5 Ways to be Thankful: According to the Bible

I found this in my Life Application Bible and wanted to share with you. Today is going to be crazy with family and eating but if you get a chance for some quiet time, reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness and let him know how thankful you are for everything you have.  Hebrews 12:28, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.”

5 Ways we Can Be Thankful:  According to the Bible

We can be thankful that God answers our prayers.

  • Isaiah 65:24
  • John 11:41

We can be thankful for God’s provision for our needs.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
  • 1 Timothy 4:4-5

We can be thankful for God’s blessings.

  • 1 Chronicles 16:34
  • Philippians 4:6

We can be thankful for God’s character and wondrous works.

  • Psalm 7:17
  • 2 Corinthians 9:15
  • Revelation 11:17

We can be thankful for our brothers and sister in Christ.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:4
  • Ephesians 1:16
  • Philippians 1:3-5

Psalm 95:1-3, “Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.”

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Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Anger

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. -Mark Twain

Matthew 21-22, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”

  • Have you ever been angry at someone? I mean, really angry. What happened in the situation? Did your anger subside? Did you forgive them? Or did you let the anger burn and now you are harboring feelings of bitterness and hate? Jesus tells us in these verses that anger is murder. How is that? Anger can turn to hate and hate is a direct opposition to the love that Jesus teaches. Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” If we are not loving, we are hating. Unholy anger can lead to sin. Just because we are not committing the outward act of murder doesn’t mean that we are not sinning. When we are truly angry we are committing murder in our hearts. If our anger is not kept in check, it could lead to the outward act of murder. Warren Wiersbe explains that “anger is such a foolish thing. Sinful anger robs us of fellowship with God as well as with our brothers, but it does not put us into jail as murderers.” 
  • When we have anger in our hearts and we do not get rid of it, that can cause us to use words of hatred toward one another. Jesus says that calling someone an “idiot” (Raca in Aramaic) or cursing them comes from the mouth as hatred from the heart. “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart.” (1 John 3:15)

Matthew 5:23-26, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.”

  • How can we come to God and ask forgiveness for our sins if we are holding out on forgiveness for others? Right here Jesus is telling us that we need to find those who we have differences and anger with and reconcile so we can be reconciled with God. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:26-27, “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” If we don’t go to that person as soon as we should, we will let that anger stew in our hearts until it becomes hate and it will be easier to give in to the devil.
  • John MacArthur tells us, “Obviously we cannot change another person’s heart or attitude, but our desire and effort should be to close the breach as much as is possible from our side and to hold no anger ourselves even if the other person does. Regardless of who is responsible for the break in relationship-and often there is guilt on both sides-we should determine to make a reconciliation before we come before God to worship.”
  • Jesus commands us to quickly settle anger and malice with another. When we ignore it or pass it off, it genuinely imprisons us (David Guzik). The custom in Jesus’ day was if you couldn’t pay your debt you would have to go to prison and if nobody came to pay your debt, you would die there. This can happen to our hearts if we are not careful. Irreconcilable differences can put your heart in bondage and slowly lead you into the pit of hatred.
  • Romans 12:18 says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Only God can give you true peace. Trust him to lead you out of the depths of anger and hate.

Friends, I encourage you to give your hatred, bitterness, and anger to the Lord. He can turn a heart of stone into a heart of joy and love. Turn away from your hatred, forgive those who have wronged you, and live peaceably with others.

Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about the Law

It has been awhile since I have posted anything. The next part of Matthew Chapter 5 we will be studying is a little more difficult to understand and I want to be able to portray Jesus’ words in the right way. I hope that you will get a better understanding of what Jesus was talking about. 

Matthew 5:17-20, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus starts out by clearing up some things about why he came. The purpose of God writing the law to the Israelites in the first place was to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Over time, the law became misquoted and misapplied. Many of the religious leaders during Jesus’ time were taking the law and making it into a bunch of rules and regulations they had to keep in order to earn their way to God. Jesus came to bring the law back to it’s original purpose. Romans 5:20 says, “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” Jesus came to offer us that grace that is unmerited. And thank God it doesn’t stop there. Romans 5:21 gives us hope, “So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

In the Old Testament there were 3 categories of law. Ceremonial, Civil and Moral. (Life Application Study Bible)

  • Ceremonial Law – related specifically to Israel’s worship. Its primary purpose was to point forward to Jesus Christ; these laws therefore were no longer necessary after Jesus’ death and resurrection. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial law, the principles behind them – to worship and love a holy God – still apply. Jesus was often accused by the Pharisees of violating ceremonial law.
  • Civil Law – applied to daily living in Israel. Because modern society and culture are so radically different from that time and setting, all of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. Jesus demonstrated these principles by example.
  • Moral Law – (such as 10 commandments) – this is the direct command of God, and it requires strict obedience. The moral law reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies today. Jesus obeyed the moral law completely.

Jesus is the picture and the fulfillment of all of these laws. The moral law is still in force for believers and is to be obeyed by the Spirit and under grace. Jesus fulfilled the Ceremonial law as our ultimate sacrifice. We no longer have to offer up animal sacrifices for our sins because Christ became the lamb slain for our sins. (Can I get an Amen?)

So is the Law wrong? What was its purpose? Paul explains in Romans 7:7, “Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, ‘You must not covet.'” Clearly the law was given to God’s people to show that they were sinful but that they might not sin. Matthew Henry defines the law in this way, “There is no way of coming to that knowledge of sin, which is necessary to repentance, and therefore to peace and pardon, but by trying our hearts and lives by the law.” The commandments were made to be obeyed just as explained and fulfilled by Jesus’ life and his teachings (Guzik).

So why would Jesus compare our righteousness to the Pharisees? The Pharisees were Jewish religious leaders and they believed in keeping Law of Moses along with the Torah. These men were all about the obeying of laws than the change of the heart. They believed that if they obeyed all of God’s laws, they could earn their way to heaven. Their lives were based on self-righteousness rather than God’s righteousness. When Jesus started his ministry, they were in direct opposition to his teachings and miracles. They could not see that Jesus was there to fulfill the law. Jesus is saying that you may be doing all the right things to prove and show on the outside that you are righteous, but if you are not allowing God to change your heart, how are you better than the Pharisees? Spurgeon puts it this way, “The scribes and Pharisees were supposed to be righteous beyond all others. “Nay,” saith Christ; ‘you must go beyond them.’ They were, after all, superficial, flimsy, pretentious, unreal in their righteousness; and we must have a far nobler character than they ever attained, or we ‘shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.'”

Let’s start being true children of God. Allow him to change your heart. This is the very reason Jesus came; to give us a way to love and serve him without all the legalism. This is my prayer for you and myself – Psalm 119:34“Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.”