My Family

My Family

Friday, March 27, 2015

Matthew 20

Good morning. Sorry I haven't presented a SOAK for Matthew 19; I will do that tomorrow. On Wednesday, I woke up a little before my alarm so I turned it off. I assumed that night that it was on and didn't check it, and therefore oversleep yesterday. 

Matthew 20:16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.

Jesus says this in the previous chapter and twice in this one. The first time is in reference to the workers who are envious of the ones who came at the end of the day and received equal pay. The second time was when James and John joined them, and the other 10 disciples were angry that they would be treated equal.  Jesus wants us to know that no matter what time he is acceptd into people's hearts, they will be allowed to ent the kingdom of heaven. I think, for instance, if someone doesn't accept Jesus until their death bed, we should not be envious that the person also gets into heaven next to someone who accepted Jesus years earlier. 

We shouldn't be jealous or envious when it comes to those accepting Jesus. But human nature makes it easy to see why it would happen. You work all your life, giving everything to God, and someone comes along at the last minute, after having struggled all their life with their demons, and both of y'all get the same treatment. We should instead be joyful that they found God, and won't suffer eternity in the fire. 

Lord, help me to understand what you want me to see. Help me not be envious of others but instead be joyful. Amen. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Matthew 18

Good morning. Our morning (and evenings) is filled with sniffles and coughs. Yay for spring! Though I didn't have a SOAK for yesterday, I did read Matthew 17 and Mark 9. My bible study at work is on Mark 9 as of yesterday, so some of the readings correlated and I liked being able to see different persepctives in the two different books. 

Matthew 18:3 and said, "Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

As children are completely dependent on, and trust in, their parents, Jesus also wants the disciples and us to be dependent on God.

Matthew 18:6 Whoever causes one of these little ones to sin, it would better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 

Here Jesus may be referring to those who are little in their faith. Whether it be a new believer or someone who is struggling with their faith, or something in their life like an addiction. Whoever leads them astray will not be tolerated by God. It is our job to guide those people back to God, not to help them continue to fall away. You wouldn't give an alcoholic a beer or someone addicted to porn a magazine of naked pictures. 

Just as our children trust in us, we must also trust in God. And we must show the "little ones" how trusting in God is better than the alternative.  I don't always feel worthy of the task because there are days I feel like I am falling. But I trust in Jesus, and I trust he will catch me, turn me around, and welcome me back with open arms. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Matthew 16

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders,the chief priests, and the scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me Satan! You are but an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

Peter refused to to accept Jesus's prediction of suffering and death, and Jesus scolds Pet as tis is seen as an attempt to deflect Jesus from his God appointed course. Jesus refers to Peter as Satan and an obstacle in his path. 

There are many obstacles in our way on the path to our God appointed course. What we may see as a boulder, God sees as a pebble. We need to stop thinking as humans and move past the obstacles. Greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride, lust and gluttony are just a few obstacles Satan has put in our way to watch us fail. In verse 24, Jesus says

 "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

The notes in my bible says "to deny oneself is to disown oneself as the center of one's existence." Again, we need to stop thinking as humans do. Stop putting ourselves first. We cannot lose our life for Jesus if our life is focused around ourselves. Literally this would be martyrdom, dying for believing in Jesus. But spirutually, physically, and figuratively, I think this is letting go of ourselves, or needs, wants, possessions here on earth and follow Jesus will provide for our life with him in heaven. If we choose to stay on path where is is self centered, to save our life, we will forfeit our life in heaven because we will loose our soul and connection with Jesus here on earth. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Matthew 15

Happy rainy Friday. Or at least it is here. 

S: Matthew 15:18-20 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, uncharitable, theft, false witness, blasphemy. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile. 

The early Jewish teachings instructed that if people ate with unclean hands, the food they ate would've then be unclean. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they were true to their ancient beliefs about the washing of hands, but broke the commandments of God in other ways. He was teaching that it is not what goes inside the body that defiles a person, but what comes out.

Ther are so many times we pick and choose which rules to follow and exactly how to follow them, usually if they benefit us at the moment. That is why Christians are easily categorized as hypocrites. We follow certain rules from the bible, but are easily led astray by our hearts. A big way to overcome this is to be aware of what situations we let ourselves be in. It is easy to fall into place with coworkers, neighbors, friends, with gossip, bad thoughts, etc. instead of standing up for what is right. We need to be the light for others to find Christ, even if it means walking away from people we called friends. We must not let our hearts defile us.

Lord, please help me have a pure heart and strong will for you desires. Amen. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Matthew 14

Good morning all. Morning came fast today as it was a long night watching the clock. Boo. 

Matthew 14:13-14 When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.

This verse follows Jesus learning of the death of John the Baptist. Jesus already had a long day of teaching and was tired, as were his disciples. Mark 6:31 and 34 says "He said to [the disciples ], 'Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'  People were coming and going in vast numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat," "When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things."

Jesus was so moved by the people that even his weariness was set aside for them at that moment. He continued to teach them instead of saying "y'all come back tomorrow so I may rest." Their faith touched his heart and he was not selfish. He did not deny the people God's word, which was the will of God.

 I think of the many times at the end of the day when my kids ask for something and I say no because I am tired. Though this is not a spiritual teaching I am denying them, I am denying the because of my own personal wellbeing. How about the few times i debate getting up and going to Mass because I am tired? That is when I would be denying my children and myself a spiritual connection with Jesus because of my selfishness. And I would also be saying my sleep is more important that God's will. 

If Jesus had turned away from the people, they may have stopped believing. If God had ever said "I'm too tired to deal with you people," where would we be today?

Lord, when I am weary, give me the strength to carry on, as is your will. Amen. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Matthew 13

Matthew 13:12-13 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.'

Jesus had just spoken to the crowd, and the disciples asked why he spoke to them in parables. It was because they were not ready to see and hear what Jesus had to say. They had not yet been made worthy of understanding.

When I first read this section I was confused because I thought Jesus was saying the rich would get more and the poor would get less, which contradicts his other teachings. Maybe it was because I wasn't ready  to understand. But I get now that those who have the knowledge of Jesus will continue to get more and be rich, and those who do not have the knowledge will have everything taken from them. We must be ready to see, hear and listen, and understand the knowledge of the kingdom of God. 

Lord, open my eyes, my heart, and my mind so that I am ready to know you. Amen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Matthew 12

Good morning and happy St. Patrick's Day!

Matthew 12:35 From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. A good person brings forth good out of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil.

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees as they watched him drive out demons. He acknowledged that the Pharisees could not admit Jesus was good because of the evil in their hearts. Jesus goes on to say that on the day of judgement, all will be held accountable for the words they speak.

If we have evil in our hearts, we cannot fully accept Jesus. We must rid ourselves of the evil, which can be anything from doubt to viciousness against others. We may forget in a week, a month or ten years the hateful things we said, but we will have to answer to it on judgement day. 

Lord, I pray you help hold my tongue, calm my heart and thoughts when someone has transgressed against me, that I might not speak, feel, or think evil agains them. I want to have a pure heart for you. Amen.