Scripture reading for July 19th: Matthew 15
Key Scriptures: Matthew 15:27-31 “She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And He went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at His feet, and He healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.”
Jesus had just healed instantly the Canaanite woman’s daughter who was oppressed by a demon. Her faith had brought Jesus’ mercy and healing power. Jesus then walked by the Sea of Galilee and went up on a hillside as great crowds of people brought to Him all manner of sick and hurting people. He healed them all and brought great awe and wonder as He performed miraculous healings and restoration. The people began to praise the God of Israel for what they were experiencing! God was in their midst as the Son of God, Jesus Christ shared the Father’s love and mercy, and had compassion on the hungry people.
Matthew 15:32 “Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they gave been with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to sent them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for Your great compassion on those wounded by sin and sickness and hunger in this fallen world. As You called Your disciples to share Your compassion, fill me with love and compassion and use me to bring healing and restoration and food to the hungry! All glory to the God of Israel!
Psalm 57:5, 11 “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!”
Scripture reading for February 7th: Matthew 25:14-30, Psalm 28, Proverbs 8:1-10
Everybody likes the reward of a job well done! We all long to have significance and recognition for making a contribution with our efforts. Much of our lives are spent in doing things that often have no one to commend us. In fact, often there are many who criticize us for our decisions or efforts. The world values that which is popular or exciting. God has told us in His word about the things that will bring us rewards and commendation. Let’s look at this today and evaluate our obedience to God’s commands.
Jesus finished His message about what it would be like when He returned at the end of the age with a final parable. This was a story of a rich man going on a journey and placing his servants in charge of his property. Each of of three servants were given talents (property or money) according to their ability. One got one talent, another got two talents and another got five talents. Each servant chose how to use the investments. The one with five, gained five more. The one with two gained two more. The one with one talent hid his in the ground and made no profit.
After a long time, the master returned and asked for an accounting. The two servants that had wisely invested got a well-deserved commendation,“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things! Come share in your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21) The last servant got a stern rebuke and thrown out into the darkness. (Matthew 25:28-30)
Jesus summed up what he was looking for in order to give rewards. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:34-36) Jesus told them that when they did these things to the least of these, they did it to Him! Go for the reward!
Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 5:1-30, Psalm 4, Proverbs 1:22-27
Jesus Christ was at heart a teacher. His teaching was with authority that many religious people of that day lacked because He clearly understood the word of God. (Matthew 7:28-29) His longest recorded teaching is these passages we will read the next few day in Matthew 5-7 called the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus climbed a mountainside or hillside to gather His disciples and teach them. Large crowds gathered to hear Him teach and marveled at what He taught them.
The introduction to this teaching is called the “beatitudes”. These short statements all begin with “blessed” and are a description of the kind of life that belongs to those who choose the kingdom of heaven revealed by Jesus. These verses all contain blessings and promises to those who meet the requirements for the blessings. According to the Amplified Bible, the term “blessed” includes in the meaning happiness and a joy and blessing that is to be envied. To be blessed is to have God’s favor and smile of pleasure. The Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-27 comes to mind as God’s instruction to Aaron the High Priest for blessing the Israelites. God is the great King of the Kingdom and the King’s smile is a sign of His pleasure and acceptance.
Various attributes and attitudes are considered to be blessed. If you are poor in spirit, meek, or pure in heart God’s blessing is yours. If you are hungry and thirsty for righteousness or actively a peacemaker, God is smiling on you. If you are suffering persecution because of your righteousness, that also merits God’s blessing and favor. Great reward will come to each of these who exhibit these attributes and attitudes. These people will be the salt of the earth and light of the world! (Matthew 5:11-16) They must be careful to keep their salty status and let their lights shine to bring praise to God the Father in heaven!
True blessedness and joy comes from being what God created you to be. These attributes are formed in those who humbly follow Jesus and ask to be filled with His Spirit. Jesus perfectly exhibited these attributes and will form them in us as we submit to His word! Let your light shine and flavor the world with real saltiness! All glory goes to God!