VIDEO Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Jul 8, 2016

This is the eighth video in the Beatitudes video series: Blessed Are the Peacemakers. This video series is an expansion and fleshing out of the Beatitudes (from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount). The Beatitudes are the famous words of Jesus from His Sermon on the Mount given in Matthew 5:1-12.

Someone sent me an amazing expansion of the Beatitudes (from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount). There have been innumerable (and many famous) interpretations, expansions, and dramatizations of the Gospels, such as The Robe, Ben Hur, The Spear, The Great Fisherman, The Silver Chalice, many TV series, many movies, and even Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (one of the highest grossing R-rated films in history) drew from multiple sources.

However, this interpretation/expansion/fleshing out of the Beatitudes is the best I have heard yet and it is remarkable. I hope you enjoy it! Please share this with anyone you think might enjoy this or might find some degree of benefit or inspiration from it.

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Unringing the Bell

So Peter went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:62

Expungement is a legal term that means “to remove from general review.” It means that an offense against the law is sealed in a court record and therefore not viewable in the future. In short, the record of the offense is removed from a person’s legal record. For practical purposes, expungement erases the record of legal offense—except for one thing: the consequences of the act. Removing the guilt and punishment of an offense is one thing; removing the consequences is another.

Such is the case with our sins before God. The guilt and punishment for our sins has been removed; Christ has taken upon Himself our sins; Christ has died in our place. But the consequences of our sins remain. To use another legal expression, you can’t “unring the bell.” Once something is said, heard, or done, it cannot be undone. That happened in the case of David’s sin of adultery. A loyal soldier lost his life, a woman and a king lost their honor, and they both lost their child. All were consequences of David’s sins. God forgave David his sins but did not take away the consequences (Psalm 51).

Instead of hoping you can ring the bell of sin and then unring it, better not to ring it at all.

We are born in sin and spend our lives coping with the consequences. John Blanchard

The Confession of Sin

1 John 1:5-7

John’s first epistle is not about salvation, even though it speaks of the need to confess sin. This letter is written to people who already have a relationship with God but need a reminder of how to remain in fellowship with Him. The Father intends for believers to enjoy His presence, but in order to do that, they must first deal with sin.

As Christians, we have been made new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), but we’re not yet perfect and therefore still sin. We are humans in a physical body that retains all of its natural tendencies—yearning for fun, rest, food, and pleasure. When those desires are under the Holy Spirit’s control, we live joyful, God-honoring lives. However, if we give in to the temptation to be controlled by our natural tendencies, also known as the flesh, then we have invited sin and darkness into our lives. (See 1 John 1:6.)

It is important to understand that “walk in darkness” does not mean a believer can lose his or her salvation—those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior can never be driven from the light of His love (John 10:28-29). But we can choose to get out of God’s will and veer off to a dark pathway of sin for a time. Since dark and light cannot exist together, doing so will fill our spirit with tension. Confessing our sin lifts the darkness and restores peace.

A believer in right fellowship radiates peace and contentment. We will know fullness of joy by spending time in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11), aligning with His will, and sharing Him with those around us. Confessing our wrongdoing keeps our fellowship strong and glorifies the Lord.

I Charge You

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

The Greek noun parangelia and its corresponding verb paranello appear six times in the book of 1 Timothy, translated as either “charge” or “commandment.” Paul was quite concerned for his young disciple Timothy and went to great effort to remind him of the truth and charge him to keep it and encourage its keeping in the lives of those in his care. Let us briefly look at these charges.

First, Paul wanted to charge Timothy to remain strong in his personal faith. “This charge I commit unto thee . . . that thou . . . mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience” (1:18-19). “I give thee charge in the sight of God . . . . That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:13-14).

In a similar vein, Paul knew the dangers of false doctrine. “I besought thee . . . that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1:3). Following a discussion of specific false teachings (4:1-10) and their refutations, Paul concludes, “These things command and teach” (4:11).

Even those who nominally adhere to proper teaching need direction. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God” (6:17).

Living up to these charges (commandments) brings real benefit in this life as well as in eternity, as we see in our text a pure heart full of agape love, a conscience unfettered by sin and false doctrine, and a strong faith not weakened by hypocrisy. If we would be disciples, we should mind the charges given to Timothy. JDM

“He must reign

Psalm 78:67-72

The Holy Spirit has spoken of the election of David in the Psalms more than once, let us read a passage from—Psalm 78:67-72.

Psalm 78:67

The ark had been for a long time at Shiloh, in the territory of Ephraim, but the tribe was found unfit for leadership, and the divine residence was therefore removed.

Psalm 78:68-71

He exercised the care and art of those who watch for the young lambs, following the ewes in their wanderings; the tenderness and patience thus acquired, would tend to the development of characteristics most becoming in a king. To the man thus prepared, the office which God had appointed for him came in due season, and he was enabled worthily to fulfil it. It is wonderful how often divine wisdom so arranges the early and obscure portion of a choice life, as to make it a preparatory school for a more active and noble future.

Psalm 78:72

In his reign the people were peaceful and prosperous, and no better king ever sat upon the throne of Israel.

Isaiah 11:1-10

We will now read a passage in which our Lord Jesus is spoken of as Israel’s king, and his reign described.—

Isaiah 11:3, 4

Our Lord is very quick to understand the desires and groanings of those in whom is the genuine principle of holy fear, even though they be but feebly seeking after God.

Isaiah 11:3, 4

His gospel is the destroyer of evil, and his last sentence will slay the wicked in eternal death.

Isaiah 11:5-8

Jesus will in his own good time, deliver this earth from the curse, and restore the purity and peace of Eden. Even the animal creation shall in the latter days feel his elevating power. “The creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Isaiah 11:10

Christ is the rallying point for manhood, he draws all men unto him. To him shall all people offer their allegiance, and the place where he deigns to dwell shall be glorious indeed. What is this but his church, of which he has said, “This is my rest”?

 

Crown him, the Lord of Peace,

Whose power a sceptre sways

From pole to pole, that wars may cease,

Absorb’d in prayer and praise:

 

His reign shall know no end,

And round his pierced feet

Fair flowers of paradise extend

Their fragrance ever sweet.

 


We love thy church, O God;

Her walls before thee stand

Dear as the apple of thine eye,

And graven on thy hand.

 

For her our tears shall fall,

For her our prayers ascend,

To her our cares and toils be given,

Till toils and cares shall end.

 

Jesus, thou Friend divine,

Our Saviour and our King,

Thy hand from every snare and foe,

Shall great deliverance bring.

 


Lord, through the desert drear and wide,

Our erring footsteps need a guide;

Keep us, oh keep us near thy side.

Let us not fall. Let us not fall.

 

We have no fear that Thou shouldst lose

One whom eternal love could choose;

But we would ne’er this grace abuse.

Let us not fall. Let us not fall.

 

Lord, we are blind, and halt, and lame,

We have no stronghold but thy name:

Great is our fear to bring it shame.

Let us not fall. Let us not fall.

 


Who this mighty champion is,

Nature answers from within;

He is my own wickedness,

He my close besetting sin.

 

In the strength of Jesus’ name

With the monster I will fight;

Feeble and unarm’d I am

Save with God’s eternal might.

 

Mindful of his mercies past

Still I trust the same to prove,

Still my helpless soul I cast

On my Lord’s redeeming love.

 


Rise, ye men of Israel, rise,

Now your routed foe pursue;

Shout his praises to the skies,

Who has conquer’d sin for you.

 

Jesus doth for you appear,

He his conquering grace affords;

Saves you, not with sword and spear,

For the battle is the Lord’s.

 

Earth and hell shall yet submit,

All his foes before him fall,

Death shall die beneath his feet,

And our God be all in all.

 


To the upright light arises,

Darkness soon gives place to day;

While the man who truth despises,

And refuses to obey,

 

In a moment,

Cursed of God, shall melt away.

Therefore let us praise Jehovah,

Sound his glorious name on high,

 

Sing his praises, and moreover

By our actions magnify

Our Redeemer,

Who by blood has brought us nigh.

 


Full oft the clouds of deepest woe,

So sweet a message bear,

Dark though they seem, ’twere hard to find

A frown of anger there.

 

It needs our hearts be wean’d from earth,

It needs that we be driven,

By loss of every earthly stay,

To seek our joys in heaven.

 

For we must follow in the path

Our Lord and Saviour run;

We must not find a resting-place

Where he we love had none.

 

Don’t Give Place to the Devil!

Ephesians 4:27

You and I never have to fall prey to the devil! If we can shut every door, close every window, and seal every place in our lives through which the enemy would try to access us, we can prevent him from getting into the middle of our affairs.

One of the “entry points” the devil tries to use to enter our lives is relationships. If there is an unresolved issue or an ugly conflict with a loved one or friend, these conflict points often become entry points through which the devil tries to get a foothold in our relationships with those we love. Once the enemy is able to slip in through one of these “cracks” and build an offended place in our minds, then a wall has already begun to be constructed that will eventually separate us from the people we need and love the most.

In Ephesians 4:27, the apostle Paul writes, “Neither give place to the devil.” The word “place” is the Greek word topos. It refers to a specific, marked-off, geographical location. It carries the idea of a territory, province, region, zone, or geographical position. It is from this word that we get the word for a topographical map. Because the word topos depicts a geographical location, this lets us know that the devil is after every region and zone of our lives—money, health, marriage, relationships, employment, business, and ministry. He is so territorial that he wants it all. But to start his campaign to conquer all those areas of our lives, he must first find an entry point from which he can begin his campaign of unleashing his devilish destruction in our lives.

We often throw open the door to the devil when we:

  • Refuse to let go of old hurts and wounds.
  • Refuse to acknowledge what we did wrong.
  • Refuse to forgive others for what they did.
  • Refuse to stop judging others for their grievances.
  • Refuse to admit we were wrong too.
  • Refuse to say, “I’m sorry” when we’re wrong.
  • Refuse to lay down our “rights” for others.

If you and I do any of these things, we leave a “marked-off place” through which the devil can enter to accuse others in our minds. But we don’t have to fall victim to the enemy’s tactics. We can say, “No, you’re not going to do this!”

We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, so we don’t have to let the devil run all over us. The Bible boldly declares, “… Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

The apostle Paul told us, “Neither give place to the devil.” The Greek makes it clear that we must choose to give the devil no territory. You see, we have a choice: We can choose to “give the enemy place” in our minds and emotions, or we can choose to walk in the Spirit. If we choose the lower road, we will end up doing and saying things we later regret. Those regretful things are usually what opens the door for the devil to wreak havoc in our relationships.

I’m thinking specifically of a day I got very upset with one of our employees. I received information about one department of our ministry that really upset me. What upset me even more was that I believed one of our employees had known about this problem but hadn’t conveyed the full truth to me about it. I scheduled a meeting to talk to that person the next morning to discuss this situation. That night as I lay in bed, I began to think about the problem we were facing. The longer I thought about it, the more angry I became that I hadn’t been fully informed about the details as I should have been. I could feel a flash of heat pass through me as I kept pondering what to do next.

As I lay there in that bed, I began to take up an offense with this leader in our ministry. Once the devil got that foothold in my mind and emotions, it was as if a door had suddenly swung wide open for the devil to come in and begin accusing and slandering that precious employee to me. I tossed and turned all night long. I knew I could lay this issue down and walk in peace, or I could let it build in my mind until I became a walking time bomb. I chose to hold on to it and let it fester throughout the night.

The next morning when our meeting began, I exploded! My thinking was so distorted by the devil’s ravings in my mind all night that I couldn’t hear anything being said. I was livid with this employee. This employee couldn’t even say anything, as I never even gave her ten seconds to respond to my accusations.

Later when the whole ordeal was over, I discovered that every detail of the problem had already been fully communicated to me. But I had been so busy at the time that I didn’t even remember the conversation. Others on the staff remembered it very well. It was my fault that I didn’t know and not hers.

I was so embarrassed that I had lost my temper. I asked my staff members for forgiveness, and they were spiritual enough to forgive me and allow me to be a man with real human frailties. Thank God, our long-term relationship and commitment to work as a team overrides moments of human weakness that all of us display at one time or another.

But there are many people who don’t know how to recover from conflicts such as this one. Rather than face the situation head-on and either apologize or openly forgive, they hold their failure or their offense in their hearts, never forgetting it and never getting beyond it.

On the particular day that I exploded in anger, it was I who “gave place to the devil.” As I tossed and turned in that bed the night before, I knew I was making a choice. I pondered the problem so long that I let anger well up inside of me and make my decision for me.

What about you? Have you ever given place to the devil by allowing anger, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness to have a “place” in you?

But let’s look at the word “devil” for a moment. The word “devil” comes from the Greek word diabolos, an old compound word that is made from the words dia and ballo. This name is used sixty-one times in the New Testament. The first part of the word is the prefix dia, which means through and often carries the idea of penetration. Because dia is used at the first of this word, it tells us that the devil wants to make some kind of penetration.

We’ve already seen that the devil is looking for an entry point. Once a point has been located through which he can secretly slip into people’s lives, he begins penetrating the mind and emotions to drive a wedge between those individuals and the other people in their lives. The enemy’s objective is to separate them from each other with his railing, accusing, slanderous accusations.

You’ll know when the accuser has gone to work in your mind because your whole perspective about the person you are upset with suddenly changes. You become nit-picky, negative, and fault-finding. You used to have high regard for that person, but now you can’t see anything good about him at all. It’s as if you’ve put on a special set of eyeglasses that are specially designed to reveal all his wicked, ugly, horrid details. Even if you do see something good in him, all the bad you see outweighs the good.

This is clear evidence that the work of the “accuser” has found an entry point to penetrate your relationship with that other person. He is trying to disrupt what has been a pleasant and gratifying relationship in your life. Don’t allow that conflict, disagreement, or disappointment to cause you to pick up a wrong attitude that will ruin your relationship. That’s exactly what the devil wants you to do!

Rather than allow this to happen, stop and tell yourself, Okay, this isn’t as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be. The devil is trying to find a place in my mind to get me to start mentally accusing that person, and I’m not going to let him do it.

Instead of meditating on all the bad points of that person, look in the mirror yourself! Consider how many times you’ve let down other people; how many mistakes you’ve made in your relationships; the times you should have been held accountable but instead were shown unbelievable mercy. Remembering these things has a way of making you look at an offensive situation a little more mercifully.

Ask the Holy Spirit to take the criticism out of your heart and to cause the love of God in you to flow toward that other person or group of people. Pray for an opportunity to strengthen that relationship so all the entry places to your life and to that relationship remain sealed. Stop the devil from worming his way into the middle of your relationships with people you need and love!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to help me keep the doors to my heart and soul closed to the devil! I know he would like to slip into my relationships and ruin them, so I am asking You to help me stay free of offense, free of unforgiveness, and free of bitterness. I realize these wrong attitudes create “entry points” through which the devil tries to gain territory in my relationships. I don’t want to give the devil a foothold in my affairs through a wrong attitude. So I’m asking You, Lord, to help me identify every wrong feeling or attitude in my life that the devil could use to ruin relationships with people I need and love.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I walk in forgiveness! Offense, bitterness, strife, and unforgiveness have no place in my life. The Spirit of God dwells in me, and He always convicts me of wrong attitudes that the devil could potentially use to bind me. I love Jesus, and I want to please Him; therefore, I refuse to allow these destructive attitudes to remain in me. I am full of mercy, longsuffering, and slow to anger. All of these qualities keep me safe and secure from the devil’s attempts to invade me.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you recall a time when the devil got you all upset over something that wasn’t really such a big deal? Did he stir you up so much that you couldn’t sleep; you couldn’t think straight; and you said or did things that you later regretted?
  2. What did you learn from that experience? Did you see how the devil operates to toss you into a tizzy, steal your peace, and harm your relationships? If yes, how have you learned to keep the door closed so He can’t access you this way again?
  3. If you were counseling someone else who was struggling with a similar problem, how would you counsel that person to keep his heart free of bitterness, anger, or strife?

 

The Truth About Lies

The truth is people tell 200 lies a day, study finds.

 

So stated a recent newspaper article out of London. The study further revealed:

  • On the average, people tell a lie every eight minutes.
  • US $50.00 was “mistakenly” sent to 25 clergy and 25 car salesmen. In both groups, 15 cashed the checks.

The article concluded, “Dishonesty is a fundamental part of life.” Certainly the Scriptures would concur, “Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception… ” (Psalm 12:2)

 

What are some of the reasons people lie?

  • To manipulate – “Joe, you are one of the last ones to endorse the project. Surely you want to be part of the team.
  • To not offend – “Yes Mary, that is a lovely dress.
  • To withhold a portion of the truth – “Sales are up 20%!” (Suppressing the fact that the company ended the year in the red.)
  • To avoid inconvenience – “Tell them Im not in the office.
  • To excuse their failure – “I was late due to heavy traffic.
  • To exaggerate – “85% of the units are sold out,” states the advertisement, when in fact the figure is 42%.
  • To flatter – “Bill, how did you become so exceptional at so many things?
  • To deceive – “We can do the job for 15% below the lowest bidderand on time.

Given the seriousness of the problem, perhaps our prayer should echo that of the Psalmist, “Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.” (Psalm 120:2)

 

Because God somberly forewarns us,

 

No one who practices deceit will dwell in My house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in My presence All liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” [Hell] (Psalm 101:7; Revelation 21:8b)