Know the Truth!

APRIL 30

MATTHEW 5:45_That you may be children of your Father which is in heaven…

If you listen to him, the devil will convince you the Christian life is too hard. No one can keep all these commandments. And there’s doom if you don’t!

The only way to keep from falling for the devil’s deceptions is to know the truth!

Christianity is not about keeping a bunch of laws. It is about a new, born again life with Jesus. Get into God’s family. Be confident that you are a child of your Father in heaven. Ask Jesus into your heart. You’ll automatically receive the bonus of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you. Any commandment/law keeping is the Spirit’s job.

How does that work?

Remember that open heart surgery? The Spirit changes your desires by creating in you a deeper love of Jesus and His teachings. Love is not about making yourself good. It is about the Spirit producing stronger desires for righteousness, and the desires for unrighteousness losing their grip. 

Psalm 23:3 (KJV), “… he [the Lord] restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” 

How do you get to the righteous paths? God leads you.

Why? For His name’s sake! 

PRAYER

Father in Heaven, Praise You for leading me where I need to go! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ has the power to change me—He will do it!

The Radical Cure

APRIL 19

MATTHEW 5:40_let him have thy cloak also.

Come on Lord Jesus, there’s radical and then there’s … crazy! I mean, look at the facts:

I lost the case and with it my life’s savings.

I hate it because I don’t feel I was wrong.

I hate it because it will destroy my current lifestyle.

I hate it because it causes a pain in the pit of my stomach.

I hate it because it takes away my peaceful sleep.

Jesus says the remedy for my ailments is to give my enemy more than I’m obligated? No way! That will make me sicker!

Write this out on a card and place it somewhere you’ll see it regularly: My being good does not impress Jesus. My doing good does. The Scribes and Pharisees were good. They knew and kept the laws. They failed to do good by loving their fellow man and leading them to freedom.

The Great Healer’s radical cure requires action. Action that comes from who’s in charge of your heart – you or Jesus?

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, I need Your help so I can do good and not just talk about being good. I need faith to believe in Your radical cures. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ does good—He will teach me!                                         

180

APRIL 17

MATTHEW 5:39_but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

If someone slaps you in the face, turn so they can do it again. What? No way! Jesus couldn’t possibly mean that! Where’s the balance?

There are more ways to be slapped than just physical. The pain of words is one – don’t want to be on the receiving end of that unbridled anger. An arrogant attitude is another – treated like you’re less than stupid. In whatever form the slap comes, Jesus has already taught not to seek revenge. Does He say to let yourself be slapped again? That doesn’t make sense.

The teachings of Jesus can be radical – way radical! These law transformations are when Jesus is at His topsy-turvy best. His teaching appears to be wrong, maybe even crazy. A heart that has not been or is not being changed will find them to be just that – crazy!     

Jesus has set a stage. Take a seat and enjoy the show. This is a play about a good guy who is injured by an evil bully. The bully is motivated by jealousy and envy. The good guy’s injury causes hardships in his life. The good guy looks for help but no one rushes to his rescue. Everyone fears the bully.

The good guy’s help comes from Jesus’ 180 degree turn.

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, You want to rescue me from the devil’s evil deeds. Help me make the turns I need to make. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.     

Christ’s love knows when to turn—He will teach me!

God's Way, God's Time

APRIL 15

MATTHEW 5:38_Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

This is a big law transformation. The Law said if someone were to blind your eye, you could blind their eye. It also said that if someone were to knock out your tooth, you could knock out their tooth. In the Old Testament this was justice. The truth is, most people like this kind of justice. It satisfies. Nobody gets by with anything. 

If you’ve gained some insights over the past several months, it’s when Jesus begins a teaching with “Ye have heard that it hath been said”—He is about to transform that! 

The Great Balancer wants balance between justice and revenge. There is a place in the world for justice, the judicial system. The Bible says there is only one place for revenge – in God’s hands. Romans 12:19 (KJV), “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’” 

God only, gets to decide if revenge is appropriate. If so, He carries it out. God carries revenge out in His way, and only His way. He carries it out in His time, and only His time.

Because of hard hearts, it is always best to let God decide how to deal with any kind of revenge.  

PRAYER

Blessed Savior, Help me leave revenge in Your hands. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ balances revenge and mercy—I don’t know how!                                               

Plug the Loopholes

APRIL 11

MATTHEW 5:34_But I say unto you swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne.

Psalm 15 lists several creation principles everyone should live by – especially salty-lit-up disciples. The last part of verse 4 (KJV) says, “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” If you make a promise and in the long run it turns out to be something bigger than you thought, or cost more money that you expected – keep your promise. Psalm 15 says even if it hurts, keep your word.

In His New Covenant teaching Jesus transforms the old law about swearing – don’t swear at all! A practice in the Hebrew culture in that day was to swear by something. The more important the something was, the more emphasis on the oath. Jesus targets that system.

Perhaps the thought was you could get by without keeping your word if you didn’t swear by God’s name. If you swore by God you had to keep your word. As usual, Jesus looks beyond man’s plans on how to get by without keeping His creation principles. Jesus sees a loophole. He plans to plug it!

If you made a promise by heaven but did not mention God’s name Jesus says, heaven is God’s throne. The two are inseparable.

This sounds a lot like the murder and the anger, and the looking and the lust. 

PRAYER

True God, I don’t want to look for loopholes in Your teachings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ plugs loopholes—I need Him to plug mine!