A Fly in the Ointment

  JUNE 15

MATTHEW 6:12_as we forgive our debtors.

When God pays your sin debt, the kicks you used to experience in sin begin to disappear. If they don’t, then in the words of the great Miss Clavel, “Something is not right!” (Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans). You sin because it supplies some kind of satisfaction. It may be physical, emotional, or financial. When it no longer produces satisfaction (which is the nature of sin), you sink deeper and deeper into sin. The deeper, the harder to come out.  

When redeemed by the Savior, sin begins to lose its hold. There is no joy in sin for the saved. Just when things look good for the debtor, Jesus adds another piece to the pattern.

He lets a fly in the ointment!

Jesus’ prayer causes vertical forgiveness (from God to you) to be based on horizontal forgiveness (from you to your offenders). That means to ask God to forgive you in the way you forgive those who wrong you.

I declare! Jesus just won’t let you get by with anything. It takes a lot of love to hold people you love to accountability.

If you confess, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness, why should that have anything to do with those who wronged you? They need to do their own confessing.

This is more of those natural instincts of your hard heart.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is your offenders and their confession is between them and God. You forgiving them is between you and God.

A clear sign you have been redeemed is you want to forgive. Old sins lose their grip and hard hearts soften!       

PRAYER

Great Redeemer, Thank You for not only saving me, but changing me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                               

Christ redeems me—He changes me!

No Wonder It Will Be Perfect!

JUNE 6

MATTHEW 6:10_Thy kingdom come…

We have already discussed the Apostle John’s vision. Revelation 21:1 (KJV), “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” John sees something new. The former things are no more. He sees a brand new heaven and a brand new earth

Let’s gain a little more insight and read verse 4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

This new world sounds very good. Perhaps more like the Garden of Eden before the only two people on the planet decided there was a better plan.

I like no more tears. I like no more death. I like no more sorrow. I like no more crying. I like no more pain.

Now check out verse 5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

I like all things made new.

Jesus includes that we pray for this new kingdom to come. Thy kingdom come – this is God’s kingdom.

No wonder it will be perfect!

PRAYER

God Who Makes New, Praise Your great power. You will bring a new kingdom. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows there will be a new kingdom—He has told me!

A Form of Worship

JUNE 1

MATTHEW 6:8_for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of…

God knows our needs. That is not a reason to bail out on prayer. We decided prayer was primarily about building relationships. Getting to know each other.

If we’ve learned anything the past 150 plus days it’s Jesus’ teachings are right, holy, and true. Jesus’ teachings lead us to be salt and light.

We can learn a lot about prayer from the prophet Nehemiah. He prayed well and often. Nehemiah 1:11 (KJV), “O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him [Nehemiah] mercy in the sight of this man [King Artaxerxes].”

Nehemiah had a large request to ask King Artaxerxes. He wanted some time off. Not just a few days – years! Nehemiah wanted to leave Persia, return to his home town, Jerusalem, build a wall, and renew Israel’s faith in the LORD. He prayed before he asked the king. Nehemiah just prayed a lot. Notice he asked God to be attentive to the prayer of His servant (King Solomon also prayed that). I learned from them. I ask God to let His ears be attentive to the prayers of His servant (me).

Prayer is not about coming to God because you feel obligated. Neither is it only about asking God to do something for you, or give something to you.

Prayer is a form of worship.

PRAYER

Jesus Friend, Thank You that I am Your friend. I want to be a loving friend who enjoys communicating with You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is my friend—I am His friend!

What Jesus Wants

MAY 13

MATTHEW 6:3_But when thou doest thine alms…

Jesus wants you to receive heavenly rewards. Jesus wants you to be generous. Jesus wants you to do good deeds. Jesus wants your righteousness to shine in the darkness. Jesus wants your blessings on others to salt their faith as a preservative. 

The truth is, Jesus doesn’t need you to do any of these things. Jesus loves and desires you. Jesus allows His love to flow through you. Jesus chose to let His power be a part of who you are – not something He needed to do. He chose you to do alms (charitable works and giving) for Him. To do alms for Jesus is enough in itself. How incredible is it He wants to reward you for it?

The great evangelist John Wesley caught hold of this teaching. Check out his famous saying:

Do all the good you can                                                               

By all the means you can                     

 In all the ways you can                                                 

In all the places you can      

At all the times you can                                                                           

To all the people you can                                                                            

As long as ever you can

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I want to do good in the world. Please help me use my life in a way that brings glory to the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ does good to all people—He helps me do good!

An Inflated Ego

MAY 12

MATTHEW 6:2_Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Jesus uses His attention getting word in this verse – verily. Perk up, open your heart, receive some truth!

Charity giving as a public spectacle may cause it to be more of a showy extravaganza than a sincere act of the heart. The more public, the more praise you receive.

In this example, Jesus’ verily draws attention to the fact this reward has already been received. Sounds like Jesus says, “Don’t look for a reward from God – you sought man’s reward, and have received it.”

Earthly praise is very good – especially when parents praise their children for making wise choices and in general doing good. But to seek public praise, can be destructive. An inflated ego can cause you to believe you are invincible.

I recently heard a little saying I like very much: Your ego is not your amigo!

In John 8:54 (KJV) Jesus said, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.”

Wow! Even Jesus, who is glory, didn’t seek self-glory!

PRAYER

God of Glory, Help me know the only way I am invincible is in Your power. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ did not seek His own glory—He sought God’s glory!