What you wish someone would do for you

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets. Matthew 7.12

At times, one can sit around wondering what they could be doing to serve in God’s kingdom in a better way. That is a good thing! Many times we need look no further than our own need for encouragement.

What encourages you? Is it a note that has a Bible verse written on it that someone passes to you? A birthday card on your birthday? Could it be when someone calls to talk to you about things in general and with nothing specific in mind.

Everyone needs encouragement! The very thing that you wish someone would do for you, could be what would encourage someone else. It is just a matter of stepping out of our comfort zone to act.

Do you wish others would arrive on time? You arrive on time. Do you wish someone would send you flowers? You send those flowers to someone! Acts 20.35 states that Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. That applies in all areas of life. Treat others as you would like to be treated! Be careful for you may just cause someone’s life to make a change for the better!

#risingjoy #Matthew #encouragement

The impartial God

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5.44-45

God is just and good, as well as kind. He blesses even when such action is not merited. The sun rises and sets on all men independent of whether or not they believe in God, much less obey his commands. The rain falls to the earth whether the people in the area are righteous or not. He is impartial.

We are to be like our heavenly Father. We are to be just and good, as well as kind. What does that mean when someone is being mean to you? What does that mean when someone seeks to bring you down?

Jesus said to love your enemy. That does not mean that you have to have positive emotional feelings toward that person. It does mean that you treat that person the same as you would anyone else, with justice and with kindness.

Jesus also said to pray for those who persecute you. He is the perfect example of this to follow. His prayer to the Father during his crucifixion was for forgiveness for those who were guilty of his death, Luke 23.34. By praying for those who would do you harm, you show kindness.

May we strive to be impartial, treating all people equally, calling each one to follow in his footsteps.

#risingjoy #Matthew #goodness

Relationship with God involves communication

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23.23

Our relationship with God is not a list of rules that we check off once it is done. It involves communication! We need to be reading the Bible to hear what God is saying to us. However, we also need to be praying to pour our thoughts and hearts out to God. It is important to do both!

There is a need to be obedient to what he has told us to do. The little things, if we can call them that, are important to know. Some of those things left undone might keep us from entering heaven.

But, Jesus is giving a warning here. Our faith has to be more than just a list of small things to check off our “To Do” list. The Pharisees were very good at checking off the little things. Unfortunately, they had ceased to be just, merciful, and faithful! They had substituted their own system of religion!

As Christians, it is important that we not only concentrate on the details. We have to see and to understand the whole picture, Romans 15.4. If not, we will be like the Pharisees. We do not want the label of hypocrite!

#risingjoy #Matthew #warning

Exactly what you wanted

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field.(…) Matthew 13.44

Have you ever been shopping and come across an item that was exactly what you wanted, perhaps even needed? However, at the time, you did not have the money that you needed to buy it. So you stuck the item at the back of the shelf hoping that it would be there when you returned.

How exciting is it to come upon a treasure! You are working in the field and suddenly you discover something of great value. You look around and hide it once more. You are so glad to have found the treasure that you must purchase the field! What do you do? You sell all that you have to buy the field!

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to such a treasure. The church is the kingdom here on earth. The church is a treasure that is worth all that we have to possess it. Do you consider the church to be a treasure? Do you have this treasure in your life?

#risingjoy #Matthew #treasure

They shouted joyfully

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. Matthew 2.9-10

The wise men from the East had traveled to see Jesus. They had followed a star and had arrived in Jerusalem asking where the one who was born king of the Jews could be found. It caused a stir. Herod, who was the actual king at the time was alarmed.

Herod sets about learning what he can about the Christ. He calls a meeting with all the chief priests and experts in the law. Where is the Christ to be born? It is of utmost concern to the actual king.

After finding the location through the prophecies, he calls for the wise men. Arranging to meet with them privately, he enlists their help to find the baby. His intentions are not honorable.

Upon leaving Jerusalem, the wise men once again are able to see the star and follow it to Bethlehem where they are directed by the star to the place where Jesus can be found. Their reaction is to shout joyfully.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about four different types of soil where the seed that are sewn may fall, Matthew 13.1-9. There is the person who hears the word about the kingdom and does not understand it. The evil one comes and snatches it away. There is the one who hears the word, immediately receives it, but has no root within and does not endure. There is the one who hears the word, but allows worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth to choke the word so that it produces nothing. Finally, there is the good soil where the seed is planted. This is the person who hears, understands, and obeys, Matthew 13.18-23.

Have you found Jesus? What was your reaction? We choose the reaction that we will have. Will you be like the wise men and shout joyfully when you find him? Will you be good soil?

#risingjoy #Matthew #reactions

I tell you the truth, Matthew 18.3

“[Jesus] said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!”

Matthew 18.3

Jesus is the great truth-teller. There is absolute, objective truth to tell. He wants to get our attention. Pride and desire for greatness will keep us out of heaven.

Am I a truth-bender? Do I justify my competitive spirit? Do I make myself the center of all? Am I Jesus’ follower or judge? Have I turned myself around?

#votd #Matthew #truth

Worthy of me, Matthew 10.38

“And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10.38

In order to follow Jesus conditions must be met. Since salvation is in Christ, these conditions are not optional. Following him requires dying to self.

To be worthy of Jesus does not mean that one can merit Jesus’ fellowship, but that one is able to receive his presence and walk with him.

#votd #Matthew #discipleship

They mocked him, Matthew 27.29

“and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”

Matthew 27.29

Hardened Roman soldiers had seen it all. As the crushing arm of imperial power, they laughed at small-time attempts to overthrow the government. To them, Jesus was just another failed revolutionary.

Jesus not only died, but suffered humiliation in our stead. Our attempts at self-rescue are ridiculous. But in his humiliation we discover our salvation.

#votd #Matthew #crucifixion

We don’t know, Matthew 21.27

“So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’ Then he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.'”

Matthew 21.27

The Jewish authorities refused to answer Jesus’ question about John the Immerser because either option would put them in a bad position. In this way, our Lord showed their bad faith.

Do I avoid God’s truth by pleading ignorance or doubt? Do I appeal to prayer as a way to lay aside his commandments? Or do I readily embrace the truth that frees?

#votd #Matthew #honesty

Two for a penny: Matthew 10.29

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”

Matthew 10.29

Jesus guarantees that his messengers are not forgotten by the Father when they encounter resistance to the Good News. They need not question whether God has forgotten them.

The argument is from the lesser to the greater. God knows what happens to his creatures. So he will care for his most important creation: his children. Do you believe this as you share the Gospel?

#votd #Matthew #will-of-God

If your brother sins: Matthew 18.15

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother.”

Matthew 18.15

Jesus shows how to deal with sin in the church. It is the direct approach. Love does not mean overlooking a brother’s errors. The goal is restoration and salvation.

Don’t talk about other people’s sins to third parties. This is gossip. We sin by doing it. Don’t be a coward. Don’t contribute to division. Love others enough to correct them.

#votd #Matthew #sin #correction

He went on from there: Matthew 11.1

“When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their towns.”

Matthew 11.1

Jesus sent out the Twelve on a limited preaching tour. He gave them many instructions. Then he himself went about proclaiming the kingdom of God. He dealt with doubts and rejection.

Jesus was all about reaching the lost, in life and in death. How do I demonstrate this objective in my spiritual life?

#votd #Matthew #mission

As Jesus instructed them: Matthew 21.6

“So the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.”

Matthew 21.6

Jesus sent two disciples into the next village to get a donkey and a colt to ride into Jerusalém. They did what disciples (followers) should do: follow the Lord’s instructions.

The disciple and maker of disciples will follow Jesus’ orders to the letter, Mt 28.18-20, in order that people may do what they did when the two obeyed him: praise Jesus as the Son of God.

#votd #Matthew #discipleship

Do not believe him: Matthew 24.26

“So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him.”

Matthew 24.26

The Lord himself told us that not everyone who makes affirmations about the Christ is to be believed. He even repeated his imperative, v. 23. Many say false things about Christ.

We must not be naive. Those who are trusting in others are easily led astray. People like to offer easy solutions and quick success. Beware of glib problem solvers!

#votd #Matthew #test-the-spirits

Few are chosen: Matthew 22.14

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22.14

Few are chosen because few accept the invitation. Jesus emphasizes “the wide sweep of the invitation to accept the gospel and the small number of those actually found worthy” (IOVC).

To be chosen we must recognize the great opportunity that God gives us right now to participate in his joyous life. And let us ask, What must we do?

#votd #Matthew #election