In a Tight Spot

DECEMBER 14

MATTHEW 7:26_And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not…

In Mark chapter 8 (KJV) Jesus feeds over four thousand people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish.  “So they [the people] did eat, and were filled: and they [the disciples] took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.”

Later, when Jesus was wearied of the Pharisees’ nagging, He enters a boat with His disciples, “14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.” Jesus begins to teach the disciples about the character of the Pharisees. The disciples thought He was fussing at them for forgetting the bread. “17 And when Jesus knew it [that the disciples were nervous], he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”

We feel like criticizing the disciples. They not only had witnessed the miracle of feeding over four thousand, and previously witnessed Him feeding over five thousand, but —Jesus used them to pass out the bread!

Let’s not be too hasty to criticize. In a tight spot, we quickly tend to side with anxiety over the power of our Rock.

PRAYER

Righteous Lord, Help me remember Your greatness and power every day. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ wants us to remember His power—I will!

Rock-Solid

DECEMBER 9

MATTHEW 7:24_which built his house upon a rock.

Previously we discussed the importance of a solid foundation. Any builder will agree the foundation makes or breaks the house. Being a stonemason, Jesus understands the strength of rock. Rock-solid, refers to something completely secure, built to last, totally dependable. Jesus says to hear, act, and become wise, gives life a rock-solid foundation. 

Perhaps we shouldn’t have favorites among the disciples, but mine have always been Peter and John. I’ve heard so many Bible teachers joke about Peter always blurting out and talking over all the other disciples. I see all his blurts as zealous passion for Jesus. I see devoted love—something he just couldn’t keep inside.

Peter’s name was Simon. Jesus changed it to Peter, which means rock. I believe Jesus saw the solidness in Peter’s love for Him long before anyone else saw it.

Matthew 16:18 (KJV) says, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [Peter’s life] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  

Be like Peter and build your life on solid rock!

PRAYER

Rock of My Salvation, When I build my life on Your teachings I’m rock-solid. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ’s principles are rock-solid—I want them!

Your Heart Listens

DECEMBER 6

MATTHEW 7:24_heareth these sayings of mine…

As the Master Stonemason, Jesus works from the bottom up. Step one is to hear. Hearing the words of Jesus is important. You can be physically deaf and hear Jesus’ words. By the same token, you can rate perfect on your hearing test, listen to the Bible read by Alexander Scourby for an hour, and never hear a word. Where you think is where you hear—in the heart. The heart’s door where Jesus knocks, is a place of communication.

Jesus is very specific about what He wants you to hear, “these sayings of mine.” The word sayings here can be interpreted as a statement or declaration by God. If your ears hear, it is because your heart listens.

At least eight times in His teachings, Jesus says:                                                                   

Matthew 11:15 (KJV),”He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:9 (KJV), “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Mark 4:9 (KJV), “And he said unto them, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”                                                                              

Mark 4:23 (KJV), “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”

Revelation 2:7 (KJV), “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…”

Revelation 2:11(KJV), “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…”

Revelation 2:29 (KJV), “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…”                                                                                    

Revelation 3:13 (KJV), “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…”

PRAYER

True Word, Please help my heart to listen so my ears can hear. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ speaks to my heart—I hear!

Our Heart is Exposed

JUNE 3

MATTHEW 6:9_After this manner therefore pray ye…

Jesus taught us how not to pray – the hypocrite in the synagogues and street corners – the heathen with vain repetitions and no heartfelt relationship with God. 

Jesus taught us how to pray. Leave the outside out. Inside, alone with God with the door closed, the depths of our heart is exposed. 

There is another reason private prayer is so important. Regardless of the fact that God already knows our heart, through private prayer we learn what’s in our heart. We have managed to hide some things so deep it requires talking to the Creator to bring them to the surface. We won’t learn that as easily in public prayer.

As in the previous devotion, there is a place for prayer groups and out-loud prayers. There is also a place for sharing prayer requests. If those requests are answered with a yes, you are not the only one praising.

Psalm 109:27 (KJV), “That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, Lord, hast done it.

If they are answered with a no, hopefully we will not be the only ones thanking. If they are answered with a wait, hopefully we will not be the only ones anticipating God’s will.

Jesus will now teach us a model prayer. He does not teach this as the only prayer to pray. Take heed to the word manner in this verse – it is important. This prayer is a pattern.  

If our prayers are just asking-for-something-prayers, this prayer teaches a better way.

PRAYER

Holy Creator, Teach me to pray. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the creator of prayer—He will teach me!

His Heart’s Cry

JUNE 2

MATTHEW 6:8_before ye ask him.

In I Kings 18, God knew Elijah wanted the fire lit.  It wasn’t necessary for Elijah to ask. But it was necessary for everyone listening to hear God proclaimed as the LORD, and Elijah as His prophet. His audible prayer may cause some Israelites to turn from idol worship to the One True God. Not all prayers should be private. There is a place for prayer groups and out-loud prayers.

Mark chapter 10 (KJV) gives an account of a blind man named Bartimaeus, 48 And many charged him [Bartimaeus] that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, ‘Thou son of David [Jesus], have mercy on me.’ 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, ‘Be of good comfort, rise; he [Jesus] calleth thee.’ 50 And he [Bartimaeus], casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?’ The blind man said unto him, ‘Lord, that I might receive my sight.’ 52 And Jesus said unto him, ‘Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.’ And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

Jesus knew Bartimaeus was blind. Jesus knew Bartimaeus’ cry for mercy was to receive sight. Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to tell Him – out loud. Bartimaeus did. And received his heart’s cry.

PRAYER

God of Heaven, I will make known to You in prayer, everything in my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants me to voice my prayers to Him—I will!