Category Archives: Matthew

Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

What a terrible place for me to be in that would cause God to show up and judge me for the evil I have done.

Look, the Lord is leaving His place
and coming down to trample
the heights[b] of the earth.
The mountains will melt beneath Him,
and the valleys will split apart,
like wax near a fire,
like water cascading down a mountainside.
All this will happen because of Jacob’s rebellion
and the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the rebellion of Jacob?
Isn’t it Samaria?
And what is the high place of Judah?
Isn’t it Jerusalem? – Micah 1:3-5 HCSB

What is this evil I have done? I think it is as simple as loving my self and this world more than Him. I find myself contrary to His love and my stepping away from Him, I am contrary to the truth of faith.

I cannot lose sight of this fact – that justice is a fundamental part of God’s character.

But You Yourself have seen trouble and grief,
observing it in order to take the matter into Your hands.
The helpless entrusts himself to You;
You are a helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14 HCSB

He steps in and promises protection and help for those who cannot protect themselves and He redeems injustice through His unfailing love – He invites me to participate with Him in making that happen.

What will happen if I choose not to and decide to remain in my selfish love?

Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. – Matthew 24:10-12 HCSB

Jesus foretold that love and truth could one day lose their true meaning and force in this world. I pray that I am not one who be among those who have.

Father, how I trust the Holy Spirit to not leave me in a place that would be contrary to the character of God. I want to be like Jesus in every facet of my life. I do not want to see my love for You grow cold, or even lukewarm for that matter. I know I need to step out of myself and give myself to You in my community. I know You are inviting me to participate. Forgive my cowardly fear, I pray that Your love will cast that fear out of my life. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, Micah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan

Amos 4-6; Psalm 55; Matthew 14

What a statement that makes so much sense when I read the Old Testament – a people who were looking for love in all the wrong places.

For the Lord says to the house of Israel:

Seek Me and live!
Do not seek Bethel
or go to Gilgal
or journey to Beer-sheba,
for Gilgal will certainly go into exile,
and Bethel will come to nothing.

Seek Yahweh and live. – Amos 5:4-6a HCSB

It is also amazing to see the character of God remaining the same then as I see Him now. To “save” someone who refuses to be saved becomes contradictory and counter to God’s ultimate purpose for me – that I be a person who will choose to love and serve God.

My message to the world – God loves you – and He is saying, choose life.

God, listen to my prayer
and do not ignore[a] my plea for help.
Pay attention to me and answer me.

I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,
because of the enemy’s voice,
because of the pressure[b] of the wicked.
For they bring down disaster on me[c]
and harass me in anger.

My heart shudders within me;
terrors of death sweep over me.
Fear and trembling grip me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “If only I had[d] wings like a dove!
I would fly away and find rest. – Psalm 55:1-6 HCSB

I need to know that God loves me for only then can this rule of Love allow me to imitate my Father when I love an enemy.

In choosing life and accepting God’s love, I continue to extend love to my enemies so that, in fact, I am perfecting love, which means maturing in love via the very involvement of fighting and wrestling when I am troubled. I do trample the waves of this world when I love my enemies. My example is Jesus, who loved His enemies so much that on the Cross He asked His Father to forgive.

My life is love.

Love is light. If I wish for death or for solitude in the midst of all my mess, I still have this one command – to love.

Even if I was to seek some reprieve, it does not mean that I do not love – just my body needs some rest. It is a place where I can pray.

Father, each day I choose to love. I did not see it as me choosing life, but I understand much better this morning. There are so many little things that could become big things, there are so many that feel there is not enough power in this world and they are trying to grab as much as they can and there are so many that walk in darkness who want to quench the light and those who do not choose love but rather hatred. For all of these I need You. Fill me so that my flesh does not react, that my mind is transformed and renewed. Make me like You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Amos, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan

2 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 25; Psalm 53; Matthew 12

Amaziah did not get it right every time, but we first read about a time when he listened to the voice of God and stood strong in the face of opposition.

He had an enemy to face, a foreboding, powerful one. He pulled together as many men as he could from Judah and Benjamin and scraped together 300,000 men who were of age and fit to fight. Weighing the might of his adversary, he needed more. He hired 100,000 mighty men from Israel to fill in the calculated gap.

That’s when a man of God showed up with a message for him.

But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.”

2 Chronicles 25:7-8 ESV

Amaziah questioned his advice at first, but when the prophet encouraged him with reminders of God’s faithfulness and abundant blessing, he proceeded to battle with an army that was too small by human standards.

He won. Of course. Because God is always enough. To obey is better than sacrifice.

Unfortunately, in his winning came his downfall. It seems completely illogical as we flip back through the pages of history, but he preserved the idols of the nation he defeated and brought them home and worshiped them. They had no power, no life, no blessing to bestow. Yet somewhere in his mind it made sense to honor these empty, powerless gods. And, his life pretty much falls apart from there.

I glean two take-aways. One from his surrendered heart and one from his boastful one.

Stand firm even when support seems insufficient. If we stand with God, we only need that one ally. We might not have the benefit of an audibly spoken word from God or one of his prophets, but many times in our lives (not always) it is quite clear what standing up for truth looks like. At times like that we cannot let lack of finances, partners, crowd-funding, popularity, or human logic hold us back.

Secondly, don’t give pride an inch of room. It seeps in and steals our victory, robs our blessing, destroys communion with God. It blinds us to God’s goodness and crumbles our allegiance to the Lord of Hosts, the God of angel armies, who rightly claims any victory. In times of abundance I need to raise my guard even higher.

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Psalm 53:1 ESV. The world might credit wisdom or honor to those that do it “their way” or blaze a trail by their human strength or ingenuity, but those that plow ahead without surrender to God, are fools by scripture’s standards. Seems harsh, until you watch that philosophy lived out and the pride that drives it. I might not say or believe that “there is no god,” but do my life choices always validate my belief in Him? My heart is in danger of acting foolishly at times and needs frequent regrounding in scripture.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Matthew 12:34-35 ESV

Lord, keep a firm hold on my heart, mouth, and mind. May I continually be being filled by You and your word so that in times of challenge I can stand, even if I am alone in standing. In times of success and peace may I continue to give you all credit and glory. And in the ordinary, may I be faithfully growing and preparing for the path ahead. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings, Matthew, Psalms

2 Kings 2-3; Psalm 48; Matthew 4

While Elijah did some amazing things and created a certain dynamic in his relationship with God, Elisha to me was the one who was a little more meek and perceived the things of God from a different perspective. One that I use more often. I am not known to be loud or bold.

What I love about Elisha coming across the Jordan, to Jericho, is that the prophets saw the change that took place in his life. The Spirit of God anointing His servant changes the individual bringing authenticity to life and ministry.

God, within Your temple,
we contemplate Your faithful love. – Psalm 48:9 HCSB

When I do this, my thoughts turn from a focus of the strength and majesty of God to a consideration of His covenant of love. Charles Spurgeon wrote about three different people in the church and how they should each think and speak more of the faithful love of God.

“Now, my dear sister, you have talked about that rheumatism of yours to at least fifty people who have been to see you; suppose you tell your next visitor about the lovingkindness of the Lord to you.”

“Yes, my dear brother, we all know that trade is bad, for you have told us so, every day, for I do not know how many years. And you have always been losing money, though you had no capital when you started; yet, somehow or other, you have managed to have something left even now. Well, we know that old story; could you not change your note just a little, and talk about the lovingkindness of the Lord?”

“Yes, my friend, I know that many professing Christian people are not all that they profess to be; I have heard you say soever so many times. You say also, ‘There is no love in the church.’ Well, so far as we can see, you are not overstocked with it. You say, ‘There is no zeal among the members,’ but have you any to give away to those who need it? Now, henceforward, instead of always harping on the faults and failing of God’s people – which, certainly, are numerous enough, but have not become any fewer since you talked so much about them – would it not be better to think and talk of the lovingkindness of the Lord?”

Jesus started His ministry after the 40 days and nights of fasting and one of His first acts was to begin calling disciples to follow Him. I am challenged by the bigger picture of loving God and loving others. When I hear the call, I know that I have been called too. I want to respond like the early disciples, that is, to leave my love for anything else in this world and to only love Him.

Father, thank You for loving me. I want to represent Your faithful love to others. May my spirit be so changed, that like Elisha, individuals would see You in me. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Kings, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan, Uncategorized

Joshua 20,21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

“The Lord said to Joshua, “Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses.  Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed. These cities were set apart for all the Israelites as well as the foreigners among them.”  Joshua 20:1-9 NLT

Where do I find my refuge?

“Not a single one of all the good promises of the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” Joshua 21:44-45 NLT 

When I get impatient and start to feel weary, this verse gives me renewed hope.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT

I can get complacent and forget that he calls me to be a testimony for him.  At times I just want to go about my day and get my tasks done.  But, this is most often when God will put someone in my path who needs to hear about him.

 “Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full power.  Who would fear you, O King of the nations? The title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you.”  Jeremiah 10:6&7 NLT

I am thankful that God knows the future and I don’t have to.  I can get so caught up in thinking too far ahead that it causes me to be anxious and fearful. He is sovereign.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.  Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into.  You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Matthew 24:42-44 NLT

My daughter and I went out to lunch after church this past Sunday.  And my car was broken into. Thankfully we were fine and nothing valuable was stolen. It was more that we were taken off guard.  What a picture it was for me, that I want to live my life in a way that I am not surprised by the Lord’s return.  I want to be ready.

“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course.  So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.  Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.” Jeremiah 10:23&24 NLT

Dear Father, I surrender my life to you again.  Thank you for your love, mercy and patience with me.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit.  I want to be set apart to do your work.  I put my trust in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Acts, Jeremiah, Joshua, Matthew, Uncategorized