Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

                        Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

      The promises of the first five beatitudes talk about being filled and comforted, meek and merciful, inheriting the earth, or being part of the Kingdom of Heaven. But, I think the promise of this beatitude is the greatest, because it is the promise of seeing God. To see the God, the same God who in exodus said "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." But, through Jesus Christ, our longing for purity will lead us to the face of our Heavenly Father.
       Seeing God, isn't that the goal of every Christian, isn't that what we are living for? That we may live our life in such a way that we see God. If we see God, that opens up all of His blessings, not only for the afterlife, but also for life here and now. The key to receive these blessings is living your life with a pure heart. Without a pure heart you cannot be poor in spirit. You cannot mourn for your sins without having a pure heart. You cannot be meek, or hunger and thirst for the righteousness of  God. You can't be merciful, you can't be a peacemaker, or you can't withstand persecution for the name of Christ without a pure heart. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

       The first thing we can learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart. Your heart is what you are in the private parts of your thoughts and feelings, when no one knows them but God. What you are in private matters to God as much as what you are in public. Jesus was not born into this world because we have some bad habits that need to be broken, He came into this world because we have hearts that need to be purified. 

        The second thing we can learn is that having a pure heart means living for the sole purpose of God, to have a heart that is fully devoted to God. If we live a life with a pure heart, a life that is pleasing and fully devoted to God, we will enjoy God's presence in our life right here in this world. As we walk in His ways, as we get to know Him through His word, as we trust Him through our prayers, our knowledge and experience of God will let us see Him present in our lives today. If we have this goal for our life, the outcome will be a daily walk with God that is pleasing to Him, and blesses us. This, fills our lives with joy until we can be called home and live with Him forever. Amen........    

Monday, January 30, 2017

Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy

       The Beatitudes are a progression of spiritual awakening and transformation that show us the way to the fruits of a new creation and the blessings of a transformed character.

        Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Mercy is not seen in our world a lot these days. Our senses are overwhelmed with violence, bigotry, scams, injustice, and intolerance. In fact, acts of mercy are so rare that when they happen they are headline or breaking news all over media outlets. This isn't to say that mercy is not admired, that is why it is headline news. although people admire other people who show mercy, they seldom take the opportunity to show mercy themselves. Jesus tells the Pharisees in Mathew 23 : 23  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the other undone." This makes it apparent how far apart man and God are on the value we should place on mercy. From time to time we need to remind ourselves that the beatitudes are the signs that one is truly a disciple of Christ.

       Mercy is a very prominent spiritual trait, it is indispensable in the holy and divine character that becomes ours as a result of a warm and close relationship with God. It is a quality given to us through the Holy Spirit as we yield in obedience and cultivate it. As a result of our personal experience with God, mercy grows in us. Mercy requires you to treat people better than they deserve. Mercy drives you to show compassion to people you have good reason to ignore. Mercy leads you to care about people's pain even when these very people have caused you pain. Mercy requires forgiving those who have wronged you. Mercy insists that you seek reconciliation with those who have offended you.

       If we do not have the desire or will to show compassion on a dying, poor world, if we do not have it in our hearts to show mercy on our brothers and sisters in Christ, to forgive them as Jesus forgave us, then we are in deep trouble. So the next time you pull off the freeway or stop at a red light and you see someone standing there holding a sign, remember you are looking at a Child of God, and He loves that person as much as He loves you. Amen .........

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Mathew 5:6

       I saw a version of the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty and I thought it was a very descriptive parable of our world today.
       Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
       Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
       All the world’s horses and all the world’s men
       Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

       But Humpty’s Creator looked down from above
       And sent His own Son as the gift of His love
       He took all our brokenness as He suffered in pain
       And where He is welcomed, Humpty’s made whole again.

     In our earthly ways all we can do is put patches on the brokenness of this world. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, we try to use band-aides for the endemic, the deadly wounds of our world today. We refuse to face the reason that we are broken, the rejection of God and his ways.

     When we reject the light, we suffer the consequence of living in the dark. When we reject the air, we suffer the consequences of death. When we reject God's righteousness, it is not that hard to see why we are not Blessed or filled.

     The blessedness of abundant satisfaction will never be found by those who are just looking for the experience, and people try to find satisfaction and happiness all the time in many different ways, desperately trying to fill the aching void in their souls.

     Sadly, many people look for happiness or satisfaction in earthly ways and have failed to look for it spiritually. They have failed to see that in our world, whether they are saved or not, that if they continually feed on violence, drugs, money, or any other thing the world has to offer, eventually those things that they feed on are going to become their lives and they will become those things.

     What is Righteousness? I think righteousness refers to the nature of God, to the virtues of God, truth, justice, love, and mercy. There are many things the Bible tells us about God, but truth, justice, love, and mercy are in every story from Jesus. And, all those traits are summed up in one word, Righteousness.

     To me it is very significant that this verse doesn't say,"blessed are the righteous," I think that it implies an understanding that we are being challenged to commit ourselves to a process, a journey, an ongoing reaching out for God's righteousness.

      Jesus blesses those of us who do this, and those blessings come with a promise that we will be filled and satisfied. We will be transformed by His Holy Spirit.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth

    A meek man is a man of God whose strength is controlled by God. He is controlled by God in thought, word, will, emotion, and action. The meek man is one who submits, not to the will of the world, or his own, but to the great and gracious will of God.

    A meek man is not a weak man, he is not timid or wishy washy. He is not someone you can walk over.

    A meek man is not spineless or passive. In fact the meek man is completely opposite. The one who has put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ will be meek before God, but mighty and bold before the world. To the sinful world the meek person will be far stronger.

    What makes a person meek? They see God, they see God in everything. No one can become meek unless they can see this infinite, personal, almighty, all wise, all Holy God, and when they see God they are immediately humbled.

    When we are able to see God by faith, then that is the time when the Holy Spirit allows us to become meek. Thus the meek person does not rely on himself, saying, I can do all things. I have confidence in myself. After all, I am strong and able. No, the meek person says, I see God, and he is able and willing to help me. I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.

   A meek person is one who sees God as great through his faith and because of that he submits to the righteousness of his Awesome God. A meek person submits to the will of his Heavenly Father. In Psalm 37:3 it says "Trust in the Lord and do good." Faith is trust, the meek person trusts God. Meaning, he rests in the Lord by entrusting everything to Him. His whole being is resting on the strong and sure foundation of God.

   The meek know that their past, present, and future rests in God. He has heard the Gospel which says "Come unto me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Jesus Christ is the meek person's rest, no matter what circumstances he is facing.

    A meek man is patient. He has a long view of life, knowing when it is all said and done the wicked will not be victorious, but God will win. And if God wins, then the meek win as well. God tells us that the meek, not the wicked shall inherit the Earth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

   My last post I talked about “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
We saw that to be poor in spirit had nothing to do with money , it had everything to do with being humble. The opposite of being prideful and self-centered. That we must admit to God that we are nothing and empty without Him. That we cannot think higher of ourselves then we should.

   Today I will talk about “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". Society with all their emphasis on masculinity put shame to those that show weakness, those that would cry at a drop of a hat, those that would have compassion for other people. In fact, the AFLCIO said that people do not have to be polite, don't have to be nice. They say that our first amendment rights allow us, if we want to, to curse at the police for pulling us over and giving us a ticket.

    A crying compassionate man is someone who lacks courage and/or integrity to hold himself together. And, on the other hand, a female, hysterical, emotional, irrational is seen as too sensitive and out of control. Just think what would happen if our world would face suffering and mourning the way God intended us to instead of burying them in mood altering things like alcohol, or drugs.

    Can you imagine the Jews sitting on that mountainside, listening to Jesus, expecting Him to change their circumstances and He says – ‘Blessed are those who mourn” “Blessed are the Meek.” Here it is in a nutshell! Jesus says blessed are those that have inner grief and carry that grief into the lives of those they come around. The born-again believer who professes Jesus Christ as Lord, inherits and possesses the characteristics of Christ, His deep love for others and his hatred of sin.

   The Christian is like a new born baby who does not know how to walk. Yet inside of him is the ability to walk. As he grows, he learns to walk. It is about drawing near to God. James 4:7-10 paraphrased. “Submit yourselves to God draw near to God and He will draw near to you, Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” We draw close to God because we are sinners in need of God, we need to be cleansed by God. We must come to God guiltless. The only way we do that is by the cleansing power of the blood of Christ.

   How does a repentant sinner come to God? They come lamenting and mourning, weeping, humbly coming before God…. And the Word of God says, “Then, He will lift you up! God is looking for people, churches, that will mourn for their sins, mourn for the lost people that we come in contact with. Somehow we need to make peace with the fact that bad things happen to good people because we live in a fallen world. Growth happens to us when we’ve been through some form of suffering. What God whispers to us in our pleasures, he shouts to us in our pain. God's words tell us to have the right behavior, the right attitude, the right affections, to keep our eyes on Jesus, to stay focused. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted..... Amen!!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) What does it mean to be poor in spirit? What does that look like in real life? Poor in spirit is the first mark of a person who genuinely walks with God, knowing that before Him you have nothing to offer. That my friends is what one of the most talented people who ever lived before the time of Jesus found out. He was a well known silver tongued prophet celebrated for marvelous ministry. If he was around today people would fill stadiums to hear him preach, millions would follow him on twitter or facebook. Here is the story of this Godly preacher. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up and His robe filled the temple. The seraphim called out, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts. The foundations shook. The house was filled with smoke. And I said, Woe is me, for I am lost. (Isaiah 6:1-4)
If Isaiah the prophet is lost, what does that mean for the rest of us? You see what Isaiah is saying: “The world sees my gifts and my talents, but before this sovereign, holy, awesome God, I have nothing to offer.” Isaiah had been in ministry for some time when this happened, but when God came near to him like this, it brought him to a completely different view of himself. However much you may be celebrated for your gifts and talents by others, you are bankrupt before Him? Have you come close enough to Him to see that whatever your position in the world you are in an entirely different position before God. You have something to offer your family, your company, your friends, and your team, but if you walk with God, you will identify with the apostle Paul when he asks “What do you have that you did not receive?” How do you have these gifts? Where did they come from? Since all that you have was given by God, what can you ever offer to Him? When Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit theirs is the the Kingdom of Heaven, he is talking present time not future. That makes this statement all the more powerful because all the other Beatitudes are in the future, but Jesus is talking about a taste of Heaven now. Life in this world is a long way from Heaven, so how can we have a taste of it now? Isaiah 57:15, Thus says the one who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, (that is Heaven) but also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit. How powerful is that ?!?!?! God is in Heaven, but he wants us to know that He also lives with the person who has a lowly spirit. Heaven is to live with God, and the poor in spirit get a taste of it, because God comes to live with them. If you want to move beyond the vague, religious belief that God lives at a distance from you, if you want a felt awareness of God's presence in your life, this is where you must begin. God dwells with the person who is poor in spirit. Heaven is in the humble, before the humble are in Heaven........ Amen

Friday, January 20, 2017

Live for His Purpose

    I  have heard a couple of quotes, I can't remember where the first one came from, but it said something like this, "We do not have to think alike, to Love alike". The second one comes from one of the books from the Apprentice Series authored by James Bryan Smith. He says something like," If you claim Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then everything else is non-essential. I hope you think about this as you read on.

   Jesus Christ is my Savior, and He is also my Lord and Master. Because He died on the cross and saved me, my life is His. I now strive to live my life for him, strive to live my life like Him. So, the idea would be that where Christ wants me to go, I go, who Christ wants me to love, I love. But, I try to be in control and "drive the bus". I can't lie, I fight it all the time. But, because Jesus Christ died on the cross, my sins are forgiven.

   Jesus is God in human form, because only God can cleanse us of our sins. He is the one who looks through my eyes and into my heart and says, " I do not condemn you, I forgive you for all your sins." I believe when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our lives become His. His Love and grace become so overwhelming, that it changes us on the inside. There is no way to remain the same when you start living for Jesus' purpose and not our own. And, living for His purpose is where true love and freedom begin.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What it means to me to be a Christian

Friday, January 13, 2017

God's Love

     For a good number of people, God's love is often just guesswork. As they look out into this big intimidating world, They wonder if God is even out there. They wonder if God even really loves them, how can they be sure? Most people I have come across have some sort of belief that there is a higher being some where, even if they don't claim to be religious. I listen to a lot of music and I hear a lot of songs about people hoping, wondering, and praying that there really is a God who loves and cares for them. If that is you, your sitting there wondering if there really is a God who actually loves you, then I have good news for you. The Christian faith can take the guesswork out of God. We don't have to wonder if He really loves us, because Jesus came down and shown us the depths of God's love, the depth of His mercy, and the depth of His goodness. And, above all else He has shown us that God has the power to change and mend broken lives by dieing on the cross and rising again.

     I know you are saying that's all good, but can God really love someone like me? Now, you know I am going to give you the answer yes, but I know behind that question lies many people's experience with the church, a place that hasn't communicated very well the fact that God loves everybody equally. Because Jesus paid the ultimate price for all the wrong things we have done in our lives. He has opened up a way back to God. He has given to us the free and undeserved gift of eternal life. Not because of what we have done, not because of who we are, but simply because He loves us, each and everyone of us. You see, God's love for you is unconditional and undeserved. He loves you even though you are disobedient, weak, selfish, a sinner. He loves you enough to show you the way to an abundant, eternal life. While on the cross Christ cried out, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. If God loved those who were sinners that much, imagine how much He loves you.

     The love that God has for you and me is far beyond any human understanding. Jesus prayed, . "My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father. I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one, so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me. Think about that, God loves you as much as He loves His only begotten Son. That is an overwhelming truth to understand. You need not fear someone that loves you so perfectly. You need not ever be hesitant to trust God with your life, because He truly loves you. And, the most amazing part is that He loves you even when you are disobedient. Amen