We have just finished our 21 Day Fast!  Did you join us?  I have never heard God so clearly as during this time!  I am so thankful!  I pray you have experienced a life changing season of prayer and fasting as well.  We will continue to see how His kingdom on earth (as it is in heaven) is supposed to be.  May we have courage to allow Him to make it more real in our lives.

Feb. 24 – (Matt. 13:51-52) New and Old Treasures -I love one comparison of the first parable (the parable of the sower) with this one.  The sower and the householder both speak of the treatment of God’s Word by the individual recipient.  The one tells how it is to be received into the heart and to be allowed to bear fruit.  The other speaks of the heart as a treasury filled with the gathered “good fruit” that he gives away.  The householder brings out his stores for the benefit of others.  The parable of the sower represents how we receive, keep, and grow His fruit. The parable of the householder proves that the best way of keeping His fruit, is to give it to others.  Selah

Feb. 25 – (Matt. 18:10-14; Lk. 15:3-7) The Lost Sheep - Have you ever read “A Shepherd looks at the 23rd Psalm by Philip Keller? It helps to understand the impact of our Good Shepherd on us “poor” sheep.  Sheep are easily led astray. They keep their heads to the ground, busily nibbling, satisfying only the needs of their stomachs, often wandering off to find new grazing pasture and losing sight of the group.  A good shepherd will keep an eye on all the sheep and at the moment one is not back in the “fold” at the end of the day, will keep those in the fold in a safe place while he goes out to find that one who is missing.  Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  I think the timing and methods of “finding the one lost sheep” varies with each of us but “find us” He will!  Selah

Feb. 26 – (Matt. 18:23-35) The Unforgiving Servant –  WOW, this one really impacted me! The unforgiving servant owed 10,000 talents to his master.  One talent was 20 years’ worth, so multiply that by 10,000!  The fellow servant owed 100 denarii which equaled about 20 weeks of wages. Just as the master forgave the unpayable debt, God forgave our unpayable debt.  We just had to ask.  What came to my mind about the unforgiving servant was his actions showed he did not take ownership of his sin.  I picture him thinking it wasn’t his fault he mishandled funds, it was the other guy(s) who borrowed from him and didn’t pay him back. We have to first admit our sins to Jesus.  When we receive forgiveness, we also have to experience forgiveness.  (It’s one thing to receive a gift and another to have that gift do something to your heart.)  The evidence of that knowledge taken to heart is in forgiving others…every day…no matter the offense.  SELAH

Feb. 27 – (Matt. 21:28-32) The Two Sons Which “son” are you (or me)? I think we would all say we are like the first son. We said no to Christ first but then said yes at our conversion.  Whew!  Off the hook on this one!  Let’s be careful.  Do we ever “play church”?  We go, we sing with gusto, we tell those who ask that we are blessed and then we go home and nothing ever changes inside us.  I would say I am a hypocrite if I don’t grow in Him somehow through my days.  In those moments I am more like the second son who said yes and then didn’t show by his actions what he had agreed to.  We all do it (hopefully only at times).  When it happens, we have to be aware and we repent. The good news is we can still experience the kingdom of God (vs. 31).  It will just be a little later than some others!  Selah

Feb. 28 – (Matt. 21:33-44; Mk. 12:1-11; Lk. 20:9-18) The Tenants - What does this parable show us? Certainly, it reminds us that God chose the Jewish nation first but as they rejected Jesus, Gentiles were included in the salvation choice.  Let me quote a skit David A. Redding (from The Parables He Told) wrote describing how it may apply to us. Keep in mind the book was publish in 1962 which helps us understand the comparisons. “This skit (parable) has caught man red-handed in his most characteristic crime – playing God.  While God’s back is turned, or He has momentarily left the room, man has rebelled and taken over the class himself.  The parable’s picture is brutally honest.  Earth gives man his chance to prepare his lessons, invest his talents and get ready for the examination.  But what has he done?  He has exploited this study hall to put his own feet under the Teacher’s desk.  And in the laboratory, in open defiance of His text, he has mixed the materials to his own advantage to feather what he has the nerve to call his own nest.  And if he can’t get his own way he threatens to blow up the schoolhouse with an atomic concoction.”

                Here is one more passage that impacted me, from the same book.  “How many men act like trustees with their ‘time, talents, possessions’?  Modern living seems a mad scramble for ‘Squatter’s Rights,’ without the slightest regard for the One who made us and left us here.  Life behaves as a huge recess.  We don’t have to answer to anyone except ‘they’.  No one supposes he is subject to some superior audit.  How many bind up the scattered pages of their daily activities into a supreme record of stewardship?  The average man’s plans are ultimately pension plans.  Perhaps he divides up his estate fairly for his family in his will.  But he acts as if he were dividing up ‘mine’ instead of ‘thine.’” Selah

Mar. 1 – (Matt. 22:1-14; Lk. 14:16-24) The Wedding Feast - Did you know that God is the life of the Party?  We don’t know what it is to have a good time until we have celebrated with Him!  The gospel stands for Good News.  He has invited us to attend.  In this parable we see a king who invited the guests to come to the wedding celebration of his son.  But all the invited guests made excuses.  Let’s look at the reasons and see how they apply to us today.  First invited guest: “I am too busy with my financial portfolio”.  Second invited guest: “Taking care of my possessions needs to come first.”  The third invited guest: “My wife (my family) needs to come first.”  Last, one who came: “I’m here for what I can get but refuse to do what is required to be here.” 

                For the first three guests, it is tragic when these good things cease to serve God and start serving as excuses to be away from Him. These “good things” are not meant to sidetrack us but to “glorify Him” as He sees fit.  With the fourth guest, I see him as acknowledging God but not submitting to the requirements of being there (accepting Jesus’ robe of righteousness).

                One last statement: God will not let our stubbornness ruin His celebration! Selah

Mar. 2 – (Matt. 25:1-13) The Ten Virgins – Let’s get a little background first.  As God called himself Israel’s “husband” in the OT, so Jesus pictures himself here as a bridegroom.  It was Jewish marriage custom for the groom and his friends to leave his home and go to the home of the bride.  The marriage ceremony was conducted there, often at night.  The entire wedding party then returned to the groom’s home for a celebration banquet.  There is so much here, but I want you to do a little digging for yourself and what the Lord would say to you.  The entire point of this parable:  You must be ready for the best that could happen to you, for the all-important events in your life.