Nobody Ever Said It Is Easy

AUGUST 18

MATTHEW 6:31_Therefore take no thought…

Remember when the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for a time of testing? There was nothing easy about it. Jesus was called to fast, and the devil tempted Him to break the fast and eat. If you recall, Jesus used the same weapon against the devil that we should use – the words of truth. In this instance Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV), “… man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” 

If your family is going through some kind of a struggle, the devil’s temptation is for you to worry. Nobody ever said it is easy not to worry when you are struggling. Use this time to shout out the Joshua chapter 1 cheer: “Be strong and of a good courage.”This is the time to defy thoughts of worry about where your next meal is coming from, or some other need. This is a time to quote the entire verse of Joshua 1:9 (KJV), “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” You’re not in this alone.  Whithersoever covers everywhere. Thou goest doesn’t necessarily mean a certain place. It could mean where you are in the circumstances of your life.

You don’t have strength to just not worry – overpower worry with the truth of Scripture.

PRAYER

Mighty Warrior, You know my circumstances and are with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is a warrior for me—wherever I am in life!

Because He Knew the Truth

JULY 8

MATTHEW 6:18_That thou appear not unto men to fast…

We have discussed how after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a time of great self-denial. Matthew 4:1-4 (KJV), “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

There were no people in this wilderness experience. Jesus did not have anyone to show-off His great piety for God. The devil came up with another form of temptation, since his, “See how good I am,” scheme would not work. The devil tempts Jesus to break the fast and eat. Jesus overcame the temptation because He knew the truth – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Jesus understood the purpose for His fast. He was led to fast in preparation for His earthly ministry. Jesus knew He needed this set-apart time.

You may think the cross was the only sacrifice Jesus made for you – but there is so much more.

PRAYER

Lord God, Praise You for all the sacrifices You made for me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ gave all of Himself—He did it to love me!

Good-Versus-Evil

JUNE 19

MATTHEW 6:13_but deliver us from evil…

Because the world is full of evil does not mean good does not exist. Nor does it mean good does not prevail. Good prevails more than evil – it is just harder to see. Ultimately, it will prevail once and for all! In the meantime, you live with evil.

Every day is a good-versus-evil battle. The times when evil wins are difficult. Just to see some of the world’s evil on the News can be disturbing. It causes an oppressive spirit to hang heavy in your soul. You ask God how such things can happen. You wonder how humans reach such a level of degradation. When there is evil in your personal life – you need hope.  

When you pray not to be led into temptation, add as Jesus did to be delivered from evil. The devil intends evil daily. That’s his intention. It does not mean he wins. God intends mercy daily. God holds all the cards. One card God holds which the devil can never get his hands on is found in Romans 8:28 (KJV), “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Get to know this verse and praise God for it. This is why good prevails more than evil. God can take the devil’s evil and cause good for His people. The times when evil wins a battle are not the end of the war. Your hope is in this verse.

Somewhere in the long run, God’s compassion and power will use pain to make you a better person!              

PRAYER

God of Hope, Please deliver me from evil. I know evil is in the world, but I know You are greater than the world. I praise Your power that helps me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ can make good from the devil’s evil – He does it for me!

The Slippery Slopes

JUNE 18

MATTHEW 6:13_into temptation…

Jesus says pray not to fall into temptation. What is temptation? A place where weaknesses have the upper hand. A slippery slope. A place where you are the controlled – not the controller. 

Everyone is vulnerable. It is easy to think you’re not. Why?  If you are a church-going, Bible-believing, Jesus-following person, you can’t be vulnerable, right?  Wrong! It is true all of those things give you the upper hand. The more your spirit grows, the stronger your resistance to temptation develops. But don’t think you can’t fall like everyone else.

If you get a bit cocky, let go of Jesus’ hand, and think you got this – prepare to go down. Jesus teaches to pray that you are not led into temptation. Praying this keeps you focused that the power in you – is from Him!

Jesus knows your weaknesses and the devil’s strength. Be wise and follow His model way to pray, not to be led into temptation. Pray for the discernment to be alert to your weaknesses. Call out to the power of the Father to lead you away from the slippery slopes. Pray for help from the temptations which empower your specific weaknesses.         

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Please help me become aware of my weaknesses and know the temptations which empower them. Direct my steps not to go there. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows my weaknesses—He will help me!

Jesus' Input

APRIL 16

MATTHEW 5:39_But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil…

Resist not evil sounds odd. After all, wouldn’t you want to resist evil whenever it came your way?

The word resist here can be translated, to withstand; oppose. Again, that sounds like the right way to handle evil. If evil comes at me, I intend to oppose it. 

So, why is the word not a part of this teaching? Does Jesus say not to fight evil? Let evil have its own way? It could almost sound like Jesus is in favor of evil.  Since that isn’t true, it could only be one thing – scale balancing. Justice and mercy do not balance without Jesus’ input.

If you’ve been treated wrong in a way that is not an actual crime, you won’t run to the court for help. If you are transforming into a salty-lit-up disciple, you’ll run to Jesus for help. He tells you not to plan a revenge plot. Jesus wants you to resist that temptation.

Something just doesn’t seem right. The only way it can be right is if Jesus beats up your enemy, right? That’s how to balance the scales!

So, what would Jesus do?

The answer to that question is phenomenal!!  Jesus transforms the whole revenge thing.    

PRAYER

King of Kings, Please change my heart so it seeks mercy more than revenge. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ balances the heart—He will balance mine!