1. Being reminded that God rewards those who seek first the kingdom of God and seek to please Him challenged and encouraged me to maintain a single-minded focus—Living kingdom minded versus earthly minded.
Side note #1: In the 1991 movie City Slickers, the old cowboy, Curly, advises Mitch on how to face his problems: by singling out the “one thing” that is most important in life. At the time, I was conflicted thinking—how can you pick just one? I was looking at the many roles we have to play in life. That scene stuck with me. Not too many years later, I got it.
Side note #2: I just saw a picture (in my mind or spirit) of a cheerleader in a church meeting, circling the seating area, pumping pom-poms overhead, chanting “You’re number one! You’re number one!” to the Lord. She drew stares until a few decided to join her in the march. At first I was thinking people stared and didn’t join in because they thought what she was doing was inappropriate. Then I thought, “No, it simply isn’t true in their lives. So they can’t join in.”
Now, back to the task at hand…excerpts from the notes I made during the lecture: (Some are my own thoughts and some are what the lecturer said. Or at least what I thought she said.)
True righteousness is a heart condition.
Giving, praying, and fasting were expected because the quotes begin with, “When you…” rather than “If you…”
Giving—the issue is how and why. It should be because of compassion, a generous, loving heart, and the result of seeing a need.
Tooting our own horn might be done today by having a plaque posted in the church or putting a check directly into the pastor’s hand.
Praying—the verses don’t mean we should never pray publicly. It means, the motivation should not be to make a spectacle of yourself. “Those who pray publicly the most probably pray privately the least.”
Vain repetitions can be using filler words such as Father, Father God, Lord, etc. while we are thinking of what we want to say next. In that case, it can be considered using God’s name in vain. It is dishonoring to Him.
Highly recommended: Pray aloud as a means to keep our minds from wandering.
Daily bread—not just physical sustenance, but spiritual sustenance as well.
Lead us not into temptation—Lord, help me avoid the pitfalls I will encounter today.
Fasting—no heavy sighs so others will ask what is wrong. Pharisees fasted twice each week and made sure others could tell.
We are so tempted to live earthbound. This is temporary.
Most of what we worry about has to do with material possessions.
We are commanded not to worry about our lives. Worry is a lack of faith in God’s care.
We can only serve one master. Seek first His kingdom, and all these other things…
2. Good summary: Jesus’ cares how and why we “give, pray, fast and do ‘acts of righteousness.'”
When we talk to a human—even if it’s not in person, “we never repeat empty phrases.” We also don’t “say the person’s name over and over. Real prayer treats God as a real person.”
I believe the Lord loves it when we pour out our heart to Him. I’m more of a letter writer, so I usually pour it out that way.
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