Plug the Loopholes

APRIL 11

MATTHEW 5:34_But I say unto you swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne.

Psalm 15 lists several creation principles everyone should live by – especially salty-lit-up disciples. The last part of verse 4 (KJV) says, “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” If you make a promise and in the long run it turns out to be something bigger than you thought, or cost more money that you expected – keep your promise. Psalm 15 says even if it hurts, keep your word.

In His New Covenant teaching Jesus transforms the old law about swearing – don’t swear at all! A practice in the Hebrew culture in that day was to swear by something. The more important the something was, the more emphasis on the oath. Jesus targets that system.

Perhaps the thought was you could get by without keeping your word if you didn’t swear by God’s name. If you swore by God you had to keep your word. As usual, Jesus looks beyond man’s plans on how to get by without keeping His creation principles. Jesus sees a loophole. He plans to plug it!

If you made a promise by heaven but did not mention God’s name Jesus says, heaven is God’s throne. The two are inseparable.

This sounds a lot like the murder and the anger, and the looking and the lust. 

PRAYER

True God, I don’t want to look for loopholes in Your teachings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ plugs loopholes—I need Him to plug mine!

Tell The Truth!

APRIL 10

MATTHEW 5:33_Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.

To forswear is to lie under oath. If you are in a court room and lie on the witness stand, it is called perjury. You can go to jail for perjury. When you are in the witness chair, tell the truth. For that matter, always tell the truth!

If you swear to your parents that something you tell them is true, but it is really a lie, you’re accountable for that. You don’t have to be in court nor even have witnesses around to be held responsible for lying. 

To swear is to make a promise – a guarantee to what you say. One of the worst decisions in life is to make a promise to God, and not keep it. If you promise God something keep it. Be very careful what you promise – think before you open your mouth. Until you become an adult it is best to discuss with your parents any promise you intend to make . If you do not live with parents, find a Godly adult to help you make wise promises.

Life used to operate on a man’s word was his bond. That meant if you promised to do something you would do it, no matter what. No legal documents were necessary when your word was your bond. You gained a reputation for being an honest person.

Your reputation always goes before you and follows after you!

PRAYER

God of Truth, I want anyone who has dealings with me to find me to be a person of my word. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ keeps His Word—I want to keep my word and His Word too!

The Perfect Plan

APRIL 9

MATTHEW 5:32_and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Is Jesus too harsh on divorce? He brings adultery into the picture after the divorce! Why?

In Mark 10:5-8, Jesus went back to the beginning – to creation itself – to the original marriage – to God’s perfect plan. The Garden of Eden was perfection and everlasting life. Adam and Eve blew the whole plan by their disobedience to God, all life reaped the consequence – sin. Life will continue to reap sin consequences until an end comes, and all things are made new.

God’s perfect plan for marriage is one man and one woman for life. Their union causes them to become one. Perhaps Jesus adds adultery to re-marriage because no piece of paper (divorce contract) can sever God’s design of the physical union. The divorce contract can sever the legality of the marriage, but it cannot sever the oneness of flesh. This is why sexual sins are so devastating.

Why is purity marriage insurance? Foremost, it is God’s plan. His plan builds love by denying the flesh and bonding spirits – two people for each other. It builds respect for each other. It builds loyalty for one and only one. Aren’t those things you want in marriage?

We discussed before how impurity spells betrayal like no other sin. It is definitely one of the hardest to forgive. The Great Hope can give power to forgive. He asks you to do no more for your betrayer than He has done for you.

This is not to simplify the devastation. It may require a time of separation., and the key word in this sentence is time. Running straight to the divorce court does not give The Great Surgeon time for the surgery – including the time for healing and recovery. The basis of any decision has to be what action you believe will please Jesus.

When the marriage is broken beyond repair (one spouse has re-married), The Great Hope has good news. An individual life is not beyond repair.

Jesus repairs broken lives.

Jesus wants to bring His love into all families. Let Jesus use you to shine His love in your family.

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, Some of Your teachings are very difficult and hard. I know they are all designed for the very best life. I want that! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                    

Christ loves God’s original plan—I want to love it!

Marriage Insurance

 APRIL 8

MATTHEW 5:32_saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery…

Fornication is sexual behavior outside of marriage. If you have sexual relations after marriage with someone other than your spouse, it is adultery. Some commentaries I’ve read say the word for fornication used in this verse means both adultery and sexual acts by single people. 

When Jesus referred to “what hath been said” He refers to Deuteronomy 24:1-4. This is a case where you entered into marriage believing your spouse came to you as a virgin. If after marriage you discover otherwise, or if your spouse is unfaithful during your marriage, then divorce is permissible. 

The single greatest thing you can do to ensure a fulfilling lifetime marriage is to have Jesus in your heart. Let Him lead you to someone in whose heart He also resides. The second greatest thing you can do for marriage insurance is to remain a virgin. If it is too late for you to remain a virgin, allow The Great Hope to keep you pure from now until your marriage.

Never underestimate the power of purity!

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I want to live my life in the way You teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                            

Christ is marriage insurance—I trust His Words!

The Great Hope

APRIL 7

MATTHEW 5:32_But I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife…

You wouldn’t want to have open heart surgery without some kind of anesthetic. Even with an anesthetic, the entire process will not be a piece of cake. Expect pain. It will come. Pain is an inevitable part of the heart transformation process. Even if you choose to opt-out of Jesus’ heart surgery – pain is a part of the life process. If you are expecting a pain free, drama free, heart-break free, struggle free, or easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy-mac’n-cheesy (learned that from my niece, Mary) life – face reality!

If someone offers you something for nothing – beware! The good things don’t come easy. When you receive the results of your surgery, or the payment for your hard labor, or whatever you have suffered your way through to success, the pain is not something you dwell on. It was simply a means to an end. 

The Holy Spirit will help you focus on the facts. The fact you have a hard heart. The fact The Great Surgeon can transform your heart to love. The fact heart surgery transforms self-centeredness to self-sacrifice.   

All of life is all about decisions. The ultimate decision is to make the main thing (Jesus) the main thing. Make that decision first and you greatly lessen your chances of feeling compelled to put away your spouse.

Nobody enters a marriage expecting it to end in divorce. Sometimes things happen – don’t give up.

The Great Surgeon is also known as – The Great Hope!

PRAYER

God of Hope, Help me never lose hope that You can change any situation I bring to You for a cure.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ wants to give me hope—I will accept it!