Monday, July 24, 2017

Blocker


Matthew 23: 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

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After searching for the right programs and the right people with the right aged children, our church home was finally found. It had a normal cadence, a coffee shop and a book store. I was now part of “Insert church name” and proud of it. We did not exclude, but for some reason the crowd was full of high income people.

  • GOD wants me to be careful of becoming blind.
  • GOD wants me to be careful of falling into the habit of church.
  • GOD wants me to be careful not to “Block” others from the kingdom unintentionally.


After a while I did not see the poor or widows or hurting people. Only smiling faces with no financial worries at all. The right things were said and the buildings were huge, but GOD wanted something different for me.

  • GOD wants me to help the widows.
  • GOD wants me to be sincere about my prayers, not just make long ones and compare them to others.
  • GOD wants me to seek the lost and not just sit in church.


I must admit, having a church with all the amenities felt great, but my senses became dull to my neighbor’s needs. “Invite them to church” was the mantra versus “Lead them to CHRIST and send them out to do the same.” I still love that church and I did become part of their outreach group which was a much smaller crowd. I need to heed GOD’s warning of hypocrisy.

  • Are you looking for church to be a club?
  • Do you exclude people by the way they dress, or how they look?
  • Can you consider the widows and other hurting people in your prayers to GOD today?


Friday, July 21, 2017

Life’s Elevator

Matthew 23: “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

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“Making it” was top of mind. I tried not to step on people, but if a person got in my way, they were in trouble. I did get the title and it felt great to have the “respect.”

  • Seeking places of honor can sometimes make me blind.
  • Seeking to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces can sometimes puff up my head.
  • Seeking a title or a position of status can sometimes lead me to think I am better than I am.


JESUS makes it clear that HE is the only instructor and the FATHER is the only father. Anyone who seeks to have the spotlight on themselves in the church will be knocked down.

  • GOD wants me to humble myself so HE will not have to.
  • GOD wants me to humble myself so HE can use me HIS way.
  • GOD wants me to humble myself so HE can exalt me.


When I am in a humble position I celebrate more. I mean when GOD raises me up, even a little, I am thankful and I cheer. On the other hand, when I seek a title that I feel I “deserve” and do not get it, I pout and life is quite miserable. GOD wants me to be a servant no matter what title or position HE gives me. Serving others as HE served me is the highest honor!

  • Are you trying to get a title?
  • Do you feel you “deserve” better in life?
  • Can you seek to serve rather trying to exalt yourself?


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lighten the Load

Matthew 23: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

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Perfection was my desire as I cast the vision to my employees. I only had a few people working for me but I had some grand ideas! “This is a lot of work” they said. “Keep going” I told them. When funding dried up I had to do it myself. “Wow, this is a lot of work” I realized.

  • Practicing what I preach is not always easy.
  • Practicing what I preach is not always top of mind.
  • Practicing what I preach is not the first thing on my mind when I expect someone else to be perfect even when I’m not.



JESUS saw through the pastors and teachers of the day. HE saw their desire to be the “boss” rather than the employee. HE saw that in me as well. BUT GOD has a remedy.

  • GOD wants me to serve others especially when I am the boss.
  • GOD wants me to show people how to carry the load by carrying my own.
  • GOD wants me to help others with their load.


“Amazing” should be the word people have of GOD when leaving my presence. They should not feel more burdened or bothered. GOD will convict, convince and contrive in those who are HIS. I do not have to force people to do hard labor to serve GOD cheerfully. GOD wants me to lighten loads.

  • Are you placing heavy loads on people?
  • Do you place loads on others that you have not done yourself?
  • Can you stop placing heavy “churchy” burdens on people and lighten their load so they can see GOD?


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No More Traps

Matthew 22: 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

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“Why?” is the question I asked GOD. “If YOU are GOD, the why” fill in the blank with whatever question. I asked this on many occasion. I never got an answer.

  • Sometimes I question GOD’s authority.
  • Sometimes I question GOD’s power.
  • Sometimes I question GOD’s position on matters.


Supremacy of GOD is what I question. I mean “Why does GOD allow ‘that’ person to get away with seemingly everything?” Usually I ask that question when I am not getting my way. JESUS quiets the Pharisees and Sadducees for good. No more traps were set because they were made to look like fools.

  • GOD wants me to learn to believe in HIM without question.
  • GOD wants me to grow in faith so I can throw away my sinful questions.
  • GOD wants me to ask without doubting, knowing HE will answer the right questions.


Questioning GOD’s authority has never yielded a favorable answer to any human. Asking HIM “What would YOU like me to do LORD?” always yields fruit. GOD does not mind questions, as long as they point towards growth in me and HIS kingdom.

  • Are you trying to trap GOD?
  • Do your words try to trap others?
  • Can you stop trying to twist situations and ask GOD to lead you?


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Just like Me

Matthew 22: 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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One guy would break into our garage regularly. A group would let their dogs loose to poop on our lawn. The kid across the street would laugh at me and try to pick fights. I saw him throw bologna at me. I did not like those neighbors very much!

  • There are some people who seem to grate on my last nerve.
  • There are some people who tend to make me want to complain about them.
  • There are some people who seem to get their way while I take a back seat!


JESUS says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The problem is I like myself and I didn’t like them. HE was speaking about something higher than bologna being thrown at me. GOD wants something else from me.

  • GOD wants me to love HIM with all my heart and with my soul and with all my mind so I can understand what HE has done for me.
  • GOD wants me to love my neighbors as I love myself so I can stop being selfish.
  • GOD wants me to know that everything said and done in the Bible was because of GOD’s tremendous love!


GOD so loved me that HE gave HIS only begotten SON that if I believe in HIM I will not perish but have everlasting life. For GOD did not send his SON to me to condemn me, but to save my soul through HIM.

My neighbors should receive my best even when they give their worst. This is sometimes hard but not as hard when I focus on loving GOD as HE loved me.

  • Do you have difficult people around you?
  • Can you stop looking at their difficulties and see a creation of GOD?
  • Will you take the poison out of your heart and ask GOD to fill it with love for those who are hard to love?


Monday, July 17, 2017

Know the Power

Matthew 22: 23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

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Rain poured down in sheets but I kept going. Visibility was low but I could still see. I hit a puddle and the car went into a skid on an expressway loaded with cars and trucks. When the car came to a stop I was blocking two of three lanes because I was sideways. I turned the car straight and kept going.

  • Some days I need the power of GOD.
  • Some days I face some serious trouble.
  • Some days I need something miraculous to happen.


Protection is only a tiny part of GOD’s amazing power. Unfortunately the Sadducees read the scripture and listened only to what they wanted to hear. They tried to trap JESUS instead of being amazed at HIS true power.

  • GOD wants me to know the scriptures.
  • GOD wants me to know the power.
  • GOD wants me to know the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT as the only source of power.


Doubt comes from lack of belief or knowledge of GOD’s amazing power. It leads to questioning GOD in weird ways, like the Sadducees. BUT GOD has the power to overcome my doubt. HE steps in when I am in need and shows HIS might. GOD is truly amazing!

  • Do you doubt GOD’s power?
  • Do you think GOD is a distant concept?
  • Can you stop looking at things from human eyes and search the scripture to learn of GOD’s amazing power?


Friday, July 14, 2017

Trapped

Matthew 22: 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

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Hour upon hours I spent collecting my facts. I was finally going to catch this guy in his slippery ways. I was going to lay my trap that he could not get out. When I got in his boss’s office he was there. Their question was about something I was supposed to be doing, but had not time due to my collection of evidence. I was caught in yet another trap!

  • When I try to trap people I get caught in the trap.
  • When I try to bring someone down I am the one who falls.
  • When I try to make someone look bad, I am the one who winds up looking terrible.


Time is precious, yet the Pharisees spent an enormous amount of it scheming against JESUS. I did the same. I should have been working instead of trying to gain vengeance that GOD owns. Laying traps for people is as slimy as the person I am trying to trap. GOD wants something different.

  • GOD wants me to be the person of integrity so I don’t have to trap anyone.
  • GOD wants me to state the truth without bending it so I will not fall into any trap.
  • GOD wants me to stay focused on HIM so human traps will fall off of me.


Snares, traps and deceptions are not the way of the LORD. HE does not want me to play games like that rather HE wants me to be courageous enough to stand for the truth and tell the truth. By following JESUS’s example, I do not need to lay traps for anyone.

  • Are you trying to trap someone?
  • How much time do you spend brooding over “that” person?
  • Can you remove the hatred from your heart by asking GOD to fill it up today?