November 20 Matthew 5,6,7

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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What Jesus starts with | Nikki Metzger

S~ …and He began to teach them…  ~ Matthew 5:2 (NIV)

O~ Jesus sat down on the mountainside and started teaching the people, this sermon would be called, ‘the sermon on the mount’.  He starts with the people who will really be blessed: poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those desperate for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, and the persecuted.

A~ My teaching bible contrasts who will be blessed according to Jesus, compared to what the world blesses.  The world values independence, happiness, power, elevation of self, personal peace over other people’s problems, and comfort.  I understand that what Jesus values is WAY different than what the world values, but I’m surprised that Jesus started with this.  I would have thought that Jesus would start with something different at the beginning of His sermon.

Maybe the world that Jesus was walking in was much like my world today.  The people in Jesus’ time valued independence, happiness, power, elevation of self, comfort, and personal peace.  Jesus started His sermon this way because He had to make one thing very clear: His Kingdom was and is MUCH different than the world’s.

I think I’m feeling the tension between what is blessed by the Lord and what the world blesses because my kids are stepping into the world more and more.  I didn’t know this, but while they were in elementary school, they were still very protected from what the world says is good.  I knew their friends and their families.  I had more say in their exposure to the world.

As they get older, there is more exposure to the world, and worldly values.  They are seeing the world’s values in friendships, school, sports, etc.  The world is getting louder and bigger to them and here is Jesus.  Sitting on a mountainside; talking, not shouting, about who is truly blessed.

I am just starting to wrap my head around how completely different the world’s values are to what Christ values.  I barely understand it, it’s hard for me to trust that my kids will understand it too.

P~ Lord, my heart revealed through Your teachings once again!  Not trusting my kids in the world or with You.  Lord, I struggle with what You value, how in the world will my kids get it?  Grow me to be an example for my kids!  Give me a heart and mind to please the audience of One.

Don’t Hide the Light | Kelley Deases

S~ Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  Matthew 5:15 (NIV)

O~ Throughout Scripture, light is associated with God, Jesus Christ, truth, goodness, righteousness, and life.  The darkness is associated with being lost, stumbling, fear, shame, and separation from God.  Satan is known as The Prince of Darkness  I love the images of how God calls us out of the dark and how He bids us to let our light shine before men.  Two important aspects about this light come to mind:  (1) Like a candle or even an electric lamp, we ourselves are not the Source of the Light, we simply function to shine the Light we have been given to the surrounding area; and (2) Since we have this Light we received from Christ, it is not for us to choose to shine, but simply to choose not to hide it. (Pastor Robert Conn, Reality Church, Papillion, NE)

A~ It grieves me, as I’m sure it grieves the heart of God, to think how many times I have kept the Light inside me hidden, or simply missed the opportunity to shine it.  I can remember in my working days sitting around with my coworkers out for lunch or for a get together after hours.  There were a whole spectrum of beliefs and viewpoints represented around the table, but one of the most outspoken ladies was clearly not a follower of Christ  She just touted the “I’m a good person” stance, and did not see any value in “organized religion.”  I still have regrets over not speaking up, in a loving way, and sharing with her and the rest of the group about the God I know and serve.  In the moment, it seemed easier not to engage her in debate.  I suppose it was, but God was prompting  to do the harder thing — open my mouth and not hide my light.

P~ Father, I pray for greater boldness in situations such as these.  Really You just ask me not to hide what You have given me.  I also pray for this former coworker right now, that she would come to know the abundant life You have for her if she would only be open to receive it.

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