Scripture reading for July 5th: Matthew 5
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:21-26 “You have heard it said, to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.‘ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court; lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Jesus was preaching to a crowd of people in what is one of the longest of His sermons in Scripture. Jesus was told His followers of the blessedness of life in the kingdom of God and explained what that life looked like. He took one of the ten commandments, “Thou shall not commit murder” and expanded on its deeper heart issue: hatred. Hatred is the root of murder in one’s heart and it must be dealt with urgently and in a timely manner or it will bring death and destruction. Hatred imprisons those who hold onto it and holds them fast. Our current culture and world is full of hatred and the resulting fruits of murder, destruction and imprisonment in bitterness and rage. Oh how we need to heed Jesus’ Word of instruction and warning! Many are locked in prisons and won’t be able to get out until they do. Some will end up in eternal suffering. Jesus paid the price to get us out if we will repent and ask forgiveness.
Matthew 6:43-45 “”You have heard it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father Who is 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.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, forgive me for harboring hatred in my heart towards those who offend me. Cleanse me from all hatred and fill me with Your love and forgiveness. Use me to bring deliverance to those imprisoned by hatred and bitterness and to overcome evil with good.
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but loves covers all offenses.”
Scripture reading for March 16th: Numbers 34-36, Luke 4
Key Scriptures: Luke 4:28-30 “When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove Him (Jesus) out of the town and brought Him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went away.”
Jesus preached to those in His home town in the synagogue where He went as a child. As He declared that He was anointed by God as the Messiah, the people became offended and a murderous spirit entered them. They sought to kill Jesus, but He slipped away, saving them from murder! Here was God dwelling with them and they tried to kill Him!
Leviticus 35:33-34 “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”
Faith Confession and prayer: I am Your temple here on earth. Lord, keep me mindful of Your indwelling presence in my life. Empower me to allow You to speak through me to those in need of Your grace. Thank You for shedding Your precious blood to atone for my sins and the sins of all mankind.