Count on That!

 APRIL 29

MATTHEW 5:44_and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…

Don’t you hate it when someone uses you?  Whether they’ve used you for their political gain, or personal pleasure, you’ve been violated. Someone you trusted took advantage of your trust and used it to better themselves. Now they despise you. That’s because they suffer from guilt, and blame you. So, whenever they have the opportunity they persecute you.

Pray for them. Try not to be hurt by them, but hurt for them. They are suffering. Guilt overwhems their emotions. You can’t despise and persecute someone without it causing you more turmoil than it does them. Count on that!

Pray for God to help and heal them. Pray for them to respond to Jesus’ unconditional love, and accept it.  Pray for them to allow The Great Transformer to set them free.

Set your heart in the forgiveness mode. Hurt for them. When you pray God reads your heart far more than hears your words. A hurting heart attracts and keeps God’s attention. When a heart hurts more for others than for itself, it may attract God even more.

PRAYER

Father of Compassion,  I don’t want to hold grudges. I want You to help the ones who persecute me and set them free. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ reads my heart—He will give it compassion!

Here We Go Again!

APRIL 25

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

Jesus continually points out love as an action.

Love requires dedication.

Love requires courage.

Love requires grit to accept rejection, but not be defeated.

Love requires faith in Jesus’ radical teachings to work.

If love requires all this of me, I want my love to go to the one of my choosing. The object of my affection. Here we go again! Jesus messes with my heart and mind when He says love my enemies. I don’t want to love my enemies! They are my enemies! I don’t like them! They cause me pain and suffering. They cause people I love pain and suffering. If God won’t let me seek revenge on them – at least let me hate them!

Besides, there is another problem – I don’t know how to love them. It doesn’t come naturally to me to love people who hurt me or people I love. Jesus asks too much.

In all my moaning and groaning, I use the key (the Bible). It unlocks my spirit, then I can trust in Philippians 4:13 (KJV), “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I don’t know how to love my enemies, help me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

 Christ strengthens me—I can achieve anything with Him!

The Great Hope

APRIL 7

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!

PRAYER

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!

A Natural Byproduct

MARCH 3

MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…

Jesus knows to live outside of Biblical principles brings heartbreaking consequences. He wants to protect you, not punish you. The punishment comes on its own – a natural byproduct when you make your own decisions of right and wrong. 

Jesus knows the world is too hard, too difficult, too deceiving for you to take on by yourself – so He gives you commandments to live by. These commandments are taught in the Old Testament by God’s chosen leaders and in the New Testament by Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knows even the least commandment is for your good. 

Jesus sees every tear you shed, hears every sigh of your heart, and knows every pain disappointments bring. He tries to save you as much pain as possible.

Suffering comes with life – period.  God’s commandments are a true safety to keep you from experiencing suffering unnecessarily. 

It is enough to bear the pain of having broken God’s commandment, but far worse is the guilt of having led others astray with you. 

PRAYER

Holy Lord, I don’t want to make my own suffering by breaking even Your least commandment. Let Your Word teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows all my pain—He wants to help me!

Wider Than You Can See

FEBRUARY 11

MATTHEW 5:14_Ye are the light of the world.

Did you notice what kind of light Jesus said you should be? He said of the world. Your light is not exclusive to yourself, your family, or your circle of friends. It is for all of those and that is where your light should shine its brightest. Those are your light’s foundation – where your light gains momentum to spread – where your light gains illumination.

There are cases when a family resists and may even resent a light in the midst. This is one of those opportunities to suffer for Jesus’ sake. It’s a hard place to be, but remember that kind of persecution brings with it blessings and rewards.

Truth always prevails. Jesus said you are the light of the world. If discipleship is your heart’s desire, your light will shine. Don’t be discouraged if you experience times of what appears to be failure. The extent to which your light shines is in God’s hands. You do not possess His ability to see inside hearts. Your light reaches far wider than you can see.

The time table as to when you may see results is also in God’s hands. He is always working on behalf of His disciples. He will keep working. You just keep shining.

  PRAYER

God of Light, I want my light to shine anywhere and everywhere You place me. I know You will help me shine. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ is the Light of the World—He will help me shine!