New Testament In a Year: January 31 – Matthew 20:17-34

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Matthew 20:17-34
(17-19) Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
Jesus often talked about and prepared His disciples for the inevitable. He knew that He had been born to die. Yes, He taught parables, performed miracles, and met and touched many people, but reaching Golgotha was His ultimate goal.

(20-28) A Mother’s Request
The mother of the sons of Zebedee only wanted the best for her sons, but her request was not for Jesus to give. In Christ’s Kingdom, the only way to sovereignty is through service. He is our perfect example of what it means to be a servant.

(29-34) Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
It is good that these two blind men did not allow themselves to be intimidated into silence by the rebukes of the crowd. If they had not kept crying out, they would never have received their sight. The crowd was content because they could all see Jesus. They had no concern for the two who could not see Him. If our lives have been healed and changed by Jesus the Christ, we should want the lives of others to also be healed and changed. It is not enough for us to be saved. We must help – not hinder – others be saved as well.

Favorite verse: (28) Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

New Testament In a Year: January 30 – Matthew 20:1-16

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Matthew 19
(1-16) Laborers in the Vineyard
This parable illustrates how those who are late in coming to faith in Christ are just as saved and loved as those who come early to Christ. A greater salvation is not given to one who accepted Jesus at the age of seven and grew up reading the Bible and going on mission trips their entire life. Neither is a lesser salvation given to a death row inmate who doesn’t accept Jesus until he or she is about to die. God is fair and just in His generosity.

Favorite verse: (15) Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’

New Testament In a Year: January 29 – Matthew 19

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Matthew 19
(1-12) Teaching About Divorce
Regarding divorce, Jesus the Christ said that “from the beginning it was not so.” When God created Adam and Eve, He never planned for them to leave one another and go their separate ways over irreconcilable differences. Once a couple gets married, God intended for them to stay together forever, and all couples would stay together forever if we lived in a perfect world. But unfortunately people cheat on one another, lie to one another, disappoint each other, and abuse one another. All too often, “I do” becomes “I don’t.” Hearts are broken, children are crushed, and families fall apart. When divorce happens, everyone involved should remember that God understands unfortunate situations. Dad or mom may leave, wife or husband may walk out, but God will always remain. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Asenath

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Asenath was the daughter of Potiphera who was priest of On. After Joseph got out of prison in Egypt, she became his wife, and they had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. After that, the Bible (Genesis 41:45-50 and Genesis 46:20) does not tell us anything more about her. While Joseph was a Hebrew who believed in the one true God, Asenath was most likely a heathen who worshipped the Egyptian pantheon of gods and goddesses. Even her name means “she who belongs to Neith” – the goddess of war and weaving. Continue reading

New Testament In a Year: January 28 – Matthew 18:21-35

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Matthew 18:21-35
(21-35) The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
No matter how many times someone does wrong against us, we are to forgive them. As Jesus’ story shows, we forgive much because we have been forgiven much.

Favorite verse: (22) Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

New Testament In a Year: January 27 – Matthew 18:1-20

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Matthew 18:1-20
(1-6) Who Is the Greatest?
When we humble ourselves before God, He will exalt us in due time. Using a little child as an example, Christ teaches that anyone who comes to God must come to Him with total faith and complete trust.

(7-9) Temptations to Sin
It is better for us to cripple ourselves by getting rid of those things which cause us to stumble, instead of letting sin cripple us. Temptation only becomes sin when we yield to it.

(10-14) The Parable of the Lost Sheep
This story shows just how much Jesus the Christ cares that each and every person receives salvation. He would rather us leave a sanctuary full of hundreds of saved saints, and go out into the streets to find one lost sinner. When Jesus was here on earth, His main mission was to seek and save the lost. This should be our mission as well.

(15-20) If Your Brother Sins Against You
When someone offends us, we shouldn’t act like the offense didn’t happen or complain about the offense to a person who isn’t even involved. We should talk with the offender about the problem and try to resolve it with them. Our aim should be to gain the offender as a sister or brother. How do we destroy our enemies? Abraham Lincoln said we do so by making friends of them.

Favorite verse: (12) What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?

New Testament In a Year: January 26 – Matthew 17

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Matthew 17
(1-13) God wasn’t only talking to Peter, James, and John. He’s talking to us too! He wants us to listen to the words of His beloved Son. And after we listen, He wants us to obey.

(14-20) Lack of faith does not only hinder God from doing great things with us and for us. It also prevents us from doing the impossible for others.

(22-23) Each time Jesus the Christ foretold His death and resurrection, His disciples became distressed and anxious. I think this is because they focused all their attention on the bad news (Jesus’ death), and didn’t consider the other side of the coin (Jesus’ resurrection). Jesus did not tell them what was going to happen to Him so they could become fearful; He told them so that they could have hope. Yes, He was going to die a cruel death, but He was not going to remain in the grave. He was going to rise again.

(24-27) Peter’s fishing came in handy 🙂

Favorite verse: (20) He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Rapunzel

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Faith of Our Fairy Tales #9 (Original story)

Story Scripture: …Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13

Story Saying: I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. – Abraham Lincoln

Behind the Story: Rapunzel is a fairy tale favorite. It became even more of a favorite of mine after Disney released their 2010 twist on the story with Tangled. The original Rapunzel fairy tale and Tangled are different in more ways than one, but both are delightful nonetheless. When a man ventures into a forbidden garden to pick some rampion out of love for his wife who is expecting their first, much-longed-for child, he is caught by the enchantress who owns the garden. Continue reading