Blessed Are Those Who Hunger . . .

While the first four beatitudes build on each other and describe the needs of Jesus’ disciples, the fifth beatitude is essential.

If we know our weakness and sin, we will ask God to meet our need for righteousness. You may read more about this topic here: Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness. Wishing you a wonderful week!

Jesus’ Last Request

Have you ever asked God to have his will in your life? Great! But what is His will for you? Although Jesus was fully aware that He would soon be crucified, His thoughts and last prayer request includes us.

Listen to Pastor Cliff Purcell as he shares this important message in the following podcast: “A Family Conversation – Week 8” (March 18, 2018). Blessings!

Driving Knowledge

I nervously saddled up for my first ride on my Suzuki DR650SE dual sport motorcycle. My husband’s backup plan―if the motorcycle riding isn’t my thing―will be an economical commuter for him. My twelve year-old also assures me that he can ride it if I crash.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now that’s comforting!

After riding behind Eric, (my husband), down a nearby canyon dirt road, and maneuvering through a herd of cattle, we stopped at an empty lot for my first lesson.

“Remember, clutch first,” he said.

“And which side is the clutch on?”

“Left,” he pointed a second time. “Your brake is on the right . . . . Remember driving a stick shift car? It’s the same, only your clutch is here.”

I haven’t driven a stick shift in 15 years! Maybe we should just go to McDonald’s and enjoy a romantic moment―without kids―over a strawberry smoothie. The thought was tempting, but my boys were wagering on my resolve.

Eric, however, remained calm. “Gradually twist the throttle and release the clutch. Let the bike balance you. Don’t put your feet down until you come to a complete stop or they will drag behind you. Start in first. It’s the only gear you push down.”

“Which side are the gears on?”

“Left . . . . The right foot controls the rear brake. But when you brake, do it together with your right hand, which controls the front. And, you’ll need to brake while clutching when the engine begins to lug.”

Uhg, so many rules! But he certainly had my attention. He really believes I can drive this. I swing my leg over the seat. This is a lot bigger than my old mini bike! . . . . Clutch first. Replaying his instructions in my mind, I went through the motions step by step. And . . . .

I cruised!                                                                                     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well, I cruised slowly in first gear anyway, but I didn’t crash―thanks to Eric and his patient instructions. Like a child graduating from training wheels, I progressed to third gear. Okay, I admit that I killed the engine a couple of times. But the freedom of riding motivates me to learn this new skill.

Sorry boys, I may not be motocross material, but I’m not ready to hand over the bike!

Rules. Most of us chafe under directives, including Yours Truly. Why? They appear to constrict our freedom. But I’m grateful for Eric’s driving instructions. He saved me from kissing the pavement.

Similarly, God desires our safety in our daily journey. His directives are laid on a foundation of love, fairness, and compassion. Although it takes time, discipline, and hard work, consistently reading the Bible unwraps God’s truth, wisdom, and map for our earthly journey.

Although God’s holy standards reveal our sin, because we have all failed to keep his laws perfectly (Matthew 5:48), when we seek God’s salvation and forgiveness in Christ, we have freedom from sin and oppressive guilt. I am so thankful for Christ’s provision on the cross. We no longer live under the old covenant period, which was a shadow of the real Christ (Hebrews 8).

God knows what’s best for us. He knows we can only follow and obey Him through the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 1:19-20). Obeying God’s precepts frees us to be all He designed us to be. His guidelines make a way for us to participate in His holiness and avoid paths that lead to destruction (Deuteronomy 8:10-20; 11:26-27). If that’s not enough, our obedience to Him stores up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33).

Interestingly, Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and chapter in the Bible. We are repetitively instructed to meditate on God’s Word. God’s promise to “preserve life” is alluded to 11 times in this chapter. No wonder the psalmist writes of rejoicing in God’s statutes: “as one rejoices in great riches” (vs. 14).

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” 

– Jesus  (Matthew 24:25)

The following are a few links for a more in-depth study of God’s laws:

http://www.truthforlife.org/blog/law-leads-christ-and-redemption/

Click to access nq070412.pdf

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Matt/Christians-Must-Obey-Gods-Law

http://www.keyway.ca/htm2005/20050805.htm

I found the following video both funny and inspiring:

http://www.godvine.com/Simon-Cowell-Made-Fun-of-This-Gospel-Singer-Then-Everyone-is-Blown-Away-3177.html

Me, A Saint?

When I think of “saints,” the following thoughts surface: 1) the song, When the Saints Go Marching In; 2) Saint Patrick’s Day; 3) Mother Teresa; 4) martyrs who have died for their faith, (and last, but not least); 5) I know I’m saved and am trying to become more Christ-like, but I am not a saint.

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I admit, the fact that God calls His children “saints” causes me to squirm. I’m well aware of my shortcomings. Maybe that’s why God prods me to explore this topic more in depth.

“Saints” appear 95 times in the Bible. The Greek word for saints is hagios, which signifies being separated from sin and consecrated to God. It is used of people and things concerning their devotion to God―divine demands upon the conduct of believers who are called hagioi, “saints,” “sanctified,” or “holy” ones.

This sainthood is not by achievement or attainment, but is rather a state into which God in grace calls people (2 Timothy 1:9); yet believers are called to confess sin, become cleansed, and forsake sin. We are admonished to live a holy life so we might experience fellowship with our holy God (1 Peter 1:15; 2 Peter 3:11).

When a person is spiritually reborn into God’s family he/she has the greatest experience of love and the greatest inheritance. Those who become Christians are purposed to be His holy children―saints―that are set apart for His service.

God views us as righteous only through our union and identification with His Son, Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Thankfully, holiness is God’s master intrinsic work … phew!

Jesus is the fulfillment and culmination of God’s revelation through the centuries. When we know Him, we have all we need to be saved from our sin and to have a perfect relationship with God (Hebrews 1:1-2). If we are in Christ, God looks upon us as saints … I know, mind boggling, but exciting just the same! So, the question arises, are we saints in Christ? Or, are we trying to be saints by our own efforts? When I’ve strived apart from Christ, I’ve always wound up frustrated. How about you?

Below is Chris Tomlin’s song, Jesus Messiah. The corresponding video is graphic, but a good reminder of the extent Jesus suffered that we might have life.

God Bless,

K. D.

*This article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/19BNQF0

Training or Trying?

Congratulations to the WA 1B State Champs―again! Their win marks five consecutive state championships. Although they possess much athletic talent, anyone who observes this team knows their success is crowned through their commitment to train.

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DISCIPLINE … TIME … SACRIFICE.

A discipline is something you do even when you don’t feel like it. These girls played 80-plus games each summer. Their time spent practicing has resulted in smooth, automatic teamwork during pressured game situations. They are a lot of fun to watch.

I don’t know of an easy road to success. Consistent, hard work of correct training builds a strong framework in any arena, including spiritual growth. The apostle Paul admonishes us to train ourselves to be godly.

Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”   – 1Timothy 4:7-8

How do we grow spiritually and pursue God’s holiness? Although God is never limited, He uses the following three things:

Circumstances – We will have trials. But …

In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him … to be conformed to the image of His Son.” – Romans 8:28-29

Relationships – (Hebrews 10:24-25)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”   –  Proverbs 27:17

Spiritual Disciplines – Our growth isn’t automatic (Philippians 2:12). Our growth is:

  • intentional and incremental
  • personal and seasonal
  • relational and practical

What are the training habits of spiritual growth?

  •  PRAYER – Mark 1:35
  •   SCRIPTURE – Matthew 4:4
  •   INTENTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS – Mark 3:14
  •   FAITH – Matthew 9:29

God calls us to surrender to Him in order that we might become the person He desires. I love that, although we are told to “take up our cross and follow Christ” (Mark 8:34), His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). And the blessings of being in Christ far outweigh being “out of Christ.”

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

Meek simply means to be under God’s control.

The following video shows a horse trainer taming a wild mustang, a great illustration of God’s gentleness and patience as He works with us and within us.

Have a wonderful week!

KD

*This post article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/111JDXr.