Jesus Turns to Nature

JULY 31

MATTHEW 6:26_Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns…

Jesus turns to nature. Consider birds, their work habits. 

I love to watch birds. I keep my feeders full, and water in the bird bath. It is a joy to watch the birds flock to the feeders. Don’t get me started on squirrels and my feeders (don’t want to discuss demons at this time).

During the season, I make nectar and keep my hummingbird feeders full. 

The birds did not plant the black oil sunflower seed I pour into the feeder. Neither did they harvest the seed, nor separate the seed from the hull. The hummers did not plant and grow the cane, nor go through the process of pressing, extracting, etc., to produce the sugar I use to make nectar. 

It is true that all the birds in my yard will eat well without my feeders, and without me. Genesis 1 (KJV), “11 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.”

God had provision on His mind before He created who would need it.   

PRAYER

God Who is the First and the Last, Thank You that You know my needs before I need them. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ provides—I receive!

The Devil Hates Freedom

JULY 17

MATTHEW 6:20_where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.

No one can steal your spiritual gifts. The devil will do everything he can to do just that. He wants to discredit all of the fruits of the Spirit. When you are having a bad day, and the fruits don’t appear to be producing – the devil targets your soul. He whispers in your mind, will, and emotions that you have no love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, or temperance (self-control). He tries to convince you that you are too low on God’s list for Him to give you these gifts. You are not the only one he accuses of being unworthy of the kingdom. The devil targets all believers. 

The devil calls out all the demons in his deadly arsenal to attack you. He sends them to steal the virtues the Spirit bestows – lest you receive the fruit of freedom. The devil hates freedom. That’s why he hits you when you are down.

When your heart is broken, where is your joy?  When your future plans have fallen apart, where is your peace? When you feel God has deserted you, where is your faith? Times will come when you feel like this but …

The devil does not have the power to steal your treasures in heaven.    

PRAYER

Compassionate Jesus, I ask You to rebuke the devil when he taunts my soul. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ rebukes the devil—He will do it for me!

It Just Can’t Be Done

JULY 16

MATTHEW 6:20_But lay up for yourselves treasures  in heaven…

When you are consumed with something it fills your life. It takes over all your space – no room for anything else.

The love of wealth is so consuming that the fruits of the Spirit have no growing space. The sad thing is those fruits are what every human craves. Bondage to wealth deceives. You believe wealth can buy what will satisfy your cravings. It just can’t be done. The fruits which the Spirit produces in you cannot be bought with money.

The first three fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace are the most sought after virtues in existence. The wealthiest people on the planet would give their treasure to possess those virtues. These are virtues God uses to reward salty-lit-up disciples of Jesus. People who are not disciples have a thing going with their love of money – believing eventually it will satisfy. 

Acts 5:1-3 (KJV) tells a story of the bondage of wealth: “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, … But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?'”

Peter said Ananias could have kept all his money. But when Ananias lied to keep from giving all, his money bondage was his destruction. 

PRAYER

Magnificent Jesus, I want space for Your fruits to grow in my soul. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ cultivates fruit in me—I will give Him space!

Now and Later

JULY 15

MATTHEW 6:20_But lay up for yourselves treasures  in heaven…

Jesus approaches His climax to this principle. The place to hoard your treasures is in heaven. So, how are you going to deposit your paycheck into the Bank of Heaven? Very simple – understand what is truly valuable in this life.

Think of heavenly treasure as a candy – Now and Later. All eternal treasures do not require you to be living in heaven. You can enjoy their flavor now and after this life has ended – unlike earthly possessions. 

Rather than candy, the Bible calls these eternal possessions fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Notice the end of verse 23, “against such there is no law. When your heart is consumed with these fruits, you can live free – unlike lusts of the earth which create bondage. God says He has no laws against the Fruits of the Spirit.

All the wealth in this life cannot buy these fruits – not even one. They come freely as you feed, nurture, and cultivate your spirit through relationship, prayer, and Bible study.

Your spirit begins to produce fruit.

PRAYER

Magnificent Jesus, Help me possess heavenly treasures in my soul. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s treasure is in heaven—He wants mine to be!

A Fly in the Ointment

  JUNE 15

MATTHEW 6:12_as we forgive our debtors.

When God pays your sin debt, the kicks you used to experience in sin begin to disappear. If they don’t, then in the words of the great Miss Clavel, “Something is not right!” (Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans). You sin because it supplies some kind of satisfaction. It may be physical, emotional, or financial. When it no longer produces satisfaction (which is the nature of sin), you sink deeper and deeper into sin. The deeper, the harder to come out.  

When redeemed by the Savior, sin begins to lose its hold. There is no joy in sin for the saved. Just when things look good for the debtor, Jesus adds another piece to the pattern.

He lets a fly in the ointment!

Jesus’ prayer causes vertical forgiveness (from God to you) to be based on horizontal forgiveness (from you to your offenders). That means you pray God to forgive you in the way you forgive those who wrong you.

I declare! Jesus just won’t let you get by with anything! That takes a lot of love!

If you confess, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness, why should that have anything to do with those who wronged you? They need to do their own confessing! More of those natural instincts of your hard heart.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is your offenders and their confession is between them and God. You forgiving them is between you and God.

A clear sign you have been redeemed is you want to forgive. Old sins lose their grip and hard hearts soften!       

PRAYER

Great Redeemer, Thank You for not only saving me, but changing me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                               

Christ redeems me—He changes me!