Sounds Strange

OCTOBER 14

MATTHEW 7:11_If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children…

Does Jesus say even the evil know how to treat their children well? No way! Actually, it sounds like He’s calling all of us evil! 

Jesus agrees with what we’ve already learned – we’re all evil and have those hard hearts. That’s why we need The Savior. That’s why we need The Great Transformer. That’s why we need The Great Healer. And this is another reason to stay away from judging. How can one sinner judge another? 

Those of us who made a decision to become salty-lit-up disciples of Jesus are saved sinners. We are not any better than unsaved sinners, because the only righteousness we have comes from Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself. We didn’t get it by being good. We got it by accepting a free (to us) gift from The Savior (who paid the ultimate price to give it to us).

I realize I’m putting myself out there by saying this, but I believe sometimes evil people can treat their children well. I believe God can use evil people to do good works for Him. I know that sounds strange, but King Solomon knew it. 

Proverbs 21:1(KJV), “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”

PRAYER

King of Kings, Thank You for the miraculous ways You take care of me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                               

Christ can use anyone for my good—I praise Him for that!

Convicting Power

SEPTEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

There were some missing parts of John 8 in our September 19 devotional. Let’s read them now: “6 … But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

I can’t help but see some humor in this. Knowing their hearts and the hypocrisy of the entire incident, Jesus ignored them. Perhaps He hoped that if He ignored them they would go away. No such luck. Since they wouldn’t go away, Jesus addressed them, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’”

Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head! Jesus sent conviction directly to their hard hearts.

Wouldn’t you love to know what He was writing – I would! Perhaps He was writing the man’s name. Maybe the man was even … a Pharisee! One thing is for certain, the Scribes and Pharisees cared nothing about the woman and intended for this to end in her death. She was only a pawn in their game to ensnare Jesus.

Regardless of what He wrote, it had enough convicting power to cause them to drop their stones and walk away. 

The religious leaders blew their whole scheme. They were the ones humiliated before the crowd in the temple, not Jesus.        

One last teaching about this lesson – tomorrow!

PRAYER

True Shepherd,  Lead me to the place of freedom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.  

Christ is the True Shepherd—He defends me against evil!

Pray for Them!

SEPTEMBER 20

MATTHEW 7:5_Thou hypocrite…

Here’s the question: Did Jesus condone adultery by saving the woman? Did He let her get by (meaning no judgment or accountability) with adultery?

Getting by with something is not really what Jesus is about. Surely by now you know what Jesus is about – freedom! To get by with something will not free you from repeating it. 

If you are truly allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path to freedom and you stumble, don’t be discouraged – you will be freed. Proverbs 24:16 (KJV), “‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief [Hebrew translation is: evil].”

The difference in the one who rises back up and the one who falls deeper into evil is that heart condition. The ability to see all sin is against God and the desire to be changed by His grace. There is a word for this condition – repent. To sincerely and deeply grieve over your path and strongly desire to change directions.   

The Bible teaches to pray for those in authority – all forms of authority. There is a need for authorities to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be receptive to the Spirit’s leading.

You want your authorities to have wise judgment concerning you.

Pray for them!     

I haven’t answered those first two questions yet – stay with me!

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Fill all those in my authority with Your Holy Spirit. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ knows my heart condition—He will reveal it!

Free Souls

SEPTEMBER 4

MATTHEW 7:1_Judge not…

The kind of freedom Jesus teaches is not about keeping out of prison (although Jesus’ type of freedom could save you from that). Jesus wants to free souls.

A free soul gains wisdom.

Therefore a free soul has the ability to make wise decisions.

Wise decisions save from many forms of harm.

Wisdom is able to forgive and not carry the baggage of bitterness – which so often leads to physical sickness. 

The wisest man who ever lived, the phenomenal King Solomon, teaches this principle in Proverbs 2:10-13 (KJV), “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; 13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.”

Notice where wisdom enters – your heart. There is more to learn – Proverbs 4:7-9 (KJV), “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

PRAYER

God of Wisdom, Help me be free from judgment and make wise decisions. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                   

Christ is wisdom—He wants me to learn to be wise!

Why Make It Harder?

SEPTEMBER 1

MATTHEW 6:34_Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Focus on who God is and who you are in Him! Receive extra power for the hard days. Worry only makes the hard days harder. In this verse Jesus says something to the effect of, “Life in this world is hard enough—why make it harder? Jesus lets you know He’s with you all the way.

Jesus can provide.

That doesn’t mean you may not go through lean times. If you have no needs you will never experience how God can meet them. He’ll hold and guide you on the path of discipleship and add “all these things unto you.”

Proverbs 4:18 (KJV), “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Once you’ve committed to becoming salty-lit-up disciples for Jesus—that light just keeps on shining!  I Thessalonians 5:5 (KJV), “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”

All days are not hard, or bad, or evil. The devil would have you believe otherwise. He tempts you to worry about the future. Live free by focusing more on who God is, His grace and mercy, and His phenomenal power to transform any circumstance!

PRAYER

God Who Transforms, Thank You for the bright days I’ve had, and the ones on the way! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                         

Christ is full of light—He fills me with His light!