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 (and even before)He chose to love you. 

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

Don’t miss tomorrow!

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!

The Comfort of Jesus

 JANUARY 12

MATTHEW 5:4_for they shall be comforted.

Don’t you love the blessing Jesus has for the mournful? Comfort. If you go through a time of mourning wouldn’t you rather have comfort than anything else?

I see God’s created life with a cause and effect sequence. This sequence shows up in the laws God gave to Moses. It also shows up in the teachings of Jesus. Could the blessing of comfort depend upon why you are mourning? 

What is breaking your young tender heart? Cruelty? There certainly is plenty of reason to mourn there. Jesus experienced great cruelty, both verbally and physically. He understands your pain and desires to give you His comfort. Experiencing Jesus’ comfort is not something you can make happen. His comfort comes naturally as you grow in His love.    

On the other hand, are you mourning because you’re the only one in the class who doesn’t have the latest electronic gadget? That may not be the kind of mourning referred to here. It’s not that it doesn’t hurt. It hurts. To receive comfort, change thought patterns. What is important to you, having what people have or having what Jesus has?

Be comforted in knowing Jesus can give you a new heart. Let love rule your heart, not possessions.

PRAYER

Mighty God, You can give me a new life. Let me take comfort in Your love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ sees my heart—He can change it!

No One Is Exempt

DECEMBER 28

MATTHEW 7:29_For he taught them as one having authority…

Every aspect of Jesus’ character is seen in this sermon. He taught as The Creator. His principles of life go back to creation. No one is exempt. Regardless of how we fight against them—creation principles always prevail.

Jesus taught as The Great Transformer. This sermon has shown me my heart is wicked and deceitful. Jesus’ principles are righteous. I have learned to ask, seek, and knock in order to have my wickedness transformed into righteousness.

Jesus taught as The Great Balancer. He is perfect balance by example, and He taught me how to balance. He taught me balance through topsy-turvy principles like: “…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

To balance judgment and mercy is something I can only do by the power of Jesus in me!

 PRAYER

Great Transformer and Balancer, Help me apply what You’ve taught me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

 Christ has given me all I need – To transform and balance!

God Events

DECEMBER 22

MATTHEW 7:28_And it came to pass…

Many God events occur in life – from birth to death. Some give joy and some pain, but each is designed to strengthen your walk on the narrow path.

With time it will come to pass that you recognize God’s hand in these events. The good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, are tools in the hands of The Great Deliverer. He uses them to defeat the circumstances of life which can keep you in a pit. I know you want God to just reach in and pull you up without all these God events, but time is how God works. Your life of freedom will come to pass.

Reading this devotional blog is a God designed event.

Designed to bring you to Jesus.

To obey His creation principles taught in this sermon.

To develop a transformed heart able to truly love. 

As you read these devotionals you become part of the people who gathered on a mountain and listened to Jesus teach. They were a combination of different personalities with a variety of different needs, hopes, and dreams.

I don’t know if Jesus taught this sermon in a day or a week, but time came to pass for everyone listening.     

 PRAYER

Prince of Peace, Help me see Your designed events in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ events help me stay on the path—I will!