Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Matthew chapter 20

This Is such an amazing chapter! I actually want to start this study by saying that chapters 19 and 20, should be considered as one unit. Chapter 20 is a continuation of what was happening in 19.  If we consider them together, we will have a better understanding of what Jesus was trying to teach the disciples, and us, on His journey to the cross.

Two times in chapter 19, the disciples make comments to Jesus about something that has happened, that reveals their heart feelings and motives on the subjects being discussed. In verse 19:10, Jesus ignores the true motive in their casual remark about marriage and teaches on celibacy. In verse 19:27, after seeing Jesus tell the rich young ruler to sell everything and give it to the poor and come and follow Him, they in essence said to Him that they had already done what he had asked of the rich young man. So, what was there going to be for them? They said to Him that they had given up "everything" for Him.
 If I were Jesus, I would have been tempted to tell them that they had no idea what they were saying. I would have told them that they were giving up nothing compared to what I had to do for them. I would have told them how I could hold the universe in my hand and that I had laid my crown aside to save their measly lives. 
Instead, our precious, humble, glorious Lord, tells them what they will inherit when He comes into His glory. But, He finishes chapter 19 with the words  " many who are first will be last and the last will be first"
This is where we start chapter 20.  Verses 19:30 and 20:1, are actually the same sentence. After saying that the first will be last and the last shall be first, Jesus starts the parable of the landowner with a vineyard.
Verse 20:2 tells us that the landowner agrees to pay the workers a denarius  for the days work. In verses 20:3-7, the landowner continues to visit the marketplace all day long to hire workers.  This actually is very hard work. We have a vineyard near our home. The vines on their stands are pretty short ,only about half the height of a man so this job requires a lot of bending and stooping. Once harvested into a basket or bucket the grapes are quite heavy. You can imagine how hard this job would be while working in the hot sun.
In verse 20:8, the land owner tells his foreman to call the workers and pay them. He tells him to start with the workers who were hired last. When the workers lined up, according to when they were hired , the workers saw that the guys who had only worked an hour, got a full denarius  and assumed, that since they had worked longer, they would be paid more. Of course they did! We would have thought the same thing. 
Many times I wondered why some of the guys went all day without being chosen. This artist gives us the idea that they were smaller or younger and not as desirable as the bigger stronger guys."the last shall be first and the first shall be last"
After all, isn't that only fair? Not only had they worked all day in the scorching heat but now they were having to stand in line behind the guys who only worked and hour, and wait to be paid!

Verse 20:11 tells us that when these hot, tired workers got to the front of the line and got their pay, they grumbled to the land owner because they only got paid a denarius, the same as the guys who worked a shorter day. Jesus finishes with verses 12-15 to show how the story turns out. The men did not get anymore money for grumbling. The land owner could do what he wanted with his money. He had kept his agreement. He had not wronged anyone. But, Jesus finishes with the whole point of the story. He finishes where He began in verse 30 of chapter 19. In verse 20:16 He says, "Thus, the last shall be first and the first shall be last."

This story of the land owner and his vineyard, strikes at the very heart of what human beings would consider fair. It is a universal story that every human can relate to in any culture. It is timeless, and just as emotion invoking now as it was on the day when Jesus spoke it to his disciples. 

Jesus is teaching the eternal in these two chapters. He is trying to get His disciples to  think with an eternal perspective. Jesus is the first who became last and the last who will become first. In Isaiah 53, we see Jesus "despised and forsaken of men" who by the end of the chapter is the conquering hero. He wanted His disciples to make the connections here. He wanted them to think differently about everything. He wanted them to realize that how humans decide who is useful and what is valuable or fair, is not how God decides. He was trying to enable them to see that the road to glory was not going to be what they thought it would be. They should not expect to be treated fairly by the world's standards. Remember, they had just told Jesus that they had given up everything for him (19:27)and wanted to know what their reward would be. 
They needed this lesson because before long they would  see the Lord unfairly tried, convicted and murdered for being kind, caring and sinless. He would suffer unspeakable torture and shame for healing the sick and raising the dead. Their world was going to turn upside down.
As they started their journey down the road to Jerusalem for the last time, he tells them this. (read Matt. 20:17-19)  
I am positive that they still did not understand. We know that is true because in John 21:8-9, we are told that when they entered the tomb they saw and believed but before that time they did not understand about Him rising from the dead. They had been in hiding since His crucifixion. It wasn't until Jesus rose from the dead and they received the Holy Spirit,  that all of the words and teachings of our Lord made sense to them. They gained an eternal perspective.

I love the next part of this chapter. In verses 20:20-28 the mother of James and John comes to make a request of Jesus. She asks if "Her boys" could be honored above the others. It says that she got down on her knees to ask the Lord this favor.  Eerdmans says that it is clear that she was not asking that her boys  receive this honor in death but that she still thought that Jesus would be setting up His earthly kingdom very soon. Jesus, ever patient, says "you do not know what you are asking for, Can you drink of the same cup I will drink?" They say yes, clearly still not understanding what that cup will be.
It tells us that the other 10 disciples became indignant at James and John. It seems that the lesson on the last being first and the first being last had been lost on them. They did not want these two to be honored in anyway above them. That was not fair, they didn't deserve special honor. In verse 20:25, Jesus calls them together to address them quietly and I believe gently, as a mother would call her child to a private conversation to set something right. He tells them that they have seen how the world government operates but that it is not to be so among them. He says, whoever wishes to be great must be the servant of all, who ever wants to be first, must be the slave. Then He teaches in verse 20:28 that He is to be their example of ambition . He says He "did not come to be served, but to serve and become a ransom for many" His Classic example to them is in John 13. 

The last part of this chapter is very important
 to me. Verses 20:29-34 is the account of the blind men who cry out to Jesus from the side of the rode. The verses say that a great multitude was there. The blind men cried out "Lord , Have mercy on us Son of David". They called out "Son of David" to show Him that they knew that He was the Messiah. The crowd tried to stop them from crying out to Him but they cried out all the louder. The scripture says that he stopped to talk to them and was "moved with compassion."  Jesus touched their eyes and immediately they were healed and followed Him. This is the prayer I pray as I continue to pray for my little daughter who needs a healing. (she is the one holding the puppy). I pray those very words. "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us" and then I pray that he will be moved with compassion and heal my daughter. He has already healed her in many ways. She has succeeded at things that the Drs. never thought she would . But she still needs the Lord's healing touch in her voice and muscle strength. Pray for my daughter if you think of her. I know that this is kind of personal, thanks for reading.

To finish. I find these two chapters to be incredible, life changing chapters in our journey to start living our lives with an eternal perspective. This world is passing away. Our hope is in Him. The servant of all. The eternally patient, all loving, all knowing Lord. Who will come on a white horse to claim His bride,us. To the world, foolishness (1st Corinth.1:25). 

Keep reading, keep studying. The things you are reading, are for the eternal. TO REMEMBER THIS CHAPTER WE WILL USE 20 WORDS. (UGH) I KNOW, BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL GIVE YOU REMEMBRANCE. JUST ASK.


God bless you ladies, I am praying for every one of you. Pray for an eternal perspective in everything you do.


Friday, May 11, 2012

wHY ThIs sTUdY ***

I decided to start this way of studying because I prayed for a way to remember what I was studying and reading. I would study a book of the bible and only finish my study when I thought that I could remember what was in that book. Well, it wasn't long after I started a study on another book that I would realize that I had forgotten most of what I had read in the previous book. 
I also didn't like the fact that I knew a lot of information from the bible but I didn't always know where to find the subjects or verses that were being discussed. I really wanted to be able to quickly turn to passages without spending a lot of time flipping to find stuff. (if you know what I mean).
Anyway, this is the way the Lord lead me to study and remember His word. It works for my brain. I hope that it will work for yours too.
We will not be memorizing verses. We will be using "memory tools" to remember subjects, topics, and passages in the bible.

For example, Matthew chapter 4... Think FAST.. FAST has 4 letters, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, he also chose 4 apostles in Chapter 4, PETER, ANDREW, JAMES AND JOHN.

OF course this takes practice, and the other important piece is to READ, READ, READ the chapter you are studying over and over again. Then use your memory tool to remember it. I will be providing a memory tool for every chapter but you may start develop your own memory tools as the Holy Spirit brings to mind the things that God wants you to remember.

This method has been wonderful for me. I actually started with the book of John and can now tell you something from every chapter in that book. That study will come later, for now we are working on Matthew.

Pray, pray, pray and practice. Practice as you are falling asleep at night. Practice as you wait at a stop light. Practice as you wait in line at the grocery store. Practice any time you have to wait. Turn that time into God's time.
I hope that this turns into a wonderful journey for you as you go through God's word. I will be praying for all of you.
God Bless

Matthew Chapter 19

In chapter 19, we find out that Jesus has left Galilee and is now in the region of Judea. Verse 2 says that great crowds of people were following Him and He was healing them. It is into this scene that the Pharisees come with a question intended to trick Jesus into giving a response that had no popular answer. In Verse 19:3 they ask Him "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?"
Jesus answers and says:
"Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning , made them male and female, and said for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (19:4-6)

 I wanted to quote the exact words of Jesus here because , in their day (as in ours) these words were completely ignored. In  verses 19:5-6,  Jesus is calling us to view our marriages as something that has to be preserved.  We need to view our marriages the same way that the Lord views them. Jesus endured the cross for His bride, the church. (Rev. 19:7). If things are hard, consider endurance, obedience and prayer.
At some point in our Christian life with Christ, endurance has to take over. Christ endured (read Heb. 12;1-3) In her book LOVE HAS A PRICE TAG, Elizabeth Elliot said "He Himself endured a cross and thought nothing of it's shame because of the joy. A very different story from the one which would have been written if Jesus had been prompted by the spirit of our own age;Don't Just endure it, think about it, talk about it,share it, express your gut level feelings, get in touch with yourself, find out who you are, define the problem, analyze it, get counseling, get the experts opinions, discuss solutions, work through it"   E.L. . Jesus endured,He prayed. He was also obedient to the call on His life. He was determined to please God and do what God was asking of Him. In John 4:34 Jesus says" My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work. If you think that it was easier for Him to endure through His trials than it is for you read Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 5:7-8.
I am asking you here to consider your commitment to your marriage by putting it up against the word of God. God says that you are one flesh. Let no man separate.   
This was a very unpopular idea in Jesus's day, as it is in ours. In verse 19:7, the Pharisees counter Him by asking why Moses had set up the system for divorce that was in their very scriptures? (Duet. 24:1-4) Jesus tells them that Moses permitted it because of their hardness of heart, but from the beginning this was not God's way. In all fairness to the Pharisees, there were 2 teachers of the law who held and taught 2 different views on divorce at the time. Rabbi Hillel, taught that a man could divorce his wife if he ceased to love her or if he saw someone he liked better or if she burned his dinner. While Rabbi Schammai taught that he  could only divorce his wife for some  offense against chastity.
Jesus goes on to put the topper on it in verse 9 by saying that remarriage without sexual immorality, was considered adultery. This was as unpopular then as it is now. Look at the reaction from Jesus's disciples in verse 10.
In verse 10, they in essence say  "well if this is the way it is, maybe it's better not to get married". I find this  a shocking statement to  come from the disciples. But then I realize that they were a product of their culture, as are we. There will be Christians who will read this and not want to accept what the word of God has to say about divorce.
In verse 19:11-12 Jesus answers them kindly I think, considering their hearts and beliefs on the matter.
He goes on to address their thought that it might be better not to marry.
He says some are born unable to "marry", some have the choice taken from them by forceful men and some feel that they can serve God better without marrying. According to Eerdman's, at the end of verse 19:12, He is giving His blessing to the idea that  the disciples think that they might be able to better serve God without marrying. Of course the real intention of their comment about marriage doesn't get addressed. 
 Please don't look away from these verses without examining your own marriage and your own heart on this subject. Your marriage was meant by God to be an example of the eternal love that God has for us. In God's eyes, it is permanent. I pray everyday that God will give the couples at our church an eternal perspective in their marriages. I pray for obedient, enduring hearts. Our marriages should be a glory and a praise to Him. After all, we do have "the way, the truth and the life"(john 14:6)  in our marriages..

Verses 13 and 14 are interesting in that, it seems the disciples didn't learn anything from the last time that children were the focus of the moment.  Verse 13 says that the children were being brought to Him to be touched and prayed for and that the disciples forbid it. Obviously, Jesus wanted the children to come to Him. He says, don't keep them away, the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Then the bible says that He lays His hands on them and then he departs (19:15) Interesting that it doesn't say He prayed for them. I have ideas on that. But, what do you think?

I want to finish by just making some observations on the end of the chapter.In verses 19:16-26, we have the story of Jesus's encounter with the rich young ruler. In Mark 10, we are told that he ran up to Jesus and knelt before and asks Him what he can do to go to heaven. The young man uses the word for "good" that was giving honor as unto God Himself. This is why Jesus asks Him why he used that word in his greeting. Jesus doesn't wait for the answer to that question but goes on to say that if he wishes for eternal life he must keep the commandments. Here is where we get the clue that this young man has missed the point! HE SAYS "WHICH ONE?" Notice that when Jesus speaks again He recites some of the common commandments but does not start with the first and most important commandments that deal with a man's relationship to God. I am the Lord Thy God. You shall have no other God's before me. You shall not worship any other God. (exodus 20:1-2). Jesus then gives him the  test. He tells Him to go and sell all His possessions and give the money to the poor. Of course the young man failed miserably because his one true love, his God, was his money.
Just something to think about. 

 This chapter is also full of well known passages. Even people who would say that they don't know anything about the bible,  will know some of these verses and the ideas conveyed here.  There is also the verses about Jesus saying that the apostles will sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel (19:28) We didn't discuss this but I know that I have been in conversations with other Christians where someone said "where is that verse?"So we will include it in our memory tool.

So as with Chapter 18, we will use 19 words to remember this chapter. Divorce,hard for a rich man to get to heaven,the apostles will judge  the 12 tribes of Israel.****19 words*** I know that this takes practice, but don't discount the help of the Holy Spirit in your learning. Pray and read, practice. Pray, read, practice and when you need to remember you will!!! Be faithful. Start reading chapter 20. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Matthew 18- part 2

We are back to Chapter 18 starting in verse 7. After reading a few different commentaries and praying over these passages, I have to disagree with some of the more common interpretations of this passage. If we look  at the text, there is no break in the actual context of the situation that the scripture is conveying. What I mean is, the child is still standing in the midst of Jesus and the disciples when Jesus speaks of sin as offenses. Some commentators say that Jesus wasn't directly addressing sin in regards to children. This is what I disagree with.
He has just pronounced a fitting end to a person who causes a little child to misunderstand God in verse 18:6. In 18:7,  He says "Woe, to the world because of it's offenses" He then goes on to say that it is inevitable that sin will come but "woe" to that man by whom the sin offenses should come. 
That word "woe" is a great expression of grief.  Sin causes the Lord great grief especially if the target of that sin is little children.
I saw a documentary on the National Geographic Channel where  they interviewed adults that had been children who grew up in families living within a religious cult. One of the most heart rending interviews was the interview with Brent Jeffs. His uncle Warren Jeffs ,was the leader of the FLDS church until he was placed in prison for his crimes against women and children.
In the interview, Brent Jeffs, explained his experience of being raped by his uncle starting at five years of age. The attacks continued for several years. He explained,  how his uncle would come and get him from Sunday school, walk him to a bathroom, rape him and return him to Sunday school where he said he would sit and shake, waiting for the pain to subside. He said, as he was being attacked, he would wonder what he had done that made God hate him so much. He had been taught about God. He was sure that God had forsaken him. That God had thrown him away and considered him trash. He said that that was how his five year old mind perceived what was Happening to him.
As he retold his story, this grown man wept like he was five again. He talked about how badly he wanted his mom to help him but he was afraid to tell anyone what was happening to him.
The point I want to make here is that I don't think that Jesus had changed subjects  when He goes on to talk about conquering sin. In verse 18:8 we have the beginning of the famous "if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off" verses. I think that most people are focused on the wrong thing when they read these verses. Jesus's point is not whether you loose a limb.  His point is, that we need to be  willing to do whatever it takes to rid ourselves of sin.  Unchallenged, sin can have devastating effects on others, especially little children.
No matter what psychologists say, if it is sin in the life of a believer, there is a way of escape. Every sin starts with the temptation to do wrong. 1st Corinthians 10:13 says: No Temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man and God is faithful, (and here is where this verse is terribly miss used and miss quoted) who will not allow you to BE TEMPTED beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape (from sin!!! and temptation!!! not the trials and sufferings of life!!!)that you may be able to endure it.
In verses 18:8-9 Jesus is saying, be willing, throw it out, cut it off, excise it from your life before it becomes your stronghold (Psalm 59:17)

I promise not to be so wordy with the rest of this.

Verse 18:10 is an incredible verse. I truly believe that this verse explains how our two adopted daughters came to be with us. Their angels, who are continually beholding the face of our God and Father, worked to have them sent to us. I know people who have trouble when trying to figure out this verse. I have no trouble. I am keenly aware that angels could possess the ability to behold the face of God AND keep a close watch on the children that they are assigned to. Our intellect is so far below the ability to understand what the spiritual world is really like. What about the verse that talks about the angels rejoicing over a sinner who repents? (Luke 15:10)(party in heaven?) Anyway, there will have to be more on angels another day.

The last thing I want to address is verses 18:21-35. Jesus is speaking of forgiveness and of course the verse that says forgive 70X7 is here. I noticed that in all the teaching that Jesus does here, He does not qualify the forgiveness. By this I mean that he doesn't say. "If the person is truly repentant" or "But if he continues to wrong you, you can cease to forgive."
I have had more than a handful of wives tell me that it is very difficult to forgive their husbands because they don't see any change. Their husbands continue to slip up in areas that really challenge their wives.  They ask questions like "well, if he was truly sorry wouldn't he change?" or "if he is sorry, why does he continue to struggle in this area?" I have to say that I sympathize with their dilemma, but the God of the universe did not say that we should examine motives or look for signs of true repentance from the one asking for forgiveness. He said Forgive.
There is a lot more in this chapter that could be discussed but I think we have enough to help us remember this chapter.

For Chapter 18, we will use. 18 WORDS,**** BECOME AS A CHILD, PLUCK OUT YOUR EYE, FORGIVE 70 times 7. WHERE 2 OR 3 ARE GATHERED-**** 18 WORDS.  
Remember, the goal is to remember where these well known, important topics appear in scripture.

By now I hope you have been able to see the value of remembering where important subjects appear in the word of God. It is a long process, the more I study and use the memory tools, the more I realize how little I know. But I also know that there is no hurry. I will be here to study and remember as long as my God wants me here and not a minute shorter than that.
 Remember to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you remembrance and an excitement for His word. This is not a cupcake and frosting bible study. I understand that there is a challenge to this work. The important thing to remember as you are working your way through this is that you will "always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you" (from 1st Peter 3:15).
Keep going ladies! I'm praying for everyone of you. 
God Bless


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Here is a the link to the Tiny Hearts Bible Study. If you are looking for a way to start teaching your little ones about the Lord, this should help. She is devoted to using things that you already have at home and keeping it simple. God Bless  http://