A Servant Heart

NOVEMBER 21

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

Jesus applied this principle to the Scribes and the Pharisees. They used their power to hold worshipers in bondage to fear. Jesus exposed their hypocrisy numerous times. Hypocrisy is definitely a way of knowing false prophets by their fruit. Those who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk—a dead giveaway.

People in the public eye are generally there because of their political or financial power, or because of their celebrity status. In either of these cases, you know them by their deeds. If you happen to be a fan, be careful to not only watch their abilities, but listen to their views. If their views don’t line up with your Biblical convictions—don’t become an imitator (doesn’t mean you can’t still be a fan of their talent).

The greatest power figure of all time was Jesus.  Mark 10:42-45 (KJV), “42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, ‘Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Please give me a servant heart that bears fruit for You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                                   

Christ had great power – And a humble heart!

The Devil Himself!

OCTOBER 31

MATTHEW 7:15_Beware…

Beware! The Greek translation for beware is the same as our English—take heed, be on guard against. Time to listen to Jesus! 

Beware is a stronger word than the previous words or phrases Jesus has used to introduce a new subject. He has used introductions to tell you to pay attention, to perk up, and to wake up: (just in case you were napping during His sermon). This new topic He introduces calls for more than your attention. It calls for caution.

This new principle is easy to fall prey to if you are not on your guard. Actually this one is a perfect descriptive of the great deceiver—the devil himself! 

In John 8:44 (KJV), Jesus says to the Scribes and Pharisees, “Ye [Scribes and Pharisees] are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

If you stay with Jesus for the next five verses He’ll give truth that will … once again … set you free!

PRAYER

Messiah, Help me to beware of Your teachings, and not be deceived. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                     

Christ wants us to beware of His teachings—I will!

Jesus Gives Back Life

SEPTEMBER 24

MATTHEW 7:5_and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Only the Pharisees and Jesus knew why they did not bring the man to their stoning party. Perhaps the woman had been lured into a carefully planned trap? We don’t know. But regardless of the circumstances of the event, we know this—she left that day free. 

She was guilty. She stood before powerful figures who could lawfully execute her, but she walked away unharmed. Those powerful figures were unable to complete their scheme because their own hearts condemned them. The Pharisees’ guilt hit them squarely in the face and there was nothing they could do but walk away.

When Jesus sent the woman away He said to her “go, and sin no more.” Those who want to look at this as Jesus excusing adultery miss the mark. Jesus didn’t excuse anything—He freed a woman from bondage. He gave her back her life with instruction to live it differently in the future. From the day we receive Jesus into our hearts, He does the same thing for each of us.

He was also pointing out one more thing. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was so great it overshadowed the sin of the woman. She walked away free, and they guilty.           

PRAYER

Lord of All,                                                                                                              

You have given me life and set me free—praise Your name! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ gives back life to the lost—He says sin no more!

Convicting Power

SEPTEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

There were some missing parts of John 8 in our September 19 devotional. Let’s read them now: “6 … But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

I can’t help but see some humor in this. Knowing their hearts and the hypocrisy of the entire incident, Jesus ignored them. Perhaps He hoped that if He ignored them they would go away. No such luck. Since they wouldn’t go away, Jesus addressed them, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’”

Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head! Jesus sent conviction directly to their hard hearts.

Wouldn’t you love to know what He was writing – I would! Perhaps He was writing the man’s name. Maybe the man was even … a Pharisee! One thing is for certain, the Scribes and Pharisees cared nothing about the woman and intended for this to end in her death. She was only a pawn in their game to ensnare Jesus.

Regardless of what He wrote, it had enough convicting power to cause them to drop their stones and walk away. 

The religious leaders blew their whole scheme. They were the ones humiliated before the crowd in the temple, not Jesus.        

One last teaching about this lesson – tomorrow!

PRAYER

True Shepherd,  Lead me to the place of freedom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.  

Christ is the True Shepherd—He defends me against evil!

Heavy Bondage

SEPTEMBER 22

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

The Scribes and Pharisees could not see or perceive as Jesus did. What Jesus saw in the heart of the adulteress woman was a mote in comparison to the judgmental beam in the hearts of the religious leaders. It was Jesus they were judging, far more than the woman.

Jesus did not set a precedent for a Get Out of Jail Free card for adultery. Remember, Jesus is about finding freedom! Adultery is heavy bondage. 

The Scribes and Pharisees were correct about their guilty verdict – adultery did carry a death sentence. However, there is a major flaw in their sanctimonious condemnation. AKA hypocrisy. Where was the man?

The law the Scribes and Pharisees were so anxious to have Jesus  enforce is found in Leviticus 20:10 (KJV), “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The only way she could be an adulteress was if she were married. If she was not, the man could consider her as a prostitute, or use her any way he wished. If this were all about law enforcement, seems that something is missing. 

Instead of answering their accusations, Jesus began to play around in the sand.     

We’re not through yet – keep following!

PRAYER

True God, Help me know You never want me in bondage—Free me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ does not make bondage easy – He frees!