MATTHEW 6:18_shall reward thee openly.
God will reward you openly. Trust. Believe. But remember, God has His own time table, and it’s a perfect one. You can also trust and believe that!
God delights in rewarding His people. Another natural byproduct of love is to give – time, money, gifts. God is the creator of all things physical and spiritual. He knows how to reward, when to reward, what to reward (behavior or actions), and the kind of reward to give.
You can trust your Heavenly Father to give rewards perfectly designed for you. They are part of the wonderful plan God has for your life. God has a plan for everyone. There are those who do not choose to accept His plan. The circumstances of life, which are beyond your control: family, race, culture, disabilities, can never prevent you from achieving His plan – if you seek it.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (KJV),“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
God Who Cares, Thank You for Your plan for me. Nothing in this life can take it from me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ has a plan for me—He will help me achieve it!
MATTHEW 6:17_and wash thy face.
Maybe Jesus added this instruction just in case you did pour that bucket of oil on your head! More likely He added it as a way of saying, “Get up and prepare for the day just as you would any day.”
Food is the source of the body’s energy. When that source is denied energy begins to deplete. When you feel tired and lack energy, the sad, disfigured face could come naturally. Whether it is natural or not, Jesus does not want you to draw attention to your fast. He wants you up and at it. Jesus wants you to receive the blessing He has in store during this time of self-denial.
Self-denial is not easy for whatever reason you are denying yourself, and certainly denying the body of its food source is no piece of cake. Hmm, probably not the best wording when discussing fasting. If the purpose of your fast is to be spiritually strengthened, trust that will happen. Once the fast is over, you may glean from your spiritual benefits for months to come.
Transformation is progressive. Some parts are instantaneous (like your love for Jesus), some come short term, and some transformations are a long term process. Only the One who loves and wants your very best will re-create you – so your spirit, not physical, controls your actions.
Loving Jesus, Please give me the strength when I need to deny myself. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ denied Himself—He did it to love me!
MATTHEW 6:17_But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head…
Jesus’ reference is not to a priestly anointing – it is more like a personal anointing. I don’t know if oil is used in this anointing. I see set-apartness with Jesus as the issue here.
When oil is used, it is used sparingly and discretely so as not to attract attention. After all, if you pour a bucket of oil on your head and walk around in public, people want to know what is going on. Be careful not to fall into the hypocrite category.
When Jesus tells you to anoint your head, He is saying, “Get serious about your spiritual life if you are fasting.” There needs to be a specific purpose for this fast. It needs to be about increasing your relationship with Jesus.
Spiritual fasts are not some extreme crash diet in order to lose weight. That is not a good idea even if the fast is not spiritual. Again, this is an adult thing. Children and youth are growing bodies. Seldom will the Holy Spirit lead them to fast.
Fasting has nothing to do with causing you to be saved, or not. Don’t worry about such things. Trust your faith to grow, and the truth of the Bible to free you.
Heavenly Father, I trust You to grow my faith and to lead me to freedom. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ calls me to be set-apart for Him—I will!
MATTHEW 6:17_But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head…
Count on Jesus to teach the truth! He will not leave you dangling with a question mark. Once again, He has taught what is the wrong way, now He will teach the right way.
Anointing may sound a little unusual but it is all through the Bible. Anointing, performed with oil, was generally performed by priests. The purpose was to set-apart, or consecrate, or designate someone or something to/for God.
I am going to stray from fasting and hypocrites just for today. This is a good place to discuss another viewpoint of anointing. I view baptism as a type of anointing. Baptism is all about set-apartness, designation, and consecration. It is a way to seal a contract of belonging to God. Baptism should be viewed as a serious act – as serious as your dedication to becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Baptism can be another sad case of church bickering – how it is performed and at what age. Jesus was thirty years old before He was baptized. What’s important is baptism goes with belonging to God. Count on the Holy Spirit to direct you to be baptized, or to apply your new faith to an old baptism. Or if you feel so led – have a re-do.
Trust and obey – don’t bicker and argue.
Lord Jesus, I want an anointing in my life as a way of belonging to You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ was baptized—It is part of discipleship!
MATTHEW 6:12_as we forgive our debtors.
My debtors caused this prayer to turn around. It was fine for God to forgive my debts. Psalm 136 (KJV) says twenty-six times, “for his mercy endureth for ever.”
I feel comfortable with the fact that God forgives me. That helps me overcome lies the devil uses to deceive me – that I can never be forgiven. This vertical forgiveness is from a God of true love. Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV), “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee [you and me] with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Wow!
My debtors are those who have never paid things like:
A financial debt – money owed to me.
A verbal debt – a broken promise.
An emotional debt – harsh angry words which ripped apart every feeling of tenderness I ever possessed.
A trust debt – betrayal.
Whatever the debt, it is still in my ledger. Before, my prayer life was only concerned with God’s ledger book – now He is meddling into mine.
The Holy Spirit says things to me like, “I’m ready to erase your debts recorded in My Vertical Ledger because you are not able to pay. But, I see all kinds of unerased debts in your Horizontal Ledger. Let Me teach you a solution.”
Holy God, I want to have Your mercy that endures forever. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ erased my sins—He teaches me how to erase!