27 February 2015

This 'n' That

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (Matthew 6:1-2)

When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (Matthew 6:5)

Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (Matthew 6:16)
This photo has nothing to do with the
discussion, I just thought it was fun.
I think about these warnings often, though surely not often enough. Though they are here found in the context of giving, prayer, and fasting, they nevertheless can be applied across other actions as well. Boasting and bragging proceed naturally out of our fallen nature. All of us, at one time or another, have desired that others would notice our good deeds, wise words, or "humble" behavior. As we are sanctified, we recoil from these sinful desires (think Romans 7), yet that does not mean they cease to tempt us.

Everyone likes to be acknowledged, and while it is not wrong to praise someone for a job well done, should such praise be something we seek, or should we simply be content in knowing that we have served God well by doing something with the motivation of honoring Him?
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:3-4)

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; ​and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:17-18)
There, nestled firmly in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, is the answer. Christian, let us be quick to encourage one another, but let us not selfishly seek the praise of men, for it is far better to hear, "Well done," from our heavenly Master, than to hear the same from men whose influence is temporary.

Of course, this does not mean I don't appreciate each encouraging comment that is left here on the blog, or is communicated via some other means, so I thank you again for those! And I hope that you are challenged and blessed by some of these links as you enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • Andy Stanley has been raising eyebrows lately with his newest sermon series, Brand: New. Considering what emerged from his pulpit a couple of years ago (see here for his "microcosm of the church" and here for his views on Adam and Eve), I'm totally unsurprised by what he's saying now. Here is one and then another article by Philip Lee detailing his concerns with Stanley's latest teachings.
  • Carl Trueman on the bondage of pornography.
  • Watch out for those 9 volt batteries.
  • Because Charisma never fails to post something stupid.
  • This picture really made me wish I'd been able to join No Compromise Radio on their trip to Israel.
  • John MacArthur discusses the roles of men and women.
  • I don't know which Jesus this guy is following.
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Fascinating. (See the comments below for the background on this link. Hint, it's an updated link from the original posting.)
  • I learned the word "mantilla" this week.
  • Sinclair Ferguson preaching, "Why am I a Christian" (HT: No Compromise Radio)


  1. I saw that article about the mantilla earlier this week and found it quite interesting. My wife chose to wear a mantilla rather than a veil for our wedding (1976). She had seen one and thought they were very pretty. (She also made her own wedding dress).

  2. Sister, the "Fascinating" link above shows a frozen garden ornament, but the truth is fascinating! What a creator God would design a frog to survive the winter! http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/frozenfrog.asp

    1. Doh! I've been duped! :-) Ah, well, it was bound to happen. Better with a pic of a frog than with a false teacher, right? But, our Creator has designed such a frog and yes, the truth is fascinating!

  3. The Alaska Tree frog is a mixture of some troth and urban legend

    1. Hi acton,
      You'll notice we addressed this in the comments above. I guess I need to run every animal picture through the Snopes test. But, I have changed the link in the original post so now it's fascinating and fully true.

  4. Thanks for the link to Sinclair Ferguson's teaching/sermon. It was so beautiful and uplifting. It's been a while since I've been brought to tears by the absolute beauty of God and His Word.

    Diana Cottle


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