Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Matthew_18

Scripture 

Matthew 18:21- 35

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 Observation 

How many times should we forgive someone, Jesus said seventy times seven. 

The king showed mercy on the man who owed him 10 thousand bags of gold and let him go.  

But the man who was forgiven went to a man that owed him 100 silver coins, significantly less, and demanded payment from him, even though he begged the man refused and had him thrown in jail. 

When the king heard what he had done, he had him tortured until he paid off the debt. 

Understanding

Forgiveness sounds excruciating doesn’t it. Well, maybe not all the time. Like when someone forgot to tell you they were not going to show up to dinner and you did all this hard work or I said something I shouldn’t have because I was stressed out, but you forgave me pretty quickly and we never spoke of it again. We were good. 

But how about when someone wrongs you so deeply! Like betrayal or theft. Why should you forgive the debt against them? They should know what they did and know it for a long time. 

Every time you see them you bring it up to them so they don’t forget. “It’s gonna take a long time to pay back the debt you owe to me, to repay me for the sin you did against me.”

I never realized that unforgiveness is like putting someone in jail and then torturing them. We incarcerate the other person with our hurts and anger, our frustrations and disappointments. We torture them with our shrewd comments and bad behavior, our cold relationship and broken communication. 

We do this as sinners. 

We do this as Christians. 

We do this to ourselves.

Application 

James 22:12 – 13

 “12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 

because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. 

Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

I think it’s time for a lot of US to walk out of the prison cell we have been holding ourselves captive. 

It’s time for a lot of US to set people free from our wounds. 

It’s time for a lot of US to be FREE from unforgiveness. 

He has extended mercy to us time and time again. We cannot possibly think that we can receive mercy from Him for our daily failures and not extend forgiveness and mercy to our brother and sister. 

Oh I know…! It sucks! They don’t deserve it… just like we don’t deserve it. 

It’s time to run to Him for healing. 

And while true repentance from the offender is a huge factor in reconciling any failed relationship and trust must be rebuilt, extending forgiveness is always the first step toward freedom and following in the example of our Father in heaven, our savior Jesus Christ, and our wonderful counselor Holy Spirit. 

 
Its time to set the captives free!
 
Father, you are a merciful God, slow to anger and abounding in love. You have been so good to me. Thank you! Father forgive me for my unforgiveness. Holy Spirit empower me to daily extend forgiveness and mercy to those who hurt me. I choose to forgive those who have hurt me and I choose to forgive myself for things that I have done so terribly wrong. I ask that you heal my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body. I choose to walk in freedom! In Jesus name, amen!
 
Deborah Lee


Matthew__17

Scripture

Matthew 17:20

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will by impossible for you.”
 

Observation

After He transfigures Jesus just heals a demon-possessed boy. After this encounter the disciples ask Him why they couldn’t do it. This verse is Jesus’ response to them. He tells them that faith whether big or small is more powerful than no faith at all. While reminding them that nothing is too great to overcome with faith.
 

Understanding

What mountains have you moved?

Imagine this: you just tried your absolute hardest to help someone in dire need. You do everything you can you pray, you pray some more, you phone a friend, they pray, they pray some more, and then they phone a friend and the cycle continues. You see no result and instead matters seem to be getting worse. Then your main man, Jesus, walks in and instantly solves the problem. You are elated, you’re excited that the issue got solved, but you’re a little sad that you couldn’t be the problem-solver. Because you love learning and growing you ask your main man, Jesus, why you couldn’t do it. Then the worst thing that you could ever imagine happens. Jesus thrashes your faith, He basically tells you that you have none. If that isn’t enough He seems a little (okay a lot) disappointed in you. What’s your next move? How do you recover from a devastating defeat?

I don’t know about you, but I love to learn except I hate to fail. From my short time here on earth, though, I have learned that you learn the absolute best from failing miserably. It is the greatest defeats that really make you reevaluate. I think that’s exactly what Jesus was going for here. I think He purposely shamed His disciples so that they would have a desire to do grow their faith. So what’s my main point in all of this? Put yourself in the disciples shoes for a minute. Evaluate your life and your faith and ask yourself: “What mountains have I moved recently?”

Jesus says that faith the size of a tiny mustard seed moves mountains. So if you aren’t seeing a victory where you want you one, how great is you faith that you will actually overcome it? Another thing I have learned in my short time here on earth, I am and I can do nothing without God. However, believing that alone isn’t enough. It’s encouraging to know that God is always with you, but it is ultimately faith that moves mountains. Meaning, it is being utterly convinced in the cause of Christ, the belief that He moves through you, and the courage to transform that into action that makes mountains move.
 

Life Application

What is your mountain?

Sometimes it is the realization that you have a mountain that you must overcome that helps you grow your faith. So ask yourself: What is holding me back from experiencing the fullness of the potential of my life? What am I too afraid to give to God? Throw that mountain into the midst of the sea. All it takes is faith.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help us to have faith that is unmatched to any other emotion in this world. Help us to see all we need is you and you alone. May we be bold enough to tell our mountains to move. I believe in You, but more importantly all my faith is in You. Thank You for the stories of victories to come, may we be people that chase after Your heart.

Amen.

-Allison Khan



Matthew___16

Scripture

 
Matthew 16:24-25
 
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Jesus was speaking with His disciples and predicted His death. He rebuked (corrected with sharp disapproval and criticism), Peter’s response to his death because Peter was concerned about what Jesus said at the human level, not on the God level.
 
(Reference: Oxford dictionary)
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Jesus had to die to save ALL of mankind, including His disciples. That was the cross that Jesus had to bear. His life was His offering to God.
 
Peter didn’t understand the big picture and that’s why Jesus was frustrated with what he said. If Jesus didn’t die, Peter and the rest of the world would not live and would still be under the wrath of a just God. I also believe that Jesus’ words to Peter was a foretelling of how Peter would betray Jesus. Peter’s denial of Jesus was because he was more concerned about what others would think of him (human concerns) instead of what Jesus thought of him.
 
Life Application
 
What does taking up your cross look like?
 
In Biblical times, with taking up one’s cross, people literally had to die for their faith in Jesus. All the disciples were martyred, except for John.
 
Some of us may still be called to physical martyrdom, but more commonly in today’s times, taking up one’s cross daily means doing everything different than the world does it. It’s a struggle because although we are called to not live OF the world, we still live IN it and can easily be influenced by it. That’s the importance of staying close to Jesus daily. Here are personal examples of how I’ve had to take up my cross and lose myself completely to Jesus.
 
-Forgiving people who have hurt me deeply and responding in love and kindness instead of chewing their head off and hurting them back the way they’ve hurt me.
 
-Choosing to live a lifestyle different from everyone else in order to be more generous with time and money for Kingdom purposes.
 
-Setting up safeguards to protect my integrity and marriage. I had to do the same thing before marriage too.
 
-Choosing not to be part of the rat race and setting aside one day a week for Sabbath rest.
 
-Letting go of a higher paying job in order to live out God’s calling for my life.
 
-Looking at suffering as a blessing, instead of a curse.
 
-Being comfortable with having a reputation of being “weird.”
 
What are other examples you can think of of taking up your cross in your own life?
 
In John 17, before Jesus was betrayed and arrested, He prayed for His disciples and for ALL believers. If you’ve never read it, I recommend that you read it. It’s very encouraging to me because if God was to hear anyone’s prayer, it would be Jesus’ prayer. Jesus prayed in advance for us!
 
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
‭‭John‬ ‭17:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Thank you Lord! Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Matthew_15

Scripture

Matthew 15:28,32

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Observation

This chapter encases just a few of Jesus’ many names – teacher, healer, provider.  He teaches that it’s what comes from within – what flows out of our hearts and our mouths – that defiles us, not that which comes from without – in this case, unclean hands.  He heals the Canaanite woman because of her bold faith, which brought her to His feet even after she had cried out and he did not respond.  He provides food to eat (and ample surplus) to the four thousand plus who had come to seek Him. 

Yet, what strikes me throughout, is the hunger of the people. 

Understanding

I’ve heard it said that a hungry heart stirs God to action.  Matthew 15 shows this to be true.  As we walk back through the chapter, we learn that where there is hunger, God moves. 

Let’s first look at the Pharisees.  There is no sense of hunger – not in their questions, not in their behavior.  They are focused on manmade rules…perhaps born out of something scriptural or made with good intentions, but they are missing the point!  They are too focused on rule abiding to even experience true abiding with God.  Yes, God wants obedience but obedience alone is not enough; He desires obedience that comes out of a deep love and longing for relationship with Him.  What was the end result?  Jesus taught, but there was no space for Him to move hearts. 

Now, let’s look at Jesus and the Canaanite woman.  She was hungry for change.  She didn’t wait until Jesus was ready for visitors, she sought Him out, even as He withdrew.  She “came to him, crying out” on behalf of her daughter.  “Jesus did not answer a word.”  At that point, how many of us would have said “Well, I tried my best.  I sought Him out and asked but He did not respond.  Perhaps it’s not His will.”  But no!  Miss Canaanite woman pursued the disciples and, when that didn’t work, she came and knelt before Him crying out again.  And, it was her hungry faith that brought healing to her daughter in that very moment!  Hunger stirred action.

And, finally, the feeding of the four thousand.  The people were [physically] hungry and 7 loaves of bread and few small fish ultimately end up feeding thousands but did you catch the first hunger?  The spiritual one?  Once again, Jesus has withdrawn, this time to a mountainside.  But people were hungry for change, hungry for healing…

30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

They sought Him out, abiding with Him for THREE FULL DAYS!  They were not going to miss an opportunity to be in His presence – whether for teaching or healing or just the way it made them feel.  And the result?  They were fed physically and spiritually.  Their hunger stirred Jesuss to compassion and, ultimately, to action. 

Life Application

I’m reminded of the Surge challenge to “get that bread.”  If you’re like me, you’re eating 3-5 times a day and getting some snacks in between.  But, if I’m honest, my spiritual appetite is not the same.  And, unlike our physical hunger that seems to just come naturally every few hours from the moment we are born, our spiritual hunger requires a bit of cultivating.  There’s a 3-10 ways to do nearly anything and I found this one to be one that spoke to my heart – 6 Ways You Can Stir Up Hunger for God.

https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2010/02/11/hunger-for-god-6-ways-you-can-stir-it-up/

The paraphrased version is this:

  • Fast – cut stuff out (food, media, activity) to make space for abiding with God
  • Pray – pray for spiritual hunger
  • Remember – take time to remember your most intimate times with God
  • Catch it – spend time with hungry people
  • Hear it – spend time in worship, listen for His voice
  • Act on it – respond to what God speaks to you

‘I have come to realise that the real tragedy in the church is not spiritual famine: it is famine without hunger, dryness without thirst.’

May we get and stay hungry! 

PS Our 28 days of prayer and fasting is coming up soon, why not get a head start in cultivating that hunger now! J

Rei

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Psalm_92

Scripture  Psalm 92:1-2  It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;  To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night,

 

Observation-What does it say?  A song of celebration for the Lord’s faithfulness.  This psalm may have been written by the king of Israel.  It is the first in a cluster of psalms centered around the Joy of God’s love and faithfulness.  Within this particular psalm, the outcome of choosing righteousness is placed in contrast to the result of choosing wickedness.  We are reminded of the everlasting joy that comes from choosing to live a righteous life and follow after God’s righteousness.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  Almost four hundred years ago, the passengers of the Mayflower braved a treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean, suffered a fatal winter, and began the frameworks of a new world.  At the core of their journey was a desire to seek after the righteousness of God, without the constraints government. Of the first acts of a new found community, which included the native people, the practice of thanksgiving was the first.

 

It’s not surprising that thanksgiving is the attitude which preceded God’s provision in this particular psalm.  It is a common statement that “pride comes before the fall,” simple wisdom that is timeless and warns everyone of the pitfalls associated with pride.  Conversely, it should be a common statement that “humility precedes prosperity.” It can be confusing in today’s world, which is filled with people who are constantly singing their own praises and we are taught that this is the path to success.  But God’s word paints us a different picture.

 

Our measure of success, however, can’t be measured on FICO and bank roll.  We measure our success on the true blessings of faith in God and our redemption through Christ’s death.  Matthew 5 and Luke 6 give us a contrast to the world’s view of success in what are traditionally referred to as the beatitudes.  The word beatitude means “the greatest blessing.”  

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3-10

 

So as we gather through the holidays, let us not look to our phones, toys, and bank accounts to measure our blessing.  Rather, let us look to the blessings that separate us from the rest of the world, and the ways that God draws us closer to Him.

 

Life application  Jesus, thank you for your provision.  Thank you for the tough times that help me rely on your faithfulness.  Thank you for the true joy, which is only found through the cross. Thank you for family, who shows us the true meaning of patience.  Thank you for your love.  

 

-Tyler Galloway





Matthew _13

Scripture

Matthew 13:37 – 39 

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Observation

Jesus spoke to the crowds that formed around him, while in a boat as they sat on the shore. 

Understanding

Matthew 13:40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. 

Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matt. 13:43)

The harvest is coming soon. “The harvest,” the one we have been waiting for, will be here soon. We all have loved ones that need to know the truth, that need to hear about the salvation of the world that has come to rescue and save them from their sin. Immanuel came down to be with us. 

We have the opportunity to tell those who need to hear the message so that they will be the wheat when the harvesters come. 

Last year around this time I believe the Lord impressed on my heart for DSC, “ the people are coming, get your house ready.” 

A few weeks ago, I felt another impression. This time I heard, “It’s time for you to start to pray. Ask me to send you unbelievers. Ask me to send you the laborers.” 

I felt a little startled and hesitant to pray, not out of fear or unbelief, but because I could feel the weight of the words He said. I knew at that moment it was going to happen. I knew, I know, that if we pray, “…send us unbelievers, send us laborers, send us into the harvest field,” It is going to happen. It is happening.  

“Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

As we sit down at a table today prepared with food that celebrates a harvest. We sit around the table with our family and friends, neighbors and even enemies. We sit at a table that celebrates harvest season, a job well done. 

Let’s look to the future when we all sit around the table together in a place called heaven, at the marriage supper of the lamb, celebrating the harvest, a job well done. Sitting together with friends and family, neighbors and even those who were once enemies. 

The salvation of the world is here, the kingdom of heaven is here, the harvest is upon us. 

“Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Application

You are in a harvest field. 

Remember the wheat grows among the weeds. We are in a harvest field. We see those who need to hear the “good news” everyday. We see them at work, school, the grocery store, and even in our own home. 

Wherever we go, we are among those who need to know. 

Ask Holy Spirit to empower you to be a witness. “Holy Spirit, how can I be the light to someone today?” 

He may have you pray for them, he may have you start having lunch with them, he may have you give them an encouraging word, or he may have you introduce them to Jesus Christ. 

“Whoever has ears, let them hear. The harvest is plenty. (Matthew 9:37-38)
 
Deborah Lee
 


Matthew_12

SCRIPTURE

 

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:33-35‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”

 
OBSERVATION-What does it say?
 
In this passage Jesus just about had enough of the Pharisees constantly questioning his every move, and slandering his name. Earlier in the chapter, the Pharisees were questioning Jesus’ tactics for healing on the Sabbath. Then in this particular passage, Jesus heals a demon possessed man who was blind and could not speak. Only to have the Pharisees accuse Jesus of getting his powers from Satan! Jesus had enough of the Pharisees foolishness! He then gives the Pharisees a piece of his mind!
 
UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?
 
Warning: Living a Christ-filled life may also bring out the critics and “haters” in others.
 
“And all nations will hate you because you are my followers.”-Matthew‬ ‭10:22a
 
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”-‭‭John‬ ‭15:18
 
There is always those people who can’t stand seeing others succeed. I think the kids now a days call those types of people, “Haters”. They can’t stand seeing other people getting the love and affection they feel they deserve. And that to me is exactly what these Pharisees are…HATERS!!! I mean here was a humble man, Jesus, who was a carpenter. He spoke and taught in a manner that made them look foolish. Jesus knew more of their laws of Moses then they did! The crowds wanted to see Jesus. That made the Pharisees feel insecure. That’s when they devoted themselves to find any little thing they can catch Jesus on, to try to shame him, and discredit all that he was doing.
 
Fast forward to today’s world. There are still people out there like the Pharisees. People who try to bring you down for following Jesus. It can be a neighbor, a family member, classmate, friend, or co-worker. The fact that we choose to follow Jesus, almost makes it seem that we have a HUGE target on our backs! These people are looking over our every move. They are trying to catch us in our most vulnerable moment to see how we will react. I guess my question to ask is, “how do we react in those moments?” Is it a way that shines the light of Christ? Or is it a way that can give our critics “ammo” against us, calling us out on our hypocrisy? Jesus simply says look at the trees fruits to determine if the tree is good or bad. What kind of fruits am I producing?
 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
Relish the fact that you have people looking at how you’re living life. It’s a great opportunity to point others towards Christ!
 
Father God, I pray for strength and encouragement for those who carry Your name. I know it can bring heavy burdens in this world. I know it can even feel that the whole world is out to get us. But I find comfort knowing that You have been through it. And I know that You will see us through it as well. I pray that whatever situation or circumstance you put us in, we can use it to bring glory and honor to Your name Jesus. May it point others to see You as well. Thank You Jesus for always having our backs. May we have Your back as well as we walk in this world. In Your Holy Name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
‬ ‭


Psalm 89

SCRIPTURE
 
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
 
OBSERVATION-What does it say?
 
This Psalm was written by Ethan the Ezrahite. In 2 Samuel 7:12-17, God promises King David that there would always be a king of the Jews. Ethan wrote this Psalm after the Jews were deported to Babylon. In it, he expresses a belief that despite what he sees, he has faith that the promises described in 2 Samuel 7:12-17, will still be fulfilled. (Reference: Wikipedia)
 
UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?
 
Ethan kept the faith.
 
The promise of God to King David didn’t seem like it was going to happen. However, this Psalm is the writer encouraging himself in the faithfulness of the Lord and His promises, despite the circumstances around him showing him something different.
 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
‭‭Hebrews 11:1
 
Four things about faith in these two passages:
 
-It’s impossible to please God without it.
-We must believe He exists when we come to Him.
-We must EARNESTLY seek him. Definition for earnestly in Oxford dictionary is “with sincere and intense conviction; seriously.”
-We must be confident in what we hope for, even though we don’t see it yet.
 
What faith move or prayer is the Holy Spirit asking you to make today? This is a personal question between you and God. No need to share, unless you feel convicted to and want agreement in it, please feel free to write it in the comments section.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Matthew_10

Scripture

Matthew 10:6-8

6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received; freely give.

Observation

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: God’s intention was to reach the whole world, but beginning with Israel. There was certainly enough work to do among the lost sheep of the house of Israel to keep the twelve busy until God directly commanded them to expand their ministry.

  1. Who were the lost sheep of Israel? In a sense, all of them were. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way. (Isaiah 53:6). Yet in another sense, there were also lost sheepthat were abused and neglected by their spiritual shepherds, the scribes, priests, and Pharisees. This is the sense of Jeremiah 50:6My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray.
  2. Because so many were so spiritually neglected, Jesus sent these apostles out. “The beginnings of the mission to the neglected ‘lost’ sheep of Israel may be found in the Capernaum feast (Matthew 9:10). As time went on Jesus felt increasingly the pressure of the problem and the need for extended effort.” (Bruce)

(7-8a) What they are to do: go out preaching and healing.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.”

  1. As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”: Earlier (Matthew 4:17) we were told that Jesus’ message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The disciples brought the same message Jesus preached, simply bringing it over a much broader area than Jesus could just by Himself….
  2. There is no mention of them preachingin the synagogues, only being scourged in them (Matthew 10:17). This was a house-to-house, open field, street preaching ministry.
  3. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons: The disciples both had a message to preach and a power to display. In this, they were truly followers of their Master.
  4. The authority for these disciples to raise the deadis remarkable; yet the later fulfillment of it was recorded in both Acts 9 and 20, and there were no doubt other unrecorded instances. We have no evidence that either such a thing was common, or that this authority has been permanently withdrawn. It is wise for Christians today to both believe in God’s power to do such miracles through His people, and to not be too quick to believe unsubstantiated reports of such miracles.

Excerpt from Enduring Word Bible Commentary: Matthew 10

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-10/

Understanding

Two things that struck me as I read this morning… 

God’s love is big and wide and to be shared with all; even so, sometimes he desires our focus to be specific.

While the ultimate mission as Christ followers is to multiply Christ followers without discrimination (ie there is not one person that God does not want to have relationship with, so we should share His message and love with all those we can), there are times where God calls out – or lays upon our hearts – a specific person or group of people.  Here it was Israel. 

The kingdom of heaven is still near for those who believe and, as a result, God’s power is still present among us…meaning miracles still happen.

As we prepare to send another group to India, it’s with anticipation of wonders being done and a knowing that God will work in and through them and that MIRACLES will happen.  I can’t wait to hear the stories of how God moves.  But those stories are not just for Bible times or for faraway lands or for mountain top experiences; God’s kingdom is alive in us, meaning we can live with an expectancy to see God move in our everyday. 

Life Application

Who is your/my Israel?  Who has God laid upon your/my heart to minister to? 

Do you/I believe that we serve a God of wonders and miracles?  How might my life look different if we took a bold step forward in that belief?

God, I love the way you stir my heart, the way you lay upon my heart people, places, causes.  While I CANNOT wait to go home, I love the space and time I’ve had while away on travels…always reminded that you are not in a building or a place, but everywhere around me – regardless of city, state, country. 

May I walk with a boldness, knowing that “wonders are still what you do.”  Guide my steps, show me your heart for those I meet and continue to stir my heart and embolden my steps towards the people and places you’ve called me to. 

In your name I pray, Amen.

PS Check out this song…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLkHygFqQno

Rei 

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Matthew__9

Scripture:  Matthew 9:2-3  And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”  And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”

 

Observation-What does it say?  After the Sermon on the Mount, we see Jesus perform a series of miraculous healings.  And He heals people who were marginalized in the Jewish society: a leper, the son of a Roman soldier, and others who would have been quickly forgotten.  Word of these healings spread, making it harder and harder to get to Jesus. Where people once would have seen Jesus pass by in the street, there are now multitudes gathered around him.  

 

The story of Jesus healing the paralytic is paralleled in Mark 2:3-12 and Luke 5:18-26.  While seeking a physical healing, Jesus addresses a completely different issue, our sin. Juxtaposing this, the scribes and Pharisees present question his authority to forgive sins.  In looking at the two sides, those seeking Jesus and His healing, in comparison to those looking to keep to tradition and keep Jesus quiet, we see a difference in what needs to happen in our lives in order to find the forgiveness of our sins.  Simply, we need to accept God’s forgiveness, which can only be found through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  A few years back, I went over the handlebars while riding my dirtbike, breaking my ankle in the process.  Luckily, my friend was right behind me. I was in the practice of going out alone and rarely had anyone with me.  In finding me down on the ground, my buddy asked me what I wanted to do and the only thing I wanted was to get to the hospital.  He rode his dirtbike about four miles to his truck, loaded his bike, and then drove up the trail to pick me up. In the process, the ramp used to load the motorcycles into the truck fell out of the truck.  When he got to where I was, he didn’t waste time going back to get the ramp, but used every ounce of muscle he had to load my dirtbike in the truck without any help. He then drove me to the hospital without any questions.

 

In versions of this story offered in Mark and Luke, we see some pretty dedicated friends.  Jesus was in a house, and the crowd was deep around him. Seeing that they couldn’t walk in the front door, this group of buddies goes extreme.  They hoist a paralyzed man (read dead-weight) on to the roof of the house (and there were no elevators back then). Once there, they bust through the roof to lower the bed down to Jesus.  You have to imagine that they busted a whole in the roof that was probably four feet wide and four feet long, and it wasn’t their house. Talk about some explaining to do.

 

Two things we can learn from this.  First, we need to actively be seeking Jesus.  Earlier in Matthew, Jesus tells us we will find Him when we seek Him (7:7-12).  Secondly, faith takes community. In Proverbs 27:17, we are told to sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron.  In Hebrews 10:24 and 1 Thesalonians 5:11, we are told to encourage each other into faith. Galatians 6:2, we are told to bear each others burdens.  Essentially, we can’t do this alone.

 

Life Application  Jesus, in a world that is increasingly private and afraid of intervening, help me to have the courage to intervene when I see a friend who needs help.  Help me to encourage those without faith. And when I need the strength of others, give me the courage and trust to reach out. Even though the vulnerability can bring me fear, I know your love casts out fear.  

 

-Tyler Galloway