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Several years ago, we published a series of articles entitled These Sayings of Mine. The table of contents for that series is posted here. For those who prefer something more succinct (or a checklist), the following contains a brief summary of the 50+ commands Jesus has given for those who desire to become houses that stand in the storms of life.

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

How can you do “these sayings of Mine,” if you do not know them? Are we foolish enough to think that we are exempt from the commands of Jesus because we have not taken the time to study them? Will our house stand because we have been purposefully ignorant?

Of course, these questions are rhetorical. Christianity is not a passive, laissez-faire religion. If we love Him, we will obey His commandments, including those found in the Sermon on the Mount.

Storms have come and storms are coming. Tribulation is promised to every Christian (John 16:33). Is your house standing? Will it stand? These questions are not rhetorical. They are two of the most important questions Christians should be asking themselves.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey (J. H. Sammis; 1846-1919).

As we consider the list, let’s call on the One who is willing and able to assess the soundness and security of our house. Participating with Him in the inspection is quite simple: for each saying, answer the questions, “Am I doing what Jesus commands here? Am I living my life according to His will?” Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowDid you know that the Bible was not written in chapter and verse form? Chapters were first introduced in 1227, by Stephen Langton. Verse divisions were introduced by Robert Stephanus in 1551. Chapter and verse divisions were added for the convenience of reference and quotation purposes.

However, “it must always be remembered that the divisions into chapters and verses are human-made. They are sometimes arbitrary, and they sometimes interfere with the sense of the passage. The divisions into chapters and verses can actually cause some problems.” See BlueLetterBible.org FAQ by Don Stewart for more on the challenges that chapter and verse introduce in Bible interpretation.

Having chapter and verse divisions certainly makes it easier to find passages and direct others to them. It also makes for convenience in summarizing a series on “These Sayings of Mine”. So, with care to avoid any problems such delineation may cause, here is a brief summary of Matthew, chapter 5. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowYou have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

The house that stands in the storm will be the house of the man that guards his heart from the lusts of his eyes. This is an incredibly important issue for the church in America; particularly when you consider the houses that are being built around our pastors and our fellowships. Of all the judgment that will come to the house of God (1Peter 4:17), the judgment for this sin will be one of the most severe.

Consider the statistics. A Leadership Journal survey reports that four in ten pastors online have visited a pornographic Web site; and more than one-third have done so in the past year. Expastors.com reports that, of the 1,351 pastors that Rick Warren’s website, Pastors.com, surveyed on porn use, 54% said they had viewed internet pornography within the last year and 30% of those had visited within the last 30 days.

Patrick Means, author of Men’s Secret Wars, reveals that 63% of pastors surveyed confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity. Furthermore, 75% of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use.

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22

Without question, pornography is one of the vilest demonic attacks unleashed on the church. If pastors are suffering in this way, what would we imagine for the rest of the congregation? BTW: Men are 5.3 times more likely to be addicted to pornography. Honestly, I am surprised that the number is not higher. This epidemic is affecting women more than I thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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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