Thursday, September 21, 2017

Carried Away

Matthew 27: 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

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We insisted on police protection so we planned a walk-out. When we got outside of the school we had no other plan. Some went home, others mulled around but one guy decided to get on top of a car and stir the crowd.  “I wonder if I should get on the car” I thought to myself, but before I could act on the thought, the police whisked him away. Whew, I thought!

  • Sometimes I can get carried away with the crowd.
  • Sometimes the crowd seems like it is doing the right thing to me.
  • Sometimes I can get caught up in the moment with the crowd.


Pilate based his decision on an angry crowd with no distinct leader and thorough chaos abounding. His wife mentioned JESUS’s innocence but Pilate listened to those in charge of the local churches. The crowd won out.

  • GOD wants me to follow HIM even when it is not what the crowd says.
  • GOD wants me to get carried away with HIM, not the crowd.
  • GOD wants me to understand true innocence based on HIS definition, not the crowd.


Innocence to GOD means I believe in HIS SON as the one and only SAVIOR. Only HIS innocent blood can wash away my sins. I am declared innocent through JESUS.

  • Are you following the crowd even when JESUS is trying to speak to you?
  • Do you think the crowd had a better idea than GOD?
  • Will you allow yourself to be led by HIS SPIRIT by following HIS word today?


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Popularity Contest

Matthew 27: 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

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“Who should I pick for the team?” I asked. I had someone in mind, but figured I would ask the question anyway. A name was given to me that was different than I expected. “I wonder if everyone knows this person” I thought to myself.

  • There have been times I have made decisions based on popularity.
  • There have been times I have asked the crowd what I should do.
  • There have been times I have tried to absolve myself from the decision by asking the crowd.


Going with the crowd seems like a harmless solution sometimes. I mean this way I can have a lot of people vouching for me and I can remain “in favor.” BUT GOD says something different.

  • GOD wants me to make the right choice which is sometimes unpopular.
  • GOD wants me to stand for what is right not what is popular.
  • GOD wants me to follow HIS lead which can sometimes be the most unpopular direction.


Keeping people out of harm and guiding them to belief in CHRIST is very unpopular at times. Pilate had a choice to let JESUS go free and get rid of a well-known felon, but chose the popular route to his demise. GOD wants me to be brave enough to decide HIS way even when it is not popular.

  • Are you choosing based on popularity?
  • Do you follow the crowd a lot?
  • Can you choose this day who you will serve, yourself or JESUS?


Amazing Accusations

Matthew 27: 11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

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“No I didn’t” was my instant reply when I was falsely accused. “I wasn’t the one! It was him” I said with extended finger. Of course I was right, but they labeled me as a rat who would tell on the mischievous. I was only trying to protect my hide!

  • There were times I blamed others.
  • There were times I made sure everyone knew the source of the issues.
  • There were times I covered myself so I would not get in trouble.


JESUS took the blame to the “great amazement of the governor.” HE knew HE was going to die for the sins of mankind and had nothing to prove or protect himself for. The governor knew his word could bring death to people and was amazed that JESUS would not bow down to such assumed power.

  • JESUS showed me HIS resolve by going to the cross and dying for me.
  • JESUS showed me HIS integrity to die for me even when I blamed HIM for my problems.
  • JESUS showed me HIS love by not speaking a word about my sins and taking on my punishment as HIS.


Not a word was spoken about HIS accusers. HE allowed HIMSELF to be captured, beaten and lied on for me. That is love I can never repay!

  • Are you trying to convince GOD how good you have been lately so you can get your way?
  • Are you blaming someone else for your problems even though you may be right?
  • Can you stand with GOD and allow HIM to remove your barriers instead of squirming out of them by telling on people?


Monday, September 18, 2017

Late Regrets


Matthew 27: Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

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Sneaking away from work had become the norm. When I returned, reeking of food smells, my boss had enough. “You lost my trust” he said to me. I did not think my slipping away would have any effect on him. I mean I got my job done quickly so I had time. He should understand, right? Wrong.

  • There were times I regret.
  • There were times I wish I could go back and do things differently.
  • There were times I see that I was the problem and it’s too late to do anything about it.


Judas saw what they were about to do with JESUS because of his betrayal. He also saw that the dirty people around him would not stand with him and comfort him. On the contrary, they would blame him too. He regretted it to his own demise.

  • GOD says to me, “Let me take on your regrets.”
  • GOD says to me, “Let me have your past failures.”
  • GOD says to me, “Let me remove your mistakes, mishaps and maleficent acts.


I can’t go back and fix that situation, BUT GOD did. JESUS was blamed for when I slipped off of work and HE innocently paid the penalty of death. When HE rose from the dead, HE decided to pardon me for this blatant sin. Only JESUS provides comfort for my past mistakes.

  • Did you make a huge mistake that hurt someone else?
  • Do you have past regrets?
  • Can you stop replaying your mistake and let the HOLY SPIRIT give you comfort by forgiving you through JESUS resurrection?


Friday, September 15, 2017

Placed at the Scene

Matthew 26: 69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

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“Weren’t you at [insert place] last night?” someone asked me. I didn’t know why they asked the question so I did not answer it directly. “Maybe, maybe not… Why?” I replied. “Nothing” they said I saw your car parked there and I knew it was you.

  • Some places I would like to deny being at.
  • Some places I would rather keep secret.
  • Some places I would rather no one know but those involved.

Whether it was sneaking out of the girls dorm or seeing a movie I wasn’t supposed to see, my mustard yellow, dented car gave me away. Peter was also given away by being placed at the scene with JESUS. HE was probably seen serving the miracle wine at Cana near the Sea of Galilee. What if she recognized Peter as the one who walked on that same sea. He denied profusely.

  • GOD wants me to not be ashamed of being associated with HIM.
  • GOD wants me to carry my affiliation with HIM wherever I go.
  • GOD wants me to say “I am with JESUS” even when it is difficult to say.


This was a life or death situation for Peter and quite honestly I may have done the same. I would like to think I would have said “Sure I was with JESUS, go ahead and kill me” but this is a difficult thing to say. Peter wept bitterly because he wanted to be great and found out he was like all the rest. GOD forgave Peter and HE forgives me too.

  • Have you denied your relationship with GOD?
  • Have you done something shameful that you are trying to hide?
  • Can you stop hiding your relationship with GOD even when it seems difficult?


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fame Name

Matthew 26: 62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

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One “big boss” complimented me and gave me a little authority. I was excited and decided to use it to fight one of his peers who no one liked. “What are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m dealing with one of your problems you were concerned about” I naively replied. He distanced himself from me and I had to face the other “big boss” alone.

  • There were times when I misused someone else’s name.
  • There were times when I thought I was doing something right when I was using that person’s name.
  • There were times when I coupled my bad actions to someone’s name without asking them “Is this what you mean.”


Misusing someone’s name could ruin their reputation and that is what I almost did. Unfortunately, the Pharisees and Sadducees were doing just that with GOD’s name. They took GOD, incarnated as a human, and slapped HIM in the face. They mocked HIM and spit on HIM and told HIM HE was not GOD, but they were mistaken.

  • GOD wants me to hold HIS name high rather than blaming HIM for my power hungry ways.
  • GOD wants me to follow HIS ways so I can keep HIS reputation unblemished.
  • GOD wants me to be gentle and point my life to HIM rather than being arrogant, putting myself on HIS throne.


Doing the wrong things in GOD’s name is worse than not doing anything at all for GOD. Misusing GOD’s word or manipulating others to follow me in GOD’s name is far worse than people who habitually sin without knowing what they are doing. I hold GOD’s name high.

  • Are you doing the wrong things and thinking you are doing it in GOD’s name?
  • Have you asked GOD “Is ‘this’ what you want me to do?”
  • Will you stop being led by your own lusts and ask GOD to lead you today?



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Looking for Trouble


Matthew 26: 57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

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“This guy has got to go!” I thought to myself. He was causing problems at work and stirred everyone up. I asked people what he did wrong and they could not tell me for certain what he was doing. No one else had the nerve to get rid of this person so I had to be the one. Finally one person came forth and told me about some trivial mistakes. “Maybe I can use this” I thought.

  • There were times when I looked for evidence against “that” person.
  • There were times when I sought to prove my position was right.
  • There were times when I would have listened to false witnesses and been alright with it.


Peace is all I wanted even if my employees may have been the malefactors. It was easier to fire one than many, no matter how “right” he was. GOD wants me to have a different attitude.

  • GOD wants me to stand up for what is right versus following the crowd.
  • GOD wants me to guard against pleasing the crowd versus following what HE says.
  • GOD wants me to seek first HIS righteousness instead of looking at humans who may have hidden motives.


When I look for trouble in a person I often can find it. I mean everyone has problems and I can make their imperfections stand out with the right crowd behind me. GOD wants me to seek what is good not what is obviously bad. HE saved me in the middle of my sins and desires to do the same for “that” person. HE wants me to have grace.

  • Are you looking for the worst in “that” person?
  • Are you immaturely building up evidence against them and getting your crowd to believe in you even if the truth may have been stretched?
  • Will you stop looking for trouble and start looking for GOD’s grace today?


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fight Club

Matthew 26: 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

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“Stand up to him” were the words shouted from the crowd at me. We circled each other and the crowd grew around us. I had not been in this position before, but had seen it many days and was not about to back down. Bored with our circling, someone pushed us towards one another. The fight began.

  • Some days I have had rage.
  • Some days I wanted to fight.
  • Some days I desired to be the one who won!


Being the scrawny underdog, many people cheered me on or at least I thought so. I can’t quite remember seeing how I was getting beat up. The teachers pulled us apart and the thug was taken to the principal. I never fought again but I lifted weights and grew large just in case.

  • GOD wants me to “Put my sword away” and find an alternative to fighting.
  • GOD wants me to “Call on my FATHER” when I am in danger.
  • GOD wants me to “Sit in the temple courts” instead of looking for fights.


Picking fights can spread to other areas of life. At work, at home or even at church I can look for a fight and most of the time I will find one. BUT GOD wants something different. GOD wants me to carry peace instead of a weapon, just as HE did. Though I may have strength, HE wants me to show weakness so HE can be made strong.

In these days of human strength and bullying in business or politics, showing weakness is unheard of and even viewed as pitiful. GOD wants me to be strong enough to bring peace instead of a fight. That is love!

  • Are you picking fights?
  • Do you look to have your way so you practice your words to win the argument?
  • Will you put down your “sword” and ask GOD for peace in your heart today?


Surrounded


Matthew 26: 47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, “Why have you come, friend?”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

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Finally the day was over, or so I thought. I paid my fare and sat down on the strangely open window seat. I figured someone got up and I was the fortunate soul to ride in bus comfort. 

When I sat down the person behind me said something but I could not discern what he said. Then someone sat next to me on the aisle and then two more stood in the aisle. I was being robbed with no way out!

  • There were times I felt surrounded.
  • There were times when I looked around and I could not see friendly faces.
  • There were times when I had no choice but to give in to the difficult situation.


JESUS faced the same thing. An army came to arrest HIM because they thought they were in control. They had seen miracles and chalked it up to JESUS being a person who got lucky and they were going to make HIS luck run out. BUT JESUS knew.

  • JESUS knew HE was going to be arrested and allowed it anyway.
  • JESUS could have stopped them with a mere utterance of a word, but HE chose to be taken.
  • JESUS saw how far HIS betrayer went and still called him “friend.”


Later in life I was surrounded again, only this time it was corporate bullies and thugs. GOD opened my eyes to see that I may be surrounded again and again in life so I should expect it, like HE did. HE taught me to trust HIS protection even when it seems like there is no way out.

  • Are you surrounded by your trouble?
  • Do you see problems on all sides with no way out?
  • Can you calm down for a moment and allow GOD to protect you?


Friday, September 8, 2017

Keep Looking Out


Matthew 26: 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

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With squinted eyes I could not see the bus. “I have time” I said to myself, so I went into a shop to get whatever they were selling. I returned just as the bus zoomed past.

  • Sometimes I drop my guard.
  • Sometimes I stop looking out.
  • Sometimes I get caught up in something else rather than focusing on what I am supposed to.


JESUS found HIS disciples sleeping when HE wanted them to be on the lookout, praying. My guess is that HE wanted to teach them a very important final lesson, but they were not ready to hear it so they slept and the moment passed.

  • GOD wants me to live for HIM daily.
  • GOD wants me to seek HIS face daily.
  • GOD wants me to be on the lookout for HIS miracles daily.


Falling asleep is the equivalent of me drifting away from following GOD. When I close my eyes to wrong I drift into temptation. “The SPIRIT is willing but my flesh is weak” is what GOD says to me. Unless I stay in prayer, the world’s traps will get to me. GOD wants me awake.

  • Are you asleep and cannot hear GOD?
  • Are you trying to do things on your own power and are missing GOD’s miracles for you?
  • Will you stop looking in the opposite direction and look for GOD to solve your problems?


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sorrow Gate

Matthew 26: 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

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Deeply troubled about many things, I could not rest. I woke up in the middle of the night with my mind racing over all the things that were going on. Maybe if I work, then I can get my mind off of stuff. I could not work because of all the thoughts.

  • Sometimes I get worried.
  • Sometimes I get troubled.
  • Sometimes I am so full of sorrow, I cannot even think.


As JESUS approached HIS death HE was sorrowful and troubled. Only HE and the FATHER knew what it meant to be blamed for every sin of mankind and JESUS was going to do just that. HE faced deep sorrow but did something amazing.

  • JESUS showed me how to pray in the middle of my sorrow.
  • JESUS showed me how to ask for the FATHER’s will and not mine.
  • JESUS showed me how to bring friends along to watch over me in my sorrow so I won’t stay there.


Deity wrapped in humanity was JESUS’s makeup. HE knew HIS plight and HIS humanity felt sorrow. It’s alright to feel this way but not stay that way. GOD wants me to open a gate to HIM and pray. HE wants to take my sorrow, guilt and shame. All I have to do is pray.

  • Are you full of sorrow?
  • Are you troubled?
  • Will you pray to the FATHER about your troubles so HE can give you peace?  



In loving memory of cousin Curtis.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Empty Belongings

Matthew 26: 31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

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“You want to go bowling with us?” was the question posed to me. “Sure!” was my answer and it felt great to be asked. “You want to go drinking with us?” was the question. I had never drunk anything stronger than a cola before so I said “Sure!” I mean it was just to have a little fun. “You want to try this?” “This” being a drug… “No thanks, but maybe I’ll stay and have some sex later” was my thought.

  • There were times I wanted to just belong.
  • There were times I wanted to simply be with the crowd.
  • There were times when I was so lonely that I would hang out with the group I knew was wrong.


Denying my principles was pretty easy to do when I wanted to belong. No one had to know I was trying to follow GOD at that moment. Besides, we are all sinners anyway right? “I deserve to do a little sin right?” Wrong!

  • GOD knows I will sin but doesn’t want me to deny HIM in the process.
  • GOD knows I will stray but doesn’t want me to pretend I don’t belong to HIM.
  • GOD knows I will crave what the world has to offer but doesn’t want me to want the world so bad that I would leave HIM.


Peter was told he would deny JESUS. “What?” Peter exclaimed! No way! JESUS knew that Peter wanted to save himself more than follow HIM. HE knew Peter would follow the crowd at a crucial time versus following GOD. I have done the same. BUT GOD forgives me and I am grateful!

  • Are you lonely?
  • Do you have a strong desire to belong even to the point where you will deny your relationship with GOD?
  • Will you seek GOD today instead of hiding behind the crowd?


Friday, September 1, 2017

Betrayal Remembrance Dinner


Matthew 26: 20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

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“Tell us who did it” were the calming words of the leaders. I felt comfortable enough to express my opinion so I told on the person. Later I was told my services were no longer needed. It turned out that the leaders needed me to be a fall guy to expose the problem while they maintained their political status. I was betrayed!

  • Betrayal never feels good to me.
  • Betrayal never brings good to anyone involved.
  • Betrayal may seem like a good solution temporarily, but in the end the betrayer will pay.


Amazingly JESUS ate with HIS betrayer and did not stop him. JESUS continued to eat the Passover meal with a special purpose in mind. HE was performing the law of eating the Passover meal while giving humanity a new covenant, namely HIS forgiveness.

  • JESUS taught me to give thanks before any meal in remembrance of HIM.
  • JESUS taught me to remember HIS blood was shed for me.
  • JESUS taught me to sing after celebrating what HE has done for me.


From betrayal to celebration, JESUS kept focus on HIS purpose. HE watched over HIS disciples all the way to the end. JESUS teaches me of HIS new covenant of forgiveness. I am truly grateful.

  • Have you been betrayed?
  • Do you feel dejected?
  • Can you turn your life to JESUS who was betrayed by HIS own creation?


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Eye of the Storm

Matthew 26: 17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

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After a very long day of intense political meetings I came home on edge. I mean how dare this group accuse my group of what they were saying! When I sat down on the couch, my kids came over to play with me. I had to put aside my brooding so I could focus on those around me.

  • Sometimes I have a lot on my mind.
  • Sometimes life dishes out blows that cause me to replay in my mind over and over what’s wrong.
  • Sometimes the storm of life brings worries.


Hurricanes have turbulent sides but in the middle there is a calm area where everything seems fine, this is known as the “eye of the storm.” JESUS was in the eye of the storm. HE had been tempted, lied on and slandered on one side of the storm. HE would face beatings, mockery and death on the other side of the storm, but in the middle HE does something amazing.

  • JESUS calmly says to me “Relax and I will sup with you.”
  • JESUS calmly says to me “It may seem turbulent but there is peace in ME.”
  • JESUS calmly says to me “I see what you are going through and I want to give you peace.”


In the middle of the storm, JESUS sends HIS disciples out to prepare for a nice calm dinner. HE said “MY appointed time is near” so calmly that the disciples missed the meaning. JESUS knew HE would be murdered and blamed for all of my sins, yet HE was calm. I am thankful for the eye of the storm.

  • Are you in the middle of a storm?
  • Are you highly disturbed?
  • Can you do what JESUS did and calm down enough so you can calm others down?

In memory of those affected by Hurricane Harvey

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Silver and Gold

Matthew 26: 14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

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Desperate and tired of the job search, I started applying for positions I had no experience in. “Hmm, Deep Sea Diver… I went in the ocean a few times maybe I qualify for that!”

  • There have been times when I was desperate for money.
  • There have been times when I was only focused on my bank account.
  • There have been times when I was so focused on money that I would do almost anything to get it.


Stretching my moral boundaries was a thought as I considered positions I was not qualified for. In other words I could lie a little because I figured I would be a hard worker and eventually be the best at whatever “it” was. BUT GOD wanted me to be different.

  • GOD says to me “Be anxious for nothing” even when times look difficult.
  • GOD says to me “The love of money it the root of all kinds of evil” so my desperation could make me go places I may not return from.
  • GOD says to me “I AM your dwelling place” so HE has a right to guide me in difficult times and in peaceful times.


Looking back I can see it was not the lack of employment that caused my desperation, it was my love of money. One would say I was justified in my actions, but I was the same even when I was employed. Judas was the same way.

He saw an opportunity to put a man in jail for money. He probably never considered they would kill JESUS. He would do anything to please the rich so he would have his slice of the pie. GOD wants me to grab my desperation and give it to HIM. HE wants to be my guide.

  • Are you desperate for money?
  • Are you on the path to doing “anything” for money even outside of your moral boundaries?
  • Can you stop focusing on your bills and ask GOD “How do YOU want me to serve YOU?” today?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Performance Evaluation

Matthew 26:While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

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Disturbed by the pressures of the week I sat on the couch drained. My prayer time led to a number of complaints of “what I did not have” and how “this” person or “that” person was mistreating me. With all these things spinning in my mind, I could not rest. GOD can you hear me!?

  • Sometimes I wonder where GOD is.
  • Sometimes I get upset that GOD may not be listening.
  • Sometimes I think GOD is not performing up to HIS potential.


When the woman poured expensive perfume on JESUS, the disciples immediately evaluated her performance as being wrong. They had no idea that she was being led by the SPIRIT to prepare our LORD for HIS death. They were busy looking at achievement. BUT GOD wants something different.

  • JESUS wants me to sometimes focus only on HIM.
  • JESUS wants me to bring HIM my concerns but sometimes focus only on HIM.
  • JESUS wants me to express my worries, doubts, fears and short comings, but sometimes focus only on HIM.


“She has done a beautiful thing to ME” JESUS said to the disciples. HE wasn’t saying they were wrong; it’s just sometimes you need to focus on GOD alone. HE wants my attention and praise just as much as my concerns, perhaps more. By anointing JESUS with my love, I raise HIM over my concerns.

  • Are you extremely worried?
  • Do you feel you need to work harder to please GOD?
  • Can you take some time to focus only on JESUS today?


Friday, August 25, 2017

I’M going to be killed

Matthew 26: When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

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Nervous and jittery, one friend said to me “I am going to jail.” He had already been sentenced and was supposed to report to the authorities the next day. I was stunned. I had never heard these words before.

  • Some news from people can catch me off guard.
  • Some news from people can really make me feel helpless.
  • Some news from people can throw me off for a long time.


Sometimes I forget that JESUS walked around as a human.  I can only imagine hearing the terrible news coming from another person as they say “In two days I will be killed by the pastors and preachers and church goers”, but that is what happened.

  • JESUS says to me “I faced extreme hatred to the point where people wanted to kill ME.”
  • JESUS says to me “I faced difficulties, slander and lies about ME.”
  • JESUS says to me “I could have stopped those who thought they were in power, but I chose to die for you.”


JESUS knew HE was going to face this horrible day because HE was in constant communication with the FATHER.  HE chose to lay HIS life down for me. I am deeply indebted to HIM.

  • Is the death of JESUS real to you?
  • Do you sometimes think of JESUS as a fairytale?
  • Can you thank JESUS for willingly trying to save you?


I Didn’t See Them


Matthew 25: 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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As I stepped into the garage a thought popped into my head, “Check voicemail to see if there are any urgent things to take care of.” When I checked, I had all kinds of messages. I answered them all the way to work and some on the way back home. After dinner, I checked email and voicemail then made a few calls. My neighbor rang the bell. I didn’t know his name.

  • Life can be distracting.
  • Life can be filled with a lot of “stuff.”
  • Life can be so busy that I cannot see even the people around me.


When I look back on the tremendous amount of time I spent becoming “successful” I see that the true goal may have been missed, namely to serve people. I did not reach out to my neighbors to see if they needed anything. What should I do?

  • GOD wants me to open my eyes to those HE delivers to me.
  • GOD wants me to see my neighbors and pray for them as much as I pray for myself.
  • GOD wants me to serve people just because they need to be served.


Rich or poor, GOD wants me to seek those who need to see HIS face. Serving people brings attention to them and possibly they can hear that GOD loves them and cares for them. Eternal life is not just about “me” getting saved, it is about how many people here on earth did I get a chance to plant the seed of life into their heart.

GOD will grow HIS kingdom with each sincere seed planted. HE wants me to see people HE delivers to me every day.

  • Are you extremely busy or extremely worried?
  • Do you see the people around you?
  • Can you stop being so distracted and look at a person around you so you can serve them?


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Okay Do That

Matthew 25: 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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“What will I say?”, “What shall I do?” were the questions that ran through my mind as I went out on my first mission’s trip. After riding for a long time I calmed down but when I got off the bus I felt a bit overwhelmed.  I mean there were people there who only possessed the clothes on their backs. I didn’t know what to do.

  • Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the problems of the world.
  • Sometimes I want someone else to handle the problem of poverty and loneliness.
  • Sometimes I don’t want to know that someone else is hurting because I need a vacation.


Thinking about someone else who had more problems than me was the first hurdle. I mean I had enough problems to have a missionary sent to me. Besides, what was I supposed to “do” when I encountered this person? I was not a billionaire so I couldn’t house and feed everyone. “Maybe the rich should do this!” I thought brazenly to myself!

  • JESUS says to me “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for ME.”
  • JESUS says to me “It does not matter what you do as long as you are serving those in need.”
  • JESUS says to me “Start somewhere because anything you do for those in need, you do it for ME.”


I only had handshakes, hugs and prayers to give to the people. I sat with several and listened to them and prayed with them. We laughed a while and I encouraged a few. When I went back two years later I ran into one person who remembered me but I did not remember him.

“You encouraged me!” he said. “Now I am a pastor reaching out to others. I was excited and overwhelmed again as the words popped into my head “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.”

  • Are you too overwhelmed with your own problems to help someone?
  • Do you feel like you have nothing to offer someone because you too are broke, hurt and lonely?
  • Can you ask GOD to be sent to the right person so you can encourage them today?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Simple Things

Matthew 25: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

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After minutes of belief in CHRIST, I ran into a snag. “LORD what do YOU want me to do?” was my question. Years later, after walking away and returning to serving, I thought things would be easier, but they weren’t. “LORD what do YOU want me to do?” was my cry again.

After serving the rich, powerful and aloof, I decided to follow GOD a little more and was let go. “For real LORD, what do YOU want me to do?”

  • Sometimes I question GOD because I am not getting my way.
  • Sometimes I question GOD because I thought things would be easier when I chose HIM.
  • Sometimes I question GOD because I expect good things to happen and then something bad hits me in the face.


“What do YOU want me to do?” was more of a complaint versus a question. I could have really said “What do YOU want me to do NOW?” as if to say, I am tired of not getting my way. Sometimes I work really hard to please GOD when HE wants the simple things.

  • I feed JESUS when I feed those who are hungry and outcast.
  • I quench JESUS’s thirst when I give those who are thirsty a nice drink.
  • I provide JESUS shelter when I invite people into my home and give them clothes.


JESUS gives me instructions for how to live. It is the simple things that please HIM. I don’t have to be wealthy or smart or accepted by those in power to serve JESUS. I don’t have to coerce or trick people, I just simply have to serve people because JESUS wants me to. It is the simple things that please GOD.

  • Do you think you have to work hard to please GOD?
  • Are you tired of not getting your way?
  • Can you stop trying so hard to get your way and do something simple by serving someone today?


Monday, August 21, 2017

Do something with the gift

Matthew 25: 19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


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“Why am I this way?” I exclaimed to GOD. I mean at times it seemed like I was wrong for every situation. People were telling me how wrong my looks, clothing, choices and personality was for a given situation.

  • Sometimes I feel wrong for the job.
  • Sometimes I feel wrong for the situation.
  • Sometimes I feel wrong for society.


Can’t I just sit in my house and talk to no one? I mean it beats rejection, coercion, blame and other unkind stuff the world dishes out. BUT GOD wants me to do something with the gifts HE has given me.

  • GOD wants me to reach those HE has given me with my personality.
  • GOD wants me to reach those only I can reach because of the way HE made me.
  • GOD wants me to reach those who HE sends me to.


When GOD made me and “that” person HE said it was perfect. This is exactly how I made you and I want you to use that to bring people to ME. When you use your gifts for me, I will bless you!

  • Are you hiding?
  • Do you feel inadequate or making others feel the same?
  • Can you use the simple gifts GOD has given you to bring others to HIM?


Friday, August 18, 2017

Gifts and Talents

Matthew 25: 14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

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“Wow, you are talented” someone said to me for the first time. I was used to being ostracized and laughed at. “How do you do that?” they asked. “I don’t know… I just do it. I replied. It felt good to be noticed for something good for a change.

  • Every once in a while I have been recognized for a talent.
  • Every once in a while I have been recognized for what I could do.
  • Every once in a while I have been given an award or a pat on the back for “my” accomplishments.


After a while I craved positive validation from the crowd and I got it. Soon “I” was the one who could solve any and every problem. I wasn’t thankful for “my” talents.

  • GOD wants me to be thankful for the talents HE gave me.
  • GOD wants me to use the abilities HE gave me to grow HIS kingdom.
  • GOD wants me to recognize that nothing I do comes from “me” rather it was HE who created me.


JESUS starts off the story with an analogy of money as a gift HE gives to people according to their ability. HE gave me my gifts and talents according to what I could handle. I do not need to be jealous of others.

  • Are you jealous over someone’s talents?
  • Do you think your abilities come from you or GOD?
  • Can you acknowledge that GOD has given you gifts and wants you to use them for HIS kingdom?


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Shut Door

Matthew 25: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

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“Where did I put my keys?” I asked myself frantically. It seemed like it took forever to find them! I sped off only to hit some unanticipated traffic near the parking lot. One novice in front of me could not figure out how to simply get the ticket to enter the lot. “Come on!” I screamed in my car. I ran to the gate only to see them shut the door of the plane. My boss was on that plane.

  • There have been times I was not prepared.
  • There have been days when I made costly mistake with my time.
  • There have been situations that I did not anticipate and found out I was left behind.


Preparing for the next day got introduced to me the hard way when I missed that plane, but what about preparing for the “next life?” JESUS tells a story that implies HIS return would take a long time and many would “fall asleep” instead of being prepared.

  • GOD wants me to be prepared to tell people about HIS SON on a daily basis.
  • GOD wants me to be prepared to die and see HIS face every day.
  • GOD wants me to be prepared for JESUS to return so I need to serve people on a daily basis.


“I will serve GOD after I ” is a crazy thought. I will never have enough money, time or health to serve GOD, so why not do it now! GOD wants me when I am busy, distracted and worried. HE wants me to see life’s delays as opportunities to pray for those around me. I should always be prepared!

  • Are you prepared to see GOD today?
  • Are you prepared to answer questions about JESUS if someone asked you about your relationship with HIM?
  • Are you prepared to die and live an eternal life with, or worse, without GOD?


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Servant’s Choice

Matthew 24: 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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Balling up paper was fun. We gathered enough to have about twenty a piece for our game. An empty trash can was our basket. Shot after shot increased our skills. We even adjusted for the wind.

“What are you two doing?” was the question from our boss. “Unloading the truck” we replied. I guess I will not be put in charge of much here.

  • I have goofed off at work.
  • I have fallen asleep at work.
  • I have played games, held phone calls and went out on extended lunches at work.


Dead end job was the label I put on the position and I did not value the position at all. I went from job to job with that same attitude. BUT GOD wanted more.

  • GOD wants me to serve HIM on every job I work.
  • GOD wants me to understand HE sees me and that should be enough to keep me from goofing off.
  • GOD wants me to do in private what I do in public.


The servant who thinks JESUS is never going to return is quite mistaken. HIS return is imminent. In fact, for some, this may be their very last day on this earth. HE suggests that I have a choice, be caught serving or be caught goofing off, mistreating people. JESUS wants me to serve people while I still have the chance.

  • Are you goofing off when you could be serving someone for GOD?
  • Do you think work is more important than serving someone for GOD at work?
  • Can you do your work as if you were doing it for GOD?
  • Will you serve someone or pray for someone today?


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guard My House

Matthew 24: 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

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“Have a drink” one person exclaimed. Laughter filled the air as the libations were poured out. I did not like the taste but I indulged. Later that evening we played drunk games. While I wasn’t drunk, I indulged. I mean it looked like “fun” and perhaps leading to sex!

  • Many times I let my guards down.
  • Many times I have opened the door to my heart to things that should not be there.
  • Many times I went to sleep when I should have stayed awake, guarding my house.


Nothing good ever came out of letting my guards down, not even for a minute. Whatever I was running away from was still there the next day and then I may have added guilt on top of my problem. What am I supposed to do?

  • GOD says to me “Be ready” so I should stop looking for “me” and seek HIS face.
  • GOD says to me “The SON of man will come” so I should expect HIS return.
  • GOD says to me “I will return when you do not expect ME.”


Readiness is not easy, but necessary. I mean I sin, but I sure would like to be caught in the act of serving someone versus harming them. Being ready makes me do the things GOD wants me to do instead of the things I shouldn’t place in my heart. HE guides me to a better place when I guard my heart.

  • Are you giving up on GOD?
  • Do you feel you “deserve” to sin a little?
  • Can you stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back to the strength which is following CHRIST?