Pursue righteousness passionately

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
In the first three Beatitudes, Jesus focused upon His followers’ recognition of their emptiness: “poor in spirit,” “mournful over sin,” and “meek, not defending ourselves.”
As a result of our emptiness, we crave something to fill us.
Like Isaiah when he saw God, we must come to the realization that God is holy and we are unclean.
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5

To hunger is to “crave ardently,” and those who thirst “painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened …” according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.

This fourth Beatitude tells us what will satisfy that craving … righteousness.

Twice in the Beatitudes, Jesus mentions “righteousness,” and three more times in the rest of His Sermon on the Mount. Righteousness is important to Jesus.
Jesus tells us that our righteousness must exceed that of the religious leaders. The righteousness that we hunger and thirst for cannot be found in rituals, traditions, or things that the world values.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. … Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” Matthew 6:33-35
Righteousness is found in Jesus.

“you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” 1 Corinthians 1:30

 When I had fibromyalgia, I craved a day without pain. I went on special diets, tried new supplements, and even tried some risky medicines, all for a day or two without pain. And yet, during those nights of sleeplessness, I found myself praying to see God’s glory, to get closer to Him. The more pain, the more of His presence I felt.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
As I delighted in the Lord’s presence, my heart’s desires changed, and my prayers changed. I craved more of God. During this time, I was reading A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, nothing to do with healing, and yet, everything to do with healing. I began pursuing God.
I was hungry and thirsty for more of God. I couldn’t get enough of Him.
God gave me more than a physical healing; He gave me more of Him. He gave me a keener sense of His working in and around my life.
I know that the Beatitude says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied, and I know that we will be satisfied in heaven, but on this earth, I don’t want to be satisfied. I want to continue to pursue God and ask Him for more of Himself, so that I can point people to Jesus.
“Make it the passion and the hunger and the thirst of your life to do great acts of righteousness.” John Piper
How are you pursuing righteousness?
Please share this post with others and make the pursuit of God your passion.
My prayer:
Father, thank You for the hunger and thirst for You that has  been placed in our hearts. May our passion for righteousness cause us to work great acts of righteousness that will point people to You. To You be all the glory, majesty and honor! Amen

Hiding in the Light – Freedom in Jesus

9781601426963

Hiding in the Light reveals the life of one young Muslim woman as God takes her by the hand and leads her through the valley of the shadow of death in the presence of her enemies and ushers her into His pure Light.

God worked in a child’s life, and she trusted that He would protect her and keep her whatever came her way. With each trial, God proved Himself to her, and her faith grew to an uncommon depth.

Rifqa Bary leaned on Scripture in times of trials and terror.

“The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

Bary pursued freedom … freedom from abuse and freedom to worship God. “Jesus is freedom and forgiveness, hope and love, peace and purpose, plain and simple.”

With God’s help, she came to know the freedom to forgive.

May you know the healing that comes with the freedom of forgiveness, hope, love, peace, and purpose that comes only through a deep faith in Jesus.

This book is an inspiring testimony of God reaching into an unlikely person’s life and using that person to capture the world’s attention and challenge an easy-faith approach to Christianity.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

Author’s page

My prayer

Father, thank You so much for Riqfa Bary and her faithfulness to Your Word and leading. Thank You, for the brave Christians who helped her as You sent them to You. Thank You for Your guidance as you led everyone in Your will. Father, we pray for Riqfa and other young women like her. Fill them with Your Presence. Thank You, Father, for this inspiring story. We love you.

Healing prompts 5,000 to come to Jesus

Gate BeautifulThe Gate Beautiful, or Golden Gate. It is believed that Jesus entered through this gate on Palm Sunday. It is thought that Jesus will return through the Golden Gate. Ottoman Sultan Sulieman sealed the gate and built a cemetery in front of it, so that when Elijah preceeds Jesus’ return, Eljah cannot walk through the cemetery without becoming unclean. Think that’s a problem for the Lord?

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. Acts 3:1-2

Ankles twisted and completely out of joint, this man sat at the entrance of the magnificent Gate Beautiful, ornately and heavily plated with gold and silver. The gate stood 50 cubits high in comparison with the other gates reaching 40 cubits, and it was so heavy, it took 20 men to move it. It was 60 feet wide and was the place of public worship during morning and evening sacrifices.

Weakness and deformity in the gate of strength and majesty … years of people passing him to enter the temple, a temple he was not allowed to enter because of his condition.

Look at us!

Looking into Peter’s eyes and then John’s eyes, the man expected a coin.

I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk! And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

How many miracles? His feet and ankles were strengthened. He immediately knew how to walk, and he leaped and praised God.

This man expected a coin; he received a healing; he received the opportunity to enter the temple, and his healing prompted Peter’s sermon.

And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16

As a result of this man’s healing, about 5,000 people accepted Jesus that day.

This man was never the same. This crowd was never the same.

How has God worked in your life? Tell someone today. Tell these readers.

My prayer

Father, You are our Creator, our Healer, our Comforter, our Savior. Thank You for what You are doing in our lives. Show us how You are working in our lives, the plans that You have for us. Empower us to tell others about Your goodness, Your healing grace. Embrace us with Your love, and infuse us with Your Spirit, so that we leap and praise You as others are watching. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

A mother’s declaration: “It will be well”

Chinese motherA mother in China providing a snack for her child in the park

Now there came a day when Elisha passed over to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman, and she persuaded him to eat food. And so it was, as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat food. II Kings 4:8

This Shunammite woman showed hospitality to Elisha. Hospitality (philoxenia) is demonstrated in the New Testament by showing love to strangers.

The Shunammite and her husband even prepared a room for Elisha to stay in when he came to their region.

The Shunammite was childless, and her husband was old, so Elisha told her that the next time he would see her, she would be holding a son. And it was so.

Time passed.

When the child was grown, the day came that he went out to his father to the reapers. He said to his father, “My head, my head.” And he said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.”

She held him in her lap until he died. Then she laid him in Elisha’s room and shut the door.

She called to her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and return.”

He said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath.” And she said, “It will be well.”

She saddled her donkey and set out for Mount Carmel.

Elisha instructed Gehazi to take his staff and lay it on the boy’s face, but the Shunammite insisted that Elisha go with her.

Gehazi laid the staff on on boy, but nothing happened. Elisha went into the room, laid on the boy and prayed. He walked in the house back and forth and then went into the room once more.  The boy sneezed seven times.

“Take up your son.”

7 Characteristics of a Godly Woman

  1. Mutual respect. She suggested to her husband that they prepare a room for Elisha to stay in, and her husband did as she suggested. Her husband respected her.
  2. Wisdom. When their son was sick, the husband recognized that the Shunammite would know what to do.
  3. Hope. After her son died, she recognized that she could do no more, but she did not give up, and she told her husband that “It will be well.”
  4. Faith. She knew that the prophet of God, Elisha, did not give her a son to live just a few years.
  5. Action. She saddled her donkey and took off for Mount Carmel.
  6. Perseverance. When Elisha instructed Gehazi to go, she insisted that Elisha go to her son.
  7. Surrender. She surrendered her son to Elisha.

What if we possessed these characteristics as mothers and followers of Christ?

Indian motherA mother in Delhi holding her son on the family’s motorcycle

My prayer for you

God of peace, thank You for the Shunammite and the lessons she has to teach us as women and as mothers. So many times, we hold our children, teach our children,  pray for our children, and things still go wrong. We blame ourselves, but this woman did not, she said, “It will be well.” Father, You are in control of our children and our lives. Help us to persevere in faith and surrender our children to You. In You all things work together for those who are called according to Your purpose. We surrender our children to You and declare, “It will be well.”

 

2 blind men healed: Healing activated by faith

Idyllwild cross

Is that Jesus passing by us? He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Think He would heal our blind eyes?

The two men follow Jesus.

“Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Jesus enters the Capernaum house without a word. The men follow him into the house. I wonder what the owner of the house thinks.

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Matthew 9:28

“According to your faith be it done to you.” Matthew 9:29

And their eyes are opened. Although Jesus tells them not to tell others about their healing, they tell many people.

Five verses, five attributes.

  1. Focused. These men had heard of the compassion and miracles of Jesus, and they knew what Jesus could do for them. Together, they sought Jesus.
  2. AccountableThe two men cried out loudly to Jesus over the crowd. They took responsibility for pursuing Jesus until He answered them.
  3. Intense. When Jesus did not respond to their cries, they followed Him, right into the house. They did not give up when there was no answer from the Son of David, the Messianic name of their Savior.
  4. Trust.They trusted the Scripture. Isaiah 35:5 states that when the Messiah comes, He will open the eyes of the blind.
  5. Hope. Blind men for a season, their hope was an earnest expectation for their sight.

Focused + Accountable + Intense + Trust + Hope = Faith

Result: Healing!

My prayer for you:

Our Father and Lord, You are the God of all compassion, all mercy, and all love. Pour out Your blessings and healing upon our land and upon Your people. Restore our sight to all that is true and lovely. Restore our bodies, our minds, and our land into what You intended. Give us the faith to focus on You as we hold ourselves accountable in an intense trust in You, and we will earnestly hope in Your restoration. We will spread the news of Your great works as these two blind men did. We praise You for all that You are and all that You do. In Jesus’ name, Amen

God’s 5 promises in 2 verses … Psalm 84:11-12

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God’s light overshadows even the beauty of the Taj Mahal

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord gives grace and glory.
No good thing does He withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in You! Psalm 84:11-12

In these two short verses, we find promises for those who walk in God’s light:

  1. Light. God shows the way we should go.
  2. Shield. God provides His protection for His followers.
  3. Grace. God bestows His favor upon His children.
  4. Glory. God gives honor, a weightiness or fullness, to those He calls His own.
  5. Blessings. God creates a blessed state in the one who trusts in Him.

My prayer for you:

Lord, bless, I pray, Your dear children. Shine Your light on their paths and protect them with Your mighty shield. Pour out Your fullness upon them and keep them on Your righteous path. Lord of hosts, fill Your dear children with the blessing of great faith as they trust in Your great faithfulness. For You are our glory, our might, and our strength. We love you Lord.