We live in a "Me, Myself and I" culture. All of our choices, all of our decisions are based on what will make us happy and what will satisfy our passions and dreams. Society teaches us from a young age to seek out our own desires and to put ourselves above others. Selfishness, pride and conceit are apart of our fleshly make up, but the Bible calls it sin.
We have finished our study in Matthew, but I want us to take a look at something we read last week in Matthew 20. Beginning in verse 20, we find a sweet Mama coming to Jesus to request something for her two sons, James and John. She didn't ask for much, she just wanted her two boys to sit right next to Jesus in heaven, that's all.
"What is your request?" he asked. She replied, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left." ~ Matthew 20:21
So first, can you believe this woman's question? I actually found myself embarrassed for her as I was reading this section of Scripture. She was asking Jesus Christ, the Messiah, for favoritism of her two sons! Wow! This shocked me, however, it brings me to point two. Sometimes our wants don't seem selfish because they are for the ones we love. I'm not saying we shouldn't want the best for our children, husbands, family or friends, absolutely we should. It becomes a problem when we put ourselves or our precious loved ones above others without thinking of others. Does that make sense? This mother just wanted the best for her children, she didn't realize what she was asking.
But Jesus answered by saying to them, "You don't know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?" "Oh yes," they replied, "we are able!" Jesus told them, "You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones He has chosen." ~ Matthew 20:22-23
Although these two disciples declared they were able to drink from Jesus' bitter cup, they had no idea what true suffering He would endure. And we know, that they could not take His place. It didn't work that way. Only Jesus, God's only beloved son, could be crucified for the sins of the world. Those two men had no clue what they were saying. Sometimes, our selfish desires put us in places or circumstances we can't really handle or places we aren't chosen for. Our prideful ambitions will come before seeking the Lord's direction. Without His direction, we may move ourselves and our families into situations we aren't truly prepared for.
When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. ~ Matthew 20:24
I imagine the other disciples were indeed upset. After all, they had each given up the lives that they had formerly known, to follow Jesus. I'm sure they each felt a certain entitlement of this request. As believers, we are to lead others to Christ through our example. To me, that is really scary. We think we are in control of the example we portray. When we know we are being watched, we are much more careful to live "righteously", but the true example we give is when we are being ourselves, being real, when we think no one else is watching. Jesus' response to all of this is the reason for the passage itself.
But Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many." ~ Matthew 20: 25-28
That last verse speaks volumes to me. As we have read through Matthew these past few weeks, we have read many accounts of how Jesus served others. He healed the sick, cast out demons, fed thousands, raised the dead and performed countless miracles. He reached out not only to the elite but he served the poorest of the poor. He took the time for everyone who came to Him, old and young, and even when He knew some would turn away, He served them anyway. If we want true fulfillment and satisfaction, we have to let go of ourselves. If we keep seeking more for ourselves that hunger will only grow and cause us to want more and more, for self absorption is never satisfied. But, if we lay ourselves down, and begin to put the welfare of others above our own wants and needs, true fulfillment will come. The Bible gives us many verses on serving others.
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full- pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you give back. ~ Luke 6: 38
God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. ~ I Peter 4:10
Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all! ~ Romans 12:9-16
So the question is: How are we to serve? Not all of us are called into full time ministry. Not all of us are called to foreign lands to be a missionary. We may not be called to open a shelter or a crisis center, but we are all called to serve. We serve others by truly loving them and sometimes that means loving people in spite of themselves. It's not always easy to love the hard-hearted. We serve others with a servant's attitude. You may volunteer at the local shelter four days a week, but if you serve those people with an attitude that says you think you are better than them, you haven't served them at all. We serve with our faithfulness to God and what He has called us to. For some of us that may mean we serve an elderly parent who thinks we do nothing right. We may serve a contentious spouse. We may serve a rebellious child. We may serve a rude and unreasonable boss. We may serve a neighbor who causes problems at every turn. Whoever it may be, we must serve with faithfulness, knowing God has brought those people to us to share Him with them. That may mean we have to accept inconsideration and the lack of gratitude, but we are to serve enthusiastically, knowing we are truly serving the Lord.
As a mother, I am trying to teach my children to serve others. It's not easy. In fact, most days I know I am not being the best example, but still I am trying. Serving others is simply sharing yourself, in every way. Share your time, your talents, your resources and your energies. I know it's hard, but it is what the Lord has called us to. Jesus came to serve others. Being fully God and fully man, He came and served others. What an example! Let us strive to do the same. Let's begin by humbling ourselves, for we cannot serve anyone if we cannot get over ourselves.
Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. ~ Philippians 2:3-4
Our precious Father, we love you and we are so thankful for the gift of your son, Jesus, although we don't deserve His sacrifice. Help me Lord, to humble myself and to be able to take an interest in others. Give me a servant's heart, so that others can see You in me. In the sweet, name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Hello Sweet Sisters,
I am running late with this reading plan post this week, but wanted to get it out to you as soon as possible. This week we will be finishing our study in Matthew. I hope you have enjoyed the words of our Lord Jesus as much as I have over the past 6 weeks. This week, as we finish the last four chapters of Matthew, I pray the Lord will ready our hearts for complete and personal worship of Him this Easter weekend.
Here is this week's reading plan:
Matthew, chapters 25-28
Just a reminder, next week we are taking a week off of formal study. This will be a great time to catch up on any chapters you have missed or feel free to go back through all of our studies to recap on things we have read in the past. After a quick spring break, we will jump back in for a 6 week spring study starting in the book of Judges on Monday, April 4th.
Have a wonderful week and keep soaking up God's Word!
My husband is a dreamer, a visionary and he is full of ideas. He is a planner and he always has a goal in mind that he is working towards achieving. Last year, his goal of getting our family out of debt became a reality when he moved us out of state. He's making new goals and new plans and working towards them. I tease him often, that I never know what to expect with him. I never know what is going to be next, but the truth is: I'll follow him anywhere. Wherever he goes, I will follow.
Last week, in Matthew 19, we read about a young rich man who came to Jesus wanting to know the secret of receiving eternal life. His question was this: "What good deed must I do to have eternal life?" (v.16) Jesus quickly answers the man, "There is only One who is good." (v. 17) And then, knowing the man's heart, Jesus begins to share with the young man a few of the ten commandments.
"Which ones?" the man asked. And Jesus replied; "'You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.'" ~ Matthew 19:18-19
Jesus was not giving rules to this young man that he must follow to earn salvation, He was speaking straight to the man's heart. The commandments the Lord shared, were the commandments that dealt with human relationships. The young man had obeyed all of those rules, yet he knew there must be more.
"I've obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. "What else must I do?" ~ Matthew 19:20
Ah, just what Jesus was waiting for: the moment to be real with this young man. Let's look closely at the next two verses. Jesus answers the young man's question, but notice the man's reaction.
Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. ~ Matthew 19:21-22
This young rich man could not obey the call to follow Jesus. It meant giving up too much. His worldly possessions had become more important to him then his own eternity. In fact, it grieved him to think about what he would need to give up. I wonder, how many of us are like that? How many of us grieve what we have to give up in order to obey God's calling on us? Will our first thoughts be of sorrow at what we have to leave behind to follow God's call?
If God calls you to pay a bill for a family in need, will your first thought be about what you won't be able to do with that money? If God calls you to sit and visit with someone who just needs a friend, will your first thought be that you just don't have time for this right now? If God calls your family to take a job that means you take a decrease in income, will your first thought be that you can't live without that extra money? If God calls you to come home full time, will your first thought be what you will be missing out on? If God calls your family to move out of state or even out of the country to go serve Him elsewhere, will your first thought be to grieve about all you will have to leave behind? There are so many other questions we could ask here and many of these questions are ones I have personally lived out. God's call on our lives looks different for every person and family. He has unique purposes for each one of us to fulfill His perfect will. The question is: How will we respond, when He calls us to that purpose?
I began this post by saying I would follow my husband anywhere. And I will. But then I had to think.... Will I follow Jesus anywhere He wants to take me? I want nothing less than what God wants for me. I want to follow Him. I want Him to lead me, guide me, and direct me to fulfill His purposes for my life. But if I'm honest, I don't always do that without hesitation, complaining or even pitying myself. I don't want to be like that anymore. I want to trust Him completely and I don't want to question what He has in store for me. My prayer is that I will gladly and obediently step out in faith as God calls me to follow Him. Is that your prayer, too?
I want to end this post with Jesus' answer to His disciples. He told them exactly what they would receive for completely trusting Him and obediently following Him. I know that there is promise in this for us too. It is truly beautiful! Read these last few verses and focus on what Jesus is offering us if we just "come, and follow Him." You will be blessed!
"Jesus replied, 'I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon His glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters, or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." ~ Matthew 19:28-30
Soak up God's Word this week! He has so much to tell you!
Good morning, Sweet Sisters!
This is our fifth week in Matthew. I am praying that God is speaking to each of us as we soak up His Word each day. Here is this week's reading plan:
Matthew, chapters 20-24
We are coming to the end of this study and I wanted to share the plans for our Spring Study! We will finish in Matthew next week, right before Easter. I am going to be real and honest here: I'm behind on many things, because of this we will be taking a short spring break from studying the week of March 28 - April 1st. We will begin our 6 week Spring Study on Monday, April 4th! Just for a look ahead, here is the study plan for spring:
Judges - April 4- May 2
Ruth - May 3 - May 6
Philippians - May 9- May 12
I am looking forward to our Spring Study together. but until then, let's finish our study in Matthew, strong!
Good morning Ladies,
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and you are ready to jump back into Matthew this week. I want you to know that I pray for each of you who visit here. I know that this is not a fancy, photo-filled blog, it's not supposed to be. When God first laid this ministry on my heart, it was very clear that this was supposed to be all about Him, not me. I do hope that is exactly what you see when you stop by: God in His fullness and glory and worthy to be praised!
As I am getting older, I am depending more and more on my daily time with God. It is truly what gives me energy, hope and joy to fulfill my days. As much as I need food, rest, exercise and sunshine, I need God more. Life is so busy and it is hard to fit in everything on our priority list. I understand. I am a wife, a mama, pregnant, homeschooling and throw in all the day to day tasks of caring for a home and family and serving the Lord, life gets busy. But I have found, on days that I leave out focused time on God alone, those days are harder, slower and usually miserable. I encourage each of you to soak up time with God each day, He will bless you, build you and direct you through all the other things that have to be done.
Now, here is this week's reading plan:
Matthew, chapters 15-19
Ask God to speak to you through His Word this week. Take note of what you hear from Him, memorize the verses that stand out to you, apply those Words to your own life and praise God for all He has done and is doing in your life!
I was unable to post study notes for last week's reading, but the Lord has laid a familiar passage on my heart the past few days and after I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it, I knew I needed to share. Even though we are starting with chapter 10 this week, let's look back at Matthew 8 for just a moment. Many of us are familiar with this passage. It was taught to us as children. It's only five verses long, but it has such a huge impact. Let's look at the whole passage together.
Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with His disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" Jesus responded, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. "Who is this man?" they asked. "Even the winds and waves obey Him!"
~ Matthew 8:23-27
Let me start by saying, I am terrified of storms. They scare me to death. Especially if I can hear them or see the affects of the strong winds. Storms bother me now more than they ever did when I was a child. It's because I'm a mom. When storms begin to rage, my fear goes into overload and my mind immediately begins thinking about how I'm going to save all of my children and get them to safety if a storm turns deadly. (I also freak out when we drive over large bridges that cover large bodies of water. Although I'm a good swimmer and my children swim very well too, drowning scares me. Oh, and apparently I'm scared to death of snakes, they haunt my dreams, but that's a story for another time.) I think this is why this passage has stood out to me so strongly this week......because of my own fears.
As I read this passage, the first thing that struck me was the disciples' fear. I found it odd. Jesus himself, complete in flesh, is with them in the boat. He is right there! God's Son is with them! How can they possibly be scared of anything? He was with them! And then it hit me. That's me. I am a child of God. I am His. I belong to Him. I have received Jesus as my Savior, therefore the Holy Spirit lives within me. All. The. Time. God is with me ALL THE TIME, yet I fear, too. At times, I let fear consume me and I'm not alone in this.
We all fear something. Some of us fear death, not because we are unsure of our eternity, but because we are scared for our loved ones we leave behind. Some may fear disease and illness, others may fear tragedy and harm. The list can go on and on. We fear war, darkness, being alone, poverty, suffering, and so many other things, big and small. However, as believers, the Bible tells us we are not to fear. And here in this passage Jesus himself, says it's our lack of faith that causes our fear. Where is our faith? How strong is it, really? Is our faith in God, who is in complete control of all things?
I would like to say my faith in God is very strong. I trust Him with everything. I trust Him with my life, with eternity, my finances, my marriage, my children, my prayers, our family size. I thought I had surrendered everything over to Him, but then a storm will rage and my fear takes over. Oh me of little faith!
Don't let fear consume you, Sweet Sister, it is not of the Lord. Trust Him, lean on Him and have faith that He will protect you and take care of you. You are always in His hands and surrounded by His angels. Scripture tells us over and over, not to fear. Allow these passages to speak to You. Memorize them, so that when fear begins to strangle you, you can quote God's Word back to Him, knowing He is in control.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
~ 2 Timothy 1:7
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. ~ Psalm 56:3
Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, my friends, God is in control!
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "
Hi! I'm Andrea, wife to my handsome hubby, homeschooling mama to my 5 amazing blessings (with one more on the way), and daughter of the King of kings. I am so glad you have stopped by my little piece of the web. My prayer is that the Lord will use this blog to encourage you in your personal, daily walk with Christ.