Scripture reading for October 5th: Matthew 5-7
Matthew records one of the longest discourses of Jesus in the Bible. It contains a rich wealth of teaching for those who are followers of the great Rabbi and teacher who is the Son of God. Today we will focus on the blessedness of those who embrace the King and His kingdom!
The kingdom of heaven was the subject of this great teaching. God, the Father, was to be King over the nation of Israel and they were to be His loyal children. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) Kingdom kids were not to be proud, boastful or self-sufficient. Their sufficiency came from their Father who gave them a rich inheritance.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) They would be satisfied by their King with a banquet of bread and wine He supplied. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) They would have a new heart given as a gift! “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9) Father gives peace that the world can’t understand! Even when persecuted for their righteousness, they have the Father’s wisdom and know that the best is yet to come! They have a reward in heaven that no one can steal or destroy. (Matthew 5:7-12) They will see their King’s face one day and bask in His glory!
Kingdom kids are blessed to be the light of the world. They reflect the glory of their King everywhere they go. They are the salt of the earth! They bring out the “God-flavors” of this world according to the Message Bible! (Matthew 5:13-16) They help stop the corruption of sin and bring out God’s saving message of Gospel hope. They are a people who love God and love their neighbors from their hearts, fulfilling God’s law.
God’s kingdom kids do not worry about tomorrow or fret over provisions. They know how to talk to God in prayer and trust Him for everything. He is their provider and protector! They are blessed with all they need. (Matthew 6:33) They have built their houses on a Rock! Storms may come but they are secure and safe in Him! We are so blessed to be “Kingdom Kids” of our amazing Father in Heaven!
Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 5:1-30, Psalm 4, Proverbs 1:22-27
Jesus Christ was at heart a teacher. His teaching was with authority that many religious people of that day lacked because He clearly understood the word of God. (Matthew 7:28-29) His longest recorded teaching is these passages we will read the next few day in Matthew 5-7 called the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus climbed a mountainside or hillside to gather His disciples and teach them. Large crowds gathered to hear Him teach and marveled at what He taught them.
The introduction to this teaching is called the “beatitudes”. These short statements all begin with “blessed” and are a description of the kind of life that belongs to those who choose the kingdom of heaven revealed by Jesus. These verses all contain blessings and promises to those who meet the requirements for the blessings. According to the Amplified Bible, the term “blessed” includes in the meaning happiness and a joy and blessing that is to be envied. To be blessed is to have God’s favor and smile of pleasure. The Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-27 comes to mind as God’s instruction to Aaron the High Priest for blessing the Israelites. God is the great King of the Kingdom and the King’s smile is a sign of His pleasure and acceptance.
Various attributes and attitudes are considered to be blessed. If you are poor in spirit, meek, or pure in heart God’s blessing is yours. If you are hungry and thirsty for righteousness or actively a peacemaker, God is smiling on you. If you are suffering persecution because of your righteousness, that also merits God’s blessing and favor. Great reward will come to each of these who exhibit these attributes and attitudes. These people will be the salt of the earth and light of the world! (Matthew 5:11-16) They must be careful to keep their salty status and let their lights shine to bring praise to God the Father in heaven!
True blessedness and joy comes from being what God created you to be. These attributes are formed in those who humbly follow Jesus and ask to be filled with His Spirit. Jesus perfectly exhibited these attributes and will form them in us as we submit to His word! Let your light shine and flavor the world with real saltiness! All glory goes to God!
Scripture reading for January 20: Exodus 3-6
One of my brothers is a law professor. He went to 4 years of college and over 5 years of post-graduate study for his degree. My other brother is a surgeon. He went to 4 years of college and 7 more years of graduate study for his degree. God’s ‘graduate school’ sometimes takes 40 years to get the degree. Some of us are in class right now and we think God has left us as a perpetual student (or maybe in the dunce chair). But He is working with us just like with our forefather, Moses.
Moses was picked by God to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He knew of this early in his miraculous life. First, the Hebrew midwives spared his life; they feared God and hid him. Then God showed his parents a plan to save Moses’ life. He was placed in a basket and released in the Nile river. Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing just downstream. She “found” Moses, named him and paid his own mother and sister to raise him. God’s sense of humor in action!
Moses had an unusual life. He grew up in Pharaoh’s household and was taught in Egypt’s schools. At 40 years of age, he tried to protect his Israelite brothers by killing an Egyptian who was mistreating them and ended up in the back side of the desert, a wanted man. He went from a prince in Pharaoh’s household to a fugitive wanted for murder in a story as bizarre as Joseph’s in Genesis. Sometimes we think we know God’s plan and we end up in the back side of the desert. Life takes strange turns. Stuff happens! “Where is God now?” we ask. We get involved in life again where we find ourselves, but wonder what went wrong. Ever been there?
God’s delays and detours are for His purposes and our preparation. When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush in the desert 40 years later, Moses was called to take off his shoes and then go and deliver God’s people from slavery in Egypt. Moses wisely took off his shoes but made excuses about going. God met Moses and answered each excuse. Moses is said to be the most “meek” of men. (Numbers 12:3) God honors humility and brokenness. Moses, after 40 years in the desert university, has learned a valuable lesson. He can’t do anything on his own! He needs God at each turn. You might say that Moses graduated with his BSDD! He passed the exam and was ready for his assignment!
Are you in the School of the Desert? Are you open to learn humility and brokenness? What area of your life needs the most help right now? Submit it to the Lord and wait patiently on Him. He will help you pass the course! He’s preparing you for your assignment too.
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1st Peter 5:5-7