Day 4

Day 4

Matthew 1:22

“ So,all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet”.

Reading: Matthew 1:18-24

The coming of Christ was foretold by some of the prophets in the Old Testament many years before. One of the prophets that spoke of the coming of Messiah was the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”.

Joseph and Mary were the chosen biological parents of Jesus. At that time, before they got officially married, Mary had the baby Jesus already in her womb. Mary having a baby was not from a union with a man, but a divine intervention from heaven. Mary that time was considered a virgin, and yet she conceived a Son. God put a seed in her womb.  That became the fulfillment of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah, 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

God did not forget what He promised to His people Israel. Even though it took many, many years, about 700 years, yet God in Hi sovereignty and power fulfilled His plan of salvation, Jesus Christ was born.  The Lord fulfilled His promise when Christ came to the world as a baby to save the people from sins.

Reflection: God keeps His promises. What He says, He will do. It is an encouragement to me that God keeps His words. God’s words say, someday Jesus will come back again, not as a baby but as the King and I will be with Him forever in eternity.

Prayer: Lord God, thank You that You are faithful and true. I praise You that I could trust You for the fulfillment of Your Word.

Your Thoughts:

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Your Prayer:

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His name is Jesus

Day 3

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Matthew 1:21 “His name is Jesus; for He will save His people from their sins.”

Reading: Matthew 1:18-21

The story continues with Joseph and Mary. When Joseph found out that Mary was already carrying a baby in her womb, he was disappointed. So Joseph made plans to break up the engagement from Mary. However, God intervened and sent His angel to speak to Joseph in his dream. The angel told Joseph that the baby Mary had in her womb is of the Holy Spirit. The angel further said, that

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [h]Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” V. 21

The name of Jesus literally means “Savior”.  The angel was clear to Mary and Joseph when he said, Jesus will save His people from their sins, and not from the Roman rule and oppression, but from SIN.  The people of Israel at that time of history was ruled by the Roman government. And according to history, many of  the people suffered and were oppressed by the tyranny of the Roman rule. So many of the Jews or people of Israel were expecting and waiting for their Messiah, their Deliverer. They were expecting somebody that maybe similar to Moses or King David in the Old Testament who delivered the people of Israel from slavery and oppression. King David had fought many battles against the enemies of Israel- neighboring countries who tried to oppress them.  So, many of the people of Israel on Jesus time on earth were waiting for their Messiah, someone to deliver them from the oppression of the Roman rule.

However, from the start and the plan of God was to send Jesus to save His people from their sins- from the bondage of sins. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. John 1:29 says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! “

Reflection: Only Jesus can save Israel and the people of the world from sin.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you that You came to save us from our sins! I thank you for Your forgiveness and mercy. I praise You that you are the lamb that was slain and the only atonement for our sins.

Your Thoughts:

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Your Prayers:

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Day 2- Matthew 1:18-20

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Day 2

Matthew 1:20 “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”.

Reading:  Matthew 1:18-20

In this chapter in Matthew, he mentioned that one of the children of Abraham and David’s children’s children was Joseph. V. 16 says, “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ”.

At that point of history, Joseph was a young man and was engaged to a young lady named Mary. However, before they got officially married, Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant.

v.19 “Then Joseph, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly”.  However, the Lord God intervened in the situation. The Lord sent His angel to speak to Joseph in his dream.

v.20 “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

I guess when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he was upset and heartbroken.  Perhaps they had a heart to heart talk. Maybe Mary tried to explain to Joseph that the baby in her womb is from God. And that could have been very difficult for Joseph to believe her. Joseph may have felt betrayed. In their culture that time, if somebody was found in adultery, the person could be punished by the law. So, Joseph, though feeling hurt and betrayed, still had compassion on Mary. So, he made plans to put off the engagement quietly. He did not want to embarrass Mary in the public or be punished by their law. And Joseph ‘s mind was made up, he could not believe Mary’s explanation. Thank the Lord that He is sovereign and had a plan. So, God sent His angel to speak to Joseph in his dream.  Thus, Joseph then believed what Mary told him already. “…for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”. V.21

Reflection:

God is s sovereign over the life of His people and His plan of salvation. Mary obeyed God when Joseph almost missed it. Joseph could have had missed God’s big plan for Jesus ‘s life, and the salvation of the world.  Thank the Lord that He sent His angel to speak to Joseph.  When the angel of God spoke to Mary about His plan for Jesus, Mary willingly obeyed.  So, God took care of Mary as she obeyed His leading.  Thank the Lord, that Joseph listened and obeyed too in the end.

 

Prayer:

Lord help me do Your will. Help us your children to heed and listen to Your voice.  Please help us follow and obey Your leading, empower us to do Your will like Joseph and Mary , to follow Your ways. In Jesus’ name.

Your Thoughts:

 

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Your Prayer:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew Devotion Studies

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The past couple of years or so, I have spent time studying the Gospel of Matthew. With the use of only the Bible as a cross-reference, I took a few minutes most days to study the passages in Matthew. My desire and goal was to do this study daily, but due to intervening circumstances, I was not able to do it every day. But I tried.  Anyway, I would like to share with you my devotional study of the Gospel of Matthew in hopes that you will enjoy it and glean insights from it.  I started with 15 minutes, then gradually it grew to 30 minutes a day. Sometimes, I was able to have a good 40 to 50 minutes, it depends on how early I get up in the morning.  My schedule sometimes is not able to do it, but I try to be consistent. And sometimes with travel schedules, it is a bit challenge to be consistent with my daily quite time. However, with the Lord’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, He keeps me going.

If you are interested to try this, here is a simple guide for a Daily Quiet Time (DQT) or hang-out with Jesus!

Spend a few minutes day with the Lord in His Word. If you could do one hour, that would be great! Sit still and think of God’s goodness. Thank Him for one or two things that He gave you for the day – the sunshine, clean water, etc. Thank Him for the big things – a call from a friend, passing a school test or a job promotion!  And praise God for who He is – our Creator, the giver of life and the God of all. If you like singing, you could also sing a simple hymn or praise-song to the Lord!

Then take time in His Word. Read a chapter or a short passage in the Bible. I like to read systematically and chronologically, as it helps me with the sequence of events or story line. I like using the New King James version Bible as I am more comfortable with it, but you could use any version of the Bible that you are most comfortable with.

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a spirit of revelation and wisdom. Some Christians who study the Bible look for what the Lord is saying to them through the passage, that is His message for them. For me, I like to look at the character of God in every story or Bible passage. As I study and read the words of God in the Bible, I get to know more about His character and His attributes. Through the stories and passages, I see and learn that God is good, merciful, just, compassionate, tender-hearted, patient, loving, holy, righteous, sovereign and powerful.

Other guidelines that help me with my study are the use of this questions in the story: Who, What, When, Where or Why or How. Who was speaking in the passage, Who he is speaking or who is the audience. What was said, How it was said, Where is the location, or Why it was said. These questions helped to understand the context of the story or the passage in the Bible.

I also included in the study guide, a portion of writing “your thoughts” and “your prayers”.  Your thoughts could include “Application” and answer to question such as “What the study meant to you? How it would help you in your day to day life.

So, I challenge you to take the time – start with a few minutes a day spending time with the Lord Jesus and His Word and see how He will reveal Himself to you.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Word of God has changed my life, and it is still changing me up to now. The Word of God has changed my heart, my attitude, and my character. That’s how powerful it is.  And the Word of God has changed countless others from all walks of life, from the many different nations and continents, and in every place throughout all generations.

Three Chords!

29572864_10155561896358657_6184239175297045074_n.jpgReading:  Matthew 25:14-30 (NKJV)

Matthew 25:14-30

Title:  Three Chords!

“He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’”  Matthew 25:22 (NKJV)

I remember the time when I first started learning to play guitar. My good friend Aida told me, “If you learn three cords, you can play some simple songs.” Her words encouraged me.  However, after a few practice sessions with just three cords, my fingers were already sore.  Thankfully, my friend kept encouraging me, with the chords A, D & G, soon I was able to play a couple of simple praise songs to the Lord.

I was so excited that I bought a nice guitar!  I practiced and learned more songs even though, in the past, I thought I did not have any musical ability.  Later, as life and work became busy, I had no time to play and practice. So, I gave my guitar to a friend. After a couple of years, another friend gave me a guitar – which I also gave away. Then another guitar came.  I began to realize that maybe the Lord wanted me to be serious about playing the guitar. So, I returned to playing guitar and learned more chords.  As I learned more chords and more praise & worship songs, I found that my relationship with the Lord was strengthened and deepened.  I may not play or sing well, but I feel the presence of the Lord whenever I play guitar and worship Him.

Now, with the help of David my husband, I play the guitar, he sings and together we worship and praise the Lord.  As I look at my folder of songs, I am amazed and grateful to the Lord to see that it now contains many songs.  I started with just three chords and a few songs. Now, with the Lord’s help, I can play more than seven chords and have more than fifty song sheets in my folder! With this experience of playing three chords at the start, and then the Lord helped me learn more chords as I keep on practicing, reminded me of this verse in Matthew 25:24, “Lord you delivered me two talents, looked I gained two more talents besides them”.

Reflection:

When we give even one talent to the Lord, He multiplies it.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for the gifts and talents You give us.  Help us to worship and honor You as we use them each day.  Amen.

 

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“Is anyone among you sick?…”

14 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. 15 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. 16 [j]Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, [k]fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:14-16 (NKJV)

Last week, we were invited to share and speak at OSL. The Order of St. Luke, (OSL) is a prayer group in Gadsden that meet every first Thursday of the month. The main focus of the group is to pray for the sick. David felt led to share a message on James chapter 5 verses 14 to 16. And to share with you this message, here is his notes. We hope this will encourage you too.

SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR ANOINTING THE SICK WITH OIL AND PRAYING FOR THEM

Reading: James 5:13-16

(Parallel scriptures:  Mark 6:7-13 & Mark 16:14-18)

  1. There is no “magic” in the anointing oil. We are simply obeying the scriptures when we anoint the sick and pray for them.
  2. “The sick are healed not by the elders’ power, nor by the anointing oil, but by the Lord’s intervention – either through indirect means (medical treatment) or His supernatural healing.”  (Dr. David Jeremiah)
  3. All healing is from God – whether through medical treatment & the body’s natural healing processes OR through a miracle from God.
  4. It follows that healing can be accomplished over a period of time OR in an instant if God so chooses.
  5. Faith plays an important role:
  6. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick…” (James 5:15)
  7. Remember to have faith in God for healing, however, not faith in faith!
  8. But we must be careful not to assume, when someone is not healed in the way that we want, that it was because of a lack of faith.
  9. Sometimes, God allows sickness or infirmity for a reason:
  10. To keep one humble and to show God’s power through our weakness:
  11. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  (II Corinthians 12:7-9)
  12. To discipline a believer:
  13. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:4-5)
  14. “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”  (I Corinthians 11:27-32)
  15. However, we must be careful not to assume that someone has sin in their lives when they are not healed in the way we wanted.
  16. Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth, and His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in Him.”  (John 9:1-3)
  17. “There were some present at that season who told Him (Jesus) about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’”  (Luke 13:1-5)
  18. To accomplish a greater purpose which will benefit others and glorify God
  19. Joni Eareckson Tada – though God did not heal her, she has inspired millions of people with disabilities
  20. To take believers home to be with Him

In some instances, God chooses to heal someone by taking them to be with Him.  Remember that this world is not our home.  In the words of the old Wayne Watson song, “At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free.”

  1. Notice the role that confession has in healing:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”  (James 5:16)

We have all heard that confession is good for the soul, but it is good for the body, too!  We protestants, since we believe in the priesthood of all believers, do not believe that we need to confess our sins to an earthly priest in order to be forgiven.  This is evident from I John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

However, there is value in confessing our sins to our spouse, a trusted friend, or a prayer partner – someone we know that we can trust – who will not repeat the matter as gossip.  (Share Christian Brothers prayer time as an example.)  Such confession is incredibly freeing, ridding our soul of unnecessary guilt and condemnation.  (No guilt trips!)  Confessing our sins to our spouse, a trusted friend, or a prayer partner also helps that person to hold us accountable for our actions.

  1. Effective/Fervent prayer is a powerful force:

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  (James 5:16b NKJV)

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  (James 5:16b NIV)

  1. So, let’s spend some time now praying for each other – especially for those who are in need of the Lord’s healing touch.      By: David Creel

 

 

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