Daily Devotionals

The Pastors of the church provide a daily devotional entitled Today's Word of Encouragement they hope will be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and strengthening of your faith. It is not intended to take the place of other devotional materials (Our Daily Bread, Open Windows, etc.) but to supplement those devotionals. Contact the church office if you wish to receive Today's Word of Encouragement via email, or subscribe to the church's website and it will be sent to you automatically. We pray it will be an encouragement to you.

January 25, 2021

He said, "Bring them here to Me" (Matthew 14:18).

Listen to the words written by Myra Brooks Welch entitled, The Old Violin: The Touch of the Master’s Hand.

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while,
To waste his time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried, "Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, do I hear two? Two dollars, who makes it three?
Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

January 24, 2021

When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish" (Matthew 14:15-17).

January 23, 2021

When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish" (Matthew 14:15-17)

January 22, 2021

When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish" (Matthew 14:15-17)

January 21, 2021

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick (Matthew 14:13-14).

January 20, 2021

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick (Matthew 14:13-14).

January 19, 2021

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick (Matthew 14:13-14).

From 14:21 we learn that this crowd numbered at least 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. As stated earlier (yesterday’s Word of Encouragement), not everyone in the crowd was concerned for their spiritual welfare. All kinds of motives reverberated in the heart and spirit of the people. None-the-less, Jesus set aside His personal desire to be alone with His heavenly Father and the disciples to address the needs of the people.

January 18, 2021

MOTIVE IN MINISTRY
Monday, January 18, 2021

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick (Matthew 14:13-14).

January 17, 2021

A DESERTED PLACE
Sunday, January 17, 2021

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities (Matthew 14:13).

Mark 6:32 reads, So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. Luke 9:10 reads, And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. John 6:1 reads, After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.

January 16, 2021

Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus (Matthew 14:12).

“Herod rejected Christ, and Christ rejected Herod. For fear of a woman, for fear of his reputation, for fear of his peers, for fear of his throne - and for lack of fear for God - he damned his soul forever” (John MacArthur). Herod Antipas is an enigma, but is like a lot of people in our culture - irresponsible, egocentric, emotionally driven, narcissistic, vacillating at every turn, lustful, etc.

January 15, 2021

For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife (Matthew 14:3).

If Hollywood ever runs out of salacious material in producing movies, the movie moguls can look to the Bible for enough to keep them busy. On second thought, we don’t need to hear or see any more than we already have.

January 14, 2021

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him" (Matthew 14:1-2).

The people of Nazareth rejected Jesus based on their jealous resentment - He was not the boy they remember growing up in town; He can’t possibly be the Messiah. In Matthew 14:1-12 we will discover that King Herod Antipas rejected Jesus based on superstitious fear - He was the ghost of John the Baptizer whom he had murdered.

January 13, 2021

Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58).

There is a truth in this text we need to appreciate. The verse does not say Jesus could not do many might works in Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people, but He would not perform any miracles based on their unbelief. Remember the leper who approached Jesus (Matthew 8:2-3)? And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

January 12, 2021

Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house" (Matthew 13:57).

After hearing Jesus teach in the synagogue, the people were offended not by what He said but by who He was. Knowing Jesus as we do, no doubt His message to them was one of repentance of sin and embracing the Kingdom of God in Him. But they were antagonistic toward Him because He wasn't the person they knew as a boy.

January 11, 2021

When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?" So they were offended at Him (Matthew 13:54-57).

Jesus returned to His hometown. It was the Sabbath, so He went to church (Mark 6:1-6). It was customary for Him to speak in the synagogues. Any Jewish male had a right to address the people if called on by the leader of the synagogue. Jesus often availed Himself of the right to teach the people the doctrines of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23).

January 10, 2021

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there (Matthew 13:53).

Jesus was most likely in Peter’s home in Capernaum when He spoke these parables to the crowd. It was an emotional, physical, and spiritually draining period of time in Jesus’ life. A lot was accomplished in His training of the disciples, in His ministry to the crowds, and in His rebuking and correcting the Pharisees. Now it was time to move on. Verse 54 tells us Jesus returned to His own country, meaning Nazareth.

January 9, 2021

Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord." Then He said to them, "Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old" (Matthew 13:51-52).

A good teacher’s responsibility does not end with helping students discover knowledge. The teacher must help students go beyond discovery and into understanding. A good student’s responsibility does not end with discovering knowledge. The student must seek to understand the knowledge he/she has discovered. That’s the dynamic of teaching and no one did it better than Jesus.

January 8, 2021

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:47-50).

January 7, 2021

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (Matthew 13:45-46).

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, wasn’t that the point of The Parable of the Hidden Treasure?” Yes it was. “Then why did Jesus repeat it?” Because we’re human. Quite often you will find in Scripture places where God’s words are repeated. It is for emphasis. For the Hebrew people what is said last is what is most important, most of the time. For us, all that God has said is important and it is repeated for emphasis because we have to be reminded of things - we tend to forget what we’ve been told.

January 6, 2021

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Matthew 13:44).

I think it’s a fantasy of every boy to discover hidden treasure, whether it be in a cave, in the back-yard, near a beach, or even in the attic or basement of an old house. There’s something about discovering something that will radically change our lives for the better that captures the imagination.

Jesus told The Parable of the Hidden Treasure to do exactly that in the hearts and minds of those who listened to Him. Except this treasure does not consist of material wealth buried under a rock. It is the eternal reward for a life of faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

January 5, 2021

Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

January 4, 2021

All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35).

January 3, 2021

Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened" (Matthew 13:33).

Leaven, in the Bible, is comparable to our baker’s yeast. It is that element that is added to dough that causes it to rise before baking into bread. It also adds a certain amount of flavoring to the bread. In The Parable of the Leaven, Jesus refers to the common practice of baking bread by using leaven.

January 2, 2021

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches" (Matthew 13:31-32).

To better understand this parable a person has to be familiar with the mustard plant to which Jesus refers. It is quite different from the mustard plants we are familiar with in the U.S. 

January 1, 2021

The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest (Matthew 13:28-30).

Why would Jesus want the ministers of Satan to co-exist with His own servants and in His churches? It is against all common sense. We don’t allow weeds to grow with our crops out in the fields. We don’t allow spoiled vegetables and fruits to remain in the same refrigerator with the good vegetables and fruits. 

December 31, 2020

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way (Matthew 13:24).

Like The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Wheat and Weeds has a singular point and purpose, but there are also several other truths that can be learned from it. In this parable, Jesus reveals the strategy of Satan in his attempts to thwart the work of God’s Kingdom on earth. This strategy is only one of the strategies used by Satan today.

December 30, 2020

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.

December 29, 2020

But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it (Matthew 13:16-17).

We truly live in a blessed time. We are permitted to see and understand spiritual truth that many generations before us were unable to see and understand. We have the Holy Spirit with us who gives us understanding of God’s Word, who opens our eyes to the plans and purposes of God, and to see God’s Kingdom at work among us.

December 28, 2020

And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:14-15).

December 27, 2020

And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:10-13).

December 26, 2020

He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:9).

Can you remember a time when someone said to you, "Are you listening to me?" Maybe they were stressing something they felt was important but they thought you we weren't really paying attention. Maybe you were the one asking the question to someone who wasn't paying attention to you!

This is not the first or only time Jesus used the phrase He who has hears to hear, let him hear. To us it seems 'a no brainer' since ears are meant to hear. But even if someone does hear what is being said, it doesn't mean he understands what is being said. And that was the point Jesus was making to the people who heard Him teach. 

December 25, 2020

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9).

December 24, 2020

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9).

December 23, 2020

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9).

December 22, 2020

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9).

December 21, 2020

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9).

December 20, 2020

And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables (Matthew 13:2-3).

Jesus was a consummate teacher. He used a number of methods to reveal and emphasize spiritual truths. One such method of teaching is the parable. A parable is a story told to illustrate a truth. Telling stories using familiar characters and activities was a favorite way for ancient rabbis to hold an audience's attention while illustrating an important moral point.

December 19, 2020

On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea (Matthew 13:1).

Matthew doesn’t usually give us such cameos of Jesus. We would expect a statement as this to be found in Luke who, as a physician, revealed the more personal and human side of our Lord. 

December 18, 2020

While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You." But He answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:46-50).

December 17, 2020

When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation (Matthew 12:43-45).

Demons are fallen angels who supported Lucifer in his attempted coup in heaven prior to the physical creation. When he was thrown out of heaven, they were thrown out with him. Now they serve Lucifer (Satan), in disrupting, discrediting, and destroying God’s word and work throughout creation.

December 16, 2020

The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here  (Matthew 12:41-42).

December 15, 2020

But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40).

Prior to this discussion, and even after this discussion, Jesus performed many miraculous ‘signs’ that authenticated His Messiahship. But faithless hearts choose not to believe, rather they will not believe. An unbelieving heart will hold to a lie rather than admit the truth. That was the extent of the godlessness of the Scribes and Pharisees. 

December 14, 2020

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You" (Matthew 12:38).

A sign in the Bible is some event or activity, natural or supernatural, that authenticated a messenger and his message. It was usually a miracle with a clear meaning regarding something specific. Signs were used two ways in the Bible: 1) to convince, and 2) to confirm. When Moses was sent to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery, he was given power to perform certain signs: turn his staff into a snake, turn the Nile River to blood, the plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, etc., in order to convince the Egyptians to release the Jews and to convince the Jews to follow his leadership. 

December 13, 2020

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Matthew 12:36-37).

The New Testament Theologian Donald Guthrie cites this text as one of the more difficult sayings of Jesus. The reason is because of the words ‘idle’ and ‘judgment’ and the relationship between the two. Will God hold us accountable for every off-hand word we speak? If so, what will the judgment be? How long will it take for a person to account for every ‘idle’ word that he/she speaks on the day of judgment? Is this the point Jesus wanted to make with the Pharisees?

December 12, 2020

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things (Matthew 12:34-35).

To the Hebrews the heart was the center of life - it was the core of one’s being. If the heart was right, the life would be right. If the heart was evil, the life would be evil. Jesus emphasized that principle as He continued in His assessment of the Pharisees who accused Him of being a servant of Satan.

December 11, 2020

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 12:33).

This is a recurring theme of Jesus (Matthew 3:10; 7:15-20; 13:23 and parallel passages). What is His point?

December 10, 2020

Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

Jesus said every sin can be forgiven except the specific sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Luke is more specific, And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

December 9, 2020

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad (Matthew 12:30).

In American politics the cardinal doctrine of success is compromise. It is “an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions; an ability to listen to two sides in a dispute, and devise a compromise acceptable to both” (Webster’s Dictionary). Compromise may work in American politics, but it does not work in the Kingdom of God.

December 8, 2020

Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house (Matthew 12:29).

Repetition is an effective tool used to aid in remembering something that is important. God has used repetition throughout Scripture to drive home certain truths we cannot afford to overlook or ignore. Repetition can take the form of repeating a word or statement verbatim. It can be the repeating of a principle in different ways. Sometimes repetition takes the form of a statement followed up by an example.

December 7, 2020

And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you (Mat 12:27-28).

There are a number of techniques Jesus used to counter the arguments of the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. The primary argument was to simply tell the truth and let the truth stand on its own merit. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one (Matthew 5:37). Too often we make a trap for ourselves by trying to justify the truth with arguments that actually weaken it.

December 6, 2020

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand (Matthew 12:25).

Jesus stated a principle well known by all of us. Division is a good thing when we share with others to everyone’s benefit. It is a bad thing when we disagree to the point we go our separate ways to everyone’s detriment.

We pride ourselves in our diversities. It’s good to disagree and to debate because then we are exposed to different ideas and principles we may not have considered on our own. But disagreeing and division are two different things.

December 5, 2020

But Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 12:25).

Sometimes you can almost know what a person is thinking by observing their body language. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made his celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes almost omniscient through his powers of observation and deduction. But Jesus Christ was, and is omniscient.

Among the many attributes of the Godhead, there are three ‘omnies’ that are familiar in Christian theology: God is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (present everywhere), and omniscient (knowing all things). These Latin words describe attributes of God that lie beyond human ability. Did Jesus possess these attributes when He walked among us? Yes.

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