That Changes Everything

MAY 21

MATTHEW 6:5_Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.

Jesus says if you live life the world’s way, you will have the world’s rewards.

The prayers of the hypocrites do not go unrewarded. Perhaps they get the best seats in the synagogues. Perhaps they receive high positions of administration. Whatever their rewards, a very sad fact remains – the prayers of a self-glorifying hypocrite can never help the seeker find the Savior. 

The hypocrite loses God’s reward. Nothing in life is worth that—no praise—no financial gain—no high position—no fame. The praise, money, position, fame, could be a way God chooses to reward you openly. They also could be how the world rewards you.

Jesus makes clear what the problem is with the hypocrites’ public prayers – to be seen of men. That changes everything. These are not prayers of communication between the potter and the clay. These are prayers of self-glory. They communicate, “What a good and pious person I am, everyone should be like me.”

Read this one more time – the world rewards with bondage, God rewards with freedom.   

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Teach me how to pray in private and in public. Teach me to know the difference. Place in my heart the desire to receive Your rewards, not the world’s. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ’s rewards give freedom—I want that!

Prayer Encourages Seekers

MAY 20

MATTHEW 6:5_thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are for they love to pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…

Oh my goodness! Here we go with the hypocrites again! And, they are back in the synagogues and the streets! Jesus doesn’t want the praying there any more than He wanted the alms giving there.

Don’t get confused about this – the devil would love to deceive you into believing that you should not pray out loud. If you are a part of a youth group that prays together – stay with it and pray together.. 

Praying out loud is a part of the salt and light process. Prayer encourages seekers who may be a part of your group. Helping the seekers find their way is what salt and light are meant to do.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He prayed out loud. John 11:41-42 (KJV), “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”

There was a large crowd gathered to comfort the sisters of Lazarus. Jesus purposely prayed out loud. Any unbelievers in the group would know first, that Jesus was sent by God, and second, that God always hears prayer.

The result was the greatest miracle Jesus performed in His earthly life!

PRAYER

God of Heaven, Please let my prayers give attention to You, not me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ’s prayers were salt and light—mine should be too!

Secrets

MAY 16

MATTHEW 6:4_That thy alms may be in secret…

Just in case anyone was confused with the right/left hand illustration – Jesus says it plainly – let your alms be in secret. 

He’s already called the trumpet blowers hypocrites. He has specified their chief blowing places – synagogues and streets. He has said why they do it – to be seen by men. But lest you still have not caught on, now hear this: DO IT IN SECRET!! 

You don’t tell secrets. If you do, they are no longer secrets. You don’t post on social media your secrets. Also, you do not have a banquet in your honor – for a gift you gave in secret. 

This does not mean you should not be honored at some time for some great achievement. You may have plaques on your wall given to you by people who have benefited from your good works. But, this was their doing, the beneficiaries, not because you blew your own trumpet.

Luke 14:8,10 (KJV), 8When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

PRAYER

True God, Please teach me the secret of how to be secret. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                      

Christ knows when I need to receive honor—He will do it!

Always a Snare

MAY 11

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.

PRAYER

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!

It Is They

MAY 10

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.

Hypocrites. If anyone makes the Bible and the Christian faith look bad, it is they. If anyone can make a good act look bad, it is they. If anyone can make what should be an act of love turn into ego, it is they. If anyone can tip the scales so judgment outweighs mercy, it is they. If anyone can take a lie and cleverly disguise it as the truth, it is they. 

Is it any wonder Jesus accepted the thieves, murderers, and morally impure over the religious hypocrites?

The former came to Jesus broken, bleeding captives seeking forgiveness and love. They came with a repentant heart. Covered His feet with their tears.

The latter came self-assured and confident of their lack of need for help. They came with an arrogant heart – saw themselves good.

Hypocrites love to sound the trumpet before their good deeds. They desire to bring glory to themselves.

They make sure they receive praise.

And the whole world needs to know!

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, Only You are worthy to receive glory, and honor, and blessing, forever and ever. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ alone is worthy of the world’s glory—I praise Him!