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Posts tagged ‘Matthew’

How Parents Influence Your View of God.


mom with kids
A parent has a powerful influence on how their children view God. (http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The problem of belief in God has never been solely to convince the conscious mind. If it were, He would need only to raise up brilliant debaters and apologists rather than pastors and churches that nurture. Paul wrote, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10, KJV).

It is easy to confuse deep, heartfelt conviction with mere intellectual assent and to think salvation is thereby accomplished. I do not mean to say that anyone’s conversion experience is thereby invalid, but that it did not finish the process. We have been too easily convinced of completion.

When belief in the heart, to whatever degree, opens the floodgates of understanding to the mind and conviction to the spirit, and we respond in the sinner’s prayer to invite Jesus in, we are redeemed and justified. Our sins are washed away in the blood of the Lamb and our destinies are changed from hell to heaven. We are once and for all time fully saved.

But the experience of conversion is not all there is to being saved. Salvation has a larger meaning than justification, redemption, being born anew, going to heaven or all these put together.

Unbelieving Saints

Redemptionjustification, being born anew are entrances to the process of growing into salvation (1 Pet. 2). Going to heaven is the end product. All of what happens in between, the process ofsanctification and transformation, is the major part of salvation, which means “to become whole, to be healed.”

When we ask, “Have you been saved, brother?” we mean redeemed, justified, born anew and going to heaven. Well and good. But perhaps the question is confusing. If we mean, “Has the Lord gotten hold of you, paid the price, and set your face toward heaven?” every born-anew Christian ought to answer with an unqualified, “Yes, I’m saved, and I’m going to heaven.”

But concerning the process in this life of being saved, none ought ever to reply that it is all done. Each one should answer, “I’m saved, and I’m being saved every day,” because “by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14, NASB).

Although every believer is in process, he knows by faith that positionally he has already been made perfect and is already being raised up to sit with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). Whatever further conversions of the heart we explore ought never to be taken to imply that our first conversion was invalid or insufficient.

On the other hand, no matter how dramatic or conclusive that conversion was, we run the risk of crippling our abundant life the moment we build a tabernacle as though it once and for all finished the process it, in fact, only began. The heart needs to be transformed anew every day, or we fail to grow in Jesus. Indeed, that is our primary definition of growth in Christ—further and further death and rebirth through continuing inner conversion.

Continual conversion of a believer’s heart moves the heart from unbelief to belief and repentance. This happens as the light of God’s Word reaches into the dark, hidden recesses of the heart, and begins to prepare it to produce good fruit (Matt. 13:3-8).

Historically, in America, sanctification has come to mean striving to live up to the law on the base of a supposedly transformed character. That struggle all too often has led to judgmentalism because tragically, the transformation had never been complete.

True, we are washed clean at the moment of conversion, and our consciences sprinkled (Heb. 9:14). But not all the character has been transformed at that moment.

Jesus is not yet that firmly seated as Lord in the inner depths of many Christians. It must hurt the Lord deeply that in churches considered most sound, sin so often still runs rampant, even among the leaders. Or where obvious sin has not reared its head, so little fruit of the Spirit is seen.

In such churches, conversion may be complete in the conscious mind, but the heart remains almost untouched.

The Lord must be allowed to fully occupy each believer’s heart. This will be accomplished through the weapon of the Word of God being spoken to one another through preaching of the Word, the ministry of small groups, and through diligent, intercessory prayer for and with each other. As the Word touches the places of unbelief in our hearts, we will arise in conversion to take up the battle cry against the flesh and make it our joy to plunge to inner death and rebirth.

Purity of Heart

Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (KJV). Mark again those words, “pure in heart.” Jesus was saying that those whose hearts are purified come to understand and embrace God for who He actually is.

The inference is that because our hearts are not pure, we impute to God motives and ways that are not His. We do not see God, but only our projection of Him.

The Scripture teaches, “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:19-21, NASB).

Here we see that the impurity is hate. Our hatred of fellow human beings colors what we see of God—or prevents it altogether.

This is one of the primary facts that necessitates continual conversion of the heart. Our hidden andforgotten judgments, especially against our fathers and mothers, prevent us from seeing God as He is.

“He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness,” wrote Solomon (Prov. 20:20). Our judgments made against our parents in childhood, usually long forgotten, have darkened our spiritual eyes. We do not see ourselves, others, life or God accurately.

Many times people have come to us saying: “Don’t talk to me about a loving God. Why doesn’t He stop all the wars, or at least prevent some of the bestial things men do to men, sometimes in the very name of religion? Or doesn’t He care?” We have all heard statements like that.

Being prayer ministers, Paula and I never try to defend God. We avoid theological debates. We know the answer is not a mental one but a matter of an impure heart. We merely ask, “What was your father like?”

Invariably we uncover a history similar to what the person has imputed to God—cruelty, insensitivity, desertion, criticism and so forth. No matter what the mind may learn in Sunday school of a gentle and loving God who “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16), the heart has been scarred and shaped by reactions to our earthly fathers.

As a result, we often project cruelty, insensitivity, desertion, criticism and other negative factors onto our understanding of who God is. Our minds may declare His goodness, but our behaviors reveal what the heart really thinks: “As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7, NKJV). Until we are able to forgive our natural fathers for the hurts they may have caused in our hearts, and repent for the judgments we have formed against them, we will not be able to truly see God as gentle, kind and lovingly present in our lives.

Repentance Fosters Healing

I (John) had a gentle, kind father who was a traveling salesman and gone much of the time. During the summer of 1979, I found myself puzzling over why thoughts of unbelief so often trooped through my mind.

In airports or while driving on busy freeways, I would find myself thinking, How can God really be concerned about every detail of all these people’s lives? Or, How can He actually know every hair that falls from every one of these teeming millions of heads? (See Matthew 10:30.)

My mind insisted, “This is purely a logical matter. After all, that’s a reasonable question to ask.” But my spirit was not at rest.

Finally I thought to ask the Lord. He instantly replied, “Your father had little time to notice what you were doing.” That revealed my inner world of judgments. I had judged, “Dad wouldn’t see, compliment, affirm or care.”

Nevermind that he did, in fact, do those things when he was home. My bitter root grew because he wasn’t always there. So, of course, God wouldn’t be there for me. And I worked so hard for Him!

Those thoughts plagued my mind most especially whenever Paula and I were busy serving the Lord. The little boy had been hurt because he worked so hard and received so little notice for it, and the grown-up subconsciously expected God to treat him like that, too.

Following the revelation, repentance was easy and joyous. I have never since been bothered by such nagging doubts. Now I do not merely have belief, but surety of knowing and feeling that my Father sees and approves of my service to Him. Now I have abiding fellowship with Him, in heart as well as spirit (1 John 1:3).

How many of us have come to our parents for something, and they said, “We’ll see,” and then forgot about it? Or our parents made a promise to buy us something, but either it never arrived or came so late that the joy of it was gone. Covertly, that colored our faith in God.

What kind of anger did we push down and forget, because we thought, It’s not good to be angry with Dad and Mom. What kind of resentful judgments did our hearts cherish and our minds forget?.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

Why is Reading the Bible so Important?.


Is it not remarkable how often Jesus settled great issues with a reference to reading? For example, in the issue of the Sabbath he said, “Have you not readwhat David did?” (Matthew 12:3). In the issue of divorce and remarriage he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4). In the issue of true worship and praise he said, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have prepared praise for yourself’?” (Matthew 21:16). In the issue of the resurrection he said, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?” (Matthew 21:42). And to the lawyer who queried him about eternal life he said, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” (Luke 10:26).

The apostle Paul also gave reading a great place in the life of the church. For example, he said to the Corinthians, “We write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end” (1 Corinthians 1:13). To the Ephesians he said, “When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3). To the Colossians he said, “When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:16). Reading the letters of Paul was so important that he commands it with an oath: “I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren” (1 Thessalonians 5:27).

The ability to read does not come intuitively. It must be taught. And learning to read with understanding is a life-long labor. The implications for Christians are immense. Education of the mind in the rigorous discipline of thoughtful reading is a primary goal of school. The church of Jesus is debilitated when his people are lulled into thinking that it is humble or democratic or relevant to give a merely practical education that does not involve the rigorous training of the mind to think hard and to construe meaning from difficult texts.

The issue of earning a living is not nearly so important as whether the next generation has direct access to the meaning of the Word of God. We need an education that puts the highest premium under God on knowing the meaning of God’s Book, and growing in the abilities that will unlock its riches for a lifetime. It would be better to starve for lack of food than to fail to grasp the meaning of the book of Romans. Lord, let us not fail the next generation!

Taken from “A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind” by Desiring God Ministries (used by permission).

John Piper

What Does the Bible Say About Hell?.


Vision of Hell

Engraving ‘Vision of Hell‘ (Circa 1650).

Photo: Getty Images

Hell in the Bible is a place of future punishment and the final destination for unbelievers. It is described in Scripture using various terms such as eternal fire, outer darkness, a place of weeping and torment, the lake of fire, the second death, unquenchable fire. The most terrifying reality of hell is that it will be a place of complete, unending separation from God.

Biblical Terms for Hell

The Hebrew word Sheoloccurs 65 times in the Old Testament. It is translated “hell,” “the grave,” “death,” “destruction,” and “the pit.” Sheol identifies the general abode of the dead, a place where life no longer exists.Example of Sheol:

Psalm 49:13–14
This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah. Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell. (ESV)

Hades is the Greek term translated “hell” in the New Testament. Hades is similar to Sheol. It is described as a prison with gates, bars, and locks, and its location is downward.Example of Hades:

Acts 2:27–31 
‘For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” (ESV)

The Greek word Gehenna is translated “hell” or “the fires of hell,” and expresses the place of punishment for sinners. It is usually associated with the final judgment and depicted as being an eternal, unquenchable fire.Examples of Gehenna:

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (NKJV)Matthew 25:41
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels …’ ” (NKJV)

Another Greek term used to indicate hell or the “lower regions” is Tartarus. Like Gehenna, Tartarus also designates the place of eternal punishment.Example of Tartarus:

2 Peter 2:4
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment … (ESV)

With so many references to Hell in the Bible, any serious Christian must come to terms with the doctrine. The passages are grouped in sections below to help us understand what the Bible has to say about hell.

Punishment in Hell is Eternal

Isaiah 66:24
“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (NIV)

Daniel 12:2
Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. (NLT)

Matthew 25:46
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (NIV)

Mark 9:43
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. (NLT)

Jude 7
And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. (NLT)

Revelation 14:11
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (NKJV)

Hell is a Place of Separation from God

2 Thessalonians 1:9
They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. (NLT)

Hell Is a Place of Fire

Matthew 3:12
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (NKJV)

Matthew 13:41–42
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (NLT)

Matthew 13:50
… throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (NLT)

Revelation 20:15
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. (NLT)

Hell Is for the Wicked

Psalm 9:17
The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. (ESV)

The Wise Will Avoid Hell

Proverbs 15:24
The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below. (NKJV)

We Can Endeavor to Save Others from Hell

Proverbs 23:14
Physical discipline may well save them from death. (NLT)

Jude 23
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. (NLT)

The Beast, False Prophet, Devil and Demons Will Be Thrown into Hell

Matthew 25:41
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’ ” (NLT)

Revelation 19:20
And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (NLT)

Revelation 20:10
… and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (ESV)

Hell Has No Power Over the Church

Matthew 16:18
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will buildmy church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (NLT)

Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (NKJV)

By 

A wonderful thing…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4

That’s the message of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) is that, even if you’re poor in spirit, you have hope because Jesus has you in his hands. If you’re in mourning, if you’re meek, if you’re humble, if you’re a doormat, if you’re sat on, if you’re persecuted, if people hate you, if people say bad things about you, you have the unending favor, life, and love of God. And no one can take that from you. No matter how sick you are, no matter if you’ve been told you have a week to live, you have hope and a wonderful future. Listen to me, friends. No matter how sick, run down, poor, or broken you are, if you have Christ in your life, you have a wonderful future. And you can trust him.

I think the greatest human accomplishment, which is usually done through religious people, is to get through incredible suffering for the glory of God. Those of us who are suffering, we have people in our lives who are watching us, and they’re learning from us about what’s really important.

Those of us who are suffering, we have an opportunity to prove to our kids, grandkids, parents, siblings, and close friends that in the midst of our suffering God’s life is strong in us. It’s a wonderful thing.

Prayer: Dear Lord, even in the midst of my suffering, in my hard times, help me to show your strength, your hope, and your love to all I meet. Amen.

Reflection: How do you respond in hard times? How does your behavior reflect your relationship with God?

A wonderful day…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller 
 
“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
-Romans 5:3-4
 
All of us suffer. All of us have pain. All of us have guilt in our lives. All of us are constantly going through change. All of us suffer loneliness. 
 
Jesus comes onto the scene to say to you and to say to me that there is hope, and that hope is in him. If we have a life in the kingdom of God, the deep hole that is within every human being is filled by God. If that hole remains empty, we deceive ourselves in thinking that it can be filled with other things. And Jesus teaches his people that filling that empty void with God leads to the greatest, most fulfilling, most exciting life ever.
 
What Jesus said in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) is that, even if we’re suffering, we’re blessed because we have him. Even if we’re suffering, there is hope and we will overcome. Even if we are broken, even if we are sick, even if we’ve lost everything, there is hope. We don’t need to give up. 
 
Jesus says we have a wonderful present. Now, that was not a word play. A wonderful present. A wonderful today in him because he is here with us. And we have wonderful futures if the future has him in it. This is what Jesus teaches his students, that no matter how bad the suffering gets in life, if we have Jesus, we can get through anything.
 
Prayer: Dear Lord, I can get through anything that life hands me because I have you in my life. Amen.
 
Reflection: When has Jesus helped you to get through a hard time in life?

Blessed are they…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…those who mourn…the meek…those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…the merciful…the pure in heart…the peacemakers…those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
-Excerpts from Matthew 5:3-10

In the part of the Bible commonly referred to as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Jesus is speaking to an audience of people who are overcome with incredible sadness and suffering. He says to them that they are blessed in the midst of terrible suffering and horrible lives, because the kingdom of God has arrived. Jesus is saying that he has come in the midst of our terrible cries to God to bring hope and life and renewal and joy. Jesus is not saying we’re blessed when we are poor in spirit. He’s not saying we’re blessed because we mourn. He’s saying we’re blessed in spite of it because the kingdom of God has come.

Believe it or not, it’s through Paul Simon’s song, “Blessed,” that Simon and Garfunkel share the best interpretation of the Beatitudes when they sing, “Blessed are the sat upon, the spat upon, and the ratted on.” That’s actually much closer to what Jesus was getting at when he was talking to people who had been beat up by religion, people that were starving, people that were sick, people that had no hope, people that were told they were going to die in a week because of some illness.

Jesus is saying to them – and to us in our infirmities and troubles – that “You are blessed.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, when I’m feeling at my worst, without the resources or the love I desire, it is then that I am truly blessed for you are closer…you are with me…I am yours…always. Amen.

Reflection: When you have felt at your worst, have you ever felt God’s blessing? Explain.

God’s ultimate weapon.


And you are complete in Him (Christ), who is the head of all principality and power” Colossians 2:10 NKJV

You have Jesus you have it all!
This may sound more like a pep talk than a fact statement however there couldn’t be anything truer.

It seems even more difficult to believe when we find ourselves battling against the enemy and his cohorts. Nonetheless in all our troubles as Christians we are victorious as we use the weapons that God has provided us; and Jesus Himself is the weapon we need.

We are told in Ephesians 6:11 to put on the whole armour of God in order to stand against the devil and his agents.
As we take a closer look at the armour, we notice that the whole armour points to Jesus.
Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). He is the Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:15-16). We are saved by the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He is the Word of God (John 1:1).

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Jesus was and is the best weapon against the devil. He proved it by His death and resurrection.
When He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, He could have used all the powers of heaven to defend Himself “But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53). But He didn’t because what no one knew at that time is that Jesus Himself was God’s ultimate weapon against the enemy.

The real victory lies in Jesus. In Him and with Him you are sure to have the right weapon to your battle. The more intimate our relation is with Him, the more we know Him, the more it is easy for us to hear His voice and be guided by His Spirit to remain victorious and have all we need.

You have Jesus you have it all!
“For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)

Wishing you a Blessed Week!


I have told you this, that His joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full! (John 15:11)


By Anita Antwi

The sermon-on-the-mount life…


“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him…”
1 John 2:5

The kind of life that Jesus is talking about in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), can be summed up something like this:

Emotions: Don’t be angry. Give anger to the Lord. Don’t swear. Don’t pound your fist. Don’t worry about what you’re going to wear or eat. You have nothing to worry about because you are an invincible, eternal being in God’s great universe and the Creator loves you.

Relationships: Love those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and you will be made a whole person. Settle matters quickly with people who are against you. When people harm you, bless them. When people gossip about you, say good things about them. When people get everything about you wrong, thank the Lord, because that’s what everybody did to the great prophets of the world. Don’t judge people. Don’t ever lie; it’s too much to remember. Don’t shove religion down people’s throats.

Daily Life: Live an honest life. When you give to the needy or those who need help, do it as secretly as possible. Never do good or righteous things for the acclaim of man, but do it for the acclaim and the glory of God. Don’t dedicate your life to storing up all sorts of material wealth; money is used for the sake of bettering the world.

Spiritual Life: When you pray, pray simply; don’t show off to people. When you fast, don’t let anybody know. If you need something from God, just ask him, and the door will be opened.

Take these words and live them out, and you will be flourishing in God’s wonderful kingdom.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your clear instruction on how to live an abundant and flourishing life. I will follow your word and your ways. Amen.

Reflection: When you read what Jesus has instructed us to do, which commands have been the easiest to follow? Which are the hardest to follow?

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

The way-better life…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

When we look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus’ thesis on what it’s like to live in the kingdom of God, we may assume that this it describes a difficult way of living. We look at all of the things that Jesus commands us to do and we think that it’s impossible, too hard. We’re lost because we think that obedience to what Jesus says means doing what we don’t want to do only because it’s the right thing to do.

That’s not what the Sermon on the Mount is. The Sermon on the Mount is an invitation to a life that’s way better. It’s an invitation to give up being an angry person to become a person of peace. It’s an invitation to stop wearing masks. It’s an invitation to stop lying to people, and to relieve the burden of trying to remember those lies and having to patch up things with people once they lose trust. It’s living a life where we can smile because it’s not our job to judge people; it’s not our job to tell it like it is. It’s a life in which we don’t have to worry, and where money doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.

This kind of life that Jesus invites us to in the Sermon on the Mount is an eternal life. Rather than being difficult, it is the great gift of an uncomplicated, way-better life.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to live the way-better life that you have designed for me. Thank you for outlining all aspects of that life for me to follow. May the Holy Spirit guide me in your ways. Amen.

Reflection: The first time you read the Sermon on the Mount, what was your reaction to Jesus’ words?

The most wonderful…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”
Matthew 5:1-2

The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, is Jesus giving a vision of his life.

Imagine thousands of people following Jesus because he’s this great healer. He’s raising the dead, healing the sick, and all of these amazing things are happening. The people, of course, want to hear what he’s going to say. So, he’s standing at the bottom of this hill and thousands of people go up and sit on this mount so they can all hear him. It’s a warm day and the Sea of Galilee is behind him.

Jesus gives them the most wonderful gift that has ever been given to humanity. He gives them his thesis. It’s his thesis of what it’s like to live in the kingdom of God. And then he tells them that, if they obey these words, they are like a man or a woman whose life is built on the foundation of a rock. And if they don’t obey these words, then their lives become like an idiot who builds his house on sand. I added idiot. Jesus doesn’t say that a lot.

Jesus, in this one sermon, gave the thousands then, and the billions who have since been born, the most wonderful gift ever given.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the most wonderful gift ever. Your word is in my heart and guides me daily. Help me to share that gift with all I meet. Amen.

Reflection: How have you creatively shared God’s word with others?

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