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About The Episode:

Join me on this enlightening journey where we explore what it truly means to seek success through the heart of God. As we step boldly into this new year, let’s reorient our hearts to align with His divine will, looking beyond mere religious compliance to embrace matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Discover the transformative power of seeing the world through God’s perspective, where commandments become more than rules—they reveal our shortcomings and guide us toward what is good, holy, and pleasing to our Creator.

In this episode, you’ll hear: 
  • The significance of focus and perspective 
  • What God’s heart of success is and what it looks like
  • Understanding the Sabbath and its meaning
  • Why doing life God’s way is important 
Where to dive in:

(0:00:00) – Understanding God’s Heart for Success (7 Minutes)

This chapter focuses on aligning our hearts with God’s will as we step into 2024, aiming for a transformation that surpasses mere adherence to religious laws. I stress the importance of not just observing traditions, such as tithing spices, but also embracing the deeper, weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness that reflect God’s heart. We discuss how the commandments are not just rules but guidelines to show us what is good and holy, and how they reveal our own shortcomings. By reading the Word through God’s perspective, we can truly understand and enact His will, ensuring that our actions lead to outcomes rooted in obedience and kingdom values. Emphasizing the teachings of Jesus, I share my desire for a year where we live in victory and blessing by aligning our desires with God’s and understanding that true success is becoming more like Jesus, not by the world’s standards but by the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

(0:07:18) – The Importance of Focus and Perspective (5 Minutes)

This chapter focuses on the importance of intentionality and concentration in both spiritual and practical aspects of life. I share my own struggles with managing technical aspects of podcasting while emphasizing the need to maintain clarity of thought and message. Drawing parallels with the new year, I encourage adjustments and adopting God’s perspective to effect change. We examine a pattern in Jesus’ actions as depicted in Matthew 12 and the Beatitudes, underscoring the value of aligning with God’s way of thinking and acting. The concept of dying to oneself daily, as Apostle Paul taught, is highlighted as a pathway to fulfilling God’s plans for us. I discuss the challenge of managing emotions and the significance of self-control, suggesting that our emotional responses often reveal our resistance to letting go of personal desires. By adopting Jesus’ perspective and embracing self-control, I argue that we can navigate life’s journey more effectively and align ourselves with God’s intentions.

(0:12:38) – Understanding the Sabbath and Its Meaning (6 Minutes)

This chapter examines the physical challenges and laborious lifestyle of those who followed Jesus, highlighting the exhausting nature of their daily tasks and how this fatigue led them to recline at meals to rest and enjoy their food. We explore the story of Jesus and his disciples walking through a grain field on the Sabbath, plucking grains to eat, and the ensuing confrontation with the Pharisees over what constitutes work on this holy day. I discuss the Pharisees’ strict adherence to the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law, as Jesus emphasizes the importance of mercy over sacrifice. The concept of the Sabbath is explored, tracing its origins to the book of Genesis where God rested on the seventh day after creation, setting a precedent for rest and holiness associated with the Sabbath. Through this narrative, we examine the tension between legalistic interpretations of religious laws and the compassionate application of those principles in daily life.

(0:18:39) – The Importance of Heart Transformation (12 Minutes)

This chapter examines the significance of the Sabbath, emphasizing that it’s not just about adhering to the letter of the law but understanding the spirit behind it. I discuss how the day is blessed and holy, meant for rest and to bring glory to God, highlighting that the work was completed by God and that this day should reflect that holiness. Furthermore, I address the Pharisees’ misinterpretation of the law, focusing on the external rather than the internal, and the importance of aligning our hearts with God’s intention for the law, which is to care for people and lead us to righteousness. By exploring scriptures like Joel 2:12-13 and Isaiah 58:6-7, I emphasize the need for an internal transformation, not just external observance, to truly honor the essence of the Sabbath and align with God’s desires for us.

(0:30:46) – Doing It God’s Way Is Important (10 Minutes)

This chapter emphasizes the necessity of diligent work, focus, and change for a victorious life, as it relates to spiritual growth and living according to God’s principles. I discuss the concept of faith as a seed, requiring time and nurturing through seasons to yield a harvest, drawing on Biblical teachings to underline the importance of patience and persistence. Additionally, I highlight the significance of fasting, not merely as an act of abstention but as a means to lift burdens and care for others, reinforcing the message with scriptural references to God’s desire for compassion and mercy. Furthermore, I explore Jesus’ teachings on righteousness, contrasting the letter of the law with its spirit, and how true adherence to God’s commandments surpasses the superficial observance by the Pharisees, pointing towards a deeper, heart-led understanding of Biblical laws and love.

(0:41:16) – Heart’s Desire for Mercy and Goodness (14 Minutes)

This chapter reflects on the Christian principles of mercy over sacrifice, loving our enemies, and the importance of the heart in aligning with God’s will. I discuss Jesus’ teachings about going beyond the letter of the law to embrace a spirit of compassion and understanding, highlighting the significance of internal transformation rather than outward appearance. I also touch upon the Sabbath and its true purpose as a day of provision and rest, illustrating this with the story of Jesus’ disciples eating grain and the healing of a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Through these examples, I emphasize God’s desire for us to extend the same mercy to others that He has shown us and to recognize the potential for renewal in areas of our lives that may seem withered or paralyzed.

About your host: Jaime Luce’ testimony has daunting personal mountains and treacherous financial valleys. She was trapped in day-to-day stress and couldn’t see a way forward. But how she started is not how she finished! And she wants you to know God has a plan for your life too, no matter how tough it seems. Today, Jaime has been married to the love of her life for almost three decades, owns two companies, and has become an author and podcaster. God’s way is always the blessed way! 
Free chapter of Jaime’s new book: You Don’t Need Money, You Just Need God:
Connect with Jaime: 

Get a free chapter from my new book!

I’m so excited about this book! I didn’t want to write something that simply told about the financial miracles God has done for me. But I wanted to practically help others know how to have the same kind of results. So this book is a playbook. Just like in sports. It will have the story of the need we faced from small to the astronomically huge and how God provided every time. Then we will give you what I call “the play call.” After you understand the Biblical method that was used you are then given a teaching on how to use that knowledge. I can promise it will give you the tools to change your situation and to realize that “You Don’t Need Money. You Just Need God.”

Full Transcript

This transcript is auto-generated and not perfect. We hope it blesses you.

00:00 – Jaime Luce (Host)
What did Jesus say in another passage when he said you do all these things, you tie your spices, your cumin, whatever there are spices where he says and you left the other undone. He says you should have done the one, but you should not have left the other undone. So you should have tithed all those things, but you left off the weightier things, the more important things, the things that matter to God’s heart, which was taking care of the people. He said what good is caring about this law when the people are not cared for? The laws were there to care for the people. If you think about the 10 Commandments, why were they there Just to give us laws? No, for one. We know. They were there to show us our sin, that we couldn’t live up to it, but the law is there to show you what is good, what is right, what is holy.

Welcome to the Jamie Lewis podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s my pleasure to be with you.

We are endeavoring in this first month of 2024 to really lay hold of whether it’s a plan for the new year, whether it is seeing with right vision. I know many people this past year are recovering from the year and hoping to see something vastly different for this new year and I really believe the Lord has been laying on my heart the value boy, and is it valuable? I don’t know that there’s anything more valuable than truly knowing the heart of God, so that when you go to the Word, when you’re reading His Word, that you’re reading it not from your heart, but that you’re reading the Word from His heart. And when you read the Word from His heart, you are able then to see. With the correct lens, you’re able to see things that normally you would not be able to see. You are able to understand things, you’re able to carry things, you’re able to deal with things. You are able to discern things differently than you would had you done it from your own human heart perspective, versus seeing things through God’s eyes. If we’re able to look at 2024 through God’s lens, folks, when you do that, it changes what you do, and those changes affect then the outcomes, because they’re done from a place of obedience. They are done from a place of kingdom, saying God, your kingdom, come, your will be done. They are done like Jesus’ prayer where he says let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So we want the same goal that God wants. If I can change my heart, if I can align my heart, my desires, my mind, my thinking, my discernment, my decisions, my evaluations all of that, if I can dealing with people, a plan for the future, if I can do all that from a perspective that says I see what God sees and I want what God wants, I do not ever have to fear the outcome, ever. Jesus made it His practice and specifically made sure that we knew that he did nothing, that he did not see His Father doing and who was the most successful.

Now, how do we define success? Because did Jesus go through the cross? Yes, did he go through a dying, a grave? Yes, but he also went through a resurrection and power. He saw manifest heaven on earth in the healings and deliverances of all of those that His life touched. And that’s what we want, that’s what I want.

My hope for this year is sure, I want to live blessed. I want to live in power from a place of victory. All of those things I desire. But if I’m looking to satisfy what my natural heart thinks is victory or thinks is winning, blessed whatever that might look like for each one of us, because I can guarantee you is different, as each one of our fingerprints is. Different are the desires and motivations and things of our heart, so we have to make sure that we are properly aligning our heart. If you want a new year, if you want 2024 to look different than 2023, something has to change right. We’ve got to do something differently.

I spoke to you in a previous episode about understanding that you cannot judge success solely by looking at the outcome of something. That we judge success by seeing that the fruit of the Spirit was made manifest. That’s a life living and abiding in the vine. If I am truly being made into his image, I am accomplishing the will of God for my life. If I look more and more like Jesus now, that can look like all different kinds of stuff on the outside, but I’m accomplishing and I’m winning and I am succeeding at life and I am doing what God wants. But if all I want is what the world has to offer, boy, if I think I’m going to look to the Bible and find what the world defines success at, I’ll miss it completely. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but he loses his soul? Let’s talk about that today because Jesus was dealing with something in the Pharisees and, sad to say, so many Christians and folks, when I talk to you, I’m talking to me too. When I read this word, I’m reading it because the Holy Spirit is speaking to me too. I am not saying you’re something and I’m not. I’m not saying I’m learning as much as I am giving and whatever I’m wanting to share with you. It’s because the Holy Spirit was so precious and so good and holy to share the depths of what God’s heart is that he would want us to know, so that we could truly live a life of victory and success. He’s wanting us to be able to do what we’ve hoped for, and that is to gain the blessed life that he has for us here Now. What that will look like for each one of us is different, and what the journey will look like will be different, but God’s outcome is always a victory. God’s outcome is always the win, and that’s what we want. That’s what we need.

There’s an adjustment, though, that has to take place. When I sit down here to do these podcasts, I have to deal with a camera, deal with a microphone, deal with lights, and I’m not great at it. And yet when I’m doing that, you have to get things in focus. I also have to think about really focusing in on the message. What are you saying, lord? I have to focus in on the scriptures. What do these things mean? Focus on the context of where we’re reading it from. Make sure we’re looking at this right and from the right angles. And I’m not saying I get it all or that everything is right that I’m doing. I’m simply saying there’s a lot of focus that goes into it. There’s a lot of effort, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. And if we want this new year to look different, we’re going to have to really focus in. We’re going to have to do some things different. We’re going to have to adjust the cameras a little bit. Let’s make sure that our perspective is God’s perspective. So, if you’ll go with me in your Bibles to Matthew, chapter 12.

I had been recently really diving into the Beatitudes. You’ve heard a couple of messages on that. We are going to touch on that today because we’re going to see something that Jesus did as a pattern. Whenever you see him do something over and over and over again, we really need to pay attention. This is the way God works. It benefits us to know how God thinks.

When I go into a situation I want to think how would God do this, how would God see this, how would God choose to respond to this? Because if I can do it from that place, I know that not only what I’m doing in my efforts is to glorify God, but then God has free reign to simply use me. I have opened myself and I’m saying, lord, I want what you want. I don’t have a personal agenda here, they say. And boy, isn’t this true.

I’m still having to walk this one out too that a dead man doesn’t feel we get really rocked in our emotions by things. We end up saying things and doing things and making decisions and causing trouble and repenting and having to go back and think why did I do that? I don’t want to do that. We go through this vast array of circumstance and emotions, and emotions change and emotions. We get offended, we get, we’re happy, we’re sad, we’re moved, we’re angry, we’re frustrated, whatever those things are, but that’s because we’re not dead yet. What does that tell me when I get so ruffled in my emotions? It tells me that I still have a will in it. It tells me that I still have motive and I’m not getting what I want. So it’s upsetting me and therefore I am reacting. I’m not choosing to act, I’m simply reacting. We have to be those who have the fruit of the spirit self-control. If I lose it emotionally, if I lose it in the way that I respond, or whatever that might look like for you, I can know that I’m not dead yet.

What did Paul want us to learn? What did he say of himself? I die daily. I literally have to carry my cross every day. I die daily. We will accomplish more quickly and more easily what God has for us and the benefits of what he has for us, because what he has for us is good. His word is not a lie. His word is the truth. He has a good plan for us. If I want that, sometimes that means okay, I got to die to this, because this is I’m kicking to live here, and me kicking to live and me desiring to fight against this death of myself is making this whole process take longer. I’m drawing out the process. I’m making it worse on myself. I really want to help us today. I want us to see things from Jesus’ eyes. I said that enough, you get where I’m going, let’s open up to Matthew, chapter 12. I’m going to read to you the whole passage first. We’re going to go back and dissect it, but I’m reading verses 1 through 14. This is after the teaching of the Beatitudes on the Mount. I want you to put yourself in this scenario. This has been a long day of teaching.

People Bye, bye are blessed with living in a society where we have every possible comfort and we don’t like to wait for anything. Our slogans are you know, have it your way. We praise Chick-fil-A and rightfully so for how fast we can get through the tremendously long lines and say that we wish our government ran as smoothly as they drive through that Chick-fil-A. But we want things fast, we don’t like to wait, we do not like delayed gratification, we want instant gratification. And so because of that and because of the world we live in, we forget the real culture of the day for Jesus. I mean, they walked everywhere. Folks.

Doing things was never easy. There was a lot of work involved. There was a lot of physical labor involved Just to go and follow Jesus and find a place. Think of going on a hike and climbing up the mountain and finding a place to hear Him speak and then, speaking, you’ve got to climb down the mountain. You haven’t yet eaten. I mean, when you just kind of try to put yourself in a position of when you’ve done something, it’s been difficult, it doesn’t just come easy and you’re just kind of working through.

Every day is a laborious day, and this was the day that Jesus lived in. I mean, it made sense that when it came time to eat, you were exhausted and they reclined at the tables. They weren’t sitting up at a table in a chair, and my son and I have the habit of standing in the kitchen at the counter and eating without even going to sit down. We have enough energy to stand up and do that. I have a feeling that they reclined because they were tired. They also understood what it meant to enjoy a meal and to stop and take the time to rest, and we’re going to talk about that too. But let’s read, starting verse one.

At that time, jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, his disciples were hungry and they began to pluck the heads of grain and to eat. Can you imagine just walking through the grain fields and plucking the heads, rubbing it between your fingers? They’re hungry, and this is so. It seems like such a blessing to just walk through a grain field and to be able to satisfy your hunger as you’re passing through this grain field.

But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath. He said to them have you not read what David did when he was hungry and those who were with him, how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how, on the Sabbath, the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here, and if you had known what this means I desire mercy and not sacrifice you would not have condemned the guiltless, for the Son of man is Lord.

On the Sabbath, he went on from there and entered their synagogue and a man was there with a withered hand and they asked him is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? So that they might accuse him. He said to them which one of you who has a sheep if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out Of. How much more value is a man than a sheep? So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Then he said to the man stretch out your hand. And the man stretched it out and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him how to destroy him. Jesus had made the statement if you knew what this had meant that I desire mercy and not sacrifice. So Jesus is speaking in a response to his disciples on the Sabbath, walking through the grainfield hungry and plucking the head of grain to eat.

Now, the Pharisees, the law was that you could do no work. You couldn’t even pick up twigs. You could do no work on the Sabbath. So let’s talk about this word Sabbath, because there’s a discrepancy here about what Sabbath is and how we should be living according to the Sabbath. The Pharisees were always about following the letter of the law.

Well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at this. What does Sabbath mean On the surface? If you just look up the word Sabbath, it means the seventh day, marked by rest from work Well, that sounds lovely, doesn’t it and by special religious ceremonies, a period of seven days a week. But where is its origin? And I wanted you to read.

I wanted to read this with you in Genesis, when the Sabbath is very first spoken of. And the word Sabbath is not used in this particular portion, but it is the meaning of the word, it’s where it came forth, it’s where it was birthed. So Genesis 2, verses one to three, says thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them, and on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. So we can see that the Pharisees got it right in that, if we are mimicking God, if we are honoring what God did and the way God did it, he rested from his work. He did not work on the Sabbath, he rested.

And yet why did God rest on the Sabbath? What was the purpose behind this rest? What was the making of this day of rest? How did God view this day? Well, they left out this whole first little line of that. So God blessed the seventh day and made it Holy. So it’s holy, and yet they’re looking at the reverence and holiness of the day of saying we don’t do any work because that’s a holy day, and yet they’re missing. They’re missing what God did on that day. It’s a blessed day, god said. He blessed that day, he blessed the Sabbath. Okay, so in God’s perspective, boy, this is a blessed day. What, what? What I want accomplished on this day, this blessed day, holiness on this day, glory to God on this day that honors that all the work that needed to be done was finished. God had done it. It was done. A holy, beautifully blessed, righteous day, a day that brings glory and honor to the Lord. Are you beginning to see this? Are you beginning to get it? The Sabbath is holy. It is set apart for holiness. To be holy is to be set apart. It is set apart for holiness, for glorifying God.

The Pharisees got it wrong again. They looked to the letter of the law and they did and neglected the spirit of the law. What did Jesus say in another passage when he said you do all these things. You tie your, your spices, your cumin, your, you know whatever their spices were. He says and you left the other undone. He says you should have done the one, but you should not have left the other undone. So you should have tithed all those things, but you, you left off the weightier things, the more important things, the things that matter to God’s heart, which was taking care of the people.

He said what good is caring about this law when the people are not cared for? The laws were there to care for the people. If you think about the 10 commandments, why were they there Just to give us laws? No, for one. We know they were there to show us our sin, that we couldn’t live up to it. But the law is there to show you what is good, what is right, what is holy, so that you could have a blessing and not a curse. There’s a reason for it. So you don’t want just the letter of the law, you want the spirit of the law to accomplish, be accomplished by the letter of the law.

And if the two don’t match up, what is the weightier of the two? Jesus was saying there’s a weightier matter, a weightier matter than the following dotting the eyes and crossing the T’s. There’s a weightier matter If we look at Joel, joel, chapter two, verse 13,. I read this, and this is the King James. It says rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and he repented him of the evil. Now I’m going to read that in a different translation but rend your heart and not your garment.

What is being said? What is the prophet saying that God is saying he’s saying when we want to rend our heart and pour our self out before God, he’s saying you do it from your heart. It’s not the outward sign of tearing your garments. Why is he saying that? Because it was their practice, if you’re in mourning or if something was terribly disturbing, I mean they would rip their clothes, they would put on sackcloth and ashes. It was an outward symbol of what was going on the inside. And yet this prophet is saying I want you to deal with the inside, quit dealing only with the outside.

What did Jesus say to the Pharisees? Your white wash coffins. The outside is all white, it’s all been cleaned, it’s all been decorated. This coffin on the outside is beautiful, but on the inside is full of dead men’s bones. There’s no beauty on the inside. You keep dealing with the outside. And folks, I’m saying this and I know I’m saying this strongly, but I’m saying it because if we want a new year, we’ve got to deal with our inside. We can’t just mark off, you know, the check the boxes for the new year. You can’t just say, okay, I did that, I did that, I did that, I should have the blessing of the Lord. Okay, that’s pleasing to the Lord.

Again, in an episode that is already aired, we talked about this. But you can’t think that just because I say Lord, lord and do something in God’s name, that he says you’re mine and you’re doing what I asked you to do, he says, no, actually you’re workers of lawlessness. Get away from me, I never knew you. There’s a huge, vast difference here and I’m wanting us to get rightly aligned on that narrow road that Jesus talked about, not the wide road that leads to destruction, but the narrow road that leads to life. We’ve got to align on that narrow road with God’s thinking. I want you blessed, I want you cared for. Jesus came and did everything. He did Every law that was written, every miracle he performed, every promise he ever gave was because he loves people. He loves people. He wants to bless you. I want to see you blessed.

But we have to understand the scriptures from God’s heart. We have to understand from his perspective. So let’s read this. I’m going to read verse Joel 2. I’m going to read verse 12 and 13. I’m also going to throw in here Isaiah 58, 6, and 7, because I think they go hand in hand, and you’re going to see why here in a second. But this is. I’m reading Joel out of the ESV. I’m sorry, my nose is itching for those of you watching.

Yet even now declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning. I mean, aren’t so many begin this new year with fasting, and it’s not wrong to do that. In fact, I think it’s a wonderful thing to do, to dedicate it to the Lord. I’m doing it this year. This is a but. This is an understanding that I have to go from doing what I’ve been doing and I have to come and I have to do some work in my heart. The work has to be done on the inside. Everything that we’ve been doing, all the things we’ve been working so hard to do, are they all on the outside? Or have we focused and said Lord, make me new on the inside, help me make this year new because I’m new on the inside, not because I did something different on the outside, not because I exercised enough this year, not because I invested enough this year, not because I did.

And I’m not saying those things are wrong or bad. I’m just saying by themselves they won’t accomplish heaven. They might accomplish weight loss on earth, but that’s not going to do anything for you in eternity. And again, I’m not saying those things are wrong or bad. You should take care of the temple that God has given you, but it will mean nothing if we aren’t dealing with our heart, if we’re not looking at this year and deciding.

You know what? What is my goal for 2024? To be more like Jesus, first and foremost. Not about more money, not about more success, not about getting married, not about having more kids, not about doing better at my job, not about losing this weight. Finally, not about climbing the ladder, whatever. Whatever it’s about being more like Jesus. This is a challenge that I’m putting out to everybody who’s listening to this that you would make this year. If you’re going to pick something to make this year about make me more like Jesus this year. Help me see him as he is, help me know what his desire is for me and through me. And I want to focus on being like Jesus. Mold me into your image, jesus. Make me like you.

Yet even now, declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning. Now, those are not bad things. I gave you the example a few weeks ago about. It’s not a bad thing, even though it’s a hard thing to go through boot camp, because it’s boot camp that saves your life in war, that teaches you how to win a battle. It’s boot camp that helps you shed all the things of this world that you were tied to. And it’s approoning. It takes off everything that’s unnecessary and gives you what is truly necessary to win the battle.

And if we understand that, what is weeping and mourning, what is fasting, it’s saying oh God, I give you everything. I empty myself of me. I’m mourned over the fact that I have not been living the way that I should be living for you with all of my heart. The selfish things that I did last year, that the motives that were just mine, that had nothing to do with you, lord, things that would build me in this world but have nothing to do with the kingdom. My waste, my whether it was my time or my money, or my resources or my love, whatever I’ve wasted. I weep over that and I mourn and I say I repent, I return to the Lord with all my heart. Boy, that produces a joy. Those are seeds, folks. Those are seeds that produce right fruit. Those things are things to get excited and rejoice about. If you’re tired of mourning, then let’s stop mourning over the things that make our emotions mourn. Let’s mourn over what God mourns over and watch Him exchange that heavy, heavy coat of mourning for the coat of joy and righteousness that I can put on, of overcoming and victory instead.

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Do you really want a victorious life? This is like everything else To really see results, it’s work, it’s hard work, it’s focus, it’s change. It’s no different. The Bible is not. This isn’t a magic pill. I don’t get to wave the Bible like a wand. I put it to work in my life. Faith is a seed and the word of God is seed, and if we understand everything that God teaches us, he says there’s seed, time and harvest. I have to seed, the seed has to go into the ground, it has to die in the ground before it can live and it needs to be watered and cared for, and I have to go through the proper season and the time frame that it takes to produce a crop. What does the scripture tell us? That I will reap if I faint not because there’s a season to get through I will reap. Do you really want to reap? It’s time to shed this world’s mentality of I want it and I got it. I have to have it now. And if I don’t see it now, I’m doing it the world’s way, because that will not take you into eternity, the eternity you want. You’ll go into eternity, all right, but it won’t be God’s glorious eternity for you. We have to do it God’s way. You want God’s results. You got to do it God’s way. You got to do it God’s way.

Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning. Now let’s look at Isaiah 58, 6 and 7. I’m throwing this in almost in between these verses just because I think it goes so well with tying this together for you to understand. But he says with fasting, weeping and mourning. Well, what is fasting to the Lord? What does that mean to the Lord? And on Isaiah 58, 6 and 7 he says is this not the fast that I have chosen? To lose the band of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, that you break every yoke? Doesn’t this sound wonderful, all of these things? Is it not to deal that bread to the hungry and you’re to bring the poor that are cast out into your house. The Lord is caring about the people, he cares about you and he cares about who you can affect and touch.

So let’s finish Joel, chapter 2,. This is verse 13. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and he relents over destruction. He changes his mind. He’ll stop. He won’t do it. If we’ll do what we’re supposed to do, folks this year can look completely different than the way the world’s taking it. If the Christians will simply make God’s business their business, we can change the outcomes. All of Jesus’ teaching and the attitudes are the correction okay, the correction of thinking and the teachings of the mind versus the heart issue that Jesus was constantly dealing with, that the Pharisees were constantly putting out to him.

Let’s look at Matthew, chapter 5. I’m going to show you all of these verses. This is how Jesus would combat Using what they knew and what was taught, the letter of the law, so to speak. This is what Jesus is saying and this is really amazing that it’s this many verses. I’ll tell you each of the verses right now. You can write them down and we’ll go through and read them. But this is Matthew. I’m going to read you verses 17, chapter 5, 17 through 21, but also 27, 31, 33, 38 and 43, and then we’ll hit chapter 6, verses 1 to 4 also. But let me read this to you. I’m going to show you what each one of these things said. Matthew 5, verse 17,.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. So again, I was saying that the Pharisees, they make it about the letter of the law. Jesus is saying I’m not coming to do away with the law, that’s only part of it. Remember the Sabbath? What was the Sabbath? Yes, it was a day that we are to mimic and do what God has done, teaching and honor that day as Sabbath. No work was done. God rested that day. However, it was a day that was blessed and it was a day for holiness. Okay, so there is the law and there is the spirit that goes with the law. So Jesus says 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, for truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away. Not an iota, not a dot will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does them and teaches them will be great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. So he’s saying, yes, the law is important. The law is very important and it takes the law. You need the law. However, he says you have to exceed the righteousness that those who are teaching only the law are performing for you to enter into the kingdom of heaven. So let’s look at this. What does he say?

This is the phrase Jesus uses over and over again to counter the teaching of the Pharisees about law. You have heard that it was said. You have heard that it was said. Some of the translations say you have heard it said. You have heard that it was said to those of old. You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that anyone or 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 you, will be liable to the hell of fire.

What is Jesus saying? He’s saying listen, you have followed the law with a head knowledge. You’ve had mental ascent about these laws, that I know the law, I follow the law. It’s the letter of the law and that’s all that matters. It has never gone into the heart. If you understood the spirit of the law, you would follow those laws differently. That’s why Jesus is saying it matters about your heart, not just your head. In your head you’re saying do not murder. You’ve heard it said don’t. You, don’t murder. You’re gonna pay the consequence if you murder. But Jesus says but I say to you that don’t even be angry with your brother, because judgment will come to that.

Jesus is saying this is a heart issue. A heart issue. Let’s look at verse 27. You have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her. In his heart he’s saying this is a heart issue just because you didn’t actually do it. Good for you. You need to follow the law. He just said how important it is to follow the law. Don’t do those things, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery. But he’s saying but it’s a heart issue. Are you having adulterous thoughts in your heart? Even though you’re not acting them out, you’re guilty because your heart matters. The spirit of the law matters. Are you changing on the inside or is this only in the head? Let’s look at verse 31.

It was also said whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the grounds of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. He is saying you are producing more than just what the letter of the law says. You keep saying we’re following the law, but your heart isn’t changing. You have not returned to me with all of your heart. You are not living this in your heart, you’re living it from your head, not your heart.

Verse 33, again, you have heard that it was said to those of old you shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord which you have sworn. He is saying don’t swear, you’re going to do something and not do it. Let your word be your bond right. But what does Jesus say? But I say to you, do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. He’s saying you can’t determine tomorrow. What are you doing? Swearing by anything? You don’t have the power to swear by any of those things. He’s saying. Understand who has the power when you swear by heaven. Who’s on the throne in heaven? God is. Do you have any say over heaven and earth? No, you do not. So I mean, this is Jesus. He’s clarifying, he’s not changing the laws. He’s saying obey the laws. But he’s saying come on, guys, this is a heart issue. This is the heart. Let’s look at verse 38. You have heard that it was said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil, but if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him. To the other also Okay, understand what he’s saying.

They lived in the time of the Roman control and they were forced, the Roman soldiers would come and grab them and say carry this. When Jesus was crucified, they took was a Simon of Cyrene and made him carry his cross. This was what the practice was and he was saying okay, as my disciple and following the letter of the law, what are you supposed to do? If they do that to you, go ahead and walk that mile, but you walk another mile. If they ask you for your coat, give them two.

Show who I am with mercy. What did Jesus say about what was lawful and what did he actually desire? He said I don’t desire sacrifice, I’m desiring mercy. These, some of these people deserve judgment and God is saying have mercy. Why? Because he had mercy on us in our condition. He died for us when we were sinners, not following him, living contrary to the way he wants us to live. He’s saying treat people the way I have treated you. We talked about that a few weeks ago. It’s a narrow road. It’s hard to do folks Not easy on the flesh. It’s that dying daily. This is truly the change of who we are on the inside.

Let’s look at verse 43. For you have heard that it was said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father, who is in heaven. Folks, we’re talking about being like Jesus, truly being like Jesus. God is dealing with the inward man and not the outward man. First, samuel 167 says but the Lord said to Samuel do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him, for the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Then, first Samuel 1314,. But now thy kingdom shall not continue. The Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart. What is God looking for? Both of these scriptures are talking about. God is saying I am not making my decisions based off the letter of the law on the outside. I’m looking at the heart of the man. The heart matters. Who we are matters. And he says what kind of heart? Because we’re going somewhere with this. He says I’ve sought after a man who was after my heart, someone who seeks my heart.

Okay, let’s go back to Matthew 12. We’re going to look at verses six to eight, because he says I tell you something greater than the temple is here, and if you had known what it means I desire mercy and not sacrifice you would not have condemned the guiltless, for the son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath. So we’re talking about the heart. We’re talking about the accusation brought against their disciples. Jesus is teaching them. You are not seeing this the way you need to see this.

Yes, it was the Sabbath. They were hungry. They are guiltless for what they did. Yes, there’s a law, but they were walking through this field, they weren’t working in the field, they weren’t breaking the law and they were hungry. And this is a holy day. And the seventh day was a day that we prove, by the seventh day, that everything that needed to be done got done. So all of our provision was given to us. This was pictured and lived in the in the wilderness when the children of Israel were led out of Egypt that they were told you’ll have enough on Saturday, so that you have food on Saturday and Sunday, so that you can care for Sunday as the Sabbath, so you can follow the law. But you understand that I have provided for you. So Jesus is saying you have to understand this, the heart of this. Yes, we have been doing the kingdom business and you’re hungry and it’s the Sabbath and because there was food available, I have provided for you. This is a holy day. The goodness of God is being manifest, because you did not have to work for that grain, it was provided for you. You’re a plucking, it is not working and that’s taking the letter of the law to new heights. But anyway, plucking it off so that they could eat it. This is the heart that they are cared for and nourished on this holy day, to give glory to God, god has provided.

Let’s look at the man with the withered hand. I wanted to look at the word, what it meant to have a withered hand, and it actually gives you this picture of land, land and the land is dry, it’s dried up, it is parched, cracked, it doesn’t, it’s withered. There’s no life in it, there’s no it and put. One of the words was paralyzed. We live in an area where, if you drive down some of the freeways in the surrounding areas, they used to be fully functioning farms and pasture lands and vineyards and avocado groves, I mean there was all kinds of different things that were farmed and the land then sold and they would let the land die. It was just going to be, because whoever’s buying it was not buying it to produce a crop. They’re going to build buildings on it, so they have. They just let everything die. It is the most sad, pitiful, discouraging thing to go past land that is dried up, dead, withered, when you knew it once had life and it shouldn’t look like that. You know what it should look like. You know it’s potential and what you’re seeing is not its potential, and so it is and it’s paralyzed.

What do you have to do and this is my question to you, and I want you to think about this, because I want to make this practical in your life to see the goodness of God? Jesus said it is lawful, when dealing with the man with the withered hand, it is lawful to do good. On the Sabbath, it’s lawful to do good. That is the law to do good, to love thy neighbor and love the Lord, your God, with all your heart. This is this is what’s lawful, this is what’s holy about the Sabbath. And he? I’m asking you, because this is what God said to the man. He said stretch out your hand.

Do you have something in your life whether it’s leftovers from 2024, whether this is long standing and decades long, that something that is withered, something that is parched and dry, something that’s paralyzed, no longer works. What is it that is withered? The Lord wants you to know in 2024 that if you will stretch that withered thing out to him, he cares not just about the law but the spirit of the law and he wants to do good on your behalf. But you’ve got to stretch that thing out to him. You’ve got to hear his voice and obey his command so that he can bring the healing and restoration that is yours. It is his heart’s desire to heal you, to prosper you, to care for you and meet your needs that you have. Rest as he rests.

I have a couple of questions that I want to end this time with you. I want you to think about this, because it matters where the seat of your decisions is, and here’s the first question Do you make decisions from the seat of your mind or do you make them from the seat of God’s heart? Now, that’s very specific. I’m saying God’s heart. I’m not saying and please hear me, I want to be very clear about this I am definitely not saying follow your heart. I am not saying that the world loves and the church uses this follow your heart, do what your heart says. We say this all the time. That is not in the Bible. That is not what God said. He did not say follow your heart. He said fix your heart, deal with your heart, clean your heart, make good. Okay, let’s tell you what he said, because it is not your heart you need to follow.

In Jeremiah 17 9, it says the heart is deceitfully wicked and some translations say above all things I mean of all things it could be wicked the heart is the most deceitfully wicked. Who can know it? I’ll tell you who can know it. God knows it. That’s why I read you those verses in 1 Samuel, because God sees the heart. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked.

You could be doing something and saying oh, but I just wanted to do this in my heart and the motive? If we were to really and I’m talking to me too dial down on the motive, the motive could actually be that that makes me feel good. I’m doing it for me, even though I’m doing it for you. What if God didn’t ask me to do that? What if he’s doing something and there’s something very specific he wants me to do and not do and he’s using somebody else. What if I’m doing something God wants somebody else to do because it has to do with their life? I mean so many. There are so many scenarios. I that’s a whole.

Anyway, we have to know it is a matter of making my heart God’s heart. I have to want God’s heart, not my heart. In fact, let’s read some more In Ezekiel 32, 26. It says I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

What does a heart of flesh look like? What was Jesus’s? He was constantly moved with what Compassion he would see the people and he would be moved with compassion. Well, what is he doing? He’s doing exactly what he said. I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

Jesus was always showing mercy. When do you need mercy? When you’re guilty, you deserve mercy. When you shouldn’t get mercy, I mean you don’t deserve it. You’re getting mercy shown to you when you don’t deserve it. Make sure I say that right, god’s heart was always to show mercy and have compassion, and usually folks, nobody deserves it, but that’s the heart of God. I didn’t deserve it and he showed me mercy, and there are those around me that don’t deserve it. But I’m to show them his mercy. He said freely you have received. Freely you give. I cannot hold others to a higher standard than I am held myself. Jesus said you can’t surpass your master. The most you could hope for is that you could come up and walk as they’ve taught you to walk. The teacher is greater than the servant, than the student.

I want to challenge you this 2024, to remember that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He desires mercy over sacrifice. He desires that we have his heart and not our own with its selfish, shallow motives and desires. Let’s really be disciples. Let’s see how he sees and love how he loves and be always endeavoring to be made into his image. If we do, we’ll see a really good 2024. It’s a decision, folks, that we all have to make every day, and it’s hard, it’s not easy. But if we’ll encourage one another in this love, one another through it, show mercy, encouraging each other in this journey, we can do it and we can see the impossible made possible. That is my hope for you.

Let me pray for you, father. We just thank you. We thank you that we are here, that, no matter what 2023 has seen, we have been blessed, you have provided for us, you have cared for us, you have taken us through and we’re asking, father, that this new year, this 2024, that we see what you see, we see how you see we do it the way you would have us do it, that we would truly accomplish your kingdom’s work and we would bring glory to your name, that we would follow your commandments and your laws, but we would do so from your heart, the spirit of God moving in us and showing forth your glory. Thank you, father, for the Sabbath, thank you for all the work that you have already accomplished on our behalf. Thank you, father, that we know in you we can truly rest, that you will care for us, that you love us and you have already done what needs to be done on our behalf.

If we simply align ourselves with you, we have nothing to worry about, nothing to fear and nothing to to accomplish on our own. You are with us, you have made the way for us. We choose your narrow road, we choose your way, we choose your desires, oh God, and we want you to make your desires our desires. Give us a new heart and put a new spirit in us, make us alive to you. Help us stretch out every withered thing that we can receive health, healing and restoration this year, and we ask all of these things in Jesus mighty name. Amen, amen. Thank you so much for joining me today. Folks, I pray this was a blessing to you. Do me a favor like and share, subscribe and get notified and we’ll see you next time. Bye, bye for today.