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3.12.21


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Our daily Bible readings are found at Listener's Bible. You can listen to the text or read it and it will update each day. Let’s pray together: Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Father, we pray for the lost in Guyana, Palestine, Zambia, Georgia, Mauritania and the church in these countries. May our leaders fear the Lord more than they fear man. May our hearts seek the Lord in the midst of uncertainty. May those who serve be filled with courage and endurance. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen Meditation Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:34 NIV Have you ever noticed how funny Jesus is? Think about it, “tomorrow will worry about itself”, really?! Jesus used hyperbole and humor to capture our imagination and help us to remember His words. He was not grim or solemn, or as C.S. Lewis said, “apparently seven feet tall with the face of a consumptive girl”, no Jesus was a sturdy Palestinian Jew who was a full-time carpenter until His call to ministry came. He appealed to rough and tumble fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes; I believe He had to be funny because these are not people impressed with a serious demeanor or fancy talk. Matthew is recording this teaching in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. Great crowds have gathered to hear Him teach and he is teaching, “with authority”. He uses phrases like, “You have heard it said…, But I tell you…” Jewish rabbis then (and today) teach by referencing great teachers who have come before, they do not just say stuff. Instead, they will say, “As Rabbi Hillel said, so I say…” Jesus references no one else and so He taught with authority. He boldly moved the goalposts. “You have heard it said, ‘do not commit murder’, but I tell you….” “You have heard it said, ‘do not commit adultery’, but I tell you…” He shifts the focus from outward behavior to inward heart orientation. Think about it, this is not something that can be truly assessed by anyone but you and God. This is a radical shift in the way the law had been understood but this reset was necessary and God/Jesus had the authority to do it. When God gave Moses the Law, it was clear then that God’s whole desire was for a people totally devoted to Himself. So what’s the first thing the people do? Push God back at arm’s length by fixating on the outward obedience and neglecting the state of their hearts. The cry of the prophets, “God desires mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) Check out Micah 6:8 if you aren’t sure what God is looking for or Psalm 51:16-17. Like I said, God was clear. So when we get to the “therefore” at the beginning of today’s meditation, Jesus is on a roll. He is sweeping away the detritus of centuries of bad theology, poor leadership, and idolatry of the law. [Now to do this “therefore” full justice, I am going to write up a special edition, Saturday devotion to examine the verses that precede Matthew 6:34.] But suffice it to say that when Jesus says, “Do not worry” He is offering us God’s own guidance. He is bending near and whispering in our ears, “Little one, don’t be afraid, you are never alone, I will never leave you or forsake you.” He is also slapping us on the back and saying, “Come on, I got this! Settle down and trust me! If you can’t come up with better ways to use the time I’ve given you, I have some great ideas, just ask!” When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 NIV

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