MATTHEW 6:18_shall reward thee openly.
God will reward you openly. Trust that. Believe that. 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 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, that probably is 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 about 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 6:12_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 the 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.
God points out things 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!
MATTHEW 6:6_and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…
Jesus says the Father is in the closet with you. When He says the Father seeth in secret He means more than vision. God reads your soul. He sees everything in your mind and thoughts. God sees deeply – into the very depths of your heart. He knows if there is room for Him in that depth, or if it is consumed with you. God also knows if your desire is to replace self with the Savior. He can help you with that.
God’s desire is for you to bring all your emotions of pain, heartbreak, fear, anger, and unforgiveness to Him in prayer. If you can trust God is with you in the closet, you will begin to trust He is with you anywhere. The more you trust in God’s presence, the more confident you will grow in your relationship with Him.
Listening is every bit as important to prayer time as talking. Remember that falling in love sequence? If you do all the talking, and never any listening, then you will not know your loved one at all. It’s difficult to truly love someone you don’t know.
The more you hear God, the more you become salt and light.
God Who Speaks, Please speak to my heart, and help me trust You are always with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is with me—I want to be with Him!