Free Bible Commentary

Free Bible Commentary

Displaying 1 - 50 of 938

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 17 18 19


Mark 16:14-20

Monday, June 29, 2020

“Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.”

---End of Scripture verses---

As we know, the story and mission of Jesus didn’t end at His death. Jesus arose from the grave and ushered in a new beginning with fresh hope and eternal assurance for all those who love Him and obediently follow Him. So, when Jesus left the earth, His work on earth was really just beginning. Before Jesus ascended back to heaven He commissioned His chosen ambassadors to continue His work and share His Good News on earth. He told them to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (verse 15), and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (verse 16). Jesus told His apostles to go out and make disciples by teaching people to believe in Him and to be baptized in order to be saved. After Jesus ascended to heaven, that is exactly what we see them doing in the book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles is the inspired account of some of the apostle’s endeavors to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus. Please read the passages in the attached “Conversion Chart”. You will see that people were converted to Christ and saved from their sins by believing in Him and obeying the command to be baptized.

Of course, belief and baptism is just the “starting point” of a life of salvation and devotion to Christ. In the Great Commission Jesus also told His apostles to teach people "to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Faithful Christians try their very best to obey Jesus at His every word and command (John 14:15; Hebrews 5:8-9).

Lord willing we will begin a journey into the book of Acts starting tomorrow. This will be another “rerun” but one we are five years removed from so it will seem new to most of us. Please read Acts 1:1-11 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

No photo description available.

 

John 20:1-31

Sunday, June 28, 2020

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’ So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and that He had said these things to her. So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.’ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’ Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is [h]the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

---End of Scripture verses---

When Mary came to the tomb early on the first day of the week, the stone had already been rolled away (verse 1). This “rolling stone” likely weighed between one and two tons and had an armed guard standing watch over it (Matthew 27:62-66). No one secretly slipped in and rolled back the stone and took Jesus’ body away. As a matter of fact, the disappearance of the Lord’s body even took His disciples by shock and surprise. According to Matthew’s account, “a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men” (Matthew 28:2-4). This angel rolled away the stone, not to let Jesus out, but to show that He was presently gone. He had already arisen from the dead!

“Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believed” (verse 29). There is an old adage that says, “Seeing is believing”. That is actually a bit inaccurate. Seeing is knowing. Believing without seeing…now that’s faith. God wants us to believe without seeing, but that doesn’t mean He wants us to believe without evidence. None of us were there when Jesus died for our sins and arose to defeat death, but there were many eyewitnesses who testify to the truthfulness of that revelation. Their record has been preserved so that we can learn and believe. There was also a written account of the life and death, and miracles and wonders of Jesus, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (verses 30 & 31).

“And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Please read Mark 16:14-20 for tomorrow – Jesus sends His Apostles to preach.

Have a blessed Lord’s day!

-Louie Taylor

John 19:16-30

Saturday, June 27, 2020

“So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, ‘JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.’ Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”; but that He said, “I am King of the Jews.”’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ‘They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’ Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“And He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull” (verse 17). Jesus carried His own cross to Calvary (Golgotha), but that was really our cross He was carrying. We deserved it not Him. The weight of that cross became too much for Him to carry all the way to Calvary’s hill in His weakened condition, and Simon of Cyrene was forced to help (Matthew 27:42). But Jesus carried our sins all alone on that Old Rugged Cross because no one else could take those nails for us and do what He alone had the power to do for us.

“They crucified Him, and with Him two other men” (verse 18). This is one of the multiple fulfillments of Old Testament prophecy written about our Messiah King Savior. Mark 15:27-28 tells us that Jesus was crucified between two robbers to fulfill the Scripture that said, “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Psalm 22:18 was another Old Testament prophecy about the suffering Messiah that was fulfilled at Jesus’ crucifixion (verses 23-24). When those Roman soldiers divided Jesus’ garments among themselves and cast lots for His tunic, they did so without having any prior knowledge of what had been written in the Jewish Old Testament. This proves beyond a doubt that Jesus was the Chosen One sent from heaven.

“It is finished” (verse 30). Jesus did exactly what He came to this earth to do. He completed what He started. There is no promise or prophecy left unfulfilled that Jesus needs to come back to earth to satisfy. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life all the way to the end of His life. When He died on the cross He finished the necessary sacrifice that was required for the forgiveness of the sins of all mankind. When He died on the cross He finished the covenant between God and Israel, contained in the Old Testament, by fulfilling it (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:14). Soon He would arise from the dead to finish (put an end to) Satan’s plan to keep mankind imprisoned by the fear of death all their lives (Hebrews 2:15). When Jesus comes back for us it will be to raise the dead, destroy the earth and Judge all humanity (John 6:39-40; 12:48; Hebrews 15:23-24).

Please read John 20:1-31 for tomorrow – Jesus is resurrected.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

John 18:28-19:15

Friday, June 26, 2020

“Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this Man?’ They answered and said to him, ‘If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.’ So Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.’ The Jews said to him, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death,’ to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, ‘I find no guilt in Him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?’ So they cried out again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas.’ Now Barabbas was a robber. Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and to give Him slaps in the face. Pilate came out again and said to them, ‘Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.’ Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold, the Man!’ So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, ‘Crucify, crucify!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.’ Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, ‘Where are You from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to Him, ‘You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.’ As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, ‘If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.’ Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold, your King!’ So they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“So that they might not be defiled” (18:28). These council members and religious “leaders” paid a bribe to Judas, arrested Jesus in the dark of night, “tried” Him without counsel on trumped up charges, sought false witnesses against Him, and delivered Him over to be killed without committing a crime; yet these hypocrites didn’t want to be “defiled” before they ate the Passover. These blind leaders were so hardened by sin that they couldn’t possibly understand the true meaning of the Passover.

“My kingdom is not of this world” (18:36). Jesus posed no threat to Pilate or Caesar or any other earthly ruler (19:12). He did not come to mount an insurrection and overthrow any worldly governing authorities. Jesus came to overthrow death, establish a spiritual kingdom and to rule in the hearts of people (Luke 17:21; Romans 14:17). After Jesus was killed and arose from the dead, He ascended to the right hand of the throne of God where He now rules over His church kingdom (Ephesians 1:20-23). His royal subjects are those who know and love and obey the truth (18:37).

“Behold the Man” (19:5). Pilate repeatedly said that he found no guilt in Jesus. And yet he had Him beaten, allowed the soldiers to mock Him, place a crown of thorns on Him, slap Him in the face and spit on Him. He then brought our wounded and wearied Savior out before the bloodthirsty mob and said “Behold, the Man!” Just look at Him! He is a pitiful and harmless person! He poses no threat to you! Pilate did this in an effort to release Jesus (Luke 23:16, 22). But if the governor was trying to make this enraged mob feel guilty for their actions or pity for Jesus, he was barking up the wrong tree.

Behold the Man! Behold our Savior! Behold the love that He has for the rebellious people He created! Only the greatest, most selfless kind of love would have willingly endured such blasphemous cruelty!

Please read John 19:16-30 for tomorrow – Jesus is crucified.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 26:47-75

Thursday, June 25, 2020

“While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.’ Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, ‘Hail, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you have come for.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?’ At that time Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.’ Then all the disciples left Him and fled. Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, ‘This man stated, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.”’ The high priest stood up and said to Him, ‘Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?’ But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, ‘I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; What do you think?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death!’ Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, ‘Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?’ Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.’ Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

---End of Scripture verses---

"It must happen this way" (verse 54). The chief priests and the elders thought they were in control of this situation (verse 47), but had they known the Holy Word, they would have understood that "all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets" (verse 56). How clearly Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and numerous other Scriptures revealed that this was all God's plan to save the world and that He was in complete control.

Jesus quoted Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 and applied those verses to himself (verse 64). Obviously the council members knew the Scriptures well enough to understand that these passages were written about the Messiah. That's all the "evidence" they needed to convict Him of blasphemy and consider Him worthy of death (65-66). The abuse began in full earnest (verses 67-70). Jesus "convicted" himself intentionally with His words knowing what the outcome would be. Nothing would stop Him from dying for you and me.

"Peter was following Him at a distance" (verse 58). Please try your best to never do that. That is such a dangerous place to be. We get ourselves into all kinds of trouble when we refuse to stick to Jesus just as closely as possible. That night would prove to be a brutal one for Peter. After He denied even knowing His Lord three times, Jesus looked at him (Luke 22:61). I'm sure he never forgot that look as long as He lived. Peter went out and wept bitterly (verse 75). When we deny our Lord and try to follow Him at a distance, we should feel great remorse like Peter. But also like Peter, we should repent and turn back to Him and follow Him faithfully unto death (Luke 22:32).

Please read John 18:28-19:15 for tomorrow – Jesus stands trial before the governor.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

John 16:1-15

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

---End of Scripture verses---

A few quick observations:

"It is to your advantage that I go away" (verse 7). I'm certain that the apostles saw nothing advantageous in the death and departure of their Master. They had given up everything in order to follow Him and now He was telling them goodbye after three short years. But Jesus wasn't going to leave them alone. He already had a plan in place to help them. This was all a part of God's eternal plan for the salvation of mankind. Therefore it was for our advantage that Jesus be killed and ascend back into heaven as well. After Jesus died for the sins of the world and went back to heaven, the Holy Spirit assumed His position as "Helper" or "Advocate" and as Revelator of the plan.

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth" (verse 13). It was the Holy Spirit's responsibility to reveal God's entire plan of salvation to the Apostles so that saving grace would be made available to everybody in the whole world. Praise be to God, He didn't fail! We have all of God's will for mankind revealed and preserved for us in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3). No part of God's plan has failed or will fail to be fulfilled. God has not revealed anything new to the world since His revelation was completed in the first century. We have everything we need to make us complete in God's sight and saved for eternity right at our fingertips in our Bibles (2 Timothy 3:16-17)!

Please read Matthew 26:47-75 for tomorrow – Jesus is betrayed, denied and arrested.

God bless you and have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

John 15:1-17

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.”

---End of Scripture verses---

At the end of chapter 14 Jesus and His apostles arose to leave the upper room and make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane (14:31). Maybe along the way Jesus noticed a grapevine and decided to use it as an illustration of what it means to be one of His true followers. Jesus, as the “true vine” (verse 1), is the ideal realization of what a vine is and does. As a vine supports all life and provides all nourishment and growth for the various branches that grow off of it, Jesus is the origin of spiritual life and the source of every vital spiritual resource available to the people dependent upon Him.

A branch that does not produce fruit is useless, and even counterproductive, to its owner (verse 2). As branches of the True Vine we are expected to obey His commandments (verse 10) and produce a “harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18). If we neglect to do His will and produce good fruit, we are “thrown away as a branch” (verse 6). I’m not sure where the doctrine of “once saved always saved” originated, but it certainly did not come from Jesus!

The heavenly Father prunes every branch that bears fruit so that we can even bear more fruit (verse 2). How does He do that? God prunes away the old carnal refuse by continual exposure to the Bible. Jesus told His apostles “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (verse 3). The cleansing process begins with and continues through the Spirit-inspired word of God. The Holy Spirit’s revelation trims off the dead weight to help maximize our spiritual potential and effectuate more growth. If Jesus’ words abide in us we will bear much fruit (verses 7-8).

“You are My friends if you do what I command you” (verse 14). How long would you keep a friend who told you that you had to do everything he told you to? I’m thinking maybe five minutes tops. But that’s exactly what Jesus is telling us here. We often sing the song “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”. We must be careful to understand that, as a true friend, Jesus is not our peer, our buddy or our pal. He is our friend because of all the good things He has done for us and what He promises to do for us if we obey His every command. Jesus is our friend, but He is also our Supreme Ruler.

"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

Please read John 16:1-15 for tomorrow – Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

John 14:1-15

Monday, June 22, 2020

“‘Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

Jesus had told His eleven faithful apostles that He would be leaving them soon and that they could not follow Him where He was going (13:33). He told them that one of them would betray Him (13:21) and that Peter would deny even knowing his Lord three times before the sun arose the next morning (13:38). These were disturbing times and, as you can imagine, Jesus’ friends were very troubled. Jesus took the time to encourage them and to assure them that He was going to prepare a place in His Father’s house for them to live forever.

What about your life upsets you the most? Whatever it is, if you belong to Jesus, “do not let your heart be troubled” (verse 1). You just remain faithful to Him and He will make everything alright. The Father sent Jesus to earth to take care of everything for you. He even went to prepare a place in heaven just for you, and one day He will come back for you personally to take you home (verses 2-3).

Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (verse 6). The apostle John uniquely reveals in his writings the true nature of who Jesus is. Jesus is THE way. Jesus is the exclusive pathway to the Father and there is no hope of heaven outside of Him. Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Jesus is THE truth. We live in a society of moral relativism and conditional truth, but that is not reality. Jesus is absolute truth. He doesn’t merely KNOW the truth and HAVE the truth. Jesus IS the truth. To exist without Jesus and adherence to His perfect teaching is to live a life of falsehood, untrue to the very purpose for which life was given. “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:17-18)

Jesus is THE life. Jesus is the Creator of all physical life (John 1:1-3), and the wellspring from which eternal life flows (John 4:14; 7:37-38). But Jesus does not merely HAVE life and GIVE life, Jesus IS life itself (John 5:26). “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

Jesus is God. The apostle John goes to great lengths to let his readers know for certain that Jesus IS God. Jesus told His apostles to believe in Him just as they believed in God (verse 1). Look again at John 1:18 and 1 John 5:20 where Jesus is called “the only begotten God” and “the true God”. Jesus could rightly tell Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (verse 9) because God the Son shares equality in nature and purpose and eternity with God the Father.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Jesus is everything! To have Jesus is to have everything. To not have Jesus is to have nothing. Obey Jesus because He is God. If you love Him keep His commandments (verse 15).

Please read John 15:1-17 for tomorrow – Jesus is the Vine.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 26:30-46

Sunday, June 21, 2020

“After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.” But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.’ But Peter said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing too. Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!’”

---End of Scripture verses---

When Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane, He placed His disciples in strategic locations to stand guard over Him while He prayed. He placed 8 of the 11 on the outer perimeter (verse 36), and took Peter, James and John into the interior of the garden to “keep watch” (verses 37-38). He had been watching over them and protecting them for three years, and now He wanted them to cover His back for an hour as He poured His broken heart out to His Father. Judas knew this was the Lord’s customary place for prayer, and Jesus knew His betrayer was coming for Him with an armed troop of soldiers and police (John 18:3).

It is heart-rending to read just how much our Lord agonized over the ordeal that lay before Him. Even before He took our nails and bore our sins, Jesus was distressed to the point of death (verse 38). As He prayed that the cup of God’s wrath be taken away from Him (verse 39), His sweat was flowing like blood from His pores (Luke 22:44). He petitioned His Father ardently and repeatedly to deliver Him from this hour. But it was the Father’s will that His Son be “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). I simply can’t fathom the magnitude of love it would require to voluntarily endure such tribulation.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (verse 41). Jesus’ three closest friends couldn’t stay awake for one hour and do their Master’s bidding. It would be easy to criticize them but for the fact that I so often fail to do some simple thing that He requires of me. Like them, my weak and fatigued flesh sometimes fails my willing spirit. Luke tells us that these poor fellows were overcome by sleep because they were “exhausted from sorrow” (verse 45). This dreadful night was tough on them too.

The only way for our spirit to triumph over our flesh is to “keep watching and keep praying” (verse 41). “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Please read John 14:1-15 for tomorrow – Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

John 13:1-17

Saturday, June 20, 2020

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’ So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

---End of Scripture verses---

Jesus was in the upper room with His Apostles on the fateful night of His betrayal. Verse 1 tells us that “He loved them to the end.” Jesus loved His disciples to the utmost degree, and even on the eve of His crucifixion, He took what time He had left to teach His loved ones the valuable lessons they would need to make it through the difficult times ahead. Jesus had just taught them that the greatest among them would be their servant (Luke 22:26). Now He would demonstrate that principle to them.

Jesus arose from the supper table, took a course cloth which household servants used (an apron of sorts), and tied it around His waist. He looked like a common servant but He was anything but common. Jesus was definitely the ultimate servant. He then proceeded to wash His disciples’ dirty, sweaty, stinking feet. Even the feet of the scoundrel who would betray Him for 30 worthless pieces of silver. No act of service was beneath the reach of our servant Master.

Jesus asked them if they knew what He had done to them (verse 12). The Good Teacher asked His students to reflect on the lesson He had taught them. Obviously there was a deeper meaning to this act than just washing dirt of someone’s feet. He told them that He had left an example for them to follow (verse 15). If we want to truly follow Jesus we must follow His example of servitude. We must be willing to serve other people to the extent that Jesus served. Jesus would shortly carry His service for mankind all the way to the cross. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

None of us are deserving of the Lord’s service, but we would all be helpless without it.

Please read Matthew 26:30-46 for tomorrow – Jesus prayed in the garden.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 26:17-29

Friday, June 19, 2020

“Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?’ 18 And He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, ‘My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.’”’ The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating, He said, ‘Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.’ Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ And He answered, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.’ And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself.’ While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper while sharing in the Passover meal with His disciples for the final time. The Passover was a commemoration of the time that Israel was liberated from their slavery to Egypt (Exodus chapter 12). The blood from the Passover lamb was smeared on the doorposts and the lintels of the houses where the Israelites ate their final meal in Egypt (Exodus 12:7). The Lord killed all the firstborn in Egypt that awful night, but all the houses marked with the blood of the lamb were saved from that final, gruesome plague.

As Jesus ate the Passover with His closest friends in Matthew 26, He was also preparing to be our Passover Lamb. Jesus called the blood that He would shed “the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (verse 28). Every first day of the week when we assemble with the saints to take the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember how the Lord saved us from certain destruction and liberated us from the slavery of sin by the blood of Jesus. Sin is mankind’s greatest taskmaster. Thank you Lord for the blood of the Lamb that makes us truly free!

Please read John 13:1-17 for tomorrow – Jesus washes the disciples feet.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 21:12-27

Thursday, June 18, 2020

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”’ And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they became indignant and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these children are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself”?’ And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.’ And at once the fig tree withered. Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, ‘How did the fig tree wither all at once?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea,” it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.’ When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?’ And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say to us, “Then why did you not believe him?” But if we say, “From men,” we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.’ And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.’ He also said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

The word that comes to my mind when I read the account of these events is “authority”. Jesus did not cower into the grand finale of His physical life on earth. He knew He was coming to Jerusalem to be offered as our Sacrificial Lamb, but the actions of His final week were performed with all the power of the Chosen One of God.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem to a chorus of praise and honor. As the people lay down their garments before Him and shouted “Hosanna in the highest,” Jesus received their worship as the completely appropriate outpourings of their hearts toward Him (verses 9-11). When Jesus entered the temple, His first course of action was to overturn the money changers tables and run off the people who were making a mockery of His Father’s house of worship and prayer (verses 12-13). And He did so without being challenged. Jesus healed the lame and the blind (verse 14), but the scribes and chief priests were unimpressed by this amazing display of divine power. They instead resorted to criticizing the children who were rightly singing His praises (verse 15). Jesus was in complete control of these affairs and He operated with the absolute authority of heaven.

When Jesus arrived again at the temple early the next morning, the priests and elders finally mustered up enough courage to ask Him “by what authority” He was doing and saying these things (verse 23). He really shut them down by answering their question with another question (verses 24-25). If they could rightly deduce the answer to Jesus’ question, they would really be answering their own question. Was John’s baptism “from heaven or from men?” The answer to this question directly applied to their question because John openly endorsed Jesus. If John’s authority was God-given, then so was the authority of Jesus. But if it was simply manmade authority then both John and Jesus had no legal footing for their actions whatsoever. When the men of the council answered, “We do not know” (verse 27), they proved themselves unfit for their office and unworthy of an answer.

When Jesus cursed the barren fig tree (verses 18-22) He was really pronouncing judgment upon the spiritually desolate hearts of the people of Israel. When His disciples marveled at how immediately and completely the tree had withered, He told them that with the right kind of faith, they could even move mountains. They would need that kind of faith when dealing with the wicked, faithless people that were about to put their Master to death.

Please read Matthew 26:17-29 for tomorrow – Jesus eats the Passover.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 21:1-11

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

“When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, “The Lord has need of them,” and immediately he will send them.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”’ The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!’ When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

Why did Jesus choose to ride a donkey the last two miles of His journey into Jerusalem? Was He too tired to walk? Was the terrain too rough to traverse? He did so in order to fulfill Messianic prophecy from the Old Testament (verses 4-5). Jesus was the King that God had promised to send into the world and save His people. He did so to be conspicuous. He would not slink into the city by stealth and try to escape the notice of His numerous enemies who wanted to kill Him. He did so in humility (read Zechariah 9:9). He would not ride in mounted on a steed like a victorious king returning from recent battle. This was the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. He rode in humbly, overtly and prophetically to carry out the final, painful portion of God’s plan of salvation.

The reception that Jesus received from the crowd was one of sheer jubilation! They rolled out the red carpet for Him. They covered the ground with their coats and with palm branches (John 12:13), and shouted “Hosanna in the highest” (verses 8-9). Verse 9 is a quotation from Psalm 118:25-26, a Messianic Psalm. Hosanna means “save now”. They recognized Jesus as God's salvation. This term was used to petition kings when appealing to them for justice. They saw Jesus as their King. They even called Him, “the Son of David,” a title reserved for the much-anticipated Messiah. Isn’t it amazing that in a few, short days that much of the same adoring crowd would be shouting, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” (John 19:15)?

People can be fickle can’t they? They can love you one day and turn on you the next. They can be whipped up into an emotional frenzy and lose all sense of rationality. Isn’t it comforting to know that in this crazy, mixed-up world in which we live, we can always count on God to be there for us; to carry out His plans for us from start to finish; and to love us to the very end? Jesus loved you enough to come to this world of pain and suffering, experience the trials and temptations that you experience, and to die for your sins and arise for your salvation. And nothing was going to stop Him from doing that for you. Can you praise God for His undying love for you? Will you try your best to stay true to Him and serve Him faithfully, even as the world around you seems to be losing all touch with reality?

Please read Matthew 21:12-27 for tomorrow – Jesus cleanses the temple

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

John 11:1-44

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’ But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’ This He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.’ The disciples then said to Him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.’ Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.’ So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 1and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary [stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.’ When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, ‘See how He loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?’ So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Remove the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’ So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.’ When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“‘This sickness is not to end in death…” (verse 4) While it is true that Lazarus actually died, that was not the end of the story for him. Jesus intentionally delayed for two days before going to Bethany so that Lazarus would die, but He only did so to set the stage for the most magnificent manifestation of His glory to His followers and His detractors alike by raising him from the dead! Of course Lazarus eventually died a second time because no physical earthly life can endure for very long. But If we believe in and lovingly obey Jesus, we will “live even if” we die, “and everyone who lives and believes in” Him “will never die” (verses 25-26). Jesus “is the Resurrection and the life” (verse 25) and He proved it with this astounding miracle. If we faithfully devote our lives to His teaching we can completely trust that physical death will not be the end of the line for our eternal spirits, and that we will live in glory with Him forevermore.

“If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (verses 9-10) The Lord spoke these encouraging words to His disciples to assure them that they had no reason to fear the Jewish leaders and their malicious threats as long as they were with Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the world and if we walk with Him daily we have nothing to fear from the intimidation and reproaches of men, even if we should lose our lives in the process. To walk with Jesus is to walk the only true path of spiritual illumination. To choose the path of sin and separation from God is to walk in the darkness of uncertainty, fear and death. “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Only by walking in the light of His love can we “have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).

Please read Matthew 21:1-11 for tomorrow – Jesus returns to Jerusalem.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 10:1-24

Monday, June 15, 2020

“Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace be to this house.” If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.” I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me. The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Turning to the disciples, He said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

The second limited commission:

This event took place in the last year of Jesus’ life. The Lord had sent His 12 Apostles out in a similar fashion in the previous chapter (Luke 9:1-8). He gave them special, limited powers and gave them a special, limited mission for a limited duration of time. As with the Twelve, these 70 chosen men were sent out in pairs, equipped with scarce provisions and were told to only preach in the towns as they traveled. Jesus had sent them out “before His face,” or “ahead of Him” into every town He was about to go, on His way to Jerusalem (verse 1). Like John the baptizer, these men were types of forerunners of Jesus; preparing the way for Him to enter their towns, and preparing their hearts to receive Him.

Jesus sent them out “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (verse 3). They were to take no money, no food, no weapons and no extra clothing on this special mission. He was teaching them that if they were out doing the Lord’s work and obeying His commandments then He would take care of them. They were to be “as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 16). As long as they were careful to follow the Lord’s directions, He would provide for them. Jesus is teaching that message to us as well. As long as we follow Jesus in trusting, obedient faith, He will provide for all that we truly need. But we must use wisdom and discretion in our earthly dealings and not confuse faith with throwing caution to the wind.

When the 70 disciples returned from their mission they happily reported their experience to Jesus (verse 17). Jesus told them to not be infatuated by the supernatural power that had been entrusted to them. The most important thing was that their “names are recorded in heaven” (verse 20). Every ability that any of us possesses has been conferred to us as a gift from God. Whether we are prominent workers with substantial skillsets or obscure servants with limited capabilities, we should give all the glory to God for everything He has entrusted to us. And ultimately we should all rejoice in the fact that, if we serve Him faithfully to the best of our ability, we will all go home to heaven together to be with Him forever.

Jesus, “was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightening” (verse 18). Was Jesus speaking of a past event, a future prophecy or a current phenomenon? It appears from the tense of the verb that Jesus “was watching” this happen as the Seventy were out preaching the Gospel and casting out demons. With every demon cast out, and with every heart that willingly received the Good News, Jesus could see Satan cast down from his lofty throne. The “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) is no match for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). When Jesus died for our sins and arose for our glory, he loosened Satan’s strangle-hold on death and rendered him powerless (Hebrews 2:14-15). Death had no power over Jesus, and if we belong to Him, it will have no power over us (Romans 6:9).

John 12:31-33 – “‘Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said signifying by what death He would die.”

Please read John 11:1-44 for tomorrow – Jesus raises Lazarus.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Mark 10:17-31

Sunday, June 14, 2020

“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”’ And he said to Him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.’ Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were even more astonished and said to Him, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Looking at them, Jesus said, ‘With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.’ Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

This “young man” (Matthew 19:20), who was also a “ruler” (Luke 18:18), ran up to Jesus with a sense of urgency and bowed his knee before Him. He displayed great wisdom and humility in these gestures because he recognized Jesus as far superior to himself and that the Master alone could supply the answer to life’s most important and pressing question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The young ruler, whether intentionally or inadvertently, acknowledged that Jesus possessed the attributes and powers of deity by calling Him “Good Teacher,” because “no one is good except God alone.”

The young man had endeavored to meticulously keep God’s commandments as revealed in the Law of Moses from the time that he was a child and had the ability to understand them. He was likely raised in a household by parents who taught him to fear the Lord and keep His commandments as Timothy had been so instructed by his mother and grandmother, and that training had equipped him for this fateful encounter with the Master. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15-16)

Jesus looked at this excellent young man with the love that He maintains for all the people He created in His own image, but true love demands that the sometimes painful truth be spoken. The one single thing that stood between the ruler and eternal salvation was his wealth. The simple truth was that he loved his “much property” more than he loved his Good Master, so when he departed from his encounter with Jesus he did so with a heart full of grief instead of joy. He had a great desire to please the Lord, but his heart was divided, and the treasures he had invested the most value in were of the earthly variety and not the eternal riches of heaven. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24)

It is very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, and the Bible is chock full of warnings about the dangers of material wealth. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10) But, having acknowledged the extreme difficulties associated with wealthy people acquiring and maintaining eternal salvation, it is not impossible to do because “all things are possible with God.” “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in goodworks, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

If we position our money and possessions in first place in our hearts, we will most assuredly be last in the eyes of the Lord, even though He look upon us with love like He did this rich young ruler. But, if we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves, and we express that love with the way we use our material wealth, we will be among the sheep who are mentioned first, separated to the Lord’s right hand of salvation come Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46).

Please read Luke 10:1-24 for tomorrow – Jesus sends out His apostles.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 15:11-32

Friday, June 12, 2020

"And He said, ‘A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.” So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’” So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” And they began to celebrate. ‘Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.” But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, “Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.” And he said to him, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”’”

---End of Scripture verses---

A few observations about the story of the Prodigal Son:

Verse 13 – A life devoted to sin is like going into a far country, completely remote and isolated from God, and squandering away the gift of life that He has blessed us with.

Verse 14 – Bad choices often team up with rotten luck, and that can just make a complete wreck out of our lives.

Verse 17 – Hitting rock bottom is not always as bad as it seems. IF! If it causes us to come to our senses. When we realize that we have no one but ourselves to blame for the sinful mess that our lives often become, and then purpose in our hearts to come back to the One who really cares about us and has always loved us; that is truly returning to our senses.

Verse 20 – God loves us, even when we are sin-soaked and spiritually bankrupt, and He wants us back. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Verse 22 – God doesn’t just want to be a part of our lives. He wants to restore us to a privileged place of fellowship with Him, and give us all the treasures of heaven. “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

Verse 24 – When a sinner repents, changes his wicked ways and returns to God, he passes from death to life. When we chose to pursue sinfulness instead of obedience to God, our sin separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2), and we die spiritually. When we return to the Lord in humble, obedient faith, we truly start living again!

Titus 2:11-14 – “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Please read Luke 16:19-31 for tomorrow – The rich man and Lazarus.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 15:1-10

Thursday, June 11, 2020

"Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them.' So He told them this parable, saying, 'What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!" I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!" In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.'"

---End of Scripture verses---

Who in our group enjoys a good "seek and find"? Looking for hidden things can be a lot of fun and good exercise for your brain and mind. Be that as it may, looking for lost souls is not a game. It is the most serious undertaking in the whole world, and it is the very reason that Jesus came to this earth. Even though "soul-searching" isn't fun and games, it is still the most enriching endeavor a Christian can ever undertake. Having a part in helping some lost soul "find the Lord" is the greatest feeling of all time! It is such a great cause of celebration that even the angels in heaven rejoice! Jesus came to earth to seek and save lost souls, and then He gives that assignment to the ones that He saves. Were you once lost and now found? Then Jesus has a mission for you. Go find other lost ones and help them find their way home!

Please read Luke 15:11-32 for tomorrow - The Prodigal Son.

Have a super blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 13:1-9

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’ And He began telling this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, “Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?” And he answered and said to him, “Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.”’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Think of the worst disaster that you can remember, or the most heinous crime committed against humanity. Did the victims of these tragedies deserve their horrific fate? Did they suffer so terribly because they were such despicable sinners? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (verse 3). It was not uncommon for people in the time of Christ (or today for that matter) to believe that any accident, illness or ill treatment was supernatural retribution for some terrible sin they had committed (John 9:1-2). But as Solomon truthfully wrote over 2500 years ago, “I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). In other words, sometimes stuff just happens.

What lesson should we learn from the untimely deaths of unsuspecting victims? That should remind us that we could be next! And since the same kinds of misfortune could befall any one of us at any time, we need to prepare to meet our God now! When Jesus tells us to repent or we will likewise perish, He is talking about perishing for eternity. We are all going to perish physically unless Jesus returns in our lifetime. Jesus is telling us to repent, to turn from our sinful ways, and make our lives right with God. Then if some tower should unexpectedly fall on our head, we will only die physically, not suffer the eternal destruction of Hell (2 Thessalonians 1:9). After Jesus healed a man who had been ill for 38 years, he told him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you” (John 5:14). Sin without repentance produces much worse consequences than any physical ailment that you could possibly imagine.

The lesson from the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree is this: God is patient, but His patience will not last forever (verses 6-9). That was true for Israel in the time that Christ visited His rebellious people, and that is true for each of us individually as well. God gave Israel time to repent of their wickedness, but they refused and suffered the consequences as a nation. God will only tolerate defiance and rejection for so long. God also gives each person individually time to turn from their sins and turn to Him in loving obedience. But we never know when our time on earth will be over. The appropriate time to make your life right with God is now. Now is really the only time that you can be certain you have.

“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Please read Luke 15:1-10 for tomorrow – Parables of the lost sheep and lost coin

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 12:13-21

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

“Someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?’ Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’ And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

“Be on your guard against every form of greed” (verse 15). Greed is the desire for more, more, more; and it comes in many different forms. The person who is greedy for pleasure will always be looking for more and newer ways to experience pleasure. He who is greedy for “love” will look for it “in all the wrong places,” and take it where he can find it. The “power junky” always looks for another person, thing or situation to control. And of course, the coveter of money will chase after the almighty dollar, even if it destroys his health, his relationships and his eternal soul in the pursuit. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

“Not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (verse 15). Most people in our culture measure the value of a person by how much money he is worth. But no price tag can be attached to a human life. And the immortal soul that resides within the human being is infinitely more valuable than all of the money in the world added together (Matthew 16:26). 1 Timothy 6:7 tells us, “We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” The most valuable items that we have in our possession are the things we will take with us into eternity: our integrity, our character, our soul. We will never impress the Creator of the universe by the amount of possessions we can amass on earth. Let’s work on valuing the things that God values.

Greedy people seldom if ever think about anyone but self (verses 16-20). The problem with the “rich fool” in today’s parable wasn’t so much that he had a lot of possessions. It was mostly that he left God completely out of the narrative of his life, and that he horded all his possessions to himself. This man was concerned about one person, and only one person. All he could think about was what he had, what he wanted, and what he needed to do in order to keep himself happy and satisfied all the days of his selfish life. Any prosperity we may experience will only be temporary if we aren’t “rich toward God” (verse 21). Let’s remember to give God all the praise and credit for all the good things He has blessed us with in our lives. And then let’s help others who are in need, when we can, realizing that God wants us to be generous to others with His riches, just as He has been generous to us.

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Please read Luke 13:1-9 for tomorrow – Jesus teaches repentance.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 10:25-37

Monday, June 08, 2020

“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.’ But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied and said, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.” Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?’ And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do the same.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The lawyer asked this question to “test Jesus” (verse 25), and he was only looking to “justify himself” by his answer when Jesus threw the question back on him (verse 29); but this is still the most important question that anyone could possibly ask. What do we need to do to be saved eternally? The answer? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (verse 27).

This lawyer lived in a different time and place, and under a different covenant with God than we do. But the answer to the question of eternal life has not changed. We must love God with everything we’ve got, obeying Him at His every command (Hebrews 5:8-9). And we must love the people that He created in His own image as we love ourselves. Notice that within this statement is the commandment to love ourselves. It is good to have a healthy love for self. It becomes unhealthy and ungodly when our love for self eclipses our love for others.

Jesus demonstrated the meaning of loving neighbor as self in the parable of the Samaritan traveler. This man “felt compassion” on another human being that had fallen upon hard times (verse 33). He helped out a total stranger for no other reason than because it was the right thing to do. He loved this man even though he didn’t know him personally. He recognized need, and he used his time and energy and resources in an effort to fill that need. Loving your neighbor as yourself is having the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes. It is the ability to understand that, at any given time, some hardship could befall you as well. And then it is doing for that person what you would want someone to do for you if you were in a similar situation.

Make no mistake about it. Our willingness or unwillingness to love our fellowman in the right way will have eternal consequences. The Judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46 is a long passage, but I am posting it anyway, in the hope that all will actually take the time to read it.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Please read Luke 12:13-21 for tomorrow – Jesus teaches against greed.

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 18:21-35

Sunday, June 07, 2020

“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.” And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, “Pay back what you owe.” So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you.” But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, “You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?” And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

How often should we forgive a brother who sins against us? Well, how often do we want God to forgive us? I think the universal answer to that question is, “Every time!” Every time we sin and we ask God to forgive us, He promises to do so if we “repent”, or “turn from” that sin (Luke 17:3-4; 2 Corinthians 7:10). But one of the conditions He places upon providing forgiveness to us, is that we willingly forgive the sins of other people (Matthew 6:14-15).

Verse 27 really reveals the forgiving nature of our merciful God, in the person of the king in the parable. “The Lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.” Our Father in heaven has a heart full of compassion toward the people that He created and loves. But the compassion of God is more than just a feeling. More than just feeling sorry or pity for us, God has mercy on us. Mercy is doing something to help a person who has found or placed himself in a pitiable condition.

When we repent and are baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38), God forgives us and releases us from the unpayable debt that we owe Him. And any subsequent sin that we commit and repent of, God wipes the slate clean for that as well. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” God is actively, frequently and selflessly merciful. God’s children need to work hard at trying to imitate His loving, merciful, forgiving nature (Ephesus 5:1).

What effect did the mercy and forgiveness extended to the servant with the mountain of debt have on him? If it had any effect at all it was negative. When his fellow servant, who owed a pittance in comparison, asked him for mercy; he grabbed him by the throat, threatened him, and had him thrown into prison (verses 28-30). It is amazing how soon the unmerciful servant forgot that he had just recently walked in the shoes of his fellow servant. It’s not always easy to forgive someone who has done us wrong. That is especially true when we really thought the world of that person. Let’s just remember that God has forgiven us a million times more than we could ever be expected to forgive someone else.

“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart” (verse 35). True forgiveness comes from the heart. Sometimes we may say we forgive someone, and even restore a person to an active place of participation in our lives; but we still bear resentment and animosity for them in our heart. A heart loaded down with anger and bitterness is not a forgiving or happy heart. It is in our best interest to try to let go of our grudges and forgive people from the heart, even if they don’t repent and ask us for forgiveness. Even though we don’t “owe” forgiveness to them, we will still free ourselves of the crippling burden of bitterness.

James 2:13 – “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Please read Luke 10:25-37 for tomorrow – Jesus teaches about mercy.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 18:1-11

Saturday, June 06, 2020

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “’Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Christ’s disciples wanted to know who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Who was going to sit in the greatest positions of leadership in the kingdom that Christ was about to establish: His church? Jesus said that you can’t even enter the kingdom of heaven, let alone occupy a place of greatness in it, unless you become as a little child first. In order to become “great”, you must become “little”. You must become a nobody in your own sight, in order to be a somebody in the kingdom.

Jesus said we have to be “converted” to enter His church. This word literally means “turned”. The disciples were thinking in just the opposite way that they should have been thinking. They needed to make a complete 180 degree turn, and utterly alter their entire thought process. And this is true for “whoever” (verse 4) desires to be a part of Christ’s church. We all must humble ourselves before Christ so that He can exalt us, and sit us beside Himself on His heavenly throne (Matthew 19:28; 23:12).

Once we have been accepted into Christ’s kingdom of “little ones”, it is of supreme importance to Him that we treat each other properly (verses 6-11). We must go to extreme measures to keep from causing a brother or sister in Christ to stumble spiritually. It would be better for us to hurt ourselves than to bring harm to one whom Christ has died for (verses 8-9). We all will ultimately be responsible for our own decisions and our own sins when we stand before Christ on Judgment Day, but if we are complicit in the fall of a child of God, we will have to answer for that as well.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (verse 10). We have to be careful to not make this verse say more than Christ intended for it to mean. At the very least, this means that the angels in heaven take a special interest in the affairs of God’s children on earth. I am convinced that Jesus is talking about Christians here, His covenant “children”, not only innocent, underage children. The entire discourse of this chapter is about kingdom citizens and their attitudes and relationships.

Jesus said these beautiful words about those who would chose to give their lives up in order to follow Him: “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants” (Matthew 11:25). He said this right before He extended the invitation for all who are weary and heavy-laden to come unto Him (Matthew 11:28-30).

Please read Matthew 18:21-35 for tomorrow – Jesus teaches about forgiveness.

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 17:1-13

Friday, June 05, 2020

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ‘Get up, and do not be afraid.’ And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’ And His disciples asked Him, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ And He answered and said, ‘Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus outshines everyone. Peter, James and John must have stood awestruck at the vision they saw on top of the holy mountain. They watched Jesus talking with arguably the two greatest icons of their faith: Moses and Elijah. I have never been able to figure out how they recognized these two heroic biblical characters, and since the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us, I guess it really doesn’t matter. But as these three privileged apostles stood beholding this spectacle, the deity of Jesus began to shine forth from within. He was transfigured, or metamorphosed before their very eyes. His face shone forth as brightly as the sun and His clothes gleamed with the whiteness of pure light.

Peter speaks his mind. Peter was so impressed by this display that he suggested making a tabernacle, or a tent, to commemorate this great event or for temporary dwelling, for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. I’m not exactly sure what Peter had in mind by making such a proposal, but Luke tells us that Peter really didn’t realize what he was saying either (Luke 9:33). Luke also tells us that Peter said what he said after the disciples had awakened from a very deep sleep (Luke 9:32).

The Father speaks from heaven. Even as Peter was speaking, “a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’” (verse 5). God directed Peter, James and John to give their full attention to Jesus. No one is on a par with the Only Begotten Son of God. Jesus is greater than the greatest person you could ever read about in the Bible, Moses and Elijah included. When Jesus speaks, it is with the absolute, innate, inviolable authority of God Almighty. We must listen to Him and we must obey His every command if we want to please our Father in heaven.

Please read Matthew 18:1-11 for tomorrow – Jesus teaches about forgiveness.

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 16:13-28

Thursday, June 04, 2020

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.’ Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’ Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and 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. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. ‘Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus had been preaching and working wonders for about three years, and opposition had steadily escalated all the while. He and His disciples were in the area of Caesarea Philippi. They had traveled about as far north as they could possibly go and still be in the Holy Land. The time had come for Jesus to make His way back to Jerusalem to face His enemies head on, and to drink of the cup that was awaiting Him there (Matthew 26:39). Jesus took this opportunity to teach His true disciples some difficult realities.

He asked them the question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (verse 13). There were varied and diverse opinions among the Jewish population at large about the true nature of Jesus’ identity. But Jesus’ greatest concern was that His loyal followers perceived Him to be who He truly was, not who the crowds appraised Him to be. Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 16). That was the “blessed” answer Jesus was looking for (verse 17). And now it was time to show them what it really meant for Jesus to be the Messiah.

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (verse 21). Peter knew who Jesus was, but he was completely unaware of what He had actually come to this earth to do (verse 22). Reader, who do you say that Jesus is? A good Man? A prophet? A rejected King? Jesus is the Christ, the Chosen One of God. The very reason He came to this earth was to be abused and crucified for the sins of the world. The execution of Jesus was not a manmade deviation from the plan of God (verse 23). With the crucifixion of Jesus, God executed His perfect plan for the redemption of man, and the gates of Hades did not prevail against it (verse 18). When Jesus arose from the grave, He established His church through the authority that He later invested in these very apostles (verse 19).

Peter was not the rock that Jesus built His church upon (verses 17-18). Jesus is the only Rock from which all spiritual blessings flow (1 Corinthians 10:4; Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31). Peter himself would later write of Jesus, “For this is contained in Scripture: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’” No other foundation can be laid than Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Please read Matthew 17:1-12 for tomorrow – Jesus is transfigured.

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 14:22-33

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

“Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

It was a rough, stormy night on the sea. It was bad enough that the wind and the waves were battering the disciples’ small boat, but it was even more frightening to see someone strolling along on the storm-tossed surf as if all was right with the world. Stop for a moment and actually try to envision this scene in your mind. Place yourself in the boat with Jesus’ disciples. How terrified must these men have been?

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (verse 27). It is Jesus and not an evil spirit roaming the angry sea. The storm is still raging, but everything is going to be alright now. Jesus is here. Torrents of anguish are replaced by a wave of relief. We have nothing to fear when Jesus is beside us. Life won’t always be easy and sometimes it can get quite chaotic. But if we stay faithful to Jesus and trust in His power to save, all will be well with our souls.

“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (verse 28). Peter was brave enough to get out of the boat and he actually walked on the surface of water (verse 29)! That took a tremendous amount of faith! But Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm instead. His faith began to shrink and he began to sink (verse 30). How quickly we can vacillate between highs and lows, between faith and fear. Such is the nature of this human life that often hits us with wave after wave.

Paralyzed by fear, Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” It is comforting to know that Jesus will not let us sink. As long as we cry out to Him, reach out to Him; He will pull us out of the depths of despair.

sometimes men of great conviction are reduced to people of strong doubt and little faith (verse 31). If we are determined to not stay in that dreary place, Jesus won’t leave us there.

“And those who were in the boat worshiped Him” (verse 33). Yes, do that. Worship Jesus a lot. As much as you possibly can.

Please read Matthew 16:13-28 for tomorrow – Jesus predicts His death.

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

John 6:1-14

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

“After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?’ This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.’ One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. When they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

"A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick” (verse 2). Jesus was moved by love and compassion for all the people who followed after Him and were far away from their homes. It was time to eat and the multitudes needed a provider, so Jesus sat them down for a meal they would never forget. Jesus fed 5000 men (not counting women and children) with just two small fish and five barley loaves! And when everyone ate their fill, there were twelve baskets worth of leftovers! What an amazing display of Jesus’ unequalled love and absolute power!

The crowd was so amazed by this miracle that they were convinced that Jesus was surely the one that Israel had been waiting for to lead them back to the Promised Land. They were emotionally primed to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression, and to be lead out from under their tyrannical thumb. A wave of excitement rippled through the crowd and they said amongst themselves, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world” (verse 14). They perceived that their long-awaited deliverer had finally arrived, and “they were intending to come and take Him by force and make Him king” (verse 15). The people wanted Him on the throne, but Jesus headed for the mountains to pray.

Jesus never came to this earth to reign as a fleshly king over physical Israel. Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom called the church, and to reign in the hearts of His loyal subjects. If you read to the end of this chapter you’ll see that this hungry crowd eventually tracked Jesus down again. You will also see Jesus continually trying to change their narrow focus from the physical to the spiritual. “Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.’”

What is your main takeaway from this astounding miracle? Is it that Jesus will always fill your belly when you are hungry? The Bible teaches that if we make the kingdom of God our first priority, He will see to it that our physical needs are met (Matthew 6:34-35). But I don’t believe that’s the main lesson that Jesus teaches in John chapter six. Jesus is teaching us here that if we put all our faith and trust in Him, that He will fill all of our deepest, most important, spiritual needs. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (verse 35). The hunger and thirst that only Jesus can satisfy are eternal in nature.

The decision to follow Jesus is the most important choice we could ever make in our lives. Let’s make certain that we are following Him for the right reasons.

Please read Matthew 14:22-33 for tomorrow – Jesus walks on water.

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 13:1-33

Monday, June 01, 2020

“That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, ‘Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.’ And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ Jesus answered them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.’ Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” And he said to them, “An enemy has done this!” The slaves said to him, “Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?” But he said, “No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” He presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the [r]air come and nest in its branches.’ He spoke another parable to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

“He who has ears, let him hear” (verse 6). Everyone who listened to Jesus speak these words obviously had physical ears with which to hear Him. Jesus was and is appealing to people to listen with their “spiritual ears”. He was asking them to look through the surface of this story about farming and seeds and different types of soil, and into the deeper, spiritual message that He was trying to convey to them.

Why did Jesus teach using parables? Because “they have closed their eyes” to the truth (verse 15). Unfortunately most of the people that Jesus spoke to had hard hearts, dull ears and closed eyes. Jesus was not trying to hide the Gospel truth from the ears of His people. He was diligently trying to teach them in ways that would penetrate their hardened hearts. We read in John chapter six that when Jesus stopped teaching His audience in figurative language and finally told them the plain, direct truth, most of them stopped following Him (John 6:63-66). Jesus taught His countrymen with parables in the hopes of exposing them to as much truth as possible so that the inspired word of God could work to soften their calloused hearts over time.

The word of God is seed that grows within the human heart. Some hearts are so hardened by sin that the seed can’t even penetrate the calloused surface (verse 19). The seed sits on the surface of the hearts of these people for only an instant and then Satan “snatches it away.” Some hearts “immediately receive it with joy,” but the joy only lasts for a short time (verse 20). The hearts of these people are so shallow that there is no room for the word of God to take root. When following God becomes unpleasant in any way, they fall away because of their lack of true commitment to the word. Some hearts receive the seed and it grows well, but it doesn’t produce any fruit (verse 22). Proper preparations haven’t been made to eradicate the worldly weeds from the hearts of these people. The worries of the world and the love of money overpower their faith and trust in God, and they get distracted from the work that God intends for them to do. Some hearts receive the word of God and it takes root, grows well and produces much fruit (verse 23). These are the good, soft-hearted people who love the Lord and His word more than anything else in the world. They stay true to God during times of persecution, and they are “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22-25).

It is not enough to receive the word. It is not enough to receive the word with joy. It is not enough to receive the word and allow it to grow. Jesus tells us that the kind of heart that pleases Him receives the word and allows growth and endures affliction and produces fruit. Stay faithful and fruitful unto the end.

Please read John 6:1-14 for tomorrow – Jesus feeds 5,000 people

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 12:1-14

Sunday, May 31, 2020

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, ‘Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath. But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, “I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

In the verse preceding today's reading, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). In chapter 12 we see the opposite to be true with the religious leaders of His day. The yoke and burden of the Pharisees was cumbersome and oppressive. The things that Jesus and His disciples did on the Sabbath Day did not defy the Law of Moses in any way, but violated the uninspired additions made by these self-righteous hypocrites. They added numerous regulations to the Law, and especially to the Sabbath Day commandment, in order to prevent anyone from even getting close to a violation. It was ultimately the showdown between the Pharisees and Jesus over the command to keep the Sabbath Day holy that led to their determination to destroy Him (verse 14). They simply couldn’t afford to have their influence threatened so greatly with this issue.

Jesus masterfully refuted the false position of the Pharisees in five ways:

1) They were inconsistent (verses 3-4). They had great reverence for King David who obviously did violate the Sabbath Day, but they were critical of Jesus and His disciples who did not.

2) They were illogical (verses 5-6). They recognized that the temple priests had every right to do what was forbidden for the ordinary person to do on the Sabbath. And yet Jesus was not only greater than the priests, He was greater than the temple itself.

3) They were ignorant (verses 7). They didn’t know the true meaning of the scripture that read, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6). The God of all mercy did not forbid hungry people from eating on the Sabbath Day.

4) They were irreverent (verse 8). The Lord who instituted the Sabbath Day surely knew more about the regulations associated with it than the Pharisees did. Jesus would never violate a commandment that He himself made.

5) They were hypocrites (verses 9-13). The Pharisees criticized Jesus for coming to the aid of a human being on the Sabbath Day, when they themselves would admittedly help their own animal if it were in need on that day. People are more valuable than animals, no matter what our backward thinking world may say (verse 12).

Please read Matthew 13:1-33 for tomorrow – Jesus teaches with parables.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 8:22-25

Saturday, May 30, 2020

“Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’

---End of Scripture Verses---

Where is your faith (verse 25)? When the winds are blowing and the waves are crashing, where is your faith? Is it tucked away in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, waiting to be searched for and drawn out in a time of trouble? When a tempest suddenly blasts through your life there is no time to find your faith. It must be ever present with you in order to be useful to you. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). If you have misplaced your faith, you will find it where it has always been residing. Spend ample time immersed in the word of God. Take time every day to learn about Jesus: how He lived, what He taught, what He did for you, what He expects of you. Jesus will increase your faith and prepare you for life’s storms.

Who can this be (verse 25)? The disciples were spending time with Jesus, but at this point, they still didn’t know exactly who He was. When they saw Jesus rebuke the wind and still the water, they asked themselves, “Who can this be?” How well do you know Jesus? What is your perception of Him? Jesus is not a baby lying in a manger. Jesus is not our equal partner in the business of life. Jesus is not a casual friend to visit from time to time. Jesus is “the Master of ocean and earth and skies.” Jesus is God who was manifested in the form of human flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). If the wind and the waves obeyed His every command, we should take a cue from them and follow their lead.

Jesus is not an umbrella to be saved for a rainy day. Jesus is our Creator, our Savior and will be our Judge.

Please read Matthew 12:1-14 for tomorrow – Jesus and the Pharisees.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 8:28-34

Friday, May 29, 2020

“When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. And they cried out, saying, ‘What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’ Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. The demons began to entreat Him, saying, ‘If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.’ And He said to them, ‘Go!’ And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Please read Mark 5:1-17 in conjunction with today’s passage. Mark adds many details that Matthew leaves out.

In Matthew’s account two men are mentioned but in Mark’s only one. Mark focuses on the strongest, most violent of the two men. Mark also emphasizes the supernatural strength of this tormented fellow. He ripped his chains apart and tore his shackles in pieces and no one was strong enough to subdue him (Mark 5:4). This guy was completely uncontrollable and he didn’t even have the ability to control himself. Friends, when your wheels are coming off the tracks and your life is just a total train wreck, there’s really only one Being strong enough give you the kind of help you really need: Jesus.

Let’s look at the before and after picture of this man that Satan had victimized for so long. Before Jesus came into his life he was crazed and out of control. He was a danger to himself and to others. He beat and cut himself with stones. He was naked, miserable, isolated. He had one other person in his life, but that wretched soul was no better off than he was. That was more of a case of “misery loves company” than anything else. This pitiful guy was so tormented that when the demons were cast out and went into the pigs (2 thousand of them according to Mark 5:13!) they all ran off a steep cliff and killed themselves. It’s amazing that, at some point, this poor fellow hadn’t done the same thing. I think Jesus allowed this “Legion” of demons to enter the swine to show us just how violently tormented this unfortunate man was.

Let’s look to Mark’s and Luke’s account to help us see the picture of the man after Jesus had come into his life. He was sitting down calmly, instead of running through tombs and cliffs screaming and crying (Mark 5:5, 15). He was wearing clothes after having been naked for many days (Luke 26:27). He was no longer a crazed lunatic, but sitting there in his right mind (Mark 5:15). The change being described here is the difference between night & day. He had been out of control, out of his mind, unclean, unhealthy, unfit for society. What one thing accounted for the complete and total transformation made in this man’s life? JESUS!

Are you battling something that’s way too big for you to deal with right now? Please don’t try to battle it without Jesus.

Please read Matthew 8:22-25 for tomorrow – Jesus calms a storm.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 7:11-17

Thursday, May 28, 2020

“Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and, ‘God has visited His people!’ This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus and His followers stopped for a funeral procession (verse 12). Unfortunately that isn’t as common a practice as it used to be. It frustrates me when I see vehicles darting past the cars in a funeral procession with no respect for the deceased or for those who are mourning the loss of a dear loved one. We all need to slow down a little and realize that life is really one long funeral procession, and all of our fussing and rushing about won’t make the journey any more enjoyable or meaningful.

Jesus didn’t merely stop out of respect for the dead and the grieving. Jesus saw the weeping mother of the dearly departed and He felt compassion for her (verse 13). Jesus sees. Even if you think that no one else in the whole world knows what you are going through, and that no one could possibly understand even if they did; Jesus knows and Jesus understands. And more importantly, Jesus cares. Greater still, Jesus can do something about it. If Jesus has the power to speak the life back into a dead man’s body and give him back to His grieving mother, He certainly has the ability to lift you up in your darkest hours of need (verses 14-15).

Jesus wants to raise you up to eternal life. This miracle was not only an act of mercy; it was also a demonstration of the supreme power that the Savior has over life and death. Although Jesus has compassion for our infirmities and heartaches, His ultimate concern is for the salvation of our souls. The primary reason that Jesus did this miracle was to produce faith in the hearts of those who witnessed it and those who heard about it (verses 16-17). The same is true with all the miracles that Jesus performed (John 20:30-31). These wonders are not recorded in the Bible to lead us to believe that Jesus will perform miracles in our daily lives. They are documented so that we will believe in Jesus, and to promote within us the kind of faith that leads to everlasting life.

Please read Matthew 8:28-34 for tomorrow – Jesus casts out demons.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 8:1-17

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

“When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!” and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this!” and he does it.’ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed that very moment. When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

When I read the first four verses I am touched by the mercy and tenderness of our Lord when dealing with this poor pitiable person. Leprosy was a slowly debilitating, painful and heart-breaking disease. He came to Jesus, no doubt out of desperation, but with the complete confidence that Jesus was fully able to heal him: if only He was willing. Jesus reached out and touched this unfortunate fellow. I can’t help but wonder just how long it had been since he had felt the touch of another human being. Jesus compassionately said, “I am willing.” Jesus really cares about the people He created. Jesus loves us and wants to help us with our problems and heartaches. He proved this by not only healing people of their infirmities, but also by taking His love for us all the way to the cross of Calvary. After feeling the human touch, the leprous man felt the hand of divinity upon him and, “immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (verse 3).

The centurion who came to Jesus in Capernaum had a much better grasp of who the Master was than did the majority of God’s own chosen people (verses 6-13). He understood that Jesus possessed the absolute authority of heaven, and he knew that he was unworthy to even stand in the presence of the Holy One of God. He knew that all Jesus needed to do was “say the word” and his servant would be healed (verse 8). Jesus marveled at this Gentile’s faith (verse 10). Once again Jesus, willing to help out a troubled and tormented soul said, “It shall be done for you as you have believed” (verse 13). Let’s make certain that when we ask the Lord for help with any of our problems that we do so with reverence and with the confident faith that He is able to help (Mark 11:24).

“He himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases” (verse 17).

Please read Luke 7:11-17 for tomorrow – Jesus raises the dead.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 7:13-29

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall. When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

The conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount is no less surprising than the introduction (the Beatitudes) and the body of this remarkable sermon. Throughout this discourse Jesus says things that go against the grain of worldly, conventional thinking. He shows us clearly that the views of God and man often stand in opposition to one another, and that the kingdom of heaven is vastly different than any earthly kingdom to ever exist. In this last section Jesus tells us some startling facts about the narrow way that leads to eternal life (verses 13-14).

1. “There are few who find it” (verse 14). In a national poll taken recently, two thirds of the Americans surveyed said they believe they are going to heaven. Since a quarter of the people polled don’t even believe in heaven, that means that nearly all who do believe think they are going there. The poll also stated that less than one half of one percent of Americans believe they are going to hell. “They say” nearly everyone is saved and practically no one is lost. Jesus says many are going to eternal destruction and few will find eternal life.

2. “I never knew you” (verse 23). Jesus tells us in verses 21-23 that a lot of people are going to be surprised on Judgment Day. In these verses Jesus said He would say “depart from Me” to people who believed in Him and who did a lot of good deeds. Most people use belief and good deeds as the benchmark for faithful discipleship. But Jesus said that believers who “practice lawlessness” cannot dwell with Him in eternity. “They say” being a good person is good enough. Jesus says we need to follow His laws as well.

3. Wise and foolish people (verses 24-27). Jesus expands on the idea of “lawlessness” in the illustration of the wise and foolish builders. The lawless person is the foolish one who, “hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them” (verse 26). The wise person learns God's commandments and obeys them and is able to stand before the Lord on Judgment Day with his “house” intact. But the foolish person will fall flat on that day because he ignores all or part of God’s law, and great will be that fall (verse 27). “They say” I am saved by what I believe not by what I do. Jesus says hear His commandments and obey them for eternal life.

4. “The people were astonished at His teaching” (verse 28). Does this sermon and particularly this passage astonish you? If they do, mission accomplished. Jesus is urgently trying to get your attention. Please do not take my word or any person’s word for truth when it comes to your salvation. Life is too short and eternity is too long to take anything for granted. Please study your Bible daily and closely examine the Scriptures as if your life depends upon it. Please learn God’s will for you and comply in humble, obedient faith. Then you will be one of the few, the wise, the saved.

Please read Matthew 8:1-17 for tomorrow – Jesus heals infirmities.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 7:1-12

Monday, May 25, 2020

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Judging others (verses 1-6) – This has to be the world’s favorite, most misunderstood, most misapplied Bible passage of all time. Is Jesus teaching us that it is never appropriate to judge another human being? Yes and no. In verse 6 He warns us to use extreme caution when dealing with the “dogs” and “swine” of the world. In extreme instances we obviously need to judge the character and actions of other people before interacting with them on a spiritual level. And even in non-extreme cases, sometimes the exercise of good judgment must be used when trying to help our fellow man. Just the same, God is the only Judge that human beings will ever have to answer to. So in that respect we really should never and can never judge others. But we need to try to help make people aware of their sins so they can be prepared to face the Lord on the final Day of Judgment.

What Jesus is actually condemning here is having a judgmental disposition. God doesn’t want us to be fault finders who are always taking issue with the things that other people say and do. If we are always hypercritical, we won’t be able to avoid being hypocritical. If we continually “judge” others, we will eventually be guilty of doing the same things that we condemn them for, and even worse things. Let’s not be self-righteous pretenders. Let’s not be the kind of people that pick at other people’s minor flaws, especially when we’ve got some major spiritual defects in our own lives (verses 3-5). We all need to take an honest look in the mirror and make the necessary changes before we can effectively help other people out with their spiritual problems.

The cure for a hypercritical, judgmental disposition of heart is to apply the Golden Rule in our interactions with other people: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (verse 12). Do not retaliate when provoked. Do not give people what they deserve. Do not “go off” on others when they cross the line. Before you react, stop and think of how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed, and then respond accordingly. That’s easy right?! Of course this will take a great deal of meekness, self-control and discipline. That is why Jesus began this sermon by teaching us to instill those underlying spiritual characteristics that are required for a citizen of the kingdom of heaven to possess with the blessed Beatitudes. Blessed are the gentle (meek), the merciful, the righteous, the peacemakers. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). Disciples of Christ have been summoned to a much higher calling.

Please read Matthew 7:13-29 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – The narrow way.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 6:25-34

Sunday, May 24, 2020

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus taught us in verses 19-24 to not give our hearts to our worldly possessions. These are the things that “moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal” (verse 19). These are the kinds of things we tend to worry about because they are so vulnerable and ephemeral. Jesus knows that it will derail our faith if we put too much stock in the fleeting things of the world, “for this reason” He gives us several explanations for why worrying is just senseless in today’s reading.

In verse 25 Jesus tells us not to worry about our lives and our bodies. He argues that if God is powerful enough to give us life, then He is fully capable of giving us food in order to sustain that life. And if He created our remarkable and complex bodies, surely we can trust Him to give us clothes to cover and warm them. When we worry about our life and our necessities, that really is an indication that we are focusing way too much on our own selves and our limited capacities, and not enough on God and His limitless capabilities.

In verses 26-30 Jesus uses examples from the natural world around us to teach us to not be anxious. He argues that if God provides for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, doesn’t it just stand to reason that He will take care of us as well? By the way, Jesus isn’t teaching that we shouldn’t work to provide for our families in verse 26. Birds are certainly not idle creatures so we shouldn’t be either. The point is that God provides for their physical needs. And since He created us in His own image and loves us much more than them, we can count on Him to take care of us all the more.

In verse 27 Jesus tells us plainly that worrying about things is just useless. He states the obvious fact that being anxious for something can’t add one minute to your life. It can, on the other hand take life away from you: quality of life if not quantity of days. The simple truth is that worrying doesn’t help solve our problems, it only compounds them. I think we all know this but we need frequent reminders to help us refocus our faith, because this world is filled with trials and troubles.

In verse 33 Jesus tells us where we need to keep our focus aimed: on God’s kingdom and His righteousness. The spiritual pursuits are the most important ones because, unlike worldly interests, they have eternal implications. To seek God’s kingdom is to appeal to His supreme rule and obey His perfect will for us. God wants us to live godly lives and pursue the kind of righteousness that only He can impute to us. To “seek” means to try with all our might to possess, and the tense of the verb expresses a constant and continual seeking. If we give first priority to God and His will, He will make sure we get everything we need.

Please read Matthew 7:1-12 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – The golden rule.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 6:19-24

Saturday, May 23, 2020

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Italy and Greece are home to some of the most famous ruins in the world. It is estimated that 4 million tourists visit the Roman Coliseum and 1 million tourists visit the Acropolis in Athens each year. While these ancient sites are marvels to behold, the only real purpose they serve is to remind us of how things used to be. These megaliths are monuments to corruption. Every physical thing of value falls victim to time, elements, erosion, insects, vandals.

Jesus tells us in today’s passage that all of the things that we treasure here on earth will deteriorate. Our houses, furniture, cars, clothes, money will all succumb to the forces of physical nature and undergo corruption. Even if a thief breaks in and steals all our valuables, he will ultimately loose them as well. Jesus isn’t teaching us here that it is wrong to save money. He is telling us to not put our trust and love into things that will ultimately be ruined.

Jesus is warning us about the issues of “heart” trouble and “eye” trouble. We give our hearts to the things that we “treasure” or “value” the most (verses 20-21). The “heart” is really a metaphor for the “mind”. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). If we love God more than all our earthly relationships and possessions, we will put Him first by obeying and serving Him with all our heart. If we do that He will reward us with eternal treasure in heaven.

“If your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light” (verse 22). A “clear” eye is a “sound” or “healthy” eye. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “single”. If we are spiritually sound and have single-minded focus on the Lord and His will for us, we will be filled with the light of His goodness. We can’t serve God and wealth at the same time. God will not accept divided attention from a double-minded person. He wants us to be dedicated to Him, and everything else to take second place.

Let’s keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the Lord and His word. The only way we can know His will for us is to open our Bibles and learn what He wants us to believe and love and say and do. Heaven and earth will pass away but the word of the Lord will last forever (Matthew 24:35). The only way to receive the eternal treasure is to obey God’s eternal word.

Please read Matthew 6:25-34 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – Don’t worry!

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 6:1-18

Friday, May 22, 2020

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus tell us that when we give, pray, and fast, we are not to do so like a hypocrite. A hypocrite is an actor. He is pretending to do something that he really isn’t doing, and it is his motivations that really make his actions dishonest. The religious hypocrite tries to put on a show for all to see when pretending to practice his piety. Jesus says that a person like that actually does receive a reward when he behaves that way. The payoff is the attention and approval of people, and that’s really all the hypocrite was seeking in the first place.

Giving, praying and fasting have great spiritual benefits when done for the right reasons and in the right ways. The right motivations for doing good works is simply because they are the right things to do and that God wants us to do them. The manner in which we should do them is “in secret”. That is to say, not to put our good works on public display merely for others to see. That’s not to say that it’s always wrong to do good works publicly, otherwise other people would never be able to see our light shine in such a way that we glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). But the only attention we should be seeking to draw is attention to and from God.

Jesus says our Father sees in secret. That is to say that God sees everything that we do, whether publicly or privately. Even if no other single human being knows we have done a blessed deed, God always knows. And, Jesus shows us that God “rewards” good deeds, private prayer, and self-denial. The spiritual return for spending private time with God and doing His charitable works on earth is the kind of reward that you just can’t put a price tag on. Please read Ephesians 3:14-21. This is what Paul wrote in verses 20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

God knows what we have need of before we ever ask Him (verse 8). But He wants us to pray anyway. When we live a prayerful life we express to God our utter dependence upon Him for all of the spiritual and physical needs that we have. We let Him know that we love Him, we need Him and we are willing to obey Him and accept His will for us. God rewards us when we humbly submit ourselves to His rule and His will.

Jesus gave us a pattern to model our prayers after in verses 9-13. Notice that a prayer doesn’t have to be lengthy in order to be affective and acceptable. But there is design and intention in this model prayer. Here are the parts of Jesus’ example prayer: praise to God (verse 9); acceptance of His will (verse 10), petition for daily needs (verse 11); request for His forgiveness (verse 12); appeal for protection (verse 13). That is not to say that every prayer must be structured this way, but this is a trustworthy pattern given by the Lord Himself. When His disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, the same pattern with a very minor difference in wording was given (Luke 11:1-4).

Final note: Sometimes our prayers can be said in vain. If we refuse to forgive people who have sinned against us, God will not forgive us when we ask Him to either (verses 14-15).

Please read Matthew 6:19-24 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – Lasting treasure.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 5:21-48

Thursday, May 21, 2020

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus taught with great power and authority. Over and again He tells us that what people have to say is not nearly as important as what He says. Six times in today’s reading Jesus sets what He says, not against what the Law of Moses said, but against what some people had to say about the Law. Jesus didn’t come to destroy the Law, He came to fulfill it (verse 17). But He did have a lot to say about how the scribes and Pharisees abused the Law (verses 19-20). Sometimes they carried things too far, other times not far enough, and they were always looking for loopholes around keeping parts of the Law they didn’t like. Jesus said that we must do better than that. Our righteousness must exceed their superficial righteousness.

Verses 21-26 – THEY said don’t commit murder or you’ll be guilty before the court. JESUS said we will be liable before God for not only what we do, but also what we think. Jesus tells us to get our anger under control before our thoughts and emotions lead to slander, aggression and even murder. Jesus gets to the heart of the law, not just the punishment for an offender. God wants us to control our hateful thoughts and volatile emotions before something regrettable happens.

Verses 27-30 – THEY said don’t commit adultery, as if just not doing the act is good enough. JESUS said get control of your lust. Once again, the heart of the issue actually is the issue. People say there’s no harm in looking. Jesus says that’s where all the trouble begins. And while it is absolutely true that “it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell,” Jesus uses hyperbole in verses 29-30 to teach us to do whatever it takes to keep from looking and lusting in the first place.

Verses 31-32 – THEY said you can divorce your wife as long as you give her a certificate relinquishing all rights to her. JESUS said the only legitimate reason to divorce your spouse is if they have been sexually unfaithful. Divorce does not dissolve the bonds that God has created in marriage, unless infidelity occurs. And even then only the innocent party is free to remarry.

Verses 33-37 – THEY said you are required to keep the oaths you make “to the Lord”. JESUS said “make no oath at all.” They thought they had a good loophole for not following through with their vows. As long as they didn’t invoke the Lord’s name, they weren’t really swearing by Him or to Him. But Jesus said that anything you swear by is to God, since it was all made by God; whether it be something as big as the earth or as small as a hair on your head. Better still, Jesus said just be a person of your word and you won’t need to swear at all.

Verses 38-42 – THEY said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” While the law of “equivalent retribution” served many useful purposes, it never gave the offended person the right to exact his own vengeance. It was still left up to judges to determine appropriate penalties (Exodus 21:22; Deuteronomy 19:18). But JESUS said that we are to treat people far better than they deserve. Don’t retaliate when offended. Give more than has been asked of you. Go the extra mile for others. That’s just exactly how Jesus lived His life.

Verses 43-48 – THEY said love your neighbor and hate your enemy. JESUS said love everybody. Jesus said carry your love for the people in the world farther than they would carry it for you. Jesus said pray for the people who treat you poorly. They need your help not your hatred.

Don’t you worry about what “THEY say”. You focus on what the Master says.

Please read Matthew 6:1-18 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – Giving and prayer.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 5:1-20

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Wow! The beatitudes! The greatest introduction to the greatest sermon ever preached! From the start of “the Sermon on the Mount” Jesus sets forth the core of Christian character and the qualities of the kind of heart that pleases God. The person who possesses these eight “beautiful attitudes” will find God’s favor and receive His richest spiritual blessings. The word “blessed” is often translated “happy”, but there is no one English word that captures the essence of this Greek word “markarios”. Maybe it’s a combination of happiness, joy, contentment; the richness of a life that is lived to the fullest spiritual measure.

As I read verses 3-12 I can’t help but notice the sharp contrast that should exist between the worldview of a Christian and that of a non-Christian. All the things that Jesus says will make His followers “blessed” or “happy” do not comprise the kind of mindset that the carnally minded people of the world will see as desirable. No model for worldly success is going to include poverty, sorrow, meekness, purity. But Jesus says that these qualities, taken in the right context, will make you truly happy. Notice as we examine these blessed traits that happiness doesn’t necessarily come from what we do but from who we “are”. Only the thoughts, words and actions that proceed from a heart refined by God’s graces will produce blessedness.

Verse 3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit” – Spiritual poverty is the passport into “the kingdom of heaven”. God can do marvelous things with a person who recognizes that he is spiritually destitute and totally dependent upon Him for redemption, sanctification and salvation. David wrote in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Please read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).

Verse 4 – “Blessed are those who mourn” – It is not by accident that this beatitude follows the first. The person who recognizes his own spiritual poverty will be grieved to the heart because of it. Only the person whose heart is broken from his own sinfulness can truly “be comforted” by God’s saving grace (Psalm 51:12). “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Verse 5 – “Blessed are the gentle” – Please do not confuse “meekness” with “weakness”. Jesus was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29), and yet He possessed all the power of God Almighty. Meek people exercise the power to control themselves in the face of provocation, and they leave place for the wrath of God (Romans 12:19).

Heaven’s happiness can be found when we crave righteousness, show mercy, procure purity and pursue peace (verses 6-9). Even when we are insulted and persecuted for the sake of righteousness, we can rejoice in the knowledge that our “reward is in heaven” (verses 10-12). When we sustain this spiritual transformation God can use us as His shining lights in the world (verse 16).

Please read Matthew 5:21-48 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – Relationships.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 6:12-16

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Jesus understood how important an effective prayer life is for keeping balanced during the daily stresses of life. We learn a lot about Jesus’ prayer life from what is said in Luke 5:15-16 – “But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” The Lord was continually thronged by people who bombarded Him with their worst problems and He always made time for them. Jesus never turned anyone away, but He did often steal away to private places to pray. It comes as no surprise that in today’s reading we see Jesus going off alone to a mountain to pray.

“Jesus spent the whole night in prayer to God” (verse 12). This statement is pure amazement to me. I often find it difficult to pull off a good ten minute prayer. Life’s daily activities are sometimes so tightly pressed together that squeezing in a few minutes of quiet prayer time seems to be a herculean task. When I do take a good chunk of time to pray, my mind often drifts and darts to the things I have done and the tasks I still need to do. And when I pray at night before bed, I’d better not try to do that while lying down. I will slip into slumber seconds after starting the prayer. And yet Jesus prayed all night long. If Jesus found time to pray in solitude, and if He prayed this much, it must be a vital part of spiritual life. I must do better. I must try harder. If Jesus could stay focused in prayer all night, I can and must learn to do that for stretches of a few minutes or more. I must schedule the time in advance if necessary. I must put myself in places and my body in positions that are favorable for staying alert and staying awake.

This particular night that Jesus spent in solitary prayer immediately preceded the day that He chose and appointed His twelve apostles. While prayer is always an important part of daily life, and we should seek God’s assistance with all the decisions we make, prayer is particularly important before life’s major decisions. Sometimes we stress over major life events because we want to be certain that we are making the best choices for ourselves and our family. Let’s remember to include the One who has all the power and who knows what’s best for us in the decision-making process. Philippians 4:6 tells us to not worry about anything, but pray about everything. The more we pray, the less we stress, the better the outcome.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)

Please read Matthew 5:1-20 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – The Beatitudes.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 4:14-30

Monday, May 18, 2020

“And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’ And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ;Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’ And He said to them, ‘No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, “Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”’ And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.’ And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

By the verses…

Verse 16 – It was Jesus’ custom to assemble with God’s people on the Sabbath when they worshiped the Lord. From a child, Jesus’ parents took Him to synagogue with regularity. When He became an adult He willingly continued this practice. When in the assembly He would not just sit by idly but actively participated in worship services. He relished opportunities to read the Holy Scriptures publicly. Where do you think Jesus wants to find His followers come Sunday morning and what do you think He wants them to be engaged in? Do you think He would willingly forsake church services?

Verse 21 – Jesus told His hometown family and friends that the prophecies quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2 were all about Him. It was well accepted among the Jewish rabbis that these words were written about the Messiah who was to come into the world and save God’s people. Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah but that may have escaped their immediate notice.

Verse 22 – Familiarity breeds contempt. Although they were impressed by the power and eloquence with which Jesus spoke, they knew that He was merely the son of a local carpenter and had received no formal education or training. They just knew Jesus too well to believe what they were seeing with their own eyes, and hearing with their own ears. Sometimes our past experiences can prejudice our minds and impede our future progress.

Verses 28-29 – Why were the people from Jesus’ own backyard filled with so much rage that they would try to push Him off a high cliff and kill Him? For one thing, Jesus called himself a prophet (verse 24), while mentioning himself in the same breath with Elijah and Elisha. That certainly didn’t sit well with them. He also reminded them that God favored the Gentiles over His own people by using two of their greatest prophets to bless some foreigners living in heathen lands (verses 25-27). They definitely didn’t like that. In doing so Jesus also implied that they weren’t any better than the Israelites that lived during the reign of the wicked king Ahab and his deplorable wife Jezebel. Sometimes when a preacher tells us the truth about ourselves, we prefer to blame the messenger rather than allow the inspired message to change us into the kind of people that God wants us to be.

Verse 30 – Jesus escaped their grasp and went on His way to preach the truth in other places. The Gospel message marches on (verse 43). God won’t force any of us to embrace His Son or the saving truth that He preaches. If we continually resist God’s will for us, He will let us have our own way and leave us to our own demise. The blessed Gospel is for all…but few there be that truly cherish it (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23).

Please read Luke 6:12-16 for tomorrow – Jesus calls His Apostles.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

John 4:1-26

Sunday, May 17, 2020

“Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’ For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?’ Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.’ He said to her, ‘Go, call your husband and come here.’ The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You have correctly said, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Some observations:

Jesus got tired and thirsty (verse 6-7). When Jesus left heaven’s glory and took on the form of a bondservant, He gave up many of the prerogatives of deity (Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus was a human being, and as such, He grew weary from His work and His travels. Some people are considered “tireless workers”. I don’t think that’s an accurate description of diligent and dedicated laborers. They get tired too, they just refuse to make excuses and they work through their fatigue.

Jesus provides refreshment (verses 10-14). Jesus asked for a drink, but the Samaritan woman was truly the needy one. She needed the “living water” that only the Savior offers, as we all do. Jesus calls this living water “the gift of God.” What is this gift? In John 7:37-39 Jesus spoke of “rivers of living waters," and John said this was in reference to the Holy Spirit. Jesus also said here that this water would "spring up to eternal life," and in Romans 6:23, the “free gift of God” is said to be “eternal life”. Since there is a connection between these two gifts (the Holy Spirit and eternal life) that cannot be broken, Jesus likely had both in mind. Peter said in Acts 2:38 that when a person repents and is baptized for the forgiveness of sins, he receives “the gift of the Holy Spirit”. When a person hears, believes and receives the Spirit inspired word of God, that prompts Him to obey His commandments and receive His gift of salvation. Until a person refreshes His soul through the gift of God’s Son (John 3:16), he will never truly find satisfaction.

Jesus knows everything about you (verse 17-19, 29). Even though Jesus was fully human, He was also fully God. “For in Him the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus looked into this woman’s past and told her things about her life that no mere human could possibly know. Jesus loves you and He died to save you, but He also examines you and He will judge you (John 5:22).

It matters how you worship God (verse 24). Jesus taught this woman that the most significant thing is not where you worship but how you worship. You don’t have to go to Mount Gerizim or even Jerusalem in order to pay proper homage to the Father. True worshipers of God worship Him in spirit and in truth (verse 23). If there are true worshipers of God, that necessarily means that many worship Him falsely. Jesus says we “must” worship God in spirit and in truth. Acceptable worship must be spiritual, but it must also be offered in accordance with God’s revealed truth. The Lord has not left it up to our own imagination, but He has specified explicitly in the New Testament how He wants us to worship Him.

Please read Luke 4:14-30 for tomorrow – Jesus Teaches in synagogues.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

John 2:1-11

Saturday, May 16, 2020

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’ So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.’ So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, ‘Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.’ This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

This “beginning of His signs” (verse 11) has been the source of much consternation and analytical gymnastics. Did Jesus rebuke His mother? Why did He seem to say one thing and then do another? What did He mean by saying His hour had not yet come? Did Jesus make 150 gallons of intoxicating drink? Sometimes we can get so entangled in the details of an event that we miss the intended significance of it. Both the fine points and the big picture are, however, worthy of a close look.

FIRST THE DETAILS:

I do believe that Jesus mildly rebuked His mother. She was interfering in matters that she was not in charge of. The wine for the wedding was the concern of the “ruler of the feast,” and the use of miraculous powers was God’s business alone. But that didn’t mean that Jesus was unwilling to help. He just chose to do so in a very discreet way.

When Jesus said, “My hour has not yet come,” I think He meant that this was not a good time for Him to fully reveal His identity to the masses. If too many people knew too much about Jesus too quickly, it would have interfered with God’s perfect timing for the completion of His plan of redemption (consider Mark 1:43-45; John 11:47-50). So He performed this miracle in a private manner without drawing attention to himself. After the water had been turned to wine, only a few people were aware that anything out of the ordinary had taken place.

As for the kind of wine that Jesus made: the text doesn’t tell us. But I personally refuse to believe that Jesus would in any way participate in helping people get drunk. Drunkenness is repeatedly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. The high quality of the wine existed in its taste, not its ability to intoxicate.

NOW THE MAJOR TAKEAWAYS:

“Whatever He says, do it” (verse 5). I can’t think of five more important words that anyone could ever speak. Whatever Jesus tells you to do, just humbly obey. There is no profit in doubting or questioning or arguing. Jesus would never tell us to do something that isn’t in our best interest, and when He utters a command it is spoken with the absolute authority of God Almighty. Lots of people claim to love Jesus and yet do and say things that He does not approve of. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

“And His disciples believed in Him” (verse 11). Even though the timing wasn’t quite right for everyone to see Jesus “manifest His glory,” it was important for His followers to be further convicted in their faith. Jesus continually took opportunities to build trust and confidence in the hearts of His true believers. It’s also significant to note that Jesus wasn’t just helping out some friends in the wedding party who found themselves in a tight spot. All of Jesus' miracles were performed to produce or promote faith (John 20:30-31).

Please read John 4:1-26 for tomorrow – The Samaritan Woman.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Luke 4:1-13

Friday, May 15, 2020

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone.”’ And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”’ And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, “He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,” and, “On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.”’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It is said, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

No Bible study of Jesus is complete without learning about the adversary that He came to the earth to destroy. Let’s focus on some things we learn about Satan from this passage.

Satan is real. The devil is not nearly as powerful as Jesus, but he is just as real as Jesus is. Satan appeared to Jesus, he talked to Him and showed Him things in order to tempt Him to do wrong. The devil was not merely a hunger induced hallucination in the Lord’s mind. Satan is real and opportunistic and he strikes at the times we are most vulnerable.

Satan knows the truth. With the third temptation he hurled at Jesus, Satan quoted Psalms 91:11-12. Our adversary knows the Bible very well, but he uses his knowledge in an attempt to thwart the efforts of God, not to advance them. Please understand that just because someone has the ability to quote Scripture from memory, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can trust them to lead you in the way you need to go spiritually.

Satan perverts the truth. The devil quoted the Old Testament and twisted it out of context in order to try and trick the Lord into disobeying God’s will for Him. The word of God is very powerful (Hebrews 4:12), but that kind of power in the hands of the wrong people can cause considerable destruction. Please don’t take another person’s word for truth. Search the Scriptures for yourselves (Acts 17:11), and prove what the will of God is for you in your life (Romans 12:1-2). Satan will use the word as a weapon against you in an effort to upset your faith (Galatians 1:7). But...

Satan is no match for the truth. Jesus shows us that the greatest arsenal at our disposal to defeat the devil’s onslaught is a good working knowledge of God’s inspired word. Jesus responded to each of Satan’s three revealed temptations by accurately handling the Holy Scriptures. God has chosen to convey His will for us through the written word, so we need to spend considerable time immersed in the Bible or we will be no match for Satan. Our enemy desires to destroy us, but when we are empowered by the truth we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).

Jesus resisted Satan and he left in frustration…for a while (verse 13). He keeps returning so we must keep resisting.

Please read John 2:1-11 for tomorrow – Jesus’ first miracle.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 3:13-17

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ 15 But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

People from all over the region were coming to John to confess their sins and to be baptized by him in the waters of the river Jordan (verses 5-6). When Jesus came to be baptized as well, John tried repeatedly to prevent Him from doing so (verse 14). Why would the perfect Lamb of God come to a sinner like John to be baptized? If a baptism were to take place here, John knew in his heart that Jesus should be baptizing him.

But Jesus wasn’t coming to John to partake in “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). Jesus was being baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” (verse 15). I’m not exactly certain of the full implications of this phrase, but I do like what Leon Morris wrote about it: “Jesus might well have been up there in front standing with John and calling on sinners to repent. Instead he was down there with the sinners, affirming his solidarity with them, making himself one with them in the process of the salvation that he would in due course accomplish.”

John relented to Jesus’ request (command?) and he baptized Him. What ensued must have been just an incredible sight to behold! When Jesus came up out of the water, “The heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (verses 16-17).

When John introduced Jesus as the King that he had been paving the way for, the heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit emphatically and publicly expressed their approval for the Son of God as well, and the work He was entering into.

Please read Luke 4:1-13 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 3:1-12

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

“Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!”’ Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father”; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’”

---End of Scripture Verses---

I love the beautiful imagery of John preparing the way for Jesus to arrive. The fuller details are described in Isaiah chapter 40. “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken’” (Isaiah 40:3-5).

There is a sense of urgency and determination in these words. Level off the surface of the earth, fill in all the fissures of the ground, and clear the pathway of all rubble: The King is coming! John’s mission was to prepare the way for Jesus to come and fulfill His mission. John preached repentance of sins and his mission field was the obstinate hearts of God’s chosen people (Luke 1:17), the descendants of Abraham (verse 9).

John preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (verse 2). The kingdom was so near that the signs were visible and should have been obvious to anyone who had a good understanding of Old Testament prophecies. The kingdom was so close at hand that, indeed, the King was already walking among them (verse 13). The time had come for God’s chosen people to live like they were God’s chosen people. The time had come to turn from their sins and turn to their King.

The King had come to save His people. But just being physical descendants of Abraham did not qualify them as such (verse 9). Jesus was coming to save, but also to separate. A person’s reception or rejection of Jesus and His teaching would determine whether they were good grain or worthless debris (verse 12). From the way the story played out, it seems obvious that there was much more chaff than wheat. But then again, the pathway is very narrow, and the gate is small, and only relatively few find their way into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:13-14).

Please make sure you are one of the few.

Please read Matthew 3:13-17 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Matthew 1:18-25

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

It is often said that you don’t get to choose your parents. That wasn’t the case with Jesus. Mary and Joseph were hand-selected by God to raise Jesus when He was a child. Mary was chosen to be His birth mother and Joseph to be His step-father (Jesus had no earthly father). So, before “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), He decided who His parents would be.

If you could choose the family you would be born in to, what would you look for in potential parents? People who could give you all the best things this world has to offer? Maybe a millionaire mother or a powerful government official for a father? Maybe any parents would do, as long as they lived in a tropical paradise? The choice of Joseph and Mary shows us what God values most in people. Joseph was a righteous man (verse 19). Mary was a morally pure (Luke 1:27) humble servant (Luke 1:38). If you were raised by godly parents will you please praise God for that?

Jesus was “God with us” (verse 23). God descended to the Earth in the form of a human being, and He had a specific mission in mind when He came. Jesus executed God’s eternal plan in order to “save His people from their sins” (verse 21). Friends, sin is the greatest affliction to ever plague this world, and it is the biggest problem that you have in your life personally. Sin will keep you separated from God and doomed for eternal destruction if you refuse to take corrective action (Isaiah 59:1-2). Let’s praise God that He sent Jesus into the world to do the part that we were helpless to do.

What is our part in God’s plan of salvation? Let’s hear the words of Jesus on this. The resurrected Jesus personally told His Apostles: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” When the Apostles preached the first Gospel sermon under inspiration of the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended back to heaven, we see them carrying out this plan. When the people gathered around them asked “What shall we do?”; Peter answered, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).

“Repent”: change your mind about sin and purpose in your heart to turn away from it. “Be baptized”: fully immersed in water. “For the forgiveness of sins”: the very things that keep you separated from God. There’s more to the plan than that. We need to live lives of faithful obedience from that point onward. But that’s where it all starts. That’s where you make your life right with God. Then, it doesn’t matter who your parents were. Even if you were raised by a wicked mother or an abusive father, you will have a Father in heaven who will love you and bless you and never leave you. He gave you heaven’s best gift because He loves you so. Can you praise God for His love, grace and mercy?

Please read Matthew 3:1-12 for tomorrow – John prepares the way.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

 

Isaiah 53:1-12

Monday, May 11, 2020

“Who has believed our message? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried: yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.”

---End of Scripture Verses---

Here is the new 50 day Bible reading schedule. The focus will be on the life, the mission, the teaching, the miracles, the death, the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I pray as we spend more time with our Master that we will be drawn closer to Him and learn to love Him more and live more like He lived.

Today's reading is Isaiah 53:1-12. Isn't it amazing that the prophet Isaiah wrote this passage over 700 years before Jesus was born? And yet He captured the essence of the mission of our Lord and Savior perfectly. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that the whole purpose for Jesus coming into the world would be to sacrifice Himself in order to offer salvation to all people (verses 10-12).

Jesus came into this world to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows and be pierced through for our sins (verses 4-5). The death of Christ was no accidental thing. Jesus didn't die because the Jews rejected Him. Jesus died according to the "predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). The sacrifice of Jesus has been God's plan to save mankind since before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20).

As you read this passage please take note of all the prophecies that were fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus. That is one of the main reasons why we know for certain that the Bible is the inspired revelation of God, and that we can completely place our trust in it. When predictions are made by an Old Testament writer and then fulfilled with detailed precision over 700 years later, we can rest assured that those prophecies were inspired by God. As we read our New Testaments we learn that over 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the life and death and resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

Wow what an amazing book the Bible is! Nothing in the world comes close to comparing with it! Okay let's prepare to be amazed!

Please read Matthew 18:1-25 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

50 Days with Jesus Revised.pdf · version 1

PDF

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 50:22-26

Sunday, May 10, 2020

“Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’ So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years.” (verse 22) Joseph lived “Comfortably, quietly, and in great prosperity, not only he, but his brethren and their families, as long as he lived, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years and all but seventeen of them in Egypt, for at that age it was when he was brought thither: thirteen years he lived in Potiphar's house, and in prison, for he was thirty years of age when he was brought to Pharaoh, and stood before him, and fourscore years he lived in the greatest honour and prosperity that a man could well wish for.” (Pulpit Commentary)

“Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons…” (verse 23) “It is not clear whether the great-grandchildren…are Ephraim’s or Joseph’s (‘through Ephraim’). If the former, Ephraim’s line would have begotten one more generation than Manasseh’s in the same period of time. This would be in fulfillment of the blessing of Genesis 48:19. If the later, then Joseph would have seen only the grandchildren of both his sons before dying. He would thus have lived to see at least the fourth generation. This is a sign of special favor, such as Job enjoys as a reward for his piety (Job 42:16).” (Nahum Sarna)

“Also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.” (verse 23) “Machir was the most important of the clans of Manasseh and, at one time, was identified with the tribe as a whole. The Machirites captured and occupied the Trans-jordanian regions of Gilead and Bashan. Machir’s first-born is given as Gilead in 1 Chronicles 7:14, a name without doubt derived from the association of the clan in the area.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die…’” (verse 24) Even though Joseph was younger than all but one of his brothers, some or all of them must have outlived him. Either that or the term “brothers” is used more loosely to represent the family or “tribe” of Israel that each of his brothers headed. Joseph sensed that his time on earth was rapidly drawing to a close, so he assured his brethren that, “God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Although Joseph would no longer be around to provide for and protect his brethren, he assured them that the Lord always would. “Observe how the patriarchal narrative is closing with the promise of redemption, and with the renewal of the oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“You shall carry my bones up from here.” (verse 25) “Why Joseph does not request immediate interment in the land of his father is not explained; no doubt, he knows that present conditions are unfavorable. The oath he extracts was indeed carried out at the time of the Exodus, as Exodus 13:19 reports. No request for any specific burial place is made, and he is finally laid to rest in a plot of land that Jacob had once bought in Shechem (Josh. 24:32; cf. Gen. 33:19).” (Nahum Sarna) Another possible reason for Joseph waiting to remove his skeletal remains is that his Egyptian peers and overlord would have viewed such a request made by him as ungrateful and unpatriotic, and, being so offended, they could have made life much more difficult for his entire family. This was obviously not cowardice on Joseph’s part but an act of great wisdom and faithfulness as declared by the Hebrews writer—“ By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).

“So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.” (verse 26) And thus, the remarkable narrative of Joseph and the magnificent first biblical book of inspiration draws to an unlikely close with a coffin in Egypt. This is obviously not the end of the story of God’s chosen people or His scheme of redemption for the entirety of the human race, just as certainly as the stone rolled over the opening of the sepulcher was not the end of the story for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is a lengthy cessation and period of divine silence of over three hundred years before the story picks up again with the Exodus of God’s people from the land of their enslavement. If you serve the Lord in all love and faithfulness and your life belongs to the Savior of the world, that life will not end in a coffin or a grave. Death is only a dark portal to a vivid and brilliant land of joy and bliss, and only the beginning of an everlasting life for all eternity in the heavenly mansion that Jesus went to prepare for his followers in His Father’s house.

Thanks for spending the last seven months with us studying the book of Genesis! At some point I would like to start a running commentary on the book of Exodus as well, but for now I need a break from writing new articles every day. Tomorrow we will be starting a 50 day study of the life of Jesus. This is a rerun of a reading program that we did in 2015 so it should be like new to us. Each of the 50 days will include a passage of Scripture, two questions included on the attached PDF of the reading schedule, and some brief commentary.

Please read the Isaiah 53:1-12 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

50 Days with Jesus Revised.pdf · version 1

PDF

-Louie Taylor

Displaying 1 - 50 of 938

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 17 18 19