The Fine Line

JANUARY 26

MATTHEW 5:9_Blessed are the peacemakers…

Perhaps there are people in the world who do not want peace. With all the violence we experience at such high levels, it certainly appears that way. What brings about conflict and violence?

By now you know what causes conflict between people – the heart. Either your heart is pure and set on righteousness or it is not. We have already discovered that you did not come into the world with a pure heart. To develop a pure heart requires decisions on your part. Decisions that involve the Bible, Jesus, and listening to the Holy Spirit. Without those three I don’t know a way to make good decisions.

Conflicts tend to come from self-centered, self-absorbed, my-way-or-no-way attitudes. If the conflicts are to be resolved, someone has to yield. Someone has to be willing to give consideration to the other’s point of view. Someone has to be willing to consider and perhaps try out the other’s suggestion. 

As with anything in life, there are lots of fine lines in peacemaking. When does peacemaking become caving in to political correctness or yielding to evil? When does peacemaking become caring more about what people think than what God thinks? 

Stay tuned!

PRAYER

Father of Peace, I know You want peace in the world. I know we live in a world that does not submit to You as ruler. Help me learn to be a peacemaker for You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is a peacemaker—He will help me become one!

Wisdom – Understanding – Knowledge

JANUARY 23

MATTHEW 5:8_Blessed are the pure in heart…

Oh, to be pure in heart! Isn’t that something else you want? What is involved in becoming pure in your heart? You know how to find out, use the key. The Bible opens your spirit to wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of truth. When you begin the journey into what pureness in heart looks like, you will discover you must first find out what it is not.

We have mentioned Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV), “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” You have to gain the understanding of there is nothing pure about your heart – on its own.

Next, you discover Proverbs 19:21 (KJV), “There are many devices in a man’s heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Praise God! Now you gain knowledge that although you cannot trust your heart (because it is deceitful), the counsel (wisdom, understanding, knowledge) you gain from the Bible can override the deceitfulness in your heart. Bible truths dispel all the devil’s lies.

So, the first step to become pure in heart is to put no trust in the flesh. Place all your trust in the power of Jesus. Your spirit will be instructed through the power of the Holy Spirit.   

PRAYER

Holy Father, I want my heart to be pure. I want it cleansed from all deceit and wickedness. Teach me from the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is pure in heart—He purifies my deceitful heart!

A Path to Freedom

JANUARY 22

MATTHEW 5:7_for they shall obtain mercy.

What a lovely blessing the merciful receive – they obtain mercy. Meditate on that. After all the giving and pouring out of yourself and your time, there is mercy to receive! Everyone needs to be on the receiving end of mercy! Praise God there is a time when mercy is poured out on you! 

A day will come when you need mercy. You will experience what a beautiful thing mercy is. You will feel the warmth, comfort, and peace mercy gives. And since mercy is not a Band-Aid, you will receive freedom – from guilt. To give mercy to someone is to free them from the wrong done to you. 

Be glad you were a part of blessing another person. Be grateful that when you felt rejected or taken advantage of, you chose to respond with mercy – even though your offender was undeserving. Most of all, be grateful to the Holy God of Heaven because you are full of the Holy Spirit. That’s the only way you can be merciful. You see, you don’t deserve mercy either.

Mercy not only frees your offender; it is a part of the path to your freedom – from unforgiveness.

PRAYER

Loving Father, Forgive me for any time I have not bestowed mercy. Help me focus on You and Your truth more than the world’s deceptions. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ’s mercy is the path to freedom—He will help me!

You Cannot Escape Creation

JANUARY 17

MATTHEW 5:6_Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…

I love this one! Look at what it says. Don’t you want to be righteous in the depths of your heart? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to bed every night and know you’d been righteous that day? Don’t you long for that? Would you even say you hunger and thirst for it? 

If you could choose between playing your favorite game or helping a desperate friend, which would you choose? I trust you would choose the latter. Why? Because no matter how sophisticated, or prominent, or brilliant you may become, you cannot escape creation. 

You were created to know and be in a relationship with your creator – the God in whose image you are made. He is a part of who you are, and He is righteous. Because He is a part of you, the Holy Spirit places in your heart a desire to serve, care for, and have compassion on the people in your life.

I know what you are thinking – there are way too many people who have no desire for righteousness or to be like their creator. Agreed.

Stay with these devotions. All the bases will be covered.

PRAYER

Almighty God, If I have no hunger or thirst for righteousness, please place it in my heart. “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness (Psalm 143:10 KJV). In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ is righteousness—He can give it to me!

To Know Jesus

JANUARY 1

MATTHEW 5:1_And seeing the multitudes…

Jesus sees multitudes. That’s an awful lot of people! Bigger than a crowd!

Several instances in Jesus’ life have prepared Him for the multitudes. It is obvious He has been born. To know Jesus you must take a look at His birth. Talk about unconventional! Talk about amazing! Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin?

To know Jesus you must also get to know the God of the Impossible.

Jesus’ birth was questioned, ridiculed, and scorned. He grew up with that – a part of daily life. Being honored and acknowledged as the Son of God was not a part of His daily life. 

So, if you were not born in accordance with the status quo, don’t let it depress you – it is not something you caused or can change. Besides, you share very good company. Jesus is an overcomer. He can help you become one as well.

Throughout this year you will learn a lot about how God planned life and His views on things like marriage. God’s plan is perfect. It can save you unnecessary hurts in life.

There is power in living according to God’s plan. 

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to be sensitive to the pain of others and to be careful about decisions I make.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ loves me—Unconditionally!