God’s children are commandment keepers

Obedience to the King’s rule is fundamental in the kingdom.

Obedience to the King’s rule is fundamental in the kingdom.

In the past I have described the Ten Commandments, or the Ten Words, as the Charter of the Kingdom of God. This means that these commandments are the basic rules that God expects his people to follow.

In legal terms, a charter is “a grant made by the sovereign either to the whole people or to a portion of them, securing to them the enjoyment of certain rights.” To further explain, the legal dictionary explains: “A charter differs from a constitution in this, that the former is granted by the sovereign, while the latter is established by the people themselves : both are the fundamental law of the land.”

As I have stated many times before, I do not believe the Ten Commandments were just for the national people of Israel. They are the only words ever spoken directly by God to a whole mixed community of individuals at once, and they were carved into stone, the most durable of records, by the very finger of God himself. Based even on only these two criteria, there is no other document or record anywhere conveyed directly by God with those to whom he was intending to communicate.

Yeshua verified that he was not doing away with any commands of Torah:

Matthew 5:17-19 – “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

To recognize the universality of this principle brings one to a more comprehensive understanding of God: his Word, his instruction, his Torah, is eternal. God’s people are those who understand and obey his words.

Further, there is not a single individual in the entire Bible who has ever been condemned for keeping the word of God, his Torah. There are, however, plenty of examples of those who were condemned for NOT keeping his Word:

  • Psalm 119:158 – I have seen the disloyal and feel disgust because they do not keep your word.
  • Nehemiah 1:7 – We have acted corruptly toward you and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances you gave your servant Moses.
  • Amos 2:4 – Yahweh says: I will not relent from punishing Judah for three crimes, even four, because they have rejected the instruction of Yahweh and have not kept his statutes. The lies that their ancestors followed have led them astray.
  • Malachi 3:7 – “Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from my statutes; you have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of Armies.

There are examples of those who were condemned for ADDING unnecessarily to his words by their traditions:

Mark 7:9, 13 – [Yeshua] also said to [the Pharisees and scribes], “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition! … “You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

But no one ever is condemned for actually keeping and obeying his words; that’s what his obedient children are known for!

  • Psalm 119:57, 60, 63, 106 – Yahweh is my portion; I have promised to keep your words.  … I hurried, not hesitating to keep your commands.  … I am a friend to all who fear you, to those who keep your precepts.  … I have solemnly sworn to keep your righteous judgments.
  • John 8:29, 47, 55 – “The one who sent me [Yeshua] is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.” … “The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.” … “You do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word.
  • Philippians 2:8 – [Yeshua] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.

Those in the Kingdom of God are those who honor God by keeping his commands in humble obedience. The Ten Commandments or Ten Words were kept by Yeshua, and if we consider ourselves his followers, then we should be keeping them, too.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Living out our compassionate calling

True compassion is having the ability to confront injustice and corruption, helping those who cannot help themselves.

True compassion is having the ability to confront injustice and corruption, helping those who cannot help themselves.

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

In this verse and the ones following, believers are called to be the salt and the light of the world. Both of these metaphorically stand for that which purifies and enlightens. If what we do in this life is not making a positive difference in the lives of those around us, then we are like the salt which has lost its taste, no longer good for anything.

The life of a believer is one that is forged in the fires of conflict. Paul writes that as much as is possible with us, we need to live in peace with all men, which is true (Romans 12:8). But by the same token, truth and compassion cannot rest idle within us, allowing the world to deteriorate around us. The nature of salt and light is that of healing and greater insight, not rottenness and darkness. The world is already filled with rotten and dark things, and what purpose do we serve if we only turn a blind and unfeeling eye toward our generation?

Instead, as representatives of the Creator of all, our lives should be demonstrations of truth and compassion, living out the ideals that the Creator of all has for his Creation. We should be focusing our godly efforts on those things within our sphere of influence that result in positive outcomes for those who are currently afflicted. Affliction takes many forms within the dark corners of our world, yet we have been uniquely gifted with Spirit of God, the ultimate salt and light, to accomplish whatever needs to be done to meet needs and help others overcome adversities they may be facing.

This is how the kingdom of God expands, and how we demonstrate the ability to overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12:21). Though we may suffer through this process in the fires of conflict that can ensue, we can stand knowing that we have been faithful to our compassionate calling of being the salt and light when and where it was needed most.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Reconciliation in the new creation

Only when we die to ourselves can God then work through us.

Only when we die to ourselves can God then work through us.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20 – That is, in Messiah, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Messiah, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Messiah’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.”

This description that Paul gives of his ministry has been debated over the years as to whether this ministry of reconciliation applied only to the apostles, or if this is a quality that all believers should demonstrate. I believe the context of the passage provides an insight into how this principle should be applied.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 – Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Messiah and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Paul states if anyone is in Messiah, they are part of the new creation. Therefore, anyone who has been reconciled to God through Messiah has been given us the responsibility of helping to reconcile the world to God through themselves. Certainly, the apostles were the greatest and initial examples of this, as it was necessary for God to first to reconcile all of the scattered tribes of Israel back to himself through their message of faith and hope. But then, as others who feared God also were drawn to the message of faith in Messiah, the circle of reconciliation began to widen across the known world at that time, and continues to this day.

Reconciliation is a process of peace, an adjustment of differences usually involving forgiveness and a restoration to a favorable condition. Yeshua taught that peacemakers are blessed, and that they would be called children of God (Matthew 5:9). This is THE defining characteristic of God’s children. In Jewish tradition based on this ancient concept, this is something still hoped for in a future time.

Tikkun means to repair or improve. Olam means the entire world. In Jewish teachings, any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created is considered Tikkun Olam.

Chabad.org, “Tikkun Olam

While Jews today view this process of repairing or restoring as something that will ultimately lead to a harmonious whole, Paul implies that God already reconciled the world through Messiah, and now it is up to his children to champion the cause to become evident in this reality.

Since God was spiritually reconciling the world to himself through Messiah, it makes sense that his children would also do the same in its current physical state. This is possible only when we recognize that we are no longer allowed to view others from our own limited perspective, but from the perspective of God.

2 Corinthians 5:16 – From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Messiah from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way.

We are to view others from a spiritual perspective, in the same way we now know Messiah. We don’t know Yeshua in the same way today as if we were to see him teaching in the streets. He has been exalted to a position of honor and authority at the right hand of God in heavenly places; this is how we relate to him today. Paul says we need to view others in a similar way: from an eternal and spiritual perspective, not from a fleshly one. When we do this, we are then given the ability to look beyond their fleshly resistance or aggression toward God and toward us. We can begin to love them as God does: as a dear creation of his whom he desires to draw to himself.

2 Corinthians 5:15 – And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

But this process involves us dying to ourselves in order to see the spiritual reality behind who they appear to be. Only then can we truly become Messiah’s ambassadors, seeing others in the same way that God does, and allowing him to work through us in continuing to reconcile the world to himself. When this happens among his people all around the world, God becomes “all in all,” and the kingdoms of this world then become his.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The God of all Creation

The example of God’s provision is all around us when we have eyes to see.

The example of God’s provision is all around us when we have eyes to see.

Psalm 135:6-7 – Yahweh does whatever he pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths. He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from his storehouses.

The fact that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all is provided throughout the Bible as a reason for people to place their trust in him.

Revelation 4:11 – Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.

Yeshua teaches on the natural order as a measure of trusting in God when he speaks of the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

Matthew 6:26, 28-30 – “Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? … “And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. “Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. “If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you ​– ​you of little faith?”

The apostle Paul writes of how the Creation itself should cause men to seek after God.

Romans 1:18-20 – For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

When we look out into the Creation, something we see every day, we should be reminded of the power, majesty, and provision of God in our lives. Even in the cities where almost all is concrete and steel and glass, a glimpse of the sky above, the rain that falls, or the wind that blows down the streets and alleys should remind us that we are part of a world that God has created, and that he retains his privilege over all.

No matter if we lose sight of him, we can place our trust in him since he is still in control of all, even when he is obscured by circumstances of our own making, or through the designs of men all around us. When we recognize him as the Creator of all, we yield to his greater will and purpose and allow his provision in our time of need. Just as he still provides for the natural order of all things, he can still provide for those who place their faith in him.

Matthew 6:30 – “If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you ​– ​you of little faith?”


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The obedient kingdom life

The whole of Matthew 7 teaches us about what kingdom living looks like.

The whole of Matthew 7 teaches us about what kingdom living looks like.

Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

The kingdom of heaven coming to this earth is not a place but a practice. It is not a destination, but a journey. It is not something to be achieved, but is a fluid reality constantly being lived out by those seeking it.

This is why Yeshua taught that obedience to the will of God is the marker that identifies those who are true followers of him. Many will claim to know him and call him Lord, but their practices will reveal they don’t really know who he is.

The context of Yeshua’s statement above sits squarely at the center of his teaching on the narrowness and exclusivity of the way.

Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

He also speaks of the fruit, the evident outworking, of those who can be identified as sincere or false in their doctrine:

Matthew 7:18 – “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.”

The entire context of this passage is speaking on how the kingdom is a specific ideal that must be constantly and diligently striven after, and how the actions one does demonstrates their harmony with this ideal. Yeshua captured this thought by warning against hypocrisy:

Matthew 7:3 – “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye?

Notice, each of these different concepts work together to create a picture of the kingdom being a demonstration of a life lived in sincere obedience to the will of God. This can be shown by stating the reverse, and viewing who Yeshua says is NOT in the kingdom. Hypocrites are not in the kingdom. Trees with bad fruit are not in the kingdom. Those who do not accomplish the will of God are not in the kingdom.

The kingdom kind of life is a life that is constantly open to learning from God, seeking how to best honor him. In doing so honestly and sincerely, one will be granted access to that which they desire.

Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

When one walks with God in this way, not with the dogmatism of human assertion and the inconsistency of hypocrisy, but with humility and openness to understand the behaviors and practices God desires, then the kingdom becomes manifest through that individual. Living in obedience and harmony with God’s will is what the kingdom is all about, and what God desires for all mankind.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The unique prayer life of God’s children

We have work to do, not stuff to get.

We have work to do, not stuff to get.

Matthew 6:9 “Pray then in this way:…”

People pray in many different ways to many different gods. Prayer is so ubiquitous that it appears to be a practice that is hard-wired into the human psyche.

What sets believers in Messiah apart from all others is not just that we pray, but that we should be praying to the one true God in a certain way with a certain focus and understanding that others do not have. When asked of his disciples for teaching on prayer, Yeshua’s answer provides a rich storehouse of wisdom in practice.

Yeshua understood that people of all nations pray but are typically using many empty words to no purpose, other than, I suppose, making themselves feel better. However, he encourages a specific way of praying that has purpose and direction. He provides a model prayer that demonstrates simplicity and humility.

First, where and how we pray are both important: our place of prayer should be a place of privacy apart from others to demonstrate sincerity in speaking only with God, and not for the sake of appearing over-righteous to others.

Prayer should be offered directly to God, addressing him as a loving Father, not as some vengeful deity who needs to be appeased. We need to recognize that even though God exists beyond this reality, he is still accessible and active here, as well. He is set apart from all other gods and his character illustrates his uniqueness.

Our primary focus in prayer should be for God’s reign to be recognized by all upon this earth, and in so doing, his will would come to pass in this reality in the same way it is accomplished in the heavenly realm. This is the unique nature of the prayer practice of those who would consider themselves Yeshua’s disciples. Everything in our lives should center around God’s kingdom, not ours.

Even when praying for our own needs that arise each day, Yeshua reminds us our focus should still be on others, forgiving those who have wronged us, just as we have committed wrongs against our heavenly Father. If we expect him to forgive us of our shortcomings, we need to have the same level of concern for others.

Our prayers for personal desires should be primarily intent on the avoidance of being led astray and succumbing to the desires of this world above the needs of the kingdom. Praying just for things we want is not always in the best interest of the kingdom.

When we pray in this way, our lives become set apart from others because we are not just praying for stuff and things, but for God’s glory and honor to be manifest in this place and time, and to recognize his will is more important than ours. When this becomes our guiding purpose, then his will can and will be accomplished on this earth through us.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Keeping our hearts from unfair judgment

When we criticize, it becomes that much more difficult to forgive.

When we criticize, it becomes that much more difficult to forgive.

Matthew 7:1-2 – “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”

This command of Yeshua to not be unjustly critical of others comes in the context of avoiding hypocrisy.

Matthew 7:3 – “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye?”

However, beyond avoiding hypocrisy, and if we are honest with ourselves, we can recognize that when we are unjustly critical of others who are close to us we diminish our ability to provide forgiveness to them.

Judgment is the opposite of forgiveness, and harboring critical judgment in our hearts toward someone else numbs our sensitivity to forgiving them if they were to come to us in repentance toward some personal injustice. Because we have pre-judged them, we already have a negative emotion that is easier to act on than a rational acceptance of their genuine repentance which can lead to our forgiveness.

This pre-disposition to unfairly judge others is so common that Yeshua felt it was necessary to issue a clear command to avoid it at all costs.

In the story of the Prodigal son, Yeshua describes how the Father’s love for the son allowed him to suspend judgment on the son’s actions because of the larger benefit and joy of having his repentant son home again. The brother’s reaction was critical because of his jealousy at the prodigal’s apparent avoidance of accountability for poor choices. But it was not the brother’s place to judge the prodigal; it was the father’s, and the father had forgiven the prodigal son. So the brother ended up being judgmental and frustrated for essentially no reason. He could not participate in the celebration of the prodigal’s return because of the unjust judgment that he retained in his heart.

And this is an unintended result of our retention of unfair judgment of others; it robs us of joy. There is nothing happy about wanting to hold judgment over others when there is no reason to do so. This insistence on retaining criticism causes frustration and ongoing hostility. Instead, we should focus on removing unfair judgment from our hearts, especially when it is not within our right to judge someone else, or as in the case of the prodigal, someone else’s son.

Paul uses this logic when speaking of the critical judgments that existed between believers in the Roman congregation:

Romans 14:4 – “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall…”

When we realize it is not up to us to judge everybody else, we can instead focus on building positive relationships and remain open to avenues of forgiveness when inadvertent wrongs are committed and repented of.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The kingdom of God’s provision

A continual heavenly focus will guide our actions to doing what’s right, and our needs will be met.

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

A continual heavenly focus will guide our actions to doing what’s right, and our needs will be met.

This teaching of Yeshua was intended as an encouragement to keep one’s focus on the kingdom of God first and foremost above all worldly concerns, and the worldly concerns would take care of themselves. Which worldly cares? Specifically the items he mentioned previously.

Matthew 6:31 – “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?'”

Having enough food to eat has been a constant struggle throughout history, and in Yeshua’s day was no exception. People had to depend on their own efforts or the efforts of their farming neighbors, the weather, and the political stability of their region to ensure they would have food to eat.

To have enough to drink or to have appropriate clothing for whatever season was at hand were equally ongoing concerns, especially for the lowest classes of people. There were no local clothing stores, and even drinking water was dependent on the condition of local communal wells.

These were real and legitimate concerns that could become all consuming. Knowing where the next meal was coming from, if one would have enough water or clothing to wear were a source of constant anxiety for the majority of the people. This created a work ethic that demanded constant attention to finding and attaining these needs.

In our modern industrialized societies we are so blessed with the common availability of these things that we take them for granted, as if they are some sort of inherent right. Yet, we still abuse this privilege by being consumed with seeking the best food, the highest quality drinks and the most trendy clothing and latest fashions. If you are not convinced of this, just scroll through your social media feed.

As an antidote to this worldly focus, Yeshua states that if one prioritizes God’s kingdom above these things, these things will be provided anyway without all of the stress and striving after them. That is the context of his teaching.

Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

There will always be some concern that can draw our attention away from the things of God to where that concern becomes all-consuming. But Yeshua’s “kingdom first” ideal is the overriding principle that should guide our thoughts. By replacing our anxiety over worldly needs (or exaggerations of those needs) with a dedicated and committed focus on God’s kingdom and the righteous actions that result from that focus, we can be free from this endless striving. Those things begin to pale in comparison within the more expansive and eternal perspective of the kingdom of God.

Of course we all need to eat and drink and have appropriate clothing, but when those things consume our waking thoughts above doing what’s right according to God’s standards, then our lives are out of balance. This is another way of stating that it is more important to God for us to act in right ways than the basic living of life itself. If this is not how we view our faith, then our lives are out of balance. This heavenly focus must guide all of our decisions, not just the religious ideals we hold. The promise of Yeshua is that enacting the principles of the kingdom in our daily lives will ensure that our physical needs (not necessarily our desires, but our needs) are met, as well.

Likewise, he set the example for us to follow. If Yeshua believed in this principle enough to put the kingdom of God first in all of his life and teaching, then as his followers, we also should do so.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Working for peace and harmony

How we handle disagreements is a reflection of our obedience to the instruction of God.

How we handle disagreements is a reflection of our obedience to the instruction of God.

Romans 12:17-18 – “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

This instruction from the apostle Paul comes in the context of a passage regarding living in harmony with others. We know that Yeshua taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), and this teaching of Paul actually expands on that principle for refining our understanding.

Paul encourages us to think rationally about what the ramifications of our vengeful nature might be, and to “give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” Sometimes, we may be confronted with an individual who continues to push and shove to get their way, and in certain cases our initial response to this may not be what is equitable in the sight of everyone. Paul urges believers to remove themselves from the moment, from the heat of the disagreement, and to step back and look at the situation from a larger, more comprehensive perspective. Doing so can sometimes give us the insight needed to appropriately handle our interaction with that pushy individual to where we don’t act reflexively, but thoughtfully and carefully in light of who we are in Messiah.

Paul adds that we should live peaceably with all, but only so far as it depends on us and how we act or react in a given situation. We can’t be responsible for how other people may react in our interactions with them. We can only work for peace as much as we can, and then leave the rest to God. They may not be receptive to our overtures of peace, and yet that is not a reason to withhold it in the first place. We must always strive for unity when we can, and step away from resistance when we are unable to bridge the conflict. Our goal is to live in peace with all, but some may just not be receptive to it.

Ultimately, as believers, we should be actively seeking ways to forgive and overcome disagreements, especially with brothers and sisters in Messiah. But even with those who are adversarial toward us, we should seek as much as possible to overcome their evil actions toward us with good actions toward them. Most times, if done sincerely from a perspective of overcoming conflict, these good actions will open the doors for peace, and allow fruitful relationships to grow.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Set apart through simplicity

When we make the Word of God our singular focus, we become holy.

When we make the Word of God our singular focus, we become holy.

Matthew 6:2-23 – “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!”

Yeshua’s teachings are filled with simplicity and transparency.

  • Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Don’t criticize others unfairly.
  • Don’t be hypocritical.
  • Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

The life that seeks to honor God is not a complicated one. It is a life that is lived in equity with others and in abiding by the simple direction of God.

In the Hebraic worldview, having a good or evil eye represents what one focuses on. In the Bible version represented above, Yeshua encourages his followers to have a healthy or good eye. But as is typically the case, the underlying Greek phrasing brings out some color into this basic black and white English rendering. According to the Helps Word Studies, this word means: “unfolded, single – literally, “without folds” … referring to a single (undivided) focus, i.e. without a (secret) “double agenda” which prevents an over-complicated life (becoming needlessly distracted).”

It is commonly understood that having too many objectives in life can be overwhelming, and source of great stress and anxiety. On top of the typical stresses of earning a living, managing family concerns and taking care of ourselves, in our modern culture we have added the constant distraction of juggling an online presence, being consumed by messages and notifications, pulling us away from our real life into another level of digital schizophrenia. This exemplifies the darkness of the eye that is bad, the effects of wicked, malicious, or slothful attention that result in obscurity of meaning and purpose.

By contrast, Yeshua encourages simplicity and singleness of focus and direction. This is what brings peace and purpose into our lives and makes us holy. When we have the correct sense of purpose, it’s as if our whole body becomes full of light. We have the ability to plan effectively and to accomplish so much more for God and for the kingdom when our priorities are right and we have a clear sense of direction.

We must discipline ourselves to remain focused on what’s important: the teachings of Yeshua and the Word of God. As we apply that type of clear direction in our lives, we simplify our approach to living life, and become the set apart people God desires us to be.


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