All the Hard Labor That Goes With It

OCTOBER 25

MATTHEW 7:13_and many there be which go in thereat.

There are reasons many enter at the wide gate. It is tempting, accessible, and allows for baggage. It’s easy—all you have to do is follow the crowd, which requires neither intelligence (no decisions to make), nor courage (won’t be standing alone). 

It takes little strength to do what’s wrong. It requires no thought process—just follow your natural instincts. There is no submission to rules or regulations, do what you want to do. Simply do what pleases you, and what pleases the people with you. There is no accountability for your actions. Personal responsibility will not be following you around. In short: No rules, No standards, No boundaries. Sounds exactly like the Land of Cocagne in the story of Pinocchio. 

Pinocchio made the decision to become responsible and obedient. There was a reward for that—he would become a real boy. But when his friend, Candlewick, described the carefree land of excessive pleasures, the temptation was too strong (for a heart without Jesus). Rather than becoming a real boy, he became a real donkey—and all the hard labor that goes with it.

In The Merchant of Venice, 1600, Shakespeare said it like this, “All that glitters is not gold.”

Very seldom is the easy way the best way.

PRAYER

Merciful Jesus, Help me follow Your way—not the easy way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.        

Christ wants me to be bold and courageous—I will be!

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!

Love and Acceptance

SEPTEMBER 7

MATTHEW 7:2_ye shall be judged…

In whatever form of discipline is considered best, children, and plenty of adults, need correction. Ever heard of a jail called a correctional facility? Wise judgment is discipline with love and acceptance.

“Because you were disciplined does not mean you are a bad person, you are a beautiful person. God loves you. I love you.”

A case of poor judgment is if boundaries are never verbally set, or written, yet they are enforced. The violator is judged guilty without ever having had an opportunity to obey by understanding the rules.

Another case of poor judgment is after someone has apologized, or made right, or been disciplined – the violation is not erased. A situation arises for someone to perform some kind of task – the previous violator is never given a chance: “The last time I trusted you with …”

The one who violated, trespassed, or knocked over the boundaries, is bound to their past. No opportunity is given for renewed trust and worth. Judgment has been passed before an opportunity to show trustworthiness is given. This is not the kind of judgment you want to return to you.

Give everyone the kind of trust you want given you.  

PRAYER

God Who Hears, It is so easy to judge. Your wisdom and grace will change me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                   

Christ does not want poor judgment—He will help me!

Wise Judgment

SEPTEMBER 6

MATTHEW 7:2_For with what judgment ye judge…

Ephesians 6:1-4 (KJV), “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” There is night and day difference in the discipline of a child by spanking, and child abuse. To abuse a child verbally and physically and call it discipline shows a lack of judgment. Discipline administered with hot tempered anger causes more damage than it ever will cause good. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”   

Some Christians believe in spanking young children, and others do not. The core is to help children grow up to become responsible and discerning. Placing boundaries, and enforcing them (otherwise they are futile), is the best way to guide little ones. When boundaries are crossed there has to be some type of discipline.   

Today’s verse focuses on using wise judgment, because how you judge is how you will be judged. Wise judgment will always be founded upon love.  Firmness laced with some calmness administers discipline in a positive way.

Anger and name calling destroy obedience and respect – not wise judgment.

PRAYER

Loving Father, Help me know my judgment will come back to me.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                   

 Christ teaches wise judgment—He teaches me to obey!

Jesus Lures

AUGUST 27

MATTHEW 6:33_and his righteousness…

Jesus gives you something specific to seek in the kingdom of God, righteousness. God’s righteousness is to obey His principles and live in them.

When you seek God’s kingdom you discover His righteousness. One more example of you can’t have one without the other. You are designed to seek that relationship. Jesus lures you to it.

This relationship has been compared to courtship. Jesus proposes – He hopes you will say yes. When you do, then just like finding gold at the end of the rainbow – you find His righteousness. Notice, the seeking turned from Jesus seeking you to you seeking Him … and His righteousness.

God’s principles are steadfast. They have been since the beginning of time. They do not weaken or fade with time. They are as solid in the book of Genesis as they are in the book of Revelation. They are foundation material – something on which to build your life. 

Deuteronomy 33:27 (KJV), “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms …”

Wow! The everlasting arms are the foundation material upon which to build your house!

Righteousness is something God rewards, II Samuel 22:21 (KJV) “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness ….”

You can’t be righteous on your own – seek God’s righteousness!      

PRAYER

Righteous Father, I want Your righteousness for the foundation of my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is righteousness—He will teach me!