Tag Archive | Gospel of Matthew

Don’t sit idle!

Some days my heart hurts for this world we live in. I watched the news and heard about the British soldier slaughtered on the street in London. He wasn’t in battle but simply walking down the street when he was approached and slaughtered by a raging terrorist who felt justified in killing him  because he wasn’t of the same faith. Today, I heard of an attempted plane high jacking from Pakistan to England, that thankfully it was thwarted but could have ended in tragedy. Again, an attempt to take the lives of others who don’t share their extreme ideology…

Anyone that doesn’t see the evil in this world we live in has to be wearing blinders. There are wars and rumors of wars all around us. Governments are involved in corruption on so many levels and refuse to admit or take any responsibility for their actions. One country feels the right to annihilate another because of a difference in beliefs. We hear stories of parents killing their children and children killing their parents, abuse in homes, schools, churches and so much more…

So what is the answer to all of this mess? Do we just resolve ourselves to the fact there is nothing we can do? Do we live in our own little bubble and refuse to help and make a difference? Do we harden ourselves by ignoring others and moving forward without a thought for their difficulties?

As Christians, God has called us to a world such as this.  We are men and women with the tool of prayer at our disposal. We are men and women with the answer. Christ didn’t come to save the “found” but the lost! We have the good news and we need to share it with a dying, messed up world.

Luke 19:10 NIV 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Matthew 20:28 NIV 28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.                                                              

Luke 5:32 NIV 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

When you see destruction and heartache all around, take the time to ask God what it is you can be doing to make a difference? There is always something we can do! Pray, pray for the lost, pray for the hurting, the broken, the rebellious, the bitter, your enemies and then do something to demonstrate the love of Christ to another!

It’s important that we don’t sit on our hands and moan about the state of things without getting down on our knees and praying! Prayer is the thing that will usher in the most change.  It is a mighty and powerful weapon that is at the hands of every follower of Christ!  Even the most frail, limited body can pray and therefore is capable of bringing about huge change in this world of ours!

When you have done that ask God how you can serve others?  What can you do to be the hands and feet of Christ?  Ask Him to put people in your life that need to hear the GOOD NEWS and when He does, share it!  Ask Him to provide opportunities where you can minister love and compassion to others and when He does, do it!

We are only limited by our indifference!  Determine to make a difference in this world. Determine to help others by sharing the good news. Determine to not sit back and watch but get involved in doing Christ’s work here while you still have time and while you are able.

Psalm 145:18-19 NIV 18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;  He hears their cry and saves them.

 James 2:14-17 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Our Myopic vision

imagesCAJQJQ9X God has a plan for each of our lives. In order to fulfill that plan we need to spend time in His presence, in His Word and allow ourselves to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Our walk, as followers of Christ, is a walk of relationship and just as in any relationship if we don’t spend time with the other person we really don’t learn who they are and what they are expecting of us.

I was reminded this morning how easy it is to take our eyes off the things God wants for us and put them on our circumstances and thereby making very poor choices as a result. I know I find myself at times thinking that this “difficult thing” can’t be what God has for me or for a loved one, only to realize that I was using my “natural” thinking and that God has indeed allowed certain things I would deem “difficult”  to further His Kingdom. It really isn’t all about me or what I want for myself or others.  I would certainly do some things differently, if it were up to me.  :/

With my reading this morning I realized how similar Peter’s thinking was at times…..

Matthew 16:21-27  21From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan! you are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26″For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27″For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

How many times do you catch yourself insisting God intervene in a difficult situation for someone or for yourself for that matter and when He doesn’t react immediately and according to your wishes you pout and whine? We need to remember that His ways are not our ways! He happens to be the Creator of the Universe and has an edge in the wisdom department over and beyond us!

We need to be mindful that at times,  God allows circumstances we don’t understand to happen or continue because of His ultimate purpose.  His timing is perfect.  Jesus rebuked Peter because his insistence that Christ would not be killed was based on his “natural” desires only. He wasn’t looking for nor did he see God’s plan in action at that time.  And as we all know, if it were not for Christ’s death on the cross there would be no sacrifice,no resurrection and therefore no means of salvation for you and I!

When we pray for ourselves or others we can boldly come before the throne of God, through the blood of Christ and make our requests known. We should not however, insist that it be done our way and in our time. God loves us and when we are walking and abiding in His will and presence we can ask with confidence however, we cannot demand our way.  When I look back  to earlier  times in my life, I am thankful for many of the prayers God refused to answer. Prayers that were prayed out of selfish ambition and desires that I now realize, had they been answered would have taken me from the path God has prepared for me. A path that isn’t always easy but is a path of deeper growth and intimacy with Christ.

If you are walking with Christ and are seeking answers to prayer that appear to be on hold, don’t allow your heart to grow discouraged or bitter. His ways are far above our ways. Unless He tells you no, allow God to work out the details and learn to trust in His perfect timing and Lordship.

Proverbs 19:21 NIV 21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Faith like a child

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Matthew 18:4

  While enjoying my morning coffee, I was thinking  of a day I spent with my awesome granddaughters this past summer.   We set out early and spent all day  together having a blast. We went to the Peterborough zoo.  We started out by checking out the animals, one by one and ended the day at the water park. The girls loved it. Though the zoo is small and relatively simple, it was fun.

 What came to mind was an incident that took place in front of the deer cage. The girls ran from one cage to another and raced on just ahead of me to see the deer. Suddenly they stopped and pushed their faces up to the fence.  I could see them chatting about something when I finally caught up.

They both turned to me and said, “Grandma we need to pray, we need to pray!” I wasn’t sure what had just happened in the matter of seconds so I asked them what we needed to pray about. They quickly pointed to a deer, favoring one leg and limping about in the cage. “Ohhhh I see,” I responded.  I told them we could pray later but they insisted we stop and pray right there on the sidewalk in front of the cage. Here they were at 4 and 7 years of age and it was their first response!

So we prayed. Right there with people walking past us. I was so proud of the two of them. They saw something hurting and wanted to do the only thing we could do, pray! They didn’t postpone what could be done right then and there. Simple but beautiful!

Lord let me keep life simple and bring everything to you sooner rather than later!  Let me trust in you as little ones do!

Matthew 18:4 NKJV Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 11:25,26 NKJV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

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Dare to pray specifically

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

I am seeing so many prayers answered lately. I am a little overwhelmed from time to time with just how incredibly loving and faithful God is when we pray according to His will. As I have committed myself to walking closer to Christ, my prayers have changed. In the past I would often pray with selfish motives. I need, I want etc. etc… Now I find myself praying more for others and in the process God has been taking care of all my needs. The word of God says in James 4:3 NIV When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. That verse sums of a great deal of my past prayers. Does it mean God does not want us to bring our needs to Him? NO, He desires that we bring our needs before Him. Phillippians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ, we find ourselves giving things over to Him much faster and easier than we used to. This frees us up to pray and interceed for others!  The focus is no longer on our own needs and wants but on the needs of others around us.

One of the things that I have begun to do different in my prayer life is to pray specifically. I used to pray general prayers, perhaps because I would often pray with unbelief and if I wasn’t too specific than I wouldn’t really get disappointed if I didn’t see results. However, spending more time  in God’s word and prayer has given me a boldness to pray specifically. I trust God to hear and answer my prayers because it goes against His very nature to ignore His children. When we are walking in His will and we come to Him in the name of His precious Son, He cannot ignore us. There are too many scriptures to list them all but here are but a few to illustrate this.. John 14:13-14 NIV 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

We serve a mighty God that hears the prayers of His children and delights in answering those prayers. If there are areas of your life that are keeping you from walking in that intimacy with Him, confess them and be washed clean in the blood of Christ. It enables you to come before your Father.  Don’t let sin or an ongoing pattern of behavior keep you away from the lover of your soul. The word says in Psalm 37:4 NIV Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  He longs to hear and answer our prayers as we yield our lives to Him and walk in His ways.

I now have the confidence to come before the throne praying specifically without fear of disappointment! As I delight myself in Him, He does give me the desires of my heart!  Does this confidence come from my “righteousness or goodness” thankfully NO because on my own merit I fail miserably in both. This confidence comes from understanding who Christ is and what He has done for each and every one of us. The high price He paid on the cross enables us to have fellowship with the Creator of the Universe and all the privileges that come along with that!   What is available to me is available to everyone who accepts Christ into their life! Acts 10:34-35 KJV 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.  

Delight yourself in Him and take Him at His word! Trust Him to hear and answer you as you pray specifically. He is faithful to His word!

Those who hope will soar!

We believers in Christ have so much to be thankful for. There is no one like our God! When we turn to Him, He  meets all our needs. His promises are forever and His word is true. One of the most beautiful promises we have can be found in Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

In a day and age where most of us are far too busy for our own good we have ONE we can run to. We don’t have to try and recharge our own batteries with positive thinking and bogus crystals!  We have the real deal..we serve a living God that never lets us out of His sight!  Not only that but all He asks is that we turn to Him and He will replace our weariness with strength and replace our weakness with His power. Our hope is NOT in vain. Our hope is in Jehovah Jireh, our Lord and provider.

We must learn to put our trust and dependency on the ONE who is able to make a difference. Too many run to and fro to this friend or that friend, to their Pastor or neigbour, or to a relative wanting quick  answers and easy solutions instead of seeking the lover of their soul. Our Savior,healer, deliverer and comforter is waiting for us to turn to Him. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Today, instead of turning on the t.v. or radio or picking up the phone for comfort, turn to Jesus. He longs to have fellowship with you. He loves you enough that He willingly laid down His life for you to be able to have a relationship with Him. Lay your troubles and your weariness at His feet and allow Him to wrap His arms of comfort around you as you spend time in His presence and in His word. As you put your trust in Him, He will renew your strength!

I have seen eagles here several times, but thi...

Isaiah 40:31 NIV But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

From the Heart to the Mouth

How many times during the day do we speak without really thinking first? Sometimes the conversation is quite innocent. What do you think about this weather? How’s your family? etc. etc.  No harm is done. It is just polite conversation that we use to engage with others.

Not all conversation is so innocent. We have all, at one time or another, gossiped or criticized others or repeated something we knew we shouldn’t, often without even thinking about what we were going to say before it slipped out! Our mouths are  capable of bringing encouragement and blessings to others or harm and destruction.  Wars have been started over words and wars have been ended by words. Our mouths have a lot of power behind them!  It’s been my prayer that God would daily remind me to use my words more carefully. To stop and weigh my words before spitting them out.

There is so much negativity around us. I like to follow the news but seldom is there anything edifying or uplifting to be found. It is usually full of wars, disasters, abuse and crime. Good news is hard to come by! The world is full of individuals that focus on the negative in their lives.  We all know people like this. They are the walking wounded that seldom have anything positive to say about their own lives or anyone elses. I’m not referring to people that are going through a difficult period and need encouragement here. We all need this from time to time but there are those who through their own confession have NOTHING good to say about anything or anyone. They are trapped in a cycle of voicing their woes and then experiencing exactly what they voice.

The Bible tells us that, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18 NIV   What we say out loud is just an example of what is going on in our hearts.  If you find yourself being critical or negative on a regular basis it’s time to do some self examining.  Our negative words can be an overflow of bitterness or unforgiveness from inside us. If so, it’s time to get on our knees and confess it before God and ask for God’s forgiveness and also by an act of our will we need to forgive others we may be holding a grudge against. If we don’t deal with whatever is causing our negativity we will go around causing unnecessary hurt and damage to others by our words.

Just as we have the potential to cause pain to others with our words, we also have the ability to bring love, blessings and encouragement into their lives.  I know when I have gone through really difficult days and someone has called with a word of encouragement it’s been so uplifting.  Believers need to take serious God’s word and the importance it places on the power of our spoken words.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV 21 The tongue has the power of life and death.

Proverbs 13:3 NIV Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, 
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 16:24 NIV 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,  sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Colossians 3:8 NIV But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Matthew 12:37 NIV 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Start fresh…ask God to help you guard your tongue and think before speaking. There are many people out there needing a kind word.

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)