Friday, October 30, 2015



If you take the time to go back and read Matthew 10 slowly and take note of the cost of following Christ it can be a bit daunting. Therefore, I urge you to also take note of the blessings and promises that come with an intimate, obedient relationship with Jesus. And that is what I’m going to focus on here today.

VS 8. You will have the power of the Holy Spirit working through you as you share what you have been freely given.

VS 9. You will have the opportunity to trust God for His provision along the way.

VS 18. You will have the opportunity to tell others about Jesus.

VS’ 19-20. You will have the Holy Spirit speaking through you. Have you ever finished a conversation realizing you said some pretty amazing things with some awesome wisdom and then realized that God spoke through you? That brings me an incredible sense of peace and joy.

VS 22. When you endure to the end you will be saved. This is so much more than what we think of as eternal life. This is the Greek word, “sōzō ,“ which means to be made completely whole. Anything the enemy takes from you will be completely restored.

VS’ 29-31. God cares for you. Everything you face He knows about. Nothing is hidden from His all-seeing, loving eyes. Because of that you need fear nothing.

VS 32. Jesus talks about you to the Father.

VS 39. You will find real life. Your life will not be meaningless, rather it will be abundant.

VS’ 41-42. You get rewards, the same rewards as prophets and righteous people.

Father in heaven, thank you that Jesus didn’t sugar coat the cost of following Him, and that You offer us such wonderful blessings along the way. May we be faithful and may our eyes be upon the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015



Matthew 10:32-42 "Everyone who acknowledges Me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before My Father in heaven.  (33)  But everyone who denies Me here on earth, I will also deny before My Father in heaven.  (34)  "Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.  (35)  'I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  (36)  Your enemies will be right in your own household!'  (37)  "If you love your father or mother more than you love Me, you are not worthy of being Mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than Me, you are not worthy of being Mine.  (38)  If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me, you are not worthy of being Mine.  (39)  If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for Me, you will find it.  (40)  "Anyone who receives you receives Me, and anyone who receives Me receives the Father who sent Me.  (41)  If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.  (42)  And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My followers, you will surely be rewarded."

Sadly, verses 32 and 33 are probably the two most quoted scriptures on social media. They usually accompany some heart wrenching story and a rant about denying Jesus if you don’t like and share the story with the whole world. However, Jesus explains what He’s talking about in verses 34-42.

Jesus brought a sword that divides people, not by family lines but by faith lines. (I’m not talking about denominational lines here.) It divides believers and unbelievers. People of the same household will turn against those who choose Jesus Christ. So, if your daughter, son, parent or even spouse threatens to leave you over your faith, to deny Him would be to choose them over Him.

To refuse to take up your cross and follow Him is to deny Him. What that means for each person is different. (See John 21:18-23)

Clinging to “your” life is to deny Him. Laying down your life, that is, your desires, your treasures, your time is to follow and to acknowledge Him as Lord.

Receiving and caring for the children of God is acknowledging Him.

Father in heaven, may we be found acknowledging You. May we honor and love You more than we love our family, our life. Lead us by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015



Matthew 10:26-31 "But don't be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.  (27)  What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!  (28)  "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  (29)  What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  (30)  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  (31)  So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Don’t be afraid. Tell the world what Jesus has done for you. Proclaim His goodness from the house tops.

Again He points out the cost of proclaiming the Good News, there will be those who will want to kill us. But He gives a reminder and an encouragement.

The Reminder: Though our bodies are fragile and can be destroyed our souls are indestructible by human means. Fear of those who cannot destroy our souls is misplaced fear. I like how the Message Bible puts this, “Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life--body and soul--in his hands.”

The Encouragement: His eye is on the sparrow. There’s an old hymn with that title and I remember we sang it often in our little country church where I grew up. It was a favorite of my mothers who, for years was the church organist. So, when I’m having a rough day I still sing that song as a reminder of God’s love. So far my rough days haven’t included floggings, arrests, nor death threats, but the encouragement is for all God’s children regardless of their lot in life. He sees every tiny sparrow and not one falls that He doesn’t know about it. How much more He cares for you. He has every hair on your head counted. He knows what you are facing today.

One verse in that song says: “Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home, When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is He?” –Public Domain.

Jesus is my portion and He is my friend. Can you say that with certainty? I declare to you that He loves you and wants to be that friend.

Verse 31 starts out, “Don’t be afraid.” I’m reminded of 1 John 4:17-18 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  (18)  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

So, if you’re going to have fear, fear God, but know this. As you grow in your understanding of Him, His perfect love will replace all fear.

Father in heaven, give us more understanding of Who You are. Grow Your perfect love in our hearts. Lift away the fear of bodily destruction in this life and help us to live in faith trusting You with our eternal souls. May we, with the apostle Paul, boldly say, “I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” (2Timothy 1:12b) In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

20151027 WORSE NAMES


Matthew 10:24-25 "Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master.  (25)  Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of My household will be called by even worse names!

This makes me think of an old song titled, “Oh To Be Like Thee.” The fourth verse and chorus are as follows:

Verse 4
Oh to be like Thee
Lowly in spirit
Holy and harmless
Patient and brave
Meekly enduring
Cruel reproaches
Willing to suffer
Others to save

Oh to be like Thee
Oh to be like Thee
Blessed Redeemer
Pure as Thou art
Come in Thy Sweetness
Come in Thy Fullness
Stamp Thine own Image
Deep on my heart

--Thomas Obediah Chisholm | William James Kirkpatrick
© Words: Public Domain
Music: Public Domain

“Cruel reproaches willing to suffer?” Are you? Am I?

Jesus made it clear what the costs of following Him would be and still are today. The floggings might be easier on our mind in the long run. At least then we have scars to show what we have put up with. Unkind remarks leave no visible wound whereby we may gain some sympathy. I say this because sympathy (understanding) from others does make our suffering a bit easier to take. Ah, but Jesus has already told us He understands, for they called him names and made fun of Him. So we are encouraged to keep our “eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.” (Hebrews 12:1b)

Father in heaven, as children we quote the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” In reality names can hurt. We want people to like us. Make it clear in our hearts that it is much more important to please You than it is to please the people around us. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

20151022 MOVING ON


Matthew 10:23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

Jesus gives permission to move on in the case of persecution. There is no need to make yourself a martyr just because you can. If persecution arises and you have the ability to move on, then do so. This is true even in conversations where people become combative in their speech. If you have graciously shared the truth and just as graciously listened to them then move on. Don’t aggravate someone just because you can.

Regarding His statement about returning before they had reached all the towns of Israel:

1.  There is no need to stay where you are not wanted. There are many towns to preach in and time is short. You cannot argue anyone into salvation. The Holy Spirit has to draw them or they will not come to Christ. Keep moving on until you find someone who desires to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
2.  A reference primarily, no doubt, to the Lord coming into his kingdom. Matthew 16:28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.". He was thus to come in the life time of some of the apostles. He did thus come in the establishment of his kingdom in power on the day of Pentecost. He also came in judgment on the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem. This event ended Jewish persecution. There is also the final coming to judge the world, but the meaning here does not include that. –People’s New Testament

Father in heaven, this seems to fall back to being wise as serpents. We need to know when it’s time to move on. Grant us that wisdom. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

20151021 Endurance


Matthew 10:21-22 "A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.  (22)  And all nations will hate you because you are My followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.

It is a dark time in our world. All over Christians are being persecuted. It is imperative to remember that the world hates us because we follow Jesus. They hated Him, and they hate us. The key word in these two verses is in the word, “but.” Everyone who endures to the end will be saved.

I like the way the People’s New Testament Commentary explains this last sentence… “Perseverance gives proof of genuine faith, and is sure of reward.”

Peter encouraged his readers… 2 Peter 1:10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.

Is your faith genuine? Will you be able to endure when persecution comes? Will you be faithful? Is your religion really just a convenience? Are you in it for the long haul and for God’s glory?

Father in heaven, it’s getting ugly down here in a lot of places. Every day we hear about more of Your children who have been persecuted, tortured for the faith and even killed. Grant that our faith not fail. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and give us grace to keep on proclaiming Your goodness. Even so, Lord Jesus come. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015



Matthew 10:16-20 "Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.  (17)  But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues.  (18)  You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are My followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about Me.  (19)  When you are arrested, don't worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.  (20)  For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Jesus doesn’t sugar coat the task set before us. “Sheep among wolves,” “flogged with whips,” “trial before governors and kings.” I’m not crazy about any of those things. And we are to face these things with wisdom and without harming anyone.

I believe the key here is once again trust. We are to see these trials as opportunities to tell others about Jesus and what He has done for them. We’re told, “don’t worry… God will give you the right words at the right time.”

The reason Jesus gives for the floggings and such is, “because you are My followers.” The whole reason for this blog is because John 8:31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, "You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings…”

Ask yourself these questions. “Am I faithful to the teaching of Christ? If Christianity were made illegal in my country today would there be enough evidence to convict me?”

Father in heaven, grant us wisdom and grace. Protect us as we walk among wolves. May we walk so closely with You and in Your teachings that there is no question whether we are Your followers. Grant us the peace that comes with trusting You wholly even when we are persecuted. Speak through us as Jesus promised in this passage. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015



Matthew 10:11-15 "Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town.  (12)  When you enter the home, give it your blessing.  (13)  If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing.  (14)  If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.  (15)  I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.

As you enter a city, a home, a conversation, go with a blessing on your lips. Be more prepared to bless than to criticize. You carry the Good News. Share it. If they receive your message, then it will be well for them and you. If they do not receive it or even reject it and you, remember judgment belongs to your Heavenly Father.

Knock the dust from your feet. In other words, let that dust be a testimony of their denial and leave it at their door step. Do not carry it with you, nor the sting of their words in your heart. Release it at once and surrender them to their fate but you walk on in freedom. You have done what you were told to do.

Father in heaven, free our hearts from the desire to bring judgment on others. Set us free to believe that You truly do know best and will bring about justice in Your time. Ours is to spread the message and trust You for the outcome. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015



Matthew 10:9-10 "Don't take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins.  (10)  Don't carry a traveler's bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. 

These instructions are about trust and faith as you carry the Good News to others. They were not to have a great fund raiser for their own needs before going. They were to take very little with them, in fact they were to take the clothes and shoes they were wearing. Keep in mind that this was a short term mission trip. Never-the-less Jesus instructs them to “accept hospitality.” Whatever was offered they were to receive with gratefulness knowing that a worker deserved to be fed.

They were to present the Good News in the power the Holy Spirit provided for healing and other miracles. Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, "This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.

I’m going to reiterate this on purpose. They were to go in the power of the Holy Spirit, trusting God to meet their needs and trusting God for the outcome of the work they were doing. This was a very simple approach and yet it worked in spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Do we rely too much on technology and stage production in our services today and not enough on the Holy Spirit? Do we do the same when dealing with individuals, relying more on our intellect and fancy words?

Father in heaven, Paul told us to be being filled with Your Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18b My translation). Help us to understand what that means and position us for empowering from and by You. Help us to yield all our earthly devices to You. I do not doubt that You can use technology to draw others to You, but I also know we must rely on Your power. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015



Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

Jesus is sending out His disciples to do the work of the ministry. Along with announcing the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven they are to perform these miracles. As they perform them they are to think about what they have “freely” received and they are to give freely.

God’s grace is given to each of us as a free gift. He grants salvation, healing, life and freedom from the bondage of demons. He gives these things to us. And Jesus commands that we give them to others. He grants us His authority to do so.

I urge you to be quicker to pray for the sick. Take this command seriously and have faith that God is Who He says He is, and that you are His child empowered to do the work He calls you to do.

Father in heaven, grant us the knowledge of Who You are and who we are in You. Grant that empowering in fresh anointing today and every day, along with the faith to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast our demons. And when we meet up with someone who is suffering for whatever reason may our first thought be, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and I have freely received. Let me give freely.” In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015



Matthew 10:5-7 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: "Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, (6) but only to the people of Israel—God's lost sheep. (7) Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

It is imperative to remember that this is the first time Jesus is sending His disciples out. It may seem harsh to ignore the Gentiles, but the Jews are God’s chosen people. The Good News was sent to them first.

Isaiah 55:8-9 "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  (9)  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

God’s plan did include us Gentiles. But there were prophecies to be fulfilled and one of those prophecies had to do with the rejection of Jesus by His own people. See Isaiah 52:2-3. Then read John 1:10-12.

How awful it must have been for Jesus to know that many of His own people would reject Him. But it is wonderful for us that He extended His grace to all of us who have believed on Him. John 1:12 But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. 1 John 3:1a See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are!

Meditate on that for a moment. He calls you, son or daughter. He loves you. Say that to yourself, “He loves me. He calls me His son/daughter.” Throughout the day today, think about that and give Him thanks.

Father in heaven, thank You that later on Jesus plainly told His disciples to preach the Good News to the whole world. Thank You that You call me son. Thank You that You love me. May that truth sink deep into our hearts and minds. May it make a difference in how we live for You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015



Matthew 10:1 Jesus called His twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.

This is the first time that Jesus sends His disciples out on their own to do the work of the Kingdom. He has all authority and He gives authority to them to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. After His resurrection He passed that same authority on to all who would believe in Him. See Mark 16:17-18.

Too many Christians live on the defensive. We are to live on the offensive against our enemy, the kingdom of darkness. We are to do so by living with an understanding of the authority we have as believers. We get to go into the Holy of Holies with boldness because of what Christ has done for us. We should deal with evil spirits and sickness with the same boldness because of the authority given us to do so.

All that being said, when someone tells you they are sick, pray for them. When you suspect an evil spirit is at work in a situation, command it to leave in the name of Jesus. Always understand that our authority comes from Jesus, but walk in that authority.

Father in heaven, forgive us for sitting back in fear when You have given us authority over the enemy. Increase our boldness and grant a fresh anointing of miracles in this day and time. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015



Matthew 9:36-38 When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  (37)  He said to His disciples, "The harvest is great, but the workers are few. (38) So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields."

The compassion of Christ is evident in that He pays attention to those around Him. In the verse immediately preceding this it is told that He traveled all over that area preaching the kingdom and healing all manner of illness. In His traveling He sees the crowds of people wandering aimlessly with no one to lead them. They are like sheep without a shepherd. This makes them easy targets for wolves, lions, false prophets and charlatans.

Jesus is in human form. In His earthly ministry He is imprisoned by time and space like us. There is a limit to how much He can do at any given time. Keep in mind, in this form He is teaching us how to live. We humans wear ourselves out trying to fit 25 hours of work into a 24 hour day. Jesus could have said, “Look at all the work out there. You guys are going to have to work a lot faster and a lot harder.” But He didn’t say that. He told them to pray for more laborers.

In Short:
1.  There is a lot of work out there.
2.  You can’t do it all so pray for more laborers.
3.  There is someone in charge of the harvest and that someone is not you.

In the next chapter Jesus sends the apostles out to do some work. So He is not saying, “Just sit back and pray for others to do all the work.” I think at the heart of this is, Pray, Do your best, Trust God for the rest.

Father in heaven, thank You that Jesus saw the sheep and their needs. Thank You that You see… You see us… You see all those around who are in need. Please raise up and send out more workers to lead the sheep. And give us clear instruction as to what work we are to do and where we are to apply ourselves. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015



1 Samuel 12:24  But be sure to fear the LORD and faithfully serve Him. Think of all the wonderful things He has done for you.

Okay this isn’t a Red Letter thing today. I’m writing this on October 2 and 10:30 in the evening. One year ago I was lying in a local hospital having suffered a major heart attack and waiting to be transported to Indianapolis to a heart hospital for more surgery. I had a stent installed that evening here in Kokomo. This was followed in Indy by another stent attempt and then open heart surgery.

Today was a day of rejoicing. I have no residual heart damage. I’m grateful for all the friends and family who came to our aid during the months that followed.

Father in heaven, today I’m just thankful. You have done many wonderful things for me. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

20151001 DO YOU BELIEVE?


Matthew 9:27-30  After Jesus left the girl's home, two blind men followed along behind Him, shouting, "Son of David, have mercy on us!"  (28)  They went right into the house where He was staying, and Jesus asked them, "Do you believe I can make you see?" "Yes, Lord," they told Him, "we do."  (29)  Then He touched their eyes and said, "Because of your faith, it will happen."  (30)  Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, "Don't tell anyone about this."

I want to focus on three words from this passage, "Do you believe?” 

These two blind men believed enough to make a spectacle of themselves shouting and following Jesus. They even went right into the house after Him.

What is your situation that you need Jesus to intervene in? Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. (James 4:2b) Have you asked God to meet your need? Have you refused to be silent toward Him about it? Are you following Him?

The answer to Jesus’ question is found in the actions as much as the words. What do your actions say about what you believe Jesus can and will do. I have met many people who have just stopped asking because they didn’t get what they were after on the first try. Keep on knocking. Keep on asking. Keep on seeking.

Father in heaven, increase our faith. Make our faith strong enough that we keep on asking. And then, hear us and answer with miracles in our varied situations. Grant health to the sick. Meet that financial need of the one who has been crying out to You. Repair that relationship that is broken. Provide that job. Grant boldness to the timid. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!