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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, May 1, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Jesus tells us to examine our own motives and conduct instead of judging others. The traits that bother us in others are often the habits we have ourselves. Our bad habits and behavior patterns are the very ones that we most want to change in others. Do you find it easy to magnify others’ faults while excusing your own? If you are ready to criticize someone, check to see if you deserve the same criticism. Judge yourself first, and then lovingly forgive and help you neighbor.
Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. People often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through, and Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. Don’t give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. He will give them to you.
The children in Jesus’ example asked their father for bread and fish—good and necessary items. If the children had asked for a poisonous snake, would the wise father have granted the request? Sometimes God knows we are praying for “snakes” and does not give us what we ask for, even though we persist in our prayers. As we learn to know God better as a loving Father, we learn to ask for what is good for us, and then he grants it.
Christ is showing us the heart of God the Father. God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy, and we don’t have to beg or grovel as we come with our requests. He is a loving Father, who understands, cares, and comforts. If humans can be kind, imagine how kind God, the Creator of kindness, can be.
This [the last verse] known as the Golden Rule. In many religions it is stated negatively: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” By stating it positively, Jesus made it more significant. It is not very hard to refrain from harming others; it is much more difficult to take the initiative in doing something good for them. The Golden Rule, as Jesus formulated it, is the foundation of active goodness and mercy—the kind of love God shows to us every day. Think of a good and merciful action you can do today. (NLT)
Matthew 7:1-12 – [Jesus said] “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
“Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.
“Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
“Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
Les C. Brisbois (Arizona) titles his story “PEACE OF JESUS;” here is a portion of Les’ story:
“My job required me to run long computer reports for the engineering department. One day, the programming department asked me to stop running the reports in order to run their software tests. Even though I was behind schedule, I did so. But the software tests kept failing. The programmers kept modifying the software, which then required more testing.
“My patience waned, and I became angry. I felt that resources were being wasted. Instead of asking if their tests could be run later, I belittled the programmers in front of other people. I thought my critical statements made me look important, but later I realized that they only made me look foolish. Angry, prideful, and judgmental, I had forgotten the Golden Rule. . .
“My pride and impatience blinded my judgment. I now wish I could take back my actions from that day. Criticizing others for a fault while remaining blind to my own considerable fault is hypocritical. . . . After much soul-searching and Bible study, I now know that God is gracious to me and calls me to be gracious to others.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God does not hold my sins against me.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for your steadfast grace. Help us to remain on a path of humility and love. Amen.
Prayer Focus: SOMEONE STRUGGLING WITH IMPATIENCE
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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