Tuesday, May 08, 2007



Matthew 5:1-12

Today I want to put a further emphasis on your personal application of the 8 snapshots or beatitudes. Remember how the two lists of four each come together and interact? View them in four pairs:




4-HUNGER & THIRST for Righteousness-REJOICE IN PERSECUTION for Righteousness

NOTE within each pairing that it works in two directions: FIRST-You cannot be merciful to others, if you do not have a right evaluation of yourself before God (poor in spirit). Therefore, if you are having difficulty showing mercy to others in your world, then go back to working on being poor in spirit-working on your pride issues, seeing God for who He is and you as His creation.

SECOND-You cannot be pure in heart toward others, if you are not into mourning over the things that keep you from God. Therefore, if you find yourself having difficulty with being loyal, supportive, loving and empowering to others, then go back to the mourning process. It is too easy to see and point out the sins of others without recognizing our own sinfulness.

THIRD-You cannot be a peacemaker toward others, if you are not into meekness. Therefore, if you find yourself stirring things up and causing trouble rather than settling things down and solving problems, then go back to check out your meekness meter. Do you find your ultimate approval and confidence in Him? Do you enjoy a quiet, controlled confidence in your heart that needs not react, but can make peace in your relationships that flows out of the peace in your heart?

FOURTH-You cannot have a proper perspective on persecution from others, if you are not into hungering and thirsting after Jesus (the Righteous One). Therefore, if you find that you are being blown out with stress and irritation by people saying things against you falsely, criticizing your decisions, and continually chipping away at your joy, then you must get back into the process of hungering and thirsting after Jesus. Then you will be free to rejoice and be glad when persecuted or opposed in your righteous efforts. This is truly JESUS PLUS NOTHING. Nothing else matters when you are hungering and thirsting to walk, love and think like Jesus! [Be careful that you are not rejoicing in being persecuted for just being obnoxious. You may deserve this kind of persecution in that case. Remember that the reason for this sort of verbal persecution is that you are beginning to be like Jesus.]

You can spend a lifetime in the beatitudes and every time you come back to them you will find yourself deeply affected by Jesus in the process. I struggle with doing things my way for Jesus, UNTIL I face up to these 8 qualities of walking with Jesus. These are revolutionary! These are the principles and insights that turn me inside out and free me up to walk with Jesus, walk with others who are walking with Jesus and wait on Jesus to lead out in my life.

NOTE ONE MORE THING: The reason why we push hard to focus on the simplicity of Jesus and the Kingdom is three-fold:

FIRST-Jesus and the Kingdom is the primary theme presented in the Gospels and Acts. Why would you want to try any other theme or teaching until you get the basics of Jesus?

SECOND-All other themes detract from Jesus and the Kingdom. In a very real sense, all other themes are just add-ons. At this point the add-ons become the primary theme of life.

THIRD-All detractions are sourced by the Evil One and will inevitably lead you astray from Jesus. This is found in II Corinthians 11:3: But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. That's what we must strive for-the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus.

As we continue through the simple and pure teachings of Jesus throughout the gospel of Matthew, make it your goal to do and say what Jesus does and says. It's actually just that simple.