Tag: Kingdom of Heaven

Words no one wants to hear!

Scripture reading for April 14th: Matthew 7, Psalm 75, Proverbs 13

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?’ And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.””

As Jesus concluded His teaching on the blessed life of the kingdom, He warned His followers against going through the motions with outward show but lacking a true relationship with God through grace and faith. At the final judgment, many would come expecting a reward, only to be declared unfit to enter into the Father’s kingdom and eternal inheritance. They would call Jesus their ‘Lord’, but Jesus would declare that He never was personally acquainted with them. All their ‘good’ religious works were done to please others or earn favor with God. God has an appointed judgment and He will execute judgment with perfect equity. He has forewarned us about presumption and religious performance.

Psalm 75:1, 6-7 “”At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.” . . . “For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God Who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your perfect love and also for promised perfect justice. I humbly ask You for mercy through faith in Your Son Jesus Christ. I invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in me and guide me in Your ways and in deepening knowledge and relationship with You. May none of my family, friends or neighbors hear the fearful declaration: ‘I never knew you.’

Proverbs 13:14 “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Preaching in the land of darkness!

Scripture reading for July 2nd: Matthew 4

Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:12-17 “Now when He heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, and in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and the shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””

Jesus Christ heard that John the Baptist had been arrested by King Herod for preaching repentance and confronting Herod’s sinful sexual life. Jesus withdrew to His own childhood region of Israel but moved to another town from Nazareth, Capernaum by the sea. This area was on a trade route where peoples from all over the world would visit on their way to trade in other parts of the world. It was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” but had been the home property given to Zebulun and Naphtali, tribes of Israel. Isaiah the Prophet had spoken about this area in Isaiah 9:1-2, about 700 years before Christ’s birth. Jesus began preaching right where John the Baptist left off. He began where the land of the Jews was particularly darkened by the shadow of death and brought great light by preaching the Word of God. God’s Word would bring deliverance from death and its dark shadow and the dawning of a new day! Herod’s kingdom of darkness and death would be overcome by the kingdom of Light!

Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon You, and His glory will be seen upon You. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to light up my world of darkness! Thank You for loving Gentiles as You loved Jews. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Your light shines through me. Let the preaching of repentance, faith and miracles of healing flow through my life and today’s ministry opportunities.

Matthew 4:23-24 “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them.”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Obey the Lord!

Scripture reading for July 24th: 2nd Kings 9-10, Psalm 49, Matthew 7

Key Scriptures: Matthew 7:21-23 “”Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?’ And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.””

As Jesus was ending His message, He gave a warning to the people listening and to His own disciples. Some who called Him “Lord” would not enter the kingdom of heaven! Confession of Jesus as Lord but with no repentance and obedience to God’s Word was futile. Even doing works in Jesus’ Name without a humble and submissive relationship would result in being cast out of God’s presence. These are sobering and searching words.

Psalm 49:7-9 “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I call you ‘Lord’ and desire to live a life of obedience to You and my Father in heaven. I trust fully in Your grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”

2nd Kings 10:28-29 “Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin–that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.”

Tags : , , , ,

Bring those children to Jesus!

Scripture reading for January 25th:  Matthew 19, Psalm 19, Prov. 19

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 19:13-15  “Then children were brought to Him that He might lay His hands on them and pray.  The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven”  And He laid His hands on them and went away.”

Jesus’ disciples tried to shield their Master from what they considered trivial ministry.  Children were not high on their priorities.  But Jesus rebuked them for rebuking the people bringing their children for prayer and blessing.  According to Jesus, the kingdom of heaven belonged to children because of their simple faith.  He gladly blessed them and prayed over them.  Children must learn early to come to Jesus for His blessing.

Faith’s confession:  Lord, I thank You that children are those that You want to be brought to You at an early age.  I will seek to bring my children and grandchildren to You each day for blessing and guidance.  (Action step:  Take time today to pray for the children in you life, asking Jesus to bless them and keep them from harm.)

Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”  

Tags : , , , , ,

Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?

Scripture reading for January 19th:  Matthew 13

The Jews of Jesus’ day had a hard time figuring Him out!  He spoke to them with great wisdom and taught with authority.  He confounded the religious scholars of His day and they ended up seeking to kill Him!   He told parables that spoke plainly to those with ears to hear and seeking hearts but were meaningless to those who were proud and judgmental.  (Matthew 13:11-15)

Parables are stories that relay information at different levels of understanding, depending on the desire of the person to understand truth.  The disciples asked Him to explain why he used them.  “He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” ”  (Matthew 13:11)   Parables reveal truth to seekers, but hide truth from the hard of heart.  The parable of the sower was all about the sowing of the Word of God and the types of hearts that would not receive or would receive and produce fruit.  Those who received the Word would be like the good soil and produce a harvest!

He told a number of other parables and then went to His hometown to teach in the synagogue.  The people were amazed.  “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.  “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?  Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?  Aren’t His sisters with us?  Were did this man get all these things?”  And they took offense at Him.” (Matthew 13:54-56)  Knowing Jesus as He really is requires more than a genealogy and answers to questions!   We must be open to truth about the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus could do no great miracles there because of their unbelief!  Is your heart “good ground?”


Tags : , , , ,

Jesus preached the Kingdom!

Scripture reading for January 6th:  Matthew 4

Jesus had an awesome spiritual experience at His baptism!  He was filled with the Holy Spirit and got to hear His Father tell Him He loved Him and was pleased! Immediately, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by Satan for forty days.  Jesus had to face spiritual warfare and suffered temptations like all humans but unlike everyone else, He remained faithful to God and His Word!  Jesus defeated each temptation with a Scripture quote telling the Devil truth. (Matthew 4:4,7,10) Satan had to withdraw and Jesus returned in the Spirit’s power to begin ministry to the lost! (Luke 4:1)

Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum  by the Sea of Galilee.  He began to preach saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  (Matthew 4:17)  He also healed every disease and sickness as He went preaching the good news of the kingdom.   (Matthew 4:23)   The good news was that God loved all men and desired to see them turn from their selfish ways.  Repentance is a change of mind about who has the right to run your life.  It may also be described as a change of Kings and kingdoms!  In the kingdom of God, truth is the language of God.  Jesus was the Truth in human flesh and lived by that truth.  (John 1:12, John 14:6)  We are born the first time under the kingdom of darkness and Satan’s lies.  Repentance means turning from that kingdom to the kingdom of heaven!

Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven near to each person.  We have opportunity to respond to the good news as long as Christ has not returned! Today is the best day to turn to Him!  Now is the only time we know we have!  If you have not responded, please do it now!



Tags : , , , , , ,

Blessed in the Kingdom!

Scripture reading for October 7th: Matthew 5-7

Matthew recorded one of the longest discourses of Jesus in the Bible that is known as the “Sermon on the Mount”.   The kingdom of heaven was the subject of this great teaching.  God was King over the nation of Israel and they were blessed to be His loyal subjects!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3)   God’s kingdom people know that they can do nothing on their own.  They need God!  As a result, God blesses them with the kingdom as a gift!

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”  (Matthew 5:4-5)  Kingdom people are meek and mourn over sin.  They are humble and recognize their need of God’s mercy.  God promises them comfort and a great inheritance!

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”  (Matthew 5:6-8)   They hunger and thirst for righteousness and are satisfied by their King, who is their righteousness.  They are merciful because they have received mercy.   Kingdom kids are pure in heart because they have a new heart given as a gift from their King!

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:9-10)    They are peacemakers for they are sons of their Father who gives peace!  These kids are blessed when they are persecuted for their righteousness because they have heavenly vision of the glory to come.   They have a reward in heaven that no one can steal or destroy. (Matthew 5:7-12)  They will see their King’s face one day and bask in His glory!

Kingdom kids are blessed to be the light of the world.  They reflect the glory of their King everywhere they go.  They are the salt of the earth! (Matthew 5:13-16)  They help stop the corruption of sin and bring out God’s saving and preserving message of Gospel hope.  They are a people who love God and love their neighbors from their heart!  What a blessed life!

Tags : , , , , ,

Shake off the dust!

Scripture reading for January 12th: Matthew 10:1-23, Psalms 9:1-10, Proverbs 3:1-2

Jesus first taught His disciples to go out and preach to those who were lost in Israel.  “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)  They were empowered with authority to take the message of repentance to the Jewish people and to demonstrate God’s willingness and ability to heal and deliver.  They had not bought these gifts, but had freely received the power from Jesus and must freely give to all who would receive.  They were also to travel light and live off the gifts and hospitality of those that they would preach to.  Each worker was worthy of his keep!

Jesus knew that not everyone would receive them with hospitality.  Some would reject the message and maybe even mistreat these disciples.  He told them up front so they would not become discouraged or surprised by the treatment.  In fact, Jesus gave them some practical advice for dealing with those who would not receive: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.  I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.  I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:14-16)

When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people, we are doing more than we may realize.  Every time we share, God is offering eternal life to those that hear.  They will be held accountable for their actions.  If they refuse the messengers, they are rejecting God and bring eternal judgment of God’s wrath on themselves.  If they hear and accept, they bring God’s favor and and eternal life into their soul.  Jesus told the disciples that they were to shake the dust off their feet upon leaving the homes or town where they were not welcomed.  That dust would be a witness against those who rejected the Lord’s messengers.  They were not to waste time trying to argue or debate because they must go to others who would receive.   We are sent as messengers, not as lawyers!  This takes the burden off us as we freely offer God’s Gospel!

Tags : , , , , ,

Who can forgive sins?

Scripture reading for October 13th: Mark 1-3

Mark’s Gospel is concise and active.  It is alive with the Good News of God here with us and in love with us.  This revelation is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man!  Mark wastes little time with preliminaries of the Jewish history of the Christ and prophesies of His birth.  He gets right down to the action of Jesus living among His people and loving them by teaching, healing, and casting out devils.  He ate with the people and told them stories that opened up for them the kingdom of heaven and their own need for a relationship with the Father.

In Capernaum, a crowd gathered around a house where Jesus was preaching.   A group of men brought a friend who was paralyzed to Jesus for healing.  Because of the crowd there was no way to get him inside so they carried him up on the roof.  They opened a hole big enough to let the man down and lowered him into the room.

When Jesus saw the faith of the friends, He immediately responded to the man by saying: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)  This caused some religious leaders who were present to begin to think about how wrong this statement was to come from a mere man.  After all, only God could forgive sins!  (Mark 2:7)

Jesus immediately understood their thoughts and sought to help them believe.  He asked them why they were thinking these things and asked them which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or  “Get up, take up your bed and walk”?  In order to remove their objection, he told the man to get up, take up his bed, and walk.  This the man did to the amazement of the crowd!

This story should motivate us to seek Jesus for answers to whatever problems we face.  Jesus honors faith and no problem is too hard for Him.  We may not have faith ourselves, but believing friends can bring us to Jesus.  What friend do you know that needs help today to get to Jesus?  Take a few minutes of your day to pray for him.  As the Lord leads, get another friend or two and go and lift him to Jesus together!  Miracles are waiting for those who break through!  He truly is God!

Tags : , , , ,

The wedding banquet!

Scripture reading for October 10th: Matthew 20-23

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” Matthew 22:2-3

We read in the previous chapter that the chief priests and Pharisees knew that the parables they heard were about them.  They were jealous because many people were following Jesus and thought He was a prophet.  (Matthew 21:45-46)  As they were looking for a way to arrest Jesus, He gave them this parable that was a further warning of their dangerous path.

The king was God the Father who sent His only Son Jesus to earth.  His plan was to gather a bride for His son from those who would believe in  Him.  He came to the Jews first and invited them to the great wedding banquet.  Israel was long considered the betrothed wife of God!  When the banquet was ready, servants were sent to remind the guests and their need to come.  These servants were the prophets.  The people of Israel gave lots of excuses and most failed to respond.  Worse than that, they beat the servants of the King and killed them. (Matthew 22:5-7)  The king sent his army and destroyed those murderers and their city.  This likely refers to the Babylonian captivity.

The King then instructed His servants to go into the highways and on the street corners and find those who would come to His Son’s wedding banquet.  Many responded  to the urgent invitation.  One attended the banquet not properly clothed.  This person was confronted and then escorted out.  This man was speechless because he knew the proper clothing but in rebellion chose not to wear it.  He was bound and cast out into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:13)

“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)  Jesus concluded this parable with these sobering words.  The invitation to His wedding banquet has gone out to all the world.  Many have responded and others have chosen to not respond.  Their excuses will keep them out of the King’s presence.  Others come on their own terms and will be forcibly cast out at the last judgment.  Only the robes given by the King’s Son will be proper attire.  Have you accepted the King’s invitation?  Are you wearing the proper garment?

Tags : , , , , ,