Blows Me Away!

JUNE 22

MATTHEW 6:13_and the glory…

What is glory anyway? Merriam Webster defines it as worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; resplendence and magnificence. That’s the Lord God! 

God uses His authority and control for good – to give love and mercy to creation. We’ve already read I John 4:17 (KJV). It needs to be repeated along with verse 16. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

God’s love can dwell in me! I can stand bold on Judgment Day. I stand bold because the power of God’s love worked within me in this life. I don’t have to wait for eternity to love like God – I can do it now. God gives me the ability to share in His glory.

God’s love shining through me gives light to my surroundings. Because it is God’s love, it shines from me with resplendence and magnificence! That blows me away!

The kingdom, and the power, and the glory belong to the Holy God of Heaven. He wants to place it inside my heart. How can I turn that down?!          

PRAYER

Resplendent God, I praise Your glory! I worship You and all Your glory. I truly stand amazed in Your presence! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is Glory—I want His glory in my life!

A Salty Residue

MAY 2

MATTHEW 5:46_For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?

We like rewards, especially when we have worked hard to receive them. We like to see an accomplishment receive its due credit. 

In the kingdom of heaven, we don’t necessarily work to be rewarded – but God does use that system. Our work for God is to love His people by being salt and light in a dark and thirsting world. The fact that God rewards us for that is a blessing.

Just because we love those who love us does not win a blue ribbon. Jesus said even tax collectors (publicans) can do that. Let’s take a moment and clarify tax collectors. In case either or both of your parents work for the IRS, don’t think they are the chief of sinners. During Jesus’ earth time, Israel was occupied by the Romans. The Romans demanded taxes from the Israelites. Tax collectors were considered enemies. Hebrews who worked for the Roman government to collect taxes from their fellow neighbors were considered traitors. Rome allowed the Hebrew tax collectors to charge extra for themselves (under the table). Therefore, if Jesus wanted to leave a graphic image of the worst of sinners, tax collectors were a good choice. Jesus says even bad or weak people can love those who love them.

And for the record, Jesus taught to pay taxes – even if they went to Caesar. But He did not defend the Hebrew who stole extra tax money.

Returning good for evil leaves a salty residue.

PRAYER

God of Love, Please don’t let my love be weak, let it be powerful. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ loves those who don’t love Him—He helps me to!

Jesus Hands the Broom to You

MARCH 21

MATTHEW 5:23_Therefore, if thy bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberst that thy brother has ought against thee;

Don’t be confused about altars. When you come to Jesus’ salvation altar, come with your broken, bleeding, messed up life. This is the time to ask Jesus into your life. He accepts you just as you are. It’s Jesus’ job to clean you up. His full forgiveness is immediate. Then He begins the process to repair the breaks, bind the wounds, and sweep up the mess you call your life. This doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen.

Jesus cleanses like Dove™ – He is not a soap, He is a beauty bar!

The altar in this verse comes after your salvation experience. You are ready and eager to serve Jesus. You come because you want to be a part of the earthly kingdom of heaven. Now Jesus hands the broom to you.

If there are people in your past with wounds you’ve inflicted, Jesus wants you to repair the wounds as much as is possible on your part. 

Possibly the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t like this teaching. They believed the Law had to do with loving God, not people. Jesus says the two go together. This is why the Scribes and Pharisees did not know the Messiah when they saw His miracles, or heard Him teach unconditional love.

Neither did they know Him when they slapped Him in the face, spat upon Him, or saw Him die in their place – and asked God to forgive them.

PRAYER

Forgiving God, Praise You that You take me just as I am. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ accepts me—He makes the necessary changes!

Who Reigns on Your Throne?

MARCH 13

MATTHEW 5:20_you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

If the kingdom of heaven is within you, it is in your heart. What is in your heart calls you to discipleship. You become disciples to whomever or whatever reigns on the heart’s throne. If Christ does not reign on the throne, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, and this time that works whether the kingdom is part of this earthly life, or it is eternal life.

The hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees were full of religion. They would have had to make room for Jesus to reign there. If Jesus reigned in their hearts, they would have known who He was. 

The Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness was self-righteousness, thriving on self-glory and power. The righteousness in the kingdom of heaven thrives on doing good by serving others, which glorifies God. The heart, being the center of your thoughts, makes the decision as to who you want your life to glorify – self or God.

You have only one chance to live this life. If your goal is to use your life to make a difference in the world for good – then you’ve got Jesus’ righteousness.

The world will recognize Jesus when it sees your righteousness.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Thank You that You can be seen in me. Thank You that through Your power I can do Your works. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ reigns in hearts—I want Him in mine!

How Is That Possible?

MARCH 9

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus asks us to compare our righteousness to that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If we’d been trained and educated in the Law to the degree they had, we’d be one of them.

Look closer. Jesus does not want just a comparison. He wants our righteousness to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees! What? How can an average Sunday school, church-goer have more righteousness than the educated, religious power-people? 

Can it be that Jesus is not impressed with the Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness? How is that possible? They were all about the Law, and Jesus just finished teaching the importance of the Law. He taught He did not come to earth to destroy the Law.

Also, He had just taught that to break even the least commandment carries with it a heavy consequence – to be least in the kingdom of heaven! So, why does Jesus not stand in awe of the ones who spend their time teaching and observing it?

Hmm …

PRAYER

Holy God, I want my righteousness to be more than knowledge. Please teach me how to live it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ lives righteousness—He wants me to do that too!