February 27 - March 4

Monday, February 27 – “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) This is the sixth of the ten commandments.  Notice that it doesn’t command that you should not murder.  Not murdering isn’t just a bad idea to avoid.  It’s something that one shall run from as fast as one can.  Shall means “plan to, intend to or expect to”.  Shall is so much more than a warning concerning a bad idea.  Shall is a fundamental reconsideration of your thoughts, feelings and desires.  Shall is a matter of the heart.  Should is merely a reconsideration of actions.


Tuesday, February 28 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) These are the words of Jesus, as he began to teach about how to live, as a follower of Jesus.  Aka, the Sermon on the Mount.  It’s important to remember that Jesus didn’t come in order to start a new religion.  Jesus came to fulfill that which God has been up to, since the beginning of time.  As a follower of Jesus, you aren’t merely a part of something that started 2,023 years ago.  You are a part of what God has been up to since the creation of the world.


Wednesday, March 1 – “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’” (1 Samuel 15:22) God doesn’t care that much about what you do.  God cares a great deal about who you are.  For God knows that who you are will always dictate what you do.  So, it’s a better use of God’s time to focus on transforming who you are.  As opposed to getting all worked up over what you do.  The problem is this: The rest of us haven’t caught up to God on this one.  We are so focused on what people do.  As opposed to simply being people who have been transformed by the love, the grace and the forgiveness of God. 


Thursday, March 2 – “Therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (James 1:21) James wrote these words some 1,978 years ago.  And it’s a pretty good guess that he wasn’t talking about something that was brand new, in his experience.  The problem was the “moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent”.  This has been around for as long as people have been around.  So, do we give up and just let it be?  Of course not.  But what we have been trying, behavior modification, isn’t working.  So, why don’t we simply try being the love, the grace and the forgiveness that is ours, through faith in Jesus?   


Friday, March 3 – “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Notice that “alert” and “of sober mind” are two things that Peter teaches you to be.  These aren’t simply two more things to add to your To-Do list.  These are two characteristics of who you are to be, as a follower of Jesus.  So, this teaching goes well beyond refraining from alcohol and staying awake all the time, so that the devil doesn’t get you.  This is about looking deeply into who you are.  Understanding your strengths as well as your weaknesses. In order that you will be ready when the devil comes.               


Saturday, March 4 – “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15) Always pay attention to the “Buts” in the Bible!  Forgiveness of sins is a done deal.  When Jesus died on the cross he paid the price for all sins, for all time, for all people.  So, what is Matthew teaching?  He’s teaching that you still have choices to make in your life.  Regardless of what Jesus has done.  If you make the choice to never forgive others, how can you ever imagine to experience the forgiveness, that Jesus offers, in your life?  You can’t expect to receive something from God that you aren’t first willing to give away yourself.