Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 93

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Day 93:Convict Me of My Sin

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:33-46

We read in Matthew 21:23-27, how the teachers of the law and chief priests questioned Jesus' authority. Then we read in Matthew 21:28-32, the Parable of the Two Sons and today we are reading the Parable of the Tenants. For the past three days, Jesus has been talking to the teachers of the law and chief priests. He is not being gentle in His words to them. Jesus is speaking the truth as clear and as powerfully as He can to convict their hearts of their sin. They have not changed. Let's see if today's parable convicts their hearts, I know it would mine. 

The Parable of the Tenants

33 Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him." (Matthew 21:33-39) 
The landowner is God. The vineyard is the Israelites. The tenants are the teachers of the law and chief priests. The servants are the prophets that God sent to the Jewish people. And the son of the landowner is Jesus Christ. This is a clear picture of the sin of the teachers of the law and chief priests. 
40 Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet." (Matthew 21:40-46)
It is clearly stated in verse 45, "When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them." They knew Jesus was talking about them. They knew He was revealing their sin. They understood it, but were not convicted. In verse 46 it tells us, "They looked for a way to arrest him..." They were going to continue in the very sin that Jesus revealed! They didn't because they were afraid of the crowd, and not GOD! Lord, may that never be said of me!
Pray with me:
Jesus, thank you for showing me that you tried over and over again to reveal the truth to the Jewish leaders. Thank you that you will pursue me the same way. Thank you that you will not leave me in my sin, that you will show me again and again what I am doing wrong so that I may turn from my sin and walk in your ways. Thank you for not giving up on me. Lord, I pray that my heart will be open to hearing the truth, convicted to change and bold to move on. Change me, oh Lord, that I might reflect you in everything I think, do and say. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 92

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Day 92: Make a Decision

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:28-32

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” (Matthew 21:28-31)
In yesterday's reading, Matthew 21:23-27, we read that the chief priests and the teacher's of the law questioned Jesus' authority in front of the crowd Jesus was teaching. In today's reading, we find that the chief priests and the teacher's of the law are still standing there. This story and this lesson was for them. 
Jesus is saying, I have two sons: 
The first son, a Hebrew, said he would not do what God asked him to do, but later did it. This son represents a Hebrew who was living in sin, but in the end turned his life to Jesus.
The second son, a Hebrew, said he would do what God asked him to do, but later did not do it. This son represents the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests, teachers of the law. They say they will carry out the heart of the law, the heart of God, but they do not do it. They do not repent and give their lives to Jesus.  
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him." (Matthew 21:31b-32)
Yesterday, I shared that Jesus was not afraid of the authority in His day. He boldly confronted them. Today, He confronts them even harsher. He told these 'holy men of God' that the prostitutes and tax collectors are entering Heaven ahead of them! Jesus' words must have outraged them and shamed them in front of the crowd. But Jesus wasn't afraid of their response. He wasn't afraid of what they would do or say. He knew the truth. He spoke the truth with no fear. 
Pray with me:
Jesus, I pray that will be a child of yours that says yes to you and obeys you. Help me, Lord, to hear your voice, repent, and live for you.  Keep me close to your heart. Jesus, I also pray that I will not be afraid of authority. Help me to stand and speak the truth and trust you for my protection. I love you Jesus and want to live my life in honor of you. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 91

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Day 91:

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:23-27

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)
Every time I read the Scriptures and the chief priests and the elders, or Sadducees and Pharisees walk onto the scene, my stomach drops. I know how Jesus' story ends. I know what they do to Jesus. I know how they turn the minds of the people. I know they have evil intent towards Jesus and I feel sick. I also know that I have struggled most of my life with the fear of authority. Fearing their power over me and how they can change my life in an instant if they wanted to. The authority in my life growing up, IE. my father could upset my life any given day of the week. His rage was random, never predictable. His punishments much like his rage. Most days it was verbal abuse, some physical, but one day when I was thirteen it changed. He kicked me out of the house. He threw me out of the house for not finishing my chore. I hadn't known that he would or could do that. The one security I had was my bedroom and it was gone. My life was changed in a moment. My fear of authority grew. Eventually, I was taken back home, but I was different. I know I still struggle with the fear of authority to some extent, but God has set me free from much of it. 
Jesus is never afraid of authority. Jesus knew their plans to have Him killed and He was still not afraid of them. He knew the truth- He was their authority and they could do nothing to Jesus that was not already planned by the Father. I need to remember that Jesus is my ultimate authority and He stands with me. I do not need or should not fear man for God is with me.
24 "Jesus replied, I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."(Matthew 21:24-27)
Calm and cool, Jesus says, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things." He's awesome! He probably went right back to teaching the people without worrying a bit about the teachers of the law thought of Him. They were like mosquitoes - they buzzed around you, He shooed them away, and He continued with His day. 
Pray with me:
Father, forgive me for my fear of man, my fear of authority. Help me to trust that you are with me day in and day out. That you stand with me. That nothing will happen to me outside of your plan for my life. Help me to trust you no matter what 'authority' says or does to me, I am in the palm of your hands. You protect me and have a plan for my life that is safe and good. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 90

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Day 90: Only Believe

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:18-22

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

18 "Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered." (Matthew 21:18-19)
In reading the commentary, I found that the fig tree was perhaps symbolic of the teachers of the law, Pharisees, and Sadducees. They were like the fig tree in that they represented something that should bear fruit, but they had nothing holy to offer. They appeared to be wise and holy, but they bore no good 'fruit' in keeping with the heart of the law. This story symbolizes their future for the sins they have committed -rejecting Jesus as Messiah. I know it's hard to think of Jesus as Judge, but He is and He will judge us and our heart. We will stand before Him on the day we die and He will ask us if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. There will be death for some and life for others. He has given us each a chance to know Him and accept Him. Pray to know Him, not our of fear of eternal death, but for the desire to know life!
20 "When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:20-22)
Yes, I would have been amazed to see the fig tree curl up and die right in front of my eyes, but I think I would have asked Jesus, 'Why did you curse that tree?' I would have wanted to understand everything Jesus was doing and learn all that I could, but the disciples asked a different question-"How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" It's funny that they have been with Jesus day and night for three years watching miracle after miracle. Blind, see. Deaf, hear. Lame, walk. Shriveled hand, made new. Demon-possessed, set free. And yet, they are surprised at the fig tree shriveling up! But, I will say, I am glad they asked Jesus what they did because I LOVE Jesus' response. Truly I tell you if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:20-22) If I believe, I will receive whatever I ask for in prayer. Lord, help my unbelief. 
Pray with me:
Jesus, you say in your Word, 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22) Jesus, I lift up my precious friend Kelly and pray for the clot to be removed and for her whole body to be healed in Jesus' name. Jesus, I lift up my friend Debbie and pray for a new liver for her and for her to be healed, in Jesus' name. Jesus, I lift up my friend Andrea and pray for her freedom from cancer in Jesus' name. Jesus, I pray for my friend Amy to be set free from migraines in Jesus' name. Jesus, I pray for my friend Alyssa's boyfriend Jason. Raise him up from his coma, restore his brain, and his body, in Jesus' name. Jesus, I pray for my son, give him the victory his heart his yearning for today. Father, I cry out to you for my precious friends and son and pray for the release of healing over their bodies.  Heal them that they may know your love and compassion and that you may receive all the glory for their miraculous healing! In Jesus Name, Amen.
I encourage you to pray for all the things on your heart. Give them to Jesus and believe that what you ask for will be answered. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Art for Littles Camp 2016

 Art for Littles Camp 2016 
was wonderful!!!

This year I chose five Eric Carle books to base my theme upon:
"The Very Lonely Firefly,"
"The Very Quiet Cricket,"
"The Grouchy Ladybug,"
"The Very Busy Spider," and
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

I loved the fact that each book has the word "VERY" 
in the title. We may feel very lonely, but the Word of God says, 

"Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world. 
He who follow Me shall not walk in darkness 
but have the light of life." (John 8:12)

We sang,
"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine."

Day 2:
The Very Quiet Cricket
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should
be called children of God! And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)

While we crafted we sang,
"Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us."

Day 3:
The Very Grouchy Ladybug

"Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, 
just as in Christ God forgave you."
(Ephesians 4:32)

We sang:
"Be ye kind, one to another."

Day 4:
The Very Busy Spider

"This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you."
(John 15:12)

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
We talked about being 'born-again.'
We sang: 
"Born, Born, Born-Again, Praise God I'm Born Again!"

It was a fantastic week and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

Morning Moments with God: Day 89

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Day 89: To Be Like a Little Child

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus at the Temple

12 "Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13) 
Many years ago I attended a wedding in a Jewish Temple. As I was waiting to go into the Temple I remember thinking about how excited I was to see the inside of a Jewish Temple and how Holy and quiet it would be. As we were taken inside, I saw what looked like a flea market! People were buying and selling jewelry and clothes and food. There were so many tables lining the entry way that we had to squeeze past them and it was so noisy. I honestly was completely shocked. Immediately, I remembered the Scripture for today. In reading this Scripture we know just how Jesus felt about the buying and selling on Temple grounds. The thing that always amazes me when reading how Jesus handled the situation, (over turning tables), is His power to stand for what it right. I would have tried reasoning with them even though I know they wouldn't have listened. I find I stand up for what is right, but I am shaking in my boots when I do. Jesus walked into the Temple area one-hundred percent confident. I need to pray for His boldness when standing up for what I know is right. 
14 "The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant." (Matthew 21:14-15)
I LOVE how the people still went to Jesus for healing! They must have just witnessed Him overturning tables, which, I'm thinking is a pretty violent scene, and yet they still walk right up to Him and ask for healing! They weren't afraid of Him or what they saw. I love it! Jesus always welcomes us to come, no matter what. I know for me when I am upset about something and my child comes to me and asks me something, I sometimes say, "Not right now, give me a minute." But not Jesus! He is always available to us. He will never send us away. 
And I love how the children are dancing and shouting around Jesus. Jesus is healing them, their parents, their relatives, their neighbors! They are rejoicing and celebrating what is in their hearts. I love the freedom in their shouting! They are not afraid to shout the truth. 

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
Yes,” replied Jesus, have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night." (Matthew 21:16-17) 

In verse 14 we read, "...the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did..." They saw the miracles for themselves. They saw the blind restore their sight and the lame walk again and it did not move their hearts. The children saw the very same miracles and rejoiced. Jesus stands before each us revealing His great love and compassion and we will always have the choice to accept Him or reject Him.

Pray with me:
Jesus, I pray for boldness. I pray that I will, in obedience to you, fight for what is right. I pray too that I will always see how you are moving in my life and in others and rejoice. I pray my heart will always be open to you. May the eyes of my heart always see you and rejoice! May I shout forth your praises like the little children! I praise you Jesus for all that you are! In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 88 (Matthew 21)

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Day 88: He Rode in Humility

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
(Matthew 21:1-5)
Whenever I read the Scriptures, I try and put myself into the story that I am reading. In this story, I imagined being one of the ones that Jesus told to find the colt. As I am understanding it, they are still a town away from Jerusalem. Jesus wanted two disciples to run ahead of Him, find a colt and bring it back to Him so He can enter Jerusalem on the donkey. If I was the one receiving this order, I certainly would have been scratching my head and wondering how Jesus knows that there is a guy with a donkey and a colt AND that he would be willing to just let the two disciples walk off with his animals with no payment required. There were no phones, no Internet, for Jesus to have arranged all this with the owner of the donkey and colt in advance. This is Jesus being God! If they weren't sure Jesus was God at this point, after witnessing every disease being healed, they get to witness it again. Jesus can see the future. Jesus knows all who He has created. He knows where they are and what they do for a living, (raising donkeys). He even knows which one of His people will be willing to give up their donkey for Him. Jesus is God. Jesus knows all of us! 

6 "The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”(Matthew 21:6-11) 

Everything happened just as Jesus said it would. The two disciples found the donkey and the colt, the owner allowed them to simply have them, and brought them back to Jesus. Jesus prophesied other things too. Four times Jesus prophesied the way He would die. I wonder if the disciples were thinking about that. I wonder if they were at all prepared for what was coming. 

Jesus rode on the colt. The commentary in my Bible says two things: 1) The colt is the colt of a donkey and it had never been ridden. 2) "A donkey is an animal symbolic of humility, peace, and Davidic royalty. When I read the word, 'humility,' I immediately envisioned Mary, pregnant, riding on a donkey to Bethlehem. Jesus entered this world, the town of Bethlehem, riding on a donkey and He left this world, entering into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. He came into this world as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords in humility and left in humility. What does that say to me? In wanting and desiring to be like Jesus, I must be humble. I must turn from pride and arrogance. To be like Jesus...

As Jesus enters the town people are shouting and cheering, 'Hosanna!' Coats are being laid on the road before Him, and palm branches are swayed above Him. The streets are lined with people as Jesus rides through the crowd. It's loud. It's a huge scene. It's a parade! The people within Jerusalem are turning their heads wondering what is happening. They ask, " When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”(Matthew 21:10-11) The crowds were the 'large crowds' following Jesus from place to place and they followed Him right into Jerusalem. They declared Him as a prophet from Nazareth. Yes, Jesus is a prophet, but wasn't/isn't He soooo much more! If I had been in that crowd I would have answered, 'This is Jesus- the prophet, the teacher, the healer of all diseases! If I knew Him as I know Him today I would have said, the one who has been kind and has looked on me with compassion. The one who saved me from death. The one who never leaves me. The one who saved my soul. My rescuer. My God.

Pray with me:
Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to me. Thank you that I know you as the One True God who loves His people, who loves me. Thank you for your humility. I am in awe of you. Lord, I want to be humble and love others as you love them. Teach me your ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.