Daily Devotionals

The Pastor of the church provides a daily devotional entitled Think Upon These Things hoping it 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 Think Upon These Things 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 27, 2021

And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?" So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee" (Matthew 21:10-11).

Prophets are spokesmen for God. When Israel asked Samuel for a king, God said he would be God’s voice to the people (1 Samuel 8:7). Jesus said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me (John 7:16). God said to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! (Matthew 17:5). Jesus was a prophet.

October 26, 2021

And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?" So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee" (Matthew 21:10-11).

October 25, 2021

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:8-9)

No one knows the size of the crowd that gathered, but scholars, both ancient and modern, have indicated that the attendance in Jerusalem was gradually swelling to nearly 2 million people. Jesus has already attracted a large crowd in Bethany as He left the Mount of Olives. It is suggested that a crowd of 100,000 people or more thronged both sides of the road as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem.

October 24, 2021

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them (Matthew 21:4-7).

Although Matthew quoted Zechariah (9:9), Daniel (9:25) also addressed the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

October 23, 2021

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:14-16).

I will break from our current study today to ask you to pray for Nancy and me. Yesterday (Friday) Nancy and I were informed we have the COVID virus. Our good friend and medico, Ken, has put us on a regimen of meds and vitamins to help us through the process of recovery. We solicit your prayers as well.

October 22, 2021

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them" (Matthew 21:1-3).

John tells us that Jesus and the disciples stopped at Bethany before going on to Jerusalem (John 12:1). So why does Matthew mention Bethphage? That was the village opposite you where the disciples would find the donkey and her colt.

October 21, 2021

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them" (Matthew 21:1-3).

The Mount of Olives was an important place to Jesus in the days of His ministry. It is so named because of the olive grove that was located at its base and on its slopes. In ancient days, the olives from its groves were pressed and used to anoint kings and priests. The Garden of Gethsemane is located within the olive grove on the Mount of Olives.

October 20, 2021

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them" (Matthew 21:1-3).
 

October 19, 2021

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them" (Matthew 21:1-3).

October 18, 2021

So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" They said to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him (Matthew 20:32-34)

Why did Jesus ask the men the question, What do you want Me to do for you? Jesus is willing to answer the desires of a person’s heart if those desires are within the parameters of His will and are intended to glorify God. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:4-5).

October 17, 2021

Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" (Matthew 20:29-31).

The amazing thing about these 2 men is despite the fact they were physically blind, they had spiritual insight, something few people had in that day. This is supported by the words they spoke to Jesus.

October 16, 2021

Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" (Matthew 20:29-31).

In the days of Jesus there were many people who suffered all kinds of physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Throughout His ministry He attended to many who were lame, blind, deaf, mute, had withered arms and hands (palsy), were demon possessed, suffered leprosy, etc. On this occasion Jesus met 2 blind men as he was leaving Jericho (Matthew) and entering Jericho (Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35).

October 15, 2021

. . . The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

The atoning death of Jesus Christ was ordained to satisfy God’s holy justice against sinners. But note that Jesus said He would give His life a ransom for many. That is an arresting revelation. Didn’t Jesus say, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved (John 3:16)? Yes, He did. So, if Jesus died for the whole world, then the whole world will be saved, right? Wrong.

October 14, 2021

. . . The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

The word translated ‘ransom’ means the price paid to set a slave free. It is the purchase money for releasing a slave from servitude. There is the notion of exchange in the use of this word. Jesus gave His own life as the price of freedom for the slaves of sin.

October 13, 2021

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:26-28).

James and John, through their mother, Salome, asked Jesus to put them in positions of honor and authority in His Kingdom. The other disciples, who were standing close by, became indignant of the two, but Jesus took the occasion to address and correct the thinking of all the disciples.

October 12, 2021

But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able" (Matthew 20:22).

It is not a bad thing to have confidence in one’s self. In fact, without it we wouldn’t be able to achieve much of anything in life. When you consider what we have accomplished on the grand scale in science and technology, architecture and engineering, aerospace technology, medicine, agriculture, etc., where would we be without a ‘can do’ attitude? Self-confidence can be a healthy thing. It can also be disastrous and deadly. In the words of ‘Dirty Harry’ Callahan, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

October 11, 2021

But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able" (Matthew 20:22).

Some of you may remember, when you were a child, having to take some really awful tasting medicine when you had a cold, flue, or upset stomach. Back home in Arkansas, mom and grandma (who lived next door) would treat us with ‘home remedies’ when we fell ill. Some of the liquids they gave us were nasty - oily and bitter, etc. Julie Andrews was right in singing, “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!” Even today some of the modern medicines taste horrible. And I hate it when the doctor says, “Drink it all.”

October 10, 2021

But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able" (Matthew 20:22).

I was 6 years old when I first believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Needless to say there were many things about the Christian faith I did not know. Sixty years have passed and, while I have grown tremendously in my understanding of spiritual things, there is so much more to be understood. I pray my understanding of the Christian life will continue to expand until the day I am called home.

October 9, 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).

The wife of Zebedee and mother of James and John. Who was she? When you compare Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25, it is apparent she was Salome. What makes her request so necessary to understand is that Salome was a sister to Mary, the mother of Jesus. That made James and John first cousins to Jesus with Salome as His aunt. Talk about pressure!

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.

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