Possess comfort

Jerusalem - 1

“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!

Recognition of the Holy

Isn’t mourning a natural outcome of a person who is poor in spirit, the first Beatitude? When we see God in all His holiness, and we look at ourselves, we cry out like Isaiah, 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 The comfort comes with our cleansing, our atonement, much like when the seraphim touched Isaiah’s lips with the burning coal to atone for his sins.

Like Isaiah, I recognized that I could do nothing without the cleansing work of Jesus.

Recognition of the Messiah

As Jesus began His final journey to Jerusalem, He mourned because His people did not accept Him as their Messiah.  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Matthew 23:37

Jesus had come to the Israelites as their Messiah, and yet, they did not recognize Him as the Messiah. They thought their Messiah was going to set up an earthly kingdom.

“O God, he needs you so much! I’ve prayed for years that he would accept You. I cry out to You. Save him!” This is my cry; this is my mourning for a man I have known for several decades. He is an angry man – angry at God, angry at the world. I mourn for him. I long for him to know the love of God, to see God as He is. Will he accept Jesus as his Savior? I’m trusting God that he will recognize God for who He is.

I am comforted that I am not responsible for this man’s salvation. God is in control.

Recognition of the Eternal

Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus stood before the tomb and wept. John 11:35

It’s been 11 months since my Mama stepped into heaven. I told a man about my Mama yesterday, and I was unable to prevent a few tears. Even though I know that my Mama is comforted from all her pain as she enjoys being in the presence of Jesus, I still miss her.

Yet, I’m comforted to know that I will see her again. I’m a child of God. My home is heaven, and eternity is my time.

Recognition of the Joy

Jesus felt the weight of sin. Jesus experienced pain. Jesus bore loss. Jesus mourned.

Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah, Jesus, that He was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

Why would the Son of God endure the pain and shame of the cross, the separation from the Father for a time?

“for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 2:2

As followers of Jesus, we have joy set before us, a joy of eternal life with Jesus. He will wipe away every tear. There will be no more pain, no more sorrow. We will bask in comfort that knows no end, comfort beyond our imagination, for our eyes will be completely consumed with the glory of God.

My prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for the blessing of mourning. In it, we learn to surrender our sinful bodies, minds, and spirits to You. In You, we live and move and have our being. In You, we find comfort. Thank You, dear Father, dear Savior, dear Comforter. In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Possess heaven

Cooking Class - 1

Ever step back and question what an instructor is saying?
Ever question God’s outrageous promises?

He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:2-3

Matthew Henry described poor in spirit as

to sit loose to all worldly wealthto be as little children in our opinion of ourselves, weak, foolish, and insignificant … to come off from all confidence in our own righteousness and strength, that we may depend only upon the merit of Christ for our justification, and the spirit and grace of Christ for our sanctification. That broken and contrite spirit with which the publican cried for mercy to a poor sinner, is that poverty of spirit.

Daniel knew what it was like to be poor in spirit. He was one of the young men brought to Babylon to become Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuch. The Israelite eunuchs were to be trained in all the wisdom of the kingdom and to eat as the king dined.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8

Here was a young man who had been taken from his mother and father, from his homeland, from his religion, sitting at the mercy of a keeper. He had no power, and, yet, he requested to eat vegetables and drink water, rejecting the delicacies of the palace and relying upon God alone to bring favor upon him.

Daniel laid the foundation of his life and career in Babylon with this single act of dependence upon God, and he waited upon God to keep him healthy, wise, and favored.

It’s an upside down life we live.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35

A form of this verse is in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The principle must be important.

To possess the kingdom of heaven, we must release our grip on the world, relinquish our pride, and refocus our efforts. We must exchange these to grasp heavenly riches, to boast in the Good News, and to depend upon the everlasting life-giving power of Jesus.

My prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for Daniel’s example. Show us where we need to loosen our grip on the world and how to cling to You. You are all we need. In You, we live and move and have our being. In You, we can boast. In You, is the strength, the power, and the wisdom that will sustain us. In You, we rest.