MATTHEW 7:4_and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
According to Zechariah 2:8 (KJV), God considers Israel as the apple of His eye, “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me [an angel] unto the nations which spoiled you [Israel]: for he that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple of his [God’s] eye.”
Paul saw Israel and the Jews as the apple of God’s eye. He saw Christians as a blot in God’s eye. He could not see the true blot – his own sect, the Pharisees.
God saw the fervor with which Paul attacked Christians. And because God sees the heart, it was clear Paul’s fervor came from love and devotion to God. It was that love and devotion which caused God to choose Paul (not the other way around) to become a two-fold fixer for His beloved Israel.
God used Paul’s great zeal to publically proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. This cleared away the beam from the eyes of any Pharisees with a true heart for God. God also used Paul’s zeal to bring salvation to the Gentiles – the Messiah died for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
Because Paul was so far off the path, God used a big stick (discipline) to straighten him out.
Then God used Paul in an amazing way.
Holy God, Please use my zeal to share Your truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ chooses to use me in the world—I will let Him!
MATTHEW 6:32_For after all these things do the Gentiles seek…
It is easy to say don’t worry, but it is not easy to do. Jesus leads to a place where it becomes easier, according to His design. Faith and trust. Faith and trust come from being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches truth. Truth leads to freedom! Even freedom from worry. John 8:32 (KJV) is worth repeating several times, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free .”
Remember, Gentiles are considered non-believers. Ones who do not put faith and trust in the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Without faith and trust, opportunities for truth and freedom are reduced. John 8:36 (KJV), “If the son [Jesus] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Worry fits into the design of a non-believer. When unbelievers fall upon hard times, they are without a source of overcoming power. Suppose a financial depression hits the country. Any money that may have gone toward comforts is now applied to the essential of food. It is a difficult time for believers as well as non-believers. The believer hurts during this time just as the non-believer.
But, the believer has the Bread of Life – in which to find hope.
Living God, Help me find hope by trusting in You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants to give me hope—I will accept it!
MATTHEW 6:9_Our Father which art in Heaven…
Jesus begins by recognizing who God is. Remember how Elijah began his prayer in I King 18 (KJV), “36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel.”Recognizing God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be important to the Jewish community. Jesus’ recognition of God as Our Father which art in Heaven, opens up a prayer path for Gentiles. This says God is the Father of all mankind—not just the Jews. All people are made in His image.
God’s creation is amazing and miraculous. God’s DNA can connect you to your biological parents, whom you may have never met. You may blame God if you’ve never known your parents, or if you know them but have a poor relationship. Don’t blame God for the mistakes of people. Rather, praise God that He can help you overcome – anything.
Without the Savior people are sinful. They cause pain – lots of pain. Your Father, which is in Heaven, wants to love you through the pain.
Include Him in your sorrow – don’t blame Him for it.
Father God, I worship You as the One True God, Creator of all of Heaven and Earth. I praise You there is nothing I face in life that You cannot give me the ability to overcome. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to know God is my Father—I do!
MATTHEW 6:7_as the heathen do…
Jesus goes from reproaching hypocrites to reproaching heathens. The word heathen in this verse can be translated as Gentile. Remember, Gentiles are not Jews. They were not under the covenant God made with Abraham. Nor were they under the laws God gave to Moses.
The Jews considered the prayers of Gentiles to be great babblings. Since Gentiles did not serve or have a relationship with the One True God, their prayers were not directed to Him. Therefore, to whatever god or idol they prayed, all they could offer was empty babbles.
After Jesus conquered death and was about to ascend into heaven, He gave His disciples a commission. Mark 16:15 (KJV), “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Jesus gave Peter and Paul a specific commission – to share the gospel of the resurrected Jesus with the Gentiles. Praise God Peter and Paul obeyed the call!
We are no longer heathen just because we are Gentiles. Those of us who answer the call to become salty-lit-up disciples can enter our closet, shut the door, and commune with the Holy God of Heaven!
Lord Jesus, Praise You for being the God of all mankind. Praise You for making a way for Gentiles to enter Your presence . In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loves Gentiles—He made a way for me!
MATTHEW 6:2_Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
A synagogue is a gathering or assembling of people for Jewish religious practices. This particular verse refers to the building where the crowd gathers.
Jesus says hypocrites make certain they sound their trumpets in the synagogues. If they give the largest financial contribution, they want it known! In some synagogues, the best seat in the house was reserved for the largest giver. It was known to the entire gathering why that particular person sat in that particular seat.
Jesus said synagogues weren’t enough for the hypocrites – they also sound their trumpets in the streets. Streets are public places where anyone is allowed. Streets are not exclusive to Jews or Gentiles (although some may be preferences of a certain group). Streets are a much larger and broader way to be sure your charitable deeds are known.
Charitable deeds and contributions are good things. Whenever you can – be generous in deeds and money.
Be careful of self-glory. It is always a snare.
Dear Heavenly Father, Please give me a generous heart and show me how to use it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is generous and kind—He will teach me to be!