Friday, September 16, 2011

Matthew 19:23–26

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I'll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!'

      The disciples were astounded. 'Then who in the world can be saved?' they asked.

      Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'"


Trusting in riches instead of God is so natural to us that we can't break out of it without God's help. It is the default condition of the sinful human heart. Our hearts will trust either in our own abilities and results (wealth) or in God. Our focus will be on either heaven or earth, never both. That is why we must focus on God's good character before we can let go of the world's things and trust God.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Matthew 19:16–17, 21–22

"Someone came to Jesus with this question: 'Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?'
      'Why ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. 'There is only One who is good. … If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'
      But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions."
Jesus focuses on the rich man's use of "good" to get him to focus on God's character. This man wanted to know what he had to do to have eternal life. Jesus goes over the commandments but then gets to the true issue: where the man's heart was. It was with his riches. Jesus tried to turn the rich man's focus to God instead. Only as we trust in God's goodness can we let go of the worldly things in which we trust instead of God. How like the rich man are you?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1 Timothy 1:12-17

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

"This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen."
Let us never forget this wonderful fact: Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul was one of the worst. God had mercy on him so he could be a prime example of the fact that no one is too evil for God to save. We must remember, too, that we have a Savior for all the times we continue to sin. Christ doesn't expect us to be perfect once we come to him. We always need a Savior, and he is always ready and willing to save us. It's a moment by moment process, not a once-done deal

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Exodus 9:13, 15-16

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. Tell him, "This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. … By now I could have lifted my hand and struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth. But I have spared you for a purpose—to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth."'"
Even in the midst of God's judgment against Egypt, there was grace. God's desire in judging is not to destroy but to get people to understand who he is. That is always his goal. As you pray for unbelievers, pray that God would judge their sin in such a way that they will see God for who he is.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Exodus 8:16–19

"So the LORD said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron, "Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt."' So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. Pharaoh's magicians tried to do the same thing with their secret arts, but this time they failed. And the gnats covered everyone, people and animals alike.
      'This is the finger of God!' the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh's heart remained hard. He wouldn't listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted."
With the plague of the gnats, Pharaoh's magicians had to admit their limitations. They could not create this miracle nor any of those that followed. Satan's power may be impressive at times, but it is no match for God's. There is always a limit to what Satan can do. Remember that when you're in the midst of a spiritual battle. Also remember Psalm 24:8: "The Lord [is] strong and mighty … invincible in battle."