Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”
The parable of the talents continues the theme of being ready for the Lord’s return, but it also makes a strong point that we are accountable to the Lord for the gifts He has given us. The Lord intends us to use these gifts to further His kingdom – not keep them hidden.
This parable also shows the Lord dealing with His servants according to their own individual gifts and abilities. The servants who doubled their Lord’s money were praised equally, even though one had produced two and one-half times as much revenue for His Lord than the other. Every man’s work shall be judged as to what sort it is – not what size it is.
Most people today are preoccupied with quantity of ministry instead of quality of ministry. The Lord is going to reward us based on how well we did, not on how much we did. Those who are not governed by the Holy Spirit in their actions will see all their good works burned up on the day we stand before the Lord and He tries our works. Those who acted only under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will find that their works will endure the test and they will receive a reward.
Many people choose to do good things thinking that God will be pleased. It is our positive response to God’s direction (faith) that pleases God (Heb. 11:6). We were created with a purpose and every individual has a God-given plan for his life. Unless our actions are in agreement with God’s plan for our life, they will not abide the test of God’s fire.
NO PERSUASION NEEDED
LUKE 14:4 …He took him and healed him, and let him go.
Jesus was in the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, and He was being watched closely. Imagine being invited to someone’s home for dinner just so the host and his friends can scrutinize you and find fault with you!
Despite the unfavorable circumstances, nothing could stop the goodness in Jesus’ heart from manifesting. The Bible says that “there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy” (Luke 14:2). Jesus could not look at this sick man and just forget about him. He wanted to cure the man even though He knew that the people around Him were against it.
So Jesus spoke to the Pharisees saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” The uncompassionate and legalistic Pharisees remained silent. I love what Jesus did next: “He took him and healed him, and let him go.” Straight to the point! Then, Jesus turned to the Pharisees and said, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5).
Look at the word “immediately”. To the Lord, a sick person is like one in a pit requiring immediate help. This is how the Lord sees people who are sick. He sees them as needing immediate attention.
My friend, if you are sick today, Jesus wants you well. He will not say, “Today is My rest day. Come back tomorrow.” No, His right hand is stretched out and ready to pull you out of the pit. He needs no persuasion. Reach out in faith and take hold of His loving, mighty hand!
FLY THE FLAG
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. —Ephesians 5:1
Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over the British Empire for more than 60 years. Her monarchy has been characterized by grace and class. She has diligently given her life to serve her people well, and as a result she is deeply loved and highly revered. So, you can understand the importance of the flag flying above Buckingham Palace. When the flag is flying, it means that she is in residence in the heart of London. The flag is a public statement that the queen is present with her people.
As I was thinking about that, it occurred to me that our King Jesus is in residence in our hearts as our “never leave you nor forsake you” Monarch (Heb. 13:5). As wonderful as that is to us personally, I wonder if those around us would recognize that He is in residence based on the way we live? If He is within us, that will show on the outside. As Paul says, we are to be “imitators of God” and to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us” (Eph. 5:1-2). As we do so, we will display joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
So let’s fly the flag of His presence—the flag of His grace, righteousness, and love—so that others may see Him through us.
Lord, remind me that Your presence in my heart is intended to be a public reality. May I so value all the blessings of Your presence that I am willing to share them generously with others.
Fly the flag of Christ’s presence to show that the King is in residence in your life.
ASK GOD TO LEAD & GUIDE YOU
When I was a little girl, our family loved to go to the beach. We’d pack up all of our beach gear and load up the cooler with snacks, drinks and treats we didn’t normally have. We’d pull out our beach towels, blankets and a giant red, sun umbrella. It was always so much fun, and I couldn’t wait to get in the water when we arrived. One afternoon, I was having so much fun playing in the water. I’d jump the waves for a little bit, then swim out a little ways and float back to shore. After a while, I looked up and didn’t see my mom on the beach. I didn’t see our beach towels, blanket, cooler or our bright red, sun umbrella. In fact, as I looked around, nothing looked familiar. I was in a completely different part of the beach. I was having so much fun that I didn’t realize the under current was causing me to drift, and I was about 100 feet from where I started. I instantly walked up to the shore and back to where my mom was. Boy, was she glad to see me! I learned my lesson to always keep my eye on that red umbrella! It became my personal beach marker to help me make sure I avoided the drift!
Sometimes the same thing happens in life. We get busy and focused on what we are doing, and then we look up and realize we are far away from where we are supposed to be. Maybe your relationships are suffering. Maybe you feel distanced from God. Maybe your finances are off course, and you’re just not sure what happened. The good news is that God has a marker for us to gauge where we are. His Word is like that big red umbrella was for me. It helps us see how far we are and gives us a target to work toward.
If you’ve drifted today, stop and take a look at where you are. We’re never really too far from God. He is as close as the air we breathe, and He will help you get right back on course. Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to strengthen you for the journey. Ask Him to lead and guide you and keep your life on course. Always remember that your life will go in the direction of your focus. Focus on things above. Focus on God. Focus on His Word so you can avoid the drift!
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NLT)
LIFE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
Hebrews 8:10 – I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts
What laws was God referring to when He said, I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts? He was certainly not referring to the Ten Commandments, known as the laws of the old covenant, since He said that He found fault with that covenant and declared it obsolete. (Hebrews 8:79, 13)
The laws that God puts in our minds and writes on our hearts refer to the royal law of love (Matthew 22:3740), the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25) and the law of faith. (Romans 3:27) These are the laws of the new covenant.
You live according to the laws of the new covenant when you are conscious of how much God loves you. And the more you are conscious of His love for you, the more your heart is filled with love. When that happens, you will love God and the people around you supernaturally and effortlessly. That is God writing on your heart the royal law of lovethat we love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Secondly, when you know that you are perfectly accepted by God because of Jesus sacrifice, you can have the courage and liberty as a child of God to come boldly into the presence of your heavenly Father. And in His presence, He is able to write on your heart new desires. You will find yourself wanting to do the right thing at the right time. You will live life victoriously from the inside out. This is the perfect law of liberty operating in your life.
Thirdly, when you sense what God is writing on your heart and putting in your mind, and as your faith is activated causing you to trust Him and His love for you, He calls it obeying the law of faith. When that happens, whatever you believe, you receive!
My friend, God has made it easyand you will find that it is exciting to live life under the new covenant!
TAKE FROM JESUS ALL THAT YOU NEED
…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… – Mark 10:45
I want to share a little secret with you today. Jesus said of Himself, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not come to be ministered to, but to minister. My friend, when God visits your home, He does not come for you to give to Him. He comes for you to take from Him. This is a little secret to intimacy with God.
Jesus in His inexhaustible supply and divine fullness is here for you to take from. Take from Him your miracle for your body. Take from Him wisdom for your confusion. Take from Him peace to guard your heart and mind from the stress of modern living. He comes before you in all His fullness, full of love and strength for you to draw from.
Why do you think that the Lord referred to Himself as the bread of life? What is bread for? Does anyone take a loaf of bread and say, “Do you not notice the different hues of brown on this bread?” You can talk all you like about the glories of the bread, but as long as you don’t feed on it, it cannot nourish and strengthen you!
Just as bread is to be partaken, Jesus wants you to partake of His love and His grace. So draw from Him. Draw on His power. Draw on His love. Draw on His glory. Consume Him. He loves it when His children take from Him, depend on Him and hence experience good success!
A FAITHFUL HELPER
The LORD is with me as a mighty, awesome One. —Jeremiah 20:11
As a young boy, my father had to deliver slop to hungry pigs on the farm where he grew up. He hated this job because the hogs would knock him over when he entered their pen. This task might have been impossible except for a faithful helper who accompanied my dad—a German shepherd named Sugarbear. She would maneuver herself between my father and the pigs and hold them back until my dad finished his chore.
The prophet Jeremiah had the difficult job of proclaiming God’s messages to the Israelites. This required him to endure physical abuse, verbal attacks, imprisonment, and isolation. Although Jeremiah struggled with deep discouragement, he had a Helper through all of his trouble. God promised him, “I am with you . . . to deliver you” (Jer. 1:19).
God did not desert Jeremiah, and He will not desert us. We have His continual aid through the power of the Spirit who lives inside every believer (John 14:16-17). The Helper gives us hope (Rom. 15:13), steers us toward spiritual truth (John 16:13), and pours out God’s love in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). We can trust that God faithfully helps us as we endure hardship. We can say with Jeremiah, “The LORD is with me as a mighty, awesome One” (Jer. 20:11).
You, God, have been our help forever.
And You are our hope now and into eternity.
We thank You that You will never desert us.
You will be faithful.
Our greatest hope here below is help from God above.
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