The Great Liberator! The Great Metamorphosis!

DECEMBER 31

MATTHEW 7:29_and not as the Scribes.

You may think we’ve covered everything Jesus can be, but—He is The Great Liberator!

II Corinthians 3:17 (KJV), “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

I don’t believe any of us can completely grasp all Jesus has taught us in the past year. It will take meditating on His teachings, reading and studying, and prayer to instill this radical lifestyle into our being. We will need faith and trust that only the Holy Spirit can build inside us.

We all experience life like a worm looking for a better existence. We want more than to inch and crawl our way through life. Oh! That’s something else Jesus is – The Great Metamorphosis! He takes our wormy existence and builds Himself around and within us. Jesus works from the inside, gradually changing hearts—this requires taking the broken pieces and gently making them whole again. With time, we emerge into something beautiful—no longer crawling, but flying!

Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV), “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness [of our hearts], and rivers in the desert [of our lives].”     

 PRAYER

Holy and Resplendent God, I know there is no bondage in life from which You cannot free me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ liberates and metamorphoses me—I can live free!

An Ultimatum

DECEMBER 30

MATTHEW 7:29_and not as the Scribes.

Jesus’ authority came from His Father in Heaven. We need earthly authority during our days in this world, but ultimate authority reigns in heaven.

The Scribes and Pharisees craved…no…the better word is lusted, for power and authority and for admiration and respect. They wanted exactly what Jesus had.

Admiration and respect encourage and build up those in authority. When the authority desires to place fear in those they rule, respect becomes an ultimatum. It does not administer love.  Remember, sometimes love is administered with a firm hand. Since the people were astonished by Jesus’ kind of teaching, and saw it as totally different from the Scribes’ teaching—they obviously had not been administered love by their authorities. Their respect must have been more of an ultimatum. 

Jesus’ teachings led to truth and freedom. It gave the people answers to their struggles and created freedom in their souls.

This authority loves.

The Scribes’ teachings led to fear and bondage. The people feared the consequences if they rejected their teachings. It created bondage of the soul.

This authority oppresses.

 PRAYER

Good Shepherd, I respect and admire You because You give love to me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ has the ultimate authority—He uses it to love me!

Nothing Ho-Hum

DECEMBER 26

MATTHEW 7:28_the people were astonished at his doctrine.

Absolutely one of my favorite portions of scripture! This divine encounter did not end with some ho-hum, blase kind of feeling among the crowd. It ended with shock! 

Wonder!

Amazement!

All of which come from great power!

From great love!

From great truth!

From something…topsy-turvy…something 180 degrees from life’s norm!

All this came in one package—delivered in one sermon.

My brother, Ted, sent me a text recently: Truth is not a meandering river. It is a rock. And Jesus is the only sure footing in a world filled with gravel. I think that is exactly what the Jesus listeners experienced. They, like we, were always searching for truth.The Scribes and Pharisees meandered around truth, but never landed on it. The Scribes and Pharisees were blind.

Matthew 15:8-9(KJV), Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah, “This people draweth nigh unto me [God] with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When they finally heard truth—the people were astonished!          

 PRAYER

Strong Tower, You are my only sure footing. Your truth astonishes me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ’s words are genuine truth—They astonish me!

A Spiritual Encounter

DECEMBER 24

MATTHEW 7:28_when Jesus had ended these sayings…

What has come to pass at this time is Jesus has ended His sermon. God gathered exactly who He wanted to hear this sermon—just as He gathers exactly who He wants to read this blog. You are not reading these devotionals by some kind of random happenstance—it is a divine encounter planned and orchestrated by God.

God has a spiritual encounter for you from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Even those who came with wrong motives were a part of God’s gathering. He had a message for them.  

Mark 2:16-17(KJV), “And when the Scribes and Pharisees saw him [Jesus] eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, ‘How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?’ 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, ‘They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’”    

As religious leaders the Scribes and Pharisees should have had love and concern for the publicans and sinners. Yet they condemned Jesus for ministering to them.

Jesus’ interest in sinners is to set them free.  

 PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I hear Your words and know You want me to live free. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ taught me to live free—He will help me live it!

Many

NOVEMBER 27

MATTHEW 7:22_Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord…

Jesus begins this verse with the word many. I already feel bad that not everyone will go to heaven, but now I feel worse that the not everyones are many. 

This reminds me of the narrow path, when Jesus says few will find it. It also causes me to think about how He said many will go in at the broad gate.

From His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has taught me who comprises the many:

Those whose righteousness does not exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees (chapter 5:20),

Those who cause others to believe they are empty-headed idiots (chapter 5:22),

Those who profit from the bondage of human trafficking (chapter 5:29-30),

Those who do not forgive (chapter 6:15),

Those who choose the broad path to destruction (chapter 7:13),

Those who are ravening wolves and bring evil into the world (chapter 7:17).

None of these actions exclude anyone from heaven by the action alone. The exclusivity comes from the heart. The heart which excludes Jesus.

The actions can all be forgiven and erased when the heart opens to include Jesus.

The actions reveal the heart.                    

PRAYER

God of All, You have taught me to include You in my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.             

Christ desires to be included in my life—I will let Him!