Archive for the ‘Matthew’ Tag

Insider Trading, The Jesus Way

A Trinitarian, Christ-Centered Interpretation of Matthew 6:19-34

(19) I have an insider investment tip for you:  Your 401(k) isn’t as solid as you think; it’s tied up in assets that have no future, so get out now.  (20) Earth, Inc. is getting taken over by New Creation Corp.  It’s a done deal, but most people don’t know about it yet.  In the end, New Creation will be the only stock worth owning anyway, and it’s 100% guaranteed against depreciation and theft. It’s time to start dealing in the currency of the future – Love.

(21) By the way, your investment portfolio perfectly reveals what you actually believe in. (22) Your whole body lives according to whatever it is you fix your eye upon, whatever it is that fills your vision.  If your eye is healthy and clear, fixed on the things that matter, you get filled up with truth, and you live according to reality. (23) But if you fill your vision instead with a bunch of products you want to purchase, it blocks out the light, and you live in the dark. (24) I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking about ‘balancing’ your devotion to Papa and to Mammon.  You can forget that idea right now.  There’s no such thing as a person who makes sacrifices at both altars.  You have to choose.  Pick your god and quit waffling.

(25) The secret is this: Just chill out.  Really.  Don’t even stress about the necessities of life, like food and clothing.  To worry is to be out-of-touch with the real world.  (26) Birds know this.  They don’t even have jobs; they just enjoy feasting every day from Papa’s own hand.  Can you imagine the possibility that he cares for you at least that much? (27) Worrying – even about the basics of life – is a complete waste of time.  (28) Flowers know this.  Do you see them raising and shearing sheep, spinning yarn and weaving clothes for themselves? (29) Yet not even the most super of supermodels is so well-dressed. (30) Flowers live for a day, and Papa clothes them wondrously for that whole day. Can you imagine the possibility that he just might take such good care of you?  Can you look outside your blindness, see with my eyes and glimpse the truth?

(31) So again I say, chill out about things like food and drink and clothing. (32) Those who worry about such things don’t know the first thing about reality.  What’s real is the simple fact that YOUR DAD is in the driver’s seat of the world, and he’s well aware of your needs.  (33) Take all that energy you used to spend worrying, and spend it on New Creation instead.  Share in my work of setting the world right by earthing the Triune life within it.  And along the way, you and me, we’ll dress like flowers and eat like birds. (34) We will face today’s challenges today and tomorrow’s challenges tomorrow.

~ John Stonecypher

Healthy Habits for Living Loved: #1 – Secrecy

A Trinitarian Paraphrase of Matthew 6:1-16

(6.1) As you live out the Triune goodness in your life, beware the temptation to use it to impress people.  If love is a means to some other end, it is not love. (2) If ulterior motives are intruding into your attempts at love, try exercising the discipline of secrecy. For example, when you give to the poor, don’t publicize it. If you do it for publicity, publicity is all you’ll get.  You want more than that; you want to share in the Triune life of self-giving love. (3) So when you give to the poor, be sneaky about it.  Try to make it so nobody knows but you and Papa. (4) As this practice of secrecy kills off your ulterior motives, you will become more able to experience the joy of giving.

(5) If you want to impress people with your spiritual skills, just find a stage and perform a prayer on it.  It really works, if that is indeed what you want.  (6) But you want something more—real sharing in the eternal Triune conversation.  If your desire to impress people is poisoning your prayer life, try praying in private behind a closed door, where those ulterior motives won’t get in the way.  (7) And remember, our relationship with Papa is not magic.  There are no magic words or phrases that you need to use in order to make it ‘work.’  Long prayers are no better than short ones, and vice versa. (8) Don’t be like that.  Papa knows what you need even before you ask.

(9) You want me to teach you how to pray?  It’s REALLY complicated.  Watch this:

Hi, Papa.  We’re so happy you’re the one who’s running things.  You are wonderful to us; nothing compares to you. (10) More than anything else, we long for the day when the whole world will know you fully and happily work at your side. (11) But in the meantime, take care of our needs today. (12) Help us to share in your cheerful love for us and for everyone, despite the bad choices we will all make today. (13) Help us to respond wisely to today’s little trials, so that they won’t grow into big trials for tomorrow.  Help us to not believe lies today.

(14) Papa’s forgiveness is a funny thing: we receive it by giving it away to others. (15) When you refuse to give forgiveness to others, you are refusing to receive it from Papa. Not a real shrewd move.

(16) Anyway, back to the thing about secrecy… When you fast, don’t advertise what you’re doing.  That will work if you want to build a reputation as a ‘spiritual person,’ but that’s all you’ll get. (17) Instead, try being an undercover faster.  Wash your face and do your hair, (18) so it won’t be obvious you’re fasting.  The secrecy will kill off your ulterior motives, so that they won’t get in the way as you learn to live on Something other than bread alone.

~ John Stonecypher

To Live Greatly in My Kingdom (Part 2)

A Trinitarian-Incarnational interpretation of Matthew 5.33-48

(33) They say “Keep the promises you make in Papa’s name.” (34) But I say, don’t make promises like that. It is meaningless to make promises invoking heaven or earth (35) or Jerusalem (36) or your head, because none of these things are under your control. (37) Instead, speak simply. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Verbal manipulation is just another way of lying.

(38) They say “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (39) But I say, when you face evil, confront it with the infinitely creative resources of the Triune life. Fight or Flight are not your only options. Don’t take to Fighting. Don’t take to Flight. Instead, take a Stand. Make peace aggressively. For example, let’s say you get bullied on the street. When the bully hits you on the right cheek, he is counting on you to either run away or hit him back. So do something unexpected, like offering him your left cheek, inviting him to hit you again. When you refuse to play the bully’s game, it opens up all kinds of new possibilities, even the possibility of peace and reconciliation. Because of my love for evildoers, I am taking on a cross. Follow me, and I will teach you how to take a punch.

(40) Or let’s say you get sued. You could play the victim and simply acquiesce to the other’s demands, boohoo, poor little victim. Or you could lawyer up and join him in the litigation game. But why not try something more creative? Don’t lose your shirt. Instead, GIVE him the shirt off your back. Heck, give him all your clothes, and maybe then he’ll get over his weird fetish for suing the pants off people.

(41) Or let’s say a soldier forces you to carry his stuff a mile down the road. You could play the role of the tragically oppressed, carrying his stuff and internally whimpering about the injustice of it all. OR what about this: Cheerfully carry his stuff two miles and then send him on his way with blessings in Papa’s name. That will certainly give him something to think about.

(42) Or let’s say a beggar crosses your path. You usually do your best to ignore him, or failing that, you give him some change so that he’ll leave you alone. Instead, remember he is Papa’s beloved child, just like you are. Manage your money in such a way that you’ll always have a little something to give (or loan) to him. If you don’t like that situation, maybe that will motivate you to look into the reasons why your brothers and sisters are starving to death on the streets.

(43) They say “Love your friends and hate your enemies.” (44) But I say love your enemies. Join in the Trinity’s life of outgoing concern and compassion for those people who are out to get you. (45) Living as Papa’s child means sharing in his kindness toward all people, regardless of how they act toward you. Whether you love or hate our Papa, he causes the sun to warm you and the rain to cool you. It is his great joy to do so. Join us in our joy. (46) Even total jerks love the people who are nice to them. (47) If you are opening your life to only a few privileged people who are just like you, then you are missing out on the adventure Papa is unleashing in the world. (48) Papa is giving sonship to all people, extending to everyone the life of perfect love he shares with me in the Spirit. So get on board. Become an active participant in the harmonious perfection of the incarnate Triune life which is Papa’s gift to all.

~ John Stonecypher

To Live Greatly in My Kingdom

A Trinitarian Christ-centered interpretation of Matthew 5.17-32…

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not here to negate Torah.  I’m here to do what Torah wanted to do but couldn’t. (18) Every syllable of Torah is there for a purpose, and every single one of them will see its mission accomplished 100%. You can count on that more than you can count on the stars staying in the sky. (19)  I have given you my kingdom; my reign is in your midst.  But to obey me just a little bit is to experience my kingdom just a little bit.  To obey me greatly is to live greatly in my kingdom. (20) I live greatly with my Papa in the Spirit; I want THAT for you, and I will not settle for anything less.  I don’t want you to miss out on ANY of this!

The religious professionals don’t know jack about the relational rightness I’m talking about, so don’t listen to them.  Listen to ME:

(21) They say “Don’t murder, or you’ll be liable to judgment.” (22) But I say you’re liable to judgment if you merely harbor resentment toward others.  If you insult them, an even harsher judgment will be necessary.  Calling someone names is a disease so serious that it can only be cured by fire, if it is to be cured at all!  The Triune Life is about more than just not murdering one another; it’s about love and peace! (23) There is no such thing as sharing in the mutual-giving of the Trinity without being reconciled to your brothers and sisters.  (24) If you have a conflict that is unresolved, go resolve it NOW.  It’s your top priority. (25) If you are being sued, do everything you can to settle the matter without going to court.  Whenever you can, you want to work through relationships, not through judicial machinery. The machine can throw you in jail (26) or bankrupt you before you even know what’s happening.

(27) They say “Don’t have sex with someone you’re not married to.” (28) But I say, to do it in your heart is just as destructive as doing it with your body.  Objectification is poison both for you and for your victim, and Papa has zero tolerance for the poisoning of his children. (29) No surgery is too drastic to cut malignant sexual cancers from your life.  (30) If any part of your life has become a doorway to sexually distorted ways of thinking and behaving, cut it off and throw it away.  If you don’t, it can destroy you.

(31) They say “Don’t divorce your wife without giving her paperwork.” (32) But I say paperwork does not make it okay to discard a woman like a pair of worn-out shoes.  In cases of extreme marital problems (unfaithfulness, for example), divorce is sometimes the best way for husband and wife to love one another.  But frivolous divorce is no better than adultery.

~ John Stonecypher

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