Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tear Up the Temple (day 40)

Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.

This blessing has given me more trouble that any of the others mostly just to understand what it is telling me. But one thing I am pretty sure about is, that it does not involve being weak or timid. Look at what we can read about Jesus in John 2:14-17.

And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money-changers sitting. And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, also the sheep and the oxen. And He poured out the money-changers' money and overthrew the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, Take these things away from here. Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise. And His disciples remembered that it was written, "The zeal of Your house has eaten Me up."

How many times have I read this and thought about going into the church and stirring up all kinds of trouble, because I know they are doing it wrong? Maybe I’m the only one. But when I ask and seek and knock, I hear a different answer from 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, for you are bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.


Can I learn from this? It is not what is pleasant for me to think about, because I have not been so diligent here.

I suspect that to be meek involves being interested in receiving instruction and then living according to that instruction.

Father in Heaven I need grace to hear and obey what your word is teaching me here. Give me grace to see the condition of my heart and then to humble myself, to mourn and then to listen and obey your wonderful instructions for life. In Jesus name and for His glory, Amen. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Meek like Jesus (day 39)

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
What does that mean?

One newer translations uses the word ‘humble’ another ‘gentle’, and when I look up the Greek word the translation gives me ‘mild’. How shall we find out what God desires of us?
Jesus says,
Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For each one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7)
Jesus is our example and our guide. He says to ask and seek and knock. As I look (seek) to find this answer the first thing I think of is Jesus invitation in Matthew 11:28-30.

Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
If Jesus shows me what it means to be meek, what can I know about Jesus that might help me know what the word means.

In 1 Peter 2:23, Peter is showing us Jesus as an example and he says:

                        ...who when He was reviled did not revile in return. When 
                       He suffered, He did not threaten, but gave Himself up to Him 
                       who judges righteously.

Now there’s something to think about! How quickly do I respond with threats and accusations?

Is this what it means to be meek? I cannot say for sure, but for myself I believe that this might be part of what it means.
Loving Father in Heaven thank you that you do not leave us without a help to understand and to do your will. Thank you for your holy spirit who guides us into all truth. Please give me grace to see my need for your help and guidance and grace to humble myself and listen then obey. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Building one upon the last (day 38)

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted
As I have looked at these virtues over a few years one thing that I have noticed is that each one builds upon the last. Also as I have thought about this I noticed that I have never exhausted any of the virtues. I can always go back and start at the beginning again. When I do I find more and more that God wants to teach me.

John A. Wilson was my preacher growing up. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit with him in his home. He was 99 years young and still very sharp. When I told him how valuable I had found the blessings to be, he said, “You’ll never get to the end of them.” I believe he was right.

This is the end of the second week of looking at the blessings. Take a few minutes to look at the 2 we have considered. Look at the virtue required. Consider your own life and how you measure up. Look at the blessings and consider how you have seen God prove himself true in proportion to your faithfulness. He is always far ahead of my faithfulness in providing blessings. Then consider how the second built upon the first. 

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

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

Typing “Amen” on Facebook will not get you any blessings, but working with God’s Word will bring you to all sorts of blessings.

Father of blessings open my eyes to see and my mind to understand more of what you want to do in me so that I can be being changed into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let me learn faithfulness as I work to cause your word to sink into my heart. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nothing Else is Appropriate (day 37)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
I believe God has put a burden on my heart to promote discipleship wherever and however I can. I desire to be a good and acceptable disciple of Jesus. I believe that means that I am to learn and teach others to observe all the things that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20). So that we each may be becoming more and more like Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

I have a little book of names of people that God has given me to pray for. Some of those people have turned their back on God. Some of those people have never turned to God. Some of those people have done hurtful things to others in that same little book. Some of those people have stumbled in sin and are struggling to get up again. (2 Peter 3:9)

As I see their names, as I am learning to intercede, my only appropriate response before God, is to mourn.

There are others on my little list who seem to be satisfied to be in church, but content with themselves with no thought of being conformed to the image of Jesus.

As I am learning of the amazing things God wants to do in the lives of those who follow Jesus (Ephesians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 2:9). As I look at these other names once again I am led to mourn.

I am led to mourn because this is the command of God. I am led to mourn because the only alternative is to judge and criticize, and that makes me an enemy of God. I am led to mourn because finding myself in agreement with the God of all creation is a great comfort.

Father of mercy, God of compassion I need grace to walk in this way. I thank you that your word tells me that at your throne I can find grace to help in the time of need. Here I am Lord boldly and confidently coming to you for help to live the life I was designed to live. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Take your sorrow to God (day 36)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
There are many situations about or in which we are powerless. Often for me those are situations where I am inclined to become angry. Then I make demands that I have no authority to make. I say things like, “They should know better.” Or “They should do this or that. It’s just not right.”

One of the most difficult things that I have experienced is that as my children grow up my authority over them diminishes. I can no longer require them to make right choices (the ones I believe are right), and they make choices I believe are harmful to them. With friends and loved ones, I truly have no authority.

I have been one of those who gives unasked for advice. That doesn’t work so well.

I am finding that if I put these verses together in these situations, there is a better result. In my poverty I take my concern to God. I tell him how worried I am and how I fear for my loved one. Then I see more clearly that He has the same concern for their well being and he has power to help. That is a comfort.

What about where governments are involved? Do I get stirred up emotionally and make outlandish statements about things I cannot change? Here for me are clear instructions. As I have taken these things more seriously I have found comfort.

First of all, then, I exhort that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Blessed Father in Heaven help me to see clearly how poor I am and how little I am able to do by the force of my will. In that poverty give me grace to mourn and trust you for the comfort that will come to those who are lowly in heart. Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy are those who are sad (day 35)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Sometimes the newer translations help me to think about things I hadn’t seen before. A translation that I have on my computer called the Bible in Basic English says this verse this way;

Happy are those who are sad: for they will be comforted.
At first when I saw this I thought, “Now that sounds silly.” But as it cooked a little and probably with some help from the Holy Spirit I thought of other verses in God’s Word that explain why I was having a problem. Consider if you will Isiah 55:8-9;

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
No one wants to be unhappy. But God’s word says that there is something to be desired here. How can that be?  In Isiah 53:3 the prophet speaks of Jesus and says:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
And then the writer of Hebrews says of Jesus;

Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore, God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:9)

Although he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” he was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Someone has said, “He was the happiest man that ever lived.”
Jesus chose the way of sorrow and grief that he might have everlasting joy. If I will follow Jesus that is the way I must choose in order to come to the same everlasting joy.

Happy are those who are sad:

Father these words are pretty scary for me at first look. I need grace to obey what I see here. Give me grace to be always looking to Jesus who is the pioneer and perfecter of this way, who for the everlasting joy that was out where it could not be seen, endured the cross and ignored the shame. Please give me grace for this in each situation. Amen. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do Not Be Arrogant (day 34)

Did you notice that Paul did not say to condemn the one who was sinning? Rather he said;

You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. (1 Corinthians 5:2 NLT)

This speaks to me about me. When I see someone openly sinning, my inclination is to condemn them. I don’t curse them (I’m too self-righteous for that). But I often have a comment. “Did you see that?” “He should know better.” “That kind of people make me angry.” Maybe you have a way of expressing your condemnation.

Paul says, “You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning.”
In all of the condemning and judging things I have said over the years I have never really found comfort. I have never found any satisfaction.

In Romans 6:23 it says that “The wages of sin is death.” That person that I see sinning is working death in their own life. That person is someone that God wants to come to salvation. Isn’t that sad? Shouldn’t I be mourning? This is the mind of Christ and I need to think with this new mind. I need to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Father in Heaven thank you for this word of salvation. Please father in heaven help me to hold this word in my heart and nourish it until it grows and brings forth fruit that is pleasing to you.