Today’s Reading: Mark 13:1-13

As the disciples’ conversation with Jesus prove, the intrigue surrounding the end times has always been high.  It is almost impossible to go one day without hearing references to these times on the news, see it on social media, or hear it in conversation with friends or coworkers.  As Jesus makes quite obvious, the timing of these events should not be of utmost concern to us.  However, we should be aware of what to expect.  Here are some things that Jesus instructs us to expect and prepare for.

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Today’s Reading: Mark 12:41-44

I absolutely love this portion of Scripture.  First, I can imagine people being a little caught off guard as Jesus watched them put their money in the offering. After all, isn’t giving supposed to be done in secret?  Second, Jesus’ outlook on giving is an indicator that He is not after our money but our heart.  Jesus does not seek to see what He can get out of us financially, however He does desire to have our whole heart.  Jesus desires that we give everything that we have and withhold nothing from Him.  This is why this woman’s gift was worthy of Jesus taking a few moments to comment on it.  Jesus words here say it all.  “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”

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Today’s Reading: Matthew 23:1-39

What a sobering passage of Scripture for us today as we continue on this road to Easter.  Just like the path to the resurrection was filled with incredible highs and incredible lows for Jesus, the road to Easter is much the same for us.  As I take part in these daily readings there are times that I sit back in wonder at what Jesus did for me and I celebrate this amazing work.  There are other days that I am forced to take a deep look inside myself as Jesus desires to challenge me in a variety of ways.  As I read today, there is no celebration as Jesus derides the Pharisees.  Rather, I must come to grips with the fact that what Jesus is calling out in the Pharisees, most certainly at times exist in me.  So as I walk away from today’s reading, I am letting these words of Jesus sink into my heart so that nothing exists that displeases my Savior.  So no celebration here…just contemplation…allowing Jesus to do a deep work inside of me.  I want to allow the pain of dying to self daily to occur so that I can become more and more like Jesus Christ.  This is what following Christ is really about.

Today’s Reading: Matthew 22:34-46

In today’s passage, Jesus gets to the heart of what it means to be a follower of Christ.  Once again, when faced with a question that was designed to trap Him, Jesus reduces everything down to two main concerns.  A follower of Christ must concern themselves with loving God and loving others.  While this seems much too simplistic, this is incredibly helpful as we make decisions in our lives.  I wholeheartedly believe that when we make these two concerns our primary concerns, we will not only please God, but we will have an incredible impact on those around us.  Furthermore, these two commands should guide everything that we do and should act as the filter by which we make all of our decisions.

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Today’s Reading: Luke 20:27-40

The phrase that jumps out to me as I read today’s Scripture is Jesus’ statement, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.”  The Sadducees try to draw Jesus into a pointless discussion in order to trap Him once again.  Instead of being drawn into this argument, Jesus speaks to the status of all of those that have accepted Him.  For those that have accepted Christ they are alive…they have been resurrected.  When we enter into a relationship with Christ He steps into our world and gives us incredible meaning, purpose, and life.  While we have died to the sin that was in us, we are able to live a new life through a different perspective.  No longer does death have a hold on us as long as we remain in Christ.  We do not have to fear death.  Since Jesus has gone before us and defeated the grave, the grave has no hold on us.

What incredible promise for us who live in a world that is consumed with death.

Today’s Reading: Luke 20:9-26

“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

With these words, Jesus is presenting those listening to Him on that day with two options.  The religious leaders could either be broken or they could be crushed.  Depending on how they treated Jesus, they could die to themselves and find life or they could remain prideful and be crushed.  As we read through the Gospels we see the choice many of the religious leaders made.  They decided to reject Jesus, and as a result, experience the crushing blow that decision led to.  On the other hand, we see many throughout the Gospels who decided to humble themselves before Jesus, and as a result, followed Him on an unforgettable experience that would forever change their lives.  While they did experience death to themselves, they were also able to experience the tremendous power of resurrection in their lives.

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Today’s Reading: Matthew 22:1-14

The phrase that I can hear echoed everywhere as many finish the first reading of this passage is, “but that’s not fair!”  That’s not fair that this man was thrown out of the wedding banquet for not wearing the right clothes.  That’s not fair…he may not have had access to the proper attire.  That’s not fair…after all…this person may not have been given ample notice in order to prepare his wardrobe for the party.  That’s not fair…it is likely that this person was among, “the bad people” as Matthew points out.  How was he supposed to know what was appropriate and what was inappropriate?  If we would all be honest, this parable does not seem to square with the benevolent, grace filled, and merciful Jesus that we know.  However, as we take a closer look at this situation we see a parable that points to the incredible grace and patience of our Savior.

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Today’s Reading: Mark 12:1-12

As I read this passage of Scripture it is easy for me to walk away from it feeling pretty good about myself.  After all, with this parable, Jesus is directly indicting the religious leaders on how they treated the prophets that God had sent to them and how they would eventually treat Him.  So God is dealing harshly with the bad people, which should make me feel good…because after all…I am one of the good people.  Or am I?

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40 Days To Easter: Day #5

Jeff  —  February 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

Today’s Reading: Matthew 21:23-32

The reading for today is interesting and rather humorous when you think about it. Jesus is teaching in the Temple and the religious leaders come to Him hoping to trap him by asking Him a question.  The question is rather simple.  “By what authority are you doing these things…and who gave you this authority?”  This was a perfect set up for an incredible sermon on how He was God’s Son and to bring clarity as to His mission.  Instead, Jesus responds by asking them a question of His own.  “John’s baptism–where did it come from?  Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”  With this question Jesus turned the tables on the religious leaders.  Now they felt the pressure to answer Jesus’ question.  Since they couldn’t come up with an answer, neither did Jesus give them one.

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40 Days To Easter: Day #4

Jeff  —  February 27, 2015 — Leave a comment

Today’s Reading: Mark 11:12-26

There is so much in this short passage of Scripture to think about and apply to our life.  There is the issue with the fig tree, Jesus overturning the tables in the Temple, how the religious leaders responded to Jesus, and Jesus’ call for His disciples and us to exhibit incredible faith.  However, I want to focus on that very first episode as Jesus curses the fig tree.

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