Go into all the world…

Today’s Reading: Mark 16

As we finish reading through Mark focusing on the words of Jesus has been so many Holy Spirit filled words Jesus spoke that have been so timely and encouraging throughout Mark.  They have been great reminders to help get me back on track and stay focused on an eternal perspective instead of worldly.  Today, in Mark 16 we hear from an angel.  The angel tells Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, “Do not be alarmed… that He has risen, and will see Him again.  The three of them leave trembling and astonished.

According to later manuscripts verses 16:9-20 did not get included.  In the few bibles I reference, Mark 16:9-20 captures the essence of our calling as he reminds His disciples.

V 15 And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

We all have opportunities to share the gospel.  Many times I have this opportunity and blow it.  Maybe it’s my own “self talk” that gets in the way of proclaiming His glory.  It could also being a mindset of bringing someone to Christ by use of the “just right” verses that roll off the tongue just the way I planned.  The truth is I have failed this many times.  A recent conversation I’m planning to continue is with a person that questioned stories found in the bible based on the belief that all you had to do was be good. This conversation could have started a few weeks ago but, I was waiting for that perfect moment. I had planned on asking a faith  We started talking about the bible and the truth behind it.  I quickly started to minimize the conversation as He shared his belief in the human Jesus but not in the spiritual context.  For me, I could really speak only in that moment what I had seen, heard, and felt in my own life.  I could talk of my old life and my new life with a relationship with Jesus.  That we have been made by Him and for Him. How will I finish conversation we started last week? I can share what I believe.  Telling this young man who I believe Jesus is  and what HE has done.  This can all lead into the grace God which can be shown through all of us and how this grace can be given to us all when we repent. Stephanie talked about the victory shown by Jesus when he overcame death.  That Jesus paid the price so that all who believe in Him can be forgiven and live an eternal life.

Here are a few verses to help encourage and support you in a conversation today

Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

John 3:15 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

So today an opportunity will come up to share the good news of Jesus. Jesus will be with you in this conversation. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.  Be a brave ambassador and share your person story with others in lives.

Spiritual Sowers

In Mark 4, Jesus talks with us about the meaning of parables.  A couple parables shared include topics of soils and seeds.  This is a timely topic, as I often see current farmers in the fields harvesting, those of us with small planter boxes still collecting various tomatoes that seem to never stop coming, and all of us who can reflect on how are the seeds of Jesus landing and/or spreading in and through us?

Jesus said in verse 9, “Those who have ears, let them hear” – now I imagine, (especially if you have children) you may ask at times the phrase,  “Now, are listening or hearing me? ” This hearing Jesus is talking about is more than the physical kind.  It’s a hearing with your mind, your heart, and soul.  This hearing will be more than the typical, “In one ear and out the other”.  When hearing the words of Jesus it’s through the eyes of miracles performed that can’t be explained, it’s hearing the amazing words at a baptism that bring a tear of joy to my eye each time,  what Jesus does for all of us through His living words is changes our heart, from an selfish and earthly ours, to Christ-like eternally His.

Just recently,  in our small group we talked about Mark 4 and the parable of four soils.  We discussed our daily choices and the influences we can have when making them.  In our conversations,  we compared the parable of the four soils with our own hearts soil for His word.  I personally, reflected on how many times I can let my selfish earthly decisions choke out the seeds being planted in me. In addition to, limiting any seeds I have the opportunity to share.  (It was really convicting and timely as I had turned for my first time after this discussion to my Bible Journal scriptures and saw I would be writing this topic… I simply thanked God for His simple ways of speaking to us through His timing and words.)

This past weekend our family went to the family farm to allow the our children the opportunity to ride in the combine and tractor.  As we were riding through the field harvesting the corn I asked their aunt Linda how the harvest was looking? Linda had said their Uncle Gary was hoping for 260 but was only getting about 240 in this particular field. ( All of which I didn’t truly understand, except the number was less than what he wanted) The part that stood out to me next was when she said, “It just truly depended on the soil! “

This is how Jesus is for us!  What is your current soil sample?  Are the seeds landing just hitting the soil surface not allowing any penetration with birds coming by to scoop them up? Is your soil surface rocky with minimal dirt allowing a plant to start but whither quickly because it has no roots? Does your soil contain thorns or weeds that can choke out the plant as it first starts to grow?

Jesus said,  8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

I pray that not only in this harvest season, but also in our daily lives and choices with are thinking of the soil in our hearts.  Here are the next few verses.

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

In the beginning we talked about listening and hearing.  Today, will you truly listen to the words of Jesus? He wants us to hear them not like background music, but believe them, apply them to our lives.

In my minimal farming knowledge as we drove in a GPS installed combine I thought about the original farmers who planted by hand, harvested by hand.  I thought about Jesus and Mark 4 how he is calling us all to be “spiritual sowers” of the seed in our own lives and others.  That as we spread His word it can have different impacts depending on if they are willing to hear.  Maybe the time is right to plant, maybe your just working the soil for a seed that will later be planted?  Linda didn’t use the GPS in this field on this day, she said their were various factors including it being a short field with various obstacles and odd rows.  It made me think of our lives…  We have various obstacles, odd wordily influences, and life will be short based on the eternal perspective.  Take off the GPS.  Intentionally spend each day being “spiritual sowers”, tend to your soil and others, believe in His words, use His words to make decisions and control our attitude.  Strive to be like good soil in every area of all our lives.

God promises that His harvest will be great! Happy harvest season!

Psalm 85:12

 

Humble Hearts Kingdom

One statistic that I often share when talking about the Front Porch Initiative is the statistic that self-centeredness has increased 30% in the past 30 years among college students according to a study conducted by San Diego State University.   This narcissism has impacted our ability to show empathy and will continue to have an impact on our communities. That’s why deepening our relationships and getting to know others is so important.

Today in Matthew 20 we read about a mother putting her own desires first for her children above God.

Jesus had just got done telling his disciples on their journey to Jerusalem that he would be leaving them soon. That He would be mocked, flogged, and crucified.  Still, just like we can do, just like I can do, we think of ourselves and what’s in it for us.  Not what is eternally most important. Sadly, the next story shared in Matthew 20 after Jesus foretelling His death is the request of power/position in Heaven and being able to sit on the right and left of Jesus.

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 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.”

Jesus gave his life for us.  Every way He physically lived  was for us.  Every living word written is for us.  In a world and time where being great is about self promotion or pride.  Jesus has been saying to be great in His kingdom we must be least.  Reflecting personally easily brings tears to my eyes.  Even in this day as I on reflected Matthew 20 I made so much of this day about me.  I focus on things I may have to do for work, whether or not my favorite team will win, how my children are behaving.  Not really thinking about what is truly important. In listening to Grace To You by John McArthur on this chapter I think about the question John Mcarthur was asked many times, ” Who will be those who receive the greatest reward in Heaven?’ He will say, ” Those who suffered the most in life for the cause of Jesus Christ.”

I can only repent and pray for Jesus to work on my selfishness. To grab hold of my heart and mind as I look not to myself or this world, but to Him.  Put my pride in check.  Here are a few reminder verses that can remind me God’s view on pride.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.

That in Psalm 31:23 it says He recompenses the proud or in Psalm 18:27 the proud will be brought low.

So instead of a prideful heart, I know I need to be more humble. Micah 6:8 says He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Proverbs 15:33 says The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.

Colossians 3:12 says, ” So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”

So here are a few verses to help us put our pride in check.  That or worldly desires will mean nothing next to our place in Heaven.  I pray to always be a servant leader without asking… what’s in it for me? I pray for us to live with humility and selflessness knowing and trusting that God has a perfect plan for all of us. Our greatest plans won’t ever compare to the reward in Heaven through a selfless, humble, and faithful life.

God told us it wouldn’t be easy.  We need to continue to trust and have faith in His plans for us!  What do you need to let go of? To humbly ask Him to work on your heart. To put away our earthly desires and spread His good news!

Have a blessed Tuesday in all you do.

By Him, For Him

And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.”

Why do I forget about the simplicity of God’s love for me? God is omnipresent and wondering why our conversations with Him are not always present.  I reflect on times when I feel like I have situation in control, or frustrated when the plans I have don’t go the way they were suppose to. My lack of faith, loses sight of His authority over all, including me.  After all, we were made By Him, For Him! The words Jesus speaks in Matthew 8 are simple and a timely reminder for our lives today.

If I were to wake up every day saying, Lord if you will, make me clean.  Jesus would say He is willing, every time.  See it’s never His willingness, it’s mine.  My assumption (or honest realization) is there isn’t a day where I can’t go without asking Jesus to wash me of sin.  Just like the leper who knelt down and simply asked, and just like Jesus, He says He will.  Jesus is willing today at any moment to say the same things to us. What do you need cleaned? What is lingering over you that can be washed away, setting you free from guilt or pain?

Romans 15:13 says, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus wants us to have “great faith” v. 10 like the centurion, when we ask for healing.  If we are truly asking Jesus to perform miracles we need to believe that it can be done. Jesus said to him, Let it be done just as you believed it would. v. 13.  It’s not about how many things we do, how much we give, how much we read.  It’s about us believing, having great faith.

As I read through the words of Jesus found in Matthew 8 I finish on ” You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” v. 26

No matter your circumstance, no matter the size of the waves crashing into your boat.  Jesus is there.  Have great faith, our God is willing and always here for us if we ask and believe that all things are possible through Him.

Have a great Tuesday everyone, take time right now to talk with Jesus.   Deepen your relationship with God using the points made by Lynden yesterday. Go back if you need to remember.  Jesus is waiting and He is always willing.  Just ask and believe!

 

Children of God

Today’s Reading: 1 John 3:1-3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

We are blessed to have three beautiful children.  Jackson, Marshall, and Gianna.  Just 5 weeks since the birth of Gianna I can still pause and reflect on the amazing gift of birth.  Yet, no matter my love for them, it doesn’t compare to our verses today. I’m reminded about the love of our Father. reading our verses today reminds me of the love from our Father.  He loves us and our children more than we can imagine, inviting us into His family forever.  Just like when I paused to remember the birth of our children it’s more important to pause and land of the fact that we are part of God’s family. He’s adopted us  How amazing is that?  Our children, our siblings, our parents.  No matter our last names, origins, or any other family dynamic we are members of God’s family.  Amen!

Ephesians 1: 4-7 says  4 even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 

Often people will say we are  images of our parents, or our children have various characteristics that are similar to our caregivers. Actually,  we are reflections of our Heavenly Father.  We are reflections of our Father now, and we always will be.  This is something we should be growing towards each day.  It’s not easy. Our Christian life is a journey of growing more Christlike daily.

I remember running away from home when I was younger, I remember times when I didn’t want to come home when I was out doing my own things, I remember even times when I didn’t claim my family.  I was set on the world and the lies it can bring making you believe you can do it all on our own.  The truth is we have a Father.  A Father who loves us before we knew ourselves, who loves us now more than we can ever imagine.  A Father who calls us His own. One day we will come face-to-face with our Lord.  What an amazing day this will be.

Philippians 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

This Hillsong Worship song reminds me of our verses today. Enjoy!

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

 

Yes I am!

Thoughts and Prayers

It’s always a wonderful blessing to wake up and read back over God’s Living Word that we have available to us at any moment.  Going back through and looking at  scripture through the lens of God’s character  has been a reminder how amazing and gracious our Lord is.  Today, we get to reflect on His character in one of my favorite verses from Paul in Philippians 4.

As we read through these scriptures I try to use the S.O.A.P. acronym to read through scripture and apply it to my present life.  S= Scripture Writing down a verse or two that really stands out to you today.  O=Observation What are observations about what you read? What do you think God is saying to you?        A = Application Personalize what you have read by seeing how it applies to your life right now. P = Prayer write down a personal message from you to God based on what you just read and ask Him to help you apply this truth to your life.

Let’s give it a try.

Today’s reading: Philippians 4:4-9

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Amen…As a new father of our 3rd child, a husband trying to juggle various needs for our household, a principal getting ready to start the school year,  I caught myself up most the night last night thinking about being a being a better husband a more supportive father, being a better son, being a better brother, being a more involved small group leader, being a more engaged mentor, being a closer friend, being a more helpful neighbor, being a dedicated student starting once again back to ISU…  There was definitely moments of rejoice about how the Lord can get you right where He wants you, but in all honestly there was more time questioning, concerns, wondering how I will do it? Worry about what it will look like? How do we get the kids from fighting? How can I put less stress on Jennifer? Then in the early hours of the morning,  I thought back to these verses for today. The truth is I can’t… but HE can.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank God for all He has done. God is listening. Instead of staying up wondering about future circumstances that haven’t even happened,  I should give it to God.  God gives us peace

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

What reassurance.  When we are not at peace we can be in the opposite world of worry.  Not very fun.  A mind divided between God’s promises and our own destructive thoughts about how we plan to attempt to do it all and control all situations.  I can’t, we can’t allow our own thoughts put the Word of God to the side. Jesus is enough.  This reminder was shared once again with me this past Sunday by Jordan Rice as he preached on Joshua 21. Listen to this great sermon here. Kingdom Under Construction

1 Peter 2:9  But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

In verse 8 God tells us how we should think instead. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

What would it look like if we fixed our thoughts on these six guidelines today? When we put these guidelines into practice our God of peace will be with us.

As Jordan said this week.  “Until God is enough, nothing else will ever be.”

Dear Father, I know you have a perfect plan for our lives. You transform us from the inside out and only from my own selfish desires do I lose sight of your promises.  When we follow your commands, trust in You,  You are enough! You are always with us, listening, waiting, providing the Peace that only you can provide in this world.  We love you.  Amen.

Praying for Peace today.

Living Faith

It’s been 10 days since the birth of our daughter Gianna Linn LaFrance.  At times, it can feel like it was yesterday. The miracle of birth is a true blessing.  So I wanted to find a way to connect today’s passage to her birth. In readings today’s passage of James 2:14-20  we get a chance to take a closer look at our faith.  What a great reflection for ourselves and for our children. Is it living or dead? Let’s read the scripture together.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

When I first read these verses by James I think about the amazing “Faith & Work” that was created by Charlie Welke and other amazing young adults at Eastview.  Here you can find some amazing testimonies and more to encourage, remind, and highlight this journey of Faith & Work(click to hear more)

Throughout the book of James and in our verses today, James offers a series of tests we can take in order to take a pulse on our faith. It is like 2 Corinthians 13:5 where we are asked as followers of God, to test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine self.   So today, with myself and our children in mind I’d like to think of it as a test, and a prayer for what God is doing and what He can do when our faith is alive.  Back in James chapter 1:2-13 James we looked at tests under trial.  How are we responding in these trials? Am I controlled by my circumstances? ( Living or Dead Faith? ) Next up in James 1 we looked at testing with temptations.  Where do I place the blame? (Living or Dead? ) Beginning in James 2 we looked at testing of how we treat the poor and needy. What are our responses? How do we show love? (Living or Dead Faith? )

Now, here in James 2:14-20 is the test of works.  Is there righteous actions? Righteous behaviors? Are we obedient to His Living Word? How am I truly living? How do I pray for others to be living? (Living or Dead Faith? )

After taking these tests, I can only put my head down and hands up while turning to prayer.  I ask for forgiveness because I know many times I can have the words, and fall short in faith. (Dead) The wonderful news is how Jesus transforms us and He is always at work on our hearts and souls. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works.

My prayer for us, for our families, for my 3 children including 10 day old Gianna, is that we have a Living Faith! One that doesn’t change with our circumstances, that in all trials we face we have a faith that we are never alone.  We give it all to God. That in our temptations and desires of this world now let alone what our children face – we battle.  We put on God’s full armor, placing no blame on Him, allowing His perfect plan to take place.  I pray we recognize and take action for those in need. That our actions and words  are full of love and without judgement.  Romans 2:6 says He will render to each one according to his works.

God, I pray that in every day you give us we have a Living Faith,  a faith that transforms us in all that we do.  In our thoughts, words, and actions glorify you, and reflect a Living Faith that you have tested us on here in James.  Our lives won’t be marked by the day we were born, or the day we die, but by a Living Faith that shines for you.  Amen

Have a blessed day.

 

The Parable of the Wicked Farmers

Today’s Readings: Matthew 21:33-44, Mark 12:1-11, Luke 20:9-19, and Psalm 131

As we look at the Parable of the Wicked Farmers (Tenants) found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke I’m reminded of the meaningfulness used in all of the parables by Jesus.  These parables were used to tell a story to the listeners that would connect to their hearts and souls. This parable as well as the story of the two sons from yesterday connect when Jesus is being questioned.  A story that would connect with the crowds current lives as well as our present day.  The difference in this next parable is its direct pointedness to the priests, Pharisees, and religious leaders that had stopped him to question who he was and questioning his authority. This all came after Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy.

In Jesus’s last week of life on earth, Jesus had just entered the temple and had turned things upside-down. (literally)  He was upset and saddened by what they were doing. The high priests and religious leaders had just asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?” After sharing one parable about the Two Sons, Jesus shares His second of three parables in this questioning of His authority.  Jesus paints a picture to those that have gathered to hear him preach.  One that they would all relate to at that time.  Verse 33 a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug the winepress, and built a watchtower.  This illustration in 33 shows the landowner taking care of self and others by building the vineyard, he protected the vineyard by hedging around it, then added a winepress that would turn their grapes into grape juice, then finally a tower which would have multiple purposes.  It would provide security, shelter, and a place for storage.    The stage is set for Jesus to tell about three servants sent by the landowner to receive his portions from the land given to the farmers. What happens to the three servants sent?…beaten, killed, and stoned. All dead. After each death the landowner showed grace that in sending his next servant the belief was they would repent and give back the fruits provided for them.  Lastly, the farmer sends his own son.  Sound familiar… His own son to collect the fruit.  What do they farmers do? They plot and murder him in hopes they would then be given the inheritance.  In verse 40 Jesus then asks those questioning his authority, “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?” 

Their response and Jesus’s response varies.  The high priests respond with judgement and replacement, where Jesus asks first if they have ever read the scriptures. (ouch)

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
    and it is wonderful to see.’43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.

The priests knew they were just called out and were upset.  In reality they would have been better to repent.  Their eyes and ears were not open to this parable.  The Psalm surely song a couple days earlier as Jesus entered the town. Psalm 118:22-23 says The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

What does the parable mean for us?  I think of the vineyard is where we are at now.  If you have a chance read the connection to Isaiah 5 God’s people are His Vineyard. We are in a place where we hear Him, produce fruit for Him, and respond to Him when he calls on us.  How are we responding? How are we doing with the vineyard he has put us in to produce fruit? It’s amazing to think that one day God will be sending His son once again to see how we have done? Will we be ready to hand everything over or standing with those who have rejected Him? My prayer is for us all to be praising Him together standing with handfuls of fruit, giving Him everything we have.  That as we stand in our vineyard our and build cornerstone of the tower we call home is the foundation of Christ.

God has chosen us to be the living cornerstone’s for Christ, what an amazing blessing.

1 Peter 2:4 says 4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

Resources

Tysdale Life Application Bible

Grace To You –

 

 

 

Acrostic Poem

Good Tuesday Morning Bible Journal Family,

At first when I was looking over our reading for the day I was excited to read about the opportunity to read and reflect on the amazing invite to a great feast provided by our Lord in Luke 14:16-24.  After all, I love meals. There are a few messages being shared as we chew on these few verses.  First we can see that this invite is for us all.  Second, the meal provided will leave us permanently filled and never thirsty.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Third, Jesus wants us to come now with no excuses. As a previous expert in excuses, I can think of times where I resist or delay this call by God with my own actions.  I can’t put this invite off for another day or make up another excuse.  These last couple weeks I have had personal friends who have lost loved ones and celebrated their life.  in addition, I’ve had a few former students lose their lives based on various situations.  In addition to children to others pass away. Reminding me that I need to be grateful for every breath, but keep faith that God has a plan for everything and everyone.

Our 2nd reading is called an acrostic poem, the longest psalm and longest chapter in the bible. Twenty-two sections containing eight verses a piece.   The acrostic part is that in each section of Psalm 119 a new letter to the Hebrew Alphabet is taught starting with Aleph and ending with Taw.  Various bible studies say that this Psalm would allow many to memorize with this type of formation.  To me I love the celebration of the word of the Lord, and a direction for us to follow.  A few of my highlighted words that provide me with hope, trust, guidance, and love include; who walk, who keep, seek Him,  praise, obey, rejoice, meditate, and delight.

Dear God,

Your words have opened my eyes (v.18), they have filled a longing in my heart for a Father and a unconditional love, they have taught me to turn my heart not from selfish gain (v.26,36), but to a promise of hope (v.41,49). Before I was afflicted I was astray, but now I try and pray to obey your commands (v. 67-68). I know His law are righteous and His Living Word is eternal, continuing through all generations(v.89-90).  Your commands are always with me and they provide a lamp to my feet and light to my path.  I pray my heart stays set on keeping your decrees until my very end(v105,112).  Let me live so I can praise you, and may Your laws sustain me. I have strayed like lost sheep. God please seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands, and I know you are the Good Shepherd(v.175-176).

Amen

Bread Winners

Today’s Reading: Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:20-21, and Psalm 107

Matthew 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Luke 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Influence. Have you ever really thought about the influence you have throughout the day? Your family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, community? These influences can come in the shape of a simple hug, smile, phone call, or word of encouragement.  All small gestures can have great influences.   You see we never know what may be going on that day with the other person you give this gesture to.   A Christ-like gesture can make a difference like Jesus’s parable about yeast to dough,  you can change a persons day.

As I look at this picture of making dough I’m reminded of how God is shaping us, kneading us, and watching as we rise to a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.  I think about small kingdom words or expressions I could use in my everyday moments.  Maybe the gesture of praying with someone, praising God in song, or maybe recognizing fruits of the spirit being acted out by others.  These positive moments that model our Father can influence like the yeast that starts out small in dough, but spreads throughout.

Our Father is building His Kingdom always.  We always have influence.  I was reminded by a friend this morning that we are called to influence.  That in Romans 8:12 we have an obligation not to the flesh, but to the spirit.

Yeast is used in both good and bad contexts in the bible.  Yeast can spread corruption as we are reminded in Galatians 5:9 or 1 Corinthians 5:6 or it can also be for building His Kingdom. The kingdom is promised to those rich in faith and who love Him. James 2:5,

What will you do with the yeast you provide today? 

Colossians 4-5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Dear Father,

Thank you for your parables that you speak into us through your living word.  Just like we have had others speak into us, help us today to be an ambassador for you.  Let our grace, kindness, encouragement, and love for others point back to you God.  We are grateful for each day we get to praise you and pray for us all to continue to draw closer to you each day.  Amen

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1