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.

February 17, 2021

He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" - then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:3-9).

February 16, 2021

He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" - then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:3-9).

February 15, 2021

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:1-3).

February 14, 2021

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:1-3).

February 13, 2021

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:1-3).

I’ve been around a while now, and I’ve seen and heard a lot of things inside and outside the church. One of the burdens I have for the church is there are a lot of members who know a lot about Jesus, but they don’t know Jesus; they’ve never entered into a personal relationship with Jesus. They’ve never believed in and received Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

February 12, 2021

When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well (Matthew 14:34-36).

February 11, 2021

When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well (Matthew 14:34-36).

February 10, 2021

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God" (Matthew 14:33).

Previously (Matthew 8:27) when Jesus was with the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee and a storm arose, He rebuked the wind and waves and the storm immediately stopped. The response of the disciples was, Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?

February 9, 2021

And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God"  (Matthew 14:32-33).

When Jesus and Peter stepped into the boat immediately the storm stopped. Jesus didn’t have to say a word like He did in Mark 4:39. John 6:21 tells us that as soon as Jesus stepped into the boat it arrived at their destination.

February 8, 2021

But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:30-31).

What makes our relationship with Jesus so intriguing and important is that He challenges us to examine ourselves, often in times of crisis. O you of little faith is a rebuke because Peter did not trust Jesus in his time of crisis. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He asked the question, why did you doubt?

February 7, 2021

When Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:29-30).

“Poor impetuous Peter,” some would say. “His belief in Jesus got him out of the boat, but his lack of faith nearly caused him to drown.” Not so.

The word ‘believe’ is pisteuo and means ‘to have faith, to trust, to commit one’s self to’. The word ‘faith’ is pistis and means ‘assurance, belief, faith’. Though spelled differently, in the Bible these two words are used synonymously.

February 6, 2021

And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-29)

Getting out of the boat and walking on the water to Jesus was not motivated by personal pride. Peter had nothing to prove to the disciples, to Jesus, or to himself. It was motivated by the desire to be with Jesus because with Jesus there is safety and security. Never forget that. To be ‘in Christ Jesus’ and to have Christ Jesus ‘in you’ is to be in His presence where there is safety and security. Did Jesus understand Peter’s motive? Yes. He answered Peter’s request by inviting him to come to Him.

February 5, 2021

And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." (Matthew 14:28).

The Apostle Peter is often the recipient of bad press. He did many things that we would shake our heads at and say, “Man, what was Peter thinking!” As stated earlier, he was bold, impulsive, and strong willed. At times his tongue got ahead of his brain. My dad use to say Peter suffered from ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome. Again, he was a lot of things, but he was no fool. He stepped out of the boat and onto the storm driven Sea of Galilee because that’s where Jesus was. He had learned that wherever Jesus was, it would be safe and that’s where he wanted to be. Why? Because of his great love for Jesus. Let me explain.

February 4, 2021

And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." (Matthew 14:28).

I’ve never been sky-diving, but I know people who have. My sentiment regarding the activity is parroted by Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS) who said, “It’s insane to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!” I’m not a thrill seeker or an adrenaline junkie, even though I do ride a Harley.

In the midst of a huge storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus came walking on the water to the disciples who feared they would die in the midst of the sea. Jesus calmed their fears by calling out to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter’s response to Jesus was, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

February 3, 2021

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea (Matthew 14:23-25).

February 2, 2021

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid" (Matthew 14:26-27).

Mark tells us Jesus saw the disciples straining at rowing the boat (6:48). Remember, Jesus was on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. The disciples in the boat were somewhere near the middle of the Sea - 5 to 7 miles away. It’s the 4th watch of the night - between 3:00 and 6:00 am - so it was dark. Yet Jesus saw them and came walking to them on the water. Another demonstration of His deity.

February 1, 2021

But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea (Matthew 14:24-25).

Webster defines panic as a ‘sudden overpowering fright; acute, extreme anxiety; a sudden unreasoning terror often accompanied by mass flight’. We’ve all experienced it. Some are experiencing it now in the midst of the pandemic. The disciples were in a panic in the midst of a storm out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. What could they do? What would we have done? What do we do today when we face a panic charged situation? Quite often we forget.

January 31, 2021

But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea (Matthew 14:24-25).

January 29, 2021

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there (Matthew 14:23).

This is a common activity of Jesus in the Gospels. We often find Him alone in prayer. There was a reason for this. Jesus’ focus in life was to do the will of the Father in heaven. (John 4:34) Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (John 5:30) I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 6:38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

January 28, 2021

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away (Matthew 14:22).

This account is paralleled in Mark 6:45-46 and John 6:14-15. John’s Gospel tells us, Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone

January 27, 2021

TWELVE BASKETS FULL
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained (Matthew 14:19-20).

January 26, 2021

Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained (Matthew 14:19-20).

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).

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