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Showing posts from February, 2019

(424) 1 March : Proverbs 21v9 / Isaiah 1 / Psalm 92v10-15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:9

Understanding to grow in 1v1 enables us to date Isaiah's prophecies as from around 700BC. God calls the cosmos to bear witness to the fact that those of the southern kingdom are unruly children who have rejected the one who raised them. Like a loving father, he asks why they must continue to bring down punishment upon themselves, surviving only by his hand. Their lack of concern for the needy means that their religious rituals mean nothing to the Lord, and he must treat them as enemies, bringing his wrath upon them. It should instil fear in all who consider themselves worshippers of the Lord but persist in unrepentant sin and the oppression of others. But there is hope here too: In ridding the nation of the w…

(423) 28 February : Proverbs 21v8 / Matthew 27v27-28v20 / Psalm 92v5-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:8

Understanding to grow in The mocking of Christ on the cross has no doubt encouraged those mocked for their faith every since. But it was extreme. The mock regal wear. The mock title pinned up. The mocking call to save himself or have God rescue him. It is deeply ironic, when just three days later he was dressed in his resurrection body, vindicated as king not just of the Jews, but the world, and rescued by God as he then ascended to heaven. But things more personal to us all were taking place too. The curtain seperating off the place of God's presence in the temple was ripped in two showing access had been gained for all. And tombs broke open showing everlasting life had been achieved. Jesus' final words …

(422) 27 February : Proverbs 21v7 / Matthew 26v57-27v26 / Psalm 92v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:7

Understanding to grow in Innocence and guilt. The innocence of Jesus, and the guilt, therefore, of those who executed him nevertheless. That's the theme (27v4, 19, 23-24). Rather than listen to his testimony about himself, the Sanhedrin assume it a lie and abuse him. Peter knows it is true yet denies him. Judas is aware he is innocent, yet betrays him. Pilate even declare it, but still has him flogged and crucified, whilst the Jews choose the guilty Barabbas over him. These events encourage every Christian suffering injustice for their faith, that they follow the most noble example. But it challenges us as to our response to Jesus too. How do we explain his claim to be God 'sSon and saving King? Nothing i…

(421) 26 February : Proverbs 21v6 / Matthew 26v1-56 / Psalm 91v14-16

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:6

Understanding to grow in The cross was not a surprise to Jesus. That's important to know. He went to his death intentionally - for us. So he times it to the passover, showing at the last supper that he is dying so that God's judgment would pass over his people as it did in the Exodus. Moreover, he recognizes the significance of the woman's anointing, he is aware of Judas' plotting, he submits to his Father's will in Gethsemnane, prevents his disciples from resisting arrest, and affirms it is all to fulfil prophecy. In short, Jesus is completely in charge. In contrast to the disciples who fled in shock at his arrest, we should therefore remain devoted and faithful to him, for he was doing what …

(420) 25 February : Proverbs 21v5 / Matthew 25 / Psalm 91v5-13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:5

Understanding to grow in In these three parables, three things are striking: First, is the wonder of the hope we have. It is like a wedding banquet, to share in Christ's own happiness, and inherit his kingdom. Second, is the terror of missing out on it. This is to be shut out of the party, to be thrown into a place of darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and experience eternal punishment. Third, is what will mark out those who will enter. Despite the long wait, they are those who remain "lit up" as they look for Christ, who invest the gifts he's given them in his service, and who offer practical care to his people when they are persecuted ("my brothers" in v40 is a reference to fel…

(417) 22 February : Proverbs 21v4 / Matthew 24 / Psalm 91v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:4

Understanding to grow in Jesus speaks in such a way about "the end" that keeps every generation ready. This is a much discussed passage. In reflecting on the temple, Jesus says that it will be destroyed. His disciples respond by asking when, linking it in their minds to Jesus' "coming" and "the end of the age." In Jesus' response to them, verses 4-28 almost certainly refer predominantly to the events leading up to the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem in AD70. This period will be marked by wars, natural disasters, persecution, false prophets and false claims to being the Messiah. Verse 29 then uses the word "immediately" in a prophetic sense, to say that th…

(416) 21 February : Proverbs 21v3 / Matthew 22v15-23v39 / Psalm 90v14-17

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:3

Understanding to grow in Jesus confronts the Pharisees in a way that particularly challenges those today who consider themselves religious, upright or intellectual. They test Jesus with questions that portray hostility and scepticism. However, Jesus proves his greater wisdom and insight into the scriptures, also nudging them to see that he is even greated than king David. His warnings to them then turn on their hypocricy. They act in order to be thought of as important, and pass on their erroneous ideas that burden people with outer laws. They show their lack of concern for the things of God, in affirning oaths made on lesser things, but not seeing the seriousness of oaths made on greater things. Likewise, they m…

(415) 20 February : Proverbs 21v2 / Matthew 21v23-22v14 / Psalm 90v7-13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:2

Understanding to grow in Here Jesus confronts the religious. They question his authority in order to sidestep his teaching, just as they did that of John the Baptist. And Jesus points out because of that, sinners will enter the kingdom ahead of them, because they were prepared to listen and repent. They are like tenants of a vineyard, in that they are in charge of Israel, but they reject those who come from its owner, including his son. And they are like those invited to a king's wedding reception for his son, but are too disinterested and busy to come. Both parables stress this leads to a killing of the son, alluding to Jesus' death. But they also refer to how the kingdom will be given to others: the vin…

(414) 19 February : Proverbs 21v1 / Matthew 20v17-21v22 / Psalm 90v3-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 21:1

Understanding to grow in To follow the way of the cross is to follow the way of service. So the disciples are not to Lord it over others, but serve on the pattern of Jesus, who has compassion on the needy and rides into Jerusalem as its king, knowing it will mean his death. His entrance to the city is filled with Old Testament significance. As was predicted, God has come as king to his people. Yet, whereas that means joy for some, for others it is very serious indeed. So Jesus immediately drives out those who are dishonouring the temple, and he curses a fig tree as a picture of the coming judgment on the nation because it hasn't born the fruit of righteousness God was coming to look for. His statement about t…

(413) 18 February : Proverbs 20v30 / Matthew 19v1-20v16 / Psalm 90v1-2

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:30

Understanding to grow in Jesus is not concerned with the pecking order mindset that comes from self-righteousness, where those who consider themselves first in meeting certain standards come first. Rather, he looks for the humility of the child that just gets on with things because asked. That's seen in his instructions on marriage. It's not enough to simply seek obedience to the Old Testament law as it was given due to people's hardness of heart. Rather, Jesus commands a more foundational commitment from those who are his, that flows from a readiness to accept what he says (19v12). Similarly, the rich ruler was concerned with feeling he had sufficiently obeyed the law, but had to be shown the deeper…

(410) 15 February : Proverbs 20v29 / Matthew 17v24-18v35 / Psalm 89v47-52

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:29

Understanding to grow in The point seems to be that disciples are children of the kingdom because they are children of the Father. Therefore, they are in some sense exempt from taxes as all rulers rule on behalf of God's kingdom (17v25-27). But they should pay anyway, as Jesus affirms. And being a child should mark both the disciple's attitude to the kingdom and their treatment of other disciples. So they are to receive the kingdom with humility, recognizing how needy they are, and they are to ensure they do not lead other children of the kingdom astray. The parable of the ninety-nine sheep stresses just how precious believer's are to their father, and the instructions on what to do when sinned again…

(409) 14 February : Proverbs 20v28 / Matthew 16v13-17v23 / Psalm 89v38-46

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:28

Understanding to grow in Peter grasped the foundational truth of all Christianity, that Jesus was the "Messiah, the Son of the living God." But for the Messiah to be destined for rejection and death was a complete shock to him. Nevertheless, the lesson needs to be learnt by every disciple. The way of Christ is the way of the cross. So, just as John the Baptist was ready to pay the highest price for his faithfulness, every Christians must be ready to also. The encouragement in this, is that they will be rewarded when Christ returns. And the proof they must be willing, is the transfiguration, in which God the Father himself tells us to listen to Jesus, and the Old Tesatament's top two spokesmen do ju…

(408) 13 February : Proverbs 20v27 / Matthew 15v1-16v12 / Psalm 89v19-37

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:27

Understanding to grow in It's all about the heart. The hearts of the Pharisees were far from God. So, although they conducted their religious rituals, they were inwardly unclean and so "blind guides" because they had not been planted by the Lord (15v13). Jesus therefore rebukes then for failing to recognize who he is (16v1-4) and warns his disciples against them (16v12), warning us against those who consider themselves Christians but whose hearts aren't truly devoted to God. Jesus uses his interaction with the Canaanite women to make the point. Being a Gentile, she would be considered a mere "dog" by fellow Jews. But she has faith in Jesus, and so is also able to receive his spiritual…

(407) 12 February : Proverbs 20v26 / Matthew 13v44-14v36 / Psalm 89v14-18

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:26

Understanding to grow in It's a joyful thing to belong to Christ, for to know him, enter his kingdom and be saved from his judgment, is of greater value than anything else, and so worthy of giving our all in faith to have (13v44-52). And it can mean giving one's all, as it did John the Baptist. But the two great miracles Jesus performs prove it really is worth it. In feeding the 5000 Jesus doesn't just display compassion, but proves he is the same one who fed Israel in the desert, and able to provide such an abundance to those of his kingdom, that there is much left over. His walking on water clarifies the point, for the LORD alone "treads on the waves of the sea" (Job 9v8). So Jesus is abl…

(406) 11 February : Proverbs 20v25 / Matthew 13v1-43 / Psalm 89v8-13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:25

Understanding to grow in It's all about the seed of Christ's word, which is the message of the kingdom (v19). 13v13-15 tell us those who weren't responding to it were not doing so due to a hardness of heart granted as judgment on their sin. But some could respond then, as people still do. They are the good soil in which the gospel produces a crop as the word is multiplied through them. They are those who will be harvested at the end of the age when the weeds of those who are not of God will be pulled up. And it is as the word bears fruit in and through them, that the kingdom grows from being like small mustard seed to a massive tree where people find shelter, spread throughout the world and transform…

(403) 8 February : Proverbs 20v24 / Matthew 12 / Psalm 89v5-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:24

Understanding to grow in A bad tree bears bad fruit. And so we see here that no matter how Jesus displays who he is, people will refuse to be convinced. He teaches the priority of mercy on the Sabbath and even heals someone, but Pharisees plot to kill him. He drives out demons, but is charged with acting with demonic power. He is greater than Jonah and Solomon, but still people do not repent - and so are condemned by the better responses of Ninevah and the Queen of Sheba. But, for those who recognize, listen and obey? They are Jesus' family, They are the true people of God formed around him. As you read note the different responses to Jesus.
Matthew 12

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s…

(402) 7 February : Proverbs 20v23 / Matthew 11 / Psalm 89v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:23

Understanding to grow in Given what we've learnt, nothing matters more than our response to Jesus. His answer to John's question reveals that he is the promised and long awaited Messiah, who is at the same time God come to his people (v4-5 with 35v3-10, v14 with Mal 4v5). It's a daunting truth, for God comes to judge as well as to save. Jesus therefore declares the particular seriousness of rejecting him when having seen the miracles he had performed. The point is that the more knowledge of Jesus, the more stubborn the rejection, and so the more severe punishment on the day of judgment. But there is salvation too, that means "rest" for one's soul. However, this is on God's initiativ…

(401) 6 February : Proverbs 20v22 / Matthew 9:35-10:42 / Psalm 88v14-18

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:22

Understanding to grow in Jesus commissions his disciples to extend his work. The instructions should not be read as an exact prescription for all Christians. The twelve had a particular authority as Jesus' foundational spokesmen, and here were limited to ministry in Israel to ensure Abraham's descendents were given a chance to respond before the gospel would go to the Gentiles. But there are principles to consider: The requirement to pray for the Lord to raise up workers. A readiness to go, and to trust the Lord for provision if necessary. A realism about the hostility that would have to be faced. In short, the disciple must be ready to loose their life for Jesus' sake, being unshamed of the gospel, …

(400) 5 February : Proverbs 20v21 / Matthew 8:1-9:34 / Psalm 88v10-13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:21

Understanding to grow in Faith in Christ comes with a cost, but it is always well placed. So although Jesus notes that those who follow him may have nowhere to lay their head, we see that he able to deliver all he promises to those who do trust him. Amongst the sicknesses he is able to heal is leprosy, that made the Jew unclean and so unfit for God's presence. It was a sign that Jesus is able to make people acceptable to God and bring them into a world free of all sickness and death. Yet Jesus also showed himself able to drive out evil spirits, calm a storm, forgive and heal a paralytic, raise the dead, and heal the blind and mute. So Jesus' kingdom will be free of all sin, disaster and death, where thro…

(399) 4 February : Proverbs 20v20 / Matthew 6:19-7:29 / Psalm 88v6-9

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.

Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 20:20

Understanding to grow in The Christian life is about maintaining perspective. So Jesus urges his disciples not to seek after money or worry about the things of this life, but trust God will provide and store up deeds that will last into the life to come. We should act towards others knowing one day we will face God, and he will do to us accordingly. Moreover, we should endeavour to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life, which in context, is to not merely confess Jesus is Lord, but live with him as Lord. Like the wise man whose house stood in the flood, we will stand on the last day only if we actually do what Jesus says, bearing good fruit. As you read note the warnings.
Matthew 6:19-7:29

Finish this r…