Quench Your Thirst

NOVEMBER 20

MATTHEW 7:20_Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

You already know good fruit is salt and light. Salt that preserves the truth once it’s found. Salt that whets the appetite so you thirst for more truth. A thirst that can only be quenched by a relationship with Jesus. If you are being led to quench your thirst by anything other than Jesus—you will not produce good fruit. 

In Matthew 13 (KJV), Jesus tells a parable about planting seeds in different types of soil and how the seed responds to where it is planted: “19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground [heart] is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

PRAYER

Only Wise God, Please plant in my heart the words of Your kingdom. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.    

Christ plants His kingdom in my heart—I receive it!

The Key Word

OCTOBER 20

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

Matthew 18:15 (KJV), “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” In this example a trespass has been committed—someone has trespassed into your life. What is the key word in this verse which can keep you from falling into the gossip pit? Did you say alone? You got it!  The verse does not say spread the news around the whole neighborhood, or church. Deal with it between the two of you. Tell how you’ve been offended.

If private conversation has not resolved the problem you may need to take a couple of people with you to serve as witnesses to the conversation. If that doesn’t work, Jesus says for the two of you to take the matter before your church leaders. Let them resolve the issue. In neither of these cases are you advised to spread the offense outside of Jesus’ set boundaries.

Hopefully, a private conversation can resolve a personal offense. Often offenses are unintentional. You don’t always know how others may perceive what you say. 

Talk about it.

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Help me learn to speak carefully and not offend others. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                 

Christ set boundaries for offenses – I will not cross them!

A Fly in the Ointment

  JUNE 15

MATTHEW 6:12_as we forgive our debtors.

When God pays your sin debt, the kicks you used to experience in sin begin to disappear. If they don’t, then in the words of the great Miss Clavel, “Something is not right!” (Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans). You sin because it supplies some kind of satisfaction. It may be physical, emotional, or financial. When it no longer produces satisfaction (which is the nature of sin), you sink deeper and deeper into sin. The deeper, the harder to come out.  

When redeemed by the Savior, sin begins to lose its hold. There is no joy in sin for the saved. Just when things look good for the debtor, Jesus adds another piece to the pattern.

He lets a fly in the ointment!

Jesus’ prayer causes vertical forgiveness (from God to you) to be based on horizontal forgiveness (from you to your offenders). That means to ask God to forgive you in the way you forgive those who wrong you.

I declare! Jesus just won’t let you get by with anything. It takes a lot of love to hold people you love to accountability.

If you confess, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness, why should that have anything to do with those who wronged you? They need to do their own confessing.

This is more of those natural instincts of your hard heart.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is your offenders and their confession is between them and God. You forgiving them is between you and God.

A clear sign you have been redeemed is you want to forgive. Old sins lose their grip and hard hearts soften!       

PRAYER

Great Redeemer, Thank You for not only saving me, but changing me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                               

Christ redeems me—He changes me!

Make the Effort

MAY 15

MATTHEW 6:3_let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

Unfortunately, modern society encourages us to be offended by numerous things. Jesus doesn’t want us to be offended – He wants us to be overcomers. Romans 12:21 (KJV), “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Let’s just agree, left-handers will not be offended because Jesus implies the doing of alms is by the right hand. Personally, I believe Jesus was ambidextrous.

This is not a lesson on hand usage. This is a lesson on secret giving.

In this part of verse 3, Jesus uses graphics again. Picture in your mind to hide from your left hand something your right hand does. It would take some effort – either hiding the left hand behind your back, or in your pocket, or under something. Generally, both your hands are exposed to each other.

If your heart is dedicated to the Jesus lifestyle, you make the effort to live life Jesus’ way. 

Jesus knew the world operated on a right-handed system. The right hand thing emphasizes what comes natural to most of the world. It comes natural to want to make your gifts known – especially a large gift.

Turn 180 degrees, and keep it secret.

PRAYER

God of Heaven, I never want my ego to cause me to bask in the glory and praise of people, lest I think I don’t need You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ takes care of my needs—He wants me to believe!

Tied Up in Cords

MAY 3

MATTHEW 5:47_And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?

What is your first instinct when someone offends you? The silent treatment, right? “I won’t say anything mean – I just won’t say anything at all. As a matter of fact, I’ll never speak to them again!” Do you know there are actually people who live years without speaking to one another? Sadly, there are even those who go to their graves holding a grudge they never made an effort to resolve.

Matthew 18:18 (KJV), “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

I’m not taking any chances! I don’t want anyone going to heaven tied up in cords I placed on them because I was offended in some way. I want to loose grudge-holding cords in this life. I want to send the people in my life to heaven free from my grudges!  

If I don’t loose any and all cords of bitterness, Jesus says I’m not doing anything radical. No more than a non-Christian. Not setting an example. Not being salt and light. Nothing about me attracts the lost and the searchers.

Stay with me and see how Christ completes this part of His power-packed sermon!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Please don’t let me bind anyone, but free all who hurt me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                                   

Christ does not bind anyone—I must not either!