Matthew 5:31-32

Readers, it’s been awhile. Besides my lack of writing consistently I broke a bone in my thumb which makes typing zero fun. I have challenged myself  to write something today. My cast comes off August 15th.  I am ready. You really begin to appreciate your ability to type, play guitar, brush your teeth, and button your dress shirts with no hindrances.

Here we go:
“” It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.”

But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.””

Two recent  encounters come to mind concerning this passage. I recently heard a person say that their child was going through a divorce. It was shared so matter-of-fact that I wonder now if this person understood Our Lord’s teaching. He portrayed a sense of satisfaction then stated that they had slowly drifted apart. What in the world kind of explanation is that? This week I was in a conversation with two people at the bagel cafe and as we talked the conversation went to a place where one of the people, a grandmother, speaking about her grandson and his recent marriage stated, “I hope it works out.”

It amazes me that we all seem dumbfounded when the issue of divorce arises. We are all in situations in our work and life where divorce is close to home. We don’t want to speak out of turn about the issue. We have become numb to it. It no longer shocks, it no longer moves us. We don’t want to be “that Christian” as if speaking truth automatically makes you legalistic. Wrong.

Jesus Christ speaks about the husband and wife as a picture of Christ and His Church neither of which should be divorced. Though sin crouches at the door, that should not cause us to throw in the towel. Divorce as an option should still cause us to fight. It should  cause us to cry out to God for mercy. Yes, His grace is sufficient but not at the expense of more and more immorality and sin.

Jesus Christ is crystal clear in this passage. His is consistent throughout the Bible. God has permitted, for his purposes, certificates of divorce BUT this is not a license to consider it an option. God knows the hard hardheartedness of men. He has made allowance for it. Why? I don’t know but something tells me it concerns his common grace toward all men.

If there is GRACE ENOUGH to save a dead soul there is GRACE ENOUGH to save a marriage.

Matthew 5:25-26

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

How many times have you said, “Well, that got blown way out of proportion.” If you are anything like me you’ve received gold medals and accolades for all the relationships you’ve destroyed along life’s way. This is not something to be proud of. We all look back on those episodes and recognize how differently it should have gone; “if only” is the melody of our life.

When Jesus speaks He provides a plan of action. Life is messy and relationships are messier. When a matter arises settle it quickly. Jesus gives us common sense in action. How do we do this? We communicate through the conflict. We don’t set up a meeting for later in the week. We address the issue immediately. When our focus is Jesus and when our desire to let Jesus love others through us, we will need His help to bring resolution so we can get back to the loving others part.

The problems start to snowball when we don’t do this. When we over think we create chaos. We open ourselves up to more conflict. The situation is handed over to another party, more issues arise. Jesus ends this by saying, “You are going to pay handsomely for it.” – This won’t be a good pay day for anybody.

Jesus is not throwing up abstracts or pie in the sky thinking. He is addressing messy life and messy relationships. He is saying, “I can help. I am Jesus.” Why don’t we let him do what only he can do? As much as we’d like to help, it’d be better if we let Jesus live His life through us. It takes submission and patience on our part. These are things the Holy Spirit helps with. We are not left high and dry.

As we look at His Sermon we must also talk to Jesus. We can ask for His help. This is a great first step; it might even be the only step. Relax and re-engage. There is time to meet that adversary on the road of life today. Talk it out, pray together, let Jesus love that person through you.

Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

If you’ve ever left something at home and realized it as you drove away you remember having that “ummmm” moment. How we react speaks volumes. What we choose to do speaks volumes too. If it’s important we immediately turn around and go back home and get that thing we forgot. If it is not that important we debate in our mind whether going back is actually worth it. Our inner dialogue begins. We wait to see who or what wins out.

Jesus is after the heart. He is after our hearts. How we view others, react to others, and love others is vitally important. Jesus says that love sums up the Law and the Prophets. Translated, this is a big deal.

All of us attend church with other things on our minds. Often times it revolves around food or our tasks once we arrive. How often do we stop to do a heart check; to ask God if we have left any relationship, any conversation, which is in need of repair, unresolved? Remember, Jesus is after the heart. Our passage seems to say that the gift is important but the reconciled relationship takes precedent.

Now in our world of go, go, go we can’t fathom turning the car around on our way to church to heal a broken relationship. What we can do instead is work diligently to keep our relationships dedicated to and surrounded with Jesus. Don’t leave the scene of the crime, the accident, without repair. Don’t go be religious and forget the great commands of Jesus.

As we let Jesus live through us He will help us with this. As we keep our relationships whetted in Christ we won’t need to fret about such things. The more WE do to keep our relationships afloat the less we allow Jesus to engage, rearrange, heal, and bless those that we love and those we love to be with.

His Sermon is less about what we do and more about what He can and will do. Will you let Him? Will you let Jesus live His Life through you?

Matthew 5:13-16

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

How salty and bright are you? Jesus desires that his followers influence the world for the good. We are not to reflect this world but to influence this world. The world is corrupt; it needs salt. The world is degenerating but the Church is still present. It slows this process down.

Just imagine if the Church were not here? The chaos, the lack of True Hope. The world is dark; it needs the light. As Christ followers we are to so shine our light that others see Jesus and praise God. We will have some sort of impact today. It will either be to lift ourselves up or it will be to lift Christ Jesus up and bring God glory.

Ask for help from the Holy Spirit today to serve the LORD faithfully and fully.

Open His Word and Enjoy.

Matthew 5:11-12

Matthew 5:11-12

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Christ Follower is blessed when they are insulted and persecuted because of Jesus. When we follow Christ fully, when we speak truth against lies, when we shine the light of Christ into the darkness, persecution will come. It may be physical persecution but often times its verbal insults. They treated the Prophets the same way.

To know that Jesus Christ calls the persecuted ones blessed is a great encouragement. We can boldly speak truth in love and stand firm with confidence. We are in good company. This comes as no surprise to Jesus Christ. It should not come as any surprise to us. We must know who we are in Christ, who we belong to, and live that way. Let us keep the focus on Him.

Let us, together, not be defined by our fears but instead trust. Trust Jesus. Be glad and rejoice He says!

Open His Word and Enjoy.

Matthew 5:7

Matthew 5:7

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

A Prayer …

God of all Grace you are a God of great mercy. How undeserved it is. Out of your great love it flows.

Help me to extend mercy today. I do not know the lot of the stranger. I do know that you see all, even into my heart.

May your Holy Spirit quicken me to be gracious and patient towards others and with others this day.

Amen and Amen.

Matthew 5:6

Matthew 5:6

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

There is nothing on this earth that brings satisfaction like seeking, longing, desiring the Triune God. In Christ, having trusted in Him as Savior and Lord we are made right before God forever. Being made right, our life should hunger and thirst after the One who has redeemed us, the One who created us. I have yet to meet a person who regrets hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Where do we begin? I suggest His Word, the Bible. Pray for “heart ears” to hear His voice.

Open His Word and Enjoy.