A Destructive Weapon

OCTOBER 18

MATTHEW 7:12_Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…

Jesus leaves no room to pick and choose when it comes to how you should treat people. It’s just like Him to say all things. You can wiggle and squirm, but you can’t get past all things. This principle is like the judgment boomerang—only dish out what you would want dished to you.

Here’s an example. This is something most people do without thinking, and would never call it by its name. Yet, it is one of the most destructive weapons in any relationship, at any age, or stage of life. Gossip!

Stop and ask yourself, would you want someone to gossip about you? Then ask yourself if you gossip about others. Take physical features for example. Do you talk about, criticize, or make fun of the physical features of others behind their back? Perhaps the one you are (let’s go ahead and say it) gossiping about has some kind of defect. For whatever reason, you just feel like it is your duty to spread the news around. But then of course, maybe you were born beautiful. Somehow that justifies your gossip.

Perhaps you have a defect that, though it is not physical, it is just as easily seen—time for a heart exam.   

PRAYER

God of Heaven and Earth, Help me treat others as I want to be treated. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                 

Christ treats me with compassion—He teaches me how!

Sounds Strange

OCTOBER 14

MATTHEW 7:11_If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children…

Does Jesus say even the evil know how to treat their children well? No way! Actually, it sounds like He’s calling all of us evil! 

Jesus agrees with what we’ve already learned – we’re all evil and have those hard hearts. That’s why we need The Savior. That’s why we need The Great Transformer. That’s why we need The Great Healer. And this is another reason to stay away from judging. How can one sinner judge another? 

Those of us who made a decision to become salty-lit-up disciples of Jesus are saved sinners. We are not any better than unsaved sinners, because the only righteousness we have comes from Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself. We didn’t get it by being good. We got it by accepting a free (to us) gift from The Savior (who paid the ultimate price to give it to us).

I realize I’m putting myself out there by saying this, but I believe sometimes evil people can treat their children well. I believe God can use evil people to do good works for Him. I know that sounds strange, but King Solomon knew it. 

Proverbs 21:1(KJV), “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”

PRAYER

King of Kings, Thank You for the miraculous ways You take care of me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                               

Christ can use anyone for my good—I praise Him for that!

Be Grateful!

OCTOBER 10

MATTHEW 7:10_Or if he ask…

If you’ve been disobedient and disrespectful to your father, expect him to discipline you—and be grateful for it! If your earthly father has been disobedient and disrespectful to the Heavenly Father, he can expect the same … from the Father!

An earthly father’s discipline comes directly from the Heavenly Father. It is painfully designed to restore a lost relationship. This is a time for you to be patient and compassionate. This is not a time to gloat or have any pleasure in your father’s chastisement (or anyone else you see under God’s disciplinary rod). And there is never a time in life for you to have any kind any kind of superiority attitude toward your father. In the first place, you don’t know what God is up to, or His ultimate plan … which may involve you! 

Only those in authority should administer judgment. You are not in an authoritative position, your father is. Your father is under the authority of God and you are under the authority of them both. Trust God to do what is best for your father. Trust Him to teach your father to do what is best for you.

If you have a father who would give you a stone when you ask bread, find a Christian leader you can confide in to help you. 

PRAYER

Loving Father, Help me be respectful and obedient to my authorities. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ wants me respectful and obedient—He helps me!

Jesus Gives Back Life

SEPTEMBER 24

MATTHEW 7:5_and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Only the Pharisees and Jesus knew why they did not bring the man to their stoning party. Perhaps the woman had been lured into a carefully planned trap? We don’t know. But regardless of the circumstances of the event, we know this—she left that day free. 

She was guilty. She stood before powerful figures who could lawfully execute her, but she walked away unharmed. Those powerful figures were unable to complete their scheme because their own hearts condemned them. The Pharisees’ guilt hit them squarely in the face and there was nothing they could do but walk away.

When Jesus sent the woman away He said to her “go, and sin no more.” Those who want to look at this as Jesus excusing adultery miss the mark. Jesus didn’t excuse anything—He freed a woman from bondage. He gave her back her life with instruction to live it differently in the future. From the day we receive Jesus into our hearts, He does the same thing for each of us.

He was also pointing out one more thing. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was so great it overshadowed the sin of the woman. She walked away free, and they guilty.           

PRAYER

Lord of All,                                                                                                              

You have given me life and set me free—praise Your name! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ gives back life to the lost—He says sin no more!

Convicting Power

SEPTEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

There were some missing parts of John 8 in our September 19 devotional. Let’s read them now: “6 … But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

I can’t help but see some humor in this. Knowing their hearts and the hypocrisy of the entire incident, Jesus ignored them. Perhaps He hoped that if He ignored them they would go away. No such luck. Since they wouldn’t go away, Jesus addressed them, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’”

Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head! Jesus sent conviction directly to their hard hearts.

Wouldn’t you love to know what He was writing – I would! Perhaps He was writing the man’s name. Maybe the man was even … a Pharisee! One thing is for certain, the Scribes and Pharisees cared nothing about the woman and intended for this to end in her death. She was only a pawn in their game to ensnare Jesus.

Regardless of what He wrote, it had enough convicting power to cause them to drop their stones and walk away. 

The religious leaders blew their whole scheme. They were the ones humiliated before the crowd in the temple, not Jesus.        

One last teaching about this lesson – tomorrow!

PRAYER

True Shepherd,  Lead me to the place of freedom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.  

Christ is the True Shepherd—He defends me against evil!