12-22-2018 Take It Through The Week

Monday -Matthew 11:10–14 Take a look at the phrase the kingdom of heaven has been
suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force… What an odd phrase for
Jesus to utter. He identifies the kingdom of heaven as having occurred from the days of
John the Baptist until now… What He means is that salvation by grace through faith has
begun. It started with the baptism of John which was a baptism of repentance. When a
man hears the Gospel message and is convicted in his heart to repent of His sin he is
saved by faith in God’s promise. John was teaching that the Messiah is coming. We know
now, that the Messiah has come. We are saved because of our faith in His atoning death
and resurrection. But has the Kingdom of Heaven been suffering violence? Yes from the
time of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, those who hate God have been violent. And in
2015, we have seen the forces of Islam increasing in violence. Is there a lesson for us in
this rather obscure statement? Possibly. We know from the book of Revelation that as
time progresses toward the visible return of Jesus Christ, that there is going to be an
increase in religious violence. I don’t know what verse 12 means to you, but personally,
it has taken on new meaning to me in 2015. And yes, there has been an increase in my
faith and, an urgency in my longing to see the Lord. The violent have been seizing it by
force is possibly an ongoing fulfillment of prophecy. And for me personally, every act of
violence by violent men whispers eternity in my ears.
Tuesday – Psalms 63:6–8 Nighttime is not as frightening to us as it was back in biblical
days. Today, if you remember a power outage when you looked out of your house at
total blackness with no light in the distance, anywhere, then you understand a little
better. We spend very little of our time in total darkness but that was normal centuries
ago. When I think of You as I lie on my bed, I meditate on You during the night watches.
We need to do the same. In the darkest moments of our lives, we need to meditate on
the memorized Word of God. It teaches us the character of God and who He says He is.
And rest assured, all that matters is who He says He is. Not what we say of Him, not
what they say of Him. Because He is who He says He is. He is our helper…we rejoice in
the shadow of His wings. And perhaps most important, when we are close to you, Your
right hand holds on to me. Notice He says the right hand holds me. Most warriors were
right-handed and that was their strong side. Thus, the strongest aspects of God are the
very ones He promises to protect us with, even during the darkest watches of the night.
Pray with me.
Wednesday -Matthew 10:5–7 As you go, announce this: The Kingdom of heaven has
come near. The Good News of the Gospel? The Kingdom of heaven has come near. So why
did Jesus tell the disciples not to take the road leading to the other nations, and don’t
enter any Samaritan town? Because early in Jesus ministry, He had to set the wheels in
motion so the Jews would later crucify Him. Years later, Jesus himself would enter a
Samaritan village. We can surmise from the later reaction of the Samaritan woman at
the well and her villagers that, He would have been accepted by them. They would have
declared Him Lord. And it was not yet time for that. Instead, it was time for Jesus to
minister and then die on a cross for our sin. That evidently could only happen in
Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews. That’s why Jesus was so specific in where He went
and what He said and did. He was headed for the cross, and no one but the Israelites
were so stubborn and so obstinate that they could see the miracles and hear Jesus’
Words and still miss Salvation. They simply refused to believe John’s message. Read
John 1:29-30. John understood Jesus was the blood sacrifice for sin. The Jews hated Him
for it. Read Matthew 27:25. The Jews literally cursed themselves with the blood of Jesus.
Where the Gentiles have been blessed by the shed blood of Jesus, most of the Jews have
been cursed by it. All these things had to happen for the Gospel to go out to the world.
Jesus, our Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Take a moment to thank
Jesus for His blood. Worship Him.
Thursday – Luke 7:27-30 Pharisees were not only common in Jesus’ day, they are still
common today. In almost every church, there will be at least one Pharisee who has
taken it upon themselves to criticize the leadership of that church. Or the membership
of that church. Just remember, critical people are always plainly visible to the humble
and wise in a body of Christ. Never follow the loudest voice of dissension but instead
consider them in the same way Jesus considered the Pharisees of His day. To Jesus, John
the Baptist was sent specifically to prepare the people for Jesus’ birth and ministry.
When all the people, including the tax collectors, heard this, they acknowledged God’s way
of righteousness, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. The regular folks,
including the tax collectors, saw Jesus as God’s plan and acknowledged God’s way of
righteousness. But the divisive Pharisees rejected the plan of God for themselves. What
lessons can you and I learn from these scriptures? Pray with me. Precious Lord, I never
want to miss your plan for my life. Early Lord, I want to turn to You and accept Your
will in my life. I never want to be like a Pharisee, knowing law but not knowing Your
Heart. Help me to love and forgive others the way you did. In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen.
Friday – Luke 7:31-35 Can you imagine how Jesus felt? And rest assured, since He was
fully-God and fully-man, He did feel. This passage is filled with frustration, since Jesus
was love incarnate and He desperately wanted the people of this generation to know
Him. But instead He compared them to children sitting in the marketplace…we played the
flute for you but you didn’t dance; we sang a lament, but you didn’t weep! They were like
children seeking approval from one another, but at the same time judging one another.
Those who were judging Jesus, had also judged John, but for completely different
reasons. John did not come eating bread or drinking wine, so because He was not like
them John was accused of he has a demon. Jesus sat down with them to dinner and even
turned water into wine. Jesus did all He could to meet them right where they were and
they said look a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Thus for
the religious elite of the day, neither John, nor Jesus communicated God to them. But as
for me, I am so glad John preached repentance and Jesus was a friend to sinners. For I
am a sinner,…daily. You would think that after 35 years of ministry, I would have
conquered this thing called sin. But I am just as needy and just as pitiful today, as I was
years ago. Without the power of the Holy Spirit in my life and the Word of God in my
hands, I would know nothing and be nothing. But with Him? Read Phil. 4:13.
Saturday – Luke 16:14-17 The Pharisees loved money and scoffed at Jesus. However,
Jesus’ summation of them is eternal, was recorded for all time, and will echo throughout
this thing called eternity. God knows your hearts… Even though they were admired by
people, they were revolting in God’s sight. God also knows our hearts. Yes, even the dark
places. How are we to be fitted for the moment in time when God reveals our hearts to
all in existence? Yes, we will judged for every idle word that we have uttered. The
Kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is strongly urged to enter it. How do
we enter the Kingdom of God? By becoming the opposite of the Pharisees. Read
Matthew 18:3-4. We have to be converted. What is that? Jesus said to be like little
children. Spiritually, we are to realize we are as helpless as a babe, without our Savior,
and our Father, and our Comforter. Whoever humbles himself like this child-this one is the
greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Take a moment and think of the places that anger you
or embitter you. Confess them as sin and humble yourself before the Lord.

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