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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Matthew

An Attitude Adjustment

Though the story of Peter being called to go and share the good news in the home of Cornelius has an overarching theme that the gospel is for everyone, the thing that struck me as I read the account in Acts this morning, was Peter’s attitude adjustment, in such a short time.

Back in Matthew 18:1-6, as the disciples were traveling with Jesus, and learning and growing beside Him as He led them, they were arguing one day, about which among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Somehow, in all of the attention, their priorities had become askew. Jesus quickly set the record straight, “And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -(Matthew 18:3-4)

Fast forward past Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and the impartation of the Holy Spirit. While in Joppa, Peter had been assured in a vision that he was to go to the home of Cornelius, to share the good news of Christ. He willingly went with the men Cornelius had sent, when they had arrived to lead him. “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.” – (Acts 10:25-26) Peter was quick to humble himself and point Cornelius to Christ. Despite the potential draw of being adored by such a powerful person, Peter prioritized the presentation of truth, and maintained his position of humility as a servant of Christ. Because of Peter’s willing submission to God’s call, Cornelius and his entire household came to Christ. Being a man of high position, I imagine Cornelius had a tremendous impact on many people.

Be humble and kind,An Attitude Adjustment

allow the Lord lead;

be willing to give,

as we see a need.

Trust Him to show us,

what we’re meant to do;

listen to His voice,

faithfully pursue.

Seek not position,

of honor, nor fame;

and if it’s given,

point straight to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply, and the reason we are able to do anything good in this life. Thank You for such great examples of change, as You show us how to be more like Christ in what we say and do. Forgive us for not walking in humility, or for not giving credit where credit is due. Thank You that all good that we do, is done in Your strength, and that the life You are calling us to, is only possible in You. May we be invested in You, so that Your light shines through us. May many come to see Your light through our love, and ultimately, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted, our great and mighty God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; … my hope is in You all day long.

- Psalm 25:4-5

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Light

Light of the World

Light of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Genesis 1
King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Light!!!   Did you ever consider the meaning of light and how it is used in the Bible? There are three different ways you can use light in the English language, as a noun, a verb and an adjective.

Definition of Light
noun:1) the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.
2) understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.
verb: 1) provide with light or lighting; illuminate.
2) make (something) start burning; ignite.
adjective: 1) having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light; not dark.
2) (of a color) pale.

Even with the definition you can break it down even further to types of light from natural to man-made, from terrestrial to celestial. Here are just a few:

Man made:

Fire
Acetylene/Carbide
Argand
Candle
Diya
Gas
Kerosene
Lantern
Limelight
Oil
Rushlight

Torch

Natural

Astronomical objects
Sun (sunlight, solar radiation)
Sunset & sunrise
Diffuse sky radiation
Corona
Photosphere
Starlight (Stars forming groups such as star clusters and galaxies and indirectly lighting nebulae)
Bright star (list)
Deep sky objects including quasars, accretion discs around black holes, blazars, magnetars, misc. nebulae, pulsars
Supernova / nova / hypernova
Milky Way
Atmospheric entry (via ionization and/or heating; can be man-made, also)
Meteors
Meteor showers
Bolide
Earth-grazing fireball
Lightning (Plasma (physics))
Sprite (lightning)
Ball lightning
Upper-atmospheric lightning
Dry lightning

A large list I know, but this is just a portion of the different types of light! Amazing isn’t it? I didn’t even begin with the different uses of light! In the King James Version of the Bible light is mentioned 272 times. The first time is in the very first chapter of Genesis and in the third verse where God says “let there be light!”

God said that light was good! And divided it from darkness. He gave us the light of the sun, put the stars in the heavens, and gave us the moon for when the night brought darkness to the face of the earth. He gave us all the materials we needed to make our own light and we have covered the world with it to the point that when you look at it from space, you can easily see where the people are concentrated.

God Himself is our light: 2 Samuel 22:29 For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Even the stars praise Him with their light:

Psalm 148:3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

We can have light in us:

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

He has promised our burden to be light:

Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

God sent a certain man to introduce the true Light of the world:

John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Those that do evil, hate the light:

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Jesus is the light of the world and if we follow Him we have the promise of life:

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the lightof life.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 12:36  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

We are instructed to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light:

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

God is light and in Him there is no darkness:

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Someday soon our reward will be here if we accept Jesus as our Savior and the light of our world:

Revelation 21:23-25 King James Version (KJV)

23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

God bless you and I hope that you found this small work of light, enlightening!

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False Prophets and the True Way

Matthew 7:15-23

King James Version (KJV)

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Isaiah 8:20

King James Version (KJV)

20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them

Galatians 1:6-8

King James Version (KJV)

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

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Take Heed

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Matthew 16

King James Version (KJV)

16 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Is your church more interested in rote and ritual than it is the glory and worship of God? Do you find your self going through motions or doing things because you feel it is required? Are you listening to your Pastor, but not feeling the love that you felt in the beginning? Beware the leaven of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.  You will miss God if you rely on all those things and don’t reach out and give Him worship and praise. He wants more than anything for you to look for Him, he is that jealous lover that must be first, not the afterthought of some ritual that is empty of desire! If you are feeling lost and empty, reach out to Him! Prayer and fasting are wonderful and what Jesus Himself did when He wanted to be closer with God. Would you be happy with a cold and distant spouse? Or would you rather have joy and praise relished upon you? Take heed!

PTG

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Son of Man via Days of Praise

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” (Revelation 14:14)

This is the last of some 87 New Testament references (84 in the four gospels, one in Acts, none in the epistles, two in Revelation) to Christ as the Son of man. Here we see the Son of man coming on a white cloud from heaven (just as He had ascended into heaven after His resurrection) as the conquering King of all the earth.

What a contrast is this to the first New Testament reference to the Son of man. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). From humility and poverty on Earth to power and riches in heaven, and for all eternity—this was His journey when Christ left His heavenly glory to join the human family.

In between the poverty and the power lay the whole human experience, for He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Finally, as Son of man He must die for man’s sin, for “the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:7). Even in heaven He is still the Son of man, for Stephen saw Him thus: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

There is, indeed, a great man in the glory! Christ called Himself “the Son of man” much more often than “the Son of God,” though He will eternally be both, the God/man. He delights to identify with those whom He has redeemed, for He “is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11). “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” asked Jesus. Then we say, with Peter, “Thou art . . . the Son of the living God” (Matthew16:13, 16). HMM

The Institute for Creation Research

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Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-32
King James Version (KJV)
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof

English: Mustard seeds by David Turner Februar...

English: Mustard seeds by David Turner February 23, 2005 Edited by Consequencefree to replace the coin with an SI measurement reference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Parable of the Wheat and Tares

The weeds or "tares" were probably d...

The weeds or “tares” were probably darnel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 13:24-30

King James Version (KJV)

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

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That it Might be Fulfilled

Matthew 13:34-35

King James Version (KJV)

34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

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Why Do You Speak to Them in Parables?

Matthew 13:10-17

King James Version (KJV)

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

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Who is My Mother and Who are My Brothers?

Matthew 12:46-50

King James Version (KJV)

46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

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Things of the World via Days of Praise

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” (1 John2:15)

We must be wary of the world’s “things,” because we are “in the world,” not “of the world” (John 17:11-16). The command in our text is that we are not to love the world or its things, not that we should remain blissfully ignorant of them. We are to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

There are big things of the world like nations and kingdoms (Matthew 4:8Luke 12:30), as well as cares and riches (Mark 4:19), that can sap our focus and drain our loyalties. And there are “rudiments” and “elements” (Colossians 2:20Galatians 4:3) that can twist our thinking and “spoil” us (Colossians 2:8).

We are warned that friendship with the worldly lifestyle and that which espouses the “things” of the world makes us an “enemy of God” (James 4:4). That is because such people embrace the “spirit of the world” and not “the spirit which is of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). Those people speak about the things of the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5).

God’s people may be “base” and “weak”—even “foolish” in the eyes of the world (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). Since the great Creator God has chosen us out of the world (John 15:19), it should not surprise us that the world “hates” those who belong to the Lord Jesus (John 17:14). Hence, the ungodly passions that drive the ungodly behavior of the world, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).

Those passions and the people who embrace them will “pass away.” But “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:17). HMM III

The Institute for Creation Research

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Don’t Hold Back

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And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12KJV

Have you forgiven your debtors? You asked God to forgive you as you forgive others, is He answering you? Are you assuming that you are automatically forgiven without doing your part of the equation? What if you are wrong? Perhaps it is time to take a deeper look at what you have asked for and what you are wanting in return!

Matthew 6

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Do you truly believe in God? Are you resting on His promises? Consider what those promises are my friends! We mustn’t hold back! We mustn’t hold on to our anger or hatred! Those who have come against us will have to face God’s judgment just as we do. We must forgive, we must!!! If we do not we will not be forgiven either!

Matthew 18

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Acts 13:37-39

King James Version (KJV)

37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Matthew 18

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

I have heard people say “God will understand why I can’t forgive them right now”, but will He? Will He look at you and see how you held onto the anger and the hatred until it was a good time to give it up? Are you like the servant who takes the forgiveness from the Master and yet does not forgive the debts that are owed him.

Understand what you are praying for my friends. Forgive others as He forgives you!

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A.W. Tozer : As Holy As You Want to Be

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

It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is most certainly as full as he wants to be.

Our Lord placed this beyond dispute when He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which, in their acute stages, may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled. The problem is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit Him to do so. The average Christian is so cold and so contented with His wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness. Born After Midnight, 8.

Lord, quiet my heart today and fill me with this holy longing. I don’t want to be contented with my present condition; I long for that vacuum of desire into which the Holy Spirit can rush. Amen.”

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit (Photo credit: Glass.Mouse)


Thought for the Day

So much time is wasted worrying about tomorrow that we forget that today is passing by without us! 

Matthew 6:25
“Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life — what you will eat or drink; or about your body — what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Ecclesiastes 5:2
For nightmares come from worrying too much; and a fool, when he speaks, chatters too much.

Matthew 6:27
Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to his life?

Matthew 6:34
Don’t worry about tomorrow — tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough tsuris already!

Luke 10:41
However, the Lord answered her, “Marta, Marta, you are fretting and worrying about so many things!

Philippians 4:6
Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.

Judges 18:6
The cohen replied, “Don’t worry. ADONAI is with you on this journey.”


Thought for the Day

Sometimes it has to get really dark for those who are searching for you, to see your light! If you extinguish it yourself because you doubt, you doom those looking for the light and possibly yourself!

Psalm 18:28
For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Proverbs 20:27
The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

Proverbs 24:20
For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

Matthew 5:15
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Luke 11:36
If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

Mark 4:21
And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

Luke 8:16
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

Luke 11:33
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.


Treasure

My husbands mother was one of those people who take the presents given them and put them in drawers and closets, instead of using them. I never understood the reason that she did so. Perhaps it was because she was very poor growing up and felt that she needed to save them, or perhaps somehow she just felt she didn’t need them. Nobody really knew how much she put back until she died and the family went through the things she left. In a way I can understand this, but in another way I think that it is such a shame. She could have used her treasures, but she didn’t seem to miss them.

I wonder if we are all that way to a certain degree. We try to build up our treasures and perhaps leave something for our loved ones. But are our treasures really the ones that will benefit us? Are they treasures from the earth, or treasures that will benefit us in heaven?

Mark 8:36
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Here in America we are richer that almost all the world no matter how poor we think we are, but perhaps we are poorer that we know! How many people who claim to believe in Christ our Lord, simply go through their days working  during the week, attending their church on Sundays and spending their free time engaged in frivolous activities that will mean nothing when the reach Heaven’s Gate? Do we take our freedom for granted, our ability to accept God as our Savior in relative ease and without fear? Where will we be when we are truly tested? We hear reports of Christians in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and even now in Europe, being forbidden to openly practice their faith or even being killed for their beliefs.

What treasures do we have to compare? When they get to heaven God will open His arms wide and proclaim them His. But where will we be who have had the easy road? Will we stand before Him and say “Lord, my God, I stood when they persecuted others and cried out?” Or will we simply continue on our way blind to the real treasure? Jesus tells us:

Matthew 5:10

King James Version (KJV)

10 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I pray that we have true discernment and realizes that our earthly treasures are nothing but empty promises, like the promises given by politicians. Nice for a time, but when the rubber meets the road, they won’t mean a thing when we knock on the door. I personally, do not want to be one of those going through the motions, living the life of a Christian, but without laying up the treasure that will wait for me when I reach that blessed door and face my Master. I do not want him to say:

Matthew 7:23
“And then will I profess unto them, never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

So many seem to think that earthly riches are what Jesus is talking about when he said:

Luke 18:25
“For it is easier for cameto go through a needle’s eye, than fora rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

We are truly rich here in America! Churches abound, there is usually one just around the next corner. Unfortunately what they preach is often that once you accept Jesus as your Lord and Master, nothing else is required and all you have to do is show up.  They sometimes don’t even care if you bother to read the word of God. As long as you are adding to their coffers they are happy. When it comes down to it, you realize that the treasures they are worried about are not in heaven but here on earth. And to top it off, it isn’t you who they care about but themselves. The prosperity that they teach is for them and not God. When you get past the surface you realize that He doesn’t even enter into it except as a cover sheet to their webpage.

Can we be truly blessed if we have no conception of the pain and suffering that so many others endure in order to serve God? Can we be truly blessed if we have no real idea of how strong our faith is because it hasn’t been really tested? Can we be truly blessed if we have never been asked to sacrifice anything?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Love

This is the main foundation for following Christ and it is at one time the easiest thing in the world at at another the hardest! It is what we strive to do and yet it often hurts so much that it is a battle daily. It is impossible without God‘s help and it is only as far away as our asking for His help.  Those that hurt us the most are often those who are closest to us and yet these are the very ones that we love the most.

You may be asking where I am going with this and I will be honest and say that I am not sure. This is the message that I am getting today. We need to work on learning to love and following Christ’s will. The time is near when it is going to be our biggest challenge. Build your foundation, increase your strength, and expand your heart.

Matthew 5:43-48

New King James Version (NKJV)

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do morethan others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.


Endure to the End

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 24:4-14

New King James Version (NKJV)

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.


The Way

The Way

Do you know it? There is only one way! Jesus is that way.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Not Buddah, not Mohammad, not by any false idol dreamed up by foolish men. Satan tempts man, giving what he desires. The wide gate, not the narrow.
But it is the wrong way!
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. NIV Matthew 7:13
It is so tempting to listen to those who promise God freely. Those who tell you all you have to do is say a word. Half truths that lead astray those who think that He is their true desire. It is only the first step on your journey to accept Him. And only through Him will you find what you are looking for. He is the “narrow gate,” and you have to be willing to give up everything to go through.
“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who will find it.” Matthew 7:14 NKJV
Mark 8:34-35
King James Version (KJV)
34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

Saved from what? Judgment and condemnation! Saved for what? God’s Kingdom!
Dear Reader, take that first step and accept Him into your heart and into your life, but do not be like Lot’s wife. Do not look back to your old life, for surely if you do, you have indicated that Jesus sacrifice was in vain.God knows that you are not perfect. He will forgive you if you falter. But for those who think that they can continue with their old lives just because they accepted Him in one fleeting moment, they are denying Him if they continue on their way thinking that they can do anything that they want. And denying Him is saying that the sacrifice was unworthy. Woe to those who deny Him, they will have their name removed from the Book of Life.
The Dead Church

Revelation 3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.[a] 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You[b] have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

The Faithful Church

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:[c] “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it;[d] for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold,[e]I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans[f] write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[g] I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

If you truly love Him, keep your eyes on the prize and look to heaven for that is where your treasure is, not here on this earth.

Matthew 6:19-21
New International Version (NIV)
Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

There is only one way, and that way is through Jesus, the Anointed One, our Savior and our Lord. Do not be fooled into following the easy way. Do not let Satan convince you that all you have to do is accept and nothing more. He said, pick up your cross and follow me. Luke 9:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 3:9-11
New King James Version (NKJV)
9 and to make all see what is the fellowship[a] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;[b] 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

He is the way but He warns us that the way will not be easy, but instead hard, so why are you falling for the lies that tell you it is easy, just say the word? Is it because you just want to appear to follow Him? Because if you truly do, you must make the effort to do what He asks of you.
Don’t pile up treasure here on the earth and expect it to make a bit of difference when you stand before that Throne of Judgment! Don’t expect to have the Lord open the door just because you believe in Him. Even the demons do that!
James 2:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.

What price are you willing to pay? He paid the ultimate price. He made the sacrifice so that you would have the chance. But it is a chance, not a surety. You have an obligation once you accept, and that is to follow Him. Not through the wide gate, that just leads to destruction.He is the way, the only way, He will not give you more that you can bear, but He does expect something from you in return.
Be warned, it will not be easy, you will suffer for His name. But the rewards are great and the peace that you will recieve is wonderful.

Psalm 34
New King James Version (NKJV)
The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God

A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.


Parable of the Marriage Feast

Hochzeitskutsche

Hochzeitskutsche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 22:1-14

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,

“and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding and they were not willing to come.

“Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ‘

“But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.

“And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.

“But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.

“Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you can find, invite to the wedding.’

“So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.

“So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.

“Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”


Thought for the Day

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12


The Beatitudes

Stained glass panel in the nave of St. John's ...

Stained glass panel in the nave of St. John’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales (NSW). This window depicts Jesus Christ welcoming children and teaching “of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). The inscription on this memorial window reads “To the Glory of God and in Commemoration of all the Baptisms in this Church † Erected John the Baptist Day 1932″. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 5:1-12

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

For they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

For they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

For they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

For they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

For their is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Baptism of Jesus

Appearance of Christ to the People

Appearance of Christ to the People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordon to be baptized by him.

And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

And suddenly a voice came heaven, saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”


Charitable Deeds

Matthew 6:1-4

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

“that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.


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