INTERESTING FACTS :
William Penn, English Quaker leader and advocate of religious freedom, who oversaw the founding of the American Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a refuge for Quakers and other religious minorities of Europe.[1
"Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. . . . But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn. . . .Though good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want [lack] good men and be abolished or invaded by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer [allow] ill ones. "[2
Daily Reading : MATTHEW 7 - 8
TEXT : Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Mat 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Mat 7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Mat 7:10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
THEME : PRAYER
Sermon on the Mount
"After spending a night in solemn meditation and prayer in the lonely mountain-range to the west of the Lake of Galilee (Luk_6:12), on the following morning our Lord called to him his disciples, and from among them chose twelve, who were to be henceforth trained to be his apostles (Mar_3:14, Mar_3:15). After this solemn consecration of the twelve, he descended from the mountain-peak to a more level spot (Luk_6:17), and there he sat down and delivered the "sermon on the mount" (Matt. 5-7; Luke 6:20-49) to the assembled multitude. The mountain here spoken of was probably that known by the name of the "Horns of Hattin" (Kurun Hattin), a ridge running east and west, not far from Capernaum. It was afterwards called the "Mount of Beatitudes." [Easton's Illustrated Bible Dictionary][3
"The Sermon was evidently addressed, primarily, to the disciples of Jesus. This is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists. According to Matthew, Jesus, "seeing the multitudes,... went up into the mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them." The separation from the multitudes and the direction of His words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke's account the distinction is less marked. Here the order of events is: the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of His disciples and a great number of people from Judea, Jerusalem and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words, "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said," is that his address was intended especially for the latter. This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the "salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew's account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed.
It is hardly proper to speak of the Sermon on the Mount as a digest of the teaching of Jesus, for it does not include any reference to some very important subjects discussed by our Lord on other occasions in the course of His ministry. It is, however, the most comprehensive and important collection or summary of His sayings that is preserved to us in the gospel record. For this reason the Sermon properly holds in Christian thought the first place of esteem among all the New Testament messages. As an exposition of the ideal life and the program of the new society which Jesus proposed to create, its interpretation is of the deepest interest and the profoundest concern." [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia][4
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "IT IS REASONABLE TO BELIEVE."
The Sermon on the Mount is without question one of Jesus most recognized teachings. In it, He condenses the fundamental teachings of the New Testament, the New Creature, and the Kingdom to come. In three chapters, the essence of being a follower of Christ is summarized. This is accentuated by the fact this "sermon" was given to His disciples from whom He chose twelve to be Apostles.
On the subject of prayer, He teaches on humility, secrecy, and formulates the principles of New Covenant praying in one dissertation we know as "The Our Father." [Matthew 6:1-13] These principles, when followed by [true] disciples, yield the rewards of answers from the Father in concrete form. In other words, when a true follower of Christ asks, seeks, or knocks, the Father responds by giving a positive, favorable, and agreeable result in the life of the believer. In a colloquial expression, we say - "prayer changes things."
Keeping in mind, these teachings are for disciples [the primary New Testament word to describe a Christian - used about 250 times] Jesus reasons with you. He states that if you, being "evil" [a strong term to describe any person, much less, we would think - a disciple] will give good gifts to your children, how much more will your [perfect] Father give you good things. He then reasons, that no man or woman will hand out an inedible stone when a child asks for bread, or a poisonous snake when he or she asks for a fish. Naturally, God - the author of every suitable and beneficial need, will give good things to His disciples. The comparison of Man versus God is the application of logic and meets with no resistance from the rational mind.
Therefore, when you pray to God, pray in confidence as a disciple of Christ. When you ask, expect to receive, keeping in mind the illustration used by Christ - even evil Man will not give something harmful to his or her own child. Thus, your Father will give you every good and perfect gift since He is infinitely good!
"Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining what we need. Pray; pray often; make a business of prayer, and be serious and earnest in it. Ask, as a beggar asks alms. Ask, as a traveller asks the way. Seek, as for a thing of value that we have lost; or as the merchantman that seeks goodly pearls. Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door. Sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer we knock. Whatever you pray for, according to the promise, shall be given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would you have more? This is made to apply to all that pray aright; every one that asketh receiveth, whether Jew or Gentile, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, master or servant, learned or unlearned, all are alike welcome to the throne of grace, if they come in faith. It is explained by a comparison taken from earthly parents, and their readiness to give their children what they ask. Parents are often foolishly fond, but God is all-wise; he knows what we need, what we desire, and what is fit for us. Let us never suppose our heavenly Father would bid us pray, and then refuse to hear, or give us what would be hurtful." [Matthew Henry][5