Tag Archives: Gospel of Matthew

I do not know this man !!!!!

A little later others standing around the fire began saying to Peter, “You are, too, one of them, for you are from Galilee!” He began to curse and swear. “I don’t even know this fellow you are talking about,” he said. And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.Suddenly Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

And he began to cry.

Mark 14-70-72 Living Bible

Peter, Peter, Peter. Poor Simon Peter. The disciple who walked on water with Jesus and swore to keep Jesus from harm. The one who heard from Heaven that Jesus was the Son of God. It was Peter (along with his brother Andrew) who were the first to drop everything in a moments notice to follow Jesus. Now he is the one who denied Him three times – just as Jesus told him he would.

Peter reminds me a little of myself. I can tend to speak first without thinking. My enthusiasm can get me into trouble at times and like Peter, I lack a filter too often. Peter is almost child-like in his wide-eyed wonder of the world around him. With Jesus, James and John upon the mount of Transfiguration it was Peter who stepped forward with the idea of building memorials to Jesus, Moses and Elias.  But this spontaneous life-loving attitude of Peter will be used greatly in the Kingdom of God.

After 3 1/2 years of traveling with Jesus and suffering from foot-in-mouth-disease and after outright swearing that he doesn’t know Jesus, it is Peter who will stand up in public and preach the first sermon about the deity of Jesus and win 3 thousand souls to the kingdom.

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Peter’s denial of Jesus must have been a very dark time in his life. But having seen the resurrected Lord and being so lovingly forgiven Peter was free to return to his enthusiastic old self – only stronger.

Do not discount the gifts God has placed inside of you. If you see yourself as clumsy, awkward, uncertain or boisterous – just go for it! Be all that you are to the Glory of God. It is your destiny. It’s what you were made to do.

So if anyone asks you if you know Jesus don’t hold back. Stand up and tell them all about Him because He has your back.

Be blessed, Al

You May Be The Only One They See!

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players
William Shakespeare
When we step out of our door each day we are stepping onto a stage of sorts. Out in the public there is no where to hide and like it or not, we are being watched! As Christians we have a responsibility to be a witness for Jesus and the Good News.
Paul said it best when he stated that  “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone.”
We may be the only copy of Gods Word that some may ever read. They may very well judge all “Christians” by our actions. The Devil is called the accuser of the brethren which means he is out there just waiting for us to trip up so he can point it out to everyone. “They SAY that they are Christian but did you see what they just did?”
Our witness is all we have. Even though we know that we are not perfect. Christ is doing a great work in us for sure but we are not yet there. Others in the world can have the impression that we think we are perfect, or at least better then them. This gives opportunity to the Devil to come in an point out our imperfection. Add to that those who behave totally contradictory to what the Word says and we have daunting task ahead of us to effectively spread the Good News of Jesus.
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So, go ahead and step out onto that stage and let your light shine!
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 KJV

Sports Metaphors Abound

So many sports activities have a similar first rule – look closely at the object of the sport. Whether it’s the basket you are shooting for or the baseball you are swinging at or the pins at the end of the bowling alley. If you are looking at something other then the intended target you shouldn’t expect to hit the target.

Our spiritual walk is not dissimilar in this one rule. Case in point – Matthew 14:22-31

Then Peter called to him: “Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.” “All right,” the Lord said, “come along!”So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Peter knew that there was a storm in progress. He had been in the boat with the others for hours fighting the weather but when he saw (look at intently) Jesus, Peter was eager to join Him on the lake. Peter even stepped over the rail and walked on the water UNTIL he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the circumstances around him. That’s when he fell victim to those circumstances.

What a powerful example for us to learn from. No matter what storms we may be in we should keep our eyes on Jesus. In fact the Scriptures say exactly that – Heb 12:1-3

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looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,

Heb 12:2a NKJV

The Living Bible says – Keep your eyes on Jesus! Good advise in any language. So, no matter if the sun is shining on you today or if the storms are raging all around, remember how Peter and the disciples found Jesus in the midst of their storm and know that He is there with you. He is ready to reach out His hand and save you just as He did Peter.

Be encouraged and be blessed.

 

This a test.This is only a test…….

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Pr. 3:5-6 KJV

Trust in The Lord. Such easy advise to dispense. Yet, we all face a time in our lives when we must walk this talk. It could come when a Doctor gives us a bad report. That time could come when our company downsizes and lets us go. Perhaps that time might be when we are faced with a difficult decision or when we are at a cross road in our lives. No matter what kind of test we face, be assured it is only a test. The question is can we stand the test?

The Word of God tells us that God knows our frame (Ps 103:14). That is He knows what we can bear. The Word also tells us that God will provide a way to escape each test. Far more encouraging is the fact that Jesus was tried and tempted in all ways and passed!(Heb 4:15) Even so, Jesus did ask if, when He returns, will He find faith on the Earth (Luke 18:8). What a question for Him to ask. Why would He ask such a question anyway? Was He wondering if we were just going to fall away from believing? Just stop having Faith? Or, is it that He knew ahead of time what we will be facing?
Tests come in various sizes and types. Some are simple temptations to give in to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh or the boastful pride of life. Others are much bigger than that. Testing our very belief that God will provide, heal, save or forgive.

Care for you

Care for you

As I mentioned earlier, it is easy to speak of Faith and trust and yet another thing to walk it out. But, it is the walking that we grow from faith to faith. If we can believe God for the little things we can trust Him for the bigger things later. In the Old Testament God revealed Himself to the children of Israel at specific times. He showed Himself to be Jehovah Nissi – The Lord is my Banner (Ex 17:15);  Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will Provide (Gen 22:14); Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24); Jehovah Raah – The Lord is my Shepherd (Ps 23:1) and many others.Likewise, Jesus has many names  – Wonderful, Counselor, Price of Peace and Savoir to list a few. Jesus told us that He does and says only what He sees the Father do and so He is the personification of Almighty God. So, if we have doubt in our hearts as to whether or not God cares for us we need only remind ourselves of just Who He Is and who we are to Him.

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,….”I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NKJV

 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;  never will I forsake you” Heb. 13:5 NIV

 

Counting the Cost – Part 2 of the Hard Words Hard Work Series

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

Matthew 5:44 KJV

Really? How? Why? The answer to these questions can be found in the next verse recorded during our Lords’ address which came to be called – The Beatitudes.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (vs 45-48)

This is also where we find the famous “turn the other cheek” quote as well as “go the extra mile” and, as we see from the verse shown above, if you do these things we will be perfect! Ok, so maybe this doesn’t answer the question of How? and Why? But it does put to rest any doubt that this is a commend from God. Jesus said it and He meant it. Elsewhere our Lord tells us that if someone steal our coat we should find him and give him our shirt also. Yes. Really. Just such an example is illustrated in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel in which an ex con (Valjean) is taken in by a benevolent Bishop (Myriel) and returns the hospitality by stealing the silver that night.   When the police capture Valjean, Myriel pretends that he has given the silverware to Valjean and presses him to take two silver candlesticks as well, as if he had forgotten to take them. This act of Christian kindness is the catalyst for Valjean to change his life and live for God. This is a fictitious example of what our Lord admonished us to do but an example nonetheless.

So, How do we do such a thing? Well, the answer may be found in the acceptance of the truth that we are incapable of doing such things. Yup, that’s what I said. Hard as it is for us to hear, we are limited in our ability to do anything that the Lord has asked us to do – BUT that’s because we try to do it in our own strength.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Without Me (Jesus) you can do nothing. Nothing. Hard to hear that isn’t it? So how have we done whatever it is we have accomplished so far? Well, perhaps, with the help of God you have done things you thought you couldn’t do even if you didn’t ask for his help. But to answer angry with love, to give to someone who stole from you and to love those who hate you takes help. Help that is available 24/7 and is only a breath away.

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But what about the question – Why? That’s an easy one – because He said so. But if it helps, try to remember that we battle not against flesh and blood. Meaning, our fight is not with the people we see. It is a spiritual fight against the invisible forces behind them. Spirits of fear, addiction, anger, poverty, perversion and such can influence and control people to do things that can hurt us. Jesus knew this and encourages us to love because Love will conquer all.

If we can love them we will be the children of your Father which is in heaven

How wonderful is that???

Who do you say I am?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”“But you,” He asked them, who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:13-15 HCSB

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM ?

I am going to bet that everyone has a family member or knows someone, friend, colleague or neighbor who knows Jesus. Growing up I had friends at school whose parents were preachers and classmates who were “born again” and met many a stranger who wanted to know – “do you know Jesus?” Because of these associations I heard what they had to say about who Jesus was to them. I never really gave Him much thought but did have an opinion about Him that I supposed I collected from what others said mixed with liberal amount of ignorance and arrogance. But when push came to shove I had to admit I knew nothing of who Jesus is.

“Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine.”

Liar, Lunatic or Lord

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”- C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity

Eternity

So, either Christ is Who He says He is or He is a Liar or a Lunatic. The evidence, that is clearly recorded in the Bible, should remove all doubt. The only thing left to do is reach a verdict for yourself. Disregard what anyone else says about Him and look only at the Word of God. Read Johns Gospel and then ask yourself – “Who do I say that He is?” But, I would strongly urge you to not reach your decision too quickly or lightly. Eternity awaits your decision both with open arms.

Black Friday Deal!

Hurry, hurry! There’s a door-buster Black Friday Deal waiting for you!

   This deal is without a doubt the best deal ever! It is the best deal ever because you can get this deal today as well as tomorrow and Black Friday. For that matter this deal is available every day of the year 24/7! Really!

But most of all – IT’S FREE!

   The Deal is this – Rest for the weary, Love for the Lonely and Hope for the Broken-hearted. Jesus said for all who are tired and carrying a heavy burden to come to Him and He will give them rest.1 He also tells us that ALL of us have sinned – that is we have fallen short of the mark. 2 But this is why He came to us and died for us to pay the price for us. Not to condemn us but to save us instead.“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 The Message

Take a moment today, apart from your holiday planning or shopping or whatever it is you are doing and consider your heart. Jesus said that He will take away your old heart and give you a new heart – Freely! He said He stands at the door of your heart and is knocking – will you let Him in? He said that all who come to Him He will not refuse. Call out to Him now and He will meet you right where you are. That’s a Promise from God to YOU!

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For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.Eph. 2:8-9 NKJV

Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. Romans 3:24-25 The Message

1.  Matthew 11:28 NKJV Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

   2. Romans 3:2 NKJV …for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God