“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the [nations] do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way…”
Make every effort to pray in a private place, simply and sincerely. Prayer should be a core practice that comes from the very center of a believing heart. It is the one place and time where our focus should be solely on conveying the deepest recesses of our being to the One who created us. It should be a time set apart from everything, and everyone, else. In this intentionally isolated place and time, we have no masks to hide behind, no one to impress, and nothing to offer except our barest hopes and aspirations. “…[A]nd your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.”
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
There is a constricted entryway into life which has many obstacles standing about it. Labor fervently to stay on the difficult path that leads through the cramped passage to life along with the few others who also perceive its value and find it.
Believers have chosen a difficult option when it comes to a life path. One cannot just fall into the Kingdom of God by accidentally stumbling into it; it requires grit, intentionality, and determination to pursue the things of God. Many times there is only the slenderest thread of hope to continue, and yet holding on to that one thread, regardless of the storm raging around, becomes the single objective; it will not break.
Testing happens at every corner, but testing is for the purpose of strengthening, and strengthening provides stability of footing and the ability to grasp the hands of others and help them on the way.
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
Be a person of your word, not requiring any oath to substantiate your actions. Simply say yes or no, and do what you say.
The beauty of integrity is in its simplicity. It is uncomplicated sincerity with nothing to gain, and nothing to lose. It is liberating; it allows you to live free of extraneous and unnecessary commitment. You are elevated in the eyes of God and others when you are known as one who can be relied on because you always do what you say.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
Entering into the Kingdom of heaven is possible only by consistently doing the will of the Father in heaven, not by merely claiming to be a disciple. It is the doing of God’s will that provides entrance, not the hope of entering at some future point. God’s kingdom is here and now.
When we are being faithful to God’s word, and doing his work in this world, we have entered his kingdom and are lighting the way for others to join, also. As we faithfully serve him now, the evidence of God’s kingdom continues to touch and transform the lives of others, By living in the kingdom through our righteous actions and example, we are expanding the reach and influence of heaven on earth.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Extend mercy and compassion to others and you will be blessed, receiving mercy in return.
From the Outline of Bible Usage, the word here for mercy has its root in the following meanings:
to have mercy on
to help one afflicted or seeking aid
to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched
to experience mercy
Additionally, the specific form of the word used in this statement of Yeshua is used in only one other place in the New Testament:
“Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
This unique sense of the word in both of these passages implies an active quality of mercy and compassion, one that never slumbers nor relaxes its guard. The compassionate believer is one who is always ready and prepared to provide help and assistance at the slightest indication of need.
As the introductory episode, I wanted to provide a little background on myself, my motivation for the podcast, and a brief overview of the Core of the Bible principles.
My name is Steve, and as a husband and father of four, I have been searching for a way to summarize and condense the main teachings of the Bible into a simple yet comprehensive unit for ease of teaching and for ease in recalling for everyday practice.
I am creating this podcast to provide further insights into the seven principles which I am calling the Core of the Bible. These principles are, I believe, the main categories contained within the summarized teaching of Yeshua (Jesus) which has come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount: Kingdom, Integrity, Vigilance, Holiness, Trust, Forgiveness, and Compassion.
You’ll notice on this podcast that I also prefer to use the name Yeshua instead of Jesus. Jesus is the English version of the Greek name Iesous, which in itself is a version of the Hebrew name Yeshua. However, if we were to take the name Yeshua and bring it straight over into English, it would not be Jesus, but it would be Joshua. In Hebrew, a name is not only a personal identifier, but also carries the meaning behind the name. In this case, the name Yeshua means “salvation,” or “deliverance.” That name was given to him to demonstrate his purpose, and we should always keep the purpose that God has in mind. I am not dogmatic that everyone call him Yeshua; if you want to call him Jesus, that’s just fine. But this is some of my reasoning behind doing so.
Be sure to check out other episodes by clicking on the podcast category link.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Make peace; do peace, and you will be blessed, being recognized as a child of God. It is our obligation as believers to be the vanguard of peace among the lives of those around us. Forgiveness is the basis of all peace.
When wrongs are committed between individuals, the faithful believer must look beyond the immediate injury to the larger objective of peace and unity. There is no denial a wrong has been committed, just a positive affirmation that is intentionally offered to overcome the sting of the injustice.
However, if we become caught up among the stirrers of dissent and factionism by pressing our righteous indignation at every offense, we are denying our heritage as makers of peace in the character and likeness of Messiah and his kingdom.
“…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this [way] serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Do not be anxious about what hasn’t happened yet; let the future carry its own anxieties. If we continue to be anxious about every aspect of our life, can we, as believers, truly be considered to be trusting God? If we are trusting him, aren’t we trusting him for everything?
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out,” (1 Timothy 6:7). If we have come with nothing and will be leaving with nothing, what is the value of what remains? “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content,” (1 Timothy 6:8).
Instead, let’s replace our anxieties of an unknown future with gratefulness for what we do have. God has not provided us the ability to foresee the future, but if you are reading these words right now, he has given us today. Let’s live for him and his kingdom in the here and now.
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
All stumbling-blocks to righteousness must be removed from your life with extreme diligence. If you desire to be righteous and holy in God’s sight, then you must be relentlessly severe in removing those things from your life that stand between you and him. There are no other options. It is a matter of life or death, not just a self-improvement program. You MUST die to yourself and your own selfish ways if you are to live for him.