Matthew 5:21-26

Thy Word:

Teaching About Anger

“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.

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.”

Matthew 5:21-26 NLT


My Thoughts:


Anger has been prevalent in my life for more years than I care to remember. My earthly father was an abusive alcoholic and not only did he rage and harm my Mother, his unquenchable rage impacted his three oldest children (I was one of the three).

With no remorse or shame he raged at work, and he had no qualms about being verbally inappropriate and out of control around strangers. To say he was a very angry man, would be an understatement. I would like to say this ended the day our family escaped from him but anger has a way of infiltrating lives and sticking around, even when it’s something you hate, especially with children.

Our verses today touch on a specific Moral Law from the Ten Commandments, “You shall not murder.”

The first time I heard a sermon series on the Ten Commandments, I said to myself, “At least there is one commandment I haven’t broken because I’ve never murdered!”

grayscale portrait photo of shocked woman

I was so relieved until the pastor asked, “When was the last time you murdered someone with your ugly thoughts or words?” Uh oh…. Our verses make it very clear how serious it is to think or say or do something ugly about or to another person:

“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.” Matthew 5:22

Perhaps after reading these words again we are squirming a little from guilt, and asking, ‘you mean it’s a sin to even think about things in anger?’ Yes it is, because the “meditation” of our heart is where anger starts and ultimately contributes to our mouths (and worse) committing murder!

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14 NLT

When I read these verses and consider what I’ve thought or spoken out loud…., let’s just say, I’m ten for ten on breaking those commandments. Not a proud moment for me.

girl jeans kid loneliness

The second paragraph speaks about sacrifices at the altar, or the Ceremonial Laws. But remember, Christ died for us so we don’t have to make a literal sacrifice anymore. Jesus is the final and perfect sacrifice. We do, however, approach the throne of God when we pray and confess our sins. We cannot ask for forgiveness for our sins when we won’t forgive someone else for their sins.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 NLT

Don’t get angry with me if you are feeling a bit convicted right now! As you can see, this truth comes directly from God’s Word!

photography of a persons hand with stop signage

I want to stress something to you before we go any further: DO NOT confuse forgiveness with association. For instance, God wanted me to forgive my father for his heinous acts, but He would not have asked me or any of my family to stay in that abuse. We forgive because we are forgiven and because it frees us from being forever bound to our abusers in negativity and bitterness when we refuse to forgive. But that does not mean we stay in an abusive relationship.

The best peace and freedom I ever received was the day I chose to truly forgive my father.

The worst thing about my life before I chose to forgive was living my life in bitterness and anger. Even though I despised those qualities in him, without proper counseling about the importance of forgiveness and how to forgive, I repeated those nasty character flaws.

If you or someone you love has been impacted by abuse, especially if there is a child involved (voice of experience!), I encourage you to lay down your pride and get Christian counseling for everyone to break free from the potential long term effects.

Finally, the last portion of these verses has been the most challenging for me because not all “adversaries” wish to reconcile, and we can ALL be adversaries. God tells us:

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV

photo of person holding multicolored heart decor

Meaning, don’t wait for them to make the first move, we need to make the first move.

But it’s their fault….

But they….


Sometimes all it takes is a kind word sent in a card. No expectations, no judgment, just make the first move.


Closing Prayer:

Father God this was a very difficult lesson and I thank you for guiding me through it. I pray Your words and my honesty will be the encouragement someone may need to get help, and heal any unresolved brokenness or unforgiveness. Father, I especially thank you for the reminder that it’s important to settle our differences quickly, otherwise we may end up in prison…, perhaps a prison of our own making. Give us all the strength and courage we need to take those first steps towards healing and reconciliation. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Matthew 5:17-20

Thy Word:

Teaching About The Law

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

Matthew 5:17-20 NLT


My Thoughts:

close up court courthouse hammer

People have a love hate relationship with the law, wouldn’t you agree? We love the law when we see it protects us, but we can hate the law when we perceive it restricts us.

The Law of Moses was God’s moral and ceremonial laws and they were given to protect his people, and to also help people love Him. Unfortunately, the religious leaders had turned the original laws into a confusing tangled mess of rules. Jesus wasn’t speaking against the laws, but against the abuses of God’s laws.

So if Jesus didn’t come to abolish the laws, it begs the question, does that mean the Old Testament laws still apply to us today? The answer is a somewhat confusing ‘yes and no.’

My NIV study Bible breaks the law down into three categories and provides details behind each one:

  1. Ceremonial Law
  2. Civil Law
  3. Moral Law

“Ceremonial Law (Leviticus 1:2, 3 for example) relates specifically to Israel’s worship and it’s primary purpose was to point to Jesus Christ. Therefore, these laws were no longer necessary after the death and resurrection of Christ. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial law, the principles behind them—to worship and love a holy God—still apply.

Civil Law applied to daily living in Israel (Deuteronomy 24:10, 11, for example). Because modern society is so radically different from that time and setting, all of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands are timeless and should guide our conduct. Jesus demonstrated these principles by example.

Moral Law (the Ten Commandment for example) is the direct command of God, and it requires strict obedience (Exodus 20:1-17). The Moral Law reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies today. Jesus obeyed the moral law completely.”

photo of child reading holy bible

Let’s look at the verses for each piece of the law:

Ceremonial Law-“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you present an animal as an offering to the Lord, you may take it from your herd of cattle or your flock of sheep and goats. “If the animal you present as a burnt offering is from the herd, it must be a male with no defects. Bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle so you may be accepted by the Lord.” Leviticus 1:2-3 NLT

So how often were they to do this? “This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the Lord once each year.” (Leviticus 16:34) This once a year offering was called the Day of Atonement and all Israeli’s did this. However, other sacrifices were necessary throughout the year in order for God’s people to approach Him for different reasons. Can you imagine?

Listen, I cannot abide the sight of blood and if you read the entire chapter of Leviticus 1, it might make you a little sick. There is no way I could do any of that! Praise God Almighty that He gave His only begotten Son as the final and perfect sacrifice!

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

I am still overwhelmed when I consider the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us! He died for all of our sins so we would never have to go through this sacrificial process again once we believe in Him. Praise Him!

Civil Law-“If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter his house to pick up the item he is giving as security. You must wait outside while he goes in and brings it out to you.” Deuteronomy 24:10-11 NLT

This portion of the law concerned private relations between people and can be summed up in the Golden Rule:

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NLT

Raise your hand if you think our world has become very “me-istic” and we are in dire need of reinstating this law! (My hand is raised high in the air!)

agree agreement ankreuzen arrangement

Moral Law-this is the Ten Commandments. Simply listed they are:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy
  5. Honor your father and your mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not give false testimony [lie] against your neighbor
  10. You shall not covet [desire what belongs to another]

Jesus obeyed these laws completely; I wish I could say the same.

But none of us are perfect and we are all sinners, (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 NIV), so how do we fulfill all three categories of the law in order to become righteous enough to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?

“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:20 NLT

We do it with Jesus.

belief bible book business

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT

On our own, we simply cannot become righteous without Jesus, it’s impossible. There is not a day that goes by that any of us don’t sin. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to pray a dangerous prayer I once prayed when I thought I had gone a whole week without sinning! My prayer was simple and reckless:

“Father God, open my eyes to my sins so I can repent and be forgiven.”

Can I tell you that I almost came undone? Can I tell you that the revelation of my daily sins (notice that’s plural) were almost more that I could bear? When I thought I could not take one more minute of the wretchedness of my sins, Jesus reminded me that His death was the final sacrifice and because I believed in Him, I was “made right with God.” I have His forgiveness, I am saved, and that makes me righteous, therefore, I will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!

Praise God Almighty, and brothers and sisters, I pray you have this righteousness as well!


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the law as the final and costliest sacrifice ever made, so we could be made righteous in Your eyes. Father thank You that because I believe Jesus died for my sins and was raised in three days, I have forgiveness of my sins and eternal life with You. My prayer today includes the desire of my heart that all those I love surrender to Jesus so they too can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Do you need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Remember what Jesus tells us: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT

If you believe this in your heart, follow this link and pray this prayer from the late Billy Graham (you may have to copy and paste the link into your browser) and you too will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven:






Matthew 5:13-16

Thy Word:

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.

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:13-16 NLT


My Thoughts:

side view of a bottle with salt

Salt has been used for thousands of years to preserve and season foods. It was once difficult to obtain, so it was a highly valued trade item. For a time, it was even considered a form of currency. Today salt is more readily available and relatively inexpensive (excluding designer salt, of course, but that is a whole other topic!)

I love salt! There was a short time in my life I couldn’t get enough which made me wonder if my body was deficient in sodium. I now only lightly sprinkle salt because I know it doesn’t take much to enhance or improve what I’m eating.

In many ways, this is a picture of my relationship with Christ. In the beginning, when I was deficient in my knowledge of Him, I took in large quantities of information to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Over time, I altered the way I studied and began to sprinkle myself with daily readings and savor what I learned. That sprinkling enhances what I learn and hear as I walk through His word.

In our verses today, salt is used as a metaphor to show how the disciples were to be like salt and preserve their society and the world around them from moral decay by sprinkling them with the knowledge and love of Christ.

above abstract background desert

There is a story in the Old Testament where Elisha, the prophet, is asked to help a city that is located in a beautiful place but the water is putrid. He sprinkles a little salt and the water is restored to good:

“The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”

“Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.”

So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ ” And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.” Kings 2:19-22 NIV

silhouette of mountains with cross

That’s what happens to us when we accept Christ as our savior and we are sprinkled with the word of God. We become healed from our impurities and forgiven of our sins.

Salt also makes us thirsty, so it’s natural the more we know about God, the more we thirst for Him. Jesus says we should know Him so well our words should always have the seasoning of salt so others will thirst for more:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NIV

red lighted candle

Then Jesus continues this theme when He says we are a light in the world and cannot be hidden. He is basically saying the same thing again with a slightly different emphasis. He stresses we are not to keep the Good News of what has happened and changed in our lives quiet or hidden once we have accepted Jesus. Rather, we are to always be prepared to explain the hope we have as believers:

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:15 NLT

When we reflect Jesus in our daily lives, we have the opportunity to influence others and that could be very thing that ultimately leads them to Christ:

“Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2 NLT

We see from all of these verses, what we say and do as Christians can have a dramatic influence on others.


“Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.” Psalms 119:172 NLT

silver colored microphone

Finally, there are two words I don’t want you to miss in our verses today: ‘you are.’ Jesus does not use passive language (you could be, you should be, etc.), but rather a truth, or a fact, about who we are once we become believers in Christ. We ARE the salt of the earth and the light of the world; therefore, we must share what we know!

My heart feels the call of the Lord to be salt and light as I read all of these powerful words. Would you, could you, be the salt and light that enhances someone’s life today so they are drawn closer to Jesus?


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you for teaching us the value of learning more about You. Today I pray that all who read these words surrender their hearts and lives to You so they can continue the forward movement of Jesus by being salt and light for others. Father, I pray as I go about my day, that I find opportunities to sprinkle Your truth and bring Light to someone who needs to hear about You. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Matthew 5:3-12

Thy Word:

The Beatitudes

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Matthew 5:3-12 NLT


My Thoughts:

grayscale photography of snow covered mountain under cloudy sky

Of all the writings about Jesus in the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7, is the first, the longest, and the most prominent. Up until this point, the disciple Matthew’s writings are mostly an introduction of Jesus. However, not only does this body of principles hold a place of prominence in the New Testament, this sermon is about to directly confront the reader (that would be us!).

Jesus starts with a section called the Beatitudes that list a series of blessings with a Proverb-like proclamation. Although Jesus does not include narrative for each of these blessings they are precise and full of meaning. Simply put, Jesus is describing the traits He was (and still is!) looking for in his followers. If our goal is to be more like Jesus (and it should be!) these beatitudes will challenge how we live every day.

black and white people bar men

Unfortunately, as we read through each blessing, we get a sense that they directly contradict how our society tells us we are to behave, wouldn’t you agree? Jesus even points out in the last blessing that our efforts to develop these characteristics will result in opposition and persecution from our peers.

Let’s look at what Jesus says versus what the world says:

  1. Instead of being poor in spirit, our world encourages us to be prideful and have personal independence.
  2. Instead of mourning, our world encourages us to attain happiness at any cost.
  3. Instead of being meek, we are encouraged to ladder climb or seek power.
  4. Instead of seeking righteousness*, we pursue personal desires.
  5. Instead of showing mercy, we exhibit strength without feeling.
  6. Instead of being pure in heart, deception and immoral practices are acceptable.
  7. Instead of being a peacemaker, we seek personal peace without concern for the world’s chaos.
  8. Instead of standing firm even in the face of persecution, we avoid it by having weak commitments and standards.

(*Definition of righteousness-acting in accord with divine or moral law.)

I don’t know about you, but these truths hit home in my heart and I am faced with my weaknesses and failure to mirror Jesus in several areas!

Jesus ends this section by telling us we will be rewarded in heaven if we live our lives according to His blessings. Notice He doesn’t refer to them as hardships, but as blessings, and that is how we need to see them as well.

In the Kingdom of Heaven, wealth, power, and authority are unimportant. Kingdom people are to seek different blessings, benefits, and attitudes.

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Today let’s ask ourselves a very hard and revealing question: which attitude are we reflecting? Are we reflecting the selfishness of world, or the humility of Jesus?

(See section titled “Extra” that list verses from my NIV study Bible about how we are to develop the attitudes Jesus lists as blessings.)


Closing Prayer:

Lord this is a very convicting lesson and I confess to You I must make changes in my life right now. I ask for a hedge of protection to surround me as I face some very fast paced months with multiple commitments, coupled with some difficult personal challenges. During these times of weakness may I remember Your power and glory are mightier than the devil who seeks to destroy me in my weakness. I ask this in the name of my savior Jesus. Amen.



Poor in spirit-James 4:7-10

Mourning-Psalm 51, James 4:7-10

Meekness-Matthew 11:27-30

Righteousness-John 16:5-11, Philippians 3:7-11

Mercy-Ephesians 5:1-2

Pure in heart-1 John 3:1-3

Peacemaker-Romans 12:9-21, Hebrews 12:10-11

Persecuted-2 Timothy 3:12

**Two options for reading the Bible online include Blue Letter Bible and YouVersion.


Matthew 5:1-2, 10:1-4

Thy Word:

“One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.” Matthew 5:1-2 NLT

“Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (also called Peter), then Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot ), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).” Matthew 10:1-4 NLT


My Thoughts:

Before we jump into the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7), let’s take a look at two key words in these verses: disciples and apostles. We see Jesus call these followers disciples in chapter 5, then both in chapter 10.

Maybe you (like me) wondered “are they disciples or apostles? Do they mean the same thing? If not, what is the difference?”

black and white business career close up

Although the words disciple and apostle are sometimes used interchangeably, they mean different things. A disciple is a follower or student of someone. An apostle is someone who is sent out with a message or mission.

Jesus’ disciples were a group of followers who listened and learned from him. When Jesus chose twelve of his disciples to accompany him and later sent them on mission’s to preach/teach about Him, they became apostles.

man in black and white polo shirt beside writing board

As I was preparing this blog, our Sunday Bible Class leader gave a fabulous comparison with biblical references I’d like to share with you:

  • “Disciple & Apostle – not synonymous (both – Matt 10:1-2; Luke 6:13)
  • Disciple – Learner, pupil
  • Apostle – emissary, representative, one sent with the authority of the sender

Qualifications of an Apostle:

  • Chosen & sent by Jesus (Mark 3:14)
  • Witness to the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:21-22; Acts 10:41-42)
  • Confirmed by the signs [miracles] of an Apostle (2 Corinthians 12:12)

The Apostles, being sent by Christ, spoke with the authority of Christ; when they wrote, they wrote with the authority of Christ. That’s the highest authority there is.”

Courtesy of Mr. John Adams, Blog:

(Biblical references listed after my closing prayer.)

woman surrounded by sunflowers raising hand

(Side note: Don’t you love it when you are studying something and the Lord drops the same information in your lap in another place or from another person, like He did here? That always lets me know I’m on the right track with what Jesus is teaching us through this blog!)

In Matthew 5:1-2 we see Jesus call his disciples to teach them. He was preparing them for their calling.

In Matthew 10:1-4 we see Jesus give twelve of his followers authority and a mission, which as Mr. Adams tells us, “is the highest authority there is.” At that point Jesus refers to them as apostles when He identifies them by name.

The same process happens for us when we agree to follow Jesus. First we immediately become His disciples. It’s our responsibility to learn as much as possible about Jesus from:

  1. Joining and regularly attending a Bible believing/teaching church.
  2. Participating in a small group class or study that teaches the Bible.
  3. Reading our Bibles (try just 20 minutes a day and not only will you learn, but that’s how God speaks to us!).
  4. Having other believers as friends and mentors.

Once we become trained (although I find myself learning something new all the time and I love that!), Jesus makes us an apostle and sends us out to teach others about Him. How each of us does that, is based on how God has gifted us, or called us to teach about Him.

Now don’t get nervous because when Jesus calls us, He equips us.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

I hope that clears up the difference between these two very important roles and helps all of us understand the critical role each of us play in sharing the story of Jesus Christ with others.


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you for giving us this valuable pause in our lesson so we gain a better understanding of our own role for the Kingdom. I ask for a special blessing to be poured out on Mr. John Adams as he teaches and leads our class every week and mirrors what it looks like to be an Apostle for You. Father, I ask that each person reading (and writing!) this blog takes a hard look at their own role and evaluates where improvements can be made, so we can all accomplish our goal for you, Lord. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.


Biblical References

“At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:” Luke 6:13 NLT (see list of names in our verse from Matthew 10:1-4 in “Thy Word” section)

“Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach,” Mark 3:14 NLT

““So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”” Acts of the Apostles 1:21-22 NLT

Then God allowed him to appear “not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.” Acts of the Apostles 10:41-42 NLT

“When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you.” 2 Corinthians 12:12 NLT


Ecclesiastes 3:13

Thy Word:

“And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Ecclesiastes 3:13 NLT

My Thoughts:

Everything we do produces fruit; what we eat, drink, and enjoy is wholly dependent upon our own labor. Is your labor producing a garden that is flourishing, or are you allowing your garden to grow unattended, full of weeds and rotten fruit, while you wait for someone else to do the work?

Work your garden; it will define how well you enjoy your future.

close up of tree against sky

Matthew 4:13-25

Thy Word:

The Ministry of Jesus Begins

He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:

In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

The First Disciples

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.

A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Crowds Follow Jesus

Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.

Matthew 4:13-25 NLT


My Thoughts:

With the passing of John and the remembrance of his legacy…., ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!” (Matthew 3:3b) and “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2)

The ministry of Jesus begins and His words start where John’s legacy ends: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)

photo of four persons uniting hands

Every time we share the gospel (the Good News about Jesus) with our words, our lives, and our actions, we become one of His disciples and clear the way for Jesus.

Our actions, or the way we live our lives, can sometimes speak louder than our words:

“Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2 NLT

I learned early on as a believer that WE can’t give everlasting life to sinners; all we can do is share what we know. Jesus does the rest because He IS the Savior and He gives salvation. (Phew! That’s a huge relief, isn’t it?)

two woman chatting

However, Jesus promises us when we follow Him, He will teach us how to share the Good News, just as He taught his first disciples, so He can catch them:

“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19 NLT

When Jesus calls us and we agree to follow Him, we receive several gifts:

  1. Forgiveness for our sins and eternal life.
  2. The Holy Spirit comes and lives in us to guide us.
  3. As we read the Bible, we learn how to be more like Jesus.
  4. God buries His word (the Bible) in our hearts to help us grow and “fish.”
  5. God communicates to us personally as we read the Bible.

My decision to follow Jesus was the most important choice I have ever made because “he healed every kind of disease and illness” that was broken in my life and heart. I once was a woman who lived a life of fear, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. It was a lonely and hard existence.

woman standing near rock in front of lake

Jesus taught me I had nothing to fear because He was trustworthy and always with me. Because Jesus forgave me of my sins, it taught me how to forgive those who hurt me. Therefore, the sickness that anger and bitterness had created in my soul was removed and I was healed. I praise God!

(Please know that forgiveness and association are two different things. You forgive as an act of obedience and to help yourself heal. But, if someone is hurting you that does not mean you have to continue to associate with them.)

May we honor the Lord by learning more about Him, that we may communicate with Him and reflect Him. When we do that our reward is freedom from our burdens and we accomplish our own calling! This pleases God and as a bonus we leave a worthy legacy for those who come behind us!



Note: if you would like an excellent resource to study God’s Word, Debbie Stuart & Lisa Rose wrote: “20 Minutes A Day For The Rest of Your Life” and it can be purchased on for $6.00 + shipping.

Disclaimer: I do not receive royalties from recommending any books to you in this blog. I recommend because they have been an important part of my growth, and I hope they benefit you as well.


Closing Prayer: Father God, we are so excited to get started on this journey with Jesus as He begins his ministry for you, Lord. Please open our hearts and let us hear a personal Word from you as you guide us on this journey. We love you Lord, and thank You for the encouragement we received today to become disciples for You. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.