On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!

JANUARY 3

MATTHEW 5:1_he went up into a mountain: and when he was set…

Have you ever heard, “On your mark, get set, go?” In this verse Jesus reaches His mark, which is up on a mountain. You must reach your mark before you can begin the race, and you must have prepared yourself before you reach the mark. Once the mark is reached you get set—ready to begin the work.

Baptism was a part of Jesus’ preparation for His mark. Another was testing and endurance. Jesus endured a wilderness experience away from home, family, and friends. He suffered.

He suffered physically because He chose to fast during this time—to deny the body in order to strengthen the spirit.

He suffered temptation of the flesh to break the fast—in order to satisfy the physical over the spiritual.

He suffered a power struggle—to test God’s Word rather than believe it. He suffered the struggle of fame—to seek the praise of men over the praise of God.

You will face tests and sufferings throughout life. Suffering can break you or make you. The making or breaking is a decision, and the decision is yours.

PRAYER

Holy Great God, Help me endure my struggles in life. Let Your Word teach me wisdom that I may reach the mark and be set for Your go. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                     

Christ suffered—He will help me be strong in suffering!

You Must Act

DECEMBER 7

MATTHEW 7:24_and doeth them…

Jesus’ masonry skills move to the next step – doing. Doing requires action. Get up and do something!  Do what? Obedience to Jesus’ teachings you have studied the past year!

You can heed every teaching of this sermon, but until you act upon those teachings—they are powerless. This requires dedication. Doing trusts God to help when you can’t help yourself. Doing requires time in prayer, asking, seeking, and knocking on how to live Jesus’ teachings—not just read them. 

If you make rules but never enforce them, they cannot achieve their purpose. If you mix together all the ingredients for a cake but never bake it … okay, I confess I love batter … but it’s not a cake until it is baked.

Knowing and believing are only part of the process. You must act. You may believe there are rewards for attitudes of humility, meekness, mercy, purity, and peacemaking, but believing is not doing. You can believe anger is as deadly as murder, but until you curb the anger it still controls.

You can believe in sexual purity, inside and outside of marriage, but if you are not living purity, your belief is powerless.

Remember, to have power—connect to the Source!  

PRAYER

God of Power, Please give me the power to live what I believe. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ wants me to act on His teaching—He helps me!

Physical Circumstances

DECEMBER 2

MATTHEW 7:23_And then…

The day Jesus refers to is the Judgment Day. A day we all face—regardless of whether we believe in it or not. Hebrews 9:27 (KJV), “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  

Everyone is accountable for their lives. Christians are accountable for their salt and light (or lack of it). Unbelievers are held accountable for rejecting Jesus and His sacrifice for them.

As we’ve often said—life is serious business. It is all about choices. Choices are the great equalizer. The great leveler. Everyone lands on the same playing field because everyone has the same basic choices in life. These are spiritual choices. They are not physical circumstances into which we were born—circumstances over which we had no control. When we make the right spiritual choices they supersede our physical circumstances. Spiritual empowerment is stronger than physical empowerment.

I Corinthians 1:27-28 (KJV), “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen …” 

PRAYER

Judge of All, Praise You that my weaknesses make me strong—for You! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ changes my weakness with His strength—Yes!

Can They Persuade Jesus?

NOVEMBER 28

MATTHEW 7:22_have we not prophesied in Thy name…

Jesus refers to people who profess to be Christian. These people believe they have the right to call upon the Lord when He sits on the judgment throne. Do they  believe they are clever enough to persuade Jesus to accept them on their terms, not His?

II Thessalonians 2:10-11 (KJV), “And for this cause God shall send them [the unrighteous] strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Good grief! This is more of that stuff I’d just as soon the Bible would leave out! Because the unrighteous will not believe the truth, then it is only natural that they enjoy being unrighteous. God does not stand in the way of them believing lies. Perhaps one of the lies they believe is their good works will allow them to enter the kingdom of heaven.

These people did not get into this kind of shape because God did not care enough to pursue them: II Peter 3:9 (KJV), “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 

Unfortunately, not everyone will repent.

Some of the unrepentant may go around prophesying in God’s name.                   

PRAYER

Everlasting Father, I do not want to find joy in unrighteousness, but in You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                    

Christ knows all the hearts that repent—He sees mine!

The Bottom Line

AUGUST 5

MATTHEW 6:27_can add one cubit unto his statue?

Does worry do any good at all? If so, what kind of good? Does it change anything? If you need money and worry about it night and day, will that bring you money?  If you’ve lost your job and worry so much you can’t sleep, will that get you a job?

Why do you worry? Does it make you feel better?  You may think so temporarily, but the truth is it makes you sick. Or maybe you feel obligated to worry. After all, you need to do something about the problem, but it is out of your hands – so you worry.

Worry requires a lot of energy. The bottom line according to Jesus is worry won’t change a single thing. It is not simple to turn off worry. Everyone struggles with worry. It is certainly something to learn to lay at the feet of Jesus.   

Use your energy to praise the mighty God of the Impossible! Don’t be timid to say out loud, “God will help me!” When you’re in that prayer closet talk out loud. Let God know you believe! Show some faith! Ask God to release you from fear of the unknown. Ask Him to give you faith in His power.

If you get to the place you replace worry with praise – you are free of one less bondage.

PRAYER

God of My Faith, Please replace my worry with Your praise. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants my praise—I will give it to Him!