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

Inherit the earth … Jesus loves you

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Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

Church; a big, well-worn Bible; fishing; watermelon and rhubarb pie; many conversations about Jesus. These are some of my memories of my Momo and Popo. They laughed; they loved; they prayed; they served; they worshipped. They helped plant a church in a poor section of Lawton, Oklahoma.

Momo and Popo didn’t have much, but what they had they gave to others. Popo would spend all day fishing and return that night with a load of croppie. He cleaned them for the next hour or two and then packaged them to give to friends, family, neighbors, and church members.

Momo and Popo were not focused on their gain, but rather on the welfare of others. They were controlled by the Holy Spirit and trusted in God to control their lives.

It is the distinguishing character of the people of God that they are the meek ones of the earth; this is their badge; it is their livery. They are modest, and humble, and low in their own eyes; they are mild, and gentle, and yielding to others, not soon angry, not very angry, not long angry; they are the quiet in the land, Ps. 35:20. And they are subject and submissive to their God, to all his precepts and all his providences. Actuated by this principle and disposition, they have wrought his judgments, that is, have obeyed his laws, observed his institutions, have made conscience of their duty to him, and have laid out themselves for the advancement of his honour and interest in the world.

Moses was meek

Miriam and Aaron, sister and brother of Moses, spoke against Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman. The Bible says that Moses was “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3

Moses did not defend himself. God defended Moses and struck Miriam with leprosy. Moses humbly let God defend him, and then he prayed for Miriam to be healed … Moses was meek, and he was strong. He led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert following the commands of God.

Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. Numbers 12:13

Jesus was meek

“SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, [humble, meek] AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’” Matthew 21:5

King Jesus entered Jerusalem not on a stallion declaring victory, but on a donkey in peace and humility. Jesus was strong. That same day, He entered the temple, “drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” Matthew 12:12

Jesus’ destination was the cross where He would take on the sins of the world – past, present, and future.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:7

Like Moses, Jesus did not defend Himself.

Jesus loves you

Jesus chose to allow Himself to be nailed to the cross by sinful men. Jesus chose to hang on that cross and take on the sin of the world … your sins, my sins, paying the price for sin forever. Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross and died. But the third day, He rose from the dead, declaring victory over sin and death. He purchased our salvation, so that we could live with Him forever.

Jesus is gentle, humble, meek, and He loves you and me.

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Psalm 149:4

Are you beautified with salvation?

This week, ask God to show you meekness in His Word. Ask Him to show you meekness in your life. Then, share what God has taught you below this post.

My prayer

Father, You are so gracious. Teach us what it means to be meek. Guide us into meekness. Thank You for Jesus and His redeeming love. Bring us closer to You. We love You, Lord!

Possess comfort

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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“Years and years of pain, Lord. What must I learn? What do You have for me to do? I thought You had a different plan for me. I thought I was going to make a difference in the world for You. What can I do in this bed of pain?”

Before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I mourned. I mourned over the loss of my health. I mourned that I was dependent on others to help me. I mourned that I did not have enough faith to be healed. I mourned that my sin may have caused my sickness. I mourned that I couldn’t help others who were sick. I mourned that I was not doing great things for God. I saw myself as weak and not able to accomplish anything.

I … I … I … I!

Continue reading Possess comfort

What’s your dance with God?

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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:7-11

I had the pleasure of attending a Special Olympics host town event this week. I greeted the Olympians with a cowboy hat and offered a bandana in the color of their choice.

As I placed a cowboy hat on an athlete in line, another athlete stepped up to my right. I turned and asked her if she would like a hat. She shook her head, “Yes,” and bowed her head for me to put it on her.

“Take a bandana; choose your color.”

“Purple.”

“I’m sorry, there aren’t any more purple bandanas. How about orange; that will look great on you?”

“Purple.”

“I’m sorry.”

She tugged on the bandana around my neck.

“You want my bandana?”

A yes nod.

I untied my bandana, lifted it up around her neck and tied it. She smiled and walked away.

Later that night, I led a young man by the arm in the Cupid Shuffle. She came up to my left. I took her arm and pulled her three steps to the right. Young man on my right, purple lover on the left, me in the middle pulling to the right, pushing to the left, kick, kick, kick; turn, turn, turn. Threesome fumbling and smiling.

I had a blast! It gave me pleasure to take off that silly bandana and encircle the young woman with color.

She wouldn’t have received the purple bandana if she hadn’t tugged on the one around my neck. She persisted in asking, and it was my pleasure to give it to her.

How much more is it God’s pleasure to give us the color we desire, the things that are good for us, the good things?

It gave me even greater pleasure to dance with her and the young man. How many times do I approach the Father and indicate that I want to spend time with Him?

He always has a hand to take me and lead me in a dance with Him. I may fumble and stumble, but as He pushes and pulls me, the Cupid Shuffle becomes the Blessed Shuffle.

My prayer

Thank You, Father for the lessons you show us through our experiences with others. Thank You for the Special Olympics athletes You sent my way this week. Bless them with Your outpouring of love. Please continue to show me Your truths in my everyday encounters and give me the boldness to persist in my requests for blessings just as this young woman persisted.

What’s your dance with God?

5 promises of walking in God’s light

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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, five promises are listed for those who walk in God’s light:

  1. Light. God shows the way we should walk.
  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.

Lovingkindness blesses the one who trusts in God!

My prayer

Father, Thank You for Your great light. Thank You for show Your followers the way we should walk. Thank You for protecting us and pouring out Your favor upon us. Thank You for honoring us and showering us with blessings beyond our imagination. May we continually walk in Your light, Your protection, Your favor, Your honor, and Your blessings. We love You, Lord.

Can Christians Save America From Decline?

Melk Abbey Sanctuary

Sanctuary in Melk, Austria Benedictine Abbey

When Solomon’s temple was ready to be dedicated to Yahweh, singers cloted in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, stood east of the altar, and 120 priests blew trumpets in unison with the singers glorifying Yahweh. When they praised God, and said, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” the temple filled with a cloud, the glory of Yaweh.

In his prayers of praise, Solomon also acknowledged that the Israelites would sin against the Lord, and he asked that when they repented, God would hear their prayers and bless them.

For seven days, the Israelites observed the dedication of the altar and feasted. They praised the Lord and sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep during the dedication.

Then, God appeared to Solomon and told him that He had heard his prayer of dedication and had chosen Solomon’s temple as a place for Himself and as a house of sacrifice.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

This was a conditional promise of God to Israel. Yet, Christians have been grafted into the heritage of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. This is a promise that Christians, God’s people, can count on.

America was founded as a nation under God. God’s people live here. As Solomon prayed, and as Daniel prayed, I pray,

We have sinned, we have acted perversely and wickedly;  2 Chronicles 6:37

The future of America depends upon God’s people. We can turn America around.

What must we do?
  1. We must humble ourselves. We must bow before the Lord our Maker in submission.
  2. We must pray. We must pray for forgiveness, for America’s leaders, for revival, for wisdom.
  3. We must seek the face of God. We must return to His Word and seek to know Him. We must return to our first love of Jesus
  4. We must turn from our wicked ways. We must examine ourselves, and turn from our fascination of the things of this world.
What will happen?
  1. God will hear from heaven.
  2. God will forgive our sin.
  3. God will heal America.

That’s a promise. It’s up to the Christians in America.

Do you believe God’s promise?

My prayer

Lord God Almighty, You are the God of Your people. Turn our hearts toward You in a mighty way. Father, America has sinned. We have turned from You. Forgive us I pray. Holy Spirit, bring a great revival and awakening to America. Ignite our love and zeal for Your Word. Magnify Your Word, and heal our land.

Will you join me in humbling prayer, seeking the Lord and turning from our sin?