Matthew 18:23-19:12 In this passage in Matthew, Jesus tells the story of the servant who had been forgiven all his debt by his master, but this servant was unwilling to forgive another the debt he was owed. The conclusion to this story is the following statement: "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto ye, if you from ye hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matt. 18:34-35, KJV).
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Matthew 18:1-22 It has been my privilege over my fifty-plus years as a Christian to always have a prayer partner. There are so many advantages in having a prayer partner. This passage in Matthew gives two very important reasons for us to pray with others. Jesus tells us, "Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:19-20, KJV).
Psalm 22:1-18 Some of the most traumatic feelings a person can experience is being abandoned. Abandonment rocks our emotions with feelings of insecurity, fear, doubt, loneliness, failure, rejection, grief, sorrow and unworthiness, just to name a few. I've never experienced abandonment, but I know people who have. I know a fifty-year-old man who is still being healed emotionally of the abandonment he experienced as a young boy. Both his mother and father were alcoholics, and they would leave their two young boys on the beach alone at night while they partied at the bars. Later this man's father killed his mother. Imagine the trauma of abandonment he felt.
??Have you often thought, "There must be more"? You’re not alone. I believe a fresh revelation of truth will unlock the God-potential within you. You probably know that by God’s grace you’re forgiven and saved, but do you know that His grace empowers you here and now in this life?
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10 Throughout our lives circumstances and situations occur that we just do not understand. For example, I have been praying this week for two dear saints of the Lord who have been stricken with cancer. They both love the Lord with all of their hearts, and yet they are facing a severe test of faith. Why would God allow such a thing to occur? I often see how we blame God for our troubles, but we have to remember the "trouble maker" is not God. The "trouble maker" is Satan, and his plan is to destroy us. God's plan is to give us life and give it to us more abundantly. My husband had two heart attacks, and during that time, he held on to the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (KJV).
Genesis 48:1-49:33 Just recently I had the joy of discovering the genealogy of my family on the side of my maternal grandfather. I had the history of my father back to the 1600s, but I had no knowledge of the ancestry of my mother. Some people are really into their heritage, and I'm thankful for people who keep records and research genealogies, because it is rewarding to know our heritage.
Matthew 15:1-28 Remember the song from Fiddler on the Roof called "Tradition"? We all have our traditions. I recall one Christmas hosting my older sister and her family from Seattle. She and her family have their special Christmas traditions, and so does our family. We had a time trying to fit in both family traditions on Christmas day. Traditions are not bad, but they can become a hindrance to God's Word. In fact, if we hold to our religious traditions more than we hold to God's Word, we can make the Word of God have no effect in our lives.
Psalm 18:35-50 We have everything going for us if we choose to go the way of the Lord. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He goes before us to lead the way, but remember, His face is turned toward us, and He never turns His back on us. God turned His back to Jesus on the cross because He could not look upon the sins of the world that were laid upon Jesus, the Lamb slain for our sin. Since the cross, however, we have God's promise as spoken by Jesus, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Thank God for the cross that bridged the gap between God the Father and us, and made the way for us to enter His throne room daily and find grace in time of need. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and He daily is making intercession for you. He is watching your every move and is there to catch you if you begin to fall. Your part is to keep looking into the face of Jesus. If you daily seek His face, you will keep walking forward in Him and you will not backslide.
Genesis 42:18-43:34 Jacob's first response to his sons' appeals to send Benjamin to Egypt as Joseph required was a definite no. He was not about to lose another son as he thought he had lost Joseph. Later in the passage we see Jacob's heart turn. Famine was once again a plague on the land where Jacob lived, and he knew the only way he could save his family was to meet the demands of the Egyptian leader to send Benjamin back with his brothers. He was willing to take the risk of never seeing Benjamin again if that was the only way he could save the rest of the family. Jacob says, "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved" (Gen. 43:14, KJV).
Matthew 13:24-46 Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a merchant man who sought good pearls. When he found one of a great price, he sold all that he had and bought it. In this passage Jesus shared four parables about the kingdom of heaven. The last parable is about the pearl. He does not explain this parable, so the hearer or reader must interpret it himself.
Proverbs 3:33-35 Again in our readings for the month of January we see the wicked person's life compared to the life of a just person (one who has been justified by God). God's Word tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. I have always interpreted that to mean troubles fall upon the just and the unjust. However, I see in the Bible where rain is usually a symbol of the blessings of God. When the people of a land are pleasing God, He sends the early and latter rains upon the land. When they are disobedient, He withholds the rain. I believe God is always sending showers of blessings upon the earth. The wicked, however, have the umbrella of pride over them, and they never receive the blessings. Today's passage from Proverbs confirms this.
"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16, NKJV).
Matthew 12:22-45 I have a friend who said she would probably spend the first 10,000 years in heaven in the "idle word room." It would take that long for the Lord to judge all of her idle words. Jesus said in Matthew 12:35-37, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Proverbs 3:21-26 So often in life we are found in situations where we feel a lack of confidence. It may be the first day on a new job, the big interview for a job or simply a test we're taking in school. It is at these times we rely on this verse in Proverbs 3:26: "For the Lord shall be your confidence."
Matthew 11:7-30 The invitation extended throughout the Word of God is "Come unto Me." We live in a world that is burdened and heavy-laden, a world where men have no rest for their souls. Men everywhere seek peace of mind and long to have joy in living. They run to drugs for pseudo peace and alcohol for temporary highs, but there is no lasting peace or joy apart from the Lord. Only the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ, can offer eternal peace and joy and right standing with God the Father. He gives us the invitation today, "Come to Me, and learn of Me meekness and lowliness of heart."
Proverbs 3:16-18 The benefits of wisdom are not just happiness. This passage lists some of the benefits we will experience if we will live our lives in the wisdom from above.
Proverbs 3:13-15 Everyone in this life is searching for happiness. The word happy in Hebrew is the same word for "blessed." We all want blessings in our lives, and yet so many fail to live a happy, blessed life. This passage in Proverbs gives the secret to a continual life of happiness or blessedness. "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding"( Prov. 3:13).
Genesis 28:28:1-29:35 As a child I remember singing, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder." In the song was the phrase, "Every rung goes higher, higher." Jacob experienced a divine connection between heaven and earth. In his dream he saw a ladder between heaven and earth, and he saw angels ascending and descending this ladder. The Lord stood above the ladder, and He spoke to Jacob and told him how the families of the earth would be blessed through his seed. He promised Jacob that He would keep him wherever he went, and that the time would come when He would bring him again to the land He promised Abraham, his great grandfather. When Jacob woke up, he said "Surely the Lord is in this place."
Matthew 9:1-17 Jesus' response to the scribes who accused Him in their hearts of blasphemy was, "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house" (Matt. 9:4-6, KJV).
God didn’t just rescue us; He empowered us so that we can live successfully here in this world. He didn’t want children who would have the title of righteousness but not have the ability to overcome the sins and weaknesses that ensnared them in the first place. No, He designed salvation to be complete—triumphant living in this world as well as in the one to come.
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