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.
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!
MATTHEW 7:9_Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask…
To become a parent rates very high in the blessing category. Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV), “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
According to this verse, children are one of those ways God rewards His people. Arrows in the hand of a mighty man are powerful. If hunting is the goal, then the bow is no good without the arrows. The arrows are everything to achieving the purpose of the hunt. Fathers should realize the reward God gives them in children. They should feel strength and might in fatherhood, and they should feel happy.
I wish these verses were true in the life of every child who is born. However, since they are not, I pray for Malachi 4:6 (KJV) to become a reality, “And he [Elijah the prophet] shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers …”
As much as is possible in my tiny space in the world, I want to contribute to this becoming reality.
Pray for the fathers in your circle of life.
Lord Jesus, Help me feel the specialness that is mine as Your child. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ teaches children are a reward—I am one!
MATTHEW 6:33_and his righteousness…
Jesus gives you something specific to seek in the kingdom of God, righteousness. God’s righteousness is to obey His principles and live in them.
When you seek God’s kingdom you discover His righteousness. One more example of you can’t have one without the other. You are designed to seek that relationship. Jesus lures you to it.
This relationship has been compared to courtship. Jesus proposes – He hopes you will say yes. When you do, then just like finding gold at the end of the rainbow – you find His righteousness. Notice, the seeking turned from Jesus seeking you to you seeking Him … and His righteousness.
God’s principles are steadfast. They have been since the beginning of time. They do not weaken or fade with time. They are as solid in the book of Genesis as they are in the book of Revelation. They are foundation material – something on which to build your life.
Deuteronomy 33:27 (KJV), “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms …”
Wow! The everlasting arms are the foundation material upon which to build your house!
Righteousness is something God rewards, II Samuel 22:21 (KJV) “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness ….”
You can’t be righteous on your own – seek God’s righteousness!
Righteous Father, I want Your righteousness for the foundation of my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is righteousness—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 6:27_Which of you by taking thought…
If you find a basic truth in the Bible – keep rehearsing it. Get the truth into your heart. The truth will eventually overpower worry. This is called meditation.
Meditation works like worry only with positive results. Rehearse the truth over and over in your heart. Seek the wisdom of the Bible and apply it to your problem. Ask God for insight, wait for it to come.
Hebrews chapter 11 (KJV) is known as the faith chapter. There is one person included in this chapter who has a very small part in the Bible, but something extraordinary happened to him, “5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
Enoch was translated from earth to heaven without ever dying! All that was really said about Enoch was “he pleased God.” This leads to, “6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (KJV).
The answer to overcoming worry – faith!
God in Whom I Trust, Increase my faith that I may please You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants to increase my faith—I will let Him!
MATTHEW 6:20_But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
When you are consumed with something it fills your life. It takes over all your space – no room for anything else.
The love of wealth is so consuming that the fruits of the Spirit have no growing space. The sad thing is those fruits are what every human craves. Bondage to wealth deceives. You believe wealth can buy what will satisfy your cravings. It just can’t be done. The fruits which the Spirit produces in you cannot be bought with money.
The first three fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace are the most sought after virtues in existence. The wealthiest people on the planet would give their treasure to possess those virtues. These are virtues God uses to reward salty-lit-up disciples of Jesus. People who are not disciples have a thing going with their love of money – believing eventually it will satisfy.
Acts 5:1-3 (KJV) tells a story of the bondage of wealth: “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, … 3 But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?'”
Peter said Ananias could have kept all his money. But when Ananias lied to keep from giving all, his money bondage was his destruction.
Magnificent Jesus, I want space for Your fruits to grow in my soul. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ cultivates fruit in me—I will give Him space!