Thursday, May 28, 2015

Extravagant Worship

Matthew 26:7
While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.

Apparently these jars or boxes were given to young women by their parents to be a part of their dowery, the equivalent of our hope chests. This very expensive gift was intended for her to use on her wedding night as part of her intimacy with her husband. One source I read even suggested that prostitutes would anoint men at banquets in this way to show their availability. I highly doubt that they would have used such an expensive perfume or jar for this purpose. 

In any case, this was an extravagant act of worship. She was giving herself completely to Jesus - telling him that she trusted him with her future, her reputation and her life. She was totally unconcerned with what others thought, but was focused only on Jesus.


Lord, help me to worship you like this! With such complete abandon and focus on you. Help my daily life to reflect this kind of devotion to you, just as you demonstrated your love and devotion for me by dying for my sins. You also lavish your grace and mercy on me every day. I praise you, Lord Jesus!

This Week's Memory Verses
Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Hosea 6:6

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Acts of Mercy

Matthew 25:45-46
"And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refuse to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

In the past when I've read this, I've thought that if I'm not doing the specific things Jesus listed, then I'm in danger of going to hell.

Matthew 25:42-43
"For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me to your home. I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.

This morning as I read it I have a different understanding. If I'm not doing things like this, then I need to question whether I truly know the Lord. I'm not seeing this as a list of specific things that we must do to get to heaven, but a starting point.

Matthew 10:42
"And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

This verse implies that no act of mercy will go unrewarded. However, we don't do these things for the reward or as a way to get to heaven. Only Jesus' blood can get us to heaven. No, we do these things BECAUSE we have salvation. We do these things out of a grateful heart and out of love for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave the greatest act of mercy ever. He died on a cruel cross for our sins, and then rose again.

Lord, I want to be ready and available to be your hands and feet! I praise you for freely giving me the salvation that I could never earn on my own!

This Week's Memory Verses
Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Hosea 6:6

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Am Your Bride

Matthew 24:36
"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows."

John 14:1-3
"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."






















According to Wildolive.co.uk in ancient Jewish custom, when a couple became betrothed, the groom would tell his bride, "I am going to prepare a place for you," and "I will return for you when it is ready." Most often that place was in his father's house. It was a special honeymoon room. The groom's father would oversee the work on this room. He had to give his OK before the room was considered finished and the groom could collect his bride. If curious friends or family asked the groom when the wedding would be he would answer, "Only my father knows."

Lord, I am part of your bride the church. It thrills my heart to know that you are preparing a special place for me. Help me to always be ready with oil for my lamp, which represents the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus, you gave your very blood as the bride price for me! Help me to keep myself pure and undefiled so that I will be not be ashamed when you come for me. In Jesus' name, amen.


This Week's Memory Verses
Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Hosea 6:6

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Your Ways Are Higher

Matthew 24:3
Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?"
Matthew 24:3

How did the disciples know that this referred to the end of the world? Yes, they knew about the prophecy in Zechariah 14, but they were expecting Jesus to set up his kingdom right away, with no cross or resurrection.


This is from "A Commentary on the New Testament From the Talmud and Hebraica" by John Lightfoot:
See here the doctrine of the Jews concerning the coming of the Messiah:
1. That at that time there shall be a resurrection of the just: The Messias shall raise up those that sleep in the dust.
2. Then shall follow the desolation of this world: This world shall be wasted a thousand years. Not that they imagined that a chaos, or confusion of all things, should last the thousand years; but that this world should end and a new one be introduced in that thousand years.
3. After which eternity should succeed.

From hence we easily understand the meaning of this question of the disciples:--
1. They know and own the present Messiah; and yet they ask, what shall be the signs of his coming?
2. But they do not ask the signs of his coming (as we believe of it) at the last day, to judge both the quick and the dead: but,
3. When he will come in the evidence and demonstration of the Messiah, raising up the dead, and ending this world, and introducing a new; as they had been taught in their schools concerning his coming.

So the disciples weren't really asking when Jesus was going to return to set up his kingdom but when he was going to do all this since he was already with them.

No wonder Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you." They were already mislead in how they thought his kingdom would be set up.

Lord, I'm so glad that you don't do things the way we expect. For your ways are higher than ours.

Isaiah 55:9
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

This Week's Memory Verses
Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Hosea 6:6

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Write Your Laws in my Heart

Matthew 23:5-7
"Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi'."

This picture is from Redeemer of Israel blogspot.com. Please see my disclaimer below.

Lord, I want my worship of you to be a sincere outward reflection of the change you are accomplishing inside me. I want to worship you in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24
For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

I don't want to be prideful or hypocritical.

Lord, you told the Israelites to bind your word to their foreheads and hands. You told them to put tassels on their clothing. The purpose of both these commands was so that they would be reminded to do what you said.
Numbers 15:37-11
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the LORD instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the LORD your God!"

Now we have the Holy Spirit to remind us to obey you, although it doesn't hurt for us to display scripture around our homes to help us remember.

Holy Spirit, please show me when I am being a hypocrite or being prideful. Remind me to follow God's ways in all I do.

Hebrews 10:16
"This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."

Lord, please put your laws in my heart, and write them on my mind. Indeed, by memorizing scripture, I am allowing you to do just that. Help me to think about your word throughout my day. You know how prone I am to follow my own desires and defile myself. Please tap me on the shoulder and catch my attention before I do this. I want to stay pure in my thoughts and actions. In Jesus' name, amen.

In my research for this post I found this blog post by Daniel Smith: Redeemer of Israel. I must give the disclaimer that Daniel is a Mormon. I am in no way advocating the Mormon faith. However, he does give a great explanation of the prayer boxes and tassels that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 23:5-7

This Week's Memory Verses
Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Hosea 6:6

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I am Clothed in the Righteousness of Jesus

Matthew 22:11-14
"But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn't wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?' But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, 'bind his hands and feed and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"For many are called, but few are chosen."

According to the commentary in my Bible, it was customary for the person in charge of the wedding banquet to give special clothes to each guest to wear to the banquet. It was a major insult to the host to not wear these clothes to the banquet.

We have been provided with the clothes of righteousness and salvation when we accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord over our lives.

Revelation 16:15
"Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed."

There are those who take this verse literally. I think the Mormons never allow themselves to be completely naked because of this verse. They even bathe with a t-shirt or something to cover themselves. I believe that this verse has a much deeper meaning than just the literal. I believe that it is referring to our spiritual clothing.

We cannot enter the Wedding Supper of the Lamb without the proper attire which Jesus provided for all in his death and resurrection.

Isaiah 61:10
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me in the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.















Revelation 3:4-5
"Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

Lord, help me to keep my clothes unsoiled by evil! I want to walk with you in white. I want my name to remain in the Book of Life and have you announce to your Father and his angels that I am yours. In Jesus' name, amen.

In my study for this post I found a very interesting website: Wildolive - Jewish Weddings. This site give some very interesting insights into the customs practiced in ancient Jewish weddings and how they correlate to New Testament teaching. You may also be interested in the book "Here Comes the Bride" by Richard Booker.

This Week's Memory Verses
Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Hosea 6:6

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Want to Obey

Matthew 21:28-31
"But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' The son answered, 'No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, 'You go,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go. 
"Which of the two obeyed his father?"
They replied, "The first."

Lord, may I always be willing and ready to obey you from a sincere and grateful heart. I don't ever want to just give you lip service like the second son did.

Psalm 119:129-133
Your laws are wonderful.
No wonder I obey them!
The teaching of your word gives light,
so even the simple can understand.
I pant with expectation,
longing for your commands.
Come and show me your mercy,
as you do for all who love your name.
Guide my steps by your word,
so I will not be overcome by evil.