The Empty Spaces

 JANUARY 19

MATTHEW 5:6_for they shall be filled.

Because you have a free will you can choose not to be a righteous person. You can choose to be self-centered, egotistical, all-about-me. Everyone makes those choices from time to time. All choices have consequences. That’s because of God’s great love for you.

Let’s revisit the cause and effect sequence. Good choices equal good consequences and wrong choices equal hard, painful consequences. Do you realize what that means? You can make good choices. God created you with a free will. Hallelujah!

There is hope. If you want righteousness in your life so much you hunger and thirst for it – you will be filled! When you become weary of being spanked by life because of wrong choices, you will turn to God for a rescue. When you are filled with love for Jesus and fall before Him weeping over the pain you’ve caused Him – that’s hungering and thirsting! This kind of hunger and thirst opens up all the empty spaces in your heart that need to be filled.

The filling is a life-long process. The empty spaces become fewer and fewer.

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Forgive me for any wrong choices I have made in my life. Help me love You and Your people. Help me show Your righteousness to all the people You bring into my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ knows my empty spaces – He can fill them!

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!

Not Everyone

NOVEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:21_Not everyone…

Since Jesus begins this teaching by saying not everyone, there must be some exclusiveness. Can mercy be exclusive? If so, who decides who is excluded? Would it be Jesus? How does He decide it?

Mercy is a God-like attribute.

Mercy is a Jesus quality.

Mercy covers sins.

Mercy covers shortcomings.

Mercy covers failures.

Mercy rescues the undeserving. 

Mercy brings the lost to shelter and safety.

Mercy does this by its very nature of being merciful.

However, one of those hard realities of life we prefer to avoid, is mercy is not limitless.

That is hard truth! 

When mercy has offered itself over and again countless times and been refused, it reaches its limit.  Personally, I don’t think mercy had limits in the originality of the Garden of Eden. But free will caused it to pull in the reins, put on the brakes, and turn off the power.

That’s when a phrase like, not everyone, came into play. Mercy is for everyone, just as life without death was for Adam and Eve, but everyone has the freedom to reject it. 

PRAYER

King of Kings, Please help me never to reject Your mercy. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                                       

Christ offers mercy to those who will receive it—I will receive!                                              

We All Have Baggage

OCTOBER 29

MATTHEW 7:14_strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…

If we had to be baggage-free to enter the strait gate, there would be no need to enter. After all, we’re already living free so what’s there to gain?

We all have baggage. Bags filled with broken pieces of our hearts, hopes, and dreams. Some baggage we choose of our own free will. Other baggage was inflicted upon us by the circumstances of life. They came with the life package—a life we live in a dark and sinful world every moment of every day.   

The difference in the sizes of our baggage depends upon how we deal with them. The wide gate allows for a lot of baggage. That is why it is wide. The path is broad so we don’t have to drop off any bags. It is the designed path for those who have been subdued by the world—to accept its darkness as if there were no other choice. It is for those who don’t want to check their bags at the gate because the bags contain their pain relievers. Some may be for physical pain, but the majority are for pains of the soul. The spirits of darkness work to keep us depressed and discouraged. Life doesn’t have to be that way—there is hope!  

Colossians 1:27 (KJV), “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

PRAYER

Lord Who Reigns, Only You can truly relieve the pains of my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the pain reliever—I will make Him mine!

Because

OCTOBER 26

MATTHEW 7:14_Because…

If you have never been to Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee, add it to your bucket list.  You’ll find it at the top of Lookout Mountain. The area known as Rock City is full of many unique rock formations.

There are different paths to take as you encounter fascinating natural wonders. I have taken youth groups there but have never had a group that completed the journey at the same time—even when they took the same path. Some rush through, some stop and explore.

Because Jesus’ gates lead to life paths, you have the freedom to choose the path to follow. You have the freedom to decide how to spend your time on each path. How it ends is your decision. The apostle John says in I John 2:12-13 (KJV), “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.”    

There are a lot of becauses in these verses. Each one is directed to a different stage in life. They are each about receiving the truth because of choosing the path which leads into a relationship with Jesus.   

 PRAYER

Lord of Truth, I know the Bible is written to me because I choose the truth! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                           

Christ caused the Bible to be written to me—I will study!