February 4

Exodus 12:22 (NIV) 22Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning.

The Hebrew word for basin (caph) meant a drainage trough at the base of the door that kept rain from crossing the threshold and muddying the house. That is why it is sometimes translated threshold. Follow the Israelite head of his home as he takes a specific type of branch, hyssop, and from the base of the door marks the top and the sides. What has he just done? He has made a cross over the entrance of his dwelling.

Now come forward in time over a thousand years to a hill just outside a gate of Jerusalem. There is a man bleeding from his feet, his head, and his hands. Jesus is bleeding there for you so that the Destroyer cannot take your life. A Roman soldier grabs a branch with a sponge on the end to moisten Jesus' lips (John 19:29). What kind of branch is that? Hyssop!

Jump forward to today, two millenniums later. Night has come upon the earth for the world is in darkness, but in the house of the Lord there is light. Morning is coming. A new day will soon dawn, but until it does, you had better stay in the house (the fellowship of believers). The Destroyer is out in the streets and anyone not behind the cross of blood is fair game to him. "In Him (Jesus) is life and the life is the light of men."

Consider: The message has remained the same for thousands of years. My soul is safe behind the cross of blood shed for me.

February 4

Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is continuing to describe Kingdom thinking. In the 5 corrections of contemporary expressions of that day, one of the most radical is in our verses for today. If you have not recognized that you are poor in spirit, this might help you see the truth. "Love your enemies." The society was saying to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Jesus would later redefine what a neighbor is. He will include anyone that we run into that has a need. Such is Jesus' value of human life.

When you find someone working to destroy you in repayment for your kindness, you will find out whether or not you have adopted Kingdom thinking. Man doesn't have the ability to love and pray for his enemy. It just isn't in him. We can teach it, but when it comes down to personal experience, personal loss and pain, it breaks down into gut reaction. Their stinging words won't stop playing in our mind. We dwell on how we can respond in a way that will wound them and damage their credibility. That is the way of the flesh.

If we are to be like our heavenly Father, we must learn to sow good into lives that are loving as well as those that are captured by sin. Heavenly thinking looks beyond the physical and sees the pain and spiritual bondage of the one who is trying to harm us. Hurting people hurt people. God has been patient and loving with each of us, even when we don't deserve it. A transformed heart, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, will be towards others as God is to us. In heartfelt understanding, and appreciation for God's goodness to us, we will sow the fruit of the Spirit to those who have not yet received the love of God. What they do with it is up to them.

Consider: Our responsibility is to sow His love, regardless of another's response. Then you can be assured that you are sons of your Heavenly Father.