1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – Talent

1 Corinthians 12:4-7
4
 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

-Talent; we all have it in some form or another. Everyone’s talent is different but they are all equally special because they are all a gift from the Lord. What do you do with these special blessings? Do you utilize your talent in service to the Lord and dedicated to the furtherance of His will?  Do you pursue selfish, sinful desires with your talent? Maybe you don’t use it at all and instead shut it up inside to waste away. What a shame to waste something so precious.  What a shame to stand before the Lord in judgment and have to explain what you did (or didn’t do) with a gift that He saw fit to give you.

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Matthew 4:6 – As It Is Written

Psalm 91:11-12
11
 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Matthew 4:6
6
 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

-Notice how Satan misrepresents Psalm 91 here while tempting Jesus.  By taking the verse out of context, the Devil tempts Jesus into tempting God the Father to “prove” Himself.  Jesus’ answer shows divine wisdom and His victory in this encounter goes without saying, for He is the Word of God.  But how would you or I do?  Satan has been studying the Bible a lot longer than any of us have.  He knows the Bible better than we do and he’s not afraid to use it as a tool to deceive us.  If Satan gave us a twisted verse of scripture, would we be able to see through it or would we be deceived.  Even if you can’t quote a Bible verse, do you have the discernment to take what you have heard and go study it yourself?  The wicked will certainly try to trick you, but even the righteous can lead you astray unintentionally.  The only sure word is the word you get directly from God and the only way you’ll get that is to make time to be in the Word of God.

Matthew 5:9 – Blessed Are The Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9
9
 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

-We live in a contentious society; the accepted principle for getting your way seems to be forcing someone else into submission.  Yet nowhere in scripture do I read where the Lord says “blessed are the war makers”.  The most combative people we meet in the course of a day may seem to get an early advantage, but are they really getting ahead?  If you believe Jesus, then they are absolutely not getting ahead and peace is the better way.  The next time you have a score to settle, forgive that person for Jesus’ sake instead (Ephesians 4:32); the next time you are certain you can win an argument, don’t bother.  Some people may be more receptive than others, but remember who Jesus said are blessed- the peacemakers.  Don’t wait for someone else to extend an olive branch, make peace happen.

Proverbs 2:10-11, 16-19 – Though He Fall…

Proverbs 2:10-11, 16-19
10
 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

-The Bile teaches that “a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 24:16)  This tells me two things:  1) We are all going to fall; you may not want to and I may not either but it’s going to happen.  More than once.  2) If you fall is not nearly as important as where you fall.  The just and the wicked both fell in Proverbs 24, but only the just man got back up.  Why?  Because the wicked man had fallen into mischief and became “snared in the work of his own hands”. (Psalm 9:16) Like stepping on a bear trap in the woods, sin does more than trip you, it takes hold of you.  Consider Lot in Genesis 13:12; the Bible tells us that he “pitched his tent toward Sodom.”  He set his course towards iniquity and his eventual fall “vexed his righteous soul.”  (2 Peter 2:8)  Consider the “strange woman” here in Proverbs 2; “none that go unto her return again” because her house inclines toward death.  Now consider the one who leans on the Lord; “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:24) Every day the Lord sets before us “life and good, and death and evil” (Deuteronomy 30:15).  Every choice we make will either steer us towards God or away from Him.  Before the next time we fall, we need to stop and ask one question; “which way am I leaning?”

Mark 6:1-5 – And They Were Offended At Him

Mark 6:1-5
1
 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

-We as humans are inevitably skeptical unless we have proof; it’s just the way we are.  Then when we get proof, our stubborn side kicks in and shuts everything down.  Here in Mark 6 the people witness Jesus’ miraculous power and were astonished by it, but instead of trusting Him, they dismissed Him because of His humble earthly roots.  Isaiah prophesied that the coming Messiah would be undesirable to the people and that He would be a humble root (Isaiah 53), so the people should have been looking for someone just like Jesus.  God had to become man to be the substitute for our condemnation, but often people can’t see passed the Man to see God.  Don’t make that same mistake, don’t get hung up on Mary or Joseph, don’t get hung up on regular people being used to pen down the Word of God, Jesus Christ is God.  He said He would save us, He said He was the only Way, He said He was Truth.  He was right every time.

Luke 10:38-42 – Cumbered About

Luke 10:38-42
38
 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

-How’s your service to the Lord?  It’s a question we use to judge ourselves (and others, if we’re honest) on how strong our faith is.  Martha’s service was very good; she had invited the Lord into her home and like any good hostess, she set about with “much serving“.  But when she confronts Jesus about her sister Mary’s lack of service, notice the Lord’s reaction; He doesn’t validate her labor but instead points out the only thing that can truly define the strength of our faith- how close we get to Him.  It’s easy to be busy and stamp our labors as “holy work”, but it’s much more difficult to get really close to God and take the time to listen to His teachings and His direction for our lives.

Luke 17:1 – Offences Will Come

Luke 17:1
1
 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

-There are two very important truths at work in this verse of scripture.  In the latter part of the verse, Jesus tells us that we never want to act in a manner that would bring offense to those around us.  While that is very important, I want to focus on the beginning of this verse- “It is impossible but that offences will come.”  So often in life we react badly when circumstances turn against us or when people turn against us because so often we are caught off guard by that very notion.  It inevitably comes as a surprise that things can get as bad as they do.  Why is that?  We certainly didn’t get such an idea from the Lord; He plainly tells us not that we might be offended, but that we will be offended.  We should enter into our days expecting things to go wrong and then when they do go wrong, we should be surprised that things didn’t go more wrong than they did.  I know that may sound cynical, but consider that this sin-sick world is an offensive place.  To live in such a place and not expect to be offended would be foolish and for the Lord not to tell us so would be dishonest.  We may not be able to put confidence in the world, but we can always put confidence in Him.  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Mark 15:29-31 – He Saved Others

Mark 15:29-31
29
 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,
30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

-Although the High Priests and Pharisees were opposed to Jesus and His ministry, I find it interesting that the Lord continually uses them to bring about His will.  Whether it was a High Priest prophesying of the need for Jesus to die for the people (John 18:14), or the Pharisees leading a sin-sick soul straight to the Lord’s mercy (John 8), it is evident that the Lord was at work in their actions whether they wanted it or not.  Consider the words of the Priests here in verse 31, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.”  They tried to mock Jesus as He died on the cross, but were ignorant to the truth revealed in their own words.  Jesus could have come down from the cross at any point, but that point would have marked the damnation of all mankind.  It was precisely because He saved others that He could not save Himself.  When it came time for Jesus to choose between you or Himself, He chose you.  What will you choose?

Psalm 40:3 – A New Song

Psalm 40:3
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

-Praise unto our God is the new song that the Lord gives His children in salvation.  That means there was an old song in our mouths before.  That song could have been praise to the world, or the praise of money, or even praise unto ourselves.  Notice what comes as a result of that new song- many people begin to fear and trust in the Lord.  No one fears when they hear those old songs because they are commonplace.   Every day we are surrounded by the influence of the world, the love of money, and pride.  But when someone shows up singing praise unto the Lord, that gets people’s attention.  Sure, there will by those who will scoff and ridicule, but don’t let that distract you from the promise of this scripture; your song of praise will point people to the Lord and give them a chance to get a new song of their very own.

Isaiah 65:24 – It Shall Come To Pass…

Isaiah 65:24
24
 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

-This is a very powerful verse of scripture that at once captures both the Lord’s omnipotent power and His boundless compassion.  While it’s comforting to recognize that our Creator actually possesses the ability to answer before we call, notice the beginning of this verse; “And it shall come to pass…”  The fact that this is still a future day implies that the Lord may not always hear and answer prayers like this in the present.  Why would that be?  In the context of Isaiah 65, the Lord is describing a future time when the hearts of the people have turned to God and all the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord.  The Lord can hear and answer every prayer because every heart will be perfectly in tune with Him.  Unfortunately that is not the case in the present tense.  Our hearts are divided which leaves us chasing after a multitude of things in addition to the Lord.  James 1:6-7 tells us to “ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”  What’s more; our divided hearts can, and often do, lead us after other things without seeking the Lord at all.  Psalm 66:18 teaches that “If [we] regard iniquity in [our] heart, the Lord will not hear [us].