6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Some people these days treat animals as having equal value as humans. I remember after I had my twins, we decided to give up our two cats. We had a small house, with no basement. We also had very little time to give to the cats and we did not find that fair for them. As part of the deal when we got the cats, we reached out to the place where we got them. The woman was not happy. She sent out email, with my wife attached, saying something like, ‘once again human parents have human babies and give up their fur babies’. I was outraged when I saw this. I love having pets, but they do not even come close to my children. Human life is so much more valuable than an animal’s life.
That is exactly what Jesus was saying here. God takes care of all of creation and provides it, but humans are so much more valuable. We are made in God’s image. Jesus came as a human, to save humans. We are the greatest of all creation. Jesus did not die to save a bird, but He did die for mankind. God values humans. God made us special. God made you special. He loves us and wishes all of us to be saved and to live with Him forever. He is saddened when He is rejected by His valuable creation.
Come to Him and do not reject God, for you are valuable to Him!
Oh Lord, I thank you that You made me special. I thank you for Your love for me. Human life is valuable. That includes all of human life. Help me to stand for it and treat others in light of it. Amen.
3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. 4 When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; 5 for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” 6 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
The Jewish elders thought that this Roman centurion was worthy because he done some nice things for them. He was kind to them and dealt kindly with them. They believed him to be worthy of receiving a favor from the Son of God. Yet this Roman solider, did not believe himself worthy of coming into the presence of Jesus. He knew the sins he had in his life and he knew the Holiness of God. He knew in his sinful state, he could not come close to Jesus. He understood that he was not worthy, but Jesus was.
The same is true for us. While we are in our sins, we are not worthy to enter God’s presence. Our sin is offensive to Him. The Holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. But this centurion also knew that Jesus had the authority and ability to change that. Only through Jesus can we become worthy and be able to come into the presence of the Almighty God. Only when we are saved and redeemed and washed by the blood of Jesus, are we worthy. There is no other way to get close to God. Only through Jesus, who alone is worthy!
Oh Jesus, only You and You alone are worthy. No one else is able to do what You can do. No person is worthy, only You. Help me to remember that as I go about Your day. You are the high standard, all the rest of us fall well short. Only by Your blood can we be saved. You are my only hope! You alone are worthy!
Isaiah 1:3 “An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.”
Dumb, stupid animals know their master. They know where and who they belong to. They know their master’s voice. They know how to obey them. In a lot of ways we are dumber than these animals, because we choose to not know our Master, God. We choose to deny Him and reject Him. We pretend that we do not know Him and that He has no authority over our lives. We miss God.
We think we are so smart, but we are not. We think we have full understanding, but really we have very little. We are not as smart as we think. We miss God in our lives, all that He does for us. We are so dependent on Him and so in need of Him. Every breath we take, is because of Him. Every drip of water we drink, is because of Him. Every bit of food we eat, is buck of Him. We are really nothing without Him.
Take some time today and notice God. Do not miss all that He is and all that He does for us.
Oh God, I am so in need of You. Everything I have You have given. I can do nothing without You. I cannot even live without You. You are so amazing. Help me not to miss You. Amen.
Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
Jesus was at the end of a 40 day journey in the wilderness. It was a time of fasting and preparing for the start of His ministry and the final 3 years of His life. At the end of these days, after not eating on this journey, He found Himself hungry. It was this moment that the Devil came and tempted Him. The Devil loves to come at us, when we are spent, tired, and weary. But Jesus was ready for everything that Satan threw at Him. He repeatedly rebuked him, by saying “It is written”. He used the Word of God, which a few years later Paul would call the “Sword of the Spirit.” Satan leaves defeated, but he did not give up trying to snare Jesus.
Through out the rest of Jesus’ life, Satan was there tempting Him. A crowd of people with full bellies were ready to make Him King, without going to the cross. The Pharisees and religious leaders were constantly trying to trip Him up. When He was on the cross, He was ridiculed and mocked to prove Himself, by coming off of it early. These are but few examples of other temptation He faced. Satan never gave up, trying to stop Jesus, but thanks be to God, he never did.
We face on going temptation as well. Even when we are successful on missing a snare, we must be ready for the next one. We are constantly tempted to disobey God and fail Him. Satan does not want any saved and wants to destroy our testimony when we get saved. We must prepare like Jesus. Jesus was able to quote verses to fight back. Jesus spent hours in prayer, preparing for the battle. He was humble and not proud. Pride leads to us falling into a trap, because we think we do not have to be ready and prepared. Pride makes us think “I got this” and then we fall. The good news when we fall is that God is there with His grace to life us back up again.
Be careful! Temptation is real and it is dangerous. Be prepared for it!
Oh Jesus, I thank you that You were able to defeat Satan. Both by rejecting his temptation and his ultimate defeat on the cross. Help me to be prepared for temptation and the battle that lies ahead. Help me to memorize Your Word. Help my prayer life grow. Help me to be humble. Thank you for Your grace and love that lifts me back up when I do fall. Amen.
14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the LORD God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said! 15 Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
At some point the line between good and evil has blurred and now we routinely call evil good and good evil. We as a culture seek evil and not good. We love what is evil and hate what is good. Justice is perverted and not pursued. We have everything totally backwards. Now is the time to return to good, so that perhaps God might be gracious to us.
Do you have things in your life that are more evil than good? Have you compromised in some areas? To some extent we all have. We need to turn from this evil and towards a Holy and Gracious God. He is waiting for us. Eager for us to return to Him. Now is the time. Put away evil and seek good. Seek God.
Oh God, I thank you for Your grace and love. I thank you for Your mercy and patience. Help me to turn from evil and seek good. Amen.
29 Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. 32 “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.
As Jesus is hanging on the cross, doing the will of His Father, the Devil takes one last attempt to get Him down. Jesus is mocked by the people around Him. His mission is laughed at. His power is doubted. His authority is challenged. The very people He was dying for, were making fun of Him. Satan hoped all of this would cause Jesus to not go through with His sacrifice. Thankfully the plans of the Devil did not work. Jesus accomplished His mission. He died and because of His death we can find forgiveness and salvation.
No matter what temptation Satan threw at Jesus, He did not alter His path. Jesus knew who God was and the way He needed to go. He knew how to get through the minefield of all of the temptation He came upon His life. That is why after we are saved, we must follow His lead through the dangerous minefields of life. He showed us the way to fight temptation and we must imitate Him and follow His lead.
Oh Jesus, I thank you for not giving into the temptation of coming off of the cross. I thank you for staying and accomplishing Your mission. You are so amazing and wonderful. Thank you for showing me a way through temptation. Amen.
1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore * in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” 4 The LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”
Jonah had just given the worst evangelical message in the history of the world, with the greatest results. He was sent to the city of Nineveh. His message was one of impending judgement, coming to people he had an immense hatred for. The problem is he knew about God’s grace and love for all people. He knew if the people repented that God would forgive them. He had a prejudicial attitude towards these people and he wanted them destroyed and not saved. After initially running away he finally came and told them about the coming judgement. Even though he said nothing about repenting and seeking God they did. The city, which had 120,000 people, had done just that and God forgave them.
Now we find Jonah outside the city having a pity party. He hated the fact that revival had broken out. He hated these people more than he loved God. That is true of all people who are prejudiced. Their hatred is greater than their love. God does not call us to have that attitude. He calls to love one another, no matter what the differences we might have with them. God loves everyone. He wishes all to be saved, no matter who they are.
Jonah should have been excited and pumped, instead he was full of pity. How sad. Let us love one another, as God has called us to do.
Lord, it is sad when we hate other people more than when we love You. Help us to not be like this. Thank you for loving everyone and wishing all were saved. You are a loving God. You are so amazing! Amen.
25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
It is impossible for a man to save himself. It does not matter whether rich or poor. The richest man who ever lived, could not afford to pay for salvation. A man cannot be good enough to save himself. There is nothing a man can do save himself. That is the bad news. The good news is that God can save us.
What it is impossible with man is possible with God. Jesus paid for our redemption, when He died on the cross. He made a way for us to go to Heaven, when there was no other way. Jesus made the impossible, possible. Only He could have done that, for He is God. If we want to be saved, we must accept Jesus and what He did for us. His blood being shed is the only payment God will accept for our sins. When we do, our slate is wiped clean. We have no sin in the eyes of God. This is impossible with man, but thanks to our glorious God, He made the impossible possible!
Oh God, thank you that You are able to make all things possible. Nothing is too hard for You. You are mightier and greater than all. How wonderful You are! Thank you, Jesus for saving me and redeeming me. Amen.
Mark 9:35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Jesus set the example. He gave up His glory in Heaven to come to earth to die for us. He is first, but gave up all to save us. He set the example. If you want to be great in the Kingdom of God, you need to serve other people as Jesus did. He is our example. He said if you want to be great, serve other people. Do not think you are better than others, nor too good to serve them.
He served, so we need to serve. While His disciples were arguing over who among them was the greatest, Jesus washed their dirty, stinky feet. He was willing to do that. He did not consider this task beneath Him. Do you have that attitude? Are things you are not willing to do, because you are too good for them? Do you only seek to do high-profile things so other people will see you? Or are you willing to do whatever is needed, with an attitude of love? Let us serve like Jesus served.
Oh Jesus, I thank you for being our example. I thank you for being willing to serve others. Help me to have the same attitude. Help me to serve others. Amen.
34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
It is a daily command. It is something, we must do every day. We must pick a cross and carry it. The only time somebody would carry a cross, was when they were being led to be crucified. Now before you start thinking a cross is a burden to carry, it is not. In fact, it is the opposite. When we pick up our cross, we lay our burdens down. We lay our failures down. We lay our lives down and take up the cross. When we do this, we find our true lives.
It is a paradox, die that you might truly live. Do not die and you will not live. We lay our old selves down and take up our new lives. We deny sin a hold on us and embrace grace. We must follow Jesus, no matter the cost. No matter where it takes us. For He is leading us to a better place, a Heavenly place. Follow Jesus no matter what.
Oh Lord, I thank you that You were willing to carry the cross and die for me. Help me to follow You no matter where You lead. You know what is best for me and I thank you. Amen.