Today we are reading Matthew 23. In this chapter we read about Jesus condemning the religious leaders. “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew‬ ‭23:1-5, 11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬ You can see from these passages that Jesus holds those who teach to a very high standard. Your life has to match your words. You have to be humble. You have to do what God desires. You have to be a servant. These are challenging requirements but Jesus promises, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” May God bless those around you with your humility. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 22. In this chapter Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees. In response Jesus talks about the greatest commandment.“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:34-40‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Today we live in a world filled with division. We are constantly hearing about what we disagree on. Disagreement is not necessarily a bad thing.  Hatred and violence are always bad things. Jesus clearly teaches us to “love God and love our neighbors”. How have you fallen short in this area? How have you not loved God? How have you not loved your neighbors? Now let’s turn that around. How has God loved you? This is the basis for loving Him and loving our neighbors. May God so fill you with His love that it flows over in everything you do! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 20. In this chapter we read about The Workers in The Vineyard, A Mother’s Request, and The Healing of Two Blind Men. In the parable of the Vineyard, the owner pays everyone the same amount regardless of how long they worked. Speaking to those hired in the eleventh hour, Jesus says, “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’” Matthew‬ ‭20:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Since this is a parable, no one has hired us = no has told us the Gospel! God wants everyone to receive a denarius = forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Who does God want you to hire? Where does He want you to go and find them? How do you feel about God’s generosity? May God give a desire to be generous with His riches! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 19. In this chapter we read about Jesus’ teaching on divorce, blessing the children and The Rich Young Man. “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” Matthew‬ ‭19:13-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬ As we read this familiar passage, why do you think the disciples were so cold and heartless toward the children and their parents? How was Jesus response different? Have you ever been cold and heartless to someone Jesus loves? Lord, forgive us for the times we have turned away from those you would welcome. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 18. In this chapter we read about forgiveness—God’s forgiveness toward us and the forgiveness He requires from us. The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant drives this point home and concludes, “Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:32-35‬ ‭ESV‬‬ God’s forgiveness given us through Jesus is the best part of our faith! However, we struggle to forgive others! Who do you have a hard time forgiving? When you think of someone you just can’t forgive you need to zero in with your prayers because this is a hindrance to you. If you say, “I won’t forgive them!” then God will not forgive you. Why do you think God requires you to forgive? May God’s mercy be part of everything you do! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 17. In this chapter we read about the Transfiguration. In this story Jesus’ appearance is changed revealing His divinity. “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” Matthew‬ ‭17:1-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬ How did this experience impact the faith of His disciples? Why do you think Jesus revealed Himself to these three and at that time? Why did Jesus tell them not to say anything to anyone about this experience? As believers, we know something the rest of the world does not know—Jesus is Lord! This faith is an anchor for our soul during these turbulent times. God give you strength for today! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 16. In this chapter we read about Jesus responding to the Pharisees and then describing what it means to be a disciple. “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬ What comes to mind when you read the phrase, “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”? How do you deny yourself? For me, this means surrendering my will to God’s will. How do you take up your cross? In this regard I think of things that are challenging for me that God calls me to do. Finally, what does it mean to follow Jesus? For the disciples it meant being with Jesus 24/7. How will you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus today? God bless you in the journey! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 15. In this chapter we read about Jesus rebuking the Pharisees for their obsession with man made traditions. “”‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬ I remember the first time I read that. I prayed, “Lord, help me to worship you in Spirit and truth. Help me to teach only your word.” I was convicted! I thought of the times I was thinking of other things during worship. Why do you think Jesus calls us to have heartfelt worship? What is the benefit you find when you worship? The Greek and Hebrew words for worship include the idea of being flat on your face before God. What does such a posture indicate? The disposition of the heart is everything to God. How can you remind yourself to enter worship completely surrendered to God? May God give you an awesome worship experience every time you come to worship Him! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 14. In this chapter we read about the Feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus Walking on Water. In two trips to Israel I have been on the Sea of Galilee each trip. I can’t help but stare at the water as if there was some sort of residual evidence of Jesus having walked there. “And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”” Matthew‬ ‭14:25-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬ The water is just water—like that in countless other lakes around the world. What made it special—supernatural—was that the feet of Jesus had touched it! In this time of untouchability what would it be like to have a touch or a hug from Jesus? How would you react? What indelible memory would linger? In a very real way Jesus has touched each of us! His blood has cleansed us from our sins and His peace resides in our hearts. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Matthew 13. In this chapter Jesus teaches in parables including: The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Weeds, The Mustard Seed and Leaven and a few others. Jesus explains the Parable of the Weeds.

“Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew‬ ‭13:36-43‬ ‭As I spend more time with yard work this Spring, I am acutely aware of the battle with weeds! Dandelions, clover, creeping charlie and other invaders wage war against the grass I would prefer. There are harsh treatments that can effectively win the battle! How can we effectively battle against the “sons of the evil one”? This is a very important question. Another passage reads, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good character.” The main point is that we need to be on guard against the devil’s attempts to harm us spiritually. We make choices every day.  We must choose those things which are healthy for us spiritually. Pastor Tim