A Natural Byproduct

MARCH 3

MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…

Jesus knows to live outside of Biblical principles brings heartbreaking consequences. He wants to protect you, not punish you. The punishment comes on its own – a natural byproduct when you make your own decisions of right and wrong. 

Jesus knows the world is too hard, too difficult, too deceiving for you to take on by yourself – so He gives you commandments to live by. These commandments are taught in the Old Testament by God’s chosen leaders and in the New Testament by Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knows even the least commandment is for your good. 

Jesus sees every tear you shed, hears every sigh of your heart, and knows every pain disappointments bring. He tries to save you as much pain as possible.

Suffering comes with life – period.  God’s commandments are a true safety to keep you from experiencing suffering unnecessarily. 

It is enough to bear the pain of having broken God’s commandment, but far worse is the guilt of having led others astray with you. 

PRAYER

Holy Lord, I don’t want to make my own suffering by breaking even Your least commandment. Let Your Word teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows all my pain—He wants to help me!

Everyone Has It!

MARCH 2

MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…

Jesus teaches something worse than to break even the least commandment – teach others to do the same. You can directly teach someone, or you can teach by influence. The power of influence is tremendous – and everyone has it!

You can’t keep commandments and make wise decisions in your own strength. When it comes to sin there is a one-size-fits-all consequence – eternal separation from God. Romans 3:23 (KJV) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” James 2:10 (KJV) “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” God’s compassion and forgiveness make a way to fix that. You need Jesus!

A hypocrite is a professing Christian who lives contrary (including influence) to the principles and teachings of the Bible. In other words, to be a Christian who is void of salt and light. The hypocrite will not cause anyone to thirst for truth – salt contaminated by the lures of the world and lost savor. No weary traveler will find the path to freedom through the darkness of a hypocrite.

You may not believe you are accountable for your influence. If someone makes a poor decision because of your influence, it is no different from your direct teaching. Everyone is responsible for their decisions – they can’t blame anyone else. But you are accountable for your contributing influence. And this is Jesus who says there will be a consequence.

Your call to be salt and light includes your influence. Contribute a salty-lit-up influence!

To really know Jesus is to know He is not about judgment and punishment. Jesus is the very embodiment of love, mercy, and grace. But it is also Jesus who warns there are consequences in life. This is why He draws attention to the importance of living in accordance with the commandments.

Just as the laws of the land, God’s laws are for your safety and protection. 

PRAYER

Precious Jesus, I want my life to be salt and light to those thirsty and in darkness. I want this to be true in whatever You call me to do in life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is mercy and grace—I want to live like that!

Nothing is Hid from God

MARCH 1

MATTHEW 5:19_of these least commandments…

To break the laws of the land carry different sentences. You expect to receive harsher punishment for murder than for misrepresenting your taxes. Both break a law and carry a punishment, but the severity of the crime equals the severity of the punishment. It is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

In this teaching, Jesus refers to breaking one of the least commandments. He leaves no room for a commandment to be too small to escape consequence. So if you think God won’t notice the bubble gum you slipped in your pocket and left the store without paying for it, think again. Remember this teaching is part of Jesus’ verlies – perk up, listen, pay attention! The store may never notice it, but nothing is hid from God.

The Creator calls you to take notice that God’s words matter. Life is serious business. Every thought you think, every word you speak, and every action you take is seen, heard, and known by the God of Heaven. They are also seen and heard by people all around you. They leave some kind of influence.

I Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV), “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” According to the Bible don’t even appear to be outside of God’s commands – whether you actually break them or not.  

PRAYER

Holy and Almighty God, I don’t want to break Your commandments, neither do I want to appear as though I have. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                        

Christ teaches God’s truths—I want to keep them!

Give God a Chance

FEBRUARY 29

MATTHEW 5:19_shall break one…

Another way to break the law is ignorance. It may not be that you disagreed, but simply didn’t know it was a law. Again, you can ask any type of law enforcement officer and I’m afraid you’ll be told ignorance is not an excuse. It is your responsibility to be aware of the laws which govern.

The same consequences apply to the spiritual laws of life. It is your responsibility to know God’s laws and commandments and to abide by them. If you don’t have a Bible – get one. If you have no funds to purchase one, I assure you there are churches galore that would be overjoyed to give you one. Ask.  

Psalm 19:1-4 (KJV), “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world …”

These verses say no one has an excuse for not knowing there is a glorious, creating God. The world of nature speaks His existence. If you know there is a God and your heart seeks to love Him, He will make a way.

God’s compassion and forgiveness are great. The more you come to know the truth, the more you understand you are accountable for your actions. And the more power you receive to live in accordance with the commands of Christ.

Give God a chance, even if you live somewhere in the world that does not worship the Creator God.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I want to know Your laws and commandments, and live my life in accordance with them. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ makes a way—He will bring me to it!

Degree of Understanding

FEBRUARY 28

MATTHEW 5:19_shall break one…

Jesus takes another step. He makes it clear laws can be broken. Once again, it is not dependent upon your belief system as to whether laws can be broken or not. Neither are the laws which govern your physical existence dependent upon your belief.

Ask your local state patrol what will happen when you violate the traffic laws which you think shouldn’t be laws. They will be glad to tell you. They are glad to tell you because they want you to be safe. They don’t want to send out the body bags to pick up your pieces because you saw no value in the law and violated it. 

There’s the big difference – the degree of understanding. Law officers are both trained in the laws and experienced firsthand in their results – when laws are kept or when laws are violated. The law officers’ greater understanding of the law comes from their role in life. A life-role to which they are dedicated.

Officers enforce the law, not just as a job, but to protect you. Not only you, but everyone traveling the same road at the same time – as you.

****YOU WILL SHORTLY RECEIVE THE LEAP YEAR DEVOTIONAL TODAY****

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I know Your creation principles of life are for my good. Please give me a clear understanding of how to cooperate with them. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s creation principles protect me—Thank You, Jesus!