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Posts tagged ‘Obeying God’

Matthew 20 Are you willing to work for Jesus?

In the previous articles we could see how people are invited to become labourers for the Lord.

We are told in the parable given in Matthew 20 that the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house, who went out early in the morning to get workers into his vine-garden, and proposed rewards to them. We also looked at how this human landlord went out about the third hour, and saw others in the market-place doing nothing; and also called them to come to work for him, which they did. The same happened later in the day (about the sixth and the ninth hour and about the eleventh hour) .

When those who had come first to work, they had the idea that they would get more but looked surprised they, like the rest, were also given a denarius or penny. (Mt 20:10) For us, who live in the capitalist world it might sound very unjust that the ones who laboured longer got only the same reward as the ones who started later and laboured lesser hours. But we have not to look at it with our capitalist eyes. We should look at it from the point of view that as soon as people answer the call of God and come to follow His sent one, willing to work for Jesus, that it becomes important for them working together with those who were there already longer. Together they should go for the right goal and as a team should try to run the race together, making sure that everybody reaches the finish.

 

If one chooses for Jesus, one must dare to draw clear lines. It is not true to follow him but halfway or to adhere to a different Jesus than the one from the Bible. We must clearly choose the Jesus from the Holy Scriptures, whom God called His son. When choosing for Jesus one also does not have to be afraid to tell others that one is following that Biblical figure instead of the person certain churches made of him.

If you are willing to answer God’s call when things matter most it is important to keep to the Biblical teachings and not to fall for the many false human teachings or so called dogmas. Having been bought by a price we should honour that price. We should show full commitment to the one who offered himself for our sins. Jesus paid the ransom and asks us to follow him. As followers of Jesus we should keep to his teachings and keep to the task he has given, which means that we should go out into the world teaching and preaching like Jesus did.

As workers for Jesus and his heavenly Father we should not be afraid of the world and should show the world who we want to follow and for Whom we want to work. Many opportunities are there for workers for the Lord. Are you willing to step in or to stand up?

What if you were prompted to go out and share the gospel on the streets? Would you do it?
How about if you knew that God was preparing a person in need for you to meet and talk with, would you go and meet that person?
What if you felt that God was calling you to help a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbour in need. Would you do it?
What if you were told to stop your car and help a homeless man in need. Would you do it?

Do you want to belong to those who are recognised as the “doer“, willing to help others as if you are helping Christ?

“34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Mt 25:34-40 NIV)

“7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your poor brother. 8 Rather be open-handed and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbour this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will towards your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.” (De 15:7-11 NIV)

“13  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:13-16 NIV)

As a worker for God you can not stand in the shadow, you have to come out in the light.A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid and therefore you should show the world the city of Christ Jesus and be light of the world.

What if God needed you even when your life and your families lives could be at stake?
Would you still be God’s witness?

You could very well attempt to get out of the situation by denying Jesus or lie about your belief system. We hear that a lot, people not wanting to be clear by their name, just saying

“I am a Christian”

avoiding to tell that they are real followers of Jesus Christ and as such saying for example

“I am a follower of Jesus”

or saying

“I am a Jeshuaist”

making it very clear that you are a follower of the Nazarene Jewish master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ, who worshipped not himself but the Only One true God, the God of Abraham Who is One and not three.

Or would you dare to say?

“I am a witness for Jehovah”.

Saying so you would bring up a point of discussion or of clarification.

Avoiding to be clear of your standpoint willing to follow the real Jesus, the son of God, and not a three-godhead, makes you not wanting to be open and bringing yourself on a destructive path also. However, to go through the situation at hand in all faithfulness to God, is what He asks. What we do in persecution shows a lot about our true character and our belief in Christ, even when lives are at stake. So the question is, are you willing to die for Christ?

Now read what Jesus said about persecution and how these people are blessed for His sake below…

“10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt 5:10-12 NIV)

Shall you be willing to work for it, that you shall be one of the heirs or partakers of that Kingdom?

May every person that says that they are a believer, also obey Jesus and his heavenly Father and do like Jesus did, doing the Will of God and not holding fast on doing only their own will.

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Preceding

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

Matthew 20 It is never too late

 

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Additional reading

Atonement and the race been bought

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

The Scriptures makes it clear what choice man has to make to receive a non-ending life after this life on earth which can be full of temptations, problems, difficulties and suffering.

In the 19th chapter of Matthew we can see that after some time going with the master teacher the disciples still did not know him. Jesus looked at the small children who wanted to come to him and saw how their soul (their inner being) was still pure and without personal interest. Jesus not only blessed the babes, but rebuked the disciples, who had misrepresented him; and says

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

For us that should be a message to become or to be like “such as these”. In our life we should get a state of purity and innocence. It is very possible that those children could have done some faults, but often having been not aware of it. It is only when one knows what is good and what is bad and when knows the rule s and regulations that one can go against such rules or laws.

The Kingdom of heaven will not be literally composed of little children, but those who want to enter the Kingdom should be like little children, innocent and pure of mind, simple-hearted, true, teachable, obedient, honest and trustful of their heavenly Father.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Lu 18:17 NIV)

says Jesus. At other places in the New Testament we also do find

“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3 NIV)

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”” (Mt 19:14 NIV)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Mr 10:15 NIV)

Instead of the children being regarded as intruders, they were most welcome to the master teacher; and, instead of being interlopers, they had full right of access, for of children and of childlike persons God His kingdom was composed and Jesus is the way to that Kingdom. Jesus spoke with certainty, using his own expressive “verily,” and he spoke with the weight of his own personal authority,

“I say unto you.”

These prefatory expressions are intended to secure our reverent attention to the fact that so far from the admission of children into the kingdom being unusual or strange none can find entrance there except they receive the gospel as a little child receives it. It is this statement of the Master which affords us a subject for this morning, which may the divine Spirit open up to us and impress upon our hearts.

As adults we have gone through a parcour of life and have made several choices to continue on our path of life. Not always did we take the right path. When we look back at the past we shall be able to notice we made many mistakes and more than once we took the wrong decision.

Making the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, we should remember that we too should try to get a childes attitude of innocence. Childlessness is an ‘Essential Element’ in the Christian Life.

“The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.” (Ps 116:6 NIV)

“But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Ps 131:2 NIV)

“Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” (1Co 14:20 NIV)

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (1Pe 2:2 NIV)

The phrase, kingdom of heaven (lit. of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the earth. It is also for that kingdom Jesus prayed and taught us also to pray for.

“your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:10 NIV)

The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system.

“34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing-floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.” (Da 2:34-36 NIV)

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

“23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. {Or for a year, two years and half a year }26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed for ever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” (Da 7:23-27 NIV)

Already in the Garden of Eden God spoke about some one who would come to save the world but also who would reign. God also spoke about a kingdom covenanted to David’s seed which was described in the prophets.

“7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people shall not oppress them any more, as they did at the beginning” (2Sa 7:7-10 NIV)

Under an heir of king David would an other kingdom being established which would be greater and stronger. That heir would be born of a virgin, therefore truly man, but also “Immanuel,” the one coming from (or sent by) God. That person was
confirmed to be Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel.

“32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end.”” (Lu 1:32-33 NIV)

It is that never ending kingdom where at first that man shall be the king, we have to look for. A kingdom heavenly in origin, principle, and authority.

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

When hoping to be a partaker of that kingdom one has to obey the commandments so that life can come to this one who is willing to love God and to be His child. Many think they do not have to do any works any more, because they are saved. But Jesus warns them and us, that they may not be mistaken and that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for man to enter the small gate to the Kingdom.

He clearly indicates we have to keep to the commandments of god, even when that would not always so easy.

“17 …. Jesus replied.

“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man enquired. Jesus replied,

“23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Mt 19:23-24 NIV)

Jesus gives also those commandments we have to fulfil or keep to.

18 … “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honour your father and mother,’ {Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20 }
and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’” {Lev. 19:18 } (Mt 19:17-19 NIV)

Jesus also gives a hope for those who are willing to follow him.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother {Some manuscripts mother or wife } or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29 NIV)

But first we have to seek God His kingdom, and His righteousness before all these good things the bible talks about, shall be added unto us. (Matthew 6:33) First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, this should be our greatest care and not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom).

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Ro 14:17 NIV)

When we want to enter the kingdom of God we should prepare ourselves and work at our character, making sure that we do our best to keep to God’s commandements.

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

 

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Find also to read

  1. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  2. The Mountain: Radical Obedience
  3. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  4. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  5. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  6. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15:1. Then scribes and Pharisees. As the fault that is here corrected is not only common but highly dangerous, the passage is particularly worthy of our attention. We see the extraordinary insolence that is displayed by men as to the form and manner of worshipping God; for they are perpetually contriving new modes of worship, and when any one wishes to be thought wiser than others, he displays his ingenuity on this subject. I speak not of foreigners, but of the very domestics of the Church, on whom God has conferred the peculiar honor of declaring with their lips the rule of godliness. God has laid down the manner in which he wishes that we should worship him, and has included in his law the perfection of holiness. Yet a vast number of men, as if it were a light and trivial matter to obey God and to keep what he enjoins, collect for themselves, on every hand, many additions. Those who occupy places of authority bring forward their inventions for this purpose, as if they were in possession of something more perfect than the word of the Lord. This is followed by the slow growth of tyranny; for, when men have once assumed to themselves the right to issue commands, they demand a rigid adherence to their laws, and do not allow the smallest iota to be left out, either through contempt or through forgetfulness.

The world cannot endure lawful authority, and most violently rebels against enduring the Lord’s yoke, and yet easily and willingly becomes entangled in the snares of vain traditions; nay, such bondage appears to be, in the case of many, an object of desire. Meanwhile, the worship of God is corrupted, of which the first and leading principle is obedience. The authority of men is preferred to the command of God. Sternly, and therefore tyrannically, are the common people compelled to give their whole attention to trifles.

This passage teaches us, first, that all modes of worship invented by men are displeasing to God, because he chooses that he alone shall be heard, in order to train and instruct us in true godliness according to his own pleasure; secondly, that those who are not satisfied with the only law of God, and weary themselves by attending to the traditions of men, are uselessly employed; thirdly, that an outrage is committed against God, when the inventions of men are so highly extolled, that the majesty of his law is almost lowered, or at least the reverence for it is abated.

Scribes who had come from Jerusalem. With what design those scribes came to Jesus is not stated; but I think it probable that their attention was excited by his fame, and that they came with the desire of receiving instruction, provided that they should approve of him as a competent teacher; {1 } though it is possible that they were sent to spy. However that may be, as they had brought their haughty disdain along with them, they are easily provoked by the slightest offense to bite or snarl at Christ. Hence we see with what difficulty those who are influenced by ambition and the lust of power are brought to submit to sound doctrine. Those especially whose attachment to ceremonies has been strengthened by long practice cannot endure any novelty, but loudly condemn every thing to which they have not been accustomed. In short, any thing more haughty or more disdainful than this class of men cannot be imagined.

 

Both Evangelists mention that they were scribes and Pharisees; but Matthew puts the scribes first, and Mark puts them second. They convey the same meaning, that the scribes belonged to various sects, but that the Pharisees were the leaders, because they occupied an honorable station, and at that time held the government. That the Pharisees should be the first to take offense at disregard of the laws of which they were authors ought not to excite surprise; for, as we have said, though they boasted that they were expounders of the law, and though their name was derived from that circumstance, {2 } they had corrupted by their inventions the purity of the word of God. All the traditions that then existed among the Jews had come out of their workshop; {3 } and this was the reason why they displayed more than ordinary zeal and bitterness in defending them.

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{1 } “En cas qu’ils l’eussent trouve bon maistre a leur gre”;  — ” provided that they should find him to be a good master to their liking.”

{2 } See Harmony, vol. 1, p. 281 (See CALVIN “Mt 5:20”).

{3 } “Elles avoyent este forgees en leur boutique”;  — ” they had been manufactured in their workshop.”

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Preceding

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. Careful not to have God’s wrath poured out upon us taking on the right attitude
  3. What is a Christian?
  4. Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters
  5. To find ways of Godly understanding

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Related

  1. Isaiah 29:13 Worship By Human Rules
  2. Their Vanities #5
  3. Doctrine Divides #2
  4. Your Right to Eat Meat
  5. Thought for the Day – Superior Theology
  6. Why are we not Integrous? Reason Number 2: Because we do not Submit to the Processes of Teaching through the Experience Lived by which God enables us
  7. Integrity According to the Bible
  8. Basic Training: Being Berean- 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture
  9. 1 Timothy 4:6: “…The Sound Doctrine Which You Have Been Following.”
  10. Bringing The Words of God To The Word Of God
  11. Sound Doctrine is Scarce In Churches of Today
  12. Sound Doctrine or Self-Made Religion?
  13. Dost Thou Keep This Commandment?
  14. Christianity and Sound Doctrine
  15. Christian Behavior, Order in the Home

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

TRADITION AND THE HEART

[“The Mouth and the Heart”]
(Key Word: Traditions)

In the 15th chapter of Matthew we do find Pharisees and teachers of the law [scribes] who asked Jesus

“Why don’t your ·followers [disciples] obey the ·unwritten laws which have been handed down to us [traditions of the elders]?

https://quotesthoughtsrandom.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/religious-charade.jpg?w=301&h=228When Jesus replies them he demands them why they do not obey God. Regularly Jesus is challenging the religious elites and leaders of his time here on earth. In certain countries they like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues or churches and the places of honour at banquets. Lots of them got accustomed to the praises of men, but at the same time had their passions for God cooled. By many we can see that even their knowledge of the Scriptures became self-serving. Also today we might see many who love to show that they have a high position or may say what others have to do or may not do.

Also today we find certain people who want to use their position to control people or others who keep to certain traditions but do not follow the Law of God. For Jesus it is clear that it is not what people put into their mouths [goes into the mouth] that makes them unclean [pollutes/defiles the person], but it is what comes out of their mouths that makes them unclean or pollutes/defiles the person.

For us today it is not bad to remember that Jesus in the beginning of our common era told his disciples to stay away from the Pharisees. We to should leave certain so called “theologians” aside or should ignore those who say what we have to do, but do not keep to it themselves. A nice example can be found in the Catholic Church were clerics told the people that they should behave themselves, whilst they misused children. Spiritual abuse or manipulation was and is for certain religious leaders their preferred tool. In many of the main churches we also see that their leaders or preachers are blind leaders or guides, like those Pharisees, who are called hypocrites by Jesus. We should know that if a blind person leads [guides] a blind person, both will fall into a ·ditch [pit; hole].

Today there are also lots of people who preach Christians do have not to do any works any more because they are saved. Though the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus) learns us that we should be very careful how we behave or what we do and what we say.

Out of the mind [heart] come evil thoughts [intentions; ideas], murder, adultery, sins, stealing, lying [false witness/testimony], and speaking evil of others [slander; blasphemy]. {Matthew 15:19}

We should remember that it are these things which make people unclean [polluted; defiled].

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Preceding

Matthew 14:35-36 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: If They Might Just Touch Him

Matthew 9:18-26 – What others say about Jesus knowing how to care for people

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Object of first woe

Next: Matthew 15:1-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tradition and the Heart

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Additional reading

  1. Not making yourselves abominable
  2. Memorizing wonderfully 61 – 1 Corinthians 6:9 Unrighteous shall not inherit
  3. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith
  4. Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God
  5. Responsibility for children who were molested by clergy
  6. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
  7. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  8. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  9. Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I
  10. Pope Benedict will hide
  11. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  12. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers

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Related articles

  1. Who are Child Sexual Abuse Predators?
  2. Catholic Church sexual abuse cases
  3. Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States
  4. Catholic Church sex abuse cases by country
  5. Sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston
  6. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the religious elites, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Jesus
  7. The argument with the Scribes (Mk 9:14-9:14)
  8. Blind Guides
  9. “Watch out for the religion scholars.” ~Jesus
  10. Jesus asks the Pharisees a question (Mt 22:41-22:41)
  11. Today’s Scripture – May 1, 2018
  12. The Disciples Understood
  13. Unwashed Hands Questioned Again
  14. It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts
  15. Call no one profane or unclean
  16. Unclean
  17. Five Frequently Asked Questions About Religious Spiritual Abuse and Child Sexual Abuse
  18. Domestic and Sexual Violence in the Church: A Sisterhood Reality Show Review

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Soon after the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) had started his public life and had chosen some disciples, he found them following him and receiving more followers who wanted to hear him talking about many things which concerned them or which where about the general customs and religious life of the people.

Jesus went all over Galilee and used open as well as covered spaces, like synagogues but also planes and mountain slopes. Jesus knew his divine task, having placed in a special way on this earth to show people the Way to God. Jesus knew very well Who that One True God is all people should come to know.  He very well knew his own place, being lower than angels and being a son of God, the Most High without Jesus could do nothing.

He must have been special. Though the religious leaders despised him but the people wondered who this man could be and where curious for what they could hear from others about miracles he could perform.

Sites of Christianity in the Galillee - Ruins of the ancient Great Synagogue at Capernaum (or Kfar Nahum) on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Northern Israel.jpg

Capernaum synagogue

Jesus went from one place to an other telling about his heavenly Father, the Only One True God of Israel. He taught people the truth of God and God’s kingdom was his theme. He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Those actions he did, got many curious about this personage and word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25)

Mount of Beatitudes, seen from Capernaum

When he was in the region of Capernaum again there were a lot of people who had come to see him and who where eager to hear what he had to tell.  Jesus saw all those crowds, coming from different places, following him and went up the mountain or hill (the Greek word can mean either) the Mount of Beatitudes.

Some commentators see here an intended contrast to Sinai, where the Law was given. However, there are no grounds, implicit or explicit, for identifying the mountain as a “New Sinai.” {Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 103). New York: United Bible Societies.}

From Matthew’s choice of verbs we can imagine that the situation was all about a moment of teaching, Jesus tutoring. It does not matter so much if Matthew and Luke wrote about the same or of a different occasion where Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, its subjects and their life.

There have been and are today scholars who regard the sermons recorded in Mt and Lk as collections of sayings spoken on different occasions, and maintain that they do not represent any connected discourse ever delivered by Jesus. In their view the Sermon is either a free compilation by the evangelists or a product of apostolic teaching and oral tradition.
The prevailing opinion among NT scholars is, however, that the gospel accounts represent a genuine historical discourse. The Sermon as recorded in Mt bears such marks of inner unity of theme and exposition as to give the appearance of genuineness. That Jesus should deliver a discourse of this kind accords with all the circumstances and with the purpose of His ministry. Besides, we know that in His teaching He was accustomed to speak to the multitudes at length, and we should expect Him to give early in His ministry some formal exposition of the kingdom, the burden of His first preaching. That such a summary of one of His most important discourses should have been preserved is altogether probable. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

In any case even when it is a summary it is a teaching every Christian should seriously take at heart. Jesus was not afraid to talk at length, but this discourse could easily be delivered in a few minutes.

There is evidence that the account in Mt 5–7 contains some sayings not included in the original discourse. This view is confirmed by the fact that a number of the sayings are given in Luke’s Gospel in settings that appear more original. It is easy to believe that related sayings spoken on other occasions may have become associated with the Sermon in apostolic teaching and thus handed down with it, but if the discourse were well known in a specific form, such as that recorded in Mt, it is hardly conceivable that Luke or anyone else would break it up and distribute the fragments or associate them with other incidents, as some of the sayings recorded in both Gospels are found associated in Lk. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Because there is written that the disciples came to sit by Jesus many think Jesus was mainly addressing them. Even when this is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists, the separation from the multitudes and the direction of Jesus his words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke’s account the distinction is less marked; being the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of his disciples and a great number of people from Judaea, Jerus and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words,

“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,”

is that his address was intended especially for the latter.

This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew’s account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Today we should look at those texts also as a lesson to all those who want to call themselves “Christian” which means “to be a follower of Christ“. Christians too should be disciples of Christ Jesus and should follow the words of the Nazarene master teacher. Not especially being a digest of Christ his teaching the account in Matthew 5 delivers a short of the attitudes a Christian should take.

Today because so many people calling themselves Christian, but more following human doctrines instead of keeping to the Biblical doctrines, may find Jesus’ words very hard to understand and even harder to follow in our modern culture which preaches that happiness or luck comes from material wealth, absence of sorrow, and which teaches revenge or retaliation and exorbitant punishments far in excess of the wrong suffered. Lots of people do find it right to punish wrongdoers and even would not mind if their life was taken away, though on other occasions they are totally against women taking contraceptives considering this murder or killing an unborn life.

The writer who records the most challenging command Jesus ever gave his followers:

“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

looks at the teaching of Jesus on our behaviour and living and presents an ethic code for his disciples and a measure for the behaviour of all believers.

Each time Jesus opens with the word, which is recorded in Greek as “makarioi”, “blessed” or “happy”, which occurs nine times in verses 3–12. Many also call it “beatitudes”. Each beatitude having three parts: an ascription of blessing (happiness), a specific virtue to be cultivated (the practice of each produces a positive result), and a promise relating to the kingdom (reward or special comfort as a reason for the promised happiness).

In the sermon we find that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, those who receive insults, are falsely accused and are persecuted on account of the Messiah may count on it that they are all blessed.

Certainly in Christendom we can find many true believers in Christ, those who accept Jesus for whom he really is, a man of flesh and blood who put his will aside to do the Will of the One God Who sent him to this world. Very often those real Christians are spit at and very often it are the trinitarian Christians who take on a very un-christian attitude to those believers. Those name Christians who prefer to keep to human doctrines and want to keep to the pagan rites and festivals, are often the worst in their attitude to the real or non-trinitarian Christians. Look around you and hear how your surroundings react to such Christians as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians or others who spread the Good News by giving pamphlets and by talking to people on the streets or by going from door to door. Often those who laugh at such Christians are not the gentle, and often they have more interest in the looks of people and the material wealth of themselves and others, instead of looking for the spiritual wealth.

In the world we can see many who sincerely love God and want to prefer to worship Him alone, who are therefore being harassed or molested. Be them Jews, Christians or Muslims, those who not like to take part in the pagan rituals, like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, are often looked at with a bad eye, or even spit on. They are laughed at, being considered compliant meek, soft ones and not by the time. To be meek does not mean to be weak. Jesus with his words concerning the meek ones looks at “meekness” meaning gentle restraint. it  Holds in a person can be showing gentlenessmildness, forbearance, submissiveness, humility or humbleness, modesty, submission and trying to bring peacefulness, sometimes even with acquiescence. We should remember that there it is about those who dare to take on an attitude which does not insist on one’s own rights but is giving itself for others, always ready to waive its privileges in the interests of others. “The meek” person is willing to wait for God’s timing being sure that God’s promises will become a reality and that God shall provide better times for all those who live according to God His commandments. That is our sacred hope we may find in Christ his offering, opening the gates to the Kingdom of God.

As Christian we should be taking every effort to follow Christ, to become in unity with him and his teaching, doing our utmost best to obey our heavenly Father. Living according to God’s commandments we can live with the promise to be able to live in the kingdom here on earth (“inherit the earth”). Though we should be well aware that this is not promised to the pushy, proud, ambitious, and domineering and to scourge those who do not believe in God or those who prefer to live differently than us.

Those who are humble and willing to undergo all the suffering in name of Christ or those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, may look forward for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They or we may rejoice, and be glad, for our reward in heaven shall be great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Jesus Christ in Capernaum

Jesus Christ in Capernaum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus knew or knows we are not perfect, but that does not mean we should be happy with who we are at a certain moment. Every day we should work at ourselves and strive to become better. It is quite ready to love those who love us, but what about loving those who hate us? Concerning doing good, many unbelievers are doing good, so what would be the difference between a non-believer and a Christian? How many name Christian today we do hear speaking low about other coloured people or about people of an other religion? How many so called Christians do not despise other Christians and other believers or atheists and want them away from their community or surroundings. Lots of name Christians do not welcome others.

So many people consider them higher than others or more special. Often they consider themselves perfect or faultless and are not interested in changing their own world view, their mindset, their inclination or habit, their ethos and their assumptions. Lots of them even do not want to challenge themselves in any way and do not want to see that nobody is foolproof. Today we do find lots of so called Christians who are against the refugees and who wrong or oppress strangers, though they should know that is against the Will of God (Exodus 22:20-21). They are not interested in the war victims, the orphans and widow, though a lover of God should stand up for them and defend them (Isaiah 1:16-17). Several people who call themselves Christian should better ask themselves what this really should mean and should check if they can come under that denominator.

Christianity is all a matter of “love“.

Jesus asks his followers to consider the aspects of real love and of the will to work at the inner self, the way how to react to others and daring to put your own will aside to be there for others. Looking at the habits that have entered our life, Jesus requires to examine ourself and to become aware of our attitude we should take on in life.

God requires of us to worship Him as the Only One True God of gods and to keep His commandments, doing justice and to offer loving kindness or mercy to others, walk humbly with God. Jesus requires of us also to honour his heavenly Father and to worship Him alone. He also requires us to become like him and to hunger and thirst for righteousness, work for peace, and stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted; to be merciful and comfort mourners; to be humble in spirit, meek, and pure in heart.

So let us listen very carefully to the Bible text in “Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries” and work at ourselves to become more like Christ fulfilling the Wish of God.

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

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Additional reading

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  3. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  4. A season of gifts
  5. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  6. Are you being swept along by the world
  7. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  8. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  9. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  10. The meek one riding on an ass
  11. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

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Further reading

  1. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
  2. Sermon from Matthew 5
  3. What Love Says and Does
  4. Loved Are We
  5. Beatitudes
  6. Beatitudes / Blessed are: (Matthew 5:3-12)
  7. Blessed Are… – Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12
  8. What Does God Require? A Christian Manifesto (Matt 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8)
  9. What does the Lord require…?
  10. Blessed are the merciful: 4 Epiphany A
  11. Children’s Sermon: Matthew 5:4 (Beatitudes)
  12. Sermon for January 29, 2017
  13. Sermon for 29 January 2017 on Matthew 5:1-12
  14. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/15/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Being Salt and Light”
  15. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/22/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Jesus and The Law”
  16. NBFMC Sermon Review (2/05/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Lust and Relationships”
  17. 4th Sunday, Year A | Being peacemakers in a divided society
  18. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29th, 2017)
  19. 4th Sunday After Epiphany, January 29, 2017
  20. 5th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A 2017
  21. Sermon on the Mount: Part 1
  22. Sermon on the Mount Part 1: Beatitudes
  23. Sermon on the Mount: Part 2
  24. 2017.01.15 Sermon On The Mount Part 1
  25. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 1
  26. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 2
  27. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 3
  28. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Light
  29. True Worship: Justice, Kindness, Walk Humbly
  30. Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?
  31. Blocking your own witness
  32. How to deal with others
  33. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  34. “I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus
  35. Reconciling Jesus
  36. Be Perfect
  37. Radical Love in the Face of Injustice
  38. “Make something happen!”: The restless spirit
  39. Giving and Getting It All
  40. Day 33 -This Little Light of Mine
  41. Be Nice to Me
  42. A Godly Response To Ungodliness
  43. Our Relationship to the World
  44. The Love Question
  45. Love?
  46. A Life Well-Lived
  47. “No & Yes”
  48. Truth, love, and justice
  49. Salt and Light: Matthew 5
  50. We’re Salt & Light: But are we?
  51. Anger and murder
  52. “An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus
  53. Blessed are the Refugees
  54. What Does the Lord Require? :: Prayers of the People
  55. The Joy of Mercy
  56. “You are God’s field, God’s building”
  57. Evangelize: Downtown Boise With Love
  58. …I’m gonna let it shine
  59. A toddler’s tale
  60. The Beatitudes are Like Yogurt
  61. Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?
  62. An Accurate Measurement for Your Life
  63. Authentic Christianity

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Praying and acts of meditation without ceasing

Looking for solutions

In Natural inclinations and Praying and asking we saw that we are recommended to Pray without ceasing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)

With what may we not stop and what is that action of prayer all about?

We can see that in many religions the believers do take time to meditate and to go deep into themselves. It is like they are doing a sort of exercise to come into contact with themselves or with elements outside them. In many religions we can see that time spend in ‘prayer’ may bring pleasant thoughts into their mind.

Many do hope to find solutions for their many questions and for things that happened around them. They expect their prayer to be a way of miraculously solving impossible situations. For many prayer and meditation time is a religious ritual to become holy and to higher themselves above a previous situation.

What is general, is that their prayer is also a confession of their faith, and an indication of what they believe and whom they want to honour.

Not an innocent playful act

It is not such an innocent act as it may look at first sight. For the Divine Creator it is even a very important part of life of His creatures to show their awe and respect for the Most High Elohim. Truly followers of the Lord Jesus Christ must, like him, be guided in all matters of faith and practice by what the Bible teaches about this act of adoration, glorification and communication with the God of gods.

The Bible leaves us in no doubt that believers ought to pray:

“Men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

“In everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6, R.S.V.).

To fail to pray is regarded as a sin; Samuel the prophet declared:

“God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).

Being conscious of inner needs

Today there are many who are afraid to show others their needs and even more afraid to let others know they would ask solace or guidance by someone Who can not be seen, touched or heard.

Nothing has changed with the past. All days there have been people with many questions, people having great difficulty in coping with life, facing seemingly insuperable problems. We may be conscious of our failings and desire some kind of spiritual cleansing; we may be trying to search out the meaning of life. In fact the very problems which confront us have a significance in emphasizing to us that for all man’s great achievements, we are frequently helpless in the midst of human failure. Failure is more often at the start of the road to God than success.

In the Gospels we read of men who commanded great armies, of people in high office in government, of mothers and fathers seeking the best for their children, of farmers and fishermen, tradesmen and craftsmen — people of all types and backgrounds who sought out the Lord Jesus Christ because some need or other could not be fulfilled elsewhere. And as we see Jesus always finding time to listen, to advise, to help, we see how he reveals to us the character of his Father:

“Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, R.S.V.).

The Bible makes it clear that God wants to help us. We should never feel that it is only good people that He will hear. In fact if we think we are rather good and managing quite well on our own, the chances are we shall be less inclined to rely upon God.

With meditating we are not thinking of philosophical or Zen-meditation. We mean by meditating taking time to set yourself apart to think about matters of life and to think about what you have done, want to do, have read and how you are going to apply it with the knowledge you can get from the Holy Scriptures.

Meditation

Meditating girl on beach

Meditating girl on beach

Meditation is a means of transforming your mind, letting that what you have learned from the Holy Scriptures to work in you and to transform your character. It is making your mind free of the pollution this world brings every day to you. Meditating is the willingness to make time free for your own mind, letting God’s Spirit enter into your life. Therefore you can use different techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. By engaging with a particular meditation practice you learn the patterns and habits of your mind, and the practice offers a means to cultivate new, more positive ways of being. With regular work and patience these nourishing, focused states of mind can deepen into profoundly peaceful and energised states of mind. Such experiences can have a transformative effect and can lead to a new understanding of life.

Meditation is making yourself prepared to go deeper in yourself and to examine your life-path. It is an exercise not to miss our experiences because we are somewhere else in our mind. It is a willingness to for a moment forget the daily worries, work or school, and to look at what really should be our main focus in our daily life. In ordinary life, we tend to equate focus with concentration. That’s like using the mind like a concentrated beam of light. But in meditation, that kind of mind isn’t helpful. It’s too sharp and edgy. To focus in meditation means to pay soft attention to whatever you place in the centre of awareness.

Conscious of a need

In the hectic life we get in this world it is our aim to take distance of the worldly matters and to get to know the more important spiritual matters.

As such we do need to take time of our daily duties to come closer to the Most Important person in our life. It is taking time for the Most High Elohim because we are conscious of a higher need and we recognize that God alone can meet that need. To accept that God can do what we cannot do is to bow to His greatness, to acknowledge His infinite wisdom. When we do set us apart from the worldly business, come close in our own cocoon, we open ourselves to the Only One God, who is our Maker but also our Protector. It is to Him we do want to give our soul, our spirit, our thinking and our handling. In the time we set ourselves apart, we want to come as close as possible to Him, or as close as possible we can get at the moment. To Him we want to give that special time and give our most valuable moment of the day.

In that time of silence and personal withdrawal of the world, we want to give our voice to God to let Him know how we want to be with Him and how we do know we need Him. Coming in seclusion we can find ways to have a conversation with that Most High Spirit. Then we can come to talk to Him and pray. Not only asking Him things for our welfare, but also thanking Him for what we had already and for what we still are going to receive.  This is praise. Praise, when it finds expression in words, is an attempt to describe the ways in which God is superior to man; it is to give God glory. Through praise we reflect on what God is, and what resources He has to meet our need.

Listening to God

Praying is not only speaking to God, but it is also opening up your mind to Him to listen to Him. Since God knows best, we must listen to what He says to us. In prayer we have a communication tool we can use every moment of the day. In it we do have an other means, next to the Bible, for God speaking to us.

We do have god’s Word given to us in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible should be our lead and most important guide through life. Through it we can hear God speaking to us in a Book of books given by inspiration of God, profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that we as children of God may be perfect. (2 Timothy 3:16).

How people like to turn it, prayer is inseparable connected with the Words of God, given in the Bible. Our prayer should be build on the knowledge we get from those Holy Scriptures. The Words of the Bible with our prayer, should be fused with our knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. For prayer is communication with God. The communication is two-way. It is not enough that we should speak to God. He expects us to listen to Him. In fact, we shall often be better occupied meditating on His Word than trying to talk to Him at great length. It is no use to over and over repeat the same words. The Bible itself warns:

“Let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

The Lord Jesus himself emphasizes this point:

“When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7).

We should remember that silence is healing. Nothing beats simple silence. We do not need music background to drown out the chatter in our mind. When we sit in silence we actually get to experience what our mind is doing. There is steadiness and calmness that comes from sitting in silence. In time outer and inner silence meet and you come to rest in the moment. It is in such moments that we also can give way for God’s Spirit to enter our universe.

Coming to God

Jesus clearly knew Who was the Most High to give all honour of what he could do. Jesus was thankful and hopeful to His heavenly Father, which he recognised as the Only True God.

Jesus clearly knew Who was the Most High to give all honour of what he could do. Jesus was thankful and hopeful to His heavenly Father, which he recognised as the Only True God.

Praying should be a coming to God, not to put us in the forefront row, being full of ourselves, ready to tell Him what we think. That would be like the person who asks a question, not because he wants to know the answer’, but because he wants the opportunity to air his own knowledge. Our vanity and pride, we must put aside and we should be humble enough not to propose our thoughts as the best ones, but to allow God to see that we are really willing to hear what He thinks best for us. Like Jesus did not want to do his own will, which he would have done when he would have been God, we also like Jesus should know that we can not do anything without Jesus his heavenly Father. Jesus was well aware that he could not do anything without the Hand of God.  He too prayed to his heavenly Father, and not to himself. He too had questions about his relationship with his Father up high, and even at one moment dared to ask why He (God) had abandoned him (Jesus). Like Jesus not being afraid to ask such matters to the Most High, we too should dare to go to Him (Jehovah God). Jesus prepared the way to the Divine Creator and we should be thankful for that and use it.If we come to God as those who do not know the answers and believe that He does, then what folly if we ignore what He has already told us through the Scriptures! Rather we must read them regularly and reflect on them in order that we may attune our minds to the mind of God, as the words of a hymn direct us:

“Inspirer of the ancient seers,
Who wrote from Thee the sacred page,
A light for all succeeding years,
A lamp in this degenerate age:
Wisdom to us Thy words impart,
And with Thy comfort fill our heart.”

The many examples of prayer in the Bible make it clear that God responds only when man prays in accordance with His will. After all, God knows best what is in man’s interests and can control events accordingly.

Right Relationship with God

Jesus showed us how we should behave, live and pray. He gave the example how our relationship should be with other humans but also with God. We can only come to a good prayer and a fulfilling meditation when we open our hearts to God and our willingness to have a good relationship with Him.

First of all naturally we do need to know God, have to understand His position and should be willing to accept His position. In the bible we are told that there can be life eternal for us as human beings, but then we shall have to accept the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the son God so loved He has taken him with Him to sit next to Him to be the mediator between God and man. (John 17:3, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 12:24; John 3:16; Matthew 3:17). Many in Christendom do say to know God, but take also Jesus to be God and do not mind bowing down in front of pictures of their god, though God made it very clear that there is only One True God of Whom no pictures may be made and certainly may not be bowed down for. Such knowledge is to be found, in the first instance, in the inspired writings of the Bible-and nowhere else. But to know God is not simply to know about Him. When a husband and wife know each other, they do not just have in their minds a pen-portrait of their partner. Their knowledge is intimate and deep, because of the nature of their relationship. It depends upon continued, regular contact, the acceptance of responsibilities and the desire to grow in knowledge and understanding of each other.

To acknowledge one’s need as a sinner, whose imperfection is in marked contrast to the glorious perfection of God’s character; to develop that “poor and contrite” spirit, which desires to be moved by the power of God through His Word, as the leaves on a tree tremble at the passing of a breath of wind; to realize from the knowledge of God’s gracious dealings with men and women of past ages that the same grace can be extended to us today-this is to begin the process of praise and thanksgiving which marks the beginning of uttered prayer.

Commands to obey

It is all to easy just to want all our wishes to be fulfilled. Would that not be selfish? Would that be taking notice of the Will of God?

For many people prayer consists of asking God for favours. For some the proof of whether God is actually there or not consists of testing out whether God will grant a particular request. Did not Jesus say:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7)

There is no room here for the casual or the careless. God is in heaven, man upon earth. We cannot assume familiarity or presume upon His loving kindness. It is God’s to command, ours to obey. We cannot call God “Our Father“, without at the same time hallowing His name. And we cannot do that unless we seek to do His will upon earth as it is done in heaven. If we are to benefit from the privilege of being called His sons and daughters, we must, after serious consideration, come within His family:

“Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3).

We are told how Jesus welcomed little children and took them up in his arms. In this he reflected the character of his Father, who welcomes all who seek Him in sincerity and simplicity. But whereas the particular purpose of God at the time of the Lord’s ministry and during the subsequent establishment of the ecclesiae involved frequent miraculous signs that this was indeed the Lord at work, we shall be sadly misled if we expect God to work a miracle in response to every request we make.

This is not to say that God’s power is not demonstrated today, or to imply that God is not interested in us. There is a children’s prayer which simply states a truth:

“God always listens whenever we pray,
He’s never too busy to hear what we say.

No time to stop

The world goes on and the end-times come closer. This will not make it easier for believing and God fearing people. They shall be tested more.

It might be easy to say

“let go of your anxiety.” (Matthew 6:34)

Now the time is near it is even more important not to stop to study the Bible regularly and to spend time in conversation with God. “In everything” – without exception and at every opportunity – we should pray. Pray in supplication – humble in treaty – with thanksgiving! Knowing that the prayer will be answered according to His will and in His time.

Praying in the family

Praying in the family

Most of us spend lots of time after daily work, in front of the television or enjoying themselves with lots of pastures time, giving enough time to the entertainment industry. Churchgoing has lessened a lot. Not many are spending time with the family together studying the Word of God and contemplating what the Most High wants from us.

Most of us do not take enough time to be on their own and to be with their Creator. When we do love Him, we should, like we do with our most beloved, spend enough time with Him.

We may not cease to pray earnestly and give our worries to Jehovah, our God. Our willing to be with Him should give or be the pulse of your life in Christ. If that pulse is weak or erratic then that life is ebbing away. We need to pray. Alone and in community, we need to pray. And so much the more as we see the day of Christ drawing near.

Cast aside anxiety about the things of this life and pray. Do this and rejoicing in the Lord will be as natural to you as breathing. You will be happy. Profoundly happy so that even in the most terrible affliction and sorrow there will remain within a vibrant core of joy and hope and faith that no circumstance can affect.

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Find our pamphlet to download in pdf: Does God Hear Prayer?

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Preceding articles:

  1. Our openness to being approachable
  2. Natural inclinations and Praying and asking
  3. Always rejoicing Praying constantly Giving thanks for everything
  4. Psalm 66 HRV
  5. Psalm 66 OJB

++

Additional reading:

  1. Walking alone?
  2. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  3. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  4. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  5. 7000 to 20000 words spoken each day
  6. Do You Expect God’s Answer
  7. Biblical Prayer at Tabernacle Site Shilo
  8. Praying and thinking positively
  9. Being sure of their deliverance
  10. Genuine prayer
  11. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  12. Does God hear prayer?
  13. Does God answer prayer?
  14. God doesn’t call the qualified
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. Give your worries to God
  17. Praise Jehovah
  18. “Prayer 2″ – Child Abuse
  19. If you think you’re too small to be effective
  20. Quit griping about your church
  21. What moves mountains? Trust!
  22. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  23. God, my father, my closest friend
  24. Prayer, important aspect in our life
  25. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  26. Prayer for the day
  27. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  28. Change
  29. Prayer has the power to change mountains into highways
  30. Try driving forward instead of backwards
  31. Preventing us from going window-shopping in prayer
  32. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone!
  33. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  34. Sometimes we pray and pray and it seems like nothing happens.
  35. If you do pray you shall not be disappointed
  36. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  37. Worship and worshipping
  38. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  39. rusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  40. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  41. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  42. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity
  43. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  44. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  45. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  46. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  47. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  48. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #7 Prayer #5 Listening Ear
  49. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  50. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  51. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  52. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  53. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend
  54. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  55. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  56. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  57. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  58. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  59. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment
  60. Praying For What We Want or Don’t Want
  61. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  62. Listening and Praying to the Father
  63. Communion and day of worship
  64. Funeral service only belongs in church building according to Catholic Church

+++

  • The rapture or end times is in virtually every book of the New Testament. (omharris.blogspot.com)
    being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ
    +
    That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Scripture of the Day, 1/16 (sowegalive.com)
    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
  • Five Believer’s Crowns: Heavenly Rewards (endtimesprophecyreport.com)
    The Bible declares that believers canobtain these heavenly rewards including five different crowns.What are these crowns and how can the believer qualify for them?The five crowns are:

    1. The incorruptible crown – Being disciplined [temperate] in all things.
    2. The crown of rejoicing – Winning souls for the kingdom of God.
    3. The crown of righteousness – All who love the appearing of the Lord.
    4. The crown of life – All who endure trials for Jesus.
    5. The crown of glory – Those who are godly examples to the flock.
  • Put First Things First (birdchirp.wordpress.com)
    Apart from Christ, we cannot expect God to bless us. Jesus promised, “But seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
  • To an inheritance (activeinspiration.wordpress.com)
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
  • Listen: God’s Second Man, Part 3 (Onward Christian Soldiers #67 with Daniel Whyte III) (blackchristiannews.com)
    In part one and part two of this lesson, we contrasted the “first man”, Adam, with the “second man”, Jesus Christ. Adam disobeyed God and caused the entire human race which descended from him to be a race of sinners. However, when Jesus Christ came, the Bible tells us that He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus Christ did what Adam (and none of us) have done — be perfectly obedient to God throughout our entire lives. Because Jesus Christ is sinless, He is the perfect sacrifice for our sins. On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we would not have to. Today, there are two races of people in the world — Adam’s sinful race, and Jesus’ righteous race. As Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Of course, we who are in Jesus’ race are only righteous because of what Jesus Christ did for us.
  • Excuse My Scepticism (pastorcharleschipere.wordpress.com)
    In our Christian Faith, we are taught to believe rather than to be a doubting Thomas. We are taught to trust rather than mistrust. We are taught to give a person the benefit of the doubt before we dismiss them. But my journey of faith has had some encounters with reality leading me to embrace some sceptical attitude towards some things I have observed in the land of the living.
  • A Prayer of The Heart (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    About 45 years ago, I learned the Jesus Prayer, which has its roots in the Philokalia which was popular then. This prayer is a blessing to me now more than ever. The point of the prayer is twofold. The first to create a pattern of silence no matter where one is, walking down the street, or cleaning the house, or driving.
  • Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (emmanuelchatham.typepad.com)
    O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching

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