Friday, April 28, 2017

Heart Thoughts

Matthew 15: 15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”


Thinking I had it all together I was proud to give advice.  As I sat on high, people would come and ask what they should be doing to get ahead. I was moving up rapidly but hit a ceiling. This group of leaders loved strip clubs, prostitutes and lewd discussions. Hmm, but I want to get ahead. I wonder if I should join in.

  • GOD said to me “Your heart is desperately wicked, who can know it.”
  • GOD said to me “Do not trust your heart for it has all kinds of evil in it.”
  • GOD said to me “Empty you heart of all unclean things.”

My problem was the willingness to fill my heart with “whatever it took” to become successful. I may not have committed the same offenses as the leaders, but why did “joining” them even cross my mind? GOD wanted me to stand firm.

  • GOD wants me to empty my heart of all foul things.
  • GOD wants me to meditate on HIM in order to fill my heart with the right things.
  • GOD wants me to open my mouth about HIM and take the good things out of my heart.

A heart transplant was needed. GOD wanted me to fill my heart with HIM versus tradition. HE wanted me to not only “go to church” but hear what was said and put HIS words into action. HE wanted me to build enough character to do HIS will when no one is looking. GOD wanted my heart and I reluctantly gave it to HIM. It is the best thing that has happened to me!

  • What is coming out of your mouth?
  • Are you busy speaking lustfully or negatively about someone?
  • Can you empty those evil ways from your heart and fill your heart with GOD?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Planted or Pit

Matthew 15: 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”


Without reading the Bible, I began to teach Sunday school. I was a corporate instructor at the time, so this could not be as hard. I picked up the lesson and began to wing it. They ate it up. This was easy!

  • When I want to be noticed, I am blind and headed for the pit.
  • When I think I can “wing it” with GOD, I am blind and headed for the pit.
  • When I do not even believe in the words I say or teach about GOD; I am blind and headed for the pit.

I began to pick and choose what I taught in order to get rich discussion going. I stayed away from all the “boring” parts of the Bible and away from the sections that may be offensive. Soon, I was only saying what people wanted to hear. BUT GOD wanted something different.

  • GOD wants me to walk with HIM instead of walking with the crowd.
  • GOD wants me to believe in all of HIS word, not just the easy parts.
  • GOD wants me to teach from studying HIM versus “winging it.”

Living for GOD means I do not point at myself. It means I have to say what is in the Bible, not what’s on my mind. GOD wants my eyes wide open to HIS teaching so I can lead others to HIM.

  • Are you trying to steer away from some of the more difficult teaching of GOD?
  • Do you teach about things people want to hear?
  • Can you stop following the crowd and start teaching what GOD says to teach?
  • Will you allow yourself to be planted by GOD?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yuck Mouth

Matthew 15: 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”


Wanting to fit in, I started using foul language. I did it wrong at first, but like a fine wine, over time I got better. Now that I had the crowds laughing, it was time to graduate to lewd comments about people. Soon after that, I moved on to body part discussions. “Now I fit in! But to what end?”

  • Fitting in feels great only for a moment.
  • Fitting in dullens my senses.
  • Fitting in causes me to do like the crowd, act like the crowd and please the crowd.

I then placed complaints on my cursing, foul tongue and topped it off with slander. Now it was complete. I was no longer a witness for GOD, but I had a nice sized crowd! Blame, bragging and criticism were soon to follow. BUT GOD wanted me to act differently.

  • GOD wants me to encourage versus curse.
  • GOD wants me to praise versus complain.
  • GOD wants me to teach versus rip apart.

When I cleaned up my mouth, I lost a lot of “friends.” Soon I was encouraging people and speaking peace in folks lives. GOD delivered more and more to me. My crowd grew and I did not have to please them, GOD did.

  • Are you trying to make yourself look good by slandering someone else?
  • Do you use foul or suggestive language so you can fit in with the crowd?
  • Can you stop your filth and change your words to praise GOD and HIS people?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rules to Support the Rules

Matthew 15: Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.

They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’”


“Wear a suit to church” was the statement given to me. I actually did not understand why. I mean it was July and I had layers upon layers of clothes on. I asked, “Why do I need to put on this suit?” “Because you have to give GOD your best!” was the reply. I went to church, frowning and hot, but I looked good.

  • Many times I followed human traditions.
  • Many times I thought human traditions were GOD’s rules.
  • Many times I made up rules to support GOD’s rules.

At first I thought making up rules to support GOD’s rules was a good idea. I rationalized “suit wearing” and started to make others do the same. Then one day I went out into the neighborhood and invited people to church. “I don’t have anything to wear” was the person’s issue. I have never worn a suit to church again.

  • GOD sees my rules as a barrier to HIS Word.
  • GOD does not want me to add a “jot” or a “tittle” to HIS word.
  • GOD recognizes when I am following tradition versus following HIS guidance.

Meet on Saturday. Meet on Sunday. Sing three sings. Sing four songs. Dress up. Celebrate church anniversaries. Celebrate calendar holidays. Wear a cross. Don’t wear a cross.

After a while I forgot the primary message “Believe in the SON and you will be saved.” My traditions are quite dangerous. Divisive tones and exclusion are the undetermined side effects of my innocent rule making. GOD simply wants me to follow HIM.

  • Are you making up rules to support GOD’s rules?
  • Do you follow rules and traditions that are not in the Bible?
  • Can you assess the effort you are making to support human rules and give your life to following GOD’s guidance?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Send Word

Matthew 14: 34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.


Hard dress shoes with no socks is the only memory I have of the guy. We were on a mission’s trip in a place where hope was high and money was low. People from all around came to hear us speak. When I spoke to the gentleman, I asked “Do you live nearby?” “Yes, he answered.” “I walked twenty miles to hear you speak.” I looked at his worn shoes.

  • When Good News comes in town, the word gets sent.
  • When Good News comes in town, people from all around come to hear it.
  • When Good News comes in town, hope raises higher than problems.

Humbled by his trek, I took my teaching more seriously. I mean I didn’t want to disappoint a person who walked on a dusty rocky road for hours, just to hear me, and I am not special or so I think.

  • GOD showed me the example that all I need is HIS word to give hope.
  • GOD gave me HIS word to give to others freely.
  • GOD wants me to go to people who are willing to hear and provide HIS healing.

While the people were seeking JESUS as a healer, they more than likely got something they did not anticipate, namely spiritual healing. The crowd touched his garment after coming from all over the countryside to be healed. They touched only HIS clothes and they were healed. JESUS was amazing to them and HE is amazing to me!

  • Are you so excited about GOD that you can’t hold it in?
  • Do you feel led to talk about GOD to a group of people?
  • Can you send word to many people that JESUS is the Savior?

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Doubt It

Matthew 14: 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


After searching for a while I prayed, “LORD help me find my license.” Then it came to me, “Look behind the desk.” It was there. After being in school for too long I stubbornly prayed, “LORD please help me graduate.” Seemingly in no time, I graduated. After job loss and bills were mounting I thought, “I wonder if GOD will hear me.” I doubt it.

  • There are situations that I think are too large for GOD.
  • There are times when the world is coming at me so fast that I think GOD cannot possibly handle this!
  • There are circumstances where I think my sin is greater than GOD’s grace so I doubt HIS grace.

During the winds of life I simply want things under “my” control. I try to place logic around what’s going on and somehow I can’t make things make sense. The question “why” would pop into my mind without resolution. My doubt grew. BUT GOD had a remedy.

  • GOD wants me to focus on praising HIM so I can build stronger faith.
  • GOD wants me to rest in HIM so I can calm down enough to hear HIS voice.
  • GOD wants me to seek HIM versus seeking to always “fix” the problem.

Sometimes it is best to let go of the problem for a while and just walk out to GOD. HE can handle life’s troubles while I take steps towards HIM. Since GOD was only an earshot away, Peter wasn’t far from making it all the way to HIM, same with me.

GOD wants me to have total trust that HE has the situation fully covered. HE wants me to stop looking around and look at only at HIM.  GOD is my complete Savior.

  • Do you doubt GOD?
  • Have you trusted HIM in the past and are choosing not to trust HIM now?
  • Can you drop your timelines and focus only on how GOD is blessing you today?
  • Will you take more steps towards HIM today?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Unseen Solution

Matthew 14: 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”


“LORD, please grant me my prayer” is what I asked. Days later I got exactly what I asked for but got nervous that I would mess up. “What If I don’t do well?” “What if I can’t handle this?” More questions flooded my mind and I began to falter.

  • Sometimes GOD gives me exactly what I asked for.
  • Sometimes GOD instantly grants me favor.
  • Sometimes GOD does some amazing things in my life that I am not quite ready for.

“If you don’t really want it, don’t ask for it”, don’t ask it is what I learned. GOD has said “Okay” to some of my prayers and I found myself in over my head and overwhelmed. I looked around and suddenly began to sink. BUT GOD pulled me through.

  • GOD hears me when I earnestly cry out to HIM.
  • GOD knows I need saving even before I get into a mess.
  • GOD saves me from the turmoil’s of life even when I ask for them.

Faith was the unseen solution to Peter’s problem and mine. When I place my faith in GOD I can face enormous challenges. I have to tell myself constantly, “Don’t look left, don’t look right, just keep looking straight towards CHRIST.” When I focus on GOD my worries diminish. GOD saves me from the waves.

  • Are you sinking?
  • Do you have worries and doubts?
  • Can you stop looking around at your situation and look at CHRIST as your Savior?