Thursday, June 30, 2005

Matthew 7:5

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.



I kept this verse separate from verses 3 and 4, because I wanted to talk about the word hypocrite.

In the Bible, the word hypocrite is a transliterated greek word, which refers to an actor. So if you called someone a hypocrite, you were in essence calling them actors.

If you take this into consideration when you read this passage, then it would say, "you actor, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Just imagine this, you go to the eye doctor, because you have something stuck in your eye. The doctor comes out with a stick in his eye. Aside from the fact that this would be gross and weird, you would probably say, "whoa! Doctor, umm... are you alright?"

Doctor: "Sure, I'm fine, now let me take a look at this..."

You: "Wait a minute doc, you have a huge stick in your eye!"

Doctor: "No I don't."

You: "Yes you do."

Doctor: "I don't know what you are talking about."

You: "What do you mean? How can you not tell that there is a stick in your eye?!?"

Obviously this wouldn't work. But just consider how many time we try to go through our lives with those little, secret sins that we won't tell anyone about (getting the plank out), but we will go through our "public" life acting like there is nothing wrong. Almost to the point of believing the act ourselves.

If you have something in your life today, I would like to encourage you to get the plank out. Stop being an actor. Being real can be painful and humbling, but its worth it.

If you are not sure about telling someone else, but still would like to tell someone, then e-mail me at mattharmless@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Matthew 7:3-4

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?


This is one of those verses that we like to quote to others when they are confronting us with issues in our own lives.

"Don't you tell me! I know you! I know what you do, get the beam out of your own eye!"

Nobody likes to be confronted. It is difficult, and painful at times. But God has designed this life to be lived in fellowship with others, and part of true fellowship is confronting your brothers and sisters when they are in need of it.

These two verses are there to help us make that confrontation process a little less painful. I used to think that this meant that I had to be near-perfect before I could confront anyone, but that isn't true. If it were, there would never be any confrontation because none of us are ever perfect. What I believe this is talking about is that it is much easier to take confrontation from someone who has admittedly messed up and made it right.

Getting the plank out of your eye is to clear yourself of wrong by asking forgiveness of others, and working to make things right. If you are doing this all of the time, you will not look perfect to others, but you will look like someone who is willing to make things right, as humbling as it is.

So many times I want to hide my mistakes, but I have found that as a teacher, I have had the most success when I confess when I have been lazy, or when I have been a slacker. And when I talk about my other struggles, it really opens the students up. They realize that they are not alone. Some of my most amazing opportunities have been when I really screwed things up, and had to admit my wrong-doing.

Getting the plank out of your eye does not mean you have to be perfect, it means you are willing to admit that there is a big board stuck in your eye and that if you can get the plank out, by admitting your wrongs, then they can get the speck out as well. You have already paved the way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Matthew 7:1-2

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

People love these two verses. Especially when they are doing the wrong thing.

I would like you to consider something, first, there will be a judge. So, if you are using these verses to "defend" yourself, then remeber, there will be a judge.

Also, you should consider I Corinthians 5:12. (Remember, the best way to understand any verse of the Bible, is to interpret it according to other places in the Bible on the same topic.) "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."

So, judging is not entirely banned. There are cases when it is necessary, even commanded.

Try to expand your list of memory verses.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


This has one of my favorite phrases. "...tomorrow will worry about itself." And it is true.

Each day we are given the exact right amount of Grace for that day. When you try to dig into tomorrow, and maybe into some of the what-ifs that might happen, then you are delving into territory without the Grace to go with it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


Seek after the Kingdom of God. Seek after the Righteousness of God. That must be the goal. Everything is useless without it. Everything is empty without it! But the great God that we serve says that if we do seek Him first, then He will provide all the rest.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Matthew 6:31-32

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
(NIV)


What do you run after? Are you running after the stuff? Or are you running after the one who provides the stuff?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Matthew 6:28-30

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?


In America, we worry about clothes in another way. We don't necessarily worry about whether or not we will have clothes, we worry about what they look like. How nice they are. We worry about whether or not our clothes are in style. But why should we worry about this? Will not our Father clothe us in exactly what we need?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Matthew 6:27

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

I love this.

It is almost silly, isn't it? I mean really, when has worrying about anything ever helped the situation?

Sometimes there is action that needs to be taken, but that action is never to worry about it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Matthew 6:26

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?


Kindof a redundant question, isn't it?

We are obviously more valuable than some bird. God will give us exactly what we need each day. If He gives us more than what we need, then it will either be for a future need, or it will be to meet the needs of others.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Matthew 6:25

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
(NIV)

Food and clothes. The two things that are seemingly the most important in this life, and Jesus tells us not to worry about them.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Matthew 6:24

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
(NIV)

This is a principle that is ignored way too much.

We always think that we can serve as many master as there are hours in the day. We think that we can switch from one to the other like it is nothing. But "no one can serve two masters!" And that means no one! And according to this verse, if you try to serve two masters, you will grow resentful of one or the other.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Matthew 6:22-23

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
(NIV)


What do you put in?

A few years ago I was making some CoCo Wheats. If you read the directions, it says that you need to add salt. So, being the excellent chef that I am, I followed the directions. Unfortunately, that isn't the way that mom used to make them!

What did I end up with? Salty CoCo Wheats.

Exactly what I put in, was what I ened up with. The same thing is true with your mind. So many times Christians like to reason out in their minds whether or not it is OK to watch something or listen to smomething, but the real thing to keep in mind is that whatever you allow in, will come back out.

And, if what is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(NIV)


I think that this is probably one of the most important principles to learn. Whatever you value... that is where your heart will be. It just can't be any other way.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Matthew 6:20

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(NIV)

Here is the alternative. There is a perfect place for treasure, a place that does not perish.

The real question to ask is, "what does this mean?"

Friday, June 10, 2005

Matthew 6:19

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
(NIV)


This is one of the first verses I had to memorize as a child. And I am now so thankful. Any treasure that we have shouldn't be about this earth. This earth is perishable.

What do you treasure?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Matthew 6:16-18

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting.

I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

(NIV)


Religious acts are not for others.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(NIV)


Just like the verses before this, here is a great challenge.

And also a little bit of a result if you do not forgive.

Bot don't think of this as some kind of curse or threat, think of it as a description. Children of God are forgiving people. And people who do not forgive, are not children of God.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Matthew 6:13

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
(NIV)

Do we actually have to pray to God that He would not lead us into temptation? It would sure seem that way. But I think that this is more like the prayer for the daily bread. God is going to do these things, but in order to experience the working of God, we need to ask for these things.

I don't believe that God is going to ever lead us into temptation, in another place in the Bible, it says that God cannot tempt anyone with evil. So this is simply for our benefit.

Bottom line, this is the model for prayer, and Christ felt like this was important enough to put it in there, we should follow this example.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Matthew 6:12

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(NIV)

Wow, I don't know if I want God to forgive me the way I have forgiven others.

This is an awesome reminder to forgive. You should forgive others the way you want to be forgiven. Just think how many times you have done some of the same sins over and over, and you go to God asking His forgiveness. Yet when someone does something against you, you will have this attitude that says, "I will forgive you this time, but if you do it again, forget it!" How wrong is that!?!

Consider today the extent of your forgiveness. And ask yourself if you could pray this part of the model.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Matthew 6:11

Give us today our daily bread.
(NIV)


The bread-giver tells us to ask for our bread.

But note, He tells us to ask for our daily bread.

Why do you think that He does this?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Matthew 6:10

your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

(NIV)


In this model of prayer, Jesus tells us to pray for the Kingdom of God to be taking place here, in the same way it is taking place in heaven. This is what we are striving to do in our own lives, to live with Christ as king.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Matthew 6:9

"This, then, is how you should pray:

  'Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,


(NIV)


Here we start this famous prayer. I think that it is amazing how many people could quote this prayer. But this prayer wasn't meant to be memorized and quoted, it was meant to be a model of prayer.

In this model, Jesus tells us to begin with God. All glory is to be given to Him, His name is hallowed, which means to render or acknowledge to be hallow. We are to begin our conversation with the Father, by acknowledging who He is. This is not only for Him, but it is also for us. It is a reminder of who we are talking to.

Since the Bible says elsewhere, that we are to pray without ceasing, the carry this model over to every moment of your life.

Begin with God. Acknowledge who He is.