Exceeding

FEBRUARY 4

MATTHEW 5:12_Rejoice and be exceeding glad…  

Maybe Jesus is a little confused. Rejoicing because someone speaks evil lies against you? That’s just not normal! If Jesus is anything (which He is … everything) He is not normal. Don’t be offended by that. Jesus is not normal because normal in this life is sin. Jesus came to turn the world upside down – He did!

Jesus is about to take His teaching to the next level, repeatedly showing how various types of hardships or suffering (all experienced because of choosing to be a Jesus follower) result in being blessed. Jesus says to rejoice and be glad. He’s even taking glad to the next level – exceeding glad! Exceeding is above and beyond what is expected, or required, or should even be considered. 

Jesus knows what is in store. He knows if you line up with His sufferings you will be blessed. He knows what kind of blessing that will be.

The biggest part of following Jesus is to trust Him. You have to believe He knows more than you. That’s why Jesus can say something like rejoice and be exceeding glad.

 PRAYER

One True God, I know all lives come with suffering, but I know not all lives come with blessings. Help me make the choices in life which line me up with Your blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ knows my trials—He helps me follow His path!

When Actually…

FEBRUARY 3

MATTHEW 5:11_and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

A new light is shed on persecution. This is not persecution because you think you’re right and your persecutor is wrong. This is persecution because you believe Jesus is right! This is about being falsely persecuted. This is about having all kinds of evil lies spread about you because your enemies hate Jesus and His teachings … and His disciples.

Who was lied about more than Jesus? From the time of His conception to His ascension into heaven He was maliciously verbally attacked.

Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath, when actually He was the Sabbath. Jesus was accused of blasphemy by claiming to be the Son of God, when actually He was God in the flesh. Jesus was accused of being out of His mind, when actually He possessed the very mind of God. Jesus was accused of demonic possession, when actually He freed captives and put demons to flight. Jesus was accused of inciting riots to overthrow the Romans, when actually He taught His disciples to pay taxes to Caesar and obey their authorities.

The One who promises the blessing is the One who understands everything about persecution.

 PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I praise You for all You suffered in order to teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.              

Christ was falsely accused—He bore it all for my sake!

The Righteousness Train

JANUARY 30

MATTHEW 5:10_Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake:

One key element of persecution is to be sure you are persecuted for righteousness sake, not your own sake. The quality of discernment will help you know. You have already learned to discern if your peacemaking succumbs to political correctness. Political correctness is to agree with the world’s ways over God’s ways because it is the popular thing. Now you discern if you have strayed from the righteous path, and are suffering for it.

Everyone thinks they are righteous. To board the Righteousness Train requires a Bible ticket. Those trusting in and building lives upon the Bible have purchased a ticket. If you become too self-assured you have a seat on the Train, you can easily fall into the Pit of Pride. Hungering and thirsting leads you to the ticket office.

Righteousness is a byproduct of loving Jesus and His words. It comes naturally when you draw into a closer relationship with Jesus. You cannot make yourself become righteous. Only God can make you righteous. Only God holds the standard to what righteousness is. No one can live up to that standard. The Holy Spirit leads you there. Actually you won’t even know you’re there unless you begin to suffer for doing what is right. That is your clue. If you become too smug in the fact you made it – you can fall back to where you were. You can only claim it in Jesus’ name, never your own.

 PRAYER

Dear God and Father of All, I want to be righteous in You, not in myself – lead me there. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                     

Christ is righteousness—He makes me righteous!

Live Your Life for Good

JANUARY 16

MATTHEW 5:5_for they shall inherit the earth.

Let’s talk about power. There is the power which slaps a face or throws a punch when it feels offended. There is the power endued with the kind of creativity to design and carry out a perfect plan of revenge and pay back. There is the power which stimulates sexual desires through dress or touch. If all of this power was kept under the control of love it would neither slap, pay back, or stimulate. It would be meekness.

What’s the point of all this? Why would you even care? You wouldn’t, except for one reason – because a new heart causes you to love others more than yourself. You would rather suffer than to cause suffering. Jesus set the example with His compassion for people. He understood the only way to overpower sin was with the power of love. He endured suffering so you could live in freedom. 

The reward of meekness is to inherit the earth – that’s some kind of big inheritance! The earth is filled with people. The earth is in great need of meek people.

You have only one opportunity to live this life – live it for the good of all the people who are a part of your existence.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I pray You teach me meekness and compassion controlled by love. I trust You to give me opportunities to do good – and the courage to take the opportunities. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.     

Christ owns the earth—He shares it with me to do good!             

Jesus Feels our Pain

JANUARY 11

MATTHEW 5:4_Blessed are they that mourn…

Join me in saying, “Thank You, Jesus!” Jesus not only knows, hears, and understands my mourning, He blesses me for it!  How awesome is that? 

How beautiful to know there is One who cares when my heart breaks. One who saves all my tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8 KJV). Jesus comes to me in the midst of my pain. He takes the very thing which causes me deep sorrow and with time uses it to bless me! 

That seems impossible – especially when I am in the midst of my pain, but He is the God of the Impossible. Always has been. Always is. Always will be. That in itself eases some of the pain.

If I have no sorrow, I live in Heaven – the eternal Heaven. That time has not come for me, or you.  Presently, I live in a fallen world where the devil and his powers of darkness are continually at work. And I mourn.   

It is up to me to allow Jesus to minister to me in my mourning, or to shut Him out. There are sunny days in life for me to grasp. Holding Jesus’ hand helps me grasp them.

PRAYER

Merciful God, Praise You for feeling my pain, for feeling my hurts, for understanding my mourning. Praise You that I am never alone in my sorrow for You are always with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ hears my cries—He saves all my tears!