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Five Minutes with God

Five Minutes with God is a distinct and exciting approach to daily Bible devotionals. Instead of a lofty goal of going through the entire Bible—or even the New Testament—in one year, Five Minutes with God focuses on shorter passages so that the reader can absorb more of the text and apply it to everyday life. This daily podcast will step you through the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. Each day’s podcast also ends with a thought for further reflection and a call to prayer. By reading, reflecting, and praying, Five Minutes with God will help you come to know Him, love Him, and follow Him like never before.
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Now displaying: Page 11
Mar 22, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

“Can a blind man lead a blind man?” From a physical perspective, this is an easy question to answer and almost a comical scenario to consider. How can one lead another if the leader himself cannot see (or does not know) where he is going? But from a spiritual perspective, it is a serious question that affects each of us in some way. As Christians, we are all called to be leaders—lights to the world, leading those around us to better know God and to glorify Him in their own lives. We are to be examples, influences, teachers, and ambassadors for Christ. But how can we lead others if we do not know the way? How can we help the blind to see if we are blind ourselves? This passage encourages us, even commands us, to prepare ourselves to be leaders for Christ—to be knowledgeable of the way in which we are to lead others, to remove the obstacles of clear sight from our own lives, and to have the attitude of love and humility that will allow us to take others by the hand and lead them closer to God.

What are some things that we can do to prepare ourselves to be leaders for God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 20, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

It was not uncommon in the first-century world that, as one went to the market place to buy a measure of wheat, he would be short-changed by the merchant receiving a lesser amount than the full measure desired and paid for. Jesus uses this well-known occurrence to describe God’s generosity toward us and the generosity that we are to have toward others. When God gives a blessing, He gives a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” We can envision, in these words, the fair-minded merchant measuring out the portion of grain, pressing and shaking down the contents to make sure that all the air pockets are removed, and every corner and crevice of the vessel is filled, even to the point of overflowing the container. That is the way God gives to us. He gives generously, abundantly, fully. But in return, God asks that we give to Him and to others in the same way, not skimpily or with hesitation, but that we give with a generous and joyful heart. May we always be thankful to God for His generous blessings, and may we strive to be like Him in our own giving.

Why is it important how we give to God?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 19, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Have you ever given thought to that idea? We know that God sent His Son into the world to redeem us from sin. We know that, through Him, He offers us the opportunity to be in relationship with Him. We know that God has promised a home in heaven to those who are saved through Christ. But have you ever considered the idea that doing these things brings pleasure to God? God wants us to be saved. He yearns for it. To take our sins away and to make us His children brings joy to the heart of God. To see people come to Him in faith and obedience makes Him smile. So great is the love of God for us that he delights in being our Father and blessing us with all things, spiritually and physically. What a wonderful thought to know that, not only does God save us, but that it is His pleasure to do so.

Why do you think God finds pleasure in saving us?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 18, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

We often think of the creative role of God—the God who spoke the world and everything in it into existence in an amazing display of His transcendent power and wisdom. But God’s involvement in this world did not end there. Jesus portrays God as the caregiver of His creation. It is He who feeds the birds of the air and arrays the flowers of the field in colorful glory. He sustains and provides for the world and its inhabitants in a way that is not just sufficient, but abundant and beautiful and perfect. So what is the point of this description of God as care-giver of the world? Have you ever considered that, of all of God’s creations, we are the only ones that worry? We—the centerpiece of God’s wonderful creation, made in His own image, recipients of His love and greatest gift—have no reason to worry, yet we do. But God is a faithful God. He loves us and will care for us. If we put Him first and trust Him with our lives, He will bless us and provide for us in greater ways than we can imagine. So trust and don’t worry!

What are some things we can do to minimize our worry?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 17, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

There are many people who struggle with prayer. How should I pray? What should I pray for? What should my attitude be in prayer? These and many other questions have been asked by sincere children of God who want to deepen and improve their prayer life. The disciples of Jesus had similar desires and questions. They wanted to know how to pray like Jesus prayed, and in this “model prayer,” Jesus answered many of their, and our, concerns. In this short and simple prayer, Jesus showed them and us how to pray and what to pray for. How should we pray? Pray to your Father, understanding and appreciating the relationship you have with Him—“Father.” Pray with respect, reverence and praise, understanding the majesty, glory, and holiness of God—“Hallowed by Your name.” What should we pray for? Pray for the church—“Your kingdom come.” Pray for your earthly needs—“Give us each day our daily bread.” Pray for your spiritual needs—“Forgive us our sins.” Pray for God’s protection and deliverance—“And lead us not into temptation.” What a beautiful prayer, and what a wonderful model for us.

Why do you think people struggle with knowing how to pray?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 16, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

We call it the golden rule: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” It is one of those teachings of Jesus that has found its way into our modern-day vernacular, though it is often not as prevalent in practice as it ought to be in our world today. It is such a simple principle, yet it can shape our behavior toward others and transform our relationships with them. Do you want others to be kind to you? Then be kind. Do you want others to be patient with you and understand that you are not perfect? Then be patient and understanding. Do you want others to forgive you when you fail? Then be forgiving. Imagine a world where every person lived by this simple rule of human interaction. It may be that the world as a whole never comes around to living by this rule, but that should not prevent us from living by it. And it may be that, as we apply this teaching of Jesus to our lives, it causes those around us to decide to live out the golden rule in their lives as well. May God help us treat others as we want to be treated.

Why do you think more people do not apply this rule to their lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 15, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

This reading represents the other side of the coin. If Jesus desired to comfort and reassure those who were suffering in the last passage, He certainly intends to warn and condemn those to whom He is speaking in this passage. Understand that Jesus is not condemning those who are rich, happy, or respected based simply on their station in life. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these situations; in fact, to be joyful or well-spoken of is admirable. Jesus is speaking to and condemning those who have given their love and devotion to their earthly things instead of to God, those who revel in this world and its pleasure with no regard for spiritual things, those who strive for acceptance in the world, sacrificing truth and godliness to find it. The greatest lesson for us to learn here is that there is nothing in this world—not riches, pleasure, or popularity—that offers what a faithful relationship with God offers, and none of those things are worth the price they require.

Why do so many people struggle to choose God over worldly things?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 14, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

In Luke’s account of what we call the Beatitudes, he focuses on the now vs. later aspect of these teachings of Jesus. While this life might hold hardships, struggles, sorrows, and trials of different kinds in the here and now, Jesus gives us the comfort of knowing that those difficulties will be turned into joy and rejoicing in the hereafter. Maybe Paul states it best when he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us,” (Romans 8:18). There are definitely times in our lives when we encounter situations and circumstances that are difficult and painful, some almost unbearable. God understands those times and knows our struggles. But He has a plan for us, and those hardships that we are asked to bear in this life will only serve to strengthen us and make the rest and rewards of heaven that much sweeter. So be patient and be strong, for the reward is well worth the struggle.

How have your struggles strengthened you and your faith?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 13, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Jesus was different. His teaching was different. He wasn't like the scribes, who were the Jewish lawyers of the day. They had devoted their lives to copying the law, and so they knew what it said. The Jews looked to them as experts and authorities. But Jesus was different. The scribes could tell them what the law said, but Jesus told them what it meant. He spoke with an insight into the mind and will of God that was unknown to the scribes. He taught with authority, the type of authority that could only come from God Himself. Jesus still speaks to us, through the Word, with an authority and insight into God’s will that can only come from God. And whether we realize it or not, Jesus’ teaching is still astonishing, because of its timeless relevance and perfect accuracy. Astonishing because of its enduring wisdom and life-changing truth. As we open up the Word of God and immerse ourselves into the teachings of Jesus, may God help us to be impressed, astonished, convinced, and changed by what He teaches us.

What impresses you about the teaching of Jesus?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 12, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Does the foundation matter? You better believe it does! A house that is built on a poorly planned or constructed foundation will not be able to survive. A marriage that is not based on a foundation of love, trust, and commitment will not last. And a life built on an unstable foundation will crumble and fall under the stress of life’s storms. At the end of all the teaching Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount, He leaves us with one final admonition: be careful what foundation you are building your life on. The teachings of Jesus, the Word of God, provides a foundation that is firm, stable, and unshakeable. It provides an anchor point for life that allows it to withstand any storm, any hardship, any challenge, any trial. In contrast, any other foundation on which we can build our lives—this world, riches, worldly relationships, achievement—is unstable. Those foundations cannot and will not be able to withstand the storms of life. The lesson is very simple—build your life on the firm and solid foundation of Christ!

How does the Word of God provide a firm foundation for our lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 11, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

What does it take to enter the kingdom of heaven? It is a question that has been asked many times over the centuries and answered in many different ways. It is an issue that mankind has made complicated and controversial, but Jesus answers the question in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand way if we will only listen to Him. He tells us that entrance into heaven will not be granted based simply on whether someone is willing to acknowledge, believe in, or call on the name of the Lord. As important as those things are, they are not enough by themselves. Neither will someone be saved by the works they do, even works done in the name of the Lord. Those works, while good and important, can never earn salvation for the one performing them. Jesus says very simply that entrance to the heavenly kingdom will be granted to those who do the will of the Father—those who submit themselves to God, give Him their lives, and live for Him in faith and obedience. Only in this way of life can one truly be cleansed by the blood of Christ and enjoy the gift of salvation. May we all have a heart of submission and a desire to always do the will of our Father.

Why do you think there is so much confusioon the subject of salvation today?

 

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 10, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Have you ever played a role, maybe in a school musical, community theatre, or youth group skit? Playing a role often involves dressing up in costume, taking on the persona of your character, and pretending to be someone or something other than yourself. It is fun and harmless in a theatrical setting, but can be anything but harmless in real life. This activity of playing a part is the picture from which we get the word “hypocrite,” and it is the activity that Jesus describes and condemns in this passage. What appears to be harmless, good, and even helpful, Jesus says, is actually evil and destructive. But Jesus tells us that there is a way to see through the mask and identify the real person. “You will recognize them by their fruits.” Regardless of the image that someone tries to portray, their life will tell the tale. There are two lessons that we need to keep in mind here: one is to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Don’t be deceived and led astray by someone’s act. The other lesson is that we must always be careful to make sure that our lives reflect who we really are. Be genuine, sincere, and godly. There is no greater way to bring glory to God.

Why do you think some choose to pretend to be something they are not?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 9, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Two gates, two ways, two destinations. This passage is a metaphor for life—everyone’s life. We all have to make a choice: which gate to enter, which way to travel, which destination will be ours. Every person, every life, will travel down one path or the other, and so we must all choose. But how do we make the choice? What makes the difference? As we consider Jesus’ words here, the primary differentiating factor between the two ways is not found in the journey—a wide or narrow gate, an easy or hard way—but rather in the results of the journey. Any journey is defined by its destination, and in this case, there could not be two destinations that are more diametrically opposed to one another. As we choose our path through life and consider the desires of our hearts with regard to that journey and its outcome, we would surely choose “life” over “destruction.” With that in mind, let us choose the narrow gate and the hard way, understanding that the outcome of that journey is the destination that we desire—eternal life.

Why do you think that “few” will find the narrow gate that leads to life?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 8, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

We often mistake this passage as being about us—us getting what we want or need; us pursuing or asking of God the things that are needed in our lives; us being satisfied with provision from above. But in reality, this passage is not about us as much as it is about God. It is a wonderfully comforting and encouraging passage that teaches us that God is a God who loves us and wants to bless us. He yearns to meet our needs, answer our prayers, and care for us as a loving Father. He is the giver of all good things and, in His omniscience, knows exactly what we need. By His good pleasure, He meets our needs perfectly and blesses us beyond measure, constantly considering our spiritual well-being, even while caring for our physical needs. So “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” because God, our Father, loves us and is our great provider.

Why do you think God wants to give us good things?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 7, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

I love the imagery of this passage. Can you picture it? You have a speck of dust in your eye and are struggling to find relief, when someone walks up to you: “Let me help you with that.” As you look up, you find the person standing before you with a 2x4 protruding from their own eye. Jesus uses this exaggerated language to demonstrate a simple principle: before you begin to judge and “fix” other people, make sure you have examined yourself. Jesus is not teaching that we should not be concerned for others, or that we should not try to help those who are obviously involved in behavior that is destructive to their spiritual lives. He is simply stating that we must not fall into the trap of hypocrisy by ignoring our own shortcomings while haughtily pointing out the errors of others. We must learn the lesson of humility and understand that it is only by the grace of God that any of us have the opportunity to be freed from the shackles of sin. Let us approach God, others, and even our own lives with that spirit of humility, and let us examine our hearts and lives to be sure that we are in a faithful relationship with God.

How can we help others to overcome sin without unrighteously judging others?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 6, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Do you ever worry? Most likely, the answer to this question is “yes.” Most of us worry from time to time. After all, there is plenty in our world to worry about—financial struggles, health issues, family problems, crime, violence, terrorism, declining morals... You get the idea. As Jesus says in this passage, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” In other words, each day has enough problems of its own. So what is the cure for worry? Jesus teaches us that the way to overcome worry is to be more spiritually minded, to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” By focusing more on God and our relationship with Him, we are constantly reminded that this world and all of its problems are temporary, and that our greater needs, the spiritual ones, are all met perfectly through Christ, so that we want for nothing. The more we learn to trust and depend on God, the more our worry is replaced with peace and confidence. What a wonderful blessing from God!

Why do you think that we struggle to let go of our worries?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 5, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Money—riches, wealth, physical things. It is one of the most popular gods of our time. So many covet it, pursue it, devote themselves to it, and make it the most important thing in their lives. And yes, they serve it. The god of riches entices us, it makes vain promises, and it leads us down a road that can only end in destruction. But by far the most devastating consequence of serving the god of riches is that it takes the place of our service to God and robs us of our relationship with Him. We must choose whether we will serve the god of riches—a god that is enticing, but offers no real joy, lasting peace, or eternal hope, or the God of the universe, who offers His love, mercy, and grace, and who is the source of a joy, peace, and hope that can only be found in Him. The choice is ours, but... “You cannot serve God and money.”

Why do you think so many people choose the world over God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 4, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

These verses are found sandwiched between teachings on laying up treasure in heaven instead of on earth (vv. 19-21) and the impossibility of serving both God and riches (v. 24). It stands to reason, then, that this passage also pertains to having a proper attitude toward worldly things. In ancient thought, having a “healthy (good) eye” was indicative of being generous, while having a “bad eye” was used to describe those who were greedy or stingy. Therefore, as Jesus describes, one who has a good eye is one who sees his worldly things as a tool to be used to help others and to bring glory to God. This good eye fills the whole body with light, which represents goodness, truth, and godliness. In contrast, the person with the bad eye is one who puts his love and faith in those earthly things and is thus filled with a great darkness that cannot abide in the presence of God. May God help us all to have a healthy eye.

Why do you think our attitude toward worldly things has such a great effect on our lives?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 3, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“If I only had more—more money in the bank, a bigger house, a nicer car, a more impressive investment portfolio. If I only had more, then I would be happy! I would have nothing to worry about.” This mindset dominates our culture, and it pushes us to chase the almighty dollar and lay up treasures on earth. But Jesus reveals a simple truth that often eludes our thinking: nothing physical lasts forever. That bank account, house, car, investment portfolio—it is all temporary. It is all subject to destruction, theft, or loss, and even if we can avoid these disasters, those things will only be ours for as long as our physical lives last. But Jesus reminds us that there is a treasure we can lay up for ourselves that will never be destroyed. It is not a physical treasure, but a much grander, spiritual one. It is the greatest of all treasures, laid up in heaven for those who devote their lives to God. As Jesus teaches, the greatest investment we can make is the laying up of spiritual treasure that will pay eternal dividends.

How do we lay up treasure in heaven?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 2, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Why? It is not a question that we consider often enough when it comes to our spiritual lives and service to God. Why do we worship? Why do we give our time and effort to serving God and others? Why do we strive to be lights in a dark world? Many times, we fall into the trap of giving our worship and service to God without considering our purpose, or worse yet, with a self-serving and impure motive for our devotion to God. But we learn from this passage, and others in this same extended text, that the “why” is very important to God. While God certainly desires our worship and devotion, He desires those things to come from a pure, sincere heart and motive. To worship or devote ourselves to God for the purpose of being seen or praised by men is unacceptable and ineffective. As we worship and devote ourselves to God, let us do so with a heart filled with love and gratitude, and with a desire to draw ever closer to Him.

Why should we give our worship and devotion to God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Mar 1, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Do you desire and appreciate forgiveness? Sure you do. We all do. When we make mistakes, we want to know that those around us will be compassionate towards us and willing to forgive our shortcomings. And then there is God. Where would we be without God’s forgiveness? We need it, cherish it, and are thankful for it. But there are times when we are much less willing to forgive someone who has wronged us than we are to accept forgiveness for our own wrongdoings. We were hurt, defamed, taken advantage of, lied to. Why should we forgive someone who was so unloving towards us? But Jesus teaches the simple truth that, if we desire to have the forgiveness God offers to us for the wrongs that we have committed against Him, then we must learn to be forgiving to others for their wrongs against us. A simple concept, but often a challenge to apply. May God help us to be more forgiving towards others, and may He continue to be merciful and forgiving towards us!

Why do you think that it is so important to God that we forgive others?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Feb 28, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The model prayer. In his gospel, Luke records that this prayer is in response to a disciple’s request, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Jesus had a way of praying that was different, more personal, more meaningful than people of His day were accustomed to. He had an intimate relationship with His Father, and that relationship was reflected in His prayers. His disciples wanted to be able to pray that way. They wanted to know God as Jesus knew Him, to approach God with the same intimacy and confidence that Jesus had as He prayed. So as He always did, Jesus taught them. He taught them, and us, how to talk to God, how to go before Him with our praise and our petitions, our needs and cares, how to put our lives into His hands and know that He will care for us. This beautiful little prayer teaches us so much, not only about prayer, but about our relationship with God. What a great lesson from the Master Teacher!

What effect does prayer have on your daily life?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Feb 27, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Prayer—a special time of communion between Creator and creation, Father and child, God and worshipper. Prayer is a time of communication, praise, and relationship. It is a time to express to God our thanksgiving and love and to lay our troubles, cares, and petitions at His feet. It is a time to be strengthened, uplifted, and encouraged. Most of all, prayer is a time to draw near to God, to be reminded of His greatness and His love, and to be comforted by the closeness of God’s heart to our own. Prayer is special and sacred. What prayer is not is a time to flaunt our religion and spirituality. It is not a time to seek praise and accolades from men. It is not a time to fill the air with words that have no meaning. Jesus says that, before we utter the first word of prayer, God knows—He knows our needs and concerns; He knows our hearts and motives. Prayer is one of our greatest blessings and a privilege that should never be taken for granted or abused. So pray—pray sincerely, pray humbly, and pray with love and thanksgiving in your heart!

Why is it important that we pray if God already knows our needs?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Feb 26, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

What is your motive? Where is your heart? These are the issues that are really behind much of what Jesus teaches throughout the Sermon on the Mount. Doing good deeds is certainly admirable, and should be something that is important to all of us. But Jesus takes the doing of good deeds one step further by asking the question, “Why are you doing them?” He says, if you do them only for the sake of being recognized and praised by men, then your reward is only that recognition, and there is no further reward from God. In every aspect of our lives, God cares about our hearts. He wants us to live right and do good, but the “why” is also vitally important. We should do good deeds because we love God and love others, because we desire to serve God and point others to Him. The recognition and reward that we seek is one that comes from God, and that is greater than any reward this world has to offer.

Why do you think our hearts are so important to God?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

Feb 25, 2015

HOST: Michael Whitworth

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Some people are easy to love—family, friends, those who are kind to us and who we have much in common with. We care about those people. We treat them with kindness and compassion. But what about the others—the ones that we don’t know, the ones that think, believe, or live differently than we do, or even the ones that treat us badly or disrespectfully? How are we to feel toward them? How are we to treat them? While the world might tell us that we have no obligation to treat anyone in a better way than they treat us, Jesus teaches us the opposite. What a challenge it is at times to open our hearts to those whose hearts are closed to us. But when we do—when we love those who hate us, when we are kind to those who are unkind to us, when we bless those who curse us—we become a little more like our Father in heaven, and a little closer to becoming what He desires us to be. May God help us to treat others as He would have us to.

Why is it important that we treat people with kindness and love?

Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!

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