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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 5’

Why-We-Do-What-We-Do

Why do we do what we do?

for others to notice?

for God to be glorified?

for our own self interests?

When Jesus came, and walked on this rotating globe, he came with a purpose”

“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.” Matthew 5:17

The Law … you know the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). This Law, containing 613 commandments, was the Israelite’s guide for how to live and remain in favor with God. And The Prophets … so many of them in the Old Testament. “The English word prophet comes from a Greek word meaning advocate” (Wikipedia). These Biblical prophets were given messages to share, and tasks to do, on behalf of (advocating for) the One true God.

His purpose was to not simply obey the Law, but to be our living example of the perfection that obeying the Law was aimed at working towards (an impossible task for we mere mortals).

So, according to Jesus, what is our purpose?

Just before He states His purpose, He declares of his disciples (of whom we who follow Christ are):

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We are to be a light on a hill …

so our purpose is to …

reflect?

And what are we reflecting?

Our Father in heaven.

Really, those verses in Matthew can be summed up later in Matthew (7:12):

“so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Ah, the Golden Rule … those are words to live by.

Why do we do what we do?

To reflect …

our Father in heaven,

and in doing so we live out the Law, the Prophets, and the love of Jesus Christ.

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Since the start of the new year, I have been overcome with light.

The topic of light has been everywhere. It has been in the music I listen to, the ‘pins’ I see (on Pinterest) , the conversations I have had, the classes I assist in, the sermons I have heard. Light has been shining brightly in my eyes!

Now, as spring is progressing, I get to awaken to lightened skies, as the light of the sun push the darkness away, even on the gray and dreary days.

That is what light does … it pushes the darkness away.

As someone who finds the monsoon-like dark winters, where I live, to be rather depressing, I really like how light can push away the darkness. I have even known a certain hubby to try to woo me with moving to places like San Diego, where they get about two hundred and sixty-six days of sun a year (compared with Vancouver, BC’s miserable daily averages of 1.8 and 2.0 hours a day of sunlight in December and January).

When I awaken to even a speck of sun through the clouds, my day looks brighter. When I awaken to dark, gray and rain, I can feel my spirit drop. Light can set the stage for things to come.

I am learning to take joy in the little glimmers of light that I get in the dark months of the wet West Coast. I am gradually understanding that to get outside when the sun does shine, and to speak of the little bits of sun when it does show it’s face, is to store up the positive effects of light, for times when it is hidden by gray clouds.

Really, though, the sun is always there, even though it might be above the clouds. The many shades of gray are only visible because of the presence of light. Without light, there would be no gray, there would be no shadows. Light, cast into the darkness, causes shadows where it cannot reach directly. But, when light is cast into the darkness, our eyes need only to be focused on the light. The light draws our eyes from the darkness, and they follow it’s path.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). He also said that we (who follow him) are like a city built on a hill, visible to all, and if we live in His light, others can see it, and also choose to live in His light. (Matthew 5:14-16 … Carole Wheaton translation 😉 ).

The light is there … even if all we can see are the shadows.

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ~ C. S. Lewis

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I hate rain. Well that is not completely true, because in the summer there is nothing so delightful as a cooling shower during a heat spell, or the sound of rain falling softly, as you drift off to sleep.

My family lives in the rain forest region of North America, where almost every day in winter gets rained on (I affectionately like to refer to the late fall to late spring as monsoon season).

One day,  w  a  y  back on Spring Break, I headed out for a walk. It was just me, the beast and an open trail. It was a  v  e  r  y  open trail, because it was raining and most sane people were staying in the coffee shops. I was just desperate to get out and get fresh air in my lungs, and to stretch my legs.

When I began my walk in the rain, I was not singing (like Fred Astaire), but I was grumbling to the beast about the rain. I was feeling like it was a cruel punishment to have rain fall on my break, when I was finally free to get outdoors. I was grumbling … significantly.

Then the strangest thing happened, precipitation was continuing at a great pace, but it’s form started to change … to snow! Not just a few tiny flakes either, these were flakes the size of … Frosted Flakes cereal! They were enormous! They were landing, and staying, and accumulating, and fast.

The next part of my walk was effortless, happy and wonder-filled! I was singing, I was trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue (this is so not a good idea for one, such as myself, who is naturally clumsy, while one is walking), I was smiling, and walking at a much faster pace. All of a sudden my dark and depressing environment was changed into a wonderland of beauty, and that changed my internal environment.

As I drove home, smiling broadly, I found myself thinking that my hubby would NOT be excited with the weather change to snow, but he would see it as a curse! Much like how I see the rain.

Which then reminded me of a verse in the Bible. When I got home, I found it:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:43-45

I think maybe, other than talking about the sun and rain, the verse is a reminder that we are not called to Christ to live an easier existence, or one of our personal preferences. We are called to live a life of loving the unlovable of our lives … people especially, but also external circumstances as well.

In a way, we need to learn to make lemonade with the lemons we are handed in our life. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier … I might not have had times of feeling hard done by, or stuck. I wonder how some of the sour people and situations in my life might have ended up sweet, like lemonade, if I had been able to look at people and things through the eyes of love (aka. just add sugar).

 

 


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