This is the second update for the Bible reading plan! To read the first update click here. I’m so encouraged by each and every testimony sent in by the wonderful ladies in this Bible group! With out further ado, here is week 2:
I hope each of you enjoyed spending time in God’s Word this week! I’d like to share some insights with you from Matthew 13. In this chapter, by using a parable, Jesus compares people’s responses when hearing the Word of God to seeds. A seed (God’s word) planted on good soil (our hearts), is like a man who hears the Bible and understands it. This man will then bear good fruit as a result. This passage stresses the importance of understanding what we are reading. We read a lot of parables this week and I didn’t understand all of them right away. It helps if you read the same passage in other Bible versions to help you interpret the true meaning. Something I like to do is use a Greek and Hebrew Bible concordance as I read. I can look up the Greek or Hebrew word for any English word in the Bible and see what the original Greek or Hebrew word is to help me understand the meaning. I also suggest discussing any confusing verse with your parents and seeing what they think.
I’m sure doing any/all of these things will help you to understand what you’re reading more clearly.
Thank you to those of you who replied with your testimony or verses that encouraged you! I’d like to share them with the rest of you below.
I’ll first share some testimonies that were sent to me by a couple of sweet readers:
“I was amazed as I read Matthew 10:16: ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.’ How powerful! Jesus, my prayer is that my life will be spent in faith, trusting you as I go out as a sheep in the midst of wolves. Literally as a Christian going out to serve You in this world. Give your all to the One who holds you in the palm of His hand.”
“Matthew 14:31 caught my attention. Peter was able to walk on water toward Jesus because of his faith in Him. The only time that he started to sink was when he looked away from God and into the storm. He then cried out to the Lord, ‘And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou DOUBT?”‘ Do I ever doubt Jesus? How about in school, do I doubt that He can help me no matter how hard it is? Do I let men and worldly desires fill my heart and my emptiness instead of God? Do I doubt that God can raise me up in the midst of a trial? Well, no matter what I think, the truth is that he is the ONLY One that can. Will you let God have every part of your life and let Him lead? That may mean sacrificing worldly pleasures. Are you willing to put your trust in the ONLY One that will never leave you and will always be there to raise you from the waters?”
“In Matthew 10:25, Jesus said, ‘It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.’ It got me thinking. What does it mean to be like my Teacher and Master, Jesus Christ? It means to be holy, for He is holy. It means to be meek, gentle, lowly, and humble in heart. It means to have His same attitude. It means to be a servant. It means to love. It means to be true and faithful. It means to do the will of the Father. It means to trust the Father. It means to forgive. It means to have mercy. It means to deny myself and die to my will. It means to suffer well for His sake. It means to abhor evil and cling to what is good. It means to be obedient to the point of death. So how do I become like my Teacher and Master? I must put on the Lord Jesus Christ. I must imitate Him. I must be conformed to His image. I must listen to His voice. I must learn of Him. I must obey Him. I must deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Him. I must let His mind rule in me. I must abide in Him and His Word. I must keep His commandments. I must walk as He walked. I must walk in the Light. I must lose my life for His sake. I must grow up in Him in every way. As His disciple, I want to be more like my Master and Lord.”
When the Pharisee saw that Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mt. 9:12-13). Then in Matthew 12:7, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” Jesus quotes “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” from the Scriptures (Hosea 6:6) and he his calling us to know what it means to have mercy and not sacrifice. He is calling us to go and learn what this means. I’ve started my study on this, but rather than sharing what I’ve found, I’m encouraging others to search the Scriptures, to go, learn, and know what this means for themselves.
Here are some verses that stood out to a couple of readers:
~ Matthew 9:23-25: 3 When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, He said, “Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him.
But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up.” It’s amazing to me that, despite the apparent lack of faith shown by these people, Jesus healed the young girl. The people loved the girl and were mourning over her death, yet they laughed at Jesus assuming that He couldn’t bring her back to life. They didn’t have any belief or trust in Jesus, but he performed a miracle by saving a child’s life anyway.
~ Matthew 12:36 is a somewhat alarming verse: “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” Wow! I say so many careless words every day. One day I will have to give an account for each and every one. This is a strong reminder to think before I speak and “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” ( 2 Corinthians 10:5)
~ Matthew 13:45-46 says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” I like this verse because it expresses every person’s need for God. Like the merchant in the verse, a person should give up all that he has to find true joy and hope which is only found in God.”
~Jesus used many parables to teach the crowds in Matthew 13 because ‘…while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, not do they understand’. Jesus spoke in parables to help the people understand what He was saying. That made me think of the importance of preaching and teaching others in a way that makes sense to them and in a language they understand.”
I hope and pray that God will speak to each one of you this week through His Word. I’d love to hear about what He reveals to you!
Love you all,