Fulfill Life Before Death

AUGUST 14

MATTHEW 6:30_which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven…

The grass Jesus refers to is a pasture. The grass in the pasture has a purpose – more than one. It gives life by feeding the livestock that graze – for as long as its growing season. 

If you have a pasture and are growing grasses such as alfalfa, clover, ryegrass, fescue, or wheatgrass, then you have something beyond the growing season – hay. When the grass is tall enough, pull it to find the seed head. You know it’s ready to cut. You don’t want the seed to reach the top. When the grass is cut and baled, it is ready to put up for winter feeding. Hay provides nourishment for livestock during the months the grass is not growing.

If you grow wheat in your pasture, the left over stalks can be cut for straw. Straw furnishes good bedding material for livestock in barns. Straw can also be bundled and used to start fires. 

Have you noticed a common theme in the purposes of the grass? Grass gives up itself to nurture life for something else. When Jesus says, “which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,” the grass doesn’t sound too useful. But, the grass has a purpose in life and death.

Did it fulfill life before death?    

PRAYER

Holy God, I want to fulfill my purpose in life! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ wants me to fulfill my life purpose—He helps me!

The Only Creation Made in His Image

AUGUST 2

MATTHEW 6:26_Are ye not much better than they?

Do you agree with Jesus’ question? Are you better than the birds? Better in what kind of way? Better looking? Hmm, when’s the last time you’ve seen a Roseate Spoonbill? A Franklin’s Gull? A Red-breasted Merganser? A Wood Duck? An American Goldfinch? A Cardinal? An Eastern Bluebird, or a Mountain Bluebird?  And it would be hard for me to decide who is more handsome – the Indigo Bunting, the Painted Bunting, or the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak? If you are not familiar with these, look them up. Talk about good looks?!

Perhaps, you think you are far more useful to the world, than a bird. Well, farmers and gardeners sure welcome the handsome Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. One of the Grosbeak’s favorite meals is potato beetles – they like the larvae as well. Talk about intelligent design!!

On the other hand, when I see Godly people performing self-sacrificing deeds, making wise decisions, and spreading love in the world, I don’t think there is any greater part of creation. 

Yes, I think God considers us much better than animals. He gives us the opportunity to bear the name of Christ when we become Christians.

I believe God thinks very highly of the only creation made in His image. 

PRAYER

God of Intelligent Design, Praise You for the opportunities You give me to be like You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ values me over all creation—I praise Him!

Get Salty! Light Up!

APRIL 26

MATTHEW 5:44_But I say unto you, love your enemies…

As we have seen over and again, there is an order in which Jesus presents His teachings. If we can get our minds wrapped around the cheek turning, cloak giving, second mile going, and giving away – learning how to love our enemies will come much easier.

The first four guidelines lead us into the self-sacrificing mode. The giving more than receiving mode. The putting others before ourselves mode.

Now we are ready to see how powerful love really can be. After all, if we can love our enemies – we can love anybody!

Why do we even want to love our enemy? Because Jesus said to.

Why did He say to? Because Jesus desires all people to be loved.

We are called to be salt and light to everyone – especially the unloved. There is a reason Jesus called disciples in the first place – to teach them how to live free. They teach and make more disciples. Disciples share the truth with the world through the Bible. Jesus chooses to share His love through disciples.

Get salty! Light up!

PRAYER

Lord of All, I want to be Your disciple through whom You love people. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ chooses disciples—I want to be one!

It’s Not the Easy Way

APRIL 24

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.

PRAYER

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!

Action!

APRIL 22

MATTHEW 5:42_and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

When Jesus sent out the disciples with no luggage, only trust, the result was a major boost of faith. Transformation took place in the disciples’ hearts. Strong faith does not develop just by reading or listening to Jesus’ teachings.

Action!

Luke 22:35 (KJV), “And he [Jesus] said unto them [disciples], When I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.”

The disciples returned stunned! They gained great faith. They were filled with joy. 

Action is a process. As the disciples saw their needs met, their faith increased. The greater faith allowed them to teach and heal. This action required something totally radical of them. To completely trust in what Jesus taught. Even when what He taught them was topsy-turvy. It worked. Not only did it work for the disciples, it worked to bring truth and healing to the recipients.

Turning the other cheek, giving more than is required, going the second mile, giving to those in need, all require to put others before yourself. And to obey Jesus.

This is more than feeding the hungry, or healing the sick. This is loving the unlovely, and forgiving the undeserving.

PRAYER

Blessed Savior, I want to live my life in a way which shows faith by action. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ lived a selfless life—I want to learn how!