There Has To Be A Standard

SEPTEMBER 19

MATTHEW 7:4_and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Generally, you think you’re always right. When caught in the wrong you cry, “Foul!” or, “Stop judging me!” What’s in your heart? “It’s only wrong in your eyes. As long as I feel it’s right for me, then it’s right! Don’t judge me!” 

There has to be a standard for right and wrong, otherwise life is total chaos. If you find God’s standards to be judgmental, the devil agrees—“Those standards really don’t apply to you. After all, Jesus didn’t judge the woman caught in adultery. He let her get by, why shouldn’t you?

John 8 (KJV): “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, ‘Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?’ This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him … He [Jesus] … said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her’ … 10 When Jesus … saw none but the woman, he said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?’ 11 She said, ‘No man, Lord.’  And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’”

Don’t miss tomorrow!

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Help me build my life on Your standards. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

 Christ sets standards for life—He helps me follow them!

A Big Stick

SEPTEMBER 18

MATTHEW 7:4_and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

According to Zechariah 2:8 (KJV), God considers Israel as the apple of His eye, “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me [an angel] unto the nations which spoiled you [Israel]: for he that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple of his [God’s] eye.”

Paul saw Israel and the Jews as the apple of God’s eye. He saw Christians as a blot in God’s eye. He could not see the true blot – his own sect, the Pharisees.

God saw the fervor with which Paul attacked Christians. And because God sees the heart, it was clear Paul’s fervor came from love and devotion to God. It was that love and devotion which caused God to choose Paul (not the other way around) to become a two-fold fixer for His beloved Israel.

God used Paul’s great zeal to publically proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. This cleared away the beam from the eyes of any Pharisees with a true heart for God. God also used Paul’s zeal to bring salvation to the Gentiles – the Messiah died for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Because Paul was so far off the path, God used a big stick (discipline) to straighten him out.

Then God used Paul in an amazing way.    

PRAYER

Holy God, Please use my zeal to share Your truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ chooses to use me in the world—I will let Him!

The Point Is …

SEPTEMBER 17

MATTHEW 7:4_and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Let’s begin to dig to the core of this whole judgment thing.

In the apostle Paul’s view, he was doing God’s work when he persecuted and condemned Christians. He considered Jesus and His teachings to be far too radical for the Jewish religion. After all, they had the laws God gave Moses. To turn some of the laws upside down as Jesus did had to be from the devil.

Jesus proclaiming He and the Father as one was blasphemy – to Paul. Merriam-Webster defines blasphemy as, the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God. Paul, a Pharisee, believed Jesus-followers should be annihilated.

The point is – Paul, especially as a Pharisee, should have recognized who Jesus was. It is understandable that Paul could have seen Jesus’ radical teachings as destructive to the Law – thus the mote. But it was Paul’s own beam which blinded him to belief in the physical presence of the Messiah. 

Paul was a fixer. Taking out Jesus-followers was his way to fix. Paul was also a disciplinarian, and his form of discipline on Jesus-followers was both brutal and deadly.

But God saw something in Paul which people did not see …    

PRAYER

Messiah, Please don’t let my beams blind me to truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ wants me to have 20/20 vision—In the truth!

Tough Love

SEPTEMBER 16

MATTHEW 7:4_Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye…

There are times when disciplinary action is the best solution. Hebrews 12:6 (KJV), “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”  

Notice, God equates punishment with love.  Why? Because if I see you heading over a cliff I’ll run and knock you down if I have to – in order to save your life. It would not matter if I had warned you many times a cliff was ahead. It would not matter if there were warning signs posted along the way. If you have a problem with rebellion, you are blind – not physically, but spiritually.

Proverbs 3:12 (KJV) follows the same love theme, “For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” This is what is known as tough love.

Love is motivated by what is best for the other person, regardless of what it may cost me. The Lord always administers discipline with love, but it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m sure the apostle Paul being blinded, half out of his mind, and unable to eat for three days, felt far from loved. He did not know if he would ever see again.

I’m sure he felt judged.   

PRAYER

Holy Redeemer, Help me know Your discipline comes from love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ loves enough to discipline—He loves me!

Fixers

SEPTEMBER 15

MATTHEW 7:4_Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye…

We all lean toward being fixers. At times, that comes from a pure heart. We really just want to stop the pain of someone we love. It is much easier to bear our own hurt than to see someone we love hurting. If we can find any way at all, we’re going to put a stop to that pain.

When motivated by genuine love we’ll give our money, our possessions, our time, and our whole heart, because we love someone else more than ourselves. In general, that is not a bad thing.

There are ways in which being a fixer can cause more harm than good. God has a pure heart. He never wants to see His loved ones hurting. He wants us free from hurt, but also free from causing hurt.

Trials and suffering are a part of the path we must follow as disciples. When we see our loved ones going through a God-ordained trial (suffering for righteousness sake), or a self-ordained trial (making poor decisions) we may want to ease their pain. It is best to comfort those we love through their trials. If we interfere and fix the problem, they may never develop the character needed to fully achieve God’s purpose for their life.

God can use either type of trial, His ordained trial or our self-made trial, for our good.

His is much easier!

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Help me know when to fix a problem, and when to wait. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                   

Christ can use all kinds of problems—for my good!