You Decide

AUGUST 10

MATTHEW 6:29_that even Solomon…

Solomon is an interesting man. He was the son of King David and Bathsheba. He was not the son of their adulterous affair, as that son died shortly after birth. David repented of his departure from God’s path and God gave them other sons. God’s hand was on Solomon from birth. II Samuel 12:24 (KJV) records Solomon’s birth, “And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.” God loved Solomon from the day of his birth. This is specifically recorded in Scripture because of David’s deep repentance and God’s great mercy. Perhaps, it is a kind of peace offering between the two.

Because God loves you from the day you are born (and even before), He has a plan for your life. Your plan in life is unique to you. Otherwise the world would be a pretty odd place.

For life to function there must be leaders, and there must be followers. There must be teachers, and there must be students. There must be administrators, and there must be workers. There must be coaches, and there must be players. It’s how life works.

You have a natural response in your spirit to what God calls you to be. As always, you decide to follow or not.   

PRAYER

Dear Savior, Thank You that You loved me before I was born. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ calls me to a plan—He will show it to me!

Wow!

AUGUST 7

MATTHEW 6:28_Consider…

The Greek translation for the word consider in this verse is, to learn thoroughly, or to note accurately. Jesus wants you to learn something. Every word Jesus spoke was either to create, or heal, or comfort, or teach, or express love. He didn’t leave the beauty of heaven to sit around and share idle chatter. That is not to say He didn’t talk casually with people, it’s just He spoke with purpose – not idly.

Purpose is Jesus’ main objective. He thoroughly investigates our heart, and accurately notes what holds prominence in them. 

When Jesus began a ministry, He proclaimed His purpose in the temple. Luke 4:18 (KJV), “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

Jesus was reading from Isaiah 61. He let it be known that the fulfillment of that verse was standing before them. Now it was time for all people to thoroughly investigate and accurately note, who He was.

The word bruised in the Luke 4 verse translates, broken by calamity – wow!

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Help my heart to consider who You are. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows my complete person—I want to know His!

Because He Knew the Truth

JULY 8

MATTHEW 6:18_That thou appear not unto men to fast…

We have discussed how after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a time of great self-denial. Matthew 4:1-4 (KJV), “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

There were no people in this wilderness experience. Jesus did not have anyone to show-off His great piety for God. The devil came up with another form of temptation, since his, “See how good I am,” scheme would not work. The devil tempts Jesus to break the fast and eat. Jesus overcame the temptation because He knew the truth – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Jesus understood the purpose for His fast. He was led to fast in preparation for His earthly ministry. Jesus knew He needed this set-apart time.

You may think the cross was the only sacrifice Jesus made for you – but there is so much more.

PRAYER

Lord God, Praise You for all the sacrifices You made for me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ gave all of Himself—He did it to love me!

Not a Piece of Cake

 JULY 7

MATTHEW 6:17_and wash thy face.

Maybe Jesus added this instruction just in case you did pour that bucket of oil on your head! More likely, He added it as a way of saying, “Get up and prepare for the day just as you would any day.”

Food is the source of the body’s energy. When that source is denied energy begins to deplete. When you feel tired and lack energy, the sad, disfigured face could come naturally. Whether it is natural or not, Jesus does not want you to draw attention to your fast. He wants you up and at it. Jesus wants you to receive the blessing He has in store during this time of self-denial. 

Self-denial is not easy for whatever reason you are denying yourself, and certainly denying the body of its food source is no piece of cake. Hmm, that probably is not the best wording when discussing fasting. If the purpose of your fast is to be spiritually strengthened, trust that will happen. Once the fast is over, you may glean from your spiritual benefits for months to come.

Transformation is progressive. Some parts are instantaneous (like your love for Jesus), some come short term, and some transformations are a long term process. Only the One who loves and wants your very best will re-create you – so your spirit, not physical, controls your actions.

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Please give me the strength when I need to deny myself. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ denied Himself—He did it to love me!

A Specific Purpose

JULY 6

MATTHEW 6:17_But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head…

Jesus’ reference is not to a priestly anointing – it is more like a personal anointing. I don’t know if oil is used in this anointing. I see set-apartness with Jesus as the issue here.

When oil is used, it is used sparingly and discretely so as not to attract attention. After all, if you pour a bucket of oil on your head and walk around in public, people want to know what is going on. Be careful not to fall into the hypocrite category. 

When Jesus tells you to anoint your head, He is saying, “Get serious about your spiritual life if you are fasting.” There needs to be a specific purpose for this fast. It needs to be about increasing your relationship with Jesus.

Spiritual fasts are not about some extreme crash diet in order to lose weight. That is not a good idea even if the fast is not spiritual. Again, this is an adult thing.  Children and youth are growing bodies. Seldom will the Holy Spirit lead them to fast.

Fasting has nothing to do with causing you to be saved, or not. Don’t worry about such things. Trust your faith to grow, and the truth of the Bible to free you.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I trust You to grow my faith and to lead me to freedom. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ calls me to be set-apart for Him—I will!