All the Hard Labor That Goes With It

OCTOBER 25

MATTHEW 7:13_and many there be which go in thereat.

There are reasons many enter at the wide gate. It is tempting, accessible, and allows for baggage. It’s easy—all you have to do is follow the crowd, which requires neither intelligence (no decisions to make), nor courage (won’t be standing alone). 

It takes little strength to do what’s wrong. It requires no thought process—just follow your natural instincts. There is no submission, do what you want to do. Simply do what pleases you, and what pleases the people with you. There is no accountability for your actions. Personal responsibility will not be following you around. In short: No rules, No standards, No boundaries. Sounds exactly like the Land of Cocagne in the story of Pinocchio. 

Pinocchio made the decision to become responsible and obedient. There was a reward for that—he would become a real boy. But when his friend, Candlewick, described the carefree land of excessive pleasures, the temptation was too strong (for a heart without Jesus). Rather than becoming a real boy, he became a real donkey—and all the hard labor that goes with it.

In The Merchant of Venice, 1600, Shakespeare said it like this, “All that glitters is not gold.”

Very seldom is the easy way the best way.

PRAYER

Merciful Jesus, Help me follow Your way—not the easy way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.        

Christ wants me to be bold and courageous—I will be!

Plenty of Room

OCTOBER 24

MATTHEW 7:13_for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction…

Then there is the second gate. Jesus describes it as wide and broad. You won’t need any help finding that gate. It is wide—how could you miss it? When you reach an accountable age, your eyes are opened to two gates; you’ll see the widest one first. The size makes it visible, and … more tempting. 

Because of its size, you see something else—how easy it is to enter. The wideness allows you to bring all kinds of baggage. 

Not only is the gate wide, but once inside the way is broad. If in the baggage you brought along some pride, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes arrogance. If you brought just a little bit of a grudge, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes hate and bitterness.

In Jesus’ words it’s plain – this broad way leads to destruction. Count on it! Psalm 27:11 (KJV), “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”

Make the choice in your youth to enter the strait gate. It will save you numerous regrets in your adult life.          

PRAYER

God Who Saves, Please save me from entering the destructive path of life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.        

Christ saves me from the wide gate—I will follow Him!

Restore – Not Destroy

OCTOBER 21

MATTHEW 7:12_for this is the law and the prophets.

Put this principle in simple terminology. Think about how you want to be treated, then treat everyone else that way. Think about how you want to be talked to, and talk that way to everyone else.

As a salty-lit-up disciple you want to restore broken people and relationships—not destroy them. You want to shed light in a dark place—not make it darker.

The apostle Paul says it very well in Galatians 6:1 (KJV), “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

We can be too indulging and too enabling with people, but we can’t be too kind or too gentle.

This verse has long been known as The Golden Rule. Jesus says this rule is the fulfillment of the Law. Paul also says it in Galatians 5:14 (KJV),“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Jesus taught the radical 180 degree turn when it came to the Law. However, He also taught that His radical way was not intended to destroy the Law or the prophets. The very base of the Law is love—which is why Jesus fulfills it. 

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Let me treat others with compassion and gentleness. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                 

Christ knows the Law is based on love—He fulfills it!

Why Make It Harder?

SEPTEMBER 1

MATTHEW 6:34_Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Focus on who God is and who you are in Him! Receive extra power for the hard days. Worry only makes the hard days harder. In this verse Jesus says something to the effect of, “Life in this world is hard enough—why make it harder? Jesus lets you know He’s with you all the way.

Jesus can provide.

That doesn’t mean you may not go through lean times. If you have no needs you will never experience how God can meet them. He’ll hold and guide you on the path of discipleship and add “all these things unto you.”

Proverbs 4:18 (KJV), “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Once you’ve committed to becoming salty-lit-up disciples for Jesus—that light just keeps on shining!  I Thessalonians 5:5 (KJV), “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”

All days are not hard, or bad, or evil. The devil would have you believe otherwise. He tempts you to worry about the future. Live free by focusing more on who God is, His grace and mercy, and His phenomenal power to transform any circumstance!

PRAYER

God Who Transforms, Thank You for the bright days I’ve had, and the ones on the way! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                         

Christ is full of light—He fills me with His light!

Learn to Praise

AUGUST 20

MATTHEW 6:31_saying, what shall ye eat or, what shall ye drink, or wherewithal shall ye be clothed?

If you plan to overcome worry with Scripture, go to those wonderful Psalms. When the devil tempts you to worry it is because he knows worry weakens. Weakness makes an easy target.

Rather than worrying, learn to praise. Psalm 63 is a great way to praise. Read verses 1-8 (KJV), “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”

Notice when to seek God—early.

Notice what thirsts—the soul.

Notice how the soul follows after God—hard 

PRAYER

Lord Who Satisfies, I want my soul satisfied by You—to follow hard after You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s lovingkindness is better than life – I praise Him!