Monday, November 23, 2015

20151123 WHAT DO YOU SEE?


Matthew 12:9-13 Then Jesus went over to their synagogue,  (10)  where He noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?" (They were hoping He would say yes, so they could bring charges against Him.)  (11)  And He answered, "If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn't you work to pull it out? Of course you would.  (12)  And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath."  (13)  Then He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!

Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees is reminiscent of Solomon’s answer to the two women arguing over a living baby. (1Kings 3:16-25)

It had been prophesied the Jesus would be wise. Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Not only is He wise but He is compassionate. The Pharisees only see the potential of someone breaking one of their rules. Though the Sabbath laws are pretty particular the Pharisees had added to them making the Sabbath a burden instead of a rest. But Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath sees the man with the withered hand. He sees the opportunity to give this man a blessing of rest that will remove the yoke of oppressive begging, and return him to the work force. He is giving Him a new yoke, a fitting yoke.

Before presenting the blessing He answers the Pharisees, silencing them with His wisdom. In His answer there is so much more. I repeat myself, but please grasp this. Whether you are the one ignored because of rules, or the one ignoring others because of rules… Jesus sees the man as a man who has worth. In God’s sight you have worth and those around you have worth.

Do you see others? Do you see the hurting? Are you in such a hurry, or so agenda driven that you miss the opportunities to bless those around you? Dallas Willard said, “Arrange your days so that you experience total contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God.” Do you pack your days so full that any interruption, or “chance meetings” (God moments) would be frustrating?

I would be remiss not to point out that Jesus gave the man with the withered hand a part in his healing. Some will read this and say, “Yeah, you people should see me and help me.” Jesus never encourages laziness nor a refusal to work. And Paul takes it a step further, saying "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat." (2Thess 3:10b)

Father in heaven, as we look at our calendar and plan our day remind us to leave breathing room, that is room for contentment, joy and confidence in You. Open our eyes to see, really see those around us who need a compassionate word or a helping hand. Grant us wisdom, health and strength to accomplish what must be done. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015



Matthew 12:1-8 At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them.  (2)  But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, "Look, Your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath."  (3)  Jesus said to them, "Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  (4)  He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat.  (5)  And haven't you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath?  (6)  I tell you, there is One here who is even greater than the Temple!  (7)  But you would not have condemned My innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.'  (8)  For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!"

I’m reminded of the cowboy who retired after many years on the range. He moved into a city and attended a big city church. His fanciest clothing consisted of a clean pair of faded jeans and a plaid shirt which he wore with his customary cowboy boots. As he was leaving after his first visit the pastor shook his hand and said, “I’m so glad you were able to join us today for service and I hope you will return, but would you do me a favor?”
The cowboy politely indicated he would try.
The pastor went on, “Would you ask the Lord what the proper attire is for attending worship here.”
The cowboy promised he would do that. The following week he returned to the same church wearing the exact same clothing. Again, on the way out the pastor shook his hand and said, “I’m so glad you came back, but I thought we agreed you would ask the Lord what the proper attire is for attending worship here.”
The cowboy replied, “Yes sir, we did and I did indeed pray and ask the Lord this week.”
The pastor smirked and asked, “And what did the Lord tell you?”
To which the cowboy replied, “He said He didn’t know because He has never been here.”

I’m so grateful for the mercy that our Heavenly Father has shown us and shows us daily. It is important to note that the ceremonial and dietary laws were given to show us that we all fall short of God’s glory. No one was able to keep all the law except Jesus and He is Lord, even over the Sabbath.

We all have preferences in life. Some of those preferences we feel very strong about. We might even be willing to fight for them, but should we? There are things in the scriptures that are non-negotiables, but those aren’t usually what we fight over.

God’s desire for us is that we would be merciful as He is merciful. I love the way that the NLT puts this… Hosea 6:6  I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings.

Father in heaven, fill us with Your amazing love, Your mercy, Your grace. Remind us when we are getting caught up in our preferences and putting them above people. Help us to walk in holiness, but to do it with much love. In Jesus Holy and precious name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

20151118 REST


Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  (29)  Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (30)  For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

Jesus goes from a scathing rebuke (vs 21-24) to thanksgiving and praise (vs 25) to a Messianic proclamation of Who Jesus really is (vs27) to a most comforting invitation.

This invitation promises rest. I hear people all around me telling how busy they are, how tired, exhausted, worn out they are, as if in competition of who carries the heaviest load and who among them is the most likely to suddenly die of over exhaustion.

All around us, for us, in us and through us Jesus is doing miracles, but like the people of Korazin we miss them and think them the works of chance or worse, miracles of our own doing.

But for those who feel the weight of what they are doing and can see that their efforts are falling short and wearing them out He calls out, “Come to Me.” When they answer Him He urges them to lay down their heavy burdens and He touches them with a holy rest. He does not leave them to sleep too long, but urges them to take on a different load. They will still work, but in a fitting yoke. This yoke will not chafe nor wear down the wearer. The work He gives will matter for it will be the work for which they were created. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” He will teach them this work and in it they will find a refreshing as they go along. The work itself will bring new life to their souls.

If you are participating in the competition and finding yourself winning the gripe sessions with other busy, worn out individuals. Stop. Yes, stop. Listen to the invitation of Jesus. Go to Him. Lay down your burdens, your ideas of what it is to serve. Accept the rest He offers. When you awaken make a list of all you are doing and give Him permission to go over that list with you. Give Him permission to tell you what needs to go. You will have to learn the word, “No.”

Then ask Him if there is anything you are not doing that you should be doing. Listen. If you are His sheep, then He promises you will hear His voice. Now follow His guidance.

Father in heaven, we pile stuff on that You did not plan for us. We live in a society that praises busyness and has no patience for waiting or really resting. One of Your commandments is for us to Sabbath. Forgive us for ignoring You and the healing, peaceful rest You offer. Help us as Your children to accept this gift You offer. Cause our ears to be open to Your direction and may we be found faithful to the work for which You created each of us. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015



Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.  (26)  Yes, Father, it pleased You to do it this way!  (27)  "My Father has entrusted everything to Me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."

In the preceding verses Jesus proclaims the horror of the final judgment of the occupants of five cities. But, in verse 25 He turns His heart and mind to praising the Father. Though judgment will be horrendous there will be a remnant and Jesus praises God for it. He rejoices in what pleases the Father. In that rejoicing He is trusting the Father’s perfect plan for His own, for those He will save.

I’m reminded of the time that David and his men had gone out to battle only to return and find their city burned and their families taken. David’s men, being discouraged, tired, and angry began talking of killing David. Read David’s response… 1 Samuel 30:6  David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He approached it (Luke 19:41). No doubt He was broken hearted over Chorazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon and Capernaum, but He found strength in the Father and His plans.

In what do you find strength when all around you seems devastating? The news of late is depressing, maddening even. Jesus warned of wars and rumors of wars, persecutions, earthquakes and all sorts of calamities. But He also said, John 14:27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.”

Father in heaven, strengthen our brothers and sisters in Paris who are dealing with such a massive loss because of evil. Draw the lost to Yourself. Grant Your comfort and Your peace. Remind us where our strength comes from by the power and grace of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Taking a Week Off

To those reading this blog,

Thank you for reading and studying along with me. I'm going to take this week off and Lord willing, I will return on November 16.

Continue walking with Jesus and applying what you have already learned.

In the love of Jesus Christ,
Pastor Steve

Saturday, November 7, 2015

20151107 MIRACLES


Matthew 11:21-24 "What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.  (22)  I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.  (23)  "And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today.  (24)  I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you."

Jesus shows here that God will take a person’s life circumstances into consideration as He passes judgment. And it appears that there will be degrees to eternal judgment.

The more important thing for us as believers to consider is that rewards in heaven will be by degree according to how we have lived. (See 1Corinthians 3:12-15) In the passage above Jesus points to the miracles He performed in these cities. The judgment He speaks of is because of their reaction, or lack thereof, to His miracles. He works miracles around us every day. Creation, the air we breathe, the many processes of our bodies are all miracles.

Are your eyes open to see them? Do you give them any thought? Do you look to Him daily expecting miracles, not only for yourself but also for those around you? Are you facing today with anticipation or dread? Do you believe He is Who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?

Father in heaven, thank You for another day. Thank You for the gifts of Your

Son and Your Holy Spirit. Open our eyes today to see Your handy work all about us and open our hearts to live in anticipation of what You will do this day. And may we be found willing to join You in Your miraculous plans. In Jesus Name AMEN!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015



Matthew 11:16-19 "To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, (17) 'We played wedding songs, and you didn't dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn't mourn.'  (18)  For John didn't spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, 'He's possessed by a demon.'  (19)  The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!' But wisdom is shown to be right by its results."

I’m so glad that Jesus is a friend of sinners. That means He is my friend… OH HALELLUJAH!!!

I believe the main point He is making here is that some people will never be satisfied. They will set themselves against you and no matter what you do they will find fault. So, you must follow the path of wisdom. That path begins with the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”

Jesus says this in John 5:44 No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from the One who alone is God.

How important to you is the praise and approval of men? If you will be wise and choose to live to please God the results will be wonderful. Just don’t attempt to please Him to gain salvation. That is His gift to you. Strive to please Him out of love for Him.

Father in heaven, thank You for the gift of salvation You so freely give. Grant that we would truly understand our position with You in Christ. And may we live for You out of pure love for You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015



Mat 11:7-15  As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. "What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind?  (8)  Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people with expensive clothes live in palaces.  (9)  Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet.  (10)  John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, 'Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, and he will prepare Your way before You.'  (11)  "I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!  (12)  And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.  (13)  For before John came, all the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to this present time.  (14)  And if you are willing to accept what I say, he is Elijah, the one the prophets said would come.  (15)  Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
John was faithful in his ministry. Jesus gives John honor and clarifies to all who will hear that John is the Elijah and the forerunner of the Messiah. In this Jesus is also pointing to Himself as the Messiah.

Verse 12 has been translated different ways. Some translate it, “the Kingdom suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” It seems that there were and perhaps are those who are trying to force their way into the Kingdom of God. One commentary points out that there were those who tried to make Jesus king of an earthly kingdom by force.

Everything in the scriptures up to and including John point to this time, the coming of the Messiah. And now He is here. He, Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the King of Kings, the Savior.

There was a lot of confusion over what kind of Savior He would be. The people wanted a king now. They wanted someone to build David’s kingdom again. They missed that Jesus came to bring something much more permanent than an earthly kingdom.

Hear and understand, though He sees you in your present situation His goals and plans are much loftier than a temporary quick fix. He wants to change you into something greater than John the Baptist. He wants to make you whole in every aspect and use you for His eternal glory to spread His Heavenly Kingdom and its amazing Good News.

Father in heaven, grant that we would yield to Your plans for Your sake. Let us see the bigger Kingdom vision and live for You in pursuing it. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015



Mat 11:4-6 Jesus told them, "Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—  (5)  the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.  (6)  And tell him, 'God blesses those who do not turn away because of Me. '"

The question asked of Jesus at this point was inspired by John the Baptist. He sent his disciples to ask, “Are you the Messiah?” Based on Jesus’ answer these followers of John had been with Him long enough to see some of His miracles.

How long have you walked with Jesus? What have you seen and heard? If someone asked you about Jesus what would your answer be? Would it be just the academic answers from Sunday School or would you be able to recount blessings and miracles?

I guess the real question here is this, “Is your walk with God just academic or is it a relationship full of stories you can share about His goodness, His character, His provision, love, joy, peace?” Only you and God can answer that question. I urge you to spend some time meditating on that question today.

Father in heaven, thank You that you desire such a relationship with us. May we be found faithful in walking with You and in sharing You with others. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!