Our tendency to sin must never deter us from striving to be more like Christ. Christ calls all of his disciples to excel, to rise above mediocrity, and to mature in every area, becoming like him. Those who strive to become perfect will one day be perfect, even as Christ is perfect (1 John 3: 2-3).
NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Study Notes on Mathew 5:48
‘“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.’
The comparison with salt has always been interesting to me. Salt has the properties of a flavor enhancer, a preservative, and it stings in a wound. Likewise, we are to bring out the best in people, encourage the continuation of what is good, knowing that our conduct will be like salt in a wound to those who oppose us. Salt losing it’s saltiness speaks to me of losing your integrity or moral purity. Once that happens, your ability to act as an enhancer and an agent of preservation are compromised. Once compromised, we can’t fulfill our destiny. I don’t think this is to say we can’t be forgiven and have a new start, but the world is slow to forgive and stains on our character follow us, reducing our effectiveness.
John the Baptist called people to more than words or ritual; he told them to change their behavior. “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins” means that God looks beyond our words and religious activities to see if our conduct backs up what we say, and he judges our words by the actions that accompany them. Do your actions match your words?
Publishers, Tyndale House. NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition (Kindle Locations 145150-145153). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
God has given each of us a purpose for living, and we can trust him to guide us. John did not have the complete Bible as we know it today, but he focused his life on the truth he knew from the available Old Testament Scriptures. Likewise, we can discover in God’s Word the truths he wants us to know. And as these truths work in us, others will be drawn to him. God can use you in a way he can use no one else. Let him know your willingness to follow him today.
Publishers, Tyndale House. NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition (Kindle Locations 120642-120645). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
When Stephen forgave those who stoned him in Acts 7:60, he may have opened the door to the eventual salvation of some of them. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said that whatever the apostles bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven, and in John 20:23 he said “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” This is the same behavior we see from Jesus on the cross. Perhaps an integral and necessary part of our salvation was his release of us for the sin of crucifying him. Perhaps his declaration that “they know not what they do” wasn’t limited to those who crucified him. Perhaps it was in reference to all sin, for he did bear the sins of the entire world in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Do we ever really know what we give up when we choose sin over deeper relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we ever really comprehend the cost, either in what we lose or in what He suffered? I think not. And while we do know that we are sinning and choosing to sin when we do make that choice, I dare say that we don’t really know the cost, either in our loss or his suffering.
Trying to impress people and live up to their standards isn’t prudence. Prudence means asking God how He wants you to use your gifts and then obeying. Learn God’s prudence today and put it into practice so you can enjoy your life the way He intended.
Promises for Your Everyday Life
Too often we marvel at the delivering power of God and overlook His keeping, strengthening and enabling power.
Promises for Your Everyday Life
This was this situation in Jerusalem just before the fall. Sound familiar?
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord . He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord , the God of Israel. Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem. The Lord , the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord ’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done. So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord ’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.
2 Chronicles 36:11-21 NLT
Let us pray for our nation.