Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (Matthew 6:1-2)
It might seem incredible that people in Jesus’ ministry were practicing charitable deeds who were motivated to do so because they wanted to be acknowledged by others. But it might not seem all that incredible when we think about how the motives behind this is the human nature, pride.
Have you ever been annoyed about something but hesitated to say something because you felt that others might see it as something so little or view us as being too fussy? But you can’t quite help yourself but be unhappy at the situation presented to you each time. Gradually this sense of dissatisfaction gathers momentum and weighs like a tonne of resentment ready to roll and knock down the person whose fault we think it is.
One thing I am really joyful about is that the instructions from the Bible teach us the best way to tell people the little things that bother us without ruining our relationships. I have learned this from personal encounters with people who deal with problems in such a way, and when I looked into the Bible indeed it is rooted in the Scriptures. Continue reading
Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? (Prov 24:11-12)
On reading this proverb, you can’t help but think of how closely it is related to the saving of souls through evangelising. It can also be applied to pastoring fellow believers who are needing our reminders when they are graduallly deviating away from the teachings of the gospel.
Paul was a brother in Christ, a worker of God, and indeed a sincere servant. Whenever he saw something was not right, he felt a deep compulsion to tell people where they were going wrong and how they should correct their ways. It was not that Paul was self-righteous and perfect. Though Paul tried really hard to pursue after righteousness, he never once felt that he was completely righteous and perfect before God. Continue reading
Yes, “Consider” does appear five times in Haggai.
Historical background to Haggai: Groups of Jews had returned to Jerusalem after being in exile and started the work of rebuilding the temple. Unfortunately, sixteen years after they started, they stopped. Part of the reason why they stopped was because there was opposition to the work. Those opposed to the work had written to King Artaxerxes, who in turn gave authority to the opposition to stop the Jews’ work by force of arms:
Now give the command to make these men cease, that this city may not be built until the command is given by me. Take heed now that you do not fail to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the kings? Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read… they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease. Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased… (Ezra 4:21-24)
Keeping the historical background in mind, it is quite strange the way God speaks to His people:
Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ‘ Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” (Hag 1:2-4)
So now when we put the two passages together, we realise the people’s work on the temple was stopped because of opposition. But the problem was they just left it at that. It was like, “Alright, there’s opposition. We can’t help it. Maybe it’s just not the time.” Gradually they began to focus only on making a life for themselves rather than busy themselves in rebuilding the temple. Continue reading
The passage in Exodus 30.34-38 is about incense, so it connects with Revelation 5.8, where incense refers to prayers. So the extract can point out something about our prayers.
1. Each spice must be of equal amounts
2. These spices form a compound
3. The compound are made according to the art of the perfumer
4. With the spices, salt is added
5. Compound is beaten until very fine
6. Some of it is to be placed before the ark
7. The incense is to be holy and pure. Continue reading