. Jesus changes everything.

Daily Word, Uncategorized

Matthew 8

Read Matthew 8 – Life with Jesus is unique to the individual. Our chapter gives us great details on the healing of 5 specific people from very different walks of life; all healed by Jesus in different ways. Beloved, may this remind you that you aren’t like anyone else. Jesus loves you and wants to care for you uniquely and specifically and all that is needed on your part is faith.

Verse :3 is so loving, the first thing Jesus did to heal the leper was touch him. This man would have been such an outcast. It may have been years since he felt human touch, and Jesus touched him and commanded, “Be clean!” And the man was healed of his leprosy. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone, but to show himself to the priest and offer the gift commanded by the law. This would have restored the man within society, healing him emotionally after the years of living “unclean”. Beloved, Jesus never heals ‘just a little’. Jesus restored this man’s life on every level with this short encounter.

Jesus notes that not everyone is ready to follow him with the examples of the teacher of law, the man who wanted to bury his father first (incidentally, this was an expression that the man was not ready yet to follow Jesus. His father may have been years or even decades away from death), and even the entire town of Gadarenes, who pleaded with Jesus to leave in response to his healing the two demon possessed men.

As you read through these accounts of Jesus, ask yourself which situation is closest to your heart. Are you ready to trust Jesus with every aspect of your life? Is there a need you are holding back from him? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you in Matthew 8?

Daily Word

Matthew 4

Read Matthew 4 – It’s go time!  Jesus’s ministry is launched in a big way.  First he prepares by fasting in the desert and the devil comes along and tempts him.  There is a verse in 1 John 2:16 that says every sin can be summed up as ‘the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.’ Satan hits Jesus with every one of these and Jesus stands on the Word to overcome every temptation.   

Remember, Scripture is the sword of truth (Ephesians 6); it is what we fight with!  Would you give some thought to the sins you have faced, whether you overcame them or fell.  Use your hindsight and the way Jesus overcame temptation to prepare yourself for the next time.

Jesus begins preaching in Galilee, fulfilling another prophecy.  His message is clear, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  :18 And it hasn’t changed all these years later.

Jesus calls his first disciples, Simon Peter and his brother, Andrew.  Scripture records that Jesus said, “Follow me,” and they left their fishing nets on the spot!  (my paraphrase :19-20)  Next he calls James and John and they also left everything and came immediately. 

As Believers we are called to a brand new life.  Would you say you left everything to follow Jesus?  What are you holding on to?

Jesus begins healing the sick and preaching the good news.  As I read through :23-25 the enormity of all he was doing really grabbed me, yet our humble Savior simply summarizes it in 3 little verses.  Jesus was teaching, preaching and healing, news spread, and large crowds followed.  

Beloved, life with Jesus is never boring. 

Daily Word

Mark 7

Reflections on Mark 7 – The theme of our chapter is sincerity.  It begins with condemnation against the Pharisees for their legalistic corruption of God’s laws, by putting their tradition of ceremonial (done so that others could see) handwashing over true, loving, God-honoring obedience.  Jesus cares most of all about the condition of one’s heart. If it is reflecting evil, and :21 spells it out, that person has missed the mark.

Verse :24 “Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre.  He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret.”  Beloved, Jesus couldn’t keep his presence a secret; may your lesson be that YOU are not to hide Jesus.  If He is truly in your heart, your home and your life, His presence should be evident.  

Scripture goes on to say a woman, whose daughter was demon possessed, found him right away and begged him to cast the demon out.  Jesus asks a question that would not only set her daughter free, but would also create a relationship of faith for this Gentile woman.  Her response has been a power-verse in my life against insecurity… “She replied, ‘That’s true, Lord, bet even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.’” :28  Beloved, this is the kind of faith Jesus will bless!  If you find yourself wrestling with your worth, your significance, or any level of self-loathing,  remember these words.  May you grab onto a crumb and know that it is more than enough.

Then Jesus is asked to heal a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, :32.  He does some odd things, but look closer. Jesus led the man aside, giving him individual attention.  Jesus put his fingers in the man’s ears, touch matters.  Jesus used his own spit, okay gross, but also, saliva has medicinal properties in that it kills germs.  Jesus looked up to heaven, all glory to God.

Beloved, I hope you were blessed by this chapter.  May your heart be pure; may your faith carry you to Jesus, and may you use your god-given abilities to love those He brings to you.

Read Chapter 8.

Daily Word

John 5:1-15

Read John 5:1-15 – No limits!  – There are crowds of sick people at the pool of Bethesda, and Jesus zero’s in on one lame man and asks:  Would you like to get well? (5:6)  It is beyond what the lame man can conceive.  He explains to Jesus why he can’t be healed.  It’s a short exchange and Jesus simply tells him to pick up his mat, and walk.  The Jewish leaders do not like this – mind you – they had much to lose (in their minds) over Jesus being Messiah – their career and social standing for example.  They began questioning the man, but he didn’t even know it was Jesus who healed him.  Later, Jesus finds him in the Temple and tells him to stop sinning or something worse will happen to him.  We don’t know what his sin was, but suffice to say, this man had some baggage.  Beloved, whatever limits you put on Jesus and whatever baggage you are clinging to, it’s time to let it go.  Jesus is right there asking if you would like to be well – what are you waiting for???