Ask!

SEPTEMBER 28

MATTHEW 7:7_Ask…

What would life be like if you never asked questions? You would never learn even a fraction of the knowledge available – just for the asking.  

People who love you want you to ask. If they have knowledge about something which could be of help to you, they want to share with you. But if there is no communication, they are not aware of your needs. Asking reveals needs. That’s what it’s all about. 

When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac, the servant prayed, Genesis 24 (KJV):’12 And he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.”

That was a wise servant. He didn’t want to take on such a big responsibility without asking for God’s help.

And by the way, he received exactly what he asked for.

PRAYER

Lord God, I need You to teach me how to ask, and when. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                 

Christ desires me to ask for His help – I will!

A Big Stick

SEPTEMBER 18

MATTHEW 7:4_and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

According to Zechariah 2:8 (KJV), God considers Israel as the apple of His eye, “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me [an angel] unto the nations which spoiled you [Israel]: for he that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple of his [God’s] eye.”

Paul saw Israel and the Jews as the apple of God’s eye. He saw Christians as a blot in God’s eye. He could not see the true blot – his own sect, the Pharisees.

God saw the fervor with which Paul attacked Christians. And because God sees the heart, it was clear Paul’s fervor came from love and devotion to God. It was that love and devotion which caused God to choose Paul (not the other way around) to become a two-fold fixer for His beloved Israel.

God used Paul’s great zeal to publically proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. This cleared away the beam from the eyes of any Pharisees with a true heart for God. God also used Paul’s zeal to bring salvation to the Gentiles – the Messiah died for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Because Paul was so far off the path, God used a big stick (discipline) to straighten him out.

Then God used Paul in an amazing way.    

PRAYER

Holy God, Please use my zeal to share Your truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ chooses to use me in the world—I will let Him!

Tough Love

SEPTEMBER 16

MATTHEW 7:4_Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye…

There are times when disciplinary action is the best solution. Hebrews 12:6 (KJV), “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”  

Notice, God equates punishment with love.  Why? Because if I see you heading over a cliff I’ll run and knock you down if I have to – in order to save your life. It would not matter if I had warned you many times a cliff was ahead. It would not matter if there were warning signs posted along the way. If you have a problem with rebellion, you are blind – not physically, but spiritually.

Proverbs 3:12 (KJV) follows the same love theme, “For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” This is what is known as tough love.

Love is motivated by what is best for the other person, regardless of what it may cost me. The Lord always administers discipline with love, but it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m sure the apostle Paul being blinded, half out of his mind, and unable to eat for three days, felt far from loved. He did not know if he would ever see again.

I’m sure he felt judged.   

PRAYER

Holy Redeemer, Help me know Your discipline comes from love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ loves enough to discipline—He loves me!

Fixers

SEPTEMBER 15

MATTHEW 7:4_Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye…

We all lean toward being fixers. At times, that comes from a pure heart. We really just want to stop the pain of someone we love. It is much easier to bear our own hurt than to see someone we love hurting. If we can find any way at all, we’re going to put a stop to that pain.

When motivated by genuine love we’ll give our money, our possessions, our time, and our whole heart, because we love someone else more than ourselves. In general, that is not a bad thing.

There are ways in which being a fixer can cause more harm than good. God has a pure heart. He never wants to see His loved ones hurting. He wants us free from hurt, but also free from causing hurt.

Trials and suffering are a part of the path we must follow as disciples. When we see our loved ones going through a God-ordained trial (suffering for righteousness sake), or a self-ordained trial (making poor decisions) we may want to ease their pain. It is best to comfort those we love through their trials. If we interfere and fix the problem, they may never develop the character needed to fully achieve God’s purpose for their life.

God can use either type of trial, His ordained trial or our self-made trial, for our good.

His is much easier!

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Help me know when to fix a problem, and when to wait. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                   

Christ can use all kinds of problems—for my good!

A Mote, Not a Beam

SEPTEMBER 14

MATTHEW 7:3_And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

If your heart dwells on the truth of God’s love and mercy, you will understand you were saved while you were a sinner. That can be a beam – if you do not understand you are as guilty a sinner as anyone on the face of the earth. The only reason you find any freedom is because Christ paid your debt – with His life. 

As you grow in faith, begin to dwell on who you are in Jesus. It truly is amazing!

John 8:32 (KJV) “And ye shall know the truth [Jesus], and the truth shall make you free.”

Romans 8:37 (KJV) “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him [Jesus] that loved us.”

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Mark 11:23 (KJV) “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

Matthew 19:26 (KJV) “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’”

To hold someone accountable does not mean you stand in judgment of them—it means you love them.

To judge someone as unworthy of mercy is to see a mote, not a beam.

PRAYER

God of the Impossible, I want Your kind of mercy—that loves and saves. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ’s love can save me—from anything!