Count on That!

 APRIL 29

MATTHEW 5:44_and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…

Don’t you hate it when someone uses you?  Whether they’ve used you for their political gain, or personal pleasure, you’ve been violated. Someone you trusted took advantage of your trust and used it to better themselves. Now they despise you. That’s because they suffer from guilt, and blame you. So, whenever they have the opportunity they persecute you.

Pray for them. Try not to be hurt by them, but hurt for them. They are suffering. Guilt overwhems their emotions. You can’t despise and persecute someone without it causing you more turmoil than it does them. Count on that!

Pray for God to help and heal them. Pray for them to respond to Jesus’ unconditional love, and accept it.  Pray for them to allow The Great Transformer to set them free.

Set your heart in the forgiveness mode. Hurt for them. When you pray God reads your heart, far more than hears your words. A hurting heart attracts and keeps God’s attention. When a heart hurts more for others than for itself, it may attract God even more.

PRAYER

Father of Compassion,  I don’t want to hold grudges. I want You to help the ones who persecute me and set them free. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ reads my heart—He will give it compassion!

Get Salty! Light Up!

APRIL 26

MATTHEW 5:44_But I say unto you, love your enemies…

As we have seen over and again, there is an order in which Jesus presents His teachings. If we can get our minds wrapped around the cheek turning, cloak giving, second mile going, and giving away – learning how to love our enemies will come much easier.

The first four guidelines lead us into the self-sacrificing mode. The giving more than receiving mode. The putting others before ourselves mode.

Now we are ready to see how powerful love really can be. After all, if we can love our enemies – we can love anybody!

Why do we even want to love our enemy? Because Jesus said to.

Why did He say to? Because Jesus desires all people to be loved.

We are called to be salt and light to everyone – especially the unloved. There is a reason Jesus called disciples in the first place – to teach them how to live free. They teach and make more disciples. Disciples share the truth with the world through the Bible. Jesus chooses to share His love through disciples.

Get salty! Light up!

PRAYER

Lord of All, I want to be Your disciple through whom You love people. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ chooses disciples—I want to be one!

Follow Jesus' Topsy-Turvy Teachings

APRIL 23

MATTHEW 5:42_and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Acts 20:35 (KJV), “I [Paul] have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Whatever we can do in life to bring God’s blessing is something to pursue. Nothing the world has to offer can even begin to compare to God’s blessing. Nothing. 

The world offers tempting glitter in life: impurity, drugs, alcohol. All of it leads to bondage. Jesus offers a strange, humble, giving, loving lifestyle. All of it leads to freedom. As you live the Jesus lifestyle you become salt and light to those who are bound to the glitter. Your salt and light can help free them from the devil’s deceptions.   

The good guy in Jesus’ play has gained a lot of freedom from the bully. He gained it by following Jesus’ topsy-turvy teachings. When he doesn’t hold a grudge he is free from unforgiveness. By freely giving more than is required he is blessed. The pain in his stomach disappears. Peaceful sleep returns.

Who would ever have thought it is more blessed to give than receive? Jesus!

Have you begun to notice something about the 180 degree turn? It is opposite of what comes naturally.     

PRAYER

Father God, I want to live my life free from the deceptions of the devil. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ never deceives—The devil always does!

Trust Required

APRIL 21

MATTHEW 5:42_Give to him that asketh thee…

Give all you can. Keep one thing in mind – you can’t give what you don’t have. Don’t steal or go into debt to give your loved ones what they want.

If your friend has a need, and you have the means to meet it, feel free to do so. The key word in that sentence is free. A transformed heart is a free heart. You should feel good about giving – not depressed.   

You may be saving your money for a rainy day,. Your friend’s rainy day has come. Your friend asks you for help. Part of the depth of this teaching is trust. Can you trust that if Jesus taught love as an action – then it is? Giving is action – not talk.

Youth should always discuss this kind of action with parents or guardians. God can teach you through their advice. Listen and learn. They have lived much longer than you and know more about giving.

One time Jesus sent His disciples out to teach and heal the sick. They would be gone for several days. He specifically told them in Luke 9:3 (KJV), “And he [Jesus] said unto them [disciples], Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor script, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” Jesus said the people who received the disciples into their homes would provide for their needs. Trust was a requirement.

It turned into a beautiful blessing for both parties.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I want to trust Your teachings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ’s teachings require trust—They will bless me!

The Radical Cure

APRIL 19

MATTHEW 5:40_let him have thy cloak also.

Come on Lord Jesus, there’s radical and then there’s … crazy! I mean, look at the facts:

I lost the case and with it my life’s savings.

I hate it because I don’t feel I was wrong.

I hate it because it will destroy my current lifestyle.

I hate it because it causes a pain in the pit of my stomach.

I hate it because it takes away my peaceful sleep.

Jesus says the remedy for my ailments is to give my enemy more than I’m obligated? No way! That will make me sicker!

Write this out on a card and place it somewhere you’ll see it regularly: My being good does not impress Jesus. My doing good does. The Scribes and Pharisees were good. They knew and kept the laws. They failed to do good by loving their fellow man and leading them to freedom.

The Great Healer’s radical cure requires action. Action that comes from who’s in charge of your heart – you or Jesus?

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, I need Your help so I can do good and not just talk about being good. I need faith to believe in Your radical cures. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ does good—He will teach me!