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Matthew

Kid McCoy was a notorious boxer who became the world champion in his weight division. He was known for the unusual tactics he applied to defeat his opponents. Not known for being fair, he was nevertheless, sought after as a boxing instructor who was effective in teaching people to fight.
On one occasion a man went to him and asked, “Would you teach me to fight?”
“All right,” said McCoy. “Put up your fists. Say, who’s that coming through the door?”
When the man turned his head, McCoy knocked him down. As the man got up, the Kid said, “That’s the first lesson. Learn to concentrate and keep your eyes on the man in the ring.”
One day Jesus was walking on the water. His disciple, Peter saw Him and asked if he could join Him. Jesus answered, “All right. Come.” And he did.
And we all know the rest of the story. Things went well until the huge waves frightened him and Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink.
We will never walk on water but we will walk through the storms of life. When we do, we must stay focused on Jesus or we too will sink in despair.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes focused on You at all times, knowing that Your power to rescue us is greater than any storm we will face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 14:22-36 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.”
The James family gathered together for a quiet time and discussion. Albert climbed into his father’s lap and hugged him with all his might. Teasingly, he asked, “Well, son, what do you want now?”
“Nothing now,” he answered. “All I want is you!”
How unfortunate for us that we rarely go to our Heavenly Father unless we want something. It seems that when we approach Him it is for something that contributes to our well-being, our health, family problems, issues at work, our financial needs or a friend. Too often we are more interested in the gifts that the Giver has to give us than the Giver.
We ask rather than adore and we prey rather than praise and we want rather than worship.
It is true that our Lord has invited us to ask if we want to receive and to come to Him for anything and everything – no matter when or what. For most of us it is a long standing habit that might be hard to break.
Perhaps it would change the nature of our relationship with God if, on occasion, we simply said to Him in a prayer of gratitude, “All I want is You!”
Prayer: Lord, we truly love You! Forgive us for hearts and minds that only focus on our wants and needs. Help us to also express our love and praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

A man who was grossly overweight made an appointment with a psychiatrist. He wanted to know why he could not control his eating.
“Why,” he asked, “am I so fat?”
Pausing to think for a moment, the psychiatrist responded, “Because your life is focused on food. When you go to a baseball game, you indulge in hotdogs and beer. When you watch TV, it means snacks like candy, chips and other snacks. When...”
Before he gave another example the patient interrupted and said, “You’re right. Now tell me, what type of food do you serve during your sessions?”
Whatever is uppermost in our minds is what we live for and eventually die for. Jesus, wanting us to be sure our priorities are the ones that lead us to living God-pleasing lives said, “Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness for they will be satisfied.”
Whenever we surrender to anything in our life that is self-destructive or self-defeating, it is a sure sign that He does not have His proper place of honor in our lives. Peace and healing, happiness and satisfaction only come from the Lord
Prayer: Lord, as we look at our lives, may we realize that if things are out of control, we need to search our hearts for Your solution. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Ten-year-old Charles was undergoing chemotherapy following surgery for brain cancer. When his hair began to fall out in large clumps, he decided to shave his head. His friends at school noticed this and in a way to support and encourage him, they also shaved their heads.
Once when Jesus was teaching His disciples the difference between self-centeredness and greatness, He used a child to get His point across. He knew that they had been arguing among themselves as to who would be the greatest in His Kingdom. He knew that they were confusing His earthly and heavenly kingdoms. To help them understand the importance of humility and sincerity He said, “unless you turn from your sins and become like little children you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” His disciples had become so preoccupied with the idea of an earthly kingdom that they lost sight of His divine purpose. It was time for a lesson.
Children have wonderful characteristics. They are loving and loyal, they forgive and forget, they try and trust, they sympathize and share, they accept and respect others. No wonder Jesus used a child as an example. What is it that keeps us from becoming childlike?
Prayer: Lord, give us a faith that is as humble and trusting as a child's and let us be as willing as they are to reach out to others in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 18:1-3 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,  and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
A famous entrepreneur was once asked, “What's the secret of your success?”
After a moment’s thought he replied, “And then some.”
Curious, the interviewer asked, “What does that mean?”
He replied, “I discovered at an early age that the extraordinary people did what was expected of them – and then some.”
Christians must do more than believe – they must behave. True, deep down belief in our heart will lead us to live and love as Jesus did.
Christians must do more than care, they must share. If we know of someone who is without and needs something we can provide we must share.
Christians must do more than forgive, they must accept. If someone has wronged us, we must reach out to them in love and let them know by words and deeds that we hold nothing against them.
Christians must do more than promise, they must perform. When we give our word, we must honor our word. If we “say it,” we must “do it” if we possibly can. And when we can't, we must admit we made a promise we can't keep – no matter the reason.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to practice what we preach, to walk our talk, to do it if we say it, to go the second mile and to behave what we say we believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 5:41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington was leading his army toward Boston. At that time it was under the control of the British. He was well aware of the fact that he could not recapture and gain control of the city without destroying most of the houses and shops. Facing this difficult, if not impossible, decision to make on his own, he asked Congress for their advice.
After his letter was read aloud to the members of congress, there was a long silence as the decision was being considered. Finally, John Hancock said, “Nearly all of the property I have in the world is in Boston. But if the liberties of our country require their being burned to ashes, give the command immediately.” He recognized the difference between worldly possessions and what Washington was fighting for.
As Christians we have dual citizenships. Our citizenship in our nation requires that we submit to its rules and regulations, pay taxes and show respect to our leaders. Our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven requires that we pledge to God our obedience and commitment. Jesus made this clear when He was questioned about the issue of paying taxes to Caesar. He said “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
There is a distinction between the two citizenships. Jesus made this distinction obvious: He stated that loyalty to God does not necessarily mean that we are to be disloyal to our governing authorities. But He made it abundantly clear that if a choice has to be made, the Kingdom of Heaven has priority.
As Christians, our obedience and commitment, first and foremost, is to God. What we treasure reveals our priorities.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to commit ourselves to seek Your Kingdom more than anything else in life and to be willing to make any sacrifice to put You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 22:15-22 Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
A young man had just completed college and was having a difficult time adjusting to his new job. In his frustration he decided to speak with his pastor about the problem.
After a few moments of polite conversation he said, “I'm having a difficult time at work. My problem is learning to allow myself to be in second place.”
“No,” said his pastor, “the real problem is learning Who to put into first place.”
Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
To “seek the kingdom of God above all else” means to put God first in our lives. To do this we must fill our minds with His Word, our hearts with His love and commit our entire being to doing His will and serving Him. It is all too easy in life to allow our priorities – our hobbies, our work, our friends – even our families – to slip into first place.
We have all heard the phrase that “life is choice.” And it is. Unfortunately, we often do not consider the consequences of our choices and allow God's Kingdom to be dethroned by the things of this world.
Prayer: Our Father, help us to make every effort to not only seek Your Kingdom but to place it above everything else in our lives no matter what it costs us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

R. T. Williams was surprised to realize that he was on an elevator with Lee Iacocca who was then the Chairman of Chrysler Corporation. In his excitement over the chance encounter he blurted out, “Mr. Iacocca, I really enjoy your commercials!”
“Sir,” replied Iacocca, “I couldn't care less what you think of my commercials. What I want to know is what kind of car do you drive?”
Iacocca was very aware of the fact that the commercials had no value unless people purchased and drove Chrysler cars. In like manner we need to ask ourselves a similar question. What value are the things we do for our Lord if they do not bring people to Christ as Savior and Lord?
Recall the story of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew. John tells us that they knew about Jesus since He had talked with them previously. When Jesus called them, they knew what kind of a man He was and were willing to give up everything that they had to follow Him.
Here's a question we must answer: Would the people who know us be willing to accept Christ as their Savior because of the difference He has made in our lives? Do they believe our faith matters?
Prayer: Lord, we are living examples of what it means to be Your followers. May our lives be so attractive that they will draw others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 4:18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
There is a church in South America that is built on a plateau 10,000 feet above sea level. It is called The Church of the Penitents. From its perch above the city it can be seen for miles. One of the most interesting facts about the church is how is came to be built.
For years, each member of the church would carry two bricks to the church site for each sin they committed during the day. It continued until they had enough bricks to build the church.
One day a visitor, fascinated with the story, decided to count every brick. When he completed counting the bricks he sat down and said, “I cannot believe the number of sins this church represents.”
Is that not one of the reasons for the church? A place where individuals can bring their sins and ask God for forgiveness? The church exists to evangelize sinners not entertain saints. It is to gather for prayer not meet for parties.
Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
If you have never responded to His call, won’t you do so today?
Prayer: Father, we thank You for the church that You established as a place for sinners to come and find Your salvation. Come into our hearts: in Your Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 9:13 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.”
A stranger walked into our recording studio and was impressed with all of the equipment that we use. In fact, he had difficulty in believing that it took so much “stuff” to produce a one minute program. Turning to me he asked, “Where did you get the loot to buy all this?”
“From God,” I answered. “We ask Him for what we need and He always provides it to us when we need it!”
We walked to my office and paused in front of our “prayer board” which contained pictures of the items we were praying for. Looking at a folding machine he asked, “Think you’ll get it?” I replied, “I know we will. God answers prayer!”
With an unbelieving smile he sat down across from me. The phone rang and a voice said, “I just heard your broadcast and it blessed my heart. I want to do something for you. What do you need?”
“A folding machine,” I answered. “Order it,” he said, “I’m sending the check right now.”
“Wow! I’ve just seen a live answer to prayer!”
Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Prayer: Lord, we believe in Your power to answer our prayers. May we learn to pray with faith, believing that you will hear and answer our prayers: in Your Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
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