Fear

Fighting Fear with the Fear of the Lord {Matthew 10:27-31}

12:22 PM



Once again, there' are many lessons in each of the chapters.

But today I want to focus on the fear of the Lord and what Jesus taught about it.

Earlier this week we were talking about worry and anxiety, here again we see how to fight them.

27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[a] 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin[b]? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Matthew 10:27-31


Yesterday as my family and I were driving to our mid-week service at church, we were listening to one of Joseph Prince's teachings on God's love and the “Fear of the Lord.”

He mentioned one day a minister came up to him and asked him, “What about the fear of the Lord?”

Pastor Prince said, “What about it?”

The minister said, “Well the Bible says we should fear the Lord.”

Perhaps you’ve heard people explaining what the fear of the Lord is, but do you know where this idea comes from? It comes from Jesus. Remember how he quoted scripture to silence the devil in the wilderness in Matthew 4, ? Well let’s compare what Jesus said with the actual scripture he quoted. See if you can spot the difference:

What Jesus said: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” (Mat 4:10)
The original text: “Fear the Lord your God and serve him only.” (Deu 6:13)

Did you spot the difference? Moses said, “Fear God,” which Jesus interpreted as, “Worship him.” Whenever you read an exhortation to “fear the Lord” in the Bible, you can rightly interpret it as “worship the Lord.” Jesus gives you permission.

 So Jesus changed out the word, “Fear” with, “Worship.” It must be that these two words are synonymous in the mind of Christ, and who else to interpret the fear of the Lord than Jesus himself! So, when we worship the Lord we are really, “Fearing the Lord.”

Jesus is the Writer of the Scriptures! The Writer must define what the words mean.

Contrary to what we usually hear, the fear that He talks about comes from love not from being afraid...Joseph Prince then mentioned something really true... people tend to hate what they fear. For sure this is not something God has in mind.

Romans 8:15 - Fear is just one step away from hate. Children will always hate the people that they fear.
Children will follow true authority. Having a slavish fear is not the right way to fear the Lord. 

Only those who are secure in the everlasting love of the Lord know what it is to truly fear the Lord.

It is to tremble in his presence knowing he is surely good, he is surely supreme, and he surely loves me.

Fear has no place in a healthy, loving relationship. It’s important that you get this. You can’t balance fear and love. They are like light and dark. You cannot have a part of your heart shouting, “I love you Lord” while another part whispers, “but I’m afraid of you.” Why not? Because you will never give yourself wholly to someone you’re afraid of.

It's like I was saying yesterday in my post about receiving/giving mercy. Only when we understand and accept how much God loves us is when we can fully enjoy the life that He has intended for us to live!

“The fear of God that the Self Righteous have is that God will judge them for not being righteous enough. The fear of God that the Christ-righteous have is that God has qualified them to share in the Kingdom and that He is on their side and they therefore cannot be shaken or moved and that this awesome God will judge their enemies with fire!”- Paul Ellis

Have a great day sisters, you're loved :-)

Gospels

Choose Mercy {Matthew 9:13}

3:48 PM


mercy
Source


 “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’- Matthew 9:13

This Bible verse just touched a very deep part of my heart...and couldn't come at a more timely moment.

God has been working with me in this particular are in my life. 

I've come to realise I have a problem with mercy.

Mercy is kindness and even though it's hard to recognise this, most of the time I'm not a merciful person. I'm not as merciful as I should and I would like to be. 

Perhaps because I was raised in an atmosphere in which I did not experience much mercy in my own life.

I can be very legalistic and rigid {Judgemental} . I want things to be done now, and I want them to be done my way. I refuse to give people any room for error.

I've come to a place in which I want to be merciful with all of my heart. I only realised of this truth and need because He's shown me so much mercy...and grace over the last 6 years. This mostly through my husband. A quiet, gentle, kind spirit. A man who always thinks the best of people and situations... I believe my husband is the best expression of God's love and mercy over my life.

Through him, God has taught me there are two sides to mercy. We have to learn how to receive God's mercy before we can give it.

I've come to understand that I had a hard time being merciful, kind because I would not learn to receive it. I was legalistic and rigid even with myself, therefore with everyone else.

I've learnt there's a powerful principle in the golden rule "Love your neighbour as you love yourself"...the key? loving yourself first. We cannot give something we don't have. Nothing can come out of an empty cup.

If I don't learn how to receive God's love, and how to love myself in a balanced way...how can I love others? If I don't receive His mercy when I make mistakes, how can show mercy to others?

To be a merciful person I must enjoy and be thankful for His mercy every day in my own life.

I believe we must learn from our mistakes. When we sin, we're sorry for our mistakes, confess and move one...I cannot live under condemnation.

Mercy is for people who don't deserve it...I must remember this for myself and for others!

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

“Mercy is the stuff you give to people that don't deserve it.” 
― Joyce Meyer


Anxiety

The Two Days of the Week You should not Worry

2:28 PM

tomorrow-is-mystery


(Author Unknown)
There are two days in every week that we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One is yesterday with its mistakes and cares. Its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. Nor can we erase a single word we’ve said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we shouldn’t worry about is tomorrow. Tomorrow is beyond our control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise either in splendor, or behind a mask of clouds but it will rise. And until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day. Today. Any person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives people mad, it is the remorse of bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.


Here’s what God says about yesterday:


“…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Phil.3:13)

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18)

Here’s what God says about tomorrow:


“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt.6:34)

“Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Prov.27:1)

Here’s what God says about today:


“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Gospels

Miracles Begin {Matthew 8:5-13}

10:00 AM



In the first four chapters of Matthew, we have been introduced to the person of the King, then chapters 5-7 present the principles of the King (beginning with the beatitudes). Now chapters 8-9 we'll study a series of miracles Jesus performed (10 in these chapters) as "His credentials".

We must remember that miracles are not the only proof a man has been sent by God. 

Unfortunately people here where I live in Africa get very deceived by anyone who "claims" being a man of God and "performs" all sorts of miracles.

We must remember that miracles can also be performed by satan (2 Thess. 2:). How should we  recognise that indeed they're being performed by a man sent by God?  by his character and godly conduct.

Lessons we can learn from these miracles:

1. Man with Leprosy



Leprosy was a very terrifying incurable disease of that time. If a person was sick, a priest had to declare him a leper and send him to live in a community with other infected people until he either got better or died.

This particular leper begged Jesus to heal Him. The leper asked Jesus "if He was willing to heal Him". He did not doubt of His ability but of His willingness. Jesus answered "I am willing". For me is a beautiful reminder that Jesus is ALWAYS willing. He's always willing to bless us, to heal us.

He wants us well, healed and whole. It's HIS WILL.

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? - Matthew 7:9
As leprosy, sin is also an incurable disease that we all have! (Illustrated in Isa.1:5-6)

Sin is deeper than the skin (Lev.13:3), It spreads (Lev. 13:8), It defiles and Isolates (Lev.13:45-46) and it is fit only for the fire...and just as Jesus was willing to clean the man from leprosy, Jesus desires to save us:

This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Tim 2:3-4

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.-1 Peter 3:9



2. The Roman Officer



This Roman man was an officer over one hundred men in the Roman Army. The fact that we has concerned about a lowly servant-boy tells us he was a gentleman and a man with high character and sense of duty who didn't allow pride, doubt, money, language, distance, time, self-sufficiency, power nor race to between him and Jesus,

The faith of this man marveled Jesus, here was a hated Gentile who put to shame many of the great Jewish religious leaders.

If this man didn't hesitate in asking for a miracle, if he didn't allow anything or anyone come between Him and Jesus, what keep us from Christ?


3. Peter's Mother-in-law



Along with His compassion and credentials: Jesus' miracles prove how much He cares for whole well being. As much as He cares for our spirit and salvation, He does care for the state of our soul and bodies.

Though this seems like a "minor miracle", there are two things we can pick.

Women didn't hold a high position an Israel, yet Jesus, only with a touch, healed her...why? the change in one woman's life can lead to miracles in the lives of many other people. Blessing a home leads to blessing in the community.



4. Demon possessed men


These men were robbed their sanity and self-control by satan whom filled them with fear and isolated them from friends and society in general. Jesus came to restore the peace in the community. He came to deliver them from the -internal and external - bondage and battle.

He delivered them by the power of HIS WORD.

He can still do the same today. He's the same yesterday, today and forever.


With all these cases Jesus prove His love and care towards the outcasts. Setting an example to the Jews, as lepers, gentiles and women were rejected by them, specially Pharisees. Setting an example for us to reach for those whom society reject...to show grace, love and care for those whom society consider "the least"...no such a definition in God's eyes.

God's Love

The Problem with Judging Others {Matthew 7:1-6}

3:24 PM


Judging Others

 “1 [a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. 2 For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."

6 “Do not give that which is holy to [b]dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, for they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:1-6


There's a simple universal rule in life...people call it mantra, but biblically we find in Galatians 6:7 that what you sow , you reap. To every action there's a reaction and you cannot expect sowing an apple tree to get pears from it, right? ;-)

This sowing-reaping principle applies to every single aspect in life. Including attitudes and emotions.

“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” 
― John Mark Green

“To judge someone is to say that I have the right to define who they are, verses understanding that God has handed me the priceless privilege of discovering who they are.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough



The thing about judging others is that is a very subtle strategy from the enemy to keep us busy. We're so busy criticizing and identifying the faults in others, that we never get to see and deal with our own.

“Judging others is easy because it distracts us from the responsibility of judging ourselves.”
― Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life

When we focus our attention on the flaws of others, we're usually being deceived about our own.

When tempted to throw judgments here and there, it is good to remember that we cannot change others: only God can. We cannot change ourselves either...only God thought His Holy Spirit working in us can.

We should rather use the time and energy spent on analysing others to reflect and surrender those areas in our lives that need some work.


“It is difficult to live without judging others. If you have to judge, then judge with love.”
― Debasish Mridha

God did not command us to look our for flaws in others, but to love one another. We cannot allow ourselves to be busy criticising and judging that we forget what matters most.

When we judge instead of loving, we take a holy thing (love) and cast it before dogs and hogs (evil spirits). We will open a door for those spirits to tremble on holy things and turn and tear us into pieces.

Jesus tells us not to judge others for our own good: He does not want us to be judge in return.

One interesting thing that I read quite recently is that when you hear someone talking about you in a judgemental way, we should ask ourselves if that person is sowing into his/her life or is it something we are reaping?

May God give us the grace to sow good seeds! May God give us the grace to resist temptation to criticize and judge, and rather being a  blessing to others!

Anxiety

Worry and anxiety are unnatural and unspiritual {Matthew 6:25-34}

4:22 PM

Do not Worry

Matthew 6:25-34    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


In this life we can lose focus on what truly matters. We get lost on the things that really don't count.
In this chapter Jesus mentions two: food and clothing, but there are many more out there: going to the right school, having a nice car and a house, having a good bank account, good fame and reputation, admiration of people for the lives we live, etc.

"If our aim in life is to get material gain, it will mean darkness within. But if our outlook is to serve and glorify God, there will be light within."

Living in Africa has opened my eyes to the true meaning of "needs" in life.

It has made me understand that there is far more to my life than the food I put in my stomach, more that the outer appearance than the clothes I hang on my body.

I've been to remote villages. Where people live in muddy houses, there's not running water nor electricity...they use pit latrines. Still I see happy, joyful people. Friendly smiles and warm hugs.
It makes me put things in perspective. Makes me realize how many of the things "I need" I don't really need...how happy people can be with the basic, basic stuff.

Worry and anxiety are unnatural and unspiritual

"Jesus said that worry is sinful. We may dignify worry by calling it by other name - concern, burner a cross to bear-but the results are still the same. Instead of helping us live longer, anxiety only makes life shorter (Matt. 6:27)"

Reasons not to worry


The same God who created life in me can be trusted with all the details {even the small ones} of my life.

He upholds all things.
He governs all events.
He directs everything to its appointed end.
He does this all the time and in every circumstance.
He does it always for His own glory

Acts 17:28 “in him we live and move and have our being”

Colossians 1:17 “in him all things hold together”

Hebrews 1:3 “He upholds the universe by the word of his power”

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps”

Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases”


Worrying about the future only drains the strength I need for today.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom

Worrying is more harmful than helpful. Worry is an exercise in futility

Worry is a pointless exercise because it cannot achieve anything. It cannot add one cubit (18 inches) to our life –span. (6,27)

God does never ignore those who depend on Him. We need to learn to trust Him.

"The more mature in the faith we are, the bigger God will be for us. As our vision of God becomes clearer and we understand his enormity, we learn to rest in him. We grow in our ability to depend completely on him and know that with a God as competent as the God we find in the pages of Scripture, the universe in which we find ourselves is truly a safe place for us."- Kenneth Boa


Worry is a demonstration of faithlessness and our lack of understanding of God.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.  2 Corinthians 13:5  

Worrying keeps us busy from pursuing the real challenges God has in store for us.

“Worry is like a rocking chair-it keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.”― Katie Dale, Someone Else's Life

Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. - Psalm 90:12

Today I pray that instead of worrying may I start meditating more on His goodness and how He provides for me, as He provides for the birds and the flowers.
I won't allow anything, any to distract me from seeking Him and His purpose. I don't want to be so busy that I cannot focus on the things that do really matter!


Grace Notes

Bible Reading Side Effects

4:37 PM





It's been 6 days in a row since I've been reading the Bible (diligently). I've been studying the New Testament one chapter a time along beautiful sisters around the web. {you can join the study group on Facebook too}. This blog is the result of my commitment to the study...I want to record what I'm learning and hopefully bless someone with a word of encouragement along the way.

I've been also reading/praying for my husband...I'm using "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian.

Here's the thing...a confession. It's been way too long...perhaps 2 years {ashamed} since I've done this {since I became a mom to my second little girl}. All this time I had read the Bible "here and there", when "I get some time"...when I'm less busy...but having two little girls and a business on the side...well, you can imagine. The truth is and I have to admit that God never intended me to be too busy to spend time with Him.

"If you don't have time to pray & read scriptures you are busier than God ever intended you to be"

The consequences of my lack of discipline and spiritual malnourishment?

A grumpy/snappy Mom

For the last month or so {since my daughter's school closed for the holidays} I've found quite difficult to deal with her -she's almost five. She's a very strong willed child...she's very active, she's always on the move...loud{ she cannot stop talking...not even for a minute...trust me, she talks even in her sleep-}, always making all sorts of questions, always having something to say and following me as she's my very own shadow.

After the Christmas holidays I was really loosing it with her. I would get extremely impatient and take her misbehaviour, responses and attitudes VERY personal...Like everything she was either doing or not doing was with the intention of annoying me!  One day I broke down with my husband, I told him she was literally driving me crazy...she was making my life miserable, I couldn't find anything enjoyable about this motherhood thing. :-(

He told me {what he has told before} that I was taking things too personal...I was expecting too much from her, she's just a kid AND most importantly, that she has so many of my traits...she's so much like me...in everything {not in her physical appearance though as she looks more her father}. She's strong willed...just like me. She can be stubborn, and very determined...just like me.

I decided to calm down...breathe and prayed with all my heart for a change in my perspective...just a week after, we started this Bible study. --Another thing I started doing every morning of this week has been exercising...30 mins, every day...from Monday to Saturday AND I have been more constant in reading for her before she goes to bed. We're reading a Bible story book...The whole Bible with big beautiful illustrations. {It warms my heart to see how she enjoys the stories, the comments and questions she makes...how she remembers everything when she tells her father the story "mommy read for her"}

The results?

Around Wednesday I noticed we hadn't had any confrontation, shouting, snapping, etc etc {for three full days!! trust me, that's a record!!}...I had not had any problem with her. Any request I asked from her (picking up toys, making her bed, doing something for her little sister) she would do with a smile and a "yes mom"...I told my husband that I was in awe how my days were going by so peacefully...they were enjoyable again. I was actually wondering why?? what happened? it was like a miracle. After all the stormy days, peace had finally come.

I asked him: have you noticed the tone of my voice lately? have you noticed how we talk to each other (in love)...have you noticed how she willingly does whatever I asked her to do? what happened to her?...He told me "I have noticed...but she's exactly the same child I know...I've seen changes in you. You have changed your focus"..then I remembered what I had been doing those days, studying the Bible and exercising. I had finally moved on. I had changed my focus on her...on her flaws, on her "misbehaviour"...my eyes were now on Jesus.

I was in awe...and in tears. God's word is active...so powerful. Transforms our lives even when we don't realize... I mean, I was not studying or looking for Bible verses on "how to raise my daughter", "how to control anger", "how to control my temper", "how to control my tongue", I had just being studying the first chapters of Matthew and suddenly anxiety, stress and strife left...comfort, hope, peace and deliverance took place.

As we study, dig into the Scriptures..we'll experience God. His Holy Spirit will fill us in and make us more like Christ...The more time we spend with Him, the more we will resemble Him.

As I was browsing the web I found 15 REASONS TO READ THE BIBLE DAILY:


TO GET RID OF ANXIETY AND HAVE PEACE 

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (PSALM  119:165 )

TO SET THINGS RIGHT WHEN LIFE IS OUT OF CONTROL 

The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
         The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
         The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.(PSALM 19:7-8)

TO HAVE DIRECTION AND KNOW GOD’S WILL

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (PSALM 119:105)

TO EXPERIENCE HEALING AND DELIVERANCE 

He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.(PSALM 107:20 )

TO GROW IN THE LORD 

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, ( 1ST.PETER 2:2)

TO HAVE STRENGTH COMFORT AND HOPE

My soul weeps because of grief;
         Strengthen me according to Your word.

This is my comfort in my affliction,
         That Your word has revived me.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
 (PSALM 119:28,50,114 )

TO SHAPE YOURSELF AND YOUR LIFE CORRECTLY

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. ( PSALM 119:11 )

TO BE ABLE TO SEE CLEARLY 

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.(PSALM 119:130 )

TO KNOW WHAT”S REALLY IN YOUR HEART

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (HEBREWS 4:12 )

TO BUILD FAITH 

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.(ROMANS 10:17 )

TO HAVE JOY 

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.(PSALM 16:11 )

TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S POWER

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (JOHN 1:3 )

TO HAVE MORE LIFE IN THIS LIFE 

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.(PSALM 119:50 )

TO DISTINGUISH GOOD FROM EVIL 

I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
         That I may keep Your word.
I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
         For You Yourself have taught me.(PSALM 119: 101-102)

TO UNDERSTAND GODS LOVE FOR YOU 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.( JOHN 1:14)


I've experienced all these in only 6 days...joy and peace have been magnified. I cannot really wait to see what the future holds :-) Thanks for reading! Be blessed x




Gospels

The Be-Attitudes {Matthew 5:1-12}

4:30 PM



Today I have a special guest post, My mom :-) who'll be tackling Matthew chapter 5  ...
***

Today I’m closing our first week of study on the book of Matthew, and let me tell you it’s been an awesome week! Today’s chapter is so rich… so much to write about, but I’m so glad we will be able to take a closer look at the Beatitudes with Sandra as she leads us through them on “Scripture Saturday”. 

On chapter 4, we read that Jesus had been announcing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and He had been calling for people to repent (4:12-17). Then He called His first disciples (18-22), and ministered to great crowds in different regions (23-25). 

In today’s chapter, we find Jesus up on a mountain by the Sea of Galilee (Mat. 5: 1-2, 15:29) teaching the eight principles of the Kingdom of God, better known as the Beatitudes, which means "The Blessings" but can also be understood as giving the believer his "be - attitudes" - the attitudes he should "be." 

1“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His [a]disciples came to Him. 2 Then He began to teach them, saying 
3 “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
4 “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].
5 “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [b]gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.
7 “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.
9 “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God. (AMP)

This great message tells us how we must live and how these principles (spiritual attributes) will bring a true meaning to our lives. When we abide in Him and are able to give as a result, the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, we are blessed and we are to teach others these same principles to others with our lives (testimony). “In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew shows us Jesus instructing his disciples in the message which was His and which they were to take to men." (Barclay) 

In vs. 13-15 Jesus teaches His disciples that they (us) are salt and light of the world. "This title had been given by the Jews to certain of their eminent Rabbis. With great pomposity they spoke of Rabbi Judah, or Rabbi Jochanan, as the lamps of the universe, the lights of the world. It must have sounded strangely in the ears of the Scribes and Pharisees to hear that same title, in all soberness, applied to a few bronzed-faced and horny-handed peasants and fishermen, who had become disciples of Jesus." (Spurgeon)

Salt is the opposite of corruption, and it prevents corruption from getting worse. Light gives the gift of guidance, so that those who have lost their way can find the path home.

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We have been blessed by His Saving Grace, now He is our King and it is our turn to take this message to others and give Him Glory!

(1Pe 2:9 “ But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”)
In vs. 17- 48 Jesus continues in this second section to clarify His position with the Word of God, how His teachings are founded upon the truth of the scriptures (the 'Law and Prophets'). 

At the same time He exposes how common it is to falsely base ones principles on scripture (21-42). Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all and we must pray for them. Note the repeated, "You have heard..." and "But I say to you..." phrases. Jesus lifts Himself up to being of equal authority with the Holy Word of God! Yes, He is our KING!!

Now it’s your turn to comment your findings! 
Blessings,
Mari

*** From Angie:

I'd never thought of the beatitudes as the be-attitudes! That's powerful! I love how the amplified version helps to get so much more understanding. I'm really looking forward to going deeper in each of them as we also memorize them on Saturdays. This chapter is packed of Jesus teachings and I found it interesting and beautiful what you said about Jesus saying "you've heard"..."but I tell you..." I believe in our days we're surrounded with an overload of information...experts, doctors, scientists, trends...they all have something to say...we get to "hear" so many things but we should surely hear what Jesus is saying...what is He telling us??

God's word

Eating His Word {Matthew 4:1-11}

3:32 PM



We should not be surprised when temptation comes. The devil tempted Jesus himself, just as he tries to tempt us on a daily basis.

Satan tempted Jesus in three specific areas:

1. After fasting for 40 days/nights you can imagine how hungry and thirsty Jesus was. He faced the enemy as a man, not as the son of God so He was experiencing all the biological needs. Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread.

Man need bread, but he need God's word even more. When we put our physical needs {flesh} ahead of our spiritual needs, we sin. We allow circumstances to dictate our actions, instead of following God's voice and His will.

One victory never guarantees freedom from further temptation, most of the times the victory we experience only makes the enemy try harder...

2. Satan temped Jesus to throw himself down from a high place to test that God would protect him.

God will take care of us, but we should not be fools to put Him to the test. {This includes when we demand miracles on a whim when we should worship God alone}

3. Satan tempted Jesus with authority and rule over Earth if Jesus would bow down to Satan.

Power is alluring, but not at the cost of worshipping what is false and turning away from God.

Why Jesus was tempted:

Jesus was tempted so that every single creature in heaven or on earth might know that Jesus is the Conqueror. He exposed the enemy and his tactics and He defeated him. Because of His victory we can have victory over the tempter.

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

Jesus' experience of temptation also prepared Him to be our sympathetic High Priest {Heb, 2:16-18; 4:15-16}

We see that every single time out of the three times Jesus was tempted, He responded with the Word of God.

Jesus used the same spiritual resources that are available to us today: The power of the Holy Spirit of God and the Power of the Word of God ("It is written")

Jesus was knowledgeable about God's word...are we being diligent to study Gods Word, so that when temptation comes, we will to know what action to take in order to resist and overcome it?

"We are not sustained by earthly things like bread, but by the spiritual words that come from the mouth of God"

For today, in whatever you may be being tested or tempted, ask God to help you meet the temptation, to have the power of His Spirit helping you. Remember its only by His grace and power that you'll walk past the temptation.

Baptism

You are His Beloved {Matthew Chapter 3: 1-17}

3:23 PM

Image Source

On Repentance and Its Fruits


John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by preparing others to welcome Him. John was a prophet who urged the people to confess their sins and live for God, in other words, to repent. To repent means a 180-degree turn from our old ways and begin following God's way of living as His Word declares.
Repentance happens inside with a cleansing that isn't not seen right away. Changes of habits do not happen overnight. Only God can get rid of sin. He doesn't expect us to clean up our lives before we come to Him.

John was very different from other religious leaders of his days, because unlike them, he was not looking for winning people's praise but he was just concerned with the praise of God. John not only preached God's law but he lived it. That's why he encouraged people to DO more than simple words  or rituals but to change their behaviour. God looks beyond what we say, actions should match up our words.

Jesus Baptism 


Baptism is an outward sign of commitment that is accompanied by an inward change of attitude leading to a changed life.

Jesus came to John and asked to be baptised, but why? it was certainly not for repentance for sin since Jesus never sinned. The Life Application study Bible gives four reasons why Jesus might have been baptised:

1) "to fulfill all righteousness" = accomplish God's mission.

2) Jesus was confessing sin on behalf of the nation, as other prophets did in the past.

3) He was validating and showing John's ministry support.

4) He was identifying with the penitent people of God.

God's Beloved


Jesus was baptized even though, He had not yet publicly taught, performed any miracles, or "done" any sort of ministry. Yet God called Him "My Son, My beloved Son, in Whom I delight". It is a beautiful reminder that God takes pleasure on us, delights in us not because of  being "good enough" or "doing enough"but because we are His children. 

Being His Children pleases Him far more than anything we can do. I believe this takes a lot of burden off our shoulders...we don't have to proof ourselves to get His love and please Him. He takes pleasure in us just because of the simple fact we are His children.

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” 
― Brennan Manning, Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” 

― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Childlike

Childlike Faith {Matthew 2:1-12}

3:08 PM



Wise men from the East
{Matthew 2 1-12}

The first twelve verses of Matthew chapter 2 narrate the story of the wise men who were eager to go and worship baby Jesus as soon as they saw the star in the East. We don’t know exactly where they came from now how many of them there were when they arrived in Jerusalem. We do know from scripture that most our nativity scenes depict the wrong scene. The wise men were did not meet Jesus in the manger, by the time they met Jesus, Jesus was probably 1 or 2 years old. Joseph and Mary were in a house in Bethlehem (v. 11). 

These wise men travelled thousands of miles just to meet the King of the Jews. When they finally found Him, they responded with worship, joy and gifts! How different and sad the approach most of us take today...We often want and wait God to come looking for us, we want Him to explain himself, we need Him to prove who he is and yes...we want Him to give us gifts.

Today I want to be like those men...Wise! and seek and worship Jesus not for what I can get, but for who He is.

The gifts give by the Wise men are seen as symbols of Christ identity and what He would accomplish:

Gold: a gift for a King, Royalty
Incense: a gift for a deity
Myrrh: A spice for a person who was going to die.

After finding Jesus and worshiping Him, the wise men were warned by God to not return to Jerusalem as they intended, since Herod had lied. He did not want to worship Christ, he Just wanted the Wise men to reveal the location of the child to kill Him. This fact teaches us two lessons;

1.-Finding Jesus might mean a change of direction and plans

2.-It's very interesting how satan was afraid of a child, and how a child was the King of the Jews. Kings rule and maybe one lesson here is that if we desire to rule and reign as kings in life (For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!-Rom. 5:17 )  we must also become like little children.

Becoming childlike requires us to be humble, trusting, lowly and forgiven. I believe when we do so we frighten the devil just as Christ child frightened Herod. We become a threat to the enemy when we become childlike in our faith.

To Ponder:

Are you willing, like the Wise men to drop everything you know and follow Jesus? Or are you expecting Jesus to find you and explain Himself to you? Are you willing to change direction and plans? Do you trust Jesus like a child does?


Broken

God uses messed-up, broken and ordinary people {Matthew 1:1-17}

8:57 PM



The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
 {Matthew 1:1-17}

When I first read the genealogy was all the way to Joseph, the first thought that came to my mind it was but...what? He's not really Jesus's father...as He's not the son of man, but digging into several books and commentaries I came to understand that in Matthew, the genealogy gives Jesus legal or royal lineage through Joseph and this was important for the audience this gospel was directed to.


In his gospel, Matthew presents Jesus as the King of the Jews, the long awaited Messiah. By telling the story of Jesus' genealogy,  Matthew gives us evidence that all points to the same inescapable conclusion: Christ is King. On the other hand, Luke records the genealogy of Mary (3:23-28) and BOTH Mary and Joseph were direct descendants of David.

Matthew also includes 5 women in his genealogy, so clearly he's not diminishing the role of women.

The women mentioned here are rather interesting:

-Tamar who had a sexual relationship with Judah, her father-in-law {Joshua 2;1}

-Ruth was a foreigner {Ruth 1:4}

-Bathsheba is identified here as Uriah's wife {1:6} but we must remember David's adultery with her and murder of Uriah.

-Rahab was a harlot {Joshua 2:1}

-Mary though she was a fine, godly woman, she had a problem of public reputation because of her pregnancy.

The genealogy shows how all the ancestors where both loyal and inclusive...and even from different backgrounds e.g. Tamar, Rahab and Ruth who were non-jews famous for their righteousness and devotion to God, This shows that through the lineage of Jesus, no one is shut out from God's promise no matter their gender or background. God's people include more than one ethnic group or nation.

Also, in all these names we found broken, flawed people, "sinners", some faith-filled, some faithless, both MEN AND WOMEN, some willing and some disobedient, 

I truly believe Matthew included all these messed up and ordinary people to illustrate Gods grace-to give us all hope. To show us that God always accomplishes His will and most importantly He's always faithful to His promises.

If God used all these people in order to carry out His perfect plan, His most beautiful promise, Jesus, I can rest assured than my life also fits into his perfect will. He can take my flaws, brokenness and sins and use them for His glory!

God uses ordinary people to carry out His extraordinary plan #quote