Blessed

I read the Amplified Bible translation of Matthew 5:3 and saw that it describes BLESSED like this ~ to be happy, to be envied, to be spiritually prosperous, those who experience God’s favour and the revelation of His matchless grace.

We all want to be BLESSED. Well I know I do. I just need to make sure it’s the right kind of blessed. It’s just a thought. After all maybe when I speak of being blessed, if I’m honest I often mean materially blessed. Nothing wrong with that, God wants the best for me. Just as I do for my kids.

Hope you saw the difference though. It is subtle but it’s definitely there.

Blessed doesn’t necessarily mean materially prosperous.

Blessed from the perspective of Jesus is about being spiritually prosperous, it’s about experiencing the favour of God on my life. Now that changes my focus, it changes my prayer and it’s definitely changing what I hunger & thirst for’. How about you?

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Two Foods

I love my food. If I don’t eat when I think I should then I apologise, you might find me a little more grumpy than usual.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 4:4 ‘Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God’ [Amp].

Seems to me there are 2 types of food that need to be a part of my diet.

Bread = natural food

Word of God = spiritual food

The challenge is to get the balance right. I can definitely be guilty of over-indulging in one more than another (at times) and I don’t mean the Word of God. Cake v Bible is not always a fair fight. It is a discipline to make sure that I don’t just go for the stuff that satisfies my body and that I make sure I feed myself with what God is saying. How do you manage?

Proof of Repentance

It’s a definite challenge. Repentance. And John the Baptist was taking no prisoners.

In Matthew 3:8 it says that when the Pharisees came he challenged them to prove themselves repentant. ‘Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart].’

Harsh but true.

Even today that same call goes out. It can be too easy to be somewhat like a Pharisee, full of opinion about how others should be living, posting views about how you can’t call yourself a ‘proper’ Christian if your life is about the ‘wrong’ things and not ‘spiritual’ enough.

I think the words of John the Baptist are a great reminder to us all. Let YOUR life prove  YOUR change of heart. Maybe it’s a call to each of us as individuals to concentrate on ourselves and how we live out our faith rather than being too concerned with how we think everyone should be doing.

Finished Reading Matthew

It’s been great to read the Gospel of Matthew – especially knowing that many others were reading the same scriptures, at the same time. Seemed to bring an extra dimension to the whole thing – great discussions along the way.

My final thoughts:
Matthew 26: Don’t follow Jesus at a distance.
That’s what Peter did. When you follow at a distance it makes it easier to deny.
Sticking closer to Jesus means there should be less danger of anything getting in between you & your Saviour.

Matthew 28: Go…
It’s a simple mandate really. 4 things that we can all be involved in – at any level…
GO
MAKE DISCIPLES
BAPTISE THEM
TEACH THEM

So…
what did you enjoy the most reading through Matthew?
what challenged you the most when reading Matthew?
have you changed anything as a result of reading Matthew?

Matthew 23: Stay Humble

Jesus was not one for wasteful words.

If Jesus spoke – you better be listening. Maybe people don’t read the Bible because they consider ignorance as a reasonable excuse. It’s not.

‘For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted’

Easy to ‘big up’ yourself.
Staying humble is a discipline.
It brings rewards of its own kind.

If Jesus said it, then it must be right. All we have to do is live it – easy, right?

Matthew 20: What Do You Want Jesus To Do For You?

This is a great scenario.

Two blind men sat by the roadside. They hear that Jesus is going by. They start shouting, to get his attention. The crowd tell them to shut up. They shout even louder. Jesus stops (but you have to remember that they do not not see any of this unfolding).

I reckon the crowd went quiet. They must have wondered what was going on. I don’t think they ever thought that Jesus would actually stop or even more than that talk to them. Then comes what could be consider a moment of sarcasm by Jesus. Isn’t this the MOST OBVIOUS QUESTION EVER!!

Stood in from of two blind men Jesus asks them:
‘WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?’

But here’s the thing. Maybe Jesus asks that question of us but we are too busy ‘doing life’ that we miss it. These guys did not. They answered, straight back, no hesitation, they were not about to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime ‘WE WANT OUR SIGHT.’

How do you think you would answer a question like that?

Matthew 18

I love that Jesus says that to be called great in the kingdom of heaven you must humble yourself like a child. Up to a certain age a child has great innocence, a simplicity of faith, a complete trust in those closest to them. Only when we grow up do we become argumentative, challenging, moody, small in faith, ask why rather than why not and generally lose sight of what it takes be truly great.

Maybe that’s a generalisation.

I love that Jesus lets us in on a kingdom principle. Whatever we bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. This is an incredible statement. Dare I say an under-estimated statement.

Come on – do we forget the authority we have?
If two of us agree about anything we ask for, it will be done for us! Amazing.

Top read posts from reading the Gospel of Matthew Matthew 1, Matthew 6, Matthew 5

Reading Matthew

Reading the Word of God can only be a good thing. The more you read, the more familiar it becomes, familiar in a good way. When you focus your attention on scripture it impacts your world…makes a difference in your thinking, about yourself, about others and about God.

This time there is a double impact because the Xcel Darlington crew (& others) are reading it at the same time. I think there is power in us being on the same page, asking God for revelation, learning together.

So, 15 days in, maybe read 15 chapters too.

What’s impacted you most to date?
Favourite so far?

Other posts on Matthew
Ch1, Ch3, Ch5, Ch6, Ch7&8, Ch9, Ch10, Ch11