All the Hard Labor That Goes With It

OCTOBER 25

MATTHEW 7:13_and many there be which go in thereat.

There are reasons many enter at the wide gate. It is tempting, accessible, and allows for baggage. It’s easy—all you have to do is follow the crowd, which requires neither intelligence (no decisions to make), nor courage (won’t be standing alone). 

It takes little strength to do what’s wrong. It requires no thought process—just follow your natural instincts. There is no submission to rules or regulations, do what you want to do. Simply do what pleases you, and what pleases the people with you. There is no accountability for your actions. Personal responsibility will not be following you around. In short: No rules, No standards, No boundaries. Sounds exactly like the Land of Cocagne in the story of Pinocchio. 

Pinocchio made the decision to become responsible and obedient. There was a reward for that—he would become a real boy. But when his friend, Candlewick, described the carefree land of excessive pleasures, the temptation was too strong (for a heart without Jesus). Rather than becoming a real boy, he became a real donkey—and all the hard labor that goes with it.

In The Merchant of Venice, 1600, Shakespeare said it like this, “All that glitters is not gold.”

Very seldom is the easy way the best way.

PRAYER

Merciful Jesus, Help me follow Your way—not the easy way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.        

Christ wants me to be bold and courageous—I will be!

Its Own Package of Pain

OCTOBER 12

MATTHEW 7:10_Or if he ask…

Hebrews 12:7 (KJV), “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

When God disciplines you He considers you His child. He makes something else very plain—the child who is loved will be disciplined. When you’re old enough to be in authority and you love people, you will help them be accountable for their actions. Why? Because you are old enough to know the boomerang effect of lack of personal responsibility. You know it from your personal life, and you know it from other peoples’ mistakes. You also know by this time that life brings its own package of pain. There is no need in crowding your life with self-created pain. 

The apostle John repeats this concept in the final book of the Bible, Revelation 3:19 (KJV), “As many as I [Jesus] love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” 

In God’s plan for life, parents and children are to be bound together in love. Discipline and love go together. Parents and children go together. The four of them together are God’s perfect plan.

Colossians 3:14 (KJV), “And above all these things put on charity [perfect love], which is the bond of perfectness.”

PRAYER

Lord of Love, Please bind my family together in love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ wants love to hold families together—I do too!

Pray for Them!

SEPTEMBER 20

MATTHEW 7:5_Thou hypocrite…

Here’s the question: Did Jesus condone adultery by saving the woman? Did He let her get by (meaning no judgment or accountability) with adultery?

Getting by with something is not really what Jesus is about. Surely by now you know what Jesus is about – freedom! To get by with something will not free you from repeating it. 

If you are truly allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path to freedom and you stumble, don’t be discouraged – you will be freed. Proverbs 24:16 (KJV), “‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief [Hebrew translation is: evil].”

The difference in the one who rises back up and the one who falls deeper into evil is that heart condition. The ability to see all sin is against God and the desire to be changed by His grace. There is a word for this condition – repent. To sincerely and deeply grieve over your path and strongly desire to change directions.   

The Bible teaches to pray for those in authority – all forms of authority. There is a need for authorities to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be receptive to the Spirit’s leading.

You want your authorities to have wise judgment concerning you.

Pray for them!     

I haven’t answered those first two questions yet – stay with me!

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Fill all those in my authority with Your Holy Spirit. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ knows my heart condition—He will reveal it!

Trust Comes with Accountability

SEPTEMBER 11

MATTHEW 7:3_And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

In Jesus’ Matthew chapter 18 (KJV) parable, the wicked servant was more consumed with the penny owed him than the billion plus he owed.

There is more here than money, there’s mercy.  Oh, that we were consumed with mercy!

A debtor is expected to pay a legal debt. Trust comes with accountability. God who searches and knows all hearts, has the privilege to have mercy – even to the legitimately guilty.

Read again verses “26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.”    

The wicked servant could only see the wrong which was done to him. He could not see the mercy he had freely received. “29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.”

He could not see mercy because … where his treasure was there was his heart also.

PRAYER

King of All Kings, Let me see my beam more than my brother’s mote. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                   

Christ sees my beams—He will help me see them!

A Fly in the Ointment

  JUNE 15

MATTHEW 6:12_as we forgive our debtors.

When God pays your sin debt, the kicks you used to experience in sin begin to disappear. If they don’t, then in the words of the great Miss Clavel, “Something is not right!” (Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans). You sin because it supplies some kind of satisfaction. It may be physical, emotional, or financial. When it no longer produces satisfaction (which is the nature of sin), you sink deeper and deeper into sin. The deeper, the harder to come out.  

When redeemed by the Savior, sin begins to lose its hold. There is no joy in sin for the saved. Just when things look good for the debtor, Jesus adds another piece to the pattern.

He lets a fly in the ointment!

Jesus’ prayer causes vertical forgiveness (from God to you) to be based on horizontal forgiveness (from you to your offenders). That means to ask God to forgive you in the way you forgive those who wrong you.

I declare! Jesus just won’t let you get by with anything. It takes a lot of love to hold people you love to accountability.

If you confess, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness, why should that have anything to do with those who wronged you? They need to do their own confessing.

This is more of those natural instincts of your hard heart.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is your offenders and their confession is between them and God. You forgiving them is between you and God.

A clear sign you have been redeemed is you want to forgive. Old sins lose their grip and hard hearts soften!       

PRAYER

Great Redeemer, Thank You for not only saving me, but changing me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                               

Christ redeems me—He changes me!