Scripture: ‘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.’ Matthew 20:12 NIV
Observation: Jesus tells a parable about workers in a vineyard.
Application: I have repeatedly compared myself to Christians whom I know and respect and I’ve always found myself lacking. As I think about this parable I believe that Jesus is telling me that my little contribution to Christianity is as important to God as Billy Graham’s. God doesn’t want two Billy Grahams. He wants one Billy Graham and he want me and he want us both to love him and he wants us to want others to find and know and love him too.
Prayer: Father, I pray that my efforts to share Christ are worthy. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 NIV
Observation: Jesus teaches the truth of humility in God’s kingdom.
Application: God not only wants to be our daddy, he wants us to be meek, child-like, and humble. I believe that when we have those attributes we are more willing to be led and more able to learn.
Prayer: Father, help me to be child-like. Teach me as I marvel and learn. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:53-58 NIV
Observation: Jesus returns to his hometown and teaches in the synagogue.
Application: I have been given this message in the past as I read these passages I realized that as Christians, our pasts can haunt us. Whether we are in the position of son, brother, father, or coworker, what we were before we became Christians can impede our testimony to those that know us best. I believe that I must pray for consistency in my walk so that my current life speaks louder than my former.
Prayer: Father, help me to model consistency in my walk so that my family and friends know that there is something different in my life that they want to partake in. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Genesis 13:10 NIV
Observation: Abrahm and Lot part company.
Application: As I read today I was initially struck by the fact that Lot knew what “the garden of the Lord,” Eden, looked like. I wasn’t really sure what lesson that fact would teach me so I decided to read on and ponder. As I continued to think about this passage I realized the obvious, Lot jumped at the chance to seize the “best” and let his uncle have the left-overs. How often do we do the same thing? Instead of asking for guidance from God, we latch onto what is the most pleasing at the moment only to find disaster in the end. Lot lost his family and his possessions because the “best” ended up being the worst and God destroyed it all in the end. Abrahm trusted God, took the left-overs and ended up being the father of God’s chosen people. We shouldn’t trust in our fleshly desires; just like Abrahm, we should trust in the Lord.
Prayer: Father, help me to rely on you and not on my earthly urges. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV
Observation: Words from Jesus.
Application: Laurie, this passage spoke to me for you this morning. I know that you’re tired and worn out, Jesus wants you to find the rest that you need in him. Don’t look to me, the kids, church or work, look to the Lord. I love you have a great day.
Prayer: Father, give Laurie rest, peace of mind and a calmness in her spirit as she rests in you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. Genesis 8:21 NIV
Observation: God speaks to Noah as he and his family come out of the ark.
Application: How often have we heard “he’s such a good person” or “she’s good, she doesn’t deserve that”? Here in Genesis 8 God clearly says that we are evil from childhood. If we are evil then we can’t be good. If we aren’t good we can’t be in the presence of God. If we can’t be in the presence of God, our evil selves need to be destroyed. Since we can’t literally kill ourselves off and gain eternal life we need a sacrificial stand-in–we need Jesus. We need to accept his sacrifice and live.
Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. I accept. Amen
Scripture: Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Revelation 3:19 NIV
Observation: Jesus is talking of the church at Laodicea. This is the luke-warm church that is about to be “spit out!” They are neither hot nor cold. He is closing his words to John about that church with a reminder to learn from discipline when it is administered.
Application: If a parent loves his child he will discipline him instead of letting him learn that running into traffic is dangerous by allowing him to actually be hit by a car. The difference is teaching a valuable lesson and a trip to the hospital or worse. I am not a Theologian but I do know that there are occasions throughout scripture where God’s name must be translated as “daddy.” In this passage I believe that he wants us to know him as “daddy” and he wants, just like our earthly fathers, for us to heed his discipline and know that it is given for our own good.
Prayer: Daddy, thank you for loving me so much that you will show me when I sin and allow me to make amends and learn from my mistakes. Amen
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
Scripture: This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8 NIV
Observation: Here is what brings glory to God–that we bear fruit, much fruit. We bear it by making our lives obvious that we are followers of Christ to those that are looking on.
Application: I must temper my playful, yet sarcastic, tone. I may give the wrong impression to a searcher or unbeliever.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for being sarcastic. While it can be humorous at times it can also seem to be hate-filled. That does not wins souls to Christ. Help me to be aware that I am a missionary for you and I need to conduct myself as such. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 NIV
Observation: The author speaks a truth that I seldom consider, “that woman I held the door open for or that cashier at the grocery store, may have been an angel!”
Application: I believe that clearly I should make every effort to treat all people with kindness. That’s really the answer to W. W. J. D?
Prayer: Father, help me to always treat others just as Jesus would, with kindness. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen