Saturday, September 22, 2018

Day 1616 Saved by Love & Forgiveness

Day 1616:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Matthew 5:43-47

I love what Jesus says here; he used the examples of tax collectors and pagans to illustrate how easily we can be hypocrites. Who would you consider an enemy? You may not have a specific face that pops into mind but what about a group, an organization, a government? That just opened the playing field. 

Can you imagine loving and accepting someone that is against you? Taking a step further, can you imagine being kind to that person? I am not even going to lie -- that is hard for me. But God says we have to, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

A lot of times we go through things and are quick to justify our actions with a no one else can understand attitude. Here is a visual of the ultimate love your enemy: 

Stripped, beaten, spit upon and mocked only because they do not like him, they did not want to accept the truth he spoke. Through swollen eyes and blurry vision he forgave the faces of the crowd encouraging the lashes. He carries the weight of the heavy wooden cross on his shoulders as he is led to the site of the crucifixion and passes crowds of faces, each he forgave one by one.

As the iron pushed the nail piercing his hands and feet, he looks into the eyes of the men responsible for the task and he forgave them. Hanging on the cross as every struggled breath is taken and pain shoots throughout his body ... he looks at the faces of those below and you come to his mind too -- he forgave. 

Can you imagine loving and forgiving as Jesus has done? When you see that visual of love and forgiveness on the cross, it should make whatever enemy cause in your life seem minor and insignificant. 

Can you love and forgive as Jesus has done for you? 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Day 1615 Eye for an Eye

Day 1615: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Matthew 5:38-42

Turning the other cheek actually does not imply pacifism as it sounds. What this Scripture is saying is do not return an insult for an insult in retaliation or an evil for evil.

Jesus us basically telling us to take the higher road and do not stoop to the level of evil by retaliating back in our anger. Of course God is not expecting you to allow people to smack you around or use you as a doormat; He encourages us to make the right choice and act out of love and not hate.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Day 1614 Oath

Day 1614: "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."
Matthew 5:33-37

Boy, this opens your eyes on the ole I swear! expression. It makes you think -- how is our oath valid when we swear on something that belongs more so to the power of God than ourselves?

Sometimes we make a swear or a promise and life happens and we break that oath. This can cause hurt and disappointment so God says don't even do it. Instead of swearing you'll do something or be somewhere, say, If it's God's will.

I also like the let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. I use to have a difficult time telling people No because I didn't want to disappoint anyone. My yes was really no and I made myself miserable. So when you say yes -- mean yes; when you say no -- mean it. Besides, breaking your word is never a good thing and it is hard to build back trust.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Day 1613 Divorce?

Day 1613: "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."
Matthew 5:31-32

Divorce and the Bible makes an uncomfortable conversation but it doesn't have to be. Divorce should never be the first go to in marriages when things go south but there are situations where two people jumped into a commitment taking an oath before God and they were not truly ready.

Marriage is a lot of work and if two people are not going into a marriage ready to work then it is best not to make that commitment. A marriage oath is a very serious contractual oath made with God; when is it OK to break that oath?

The Bible says the only cause for divorce is adultery but are there credible causes for breaking a marital contract? I personally believe our Father will not expect His child to stay in an abusive marriage and the abuser is one that definitely needs to watch out because he/she breaks the oath by raising a hand. The Bible mentions not marrying a divorced woman for anything other than adultery for it will be considered adultery if you do ... That is definitely not 2018. I believe it truly all comes down to the circumstances, your heart and relationship with God seeking the guidance on the decision.

Again, divorce should always be the very last answer but in the end, no person is in the position to judge rather a divorce was valid cause or not -- [There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. James 4:12] and He knows your heart.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Day 1612 Don't Cheat Marriage

Day 1612: "It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell."
Matthew 5:30

Jesus is addressing adultery, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away ... "
Matthew 5:27-30

Pretty extreme measures losing a body part but God takes adultery seriously. Note Jesus says adultery is more than a physical relationship with someone other than your spouse, adultery can be just thinking and lusting over someone else. Now that should have grabbed your attention.

If lusting after someone else is classified as adultery we all are in trouble and need some repenting time on our knees before God. Before you are quick to defend you love your spouse and could never lust after another ... think about those celebrity crushes, those musicians or worse, that someone you are in contact with in daily life.

It feels like human nature to be attracted to the opposite sex and appreciate the qualities that you may be attracted to, especially in a world that spotlights sex and sexual desires. How do you get that tunnel vision for your spouse and your spouse only where lust for another is completely unheard of in your marriage? Here are a few ideas:

  • Pray together and study God's Word together. A marriage that has invited God in is a solid bond. "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12 
  • Understand marriage is work and you never stop dating -- ever. 
  • Communication. A marriage cannot survive without honesty and communication. 
  • Avoid the temptation of lust. In other words, do not put yourself in situations where it is likely to happen.
  • Try my 40 day marriage challenge if you need a little spiritual motivation in the marriage. It also helps with connecting, communication and more importantly growing in faith together. It begins on blog Day 765 and goes through Day 804. Here is the first day if you're interested: 

It is possible not to lust over someone other than your spouse. Inviting God into your marriage will tear down the exterior facade and allow an inner soul connection with your spouse that will leave you craving more while outside threats and temptations are extinguished.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Day 1611 Bondage of Rage

Day 1611: One thing we hear Jesus say a lot when he is clearing up Old Law interpretation is, "You have heard that ... But I tell you that ...". Jesus addresses murder:

"You heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment."
Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus raises the bar a little with this Law -- Do not murder AND let go of rage. Jesus continued to explain how anger will only hold us back and if we took a moment and looked deep, we can see how harboring anger only hurts ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally.

It’s a difficult process of letting go of an angry rage against someone; I had to walk that journey a couple of times myself with some people I eventually forgave. It is not an easy walk but one that will heal you and give your spirit peace. If you are holding on to anger or a grudge against someone, take the judgment burden off your head and allow the healing of forgiveness to fill your soul.

Sometimes letting go of a past 
will allow God to open a door to your future.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Day 1610 No Loop Hole Law

Day 1610: Have you ever heard someone say, That's Old Testament, Jesus changed all that? This is an interesting blog today because it'll clear up what Jesus really says in regards to Old Testament Law.

"Do not think I have come to abolish the Law of the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of pen, will by an means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Matthew 5:17-18

Jesus continues to explain the consequences of breaking the Law and as we continue down the journey of Matthew we will see the specifics Jesus mentions accordance to the Law.

Remember, Jesus was among Pharisees and teachers of the Law that had strict man made rules and rituals that became mandatory religion. Jesus exposes the legalistic interpretations of the Old Testament intentions.

It comes down to this -- what God says is legit and solid truth; Jesus had to weed out where mankind muddied the Law with their own interpretation. So when someone says that Jesus changed Old Testament, share Matthew 5:17-18 and explain how Jesus did not change God's Law but cleared up many things.