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God cares enough to paint the grass green, and the flowers in bright colors ~ though they live only a short while.  He cares so much more for humans who were created in HIS own image !  In God’s book of life, we each have a page that holds everything about our lives.  We are never out of HIS thoughts.  “Do not worry about tomorrow.”  God does not tell us everything about our life’s journey, only what we need to know now ~ strength and wisdom are promised [Matthew 28:28].  

” ‘ Do not judge other people, or you will be judged’ ” [Matthew 7:1].  Since we cannot know what is driving a person from the inside, what the reasons are for his or her behavior, we are not capable of judging fairly.  When we criticize another person, we are only passing sentence on ourselves.  

A good tree bears only good fruit.  Good deeds ~ right actions and decisions ~ are the fruit of a life surrendered to Jesus.  Our good deeds; do not buy our salvation, but they are proof of the faith that is in our hearts.  

Jesus explains the principles of HIS kingdom.  ” ‘ Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock’ ” [Matthew 7:24].  When the wind and floods came, the house stood strong.  Those who refuse to listen are like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  When trouble comes, his house collapses.  We must build our lives on the principles Jesus gave ~ not on selfishness or human theories.  

Jesus showed that the Ten Commandments reach deeper than just our actions.  By holding hate in your heart, you place yourself on a path to murder.  Hate brakes the commandment against killing someone.  It is not sinful for a Christian to be angry when God’s name is disrespected or innocent people are repressed.  But you cannot be angry over every issue and be in harmony with heaven.  

God’s dream for what HIS children can be is greater that we can ever imagine.  ” ‘So you must be perfect,’ ” [Matthew 5:48].  It is a promise.  God’s plan to save goes beyond just saving our lives ~ He plans to remake us to be like HIM.  Being tempted is not an excuse for sinning.  Every believing child of God can resist sin as Jesus did.  Jesus is the ladder that Jacob saw in His dream connecting earth to heaven [Genesis 28:12].  

Jesus reaches us wherever we are.  Jesus took our nature and overcame sin so we can take HIS nature and also overcome.  By faith in HIM, we can be perfect like our Father in heaven [Matthew 5:48].  Jesus also mentions practical Christianity.  “Don’t do good deeds or give to the needy just to impress others.  Do these things secretly and only to help those who suffer.  When you pray, talk to God, not to the people around who can hear you.  When you go without food, do it privately.”  God sees what is done in private and HE will reward accordingly.  

The atmosphere of heaven surrounds people who live that kind of life ~ living life as Jesus did ~ walking and working with God.  For them, God’s kingdom has already begun! 

God loves humanity, through HIS law ~ the Ten Commandments.  Whenever we follow these laws, we are protected from the results of doing sinful things.  The Ten Commandments show us the holiness of God’s character in contrast to our own sinfulness.  When are are enabled by the Holy Spirit to see that, we surrender to Jesus and obey.  We find true happiness.  

The ceremonial laws that pointed to the coming Messiah were abolished when Jesus died.  But, the Ten Commandments are as permanent as God’s throne in heaven.Jesus’ life proved that humans can keep God’s law.  Those who break God’s commandments support Satan’s claim that the law cannot be obeyed.  To allow them into heaven would only bring rebellion and war to the universe again, not to mention their own misery in heaven ~ their hatred for anything holy.

The greatest error accepted in Jesus’ day was that simply agreeing to truth made a person righteous, holy.  Just knowing about truth does not change a person’s heart.  History shows that those who claimed to know the most about God often were the cruelest and most evil.  The beliefs of Pharisees ~ experts on religious teachings ~ led them to kill the Messiah.  Anyone who claims to believe in the truth, but is not hones, kind, and patient ~ is a curse to the world around them.

True happiness comes from following Jesus.  The rewards will come in heaven.  Then Jesus added some words just for HIS disciples and all those that would follow HIM.  

” ‘ Those who are treated badly for doing good are happy, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them’ ” [Matthew 5:10].  Jesus knew HIS followers would be insulted, persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed.  Like God’s messengers, the prophets, in times gone by, they would be rejected because bringing God’s truth to the world exposes sin.  They might suffer greatly in the war against sin and Satan, but they would be joyful, knowing that their reward was eternal life in heaven.

“You are like salt and light in this world,” Jesus told them.  In order to change the world, they would have to be a part of it ~ just as salt changes flavor by mixing with food.  Without the presence of people who love and serve God, this world would destroy itself.  Even the lives of evil people are blessed because of God’s followers.  

But those who say they are Christians and don’t act like their Master, have lost their flavor ~ and give God a bad name.  Like sunshine, salvation belongs whole world.  The truth about God should not be trapped inside the pages of a book or inside the walls of a church ~ it belongs to everyone who will LISTEN.  Unwavering honesty, a giving spirit, a good example ~ these are all ways by which we spread light to the world around us.   

HIS mission was to strengthen and live by God’s laws.  If they could be changed, there would have been no need for HIS sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.  HE came to explain those laws and teachings and to show their true meaning by HIS life.

Strive to reflect the character of God.  Learning to love will expand our hearts and minds, allowing us to understand more about God, love more like God, and become more like HIM.  

Impure thoughts cloud our understanding of spiritual things.  It is another form of selfishness, which always keeps us away from God.  God forgives those who repent, but the soul is damaged.  Until we stop putting self first, we can never understand God’s eternal love for us, HIS children.

Jesus knew that in a sinful world, there would ALWAYS be conflicts and wars.  Human plans for peace will ultimately fail because they do not address the HUMAN heart [Jeremiah 17:9].

The only real power for true peace in this world or in our hearts is ~ JESUS.

Jesus talked about the real pain believers feel when they realize their sinful decisions placed Jesus on the cross.  It is the sadness we feel when the Holy Spirit causes us to understand that every time we choose not to follow HIM, we wound HIM.  Sadness that leads people to turn away from sin and selfishness.  Jesus offers comfort also for those who are sad because of pain, suffering, or loss.  Through suffering, God shows us the weaknesses in our characters and offers HIS power to help us become a new creation in HIM.  

HE is with us in our difficult times, and promises that something good can come from our suffering.  We need not lose our hold on Jesus because of anger or worry when troubles come.  The way may seem dark and sad, but through it God Almighty is leading us to eternal joy.

If we have humility as Jesus did, we can overlook people’s critical remarks or annoying habits.  When we deal with other people’s anger or meanness calmly, we allow God Almighty to show Himself through us.  Even though others may scoff, true humility means knowing who you are ~ a child of God ~ and how important and valuable that makes you.  Humility is the key to a successful Christian life, abiding in HIM.

Jesus sat down on the green grass, this sermon by the Sea of Galilee would especially be for the newly chosen apostles.  To help them correct their mistaken beliefs and understand what the kingdom of heaven was really about.  Jesus rarely spoke to the disciples alone.  HE took every opportunity to encourage and educate everyone who would listen.  

The disciples on the other hand were certain that HE was about to announce HIS kingdom.  The people in the crowd had the same expectations, as they sat on the green hillside filled with dreams of national glory.  The poor farmers and fishermen hoped to trade in their broken-down homes and simple food for mansions and feasts.  Even the Pharisees and rabbis who were there to spy on Jesus, dreamed of the day when they would rule over the Romans and enjoy the riches of the world’s greatest empire.  

Jesus had come to promise them a different kingdom.  HE simply explained to them what kind of people would be welcomed in heaven.  Letting them conclude for themselves what kind of kingdom that must be.  Only the humble at heart can accept the gift of salvation.  Nothing will keep God Almighty from reaching the person who feels a need and asks for help.  The kingdom of heaven can belong to us if we recognize that Jesus paid the price.  Jesus alone can give us the strength and will to follow HIM.

Jesus did not choose angels to lead out in the work of reaching fallen, sinful humans.  He chose people who understood the struggle to surrender, people who showed in their lives what HE had done in their hearts.  As Jesus showed by becoming human, both the human and the divine are needed to bring salvation to our world.  The human followers of Jesus must have HIS divine power in their hearts to bring HIS gospel to others.  

The same One who called fishermen from Galilee, is calling people to do HIS work today.  However imperfect and sinful we are, Jesus offers to teach us and train us to become like HIM.  Connected to HIM, we can do the works of God Almighty.  

All around us are people who are filled with doubt, who do not have enough faith to understand and believe in Someone they cannot see.  But we can be there for them.  Each of us can be someone whose love they can see.  We can connect their weak faith to Jesus.  

God communicates to humans through humans.  Precisely the reason Jesus became a HUMAN.  With our lives surrendered to HIM, angels can speak through our voices to share God’s love for fallen humanity.

God takes people as they are and trains them to do His work if they are willing to learn, surrender, and CHANGE.  The more they learn about Jesus, the more they become like Him.  

The apostles were all very different people:  Matthew, the tax collector; Simon the angry fanatic; impulsive Peter; mean-spirited Judas; Thomas ~ faithful, but frightened and shy; doubtful Philip; the outspoken, sometimes violent James and John, along with all the others.  Mixed together, with the usual human tendencies to selfishness and evil, they should have exploded against each other.  But they had Jesus in common and so they shared love and faith in HIM.  

In the years after Jesus was gone, they had differences of opinion, but with Jesus in their hearts they did not argue and fight.  The closer they were to Jesus, the closer they were to each other, and the more they agreed.  

Early that morning, after instructing them, Jesus gathered that small group close to HIM.  He knelt with them and placed His hands on their heads as He prayed and dedicated each one of them to HIS holy mission.  

Judas, his charm and appearance had led the apostles to believe him becoming an asset to the church.  Hence, they recommended him to Jesus.  Judas was accepted in the group, his story shows us the danger of using worldly standards when measuring a person’s readiness in sharing the Gospel.  He witnessed Jesus’ unselfish love every day and felt the call to surrender his heart to the Savior.  

Although Jesus could read the selfishness in Judas’ heart and see what, unless converted, it would lead him to do, He would never have sent Judas away while there was even the smallest chance to save him.  

Judas had the same opportunities as the other disciples.  But living God’s way conflicted with his plans and desires.  He would not surrender his will to God.  With great tenderness, Jesus reached out to Judas day after day, even though He knew that Judas would betray Him.  While protecting his privacy, Jesus showed Judas over and over that He could read his heart.  He warned him about the dangers of greed and selfishness, but Judas would not let go of his selfish ways.  He held on to his evil desires, his longing for revenge, and his dark thoughts until Satan completely controlled him.  

If Judas had given his heart to Jesus, he might have been one of the leaders of the apostles and of the new church they would create.  But his selfish ambition to have power disqualified him to do God’s work.  

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