Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name, receives Me. (Matthew 18:2-5)
A thought for today: 2 June 2020
We live in a broken world. Wars and human pride have ripped our once tranquil world apart. It is a fast world, where the survival of the fittest rule. Observing our broken world carefully, we notice the horribleness of our human pride. Man has become his own god, and it had turned out to be a disaster.
Maybe our focus is so wrong. His disciples' focus were.
Jesus teaches His disciples to become humble as a child. Those greatest in His kingdom, are those that have become humble, as a little child. Maybe that is why the door to life is so narrow. There is no other way, than to download human pride at the Cross, before one can enter in. Remembering Christ's sacrifice on the cross (the penalty for a rebel), has indeed a humbling effect. The King of kings gave His life; an exchange - your pride, for his humbleness.
Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will like him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Matt 7:24-27)
Thoughts for today: 1 June 2020
Within this portion Jesus provides us with an instruction and a warning.
- The wise man built wisely. It took time, he dug till he met up with a rock, and on it he started to build. His building process took a long time but was secure.
- The foolish person did not take it all so seriously. He quickly started to build, but on the sand.
When a person would look at these two houses they seem to be the same. The same until disaster struck. There were torrents of rain, wind and a flood. The effect of these disasters made it easy to discern the wise from the foolish. For us it is important to ensure that everything we do, is firmly built on Him. Are you building with a show of pretense or have you gone deep with your life secured in Christ. We can go deep with Him, by being honest and truthful about ourselves and find His forgiveness. Then no matter what happens, there is no reason to panic!
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
Within this portion, they way we perceive things is being highlighted. To illustrate: two persons can observe how someone is reprimanding another. The one person will find something to criticize; he took to long, he spoke to short, he was to harsh etc. The other person will perceive how this person, because of concern for his brother is opening himself to rejection in the attempt to help and restore the other.
If the light within oneself has turned into darkness, all discernment is lost. Such a person will perceive help as hurt and go around spreading his own darkness through things falsely perceived and convey it as truths.
How great is such darkness when you perceive the hand reaching out to you to help, as an attack! In the end, no one can help such a person. Let us therefore consider the way we look at things.
Jesus said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. (Matthew 21:31-32)
Within this portion Jesus made a profound statement to the pharisees. The pharisees saw themselves as religious and righteous. But their righteousness was according to their own opinion of themselves. Contrary to them, tax collectors and harlots realized that they were unworthy in themselves. Hearing John preaching to them, it cut them to the heart. They realized the truth put to them, came to repentance and mended their ways. They humbled themselves. This was difficult for the 'righteous' pharisees to do as they felt content in their own view of themselves. Confronted by John's sermons they disliked it, and rejected it. Through their own actions they closed the door to enter into God's kingdom.
We as humans are always quick to defend ourselves against any kind of criticism. However, when realizing the truth and humbling ourselves admitting to our own wrongs, we become part of His Kingdom. Being cleansed by Jesus blood, the door is open to anyone coming in this manner. Are you one of them?
"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground? But he answered and said to him, Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down." (Luke 13:6-9)
Within this text there is a tree planted; a fig tree for the sole reason to bear fruit. Yet, year by year the fig tree only bore leaves. The leaves drew the hungry with the expectancy to find something to eat. Maybe it was even a beautiful tree. Yet seeking for fruit between the leaves, there were nothing. What a disappointment after waiting for a whole season. Then at last, the righteous Owner gave the verdict to cut it down. However, the keeper pleaded for yet another year.... a year of grace. Maybe you are living in that time, a time of grace. A time that is finite and will soon end. Maybe there are some interceding for you at the moment, a parent crying for mercy from God for you. Maybe God had granted this request. However, what will the end be like, if the Owner comes again after some time and still finds no good fruit?
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:25)
Within this text those that desire to be God's children are charged with a command; "forgive them!" Stephen, the first martyr also prayed this prayer, following Christ's example. It is this sincere prayer of Stephen that moved God. God found Saul (an enemy) and turned him into a Paul (a missionary). Through this prayer, the Kingdom of God advanced. It is this prayer of Christ on the cross that shook the very foundations of hell. Would you follow this command and example to forgive and intercede for your enemies? Do it for the sake of God's Kingdom!
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126: 5 & 6)
But others fell on good ground, sprang up, yielded a crop a hundredfold. When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear; let him hear!" (Luke 8:8)
Within this portion we read about a sower, sowing seeds. Maybe he was sowing the very seeds that he needed to live from. But in obedience he carried on as he wept.
Through all his labor and travail nearly all of the seed went lost. Not because the seed was not good, but the condition of the hearts were obstructed with cares and worries of this age. Some hearts were hardened, others were shallow soil, and quickly withered under persecution. However, a few of the seeds were accepted within soft hearts. Here the seeds sprung up and provided a large harvest, a hundred fold.
Your efforts may seem futile to yourself, maybe only a few accepts your testimony of how God changed your life around. However, it may be one of those few that you are not aware of, produces hundred fold more seeds after some time. God says in His Word will never return to Him void. We can trust Him! It is Him that brings the growth. Oh for the joy to reap an eternal harvest!
Be my strong refuge to which I may resort continually. You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress. (Psalm 71:3)
Within this psalm the author expresses his need to draw close to God continually. He has found in God a strong refuge. His refuge lies in the fact that God had given the command that he will be saved. When the enemy of our soul assail us with his fiery darts. God is a fortress to which he may flee. A place where we can unburden our worries and cares. Where we can bring to Him all that troubles us, and where we realized we had sinned. A place where we can find forgiveness and be saved. What a wonderful place to be!
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners, to repentance". (Mark 2:17)
Thoughts for today: 25 May 2020
Within these words of Jesus, He plainly stated that He came for those that are in need of Him. Those that know that they are sick with sin. Jesus had come to seek and find those that are lost, and without hope. What blessed words!
Maybe you have a thousand and one reasons why you miss the mark. You feel guilty and don't know what to do about it. Some try to think of something else, others use drugs to numb their conscience, and some even try to end their lives. They despair and feel themselves beyond hope and a failure.
Yet, if you fall into these categories, take courage, there is hope. You are the very reason why Jesus came. He died on a cross to pay for it all. Why don't you speak to Him about your life? Tell Him all about what you have done. There are some at the office lines that can pray with you.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Tim 4:6-8)
Thought for today: 23 May 2020
Within this text, Paul spoke to his beloved spiritual son, Timothy. Paul is in jail, awaiting execution for his faith. Yet his concerns are with Timothy. He wants to comfort and encourage him. He knew that by the time Timothy get this letter, he might already be gone. These words of Paul, are the best comfort that he could leave behind. He gave indication that he is nearly on his way. Humanly spoken his life seems like a dreadful failure. BUT then Paul make the statement...
- I have fought the good fight
- I have finished the race
- I have kept the faith
- there is a crown of righteousness laid up for me in heaven
Then he ends with these words, but not only for him, but also to everyone that regard Christ as precious. What marvelous words to leave behind, words to encourage Timothy to fought the good fight, to finish his race and keep the faith. These words of Paul did not only comfort Timothy but also us today. May we live in such a way that we also will be able to utter these words to the next spiritual generation, and in turn encourage them!