A Fly in the Ointment

  JUNE 15

MATTHEW 6:12_as we forgive our debtors.

When God pays your sin debt, the kicks you used to experience in sin begin to disappear. If they don’t, then in the words of the great Miss Clavel, “Something is not right!” (Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans). You sin because it supplies some kind of satisfaction. It may be physical, emotional, or financial. When it no longer produces satisfaction (which is the nature of sin), you sink deeper and deeper into sin. The deeper, the harder to come out.  

When redeemed by the Savior, sin begins to lose its hold. There is no joy in sin for the saved. Just when things look good for the debtor, Jesus adds another piece to the pattern.

He lets a fly in the ointment!

Jesus’ prayer causes vertical forgiveness (from God to you) to be based on horizontal forgiveness (from you to your offenders). That means to ask God to forgive you in the way you forgive those who wrong you.

I declare! Jesus just won’t let you get by with anything. It takes a lot of love to hold people you love to accountability.

If you confess, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness, why should that have anything to do with those who wronged you? They need to do their own confessing.

This is more of those natural instincts of your hard heart.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is your offenders and their confession is between them and God. You forgiving them is between you and God.

A clear sign you have been redeemed is you want to forgive. Old sins lose their grip and hard hearts soften!       

PRAYER

Great Redeemer, Thank You for not only saving me, but changing me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                               

Christ redeems me—He changes me!

All the Time!

 JUNE 14

MATTHEW 6:12_our debts…

Your sin debt is too great. You will never be able to pay it. It will remain in God’s ledger for eternity. To pay the debt according to the law keepers, you will have to keep every law, on your own – no indwelling Holy Spirit’s power. Humanly impossible!

To pay the debt according to Jesus, you will have to have a pure heart – likewise impossible! This looks like some kind of double jeopardy. You need a solution that can overcome the impossible! Where can you find that? Oh, wait! You have a key!

Use the key, unlock the treasure chest, and discover something incredible. The Messiah Savior has already solved the problem! He gave His life to cover all your debts. Only Jesus could do it because only He is the perfect Son of God. 

To make things even better, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in your heart. The Spirit draws you further and further away from sin and causes you to hunger for holiness. Your taste for sin diminishes. When you do sin, the Spirit sends conviction. You humbly ask the Father for forgiveness. I John 1:9 (KJV), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God is good all the time and, all the time God is good!       

PRAYER

Holy Savior, Thank You for paying my sin debt which I could never pay.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Savior—He saves me!

Amazing and Miraculous

JUNE 4

MATTHEW 6:9_Our Father which art in Heaven…

Jesus begins by recognizing who God is. Remember how Elijah began his prayer in I King 18 (KJV), “36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel.”Recognizing God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be important to the Jewish community. Jesus’ recognition of God as Our Father which art in Heaven, opens up a prayer path for Gentiles. This says God is the Father of all mankind—not just the Jews. All people are made in His image. 

God’s creation is amazing and miraculous. God’s DNA can connect you to your biological parents, whom you may have never met. You may blame God if you’ve never known your parents, or if you know them but have a poor relationship. Don’t blame God for the mistakes of people. Rather, praise God that He can help you overcome – anything. 

Without the Savior people are sinful. They cause pain – lots of pain. Your Father, which is in Heaven, wants to love you through the pain.

Include Him in your sorrow – don’t blame Him for it.  

PRAYER

Father God, I worship You as the One True God, Creator of all of Heaven and Earth. I praise You there is nothing I face in life that You cannot give me the ability to overcome. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants me to know God is my Father—I do!

The Depths of Your Heart

MAY 25

MATTHEW 6:6_and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…

Jesus says the Father is in the closet with you.  When He says the Father seeth in secret He means more than vision. God reads your soul. He sees everything in your mind and thoughts. God sees deeply – into the very depths of your heart. He knows if there is room for Him in that depth, or if it is consumed with you.

God also knows if your desire is to replace self with the Savior. He can help you with that.

God’s desire is for you to bring all your emotions of pain, heartbreak, fear, anger, and unforgiveness to Him in prayer. If you can trust God is with you in the closet, you will begin to trust He is with you anywhere. The more you trust in God’s presence, the more confident you will grow in your relationship with Him. 

Listening is every bit as important to prayer time as talking. Remember that falling in love sequence? If you do all the talking, and never any listening, then you will not know your loved one at all. It’s difficult to truly love someone you don’t know.

The more you hear God, the more you become salt and light.

PRAYER

God Who Speaks, Please speak to my heart, and help me trust You are always with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is with me—I want to be with Him!

That Changes Everything

MAY 21

MATTHEW 6:5_Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.

Jesus says if you live life the world’s way, you will have the world’s rewards.

The prayers of the hypocrites do not go unrewarded. Perhaps they get the best seats in the synagogues. Perhaps they receive high positions of administration. Whatever their rewards, a very sad fact remains – the prayers of a self-glorifying hypocrite can never help the seeker find the Savior. 

The hypocrite loses God’s reward. Nothing in life is worth that—no praise—no financial gain—no high position—no fame. The praise, money, position, fame, could be a way God chooses to reward you openly. They also could be how the world rewards you.

Jesus makes clear what the problem is with the hypocrites’ public prayers – to be seen of men. That changes everything. These are not prayers of communication between the potter and the clay. These are prayers of self-glory. They communicate, “What a good and pious person I am, everyone should be like me.”

Read this one more time – the world rewards with bondage, God rewards with freedom.   

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Teach me how to pray in private and in public. Teach me to know the difference. Place in my heart the desire to receive Your rewards, not the world’s. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ’s rewards give freedom—I want that!