Matthew 9:29 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (NIV)
Wow. What’s done to us is according to our faith. If we believe we’re a failure, we will fail. If we believe we can’t do something we won’t be able to. If we believe we can do anything through Christ we will be able to do anything. What we believe we think on and what we think on becomes part of us. We are told to think on whatever is lovely or of good repute. We are told this for a very good reason. We are what we think. Likewise, God does for and in us what we allow Him to do if we believe He’ll do it. Believing is a choice, not an emotion. We can choose to believe or choose to doubt. We must ask ourselves what it is we have chosen to believe. If we find our belief vacillates we must pray for help to stand firm. Let us be careful in our choice of what to believe and make sure our beliefs are founded on the written Word of God.
Matthew 9:24 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. (NIV)
There are different types of death. Yes, there is a physical death. There is also an emotional and a spiritual death. Though I was raised in a church, worked in a church and claimed to be a Christian, I was spiritually dead. I didn’t understand the difference between believing Jesus is the Son of God (Satan knows that.) and believing IN Jesus, the Son of God, as my Savior and my Lord. The day I realized that (another story too long for this) I felt Jesus touch me. It only takes one touch from Him to heal and bring someone back to life. My emotions were healed and my spirit was brought back from the death to life. To me, this is more important than my physical death because, as a child of God through His Son, Jesus, my body will die but I will live in His very real presence for all eternity. So many people are spiritually dead. So many people in churches who call themselves Christians are spiritually asleep. We must ask ourselves if we’ve allowed Jesus to touch us and if we are fully awake.
Matthew 9:15-16 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast (NIV)
I’ve written several articles on fasting. Fasting is an important part of our spiritual exercise. Many people think they must be gloomy to show how spiritual they are. We have the gift of Jesus with us in the Holy Spirit and that is more than enough to be rejoicing. There are times to fast. There are many ways to fast. We must not neglect them. But we must be sure to let others see the joy of our Lord in us. I was won to Jesus by a lady’s smile. It’s amazing what a smile can do for someone. Let us be sure we aren’t walking around with a glum expression or a frown. When we have to wait in a long line what are we displaying? Displaying displeasure or impatience doesn’t communicate the joy of Jesus Who is with and in us. Let us show His joy so much to make others ask why we are so happy and we can share God’s love with others.
Matthew 9:13 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ (NIV)
When we are trying to live a life of obedience to God’s precepts we tend to become judgmental of those who don’t appear to be trying to live that way. Instead of just not condoning their actions we judge the person. Jesus didn’t judge the person and He had every right to do so. Instead, He showed mercy and led them to turn away from their actions and encouraged them to follow His way. How much more peaceful this world would be if, instead of sitting, thinking and speaking in judgement we showed mercy to the person we have been judging. Showing mercy is not the same thing as agreeing with the action. Showing mercy is accepting the person as one who is loved by God and setting an example both of God’s love and acceptance of the individual while showing the joy of following the precepts of God. Let us quit pointing our fingers, saying harsh and judgmental words and encourage others by accepting them as people of value and showing them the love and joy that is available when following the precepts of God.
Matthew 9:6 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” (NIV)
Being in a state of unforgiveness can paralyze us. If we are feeling unforgiven or if we are unforgiving of others it has the same effect on us. Jesus spoke forgiveness and told the paralyzed man to pick up and go home. He was telling the man to get on with his life and fulfill the responsibilities God has given him. We are to confess our sins, accept the forgiveness of God and forgive others so we can pick up and move on with God giving Him the freedom to work through us. When we feel paralyzed, that is unable to follow through on something God has asked us to do, we must confess both our own sins and be sure we aren’t harboring unforgiveness to someone else. Sin paralyses and unforgiveness is a sin. Let us learn to keep short accounts with God and also to be quick in forgiving others. Clean slates serve better.
Matthew 8:34 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region (NIV)
There are many demons in this world: demon of alcohol, demon of drugs, demon of hate and on and on. As children of God we are given power to resist these demons. When they put a thought of temptation in us we need to boldly speak the word, “Go” just as Jesus did. But these demons become comfortable if we allow them into us. The town had comfortable demons and didn’t like being broken from them. We must stand our ground against all demons. As long as we stay in the Word of God and keep our communication with God through His Holy Spirit, our hearts and minds will be full without room for demons to enter. Let us continually guard our minds with God Word deeply rooted.
Matthew 8:26 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm (NIV)
God does not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of peace and a sound mind. When the storms of life hit us, when we are about to stress, what is it we do? Do we go to God in prayer and ask Him for direction or do we allow fear or stress to consume us? Do we really believe God will work all thing out for good or are we short sited and only seeing the storm without seeing God’s hand? Fear is only present when we allow faith to falter. There is an old hymn that goes, “Be not dismayed what ere be tide, God will take care of you.” No matter what we must face in life on this earth, God has promised never to leave or forsake us. He is true to His promise. Our problem is we must look with the spiritual eyes He gives us and stand firm on the faith. Faith grows with exercise. Times of storms are a good time for exercising that faith. We must ask ourselves how our exercise routine is doing.
Matthew 8:22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (NIV)
Jesus wasn’t being harsh or insensitive. He was giving a lesson in priorities of the heart. In this case and in the one in the verses just before this where the scribe says he wants to follow Jesus but is told there is no permanent housing and the scribe turns away, Jesus is telling us God comes before everything else. If we are faithful in our obedience and devotion to God, if we really put Him first place in our hearts and minds, all else will fall into place. These men wanted to do it backwards. They wanted to see everything in the place they desired before they followed Jesus in devotion and obedience. We must ask ourselves daily if we are truly putting God first or our own fleshly desires first. Some want into pubic ministry and boast of their service to God because they want to appear great and knowledgeable about God. We an spot them easily. Our desire for service to God, whether it be publicly displayed to thousands or privately centered on a few is only as real as our heart desiring it purely for the pleasure of God Himself. It is not my concern if any read these devotions. I write the daily because God gives them to me daily and it is good for my own growth and obedience. It is up to God if others are blessed through them. This is our attitude in ministry and all we do. Scripture tells is in everything we do, do it as unto the Lord. We must continually remind ourselves of this and remain humble and obedient to our Lord God.
Matthew 8:14-15 14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him (NIV)
There are many truths in these 2 verses. One is that it is fine to be married and in ministry. Peter was married and Jesus cared for his mother-in-law. The next is touching. There is a lot of communication in the simple touch of a hand. A touch can communicate love, caring, acceptance and through those healing and comfort. I am a volunteer chaplain at our regional hospital. When I pray for the sick, I hold their hand. This communicates peace and comfort. Another truth in these verses is after healing comes serving Jesus. We are not healed for our own comfort but to continue in the service of our God, praising, worshiping and thanking Him as we communicate His love, peace and healing to others. This is how we serve our God, through serving others. As we walk through this day we must ask God to show us who we are to serve in serving Him this day.
Matthew 8:8 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed (NIV)
The prayer of faith is a wonderful thing. It can travel miles and miles to any location without the person praying traveling with it. The fuel it uses to travel is the assurance of faith. But the one with the faith must recognize it is not themself, their own righteousness, their own power or anything about them that fulfills the prayer of faith. It is only the righteousness of Jesus and the power and grace and mercy of God that fulfills the prayer. We don’t deserve such grace and mercy. It is given to us by the pure love of God through His Son, Jesus. Our faith must be based on true humility of the recognition of our sinfulness and God’s righteousness. There is a big difference in a prayer being spoken in boldness of a humble faith and one being spoken in the boldness of pride. We must continually examine ourselves and be sure we remain truly humble.