Everyone is looking for hope!


Look around you, there are people starving for hope. Look, they are searching for hope, for love, for wisdom, for a reason, for a purpose. Some have found it but are they sharing? Some have found it but are they caring? Some have found it but are they keeping it to themselves? When we know the story, we should be sharing the story! When we know the story, we should be giving Him the glory! It’s not my power or strength or wisdom, but it is by the power of Jesus Christ working in and through me!


This morning’s reading starts in a new book, the book of Mark 1-2, and Psalm 99. We see John who goes in advance and is calling people to get back in alignment with God’s will and plan and purpose for their lives. Asking people to turn back to God, ask for forgiveness of their sins, and be baptized. He was preparing the way for Jesus who was coming. Because he was sharing hope with people, they were coming to hear and learn what He spoke of. He was preparing people to hear from Jesus who through the Holy Spirit would help cleanse from the inside out! Jesus came and was baptized, not because He needed to get right with God, but to lead by example and show us the things we ought to do.

People need to know they can trust God! People need to know during the tests and trials of the devil, we can put our hope and trust in God! The devil knows the Bible and he will try to twist its meaning around to try and mess with us when we are weak. We see him even try this on Jesus after Jesus had fasted for 40 days. But Jesus stood by God’s Word and the devil let Him be, looking for the next time he could try and trip Him up.

People may be wondering when? People may be wondering how? The truth of the matter is that the time is now and Jesus is the how! God has a plan and a purpose for you and your life and He is calling you to come and follow Him. He has you where you are for such a day and such a time as this. There are people all around you looking for and craving hope and good news.

Where does your confidence come from? Mine comes from the Lord! Are you willing to speak life, hope, truth into the lives of those around you? Speak it in love! Be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you! Be prepared for those who would try and derail you or try to away from God’s plans and purpose. Instead, resist the devil and he will flee. Instead, ask God for wisdom so that you can give a reason for the hope that is within you. Let’s let our words be true! Let’s live what we say and say what we live! Are you living a transformed life where people notice the difference? Can people tell that you have had an encounter with Jesus? Let’s live lives that point people to Jesus! Let’s live lives that show the way to go, where to turn, and what to do!

Do you feel like a castaway, like you have been thrown out, like people want nothing to do with you? That’s not God’s plan or desire. He desires to be in relationship with you. He desires for you to walk in fellowship with Him. Is that not you? Are you going out to find those who need to hear the good news? Are you speaking into the lives of the people you are getting to meet? Are you sharing God’s love and hope with the people in your travels and journeys? Do you realize people are willing, but they aren’t sure if you are? They know that you can if you want to, but they aren’t sure if you want to? They see you walking up. They’ve seen you walking by. Will you stop and have the divine appointment God has set before you? Are you willing to be who God has called you to be? Are you willing to do what God is asking you to do? Do you want to?

We need each other! We are to love one another! Are you getting together with others in an effort to get your friends to Jesus? How much do you care that you would do something to help them get where they need to be that they could be touched, healed, freed by Jesus? Would you carry them? Would you climb onto a roof? Would you help? Would you lift someone up so that they could be touched? Would you give them a hand up so that they wouldn’t need to be stuck? Some people did just that and transformation took place, revelation and confrontation of the truth also came up, and God was glorified.

Do you see the people around you? Do you take time to notice where they are at? Do you see how much they are seeking hope and truth? Do you see how far out of the way they would go to be able to get a glimpse of hope, love, and truth? Are you willing to engage them in conversation? Are you willing to stop what you are doing to be able to speak into their lives and have an encounter God can use? Will you call them down to meet with you? Will you share the love that God has given you with them? Will you share the hope that is within you so that they may meet with God and be transformed? Do you see the needs around you?

Do you realize what you have right in your possession? Do you realize the time you are living in? Timing is everything? There are seasons when people are more receptive to hear from God, to have an encounter with God, and to accept your invitation to come and hear God’s Word spoken!

Do you under the why? Do you understand the reason for a day of rest? Do you realize the reason for the Sabbath?

Each of us has a purpose! Each of us have a part to play! Let’s do our part so that God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Not sure what to do or where to start? Turn to God in prayer and He will speak to you!

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What’s it worth to you?


How much would someone have to pay you for you to give it up? How much would someone need to offer you to go through with it? Is there enough money and stuff in the world for you to trade it in? What if it was your family that we were talking about? What if it was your best friend? What if it was your favorite thing? Does everything have a price in your mind? Is there anything that is priceless and couldn’t be bought?


This morning’s reading from Matthew 27-28, Psalm 98 kicks off with this title “Thirty Silver Coins“. Which brings up the question “What’s it worth to you?” This comes down to relationships, experiences, and possessions. Can money buy it? Not everything has a price that money can buy. Not everything has a price that is worth it. There can be regret for spending the money and for not having spent it. What is really of value to you? Will you be manipulated by the influence of money? Let’s take a look into what took place for the 30 silver coins…

1-2In the first light of dawn, all the high priests and religious leaders met and put the finishing touches on their plot to kill Jesus. Then they tied him up and paraded him to Pilate, the governor.
3-4Judas, the one who betrayed him, realized that Jesus was doomed. Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned. I’ve betrayed an innocent man.”
They said, “What do we care? That’s your problem!”
5Judas threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.
6-10The high priests picked up the silver pieces, but then didn’t know what to do with them. “It wouldn’t be right to give this—a payment for murder!—as an offering in the Temple.” They decided to get rid of it by buying the “Potter’s Field” and use it as a burial place for the homeless. That’s how the field got called “Murder Meadow,” a name that has stuck to this day. Then Jeremiah’s words became history:
They took the thirty silver pieces,
The price of the one priced by some sons of Israel,
And they purchased the potter’s field.
And so they unwittingly followed the divine instructions to the letter. — Matthew 27

So consider the consequences of your decision, is it really worth it? For some giving would have saved something. For others saving would have given something. As usual we all have a choice to make, so choose wisely!

Is it really right to give the decision to others? Is the decision before you something God would have you speak to or is it something where getting the input of others would be better? I know in the decision I made back in 2000, I put it into the hands of my parents and my inlaws because it was a big option and either would work. God had a plan and it wasn’t till much later that I was obeying God in having allowed them to choose my honoring my father and mother, the first commandment with a promise that things will go well with me. I didn’t realize it at the time, it just felt like the right thing to do. It was after the move that I had an encounter with God who revealed this truth to me. Check with God for wisdom in making your decision. Married? Check with your husband or wife! This is important because when you get married it isn’t just about you any more as the two become one. In today’s reading we see how Pilate puts the control in the hands of people, was that a good idea? It was part of the ultimate plan that Jesus came to fulfill, but was it the way he should have responded?

11Jesus was placed before the governor, who questioned him: “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
Jesus said, “If you say so.”
12-14But when the accusations rained down hot and heavy from the high priests and religious leaders, he said nothing. Pilate asked him, “Do you hear that long list of accusations? Aren’t you going to say something?” Jesus kept silence—not a word from his mouth. The governor was impressed, really impressed.
15-18It was an old custom during the Feast for the governor to pardon a single prisoner named by the crowd. At the time, they had the infamous Jesus Barabbas in prison. With the crowd before him, Pilate said, “Which prisoner do you want me to pardon: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus the so-called Christ?” He knew it was through sheer spite that they had turned Jesus over to him.
19While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message: “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about him.”
20Meanwhile, the high priests and religious leaders had talked the crowd into asking for the pardon of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus.
21The governor asked, “Which of the two do you want me to pardon?”
They said, “Barabbas!”
22“Then what do I do with Jesus, the so-called Christ?”
They all shouted, “Nail him to a cross!”
23He objected, “But for what crime?”
But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”
24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”
25The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”
26Then he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion. — Matthew 27

Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price so that we could have a way to be reconciled back to the Father. Have you accepted this gift? Have you received Jesus into your heart? Have you been following after Him? Are you reconciled with God? Jesus knew why He came and as such gave the people up to God by completing His mission of being the ultimate sacrifice when He gave up His Spirit and cried out “It is finished!”.

27-31The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor’s palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown from branches of a thornbush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” they said. “Bravo!” Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.
32-34Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus’ cross. Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call “Skull Hill,” they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.
35-40After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
41-44The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.
45-46From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
47-49Some bystanders who heard him said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Let’s see if Elijah comes and saves him.”
50But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.
51-53At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)
54The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
55-56There were also quite a few women watching from a distance, women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to serve him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers.
The Tomb
57-61Late in the afternoon a wealthy man from Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, arrived. His name was Joseph. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted his request. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linens, put it in his own tomb, a new tomb only recently cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the entrance. Then he went off. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed, sitting in plain view of the tomb.
62-64After sundown, the high priests and Pharisees arranged a meeting with Pilate. They said, “Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will be raised.’ We’ve got to get that tomb sealed until the third day. There’s a good chance his disciples will come and steal the corpse and then go around saying, ‘He’s risen from the dead.’ Then we’ll be worse off than before, the final deceit surpassing the first.”
65-66Pilate told them, “You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can.” So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.
— Matthew 27

But that was not the end of the story. He didn’t come just to die for all the sins of the world, but also to conquer the power of death.

1-4After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.
5-6The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
7“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”
8-10The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.”
11-15Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, “His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping.” They assured them, “If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don’t get blamed.” The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around.
16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28

So today as we get ready to start a new day and a new week, let’s take a grab of this truth and this commandment and press forward for the glory of God! Jesus authorized and commissioned us to “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life“. So let’s not hold back out of fear but let’s press forward in faith trust in God and believing that if Jesus commanded it, He will ensure it is completed.

 

Are you ready? Are you getting prepared?


There is a plan and a purpose for today! There is a reason for the season you a going through! There is a time coming when Jesus will return! Are you ready? Are you getting prepared? What if He shows up today, will you be ready? What if it is tonight? How about tomorrow? ARE YOU READY?


This morning’s reading comes from Matthew 25-26, Psalm 97. The topic and the idea of being ready for what is to come came when I read the title “The Story of the Virgins” and knew that it was about two groups of people, one that showed up ready and on that that just showed up. Showing up is important, but what if it takes a bit long than you were expecting? How will you deal with the difference in expectations from reality? Do you realize what is at risk? Do you realize what you could be missing?

-5“God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.

6“In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’
7-8“The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’
9“They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’
10“They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.
11“Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’
12“He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’
13“So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.
— Matthew 25

Stay Alert! Be ready in and out of season!

God has gifted you with many talents. What are you doing about it? Are you being a good steward of everything He has given you? Are you working on them to multiply them? Are you living to glorify Him? Today’s reading share the story this way:

14-18“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
19-21“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
22-23“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
24-25“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
26-27“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’ — Matthew 25

We are called to a high standard! We are to be good stewards of all that we are given so that on that day of His return, we will get to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. Isn’t that what you want to hear? Is that what you want to do? So consider the talents and the gifts God has given you and how you are using them for the glory of His kingdom. It’s not too late! As long as you are alive you have time to start. So don’t give up, get rid of the “play-it-safe”, and go out on a limb in faith believing and trusting in God so that you don’t ended up getting thrown out into the darkness.

So when He comes back and He is sorting people out, which group will you be in? Will you be in the group who believed, was prepared, and did something about it? Will you be in the group who was lackadaisical, unprepared, and lives in fear?

 

31-33“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
41-43“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46“Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.” — Matthew 25

 So are you helping the hungry? Are you helping the thirsty? Are you helping the homeless? Are you helping the cold? You have a lot of time in a day and you get to choose what you will do with it. Time is like a vacuum and if you don’t fill it up properly, it will suck up all your time for other things. Which group do you want to be a part of? Which decisions are you going to make? Where will you focus your time and energy?

Check your heart! What’s your real intention? What’s the reason you are doing what you do? What’s the reason you are saying what you say? From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! So before you speak check yourself.

 

1-2When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”
3-5At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said.
6-9When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”
10-13When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”
14-16That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over. — Matthew 26

When you are called on, will you be called out?

17On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare your Passover meal?”
18-19He said, “Enter the city. Go up to a certain man and say, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near. I and my disciples plan to celebrate the Passover meal at your house.’” The disciples followed Jesus’ instructions to the letter, and prepared the Passover meal.
20-21After sunset, he and the Twelve were sitting around the table. During the meal, he said, “I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.”
22They were stunned, and then began to ask, one after another, “It isn’t me, is it, Master?”
23-24Jesus answered, “The one who hands me over is someone I eat with daily, one who passes me food at the table. In one sense the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well-marked by the Scriptures—no surprises here. In another sense that man who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man—better never to have been born than do this!”
25Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, “It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?”
Jesus said, “Don’t play games with me, Judas.” — Matthew 26

Consider the plans! Consider the thoughtfulness! Consider the importance! Consider the impact! Don’t forget! Do it often!

26-29During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples:
Take, eat.
This is my body.
Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them:
Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
God’s new covenant poured out for many people
for the forgiveness of sins.
“I’ll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I’ll drink with you in the kingdom of my Father.”
30They sang a hymn and went directly to Mount Olives.
— Matthew 26

 We are drawing towards Easter in the next couple of weeks. Are you prepared? Are you making plans? Are you going to receive and celebrate? Are you going to take time and remember the sacrifice and the ultimate salvation that came through it? Will you give it the priority it deserves in your busy schedule? It’s not about if you have time, it’s a matter of will you make time or take time for such a time as this!

31-32Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me. There is a Scripture that says,
I’ll strike the shepherd;
helter-skelter the sheep will be scattered.
But after I am raised up, I, your Shepherd, will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”
33Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”
34“Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”
35Peter protested, “Even if I had to die with you, I would never deny you.” All the others said the same thing.
36-38Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”
39Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
40-41When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
42He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
43-44When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
45-46When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” — Matthew 26

 Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Our bodies may be week, but our spirit is strong. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Walk in alignment with His plans and purposes! There is a time for battle and a time for peace, Jesus came to the earth the first time as the sacrificial lamb, the teacher, the healer, the Son of God! He gave His life so that we could have the opportunity to be reconciled back to God the Father. And the beginning of this coming to fruition happened in the garden.

47-49The words were barely out of his mouth when Judas (the one from the Twelve) showed up, and with him a gang from the high priests and religious leaders brandishing swords and clubs. The betrayer had worked out a sign with them: “The one I kiss, that’s the one—seize him.” He went straight to Jesus, greeted him, “How are you, Rabbi?” and kissed him.
50-51Jesus said, “Friend, why this charade?”
Then they came on him—grabbed him and roughed him up. One of those with Jesus pulled his sword and, taking a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant, cut off his ear.
52-54Jesus said, “Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords. Don’t you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies—more, if I want them—of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready? But if I did that, how would the Scriptures come true that say this is the way it has to be?”
55-56Then Jesus addressed the mob: “What is this—coming out after me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I have been sitting in the Temple teaching, and you never so much as lifted a hand against me. You’ve done it this way to confirm and fulfill the prophetic writings.”
Then all the disciples cut and ran. — Matthew 26

 Jesus didn’t come to overthrow the law and the commandments and the prophesy of God, He came to complete it! He can to fulfill the Word of God. Even to the point of being falsely accused, beaten, and crucified to death.

False Charges
57-58The gang that had seized Jesus led him before Caiaphas the Chief Priest, where the religion scholars and leaders had assembled. Peter followed at a safe distance until they got to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Then he slipped in and mingled with the servants, watching to see how things would turn out.
59-60The high priests, conspiring with the Jewish Council, tried to cook up charges against Jesus in order to sentence him to death. But even though many stepped up, making up one false accusation after another, nothing was believable.
60-61Finally two men came forward with this: “He said, ‘I can tear down this Temple of God and after three days rebuild it.’”
62The Chief Priest stood up and said, “What do you have to say to the accusation?”
63Jesus kept silent.
Then the Chief Priest said, “I command you by the authority of the living God to say if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64Jesus was curt: “You yourself said it. And that’s not all. Soon you’ll see it for yourself:
The Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty One,
Arriving on the clouds of heaven.”
65-66At that, the Chief Priest lost his temper, ripping his robes, yelling, “He blasphemed! Why do we need witnesses to accuse him? You all heard him blaspheme! Are you going to stand for such blasphemy?”
They all said, “Death! That seals his death sentence.”
67-68Then they were spitting in his face and banging him around. They jeered as they slapped him: “Prophesy, Messiah: Who hit you that time?”
Denial in the Courtyard
69All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean.”
70In front of everybody there, he denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
71As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.”
72Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: “I swear, I never laid eyes on the man.”
73Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away.”
74-75Then he got really nervous and swore. “I don’t know the man!”
Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried. — Matthew 26

 So where do you stand today? If asked are you a Christian, how would you reply? If they gave you the option of not saying, what would you do? If they pushed and pressured you, how would you respond? What if it was with the risk that if you said yes, you could be killed? What are you more afraid of God or man? losing your life or losing your soul? spending your time apart from God or with God? Our choices have impact, eternal impact. Our choices are life or death matters. So choose wisely! Choose LIFE!

 

 

Do you walk the talk? Or are you just a good talker?


Do you say the right things, but your life doesn’t exemplify it? Does what you say align to how you live? Do your actions align to what you say? It’s been said that actions speak louder than words and if this is the case are people getting mixed messages because your actions are screaming something different than what you are trying to say? When they don’t align you tend to see people responding in strange or hesitant ways.


This morning’s reading comes from Matthew 23-24, Psalm 96. The first topic today is “Religious Fashion Shows“, where Jesus confronts the misalignment between what is being said and how people are living.

1-3Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
4-7“Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
8-10“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
11-12“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty. — Matthew 23

God’s plan wasn’t to burden you with a bunch of extra weight. Jesus even speaks to us:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30

So don’t be dragged down or weighed down unnecessarily! Put your trust in Jesus! Follow Him and His Way for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

What type of an example are you setting?

Are you walking the talk? Are you living the life God created you to live? He created you on purpose with a purpose!

13“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.
15“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.
16-22“You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.
23-24“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?
25-26“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.
27-28“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
29-32“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.
33-34“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.
35-36“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.
37-39“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town. What is there left to say? Only this: I’m out of here soon. The next time you see me you’ll say, ‘Oh, God has blessed him! He’s come, bringing God’s rule!’” — Matthew 23

Jesus came the first time to serve and to save. Jesus came to teach and preach the good news and the promises of God. For God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus who was obedient to death on a cross that He would be the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be reconciled to God the Father. When He comes back, He will be coming back as the warrior King of kings, Lord of lords.

History continues to repeat itself! As Solomon said “There’s nothing new on this earth. Year after year it’s the same old thing.” So how will you know when the time is coming?

4-8Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.
9-10“They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other.
11-12“In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes.
13-14“Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.Matthew 24

It’s a good thing that Jesus has made a way for us!

15-20“But be ready to run for it when you see the monster of desecration set up in the Temple sanctuary. The prophet Daniel described this. If you’ve read Daniel, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re living in Judea at the time, run for the hills; if you’re working in the yard, don’t return to the house to get anything; if you’re out in the field, don’t go back and get your coat. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Hope and pray this won’t happen during the winter or on a Sabbath.
21-22“This is going to be trouble on a scale beyond what the world has ever seen, or will see again. If these days of trouble were left to run their course, nobody would make it. But on account of God’s chosen people, the trouble will be cut short. — Matthew 24

He is coming back! He will take us to our new home! Are you ready?

23-25“If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, ‘Here’s the Messiah!’ or points, ‘There he is!’ don’t fall for it. Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better. But I’ve given you fair warning.
26-28“So if they say, ‘Run to the country and see him arrive!’ or, ‘Quick, get downtown, see him come!’ don’t give them the time of day. The Arrival of the Son of Man isn’t something you go to see. He comes like swift lightning to you! Whenever you see crowds gathering, think of carrion vultures circling, moving in, hovering over a rotting carcass. You can be quite sure that it’s not the living Son of Man pulling in those crowds.
29“Following those hard times,
Sun will fade out,
moon cloud over,
Stars fall out of the sky,
cosmic powers tremble.
30-31“Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man! It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he’ll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God’s chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.
32-35“Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.
36“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.
37-39“The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.
39-44“The Son of Man’s Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.
45-47“Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won’t be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation.
48-51“But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it and make hash of him. He’ll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering.” — Matthew 24

So let’s stick with Jesus and build a relationship with Him. Let’s allow His will to lead us and guide us. Let’s allow His wisdom to provide us the guidance to live each day according to His will! Let’s finish strong!

 

 

Being strong, what does that mean to you?


There is an earthly view and a heavenly view. Some think it is by the way people act to get their own way. Something think that it means using force. How about being able to forgive someone who did something so outrageous? How about being able to let it go if someone hits you or attacks you? How about praying for those who persecute you? How about standing up for what is right? How about trusting God through trials? How about stepping out in faith when you aren’t sure where you are going because God said so? God’s Word tells us that in our weakness His strength is revealed. The definition in God’s Word is different from the definition in the world. Who will you trust? How will you live?

Today how are you going to finish?


In today’s reading, we see the preparation and the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the back of a colt, not like a conquering king (which will be how He enters upon His return on a horse) but on the back of a colt. When we consider how Jesus stood up for what was right, we see that He would cast people out to remove the naysayers from a time of healing and today in our reading we see when He goes into the temple court:

12-14Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:
My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.
15-16When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took him to task. “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?”
17Fed up, Jesus turned on his heel and left the city for Bethany, where he spent the night. — Matthew 21

Jesus didn’t come to demand His own way but to serve others. He was coming to show God’s love and to intercede for us that we could be reconciled back to God. We read in John 3 this truth as:

16-18“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.John 3

Jesus came to show us that if we do it God’s way and follow after Him, incredible things will happen in and through our lives:

18-20Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road, he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs. When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, “No more figs from this tree—ever!” The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick. The disciples saw it happen. They rubbed their eyes, saying, “Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?”
21-22But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”Matthew 21

When people make demands, are you quick to answer or do you have questions for them? When people come threatening, are you prepared or able to ask them their intentions? We see when Jesus returned to the Temple that He was confronted with demands:

23Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?”
24-25Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”
25-27They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they answered.
Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question. — Matthew 21

Sometimes it is better to not speak, for as proverbs speaks to us how even a fool looks wise if he keeps his mouth shut.

Is it strong to be obedient? There is no such thing as partial obedience!

The Story of Two Sons
28“Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’
29“The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.
30“The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.
31-32“Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”
They said, “The first.”
Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.
The Story of the Greedy Farmhands
33-34“Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.
35-37“The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’
38-39“But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.
40“Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?”
41“He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.”
42-44Jesus said, “Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles:
The stone the masons threw out
is now the cornerstone.
This is God’s work;
we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!
“This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.”
45-46When the religious leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. They wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but, intimidated by public opinion, they held back. Most people held him to be a prophet of God. — Matthew 21

Will you come when called or will you wander away or make up excuses why you can’t make it or are too busy? I remember when my wife and I thought we were too busy to go to church. Now we look at the world in a different way as we have 3 kids who are very active, we have our home to take care of, we serve in our church, and we go. We realize now that we weren’t busy back then – at least compared to now, the difference is our priorities. If it is important you will make time. I had another revelation about how time is like a vacuum if we don’t manage it something is going to fill it. I heard this said yesterday while I was explaining how work life balance was an aha last week when I stated that the reason I was able to have a work life balance was because I made life just as busy as work so that it couldn’t extend too far. That was when the vacuum comment came up. So will you come when called? Will you just wander around?

The Story of the Wedding Banquet
1-3Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come!
4“He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’
5-7“They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city.
8-10“Then he told his servants, ‘We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.’ The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on—every place filled.
11-13“When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed. He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’
14“That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited; only a few make it.’” — Matthew 22

Do you really want to miss your chance? It’s not too late! God loves you and wants you to come.

Are you ready? Do you know where to turn for wisdom? Will you seek God before answering so that you can understand the intent of what is being asked?

Paying Taxes
15-17That’s when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in, to ask, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18-19Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.
20“This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”
21They said, “Caesar.”
“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”
22The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads.
Marriage and Resurrection
23-28That same day, Sadducees approached him. This is the party that denies any possibility of resurrection. They asked, “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies childless, his brother is obligated to marry his widow and get her with child. Here’s a case where there were seven brothers. The first brother married and died, leaving no child, and his wife passed to his brother. The second brother also left her childless, then the third—and on and on, all seven. Eventually the wife died. Now here’s our question: At the resurrection, whose wife is she? She was a wife to each of them.”
29-33Jesus answered, “You’re off base on two counts: You don’t know your Bibles, and you don’t know how God works. At the resurrection we’re beyond marriage. As with the angels, all our ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God. And regarding your speculation on whether the dead are raised or not, don’t you read your Bibles? The grammar is clear: God says, ‘I am—not was—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.’ The living God defines himself not as the God of dead men, but of the living.” Hearing this exchange the crowd was much impressed.Matthew 22

Isn’t it interesting how people try to manipulate or contort ideas? They take A+B and try to determine C even though you can’t do that addition.

Do you realize the truth? Do you know what is top priority? Do you realize even when you do, people will try to throw you off course?

34-36When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
37-40Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
David’s Son and Master
41-42As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with his own test question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said, “David’s son.”
43-45Jesus replied, “Well, if the Christ is David’s son, how do you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his ‘Master’?
God said to my Master,
“Sit here at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
“Now if David calls him ‘Master,’ how can he at the same time be his son?”
46That stumped them, literalists that they were. Unwilling to risk losing face again in one of these public verbal exchanges, they quit asking questions for good. Matthew 22

So where are you at today? Do you realize that in your weakness God’s strength is revealed? Do you realize that God is your strength through it all? Will you have the faith to trust Him? Will you ask Him into your life? Who is your top priority? Are you living that way? If you don’t manage your time, your time is going to manage you!