Living for Christ

September 2012 Daily Devotion Archive

September 1:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Beatitudes

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." - Matthew 5:3-6

You are blessed if you are exhausted in faith and still remain faithful. Your gift is God's kingdom. You are blessed if you mourn over sin (yours and that of the world). You will have His comfort. You are blessed when you come before God in a humble manner. You will inherit the new earth, the new Promised Land that is to come. Then, verse 6 is referring to what is right and just in our lives and in the world around us. Also, Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of Life and Living Water, and all who hunger and thirst will be filled. Remember that man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word of God.



September 2:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Beatitudes

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." - Matthew 5:7-9

You are blessed if you are a person who is compassionate and merciful. God shows us mercy when He does not give us what our sins deserve; that is mercy. Do you show that same mercy to a spouse, a coworker that wronged you, a friend? You are blessed if you have a pure heart, mind and emotions. As it says in Proverbs, "A gentle answer turns away wrath." In keeping peace you show the character of God in your life, and are called "sons of God".



September 3:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Beatitudes

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - Matthew 5:10-12

As a believer, you are an offense to the world, and those who do not know Him. You will be persecuted for your beliefs and for your stand for the Lord. People will hurl insults, and lies at you and about you for the name of the Lord which is on you. Remain in Him and He will remain in you. And yours is His kingdom. And what does He tell us? Be exceedingly glad! Your reward is not the praise given by man, but salvation and the Kingdom of God that is the reward. A reward that no man--nothing--can take from you! Be glad!



September 4:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Salt of the Earth

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. ... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:13, 16

What is Sodium? SODIUM--is an active element always linking to another element.
What is Chlorine? CHLORINE--has an offensive odor, and is toxic by itself.
TOGETHER = It makes SALT
FAITH--is active like sodium.
TRUTH--is like chlorine, it is sometimes offensive.
TOGETHER = Salt of the Earth.
So, have you attached yourself to someone lately with the goal to win their soul?



September 5:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." - Matthew 5:17-18

The Law - Jesus came not to merely teach the Law of the Prophets, but to fulfill it. He warns us not to be like the Pharisees who think they know it all. Are you self-righteous or is your righteousness found in God?



September 6:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." - Matthew 5:21-24

Murder - Jesus is telling us that the attitude of our hearts matter just as much as committing a crime like murder, if your attitude is that of hate then you are just as guilty as the one who killed a person; and deserve the same punishment, unless you repent. God will NOT accept you if you do not accept your brother. Your gifts are not what will get you into Heaven; instead, it depends on your heart condition (salvation) with God and whether your motives (attitudes) are right before Him.



September 7:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell." - Matthew 5:27-29

Adultery - What is Jesus saying here? If you look at a woman and lust after her, wanting her sexually, you are equal to that of an adulterer, and unless you repent and confess your sin, you will be judged accordingly. If your lifestyle is immoral, you will not see the kingdom of God. All sin = sin, and God will not accept it, or the excuse. Jesus says that we are to avoid temptation, and here He talks in an extreme way, telling you to cut out your eye if it causes you to sin. Even a blind man can lust. You must have a drastic change to avoid all evil in what you say and do, and to have a pure mind and heart.



September 8:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"Furthermore it has been said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery." - Matthew 5:31-32

Divorce - Divorce in any case is wrong unless your spouse is unfaithful to you. In the Nelson Study Bible, being sexually immoral includes: premarital sex, extramarital infidelity, homosexuality, and bestiality. Unless your spouse is committing these acts, there are NO grounds for you to divorce. You may even add here that if your spouse lusts after another person it is equal to that of an adulterer. Could there be grounds for divorce? It is an affair of the mind (see Matthew 5:27-29). Remember though, Jesus also wants us to forgive the other person for their wrongs done to you.



September 9:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your Yes' be Yes, and your No, No. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." - Matthew 5:33-37

Oaths - When Kevin and I stated our vows to one another, we omitted the phrase "Do you swear to..." because of this scripture. We replaced it with "Do you promise to...In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." In this passage of Scripture oaths were not binding unless they were sealed in God's name. Just like in some cultures, a handshake will "seal the deal". Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Let your yes mean Yes, and your no mean No.



September 10:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away." - Matthew 5:38-37

Eye for an Eye - In an attack against you, you are not to retaliate, as was the Old Testament law. In the case of a legal suit, give more than what is asked. As it is stated in the Nelson Study Bible, "compels" refers to the law of impressment. The Roman government could press anyone into its service to carry a load as far as one mile. This is referring to government. If a person requests money, do not turn him away. Do we have a heart where we give and don't expect anything in return?



September 11:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Moral Standards

"You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48

Love For Enemies - Is your love discriminating? Think about it. In the church, you love them because they are your church family. What about those who are not a part who slip in the back unnoticed? Do you extend a hand or say "Hello."? What about those who persecute you? Who say evil against you? If there is nothing you think you can do--PRAY. God will take care of the rest. This passage talks about being sons of the Father. Are you living and imitating Him? Does your life exemplify Him as your Heavenly Father and can others see Him in you? They should if you are His. We are to love everyone. Love the sinner; hate the sin. Show no discrimination.



September 17:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Religious Motives

"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." - Matthew 6:1-4

Alms - When you do a good deed for another, we are not to be arrogant, to make a show of what we have done, to gain the praise of men. Rather, we are to go and do our deed in secret, so only God knows who and what has been done, and He will reward you and bless you! Are you seeking the praise of men, or of God?



September 18:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Religious Motives

"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. ... "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven." - Matthew 6:5, 8-11

Prayer - Again, do not be praying for attention, to be seen by men, Pray to God privately, so only God can see what you do in private and reward you. Pray with proper motives, lest your words be empty. Jesus also gives us an example prayer to follow as an outline. When God's name is Hollowed it means may His name be said with respect, to give praise to, said with humility. In the King James Version verse 10 is stated "Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven." Now, we are referred to as earth for from the dust of the ground He made us. So, His kingdom come in us, that we might be the light to those around us. (to be continued tomorrow...)



September 19:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Religious Motives

"Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." - Matthew 6:12-15

Prayer - (...continued from yesterday) Daily Bread is a reminder to Israel that God provided for them for 40 years. He fed them with manna from Heaven, and He will be faithful to us and provide for our needs we are more important than the sparrow, and God provides for them. In verse 12, we must, we must forgive those who wrong us, for God to forgave us our sins! Jump to vs. 14-15. To be forgiven, we must forgive. We ask God to deliver us from the devil, For God is Master forever, and only He has the power and deserves all the glory.



September 20:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Religious Motives

"Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." - Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting - Fasting is abstaining from something (A meal: some foods, soda, candy, time spent watching TV or on the Internet, or anything else) to focus wholly on God and His Word, and what He wants to speak to you. Many will fast over something until they get an answer from God about some issue or decision they face. At the same time it is a test on the believer's part when fasting--not to give up until they get an answer, and sometimes, there is no answer and that in itself is the answer. Do not think that God's apparent silence is a reflection that He is not actively involved; maybe it is you who needs to listen more closely (or, maybe He is telling you to wait). There is just as much to be heard in the silence as with many words. Listen.



September 21:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Mammon Worship

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21

Mammon = Idols...Anything that takes away from God being in first place in your life. All the things we have here on earth can be destroyed. The daughter of a friend of mine in Ohio had a house fire and lost most everything; they are gutting the home and starting over. Look at how fast they lost everything! When you die, you will take none of these items with you into eternity; your deeds and service to God build up your treasure in Heaven. Nothing can take it or destroy it. It is there for you when you get there. (to be continued tomorrow...)



September 22:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Mammon Worship

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ... No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:21, 24

(...continued from yesterday) Mammon = Idols...Anything that takes away from God being in first place in your life. All the things we have here on earth can be destroyed. You cannot serve God and idols. Do you love the world so much and all its possessions, all it offers that you are willing to forfeit your soul? God offers peace, forgiveness, unending love, truth, grace, mercy, and eternity...things this world cannot offer. Think about it.



September 23:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Temporal Cares

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? ... But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." - Matthew 6:25-26, 33-34

This life will not last forever, and it will pass away, but while we are here, God has promised that we are more important than the birds of the air, and He provides for them. Where is our faith? He knows your needs. What is more important than any of these is our need for soul food, and nourishment of our souls. He tells us to FIRST seek the kingdom and His righteousness. And when He tells us not to worry about tomorrow, it is because He is already there.



September 24:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Social Discernment

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." - Matthew 7:1-6

God will judge you based on how you judge others. I heard in a sermon while visiting a church in West Virginia where the pastor said, "Spend the first six months of the year judging yourself, and the last six months not judging others." You see, we are so quick to jump on the flaws of a brother or sister in Christ, but can you, yourself, see clearly to help them? Before you judge another person, examine yourself, judge yourself! (to be continued tomorrow...)



September 25:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Social Discernment

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." - Matthew 7:1-6

(...continued from yesterday) In verse 6, it is telling us there are people in the world who mock and laugh at the gospel; we are to turn from them, or remain silent. Think, when Jesus stood before Harod before his crucifixion, He remained silent. Harod had become a dog or pig. Also, what did Jesus tell the disciples? To go into the cities and preach repentance, and if they were not received, to shake even the dust off of their shoes, and leave--to have nothing more to do with them.



September 26:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Encouragements

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" - Matthew 7:7-11

How easy are you to give up on a prayer that is not being answered immediately? God wants persistence, and boldness before Him. Do you come to Him with boldness, with faith that He will answer you? He gave us the greatest gift, the Holy Spirit within us. We can go before the throne of God and ask with boldness, and be persistent. He will answer you.



September 27:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Summary in a sentence

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 7:12

Jesus came to fulfill the Law of the Prophets. The old law in the Old Testiment said to do to another as they have done to you. Here, in the fulfillment through Jesus Christ He says, in EVERYTHING, treat others as you want to be treated.



September 28:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": The Alternatives

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." - Matthew 7:13-14

The narrow gate leads to life, to the kingdom of Heaven. It is the path most difficult to stay on. The broad path leads to destruction, to Hell. It follows the ways of the world and a path most deceptive, alluring, and easy to walk in. BEWARE!



September 29:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Final Warnings

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them." - Matthew 7:15-20

False prophets - False prophets, teachers, preachers...Men and women who appear as God-sent, but deceive God's children. These are people who believe themselves saved and sent by God, but are NOT. A person's "fruit" can be defined as their Christ-like character, qualities, their actions. Titus 1:16 says, "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work."



September 30:
The Ten-Fold Message of "What Jesus Taught": Final Warnings

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them." - Matthew 7:15-20

False prophets - Many of these false men and women will speak well, and deny Him in their life. They may speak a prosperity message, or talk about living a great life now. As my brother-in-law has said, a growing church is either growing because it is blessed, or it is growing because people are deceived. The Word of God is our guide, and everything we see and hear is held up to the Bible. It is the Truth. BEWARE!