Today’s reading is jam packed with red letters. Jesus’ words are always note-worthy and it is hard to pick which ones to highlight, because anything He says is important. His teaching was meant to point me and you to God and God’s kingdom, and away from the things of this earth.
Jesus sat down in a quiet place and taught his disciples. This is what He said:
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God, and His rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you’re content, with just who you are- no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
You’re blessed when you’ve worded up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourselves cared for.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to co-operate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. (Matthew 5:3-12 MSG)
You are salt-seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness. (5:13)
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. (5:14)
Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven (5:15b-16)
Being angry with my brother or sister is the same as murder. My words kill.
Do everything I can to resolve disputes. Make the first move. Don’t wait for the other person to come to me. This keeps me right with God.
My heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than my body. The leering looks I think I do in secret corrupt the heart and lead to adultery and divorce.
Don’t say things just for show, when I know deep in my heart, I will never honor them. Don’t embellish my words with religious phrases to make myself sound good. If I am not going to do it, then don’t say I will.
If someone hits me, I should not strike back. I should just stand there and take it. If someone takes unfair advantage of me, I should use the occasion to live the servant life and please God. I account for what I do, they account for what they do.
Love my enemies, let them bring out the good side of me, not the worst. This keeps me God-focused instead of self-focused.
This is what God does. He gives His best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless; the good and the bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus: Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (Matthew 5:45-48 MSG)
I should be careful not to perform, neither in my praying, my fasting, or in my giving to God and others. I should do it quietly and my reward in heaven will be great. If I get my applause down here, it negates my heavenly reward.
This is how I should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
As above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself from God’s part. Matthew 6:9-14 MSG)
I shouldn’t store my treasures down here, where they can be eaten by moths, rust or worse- stolen. The place where my treasure is, is the place I most want to be. Is that Heaven or Earth?
God will supply my needs. He looks after the birds and the flowers, and I am much more valuable than they are. I should not be preoccupied with getting things. I should be preoccupied with responding to God’s leading to help others. I shouldn’t worry about missing out. If I am living the kingdom life, my needs will be met.
Don’t worry about what may happen tomorrow. God is already there.
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. (Matthew 7:1-2 MSG)
I should not seek out shortcuts to God. There are no formulas. There are no passwords.
God’s Word is true, and I should apply them to my life every day.
When Jesus finished his teaching, the crowd applauded. It was the best teaching they ever heard!
Some say Christianity is for the weak, but I say that if I truly follow after God, and seek His kingdom, I will need supernatural strength that comes from deep within. From the word of God, from whom I fellowship with, and from my relationship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is not easy, it is extremely hard to lay myself down and think of others first. But if I do this, my rewards will last for eternity.
Father God, Help me to take your kingdom seriously, so that I can show others the way towards You! Your kingdom is not for selfish people. Help me to think of others first and not myself. Jesus, you completed the scriptures and now your kingdom is complete. All You need is for me to continually lead others into it with my words, my actions and my deeds. Help me Holy Spirit, it is too much for me to do without Your leading and Your words. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!