Friday, January 6, 2023

Word and Prayer: Matthew 5:27-48 MSG

As I read the end of Matthew 5 this morning I felt as if James could have written it. In The Message translation, Matthew comes out pretty strong with the obvious, recapping commandments and encouraging us to go even farther than doing the easy things like not murdering. This translation states it so plainly, and I’m in awe of the simplicity of the language in comparison to the intensity of the scripture. There’s no way to misunderstand what we are (and are not) to do when confronted with sin, or walking the Christian life.

I really liked verses 33-37, “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”

And the bit following, proposing we get rid of ‘eye for eye and tooth for tooth’ is wonderful. The older I get, the less I like violence of any kind! Forgiveness and living generously is so much better than revenge and holding back. I’ve often had to remind myself that I need to do what God is calling me to do, and not worry about what the recipient does. That’s between God and them. Perhaps I’ve given away more than I should (doubtful in God’s economy) or that people haven’t done what they said they were going to do with what I’ve given (so I’m a sucker?). If they lie to me that’s between them and God, and if I was being obedient that’s all that concerns me. And to continue to stop and pray WITH someone instead of saying "I'll pray for you." It always opens doors for the Lord to advance the gospel, or to increase faith in a person's life. I want to be known as a pray-er.


My Prayer
Lord, I had no idea all that today would hold, but You did. Thank You for the reminders that You put around me to guard my heart and keep me focused on You and the goals put before me.

Teach me to live more generously. To give more than I think I can; time, money, resources, gifts and talents. All for Your glory and Your kingdom.

Teach me to live more sacrificially. Giving up my wants for the things You need from me—my bad habits, my sins, my selfishness, my bucket-list worthy items. Teach me keep my gaze on You in my joy and sadness, to keep my perspective of You at work in ALL things, and my eye on the prize (to be with You!). Keep my emotions in check so that I can serve You with my all. I want to bring You glory with every moment of every day that I have on this earth. I am Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

#WordAndPrayer #pray #growth #marinaskitchentable #devotionaljournal #inspirational #encouragement #spiritualencouragement

©2023 Words and photo by Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table. Scripture from YouVersion, The Message Translation. You can read it here.

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