What About Salt and Light?

YOU ARE HERE TO BE THE SALT-SEASONING THAT BRINGS GOD-FLAVORS TO THIS EARTH…  Matt 5:13 THE MESSAGE

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 5:13-16
In Your Bible: Matthew 5:13-16

Have you wondered, “Why am I here?” We’ve all thought that in times of questioning, loneliness, trouble, or despair. It’s not a new question!

In the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks to the disciples and the crowd. He’s just completed lessons on how to act to be blessed by God. Then he continues with profound directives on how to live with a purpose, using salt and light as vivid examples.

Salt

Salt

WHY ARE YOU HERE?

Jesus speaks right to this question, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors to this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 5:13)

He says we should live our lives so people can taste and see godliness in mankind. Wow, Jesus wants believers to be examples, not one flavor but many. Diversity is encouraged but the focus remains a God lifestyle….Kingdom lifestyle….serving God’s purpose.

Diversity of Light

Diversity of Light

ILLUMINATE–EVERYWHERE

Jesus encourages believers to live out their devotion to God. You are that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. Matthew 5:16  (The Voice Bible version)

Here is a short list of how to let your light shine:
* Be morally excellent
* Be generous
* Be hospitable
* Do honor and praise the Father
* Don’t keep God a secret

People watch believers–actions speak louder than words.

Application: This is why we are here. Jesus showed us through his compelling words, actions, and compassion that we have a purpose on earth. Be generous with your life, resources, and time. Jesus was.

Prayer: Father, I want to show people who you are……you are not a secret. Let your love shine through me for others to see and then seek you.

Photo-Salt courtesy of Carlos Porto FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo-Light Bulb courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Must I Serve?

I have given you an example, so you should do for others as I have done for you.  John 13:15

Eyewitness: pp. 220,221

In Your Bible: John 13:3-17

We may think we’re too busy to add one more task to our daily “to-do-list.” However, the daily lifestyle of a believer should seek ways, even small ones, to help others. Please hold the “I can’t do that” thought for a minute.

How Can You Serve

How Can You Serve

Observe the life of Jesus. The biblical record reveals why people were awed by what he said and did. Whether it was a miracle making a person whole or just meeting a need–Jesus’ compassion and caring made a difference. He was on the alert, seeking to serve.

Jesus Sets the Example……Foot-Washing

Just before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus gathered the disciples together for what happened to be their last time to eat with him. Upon completion of this bread and wine celebration, Jesus did a shocking thing. He rose from the table, changed his garments, then washed and dried the disciples feet.

He explained. This wasn’t washing their feet to get them clean, it was modeling servanthood. Jesus also provoked them about their need to serve: Since I am your teacher and master and I have served you, you should serve one another. I have given you an example, so you should do for others as I have done for you. John 13:17.

Jesus makes this additional point by the foot washing. He shows the Master does the serving….not being greater by position but greater by serving. Serving is a must! A very strong connection is present in these seemingly unrelated roles.

Frank Ball in the Eyewitness reveals wording for John 13:17, not seen in many other versions: Knowing the truth is not enough. You must do the serving to experience true happiness. Yes, we must serve to receive joy and happiness–Jesus lifestyle.

To be certain, the first part of your life with Jesus and entering the Kingdom is accepting him as your Savior. As you grow in the Word, it should guide your life. That is just the beginning.

How Can I Serve?

There are many ways to serve as you can think of:

* Speaking a word of encouragement

* Listening as support

* Showing mercy with a touch or a smile

* Giving of yourself when that’s all you have

* Praying for others

* Reading the Word

* You may find yourself adding many more here

Application: In this example of Jesus washing the disciples feet, it’s easy to miss Jesus’ teaching about the blessings, joy, or happiness that he promises for doing the serving.

Prayer:  Father, your Son demonstrated servanthood. Show me ways You want me to serve others and not focus on myself. I want You to get the glory.

Photo courtesy of: stockimages FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Do I Find What God Wants?

Welcome to this devotional blog. Check ‘concept’ shown above for information on why these two primary Scripture sources are used. To receive this devotional weekly via email, click on the ribbon at the lower right of the screen and complete the information needed. Dig in and enjoy.

“Do not think that I came here to abolish the Law or the words of the prophets.   I came to fulfill their purpose.”  Matthew 5:17

Eyewitness: pp. 65-67,72
In Your Bible: Matthew 5:17-20; 7:12

Praying-with-Torah_zps7b84fd0a

Does it bother you when people don’t understand what you say? Even when you try hard to get your point across? It’s not a new problem.

Jesus was often misunderstood. His followers mistakenly thought he would do away with the Law of Moses and yet somehow fulfill what the prophets said. Jesus spoke to this lack of understanding.

The Scribes and Pharisees too are often misunderstood.
* They are profoundly right in dedicating their lives to obey God’s will–Jesus saw that
* They are profoundly right in seeking God’s will–Jesus saw that too
* They are profoundly wrong in writing hoards of man-made rules and regulations on how to obey God’s Law– this deeply distressed Jesus

Jesus said, a believer’s righteousness needs to surpass that of the Scribes and the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). We often miss Jesus’ affirmation for these two spiritual groups. However, Jesus had no pleasure in what these leaders taught about the Law and obedience.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus comments on many misunderstandings the Scribes and Pharisees presented to the Jewish people. This collection of teachings contains fourteen “you have heard it said,…..but I tell you” phrases. Jesus wanted to describe the Father’s intent in the Law……not what the Jews were taught.

This lengthy teaching addressed critical topics such as keeping God’s commands, divorce, adultery, oaths, murder, giving, fasting, anxiety, and judging. We’d think that perhaps Jesus’ followers would have asked the question, “How can we possibly live this way……… this Kingdom Life?”

For centuries the Jews had been trying to follow the extensive guidelines of the Law. Now Jesus tells them all the instructions come together in what we call the Golden Rule. He said, “Do what you would have others do to you, for this is the intent of the Law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12. Notice, it’s actually a command.

Most of us know the first part of the Golden Rule by rote, but Jesus emphasized the second part must be understood as the foundation it stands upon. He made it so all mankind could grasp the simplicity in it. This fulfills the Law and the prophets. This is what God intended.

Application: Read Matthew chapters five through seven slowly. Here, Jesus shows God’s concept of Kingdom Life. Next, meditate on how the Golden Rule fulfills God’s intent.

Prayer: Father, lead me daily to see the intent of your Word with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Image courtesy of Photobucket.com

How To Stay Connected With Jesus?

“When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relationship intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.”  John 15: 4,5  THE MESSAGE

The MESSAGE: John 15:1-10
In your Bible: John 15:1-10

On the way to Gethsemane, Jesus knew he had little time remaining before he went away. He wanted the disciples to understand the importance of staying connected with him–a relationship that matters. What he taught still applies today.

Vine, Branches, Fruit

Jesus laid it out for them, “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer (gardener/vinedresser)” (THE MESSAGE John 15:1). He continues with welcoming words, “Live in me, make your home in me and do as I do in you” THE MESSAGE John 15:3).  He explained, they were already pruned by the words he spoke to them.  So we must listen to Jesus’ every word–today too.

Organic Relationship

This up-to-date wording will speak to your spirit. Eugene Peterson uses intimate and organic to describe the believer’s unique right relationship with the Lord.  

Believers have the benefit of being pruned first by Jesus’ words. Then the Father actually comes into the garden and cuts off branches not bearing fruit. Yes, severe pruning! Wow. Jesus warns us we cannot bear fruit unless we are connected to him–there are consequences for not being connected.

Be assured, believers, we will get pruned–to enable us to produce more fruit. It is necessary and far better than getting cut off! Do not fear the pruning phase. Welcome the process that keeps us connected to yield fruit that lasts.

Believers/disciples must:

* Stay connected to Jesus–abide in him
* Bear fruit in accordance with who Jesus is–fruit with lasting impact
* Obey his words–proof of being a believer/disciple

Succinctly, believers need to line up with what God desires us to think, do, consider, step forward with, and stay away from. How can we know his desires? Abide in Jesus. Our best source, of course, remains the Bible and the gift Jesus asked the Father to send–the Holy Spirit.

APPLICATION: Staying connected to Jesus, requires studying the Word and bearing fruit with lasting impact. We must walk this out.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for showing me life building (organic) relationships that matter. I know I need it. I want to glorify you.

Image courtesy of stoon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net