Nobody Ever Said It Is Easy

AUGUST 18

MATTHEW 6:31_Therefore take no thought…

Remember when the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for a time of testing? There was nothing easy about it. Jesus was called to fast, and the devil tempted Him to break the fast and eat. If you recall, Jesus used the same weapon against the devil that we should use – the words of truth. In this instance Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV), “… man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” 

If your family is going through some kind of a struggle, the devil’s temptation is for you to worry. Nobody ever said it is easy not to worry when you are struggling. Use this time to shout out the Joshua chapter 1 cheer: “Be strong and of a good courage.”This is the time to defy thoughts of worry about where your next meal is coming from, or some other need. This is a time to quote the entire verse of Joshua 1:9 (KJV), “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” You’re not in this alone.  Whithersoever covers everywhere. Thou goest doesn’t necessarily mean a certain place. It could mean where you are in the circumstances of your life.

You don’t have strength to just not worry – overpower worry with the truth of Scripture.

PRAYER

Mighty Warrior, You know my circumstances and are with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is a warrior for me—wherever I am in life!

Your Heavenly Body

JULY 30

MATTHEW 6:25_Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Raiment is translated as clothing or apparel or garments. Meat in this verse represents any kind of food. 

When you die, you won’t be packing a sack lunch. Food stays here – heavenly food will be provided for your heavenly body. Jesus’ first temptation in the wilderness was to eat when He had been called to fast. Do you recall what He said to the devil? Matthew 4:4 (KJV), “But he answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’’ This calls for the spirit to be stronger than the body. You can practice strength building for your spirit just as your body.  

When you die you won’t be packing a suitcase either. The clothes stay here. You will have clothes on your body in a coffin, but the body in the coffin isn’t going anywhere either.

Again, heavenly clothes will be provided for the heavenly body. Heavenly bodies will not be dependent upon anything from the earth.

Your heavenly clothes may be full of light. How cool would that be?

Whatever you wear in heaven, I promise there will be no fashion police! 

PRAYER

God in Heaven, Thank You my spirit can withstand difficult times. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ strengthens the spirit—He will strengthen mine!

God Has a Plan for Everyone

JULY 10

MATTHEW 6:18_shall reward thee openly.

God will reward you openly. Trust that. Believe that. 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 me—He will help me achieve it!

A Time for God to Examine

JULY 9

MATTHEW 6:18_but unto thy Father which is in secret…

You want your fast to be seen by God. A time for God to examine your heart and motives. You learn more about how to let God lead, and you follow.  Your spirit grows stronger. These are the kinds of things the Father sees in secret.

Prayer, Bible study, and meditation on Scripture, are perfect condiments to fasting. This opens the door for The Big Three: Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. Psalm 119:1-7 (KJV) comes alive, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.”

That’s some powerful stuff, but self-denial is a powerful act.

Fasting is by no means the only form of self-denial. Just changing the channel, or turning off the TV when something wicked shows up, can open these same doors.

Your Father sees everything that’s done in secret.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I seek You with my whole heart, I want to walk in Your ways. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ walked in the law of the LORD—He teaches me!

Because He Knew the Truth

JULY 8

MATTHEW 6:18_That thou appear not unto men to fast…

We have discussed how after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a time of great self-denial. Matthew 4:1-4 (KJV), “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

There were no people in this wilderness experience. Jesus did not have anyone to show-off His great piety for God. The devil came up with another form of temptation, since his, “See how good I am,” scheme would not work. The devil tempts Jesus to break the fast and eat. Jesus overcame the temptation because He knew the truth – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Jesus understood the purpose for His fast. He was led to fast in preparation for His earthly ministry. Jesus knew He needed this set-apart time.

You may think the cross was the only sacrifice Jesus made for you – but there is so much more.

PRAYER

Lord God, Praise You for all the sacrifices You made for me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ gave all of Himself—He did it to love me!