A big part of the insanity of this world is that we don't recognize the insanity. A big part of dysfunction in a family is normalizing disfunction, so that you pretend what is crazy isn't crazy. You pretend that what is unhealthy is ok. You pretend what is morally or ethically wrong isn't...
John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word (God) became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us; to reveal Himself to us. The one who became, invites us to become. The Word is understandable, it is hope filled and life...
Real salvation begins with brokenness and it results in profound yielded living; we are broken to begin and yielded to the end. To be a believer in Jesus Christ is to realize that it's His thoughts that count and not ours. (Isaiah 55:8) Real believers seek the thoughts of God in the detail of...
This is the heart of God - He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. One day when the curtain rises, and life begins without any mixture of darkness; you will find the hand of God on your face, wiping away all the regret, all the pain, all the rejection, all the abuse, all the hatred, all the...
When we are cynical about people, the future, the church or anything else, we are advancing the agenda of hell and hindering the work of heaven. Negativity can be a word that you speak to somebody, that's just a critical, well-aimed word from hell, to demean and diminish others. We are...
God came down to planet earth and became one of us, to lift us by grace and truth to a life that is new forever. When we believe we are released from our slavery, we are released from all of the destructive gravity of sin. This gravitational pull is so strong, it drags us into addictions, it...
When you miss grace, you're always going to stay away from God like a stern parent that you can never please. Religion leaves you stuck, and wears you out. It tries to appear perfect, and tries to force a change that always seems to snap back into old patterns. When you live without grace, you...
Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." If you and I, in our arrogance chose to judge others, look down on others, de-value others, to diminish the worth...
1 Peter 2:10 says, "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." Everyone who receives adoption as a child of God enters that new life through His mercy and grace. We cannot be a church of the living...
The Bible is first about a person; Jesus. It is a story that leads up to one story in Jesus, and that story reveals the very face of God on planet earth. The story rose on the third day and the story lives in this day for you and I to choose not to live small overwhelmed lives about us...
“In the same way that the prophet Jonah was a sign for the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign for the people of this day.” (Luke 11:30 GNT)
Are you still waiting for a sign?
God has already given us a multitude of signs, but perhaps it’s not the one you’re looking for.
It’s unlikely that God will reveal himself in ways that we expect of him. In fact, he will always reveal himself in a way that we as humans could never fully expect or understand. You should not look for God in the way you imagine in your mind, but instead be open to the idea that he will show himself to you in his own way.
The people of Jesus’ time were looking for what they expected God to be, but when he was right in front of their very faces, they refused to believe that he was what they were expecting.
The crowd answered, “Our Law tells us that the Messiah will live forever. How, then, can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” (John 12:34). So, do not be discouraged! They saw Jesus first-hand and many of them still missed him.
It’s okay to have your doubts, but you must not put God into a box. Be open-minded and trust that he will show you the path in his own way, and by his own timing.
Just be ready!
So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him. (Matthew 24:44 GNT)
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. (Matthew 12:35)
In 2013, John and Mary stumbled upon what is now known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard. In a field they owned in California, a collection of coins buried in the late 1800s was discovered. These coins had a face value of $27,890 and now valued at $10M. What a treasure! No one knows who left it. Someone spent a lifetime gathering a treasure and never used or shared it. That’s not what God intended for our treasures.
We all have a treasure we can share. It has no cost and there's no fee to disburse it. For some it comes easily, not so with others. Words are that treasure. Such an immense treasure that if chosen carefully they can:
Change a life.
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Simple steps can be taken to build this treasure of your heart:
- Spend time with God daily.
- Ask questions.
- Take a sabbatical from social media.
- Watch what you watch.
What is put into the word treasury is what comes out when you talk to yourself and with others.
Good stuff in, good stuff out!
Today, build and share the treasure of your heart and use your words to change life - your life and the lives of those around you!
As we continue talking about what the "tension of truth" is, there's a lot of tension in the words of Jesus. And as we get into Matthew Chapter 12, here's what you are going to discover, it may be one of the hardest things that Jesus has to say to us. What I really think Jesus is asking us is, "Are you willing to stand behind your words?"
Our words say a whole lot about us and this is what Jesus is bringing into play as He approaches this particular teaching in Matthew 12:33. I'm going to warn you that this is going to get rough because quite frankly Jesus is the one who makes this incredibly hard to deal with! Beginning in verse 33, Jesus says this, "A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad." Jesus makes this pretty simple didn't He? A good tree equals good fruit. Then listen to what He said, "You brood of snakes!" Does that sound like Jesus? Have you heard Jesus talk like that a whole lot? We like to think that Jesus is neat and kind, but sometimes He just fires away!
You see, He recognized the crowd that He was speaking to. He recognized who He was speaking to were the religious and even political leaders of that day, and these guys named the Pharisees and Sadducees, (sorry ladies you weren't allowed to be involved) these "guys" who made all of the rules and had all the power, many of them had memorized the Torah before they were even in middle school! They knew every story in scripture, they knew what it all had to offer and Jesus looks at them and He says, "You brood of snakes!"
As soon as Jesus says this, He levels probably what was the greatest insult that could have possibly been leveled at these guys! Because as soon as He said "You brood of snakes," what would have went through their mind was the first story that we discover in scripture! Right after creation takes place, who is it that shows up in the garden to deceive Adam and Eve? A snake - and the snake talks and uses the first words of deception in which the snake says, "If you will just eat of this tree, then you will be like God." (Genesis 3:4)
The first lie that we are able to see in the Bible came through a snake! Jesus looks at these guys and He says "You're not just a snake you're a brood of snakes causing deception in the world!" (Paraphrased) These people who were supposed to be bringing truth and love were bringing deception. Then in Matthew 12:34-37 Jesus says, "How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
I mean Jesus is not letting anybody off the hook is He? He's saying for every good, bad and for every idle word that you speak, someday you're going to have to stand there and it will all completely be exposed!
Here's what I'll just say to you folks, we say a lot on this thing called social media nowadays don't we? Everything that you say and everything that you write, lives forever! It was true before the internet and it's now truer than ever before because our words absolutely say something about who we are and we will give an account on Judgement Day for every idle word that we speak! For everything that we posted on social media, so if you can't say it in here (in the Worship Center) you shouldn't say it out there!
For what we said to our children and what we said to our coworkers, for what we said to our spouses and what we said to those that we like and those we don't like. The words that you say right now, they reflect your fate; showing the truth about what is in your heart! They are showing whether you are a Christ follower or not. You may claim to be, but if the stuff that comes out of your mouth is poison to your family, your friends and those around you, then it's reflecting where your heart really is!
Your words are like holding up a mirror to your life, showing everybody who you really are! Either you will be justified by them, Jesus said, or you will be condemned!
But I want to tell you there is hope, we can change our words. We don't have to live a life that is poisoning others by what comes out of our mouths. One of the first things that we need to understand is that "Good words don't come naturally."
What are some words that you have to teach your children? Please...Thank you...I'm sorry...Excuse me. What you do know if you have children is that good words don't come naturally. You have to teach them good words, they don't come naturally do they? What He actually tells us is that good words come from a treasury in verse 36 "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart."
Every word that you've spoken to your spouse, every word that you've ever spoken to your child, to an employee, to a friend, whoever it may be, every word that you have ever spoken has been added to somebody's treasury. And every word that you have spoken to yourself when you wake up in the morning is added to yours! If you wake up not believing what God believes about you, and you begin to believe the things that you believe about you, when you speak those things into your life, you are adding to a treasury. But it may not be silver or gold that you're adding - you may be adding a brood of snakes!
Every word - does that not make you consider who you are and what is coming out of your mouth? When you are speaking words to your spouse in front of your kids, you are speaking words into their treasury! Think about everything you've ever said in every conversation you've had, just in the last week alone. A lot of things get said and expressed and the question becomes, are you willing to stand behind your words? -Pastor John B. Smith
Have you already used up most of your ideas for summer fun for your kids? Are they looking for new ways to spend their time? Are you looking for novel and exciting activities to create great memories together this summer?
If you want some fresh ideas for family fun—here are lots of ideas and resources for you!
Around Your House
- Have a sidewalk chalk art show: draw frames on your driveway or sidewalk and let the kids draw works of art. Later, invite your neighbors over for lemonade and an art show.
- Make homemade ice cream—there are many great recipes online.
- Play family games.
- Make your own frozen treats.
- At the library, borrow family movies to show during the hot afternoons; then challenge your kids to make costumes and put on a play about the movie or a scene from the movie.
- Make puppets from lunch bags and let your kids put on a puppet show.
- Let your kids take a digital camera for the day and discover their inner artist.
- Grow a container garden—start with something easy like herbs or lettuce and discover the joy of gardening together.
- Host a neighborhood slumber party.
- Have a dance contest to different eras and genres of music.
- Make paper boats and have a boat race in a plastic kiddie pool.
- Try new fruits or vegetables from a local farmer’s market.
- Take in a movie for $1: both Cinemark and Regal participate by showing family movies for $1 admission.
- Take a trip to the dollar store and pick out summer toys for your kids to share with the neighbors.
- Check out a local farm.
- Go to a museum, find a children’s museum if you have young ones.
- Participate in Vacation Bible School!
- Head to the library and participate in their summer reading program.
Ideas from the Web
- Discover 100 places to take your kids in Maryland from the Baltimore Sun.
- Check out 100 days of summer fun from ChesapeakeFamily.com.
- 100 more summer fun ideas from WorkAtHomeMoms.com
- Try your own Pinterest idea (and be sure to post if you have a success or fail).
- Check out 41 outdoor activities for the kids.
- From crafts to science, check out these 33 activities.
- Care.com shares 101 fun things to do with kids in the summer.
- Fun outdoor activities from Six Sisters.
Remember that some of the best memories are made when we share our time, love, and laughter with our families.
Have any ideas of your own? Log in and post in the comments!
Find Freedom in Jesus
“Then one was brought to him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Matthew 12:22)
Isn’t it remarkable? Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Jesus freed him from his imprisonment to demons and darkness.
Jesus can free us, too.
In many ways, we all live inside our own prisons. Some prisons may be of our own making, through sin, addictions and wrong decisions.
Every bad choice we’ve made locks us up in some form of prison. It can be relational, emotional, financial or something else. As a result, we may experience despair and loss of freedom.
The difference between confinement and freedom is found in our answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”
The Pharisees claimed Jesus was a charlatan doing the work of the devil. Others realized that he is the Son of God.
Our answer and response to that question – Who is Jesus? – is the most important decision we will ever make.
Simply put, only Jesus can free us from our prisons and give us eternal life in paradise.
Jesus came to set us free.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).
With his sacrifice, Jesus declared us “Not guilty!” and opened our jail cells.
Will we accept the freedom that Jesus offers and walk through those open doors into his open arms? Or will we remain imprisoned by our sins, our addictions and our wrong behaviors?
God has given us freedom to choose. Let us choose wisely.