The Great Hope

APRIL 7

MATTHEW 5:32_But I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife…

You wouldn’t want to have open heart surgery without some kind of anesthetic. Even with an anesthetic, the entire process will not be a piece of cake. Expect pain. It will come. Pain is an inevitable part of the heart transformation process. Even if you choose to opt-out of Jesus’ heart surgery – pain is a part of the life process. If you are expecting a pain free, drama free, heart-break free, struggle free, or easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy-mac’n-cheesy (learned that from my niece, Mary) life – face reality!

If someone offers you something for nothing – beware! The good things don’t come easy. When you receive the results of your surgery, or the payment for your hard labor, or whatever you have suffered your way through to success, the pain is not something you dwell on. It was simply a means to an end. 

The Holy Spirit will help you focus on the facts. The fact you have a hard heart. The fact The Great Surgeon can transform your heart to love. The fact heart surgery transforms self-centeredness to self-sacrifice.   

All of life is all about decisions. The ultimate decision is to make the main thing (Jesus) the main thing. Make that decision first and you greatly lessen your chances of feeling compelled to put away your spouse.

Nobody enters a marriage expecting it to end in divorce. Sometimes things happen – don’t give up.

The Great Surgeon is also known as – The Great Hope!

PRAYER

God of Hope, Help me never lose hope that You can change any situation I bring to You for a cure.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ wants to give me hope—I will accept it!

A Natural Byproduct

MARCH 3

MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…

Jesus knows to live outside of Biblical principles brings heartbreaking consequences. He wants to protect you, not punish you. The punishment comes on its own – a natural byproduct when you make your own decisions of right and wrong. 

Jesus knows the world is too hard, too difficult, too deceiving for you to take on by yourself – so He gives you commandments to live by. These commandments are taught in the Old Testament by God’s chosen leaders and in the New Testament by Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knows even the least commandment is for your good. 

Jesus sees every tear you shed, hears every sigh of your heart, and knows every pain disappointments bring. He tries to save you as much pain as possible.

Suffering comes with life – period.  God’s commandments are a true safety to keep you from experiencing suffering unnecessarily. 

It is enough to bear the pain of having broken God’s commandment, but far worse is the guilt of having led others astray with you. 

PRAYER

Holy Lord, I don’t want to make my own suffering by breaking even Your least commandment. Let Your Word teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows all my pain—He wants to help me!

The Comfort of Jesus

 JANUARY 12

MATTHEW 5:4_for they shall be comforted.

Don’t you love the blessing Jesus has for the mournful? Comfort. If you go through a time of mourning wouldn’t you rather have comfort than anything else?

I see God’s created life with a cause and effect sequence. This sequence shows up in the laws God gave to Moses. It also shows up in the teachings of Jesus. Could the blessing of comfort depend upon why you are mourning? 

What is breaking your young tender heart? Cruelty? There certainly is plenty of reason to mourn there. Jesus experienced great cruelty, both verbally and physically. He understands your pain and desires to give you His comfort. Experiencing Jesus’ comfort is not something you can make happen. His comfort comes naturally as you grow in His love.    

On the other hand, are you mourning because you’re the only one in the class who doesn’t have the latest electronic gadget? That may not be the kind of mourning referred to here. It’s not that it doesn’t hurt. It hurts. To receive comfort, change thought patterns. What is important to you, having what people have or having what Jesus has?

Be comforted in knowing Jesus can give you a new heart. Let love rule your heart, not possessions.

PRAYER

Mighty God, You can give me a new life. Let me take comfort in Your love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ sees my heart—He can change it!

Jesus Feels our Pain

JANUARY 11

MATTHEW 5:4_Blessed are they that mourn…

Join me in saying, “Thank You, Jesus!” Jesus not only knows, hears, and understands my mourning, He blesses me for it!  How awesome is that? 

How beautiful to know there is One who cares when my heart breaks. One who saves all my tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8 KJV). Jesus comes to me in the midst of my pain. He takes the very thing which causes me deep sorrow and with time uses it to bless me! 

That seems impossible – especially when I am in the midst of my pain.

But He is the God of the Impossible.

Always has been.

Always is.

Always will be.

That in itself eases some of the pain.

If I have no sorrow, I live in Heaven – the eternal Heaven. That time has not come for me, or you.  Presently, I live in a fallen world where the devil and his powers of darkness are continually at work. And I mourn.   

It is up to me to allow Jesus to minister to me in my mourning, or to shut Him out.

There are sunny days in life for me to grasp. Holding Jesus’ hand helps me grasp them.

PRAYER

Merciful God, Praise You for feeling my pain, for feeling my hurts, for understanding my mourning. Praise You that I am never alone in my sorrow for You are always with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ hears my cries—He saves all my tears!                                              

More Like a Flood

DECEMBER 19

MATTHEW 7:27_and the floods came…

If the rain continues relentlessly, watch out for floods. Like many things in life, too much rain is not a good thing. 

Very young children learn mostly from experience. They also learn from instruction, but there is only so much their young minds can absorb.

You may be in the process of teaching them not to play so close to the edge of the porch. If they persist, it is because they don’t completely understand. For the strong-willed, it may be they don’t believe there is a problem. The strong-willed enjoy playing close to the edge. Without any form of discipline to enforce your warnings the inevitable is bound to happen. They fall off the edge and experience pain and fear. What the young mind couldn’t or wouldn’t comprehend was learned by association – with pain and fear. For the strong-willed that may not be a bad way to learn. This does not mean strong-willed children are bad. We need them! They just require a lot of training from parents.

When you’ve reached your teen years the edges in life can be a lot more dangerous. To give up the kind of play you enjoy might cause rain in your life. To experience pain and fear is more like a flood. If you submit to the advice of the people who love you, some floods will never occur.  

As you grow you will encounter far more dangerous situations than falling off a porch.

Move from soil to the Rock while you’re young.   

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Help me learn from the rains so I won’t have many floods! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ can teach me through rain—He saves me in floods!