Just Keep Your Word

APRIL 14

MATTHEW 5:37_But let your communication be, yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Jesus’ conclusion to this lesson is awesome. Just say yes or no! James 5:12 (KJV), “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”

It may be a little difficult for us to understand all this swearing by something, but it was very big in the culture of Jesus’ and James’ (Jesus’ half-brother) day.

Why wouldn’t we just say yes or no? It seems we think we can’t be trusted to mean what we say on its own. We have to add some kind of emphasis.

The only thing to help us be honest and responsible in what we say is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus and James both teach anything more than just yes or no can lead to trouble. Jesus calls it evil. James calls it condemnation. It’s bad either way. Either way can draw you more into the world’s ways. Be a person who keeps promises.

Don’t say one thing and do another.

Keep promises, even if it costs more than planned.

Be honest in everything – words and actions.

Be a person of integrity. 

Jesus teaches just keep your word and don’t swear at all.

PRAYER

Father God, Thank You for helping me to become an honest person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ is always honest—He wants me to be honest!

Strong Meat

APRIL 4

MATTHEW 5:32_But I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife…

A hundred years ago it was more difficult to get a divorce than it is today. Today, the painful experiences in the court room are more about custody, and the dividing of properties (which are very painful experiences) – the divorce isn’t really contested. The judge used to require more cause before a marriage was ended. I believe that is what Jesus pursues in this teaching.

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” is hard teaching. It is about seeking truth, for those who want the very best for their family. There is no room for quick and easy here. Jesus says marriage is something God brings together – He credits people if the marriage falls apart. 

God doesn’t want anything to break (unless it is the ties that hold you in bondage). He is the God of wholeness. God wants wholeness for His children, because that is how He created life in the beginning. This is strong meat which must be chewed and digested. It is not swallowing milk – even a baby can do that.

There is nothing easy about this teaching, but there is nothing easy about earthly life.. Don’t be offended. Trust everything Jesus teaches comes from His heart of love. Trust He knows the pains of earthly life – been there, done that. Trust He knows the weaknesses of the flesh.

But trust also, He knows the power of the spirit. Let Him teach you.

Stay with me! There’s much more!

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to live my life like a baby. I want to digest Your strong meat teachings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.  

Christ does not want love to break—He can make it strong!

Like Nothing Else

MARCH 27

MATTHEW 5:27_You have heard it has been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery;

Jesus is ready for another law transformation, the seventh of the Ten Commandments, thou shalt not commit adultery. All sins bear consequences. Learn to look before you leap. Save yourself the pain of walking contrary to God’s ways. 

Sexual sins produce jealousy more than any other sin. Jealousy, more than any other emotion, produces uncontrolled anger. Uncontrolled anger often leads to murder.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Didn’t Jesus already make this connection? Uncontrolled anger is in the category with murder.  

Proverbs 6:32-35 (KJV), “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.”

Adultery breaks trust. Adultery breaks the heart – like nothing else.

PRAYER

Living God, Help me learn the importance of keeping marriage vows. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows what breaks trust—He teaches me!

You Are Not God

FEBRUARY 18

MATTHEW 5:16_that they may see your good works and…

Never feel your candle is too small. Just because you do not have some kind of world-wide ministry does not lessen your ability to shine.

First off, you are not God (whew!). You do not know the beginning and the end. You do not know the fullness of God’s plan. He always works on your behalf. God’s love for you has no boundaries. He is using your light in ways you have no knowledge of, or ability to see.

He is working while you are sleeping.

As long as you are not ashamed or afraid to shine,  you are doing a good work. That work is seen by people you know, and by some you may never know.

You may feel you have shed light for only a few, but upon who have those few shined with the light they received from your candle? Are you getting the picture? You do not always have to hold on to your light. The light your candle gives off leaves you and settles on another.

Good works are living out Jesus’ teachings through the Holy Spirit’s power by loving people. In Mark 10:18, Jesus says, “… there is none good but one, that is, God.

I am not a good person, but my transformation allows me to do good by shining the love of God and serving others.

PRAYER

Precious Jesus, Help me trust You to shine through me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s light is seen in love—His love can shine in me!

Exceeding

FEBRUARY 4

MATTHEW 5:12_Rejoice and be exceeding glad…  

Maybe Jesus is a little confused. Rejoicing because someone speaks evil lies against you? That’s just not normal! If Jesus is anything (which He is … everything) He is not normal. Don’t be offended by that. Jesus is not normal because normal in this life is sin. Jesus came to turn the world upside down – He did!

Jesus takes His teaching to the next level, repeatedly showing how various types of hardships or suffering (all experienced because of choosing to be a Jesus follower) result in being blessed. Jesus says to rejoice and be glad. He’s even taking glad to the next level – exceeding glad! Exceeding is above and beyond what is expected, or required, or should even be considered. 

Jesus knows what is in store. He knows if you line up with His sufferings you will be blessed. He knows what kind of blessing that will be.

The biggest part of following Jesus is to trust Him. You have to believe He knows more than you. That’s why Jesus can say something like rejoice and be exceeding glad.

 PRAYER

One True God, I know all lives come with suffering, but I know not all lives come with blessings. Help me make the choices in life which line me up with Your blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ knows my trials—He helps me follow His path!