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! 

Mercy has no limit for askers, seekers, and knockers. But arrogant pretenders, aka hypocrites, will experience that hard truth.

Personally, I don’t think mercy had limits in 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 is 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!

There Was An Almost

OCTOBER 15

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

God loves everyone, the entire world. So much so that He let His own Son suffer and die for the world. 

God wants righteousness and goodness to reign supreme—as it did for a brief time in the Garden of Eden—pure perfection not only in people, but in all nature. But there was an almost in that perfection. When the almost won the battle over free will, everything changed—but God didn’t. He’s still just, He still has all power, and He’s still God of the Impossible.

I believe Jesus in His infinite power and unsurpassed love, works every day to restore as much of the Garden experience as possible in our fallen world. Every time He transforms a heart and gives it the ability to become salt and light, He’s made some restoration. It will take a new heaven and a new earth to bring full restoration.

When God uses evil people in ways that result in good for His children, He is exercising His fatherly powers. God wants fathers to do good to and for their children. Unfortunately, there are those whose fathers genuinely neglect, abuse, and abandon them.

God has a plan for those children as well, Psalm 27:10 (KJV), “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

PRAYER

Jesus Lord, Only You can transform—we all need it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                          

Christ’s love is perfection—I want to love like that!

You're On Your Way!

MAY 5

MATTHEW 5:48_Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The Holy Spirit pleads for you in prayer. James 5:16 (KJV) “…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Fervently praying attracts the attention of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit pleads your prayers before God.

One of the loveliest things about your prayer life and the Holy Spirit is He understands – even when you are too overwhelmed to know what to pray.  Romans 8:26 (KJV), “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The Holy Spirit can translate your groans and moans into prayers! Thank You, Spirit!

You serve an amazing God. He wants you to reach this kind of perfection. Let go of your own will long enough to succumb to God’s. Enter a supernatural realm … a realm of virtue and integrity.

Talk about being unique! Talk about being salt and light! If you reach the place where you look like your Father – you’re on your way to perfection.

This is a calling to courageous radicals who believe there is more to life than the physical.

PRAYER

Jesus Who Hears, I praise the Spirit who prays for me when I don’t know how. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                            

Christ hears all my prayers—He hears all my groans, too!