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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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matthew

Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Pilate Resorts to a Custom

by Robert Brock

Pilate Resorts to a Custom

Matthew 27:21-26

“Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified,” Matthew 27:22.

Pilate was not in charge. God had allowed the Pharisees to back him into a corner and force his hand. After Lazarus’ resurrection, the Jewish leaders met. “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48). Pilate proclaimed Jesus innocent several times and asked the Jews whether or not they wanted him to release their king. The Jews sprung their trap; He says He is king. If you release Him, you are no friend of Caesar’s.

In spite of the Jews’ vindictive plan, Pilate proclaimed under Roman law that Jesus of Nazareth was the King of the Jews and had that statement nailed to His cross. Pilate had asked Jesus whether He really was the King of the Jews, and Jesus had responded “To this end was I born” (John 18:37). The Pharisees pleaded for the release of a thief named Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Even though Jesus was promised in Genesis 49:10, the Jewish religious leaders willingly gave him up to be crucified. The Jews wanted to protect their plush positions granted them by Caesar to rule the people and keep down riots.

The Pharisees paid the soldiers to spread a rumor that Jesus’ disci-ples carried away His body and hid it. Jesus raised many believers and sent them to town wrapped in grave clothes, implying to the religious leaders: “What are you going to do about this?”

THOUGHT: God springs His trap on His enemy in His own time.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Peter’s Empty Boast

by Robert Brock

Peter’s Empty Boast

Matthew 26:33-35

“Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples,” Matthew 26:33-35.

Two thousand years later on the other side of the cross, we see Peter’s brag as empty. However, when it was proclaimed, it was sincere to Peter. This was a public proclamation of Peter’s faith in the Lord, even though he did not understand the vanity in his boast. Noteworthy, all the other apostles swore they too would die for him, when in all actuality, Jesus would die for them. The entire passage has a prophetic ring. The Good Shepherd would die for His sheep, and they would scatter. However, after the crucifixion and all His resurrection appearances, they actually did die for Him. By that time, their testi-mony was sincere. The death of the saints has always been the seed of the churches. When one was martyred, a thousand stepped up and laid their lives on the line. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.…Nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

THOUGHT: They were disciples indeed. How sincere is our faith?

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Way We Should Always Pray

by Robert Brock

The Way We Should Always Pray

Matthew 6:5-13

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:9, 10.

In Jesus’ instructions in the Sermon on the Mount, one sees two sets of instructions regarding prayer. The first is private prayer. “But thou when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). “Thou” is singular. Often, there are things we are thankful for that are private, not for public information. “Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do” (verse 7), Jesus qualified this; it is not some older, nervous man using Lord over and over; it’s heathen repetitions, meaning mantras. The Muslims must say Allah’s name hundreds of times a day in memorized prayers. Catholics say the entire Rosary, asking Mary to be their mediator thirty times. The heathen mantras, repeating their god’s name over and over to the point of exhaustion, is basically an unknown tongue used for self-hypnotism, praying to a dead idol that could do nothing for them. Jesus teaches, do not do that. God is looking for a broken heart and contrite spirit, not a bunch of gibberish. Some modern Christian music comes close to resembling mantras.

Prayer helps us realize we are helpless without His care and provision. When Jesus began using the word “ye” in this passage, He was speaking of prayer in public worship: our Father, give us, forgive us, lead us and deliver us. These are all plural pronouns, including the entire congregation we are praying with.

THOUGHT: Prayer is one of the most unique parts of the Christian experience; the creature is speaking to his Creator. Then, he studies his Bible, and the Creator is speaking to the creature. How amazing God is! Do not neglect such an awesome privilege.

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The Job Jesus Wants Us To Do

Matthew 4.19 20.JPG

Matthew 4:18-22

Any believer should want to know and execute God’s will for their lives. If you are patiently waiting for God to reveal that will, then I have good news for you. He already has. While God has a specific will for each of us, He also has some things for every saved child of His. We cannot just sit around waiting for that specific will when He has clearly given guidance applicable to us all. If we are not willing to do the clear things revealed to us all in God’s Word, why would our Father reveal more? If we will not do the smallest of things, why would He give us the big ones?

We have talked much about the “follow me” part of this; God has gotten specific here, just for us. He wants each and every one of us to be “fishers of men.” This is, as our title today states, the job Jesus wants us to do. This is the primary purpose of every single saved child of God. Anything else we do in God’s service is a supporting role for the primary mission, which is the spread of the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

We are not all the same, and will not do this job in the same way. Some will still fish, simply presenting good bait and waiting. Some will ride the raging rapids in search of the more difficult catch. It is clear, however, that we are all to be fishing.

Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him

Matthew 16.24.JPG

Matthew 16:24-28

Jesus was not a shy retiring type of man who always spoke words designed to make everyone feel “included.” He sometimes told it just as it was, without mincing words. He rebuked evil and demanded obedience. No one was excluded from following, but those who chose to do so found the company to be exclusive.

In our devotional passage, Jesus had just rebuked loud-mouthed Peter for attempting to force his will onto God’s plan, rather than God’s plan on Peter’s life. He then expanded the thought in our passage above. He challenged Peter and the other’s to do some things to be a true follower of His; He challenges us to do these things today.

We are to deny ourselves. The biggest thing Jesus wants from us is….us. As we grow in faith we put what we think we want aside, and come to see what He wants. Ultimately we will come to desire the same for ourselves as He desires for us. We are to pick up our cross. We won’t literally have to climb on a cross and die, of course, but the concept is similar. Jesus sacrificed Himself for us; we are to sacrifice our own lives for Him. Finally, we are to follow Him. Friends, this is simply obedience. Sometimes our Lord will issue clear instructions; when that happens we need to follow them. As He did with Peter and the others, Jesus has issued the challenge to us. What will our answer be?

It All Hangs On Love

Matthew 22 37_40

Yesterday we discussed the same passage as we will briefly discuss today. Today our focus will be on the last sentence of the passage. What does it mean that all the law and the prophets hang on those two greatest commandments?

It’s a pretty visual and simple illustration Jesus used, really. Just picture a rack entitled, “love.” On the rack there are two pegs, “The Law” and “The Prophets.” Now picture what happens if there is not a rack entitled “love.” Got that? The pegs fall to the ground if they are not attached to a rack. Jesus was just illustrating that all of God’s expectations concerning His moral law can be met if we just do two things: Love God and love each other.

We can take a look at the Ten Commandments to illustrate how loving God and loving one another roll everything up within them. These are paraphrased in a short form, incidentally.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor your Father and Mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

If we love God with everything we have, then the first four Commandments will be the natural result. If we love our neighbor, then the last six will be the natural result.  If you carry this to its ultimate conclusion, there is really nothing God expects of us which could not be found in one of the Ten Commandments; we could say they have many unspecified subcategories. And The Commandments can be further reduced to two: Love God and love each other. Love.

All of God’s moral law does hang on Love. If we really do love God with our all, and each other with our all, then the natural outflow of keeping those two commandments will be doing the things God wants us to do. If we fail in either of those two areas, then we will be unable to meet any expectations God might have of us.

Is it I, Lord?

Matthew 26_22.JPG

In chapter 22 of the Gospel of Matthew, we see one of the accounts of the Last Supper; we see the last Passover feast to be celebrated by Jesus before His crucifixion. Most readers will recognize this as the institution by Jesus of our current celebration of the Lord’s Supper. This, however, is not really a post about that, but something else.

Jesus had just announced in this passage that one of the disciples would soon betray him:

Matthew 26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

The reaction from the men present was very telling, and I think we can learn some things from it. Immediately, they all began to wonder out loud who the betrayer was to be; isn’t that interesting?

No one had ANY clue that Judas Iscariot was to be the betrayer. If there had been something amiss with that fellow, instead of wondering if they were the one, all of the disciples would have immediately pointed fingers at him! They, however did not. Friends, we don’t know the state of another’s heart, as only God does. False converts and even outright evil can lurk in our midst and we may never know. Does that mean we start trying to hunt down those folks? No, it does not; again, we can never know nor are we to even try to know that. What it means is we need to preach to ourselves. There is a reason why(hopefully) the Gospel is preached in our churches week after week. If we are preachers and teachers, the clear Gospel message should remain an integral part of our teachings…always.

Now, let’s move on the the other disciples. Paul taught us this:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

A bit of self reflection never hurt a soul. Are we secure in the salvation of Jesus Christ? Have we accepted and believed on the complete payment He made for us on the cross of Calvary, or are we thinking that somehow we have worked our way to God’s grace by our own efforts, and because we look the Christian role? We all know, deep inside, that we are simply sinners in need of somebody to pay what we can never pay, except with our own lives and souls. I have to think that even the disciples understood that in and of themselves they were sinners, and concerned that they would fail their Lord given the opportunity.

It doesn’t hurt for us to always remember that we are all sinners; some are simply saved and forgiven sinners….and some are not.

 

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