Matthew

One Thing I Ask

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“I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple.”
~ Psalms‬ ‭27:4‬

This verse became a frequent prayer of mine several years ago. Sadly too often, I find myself coming back to this prayer after having allowed my gaze to move off of God and onto something temporal. I need this prayer, often daily, to remind me where my priorities should be focused. It’s a prayer to realign my priorities within my heart and mind, as well as, for strength to ensure that which my heart and mind determine as priority will be lived out in my schedule.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
~ Matthew 6:33

“So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
~ Colossians 3:1-2

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

God, may I be so captivated by You that seeking You is my top priority.

The Source of My Mistakes

“Jesus answered them, ‘You are mistaken because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.’ ” ~ Matthew 22:29

Source of My Mistakes
Some of the Sadducees approached Jesus with questions regarding the Resurrection. The text appears to indicate their questions were insincere as they wanted to catch Jesus in a theological trap of denying the Resurrection (HCSB Study Bible notes). Jesus’ strong rebuke of the Sadducees was likely due, in part, to the absurdity of their questions since they didn’t even believe in the Resurrection. In response Jesus explained that they had an erroneous starting point because they did “not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Not only were they wrong for their unbelief in the Resurrection, but their unbelief was ignorant of the Scriptures they prided themselves on understanding.
As I think about the sin and wrong-thinking in my own life, my error always seems to stem from my ignorance of what God’s Word says about a matter or my lack of trust in God’s power to apply what He has said. I, too, am guilty of “not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.”
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) Our knowledge of the truth is directly tied to our study and application of Scripture in our lives. We will not be free to fully live the lives to which God is leading us if we do not actively read, study, memorize, and apply the Word of God.
God, increase my hunger for Your word. Give me the diligence and perseverance to make reading, studying, memorizing, and applying Scripture to my life a high priority.
Jeremy Carroll

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a (CSB)

Think of people you know who have “run the race” of faith well. People who seemingly soared in their growth and devotion to God. These people should be examples to us that an “all in” life for Jesus is not only possible, but living “all in” for Jesus gives us the most satisfying and abundant life we could desire. Following the great examples from the  “Hall of Faith” in chapter eleven, the writer of Hebrews issues 3 challenges we should consider for our personal faith race.

1. Lay aside anything that competes to steer your attention away from God, such as sin, fear, inadequacies, etc. Anything that might distract you from loving God with your whole heart, soul, and mind must be relinquished (paraphrased from Matthew 22:37, see also 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 2:20).

2. Run with endurance. Endurance can be defined as the “strength to continue… despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions.” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/endurance) Paul said one thing I do: forgetting what is behind I press on to what is ahead (paraphrased from Philippians. 3:13b).

3. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Jesus said we should love Him with ALL we are. He’s not interested in just having the largest compartment of your life; He wants you to filter your life through Him.

God, reveal to me anything that hinders me from loving You with all I am and grant me the strength to lay it aside.

Stay awake and pray

“Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ~ Matthew‬ ‭26:41

Prayer is a critical weapon in our spirit’s battle against our flesh.

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