Daily Word

Matthew 13

Read Matthew 13 – Fresh fish today! I like parables. I like it when a picture is painted with words to illustrate a truth. I have grown immensely from each of these parables, but today, the Holy Spirit is drawing my heart closest to The Parable of the Net.

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.” :47-48

I once had a piece of halibut in Alaska that was so good I think I cried! It sat like warm butter on my tongue, with just a hint of sweetness. I could hardly chew and swallow because I wanted the perfection to last. I am certain that fish was swimming in the sea just hours before he made it to my plate. I was grateful to experience him.

I’ve also brought fish home from the market only to realize it was bad fish. It looked delicious in the market, but even through the wrapping it stunk up the kitchen. It went straight to the garbage. It was not worthy of being in my house, much less served to my family.

Beloved, we love people who are bad fish, they may look good on the outside, but their hearts are not redeemed. They will be cast down into the fiery furnace. No one likes to think of themselves in this way, but Jesus is not fooled. A bad fish reeks of foulness and a good fish is a delight in every way.

Now, imagine that you and I are having a conversation. We have both just read Chapter 13, and now we get to talk about what hit home. Beloved, that is what I imagine when I post… that the chapter stirs up something in your heart, and that seeing what was stirred in mine inspires you to share as well with whomever is around you. May your joy keep you fresh and inspire those around you to seek Jesus for themselves.

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 11

Read Matthew 11 – Love is a battlefield – the fight for souls is a battlefield – God Almighty longs for us so much that he sent Jesus into our fallen world to live a sinless life, die on the Cross and be resurrected for our atonement; Jesus is our Salvation. His very life paid the cost of our sin… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus and John the Baptist have a conversation through John’s disciples, as John was in prison. John wanted to know if Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Jesus offers the fruit of his ministry as evidence… Anyone could say yes, but the fruit, the healings, restored life even from the dead, and the Good News preached confirm Jesus’s legitimacy. (:1-6) The fruit of one’s life confirms who they are more than their words.

We live in perilous times; evil no longer tries to hide. The battle continues to escalate and verse :12 is a wake-up to the battle at hand. Jesus says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Jesus says: “To what can I compare this generation: They are like children sitting in the market-places calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ “ :16-17

Beloved, may your faith be strong and wise. May Jesus meet you in your prayers to fiercely protect and snatch those otherwise perishing. Do not be like these people Jesus speaks of who are so blinded by the world’s expectations that they miss the truth of who Jesus is and the Salvation that he freely gives.

Take heart in what Jesus offers when he says, “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.” Matthew 11:28-30

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

Matthew 9

Read Matthew 9 – How do you see yourself and where does Jesus fit in? We meet all kinds of people with all kinds of issues in our chapter. Is there one that speaks to you above the others? Perhaps it is the paralytic man carried by his friends, all with faith that Jesus could see? Maybe it’s the calling of Matthew, a loathsome tax collector? Was it the boisterous blind men, who relentlessly called out to Jesus in faith that they could be healed? Are you as persistent with your needs?

For me, the woman who touched Jesus’s garment will always remind me of the way I fell in love with Jesus. Her infirmary was bleeding; mine was insecurity. Like her, I only felt worthy to touch the hem of his garment. And Jesus lifted both of us from our shame; he saw us, healed us, and gave us a brand new life! “And Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘Your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed from that moment.” :22

The way Jesus changes lives is absolutely beautiful!

Many people, religious people, worldly people, rich people, spiritual people and others will say they are fine. They don’t NEED Jesus. And what does Jesus do and say? He dines with the ‘sinners’ and tends to the sick; the healthy do not need a doctor. (:9-13) Beloved, we all have ‘fine’ people in our lives who do not think they need a Savior. Jesus made them think twice that day, as you will by continuing to love and celebrate the brand new life he has given you. May your joy make them thirsty – Amen.

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 7

Read Matthew 7 – Boundaries – Don’t get lost. Live wise, examine yourself and walk close to Jesus as he gives us some boundaries for life.

I was a little confused between :1 ‘Judge not’, and :6 ‘Don’t give dogs what is holy’. There has to be some judgment in order to know who the dogs and pigs are, right? So I looked to the commentators and found David Guzik gave me understanding, “Our love for others must not blind us to their hardened rejection of the good news of the kingdom…. The Christian is called to show unconditional love, but the Christian is not called to unconditional approval.”

We live in trying times, and the world likes to tell us we are judgmental for upholding biblical values. We must not let the lines get blurry lest we divert from the narrow gate. Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” :13

And how about when he says we are to ask, seek and knock? (:7-11) Boundaries dictate that we must ask… the kingdom of heaven is not the default. We must seek and knock… we don’t just get in, there is a door. Jesus cautions us in verses :21-23 that many will assume they are getting into heaven, they will knock, only to be told the truth by Jesus, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” :23

Our chapter ends telling us the crowds were astonished at the authoritative way Jesus taught. May each of us be astonished as well and take his words to heart. JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. ❤

Daily Word

Matthew 6

Read Matthew 6 – Treasure awaits! Our chapter gives some of the most life-giving instruction you’ll find anywhere. Jesus teaches us!

First, he cautions us not to be outwardly religious for the admiration of others, and not to pray long-winded, flowery prayers meant to impress the hearer with little regard for the LORD. Take a fresh look at what we call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. It is structured with praise and adoration first, then agreement with God’s will, a plea for daily need, a petition for forgiveness tied to one’s own forgiveness of others, and ends with a request to guard one from temptation and deliver from the evil one.

Beloved, how often is the Lord’s Prayer recited with little thought about what the words actually say? Remember, Jesus said, “This is how you should pray.” :9 and not ‘this is WHAT you should pray’.

Do not worry. Don’t you love that Jesus tells us this? I don’t know why it seems purposeful to worry when that is a giant lie! Jesus gives us the most peaceful examples of God’s great love for the birds, and the way he clothes the lilies…. He says, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith.” :30 O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH???? Is that a title we want? NO! So let’s believe Jesus and do what he says – stop the worry!

Jesus tells us to simply, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” :33-34

Amen and amen!

Daily Word

Matthew 5

Read Matthew 5 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” :4 – The crowds had gathered, Jesus went up a hill and sat down, and these are the first words out of his mouth.  He sat down, isn’t that a curious thing?  Most teachers would stand, but Jesus sat down like a friend.  

This section is called the Beatitudes, and sometimes the Sermon on the Mount.  It covers how to live all the way into one’s heart.  “Thou shall not kill.”  Most people can go through life keeping that commandment, but Jesus cares about the heart and further explains, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”  Yikes.  We all get angry.  Jesus teaches us to settle the matter quickly, and do not even bring gifts to the altar until the matter is settled.  Do you see how this takes the ‘holier than thou’ right off the table?  Jesus had no room for the proud or fakers.  

He applied the same teaching to sexual purity.  He went past, ‘do not commit adultery’, and explained that even looking at another lustfully is the act of adultery in one’s heart.  

Jesus’s teaching is revolutionary.  You are to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  What surprised you as you read through?  What do you need to surrender?  Were you tempted to think in your heart, “He didn’t really mean….”  We can be masters of justification because we compare ourselves to other people.  The standard Jesus uses is holiness.  

The late Pastor Chuck Smith said, “The man who truly sees God sees himself in truth.”  May you look with clear eyes into our Scriptures and make every change the Lord leads you to.

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.