The Last Loophole

APRIL 13

MATTHEW 5:36_Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

If Jesus wanted to give a title to this teaching, I think The Loophole Diaries would fit well. He is about to plug the last hole.

When nothing else has worked, you may think a way out would be to swear by your own name (or head). Remember, you are looking for some way to make a promise without mentioning God’s name. This is in hopes you can weasel out of your promise if it becomes too difficult to keep. 

You are a creation of God. There just isn’t any way out of that fact. Everything that lives and breathes belongs to God. If you swear by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, or yourself, you’re still swearing by the One who made each.   

In case you believe you are a power-house on your own, Jesus brings up another point. You may be able to change your hair color, but you can’t change how you were created – underneath is the color God gave you. It doesn’t go away because you cover it.

This is not a lesson on hair coloring – it’s a lesson on how God owns every part of you.

You had no choice in the circumstances of your birth, your physical features, or your family.

You belong to your Creator.

To swear by yourself is to swear by the Creator. 

PRAYER

Holy Creator, Thank You that everything about me belongs to You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ knows my promises—He wants me to keep them!

Two More Loopholes

APRIL 12

MATTHEW 5:35_Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King.

Jesus is very thorough. If He has a point to prove, He does it all the way. For instance, if heaven is God’s throne, then earth is His footstool. 

The Hebrews knew God was the creator of all of heaven and earth. If they thought swearing by earth didn’t involve God – they just weren’t thinking it through. Jesus helps them think better. 

If you swear by the product, you swear by the one who made it.

Jerusalem is a hot spot today. Everybody wants a piece of it. The Bible makes it very clear that Jerusalem belongs to Israel. Regardless of your political persuasions, the Bible has already stated the fact. Psalm 87 is all about God’s love for Zion (Jerusalem). It says God loves Jerusalem above any other city on earth. Verse 3 (KJV) says, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.”

Our man after God’s own heart, King David, reigned in Jerusalem. The connection between God, Jerusalem, and King David cannot be broken by anyone. The Hebrews knew that too, but they didn’t put together the connection with swearing to an oath.

Jesus just plugged two more loopholes.

PRAYER

One True God, I know I can’t separate You from creation. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ belongs to creation—Creation belongs to Christ!

Can You Trust God?

AUGUST 15

MATTHEW 6:30_which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven…

The life span of grass sounds pretty brief – maybe it is. Regardless of how brief, during its time on earth, God gave it soil, rain, and sun. And beyond the basic needs, God added beauty. This is not to say a field of grass does not have beauty of its own – it surely does. But, God loves to add beauty in life. This kind of beauty is a fringe benefit of a life of faith. Faith in the true God – not just a god.

This is the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The God who gives provisions. God’s supplies to His creation include beauty – amazing beauty. Even the wealthy, resplendent King Solomon had no match for God’s beauty in nature. 

Jesus wants you to see how much God cares for and about you. Jesus helps with trust. Can you trust that the God who takes care of grass is concerned about every aspect of your life? Psalm 16:11 (KJV), Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

God wants you to stay on His path. He wants to fill you with joy. God wants to stretch forth His hand and give you pleasure.        

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I praise You that only You can give me fullness of joy. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the fulfillment of joy—He fills me with it!

Fulfill Life Before Death

AUGUST 14

MATTHEW 6:30_which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven…

The grass Jesus refers to is a pasture. The grass in the pasture has a purpose – more than one. It gives life by feeding the livestock that graze – for as long as its growing season. 

If you have a pasture and are growing grasses such as alfalfa, clover, ryegrass, fescue, or wheatgrass, then you have something beyond the growing season – hay. When the grass is tall enough, pull it to find the seed head. You know it’s ready to cut. You don’t want the seed to reach the top. When the grass is cut and baled, it is ready to put up for winter feeding. Hay provides nourishment for livestock during the months the grass is not growing.

If you grow wheat in your pasture, the left over stalks can be cut for straw. Straw furnishes good bedding material for livestock in barns. Straw can also be bundled and used to start fires. 

Have you noticed a common theme in the purposes of the grass? Grass gives up itself to nurture life for something else. When Jesus says, “which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,” the grass doesn’t sound too useful. But, the grass has a purpose in life and death.

Did it fulfill life before death?    

PRAYER

Holy God, I want to fulfill my purpose in life! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants me to fulfill my life purpose—He helps me!

Love Creates Beauty

AUGUST 13

MATTHEW 6:30_Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field…

The I AM has another name, Jehovah-Jireh, which means My Provider. You may only consider provisions as food, clothes, and shelter. The Jehovah-Jireh is able to provide much more than basic essentials. He provides such things as beauty in nature.

In this verse, Jesus the Creator says God clothes the grass of the field. I love that! The world can be a very wicked, evil, dark place. Jesus says God dresses it up – even an unkept field! There are many awe-inspiring scenes in the world – all presented by the hand of nature.  God could have created plain, boring nature. But God’s love sees beauty in everything, so it is only natural that His love creates beauty. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV), “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” There are sunrises, sunsets, the Blue Ridge mountains in Autumn, dogwoods and cherry trees in Spring, a field of sunflowers in Summer, and an untouched blanket of snow in Winter. These are only a micro-portion of God’s handiwork. Verse 11 says, He hath made every thing beautiful in His time …”

Even though God’s ultimate creation, the Garden of Eden, fell to disobedience – He still gave beauty to the earth. 

PRAYER

Jesus Creator, I see Your world of nature and know it is full of Your love! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s creation reflects His love—I can reflect it too!