Fire Insurance Matthew 11:16-24

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:16-24

Back in the 90’s there was a controversial archaeologist who claimed many finds that “proved” the Bible to be accurate. His name was Ron Wyatt. One of his claims was that of finding Sodom or Gommorah. As you can see form the picture that it burned from sulfur pellets that rained from heaven. It was a pretty bad situation as you can read it in Genesis chapter 19. The men are described as intentionally and continually sinning against God.

If we look at how the world is today, do not we see “sinning” against God willfully, intentionally, and continually? We live in the world after the revelation of Jesus Christ. Sodom and Gomorrah was before. How much worse will God punish those of today?

In today’s passage, Jesus is making the point that all of the miracles that He performed in Chorazin , Bethsaida, and Capernaum did nothing to sway them to repentance! He them proceeds to tell them how bad it could be. Picture this! You are sitting with your family and in an instant it starts raining “FIRE PELLETS” everything starts to catch fire; the house, the fences, crops, even the ground and the drinking water. Pretty bad huh? Jesus said that that will not compare to the destruction that is coming. It would be more tolerable for Sodom than for them.

Shouldn’t his put the “Fear of God” in us? Shouldn’t we get motivated and tell people? Of course we should. We need to stop living in spite of God but live FOR God.

Announcing the One the Only the…Matthew 11:1-15

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:1-15 I occasionally love cheesy movies. OK I admitted in earlier posts that I like the old black belt theater movies but now I’m going a step further and saying that I love goofy, dumb, no sense, cheesy movies like “A Knight’s Tale” with the late Heath Leger. My favorite character is Geoffrey Chaucer played by Paul Bettany. The running theme is that he is the flamboyant herald to the Knight Von Leichtenstein. He is envied by the antagonist’s herald who tries to outperform him at the jousting events. Heralds were very important in those days. It was them who would announce the coming of the sovereign. When the sovereign was heralded by the herald everyone stopped and paid their respect by bowing or getting low to the ground. In today’s passage it would be appropriate to tell the story from a perspective other than Jesus but still highlight Him. John the baptist is in prison at this time and he is feeling a little unjustified. Remember this is the same John who was Jesus’ cousin and “leaped” in the womb when his mother Elizabeth was around the pregnant Mary. (Luke 1:41) The same John who ate locusts and honey while living in the desert. This is the same John who wore camel skins for clothes. Also the same John who was foretold that he would  be the forerunner to Christ. He was also the one appointed to baptize Jesus. He was put in jail because he was the one who told Herod that it is wrong to “be” with his brother’s wife. While he was in jail he probably was at an emotional low. (Ya think?) He probably experienced doubts about what he heard about Jesus. He probably wanted a vindication of what he was teaching was true. So John sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if he IS the Messiah or should they seek another. Then Jesus replied to the disciples and instructed them that “Go and report to John what you hear and see the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.” Then He goes on to add that those who went to see that which was in the was greater than what they expected. It was Jesus’ own herald, the one who was prophesied about by the prophets – John. When we go to evangelize we are in a sense heralds. We are commanded to “proclaim” that the Messiah has come and is coming again. Can you picture if we heralded the coming Messiah like Chaucer did in the movie mentioned above?

We’re on a Mission from God! Matthew 10:16-25

Today’s Reading: Matthew 10:16-25
If someone told you that if you followed him that you would be made fun of, beaten, out-casted, bullied, thrown in jail for false accusations, or killed… would you still follow? What if the person promised that if you did these and endured he would reward you? You would probably base your decision on what that reward is wouldn’t you?

What if that person was Jesus?
Jesus told his disciples at he was sending them out into hostile territory. He says that the tasks that is before them is an impossible task should they choose to accept it (cue Mission Impossible music) was NOT going to be easy. In the book “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” by John Foxe illustrates and records that the words Jesus spoke were correct. They were beaten, fed to lions, crucified, and hated. 
Today we do not hear about the same type of persecutions BUT they still happen. You see the world is an enemy of God. If we live like the world, talk like the world, then we will NOT experience the blessings of God and we become an “enemy” of God. However, if we live for God, follow Him, obey Him, we become the enemy of the World. Jesus says that because of Him we will experience persecutions such as the aforementioned. I have heard it said that if you are not being persecuted you are not portraying Christ. Does this mean that you are constantly going to experience trials? NO! Not at all but Jesus did promise that “those that ENDURE to the end will be delivered.” I think that Jesus means that we go through persecutions so that we may SEE God’s work more clearly. 
Think about this! There was once a man who was so hated that he was constantly on the move for fear of his life. He was “with far more labors,many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times. Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles,dangers in the city,dangers in the open country,dangers on the sea,and dangers among false  brothers;  labor and hardship,many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-27
Yet he still served God and NEVER waivered. How much more should we?
As you go through your day today, think about how many times you “follow” Jesus and how many times you notice that the “world” is against you.

The Faith of Friends: Matthew 9:1-8

Today’s Reading; Matthew 9:1-8
Have you ever seen the commercial that shows people seeing the good deeds of another person then doing one themselves? One person sees another open the door for a mother that has her hands full. Then that person pick up something that was dropped by another. Then so on and so on.
Jesus finishes His trip across the sea and ended up into His own town. First thing that happens is a group of people carrying their friend stops Him him and scripture doesn’t record them saying anything. In parallel gospels they record that the friends went so far as to tear the roof up and lowered the man.
Matthew writes that Jesus saw the faith of the FRIENDS. Not anything about the paralytic. What we can learn in that we must realize that our faith or lack of faith has an impact upon the lives of others.

Faith In Action Matthew 8:1-4

In the last series of devotionals, we took a close look at “The Sermon on the Mount”. Jesus gave His listeners (that includes us by the way) some pointers for them to live as Christians. Most of which tore down traditions that have been built up and enforced by the Jewish leaders.
Now we have come to the point where Jesus has just finished His sermon and is now walking away from the mountain area. A man approaches Him who probably listened to the whole thing. He was a leper. Lepers were NOT supposed to be in public. They were banished from the city to a quarantine area better known as a Leper Colony. They were not allowed to leave even to get food and water. They did eat because family members would travel to the colony and leave food and water by the entrance. They were not allowed to worship either because they were considered “unclean” and had to wrap open sore with strips of cloth. Remember the verse in Isaiah? “All our righteousness are like filthy rags”? Those filthy rags that it refers to are these rags that are wrapped around a leper’s sore. I will not get into the gross details but I think you get the picture. This man not only had faith to come and listen to Jesus and risk causing a scene but he knew that this man Jesus was no ordinary man.
Look at the passage and see what he says, “Lord if you are WILLING. You can make me clean”. The leper man not only breaks away from being isolation but seeks out the one whom he knows can make Him clean. That took FAITH!!!
Also, this man must have been there when Jesus said “Ask and you will receive”. So he did! And the Scripture says that Jesus was so full of compassion that He did not hesitate and touched the man. The Bible says the the disease IMMEDIATELY left him. Two things to note here. First, Jesus touched a leper. The transmission of the disease was by touching. Jesus was so filled with compassion that he knew the man needed a human touch. He had probably had not been touched in years. Second, Jesus had the power over the disease and it IMMEDIATELY left him.
Then what did Jesus do? He told him to “NOT tell anyone but go and tell the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed as a testimony.” Why? So that his healing would be accepted among his people and he could worship again. This man was made whole just by asking.
Have we asked to be made whole? Sometimes we need to ask!

The Foundation for Kingdom Minded Warriors Matthew 7:24-29

Today’s Reading Matthew 7:24-29

Just after graduating from Naval Aircrewman Candidate School, I was sent to SERE school (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). The “survival” portion of the school was part of my favorite. During this phase we learned how to scrounge for the basic needs for life. FOOD, WATER, SHELTER. Food was scarce but we picked leaves and searched for bugs. Water was everywhere because it was Maine during January and it had just snowed. Only we learned to keep our canteens in our inner part of jackets otherwise it would freeze. When that happens you had to wait till it thaws before getting to drink. Building or finding a shelter was the toughest part. You wanted one that gives enough cover that you would EVADE from the enemy but also strong enough to battle against the elements. So naturally it could not be near a dried creek bed in low land or out in a field where it’s hard to camouflage. It had to be under a fallen tree, under a rock, and it had to stand the test. We were “graded” that night when the instructors would hike through the forest and try to find us. We passed if our shelter was hidden and strong.

Jesus said that the person who hears what He is saying and does nothing is like the person who builds his shelter on the sand. You see if you build on the sand it usually meant that it is near a water source or in low lying land. If it rained the waters will rise and soften the ground causing your shelter to fall apart. Jesus says this is what the foolish man does.
However, if your shelter was built properly. It could stand the test of a rainstorm. Jesus used this to illustrate that what He just finished preaching about was a foundation to His ministry and is our foundation to being Kingdom minded. If we listen and ACT upon it we will be like the sensible man who built his shelter upon the rock.
This was the last verse in chapter 7 and it ends Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount”. The last two verses are what is unique and is a transition from this scene to the next. The people who were listening were astonished because He spoke as authority. Even higher authority than the scribes.

Go about today and think about the Points of Jesus’ sermon.
The Beatitudes
Believers Are Salt and Light
Christ Fulfills the Law
Murder Begins in the Heart
Adultery in the Heart
Divorce Practices Censured
Tell the Truth
Go the Second Mile
Love Your Enemies
How to Give
How to Pray
The Model Prayer
How to Fast
God and Possessions
The Cure for Anxiety
Do Not Judge
Keep Asking, Searching, Knocking
Entering the Kingdom
The Two Foundations


Last night I had “Meet the Teacher” at my school. It is always the one day that I dread the most and the day I look forward to the most. I look forward to it because I get to see some students that I have had in the past  and see how they have grown. I dread it because I have to work very hard trying to make a good first impression on those that are coming in to my class.
I relate this to the section we are studying by saying this; We look at Jesus as our Teacher. We are already in the school year and He is in the middle of one of His lectures. Are we listening? Are we taking notes? Are we doing the homework by applying what HE has said in our lives now?
Reflect back at some of the lessons so far in Matthew chapter 5. By the way this is a good teaching practice to stop in the middle of the lesson and go back and do a short review.
Feel free to comment on what the Lord has taught you through these passages.