25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 24

I’m here! Didn’t fall off the face of the planet lol I have a good report though! In an effort to jump start my New Years Resolution of “balance” I have put more focus on my homemaking and this week has been fabulous because of it! So much relief, having the budget done, meal planning done, laundry caught up every single day, no waking up to dishes and the kids and hubby seem to be enjoying the results too. SO….I’m sorry about missing a few studies. I am still really enjoying them! I hope you are too. 🙂 So in terms of soul food, let’s EAT!

Main points for today are:

  • Don’t praise material things, for they will not last forever
  • Stay focused, do not fear and do not be deceived  
  • The message will reach the entire world
  • The metaphor of the Vulture
  • Be prepared

 

  • Don’t praise material things, for they will not last forever

Matthew 24:2 (NIV): “‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'”

We have been told not to put our focus on material things but when we read it like this….we can see. Nothing we currently have will exist forever (aside from our soul). If you ever watch end of the world movies, it’s easy to visualize what this may look like. If you haven’t seen movies such as these, it looks a little bit like this: ghost towns, people traveling to look for food and supplies, families separated, and people changing from what we knew them as before.

If you know me personally, you probably think of me as a pretty optimistic person. I believe I am most times. So reading a chapter like this leaves me sitting here staring at my bible with my eyes wide open wondering how in the world I will get through something like this. Thing is….it’s part of the bible I believe in and if I truly believe it, I can’t go changing the parts I don’t like! This brings me to the next point.

  • Stay focused, do not fear and do not be deceived  

Matthew 24:4-13 (The Message): “Jesus 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. 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. In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For may others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in – nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes. Staying with it – that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. ‘”

*Eyes wide open in amazement* again…. This all seems so harsh as we read it, but look around. Is it really much different than what we already see happening all over the world right now? Most of us are very fortunate to not have to be experiencing any of these things, so maybe we don’t see it. We are truly surrounded by it. War, suicides, bombings, shootings, terrorist attacks, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. How are these different than what scripture describes? We already hate each other for political views, sexual preferences, race, religious backgrounds or whatever else may make us different. We are at each other’s throats all the time, even with those closest to us.

We have to stay focused. We have to stay in the Word. We have to apply the Word. We have to keep our faith in the fact that Jesus said, if we stick it out til the end he will save us. We have to cling to His promises. We can’t be deceived or led astray by any of the enemy’s sneaky ways. Thing is…..if we aren’t studying the Word, we WON’T KNOW when we are being deceived.

  • The message will reach the entire world

Matthew 24:14 (The Message): “‘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.'”

Well that makes me feel better. My husband and I were just having a conversation the other night about people getting saved and if everyone on the planet will have a chance to be saved. My husband has a good heart and he said to me, “I just have a hard time believing that people of different religions, children, people who are living in secluded areas of the world…..that they would go to hell. What if they didn’t get a chance to hear about Jesus and make their choice?” When he asked me that, I teared up. Then I had a sudden feeling of almost guilt…or a mission I needed to start right that second. Slip my boots on over my pajamas, because I needed to go out and reach people so this didn’t happen! But then we continued to talk and study and now coming across this verse, we can rest knowing that everyone will hear the Word. HOWEVER, that doesn’t give us a free pass to sit back, say we are saved and leave everyone else to fend for themselves. We DO have a mission! Each of ours may look a little different, but they all have the same common goal! To reach the world with the good news!

  • The metaphor of the Vulture

Matthew 24:26-28 (The Message): “‘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.'”

The way this translation describes this metaphor helped me to really understand! A vulture circles a rotting carcass and feasts on it the same way the crowds will circle around the deceivers and feast on their lies. WOW! So the old idea of not following the crowd, really holds true here. Follow what you know to be true, not what others tell you is true.

  • Be prepared

Matthew 24:39-51 warns us to be prepared for the Son’s Return and to always do what we know to be right, for we never know when the time will come. He may catch us in the middle of serving ourselves or the world instead of serving the kingdom.

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25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 20

Can you believe this is post #17 in our 25 part series?! Wow, we have done some major studying! Thank you so much for joining me on this journey of learning what God has buried in the book of Matthew for us. It has been a true treasure!

Chapter 20 does not disappoint. Even more goodness to chew on during this season of busyness and distraction. I tend to think that when I’m busy, I simply do not have time to study or take time for myself. Boy is this so wrong. When I am busy, I need substance the most! Something to ground me.

Main points in this chapter:

  • Longevity is not always worth more reward
  • We can not let power go to our heads
  • Keep pushing towards the truth and you will be rewarded

 

  • Longevity is not always worth more reward

Matthew 20:1-15 (NIV): “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

This seems so unfair. The way we see things, with our human eyes, this is just not fair. Most times, in our secular jobs, the employee who has been at a job the longest gets paid the most OR the person who has the most past experience or certifications get paid more. Immediately, after reading this story I thought about the gift of salvation and the blessings we receive. Think about the believers you know. Chances are you know some that have been Christians their whole lives and you know some who are newly saved. Do either of these people receive a different type or different amount of salvation?? Absolutely not. Do either of these people receive a larger blessing or a larger number of blessings simply due to the amount of time they have “been saved?” No, again. There will definitely be people who envy others for the blessings they have received. That is human nature. Our goal here is to have a grateful heart and try our best to believe that God has our best interest at heart and he DOES have a unique plan for each of us. No matter how long we have known Him.

  • We can not let power go to our heads

Matthew 20:20-28 (NIV): 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

A couple of things I noticed here.

First, we can’t let our obedience get to our heads. We must be in this for the will of God.

I have been struggling lately to find where the line is between ministry and business. Again, being transparent with you. I struggle with this. It’s not necessarily that I am letting it “get to my heard,” but in order to turn this into a business someday (writing books, selling aprons and other fun stuff), I have to watch numbers and learn business techniques etc. On the other hand, this is my passion and I believe that God has a calling on my life to uplift women and mothers who are struggling. I would never want anyone to feel like I took advantage of their feelings or their pocketbooks. All of this said, where is the VERY FINE line drawn between growing a business with a healthy message at the heart of it and making people feel like I am trying to make money off of God?

Second thing I noticed is that Jesus said He was here to SERVE, not BE SERVED. It is our number one goal to serve. If it ever crosses the line into a goal of being served, we have stepped over the line. The same goes for the churches we follow.

  • Keep pushing towards the truth and you will be rewarded

Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV): 29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Simple point here is that there are non believers out there that see what we have and are hungry for it! They want their eyes to be open to the light of Jesus! Jesus longs for those people to see and to join on the journey. I think these days, some churches are happy where they are at and are not open to letting the poor, hurting and diseased in. It will not be a popular idea to stray the course and help those people out but don’t forget what Jesus calls us to do!

Another thing I see here is that after the crowd tried to keep them quiet, they shouted even louder! These people are HUNGRY for the truth! In that moment, they are showing more faith than the believers that are supposedly on a mission to gather the lost. I pray that we see this and we stay faithful to our Father and his will, instead of our own conveniences.

 

REPOST: The Objectification of Women

I saw this post in a Facebook Group I’m a part of and it really got me thinking! I’d love to hear what you guys think! Here is the original post made by Ruthie Hostetler: 

“Good morning, ladies! I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole issue of women being objectified in our society and I’m wondering: Is it really a society’s issue, when we are the ones parading only certain parts of us, selling our souls and what we truly care about deep down, for a slim body? When we’re the ones trading our causes and compassion for “what sells” and what instantly pleases, ultimately objectifying what we long for (intimacy, admiration, freedom, joy) for mere objects we can attain (a slim body, legs, abs, toned skin, a number on the scale, the perfect IG picture)???
I don’t think a male ego driven society helps, but I also don’t think it starts or ends there. I believe a woman’s empowerment does not rely on a man’s “empowering” her. It starts with a woman empowering herself and treating herself not as an object for once, nor a project to be worked on, but rather as an exquisite creation meant to be FULLY experienced and enjoyed.
What do you think? How do YOU view the objectification of women in the world you live in?”

25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 8

Hello all! If this is your first time joining us: this is post #5 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!

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 8 on biblehub.com. I have been 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 and youth versions!)

Now that we are prepared with reading material, let’s get started!

So far, we have learned some very practical tips we can apply to our everyday life. I am just going to say it: things are about to get real! Deep. Chapter 8 is not only about healing, but about true faith, our ultimate mission here on Earth and even a confrontations with the enemy.

The points we will be touching on today are:

  • “Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.” -Matthew 8:4 (The Message translation)
  • Having TRUE faith
  • “Your business is life, not death” -Section title heading (The Message)
  • The enemy gets very uncomfortable around those who speak the truth. Even the enemy knows Jesus will be returning!

 

  • “Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.” -Matthew 8:4 (The Message translation)

Matthew 8:1-4 (The Message) reads: “Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, ‘Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.’ Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, ‘I want to. Be clean.’ Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, ‘Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.’

I pondered these verses for a while before I finally got revelation. The best example I can use here is: If you suffer from alcoholism (for example) and the Lord heals you, don’t go around town boasting of your alcohol free life. Allow your sober living to speak for itself and give credit to God if someone notices.

  • Having TRUE faith

Two verses stuck out to me here.

Matthew 8:10 (The Message) says: Taken aback, Jesus said, ‘I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works.'”

Matthew 8:12 (The Message) makes this point again: “‘Then those who grew up ‘in faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.'”

People who claim to be “believers” and even more so, the people who have claimed to be “Christians” their whole lives but have no faith will find themselves out in the cold missing out on their blessings and wondering why God isn’t hearing them. We must reach down and find our true faith, not only in times when things are going our way, but most importantly when things ARE NOT going our way. We must trust in God’s timing. Who are we to accuse God of not hearing us? He hears us and we must believe that He has our best interest at heart. I find a lot of times, that if God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we want Him to or WHEN we want Him to, we give up. We get mad. We doubt. We lose our way. Have a little faith in the creator of ALL things and the One who holds the blueprint to your entire life and beyond.

  • “Your business is life, not death” -Section title heading (The Message)

Matthew 8:20-22 (The Message): ” Jesus was curt: ‘Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.’ Another follower said, ‘Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.’ Jesus refused. ‘First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.'”

In this verse, they may be talking about the actual physical death of this follower’s father but I want to take this a step further and apply it to things we may experience daily. Let’s think about the “death” of friendships, jobs, houses, projects and seasons of our lives. We can not stay focused on the “death” of those things. Grieve and move on. (I promise I’m not heartless!!) We MUST focus on life and what God has planned for us. If we are too busy looking back, we may miss what is right in front of us. Please, don’t hangout in the yucky feelings of that loss. God has a PLAN for you and he is waiting for you to knock on the door and say, “Here I am Lord, and I’m ready to go through this with you, thick and thin.”

  • The enemy gets very uncomfortable around those who speak the truth. Even the enemy knows Jesus will be returning!

Matthew 8:29 (NIV) says: “‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ They shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?‘”

The enemy was hoping Jesus was going to leave them alone until the time of His return. Boy were their hopes about to be squashed!

Matthew 8:34 (NIV) says: “Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”

The enemy wants NO part in being exposed or told to leave! Be prepared to face trials during a time where you are exposing the wrong things of this world. Can you recall a time where you told a friend they were being cheated on and you did not face condemnation or judgement from those involved?

You guys, you just dove into the deep end with me! I hope I didn’t lose you. Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart! Contrary to popular belief- being a christian does not mean you show up on Sunday with a smile plastered on your face and go around shaking hands all week. Christianity is about getting on your knees in your quiet time and crying and praying for those who are hurting, it’s about trying our best to apply scripture to our own life no matter HOW HARD that proves to be, it’s about sacrificing your date night to show up for a suicidal friend, and it’s about going through the trials and struggles of this world with FAITH that God is with us and has a wonderful plan for our life and a bundle of promises to fill our eternity! Amen. 🙂

Please join me tomorrow as we dive deeper into the book of Matthew, Chapter 9! Pray you all have an amazing rest of your Sunday and begin this next week with a newfound strength in your faith!

Feedback Friday: Extrovert or Introvert?

I really want to hear more from and learn from you guys! So now I want to dedicate Fridays to “Feedback Friday” where I will be bringing a question or topic for you guys to comment on 🙂
Let’s start with : Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or introvert? What challenges do you come across, being this personality type?
I am an introvert! I find that, although, I do like to go to gatherings and be around people from time to time- it takes a lot of time to recover from such things! This may seem silly, but it takes me a week or so of having lots of quiet time in order to get my energy back after attending an event with lots of people (or any people at all 😜).
Tell me about you now!
(You can find a fun quiz to do here! http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=1311)