Count on That!

 APRIL 29

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.

PRAYER

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!

Wait and Watch!

APRIL 27

MATTHEW 5:44_bless them that curse you…

Are blessings something you only receive? Is God the only giver of blessings? Does God ever use people to deliver His blessings? 

Think of some of the people God has placed in your life. Are there ways He has blessed you through them? Have you ever thought that God could bless someone through you? Have you ever asked God to bless someone? Have you ever prayed God’s blessing on someone? If you have, most likely it is not someone who just cursed you, right?

By now you have caught on to Jesus’ pattern. Your curser is exactly who He wants you to bless! Don’t you wonder how they would react if you said, “I asked God to bless you today,” and added, “be on the lookout!”

God will bless your enemy if you ask Him. Even more, He will bless you. He will bless you from the inside out. You trusted in and believed the teachings of Jesus.

Think of people in your life who you feel may curse you. Ask God to bless them. Ask Him often. Ask Him to bless them in ways that bring Him glory.

Wait and watch what God will do!                                                                                   

PRAYER

Father God,  Please bless the people who may curse me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ loves to bless people—I pray for His blessings!

Action!

APRIL 22

MATTHEW 5:42_and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

When Jesus sent out the disciples with no luggage, only trust, the result was a major boost of faith. Transformation took place in the disciples’ hearts. Strong faith does not develop just by reading or listening to Jesus’ teachings.

Action!

Luke 22:35 (KJV), “And he [Jesus] said unto them [disciples], When I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.” The disciples returned stunned! They gained great faith. They were filled with joy. 

Action is a process. As the disciples saw their needs met, their faith increased. The greater faith allowed them to teach and heal. This action required something totally radical of them. To completely trust in what Jesus taught. Even when what He taught them was topsy-turvy. It worked. Not only did it work for the disciples, it worked to bring truth and healing to the recipients.

Turning the other cheek, giving more than is required, going the second mile, giving to those in need, all require to put others before yourself. And to obey Jesus.

This is more than feeding the hungry, or healing the sick. This is loving the unlovely, and forgiving the undeserving.

PRAYER

Blessed Savior, I want to live my life in a way which shows faith by action. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ lived a selfless life—I want to learn how!

Trust Required

APRIL 21

MATTHEW 5:42_Give to him that asketh thee…

Give all you can. Keep one thing in mind – you can’t give what you don’t have. Don’t steal or go into debt to give your loved ones what they want.

If your friend has a need, and you have the means to meet it, feel free to do so. The key word in that sentence is free. A transformed heart is a free heart. You should feel good about giving – not depressed.   

You may be saving your money for a rainy day,. Your friend’s rainy day has come. Your friend asks you for help. Part of the depth of this teaching is trust. Can you trust that if Jesus taught love as an action – then it is? Giving is action – not talk.

Youth should always discuss this kind of action with parents or guardians. God can teach you through their advice. Listen and learn. They have lived much longer than you and know more about giving.

One time Jesus sent His disciples out to teach and heal the sick. They would be gone for several days. He specifically told them in Luke 9:3 (KJV), “And he [Jesus] said unto them [disciples], Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor script, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” Jesus said the people who received the disciples into their homes would provide for their needs. Trust was a requirement.

It turned into a beautiful blessing for both parties.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I want to trust Your teachings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ’s teachings require trust—They will bless me!

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!