For You and Me

S (Scripture) – Matthew 17:24-27 “When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?’  He said, ‘Yes.’  And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon?  From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?’  When Peter said, ‘From strangers,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are exempt.  However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel.  Take that and give it to them for you and Me.'”

O (Observation) – Father God in heaven, You sent Your Son, Jesus, to crash into time on this planet and walk among us.  Here He was at the temple that was built to serve the living God, and the tax collector actually came up to Him and Peter inquiring as to where their required temple tax for the sacrificial system might be.  If only the tax collector knew that the very Son of God was the One he was asking to pay a tax at His own temple!  Instead of raising His voice and exclaiming that He was, in fact, the God of the universe and had no need to pay a tax in order to worship there, he humbly “surrendered His right to the exemption to avoid undue offense, and miraculously provided the resources for Peter to pay the tax for both of them, suggesting that Peter is among ‘God’s sons’ because of his connection with Jesus…Matthew shows his readers Jesus’ humility in paying a tax for His Father’s house from which He was exempt, and in His perfect willingness to provide for Peter’s needs (The Moody Bible Commentary).”

A (Application) – How amazing is the God we serve?!  “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)  The connection that we have with Jesus is what allows us to have all of the rights and privileges of sonship.  That connection must be nurtured, cultivated, respected, and prioritized.  Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with us, and it is necessary in order to find out what exactly it is He has for us to do for Him while we are here on this earth.  Our lives are not just supposed to bounce around from one day to the next, going through the motions, working, paying bills, retiring, then wondering one day when we reach a ripe old age how exactly the time went by so fast…there is so much more planned for us if we would only recognize our position in God’s kingdom through our relationship with His Son.  We must expand our perspective and see beyond our universe that revolves around us.  There is no shortage of broken and hurting people all around us that need the love of Jesus to flood over them…that need someone to care enough to care for them.

P (Prayer) – Precious Jesus, thank You for all that You have done for me.  Thank You for passionately pursuing me, loving me, caring for me, forgiving me, rescuing me, and guiding me.  I look back on my life several years ago in amazement at how far we have come together.  If only everyone could experience the peace, power, victory, and assurance that You freely give…help me to love others well, and show them what it means to be a son or daughter of the King.  May my life be a song revealing Who You are…(Lauren Daigle)

 

 

Refuse to Be a Bystander

S (Scripture) – Matthew 16:1-3, 24-25 “The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”…“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.”

O (Observation) – Lord, the religious leaders of the day were so caught up in this worldly life that they were unable to see the One whom they worshipped as You were right in front of them.  Although they were able to discern the weather based upon what was seen, they were unable to discern the signs of the times based on all of the intricate happenings around them. They weren’t paying attention, and they certainly weren’t in step with the Almighty. In order to truly connect with You and become Your disciple, they would have needed to walk away from the life they were clinging to and follow after You alone.  Instead, they were bystanders who ultimately got to see a group of uneducated fishermen become Your chosen instruments as they wholly surrendered themselves to You.

A (Application) – Lord, You are telling me that in order to be able to properly discern in this life, in order for life to make any sense at all, we need to see the world from Your perspective.  We must be alert, intentional, not living life on autopilot or cruise control, and refusing to just allow everything to happen all around us as we sit idly by.  Your peace comes from sharing Your perspective.  When we see things in light of Your plan, though we may not understand it all, we know we can trust You.  When we find our life in You, it’s as if it was covered in mud, and then washed away clean.  We can put it under Your bright light and see everything exposed for what it really is.  Just like our solar system with planets that revolve around the sun, everything makes sense and is in proper perspective when Jesus is in the center of our being.  When we try to live life apart from You, everything is out of order, chaos ensues, and the journey for significance in this life leaves us feeling empty.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness.  You admonish us in Your word to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”  May You strengthen us to trust in You always, even when we can’t understand what is happening at the time.  When we don’t know what to do in a situation, may we seek to honor You no matter what.  Then we can know that we did the right thing, and that You will lead us to where we are to go next.