True Love Cannot Be Forced

JANUARY 18

MATTHEW 5:6_Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…

If we were all created in the image of a righteous God, why is the world so wicked? The answer lies in creation itself. We were all created with a free will. We make our own choices. We are not puppets on a string that can only do their master’s bidding. 

It took a lot of love on God’s part to allow the thing He created to reject Him. But God understood without freedom there can never be love. True love cannot be forced. True love comes freely from the heart. You can never truly love someone if you have no choice in the matter. By the same token, you can never be truly loved by one who is forced to love you. 

Although you were born with the desire to give and receive love, you were also born with the freedom to choose or reject it. That works with people as well as with God. You may not choose to love God, but from the day of your birth He chose to love you (and even before). 

Does the same apply to righteousness? You were born in the image of a righteous God. Do you have the freedom to reject righteousness?   

PRAYER

Righteous God, Thank You for giving me a free will. Help me use it to live in Your image, choosing Your righteousness. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ chose to love me—He can help me love Him!

You Cannot Escape Creation

JANUARY 17

MATTHEW 5:6_Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…

I love this one! Look at what it says. Don’t you want to be righteous in the depths of your heart? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to bed every night and know you’d been righteous that day? Don’t you long for that? Would you even say you hunger and thirst for it? 

If you could choose between playing your favorite game or helping a desperate friend, which would you choose? I trust you would choose the latter. Why? Because no matter how sophisticated, or prominent, or brilliant you may become, you cannot escape creation. 

You were created to know and be in a relationship with your creator – the God in whose image you are made. He is a part of who you are, and He is righteous. Because He is a part of you, the Holy Spirit places in your heart a desire to serve, care for, and have compassion on the people in your life.

I know what you are thinking – there are way too many people who have no desire for righteousness or to be like their creator. Agreed.

Stay with these devotions. All the bases will be covered.

PRAYER

Almighty God, If I have no hunger or thirst for righteousness, please place it in my heart. “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness (Psalm 143:10 KJV). In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ is righteousness—He can give it to me!

Live Your Life for Good

JANUARY 16

MATTHEW 5:5_for they shall inherit the earth.

Let’s talk about power. There is the power which slaps a face or throws a punch when it feels offended. There is the power endued with the kind of creativity to design and carry out a perfect plan of revenge and pay back. There is the power which stimulates sexual desires through dress or touch. If all of this power was kept under the control of love it would neither slap, pay back, or stimulate. It would be meekness.

What’s the point of all this? Why would you even care? You wouldn’t, except for one reason – because a new heart causes you to love others more than yourself. You would rather suffer than to cause suffering. Jesus set the example with His compassion for people. He understood the only way to overpower sin was with the power of love. He endured suffering so you could live in freedom. 

The reward of meekness is to inherit the earth – that’s some kind of big inheritance! The earth is filled with people. The earth is in great need of meek people.

You have only one opportunity to live this life – live it for the good of all the people who are a part of your existence.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I pray You teach me meekness and compassion controlled by love. I trust You to give me opportunities to do good – and the courage to take the opportunities. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.     

Christ owns the earth—He shares it with me to do good!             

Keep It Under Control!

JANUARY 15

MATTHEW 5:5_Blessed are the meek…

What exactly is meekness? Think of it as a second cousin to humble. The Lord Jesus Christ was also the humblest person who ever walked the earth. What quality do I believe to be the first cousin of meekness? Self-control. 

Jesus is the Creator God who spoke the world into existence. John 1:3 (KJV), “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” I don’t think I could call that anything but power – awesome, incredible power! 

There is only one way the all-powerful God of Heaven and Earth would allow Himself to be subjected to insults, ridicules, beatings, and execution from mere humans. Meekness! All of Jesus’ power was kept under control by a force even greater than meekness – love! 

My definition of meekness is power controlled by love. This is also an ideal description of Jesus. You may be a power-person on some sports team, or academic team, or arts team, but if you don’t learn how to keep that power under the control of love you can turn into a tyrant. Be meek!

PRAYER

Creator Jesus, Thank You that You did not use Your power to destroy, but to love with compassion. Let me keep whatever power I have under the control of love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is full of power—He uses it to love me!

Now That’s Some Meekness!

JANUARY 14

MATTHEW 5:5_Blessed are the meek…

Meek. It’s just not a word used much these days. Perhaps that’s why it is so misinterpreted.  Merriam-Webster’s definition of meek is mild or humble. For whatever reason, we tend to think of mild and humble as weak and puny. We think of a meek person as one who lacks courage. A person who is timid or shy. A person who runs away from any kind of controversy. We think of a meek person as one who succumbs to fear. Au contraire mes amis!! (Look up your French).

The Lord Jesus Christ was the meekest person who ever walked the earth, second was Moses (Numbers 12:3 KJV). He was neither timid nor shy. Jesus faced multitudes daily. They swarmed Him like the paparazzi! We can be sure He wanted some me-time, but Jesus was not about me. Jesus was about setting people free, regardless of the cost to personal life.

Mark 6:34 (KJV), “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

Now that’s some meekness – at its best! 

PRAYER

Precious Jesus, I praise Your meekness. Please teach me meekness. I desire to love others more than myself. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                     

Christ is meekness—He will teach me to be!