VIDEO Blessed Are…

Blessed…. Blessed…. Blessed…. Blessed….Blessed…. Blessed…. Blessed…. Blessed….  Matthew 5:3-10

As we open the Gospels, the first recorded sermon of Jesus is the Sermon on the Mount, and His opening sentences all start with the words Blessed are, as He proceeded to tell us how to be joyful, fulfilled, and enriched in life. There were moments later, of course, when Jesus wept, when He condemned sin, when He rebuked error. But His overarching message was joyful. He wants us to be happy and joyful people by being poor in spirit, mourning over sin, displaying humility, hungering for right living, being merciful and pure, and peacemaking even during persecution.

Ernest Hemingway became one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, and he lived a life of adventure. He loved Spain, Paris, and his beautiful home in Key West, Florida. But his life ended tragically from despair and sadness. “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know,” he said.

Shouts of joy and happiness are available to us now, but we can only find them in the teachings of Jesus Christ. A relationship with Him is the fountainhead of joy. Remember today that He wants you to be blessed. Rejoice! Be of good cheer! Let all those who know Him shout for joy.

It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.  A. B. Simpson 


Matthew 5:5-16 – Skip Heitzig

God’s Mercy at Work

May the Lord judge between you and me.

1 Samuel 24:12

My anger percolated when a woman mistreated me, blamed me, and gossiped about me. I wanted everyone to know what she’d done—wanted her to suffer as I’d suffered because of her behavior. I steamed with resentment until a headache pierced my temples. But as I began praying for my pain to go away, the Holy Spirit convicted me. How could I plot revenge while begging God for relief? If I believed He would care for me, why wouldn’t I trust Him to handle this situation? Knowing that people who are hurting often hurt other people, I asked God to help me forgive the woman and work toward reconciliation.

The psalmist David understood the difficulty of trusting God while enduring unfair treatment. Though David did his best to be a loving servant, King Saul succumbed to jealousy and wanted to murder him (1 Samuel 24:1–2). David suffered while God worked things out and prepared him to take the throne, but still he chose to honor God instead of seeking revenge (vv. 3–7). He did his part to reconcile with Saul and left the results in God’s hands (vv. 8–22).

When it seems others are getting away with wrongdoing, we struggle with the injustice. But with God’s mercy at work in our hearts and the hearts of others, we can forgive as He’s forgiven us and receive the blessings He’s prepared for us.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can trusting that God is perfect, loving, good, and in control help you when sin seems to be prevailing? Who do you need to forgive and place in God’s mighty and merciful hands?

Merciful God, please help me trust You to determine how justice prevails.

Living in the Favor of God

Romans 6

Once we have received the favor of God through salvation, does it matter how we behave? Today’s passage responds with an emphatic yes. After receiving God’s gracious salvation, we are not to continue acting in ways displeasing to Him. Instead we’re to walk in newness of life and consider ourselves dead to sin.

This truth is affirmed by Paul’s life. Upon his conversion, the apostle was radically changed, and he began living with single-minded devotion and obedience to Christ. After being rescued from bondage to sin and receiving the best possible Master, he’d have been foolish to return to his former state.

Divine grace frees us so that we are no longer slaves to sin—we are not just rescued from its penalty. And because our heavenly Father empowers us to know Him through Scripture, we can live in a manner that honors Him and produces lasting fruit.

How well do you know God? Pleasing Him requires learning to think the way He does, and this means His Word must be a vital part of your life. It also necessitates choosing His way over your own. Although this may seem like a costly way to live, the outcome is worth every sacrifice.

The Sword

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

The Christian life is a life of war, and the Christian soldier must be a skilled swordsman if he is to survive and win. In our text, Jesus taught that a peaceful life would not be the Christian’s lot but a life of swordsmanship instead.

The first “sword” mentioned in the Old Testament was not a sword of metal but a “flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). Likewise, the final sword mentioned in the New Testament is “the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth” (Revelation 19:21). This is the fiery sword with which the coming “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) will be defeated, “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (v. 8). “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4).

The mighty “word of the LORD” by which “were the heavens made” (Psalm 33:6) is still a flaming sword, turning every way, for “out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword” (Revelation 1:16), as John saw Him in His present glory.

Furthermore, we can wield this same sword by His Spirit, for “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The Christian armor, as outlined in Ephesians 6:13-17, is all defensive armor with the one exception of the prayerful use of “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 17). In this wonderful text, the spoken “word of God” is in view—the sword applied, on either edge, turning every way, probing exactly when and where needed in each encounter of every battle of the Christian warfare. HMM

She Really Had to Tell Someone

Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

—John 4:29

 

Spiritual experiences must be shared. It is not possible for very long to enjoy them alone. The very attempt to do so will destroy them.

The reason for this is obvious. The nearer our souls draw to God the larger our love will grow, and the greater our love the more unselfish we shall become and the greater our care for the souls of others. Hence increased spiritual experience, so far as it is genuine, brings with it a strong desire that others may know the same grace that we ourselves enjoy. This leads quite naturally to an increased effort to lead others to a closer and more satisfying fellowship with God….

The impulse to share, to impart, normally accompanies any true encounter with God and spiritual things. The woman at the well, after her soul-inspiring meeting with Jesus, left her waterpots, hurried into the city and tried to persuade her friends to come out and meet Him. “Come, see a man,” she said, “which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29). Her spiritual excitement could not be contained within her own heart. She had to tell someone.   SOS050-051

Lord, we have so much more! We’ve seen Your goodness. We’ve tasted Your blessing. We’ve come to love You. Yet how seldom are we that impelled to tell anyone. Direct me even today to someone with whom I can share the glorious news of the gospel. Amen.

 

Energy from Indwelling Power

He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

—Romans 8:11

 

Our Lord was able to work with a minimum of weariness because He was a man completely possessed by the Holy Spirit. As a man He did grow tired and had to sleep and rest to refresh Himself, but the strain and the exhaustion that He would otherwise have suffered were spared Him by the constant quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Peter explained that Christ “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil,” after God had “anointed [Him] with the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38).

It is possible to work far beyond the normal strength of the human constitution and yet experience little or no fatigue because the energy for the work has been provided, not by the burning up of human tissue, but by the indwelling Spirit of power. This has been realized by a few unusual souls, and the pity is that they are unusual. SIZ1

To live in the Spirit is to receive the…life of the Holy Spirit in our physical being and to find in Him the source of constant stimulus and strength for…our mind and all the functions of our body. ISS007

 

Adaptability

Hebrews 13:6-7

I sat somewhat disinterestedly in my window seat on the airplane as it taxied down the congested runway at Los Angeles International Airport, only to be jolted from my lethargy by a paradoxical sight. There, among the enormous lanes with their pulsating jet blasts and their furor to give gravity another “in your face” demonstration, a hawk hovered over a narrow strip of brown grass. She was fixed solely on the job at hand—to find a hapless field mouse for dinner. Now there’s adaptability, I thought, for both the hawk and her prey. Such an inhospitable environment, but life must go on.

The hawk’s forebears played out the same deadly drama long before the first Spanish padre surveyed the valley that tumbles down to the restless Pacific—long before the first clipboard gang decided that this was a good place for an airport.

I bear no ill will toward technocrats, or those who go giddy over the prospect of covering every vacant piece of earth with bituminous concrete. But I secretly hope that someday the predictable cycle of life will revert to its original design for Ms. Hawk’s and Mr. Field Mouse’s progeny, if they are lucky enough to survive.

Armchair philosophers muse that change is the only certainty. We look in the mirror and tend to agree. But what happens when a firestorm rages within, triggered by changing circumstances beyond our control? Do we perish or do we adapt?

Our first inclination may be to roll over with our belly up. But there’s something fiercely noble about the other option—to persevere and even to prosper. That ability, I’m convinced, is borne from another realm. I’ve seen too many people of faith standing exultantly over their “Goliaths” to think otherwise.

The Christian commits not only his strength of character, but also his weakness and mortal fears to the preeminent figure of history. Christ sides with him and says, “I know all about it. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Life goes on, and it even gets better.”

I believe I can adapt to that! Or to say it another way—because you believe, you can adapt to that!

David Atkins, The War Cry