Not Everyone

NOVEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:21_Not everyone…

Since Jesus begins this teaching by saying not everyone, there must be some exclusiveness. Can mercy be exclusive? If so, who decides who is excluded? Would it be Jesus? How does He decide it?

Mercy is a God-like attribute.

Mercy is a Jesus quality.

Mercy covers sins.

Mercy covers shortcomings.

Mercy covers failures.

Mercy rescues the undeserving. 

Mercy brings the lost to shelter and safety.

Mercy does this by its very nature of being merciful.

However, one of those hard realities of life we prefer to avoid, is mercy is not limitless.

That is hard truth! 

Mercy has no limit for askers, seekers, and knockers. But arrogant pretenders, aka hypocrites, will experience that hard truth.

Personally, I don’t think mercy had limits in the Garden of Eden. But free will caused it to pull in the reins, put on the brakes, and turn off the power.

That’s when a phrase like, not everyone, came into play. Mercy is for everyone, just as life without death was for Adam and Eve, but everyone has the freedom to reject it. 

PRAYER

King of Kings, Please help me never to reject Your mercy. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                                       

Christ offers mercy to those who will receive it—I will receive!                                              

Don’t You Believe It!

NOVEMBER 17

MATTHEW 7:19_that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down…

You’ve learned a lot of truth from Jesus this year. Now you’re in the home stretch. The devil does not want you to experience the freedom gained from this creation principle. He wants you to see it as judgmental and legalistic—don’t you believe it!

The devil can give you an easy and fun life—forget all this about hard times and struggles. But remember—his fun times are temporary. The fun turns into far greater pain than life’s struggles.

Hebrews 11:24-26 (KJV), “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”

Moses knew there was pleasure in sin. He had lived as an Egyptian prince in a palace of false gods and idols. This is how he learned the pleasures of sin are only for a season. When the fun is gone all that’s left is bondage – trying to get the pleasure back. 

If the tree doesn’t produce good fruit it will be cut down.

Corrupt trees do not produce good fruit. 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Your rewards are far greater than the pleasures of sin. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                    

Christ knows sinful pleasures are bondage—He frees me!

We All Have Baggage

OCTOBER 29

MATTHEW 7:14_strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…

If we had to be baggage-free to enter the strait gate, there would be no need to enter. After all, we’re already living free so what’s there to gain?

We all have baggage. Bags filled with broken pieces of our hearts, hopes, and dreams. Some baggage we choose of our own free will. Other baggage is inflicted upon us by the circumstances of life. They came with the life package—a life we live in a dark and sinful world every moment of every day.   

The difference in the sizes of our baggage depends upon how we deal with them. The wide gate allows for a lot of baggage. That is why it is wide. The path is broad so we don’t have to drop off any bags. It is the designed path for those who have been subdued by the world—to accept its darkness as if there were no other choice. It is for those who don’t want to check their bags at the gate because the bags contain their pain relievers. Some may be for physical pain, but the majority are for pains of the soul. The spirits of darkness work to keep us depressed and discouraged. Life doesn’t have to be that way—there is hope!  

Colossians 1:27 (KJV), “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

PRAYER

Lord Who Reigns, Only You can truly relieve the pains of my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the pain reliever—I will make Him mine!

Because

OCTOBER 26

MATTHEW 7:14_Because…

If you have never been to Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee, add it to your bucket list.  You’ll find it at the top of Lookout Mountain. The area known as Rock City is full of many unique rock formations.

There are different paths to take as you encounter fascinating natural wonders. I have taken youth groups there but have never had a group that completed the journey at the same time—even when they took the same path. Some rush through, some stop and explore.

Because Jesus’ gates lead to life paths, you have the freedom to choose the path to follow. You have the freedom to decide how to spend your time on each path. How it ends is your decision. The apostle John says in I John 2:12-13 (KJV), “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.”    

There are a lot of becauses in these verses. Each one is directed to a different stage in life. They are each about receiving the truth because of choosing the path which leads into a relationship with Jesus.   

 PRAYER

Lord of Truth, I know the Bible is written to me because I choose the truth! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                           

Christ caused the Bible to be written to me—I will study!

Seek!

SEPTEMBER 30

MATTHEW 7:7_seek and ye shall find…

To seek means to look for something. It may be something you’ve lost. Or it may be a need. Or it may be a want. It may be for yourself. Or it may be for a loved one. If you have everything you need or want – you won’t be seeking. 

There is something everyone has lost – by way Adam and Eve. When sin entered the world, many things were lost, first and foremost the intimate relationship God intended people to have with Him. Seek that with all your heart. The man after God’s heart, King David, understood this: I Chronicles 16:11 (KJV), “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”  There are two words in that verse which I particularly love – strength and continually.

Also lost by sin was wisdom. If you lose wisdom, you lose her two companions, understanding and knowledge. Spend your lifetime seeking these three.

The wisest man of all, King Solomon, covers this in Proverbs 2:4-6 (KJV), “If thou seekest her [wisdom] as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

Seek!

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, I seek Your strength and wisdom continually. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                              

Christ knows what I should seek—He will show me!!