Breaking it Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 12

By Jenna Walmer


“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12

Sports. Music. Art. Games. Pretty much anything that requires skill requires practice. You have heard it been said, practice makes perfect. But what is key to becoming better? Just practicing once on and off and just when you’re having a good day? Of course not! People don’t become champions by practicing when it feels right. Michael Phelps didn’t win 8 gold medals by showing up to one swim practice only when he was feeling good. I’ve read a few books about this stellar athlete- he didn’t miss practice, and he practiced through whatever wrench was thrown at him. His goggles may have broke…He kept going. He was made a champion through practicing and persisting through difficult situations.

Now, how can I draw a parallel between a swimmer who is not the best role model and the Sermon on the Mount? Hmm… When Jesus talked about asking, seeking, and knocking, he was asking us to hold onto our relationship with God through everything, thick and thin. Because persistence is what strengthens our relationship. If you think about it, the opposite of persisting is giving up, and we don’t want to “give up” on God, do we?

In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. We know that building a strong relationship with God takes time. Jesus assures us that if we have faith and focus, we will be rewarded. When the going gets tough and you feel like you cannot hear or talk to God, continue to ask him for more. Keep an open door. Don’t shut it!

God wants us to continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. He wants us to come to Him when we are troubled. He doesn’t want us to go away or give up on Him. Through persistence, one will find a stronger connection with God.

However, we must understand that God will not give us “stones” or “snakes.” He will only give us what He thinks we need at the right time. God will not harm us, even if we ask for it and think it’s in our best nature. How reassuring! As we grow closer to God and know Him as a caring father, we will learn what is good for us, in His eyes, and he will grant it when we are persistent.

Jesus also discusses the Golden Rule at the end of this passage: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” This saying has been used in elementary schools for years. It’s easy to tell a child not to bully someone on the playground or not to tease a peer because he or she wouldn’t want to be treated like that. However, if you pull this statement to a larger context, like conflicts overseas that involve mass killing machines, would people react the same way? How would the military or terrorists group’s attitudes change if someone told them: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Would this change their perspective on the weaponry they hold in their hands on a daily basis?

As Michael Phelps persisted with his workout schedule and his dream of becoming a champion, many others persisted to achieve their dreams. In the wake of his birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. persisted through many marches and boycotts leading the Civil Rights Movement. The Nigerians persist daily by not giving in to responding with violence.

Jesus wants us to ask, seek, knock, and persist in our faith. Ask God for strength to be a witness for people who are being persecuted for their beliefs. Seek for wisdom on how to end violence and other atrocities in the world. Knock on the door that leads to your dreams. Persist in your faith and be patient.  God will answer. Wisdom will be found. The door will be opened. Ask. Seek. Knock. Persist. 


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast District

Jenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

 

Breaking It Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 11

By Jenna Walmer


“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” –Matthew 7:1-6

“The thing I don’t get about Christianity is that, as I grow up, I realize more and more how judgmental a lot of them are.” When talking to some friends about religious beliefs, I have heard comments such as this thrown around, even from believers themselves. I don’t necessarily disagree with them. I hear my strong Christian friends ridiculing others on what they wear and how they talk. Not to remiss disregarding people who have different beliefs or ideas then they do. We have all probably did something along these lines.

However, this is not beneficial. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to not judge others in a hypocritical way. Judgmental attitudes tear others down in order to build oneself up. We are called to discern carefully in order to help others but not in a negative way. It is a fine line that Jesus gives us. But we are NOT called to tear down others based upon their choices.

First, we are supposed to examine our own motives. The traits in others that are bothersome to us are typically resembled in our own personalities. Instead of judging others, judge yourself first and clean your own impurities. You may not see a problem with what others are doing then.

Our untamed habits, such as judging political identities or religious beliefs or criticizing ones choices, may be a reflection of what we see wrong with others. Instead of scorning another for their differences, look at the problems in yourself first. Do you find it easy to illuminate others’ faults while excusing your own? Before criticizing someone, check to see if you deserve the same.

A different way of going about this whole judgment idea is to let it go completely. I have been trying to do this for a few months now, slipping up a couple times because of the imperfections of humanity. Humans are humans, we all have flaws, and we all were created differently to be unique individuals that have our own ideas, our own set of beliefs, and our own personality. We also do not know the back story of every single human being that walks the face of the earth and why they choose what they choose. It’s perfectly acceptable for your best friend to have polar opposite points of view than you. I know my very vocal cousins and I do, but we still love each other.

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Jesus tells us to first look at ourselves, clear ourselves of our own impurities, and then “judge” others, but once we clean ourselves, others wrongdoings will probably not be there. He calls us to build people up (not ourselves), instead of tear people down. Lastly, he wants us to examine our motives for judging others. Why do we judge others? Is it to build ourselves up? Or, is it to help the other person? He wants us to forgive, love, and help our neighbor. Let us love and not judge.


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

Breaking It Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 10

By Jenna Walmer

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –Matthew 6:25-34

It’s January. For high school a student that means the first round of finals are on the way. For college students, it means a new set of classes may be starting. Worried much? You shouldn’t be. Jesus says don’t worry about what is going to happen tomorrow! Just take each day at a time and roll along because… “each day has enough trouble.” Isn’t that so true! This is one of my favorite passages. Actually, any of the passages about worrying and trusting in the Lord are my favorite. It’s just a friendly reminder that you aren’t here alone. God’s got your back.

Worrying affects many aspects in life. It troubles our health and consumes our thoughts. Our productivity can be ruined from worrying. Also, our actions toward others can turn sour due to worrying. Lastly, and the worst of all, it can reduce our ability to trust God. Think about these attributes that are caused by worrying. How many of these are you currently experiencing?

The Message says, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Trusting in God and turning to Him first is our panacea. If we worry about something, whether it is big or small, pray to Him about it. He is our comfort and our support. He will fill our thoughts will His desires instead of our petty desires.

When our thoughts are filled with Him, our planning for the future will be focused on Him as well. Trusting in God’s guidance instead of worrying about the plans will help us achieve His goals for us. People who worry about the future are filled with fear and have difficulty trusting Him. Don’t let the worries of tomorrow interfere with the plans of today.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. Let your trust in God alleviate your daily worries, the big ones and the small ones. Fulfill His dreams for you, worry free.


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

Breaking it Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 9

By Jenna Walmer

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:16-24

All around us there are signs of materialism: the newest trends of phones, clothes, makeup, and other hot items that people fall for the trap of conformity. People look forward to the newest version of phones and upgrade early so they can be the “cool kid” on the block. They change their style so they can “fit in.” But really, are they “fitting in” to God’s kingdom?

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he explains how earthly treasures destroy us. “Moth and vermin” can destroy the items and “thieves” can break in and steal it. There are so many consequences to building up a great pile of “stuff” on earth that, in reality, is temporary and vanishes once God takes our lives and we are no longer on earth.

He suggests an alternate path to take instead of purchasing a lot of “stuff” and having many earthly treasures that hurt your relationship with God. He wants us to seek eternal values and “store our treasures in heaven.” If money and possessions become too important to us, we must reestablish control over this out of control behavior and get rid of the items that are inhibiting our relationship with God.

So how do we store up our treasures in heaven? It is not limited to just tithing! It can be accomplished by doing good deeds to those in need and being obedient to God. We must seek fulfillment of God’s intentions of our lives. It is our job to live on earth to fulfill his purpose for us, because we have a “predestined plan” that he created, and he wants to see us complete it (Ephesians 1). So, to build up our treasures, seek out your plan and go for it, no matter how far out it may seem.

If we continue to build on earthly possessions, our sight for our plan will be clouded; we will only be able to see what WE want to do for ourselves. However, if we serve God in our best capacity, our vision will be restored and our spiritual vision will give us the sight to see what God wants us to do—we will have a “healthy” eye that is fixed on God and can continue to fulfill is plan for us.

Also, this portion addresses “the master.” We live in a materialistic society. But, we want to live for God. If we spend our whole life collecting and storing “stuff” that will only be left behind once we die, what good in God’s eyes did our life do? Did we fulfill his purpose?

Our main priority, and one master, should be to what doesn’t fade, what cannot be stolen, and what cannot be destroyed by moths and vermin. We should store our treasures in heaven, focus on Him, serve Him to our fullest potential, and go after His purpose. Let go of the earthly possessions because they are fog in front of you skewing your bright future. Look to God for everything because He leads us on the right path.


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.

Breaking it Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 8

By Jenna Walmer

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debt, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil on. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:5-15

It has been almost five months now since NYC. Have you been living up to the challenge of saying the Lord’s Prayer every day? I know I do not say it every single day, but it’s become almost routine. However, it is important that this unique prayer Jesus gave us in the Sermon on the Mount doesn’t lose its meaning. My youth group began writing our own Lord’s Prayer and we have also looked into other versions of the Lord’s Prayer. As the original version may become monotonous to you, try researching new versions of the prayer, in other languages, in other versions of the Bible, or write your own to see what the Lord’s Prayer means to you.

Prayer is more than just reciting one single prayer daily, or multiple times a day. It’s having a conversation with our Heavenly Father about our fears, about our thanksgivings, and about whatever you really want to say.

The Lord’s Prayer was given to us to use as a model for prayer. When we pray, we should remember to pray to praise God, for his work in the world, for our needs, and for our help with struggles. In your daily prayers, do you incorporate all of these parts that Jesus provides? Which one do you use this most?

The Lord’s Prayer can be broken down even further to understand individual parts of it. This is handy to develop your own version and to understand praying more thoroughly. Throughout the prayer, Jesus indicates that God is holy, yet personal and loving. He then notes that His “kingdom” refers to his spiritual reign. By asking that his will be done, we are praying for God’s purpose to be accomplished in this world. We then acknowledge that God is our provider. He also leads us away from our tempters and helps us forgive others. This prayer is the formula that helps Christians live a life with God as their center.

Jesus also tells us not to draw attention by our prayers. When praying publically, make sure your prayers are heartfelt and focus on addressing God. Before praying, either publically or privately, make sure your intentions are pure and you mean what you say to the Lord. As we pray remember to keep sincerity in mind and your thoughts clear.

So in the upcoming weeks, look into the Lord’s Prayer and write yours down own. Make sure your public prayer is sincere, and not for show. Pray for those who persecute you and for God’s will to be done in this world. May the power of prayer help you live your Dunker Punk lives.


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.

Breaking it Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 7

By Jenna Walmer

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Week 7: Matthew 6: 1-4

How appropriate. The section for the week is about giving is on the week of ThanksGIVING and Giving Tuesday. In my preacher’s sermon this past Sunday, he emphasized on how being thankful and showing your gratitude to people can affect the homes, workplace, and relationships. During every Thanksgiving season, we are challenged to be more thankful and to spread this attitude. However, this passage challenges us to give as well and presents a way to give with gracious hearts.

Jesus reminds us to “perform” our duties for the Lord and the Lord only, because when doing actions for the wrong reason, the Lord will not reward you. Providing an example, Jesus explains that you should not go boasting your good deeds because that is not righteous. If you do, you are considered just as holy as the “hypocrites”- the people who do good deeds with poor motives. The only prize they receive is their fame.

However, as always, Jesus offers an alternative. When Jesus says, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” he is symbolically teaching that it is easy to give with mixed motives; however, you should give with a pure heart and do so that you do not expect to get something in return. Believers are responsible for giving just for the pleasure of giving in return for God’s love.

Do you give because of how you appear to other, or do you give because it makes you feel good?

Before you do another kind gesture, ask yourself, “Would I still do this if nobody found out about it?”

It may be easier to be generous for the eyes of others and recognition, but that does not reflect our God-centered lifestyle. Give to make God look good, not yourself. Give to make others happy, and in return, you will be filled with joy. Give to be glorified by the Lord.

During the holiday season, remember to pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith. Our brothers and sisters are still being mistreated, and they are in dire need of our assistance. Consider giving to the Nigeria Crisis Fund and continue praying for peace in the conflicted areas.

Also, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, give thanks to all who contribute to your life and give happiness to those in need, in whatever creative way that brings joy to the Lord and to the other people. But just remember to ask yourself, are you doing it for fame or pleasure of giving?


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.

Breaking it Down: The Sermon on the Mount Week 5

By Jenna Walmer

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5: 27-37

This passage is difficult to discuss without being married, having divorced, or any experience in that area. However, Jesus addresses important lessons in these passages about marriage and commitment.

Jesus tells us that adultery is sin, in actions and in thoughts. In the Old Testament, it merely stated that breaking your promise to your spouse was wrong.  However, Jesus says that the thought of it is wrong as well. To be faithful to your spouse requires honesty from the body and mind. Also, he suggests that if one has lustful thoughts, he should not have lustful actions too.  Acting out these sinful desires is detrimental to marriages, relationships with God, and to oneself. It gives one an excuse to sin rather than stopping sinning. Also, wrongful actions turn people away from God.

Jesus then addresses divorce. Today, there is approximately fifty percent divorce rate in America. Divorce was also a problem in Jesus’ era too. In the Old Testament, God created marriage for a life time commitment. Jesus said that divorce is not excusable unless there is sexual immorality, which implies an immoral lifestyle. However, when a partner has been unfaithful, one should make every attempt to forgive and restore the relationship. This can apply to typical relationships as well. Always look to for ways to restore relationships rather than excuses to disband it.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of being truthful. It is crucial to keep oaths and promises. It builds relationships and trust with your peers. However, don’t make promises half-heartedly. Also, Jesus told his disciples not to utilize oaths because their word alone should be good enough. Get in the habit of being truthful so you don’t have to add, “I promise” to the end of statements.

Through this passage, Jesus accentuates the importance of being truthful to people, so you can gain trust and enhance relationships. He warns against the harms of divorcing and being unfaithful.  The overlying theme of all of these passages is to build enough trust in your relationships so you don’t have to question faithfulness and consider divorce. In the upcoming weeks, try to improve your relationships by being honest to your peers.


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.