MATTHEW 6:1_otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Back to rewards again. Jesus speaks a lot about rewards. He speaks of them as something to be desired, something to be honored, something to seek.
I have never found in the key to the treasure chest a time when Jesus speaks of rewards in a casual take-it-or-leave-it way.
Whether we know what the Father’s rewards are or not, we know Jesus places great value on them. Which sets an example for us.
When we study the Bible diligently with a seeking heart, we learn Jesus teaches specifically what causes not to receive the Father’s rewards. He does not speak favorably of any of these things.
Because Jesus loves us, and wants us to receive these rewards whether in this life or the next, Jesus warns. The rebellion in us does not respond well to warnings – someone telling us what to do.
When our hearts are transformed we realize there is love behind the warnings.
Just as specifically, Jesus teaches what causes us to receive the rewards.
Father God, Please change my rebellious heart to accept Your warnings. Teach me to see Your great love for me in each warning. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to receive rewards—I want to!
MATTHEW 6:1_to be seen of them…
Take heed (pay attention) to one simple word – seen. Your righteousness can be seen just like your light. Your light draws and guides to truth and freedom. There is another way to use light – to attract attention to you. This clarifies not doing your righteousness before men.
If your purpose for righteousness is to receive praise – you missed the mark. Showing acts of mercy, charitable giving, giving more than receiving, should all be done to bring glory to God. Any honor belongs to the One who taught you to live in righteousness.
The purpose of being light is not to shine on you, but on Jesus – the Light of the World!
You can’t save anyone – even yourself. You can’t bring anyone out of darkness. The light that shines from acts of righteousness reflects Jesus’ light. He saves. He brings out of darkness. He possesses the power to transform lives, break bondages, heal broken hearts, and when in His will, to heal diseased bodies.
If your light doesn’t reflect Jesus’ light – it’s the wrong light.
Loving Jesus, Please help me not to let my light shine on me, but on You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to shine for Him—I will!
MATTHEW 5:45_for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendest rain on the just and on the unjust.
I can’t say this too many times: God understands the kind of struggles we face in our earthly life. He knows our enemy, the devil, is subtle. God knows the devil’s power to deceive and to persuade. We face the devil daily. Without the Holy Spirit we don’t stand a chance.
Courage and power are available for us. Power comes through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God wants this for everyone, but some turn away.
According to what Jesus teaches, God loves the evil and the unjust. He gives them a new chance every day the sun rises. God sends rain on the crops of the evil, the same as on the crops of the just. He gives the unjust the same chance He gives the just. That’s the kind of heart God has, but it’s not the kind of heart we have – unless we allow The Great Surgeon to operate.
If God rejected those who hurt Him as easily as we reject those who hurt us – no one would be saved.
As our heart begins to transform, we become shining lights to those searching for Jesus. Our saltiness will cause someone to thirst for truth – real truth.
Dear God, Teach me how to love the unjust. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s heart cares for the unjust—He helps me to care!
MATTHEW 5:44_and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…
Don’t you hate it when someone uses you? Whether they’ve used you for their political gain, or personal pleasure, you’ve been violated. Someone you trusted took advantage of your trust and used it to better themselves. Now they despise you. That’s because they suffer from guilt, and blame you. So, whenever they have the opportunity they persecute you.
Pray for them. Try not to be hurt by them, but hurt for them. They are suffering. Guilt overwhems their emotions. You can’t despise and persecute someone without it causing you more turmoil than it does them. Count on that!
Pray for God to help and heal them. Pray for them to respond to Jesus’ unconditional love, and accept it. Pray for them to allow The Great Transformer to set them free.
Set your heart in the forgiveness mode. Hurt for them. When you pray God reads your heart far more than hears your words. A hurting heart attracts and keeps God’s attention. When a heart hurts more for others than for itself, it may attract God even more.
Father of Compassion, I don’t want to hold grudges. I want You to help the ones who persecute me and set them free. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ reads my heart—He will give it compassion!
MATTHEW 5:43_Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
How “it hath been said,” is your natural inclination. Love who you like, and hate who you don’t. That’s as natural as heat in summer. I won’t say it’s the easy way, because neither of these emotions is easy. Between the two, hate may be the easier. Easy because it is based on self-centered selfishness, which comes naturally. Hate requires no self-sacrifice. Hate thrives on grudge-holding. Just be plain hard-hearted. No open heart surgery necessary.
Hate is deadly. Spiritually, hate places a barrier between your spirit and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Emotionally, it keeps hormones out of sync, fluctuating between rage and depression. Physically, hate is a strong contributor to keep the body from healing itself.
Love is neither natural nor easy. Recovery from The Great Surgeon’s open-heart surgery results in true love. Once you succumb to more of Jesus and less of you, the door opens to The Great Transformer. He fills you with love. You cannot manufacture it on our own. You open the door, Jesus fills you up.
The effects of love in your life spiritually, emotionally, and physically are 180 degrees from the effects of hate.
Loving God, I don’t want to live the easy way. I want to live the loving way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ always loves—He will teach me!