[ editor note – The first try at this post flailed miserably. It’s been torn apart and burned. Here is the second attempt. ]
Are you a Christian? If so you might want to study the cover of this book The Purging Lutheran gave to a local Christian bookshop in Central Indiana. This book is a study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Wikipedia sez this about the sermon:
The Sermon on the Mount (anglicized from the Matthean VulgateLatin section title: Sermo in monte) is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus Christ, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew (chapters 5, 6 & 7).
The cover tells you the number of verses dedicated to the following topics:
1. Relating to others (30)
2. Righteousness and righteous behavior (21)
3. Money and finances (18)
4. Prayer and spiritual disciplines (17)
5. Sharing the Good News (8)
6. False prophets and recognizing fruit (6)
7. End times (5)
A past pastor of mine once said if you want to know what is important to God, look how many times He mentions it in the Bible. Many times? Important. Fewer times? Still important but not as urgent.
1 – Jesus, first and foremost, wants us to have good relations with others as He has with us. If we have a desire to change others’ lives it is tough to do as strangers.
2 – It doesn’t matter if we know our neighbors if we don’t show them we mean what we say. Our behavior needs to be the outward expression of our beliefs.
3 – How we make our money, without greed or idolatry, and how we spend our money, without pride and lavishness, shows trust in ourselves and respect for authorities. Face it, money does make the world go ‘round and we all need it to live. Despite what you read about fancy-dan preachers and extravagant lifestyles, that behavior is just a teensy slice of the Church’s money pie.
4 – Talking and listening to God is the way we learn to overcome our faults. Using our gifts from God wisely strengthens our bonds between us and Him as well as creating the obligation we have with those next to us.
5 – Gaining trust with others through 1, 2, 3 and 4 makes it easier for us to share the Gospel with them.
6 – Knowing scripture makes it easier to ferret out those lies which Satan mixes with the truth to deceive us and others.
7 – The End Times? They’re coming anyway and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. Prepare yourself for The Great and Terrible Day of The Lord and you’ll be just fine in the long run.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.