All the Hard Labor That Goes With It

OCTOBER 25

MATTHEW 7:13_and many there be which go in thereat.

There are reasons many enter at the wide gate. It is tempting, accessible, and allows for baggage. It’s easy—all you have to do is follow the crowd, which requires neither intelligence (no decisions to make), nor courage (won’t be standing alone). 

It takes little strength to do what’s wrong. It requires no thought process—just follow your natural instincts. There is no submission, do what you want to do. Simply do what pleases you, and what pleases the people with you. There is no accountability for your actions. Personal responsibility will not be following you around. In short: No rules, No standards, No boundaries. Sounds exactly like the Land of Cocagne in the story of Pinocchio. 

Pinocchio made the decision to become responsible and obedient. There was a reward for that—he would become a real boy. But when his friend, Candlewick, described the carefree land of excessive pleasures, the temptation was too strong (for a heart without Jesus). Rather than becoming a real boy, he became a real donkey—and all the hard labor that goes with it.

In The Merchant of Venice, 1600, Shakespeare said it like this, “All that glitters is not gold.”

Very seldom is the easy way the best way.

PRAYER

Merciful Jesus, Help me follow Your way—not the easy way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.        

Christ wants me to be bold and courageous—I will be!

You Are Precious in God’s Sight

OCTOBER 17

MATTHEW 7:11_how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?

You are precious in God’s sight. Never let the devil tell you otherwise. 

What Jesus is teaching in this verse is a kind of comparison lesson between earthly fathers and the heavenly Father. If you are blessed with a responsible and loving father, never cease to praise God for him. If you have an adoptive or foster father, as many people in the Bible had, praise God for bringing you together as family. 

Pray for your father. He faces tremendous responsibilities that you are not old enough to fully understand. Do everything in your power to support, help, and encourage him. Make your gratefulness known to him—don’t just assume he knows it. And more than anything love and respect him.

If an earthly father will meet your needs, because he hears you when you ask—what are the capabilities of your heavenly Father? He is the owner of the universe. His love and compassion are as big as His kingdom—which knows no end. 

If your earthly father experience did not go well—you have the opportunity for an even closer relationship with your heavenly Father.  

PRAYER

Owner of the Universe, Help me see the vastness of Your power and love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                 

Christ’s abilities are boundless—He uses them for me!

Its Own Package of Pain

OCTOBER 12

MATTHEW 7:10_Or if he ask…

Hebrews 12:7 (KJV), “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

When God disciplines you He considers you His child. He makes something else very plain—the child who is loved will be disciplined. When you’re old enough to be in authority and you love people, you will help them be accountable for their actions. Why? Because you are old enough to know the boomerang effect of lack of personal responsibility. You know it from your personal life, and you know it from other peoples’ mistakes. You also know by this time that life brings its own package of pain. There is no need in crowding your life with self-created pain. 

The apostle John repeats this concept in the final book of the Bible, Revelation 3:19 (KJV), “As many as I [Jesus] love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” 

In God’s plan for life, parents and children are to be bound together in love. Discipline and love go together. Parents and children go together. The four of them together are God’s perfect plan.

Colossians 3:14 (KJV), “And above all these things put on charity [perfect love], which is the bond of perfectness.”

PRAYER

Lord of Love, Please bind my family together in love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ wants love to hold families together—I do too!

Ask!

SEPTEMBER 28

MATTHEW 7:7_Ask…

What would life be like if you never asked questions? You would never learn even a fraction of the knowledge available – just for the asking.  

People who love you want you to ask. If they have knowledge about something which could be of help to you, they want to share with you. But if there is no communication, they are not aware of your needs. Asking reveals needs. That’s what it’s all about. 

When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac, the servant prayed, Genesis 24 (KJV):’12 And he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.”

That was a wise servant. He didn’t want to take on such a big responsibility without asking for God’s help.

And by the way, he received exactly what he asked for.

PRAYER

Lord God, I need You to teach me how to ask, and when. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                 

Christ desires me to ask for His help – I will!

Just Keep Your Word

APRIL 14

MATTHEW 5:37_But let your communication be, yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Jesus’ conclusion to this lesson is awesome. Just say yes or no! James 5:12 (KJV), “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”

It may be a little difficult for us to understand all this swearing by something, but it was very big in the culture of Jesus’ and James’ (Jesus’ half-brother) day.

Why wouldn’t we just say yes or no? It seems we think we can’t be trusted to mean what we say on its own. We have to add some kind of emphasis.

The only thing to help us be honest and responsible in what we say is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus and James both teach anything more than just yes or no can lead to trouble. Jesus calls it evil. James calls it condemnation. It’s bad either way. Either way can draw you more into the world’s ways. Be a person who keeps promises.

Don’t say one thing and do another.

Keep promises, even if it costs more than planned.

Be honest in everything – words and actions.

Be a person of integrity. 

Jesus teaches just keep your word and don’t swear at all.

PRAYER

Father God, Thank You for helping me to become an honest person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ is always honest—He wants me to be honest!