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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 5’

“You’re more than happy when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.” ~~Jesus

Jesus knows that following Him may not be a “bed of roses”. He tells us about it in advance. We may get persecuted. We may even be martyred. It happens every day. Will you “sign up” to follow Jesus if you know that tomorrow someone may kill you for believing Him?

Of course, living in America makes if feel like this isn’t an issue; that it can’t happen to us. Because of that we are lulled into thinking it doesn’t happen to anyone any longer.

Now here is the rub. Jesus also knows the benefit of being persecuted. Persecution drives (the deeply committed) deeper into His Father’s world.

“You’re blessed (more than happy) when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:10 The Message)

“You can be glad when people put you down for me. All heaven applauds.” ~~Jesus

Jesus knows that if we are radically committed to Him, we are going to get in trouble. We will get put down, people will lie about us, we may get kicked out of places or we may even get killed. We should count the cost of following Jesus. Yes, there is a cost but Jesus is also clear on the benefit.

We will be pleasing Him.  Everyone in Heaven will cheer and we will be in good company!! What is better than know we have pleased Jesus?

“You can be glad when people put you down for me—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like what you are doing, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12 The Message)

“Don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed with someone who is not your wife.” ~~Jesus

Jesus knows something and he wants religious people to understand it. Who we are is a result of what we think. If we think about committing adultery, we have done it. What makes us “UN-virtuous” is what we think, not what we do.

This is a huge thing to grasp. Jesus knows, for religious people, it is way to easy to “get around” moral rules and still violate the principle God has in mind every day. We need to change how we think (repent) about God’s word.

“Don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed with someone who is not your wife.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right.” ~~Jesus

Jesus demands that we get our life in order before we can see God in a real way. He knows it is not about what we look like or what we own. It is all about changing our mind about who is in charge and loving God in every way we can. We must love each other. That is what matters.

May my mind and heart be right.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:8 The Message)

What is your God-created identity?

March 25, 2013 1 comment

Jesus had a great way to simplify what He was saying. He was very direct and didn’t beat around the bush.

So, He challenges us to grow up. We know we are children of God and live in His World (Kingdom). We know He is in charge of our lives when we let Him be. So what is holding us back? Actually doing what we know to do. Jesus challenges us to live out our God created identity. We are His children. Are we living like it?

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48

May we grow up and live our God created identity every day.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,

Be childish or grow up? Which is it?

We have heard from Jesus to be like a child. We also hear Him challenge us to grow up. Which is it? Be a child or grow up?

Well, I think it is yes / and Yes, we need to have the faith of a child and we need to grow up. It isn’t either / or. We need to live generously and not focus on ourselves (like children can). Just the way God lives toward us.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48

Categories: Devotion Tags: ,

“When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does.” ~~Jesus

March 7, 2013 1 comment

Jesus challenges us to do things differently than the way people of this world do things. He is not subtle at all. He knows our friends and acquaintances, even our families, will give us a hard time. Following Jesus guarantees that for sure. What should we do? We devote our whole energy to praying for them. That is the way of Jesus. When God is in us, that is second nature to us.

Jesus challenges us to be like God, to love like God. He gives us the power.

“When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” ~~Jesus

Jesus demands that we care. He insists on it if we want to live in His world. Being full of care is His way. When we care, God our Father cares. That is the way of His world.

We all want to be cared for. The path is to care for others. That makes us more than happy.

May I care deeply the way my heavenly Father cares. May I show His love today.

“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:7 The Message)

“Take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom.” ~~Jesus

February 18, 2013 1 comment

Jesus demands that I take His way seriously. My job, my mission, is to show others His way. Later on He would say, as He rose to Heaven, to make disciples of all nations. That is how we find honor in His world (Kingdom).

May I take it seriously. May I do so today, right now.

“Take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:19-20 The Message)

“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” ~~Jesus

February 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Am I starving for God? Do I have a good appetite for Him?

Is all I think of my next meal orHappy what I am going to wear today? Will any of these concerns really make me happy?

Jesus knows a lot about happiness. It isn’t about this world. It isn’t about our next meal.

It is all about God and His world. He is in absolute control. We need to be hungry for God. It will open up a world of happiness beyond anything we know now.

“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:6 The Message)

“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.” ~~Jesus

February 2, 2013 2 comments

We live in a culture of competition. It’s a fact. It’s not pretty.

And, worse, we seem to thrive on it.

Jesus demands something different of us. If we want to be more than happy, we have to live a life of cooperation and show others to live the same way. He give us His Spirit to empower us to live this way in His new agreement with God.

“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:9 The Message)

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” ~~Jesus

December 30, 2012 2 comments

Jesus challenges us to be radical in our love for God. Do I want to be embraced by our Father? Is He the most dear thing in my life? How can I get to that place every day?Happy - 01

I will be more than happy (blessed) when I have lost everything that I think is important to me in this world for Jesus. Jesus doesn’t exclude anything on the list. Not family, possessions, not anything. That is our Messiah’s challenge to us. Give it up for Him. Seriously.

That is what He requires. That brings us true happiness. His happiness.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:4 The Message)

“You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it.” ~~Jesus

December 29, 2012 3 comments

Jesus knows us. He challenges us to not “be religious”. If we say we will pray, we must do it earnestly. We must do it often. We must go after the victory with our brother and sister. Jesus demands it. It is the way in His new agreement with God, our Father.Pious

Jesus challenges us to be genuine in Him. Being pious and phoney makes things worse not better. We don’t make our words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making our speech sound more religious, it becomes less true.

“You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:33-37 The Message)

“Keep open house; be generous with your lives.” ~~Jesus

December 23, 2012 4 comments

Jesus wants us to radically open. He links this to being generous. Everything we are belongs to our Father. Jesus knows that by opening up to others, we’ll prompt people to open up with God. They will see this generous Father we have in heaven.Generosity They will see, through our openness about God how wonderfully generous he is. What a loving Father He is.

This is core to the new agreement with God. Nothing is be hidden. Nothing is to be closed. Transparency is required. Jesus demands it.

“Keep open house; be generous with your lives.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16 The Message)

“I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” ~~Jesus

December 21, 2012 2 comments

Light Stand

Jesus challenges us to be public, to tell all about His Father’s love, to be radical in our devotion to Him. He will accept nothing less.

He makes us shine. We don’t do it. He puts us out front to bring God the glory. Our job, in His new plan, is to be obedient.

“I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16The Message)

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.” ~~Jesus

December 9, 2012 2 comments

We are always looking for more. We want to be better. We want to develop.

The reality of who we are is that we are God’s precious children. Jesus challenges us to accept that and be content. When we do, we have everything we need. There are things that can’t be bought. Who we are, i.e., children of God, is one of them. Being content with that makes us more than happy. It makes us blessed.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:5 The Message)

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” ~~Jesus

December 7, 2012 Leave a comment

When there is less of what we want and more of what God wants, that is a good thing. It isn’t about us. That is hard for us to wrap our brains around some days. We have lots of resources at our fingertips. Who needs God when you have a credit card?

A credit card, the biggest beneficiary of the ...

Getting to the end of our rope and seeing it isn’t about us makes us more than happy. We are blessed.

It is a pretty good rule of thumb that we need more of God. When we allow Him to rule we are more than happy. We are blessed.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:3 The Message)

“My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into trouble.” ~~Jesus

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Jesus challenges us to be radically different from most Christians and religious types of people. It will get us in trouble. In fact, it is a promise. Trouble

That is nothing new. You can go back and read almost any account of men and women of God. Being on God’s side will get you in trouble with people of this world. Just look at Jesus.

Getting in trouble for Jesus puts us in good company.

“My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into trouble.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12 The Message)

“I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.” ~~Jesus

December 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Jesus has it all together. All the complexity we see. All we don’t understand. He sees it simply. He understands it all. He is putting it all together.Complexity

If we want understanding, let us go to Him. Jesus is the author of our life in God and He is the one who is going to finish it all out. We have nothing to worry about. He has it all figured out. Our job is to trust Him.

“I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18 The Message)

“Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ ” ~~Jesus

November 29, 2012 2 comments

Jesus lives in a clear world. He is light. There is no darkness in Him at all.

His Father is all about clarity. He demands the same from us. His radical world and plan for us is that we be clear as well. No ambiguity. No waffling. No wavering.

In Jesus’ world, he challenges us to no “ifs, ands or buts”. It is all yes and no. Jesus challenges us to not be manipulative, trying to get our own way with our answers.

“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. (Matthew 5:33-37The Message)

“The simple moral fact is that words kill.” ~~Jesus

November 4, 2012 7 comments

Jesus warns us to be careful about what we say to others. Our mandate is to love. Anything other than that is not acceptable. Our words to others is a reflection of life or death. This is stark but He gives a whole new way to live through His Holy Spirit.

In His world (Kingdom) there is no loving your friends and hating your enemies. It is only love. What we say to others should reflect that. He demands it.

“The simple moral fact is that words kill.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:22 The Message)

“I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” ~~Jesus

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

No who hides a light? It seems like a silly question. No one does. Well, children do when they are supposed to be asleep and they read under the covers.

We are God’s light to the world. Jesus demands that we shine.

Jesus challenges us to shine. He has redeemed us for a reason.

“I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:14 The Message)

“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.” ~~Jesus

September 19, 2012 2 comments

We live in a world where there is conventional wisdom. We have a culture of success and infatuation with the beautiful. Look at our celebrity worship. Jesus challenges that. He says, that is no big deal. Why are you impressed with that? Anyone can do that.

What is Jesus standard? Love everyone. Love the “unlovely”. That is God’s world and what Jesus demands of us.

“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:44 The Message)

“He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” ~~Jesus

September 7, 2012 3 comments

God’s generosity extends to everyone. He includes the evil, the bad and the nasty in His plans to redeem and restore. He is not like us, good to those who are good to us but vindictive to those who hurt us.

He gives his best to everyone. Think about that. In our world, we dole things out in a hierarchical way. Average things to most people and the best for a few. Not our Father. He gives his best to everyone. No distinctions.

“He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

“Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is.” ~~Jesus

September 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Sometimes we are very good at pretending. We want it to look easy. We don’t want anyone to know that living the life God wants us to isn’t as easy as it looks. Jesus challenges us to live a moral life of a whole different way that we normally think. Jesus challenges us live differently. God’s will demands that we love Him first and everyone else all the time. Jesus challenges us to not live in “pretend city”.

Admit that doing God’s will isn’t easy for us naturally. Admit that we need His Holy Spirit to give us supernatural courage. Admit it. That confession frees us up to live a life that meets His goals for us.

“Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:29 The Message)

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean.” ~~Jesus

We say something we regret. We excuse it by saying, “I didn’t mean it”. That doesn’t cut it in God’s world. We need to control what we say and only say things that we mean.

We also need to keep our promises. If we say we are going to do something, we should do it. If we can’t, we shouldn’t say it.

If we love someone, we should only speak words of love and caring. And, Jesus challenges us to love everyone.

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:33 The Message)

“Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire.” ~~Jesus

Jesus sets standards for us based on a whole different world. It is His Father’s world. It is a world of consequences and accountability. Sometimes it is convenient for us to think that it is not that way. Jesus is direct and forces us to deal with that. No free passes at all.

With the help of God’s Spirit, we can control what we say. We are accountable for the hate that comes out of our mouth. It may be thoughtless but it is real. It is not love.

What is it that God demands of us? Jesus knew it. It is simple. It is love. Live a life of love, he challenges us. All the time. That is God’s goal for us. He has given us His Spirit to give us the power to do it. Every day.

“Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:24 The Message)

“Please, no more pretending. ” ~~Jesus

We know we all do it. We “pretend” nothing is wrong. We pretend we are something we are not. We pretend we don’t know Jesus. Peter did that 3 times.

Jesus challenges us to stop. We are God’s children. We shouldn’t pretend we are not. We pretend we don’t know He is in a good mood. We know he is.

Are we pretending to be righteous just because we are legal? Jesus knows that be right with rules and regulations doesn’t make us right with God. Only He can do that.

“Please, no more pretending. ” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:31 The Message)

Categories: Devotion Tags: , ,

“Let your enemies bring out the best in you, not the worst.” ~~Jesus

There are people in our lives that simple challenge us. Many times that challenge clearly brings out the worst in us. The boss at work who takes credit for things we have done. The obnoxious uncle who is a bore and dominates the Thanksgiving celebration every year with the same old stories. They are the enemies of what is best in us.

Jesus turns things upside down. He challenges us to think and act differently. His challenge is to love not hate. Easy to say but not easy to do. We can through the power of His Holy Spirit.

“Let your enemies bring out the best in you, not the worst.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:44 The Message)

Categories: Devotion Tags: , , ,

“God is not a secret to be kept.” ~~Jesus

August 19, 2012 2 comments

How often do I act like God is a secret. I take credit when people compliment me for things He has done. I don’t tell others how has healed me. I don’t mention that I am a new being in Him. I don’t credit Him for the wonderful and amazing world He has given us.

Jesus is direct. Don’t act like God is a secret. May it be so as He said.

“God is not a secret to be kept.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:14 The Message)

Categories: Devotion Tags: , ,

“If you enter your place of worship and you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right.” ~~Jesus

Jesus challenges us to live a real life, versus a fake spiritual one. God commands us to love one another. How can we pretend to worship God (love Him) if things aren’t right with a friend.

Jesus challenges us to make things right. That is the first order of business. Then we can worship. Right relationships with others leads to a right relationship with God, our Father.

“If you enter your place of worship and you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

Am I transparent enough?

August 4, 2012 1 comment

I am to be a light. I should bring out God’s colors into the world. He is not a secret to be kept from those I come in contact with. I should go public. I have seen cities on a hill. There is no mistaking them. They are not hidden. My ability to reveal Him should be the same way. In my house, I don’t light a light and then cover it up. What would be the point?

I should always have an open house. I should be generous with my relationship with our Father. I should open up to others about what God has done for me. If I open up with them, I will prompt them to open up with God, my generous Father in heaven.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Categories: Devotion Tags: , , ,

“Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.” ~~Jesus

July 26, 2012 1 comment

Jesus challenges us to see how corrupt our heart can be and it is about our heart. Jesus says don’t feel good because you don’t commit adultery but do look at pornography. What about all those TV shows and the fact they aren’t so innocent in what they are suggesting? Why is it you like to watch them, Jesus asks.

What about …? The list of these questions in this day and age could go on forever. Sexuality is “in our face” and not subtle at all. Jesus is clear that what can be in our heart is corrupt. No mincing of words here but then again Jesus is always clear.

So … Jesus challenges us to be pure. He gives us the power to be pure in His Holy Spirit. But we do have a choice. Will we make it?

“Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5, The Message)

“Unless you do far better than religious leaders in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.” ~~Jesus

Jesus is tough on religious leaders. He doesn’t cut them any slack.

He challenges us that we can do better than how religious leaders approach God’s world (Kingdom). He wants us to start from the knowledge that this is God’s world. He is in charge. It is not a democracy.

He wants us to love God more than anyone or anything. He wants us to love everyone we come in contact in a very real and concrete way.

Jesus knows we can do better and it doesn’t start by emulating religious leaders.

“Unless you do far better than religious leaders in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering God’s world.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

“Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” ~~Jesus

July 15, 2012 6 comments

Our heavenly Father is in a good mood. He always is and never waivers from that feeling. No ups and downs with Him. Always excited to see us. Loves us even when we ignore Him.

Jesus challenges us to know that in our soul. Why?

Many of us have an image of fathers, maybe even our own, that doesn’t match that.

Jesus is God’s Son. He knows the Father. We can rely on what He says. He says that GOD is generous and gracious. Always in a good mood. So, it is true.

“Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies.” ~~Jesus

July 1, 2012 2 comments

Jesus challenges us to go beyond what the rules say. He knows we focus on “what the rule says” and then find loopholes. Religion is about loopholes. GOD is about real love.

Our mission, according to Jesus, is an extraordinary kind of love. Our love is to be like GOD’s love. A love that almost can’t be understood. A love for even our enemies. His Spirit makes it happen for us.

Do we have a passion for that kind of love? Will we live that out today?

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:44 The Message)

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.” ~~Jesus

June 13, 2012 2 comments

Wow. Jesus is direct. Grow up!!

OK, that makes sense. We can be very childish. We live in God’s World (Kingdom). He is in charge. We know it. We need to act like it. We need to live like it.

May I live like I know I am living in God’s World, where He is fully in charge.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:48 The Message)

“Live out your God-created identity.” ~~Jesus

June 3, 2012 1 comment

Jesus challenges us to the person God wants us to be. It is not about us or our unique personalities. God has given us His identity. Jesus only does what He hears and sees His Father saying and doing.We need to get outside of our “me identity”. It isn’t about who I am.

He wants the same for us. We have a God created identity. We are a new creation in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. We share that with Him through baptism.

“Live out your God-created identity.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:48 The Message)

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