Friday, June 23, 2017

Faith of the Cup

Matthew 20: 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

21 “What is it you want?” he asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

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“LORD I choose to follow YOU” were my words as I reviewed my ambitions. I wanted to change for the better so things would go smoothly for me. No sooner than I spoke these words, it seemed as if life got harder, much harder. “Wait, I thought life would be easier if I followed CHRIST.”

  • I used to think following CHRIST would make life easier.
  • I used to think following CHRIST would make my life problem free.
  • I used to think following CHRIST would make all of my issues go away.


Heaven on earth was what I sought and this was my mistake. Following GOD not only meant dropping some bad habits, it meant I needed to mature in understanding HIM. HIS love for me is everlasting in spite of what is going on.

  • GOD wants me to be mature enough to see HIS love in the middle of the storm.
  • GOD wants me to understand HIS ways so I do not misinterpret HIS love.
  • GOD wants me to open my eyes and follow HIM no matter what is going on around me.


“”Can you drink from MY cup?” is what he asks the sons of thunder and me. JESUS knows in life I will have an opponent that is sly and cunning. HE knows battles will come daily and my hope needs to be placed in HIM. I have faith in the cup.

  • Are you going through a trial?
  • Do you think you are all alone even when there is a crowd around you?
  • Can you stop focusing on the circumstance and focus on GOD?


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Making it Clear


Matthew 20: 17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

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How much more clear could JESUS have made it. I mean HE specifically said church people would kill him. Regular attendees of church would hate HIM so much that they would desire to get rid of the nuisance!

  • GOD wants me to see HIM as the solution not the problem.
  • GOD wants me to understand HIS love not human hate.
  • GOD wants me to speak life not death.


JESUS is the primary conversation I should have on my lips daily. HE said HE would be raised from the dead and was. Only GOD could say this and do it. HE was very clear about saying who HE “is” and what HE did. JESUS is my savior.

  • Are you looking for something and are lost?
  • Do you find yourself empty?
  • Can you look to JESUS as the one who can fill your life with glorious excitement?


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Same Wage

Matthew 20: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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“How are we getting the same pay?” I exclaimed in my mind. This guy does nothing but play golf and guess at things, then he comes to me for answers!

  • I have been jealous over some else’s position.
  • I have been upset over someone else’s rewards.
  • I have been envious when someone gets treated the same as me for doing less.


JESUS says “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” This story sounded unfair at first but HE was speaking of the kingdom of heaven in which no one deserved it at all. In heaven people will look over at me and say “How in the world did this person get in?”

JESUS wants me to accept my wages gratefully, so much so that I go out and recruit more workers for the vineyard.

  • Are you jealous over what others are receiving?
  • Do you feel that you should have more and are mad at GOD?
  • Can you drop your anger and allow GOD to bless you and receive thanks from you?


Monday, June 19, 2017

Leaving Home


Matthew 19: 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

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Sun glared in my face as I drove to my new town. I was just about to start my new job and I was finally on my own. The reason I was leaving home seemed to be clear at the time. I was supposed to work like everyone else, right?

  • In the past I put a tremendous emphasis on work.
  • In the past I place a high amount of effort on work.
  • In the past I studied for jobs, begged for jobs and lost sleep over jobs.


Employment was the number one thing on my mind. I was groomed by people to be employed at “higher” levels. There was nothing more important than employment, or was it?

  • GOD wants me to leave my home for a purpose, namely HIM.
  • GOD wants me to leave my home for a single reason, for HIM.
  • GOD wants me to leave my home for HIS sake so that I will inherit eternal life.


Following GOD means losing my life. I can pursue all the riches of the world, becoming “first” and lose my soul. BUT GOD did not want that for me, HE died specifically for me so that I would live. Because of HIS resurrection HE will renew all things and with my belief I will be there with HIM. Leaving home should be celebrated by all if my pursuit is for GOD.

  • Why did you leave home?
  • Are your pursuits inclusive of GOD?
  • Can you reduce your ambitions to include GOD’s ambitions in your life today?


Friday, June 16, 2017

Lifejacket

Matthew 19: 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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“Lifejacket” I thought to myself. “Why would I need one of those? Will we sink? Is this boat safe? This was my reaction to my first boat ride in a small two oar boat. I clung onto what I thought would save me and did not enjoy the trip, at first.

  • I have clung onto things I thought would save me.
  • I have broken my neck to remain “insured.”
  • I thought doctors, investors and insurance people could protect me.


One item I could not protect with my lifejacket was my soul. As precious as I thought my body was, my soul was so much more important. JESUS talks about this with HIS disciples. “Who then can be saved?” they asked in response to the wealthy having a difficult time entering heaven.

  • GOD wants my total trust in HIM
  • GOD does not want me to think I can save myself by “my” wealth or diet or exercise.
  • GOD wants me to place an impossible task in HIS hands and allow HIM to wipe away my mountain of sins.


It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven mainly because wealth blinds. With extreme wealth, family and friends soon look like problems rather than sheep who need feeding. JESUS wants me to see others around me who need HIS kingdom. HE especially wants me to see that I need HIM more than anything.

  • Are you chasing wealth?
  • Are you blinded by your things?
  • Can you seek GOD first before you seek wealth?
  • Will you allow GOD to steer you in HIS direction today?


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Perfect Life


Matthew 19: 16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

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Upgrading to a luxury vehicle felt great! I filled out the company forms and drove off in my company car, praising the company! Important people rode in the car and I kept it neat as a hospital. Never once did I give the poor a ride.

  • There were times wealth blinded me.
  • There were times I treated GOD as yet another achievement.
  • There were times when I like things and GOD was an afterthought.


GOD got HIS “cut” each week when it was easy to write a check, but HE wanted so much more. HE removed me from that position and visited with me.

  • GOD said to me “I provide you with shelter to execute MY purpose.”
  • GOD said to me “I give you transportation to bring MY people along.”
  • GOD said to me “I give you wealth to give to the poor.”


Ten percent is nothing to GOD if HE doesn’t have it all. What I mean is even when it came to giving, I looked at wealth as being “mine.” GOD has a right to give to who HE desires and if my heart is in the right place, HE can use me to provide. Sometimes I may be on the other side and need someone to give to me.

GOD said “If you want to be perfect” to the man, knowing his greedy heart. GOD wants my computer, my phone, my car, my house, my clothes and my coffee maker. HE wants me to trade them in for treasure in heaven.

  • Are you holding onto things?
  • Has wealth or lack of wealth blinded you?
  • Can you give GOD your wealth and possessions little by little until HE has it all?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Too Important

Matthew 19: 13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.

14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

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Prepping for the meeting was difficult. I only had fifteen minutes with the president of the company and I had to make every minute worth it. “Maybe I will be ‘too important’ to meet with people for long stretches of time someday.” I thought to myself.

  • I sought to make a name for myself.
  • I wanted to be “important” to other people.
  • I desired to be in the exclusive crowd.


Exclusion is great when I am in the “in crowd.” I mean when I am getting the fringe benefits that others aren’t, it feels wonderful, so much so that I craved more. BUT GOD wants me to act differently.

  • GOD wants me to welcome people with open arms.
  • GOD wants me to make time for people who cannot do for themselves.
  • GOD wants me to be available for the little children.


The disciples were trying to make JESUS exclusive to “important” people. These little kids had nothing to offer and JESUS could heal people back from the dead so the disciples shooed them away. JESUS illustrates how open I should be.

HE wants me to make time for people and not see levels or classes of humans. In fact, GOD wants me to make others more important than I make myself. The more I grow others, the more GOD grows me.
  • Are you trying to be important?
  • Do you want to exclude people away from you or the group you are in?
  • Can you stop trying to be important and point people to the ONE who is, namely JESUS?