MATTHEW 7:14_strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…
Roads, trails, paths, streets, highways, all take you somewhere. They all have a beginning and an end. Life is like that.
There’s another thing about highways, streets, paths, trails, and roads—you choose the ones to take. You choose them based on your destination – the end you desire to reach. Out of all the available roads you choose the one which will reach your destination. If you’re going to church, you pick the road that leads to your church. If you’re going to school, you pick the road to your school. If you’re going to the grocery store, you choose that street. You know where you want to be, and you choose a path to get there.
You also choose spiritual roads. If self-indulgence with the addictions and vices that accompany it is your choice, enter the wide gate. You have room for the baggage you bring. Since this way is broad, you have room to add to the baggage as life goes along. And you will add to the baggage because that is just the nature of how it works.
When you choose the strait gate, you choose to begin to drop baggage. Some of it, Jesus relieves you of at the gate.
Awesome God, I want to be with You—I choose that way! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the way—I choose to follow Him!
MATTHEW 5:43_Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
How “it hath been said,” is your natural inclination. Love who you like, and hate who you don’t. That’s as natural as heat in summer. I won’t say it’s the easy way, because neither of these emotions is easy. Between the two, hate may be the easier. Easy because it is based on self-centered selfishness, which comes naturally. Hate requires no self-sacrifice. Hate thrives on grudge-holding. Just be plain hard-hearted. No open heart surgery necessary.
Hate is deadly. Spiritually, hate places a barrier between your spirit and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Emotionally, it keeps hormones out of sync, fluctuating between rage and depression. Physically, hate is a strong contributor to keep the body from healing itself.
Love is neither natural nor easy. Recovery from The Great Surgeon’s open-heart surgery results in true love. Once you succumb to more of Jesus and less of you, the door opens to The Great Transformer. He fills you with love. You cannot manufacture it on our own. You open the door, Jesus fills you up.
The effects of love in your life spiritually, emotionally, and physically are 180 degrees from the effects of hate.
Loving God, I don’t want to live the easy way. I want to live the loving way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ always loves—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:32_But I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife…
You wouldn’t want to have open heart surgery without some kind of anesthetic. Even with an anesthetic, the entire process will not be a piece of cake. Expect pain. It will come. Pain is an inevitable part of the heart transformation process. Even if you choose to opt-out of Jesus’ heart surgery – pain is a part of the life process. If you are expecting a pain free, drama free, heart-break free, struggle free, or easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy-mac’n-cheesy (learned that from my niece, Mary) life – face reality!
If someone offers you something for nothing – beware! The good things don’t come easy. When you receive the results of your surgery, or the payment for your hard labor, or whatever you have suffered your way through to success, the pain is not something you dwell on. It was simply a means to an end.
The Holy Spirit will help you focus on the facts. The fact you have a hard heart. The fact The Great Surgeon can transform your heart to love. The fact heart surgery transforms self-centeredness to self-sacrifice.
All of life is all about decisions. The ultimate decision is to make the main thing (Jesus) the main thing. Make that decision first and you greatly lessen your chances of feeling compelled to put away your spouse.
Nobody enters a marriage expecting it to end in divorce. Sometimes things happen – don’t give up.
The Great Surgeon is also known as – The Great Hope!
God of Hope, Help me never lose hope that You can change any situation I bring to You for a cure. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants to give me hope—I will accept it!
MATTHEW 5:32_But I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife…
You were chosen by The Great Balancer. He teaches hard hearts to balance judgment and mercy. He is also The Great Transformer. Just as transformer toys change from one thing to another, that’s what Jesus wants to do in you. Jesus begins His transformation from the inside and works out.
Another side of Holy Jesus is – The Great Surgeon. He not only has the power to heal diseases and various ailments (healing is subject to His will which is greater than ours), He is a soul/heart surgeon beyond equal. Jesus knows hearts. He performs open heart surgery. This surgery is not about whether you have clogged arteries. It is about removing self-centeredness and replacing it with unconditional love.
The length of time for this surgery depends upon how hard the heart is. All hearts are hard. All need to be transformed. There is a reason we have trouble in marriages and other relationships.
Psalm 51:10 (KJV), “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
Jesus wants to teach you how to repair relationships – not just end them.
Holy God, Change my heart. Give me a heart like Yours! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ changes my heart—I want His heart in me!
MATTHEW 5:9_Blessed are the peacemakers…
Perhaps there are people in the world who do not want peace. With all the violence we experience at such high levels, it certainly appears that way. What brings about conflict and violence?
By now you know what causes conflict between people – the heart. Either your heart is pure and set on righteousness or it is not. We have already discovered that you did not come into the world with a pure heart. To develop a pure heart requires decisions on your part. Decisions that involve the Bible, Jesus, and listening to the Holy Spirit. Without those three I don’t know a way to make good decisions.
Conflicts tend to come from self-centered, self-absorbed, my-way-or-no-way attitudes. If the conflicts are to be resolved, someone has to yield. Someone has to be willing to give consideration to the other’s point of view. Someone has to be willing to consider and perhaps try out the other’s suggestion.
As with anything in life, there are lots of fine lines in peacemaking. When does peacemaking become caving in to political correctness or yielding to evil? When does peacemaking become caring more about what people think than what God thinks?
Father of Peace, I know You want peace in the world. I know we live in a world that does not submit to You as ruler. Help me learn to be a peacemaker for You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is a peacemaker—He will help me become one!