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Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

Accepting God’s Word {{Week 4}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:19-20; Proverbs 30:12; Luke 18:11

So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! (Matthew 5:19-20, NLT)

They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed (Proverbs 30:12).

 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! (Luke 18:11)

Devotion

To ignore God’s commands, is a deliberate act. When we ignore something, we overlook it and there is thought that goes into it. In today’s Scriptures, we learn that it is a holy offense to our holy God – to ignore His written word. We can’t ignore part of God’s Word. We need to accept all of it, for it is food for our soul and pivotal for our relationship with our God through Jesus Christ.

God has breathed life into all Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. By using Scripture, the servant of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing (NIRV).

Like we are taught in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, all scripture is God breathed and has an important purpose.  We may struggle to read and certain books of the Bible like Leviticus and Revelation, but we absolutely cannot discount these parts of God’s Word.

God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us in reading the Bible and learning how His truths apply to our lives.

It’s in God’s full written word that we learn our righteousness isn’t righteousness at all. When we study and teach the Bible in its entirety, we learn how much we don’t have it all together and need Jesus Christ to enter our lives, displaying His power.

Our righteousness isn’t enough; it’s like filthy rags. The righteousness of Christ far exceeds our own, and His righteousness and grace is what we desperately need and seek for.

The Bible teaches us about Jesus and why we need a Savior. Our righteousness is not righteousness at all.

Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your beautiful Word and grace. Teach me Your Word. Help me to not ignore any of Your commands, designed with my blessings in mind. I pray You would give me the understanding I seek. Amen.

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Devotions

Matthew 9: The Compassion of Jesus

Read Matthew 9:9-38

A Willing Man

After Jesus heals this man and handles the criticism of the Pharisees, He meets Matthew. A tax collector. A despised tax collector. The religious saw this man and those like him as someone who was dirty. “Is he really going to eat with them?” This is what sets Jesus apart.

Jesus is not someone who is afraid of our dirtiness!

Jesus has never been afraid to even touch a leaper. Why would a tax collector make Him shy away from the Father’s Will.

I want to courage of Jesus.

“God, make me much more bold than I have a tendency of being…”

I love how the Voice translation words what is happening right here between the Pharisees and Jesus. He redirects them right back to the Scriptures they would have known and studied. He is reminding them of the eternal truth.

This is why Jesus came. He came for us. He came for the broken. He came for the dirty. He came for sinners like you and me.

“Look, who needs a doctor—healthy people or sick people?
I am not here to attend to people who are already
right with God; I am here to attend to sinners. In the book of
the prophet Hosea, we read, “It is not sacrifice I want, but
mercy.” Go and meditate on that for a while—maybe
you’ll come to understand it (vv. 12-13).”

Jesus proves this truth repeatedly in the New Testament. Read Matthew 9:18-38, and you will get just a glimpse of this.

The Joyful Healing

There is no better way to describe what happens in a person’s spirit when they call upon the name of the Lord and experience His healing. It doesn’t matter if it is physical, emotional, or spiritual healing. The inward change is the same: Absolute joy! How do you stand in need of His healing touch today?

Just in this small portion, we are reminded of quite a few number of families that are forever changed! For the full list, visit Matthew 9:18-33 found in your Bible. Stories like this one, where Jesus drives out the demons and a mute man may speak – leaving the crowd in utter amazement (see vv. 33).

We know the heart of our Savior. He is the One who utterly cares. Even when we are at our worst, He is at His best!

“Whenever crowds came to Him, He had compassion for
them because they were so deeply distraught, malaise,
and heart-broken. They seemed to Him like
lost sheep without a shepherd (vv. 36).”

At This Point…

Jesus directs His disciples to the position they should take. To pray. Jesus instructed His disciples to pray that God would send more workers. There are plenty who stand in need, but no one to go to them. Like the Pharisees, we want to keep our distance. But, Jesus calls us to GO! We need to begin in prayer. “Lord, send the right workers – so others know You and the power You hold!”

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Truth in Trials

Keeping Up Appearances

Appearances.
It is a topic I am mindful of quite often. Our world endorses masks, and pretending we are fine despite reality. The Pharisees and other religious leaders wore a different kind of mask, but it remained profitless. Their mask made them look very good, but their hearts were “white-washed tombs”. Spiritually dead.

How about us? What kind of masks do we wear, and what are we hiding from others?

  • Physical illness.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Fear.
  • Grief of some sort.
  • Reputation

These are just a few of the reasons we can wear masks. Others may not see we wear a mask, but God does. God knows our hearts.


But the Lord said to Samuel,
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.
The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
-1 Samuel 7:16

We can observe, and even make our own masked appearances. Appearing to be someone we aren’t. Maybe hiding, to keep others around. Maybe, masking our appearances and well-being for a different reason. Truth is, keeping a mask won’t profit much of anything. Not to mention, it is exhausting to carry the mask around. It’s heavy and a burden we don’t need to add to our lives. Only a few choices concerning our own masks:

  1. Keep walking around like the walking dead, pretending to be someone else.
  2. Keep everyone at a distance.
  3. Lastly, set boundaries in place for the how and when to share.

In Proverbs, self-control is described as a city’s gates. To prevent destruction, the city’s gates must stay in place. There is wisdom in keeping boundaries in our own lives. We need to know how to honestly share with others, without entrusting our heartfelt situations to the wrong people. Who can we honestly share what is going on in our lives? Who will be there for us to offer prayer and practical help?

When new people come into our lives, we have new possibilities. We can:

  • Pretend everything is fine.
  • Be open to being vulnerable.

What happens when we choose that second option—this one is a deliberate act that will have rough days. We make the choice to allow God to be glorified in the situation, as we testify to His great power and how He is choosing to work in our lives!

See Matthew 23:1-13; Proverbs 25:28

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Discipleship Journal

Discipleship Journal Reading Plan: Day 36

Mt 12:22-37; Acts 17:16-34; Ps 28; Ex 13-15

People’s hearts are widely put on display today: from the Pharisees, to Pharaoh and his officials, to the Israelites as they complained in the wilderness. What do our hearts say? Would our hearts represent good fruit or bad (See Galatians 5:22-23)? What do we need to repent? What do we need  to give fully to God? How can we trust Him much more than we have been? The Israelites were being given a brand new life, but they were  reverting to their old ways through their complaining. Did they not see their need for change? Where was their humility? Their faith in God? Their trust that Moses was leading God’s way?

  • Matthew: The Pharisees show their hearts every single time they speak. They are filled with corruption, filth, lacking good fruit. Though they followed the religiosity of the law, they completely missed it. They didn’t know Christ. They  refused Him. While labeling him a blasphemer, they themselves blasphemed the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them that they were a tree of bad fruit–each of them. They were placing eternal judgment on themselves, as they purposely sought to turn the people against Jesus… Many are like the Pharisees today. 1. Full of bad fruit. 2. Try to prevent the Gospel from going forth. 3. Seeking to destroy God’s children. The thing is: Are we repentant? The Pharisees, for the most part, were probably like Cain in Genesis 4:6-7, and did not listen to the rebuke they were given. When others show us an area of sin we have in our lives, do we listen? Do we humbly seek God’s forgiveness? Seeking change–not in our own strength, but with the Lord’s help?
    Memorable Verses: Mt. 12:28, 31-32,34, 36-37
  • Commentary Notes from my ESV Study Bible:
  1. 12.29 Jesus was able to expel demons because he had bound Satan, the strong man…Jesus demonstrated  that Satan was powerless to prevent him from proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and demonstrating the reality of its presence through his work and words. Satan’s house represents the sinful world over which, until the coming of Christ, he has such power. Jesus has come to plunder the house and rescue people for the kingdom of God (See Col. 1:13).
  2. 12.30 Whoever is not with me is against me. Jesus does not allow anyone to remain neutral about him (See Mark 9:38-41)…
  3. 12.31-32 blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. The sin…. committed today only by unbelievers who deliberately and unchangably reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit in calling them to salvation.
  4. 12.33-35 abundance of the heart. The Pharisees’ attempt to label Jesus a blasphemer (v. 24) is itself blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Their wicked words reveal the evil within their own hearts; they were bad trees (v. 33) in need of radical conversion.
  • Acts: God provided an opportunity for Paul to witness to others in Athens. Paul talked with them about Jesus, His Crucifixion and Resurrection. Many joined him, and believed. Paul boldly shared his faith… God gave Paul the words to speak to share his faith with others, and as a result many came to Christ! When given an opportunity, do we share our faith? Do we share the truth of Jesus?
    Memorable Verses: Acts 17:30-31
  • Psalm: Wicked plan evil in their hearts, while putting on a mask of friendliness toward their neighbors. You cannot hide from the Lord God Almighty the condition of your heart. God hears our cries. He is our Rock, our strength, and Shield. King David says, “I will trust in Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Is He your rock? Your place of refuge? Is He your shield? Is He your strength? Or, do you rely on your own strength? Are you praising Him despite your circumstances? Trusting Him with all your heart? Filled with thanksgiving? Where do you find yourself?
  • Character of God: “I pray to you, O Lord, my rock…I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary…The Lord is my strength and shield…The Lord gives His people strength. He is a safe fortress…Lead them like a shepherd and carry them in your arms forever.”
    Memorable Verses: Psalm 28:1a, 2
    Wickedness: Psalm 28:3 (Connect to Mt. 12:21-37)
    Praise the Lord: Psalm 28:6-9
  • Exodus: The Israelites went through a wave of emoti1ons: Fear to Awe. Even at one point preferring slavery to the road to freedom. The truth is: God was giving the Israelites a brand new life. Was it happening how they imagined? I don’t think anyone would of imagined the Egyptians and Pharaoh chasing them into the sea, while walls of waters are on each side. Still, the truth is God was giving them new life. They were needing to learn to trust Him, rather than relying on their old ways of doing things or even coping with their circumstances. They were needing to learn and relearn trusting God and remaining obedient to Him, as they rediscovered just how good the God of Israel is!
    New Life: Ex. 13:8, 14; Ex. 14:13-14
    Old Ways: Ex. 15:24
    His Truth: Ex. 15:26
    Miraculous Deliverance: Ex. 14:21-22, 26, 29-31
    God is…:Ex. 15:1-3, 11, 13, 18