Who will inherit the earth?

Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Ahhhh! the humble…the meek… the world will run right over them, correct? They are doormats! Wimpy, pitiful folks who cannot take up for themselves much less others.  They probably need the blessings of God, pitiful little creatures. Is that what you are thinking?

Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Is this what Christ is talking about?

There are great and tremendous blessings for those who are meek and humble because their inner strength relies on God and not the world. God wants us to be humble and meek so much, He declares we will inherit the earth!

When our strength comes from our dependence on God and not upon money or power or ability, God blesses us. It is our faithfulness in a God who will right the wrong; heal the sick; judge the wrong-doer; provide; give us direction; give us hope; that brings us to this blessing. Being meek shows the world we know who is in control and we rely on Him.

The word Paul uses for humility is not exactly the word used in Matthew 5:5, but I believe the idea is the same. Humility is defined as “the selfless regard for the needs of others over your own.” Jesus was the ultimate example of humility because He put us above Himself in suffering and dying on the cross for our salvation.

Being meek and humble doesn’t mean we just sit back and let the world pass us by for fearing of stepping in front of someone. It isn’t what we do in our lives; it’s all about how we do it and for whom we do it. God wants us to be active and participate. He wants us to excel in life. He wants us to have victory. It is how we excel and who we give the glory to that counts.

Confidence in God to do in us and through us what we could not do otherwise is the blessing of meekness. Ask God today to work through you. Give Him all honor and glory. Experience God’s blessings when you do.


Fill your day

Connie and I had dinner recently at an incredible restaurant. From the moment we entered the building, we knew we were going to have an experience. The service was like nothing I have ever had. The food tasted delicious. The atmosphere was friendly. When we left, we both felt so fantastic and determined it was the people and their willingness to make our night special through service that made it what it was.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if everyone got motivated and chose to serve others? What would life be like if we all decided to stop looking at ourselves first and turn toward others.

In Hebrews 13:16, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others; for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”

The idea of this scripture tells us to do good, to give to others; because, when we sacrifice for others, we please our Heavenly Father. The challenge comes in trying to implement the process. How do we serve others? What does God expect from us in order that we please Him.

If you really want to do good and bless others, it starts when you say Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” When we acknowledge God in all our ways, we become His servant and a servant to others. It may take a directional change; it may take the loss of a dream; it may take destruction of your plans to focus on His.

And it starts with the people in your home. Your spouse. Your parents. Your children. Your friends. Your co-workers. Try it. Servanthood can be contagious. Set the example.

I want to challenge you to fill your day with random acts of kindness. Think first of the person next to you before you think of yourself. Allow the mighty power of God to flow through you to impact His kingdom and help His people.


Misjudgment

Luke 7:37-38, “A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

Misjudgment. It happens routinely and unfortunately daily in our lives. We judge people based on their past. In this scripture Mary Magdalene, a woman with quite a sordid past, anoints Jesus’ feet with a very expensive perfume. People who witness the gesture find that it is wrong – erotic in nature – inappropriate. The Pharisees can’t understand Jesus even allowing a former prostitute and demon possessed woman to touch Him.

The Pharisee comments to Peter about Mary indicating his astonishment that Jesus would even allow “this kind of woman” near him. Jesus hears the conversation and asks Peter, “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.” Luke 7:41-43

When Mary rubs the perfume on Jesus’ feet, He does not see a prostitute. He does not see the stain of sins. When Mary rubs the perfume on His feet, Jesus sees her heart – not her past.

Some of you are dealing with sin you do not believe Jesus can forgive. It is difficult to talk with Him about it because you are so ashamed. Not only is He willing to forgive – He is willing to forget. Today, talk to God about the sin in your life. Put it in your past and move on to a glorious future in Christ.


Promises of Christ

In the New Testament, Christ gives us promises; yet, almost always the promises are conditional. Often, in fact almost always,we must do something to receive the gift of His promise. I like to read the scriptures and underline my part – highlighting what I have to do to experience the fulfillment of His promise in my life.

John 6:35 – “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'”

John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Many years ago, I worked with an incredible leader whose philosophy of “Team” was simple: if you have a problem, bring with it a solution. His expectation in meeting with one of his team members required a presentation of the problem and a presentation of an answer. He would then contemplate both and come up with a resolution. That way, we all had ‘skin’ in the game. We couldn’t just come to him and complain expecting him to answer all our problems.

Christ is presenting a similar platform for us to follow. He wants us to bring our problems to Him but in doing so there is something expected of us. We must understand His requirements. He gives this, we give that. Salvation is a “TEAM” effort. Christ requires us to live in accordance with His words so that we become a part of His Team.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!”

Salvation is not about works; it is about the mercy and grace of God. When we are saved, we become new creations in Christ. A transformation occurs in our lives. We are no longer our old selves and our new selves long to obey His commands.

Luke 6:35, “But love your enemiesdo good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

Luke 9:48, “Then He said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent me. For he who is least among you all – he is the greatest.'”

Walking in the Promises is a two-way street. Many people miss what they have to do and see only what Christ has done for them. If it were simple, why the sacrifice? Why suffer humiliation in the hands of evil? Christ died so that we might live – because He knew what we will face every day here on earth; because He believed in our ability to remain faithful to Him; but above all, because He loved us enough to give all so that we might live with Him in eternity.

Understanding your part in receiving the Promises of our Lord and Savior is a key element in our daily walk with Christ.

John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Luke 11:28, “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'”


…but a shepherd boy!

1 Samuel 17:28, “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

I can imagine the scene in my head – older brother scolding the younger – “Go away! What are you but a shepherd boy! Go tend to your sheep, BRAT!”

But David was on a mission for God. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites occupied the other. A champion warrior named Goliath from Gath taunted the Israelites. The Bible tells us he was 9 feet tall!  “He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.” (This guy is one bad CAT and nobody wants to deal with him!) Goliath shouted to the Israelites for someone brave enough to come and fight him. If the Israelite wins, the Philistines will be subject to them; but, if he wins, the Israelites will become subject to the Philistines. Saul and his army were terrified. Nobody wanted to take this guy on, and I can’t say I don’t blame them.

David is the youngest of eight boys belonging to Jesse from Bethlehem – three of the sons are in Saul’s army, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah. For 40 days the taunting had been constant, and daily Saul could not produce someone to fight Goliath. Jesse sent his son David to bring his boys food. When David arrives, it is early morning and he hears the words of Goliath.

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  David asks the men.

Eliab, his older brother, overhears the questions and angered by David, attempts to get rid of him. But David hears a word from God. David knows Who he serves. His God can defeat this uncircumcised Philistine!

Some of us can be Eliab’s in other’s lives. The negative, “you can’t do it!” “get out-of-the-way!” “you are incapable!” voices which interfere in the plans God has for people. Some of us don’t want to defeat the giants in our lives because we don’t believe we can.

And then, some of us listen to the Eliab’s of our lives. We listen to those who are the nay-sayers and we buy into the doubt of our abilities to do all things through a mighty, powerful God.

Which are you?

God has a purpose for every one of us. He has a plan. He needs to use our abilities to benefit His Kingdom; but, first and foremost, we have to tune our hearing into Him. Selective hearing – directed toward the Word of God – removes the Eliab’s of our lives. Pray today about what God needs you to do. Ask Him to remove the voices of Eliab in your life.


Let peace rule

When I was a little boy, one of my buddies used to tell us about “The Peacemaker” in his home. It was a long wooden paddle which hung by the back door. His dad had no problem pointing it out to any one of us that came by to play. If we didn’t want to keep peace in his home, he had the answer. Once, when my buddy and I disobeyed his mom, I experienced “The Peacemaker” first hand.

Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

We are called to be peacemakers by Christ. We are called to get along and keep peace with one another; however, in this scripture, He is talking to us about the peace that rules our hearts. Sometimes peace isn’t about conflict with others. Sometimes peace is conflict with ourselves to do or not to do something; to say or not to say something; to move or not to move in a certain direction. It’d be almost easier if we could take a paddle and spank ourselves into a decision like my buddy’s mom did for him. The Peacemaker could make up your mind pretty quick!

God gives us a different form of peace. It is a settling within our spirit that tells us everything is going to be OK. It is a gentleness that overcomes us when we need the assurance we’re walking in the right direction. It comes from within and although it is difficult to understand, we know when we feel it, it is from God.

Take the decisions of your life to God. Wait for the peace to flow over you. Give God time to answer your questions. Give God time to give you peace.

 


Is He like Santa Claus to you?

I remember as a boy receiving the Sears Roebuck catalog in the mail.  The thicker it was, the more excited we all became. The arrival of the catalog for me marked the starting of the Christmas season. I loved sitting on the sofa with pencil in hand and flipping through the pages. “I want this…oh! I want that… Wow! Look at this… look at that…” My sister and I used to fight over whose turn it was to gaze upon the many items and wish and dream of the possibilities.

Sometimes, our prayer life can be the same. It’s like we are giving God a check list of catalog items to make our lives better. “God, I need this. Its found on page 920 of the Sears Roebuck catalog.” Some of you may not even know what the Sears Roebuck catalog is! It was the “booster chair” of the 60’s when you visited grandma’s and couldn’t reach the table.

Prayer is not intended for a litany of desires. Prayer is intended to communicate with God; to get to know God better and learn His ways; and to change us inside to out. Most answers to prayer actually start with a change in us. Either God changes the way we see our situation or He changes our direction or He changes our circumstance.

Prayer is a means to praise and thank God for all that He is allowing us to use of His. The house you live in – His; the car you drive – His; the clothes you wear – His; the money in your pocket – His. It is all on loan to us. Shouldn’t we thank Him repeatedly for the use of it? Think about it, if you didn’t have a car to drive, and your neighbor said, “Drive my car.” Not only would you be grateful, you’d probably take extremely good care of it, and thank your neighbor regularly for its use.

Prayer gives us redemption. We go to God to renew ourselves. We seek forgiveness for the mistakes we make. We ask for guidance and direction to prevent us from committing the same error again. Prayer keeps us “right” with God.

As you pray today, consider what you are asking of God. Is He like Santa Claus to you? Or are your prayers an instrument to allow God to change YOU so that God can change the circumstances around you. He is looking for willingness, faithfulness, and obedience. Will His eyes fall upon you?

 


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