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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

In this war torn world there is a longing for peace; a longing for reconciliation where pain is ceased and     guns aren’t an accessory. The devil is a deceiving toothless snake, longing to sap and destroy prospect and happiness on this earth. His thrill is destruction and therefore, this is not only an earthly battle but a spiritual one too. The root of turmoil is the human heart, and even though we should actively seek to be peacemakers within the world, we ultimately, and firstly need to seek an inner peace with God. Romans 5:27 reads “since we have been justified though faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Before we came to know Christ we were at war with Him, battling against His reign over our lives, and as Christians at times we can continue to fight against God. We believe that the world can satisfy more than the God who can move mountains. But, He has clothed us in righteousness, we are saved by Grace AND we have PEACE with Him. When we have this ultimate peace with God it is then that we can show peace towards others… that we can go and tell a broken and destructed world about the Gospel of peace, and the God of peace who makes the wounded whole.

Finally…We will bear the label of ‘Sons of God’ because we are following in the footsteps of an Eternal God whose Son was to give the ultimate ministry of peacemaking on the cross at Calvary.

Until we are reconciled with Christ we shall never know ultimate peace. We may search for it but only God can full fill.

Lord, make me a channel of Your peace. 

Matthew 6:8

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

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

God sees to the very pit of our hearts and he knows our very deepest and corrupted thoughts..there is no hiding from Him. In 1 Chronicles 28:9 it says “… the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” i feel ashamed thinking about this passage and  thinking of all the times i think and have thought something negative or un-holy . Imagine if we said everything we thought out loud, I’m pretty sure we’d be very much disliked. However God, our holy and divine creator sees everything and still loves us more than we can comprehend. But this doesn’t mean we don’t change our ways. In the psalms, King David prays to God and asks Him to deal with his heart,‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51:10-12) We need to daily cry out a prayer like this to the Lord asking to be made clean, because our hearts need constant renewal. We need to spend time with Him allowing his spirit to purify us.

To see God is surely the ultimate thing we want.. it certainly is for me. God promises here that we will see Him. We will see him through spiritual vision…through faith. In the pure heart, the Lord will dwell, and makes his presence known.
John 14:23- Jesus answered him, “if anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Matthew 6:7

Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.

John piper has described mercy as : an eye for distress, a heart of pity, an effort to help, in spite of hostility.’

At the start of last year i travelled to Kenya and spent three months there as part of a Christian mission programme. Whilst working at one of the schools within a rather poor area, i had my mobile phone and a large amount of money stolen from my bag. I knew who had taken my things, and more than reacting in anger or being upset over the worth of them… i was just hurt that people i had spent the previous month building relationships with, and people who i had begun to trust would do this. I had to leave the school to work elsewhere and the situation was never really resolved. I didn’t see anyone involved until a few weeks later that I went to work in another orphanage on the other side of town. As i walked in I saw before me a lady who had been there the day my phone was stolen, and whom i believed to have been a part of it. Before i had much time to formulate ideas she threw her arms out to me. My mind toyed with a range of emotions at this, in that moment I stubbornly continued to believe the walls i’d built up in my defence would remain, that i wouldn’t and couldn’t give in. This attitude of course was wrong. I put out my arms and i hugged her back, its what Jesus would have done and though my heart at first rebelled against the idea, i needed to cleanse myself of any bitterness and to loose the chains which were binding my heart to forgive, otherwise i’d have become enslaved to my own emotions.

Of course this is a meagre example of mercy yet it taught me so much and brought me to such a place where i could understand in greater depth the true mercy and love Jesus has poured out for His children… which is the promise He gives to us in this verse. We deserved to be punished and to face a future of destruction, yet through Jesus dying on the cross and showing mercy to fallen mankind, He has given us the hope of everlasting life. Instead of separation we will be dwelling in His presence.

With Gods saving mercy comes our ability to go and show mercy to others. Gods mercy is neither through reward nor merit… this would cause our salvation to be through works and not by faith.  Gods grace and mercy is free. The mercy that God gives, is the blessing of God. Mercy comes form mercy and our mercy to each other should come from Gods mercy to us.

Lets ask God to open our eyes to the physical needs of those around us…that we can respond with Christ like compassion. That we will shine like lights in this fallen world and that we will be a city on a hill, a city that cannot be hidden, a light that never falters nor fades.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

In a land of plenty i think this world has lost the true meaning of what it is to hunger and thirst. Food is in abundance, water flows freely, clean water beneath our very fingertips. Yet while we are in excess there are millions of poor dispersed around this world, who do LITERALLY know what it is to thirst and hunger. When Jesus uses this metaphor, i believe He was also referring to hunger which is days old….. an all consuming hunger of which a bite alone would not satisfy. This is what our desire as Christians for righteousness needs to be like. We need to yearn after righteousness as a a hungry stomach needs to be filled, as a parched throat needs to be full of moisture.

Righteousness can be such a confusing concept but i think of it as being made right before God. it can be characterised as accepted standards of morality, justice and virtue. A loving obedience to Gods ways, a full faith in the Lord Jesus and a turning and repentance from and of sin. Just like food and water are our daily needs….because our body needs constant nourishment from these things to function properly… in the same way our body needs spiritual food.

God promises that those longing for these things WILL be satisfied. I love the feeling of satisfaction, it usually comes when I’ve eaten one of my Mums roast dinners. I am satisfied, content and i have reached a perfect medium, yet this satisfaction is not everlasting, the feeling soon fades and i am longing for it all over again. All over the world people are searching for satisfaction from things such as money, sex, drugs, and gambling. These may cause immediate satisfaction, but its temporary. God gives us an everlasting satisfaction, a void is filled which no other outlet or substance can make up for. Theologian Richard Neibuhr believes that once you the answer the question of what you hunger for or desire above all else, then you’ll know what your little “g” gods looks like. Knock down these gods and seek full satisfaction in your Saviour today.

My soul thirsts for You like a parched land. Fill my cup Lord, for You alone are worthy.

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

‘Meek’ is maybe one of those words which people know its existence but maybe not its actual definition. Every Christmas we sing the words ‘Mary was so meek and mild’ in what is supposed to be the most famous carol of all time, but why was Mary meek? What does it mean to be meek? By the meek Christ means people who are mild with gentle dispositions, who are not easily provoked, who are not ready to take offence, but are prepared to endure anything- a manifestation of humility. Again today we could say humility is not a trait which is sought after, instead a vice. Yet meekness is one of the fruits of the spirit and the first mark of a disciple.

How can we be meek?

2 Corinthians 6,  is a good start,

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

But how can one have nothing yet possess everything? Most of these beatitudes are paradoxical, along with many other references in the Bible. Two different realities are colliding. On one hand you have to die, but in doing so you live. We have to die to ourselves spiritually, so that we can come alive in all things, that we can come alive in God. When we are made humble, we our brought to our lowest. We know we don’t deserve anything, we aren’t all that we could be, and we by no means deserve God’s Grace. Yet its at this point, this point of utter desperation and helplessness that we turn to God and are raised high.

The second part of the beatitude is that we shall ‘inherit the earth’. It is referring to the ‘new earth’ which will be. Such people, the people Jesus is referring to in the Beatitude shall dwell and shall inherit it by virtue through being heirs of God. Joint heirs with Christ! What a glorious inheritance!!

Meekness is a trait which comes easier to some than others. But lets learn to boast in Jesus Christ alone, and run with arms wide open towards Gods promised inheritance for each of His children.

‘I will not boast in anything, no gifts no power, no wisdom. BUT i WILL boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection’.

Matthew 5:4

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

To be human is to suffer loss. We have all mourned, yet we are in the midst of a culture where weeping is so easily depicted as an emblem of shame, that crying shows a lack of integrity, and that usually the tears are left to the female (the emotional and irrational one who can so easily weep at anything). Yet Jesus himself was referred to as the ‘Man of sorrows’, intimately acquainted with grief, He himself wept. He wept over Jerusalem and He wept over Lazurus’s body.

It is important to be exercised by our sorrow; for those who allow sorrow to be trivilazed and merely swept away, remain shallow and indifferent. Sorrow helps us to know God as we’ve never known Him before, and this flows out of the previous Beatitude. When we realise our spiritual poverty we will mourn. We will find much reason to mourn. We become so aware of the weight of our sin that we can do nothing but come before God with a heart heavy of repentance, shame and sorrow. Through this we come to learn for ourselves that he is indeed the Father of all compassion and that he will comfort us through the storm. Open your hearts to God, let nothing be hidden. Loosen the chains which govern your innermost feelings and lay them at Gods feet. No pain is too big, He has suffered it all.

Mourning is also the greatest reminder of the world in which we reside. We are living in a corrupted and broken world drenched in sin. We have not yet seen the end of the story, and when the day comes where we are in the presence of Our heavenly Father, we will know that eternal comfort, where mourning ceases to exist and pain is no more.

 

My life is but a field stretched out beneath God’s sky, Some harvest rich to yield. Where grows the golden grain? Where faith? Where sympathy? In a furrow cut by pain.

Maltie Babcock

Matthew 5:3

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

Compared to Jesus we are all poor in spirit. We often approach our Father, the Creator of the world, the God who made beautiful things out of dust and breathed life into our very being with such haste, lack of thought and un-holiness. We rush into His presence and come before him with arrogance and self worth thinking we are owed something. Well we are not.

The story is told of a young American student who visited the Beethoven Museum in Bonn, Germany.
The student became fascinated by Beethoven’s piano that was on display there. It was a thrill to think that Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works on that piano! The student asked the museum guard if she might play a few notes on it. To help persuade the guard, she also slipped him a lavish tip. The guard agreed and the girl went to the piano and played the opening of the Moonlight Sonata. As she was leaving she said to the guard, “I suppose all the great pianists who come here want to play on that piano.”The guard shook his head and said, “Paderewski, the famous Polish pianist was here a few years ago, and he said he wasn’t worthy to touch it.”

Even more worthy is God, and even more so are we unworthy to come before Him. Our self pride can so easily hinder our ability to receive, so lets not forgot who we are coming before . We need to come to such a point of humility that we ask/beg out of the very insufficiency and weakness of our beings to God. Through our spiritual poverty Gods abundant blessings will make us richer.  God says that His power is made perfect in weakness. The lowly, humble cry of the tax collector begging for mercy was way more pleasing to God than the pompous prayer of the pharisee. Get down on your knees before the perfect, divine and all knowing God and plead for emptiness that you may be filled.

Then will the kingdom of heaven come down to those who obey, because the King has swooped down to his children, to those rooted in his firmest foundation. The kingdom of God is theirs because they see fulness in Christ. Self interest is gone, the vision clear, and they understand utter helplessness and weakness before a God who humbled Himself, became man, and died on the cross for us. When we have these things, when our spirit is weak, humbled, and helpless, only then will we find the true  way back to our Father, the path paved to His everlasting kingdom.