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Posts Tagged ‘seek God’

Matthew 24

October 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 24

People are lazy. I don’t care who you are, you like to be lazy to a certain extent. We will try to find an easier way of doing something. It’s what separates us from the animals.

It’s not always a bad thing. Laziness has led to some wonderful inventions: the remote control, automobiles, microwaves, and LA-Z-BOY recliners. (Of course, someone had to work hard to invent these instruments of laziness.)

Unfortunately, our laziness can have negative consequences. More than just procrastinating, which leads to stress and missed deadlines, our laziness often makes us miss out on life. You don’t usually hear people at the end of their life say that they wish they would have watched more television or taken more naps. You also don’t hear people saying that they wished they would have spent more time getting drunk and doing drugs.

Instead, people generally regret wasting their lives. “I wish I would have taken that opportunity.” “Why did I spend so much of my time doing this, when I should have been doing that?” “I could have done so much more with my life if only…” That is the sound of a wasted life.

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us not to waste our lives. We don’t know how much time we have before our death or Christ returns. So don’t waste it! Use every minute to live for Jesus. I guarantee you won’t regret it. First, you will have a blast doing it. Your life will be filled with joy and peace. Second, at the end, you will be fulfilled, and you will have gained a priceless reward.

Don’t waste your life. Live it for Jesus.

 

Prayer for Today

Father, I don’t want to waste my life. I want to live like Jesus and live for Jesus. Open my eyes to the opportunities you give me to do something for you, and help me to take advantage of them. I want a life of joy, adventure, and excitement—the kind of life that only you can give. Then I won’t have to fear death or Christ’s coming because my life will be fulfilled. Amen.

 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1.21

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Matthew 22

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 22

I want to be like Jesus. Several times in Matthew 22, the religious leaders try to trap Jesus. They come up with these questions to try to outsmart Jesus. I can just picture them staying up all night trying to think of the perfect question. Then that little light bulb comes on. “Oh this is it! He’ll never be able to answer this one correctly. If he answers it this way, we’ll get him. But if he answers it this way, we’ll still get him! There’s no right answer. We’re geniuses!”

Then they come to Jesus. You can see them snickering a little while they ask Jesus their trick question. They just know they’ve got Jesus trapped now.

Then Jesus blows their minds. He finds a correct answer to a trick question. He makes the religious leaders look foolish. His wisdom leaves them speechless. That’s why I want to be like Jesus. I want to have wisdom like that to silence my critics.

Okay, maybe that’s a selfish reason to be like Jesus. Please pray for me.

One such episode occurs in Matthew 22.34-40. One of the Pharisees asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. There’s no way out of this. There are over 600 commandments! Whichever one he picks, they can blast him for not picking any of the others. It’s the perfect plan.

But Jesus outsmarts them again: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (verses 37-39). Jesus says that all the other commandments are summed up in these two commandments.

What about not taking God’s name in vain? If you love God, you won’t take his name in vain. What about not lying? If you love your neighbor, you won’t lie to her.

He did it again. That Jesus is pretty smart. (That is a huge understatement.)

Jesus sums up the Christian life with these two commandments. We like to make things complicated, but it’s simple really.

Love God. Love others. That’s the challenge. It’s the goal. Put it into practice. If we are like Jesus, this is what we will do.

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, help me to love you and love others. Amen.

 

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4.16

Matthew 21

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 21Donkey

This is a strange episode from Jesus’ life. It’s a little weird to think about Jesus riding a donkey down the street, while people throw their coats and palm branches on the ground in front of him. It’s like a spontaneous mini-parade.

But a donkey? Really?

But Jesus did this to fulfill a prophecy. Zechariah prophesized hundreds of years earlier that Judah’s Savior and King would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9.9-13). Sure, Jesus could have ridden in on a majestic white horse, towering over all the people. But that’s not Jesus’ style. He rides in on a humble donkey. He’s riding what any other person would ride. He’s on their level. It’s like Jesus is saying, “Yes, I am your King, but I’m also one of you.”

That is so amazingly awesome! This is a perfect example of how Jesus is 100% God yet also 100% human. Jesus is God Almighty, but while on Earth, he chose to limit himself and be completely human. Any supernatural miracle he performed was only because he asked God, and God allowed him to do so.

Again, Jesus could have ridden in on a Clydesdale, a Rolls Royce, or a space ship. He could have flown into Jerusalem like Superman. He could have had the angels carry him into the city on a kingly platform. He could have had fireworks and lasers. He deserved it. But he chose to limit himself. He chose the donkey. He chose to be like us.

He did this so we could relate to God. God is huge. He is beyond our comprehension. Saying that God is complex is an understatement. But in Jesus, we can better understand God. He doesn’t seem so far off. He becomes tangible (that means something we can see and touch).

God doesn’t want to be far off. He wants to be near to you. He wants a real relationship. He wants you to know him, because he is so in love with you. That is why Jesus came. That is why Jesus died. That is why Jesus rose from the grave.

God wants to be in your presence. Will you let him?

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, thank you for coming to Earth as Jesus. I don’t want you to be far off. I want to be in your presence every day. Your love is amazing. I can’t understand how you could love me so much, but I thank you that you do. I love you. Thank you, Jesus for choosing to become like me. Thank you for your life, your death, and your resurrection. Amen.

 

“Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2.5a-11

Matthew 13

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 13

There are so many good things in this chapter I could write several devotionals. You have the famous parable of the sower, the confusing parable of the weeds, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the yeast, and more. Jesus packs an amazing amount of teaching into this chapter.

But tucked in the middle of all these parables are two tiny parables with gigantic significance: the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price.

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like buried treasure that a guy finds in a field. The treasure is so valuable, that he sells everything he has to buy the field. Once he has the field, he has the treasure.

Jesus says it’s also like a fine pearl that a collector finds. The collector also sells everything he owns so he can buy this pearl.

Wow. That is huge. Why would someone sell everything to buy a field? Because the field is worth more than that. It costs the man everything, but he gets so much more in return.

Why would anyone sell everything to buy a pearl? Because it’s priceless. The man has to have it, and he will stop at nothing to get it.

God’s kingdom is like that. It’s priceless. It is of so much value, when you know what it is, you have to have it. And it’s worth giving everything in order to get it.

But people don’t realize how valuable it is. The owner of the field didn’t know what he had. There was this huge treasure in his field, and he let it slip through his fingers. The store-keeper didn’t know how valuable that pearl was. Other customers had looked at it, but decided not to buy it. Why? Because they didn’t realize what was right in front of their noses!

Don’t miss out! God’s kingdom is priceless. It is life-changing. It costs you your life, but it’s worth even more than that. God gives you so much more in return. He gives you eternal life, and he gives you the blessing of spending your life on earth in his presence. Just like the field and the pearl, its value can’t be explained. You have to experience it for yourself. Don’t let it slip through your fingers!

If you haven’t truly given your life to Jesus, do not hesitate any longer. Give it to him, and he will give you back a life that is worth so much more.

 

Prayer for Today

Father, I want to be part of your kingdom. I don’t want to foolishly hang on to my life. I give it to you because I know that life with you is worth so much more. Thank you for giving Jesus to die so that I can have eternal life with you. Amen.

 

 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Matthew 16.25

Matthew 6

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 6

When reading through the Sermon on the Mount, it seems like Jesus just jumps from topic to topic, none of which really have any connection to each other. But look again at Matthew 6. The first four sections all mention “reward” or “treasure,” and the final section sums it all up by urging us to seek God first.

Hopefully, you have never had to worry whether or not you would have food to eat for the day. However, I would guess you have worried about clothes or other things. The word here that is translated “worry” can also mean “give thought to.” It means to think about or concern ourselves with something.

As a teenager, your mind starts to change, and you start being concerned with what people think about you. “Am I wearing the right clothes?” “How can I get that person to like me?” “Will my friends think I’m a loser because I like the Jonas Brothers?”

If you want people to look at you and think you’re a great person, Jesus says you can do that, and that will be your reward. But it is shallow and temporary. It’s like trying to grasp sand. When you grab hold of it, it just slips through your fingers. Chasing after the things of the world will only leave you frustrated and feeling empty.

But Jesus says in Matthew 6.33 to seek God first. That word “seek” can also mean “desire.” Jesus says that if you make God your primary desire, if you want him and seek him, then you will be fulfilled. God will take care of the details of your life, and you will experience a joy and a peace that nothing in this world could ever give.

Seek God first.

 

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, I want to seek you. I want to know you better. God, show me just how awesome you are, and show me how insignificant everything else is. Help me to give my worries to you, and help me to trust you to take care of me. Amen.

 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5.7