Matthew 5:17-30 > Jesus Fulfills the Law - by Jeff Byerley

Jesus fulfilled the Law in every way. He perfectly obeyed the law of God, (but not every aspect of the man-made Scribal oral law, which caused controversy.) Jesus permanently met the Law's requirement for a perfect sacrifice for the sins of humankind. So all of the New and Old Testaments point to Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of the Law's requirements. Because Jesus did this on our behalf, we are free from the Law's curse and penalty. We are enabled by the Holy Spirit to worship and serve God in our hearts and lives. Jesus perfectly interpreted the meaning of God's laws so that we can understand them, again with the help of the Holy Spirit.

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Matthew 5:1-16 > The Beatitudes - by Jeff Byerley

The teaching was quite different from that of the religious leaders that was based on self works and self righteousness that puffed up their pride. The teaching Jesus gave was such that it was impossible to meet God's standards. It drew attention that it would take a divine power to enable any where near achieving. They remind us that life is short with much suffering. Therefore we are to look to God to provide something better.

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Matthew 4:12-25 > Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry- by Jeff Byerley

However, when the call came they responded at once. Indeed their becoming disciples was quite unusual. Someone looking to become a disciple would normally approach a rabbi and make an offer of service. The rabbi might then take this disciple on for a period. If the disciple was found satisfactory, the relationship would continue. But Jesus call was quite different. “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” it was a command with a sure promise.

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Matthew 4:1-11 > Satan Tempts Jesus- by Jeff Byerley

Whilst Jesus was in a weakened state, it still seems incredible that Satan thought he could implant doubts in Jesus' mind about who he was and being loved by the Father. Jesus had just heard the Father declare publicly “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt.3:17). Finally Satan offers the kingdoms of the world to Jesus. Whilst Satan has some control for a time over these kingdoms, they are not his to give away but the Father (Cf. Ps 121:1-2). Indeed, Satan is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Moreover, Jesus is to receive the kingdoms from the Father anyway (Cf. Psalm 2). Jesus' reply and then command over Satan showed his end was in sight!

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Matthew 2:13-23 > Seeking Jesus - by Jeff Byerley

In March 4 AD Herod fell ill and went to his palace in Jericho. He had ordered the execution of influential Jews in Jerusalem in the event of his death. He did not want people to be rejoicing at his death and this plan seemed to assure that there would be families in mourning. Upon his death his sister, Salome, countermanded the order. His eldest son Archelaus inherited the major part of his kingdom of Judea, Samaria and Idumea. However, his cruel reign only lasted to 6 AD. He massacred 3,000 men of nobility in Jerusalem. Caesar Augustus, fearing a mass revolt, exiled him to Gaul.

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Confession - by Warwick Langman

Confession. It's not a word we like to hear. It means admitting fault, surrendering pride and confidence in yourself. The world around us loves independence and self-sufficiency. But we must not be swayed by the culture around us and put too high a value on these things, even if they can be good. We must be shaped by the gospel of grace, love, humility and compassion

And this is why confession is so essential. Without it we portray ourselves as the ones who decide right and wrong, who control our own destinies. We idolise ourselves.

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Causes - by Bec Bonython

God has stirred (maybe pounded!!) my heart recently to think on, devote and invest towards the things that He sees as important. Towards the things that breaks His heart.  God gave me a friendly nudge to point me in the direction of His heart. He recalled to my thoughts a couple of lines in a Christian song which go like this: 

Break my heart for what breaks Yours.  Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause.

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Beauty - by Elizabeth Reynolds

Although this is a lover speaking to his beloved, I heard the voice of God strongly in this passage. I felt encouraged that He is wanting us to leave behind the 'winter’ - spiritual troubles arising from a deep sense of the guilt of sin, the wrath of God, the curse of the law (things that would make anyone feel afraid to come to God). Jesus has removed these things from us and connected us with God's grace (flowers appearing on the earth - a time of singing).

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Leaping - by Laura Duke

We can also look forward to the day when our healing will be complete and we will be physically raised in Christ with perfect bodies in a perfect world, in perfect relationship with God our Heavenly Father. We will be like calves who have spent all winter, the only life they’ve ever known, in a stall. When the farmer comes at the start of spring to release them out to their pasture, they have no real understanding of what awaits them, but when they get there, they jump and leap and run for sheer and pure joy! We can only speculate about the beauty of heaven and eternity with God, the trinity. But we have this assurance that we will “go out leaping like calves from the stall” when we get there!

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