The Bottom Line

SEPTEMBER 21

MATTHEW 7:5_Thou hypocrite…

Jesus knew two things in the incident of the woman taken in adultery. He knew the condition of her heart now, and in her past. He knew the circumstances which led to this incident at this time. We can’t expect our earthly authorities to know all of this, but the Holy Spirit can reveal truth. Besides the fact that He knew her heart, Jesus had the ability to read her heart in her facial expressions and body language. 

There was something else Jesus knew – the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees who brought her before Him. He knew more about them than they knew about each other, or even about themselves. Remember John 8:5-6 (KJV), “ ‘Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such [adulterers] should be stoned: but what sayest thou?’ This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him …”

Jesus understood the real purpose for the Scribes and Pharisees bringing the woman. It had nothing to do with justice of the Law. It had nothing to do with adultery.  The bottom line was to bring Jesus down. At the time this occurred, Jesus was in the temple teaching. The Pharisees’ goal was to cause Jesus to look ignorant before the multitude of followers who sat at His feet.

If Jesus were a true God-fearing Jew, He would uphold the Law. If He didn’t enforce the Law, then everyone in the temple that day would know Jesus was a heretic.

We’re not finished with this subject yet!

PRAYER

Father God, Help me become discerning of the hearts of others. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

 Christ knows true hearts from false—He helps mine!

Not Easy, But Better Than Bondage

SEPTEMBER 12

MATTHEW 7:3_And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

The kind of judgment found in the wicked servant’s heart is to believe a debt, or any wrong, is never worthy of mercy. To the judgmental, guilt should only result in punishment – never mercy.

Once again, there are situations when the best thing to do for guilty people is to turn them over to the law. There are times when people are so deeply in bondage that it requires a rude awakening to save them.

This happened to the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus: Acts 9 (KJV), “And he [Paul] fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ And he said, ‘Who art thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.’ And he [Paul] trembling and astonished said, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ And the Lord said unto him, ‘Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.’And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.”

This is not an easy way to be set free, but it is better than bondage.

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, Praise You that You are able to free me from bondages. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                   

 Christ gives mercy—He helps me discern when to give it!

Wise Judgment

SEPTEMBER 6

MATTHEW 7:2_For with what judgment ye judge…

Ephesians 6:1-4 (KJV), “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” There is night and day difference in the discipline of a child by spanking, and child abuse. To abuse a child verbally and physically and call it discipline shows a lack of judgment. Discipline administered with hot tempered anger causes more damage than it ever will cause good. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”   

Some Christians believe in spanking young children, and others do not. The core is to help children grow up to be responsible and discerning. Placing boundaries, and enforcing them (otherwise they are futile), is the best way to guide little ones. When boundaries are crossed there has to be some type of discipline.   

Today’s verse focuses on using wise judgment, because how you judge is how you will be judged. Wise judgment will always be founded upon love.  Firmness laced with some calmness administers discipline in a positive way.

Anger and name calling destroy obedience and respect – not wise judgment.

PRAYER

Loving Father, Help me know my judgment will come back to me.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                   

 Christ teaches wise judgment—He teaches me to obey!

The Wisest Man

AUGUST 11

MATTHEW 6:29_in all his glory…

Like most of us Solomon had a second name; it was Jedediah, which means beloved of the Lord. God’s call on Solomon’s life was for leadership – kingly leadership. King David promised Bathsheba Solomon would take the throne after David’s death. 

I Kings 3:5-10 (KJV), “In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ‘Ask what I shall give thee.’ And Solomon said, ‘Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?’ 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” 

God was pleased with Solomon’s answer. God made him the wisest man who ever lived. Be sure to read tomorrow’s devotion to learn what else God did!

PRAYER

God of Mercy, Hear my prayer to have an understanding and wise heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants me to be wise—I want it too!

Who Knows?

JUNE 29

MATTHEW 6:15_Neither will your Father forgive your trespasses…

Why do you hold on to unforgiveness? Does it have something to do with forgiveness causing you to appear weak? God is not only willing, but wants to forgive you. Do you think He is weak?

Hanging on to unforgiveness because it makes you feel tough is straying. Hanging on to unforgiveness for any reason is straying. You are interfering with God’s desire to forgive you. If you are in relationship with Jesus you will forgive, because if you don’t the Holy Spirit will convict your heart. You will lose peace. Salty-lit-up disciples repent and come back to God’s path.

When someone’s straying trespasses into your life, you have to deal with the invasion – one way or another. You can react with anger and possibly physical confrontation, or seek the path of forgiveness. As we’ve said before, forgiveness does not necessarily mean the invaders should not be held responsible for their actions. Discernment must be applied.

Your life can be trespassed upon in many ways. Betrayal is probably the largest of the litter. It may certainly be the hardest to forgive. God does not measure trespasses by their size. God is more concerned about how far away from His path His disciples stray. It is His major concern because … He loves His disciples.

Your willingness to forgive the trespassers may be how God intends to bring them back on track.

Who knows? That may be why your life is the one He allowed them to invade.                  

PRAYER

God of Love, You are more than able to deliver from any trespass. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows all trespasses—He conquered them all!