The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt 5:3-12)

In this passage of verses from the Bible, Jesus describes the categories of people that He says enjoy special favor with God. 

These are desirable attributes and personality traits in God’s sight, so we would do well to consider them.

  • The poor in spirit,
  • Those who mourn,
  • The meek,
  • Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
  • The merciful,
  • The pure in heart,
  • The peacemakers,
  • Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and
  • Those who are reviled and persecuted for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus said that if any of us see ourselves in this list that we should rejoice and be extraordinarily happy because we will receive a huge reward in heaven.  People who are described by this list are those who truly follow Jesus Christ, honor Him and respect Him as their example of faith and holiness. 

As we see Christianity more and more under attack around the world, we do well to nurture and build up our faith while we still have the time and opportunity to do so.  Draw near to the Lord with all of your heart and soul, mind and strength, in Jesus’ name.

Press On

Press On

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 3:14)  Paul is saying here that he pursues the reward of living a life in serving God through Jesus Christ.  He considers it a high [important, exalted] calling.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  (1 Cor 9:24)  The apostle is encouraging believers to live their lives as winners and as people who will cross the finish line.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Tim 4:7-8)

In these various passages of Scripture, we believers are being encouraged, influenced and motivated to:

  • Fight the good fight,
  • Finish the race, and
  • Keep the faith.

Just as in any type of race or physical sport, we need to stay spiritually fit to take part in this spiritual race.  We are encouraged to be persistent and consistent, as well as to be constant and committed to our faith.

This is, indeed, a high calling—an important and exalted mission to which Christ has called us and has enabled us by His grace.  Let us rejoice in Him!       

To Whom Should We Pray?

To Whom Should We Pray?

Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.  (Ps 5:2)

We all know that we direct our prayers to God.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about prayer.

I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.  (Ps 3:4)

When we pray, the Lord hears our prayers. 

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  (Mt 6:9)

Jesus taught us to pray to our Father God, and to honor His name.

. . . that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  (Joh 15:16d)

Whenever we pray to the Father in heaven, Jesus tells us to pray in His name, so that we will receive the request.  (See Joh 14:13)

. . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .  (Eph 5:20)  The book of Ephesians shows prayer to the Father in Jesus’ name with thanksgiving.  The Lord loves a thankful heart.

As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” 60 He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.  (Ac 7:59-60)

This passage demonstrates that Stephen prayed directly to Jesus as Stephen was being stoned to death. 

We should pray in the Spirit, and we should pray in His power.  The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we don’t know WHAT or HOW to pray for a situation or a need.  (Rom 8:26; Jude 20)

In general, when we pray, we pray to “our Father” or even to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We always pray to the Father in the name of Jesus (through His mediation) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said:  For through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  (Eph 2:18 – bracketed word added)  We all have access [admission] to the presence of the Father through Jesus, our Savior.

Pray daily and continuously for the Bible tells us “men ought always to pray.”  (Lk 18:1)  Pray always, whether vocally or silently, because the Bible instructs us to do so.  Pray with confidence, knowing that the Lord hears our prayers and faithfully answers them.

One Blood

There is no room for prejudice against other people due to the simple fact that we are all ONE BLOOD (one race) that have descended from Adam and Eve.  All tribes and nations are descended from the same parents.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  (Gen 3:20, emphasis added)

These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated(Gen 9:19, underscoring added)

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth . . .  (Ac 17:26a, emphasis added)

Discrimination and bigotry based upon skin color, eye shape, hair types, or any other exterior trait is ridiculous and unjust.  Over the centuries and decades since the Lord created the heavens and the earth, changes have occurred in humanity.  However, they are just that:  exterior. 

Blood types are the same the world over, as are the physical attributes of males and females.  Every nationality of people have the same internal organs and number of bones in their bodies.  We all need teeth to chew our food, tongues to communicate with each other, and arms and legs to get around and to do our work. 

The Father God needed to send only ONE Savior to earth to redeem all of mankind back to Himself!  Jesus is the Savior of every nation, tongue, and tribe on earth.  

One day, ALL of the redeemed from all over the earth will be gathered together to praise, honor, worship and to serve Him for all eternity.  Glory to God!

A Steadfast Heart

A Steadfast Heart

Steadfast means committed, unwavering, reliable and trustworthy.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  (Ps 112:7, underscoring added)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.  (Pro 1:33)  Wisdom is speaking in the passage.  When we obey wisdom, we obey God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yahweh, the Lord, is everlasting strength.  (Isa 26:3-4)  When we are focused upon the Lord, with absolute trust, our hearts will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  (Joh 14:1) Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He’s encouraging us to believe in Him.  He’s inviting us to rely upon Him and to have confidence in Him.

The point of these verses that I’ve shared is that under all circumstances, even in the midst of challenges and painful trials, a believer knows the beautiful character of Jesus, and is able to trust Him effortlessly.  Why?  Because Jesus is a good and loving Savior.

The Lord’s plans for us are good plans intended to give us a good future.  We can see the only person who can prevent those plans from coming to pass when we look into the mirror! 

If we don’t cooperate with the Lord, if we don’t trust Him and place all of our faith in Him, then we cannot blame God for whatever mess in which we eventually find ourselves.

Place all of your hope, faith and trust in the Lord.  Yield to God’s plans and His ways, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

Our Lives Are a Message

Our Lives Are a Message

Would it surprise you to learn that the life of each and every follower of Jesus Christ is an epistle (letter) to the world?

. . . clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.  (2 Cor 3:3)

The word epistle means:  letter, communication, or message.  Every person who has accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord is a message to the world!  The Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30), has been given to us as our guarantee or promise that we are born-again.

I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.  (Ps 40:8) 

The verse above teaches us that every human being [saved or unsaved] inherently knows the moral law of God. (Rom 2:14-15)  One reason that this is true is that all mankind has been created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27)

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart . . . (Pro 3:3) 

Mercy and truth are bound up in the Scriptures.  When we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, we are cooperating with “writing” them upon our hearts.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (Heb 8:10) 

The Holy Spirit will bless every believer with grace to enable us to memorize passages of the Bible, thereby putting God’s laws in our minds and sowing it into our hearts.  Only the Spirit of the Living God has the necessary power to “write” God’s moral laws upon the heart of a believer.  This Bible passage says that God has made a covenant with us to do these things, and also to be our God. 

The Lord calls us His people, and what an awesome blessing that is.  God bless you!

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

How can weakness or challenges in life reveal God’s strength to us? 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Cor 12:9)

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Cor 12:10, emphasis added)

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  (2 Cor 13:4)

Whenever we are weak in an area, it presents an opportunity for God’s strength to be discovered by us.  Our weaknesses, when exposed and humbly given to God, invite God’s love and strength to work powerfully in our situations.

Our weaknesses help us to see that there isn’t much that we can do in ourselves and by ourselves.  We comprehend our utter helplessness.  Problems and weaknesses compel us to turn to the true source of ALL help and power:  to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must learn to rely upon God’s grace and mercy, both of which are abundantly available to us according to the Word of God.

In times of need, trial, or crisis, we reach a point where we are ready and willing to yield to God’s will in our lives.  Praise God!  As the Scriptures shown at the top of this article demonstrate, God is ready and able to meet our needs and to help us.  And when He does, it is a testimony to His love and mercy.

He loves to bless us and to solve our problems because He loves us.  (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 4:19; Ps 37:40; 46:1; 63:7)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (Rom 8:26, emphasis added)  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.

After we turn to the Lord and pray about our area of weakness and need, His power will flow into the situation and turn it around.  We then have gained genuine, first-hand experience of the love and mercy of God.  This, in turn, enables us to comfort and to minister to other people who are in similar situations.  (2 Cor 1:4)  It also deepens and matures our faith.

Rejoice in the strength and power of God that is available to you!

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

One area where we need to apply our faith as believers is to our relationship with our grown children.

Thus says the Lord:  Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work (raising of your children, prayer) shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they(your children) shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope (something that you can expect) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border (place of peace and safety and well-being).”  (Jer 31:16-17 AMP, emphasis added) 

We as parents must always provide a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual peace, safety and well-being.  When we fall short, and most of us fall short in some way at some time, we need biblical solutions and practical help.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . .  (Mal 4:6 NKJV) The Lord is the only Being who is able to change a person’s heart.  The hearts of parents should ALWAYS be in favor of and in support of their own children.  Our hearts should always yearn for the best things for our children.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . .  (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV, emphasis added)

As followers of Jesus Christ, our desire should always be for reconciliation in our relationships.  If it doesn’t exist at the moment, it’s something that we should take to the Lord in fervent prayer.

It may happen in some families that after children have grown, they choose to disconnect totally from their relationship with their parents.  In some cases, the parents may not have a clue as to why this has happened.  In other scenarios, one or the other parent does know the reason.  It can be the result of one parent who was harsh, overly strict or critical of the child or children as they were being raised.  Or it can be as serious as some form of abuse.  Whatever the situation, it can result in grown children having very painful memories and deep anger and resentment against a parent.  In some cases, the adult children may be in counseling to deal with the emotional and mental pain they are experiencing and have experienced in the past.

Parents who find themselves in this situation need to scrupulously review their past behavior in their relationship with their child (or children).  They must take full responsibility for their own actions, and openly admit their faults to their family. 

If there is a pathway to open communication, the parent should apologize and repent directly to the child (or children) whom they have hurt.  Additionally, whichever parent was responsible would need to promise to change the way that they relate to their adult child, so that in future the relationship would be based solely upon positive and healthy input from the parent.  Then the parent should pray for God’s grace and help in fulfilling this goal. 

Copious prayer is needed in this situation by both parents!  The offending parent should ask God to correct them, give them wisdom and insight, and to reveal what their child (or children) truly needs right now.  Praying for God’s peace to reign in the relationship is also key.

If there is no communication between parent and child, then the one hope and solution available to the parent is to continually pray for God to bring healing and reconciliation into the relationship between them and their child.  In this case, it is also good to ask God to reveal to the parent where they made mistakes and how they sinned against their child.  Repent wholeheartedly to God for whatever He reveals, and determine to change the behavior.  Read books on good parenting of adult children, and seek counseling if possible.  Counseling can come through licensed counselors, group counseling, pastors, psychologists, or 12-step programs such as AA. 

As followers of Jesus, we must seek peace in all of our relationships.  (Rom 12:18)  Parents never stop being parents, even after our children are grown.  So it is pleasing to God for us to continue to pray for our estranged adult children, and to ask God to bless them and to continue to protect them and to fulfill His will in their lives.  It would be wisdom to also pray earnestly for healing and for reconciliation in the relationship with the estranged child or children.  May God’s peace reign in your life and your family in Jesus’ name.