Tough Love

SEPTEMBER 16

MATTHEW 7:4_Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye…

There are times when disciplinary action is the best solution. Hebrews 12:6 (KJV), “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”  

Notice, God equates punishment with love.  Why? Because if I see you heading over a cliff I’ll run and knock you down if I have to – in order to save your life. It would not matter if I had warned you many times a cliff was ahead. It would not matter if there were warning signs posted along the way. If you have a problem with rebellion, you are blind – not physically, but spiritually.

Proverbs 3:12 (KJV) follows the same love theme, “For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” This is what is known as tough love.

Love is motivated by what is best for the other person, regardless of what it may cost me. The Lord always administers discipline with love, but it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m sure the apostle Paul being blinded, half out of his mind, and unable to eat for three days, felt far from loved. He did not know if he would ever see again.

I’m sure he felt judged.   

PRAYER

Holy Redeemer, Help me know Your discipline comes from love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ loves enough to discipline—He loves me!

It Came From God

MARCH 29

MATTHEW 5:28_hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

If David had turned away when he saw Bathsheba the story would have a different ending. But he looked long enough for his heart to develop lust. The second look sealed his fate. 

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV), “For as he [mankind] thinketh in his heart, so is he …” Everyone obeys their heart. You’ve learned you think with your heart, and what’s inside the heart is who you are. If a man with such a heart as David, could fall so deeply into sin – pay attention to what Jesus teaches.

Because of the power of his position, it was no problem for David to have Bathsheba brought to him for an adulterous affair. That would have been bad enough; the consequences would have plagued him for life. But the adultery led to something deeper – murder. 

King David’s powerful position did not save him from severe punishment for his actions. His punishment did not come from man – it came from God.

David did not have enough political power to save himself from God’s judgment!  

Serious stuff!

PRAYER

Lord God, Teach me to be careful what I allow into my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                

Christ wants my heart to be pure—He can purify it!

Ever Felt That Pain?

 MARCH 17

MATTHEW 5:22 _But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…

Jesus’ explanation of His transformation of the Law begins with but I say unto you. The word but implies a change. The scales have balanced as far as killing and punishment, but if there is more to life than the physical, then there is another way in which to kill someone – anger. Ever felt that pain?

When Jesus refers to your brother, it is not biological, but a fellow human being. Perhaps it particularly means a Christian brother. Anger shown between Christians must be very painful to Jesus. After all, these are the people who claim to be His disciples. The people who are supposed to be salt. The people who are supposed to be light. Even if what they say is right, when it is said in hot tempered anger, it destroys any good which may be done. 

Anger wounds the spirit and is very destructive to the soul of the one it has inflicted. Anger is also destructive to the soul of the one doing the inflicting. This is not just losing your temper. This is malicious, mean anger. To destroy fellow humans with mean-tempered, explosive, anger, is in the category of those who kill.

Once again, life is serious business.

PRAYER

Merciful God, Help me not to be an angry person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ makes us brothers—He wants me to be patient!

The Whosoevers

MARCH 5

MATTHEW 5:19_but whosoever shall do…

The all-inclusive whosoever takes a turn for the better. The universal laws of right and wrong ring true for everyone – i.e., the whosoevers.

Wrong ultimately ends in some type of punishment. It may be punishment by our earthly law system, or it may be punishment by life itself. Life is governed by God. It is subject to those principles He included in creation. Let’s look a little further.

There are wrong-doers who get by with their crime – they are never caught by the law enforcers. No one can run or hide from their conscience. God’s creativeness overrules anything the world creates.

We cannot escape ourselves. Punishment by life itself – living with the agony of guilt.

The turn for the better is that doing what is right ultimately ends up with rewards. They may not always be public rewards, but God rewards life in ways no plaque, medal, or money can.

Simply to find your way to love, joy, and peace is to own more than anything money can buy.

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, I want to do what is right. I want to live out the truths You teach me – so I can be a salty-lit-up disciple. Thank You that You teach me how to live life through Your Word. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is love, joy, and peace—He gives those to me!

Nothing is Hid from God

MARCH 1

MATTHEW 5:19_of these least commandments…

To break the laws of the land carry different sentences. You expect to receive harsher punishment for murder than for misrepresenting your taxes. Both break a law and carry a punishment, but the severity of the crime equals the severity of the punishment. It is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

In this teaching, Jesus refers to breaking one of the least commandments. He leaves no room for a commandment to be too small to escape consequence. So if you think God won’t notice the bubble gum you slipped in your pocket and left the store without paying for it, think again. Remember this teaching is part of Jesus’ verlies – perk up, listen, pay attention! The store may never notice it, but nothing is hid from God.

The Creator calls you to take notice that God’s words matter. Life is serious business. Every thought you think, every word you speak, and every action you take is seen, heard, and known by the God of Heaven. They are also seen and heard by people all around you. They leave some kind of influence.

I Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV), “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” According to the Bible don’t even appear to be outside of God’s commands – whether you actually break them or not.  

PRAYER

Holy and Almighty God, I don’t want to break Your commandments, neither do I want to appear as though I have. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                        

Christ teaches God’s truths—I want to keep them!