September 1, 2000 Mt 5:1
One day as the crowds were gathering, Jesus went up the mountainside with his disciples and sat down to teach them.
Images are powerful. When I sit before the Father and read the Word of God I sense the master teaching me. Jesus the master teacher lives in my heart. When I read His Word He instructs me in the way I should go.
September 2, 2000 Mt 5:3
“God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
Christ brings rivers of blessing into my life. I am always in the presence of the Lord. I am a sinner saved by grace. My way is always tainted by my human nature. His way is always underlined by His perfection. On bent knee victory is mine. Without Him I can do nothing.
September 3, 2000 Mt 5:4
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
My sinfulness causes me pain. I am sometimes overcome with remorse for foolish words or harsh actions. Out of my sorrow and grief I discover the heart and hand of God. He blesses me in my recognition of my sin. His comfort cures my sorrow. My gratitude for His saving grace is an encouragement for my soul.
September 4, 2000 Mt 5:5
God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.
The world feels the superior authority of truth, purity, justice, kindness, love, and faith. When I understand this I am blessed. My first responsibility is to God. To quietly submit to His Word, submit to Him in prayer and to obediently serve Him. When this mindset controls me I am blessed. There is wonderful joy and blessing when I let God be God and act like His beloved child.
September 5, 2000 Mt 5:6
God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full.
The world destroys. My God creates. All around me is evil and injustice. I strive to help, to encourage and to be just in all my dealings. Spiritual good is found in Jesus. He is our righteousness. When I hunger and thirst for justice, I find it here and now in Christ.
September 6, 2000 Mt 5:7
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
The merciful are never the wisest. They are seldom the richest. Yet out of the mouth of God comes His promise of blessing that flows from mercy. My prayer is that when I have an advantage that I will be merciful. Just as the Lord is merciful to me.
September 7, 2000 Mt 5:8
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
True Christianity lives in my heart. Out of my heart come the direction and the intent for all that I do. Doing my own thing, going my own way sets me up for an impure heart. My focus, my surrender controls my relationship with Jesus. Only Jesus cleanses hearts. My heart must be pure. My heart will govern my life. God will use a pure heart. Jesus is willing to cleanse my heart.
September 8, 2000 Mt 5:9
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
We are first pure before God and then we are peaceable before men. This cuts me to the quick. My life sometimes is embittered and embattled. On occasion my heart boils and my actions towards others are unkind. O Lord forgive me and bless me with peace.
September 9, 2000 Mt 5:10
God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
My sin persecutes me much more than my righteousness. My tendency is to drift away from the proclamation of the Gospel. I keep a quick list of reasons. The truth is that I simply lose focus and rest on what has been. We will be criticized and persecuted when we proclaim Jesus as Lord. Help me Father to proclaim Jesus as Lord at every opportunity.
September 10, 2000 Mt 5:11-12
“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.
The Holy Spirit will personally intervene in my spirit when I am under persecution for proclaiming the Gospel. Jesus states this as a fact. I can fashion my life and my witness around this promise from my Father. When I am proclaiming Jesus I am doing work assigned by the Father to me. He will not forget my actions. He will reward them now and later.
September 11, 2000 Mt 5:13
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
Loneliness is a depressing experience. I have struggled with it much of my life. I have found that acting like a child of God dispels my loneliness. When I am spending time with Him I experience His presence. When I am caring for others I experience His presence. I have a responsibility to others. I am just passing through, not staying. If I deny this responsibility the world will grind me down and ignore me.
September 12, 2000 Mt 5:14-16
You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
What I do reflects on God. He shines through me. The light is not mine; it is evidence of God’s control of me. No light, no control; bright light, total control. This is not a difficult theological concept.
September 13, 2000 Mt 5:17
“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 fulfill them.
God’s Word speaks of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. It is God’s message to me about His activity in the world. The Word reveals Christ. Christ is the Word.
September 14, 2000 Mt 5:18
I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s law will remain until its purpose is achieved.
The Lord will not forget me. His will is to preserve even the minutest points of the law. He died for me and He will not forget me. My God is concerned about me.
September 15, 2000 Mt 5:19
So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Purity, devotion, time with God, caring for others, these things are considered unimportant in modern day America. We extol the virtues of personal freedom and self-expression and condone murdering babies. Those that trust and follow God are ridiculed. This will last only a short time.
September 16, 2000 Mt 5:20
“But I warn you – unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!
In the midst of living life my way, I enumerate for God all that I am doing for Him. But Jesus questions me deep within my soul. He asks me if I love Him? If you love me you will take care of the hurting, provide for the weak, and be kind to those that hate me. Lord help me remember that love is an activity not a state of mind.
September 17, 2000 Mt 5:21-22
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
The worst sin is the one I don’t do. Jesus says the worst sin is the one I do. I may look to you like I am an upstanding Christian but God knows my thoughts. If I don’t guard my thoughts they will poison my heart. A poisoned heart hurts God’s children.
September 18, 2000 Mt 5:23-24
“So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
I cannot love God if I hate my brother. My actions towards others are an indicator of my relationship with the Lord. Jesus changes me from the inside out. When Christ is in control I love His creation. When I am in control I cannot get along with His creation.
September 19, 2000 Mt 5:25-26
Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. I assure you that you won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
My world seems so personal. It is full of things I want and things I do. The real world is impersonal. People hurt and people die every day. I must consider reality when I am dealing with others. Humility and kindness will carry me many miles. Hardheartedness will only cause grief. Life is real. Jesus really does love me. Tomorrow is in His hands.
September 20, 2000 Mt 5:27-28
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
This is a word of caution for fathers and sons. Our sin always begins in our heart. The things we do today that grieve the Lord, we thought about yesterday. A life of purity begins with the things that we think about and look at.
September 21, 2000 Mt 5:29-30
So if your eye – even if it is your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand – even if it is your stronger hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Accountability for sin is hard. I am always blaming my wife, my children, my employer, my friends or my childhood for the evil I do. The truth is that no matter what I say or think, I am responsible for my sin. Holy Spirit help me to have a pure heart and clean hands. Guide me to focus my actions on Jesus.
September 22, 2000 Psalm 100:2
Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
I am called to worship. It is an opportunity for me to rejoice in the providence of the Lord in my life. It is a charge to joyfully recount in my heart the precious moments with the Lord. In the worship experience, God is the audience and I am onstage. The Lord encourages me to think of the future. What a wonderful eternity lies ahead. Great is the Lord. He is worthy of all my praise.
September 23, 2000 Mt 5:33-34
“Again, you have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say, don’t make any vows!
My children when disciplined would proclaim I promise I will never do that again. The Father cautions me to be careful about my promises. When I sin, I can come to him for forgiveness and He will forgive. I cannot say what I will or won’t do in the future because I am human. God is eternal and He can and will keep his promises.
September 24, 2000 Mt 5:38-42
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.’ But I say, don’t resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
I have an ego bigger than Texas. When someone mistreats me I always proudly respond with justified anger. Jesus says I should be careful how I respond to mistreatment. Kindness and forgiveness are acts of a conqueror. I am more than a conqueror in Christ.
September 25, 2000 Mt 5:43-45
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.
My dad was not a good man. I prayed for him most of the time until he died. It hurt to pray for him. The things he did destroyed or injured the lives of a dozen people that trusted him. This is what Jesus is talking about. We are to pray for those that hurt us. Christ is calling us to pray for the forgiveness of those that are responsible for the hurt and pain that we will carry with us all the days of our life.
September 26, 2000 Mt 5:46-48
If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
I am a sinner saved by grace. My tendency to sin must never stop me from seeking to become Christ like. I strive to be like Him. I fail, repent, regroup and try again to grow in Christ likeness. Then one day I will stand before Him. Perfect and complete He will say well done my good and faithful servant perfect in Christ.
September 27, 2000 Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
God is true. He is not waiting on me to form the universe. His truth is not dependent on my belief. My relationship is formed by my faith that God is true. That faith changes everything in my life. No longer am I alone, by faith He is with me. No longer are life’s obstacles destructive, by faith they are formed into something useful in my life. I am complete in Christ.
September 28, 2000 Hebrews 11:4
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. God accepted Abel’s offering to show that he was a righteous man. And although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us because of his faith.
Attitude is everything. When I see God’s love and resources I am different. I am not at the mercy of the world. God is in me. Christ uses me to take the message of salvation to the world. I am a world changer.
September 29, 2000 Hebrews 11:6
So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
I love the Lord. I love my neighbor. When I am under the Lord’s direction I am different. Separate from the world, serving the world. Faith in God equips me for usefulness in His family.
September 30, 2000 Hebrews 11:7
It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and was made right in God’s sight.
Rejection is a normal reaction by the world. Service is a normal reaction for God’s children. When I am a new creature in Christ, rejection does not hamper my service. God is real. His reality shepherds me through the pain and heartache of criticism and disdain. I do what the Lord says.