Covenants of Your Youth

MAY 23

MATTHEW 6:6_But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet…

There are times when it is appropriate to talk with your loved one publicly. Those conversations are not from the depth of the heart.

Private conversations build love. The more private the conversation, the stronger the love.  The more private the conversation, the better you get to know each other. The more trust builds. Falling in love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit follows the same path. 

For true love to develop between people you need to be of the appropriate age. You also need to be in the appropriate circumstances in life. It requires a man and a woman – not a boy and a girl. 

For true love to develop with the Savior the younger you get to know Him, the better. I Timothy 4:12 (KJV), “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

Make a covenant with God in your youth. Ezekiel 16:60 (KJV), “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.”

God remembers the covenants of your youth.

PRAYER

King of Kings, I praise You that I am not too young to make a covenant of love with You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ loves children and youth—He loves me!

Pattern Your Life After His

MAY 4

MATTHEW 5:48_Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus solves the whole right-and-wrong, love-and-hate, good-and-evil, thing by saying, “Be perfect! Yeah, right! Let me know how that works out for you!

Let’s translate the word perfect. In this verse it means full grown; to reach the character of virtue and integrity, complete. You may make mistakes, but perfection comes when you make a goal to work toward integrity. And more than that, a goal to become a radical, salty-lit-up disciple of Jesus. This kind of perfection is to become full grown in your love for Jesus, to pattern your life after His. To be complete in His love.

How can you get there? Jesus just spoke forty-six verses of a step by step plan that maps it out. If you choose this path, you won’t walk alone. You will enjoy the company of other radical disciples. You also have the treasure chest key, aka the Bible. You also have the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit within you opens the door to wisdom and teaches you how to apply that wisdom to your life. Perfection, achieving integrity and virtue, is a natural byproduct of wisdom.

There’s one more point before this chapter ends. Don’t miss it!

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Teach me how to find the path to perfection. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

 Christ is perfect in every way—He will teach me a way!

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!

The Great Healer

APRIL 18

MATTHEW 5:40_And if any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat…

If there will ever be any kind of goodwill toward man in this life, it will come from Jesus’ crazy teachings about not fighting back. The reason? God’s power is released into your life when you have faith. Faith in the strength of God’s love to fight your enemies for you. Jesus has taught you not to seek revenge and not to slap back.

Check this one out:  

Someone sues you. You are in the right. You tried, but were not able to settle out of court. The case goes against you – strongly against you. In other words, you lost all your savings! Now you have big money problems.

This is not easy to take, even if you were in the wrong. If you were in the right, it is heart wrenching. This can result in something worse than your money problems – the bondage of bitterness. 

Bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudge-holding bind. Bitterness bondage chokes your spirit, contaminates your salt, and puts out your light.   

The money problems place a painful curb on your life. The bitterness places a curb on your heart, and its ability to love.  

Jesus becomes The Great Healer. He offers a radical cure.

PRAYER

Great Healer, I need Your help so I am not bitter when I am treated wrongly. I need Your wisdom to know how to respond. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ’s love holds no grudges—He will teach me!

The Perfect Plan

APRIL 9

MATTHEW 5:32_and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Is Jesus too harsh on divorce? He brings adultery into the picture after the divorce! Why?

In Mark 10:5-8, Jesus went back to the beginning – to creation itself – to the original marriage – to God’s perfect plan. The Garden of Eden was perfection and everlasting life. Adam and Eve blew the whole plan by their disobedience to God, all life reaped the consequence – sin. Life will continue to reap sin consequences until an end comes, and all things are made new.

God’s perfect plan for marriage is one man and one woman for life. Their union causes them to become one. Perhaps Jesus adds adultery to re-marriage because no piece of paper (divorce contract) can sever God’s design of the physical union. The divorce contract can sever the legality of the marriage, but it cannot sever the oneness of flesh. This is why sexual sins are so devastating.

Why is purity marriage insurance? Foremost, it is God’s plan. His plan builds love by denying the flesh and bonding spirits – two people for each other. It builds respect for each other. It builds loyalty for one and only one. Aren’t those things you want in marriage?

We discussed before how impurity spells betrayal like no other sin. It is definitely one of the hardest to forgive. The Great Hope can give power to forgive. He asks you to do no more for your betrayer than He has done for you.

This is not to simplify the devastation. It may require a time of separation., and the key word in this sentence is time. Running straight to the divorce court does not give The Great Surgeon time for the surgery – including the time for healing and recovery. The basis of any decision has to be what action you believe will please Jesus.

When the marriage is broken beyond repair (one spouse has re-married), The Great Hope has good news. An individual life is not beyond repair.

Jesus repairs broken lives.

Jesus wants to bring His love into all families. Let Jesus use you to shine His love in your family.

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, Some of Your teachings are very difficult and hard. I know they are all designed for the very best life. I want that! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                    

Christ loves God’s original plan—I want to love it!