Tied Up in Cords

MAY 3

MATTHEW 5:47_And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?

What is your first instinct when someone offends you? The silent treatment, right? “I won’t say anything mean – I just won’t say anything at all. As a matter of fact, I’ll never speak to them again!” Do you know there are actually people who live years without speaking to one another? Sadly, there are even those who go to their graves holding a grudge they never made an effort to resolve.

Matthew 18:18 (KJV), “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

I’m not taking any chances! I don’t want anyone going to heaven tied up in cords I placed on them because I was offended in some way. I want to loose grudge-holding cords in this life. I want to send the people in my life to heaven free from my grudges!  

If I don’t loose any and all cords of bitterness, Jesus says I’m not doing anything radical. No more than a non-Christian. Not setting an example. Not being salt and light. Nothing about me attracts the lost and the searchers.

Stay with me and see how Christ completes this part of His power-packed sermon!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Please don’t let me bind anyone, but free all who hurt me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                                   

Christ does not bind anyone—I must not either!                                                                                        

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!

It’s Not the Easy Way

APRIL 24

MATTHEW 5:43_Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

How “it hath been said,” is your natural inclination. Love who you like, and hate who you don’t. That’s as natural as heat in summer. I won’t say it’s the easy way, because neither of these emotions is easy. Between the two, hate may be the easier. Easy because it is based on self-centered selfishness, which comes naturally. Hate requires no self-sacrifice. Hate thrives on grudge-holding. Just be plain hard-hearted. No open heart surgery necessary.

Hate is deadly. Spiritually, hate places a barrier between your spirit and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Emotionally, it keeps hormones out of sync, fluctuating between rage and depression. Physically, hate is a strong contributor to keep the body from healing itself.

Love is neither natural nor easy. Recovery from The Great Surgeon’s open-heart surgery results in true love. Once you succumb to more of Jesus and less of you, the door opens to The Great Transformer. He fills you with love. You cannot manufacture it on our own. You open the door, Jesus fills you up.

The effects of love in your life spiritually, emotionally, and physically are 180 degrees from the effects of hate.

PRAYER

Loving God, I don’t want to live the easy way. I want to live the loving way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ always loves—He will teach me!

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!

The Great Healer

APRIL 18

MATTHEW 5:40_And if any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat…

If there will ever be any kind of goodwill toward man in this life, it will come from Jesus’ crazy teachings about not fighting back. The reason? God’s power is released into your life when you have faith. Faith in the strength of God’s love to fight your enemies for you. Jesus has taught you not to seek revenge and not to slap back.

Check this one out:  

Someone sues you. You are in the right. You tried, but were not able to settle out of court. The case goes against you – strongly against you. In other words, you lost all your savings! Now you have big money problems.

This is not easy to take, even if you were in the wrong. If you were in the right, it is heart wrenching. This can result in something worse than your money problems – the bondage of bitterness. 

Bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudge-holding bind. Bitterness bondage chokes your spirit, contaminates your salt, and puts out your light.   

The money problems place a painful curb on your life. The bitterness places a curb on your heart, and its ability to love.  

Jesus becomes The Great Healer. He offers a radical cure.

PRAYER

Great Healer, I need Your help so I am not bitter when I am treated wrongly. I need Your wisdom to know how to respond. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ’s love holds no grudges—He will teach me!