A Salty Residue

MAY 2

MATTHEW 5:46_For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?

We like rewards, especially when we have worked hard to receive them. We like to see an accomplishment receive its due credit. 

In the kingdom of heaven, we don’t necessarily work to be rewarded – but God does use that system. Our work for God is to love His people by being salt and light in a dark and thirsting world. The fact that God rewards us for that is a blessing.

Just because we love those who love us does not win a blue ribbon. Jesus said even tax collectors (publicans) can do that. Let’s take a moment and clarify tax collectors. In case either or both of your parents work for the IRS, don’t think they are the chief of sinners. During Jesus’ earth time, Israel was occupied by the Romans. The Romans demanded taxes from the Israelites. Tax collectors were considered enemies. Hebrews who worked for the Roman government to collect taxes from their fellow neighbors were considered traitors. Therefore, if Jesus wanted to leave a graphic image of the worst of sinners, tax collectors were a good choice. Jesus says even bad or weak people can love those who love them.

Returning good for evil leaves a salty residue.

PRAYER

God of Love, Please don’t let my love be weak, let it be powerful. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ loves those who don’t love Him—He helps me to!

Know the Truth!

APRIL 30

MATTHEW 5:45_That you may be children of your Father which is in heaven…

If you listen to him, the devil will convince you the Christian life is too hard. No one can keep all these commandments. And there’s doom if you don’t!

The only way to keep from falling for the devil’s deceptions is to know the truth!

Christianity is not about keeping a bunch of laws. It is about a new life with Jesus. Get into God’s family. Be confident that you are a child of your Father in heaven. Ask Jesus into your heart. You’ll automatically receive the bonus of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you. Any commandment/law keeping is the Spirit’s job.

How does that work?

Remember that open heart surgery? The Spirit changes your desires by creating in you a deeper love of Jesus and His teachings. Love is not about making yourself good. It is about the Spirit producing stronger desires for righteousness, and the desires for unrighteousness losing their grip. 

Psalm 23:3 (KJV), “… he [the Lord] restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” 

How do you get to the righteous paths? God leads you. Why? For His name’s sake! 

PRAYER

Father in Heaven, Praise You for leading me where I need to go! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ has the power to change me—He will do it!

Begin With Prayer

APRIL 28

MATTHEW 5:44_do good to them that hate you…

How can you do good to them that hate you? It may be pretty much the same way you do to those who like you. Begin with prayer. Talk with God. Ask Him to give you an opportunity to do something good to one who has shown contempt toward you.

A good place to begin is to learn their birthdate. If you have their cell number or email just text or mail a simple, “Hey, I heard today is your birthday, I hope you have a happy one.” If you don’t have this information, you may just write a note and leave it on their desk at school.

Keep things simple. Don’t get overly sentimental or mushy with your doing good. They will already feel uncomfortable with your kind response to their obvious contempt. If the devil can convince them to take your good deeds as some kind of plot against them, he will.

Let God do His work. Focus more on listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and looking for opportunities which may come your way.

You certainly want to do them good, but this is also going to do you good … just don’t let pride get in the way.                                                                

PRAYER

Mighty God, Please give me opportunities to do good to all the people I can. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

  Christ does good to all—He wants me to do that too!

Do Good vs Be Good

APRIL 20

MATTHEW 5:41_And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

The word compel here is translated as to dispatch. To send out a courier. A courier carries messages. If you were hired to carry a message to someone a mile away, but when you got there you discovered they had moved on – what would you do? Would you bring the message back to the one who hired you, or would you keep looking for the recipient?

You were only hired for the mile, and that is all you were paid for. You may never be paid for the extra miles, if you decide to keep looking. All of this takes place in a time before cells, texts, etc. You have to physically hunt down this person.

If you gave your best effort to do the job, it is not your fault the recipient could not be found. This is a case of you being good. If you took extra effort and completed the job – requiring more of your time, and possibly never getting paid, you were doing good. 

There is something to see over and over in these teachings – selflessness.

Don’t forget the play. The good guy is going through all these hardships. No one has come to his aide.

PRAYER

Jesus Lord, I want to hear You when You dispatch me on a mission. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ compels me to good works—He will teach 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!