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Karl Cassel

Scripture Journal

1. Matthew 5:1-12
This particular passage of scripture is one that I am quite familiar
with, however, certain groups of people that Jesus called out to in
these verses were given new meaning and understanding to me. First,
as I looked into verse five, which mentions the meek inheriting the
earth, I found the definition of the word meek to describe those who
are easily imposed upon and submissive. This definition emphasized
the social characteristics of people of this nature who God then says
will be blessed by inheriting the earth. The stark differences between
those that the world puts into power and the definition of one that is
meek are so drastic, it highlights Gods blessing upon those that are
looked down at. Secondly, I became interested in verse six in which
God blesses those that hunger and thirst for righteousness. Not only
is this a spiritual longing people posses, but a representation of the
physical and biological necessity of food and water being essential to
human life. This connection I was able to put together helped me more
fully grasp the longing many people have to truly experience God in
His fullness and righteousness. Gods promise to fill them is so simple,
yet it takes on a fuller meaning because of its spiritual power backed
up by the physical connection of the necessity of substance. To look on
familiar passages of scripture and find new meaning in them is
incredibly fulfilling and brings a sense of closeness to God. For this I am

2. Matthew 5:13-20
As I began to analyze this passage, I found new meaning in how
to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As the Church
of Christ, we are called by Jesus to make His name known through
sharing the Gospel, which He dedicated His life to proclaiming. First,
chemically speaking, salt is a flavor enhancer, bringing out the
different tastes of foods. Verse 13 explains the insignificance of salt if it
loses its saltiness as it should be thrown and trampled under peoples
feet. As I compared this call to my life, I realized that if I am not using
the Christian education that I have been blessed with to further the
Kingdom of God through influencing others lives, then I am wasting
my time. I also began to look at this call through second part of the
passage talking about being lights in this dark world. It is too easy to
live a life behind the scenes, blending in and going with the flow. As
Christians, we are called to be leaders, letting our light shine into
peoples different walks of life. It is so comprehensible to think that
someone would never light a lamp and then stick it under a bowl. As
Christians, we need to meet broken people where they are at and lead
by example. As we do this, our intentions and actions can spread the
love of Christ to those that truly need it.

3. Matthew 5:21-37
When I look at our culture and then compare it to the ideas being
presented in this passage, it produces a wide range of emotions and
reactions. Not only are many of these topics thought of oppositely by
society, but also they are enforced and exemplified as the norm for the
general population. Those that show anger are condemned in this
passage, being compared to murders where as in society we are told to
settle the score and take take revenge. Similarly, this passage
connects lust with committing adultery. As a man in todays society, it
is nearly impossible to avoid this subject, which is why it speaks
particularly loud to me. In my mind, I justify adultery as such a wicked
act and lust as a mild mess-up, when in reality these are considered
one in the same. Society forces images of sex, lust, and intimacy in all
the wrong ways in the faces of men. To resist this temptation and stay
grounded in the Lord requires intense steadfastness. As I looked to the
divorce section of the passage, it made me consider my future more
upfront. Divorce is real and very prevalent in society today. Looking
ahead to when I become ready for marriage, I need to be prayerfully
considering the woman God would have me to marry. This decision is
one of great importance and one that God will bless if I give it to Him
for His plan and in His timing.

4. Matthew 5:38-48
Reading this very familiar passage again brought to my attention
a few key parts that were interesting to revisit in the new stage of life I
am in. First off, I have found very few periods in my life that I would
consider having enemies. However, there will always be people in this
world that we will not get along with or that frustrate us. Reading that
we, as Christians, need to pray for those who persecute [us] is such a
foreign concept within human nature and what society says today. It
has been and still is hard for me to wrap my mind around this concept.
To go out of my way to offer up someone that is bringing stress and
grief to my life up in prayer takes an immense amount of patience and
trust in the Lord. The world tells us to take revenge, retaliate, and get
even with those that persecute us because we need to prove our
independence and strength. As I studied the text, I began to realize the
more honorable qualities were found in showing self-control, turning
the other cheek, and praying for those people. Realizations such as
this are reassuring to the fact that reading scripture multiple times can
bring new insight and understanding.

5. Matthew 6:1-18
It is one thing to say the Lords Prayer in a large worship setting,
being mumbled through repetitively and almost mindlessly. It is
another thing to have the text in front of you and be able to analyze it
and find new meaning in various parts. This prayer is foundational to
the Christian idea of prayer as Christ taught His disciples how to pray.
For myself, this prayer has never had any lasting impact or resounding
meaning in my life, however, after reading the text over a few times, I
have found some interesting parts. First off, I am always amazed at
peoples faith in the phrase your will be done because it makes the
point that so much of life is completely out of our control. I often
struggle with coming to terms with this fact as I feel the need to be in
control of my future. Secondly, the phrase lead us not into
temptation is interesting because God would not actually tempt us,
but instead we are asking for help in our daily walks to flee from
temptation. Daily, we should be striving to be more like Christ;
however, this is impossible without continually denying ourselves and
returning to Him for forgiveness and help.

6. Matthew 6:19-34
This passage is one of my favorites because of its applicability to
myself in dealing with some very fundamental parts of life. Too often I
forget that God is in control and has a unique plan for my life. Why is
this concept so hard to remember and take rest in? There is something
reassuring in these words: Look at the birds of the air: they neither
sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds
them. Are you not of more value than they? As I think to the provision
and faithfulness God shows to His people, I then remember the
intricate parts of nature and life that God orchestrates. Then I love how
this passage ends by reminding us to keep our focus on the Kingdom of
God. This should be our ultimate goal in life as we learn that nothing
else in this life matters. A clear focus on eternal life and reaching the
lost that they may know of the future joys are some of the most vital
parts to living a Christian life. I pray that I may see the opportunities
God provides to share the Kingdom of God with the lost. There should
be no excuse to deny the Kingdom of God to anyone because it is the
ultimate goal. I look forward to the day when I will spend eternal life
with Christ.

7. Matthew 7:1-12
Why is the Golden Rule so difficult to implement into my life? I
often wrestle with the concept of treatment of others in this respect
and find this an extremely difficult way to go about this. Do I think
about myself first and then treat others that way or do I think of others
and then treat myself that way and let that determine my actions? As I
read this passage I began to think more about this concept and what it
looks like to live like this, being an example to those I come in contact
with. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that if we lived in a world
where we treated and respected others, as we desire to be treated by
those around us, then the change would be dramatic. I desire to be
respected by others and looked to for guidance, help, love, and advice.
In the same way, I need to be those things to others around me who
need it. I am an absent minded person, so I pray that God reveals the
people around me who are struggling and hurting so I can show His
love to them, in the same way I know people will love me.

8. Matthew 7:13-20
As I read this passage I could almost see the heading changing
from A Tree and Its Fruits to Beware based on the warning-like
descriptions. I began to picture in my head actual people going through
their daily lives and when they did a good deed or action healthy fruit
began to rain down on them and when someone did an evil act or
wronged another, rotten fruit fell out of the sky on them. Although this
is not quite what the passage was intended to portray, it served its
purpose in my mind. As far as a warning goes, however, this does
remind me of my responsibility in representing the Kingdom of God and
all that Christianity stands for. So much of the way we are to live as
Christians is by setting an example in our daily lives. This is not as easy
as it sounds because for myself, I feel that I am constantly surrounded
by people who, consciously or not, are learning from me and taking in
my persona. As I am reminded of my responsibility from this passage, I
am also encouraged and motivated to spread the love of Christ
through my actions and bear good, healthy fruit.

9. Matthew 7:21-29
Taking the story of the houses built on the rock and the sand in
the hyper-familiar form and attempting to see it from a different angle
is the approach I took with this passage. It was probably one of the first
Bible story songs I learned in Sunday school so I categorize it with the
many other foundational teaching stories of the Bible that those of us
that have grown up in the church know all too well. However, there is
truth in these depictions and we can learn from Christ through them. I
have never really taken notice of the fact that Jesus is using the
persons of the builder on the rock and sand to emphasize the point to
listen to Him and act upon His words. This whole story is pointing to
this fact in order for people to better understand Christs character and
the strength and security that can be found in Him. It is hard to put
myself in the people of this times shoes and experience Jesus first
hand. I like to think I would understand all Christs teachings and follow
Him, however, at this time, He was teaching a pretty radical way of life.
Taking scripture in its most raw form reveals more fully the true nature
of the Trinity and its role in the Gospel.