Author Archives: mmattix

Exodus 31;John 10;Proverbs 7;Galatians 6

My anxiety has been in full gear recently.  I struggle with worry and various things that come up during the day can trigger it.  I can feel completely normal, then hear about something and will be totally filled with fear.

But God doesn’t want fear to fill us when unexpected things happen in our life.  He tells us hundreds of times in His Word not to fear.  I think this means He expects that we will fear, but wants us to rely on His strength instead.  He wants us to focus on the fact that He is in control no matter what.  It is safe to pray “Thy will be done.”
From our readings today, these verses stood out to me.

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.” Exodus 31:15 ESV  No matter how busy our lives get, taking a day to rest is necessary.

Keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:2-3) ESV  We need to be constantly focused on living how he teaches us.  Guess you could say He knows we are forgetful.

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I come that you may have life abundantly.” (John 10:10) ESV  The Enemy wants us to be bound up in fear.  But that robs us of our joy.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in good season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) ESV  Do the right thing.  Check on a neighbor.   Encourage a friend.  Count your blessings.  Pray for one another.


The following verse from Nahum is not from our readings but how I would like to end. He is faithful to us. Show Him that our trust is in Him, not the things of this world.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7) ESV




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Exodus 4; Job 21; Luke 7; I Corinthians 8

How many times have we begged God to not make us do something we don’t want to do or make excuses for why His plan doesn’t work for us?  Moses was called to convince hard-hearted Pharaoh to let God’s people go, but he tried to talk his way out of it.

Then Moses answered, ‘But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘the Lord did not appear to you.’  The Lord said to him, ‘What is in your hand?’  He said, ‘ A staff.’  And He said, “Throw it on the ground.’  So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.  But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Put out your hand and catch it by the tail.’ so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand ‘that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to you.” (Exodus 4:1-5 ESV)

Moses feared reactions from other people, so he tried making excuses to not do what God wanted Him to.  God in His mercy gave him a visual proof to share with people to convince them.

“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh my Lord I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’  Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth?  Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind?  Is it not I , the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:10-12 ESV)

Moses had speech issues that made him feel unqualified for the job.  God knows our weaknesses.  He made us.  Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.  Therefore pointing them out to God does not make a good argument.

But he said, ‘Oh my Lord, please send someone else.’  Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, ‘Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite?  I know he can speak well.  Behold he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.  You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.  He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.  And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” (Exodus 4:13-17 ESV)

Moses, in a panic, begged God not to make him do this job that he was afraid of.  This made God angry that he would not obey, but again in His mercy, He gave him an out.  He let his brother be his spokes person.

Like Moses, I too tend to fear people.  Big cities make me paranoid and want to walk through them with tunnel vision, fearing that harm might come to me and my family simply because of thoughts that go through my head.  And like Moses, I might argue with God that I don’t need to witness to people because they might reject me.  In reality they would be rejecting God, I am just the messenger.  But I think as I’ve grown I have less times when I beg God not to make me do something I don’t want to do.  I am learning to pray instead when worry grips me.  And I take comfort knowing that God still used Moses in mighty ways despite how he fought God early on.



Let me learn to simply obey and not allow my head to take over my heart.  If You have called me to do it, You will be with me through it, and there is no need to fear or make excuses.  Help me to trust in each and every uncomfortable situation.  I know from experience that You are faithful.



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Genesis 25; Esther 1; Matthew 24; Acts 24

Ten year old boys get together to play.  One instigates playing aggressively then when things get out of hand, accuses the other boys of hurting him.  In reality he started it and he lied about it to save face.  He didn’t really care about his “friends.”

“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted.  And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!’  (Therefore his name was called Edom.)  Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright now..”  Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’  Jacob said, ‘Swear to me now.’  So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob.  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way.  Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25: 29-34)

How foolish was Esau?  He was going to die because he was hungry?  Obviously his birthright meant nothing to him.

If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.  So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.” (Esther 1: 19-20 ESV)

The queen made a mistake.  It was used as an example to all of what not to do.

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44 ESV)

Don’t spend your time hanging out with those who make bad choices.  Focus on doing the right thing and the Heaven that’s yet to come.

Knowing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.  You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city.  Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.  But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.  Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings.  While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult.  But some Jews from Asia- they ought to be here before you and to make accusation, should they have anything against me.  Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.” (Acts 24: 10-21 ESV)

Paul was on trial, defending himself for being accused of something he did not do.  The ten year old boys who were accused had to defend themselves too.  Life is hard sometimes.  The lesson is to keep walking like God would want you to walk.  And when all evidence is given its proper light, justice will prevail.


Help us be examples to both young and old of how to handle conflict.  Help us to always handle situations with integrity so that when we have to give an account for what really happened, the truth will shine through.




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Job 9-12; 1 John 2

It is a question that everyone needs to answer, “How is someone right before God?”

Job attempts to answer that question.

“Then Job answered and said:
Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God?
If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength
—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—
he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger,
who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble;
who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars;
who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea;
who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number.
Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ (Job 9:1-12 ESV)

It is Jesus who makes us right before God.  John reminds us of this hope.

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:12-14 ESV)

Praying a prayer of assurance of our salvation:

And now little children (or adults), abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming.  If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.” (1 John 2:28-29 ESV)


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Ezra 1-2; John 4; Psalms 84-85

She simply went to fetch some water and ended up meeting Someone who changed her life.

“A woman from Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, ‘give me a drink.’  (For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food).  The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is is that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman from Samaria?’  (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritians).  Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:7-10 ESV)

She went to fetch water to drink and discovered the One who holds the living water.  And after her encounter with Him, she had to share with everyone she saw.

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.’  So when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of His word.  They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for our ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the World.” (John 4:39-42 ESV)

All because one woman shared her testimony, others drew near to Him and they also believed.

“O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You!” (Psalms 84:12 ESV)

Lord, help us to see the intimacy in this encounter between You and the woman at the well.  You knew her heart and called out her sin but there was tenderness and forgiveness.  You used her testimony, in a day in which woman were seen and not heard, to draw others to You as well, as it continues to do to this day.  ‘My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy for the living God.’ (Psalms 84:2 ESV)  Help me to use my testimony to encourage others as well.  Amen.


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Ezekiel 21-23; Hebrews 12; Psalms 111

My children all participated in races as fundraisers for their schools this week.  I have been watching them do this every year since kindergarten, with such determination and persistence.  Reminds me of “running the good race” of our faith as a daily challenge.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, ,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

When a person puts their trust in Christ, they become a new creation and begin their race in this life.  They begin to learn who He is and why they need Him.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who practice it have a good understanding.  His praise endures forever!” (Psalms 111:10 ESV)


Help us all to run a good race with our focus on You.  We have a long way to go until the finish line when we see You face to face.  Until then, let us endure with persistence.




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Jeremiah 13-16; 2 Timothy 3

We are going to have trouble in this life.  That is a given.  Why do I automatically forget that when I am having a bad day?

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV)

Daily this world becomes more and more dark.  All that is good is called evil and all that is evil is called good.  Just watching the news makes me emotionally distraught.

“while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13 ESV)

But I need to fill my mind with what I know to be true and not let myself become filled with fear and anxiety.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:14 ESV)

I need to hold fast to what I know to be true from the Word and remember how He saved me.

“and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3: 15 ESV)

As a parent, I teach my children with scripture.  It is my job to train them up in the way they should go.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Then the next generation will be prepared for even darker times that are sure to come.

“that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17 ESV)

Yet still my prayer is, “Come Lord Jesus!”  Amen.



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