Then They Scoffed | Matthew 13:53-58

Scripture:Matthew 13:53-58 [NLT]
53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:53-58, New King James Version)

Observation:(What do you see when you read this scripture?)

It is interesting to me that the people of Jesus' town were "astonished" and actually recognize his "wisdom" and "mighty works", but they still refuse to see him as their Messiah because of an ingrained prejudice. Their question, "Where then did this man get all these things?" follows them having listed all of the reasons (under mans understanding) that Jesus was not worthy of their respect or honor. I find this even more fascinating because Jesus got His wisdom from the same scriptures that they had available to them. If they had truly answered their own question, and then went to the scriptures to find the truth, they could have been enlightened to who Jesus really was; much more than "just the carpenter's son".

Apply:(How can I apply this to my life?)

Real religion requires a relationship with the real God. The One True God is found in His word, the bible; which was given to us by Him. Many people today have created their own "god" and don't even know that they are worshiping something of their own making. A self made idol. They will look at other believers and say "they are doing it all wrong", or "their worship has no power" or "I wasn't raised that way so it must be wrong", but they are only judging from their own eyes. The key ingredient missing is the Word of God. What does the bible say, should be our question whenever we see something that doesn't make sense. And we should use the whole bible and not just pieces that support our way of thinking. Remember, the bible never contradicts itself, we only misinterpret it.

Seeking truth must go deep. It must come from a heart that wants to know the Truth above all else. Truth is not affected by prejudice, it does not bend to the will of man, it does not change shape or meaning over time. Truth is immovable and unchangeable...so why do we keep trying to change it?

Prayer:(Let God know what is on your heart)

Dear Creator of Truth,

Lord I know that You can never lie. Only truth comes from You. Help me to be a better seeker of truth and help me to implement it. This world has such a way of bringing me down and all of it is with lies. Help me to more and more realize that I cannot bend truth to my will...it is unbendable. Help me instead to be the one that bends and changes.

Thank you for always being there; now I ask you to forgive my sin. Help me to do Your will today. Be with my family...keep them all safe. Thank You for all that You provide. Amen.

What is the treasure of heaven? | Matthew 13:44-52

Scripture:Matthew 13:44-52 [NLT]44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.   45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.   47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:44-52, New King James Version)

Observation: (What do you see and hear when you read this scripture?)

At first Jesus uses parables to teach the value of finding, gaining and keeping the Kingdom of Heaven. Having God in your life and the treasure of truth and eternal life is of such great value that those who find it are willing to give up everything else to have it.

A response to the gospel, the Creator, and His plan for our lives will be what drives our actions and our thoughts to acquire more of His rich blessings.

Also, near the end of this passage, we see a reference to "old" and "new". This is referring to the treasures that are available to us from both the old and new testament. Truths that are from the same "storehouse"; Jesus. It is a grave mistake to discard the teachings of the old or the new testament. The Jewish religion discards the new inspired teachings be denying Christ as their Messiah, but we also have many "Christians" who do not understand that the same Jesus who instructs them from the new testament is the Jesus who instructed through Moses in the old testament. Much is lost if either path is taken, separated from the other.

Apply:(How can I apply this to my life?)

I can apply this to my life by asking myself the question; "How important is the Kingdom of Heaven to me?". Am I willing to give up everything for it? It seems at times that I am so busy in the world that I don't take the time I should with Jesus. My priorities are all catiwhompus and I need to bring myself back. I feel I am in one of those times now...it is time to give Jesus the time in my life that He so richly deserves. If you are reading this please pray for me that I can truly make Jesus the center of my life; where He belongs.

Prayer:(Let Him know what your thinking)

Lord,

I'm stuck. It was a struggle this morning to even bring myself to the point of writing again. I'm feeling so unworthy of Your love and I am sure at times that You can't really forgive me for these same things I continue to do over and over again. Please help me to find You again. Please work a miracle in my heart...change me.

Be with my children; keep them safe. Thank You for all that You provide in my life. Help me to work well and to do all for Your glory....help me to desire Your glory over mine. Amen.

Who are you really fooling? | Matthew 13:36-43

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Scripture: Matthew 13:36-43 [NLT]36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:36-43, New King James Version)

Observation:(What do you see and hear when you read this scripture?)

I see Jesus giving both his disciples and us a warning for the days to come. It is a matter of the heart and our hearts are an open book to God. Never think that you can fool Him by pretending to be wheat, but also know that if you stop pretending and become "either hot or cold", you will be in a place where God can work with you. It is only when we think we are "okay" that we are not. Pretending can only fool other people and sometimes even ourselves, but it can never fool our God who can see all things.

Apply:(How can I apply this to my life?)

I need to get real with God. It is a requirement for that deep relationship with Him...it can lead to real repentance and real change. Pretending is like putting makeup on a wound. It may have covered it up and everything looks okay, but the reality is that there is still an unhealed wound.

This is what makes God so amazing...you can come to Him just as you are. He wants it that way. Don't try to pretend to be something else, because that is only an attempt to win or earn your way to reward.

Prayer:(Let God know what your thinking)

Lord,

I am weak, you are strong. I need your strength in so many ways. I don't need to write them out here because You know what they are. Please help me with my weaknesses. Help me to be an overcomer in Your strength.

Be with my family, help them to be safe and to follow You. Help them to have a burning desire to know You more.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Mustard seeds, yeast and growth of the Kingdom | Matthew 13:31-35

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Scripture: Matthew 13:31-35 [NLT]31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” 33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” 34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“ I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13:31-35, New King James Version)

Observation:(What do you hear and see when you read this scripture?)

I see Jesus speaking to a group of people, sharing with them the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven, once again using things that they are familiar with to demonstrate a higher truth.

A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, but it produces one of the largest "trees" capable of sheltering birds and providing food for many. We can be that mustard seed, if we allow Jesus to plant the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we are led by the Holy Spirit we can affect other lives and help to spread the love of Jesus to more and more. The same idea is true of the leaven in bread, or yeast.

It is very interesting to me that Jesus used a symbol here which commonly was used to symbolize sin, as a symbol for the working of the Holy Spirit. Maybe this was not by accident. Sin, if left unchecked can and will permeate our whole lives as will the Holy Spirit if allowed. One leads to destruction, the other leads to life. Both seem to work in some ways the same...but the intent of one is polar opposite of the other.

We also learn here that Jesus is fulfilling another prophecy which foretold that he would use parables to teach. More evidence to those around Him and His disciples that He was the Messiah.

Apply:(How can you apply what you have read to your life today?)

All too often I let the leaven run freely in my life which is not the Holy Spirit. I have done it enough that it starts to permeate everything I do. It makes me neglect my time with Jesus. It makes me seek self indulgence more and to spend less time thinking of others. It is easy. I need to seek the proper leaven in my life. I need the Holy Spirit to fill me up. Sometimes, when I get to church on the Sabbath it's like finally coming up for air...finally a place where I can rest from the world. The bible studies I attend work in much the same way. They represent time in my life when I am surrounding myself with the Holy Spirit.

I realize that I cannot keep going back and forth with this. I need to find a way to have the Holy Spirit in my life daily and continuously. I need to stop neglecting my time with Him in the mornings. This will be a good start.

Prayer:(Let Him know what you think, feel and need.)

Dear Lord,

You are the Creator of all things. This means to me that You have the power over all things, even the enemy of my soul. Please protect me from that enemy. Help me to seek You daily and to dwell in Your presence moment by moment. Being on again and off again is getting hard.

I give You my life. Take it and make it what will glorify You. Forgive me sins Lord, for they are many.

Thank You for all that You provide. Continue to watch over and protect my children. Provide a path for them that leads to You. Amen.

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Wheat and Tares | Matthew 13:24-30

Scripture:Matthew 13:24-30 [NLT] 24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30, New King James Version)

Observation:(What do you see when you read this scripture?)

Again we have Jesus telling a story to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven. This time we have a farmer planting wheat (Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit) and we have the enemy (satan). The other players in the story are the wheat, (God's children) the tares (those who pretend belief) and the farmer's workers (preachers and/or other believers). Some other players you maybe haven't recognized are the harvesters (angels and/or the Holy Spirit) and the bundles (different Christian denominations or churches?)

What happens in the story? The tares or weeds are planted by the enemy directly with the wheat so that they grow up together. The farmer's workers recognize them and want to do something about it, but the farmer says to leave them until the harvest time because in "pulling" them up you might also uproot the wheat. The harvest time will be the last days in which a real decision for Christ will do the separating of the wheat from the tares. The tares will be bundled up, or grouped together, which tells me that like minded people will be brought together by the harvesters so that the wheat can now be used.

Application:(How can I apply this to my life?)

There are a couple of interesting things that stand out to me now as I read this parable. One is the bundles and two is the lack of other plant types. In the end there are only two kinds of people, true believers and those who grew with them and maybe even thought of themselves as wheat, but ultimately they were just weeds in a wheat field. Why isn't there a third plant type; one that represents the wicked or atheists or pagans? I think it is because there will only be two groups in the end...everyone will make a decision for Christ, some with sincerity, others without.

So the question becomes.."Which one am I? The wheat or the tare." It's interesting that sometimes I feel like one and sometimes I feel like the other. It could be a sign of being lukewarm.

There are times I have told myself that I look forward to that moment in the last days in which we will be able to truly show where our heart is. That moment when we will have to make that final decision for or against truth in Christ. Everything else is building us up to make one choice or the other. However, I also think that Jesus wants us to make that "final" choice now, today. Waiting could cause bundling...

Prayer:(Let Him know what you are thinking and needing)

Dear Father in Heaven,

Please forgive me of my sins Lord. Thank You so much for giving us the opportunity to make a choice. Thank You for making that choice clear; now I ask that you give me the victory over sin in my life so that I don't have to feel so lukewarm. Help me to fully become usable wheat.

Be with Carissa and myself as we travel today. Keep us safe on the roads. Please Lord, watch over her in Alaska and in her travels alone on the ferry. Send someone into her life that will be able to show her who You really are.

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