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Bible with Cross ShadowMost of Jesus’ sayings in the Sermon on the Mount – you know, those saying that we are to do – are truly beyond our human ability. They are only accomplished by the life of Jesus Christ, Who is in us. However, there are some sayings that appear quite easy to obey; making it all the more amazing that we would chose to do something in complete opposition to what He has said. I truly don’t understand how we excuse ourselves.

Consider the matter of oath taking. Jesus said:

Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’  But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.  But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Matthew 5:33-37

It could not be more clear: Whatever is more than our “yes” and “no” is from the evil one. Why then do so many followers of Jesus Christ submit to the courts of this nation, put one hand on a Bible, raise the other, and swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Is this not taking an oath? Does it make it okay – or does it make it worse – that a Bible is used in this evil process?

These questions lead us to a deeper kingdom principle; something deeper than dos and don’ts. For those with eyes to see, this is a great example of the subtly of the evil one’s deception; leading to our conformity to the world.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

We would be wise to examine ourselves in light of this discovery. Our minds may be less renewed than we presume. If we would so casually do something that is from the evil one, what other deceptions might there be in our minds? Just how conformed to the world are we?

Make no mistake about it: Deception is our enemies’ greatest weapon, particularly in these last days. We must remain suspicious of the way we think. We must be on guard against the wiles of the Devil.

God’s will in this matter of oath taking is good, acceptable and perfect. Jesus made it abundantly clear; and He gave us a very simple task/test for our doing “these sayings of Mine”. Let us renew our minds in this area, and in the many other sayings of our Lord and Savior.

God bless you with an awareness and diligence for rooting out the deception in your life.

Humbly Yours and Forever His,

Bible with Cross ShadowJesus closed – perhaps we could say summed up – the Sermon on the Mount with a very strong encouragement to “do these sayings of mine”. And so, it is interesting that He begins by talking about things that cannot be done. He begins by instructing us in the way we ought to be.

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:1-12

As mentioned in A Storm is Coming – These Sayings of Mine, the Beatitudes are not so much things to do as they are attitudes of the mind, or states of being. I cannot “do” poor in spirit, or meek. Even “those who mourn” and “the peacemakers” are descriptions of people, not actions.

So, what do we do about these sayings? Is there a way that we should respond to the Beatitudes? Or, are we left to simply hope the blessings will one day be ours? Read the rest of this entry »

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