Monday, February 3, 2020

Matthew & Levi: The Same Guy!

I read in the book of Matthew where the tax collector that Jesus told to come "follow Me" was called "Matthew", but in the book of Mark, the same guy was referred to as "Levi".

I wondered, "Why does he have two different names?".

Matthew is the Greek name and Levi was the Hebrew name. As a tax collector, Matthew worked for Greek-speaking Romans. He gathered taxes from Hebrew-speaking Jews. We see, as an example, Peter also being called Simon (Matt. 16:16).

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Jesus is NOT Limited

Matthew 13:57-58
Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." And He did not do many might works there because of their unbelief.

I always used to think that there were people there who wanted to be healed, but they just didn't have enough faith to receive it (which kinda blows my mind as I even write it now)... I guess I kinda thought, "Well, Jesus couldn't do that many miracles there because the majority of the people didn't have enough faith"

But I'm starting to think that it's more like, "Jesus knew that the people were offended with Him because of His wisdom and miracles, so He didn't waste His time on them because the miracles that He already performed didn't matter to them; they were absolutely faithless.  The few people who He did heal were the only handful of people who actually respected His authority and had true faith to receive it; so He freely gave to them."

Diligently Seek Him

Two verses in Matthew 13 really stuck out at me!

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid. And with joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
45-46 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

We have God's Word via the bible and via His Holy Spirit, and we have a relationship with the Father through the Son.  These are the greatest treasures, and they are freely available to us.

Just like the man with the field and the man with the pearl, we should be sacrificing everything for the treasure that we have, because nothing is worth more.

I have a feeling that if we would truly put His Word and our relationship with Him above everything else (even if for a time), we would get to a point where our desire for other things would automatically fade away because we would be consumed by HIS desires (which will produce fruit in every area of our lives).

Let's keep digging in and watch what God does!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The "Word of Faith"

As I spent time to get into God's Word today, verses started to come to my mind and I quickly started writing them down.

It's amazing at how simple God's truth is, and how easily we can screw it up and miss the mark.

Ultimately, if we don't put God first, and be the living sacrifices He called us to be, we won't have peace and we won't prosper (not even close to the degree that He wants us to be prosperous).

Hebrews 11:6 - Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Isaiah 7:9 - If you are not firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

Romans 10:17 - Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Romans 12:2-3 - ...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed and progressively changed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, which is good and acceptable and perfect. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Matthew 6:33 - Seek first His kingdom (diligently putting His will and plans above everything else) and His righteousness (His way of being and doing), and all your needs will be met.

Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25 - Before every man lies a wide and pleasant looking road that looks harmless and appears to be "right", but it leads to spiritual and physical death. It may "feel good" for a short time, but it only ends in heartbreak.

Bottom line:  I've got to set aside the things of the world (at least for a period of time) and redeem my time for Him and HIS purpose(s) (and I need to be careful about what I let back in to my life so it doesn't lead me astray or try to elevate itself above Him).

I know it's a simple revelation, but I'm very aware of the fact that, when I'm struggling, I need to seek Him.  But when I'm doing well, I need to seek Him even more.  Seeking Him in the good times will prepare me for when the bad times come.

Psalm 1:1-3 - Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Proverbs 3:1-8 - My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Proverbs 4:20-23 - My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.