Author Archives: mmattix

Judges 7-8; Mark 12; Psalms 52, 42

“So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch.  And they blew the trumpets and broke the jars.  They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow.  And they cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!'” (Judges 7:19-20 ESV)

Gideon was simply following God’s instructions on how to defeat his enemy.  Because they attacked at night and with light and noise, the enemy didn’t know what hit them.  God is here to help us when we ask Him to and follow His lead.

“And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not God of the dead, but of the living.  You are quite wrong.” (Mark 12:26-27 ESV)

Jesus is addressing the Sadducees as they question about the resurrection.  Jesus points out that they don’t understand God’s power and those who believe in Him, will indeed be resurrected.

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.  I will thank you forever, because you have done it.  I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” (Psalms 52:8-9 ESV)

Those of us who believe in Him can rejoice like the psalmist.  We can be equipped to fight our enemies like Gideon and trust in our own resurrection.  How glorious to know this!

Kellie

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Numbers 22-25 & Acts 20

In today’s reading, the story of Balaam and the donkey stood out to me.  As a Kindergarten teacher at a Christian school, I tell my students about this each year.  Balaam was not obedient to the Lord by going to a place He did not want him to go and for the wrong reasons.  So God intervened in a unique way:

“But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way of his adversary.  Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.  And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field.  And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road.” (Numbers 22:22-23 ESV)

Notice that the donkey saw the angel, not Balaam the person, but the animal.

“Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side.  And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall.  So he struck her again.” (Numbers 22:24-25 ESV)

The donkey is trying very hard to stay put, but Balaam is becoming more and more frustrated and angry with her.

Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam.  And Balaam’s anger was kindled and he struck the donkey with his staff.” (Numbers 22:26-27 ESV)

Then the Lord took it a step further and had the donkey question Balaam.

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me three times?  And Balaam said to the donkey, ‘Because you have made a fool of me.  I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.’  And the donkey said to Balaam, ‘am I not your donkey which you have ridden all your life long to this day?  Is it my habit to treat you this way?’  And he said, ‘no.'” (Numbers 22:28-30 ESV)

God made a donkey talk to help soften Balaam’s heart.  It doesn’t seem to surprise him that this happened.  They are having an ordinary conversation.  Finally, Balaam’s eyes are opened to what transpired.

Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face.  And the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why have you struck your donkey three times?  Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.  The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times.  If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.’  Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, ‘I have sinned for I did not know that you stood in the road against me.  Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.’  And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men but speak only the word that I tell you.’  So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.” (Numbers 22:31-35 ESV)

After he saw the angel of the Lord, Balaam was repentant and honestly tried to do the right thing this time.  In God’s mercy, he let him go on his way unharmed with only directions of what to say.

Lord, help us to learn from this story that your way is the better way.  When we try to take matters into our own hands, we would be lucky to have a “talking animal” stand in our defense.  May we always rely on You and not our pride in making decisions.

Amen, Kellie

 

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Exodus 25-27; Luke 24

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking spices they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.'” (Luke 24:1-7 ESV)

Easter morning, the morning when hope became a reality.  After the horrors of Friday and the waiting on Saturday, suddenly a miracle burst forth with the sunrise.  The older I get the more I appreciate Easter Sunday.  It is a fresh reminder that because He lives, so can those who believe. It fiills me with such joy that I cannot explain it, and it makes me long for Heaven when I can be with Him.

God is daily close to us when we have a relationship with Him.  He too longs to be near.  Back when the Jews were building and filling the tabernacle, God included details of how to be near.  “And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me regularly.” (Exodus 25:30 ESV)

Then after He is resurrected, His presence is right there with them when they didn’t realize it. “When He was at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.  And He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)

This is the good news that we can be forgiven of our sins if we turn and follow Him.  “And said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  Your are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:46-48 ESV)

Lord, help us to appreciate the miracle of Your and our resurrection every day.  May we realize how things changed eternally that miraculous Easter day!

Kellie

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Genesis 13-16; Luke 4

We are told to trust God.  Let Him handle situations even when His timing takes longer than we would like.  But we tend to be impatient.  I know I am.  Many times I’ve prayed about things and supposedly left it up to God, but then when He’s not moving fast enough I get tired of waiting and take matters into my own hands.  That is what Sarai does in this Genesis passage.  She was too old to have children so she gave her husband to her slave so that they could have a child.  She knew this wasn’t God’s way and that He had promised Abram offspring but she took matters into her own hands.

“And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.  Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.  And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.  So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.  And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.” (Genesis 16:2-4 ESV)

Did you notice the phrase that stated, “And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai?”  Not only did Sarai get impatient, but Abram went along with it.  Neither of them were strong against temptation.  To the contrary, Jesus comes up against Satan himself, but does not give in to temptation.

“The devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.’  And the devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in the a moment of time, and said to Him, ‘to You I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.  If you, then will worship me, it will all be Yours.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”  And he took Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You, to guard You and on their hands they will bear You up, lest you strike Your foot against a stone.”  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, You shall not put the Lord Your God to the test.‘  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:3-13 ESV)

Sarai and Abram believed God but didn’t really trust He would do what He said.  They felt that God needed their help to keep the promise.  On the other hand, Jesus was confronted by Satan with his temptations and his lies but responded by stating the word of God and not giving in.

Lord,

Help us to follow Jesus’s example of standing strong and speaking Your word to fight off the temptations that come our way.  You don’t need our help to make things in our lives come to pass.  We just need to be still and know.

Kellie

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Psalms 102; Revelation 19

I love the imagery revealed in Revelation 19.  When I get stressed out about how crazy this world has become, I take comfort in thinking about what will happen when Jesus is in charge for good.

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in Heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for His judgments are true and just; for He has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.  Once more they cried out, ‘Hallelujah!  The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” (Revelation 19: 1-4 ESV)

As believers we are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

‘And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’  And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’ Then I fell down at His feet to worship Him, but He said to me, ‘You must not do that!  I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God.’  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19: 9-10 ESV)

Notice how many descriptions in the passage below clearly describe Jesus.

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  The one sitting on it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes are like a flame fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but Himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which His is called is The Word of God.  And the armies of Heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following Him on white horses.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.  He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of the Almighty.  On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16 ESV)

Lord, we look forward to the day when all evil will be wiped away and we will live with you forever in Paradise!

Kellie

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Malachi 1-4; Psalms 2; Revelation 9

I grew up in the church, giving money to God.  But I was never taught that my money for God needed to be first and that it needed to be a tithe.  I didn’t fully understand how all that I had came from God and therefore I needed to place Him first, even in my finances.But when I was thirty and my husband and I started attending a new church, we heard a sermon about finances loud and clear.  It reflected what Malachi states in chapter 3:

“Will man rob God?  Yet you are robbing Me.  But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In your tithes and contributions.  You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you.” (Malachi 3:8-9 ESV)

Robbing God?  Yes, I was robbing Him by not putting Him first in ALL things and holding on too tightly to my money.  I thought that if I gave him too much that I would lose out on things for me.  But that accusation was followed by a promise.

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:10 ESV)

Boy does He make good on that promise!  Once we started putting God first in our finances, things started happening that confirmed we had made the right move.  From time to time we’re hesitant to give a full tithe because things are tight, but we do it anyway, God always makes it balance out.  Someone messes up an insurance claim, for example, then suddenly a check will come in the mail from somewhere else for the exact same amount.  That’s not coincidence, that’s God.

Lord, thank you for teaching me to trust You in all things, including our finances.  May we use all examples of Your grace as our testimony to our children and the world.

Kellie

 

 

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Zechariah 12-14; Psalms 94; 2 John

We see it in the Psalms.

Blessed is the man whom You discipline, O Lord, and whom You teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.  For the Lord will not forsake His people; He will not abandon His heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.” (Psalms 94:12-15 ESV)

We see it through the prophecies.

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.   I will say, ‘They are my people; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.” (Zechariah 13:9 ESV)

And the Lord will be king over all the earth.  On that day the Lord will be one and His name one.” (Zechariah 14:9 ESV)

We see it through letters by the apostles.

Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” (2 John 3 ESV)

The message is the same.  God is in control.  He loves His followers.  He is king and Lord.

Kellie

 

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