The Master of Graphics

JULY 14

MATTHEW 6:19_and where thieves break through and steal.

We are over half way through this year. You’ve learned Jesus never leaves a stone unturned. When He makes a point, He makes a point! Also by now you may have gained insight into why Jesus is like that. Perhaps I’ve already said it a ga-zillion times … if you love someone, you’ll do anything to help them live free. You want to be sure not to leave any stone unturned on their path to freedom.

The Great Teacher and Master of Graphics [Jesus] goes further than stuff breaks – it can be stolen. If you’ve ever had something you held close in your heart stolen, you understand Jesus’ illustration. Some things you can replace. Things unique to you or your family, having sentimental value, can never be replaced.

It is not wrong for you to love the possession. Even the thief, whom you may feel bitterness toward, is in your life for a reason. This thief is a part of God’s ultimate plan. God wants to teach you how to love the thief, more than the possession. That does not mean the thief should not answer to the law and receive punishment (depending upon the situation). It means your heart is free to let go of the possession, but not the thief.

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Help me love all the people You bring into my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ loves people more than stuff—He will help me!

Stuff Breaks

JULY 13

MATTHEW 6:19_where moth and rust doth corrupt…

Jesus doesn’t want you to be consumed by anything but His love. And He doesn’t want you to hoard that – He wants you to give it away!

The Creator understands body, soul (mind, will, emotions), and spirit. He understands how they work independently and together. Remember John Donne’s no man is an island phrase? Whatever God’s ultimate plan is for your life will involve people. Some may be family, some may be friends, some may only be acquaintances, and some you may never meet. But God wants to teach you how to love the people He brings your way. In order to love freely, your heart must be free. A heart bound by the love of wealth simply can’t give itself away in a 180 degree topsy-turvy fashion. 

Jesus gets a little graphic concerning possessions. They can rust. Moths can eat holes in them. Stuff breaks. It tears up. Earthly possessions are frail at best. Why would you let your heart get all wrapped up in stuff that breaks? 

Psalm 49:16-17 (KJV), “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.”

What is made in this life will remain in the earth.

PRAYER

God of All Truth, Free my heart to love You and Your people. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants people in my life—He teaches me to love!

Free Me!

JULY 12

MATTHEW 6:19_Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…

Aesop’s fable has some good advice. Jesus gives wise advice. Remember, Jesus teaches radical 180 degree creation principles. Look deeply into His teaching.

One way to study the Bible is to examine words. The key word to understand this verse is treasure. Merriam-Webster defines treasure as, wealth … stored up or hoarded. Jesus is not talking about preparation for future expenses. When you know your college tuition is due next month, don’t spend all your money this month. 

Another way to clarify the meaning is to examine I Timothy 6:9-10 (KJV), “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

The key words in verse 10 are, “For the love of…”

Great wealth, and the power which comes with it, has potential to consume the human soul.

Jesus wants you to live free, not in bondage to wealth.

PRAYER

God Who is my Treasure, I want You to be my treasure. I want to be consumed by You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants me free from the love of money—Free me!

A Specific Purpose

JULY 6

MATTHEW 6:17_But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head…

Jesus’ reference is not to a priestly anointing – it is more like a personal anointing. I don’t know if oil is used in this anointing. I see set-apartness with Jesus as the issue here.

When oil is used, it is used sparingly and discretely so as not to attract attention. After all, if you pour a bucket of oil on your head and walk around in public, people want to know what is going on. Be careful not to fall into the hypocrite category. 

When Jesus tells you to anoint your head, He is saying, “Get serious about your spiritual life if you are fasting.” There needs to be a specific purpose for this fast. It needs to be about increasing your relationship with Jesus.

Spiritual fasts are not some extreme crash diet in order to lose weight. That is not a good idea even if the fast is not spiritual. Again, this is an adult thing. Children and youth are growing bodies. Seldom will the Holy Spirit lead them to fast.

Fasting has nothing to do with causing you to be saved, or not. Don’t worry about such things. Trust your faith to grow, and the truth of the Bible to free you.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I trust You to grow my faith and to lead me to freedom. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ calls me to be set-apart for Him—I will!

Strengthen the Spiritual

JULY 1

MATTHEW 6:16_Moreover when ye fast…

Fasting has recently gained popularity. More and more it is considered a health benefit. There are different types of fasts. Depending upon the kind of fast, some of the benefits are improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, weight management, and heart health. These are all health issues which need attention. They are some issues you might address in adulthood, and consulted a physician. 

The kind of fasting Jesus refers to in this teaching is more to benefit the spirit than the body. Health benefits for the body are still there, but that is not the purpose of the fast. Health benefits come as a byproduct of your obedience to a spiritual fast. A spiritual fast concentrates on denying the physical to strengthen the spiritual. To gain insight from the Bible, and hear the Holy Spirit’s instructions – plan to incorporate spiritual fasting into your adult life.

Unfortunately, Christians bicker over many Biblical principles, fasting is often one of them. Do not bicker or argue over the Bible – rather, love God and His people. When you are an adult, God may call you at times to fast – to deeper your relationship with Him. A deeper relationship with Jesus can only do one thing – draw you closer to living a life of freedom.

If the Holy Spirit calls you to a fast, you will know.  

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, When I am of the age for fasting, I will know Your call. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ fasted—He may call me to as well!