The Kingdom of Heaven: Asking for Good Things

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

(Matt. 7:7-11, NKJV)

Ask. Seek. Knock.

It sounds so simple.

At first glance, this passage makes it seem as though God is a magic vending machine. We feed in some cash (faith), press a button (prayer), and voila! Out comes whatever we requested.

But we know that’s not how it works in real life. God doesn’t always give us what we ask Him for. Does that mean He’s broken His promises?

Continue reading

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The Kingdom of Heaven: Casting Pearls

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

(Matt. 7:6, NKJV)

I’m back!

I know it’s been a while since my last post. . . that’s been partly due to me focusing on other things, and partly due to struggling with what to blog about this particular verse, which is the next passage in my series through the Sermon on the Mount.

So I’ve been pondering this verse for a while and asking, “What was Jesus trying to communicate here?” How does it fit into the verses directly before it that talk about not judging? And I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion. Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven: Judge Not Wrongly

Image by succo from Pixabay

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

(Matthew 7:1-5, NKJV)

According to a recent study, 40% of Christian Millennials believe that if you disagree with someone, it means that you’re judging them. And (largely as a result of that statement), 47% believe it’s wrong to share their faith with others.

As I was Googling to find that statistic, one of my first keyword searches provided some interesting results: Continue reading

Not My Will But Yours Be Done

2000 years ago, the Son of God knelt on the cold earth and cried out an anguished prayer, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me!” (Luke 12:42, NKJV)

He knew what was coming.

Betrayal from a friend. Being abandoned by those closest to Him. Tossed between the religious and political leaders in trials that were a complete mockery of justice, accused of crimes He never committed. Mocked. Ridiculed. Downgraded to an object of hate or mere curiosity. Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven: No Worries

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-33, NKJV

It’s been quite a while since my last installment in this series through the Sermon on the Mount, but during the interim I have been referring myself back to this passage a lot!

I’m in the middle of a big project at work, and as our initial deadline has been looming closer and closer, I keep telling myself: “Do not worry about tomorrow.” “Just breathe.” “Take it on step at a time.” “Just focus on today.”

And I gotta say, Jesus was right – “sufficient for the day is its own trouble!” 😉

So as I’ve been meditating on this passage and jotting down notes over the past several weeks, I’ve come up with two non-exhaustive lists to share: 7 Pitfalls of Worry, and 3 Ways to Combat Worry. Continue reading