Matthew 13:10-23; Luke 8:9-18; Mark 4:21-29; Matthew 13:24-30; Mark 4:30-34; Matthew 13:31-52; Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25
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Matthew: Matthew chapter 13 verses 11 & 12 are important for us to consider: "Then he (Jesus) explained to them, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them." There is so much truth in these last 2 sentences. This is why personally I feel so blessed to be reading the One Year Bible each and every day - currently in my 8th year of doing so - and God-willing, for all of my years to come. I personally absolutely need the grace and wisdom that comes from being in God's Word every day - and truly, more and more understanding and knowledge of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit does come my way I believe each day - even if (and especially if!) I am reading the Bible again for the 8th time. The repetition is not repetitive, but really allows for insights to soak in and to be revealed. I can't quite say that I feel like I have an abundance of knowledge... :) But - I know that I am on that road by reading the Bible each day and I so look forward to gaining more and more knowledge of God's story as I go. And - to grow deeper into relationship with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So - the knowledge itself is great, but the relationship and peace and grace that comes from the Trinity - even better. I pray that you too see the value in reading the Bible each day and being open to Jesus' teachings so that more understanding will come your way?
Verse 22 in this chapter is convicting for me, as I have experienced this in my life in the past.... "The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced." .... and I still struggle with the "cares of this life" crowding out the Good News in my life today! I think in some ways this might be a life long struggle. How are you doing on this verse? Where is God's seed of the Good News being sown in your life? In the good soil of your heart?
In today's Matthew readings we go through 5 parables that begin "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." Great way to start these parables! They do indeed give us a glimpse of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. Do these parables speak to you as you read through them? I know they do for me. Sometimes in encouraging ways. Sometimes in convicting ways. I love verses 31 & 32: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants and grows into a tree where birds can come and find shelter in its branches." I think if we cultivate the seed that Jesus plants in our hearts - the Gospel - we will see an amazing plant grow that will ultimately bless others. From the tiniest beginnings, with patience and faith, can come the largest of plants. If you haven't yet, will you let Jesus plant a mustard seed in your heart? And will you be patient and allow the seed time & space to grow? And will you water and care for the seed of the Gospel planted in your heart so that one day it will be a beautiful tree of life for yourself and others you come in contact with? Will you allow Jesus to grow a mustard seed tree with your life?
I love the last 2 parables in today's readings! The treasure buried in a field and the pearl of great price. And the thought of being willing to give up absolutely everything to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. How about for you? Are you willing to give up absolutely everything to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven? Is there a price too high that you would not be willing to pay? I will share with you this somewhat related tangent. I had this really interesting jog several years ago. And it was before I was a Christian, so I didn't equate my thinking with the "Kingdom of Heaven" at this time. But, here were my thoughts that night on the jog. As I was jogging I thought to myself - I am a "billionaire"! Why? Because I am blessed with this opportunity to jog, and to check out the beautiful night air around me, and more than anything because of this wonderfully complex thing in my skull called the brain. :) The brain that allows me to do all these things and to simply think and enjoy life. And I thought to myself - at what price would I give up the ability to use my brain? Would I sell my brain for 1 billion dollars? And the answer is obviously no - because there would then be no point to living in this life without the brain. So - I reasoned with myself, well - "Then I am a billionaire!" I have a billion dollar asset in my skull! :) I hope this isn't too random of a tangent. Maybe you'll realize that you are a billionaire today too though? :) To tie this back to the Kingdom of Heaven. Would I sell of my rights to the Kingdom of Heaven for 1 billion dollars. No. So - I guess then technically, I am a multi-billionaire now! 1 billion asset value for the brain + 1 billion asset value for the Kingdom of Heaven! The point being... or maybe the question to you. Which would you prefer - 1 billion in cash, or the Kingdom of Heaven? Is there any price you would place on giving up the Kingdom of Heaven? If not - will you pursue the Kingdom of Heaven with all of your worth? And will you then share this amazing "pearl of great price" with others around you?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew chapter 13 titled "The Parables of Matthew 13" are at this link.
Worship God: Today's readings in Matthew today reminded me of the beautiful Hillsong United song "From the Inside Out:"
Have you been changed from the inside out? Click here to be turned Inside Out!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!