21"You have heard that our ancestors were told, `You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.'s22But I say, if you are even angry with someone,s you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,s you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,s you are in danger of the fires of hell.s 23"So if you are presenting a sacrifices at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,24leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 25"When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison.26And if that happens, you surely won't be free again until you have paid the last penny.
this was really cool. i got this this morning when i was jogging. there are three parts to this. the first part is about me. if i'm angry at someone, woo, it's bad already. Jesus starts raising the intensity too. if you call someone a name, you could be brought into court. put it into further action and curse someone? well, then it's pretty bad! i start seeing just how serious Jesus is about this. it's all about your heart, again. where your heart is, that's where your actions start heading as well. anger at another person is sin. straight up. sin is when you fall short of how God wants you to be. ergo, you sin when you hold your anger against someone instead of forgiving them. now, the second part is about someone else being angry at me. if someone else is angry at me, i'm supposed to take the initiative and make up with that person. you see how big Jesus stresses on unity in His body. this last part kind of stuck out to me. if we're on the way to court, we all kind of are when we leave this place, then we should settle our differences...later? next week? next year? nope. quickly. do it asap. we don't have that long to be here on this earth. and if we're going to just block each other out, then we lose out on unity and who God wants us to be.
17"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.19So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God's laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20"But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
lately, i've been going through a dry season in my spiritual walk. talked to a friend yesterday and i feel so much better. everything's coming back to me. why i follow jesus. why i do the things i do. why i love people so much. why i sacrifice so much time and energy. all for Jesus, all for Jesus. i gotta keep my eyes on Him. all i was focusing on was how negative things were. i was focusing on the waves and the storm again. wow. i wrote about that in this blog, too. God's here, though. He's always been here. i've been depending way too much on my feelings and emotions to see if God is around me. it doesn't matter how i feel. amazing things have been happening. thuy just got baptized and tem accepted Jesus Christ on wednesday. God is moving. i just have to remember to keep my eyes focused on Him. just read a bit of forgotten god by francis chan, really good. asking us if we actually want to be changed by the Holy Spirit. a lot of us don't. we're comfortable where we are. scary, huh? he brought up this book by c.s. lewis about this boy who turns into a dragon and the only way to become a boy again is to peel off the dragon skin. it's painful and it hurts. and it's the same way with us. we've been living in sin for so long that for us to start finally peeling off the layers of dirt and grime is painful. i mean, really really hard. but it's necessary for us. the Holy Spirit doesn't mean to harm us, but He does seek to make us Christlike, and sometimes it's painful. good stuff.
alright, so for today i was going over this verse. two things stuck out to me. that i ignore small commandments all the time! and ok, yes, i know i shouldn't, and i'm going to try harder because i want to do my best. that part was easy, but i realized that i don't know a lot of commandments. i don't know a lot of the bible for myself, actually. now, i could easily just say that since i don't know those commandments, i don't have to obey them. haha, what a cop out. i think i have to make it a point for myself finally to read the entire bible, jotting down what God says about everything.
also, steve carter talked about this last night, kind of. he was in luke, but it had to do with this. verse 20. Jesus didn't mean that we had to keep the commandments better than the pharisees with all the tiny little regulations added onto the original 600 or so. He means that our righteousness shouldn't just be on the outside like the pharisees. see, the pharisees just did everything for show, but their insides were full of greed and selfishness. Jesus wants us to be righteous from the inside out. it starts with, as we all know, our hearts! if our hearts are right with God, it will simply show through the way we live life. the way we interact with people. the way we handle difficulties. woo, good stuff. be blessed today. =]
13"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14"You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.16In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
we're called to be the salt of the earth. to give the world its flavor. the purpose of salt is to give flavor and ultimately, be salty. our purpose as christians is to inject the world with God's love. if we don't do that, we're not fulfilling what we were meant for! we become useless! no good to anybody! what's the point of keeping salt if it doesn't do any of the things that salt is supposed to do? what's the point of calling someone a christian if he or she doesn't even love or act like one?
now, this second part really got to me. i like this line, "'you are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.'" that cannot be hidden. think about that. the moment we become christians, the world has its eyes on us. i've talked about this before, i think. the world's waiting for us to mess up and prove to them that we're all just hypocrites. we're supposed to be God's shining light to the world. so, of course, people will see everything that we do. our actions are not hidden. they are up on a hilltop for everyone to see. all our actions are put to scrutiny. are we going to glorify God? or make Him look like a joke? verse 16, let our good deeds shine. i always thought that we shouldn't brag about our good deeds, but here it is, straight up from Jesus, "let your good deeds shine out for all to see," why? "...so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." i guess what i'm trying to get across here is that don't just hide your good deeds, if we're doing it for God to glorify His name, let it shine for the world to see. do it in love and in humility, never, ever glorifying yourself.
where in your life do you see that you're not fulfilling your purpose? where you're not living out a life of worship like you should be? make a change! be the salt! don't become useless!
remember that unbelievers look at all your actions looking to see what God's really about. show them what He's about. remember His love and His salvation and live your life out in response to that and people will really see the Gospel through how you live! and when you do something good, let it shine. this is hard, but completely take yourself out of the picture and let God get all the glory. never take any credit. people can judge you, i guess. this we know for sure. some people will say, "what a show off. fake modesty at its finest!" but, God sees your heart. if your heart is in the right place, God will see and i think people who are really, really looking will see that too. maybe a life will be changed. maybe someone will come up to you and ask, "tell me about this Jesus."
3"God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,s for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 4God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. 6God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,s for they will be satisfied. 7God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. 9God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. 10God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11"God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about yous and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.12Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
i just realized something new as i was reading this tonight. this whole passage seems as though Jesus is somehow comforting people who are in certain situations. i know that He was saying this to the disciples but it leaks over to us now. He's comforting those who are weak in spirit and are so weak, in fact, that they cry out that they need Him. He's comforting those that mourn, that cry, that let their true emotions flow. He's comforting the humble and the meek, the people who seek to put others in front of themselves. just starting to go through this list, we can start seeing the kind of people Jesus is comforting. pansies. losers. prudes, even! in our society, these people are looked down upon! "why are you not giving him a piece of your mind?? he backstabbed you!" "you don't want to see this movie?? wow, what a pansy! it's not that bad!" "what do you mean, you don't want to gossip??" i think we get this all the time, don't you? even from other people in "church." i never thought about this. Jesus is encouraging and comforting those who are actually trying to live out the faith because there's so much opposition in the world, especially in our own "churches." when Jesus says, "God blesses..." i don't think He's just saying, "if you do these things, God will bless you!" i think He's also saying, "if you're already doing these things for me, be comforted, God is blessing you!" i must admit, that i fall to what others think of me all the time. i want to fit in! but Jesus is saying, even when people make fun of you or think that you're too "extreme," count it being blessed because you're living for Christ. i want to encourage all the believers out there to keep on living for Jesus, despite all the opposition! you are not weird. you are not insane. at the same time, though, you are set apart. you are different. but be comforted, because God is smiling on you. =]
18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.19 Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!"20 And they left their nets at once and followed him. 21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too.22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
the first disciples didn't just follow Jesus without knowing who He was. i found out in john that peter and andrew actually met Jesus prior to Jesus' calling of them. they had been walking with Him and spending time with Him for about a year. i think the same went for james and john. then Jesus comes along one day and tells them to leave everything. at this point, they have a pretty good relationship with Jesus. they trust Him. they left their careers and their families behind and followed Jesus. they must have really had some serious trust in Jesus to do these things. if you didn't have your career or your family, you were nothing. and here they were, four men called by Jesus to come and follow. and they did it. that amazes me.
now the question comes to us. do we have that type of relationship with Jesus? do we trust Him enough to leave everything? Or is He just a stranger that we sing a bunch of songs and say a lot of prayers to? do we trust Him to leave our careers and families? tough questions. wrestle with it. pray on it.