A Natural Byproduct

MARCH 3

MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…

Jesus knows to live outside of Biblical principles brings heartbreaking consequences. He wants to protect you, not punish you. The punishment comes on its own – a natural byproduct when you make your own decisions of right and wrong. 

Jesus knows the world is too hard, too difficult, too deceiving for you to take on by yourself – so He gives you commandments to live by. These commandments are taught in the Old Testament by God’s chosen leaders and in the New Testament by Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knows even the least commandment is for your good. 

Jesus sees every tear you shed, hears every sigh of your heart, and knows every pain disappointments bring. He tries to save you as much pain as possible.

Suffering comes with life – period.  God’s commandments are a true safety to keep you from experiencing suffering unnecessarily. 

It is enough to bear the pain of having broken God’s commandment, but far worse is the guilt of having led others astray with you. 

PRAYER

Holy Lord, I don’t want to make my own suffering by breaking even Your least commandment. Let Your Word teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows all my pain—He wants to help me!

The Righteousness Train

JANUARY 30

MATTHEW 5:10_Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake:

One key element of persecution is to be sure you are persecuted for righteousness sake, not your own sake. The quality of discernment will help you know. You have already learned to discern if your peacemaking succumbs to political correctness. Political correctness is to agree with the world’s ways over God’s ways because it is the popular thing. Now you discern if you have strayed from the righteous path, and are suffering for it.

Everyone thinks they are righteous. To board the Righteousness Train requires a Bible ticket. Those trusting in and building lives upon the Bible have purchased a ticket. If you become too self-assured you have a seat on the Train, you can easily fall into the Pit of Pride. Hungering and thirsting leads you to the ticket office.

Righteousness is a byproduct of loving Jesus and His words. It comes naturally when you draw into a closer relationship with Jesus. You cannot make yourself become righteous. Only God can make you righteous. Only God holds the standard to what righteousness is. No one can live up to that standard. The Holy Spirit leads you there. Actually you won’t even know you’re there unless you begin to suffer for doing what is right. That is your clue. If you become too smug in the fact you made it – you can fall back to where you were.

You can only claim it in Jesus’ name, never your own.

 PRAYER

Dear God and Father of All, I want to be righteous in You, not in myself – lead me there. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                     

Christ is righteousness—He makes me righteous!

Absolutely Not!

NOVEMBER 26

MATTHEW 7:21_but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

To do God’s will is how to enter into heaven. I see you squirming … but hold on. Does this contradict what has already been settled—the only path to heaven is through the shed blood of Jesus? Absolutely not! Jesus is not teaching the way to heaven is through good works.

God’s will is that you accept Jesus as Savior, serve Him as Lord, and love His people. This is the will of your Father which is in heaven. Good works will be a natural byproduct. 

We will be judged by our works:    

Romans 2:5-6 (KJV), “… and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”

II Corinthians 5:10 (KJV), “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”                                                                                                      

Revelation 20:12 (KJV), “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,  according to their works.”

If our good works are not a natural byproduct of a saving relationship with Jesus, then they are not good works.                  

PRAYER

Prince of Peace, If I ever do anything good—it comes from You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                    

Christ will judge works—Only He makes mine good!

God Has a Plan for Everyone

JULY 10

MATTHEW 6:18_shall reward thee openly.

God will reward you openly. Trust. Believe. But remember, God has His own time table, and it’s a perfect one. You can also trust and believe that!

God delights in rewarding His people. Another natural byproduct of love is to give – time, money, gifts. God is the creator of all things physical and spiritual. He knows how to reward, when to reward, what to reward (behavior or actions), and the kind of reward to give.

You can trust your Heavenly Father to give rewards perfectly designed for you. They are part of the wonderful plan God has for your life. God has a plan for everyone. There are those who do not choose to accept His plan. The circumstances of life, which are beyond your control: family, race, culture, disabilities, can never prevent you from achieving His plan – if you seek it. 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (KJV),“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

PRAYER

God Who Cares, Thank You for Your plan for me. Nothing in this life can take it from me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ has a plan for me—He will help me achieve it!

They Grow

JUNE 27

MATTHEW 6:15_But if ye forgive not men their trespasses…

What goes up must come down. If God’s forgiveness relates to your forgiveness, God’s unforgiveness relates to your unforgiveness. 

A transformed life is a product of salvation and the ability to forgive. Salvation is an instantaneous, eternal experience. Transformation is a process. Love is a process. They grow. As you grow in relationship with Jesus, you grow in your ability to give true, straight-from-the-heart love. It is the way natural byproducts work.

The ability to forgive has to be a byproduct of the love you gain from heart transformation. Hard hearts cannot produce forgiveness. The natural byproduct of hard hearts is unforgiveness.

A relationship with Jesus is not just I need to be sure I’m not going to hell. It is about:

I hear the knock of Jesus on my heart’s door.

I feel the love He brings.

I feel His forgiveness.

I want to love like He loves me.

I want to forgive like He forgives me.

I want to live as His disciple.

I want to be His salt and light.             

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the natural byproducts of transformation. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                 

Christ is salvation—He is my salvation