25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 27

I have been held back by sickness, but even that won’t stop me from finishing this series! I find no coincidence in the fact that a chronic illness struck me right as we were to study the crucifixion of Jesus! One of the most, if not the most, memorable events in history. Our enemy hates the idea of the good news being spread!

No introduction needed. Let’s dive in!

Things we may have missed (I won’t call them main points, because the main point here is that Jesus died on the cross to forgive us of our sins and give us everlasting life. There is no other main point bigger than that!):

  • Looking for forgiveness from the world will make you crazy
  • Our emotions can overpower our morals if we aren’t careful
  • Our weakness will spill over to others
  • People will test and mock God’s Will
  • Even Jesus had questions
  • Believers’ eyes will be reopened at the sight of miracles
  • The enemy is terrified of prophesies being fulfilled

 

  • Looking for forgiveness from the world will make you crazy

Matthew 27:3-5 (NIV): “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’ So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.”

Notice how Judas did not ask God for forgiveness. He went to the very people who took part in the sin – to take it back….to ask forgiveness….to maybe change things. It didn’t work. For people are just people, they do not always show grace. God is the only one who 100% of the time shows grace, and that is where we need to go when our souls are crushed with unforgiveness. After Judas was rejected in this scene, he went off and hung himself.  He couldn’t handle it on his own.

  • Our emotions can overpower our morals if we aren’t careful

Matthew 27:15-18 (NIV): “Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.”

Matthew 27:23 (NIV): “‘Why? What crime has he committed?’ asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!'”

The only thing they had against Jesus was their own emotions towards Him. Whether they be jealous, in disbelief, angry or whatever…..they were willing to KILL someone based off of emotions! It may seem extreme, but do we act this way in our daily life? Do we push our family and friends aside because of emotions or grudges and show more grace to strangers….even strangers who have done wrong or are still doing wrong??? Are we putting more energy into helping strangers than we are into tending to our closest relationships?

In the second verse – the crowd did not even KNOW WHY they wanted Jesus killed! They didn’t give a reason! They were just so angry they were willing to pardon a true criminal. Are there people you are mad at and don’t even remember the reason why because it’s been so long? Or if you do remember the reason, is it really as bad as you once felt it was? Were you overreacting out of hurt? Even if you still feel justified in your unforgiveness, is that how Jesus taught us (by example) to live? In unforgiveness?

  • Our weakness will spill over to others

Matthew 27:32 (The Message): “Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus’ cross.”

They just came across this random man and made him carry this gigantic cross. I don’t know if Jesus knew this man or if he was just some random guy but either way, the enemy had beaten Jesus til he was so weak he could no longer carry the cross. It was up to someone else (against their will) to carry the cross for Him.

Now……have we ever been so weak that we can’t help but lean on those around us? Heck maybe we are so desperate, we end up sharing our story with the store clerk or the mail man. Whether it is our intention or not…..IT IS the intention of the enemy to knock down as many people as he can. So if that means someone else has to carry around our burden because we are too weak….well the enemy has a hay day with that! Don’t feel bad for going to those who care about you with your troubles. Fellowship is important. Also, don’t forget to take your worries to God and TRUST that he will look after you.

  • People will test and mock God’s Will

Matthew 27:42 (NIV): “‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.'”

Non believers will take advantage of situations. For instance, if someone is suffering from cancer and their mother is sitting next to them praying daily that they be healed and they end up passing away……the enemy will just snatch that right up and throw it our face. Why wasn’t this person healed? God has a plan that none of us are aware of and maybe it was his will for this to end the way it did. Maybe the person who suffered from cancer positively effected more people in one day than most people do in their whole lives. The fact that this person is now in Heaven, pain free is a miracle in itself! We can’t expect to always know the answers. God had a will when he sent his Son to save the world, although it appeared He left Him there to suffer.

  • Even Jesus had questions

Matthew 27:46 (The Message): “Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, ‘Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'”

Even Jesus Himself, who knew His Father’s plan and predicted it before it happened…..had questions. He had doubts. He wanted to know why this was happening. He felt abandoned. He remained strong through so much but got to a point where he had questions. We are not Jesus, so how many more questions and doubts will we have?

  • Believers’ eyes will be reopened at the sight of miracles

Matthew 27:51-53 (The Message): “At 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 into the holy city and appeared to many.)”

If you look at this in a metaphorical way you will see that believer’s eyes will be opened when they experience a miracle. They are believers, so they believe it can happen but when it actually does…..their eyes will be re-opened and they will go out and share with many! These may be believers who had strayed from their walk or who had doubts.

  • The enemy is terrified of prophesies being fulfilled

Matthew 27:62-66 (NIV): “The next day, the one after preparation day, the chief priests and the pharisees went to Pilate. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”

The enemy is terrified of looking like a fool and he would certainly look like one if prophesies started coming true! He will work overtime to make sure that this does not happen.

 

 

 

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25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 23

Good Morning lovelies! I hope your day is off to a great start! If not, join the club haha. My day today is actually going well, but I have my share of bad days! When I get a chance, I take advantage of those days and use any spare time I may have to study, read a good book, look at inspirational quotes or get outside! These are all things that lift me up, I hope you have discovered things you can turn to as well!

Let’s get started on our study today! (Yes, Jeannie, I am behind by one chapter! Whoops! God sees my intentions right, lol) I can’t believe how much goodness is in the Word!

Main points for today are:

  • Don’t be a hypocrite!
  • Be humble
  • A promise is a promise
  • Look at the big picture
  • The outside is no representation of the inside
  • Stop blaming the generations before you

 

  • Don’t be a hypocrite!

Matthew 23:1-4 (The Message): “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.'”

This hit me hard. The way this scripture compares being a hypocrite to putting a heavy load on someone else’s shoulders but not volunteering to help with the load, was big! I think to the lessons I try to teach our children daily. They are good lessons, and sure they should try their best to follow them……but do I try my best to do the same things I am asking of them? Or do I put great expectations on them and expect them to figure it out themselves? Do you see the word “disciple” in “discipline?” Guilty! I pray that I am constantly reminded of my job as a mother, to first and foremost be a disciple to our children.

  • Be humble

Matthew 23: 8-12 (The Message): “‘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. 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.'”

I LOVE the very first line. “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that.” We are ALL following the same Teacher here. There may be students in class who are better at giving reports or some that are better at running the camera, but we all have the SAME TEACHER. In the end, we are all held accountable for the same assignment and have the same expectations regardless of our natural talents. Some people thought math was a breeze, others really struggled. The ones who were naturals could become tutors if they wanted to help the others, but they did not become the teacher just because they were quick learners.

I also, love the part that says, “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant………But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” I have become so passionate about the power behind just being yourself and being unashamed about being human. The people you are afraid of, have simply just learned how to put on a bigger show. They are just as broken as you are.

  • A promise is a promise

Matthew 23:16-22 (The Message): “‘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.”‘

Good point. God is watching no matter where we are or what we are doing when we make a promise. We are held accountable after that. No excuses as to why that promise didn’t count.

  • Look at the big picture

Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV): “‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.'”

A lot of people make a big deal out of tithing, and it is important. There is so much more to giving tithe though. Do you think God gives us a pat on the back if we give our weekly tithe at church but then leave and do not follow the teachings? We get so distracted, arguing about the right way to tithe that we no longer have the time to concentrate on what really matters.

  • The outside is no representation of the inside

Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV) paints the perfect picture: “‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.'”

Not only should we work on the inside of us instead of worrying about the outside, but we need to apply this to other people, as well. OK, we know that things aren’t always as they appear. Instead of saying “don’t judge,” let’s instead make it a point to get to know the very people we are (because we are human) judging. After all, the only way to see past the outside appearances is to really dig in deep and look at the inside. If the inside isn’t looking too pretty we have a few choices…..among them: pray for them, provide a listening ear, show them you are not judging, relate to them, break down the walls, simply be there for them, show them you aren’t leaving like other people have, or (if you must) set boundaries and remove yourself from the relationship if God lays that on your heart. I don’t see the last option being God’s first option. If we look at how Jesus behaved during his time on Earth, it was most often from grace and compassion, not hate, bitterness and envy.

  • Stop blaming the generations before you

Matthew 23:33-34 (The Message): “‘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.'”

I applied this to parents and grandparents. We try to worm our way out of things we’ve done by blaming our parents. Sometimes, taking it even further and holding grudges or resentment. There is no doubt that our childhood and past play a big part in how we were molded into the person we are today. The thing we get wrong, I think, is that we are just as mold-able today! For some reason we think that we were molded and then fired in the kiln, never to be reshaped again. Only broken if we are mistreated.

If we allow our experiences, the people who surround us, The Word and most of all -God- to mold us until our last day, that is where freedom shows up. Why do we get ourselves stuck in the past. Why do we allow our past trials to chain us up? Why do we feel better if we blame it on the way we were raised or not raised? The truth is, we are humans raising humans here and that is kind of scary! lol Our parents made mistakes and we will make mistakes. That’s just human nature. God is all about forgiveness and freedom! Take the very hard step of forgiving your parents or grandparents. First tell God you forgive them and ask for His forgiveness for your grudge, then forgive yourself, then let them know you forgive them (if appropriate or possible). I think this is important even for those who are deceased (someone deceased, whom you hold unforgiveness towards). It will change your entire world, I promise.

 

 

 

25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 16

We are studying the book of Matthew, chapters 4-28 and we are on chapter 16. How are you all feeling? I feel like I have gained some major insight from reading through these stories. If I am being 100% transparent with you then I will tell you that until the start of this series, I may have opened my bible a total of 10 times with the intention of studying on my own. I never did have this huge interest in reading the bible. If I ever did open it, it was in church or I was led to it from a book study I was doing. My least favorite subject in school was history and I always thought that’s what the bible was…..a huge book of history lessons. I see differently now! Every single chapter we have gone over has had some very valuable hidden treasures buried within it, and I actually find it quite fascinating trying to apply these parables, metaphors and lessons to my own life and sharing it with others!

Let’s dig into chapter 16 and see what the word has for us today. 🙂

Main points:

  • Proof that Jesus is Lord, is in the “sign of Jonah”
  • Watch for the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees
  • Peter declares Jesus is the Messiah and is blessed
  • Jesus is in the driver’s seat, not us

 

  • Proof that Jesus is Lord, is in the “sign of Jonah”

Matthew 16:4 (NIV): “A wicked and adulterous generation lookds for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.’ Jesus then left them and went away.”

Wondering what the “sign of Jonah” is?

This link describes it well:

Question: “What is the sign of Jonah?”


Answer: The phrase “sign of Jonah” was used by Jesus as a typological metaphor for His future crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Jesus answered with this expression when asked by the Pharisees for miraculous proof the He was indeed the Messiah. The Pharisees remained unconvinced of Jesus’ claims about Himself, despite His having just cured a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Shortly after the Pharisees accused Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Satan, they said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:38–41).

We are human and because of that we will naturally have questions. Even growing up as a Christian my whole life, I would be lying if said I hadn’t questioned some part of my beliefs or considered be open to other people’s thinking. You could probably blame this on the rebellious tendencies I have on occasion! ha! Somehow, in all of my questioning though, I am brought back by scripture or by the things I have experienced. The verses above, mentioning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (and his prediction of it!) are proof enough for me! Don’t feel bad for having questions, this just means you are a deep thinker and won’t accept ideas simply because you are told to. You can, however, rest on the fact that you have scripture and the holy spirit to back up any questions you may have!

  • Watch for the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Matthew 16:5-7 (NIV): “When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. ‘Be careful,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ They discussed this among themselves and said, ‘It is because we didn’t bring any bread.'”

When the disciples had no physical bread for their journey, they assumed Jesus was warning them against the physical yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

You know I think Jesus and I would have been buds. He gets me! I am always thinking in metaphors and feel like people don’t understand me lol But Jesus was all the time talking in metaphors!!

In Matthew 16:8-12 (NIV) Jesus goes on to explain: “Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Remember from the previous post in chapter 14, when we talked about the bread representing teachings/service? I believe the yeast to be the intentions behind the teachings, just as the yeast is the necessary ingredient needed to make bread. The quality of the yeast, will show in the quality of the bread.

  • Peter declares Jesus is the Messiah and is blessed

Matthew 16:16-19 (NIV): “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'”

  • Jesus is in the driver’s seat, not us

Matthew 16:24-27 (NIV): “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.'”

This totally reminds me of children thinking they know more than parents. Most of the time kids don’t appreciate the lessons parents instilled in them until they are well into adulthood themselves. It’s just hard to see the situation for what it is, until it’s over and we see God’s perfect plan unfold.

Jesus wants us to have his plan in mind before our own, always thinking WWJD (to be extremely corny) before we react to anything this life brings us. So, let’s be selfless. Isn’t that one of the greatest messages behind life in general? The greatest goal we could ever have is to love like Jesus loves, putting others before ourselves and experiencing the freedom, connections and closeness in our relationships because of it! The grudges we are holding…..we may think it is making us feel better because we had the last word or we may think we have “the right” to feel the way we do but in reality, forgiving someone and showing grace towards the situation will change it faster than holding a grudge ever will. Showing grace doesn’t always mean we allow others to walk all over us; showing grace can mean setting boundaries, walking away and letting the other person know that it’s all good. That God must have had a different plan, and we are totally content with going down a different path without holding on to any anger associated with the end of this one. Amen, to that. (Sigh of relief)

 

25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 9

Hi guys! If this is your first time joining us: this is post #6 in a 25 part series I call “25 Days of December,” where we will be studying the book of Matthew in hopes of gaining access to “soul food” during this season of busyness and distraction! I’m so glad you’re here!

Yesterday we touched on the fact that the enemy DOES NOT like when he is exposed. The very fact that we are studying the word and exposing his lies makes him very uncomfortable. I have been struggling a bit with my posts and what people think or if they are even reaching anyone. I have to be confident that I’m feeling this because the enemy is mad that scripture is being spread to more and more people! So please pray with me that God continue to give me the confidence in my posts and his plan! Thank you!

I want to remind you that I will be referencing The Message and NIV translations with occasional mentions of biblehub.com. If you do not have a bible handy, you can click here to link straight to Matthew chapter 9 on biblehub.com. In other news, I was recently asked what bible I use. If you would like to view the two bibles I use, you can visit Amazon through these links: link 1 and link 2 and purchase your own! (Note: link 2 is to a bible that is SIMILAR to The Message translation that I use. The exact one I have, is not available on Amazon but the one linked is a women’s version I’m sure you will love! If you are looking to gift one, there are many other versions available including men’s (NIV), youth (The Message) and children versions!)

We are all set with our reading material, our coffee and our quiet time so now, let’s get into the study for today!

Main points for today will be:

  • The company we keep
  • The risk of faith
  • Sheep with no shepherd

 

  • The company we keep

Matthew 9:10-13 (The Message) tells us: “Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. ‘What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?’ Jesus, overhearing, shot back, ‘Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.‘”

If our ultimate goal is to live like Jesus and spread the Word, then it is our mission to seek out the lost and hurting and give them the good news. What is it to others who sit back and judge us for taking someone (who may or may not be on drugs) to lunch? How can we let it effect us if they judge us for picking up the unpopular and taking them as our date to the social event of the year? Most of all, what church has the right to say that a prostitute is not allowed in their building? I will tell you this. When I am seeking out a new church for our family, I am much more attracted to the ones who invite the lost. I can’t handle churches that have a list of attendees that stays the same, week after week. The churches where you can feel eyeballs all over you if you aren’t dressed the way they expect you should be or who practically ask you to give them a resume before entering the door. It makes me sick. Who on Earth would ever come to serve a God who was not accepting of them right where they are: broken, lost and hungry for someone to love them?

  • The risk of faith

Matthew 9:22 (The Message): ” Jesus turned- caught her at it. The he reassured her: ‘Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.’ The woman was well from then on.”

Faith comes with a risk, most times. Whether it’s the risk of believing in God where it is forbidden or the risk of believing God will do something that may seem impossible to those around us, Faith is risky. God will reward those who are willing to take the risk. I believe this is the same with those who are willing to DREAM. Dreaming is not so popular among the crowds. It just doesn’t seem REALISTIC. That’s because it’s not. According to google, realistic means, “representing familiar things in a way that is accurate or true to life.” The word that sticks out to me is FAMILIAR. Can we recall one time in history where something was invented due to the idea being FAMILIAR? No. It took someone believing in something that currently did not exist. Dream big, dear. You may be the next name in the history books!

  • Sheep with no shepherd

Matthew 9:36-38 (The Message): When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. ‘What a huge harvest!’ he said to his disciples. ‘How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!’

God is seeking out believers who are willing to go beyond just believing and following, and LEAD the lost to their shepherd. This world is so full of lost and hurting people and we are called to love them. I know this idea may seem unrealistic to you. You may be thinking, “I don’t have a budget or the capability to go out to other countries and lead people to the Lord.” Honey, you don’t need to go anywhere. You are surrounded by broken people daily! Besides that, with technology as advanced as it is these days……you CAN reach the world, right from the laptop in your office. ❤ MUAH!

Can’t wait to see you back here tomorrow, ready to take on the world! 😉

 

25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 4

Hello everyone! Today is the first day in the “25 Days of December” series, where we are going to dive into the book of Matthew (chapters 4-28) and give you a little soul food to get you through this season full of busyness and distraction. 🙂

iwils

Let me preface this by saying that I feel like a Grinch some days. SOME days I feel overwhelmed with gift buying, sales ads, traditions, to do lists, food lists, event dates and all of the other things that tend to come with the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, the holidays make me feel warm inside and I love to spend time with my family and create memories for our children but GOLLY, it’s kinda been turned into a big tornado of doing and spending and not so much enjoying, am I right? Being an introvert, I thrive off of quiet time, reading and studying. The holidays tend to kind of squash that.

During my study yesterday (yes, this just came to be YESTERDAY), God just laid it on my heart to provide a study of the book of Matthew and share it with you ladies. Now, I don’t know about you but when I hear God’s whispers I try my hardest to obey! And our loving God always rewards obedience. 🙂 To be completely honest, I have no idea what I’m going to be writing each day and I have nothing prepared in advance. I simply prayed over the study, over you ladies and asked that my blog posts be the voice of whatever it is God is wanting to be said here. I sincerely pray that you ladies find value in this series and find some light through the holidays. ❤

Before we start, I just wanted to clarify that I am not a bible expert. I have no special degrees or certificates. I’m just an everyday wife and mom trying to dig into scripture and apply it to my life like any other regular person out there. The thing that may be a little different is the fact that I am FIRED UP to share my “scripture digging” adventure with YOU! So let’s get started….

Today, we start in chapter 4 where Jesus is tempted by Satan 3 times and goes to gather men along the beach of Lake Galilee to become “fishers of men.”

Side note: I will mostly be referencing both the Message translation and the NIV translation. I also like to use biblehub.com to look up verses that really stick out to me, because it offers MANY versions of the same verse which opens up lots of room for deciphering!

The first part of this chapter where Jesus is tempted by Satan three times, spoke to me in a way that every human on this planet can understand! TEMPTATION. Not one of us is exempt from this. We all know what Satan has set out to do: steal, kill and destroy. He stops at nothing but the power of Jesus. He has so many strategies that it makes it hard for us to figure out what’s going on! He will hit us out of NOWHERE and most times he will start at our WEAKNESSES. Satan does not place nice, guys.

In Matthew 4:1-3 we read, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

His weakness. His hunger. Now, he’s Jesus, he could have easily performed a miracle and turned the stones into bread and satisfied his hunger but he knew that was not His Father’s plan and that He would be giving into the enemy and THEREFORE giving him POWER. You guys, the important thing here is not that we do or do not give into temptation (although, that is important). The even BIGGER point here, is that when we DO give into temptation, that allows Satan IN! It gets him closer and closer to where he really wants to be. In our hearts; STEALING our family, friends and love for Jesus, KILLING our passion and drive, and DESTROYING the plan God has for us.

This is not where you need to start feeling bad about all of the temptations you’ve given into. The mistakes you’ve made and the times you’ve given in can be forgiven! Our Father loves us so much and will forgive us of our sins. We can not be strong ALL the time. We are human, and unlike Jesus, we do not have the answer every time. BUT, we do have the same access to our Father that Jesus did, through prayer. Lately, I have been finding AMAZING amounts of pressure relieved by prayer and asking for forgiveness as well as giving forgiveness to others even if it may appear that they don’t deserve it. Grace.

If we DO need somewhere to look when we want to resist temptation, though, we can look to Jesus’ response in Matthew 4:4.

Matthew 4:4 says: Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

When it comes down to it, all we really need in this life is God. Sure there are things we “need” to survive like water, food, shelter, love and so on but hasn’t GOD promised he will provide all of those things and more to those who believe in Him?

Philippians 4:19 assures us: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Again in Luke 12:31 we read: New Living Translation
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

The word is our SWORD. We must pull it out and fight the enemy when he tries to tempt us!

The second time Satan tries to tempt Jesus, he tries to do so by challenging Him. His attitude comes off as: So your Father has all of these powers? Prove it! And how does Jesus respond? He used his SWORD (scripture), and quotes Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 6:16 says: “Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah.”

The third and final time Jesus is tempted, Satan pulls a very famous stunt of his by offering Jesus the riches of the world. This one hits home for a lot of us, if not all of us, at one point or another. How appealing has the enemy made money, diamonds, brand name clothes, big houses, and fast cars? How much money does any given brand spend on advertising in a year? He works overtime trying to convince us that we will be LIKED and ACCEPTED if we have these things. We will FIT IN if we follow the crowd and fit into this mold. Being POPULAR fuels many of our daily actions!!

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We are ALL guilty of this. The enemy feels he is winning at this, because he sees our weakness of wanting to feel loved and accepted; as our human instincts crave it to survive. The thing we have mixed up here is that God instilled this craving into us so that we would NEED HIM! That craving that we all have can only be satisfied by Him.

I have experienced this like anyone else out there. I STILL fight temptation to have the things of this world. One thing I can say, though, is that God has shown me that those things not only leave me empty but they push me further away from God and closer to the enemy. Can I get personal and share my money situation like we are told not to? ha. A year ago my husband was making $12,000 a month. We were on the verge of divorce. Today he makes less than $3,000 a month and we are the happiest we have EVER been! We budget TOGETHER, we spend QUALITY time together, we ENJOY each other’s presence and we push through this life TOGETHER! We no longer try to satisfy our needs with money and things. When our budget doesn’t allow us to take trips or go out to eat or take the kids to a playhouse – we stay home and watch Frosty the Snowman, drink hot chocolate and play on the floor (GASP!)

Simply put: If we desire the things of this world over God, we are worshiping the wrong God. That hurts. As Christians, we don’t want to hear that we are WORSHIPING THINGS. That seems as crazy as worshiping a cow. Worshiping doesn’t necessarily mean we bow down and pray to this thing. It simply means we put it first. If the majority of our thoughts revolve around something other than God, we need to change our priorities. What is the motive behind our actions? That will ultimately tell us who or what we are worshiping. Now, we all have everyday tasks that we need to do: cooking, cleaning, errands, work, attending events etc but we need to look at the REASON we do these things. Putting God first doesn’t always have to mean we spend 24/7 at church. We can serve Him through our DAILY actions. We can clean our house in joy knowing that we are providing a happy place  for our family to land, we can go to work and make a difference in someone else’s life, we can tip a waitress a bigger amount because we are blessed with the means to do so.

The last thing I wanted to touch on today was when Jesus walked down the beach of Lake Galilee and began to gather “fishers of men.” What does this mean to you? To me, it means that God is calling us to go out and “catch” the hearts of the broken and tell them about the love of Jesus. Let’s talk to our friends and family with meaning. Let’s be REAL and SINCERE and relate to people! Tear down walls, cry with people, break generational cycles of abuse, CARE about PEOPLE and not what they are wearing or driving.

For some reason, my husband and I tend to get into Netflix shows that have to do with the end of the world. Power outages, viral outbreaks, zombies…..whatever it is. I take away things from those shows other than the cool visual effects and sappy love stories. One thing that kind of sticks with me is: in all of these shows, these people are having to survive and guess what? MONEY means NOTHING. It loses it’s value. The material things these people worked their whole lives to store up and gain status from…..they mean absolutely nothing. The things that mean something to them during this time are their faith and relationships. Hollywood did get something right. The End. ❤

*I hope to see you tomorrow, all ready to dive into chapter 5! If you haven’t already, please find the “follow” button in the sidebar on the right so you can receive daily emails. This will allow you to easily access these posts each day of the series!

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