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Understand The Sermon On The Mount-C is all about priorities. Jesus lets us know without question, who is number one in our lives. 

Understand The Sermon On The Mount-C1

Harmony Of The Gospels Series 13, Mt 6

For more information about Jesus see these books on the History of Jesus Christ.

Also, consider these best-sellers for more detailed analysis of The Sermon On The Mount

Sometimes it's good to examine our priorities and see what really matters to us. It's an embarrassment for me to admit to you I was 35 years old before I did this. I bounced around from fling to fling, frustrated at how little I'd accomplished and always feeling out of control. Ever felt that way? We had the 'American Dream' a nice house, 2 new cars, a boat and money in the bank, but I felt empty, frustrated, like something was missing. Have you ever noticed how hard we work for the next thing just to have it become invisible and meaningless once we get it? It could be the next house, car, spouse, title, degree, million $, it doesn't matter…it won't be enough. Sadly, at the end, no one says on their death bed, "I wish I'd gotten that hilltop mansion." It's usually, "I wish I'd spent more time with my spouse, my children or my God." A friend of mine spent all his spare time building a house for his family to live in. He wanted it right, so he and his wife did most of the work personally, even hand-making tools for some of the detail work. Finally, they got the permit to move in, but they were no longer a family. His daughter had grown up and his wife lived in another house. He had devoted all his time and attention for 20 years to building the perfect house, instead of building his relationship with his life partner. She doesn't want a divorce but she doesn't want the marriage. He's left with putting the finishing touches on a house the family will never truly occupy.

Replace the word 'house' in this story with 'career, car, money, church, diploma, power, child, parents, etc.' and it becomes our story…your story…my story. It all depends on what's important to us, what our life priorities are, what our eyes are set on. I remember when this first became clear to me, an epiphany of sorts. I was still very much into worldliness, smoking, drinking, overeating, chasing money with my full attention. My business had just picked up a new product that claimed to make you much more productive. It was a planning system based on your values and goals. I couldn't sell something I didn't use, so I dropped my other planner and began with this one. The first step was to decide what was important enough in my life to actually drive how I lived and what I spent my time on. I made my list. The next step was to define each item on the list and prioritize the list. It was harder than I thought, taking 3 whole days of uninterrupted work. 'Loving God' somehow got on my list, but He was number 6 or 7, below family, health, Integrity, etc. For some reason, I couldn't leave Him there. I reasoned that loving God was why I valued integrity, health, family. Finally, He became my top priority, and my life was dramatically changed. Drinking, smoking, a Government career and unhealthy lifestyle all fell from my life like an old layer of skin. I rededicated my life to Jesus, began reading His Word and started the path that led to becoming a minister. Now, 12 years later, I wouldn't trade my life for any other. Every important aspect of my life is so much better, the former life seems like it's really just someone else I read about. My life didn't change because I prioritized it with this special planner; it changed because God had become number one priority.

Because He was my top priority, I had given Him all He needed to make me everything I was designed to be…my permission. The blessings flowed because I was no longer blocking the way. That's what chapter 6 in Mt is all about. What our priorities are. In this chapter, Jesus gives His disciples, us, a rule of life:

Rule of life # 1: When God's place is first place everything else falls into place.

Jesus lets us know where our priorities should be by comparing God-vs-People and how they think of us, God-vs-Money and the things money can buy, God-vs-Cares-the little worries of life.

Give In Secret:

1. God-vs-People: Vs 1-18 Jesus discusses the motive behind giving to God, prayer and fasting. In all 3 cases, He says not to do this to impress people with how spiritual, holy or mature we are. He says, if we do, our only reward will come from those we're trying to impress. I think we all know how much reward that is. But that's what we do, isn't it? We'll do or say almost anything to get people to think highly of us. Let me help you with something a wise man told me once…they don't think of you at all! They're too busy thinking about what you think of them. Even after my life-changing experience putting God in top priority, I found my behavior didn't always measure up to my lofty goal. Ever been there? One area I found God kept slipping out of first place was my ministry career.

Continued at Understand Sermon On The Mount-C2

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