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.

October 8, 2021

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom" (Matthew 20:20-21).

October 7, 2021

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom" (Matthew 20:20-21).

When Jesus called the 12 to be His disciples, they left everything to follow Him - well, almost everything. They left their jobs and families, friends and fortunes to follow Jesus. They confessed Him as the Messiah, the Lord and Savior of Israel. But they did not leave their national pride and personal ambition. It is apparent in many of their discussions with Jesus that they anticipated a ‘pay day’ one day when He would be exalted as Israel’s Messiah.

October 6, 2021

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom" (Matthew 20:20-21).

October 5, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was not an afterthought, a footnote, or an appendix to the crucifixion. It is a fact. Jesus had to rise again. It was the crucifixion of Jesus that won our salvation, but it was the resurrection of Jesus that sealed our salvation forever.

October 4, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

Crucifixion was a means of execution for the vilest of criminals. Each sin we commit earns us the death penalty. This penalty cannot be paid by any other means than death. (Ezekiel 18:4) Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die. (Romans 3:23) . . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 6:23) . . . the wages of sin is death.

October 3, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

In the days of Jesus there were several ways in which a person was killed: (1) drowning, (2) thrown off a high cliff, (3) burned alive, (4) eaten alive by insects, birds, and animal, (5) pour molten metal down one’s throat, (6) boiling in oil, (7) stoning, (9) strangulation, (10) beheading, and (11) crucifixion. Why did the Romans decide to crucify Jesus? Why didn’t Rome allow the Jews to stone Jesus to death, since historically that was their prescribed method of execution?

October 2, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

Each wound suffered in the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus was intended to produce intense pain and agony. The scourging of Jesus was intended to weaken Him to the point of death. Blood loss was considerable leading to a severe drop in blood pressure, fainting, and organ failure. The open wounds would invite contamination from the instruments of scourging and from dust and dirt. The wooden cross would also become a source of contamination in the open wounds.

October 1, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

September 30, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

September 29, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

September 28, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

September 27, 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:18-19).

September 26, 2021

Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:17-19).

September 25, 2021

Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:17-19).

September 24, 2021

Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:17-19).

September 23, 2021

Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:17-19).

September 22, 2021

Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again" (Matthew 20:17-19).

September 21, 2021

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).

September 20, 2021

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

September 19, 2021

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).

September 18, 2021

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).

"There are four crucial truths in this realm which the doctrine of grace presupposes, and if they are not acknowledged and felt in one's heart, clear faith in God's grace becomes impossible" (J. I. Packer). We have taken a brief look at those four truths:

1.    We cannot know God or experience salvation because we are all morally depraved.
2.    We stand condemned in sin and are destined to face God’s retributive justice.
3.    We are spiritually impotent/dead and unable to save ourselves from God’s wrath.
4.    God is the sovereign Lord and is free to make Himself and salvation known to whom He wills.

September 17, 2021

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

Genesis 1:1 reads, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Moses wrote these words as a statement of fact, not as a theory or idea to be argued or confirmed through human means. God is - always has been, always will be. Because God is and has created all that exists or permits to exist all that exists, He is sovereign. Because He is the sovereign Creator, He is Lord over His creation and has the freedom to do with His creation as He wills.

September 16, 2021

How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength? (Job 26:2) . . . Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:5-6).

September 15, 2021

GRACE & RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die . . . The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself (Ezekiel 18:4,20).

September 14, 2021

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight - that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge (Psalm 51:1-4).

September 13, 2021

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).

“Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.
Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!” (Julia H. Johnston)

September 12, 2021

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).

We will take a momentary detour from Matthew for a few days to explore more carefully the doctrine of grace because it is so misunderstood by many people today. The encounter between the rich young man and Jesus, and Jesus’ subsequent discussion with His disciples, has afforded us the opportunity to engage in the subject of God’s grace.

The word ‘grace’ is found 170 times in 159 verses the Bible. In the Old Testament the word translated ‘grace’ is khane. It is found 39 times in 37 verses. In the New Testament the word translated ‘grace’ is charis. It is found 131 times in 122 verses.

September 11, 2021

For many are called, but few chosen (Matthew 20:16).

This text has caused a great deal of controversy in the Christian church and much consternation in the mind and heart of many Christians. The angst comes from taking the passage out of context and trying to fit our personal theology into it. This is called eisegesis - reading into the text what is not there. Students of Scripture pronounce anathema on such practice. We strive to be diligent to present ourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). To that end we practice exegesis - reading out of the text what is there.

September 10, 2021

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (Matthew 20:1).

We continue today to outline those truths that can be gleaned from The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.

7.    God keeps His promises. Every time the landowner went to the marketplace, he hired all who wanted to work, promising a reward for their labor. He did not welch on his promise. At the close of the day each man was given what he was promised. The landowner did not fudge on the wages because of the complaints of a few. He paid what he promised. The Lord grants salvation to those who answer His call to salvation in genuine faith. It is not an ‘iffy’ proposition.

September 9, 2021

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (Matthew 20:1).

There is a single point to The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard - God’s great grace shown toward us. There are, however, several truths that can be gleaned from this parable.

1.    As Charles Spurgeon said, “Salvation is all of God.” God is the Sovereign Lord over all creation and over all of salvation. Salvation is His, not ours. Well did King David say, Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit (Psalm 51:12). Salvation is God’s investment of grace in our lives, not our possession to have or to lose, or to do with as we please.

September 8, 2021

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (Matthew 20:1).

If we were to translate and interpret The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard with the meaning Jesus intended for us to understand, it would go something like this:

September 7, 2021

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (Matthew 20:1).

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is an illustration of the great grace of God and how it relates to the work of God’s Kingdom. Because this is a parable, we will need to identify the players and places in the parable.

September 6, 2021

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (Matthew 20:1).

With this verse Jesus introduces us to The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. It is a parable of God’s great grace. There is one simple truth to this parable, as there is one simple truth to every parable of Jesus, but there are many spiritual and practical lessons that can be learned from it. Every Christian should study this parable again and again to draw from it a more complete understanding of the grace of God and how it operates in the lives to those it is offered.

September 5, 2021

But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:30).

The above cited text most likely was a common saying among the ancient Jewish people. Jesus repeated these words in Matthew 20:16; Mark 9:35; 10:31; and Luke 13:30. The common saying is a principle of exaltation and humbling. In reference to the rich young man who inquired about eternal life, Jesus pointed out that he, and others like him who were superior in riches and honor, were first in this world according to rank and order but will be the last in the world to come. Those who are last in this world according to rank and order, i.e. the Apostles, who were poor, seemingly insignificant, and hopeless and helpless, will be first in the world to come.

September 4, 2021

But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:30).

This text forms a natural bridge between the encounter of Jesus with the rich young man who inquired about eternal life but went away grieving because he thought the cost was too high, and The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The former reveals the principle governing entrance into the Kingdom, while the latter illustrates the application of that principle.

September 3, 2021

Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:27-30).

September 2, 2021

Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:27-30).

September 1, 2021

Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:27-30).

August 31, 2021

THE COMING KINGDOM: PART 1
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:27-30).

August 30, 2021

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:23-26).

August 29, 2021

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:23-24).

August 28, 2021

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Matthew 19:22).

Discipleship is a serious calling. It’s a serious undertaking. It’s a serious life choice. Yesterday we said 3 things were required for a person to be a disciple of Jesus in that day and time: (1) a person had to be invited by Jesus to be a disciple, (2) a person had to obey what the Lord commanded, and (3) a person was to follow the Lord’s example and live as He lived. Understand that submitting to these 3 requirements may make a person a disciple, but they don’t save a person. In other words, a saved person is called to be a disciple of Jesus, but not everyone called by Jesus to be a disciple will be saved.

August 27, 2021

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21).

The word ‘perfect’ (teleios) means perfect or whole as God is perfect and whole. The young man testified that he was as perfect as he could be in keeping the Mosaic Law. Jesus was clear in His response, “One thing you lack” (Mark 10:21). In other words, “you are not as perfect as you think.” He then gave the man 3 things to do: (1) divest yourself of all your worldly goods, (2) enrich others with what you have, and (3) forsake everything to be My disciple.

August 26, 2021

What do I still lack? (Matthew 19:20).

There have been times when I have been engaged in conversation with people that I noticed there was no light in their eyes. It was as though they were dead inside. Their conversation had no passion or conviction; it was almost mechanical and routine. 

If you will remember John the Baptist burst on to the scene of Jewish life 400 years after the last prophet of the Old Testament had spoken the Word of God. A lot of things developed in Jewish life during those 400 years. Most of it was not good at all. One of the more prominent developments from that period was the rise of the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. 

August 25, 2021

What do I still lack? (Matthew 19:20).

This is what religion does to a person. It confuses him/her. It gives a false sense of security. Note the thinking of this man (vv.16-20), “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

August 24, 2021

He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:18-20).

Jesus’ reply to the young man’s question, “Which ones?” was to select the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 5th Commandments, which constitute the 2nd Great Commandment, you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:37-40). Why these and not the others?

First, the 2nd tablet of the Law (our duty toward men) is not the whole Law of God.

August 23, 2021

Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).

In answering the man’s question , “. . . what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”, Jesus took him to the Mosaic Law. In essence Jesus said, “You want to believe yourself to be the model of a righteous life, then let’s see what the Bible says.” There is no one, absolutely no one, the Old Testament testifies as keeping the Mosaic Law perfectly - not even Moses himself!

August 22, 2021

Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).

“Judged by the principles and strategy of much contemporary evangelism, Jesus seems to have made a serious and insensitive mistake. He not only did not take advantage of the man’s obvious readiness to make a decision but He even seemed to be teaching righteousness by works” (John MacArthur). 

August 21, 2021

A WORKS SALVATION?
Saturday, August 21, 2021

Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).

This nameless wealthy young religious leader called Jesus ‘good Teacher’. This indicates that he respected Jesus as an authority on Mosiac Law, a teacher of spiritual truth, and an honored Rabbi among the common people. In that sense he was like Nicodemus (John 3:1-2), Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Neither man believed Jesus to be the Messiah and Son of God.

August 20, 2021

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16).

The word ‘good’ is agathos. It means that which is beneficial and well. There is another word in the Greek that is translated ‘good’ in the English. It is kalos. It means morally good; valuable and virtuous. What is the point?

August 19, 2021

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16).

Yesterday we considered some aspects/characteristics of eternal life in heaven and in hell. But that’s not all eternal life is. Yes, it is quantity of life - to live forever. Yes, it is quality of life - many of the aspects outlined in yesterday’s devotional. But there’s more to the quality of life in heaven than these.

August 18, 2021

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16).

What is eternal life? To some it is existence in eternity. It is to ‘live forever’, to ‘live eternally’. Obviously it is that, but scripturally speaking it is so much more than quantity of life. It is also quality of life. In simply thinking about living forever we would conclude eternal life would be undesirable after a while. What will a person do if he/she lived forever? Even though the possibilities would seem equally endless, the ideas of how to occupy our eternity eventually run out and we are left with a huge question mark.

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