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. Don’t misunderstand; 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!

You’re Not the Only One

FEBRUARY 6

MATTHEW 5:12 _for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one? Everything that has to do with suffering, trials, and persecutions always comes to you. Everybody else has it made. Even if they do suffer for their Christian values, it’s short lived. You’re the only one for whom it goes on and on. Whenever something bad or hard comes around, it always falls on you. If someone gets the blame (for something they didn’t do), it’s always you. And, you’re the one who was doing right. The ones spouting the blame are the ones in the wrong.

According to Jesus, not only are you not the only one – but it has been going on since long before you were born. Jesus goes back to the Old Testament prophets and points out they, too, were persecuted for standing up for God’s truths. It is not something new. It is something that has been and always will be a part of a disciple’s life. 

Go ahead and rejoice – you’re in good company!

 PRAYER

God of comfort, I’m sorry for the times I whine, when I should praise. Help me thank You when I am persecuted for Your sake. Help me know the difference when I am persecuted for my own sake, and help me change my path. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.              

Christ knows who is persecuted—I’m not the only one!

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!