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!

All the Time!

 JUNE 14

MATTHEW 6:12_our debts…

Your sin debt is too great. You will never be able to pay it. It will remain in God’s ledger for eternity. To pay the debt according to the law keepers, you will have to keep every law, on your own – no indwelling Holy Spirit’s power. Humanly impossible!

To pay the debt according to Jesus, you will have to have a pure heart – likewise impossible! This looks like some kind of double jeopardy. You need a solution that can overcome the impossible! Where can you find that? Oh, wait! You have a key!

Use the key, unlock the treasure chest, and discover something incredible. The Messiah Savior has already solved the problem! He gave His life to cover all your debts. Only Jesus could do it because only He is the perfect Son of God. 

To make things even better, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in your heart. The Spirit draws you further and further away from sin and causes you to hunger for holiness. Your taste for sin diminishes. When you do sin, the Spirit sends conviction. You humbly ask the Father for forgiveness. I John 1:9 (KJV), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God is good all the time and, all the time God is good!       

PRAYER

Holy Savior, Thank You for paying my sin debt which I could never pay.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Savior—He saves me!

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!

One and the Same

MARCH 11

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

It is easy enough to get to know the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees – simply read their encounters with Jesus. If anyone on the planet should have known who Jesus was – it was they. 

The Scribes and Pharisees knew all the prophesies in the Scriptures. They knew there was to be the coming of a Messiah. They knew all the details, but because they studied with their head and not their heart, they didn’t recognize the Messiah when they met Him face to face! They needed wisdom, understanding, and the right kind of knowledge for that, and they hadn’t gained any – not a smidgen. 

The ultimate way to have recognized Jesus was by His love. First, they had to be able to know the love of God. If they spent a lifetime studying the Law, but not been in touch with God enough to know His love, they missed the whole point.

Jesus said they should have recognized Him by His miracles. His miracles were instigated by love, so love and Jesus’ miracles were actually one and the same.

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Help me recognize the miracle of love You work in my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s miracles are love—He will work them in me!

He Does It All!

OCTOBER 6

MATTHEW 7:9_Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask…

One of the great mysteries of the spiritual life is the Trinity. The Triune God who functions as three-in-one. 

The Bible teaches God can function as the Eternal Father, the Jehovah-Jireh provider, and as the I AM. The Bible teaches this same God can function as the Son, the Creator of all that exists, and as the Christ, the Messiah who saves for eternity all who believe. The Bible also teaches this same God can function as the indwelling Holy Spirit, who comforts, who teaches, and who guides. No wonder He is all-powerful—He does it all! 

Jesus calls God, Father. So do I. Jesus taught to pray to God as My Father, which art in Heaven. As a Jesus follower, you are a child of God. II Corinthians 1:3 (KJV), “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” Be comfortable in God because He loved you before you loved Him. 

God wanted King David to know how to call upon Him. Psalm 89:27 (KJV), “He [King David … and me] shall cry unto me [God], Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”

God is all those things to me.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I stand in awe of You and worship You as my Father. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ teaches me God is my Father—I am His child!