Jesus' recorded sermon/s.




We look both at fasting and building up treasure in heaven.





Sermon on the mount.




Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue


Fasting 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.



17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men 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. (Matthew 6:16-18)</i>





What is fasting? 'It is an act of self-denial, and mortification of the flesh, a holy revenge upon ourselves, and humiliation under the hand of God.' Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997. 



In this passage, Jesus was speaking against hypocrisy in fasting, once again warning about following the practices of the Pharisees, who fasted twice a week.

The practice of fasting was not questioned.


Matthew 9:14-15



Fasting was practiced by the early New Testament church. 




I have dreaded writing this testimony! For regular, twice weekly fasting until 4pm, was part of my life for 7 years until the time when we started our African clothing project. Then I found, with the hard physical labour involved (clothes are heavy in bulk!), that I needed to eat in order to be able to do the work.

However, as I have contemplated this writing during the week the Lord has given me some revelation.

While we primarily think of fasting as abstaining from food, this is only part of the story as we see an example of here;


1 Corinthians 7:4-5



God has shown me that we have 3 primary areas of human gratification - food, sex, and stimulants. Food and sex are obvious, but stimulants to make us feel good, was a surprise to me. But every society has them. The most 'popular' stimulant is alcohol, but there are a variety of drugs from the mind altering such as cocaine and cannabis, to the gentle 'pick-me-up' of tea and coffee. Tea and coffee? Try stopping drinking them and see if you get a headache! Yes, they are stimulants too.

Twelve years ago now, I was praying for a man in our church at the time, who was an alcoholic. He had been prayed for many times. As he stood there I simply said to him, 'You know what you have to do - stop drinking!'

The Lord hit me with a (metaphorical) hammer! It hurt! 'David, I have been telling you to stop drinking for some time, so how dare you say that to him!!!'

I have not had another drink since!



You see, for the couple of years before this, I had had this prompting to stop drinking. I didn't drink to excess. But I enjoyed a wine or a beer. 'Lord, surely it's not really you, just 'Christian culture'!' It wasn't! It was Him! Why? Why me?

But the Lord knew what He was calling me in to. For within a year or so He would have me travelling to Africa and Asia where, had I been a drinker, even in moderation, my ministry would not have been accepted. For, because of the harm alcohol has caused there, one defining characteristic of becoming a true Christian is to give up drinking. A necessary self sacrifice.

Saturday was my birthday. We went out for dinner with some friends to celebrate the (inauspicious at my age!) occasion. Everyone, except me, had a glass of wine or beer with their meal. I would have loved to have joined them!

But, as I sat their musing about it, the Lord showed me that this was indeed my fast for Him. For I have given up something I enjoyed, and which had no control over me, for Him.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that you have to give up drinking for enjoyment. Unless the Lord tells you to as He did me, or unless you choose to. No condemnation from me.

You may be asked to sacrifice yourself, to fast, in another area. We need to be open to the Lord's leading individually.


Treasures in Heaven 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.



20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.



22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!



24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:19-24)





We have a choice of where our 'treasure' is built, on earth or in heaven. We cannot build treasure in both places, for we are not capable of serving more than one 'god'.





I am a natural, born businessman, an entrepreneur, a risk taker. My life has been a series of ups and downs, financially. Have been a millionaire twice and bankrupt twice! So I know about having money, and also, not having money.

Firstly, I had money without knowing God in a personal way. Then I went bankrupt and found Jesus.

Then, I had money again, tried to provide for myself to go into ministry and went bankrupt again. When bankrupt, I got closer to Jesus.

I think you can see from this brief testimony the truth in my life of what Jesus was saying! With money, our life, time and energy is pulled in two different, incompatible directions.



This is so much against the understanding of both the worldly world and the doctrine of much of the church.

The course I have taken, as a result of my experiences, is to take what Jesus said literally. While this may be easy in places where people have nothing, or very little, in a modern Western economy such as New Zealand, it is actually a very difficult thing to do! It is tough on my wife too, for women do like the security that possessions bring.

We now own just a few household possessions that are necessary (and a few that are not!) to live life in our society. We also live on a minimum income, earned by Kathy, that allows us to meet our daily needs, but not to save money.

I am accused of being foolish and irresponsible for not owning a home, nor having money set aside for retirement. And I certainly am from a human perspective.

Perhaps these verses may help you understand me!


Matthew 7:24-7



Over the past 2 1/2 years we have, unexpectedly to me, built up what is becoming a large (in New Zealand terms) second hand clothing business. But this time I don't own it - and I work in it for no personal income. The business is owned by a Charitable Trust, the primary objective of which is to send money and clothing to Africa.

Yes, I am still using the business skills the Lord has given me, but this time, for His benefit, not my own.

After our first bankruptcy, when I had become a Christian, our mail order business of the time prospered. We were able to provide generously financially both to the church and other causes. We distributed a discipleship course free of charge to many thousands of people, for which the Lord provided the funds through the profits of the business. We did lots of good things for God and others. We were a Christian success story. Yet in the end I, (not Kathy) became reliant upon myself, not God.

For when I was called into 'fulltime' ministry (not a term I like using for we are all in fulltime ministry, but you will know what I mean) I tried, worthily in a human sense, to provide funds so that we would not be reliant upon others for support.

It all went 'pear shaped' as the saying goes, and I was bankrupted again.



But you see, that was where Jesus, where God, wanted me. Dependant upon Him. I had nowhere else to turn. He gave me a depth of relationship and revelation that He could not have done before. No money to help others or build church buildings. But no matter. Most of all He wanted, not my money, but me, and He wants you too - all of you.

I am now back in a difficult situation - for life is never easy! Seekers can become all consuming. I could, and do from time to time, fall back into a situation of self dependency. In spite of not receiving financial rewards, my heart can so easily turn towards doing good works rather than to maintaining and growing my relationship with my Lord.

"Lord, protect me from myself, I pray!"

You may not understand what I have been saying. That is okay. And I am not saying you have necessarily to walk the same path. That is okay too. But I would ask that you meditate and pray upon this Scripture and listen to what God says to you personally. And then, of course, apply it. You may learn about the real you - where your heart truly lies. For money and possessions truly do sort us out!

Where is your heart today?


<i>NEXT WEEK:</i> SERMON ON THE MOUNT continues...


A teaching on worry. Don't worry, it will be short! 




In today's world, fasting is almost a lost art and we are also seduced into building up treasures on earth.

May today's teaching be a reminder to us all about these important principles of God.



Could this capital have decorated the Temple of Solomon?

This beautifully decorated capital of a pillar was found in the Citadel of the Kings of Judah in Jerusalem.

It was made during the time of the First Temple. Similar Greek Capitals have been found at Tel Dan, Hazor, Megiddo, Samaria, Jerusalem, and Ramat Rahel in Israel; and Ain Sara/Karak, and Mudaybi in Jordan. Scholars agree that this may be the palm design which decorated the First Temple in Jerusalem.

1 Kings 6:35 - "And he carved on them cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work."

Source: www.bible-history.com


So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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812. May I learn to rest content with my 'daily bread'.

David Tait         




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