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!
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!
MATTHEW 6:1_otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Back to rewards again. Jesus speaks a lot about rewards. He speaks of them as something to be desired, something to be honored, something to seek.
I have never found in the key to the treasure chest a time when Jesus speaks of rewards in a casual take-it-or-leave-it way.
Whether we know what the Father’s rewards are or not, we know Jesus places great value on them. Which sets an example for us.
When we study the Bible diligently with a seeking heart, we learn Jesus teaches specifically what causes not to receive the Father’s rewards. He does not speak favorably of any of these things.
Because Jesus loves us, and wants us to receive these rewards whether in this life or the next, Jesus warns. The rebellion in us does not respond well to warnings – someone telling us what to do. When our hearts are transformed we realize there is love behind the warnings.
Just as specifically, Jesus teaches what causes to receive the rewards.
Father God, Please change my rebellious heart to accept Your warnings. Teach me to see Your great love for me in each warning. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to receive rewards—I want to!
MATTHEW 5:45_for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendest rain on the just and on the unjust.
I can’t say this too many times: God understands the kind of struggles we face in our earthly life. He knows our enemy, the devil, is subtle. God knows the devil’s power to deceive and to persuade. We face the devil daily. Without the Holy Spirit we don’t stand a chance.
Courage and power are available for us. Power comes through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God wants this for everyone, but some turn away.
According to what Jesus teaches, God loves the evil and the unjust. He gives them a new chance every day the sun rises. God sends rain on the crops of the evil, the same as on the crops of the just. He gives the unjust the same chance He gives the just. That’s the kind of heart God has, but it’s not the kind of heart we have – unless we allow The Great Surgeon to operate.
If God rejected those who hurt Him as easily as we reject those who hurt us – no one would be saved.
As our heart begins to transform, we become shining lights to those searching for Jesus. Our saltiness will cause someone to thirst for truth – real truth.
Dear God, Teach me how to love the unjust. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s heart cares for the unjust—He helps me to care!
MATTHEW 5:45_That you may be children of your Father which is in heaven…
If you listen to him, the devil will convince you the Christian life is too hard. No one can keep all these commandments. And there’s doom if you don’t!
The only way to keep from falling for the devil’s deceptions is to know the truth!
Christianity is not about keeping a bunch of laws. It is about a new life with Jesus. Get into God’s family. Be confident that you are a child of your Father in heaven. Ask Jesus into your heart. You’ll automatically receive the bonus of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you. Any commandment/law keeping is the Spirit’s job.
How does that work?
Remember that open heart surgery? The Spirit changes your desires by creating in you a deeper love of Jesus and His teachings. Love is not about making yourself good. It is about the Spirit producing stronger desires for righteousness, and the desires for unrighteousness losing their grip.
Psalm 23:3 (KJV), “… he [the Lord] restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
How do you get to the righteous paths? God leads you. Why? For His name’s sake!
Father in Heaven, Praise You for leading me where I need to go! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ has the power to change me—He will do it!
MATTHEW 5:44_and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…
Don’t you hate it when someone uses you? Whether they’ve used you for their political gain, or personal pleasure, you’ve been violated. Someone you trusted took advantage of your trust and used it to better themselves. Now they despise you. That’s because they suffer from guilt, and blame you. So, whenever they have the opportunity they persecute you.
Pray for them. Try not to be hurt by them, but hurt for them. They are suffering. Guilt overwhems their emotions. You can’t despise and persecute someone without it causing you more turmoil than it does them. Count on that!
Pray for God to help and heal them. Pray for them to respond to Jesus’ unconditional love, and accept it. Pray for them to allow The Great Transformer to set them free.
Set your heart in the forgiveness mode. Hurt for them. When you pray God reads your heart, far more than hears your words. A hurting heart attracts and keeps God’s attention. When a heart hurts more for others than for itself, it may attract God even more.
Father of Compassion, I don’t want to hold grudges. I want You to help the ones who persecute me and set them free. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ reads my heart—He will give it compassion!