The disciples came to Jesus and asked Him who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven? His response must have shocked them. He called a little child and placed the child among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little ...


Who is the Greatest? (Matthew 18:3) and more...

Who is the Greatest? (Matthew 18:3)

The disciples came to Jesus and asked Him who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven? His response must have shocked them. He called a little child and placed the child among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 18:3).

Men, including the disciples, enjoy prestige, status, power, and first place. They strive for these things in business, church and sports. None of these are bad in themselves, but man's lust for being the best makes them vulnerable to pride and arrogance, things Jesus hates. He loves the innocence of little children--they do not worry but trust their parents for all they need.

That's what Jesus is talking about. He wants us to surrender all we care about to Him. He wants  to have a relationship with us. He goes before us to lead us, with us to encourage us and behind us to protect us. He is faithful. He is always with us and will never leave or forsake us. We can talk to Jesus like a friend--frank and honest. We can celebrate good times and pour out our broken hearts when we are in despair. 

Think About It
Come near to God in prayer, and He will come near to you. He wants to give you an inheritance starting now. Why should we worry when we have a God who loves and cares for us? Someone who wants to shower blessings on us. His compassions and mercies are new every morning. You can benefit today by reading the Bible. It's one of the ways God talks to us. He also speaks in other ways; through His creation and through His people. You will find love, hope and peace for your soul.

Pray About It
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Jesus. Thank you for the inheritance you give us--co-heirs with Jesus. Help us to learn who you are through your word, and help us to be like Jesus. In His name, Amen.


The Gift that Keeps Giving (Lamentations 3:22)

While we may look forward to the glory of the Christmas season, it holds much stress for many of us. Will the money come so we can buy gifts for our loved ones? Will we be able to pay our bills and have Christmas too? Do we have to skip Christmas because of a job loss or job relocation? We tend to worry more this time of year than any another.

Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes" (Luke 12:22). He also said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34).

After the Israelites left Egypt, they thought of the food they had to eat even in their slavery and began to grumble because of the lack of food in the desert. God heard their cry and provided bread from heaven in the morning (manna) and meat to eat in the evening (quail). However, they could only gather enough for each day's needs. If they gathered more, the food spoiled (Exodus 16).

God tells us in His word many times how much He loves us. This is one of my favorite verses:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness ​(Lamentations 3:22).

Think About It
We learn the reality of Lamentations 3:22 when we spend time alone with God every day. We experience new compassions and mercies every day, and if we concentrate on how much God loves us, we feel too blessed to be stressed. Not only does God love us more than we can imagine, He has given us a glorious inheritance. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says, In God's great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

Pray About It
Thank you, Lord, for your great love for us, for the hope of spending an eternity with you. When trouble comes, help us to focus on your presence and faithfulness in our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Faithful People Share Their Faith (Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:2)

Jesus came home to Capernaum, and people gathered in such large numbers that no room was left in the place where He preached. Four men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus, but they could not get through the crowd to enter the house by the door. They carried him up to the roof and dug an opening above Jesus.  Then they lowered the mat their friend lay on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven."

Teachers of the law sitting there, thought Jesus blasphemed God. They asked each other, "Who can forgive sins but God?"

Jesus knew their thoughts and asked them, "Which is easier to say to this man, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Get up, take up your mat and walk'? I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So Jesus looked at the paralyzed man and said, "I tell you, get up, take up your mat and go home."

The man got up and walked. Everyone saw him and was amazed and praised God.

Think About It
The paralytic was a lucky man. He had friends who wanted him to walk so much that they  took him to Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He knew they expected Him to heal their friend and He did. We all have friends who are spiritually paralyzed by fear, guilt, doubt, pain or maybe even hurt by something that happened at a church in their past. They feel trapped and cannot get to Jesus on their own. Are you faithful enough to share your faith and bring your friends to Jesus? They will benefit from your love and the love of God. The more you are faithful, the greater God rewards you with more faith.

Pray About It
Father God, it is not easy watching our friends suffer. Help us to be faithful to share your love and what you have done in our lives. Empower us as we step out to be faithful. In Jesus' name, Amen.


The Brothers' Request (Mark 10:32-45)

Jesus and the disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus took the Twelve aside to tell them what would happen to Him. "We are going up to Jerusalem, and I will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn me to death and will give me to the Gentiles, who will mock me and spit on me, flog me and kill me. Three days later I will rise."

Then (This 'then' is an important word.), James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him and requested Jesus to do whatever they asked. "What do you want?" Jesus said. 

They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

The brothers said they could, and Jesus said they would, but the seats they requested were not His to grant. They belonged to those for whom they' had been prepared. Jesus knew the brothers wanted positions of authority in His Kingdom. He said to them, "Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all, for even I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many."

Think About It
Broken hearted, Jesus told His friends how He would suffer and die. On the heels of this announcement, James and John step forward to ask Jesus for important positions in His Kingdom. Jesus had rightly named these strong-willed men "Sons of Thunder." I would like to think the two discussions in this passage are not connected, but the brothers' request begins with the word "then." This one word brings the two subject matters together in a single event. I'm amazed.

Pray About It
Our Lord and Father, teach us to be humble, to realize that all glory and honor go to you and not us. Help us to serve You in selfless ways to bring you glory and to seek no recognition for ourselves. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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