Jesus does not mince words when he says he who is not for me is against me. Jesus' half brother James puts it this way in his letter, "He who is a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

Family Discussions:

  1. Do you love Jesus with a whole-heart, a half-heart, or a not at all?
  2. What is more important to you than Jesus?
  3. How can your family help you love Jesus with your actions?

Episode Transcription:

00:13 I've got two glasses of water in my hands. One of them is pure, and one of them is almost pure. As soon as this is over, I'm going to take a drink of this one. The Bible verse today is Matthew 12, verse 25 and then verse 30, and it says this, "And knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, 'Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.'" And then going down to verse 30, it says, "He who is not with me, is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters."

00:48 Jim says he's a follower of Christ and seeks to improve his walk every day. Ann is defiant and rebellious and blasphemes God in her language and in her life. Rebecca and Tony claimed to be in a completely different group. They're not living for God, but they're not out to destroy Him either. They party a little, and they go to church a little. They don't want to be seen as Christians, but they don't classify themselves as atheist either. Folks, Jesus does not mince words when he says he who is not for me is against me. Jesus' half brother James puts it this way in his letter, "He who is a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

01:32 I've heard the stories for decades of many adults and many teenagers I work with who cop-out on God by saying, "You know what? I'm not doing anything that bad. I'm just not ready for a commitment yet."

01:43 In case after case that I've seen, and I've watched these cases for years, it was only a matter of time that each misled heart with a divided spirit was reeling in emotional pain from some kind of disaster that his friendship with the world had led him into, and the road to hell widens with every single passing day. Hey, Jesus in history clearly issues the warning: Either you love me with your whole heart, or you know what? You don't love me at all. I am so thankful for the blood of Christ. Drop it in this cup of impure water, and it becomes as pure is this one. And with that grace, you know what? any of us who've been loving him with a half-heart, can love him with a pure heart, and we can begin to do what Jesus says when he says, love me with everything you've got. That's the cup that he wants to drink from. That's the cup that you can drink from today.

Jesus shed a dazzling new light on the three letter word law that has been a stumbling block for everyone since the first law was written. It was not the letter of the law that mattered so much to Jesus as it was the spirit of the law behind it.

Family Discussions:

  1. What are your motives?
  2. Is what you do more important to you than why you do it?
  3. How do you keep the spirit of the Sabbath?

Episode Transcription:

00:14 Have you ever wondered what one of the original Bible scrolls looked like -- what it would have been like to open up that clay pot and see the Dead Sea scrolls from the original manuscripts? Well, I don't have one of those in my hands today, but today I do want to look at the heart of the Bible and say, "Okay, what is this book really trying to say to me?"

00:36 Scripture today comes from Matthew 12 and beginning at verse one. It says this. At that time, Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain to eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look, your disciples do what is not lawful on the sabbath." But he said to them, "Have you not read that David in the scriptures, when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God and then ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor those with him, but for the priests alone. Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath, the priest in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent, but I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, 'I desire compassion and not a sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent." 

01:32 On this day, Jesus shed a dazzling new light on the three letter word "law" that has been a stumbling block for everyone since the first law was written. It was not the letter of the law that mattered so much to Jesus as it was the spirit of the law behind it. In scripture, Jesus is referred to as God. They call him the Word, the Co-creator of the universe.They call Jesus the Lord of the Sabbath in scripture.

01:58 And you know what? As you love him and worship him in all things, you're keeping all the law. The name of the game on the Sabbath as well as all the other six days of the week is not just to refrain from breaking a sweat if there's a need is to think of him, is to worship him, is to live for him, is to love him. Yes, Sunday is supposed to be a day set aside to give extraordinary focus to God as we remember his command to rest one day a week and then attach it to the day that Jesus was resurrected to life after Friday's crucifixion. But be it the Sabbath or be it Saturday out spending, you know, hunting with your buddies, it's the heart that matters to God. True religious devotion is your desire to stay pure, to represent Christ, to reconcile your differences in your home and to honor him in every thing you do. You know what? It's the heart of the man. It's the heart of the woman. It's the heart of the child. That is the original law.

The competition of life is intense. It's like an ice hockey game, isn't it? The opponents of guilt, perfectionism, failure, and lust are constantly skating before you, desiring to eliminate you from the game.

Family Discussions:

  1. What in life is beating you down today?
  2. How does knowing God as your protector give you peace?

Episode Transcription:

00:13 Hey, the next time you are getting beat up. The next time this life on this earth is attacking you and you're getting killed. The next time a hockey puck is flying in your face, you're going to remember this one. This is Jesus' words in Matthew chapter eleven verse twenty -eight. Ah, this is awesome. He says, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


00:50 The night before my college football team, years ago, played the University of Oklahoma in a major New Year's Eve Bowl bash. We went to a professional hockey game, an ice hockey game,
 kind of to ease our nerves and forget the tension of the upcoming dual in the gridiron. We were like 13 point underdogs going into the game. The ice hockey game, however, was brutal. The hitting and the checking and the fighting made our game of football seemed more like, you know, PlayStation or Nintendo. Man, we moaned and groaned and empathized with the physical punishment each player dealt to their opponent. We left that arena that night relieved to be putting on our football gear the next day and playing a sport as tame in comparison to ice hockey.

01:36 Hey, I had a buddy named Shane who played goalie for his high school ice hockey team. He used to tell me about his game. He says the goalie takes the heat of every single play. The frozen puck slams into his space at speeds up to 100 miles an hour and every player longs to smash the goalie away from the goal to accomplish a rare score into the net. Shane had no fear as he played the game because, in hockey, the goalie is protected by his teammates at all costs.
He told me in one critical game a crazed opponent bashed into Shane with both fists. Immediately, he said, his teammates leaped on the intruder with protective vengeance. The goalie's burden of protecting the goal is light because he has no fear of the opposing players because at all times five swiftly skating teammates are ready, willing, and able to protect him with their lives. As a Christian, you're the goalie. The competition of life is intense. It's like an ice hockey game, isn't it? The opponents of guilt, the opponents of perfectionism, failure and lust are constantly skating before you designed to eliminate you from the game, but thanks to our caring, self-sacrificing, protective Savior, Jesus Christ, the game is fun. The game is fun knowing that our teammate is fully capable of responding immediately to our prayer and to body check our enemy into the boards because we looked to him as we look to him in faith and let him intercede for our daily needs. I know going through cancer and going through a lot of pain in my own life and the peace was there and the peace is there. Every time I go in, the peace will be there.

When our treasure becomes God and when our treasure becomes His Word, that's when happiness becomes a daily part of our life. Treasuring God. That's joy.

Family Discussions:

  1. What do you tend to treasure more than God?
  2. Do these treasures last or satisfy?
  3. How can you establish God as your treasure? 

Episode Transcription:

00:14 As a scuba diver, I've always wondered what it would be like to discover a treasure buried deep in some coral reef down there under the ocean. Wouldn't that be awesome? Today, I'm going to discover a treasure with you, and we're going to be looking at Matthew chapter six, verse 19, where Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also." 

00:48 I will never forget the Sunday years ago. It was the greatest day of my life. I got to do what I absolutely treasure the most. First, I got to have a whole day off to play. I've always loved weekends. I never got over that one.Then I got to cook homemade blueberry pancakes for my, my boy Brady, and I got to get chocolate chip pancakes for my other son Cooper. Uh, yeah, I, eat at least one of each. Uh, after a fantastic devotional together that breakfast morning, we went to our little country church as a family and sang those super old hymns that I used to sing with my daddy when I was a little pipsqueak. I still remember holding my daddy's hand in Church and singing those hymns with him. I wish he was still here. After church, I was the lucky one who got to go out and play catch with the football and hit golf balls with my boys. Then I was lucky enough to get the ice the cake with a phone call from my two girls who were in college. It was awesome. If that weren't enough, I was fortunate enough that night to get the hold my precious wife's hand as we prayed together to consummate the day before bed. I've always treasured those times with my God, my wife, and my kids. You can take everything else own. Burned my house. Steal my car. You can't take my dog, my Labrador retriever, but you could take everything else, but life will still be a 10 for me. Honestly.

02:14 When I was a kid, my mom used to lead me on these incredible treasure hunts. They were as creative as the genius inside my dear mom's head who made them up. I've loved treasure hunts since I can remember. The prize at the end is great, but the hunt is always the best part. You know, men can treasure expensive toys, power, position. Women can treasure houses, careers, cars, jewelry. Kids can treasure music, cars, but God says, treasure me. And you know what? When our treasure becomes God, when our treasurer becomes his word, that's when happiness becomes a daily part of our life. Treasuring God. That's joy.

Jesus said, "Let your 'yes' be 'yes'." Presidential politics, television drama, talk shows, and frankly a lot of our daily conversations make you wonder if there is any truth left in this world.

Family Discussions:

  1. When is it hardest for you to be honest?
  2. Why is a person's "yes" the most important in his or her life?
  3. How can you build better trust today?

Episode Transcription:

00:14 Today, I want to tell you an amazing love story that says a whole lot about keeping your word. The text is in Matthew chapter five. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking and he says, "Again, you've heard that the ancients were told, 'you shall not make false vows but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord,' but I say to you, 'make no oath at all, either by heaven for it is the throne of God, or by the earth for the footstool of his feet, or by Jerusalem for it's the city of the great king. Nor shall you make an oath by your head for you cannot make one hair white or black, but let your statement be, 'yes, yes' and 'no, no,' because anything beyond this is of evil.'" My oldest brother Bob at six-foot-three-inches tall and 210 pounds of solid muscle is a man's man to the core of his heart.

01:03 He's a successful dentist, an avid bird-dog trainer, a skilled outdoorsman, and great photographer. Man, he's always been one of my heroes. It was probably 40 years ago that Bob married the first girl he ever loved. He said "Yes" to the preacher on that wedding date and gave his word that he'd give his little Mary Evelyn his life no matter what. At several summers ago, Mary Evelyn's kidneys quit. She needed a donor kidney, and she needed it immediately to stay alive. No kidney that matched her biological chemistry was available. Immediately, Brother Bob volunteered his kidney. He was tested for compatibility and amazingly enough, his kidney matched perfectly.

01:45 She feels like a million bucks today. He feels pain every day in his side, but he just smiles and shrugs it off as a small expression of his love for the wife of a lifetime. Hey, Jesus said, "Let your yes be yes." Presidential politics, television drama, talk shows, and frankly a lot of our daily conversation makes you wonder if there's any truth left in this world. Brother Bob showed me that a man keeps his word. Some great discussion questions today are this: when is it hardest for you to be honest? And then second, why is a person's 'yes,' the most important word in his or in her life? Then, how can you build better trust today?

02:34 And here's a great thought for the day: man, the home is where honesty is forged like steel.

Tic-Tac breath mints will do almost anything, but there is one thing in your mouth that they won't take away and that is bitterness. Matthew 5:22 has a lot to say about that in the Sermon on the Mount.

Family Discussions:

  1. Does anyone in this family have cause for bitterness or anger today?
  2. Is anyone's cause anywhere near as great as the skating champion's? 
  3. Why does Jesus continually demand that we release anger, forgive, and gain peace between an adversary, especially within a family, before we come to God with a gift of worship, prayer, or money?
  4. Does this family need to pray for reconciliation for anyone today?

Episode Transcription:

00:14 These little tic tac, breath mints will do almost anything, but there's one thing in your mouth that they take away and that's bitterness. Matthew 5:22 has a lot to say about that. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was speaking of course, and he said, "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court and whoever says to his brother, 'You good for nothing, Raca!' shall be guilty before the Supreme Court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool!' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore, if you're presenting your offering at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your altar, leave your offering before the altar and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother and then returned to present your offering."

1:01 America will never forget a few years ago when the United States figure skating champion burst into tears of exhilarating victory as he publicly thanked Jesus Christ for the strength to succeed. The crowd roared in thunderous approval for it was that champion who in the previous year had suddenly lost his father, his brothers, and two coaches to untimely deaths.

01:27 The champion was evidently free enough of any harboring of bitterness towards the sovereign God who makes all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose to achieve his life's greatest performance. Some discussion questions that you might want to throw around today are these. One, hey, does anyone in this family, in your family have cause for bitterness or anger today? Is anyone's cause anywhere near as great as the skating champions? And then another question, why does Jesus continually demand that we release anger, forgive, and gained peace between an adversary, especially within a family, before we come to God with a gift of worship, prayer, or money? And then third, does this family, does your family, need to pray for reconciliation for anyone today? And how about this as a thought for the day: the family is God's team for building peace, harmony, and a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Temptations. They come at us like snowballs in a great snowball fight, don't they? They're Satan's greatest tool to bring us down until our face is in the dirt. He always tries to give us something that we think we want now without giving us a clue of the consequences we will face later.

Family Discussions:

  1. How has Satan been tempting you?
  2. What scripture is useful for fighting this temptation?

Episode Transcription:

00:13 Well, today we're going to look at Matthew chapter four verses one through eleven when Jesus was tempted by Satan. What a day it must've been.

00:22 It says in scripture, "Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil himself. And after he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights," and imagine how hungry he must've been, "He then became hungry and the tempter came and said to him, 'If you're the son of God, command that these stones become bread,' but he answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' Then the devil took him into the holy city and laid him and had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple and he said to him, 'If you're the son of God, throw yourself down for it is written. He will command the angels concerning you and on their hands they will bear you up so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' Jesus said to him, 'On the other hand, it is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and Satan said to Jesus, 'All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Go Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only.' Then the devil left him and behold the angels came and began to minister to him."

01:40 Temptation. They come at us like snowballs in a huge snowball fight, don't they? They're Satan's greatest tool to bring us down until our face is in the dirt. He always tries to give us something that we think we want now without giving us a clue of the consequences we'll face later.

01:58 He's the master of deception. He is the master of lies. Jesus knew that so he dealt with Satan and the only surefire way he can be immediately defeated. He didn't argue, he didn't play around with him. He didn't rationalize. He simply put the era of scripture right in the middle of Satan's heart where the knockout blow would instantly be delivered.

02:26 God gives you and I, the one tool, the hammer, the gun, and the arrow that knocks Satan out. That's why everyday he implores us to get in the word and that's what we're going to be doing together everyday through these devotionals. It'll be my joy to go here with you every single day.

November 13, 2018

Who is Jesus? - Matthew 11:2-4

Whatever the world may say about Jesus, He is convinced that He was and is God in the flesh. You can call Him crazy. You can call Him delirious. You can call Him grossly misinformed. But don't label Jesus a a good man, another prophet, a great moral teacher, or any other title of mere human significance.

Family Discussion:

  1. What do you believe about Jesus?
  2. How does what you believe about Jesus change how you live today?

Episode Transcription:

00:14 If you've ever wondered if Jesus was really sure about himself, wonder no longer. If you ever wondered what he meant when he said, "I'm the vine, you're the branches." When he said, "I'm the door. I and my father are one." Today, I hope we answered that forever from God's word, from you. The scripture today is Matthew chapter eleven, verse two, it's talking about John the Baptist at a very critical time in his life. "Now, when John while in prison heard the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to them, 'Are you the expected one or shall we look for someone else?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and report to John what you hear and what you see,'" I and my father are one. Talk about an earthquake in that day. If you've seen me, you've seen the father. I'm the vine. I'm the door. I'm the way

01:06 Hey, make no mistake about it. Whatever the world may say about Jesus, he is convinced that he was and is God in the flesh. You can call him crazy. You could call him delirious. You can call him grossly misinformed, but don't label Jesus as a good man, another prophet, a great moral teacher, or any other title of mere human significance because either he was God or he was the most misleading person who ever lived. He knew that he was God in the flesh. John the Baptist himself, a man on earth with a very definite mission from God, had given his life to proclaim the coming of Christ. On this day, however, from his cell in prison, he wanted to make absolutely certain that he had sold out for the right person. In so many words, Jesus told his disciples to tell John the same thing He would tell you the next time you ask.

02:07 I do things that only God can do. I am the fulfillment of all Messianic prophecy. I have the power that no mere man could ever have. Yes, John, when you see me, you've seen the father. If Jesus was anything less than God, his sacrifice on the cross could have never paid for your sin, but he had to become man to identify personally with your sin so that he could literally die for it. As God, He had the position and authority. As man, He had the person and the humanity. John was convinced, and he gave his life for it. Are you convinced?

More powerful than guns. More powerful than wars. More powerful than hate. More powerful than anything. Jesus is in Matthew chapter 10.

Family Discussions:

  1. Where is it hardest to live your faith?
  2. How can you stand up for Jesus today?

Episode Transcription:

00:13 More powerful than guns. More powerful when wars. More powerful in hate. More powerful than anything. Jesus says in Matthew chapter ten verse twenty-six, and He says this, "Do not fear them for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light, and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not to sparrows sold for a cent, and yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father, but the very hairs of your head are numbered. So do not fear. You are more valuable than sparrows, aren't you?" He said -- isn't that great. "Therefore, everyone who confesses me before men, I will also confess before my father who is in heaven." Whoever confesses me before men, I will also confess before my father in heaven.

01:21 You know the story slipped out from behind the iron curtain years ago in the days of the fierce Russian communism, in the, in the ruthless suppression of Christianity. It was back in the mid-1970s, and there were a group of supposedly a hundred Christians singing hymns and worshiping God in kind of an underground church when the service was abruptly interrupted by the KGB, you know, and they were equipped with automatic weapons of destruction. The singing immediately became deathly silent as the guards demanded that all true followers of Jesus Christ stand up while those who are not willing to confess Christ, we're free to leave. With fear and trepidation, a couple of dozen of devout believers stood on their feet knowing the next sound they'd probably hear would be the sound of gunshots dealing to them their final breath of life on this earth. Many others desperately fled for their lives out of the front door of the building. When the scuffling ended and silence prevailed in the room, one of the KGB gunman spoke up, and he said, "We too have defected to Christianity, and we just wanted to know who were the true Christians. Now let's have a real worship service together."

02:36 You know what, we don't live in the old USSR, nor is the United States Communist, but this one nation under God, so it says, can be awfully cruel to Christian sometimes. Saying "no" for the sake of your conscious can bring on persecution, my high school friends tell me pretty cruelly, even today, and in the adult world as well. Standing up openly for Jesus is always subject to potential ridicule. Isn't it nice to know that when Jesus stood up for you, he subjected himself not only to ridicule but to persecution and an awful death on the cross? What an encouragement his sacrifice for us brings as we stand up for him today. And however you're standing up out there, just know that I am proud of you, but more importantly, H e's proud of you. That's why He died, and that's why He lives in your heart.

We have it all. Our poorest people would be among the rich in other lands. The price of one American dinner at a five star restaurant could feed a starving Ethiopian boy for a month. As spoiled as we are, we still want more.

Family Discussions:

  1. Would the disciples have to shake the dust of their feet if they came to this house today?
  2. How can we as a family humble ourselves before God and live as a family that the messengers of God who have been sent to use would report a worthy trip to the Lord who sent them?

Episode Transcription:

00:13 Believe it or not, every day in her classroom in high school in Boulder, Colorado, little Jordan stands alone as the teacher says, "If you'd like to stand up and give the pledge allegiance to the flag, you can do that." But it's no longer to say one nation under God because it's not cool. So Jordan stands alone, and everyday she says, "One nation under God." Our passage today is from Matthew chapter ten verse 11. It says this, "In whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy of it and stay at his house until you leave that city. As you enter the house, give it your greeting. But if the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it's not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. Whoever does not receive you or heed your words as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city." 

01:18 "Oh, beautiful for spacious skies," we sing. "For amber waves of grain. For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea." In song, that prayer has been raised countless of times over the decades by tens of thousands of Americans, generation after generation after generation. If there ever was an answered prayer, that one has certainly been the most exemplary. We have it all. Our poorest people would be among the rich in other lands. The price of one American dinner at a five star restaurant could feed a starving Ethiopian boy for a month. As spoiled as we are, we still want more. We want a better car, nicer golf clubs, bigger house. Our cds, our TV, and our movies, blaspheme God with no limit.

02:15 We put each other down in our homes because we don't think we're treated fair. Yet God has sent a steady stream of his disciples to us for 400 years. We have churches on almost every corner and Bibles all over the house. If God levels Sodom and Gomorrah in a flash, what will become of us? If we don't heed the scriptural plea, "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." Can you believe that Jordan has to stand up alone to say the pledge of allegiance to flag? Have we gotten that far away from God? Some questions for you to discuss today with this, would the disciples have to shake the dust off their feet if they came to this house today? And then secondly, how can we as a family humble ourselves before God and live as a family that the messengers of God who have been sent to us would report a worthy trip to the Lord who sent them? And then a thought for the day could be this: you know, building a godly home is the best thing we can do towards the rebuilding of America. It was president Ronald Reagan years ago who said, "The home is the bricks and mortar of this nation."

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