Less of You?

MARCH 24

MATTHEW 5:24_first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Nothing in this life is worth the bondage caused by the spirits of darkness. Spiritual bondage is void of light – a place of deep darkness. It thrives on anger, bitterness, hate, and unforgiveness. Spiritual bondage weakens the soul and brings it into despair. Again, nothing in life is worth allowing your spirit, heart, and soul to be in bondage.

Be reconciled. Come in freedom, and offer your gift. God receives your gift with joy and blesses you. As you grow physically and spiritually, your gift will grow, shining in your countenance and in your life. It will cause you to gain wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Your light will bless all who cross your path – “all that are in the house.”

God possesses the greatest treasure – love. He bestows love upon you – which flows to other people. The more you love God, the more you’ll find you have the ability to love people. The more you love God, the more you’ll find self-sacrifice becomes a byproduct of your life – because you learn to love others more than yourself.

Do you want your life to be more of Jesus, and less of you?

PRAYER

God of Love, I want who You are to shine in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ loves me—He wants me to love His people!

A Heap of Trouble!

MARCH 14

MATTHEW 5:21_Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…

Jesus begins a series of principles to shed understanding on His fulfillment of the Law. He shares something which up until this sermon only Jesus could do – balance judgment and mercy. Now it is time to teach His salty-lit-up disciples how it’s done!

What was said by them of old time was the Law. The Old Testament covenant God made with Abraham and the laws he gave to Moses (the Ten Commandments, etc.). This was the standard the Hebrews lived by – their rules and regulations. This is how they worshiped, how they gave themselves to being Jews – God’s chosen people.

We Gentiles had no chance for the kingdom life because we were not chosen. Neither did we have the laws to teach us how to worship, serve, and know God. What was said by them of old time was for the Jews alone.

If that was enough, there was no need for a New Testament covenant and Gentiles would be in a heap of trouble! Jesus now becomes salt and light for the Old Testament. 

If the Scribes and Pharisees have had trouble relating to Jesus before – watch out. They are about to throw a fit!

PRAYER

Father of All, Thank You for teaching me an understanding of balance. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                   

Christ teaches balance—He helps me understand!

One and the Same

MARCH 11

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

It is easy enough to get to know the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees – simply read their encounters with Jesus. If anyone on the planet should have known who Jesus was – it was they. 

The Scribes and Pharisees knew all the prophesies in the Scriptures. They knew there was to be the coming of a Messiah. They knew all the details, but because they studied with their head and not their heart, they didn’t recognize the Messiah when they met Him face to face! They needed wisdom, understanding, and the right kind of knowledge for that, and they hadn’t gained any – not a smidgen. 

The ultimate way to have recognized Jesus was by His love. First, they had to be able to know the love of God. If they spent a lifetime studying the Law, but not been in touch with God enough to know His love, they missed the whole point.

Jesus said they should have recognized Him by His miracles. His miracles were instigated by love, so love and Jesus’ miracles were actually one and the same.

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Help me recognize the miracle of love You work in my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s miracles are love—He will work them in me!

The Right Track

MARCH 10

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus is love – true, genuine, unconditional love from head to toe. He is the purest form of mercy. He is grace at its greatest. If Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, then the purpose of the Law must be love, mercy, and grace.

Make the Bible your best friend. The wisdom from it is far beyond awesome. If you don’t spend time with your best friends – they won’t be your best friends for very long. The more time you spend in the Bible, the more you gain understanding of wisdom.

The Scribes and Pharisees spent a lot of time studying the Law, but they failed to gain wisdom and understanding. Why? The heart. If your time in the Bible results in knowledge which lets you appear better than your friends, your righteousness will never exceed that of the Scribes or Pharisees.

If your Bible time results in your heart breaking from your own sin, and the cruelties of the world, and you want to do something to make the world a better place – you’re on the right track!

 PRAYER

God of Mercy, Please help me learn the Bible with my heart, not my head. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the heart of the Law—He wants it in my heart!                                    

BFFs

MARCH 7

MATTHEW 5:19_the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Can you think of a more beautiful reward than to be called great in the kingdom of heaven? It surpasses any honor the world can offer.

To receive this reward means you believe in and teach (by word or influence) Biblical commands. If this were impossible Jesus never would have taught the principle. The road to the reward begins with some understanding of the life of Jesus. The understanding can’t be gained without Bible reading and meditating (dwelling on until you have it in your heart) on what you read. Bible study needs to be filled with prayer. This is what is known as a daily quiet time.

Dedication to a quiet time leads you to become a salty-lit-up disciple. You won’t have one without the other. The Bible, prayer, discipleship, salt, and light are BFFs.

Jesus clears up some of His teachings in the rest of this chapter. His balance of judgment and mercy equaling the fulfillment of the Law gives some understanding. 

Learning to distinguish the spirit of the Law from the letter of the Law brings everything together.

PRAYER

Savior of the World, I want to be great in the kingdom of heaven. I want to believe that if You said it then it is possible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Spirit of the Law—He wants to teach me!